Emotional Modesty: Minimizing Emotional Needs to Avoid Conflict

Emotional Modesty: Minimizing Emotional Needs to Avoid Conflict

Reading Time: 8 minutes

As a child, what was your sense of emotional needs versus your parent’s reactions?

One afternoon Karla, my therapist, asked me this question.

I immediately launched into how my mom was a single parent and was always making sure us kids got to our activities on time, were fed, looked presentable and got our homework done. It was especially with the word reaction though, that I noted how my dad had a short temper, and was one relationship in my life which I would classify as an eggshell relationship – being careful and mindful about what you say or do when around them so as to not set them off, as they are usually set off easily – walking on eggshells. It was in the midst of chattering away about these aspects of life that I realized sometime in my childhood, in an effort to minimize the conflict potentially bubbling up from my dad and to keep things easy for my mom, I began to make myself emotionally smaller, by minimizing my emotional wants and needs.

To lessen my chances of “being a burden” while minimizing conflict, I think I reduced my own emotional needs in an attempt to minimize my parent’s reactions. This is not to suggest mom wasn’t attentive, or an open ear. I also wasn’t actively not talking to my mom about my problems – I was always very vocal about my concerns, worries and troubles. But I knew deep down, she was doing twice the work because she was the primary caregiver. She often says nowadays when she reflects on that time period, she was dancing as fast as she could, in an effort to keep up with the demands of being a single parent to two kids. It’s possible I downplayed my emotional needs so she wouldn’t have to dance faster.

When I first started working with Karla, I made it clear that it was my romantic relationships, more specifically, my thinking, my actions, reactions and my being when in romantic relationships, which were what I needed to work on. However, as she pointed out to me, aspects which concern us in one type of relationship, often tend to manifest themselves in other types of relationships.

I exist with a few (okay, more than a few) dysfunctional tendencies when in relationships, especially in terms of how I approach conflict within a relationship as well as my emotional maturity (or immaturity I guess) when handling said conflict. At first I thought a similar pattern of downplaying my emotional needs was taking place in my romantic relationships. Now, I wonder if it’s an internal struggle of repeating these old patterns, while at the same time, trying to make up for the extent to which I minimized these needs when I was younger. How do I usually do that? Bring up conflict when no conflict exists.

I tend to bring up little things that bug me, when in the grand scheme of the relationship, they’re not a big deal. So what if he didn’t know I wanted him to reach over to hold my hand during a movie? Was it really worth bringing up and making a big stink of it, and inevitably ruining the evening?

One tendency is that i’ll often attempt to put square pegs into round holes when dating. In other words, I try to conform to, and place the wants and needs of my partner on a pedestal just for the sake of keeping the peace. I will minimize my own emotional wants and needs, in order to avoid conflict. to make things fit when they are not fitting. We see this internal struggle, now becoming a struggle which affects my actions and behaviors.

I also tend to believe that if I bring up a point of conflict, my partner will break up with me. This stems from recognizing within myself that if I bring up enough insignificant points of conflict continuously and consistently, I have the potential to create unrest within the relationship. I’ve never been with a man who does this, it’s simply a byproduct of my internal dialogue and my actions. I know that this is connected to feeling insecure when I am with the person I care about (something I have touched upon in previous posts), as well as a lack of security and confidence within my own feelings and emotions.

The third point is that usually after I have brought up a point of conflict, I will feel guilty for having done so, to the point that I chastise myself for having brought it up. It’s like I can’t stop myself from addressing these points when they bubble up. When discussing my points of conflict within past relationships with friends, a few have said to me well if you brought it up then obviously it was something which bothered you, which makes it valid. I disagree though – if you bring up enough small things that are not a big deal, you become a nag, and no one wants to be in a relationship with their mother. I don’t think anyone actively seeks out a relationship with someone who creates conflict – hell, I wouldn’t want to be with someone like that, it sounds exhausting.

It eventually turns into a cycle – I get upset over something small, my partner and I resolve the argument, then I usually end up apologizing profusely, feeling guilty, asking for reassurance, worrying about it for days on end and questioning if the relationship will survive. This is all in addition to how much better things would have been had I not just kept my mouth shut (I know – I’m super hard on myself). It’s complete garbage on my mental health, I expose my insecurities and lack of confidence, and my partner turns into my therapist.

A few solutions I see in working to curve these patterns is learning to pick my battles and developing the ability to think critically as to if what I am about to address is really worth bringing up. Alternatively, stopping to ask myself if there is something within my own power, which I could do to improve the situation or fix the “little thing” which is bothering me. As I’ve said before, it takes two to tango in a relationship.

