Passive Conflict Styles

Many people do not enjoy conflict. And many people choose passive ways of dealing with conflict. Here are 4 common passive conflict styles:

The Avoider: Avoiders refuse to fight. When a conflict arises, they will leave, fall asleep, and pretend to be busy at work, or keep from facing the problem in some other way. This behaviour makes it very difficult for their spouses/friends to express feelings of anger, hurt, etc., because avoiders won’t fight back. Arguing with an avoider is like trying to box with a person who won’t even put up his gloves.
The Denier: Not only do deniers refuse to face up to a conflict, they pretend that there is nothing at all wrong. This denial really drives their friends/spouses crazy when they definitely feel there is a problem, and it causes them to feel both guilt and resentment toward the accommodator.
The Guilt Maker: Instead of dealing with feelings directly, guilt makers try to change their spouses or friend’s behaviour by attempting to have them take responsibility for causing pain. The guilt maker’s favourite line is “It’s okay, don’t worry about me…” accompanied by a big sigh.
The Subject Changer: Really a type of avoider, the subject changer escapes facing up to anger by shifting the conversation whenever it approaches a conflictual stage. Because of these tactics, subject changers and their spouses/friends never have the chance to explore their problem and do something about it.
While there are times it is best to avoid conflict, sometimes it is preferable to assert yourself and deal with issues. Issues do not go away by themselves.
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