Now, the vast majority of my clients having anxiety, panic attacks or OCD symptoms have strong tendency to avoid expressing of what they really think and feel in order to please others or avoid conflict in relationships. However, this creates internal “ CONFLICT” for us, which builds up in our minds. The NEED to please or avoid conflict actually causes deeper personal conflict and dissatisfaction within our private thoughts and often gives rise to anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and/ or compulsive behaviors, because when you avoid, you do not feel in control.
So, being of like personality as you, I have learned to 1] think before I respond because I do not want to be offensive or avoid, but 2] make sure I do respond with a “Neutralizing” comment such as, “ I appreciate your thoughts or opinions about that person or issue, BUT that is not the way I see it, or I am not comfortable with that, or I would like to find another option to deal with it, or I would rather do XYZ. ”
It takes practice to create neutralizing comments, but it puts you back in control without being offensive. You may have to repeat yourself, again being respectful, but you are expressing yourself rather than avoiding just giving in. This is a PLUS for your self-esteem because avoidance leads to conflict which leads to symptoms and a diminishing of esteem !
I have found that in my life and in working with clients with this issue, that people who keep aggressively trying to convince you, even shame you into agreeing with them , may not be friends at all.
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus/Coach