Conflicted about Conflict

Conflict? Is it beneficial? Soul-destroying? Or an opportunity to learn? Can we become addicted to conflict? Writing my story, I’m in year eleven of my high school experience battling anorexia and I’m forced to address conflict. I was at breaking point. Something had to give and it couldn’t be me, good girls don’t make waves.

I’d made a huge discovery, I didn’t like the life I was living anymore. I’d had enough. Would this ensure recovery? Would it be enough?


I did my homework trawling blogs on writing good conflict scenes. But my story wasn’t that of a florid blow up, acute, red and horrid. It was more like a slow burn where I watched myself slowly disintegrate. Clearly there was a lot of conflict. I had that element. Tension, tick, hidden agendas on both parts, tick.

Readers love conflict and resolution or growth of the protagonist. I struggled to unpackage the experience in a way that made sense. Change and conflict, yin and yang. Isn’t every worthwhile change preceded by an upheaval of our beliefs?

My personal cauldron:

  • A desire to change often born out of inability to continue with an old behaviour
  • Fear of change
  • Overwhelm at the sheer size of the job
  • Doubt: how, when, where, why?
  • Internal dichotomy, uprooting the unsatisfactory status quo versus the unknown
  • Self-sabotage, old self eroding new self
  • Fatigue, often crushingly long-standing
  • Persistence, change fail, get up, repeat

I found the desire to change made life infinitely harder. I fluctuated between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ me. The old me, tenacious, wanted me to continue with my destructive practices. It would be easier. I internalised everything so on the stage of the outside world nothing changed. Smooth sailing. The ‘new’ me, a tiny shimmer of autonomy, pushed against a blue stone prison wall. It was easily overwhelmed.

And so the roller coaster ride continued. Up and down, round and round, more or less successful. For a time, it seemed like very little progress was being made. But small changes crept in building upon each other, seeking the tipping point where my new beliefs would triumph. I had to learn to master my inner space.

This vacillation must have been incredibly difficult for my parents to watch. Their only child and only living relative, in the grips of an internal foe that threatened her viability. My mother, a psychiatric nurse in post war Germany, undoubtedly added the dots. How helpless she must have felt? So my conflict became their conflict. It spread.

This was the starting point of my recovery. These insights made me take the first courageous steps away from my anorexic self and towards health.

If you need help with an eating disorder, contact:

Kindly leave comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.



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