Fight or Flight, how do I respond in times of stress? Do I run or do I put on my boxing gloves?
Many times I shy away from confrontation. In the past I would sometimes deal with very difficult situations by leaving, quitting or running away. I think in those times something inside of me would shut down and that would be the only way I thought I could deal with life in that moment. Unfortunately my plan would never deal with what would happen tomorrow.
As I transitioned to adulthood, I realized that flight wasn’t always the answer, that there would be times where I would have to persevere through the difficult times if I wanted to make anything of my life. This also meant I had to squash some of my depressive thoughts and thoughts of worthlessness that would sometimes contribute to the idea of fleeing.
I grew up in a household where there was often verbal conflict. My parents could be very authoritarian at times, with incredibly old fashioned views. Even as a young adult they thought they could bully me into doing things their way. I have conflicting voices in my brain during times of conflict I think based on how I was raised. There is a part of me where I think my nervous system is activated, I feel sick to my stomach and feel as if my head will explode if I can’t get out of the situation. The other part of me wants to revert to the way my family used to fight. I’m not proud that I acted in a verbally ugly way at times in my marriage. For the most part though I have tried to coach myself not to act in an ugly sort of manner. In marriage though, like other times in life, one has to find a way to work through the bigger conflicts, and neither fleeing, or fighting in a manner which can be ugly is the answer.
Most people who know me in the outside world probably wouldn’t imagine there would be that ugly side deep down in me. I am somewhat reserved and quiet in the workplace. I try to stay out of the drama. There are times though where I am more assertive, and that surprises people. I had a day like that recently, where the lock to my inner voice had been broken and the words flowed freely, and I had to take responsibility for the words I’d uttered at work. Not that I didn’t stand behind what I’d said…normally I just wouldn’t have said it out loud.
Due to my past record of sometimes quitting earlier in life, I would later say to myself…you must stick this situation out. Then there was a bit of a pendulum swing where I realized sometimes fleeing can be the right thing to do as well.