Reply To: Fear of confrontation – Help needed – My Journey with PSTEC
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Not trying to contradict Peter, but the formation of beliefs can be difficult to pinpoint. Many self-esteem and self-concept beliefs seem to be formed in early childhood, whereas other beliefs are formed in our day-to-day experiences. We could certainly form beliefs based on feelings and this is why anchoring and deconditioning are very effective processes.
For example, if we get a bad feeling/vibe around someone, we might logically form a belief such as “he/she can't be trusted” or “he/she is dangerous.”
To give you a more concrete example of this: if you were told at an early age that “Strangers are dangerous” and this was consistently reinforced to the point that you formed the belief, what emotion do you think you'd feel? Fear, right? It's a fear of perceived danger. This would typically manifest in behaviour that avoids interacting with strangers.
Ultimately, it's all about behavioural and emotional change. Whether the beliefs create the emotions, or the emotions create the belief, they exist in a continuum and will be responsible for our behaviour – either proactive or avoidant.
As the outdated (and distinctly unpleasant for animal lovers) expression goes “there's more than one way to skin a cat.” To that end, you could certainly work on CT the emotions by going back to all the memories and anticipation of confrontations.
The key thing here is that you weren't born with a fear of confrontation. You've been conditioned to feel fear when you see a confrontation or have to face it. The good thing is that, excuse the play on words, you're confronting the issue.
But you could similarly start on the beliefs. Eliminating one belief can topple a range of emotions. To really figure out whether you hold a belief, SAY it out loud. See if it feels true.
And to identify a belief? A technique I use is to look at the behaviour objectively. Step back (as though the behaviour isn't yours but that of a character in a movie or book) from it and ask:
What *might* someone who fears confrontation logically believe?
It's an avoidant behaviour, of course, so you could see if the following beliefs resonate with you:
– “It's dangerous to confront people.”
– “Anger is scary.”
– “I'm powerless.”
– “What makes me good enough is having other people think well of me.”
– “If I speak my mind, I'll be rejected.”
– “Confrontation causes pain.”
– “Nice people don't confront others.”
Paul McCabe – PSTEC Master Practitioner
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