I Have A Superpower And It's NOT Eating Me Alive

So, the rage has faded into a mostly manageable “frustratiance” (In case you’re wondering, that’s frustration and annoyance all in one word. Because sometimes? English doesn’t have enough words to convey emotions. This is usually when I swear and/or utter a stream of incomprehensible vowels.) I still cannot talk about it (and by “can’t” I mostly mean “won’t” but also a little bit of “can’t”). But I need to express something or I will go crazy. So instead of a bout of rage writing or a series of increasingly ridiculously captioned pictures of my sister’s cat, I’m going to talk about Conflict Resolution.


No, stay with me. This is not going to be like those awful staff meetings where you’re gathered in a large conference room with a strangely weary andatthesametime over-enthusiastic group trainer from corporate who gives you index cards with situations on them and asks you to role play. No, Nothing like that. You don’t even have to participate. Because I’m not going to ask you to brainstorm ideas on how to resolve conflict or to tell me “a time when…” story. Nope. You’re just going to sit there and listen to my fool proof method of Conflict Resolution. It’s actually very simple. Are you ready?

I’m a Superhero.

My superpower, you ask? Conflict Avoidance.

No, I don’t mean that I dodge and weave and use my super-awesome interpersonal skills so that I never encounter conflict. No, my life is actually pretty conflict filled. I mean I AVOID conflict.

It’s pretty simple, actually. I just pretend it’s not happening. I make a conscious effort not to think about it. I hide from the people who are mad at me. I wait until they step out for lunch to put something on their desk for them. I go home and gorge myself on food and TV so that I don’t have to think about it. And above all, I sleep. If I’m sleeping, you can’t be conflicting with me. If I’m sleeping, I can’t be doing another innocuous thing that will eventually piss you off so much you have to yell at me and make me cry.

I’m telling you, I’m a Superhero. Except for the whole being heroic part. And also the whole cape & tights wearing part. But still, it’s got to be a superpower, my ability to avoid conflict. Because I’m amazing at it. I can avoid the conflict in my life like nobody’s business.

But the kryptonite to my super-awesome superpower? Those moments when I’ve shut off my bedside lamp and put down the book, but before I’ve actually fallen asleep. The time when I let my mind range out and find whatever is going to be the most relaxing topic in order to find sleep. Those moments are my kryptonite.

Because those moments are when all of the conflict comes rushing back into my thoughts. When all the avoiding cannot be avoided anymore. And the arguments and stress and desperate need to GET OUT OF THIS SITUATION take over and I begin to have imaginary conversations (read: fights) with the conflicty people in my life until I am so wound up that sleeping is the very last thing I will ever do ever again.

But that’s okay. Because with my conflict level at chartreuse (who even knows the levels anymore, right?), I am not getting much sleep. Because I am not only avoiding conflict, but I am now also avoiding those moments before sleep. I’m a great avoider, you see. It’s my superpower, remember? Geez! Stay with me.

I overschedule. I read. I start movies at 10:00 pm. I play on my iPhone. I stay up late with Sister talking about Lord knows what. I write short stories. Anything to keep my mind off of the conflict. And anything to make me so desperately tired that I fall asleep instantly before I even remember to turn off the lamp. And it works. Bedtimes have stretched from 10:30 pm to past midnight, even on to 1:00 am, but that’s okay. Because I have a SUPERPOWER!

By the way, this superpower has absolutely no negative side-effects. It does not result in weight gain, paranoia, exhaustion, ulcers, mood swings, desperation, or inability to function in social settings. Whoever told you that was lying. It’s propaganda. Stick your fingers in your ears and hum loudly (Which, incidentally, in one of my avoidance strategies. Socially awkward, sure. But effective…)

So, who needs those corporate seminars? In less time and without role playing, I have given you a fool-proof method of Conflict Resolution. Okay, so this method may not bring about resolution, per se. And you’re going to have to find and get bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave me my superpower. But if you can do that (and it’s not that hard, really…), you too can become a Conflict Avoider.

Now, here comes the discussion portion of our workshop. Wait, didn’t I say this wasn’t a workshop? That’s right. So, you don’t have to participate. Plus, we all know that my way is best. It’s a superpower, after all, so no can argue with it. But if you want to, I guess you can tell me in the comments about your method of Conflict Resolution. For all those people who can’t find that spider… Just in case.