Another point is working to heal my inner child – consciously granting myself permission to heal by writing about these topics as well as attending therapy is helping. I’ve also realized that little points of conflict I tend to bring up, are more a reflection of how I view myself – for example do I stir up conflict as a means to avoid the conflict that lies within me? As an unhealthy means to release the suppressed emotional wants and needs from my younger self?

It actually took for someone to point it out to me to realize that I’ve never had an example of a healthy relationship. For the most part, learning how to be in a healthy relationship has been a real trial and error process – I think for a lot of people it is. It’s almost as if I allow my inner child to be the part of me which handles and controls how I respond to external conflict. While I’m not one to argue or shout at my partner (getting loud and aggressive is not my “argument style”), it’s very nit-picky and childish behavior on my part. This inner child extends to how I react as well. I let my inner child go off the rails, instead of being accountable for my actions as a grown ass woman. Learning to heal my inner child, work in tandem with it and taking back control of my responses to conflict is key.

One last point is developing my ability to respond before reacting to something which I deem “conflict” – this is why meditation has really proven beneficial, as it allows me to stay grounded in the present, and slow time down. Especially when my judgement is clouded, I sometimes have a hard time thinking clearly prior to blurting something out. It’s part of my responsibility as a caring, present, communicative partner, to do my part, whether that means recognizing and confronting legitimate points of conflict, or talking myself down from the ledge of addressing “little things” which seem like points of conflict but really are not.

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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Trauma Is Not One Size Fits All

Trauma is not one size fits all.


I never granted myself permission to feel valid within the trauma I experienced because it didn’t feel right to express or share I had experienced trauma when others have experienced more severe trauma. As I am realizing and learning, trauma is not one size fits all and just because it may be something I live with to a lesser degree than others, does not make it any less VALID.


Read My Troubles with Trauma now.

Little Surprises

Yesterday I threw a little socially distanced 60th surprise party for my momma🥳

Mom watches my Insta Stories so I couldn’t share it with you. I know you can hide your Story from certain people but I was too paranoid she would somehow see so I didn’t share😂

With the help of my brother and my mum’s partner to coordinate keeping it a secret (and my brother helping me pick dessert flavors 😄), she got to celebrate with 3 of her best friends.🤫

I didn’t take any photos except for the food but it was all a hit!! A big thank you especially to @thegrazecompany for your amazing charcuterie box and @cakesnsweets_ for the delicious lemon and taro cupcakes, and earl grey macarons😍

The world is my oyster

A really simple Friday affirmation that’s been said to me before, which I needed to hear today.

I’m going to be transparent with you all – I got into the meditation teacher training program which I had applied for a few weeks back. Now I’m not so sure I’m ready to commit to it. Primarily because of choosing what dreams of mine to allocate my money to first. I have a dream to visit Africa when I turn 30, but I also have a dream to become a meditation teacher. Africa came before I dreamed of teaching meditation, so I should go with that right?

I’m at a crossroads. I should start saving for Africa pretty much now, if I intend to save up enough to feel comfortable going by 2022. But now is actually a really great time to learn to meditate while working from home. I don’t want to say it’s a hard decision because it’s really not – I’m making a decision about which dream I want to pursue more – which is hella amazing. Some people don’t even have that. Some people (as I am learning lately) don’t even have the privilege to consider travel or consider advancement or personal growth in the first place. So I acknowledge the privilege I hold, and I respect it. I am at an interesting point in my life – one where I am not tied down to any one location or job. I’m also not tied down by a boyfriend or husband and don’t have any kids. I can essentially do what I want and go where I want.

I think I’ve spent so long not acknowledging my dreams that now that I’m in this head-space where I know what my dreams are, and I’ve breathed life into them, I want to do everything now … and if I don’t then that dream will be forgotten about again.

But dreams take time, and that is also something which I am working to recognize. Perhaps pursuing the longer term dream will be bring me more satisfaction because I worked that much harder for it.

One Awkward Human – Site Sillies

In case you need a good “been there, done that before” relatable case of being an awkward human to know you are not alone, take comfort in my laughable blunders, which I chronicle in my One Awkward Human segment. These are daily mishaps, trials, and goober encounters I find myself in while being just a little bit awkward and a little bit human.

Considered naming my site

stickythoughts.com

Reconsidered after thinking people potentially type it in as

stinkythoughts.com

June 9 Grounded Gratitude


The closer I get to July, the more excited I get about my road trip to Tofino for my friend’s wedding. I look forward to going a bit earlier, sightseeing, eating local food, driving through and exploring the forest, the trees, the beaches, the towns.


My shady plants (hostas and vinca vines) are loving the shady parts of my deck and seem to be flourishing. My pansies, begonias and lobellias are another story – they are kaputz! I think I was too late in providing them sun. Alas, this season is meant to be exploratory in my horticultural skills so I shan’t feel bad.

