Confrontation, most people I say that word to shutter. No one LIKES confrontation….most people do NOT like to confront others and none of us ENJOY being confronted, but there are times that it is necessary.
I received a phone call from my neighbor Monday evening, he was angry. Apparently, our dog Jack, as cute as he is…..
1. I was unaware that Jack was doing this, I would have rectified the situation had I known.
2. I do not appreciate being yelled at because someone decided to not CALMLY bring something to my attention, my neighbor had spent months working himself up into a frenzy and confronted me in anger.
I interrupted my neighbor and said I could appreciate how upset he was and that I was glad he brought it to our attention, HOWEVER….. “DO NOT call my home and take a rude tone with me and holler at me because YOU decided to NOT confront me about it MONTHS ago.” To which he replied…“oh, you’re right, I should have.”
I CANT STAND THAT!!!
So here is the thing….
Confrontation is unpleasant.
We need to sort out what to confront people about, we can’t run around CONFRONTING EVERYONE ON EVERYTHING! Sidenote: I believe my neighbor SHOULD have confronted me, I just wish he had done it in a calmer manner MONTHS ago!
Confrontation doesn’t have to be awful! If we get IN TOUCH with ourselves enough to KNOW what is important enough to address and what needs to be let go, confrontation can be done without drama, offensiveness and defensiveness.
Had my neighbor called me months ago and said…“hey Lis, your dog is crappin on my lawn”….I would have said…“eww, gross, I’m really sorry and I will take care of it.” It would have been handled in a non-aggressive/non-angry manner. We work ourselves into a state of anxiety ridden paralysis over confronting someone, rendering us unable to confront, BUT we steam and stew about it, which increases our anger toward the unaware person. We let it fester and we combine small infractions to the fuel of our justified anger UNTIL we BLOW….WE CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE and we choose to CONFRONT.…we fly off the handle, spew venom and rant!!! It is crazy to me. We create an atmosphere where only failure can be the outcome, we create a situation that we feared in the beginning about CONFRONTATION!
We worry that the confrontation might go badly so we do nothing, then we confront out of an angry place where there is NO WAY IN ‘YOU KNOW WHERE’ that it will go well!! How silly!
So what is the FEAR (again we need to STOP operating from our fear)….
Fear of rejection.
Fear of making someone angry.
Fear that someone might think we are dumb or nuts, not see the value of our opinion.
Fear that the person will get mad, defensive and yell at us, forever changing the dynamic of the relationship.
I am not saying these are not very REAL scenarios, but addressing someone in anger is NEVER going to go well.
Here is what we need to do when deciding to confront or not confront…
1. Look at the situation at hand with a rational mind.
2. Decide the importance of the problem….am I over-reacting, is this something of value to me, something I can’t let go of or be okay with?
3. If we decide to “let it go,” then LET IT GO!! If we decide that it needs to be addressed… we need to plan our words, imagine being on the receiving end…how would I want to be spoken to, think it through and confront the person when you are calm, not it the “heat of your emotion.”
4. If the person gets defensive simply say I am sorry you feel attacked, that wasn’t my intention…my intention was to let you know how I feel and work through it WITH you. Offer the person some space and time, resume the topic later.
Sometimes confronting someone just will not go well, but we can ONLY be responsible for ourselves. We feel MUCH better about ourselves if we confront people in a mature, thought-out manner rather than from an out-of-control emotional state. If the other person reacts defensively and angrily, stay calm, say you are sorry that they are offended and ask to speak about it when they have had a chance to digest what you have said.
Here is what we need to do when we are confronted…
1. LISTEN…we need to close our mouths and hear what is being said.
2. If we are having an emotional reaction, ask for time to sort it out and call when you are calm.
3. Be open to the fact that a problem can exist without FAULT.
4. Respect the person. Even when we don’t agree we can still show respect to one another.
We have to become a society of “workable” people. The best way for me to explain what I mean by “workable” is through my parenting experience. Kids will be kids…ALL kids….and we need to work together to raise well-balanced people. This is the most recent issue I have had to deal with…
Talia, my 6-year-old was at a playdate with 2 friends. I am good friends with the mom of one of the girls and she informed me that Talia had suggested that the 2 other girls kiss…….AHHHHHHHH!!! How was I “workable?”
1. I didn’t say….Talia would NEVER, NO WAY, NO HOW…NOT MY KID!!
2. I gathered as much information from my friend as she had from her daughter.
3. I went home and WAITED to sort through my emotions BEFORE addressing Talia.
So….. what were my emotions….they were disproportionately dramatic and irrational for the situation….embarrassment, shock, “oh my gosh, if this gets out, Talia will NEVER have ANOTHER playdate her whole life.” I needed to “get a grip!” Here is the thing… once I shifted through my feelings, I became cognizant to the fact that I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal. When I spoke to Tal, she just thought it was silly…“I was just kidding mom, it was a joke.” I needed to step back….for Pete’s sake….it wasn’t like my 6-year-old was on some mission to turn all of her friends into porn stars. We had the whole conversation about what is appropriate and what isn’t…how else would she know and learn? As I have mentioned in prior blog posts these moments are blessings…. they are GREAT PARENTAL TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES!!
Why did I experience such a strong emotional reaction, if it really wasn’t a BIG DEAL? I weeded through this for a while and the truth is this….I was afraid of what people would think of my kid….I didn’t want to judged and I didn’t want Talia to be judged. I was worried about what other people were going to think of us! HUGE SOCIETAL PROBLEM….we are programmed to work on our outside appearances. We can NEVER please everyone and we can not turn ourselves inside out trying…well….we can, but the cost is high, it is completely detrimental to our spirit, the core of who we are inside. Reflection was in order for me…it is in order for us all.
Without rational reflection, I could very well have run away with that fear…I could have become overbearing on Talia and monitored anything and everything that came out of her mouth. WITH rational reflection, I was able to gain perspective, get a handle on the fear and appreciate the confrontation from my friend.
I think we fear the word confrontation itself…it sounds intimidating….CON-FRON-TA-TION…I AM GOING TO CONFRONT HIM/HER…it sounds awful! Confrontation does not have to be awful, it doesn’t have to be a big deal….my friend informed me of my daughter’s weird little normal kid thing while we were at their gymnastics class…she thought I would want to know….THANK YOU..I did and do…I want to be “workable.”
Be honest with yourself.
Choose your battles.
Confront when necessary in a calm rational manner.
If confronted…LISTEN and be “WORKABLE!”
Enjoy this GORGEOUS day!!