  1. yvonne@attractedtoshinythings7/26/11, 4:06 PM

    I pretend that the other person is severely mentally ill and paranoid. Then when I approach them to resolve the issue (because schizophrenics RARELY take that first step) I feel sorry for them because they obviously misunderstood, or those pesky voices got in the way again. It works.

  2. Oh, right there with ya, sister. But, I also drink.

  3. I am pretty sure you come by this honestly.

  4. Well, let's see. Tonight the husband and I got into a conflict and I threatened to shove a spoon up his ass and pushed him out of a chair. So clearly I deal with conflict well. I think he would much prefer your avoidance method. Oh, and that thing before sleep, where your mind goes into overdrive and you can't sleep? Me too. I didn't fall asleep until after 4 a.m. on Sunday. Monday was a SUPER fun day. Conflict at work aka getting yelled at at meetings makes me severely anxious, which is just awesome cuz I already suffer from anxiety. I wake up most mornings dry heaving all over the place. It's sexy, but hey that 's me.

  5. Oh, and I meant to say I'm so glad you finally posted again. I was going through withdrawal!

  6. I learned avoidance from hiding from bullies in the sixth grade. I could go absolutly pro at avoidance. I have tips, tricks and plans on how to avoid pretty much anything, which is super productive. And in order to avoid the mind overdrive obsessive thoughts I tend to fall asleep while watching tv shows that I own on dvd. This allows me to know whats going to happen so I can relax enough to fall asleep, but not so mind numbing that my head spins off. When that doesn't work I tend to alphabetize things.

    But when I absoultly need to deal with conflict, I have two secret weapons at work(coworkers that have a lot of power and influence) that help me come up with a plan of action, start a war and defend me.

    I'm so sorry that your work isn't going well. That makes life so unpleasant.

  7. My conflict resolution method is similar to yours. I usually ignore the problem for the day and hope they forget about it in the indefinite time until I see them next.

    By the way, this DOES NOT work on the parents. My parents go crazy sometimes when there is conflict. Once, we got in an argument over letting my parents use my skype (not a problem, just had to change my password first. . . ) and mom was angry about it well into the night. Apparently she was so angry, she took a glass of icy water and threw it on me when I was sleeping.

    Consider yourself lucky that the conflict stops when you sleep. ;)

  8. Funny you should mention it. The problem here is that the person I'm dealing with may in fact be legitimately mentally ill. And yet, it doesn't make it feel any less awful when I get yelled at for not doing something I was told specifically NOT to do. My compassion is waning, as is my patience. Good thing I have my superpower, right?

  9. I thik if I started drinking, I might never stop. Okay, not really. But maybe a little? It worries me, so I avoid drinking. Wow. I'm excellent at avoiding ALL KINDS of things.

  10. The thing is, I don't think you *taught* me this. I blame genetics. Also, just a little bit, I blame Crazy Boss Lady who broke me for a while. Or gave me a superpower. It's all about perspective, right? Maybe she's the radioactive spider that bit me! It kind of fits...

  11. I don't have any actualy anxiety disorders, but I do get all kinds of clamy and flustery at the mere hint of conflict. It makes my chest hurt and my mouth go dry. So I avoid it. Because, really? Who wants to experience that?
    But I do like your method with your husband. I don't think threats of violence will work out in thissituation, but more power to *you.*

  12. I'm having trouble coming up with topics that don't sound all RAGEY. Btu I'm going to get better at posting more often. I promise. I think. Maybe...

  13. I wish I had coworkers that supported me. Mine is part of the conflict. But alphabetizing things? That's something I haven't tried yet...

  14. Geez! I've lived inside the conflict before (since I lived with a crazy boss lady), so it didn't totally stop when I slept. But I was never assaulted in my sleep, so I guess I AM lucky.

  15. "Denial" is not just a river in Egypt. But I must say it's my favorite coping mechanism. Until you realize the thing you won't think about or talk about is still there. Best thing to do is probably to also close your eyes. But wear those glasses with drawn-in open eyes so no one suspects.