Love Letters to Humans (no. 47) — on Fear of Open Conflict

Fear of open conflict: The relational fuckery of attempting to avoid unwanted consequences by disregarding another’s difference, or by hiding our own.

We come by this aversion to conflict and confrontation honestly in cultures where differences and disagreements are grounds for punishment, both real and imagined.

In our relationships, fear of open conflict can manifest as:

Holding back what we really think, feel, or want, even when it’s important to us • Managing or taking responsibility for other people’s feelings • Choosing politeness and resentment over honesty • Insisting we are incapable of understanding what someone is telling us if they are not civil, polite, or respectful (i.e. if they are expressing emotion with which we are uncomfortable) • Pretending not to recognize obvious differences (e.g. claiming racial “color-blindness”) • Passive-aggressive behavior • People-pleasing • Manipulating rather than asking for what we want • Extinguishing our curiosity about difference • Resenting or attempting to suppress the curiosity of others (like children and strangers) by labeling it as impolite • Making choices that compromise our integrity or harm ourselves in the interest of maintaining false peace • Expecting others to do the same


Relational practice: Joining through the truth

What are you pretending not to see, feel, be, know, think, notice, or care about be in order to maintain the status quo?

What do you expect others to pretend not to see, feel, be, know, think, notice, or care about in order to maintain the status quo?

Is maintaining the status quo getting you authenticity, depth, joyful connection, intimacy, trust, growth, healing, and nourishment in your most important relationships, including your relationship with yourself?


In Regard we explore some of the ways dominant, punitive, white supremacist patriarchal culture impacts the ways we have been conditioned to relate to ourselves and with one another… and how we can choose something different.

I LOVE private work with individuals, partners, and small groups. If you want to dive deeper and practice together in 2020, I do too… let’s talk. 🧡