I should first off acknowledge that it is purely coincidence I have a darker background for today’s Grounded Gratitude, and I talk about following more black creators on Instagram. I did not intentionally choose to match these aspects up.

I have a lot to learn, I am sure I will misunderstand concepts and ideas and make mistakes – I apologize in advance, but these are exactly that – mistakes. They are not intentional. In an effort to be more conscious, more open and more informed about matters which I, because of my skin color, am not affected by, I have followed a number of accounts created and driven by people of color. I think it’s a good place to start so that I can learn in a quiet, observant manner.

June 7 Grounded Gratitude

Despite, not posting Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 etc. with my Grounded Gratitude practice any longer, I still have to include some form of a date, otherwise the links will be funny – so now we have June 7th Grounded Gratitude!

I was thinking today of how I haven’t been to the fair in so long – oftentimes the one here in Vancouver has a lot of the same things year after year which is why I haven’t been in so long. Now that it’s not taking place due to covid, I reflect on the sights, sounds and smells of the good old summer fair.

I was also thinking of how many dishes there are that my mum used to make when I was little, that really bring me back to a place a remembrance when I eat them now. Kind of nice to reflect.

It’s been my first week of scheduled content and I am really happy that I took this step. As I mentioned on a few days ago, I received my report off my iPhone last weekend of how many hours I had spent on my phone – I spent 7 HOURS on my phone on average, every day last week – not okay.⁠ A computer and a phone are how I continue to grow, create content and create an abundance of what I am working towards in my life but I don’t think that should mean they should be attached at my hip – distance is healthy, too!

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Grateful Times Are a Changing

Grateful Times Are a Changing

Hi friends – as you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t posted in a few days – there’s a reason for that.

Prior to attending Gem Conference over last weekend, , I had thoughts as to the direction of this account, which I had rolling around in my head. After attending the conference, I decided that the direction I wanted to go in was for the best!

On June 1st, I began reducing the number of Instagram posts I created on my account from 2 to 1. I’ve felt proud that i’ve never sacrificed quality for the sake of quantity, but now I feel like this will enable my content to go the distance far greater than keeping up with posting twice a day.⁠

On June 1st, I began no longer posting Grounded Gratitude posts, rather, now they’re every other day (or basically whenever the heck I felt like it). I think the time has come, especially within British Columbia, where I live, where social distancing is gradually lifting, the commitment I once made to post every day that which I am grateful for, is no longer applicable. We are gradually coming out of quarantine, and I think my content should reflect that shift, too.

Finally, I have attempted (or actively am attempting) to schedule content for the entire month of June. My weekly stats were delivered to my phone, tracking app usage – this past week, I spent approximately 7 hours a day on my phone. Kind of ironic considering how much I promote mindful living and existing in the present moment, to have such a high daily rate. While I had prior to this occasionally scheduled content, most of the time (and because I had the time in quarantine), I would post however I was feeling on that day. But it eats up my time, when I could be using that time, keeping productive with other tasks.

So that’s that. I’ll still be around, but taking more time for myself as well as taking more time for quality over quantity.

May Grounded Gratitude Day 30

My friends – today has been an informative day!🌟

Day 1 of Gem Conference wrapped up a little bit ago – I am SO pleased I made the decision to purchase a ticket last minute. The wealth of information and knowledge of the speakers has been incredible. I got involved, joined in the chat feature, interacted with folks, made some new connections here on Instagram based off those interactions – overall I’m really happy and grateful that I put myself out there and joined in on the fun and learning! 😊

I’m also grateful for (and something which I seem to notice when out for my daily walk) how curious I get about nature. Leaving my phone at home especially allows for me to interact and engage with nature by getting curious.💭

I ask myself questions, I get curious about certain things I see: “How come leaves can grow different patterns? At what rate does a baby Canadian goose grow? Why is there a certain smell when it rains? Why do we find that so relaxing and refreshing?”🌿

It’s healthy to get curious and it’s healthy to interact and get out into nature – I encourage you to do both of these things as restrictions continue to lift! 😁

Have a lovely Saturday evening.🌟

May Grounded Gratitude Day 29

Hi friends – hope your Friday evening is going lovely.

Lots of great things happened to me today – In particular, I signed myself up for the GEM Conference, a digital marketing conference primarily aimed at small business owners looking to grow their content strategy, but it’s also open to individuals (like me) looking for an opportunity to learn as well.

There are going to be sessions and workshops led my well-known female content creators across the web on a variety of topics – podcasts, organization, DIY photography, public speaking, intellectual property and protecting your brand, pitching yourself to a brand – lot’s of really great topics! I’m looking forward to learning lots of taking the steps to invest back into myself, my brand, my social media and of course, this site! For the complete list of speakers and workshops, check out https://gemconference.ca/