Avoider

Description: Focusing on the positive and pleasant in an extreme way. Avoiding difficult and unpleasant tasks and conflicts.

Characteristics: Avoids conflict and says yes to things one wouldn’t want. Downplays importance of real problems and tries to deflect others. Has difficulty saying no. Resists others through passive-aggressive means rather than directly. Loses self in comforting routines and habits; procrastinates on unpleasant tasks.

Thoughts: This is just too unpleasant. Maybe if I let it go it will take care of itself. If I deal with this now, I will hurt her feeling. I’d rather not. If I get into conflict with others, I might lose my connection with them. I have found balance. I don’t want to mess with it. I’d rather give someone else their way than create a scene.

Feelings: Even keel. Anxiety about what has been avoided or procrastinated. Fear about hard-won peace of mind being interrupted. Suppressed anger and resentment rather than expressed anger.

Justification Lies: You are a good person to spare others’ feelings. No good comes out of conflict. It is good to be flexible. Someone needs to be the peacemaker.

Impact on Self and Others: Denying the conflicts and negativities that do exist prevents one from actually working with them and turning them into gifts. Feeling numb to pain is different than knowing how to harvest the wisdom and power of pain. What is avoided doesn’t go away and festers. Relationships are kept superficial through conflict avoidance. Others’ trust level is reduced as they are not sure when negative information is being withheld.

Original Survival Function: Avoider could rise from both happy and difficult childhoods. In happy childhood, one might not have learned the resiliency of dealing with difficult emotions. In a childhood of high conflict and tension, the Avoider might come in to play peacemaker and learn to not add any negativity or tension of one’s own on top of the existing family tensions.

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