Grow A Pair! Overcoming Your Fear of Confrontation

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by Melody Fletcher on August 7, 2011

A few years ago, back in my big-wig corporate days, I was taking part in an executive workshop on leadership skills that lasted several days. As part of this workshop, we had the opportunity to bring up some of our current real world challenges, discuss them with the group and even explore some possible solutions through role play. One of my colleagues presented an issue he was having with one of his employees. He felt that she had a personal problem with him, and was therefore not performing her duties to his satisfaction. He didn’t know how to approach the issue. This man was an HR director, the person in charge of teaching others in the company how to properly deal with people, how to resolve conflict, and judging by what I saw during the rest of the workshop, he was quite good at his job. But when it came to his own issue, he was stuck. Why? This man was skilled at resolving professional conflicts and even the personal problems of others. But the fact that he believed this employee to have a personal issue with him, hit too close to home. It triggered a fear that we all have to one degree or another – a fear of confrontation.

Just mentioning the word confrontation is enough to make a lot of people break out in a sweat (you may actually be sweating now). Why is that? This fear stems, in part, from a misunderstanding of what it actually means to confront someone, as well as the fact that many of us simply never learned how to successfully challenge someone else’s behavior or opinion. Well, fear no more my lovelies. Because today, we’re going to confront the fear of confrontation.

Let’s bust some myths about confrontation

Myth #1 – Confrontation has to be ugly. One of the main reasons that people fear confrontation, is because they assume it’s going to get ugly. There’s a belief that when you challenge someone, the relationship will always end up worse off than it was before. But this isn’t true. When confrontation is handled correctly, it actually strengthens the relationship by opening up lines of communication and removing obstacles to a deeper connection. If you’re thinking “Yeah, right, you haven’t met my boss/husband/aunt bitchydoo”, keep reading.

Myth #2 – “If I confront someone, they won’t like me anymore.” This one stems from the belief that our self-worth is determined by the approval of others. The problem with this belief is that we can’t control what others think of us, and so we’re always playing a losing game. And since we can’t control their opinions of us, it doesn’t make any sense to twist ourselves into knots and put up with being unhappy for the sake of trying to influence that opinion.

What exactly is confrontation anyway?

We tend to equate the act of confronting someone with fighting, aggression, defending ourselves, standing up for ourselves, etc. These are all images that result from the belief in Myth #1. The dictionary doesn’t help much either. It talks about defiance and hostility. But the act of confronting someone doesn’t have to be hostile. So, I’m going to offer a new definition here, something with a slightly higher vibration behind it:

Confrontation: the act of voicing a disagreement or discord, with the purpose of resolving (as in eliminating) the conflict, leaving the relationship between both parties in a new, better feeling place.

This isn’t some airy, fairy, wishful thinking definition. Everyone can learn to handle conflict resolution in a way that actually leaves both parties better off.

Why Confrontations Can Turn Ugly

Now obviously, a lot of confrontations do turn ugly. In order to understand how to avoid this, we’ll need to spend a couple of minutes exploring what actually happens when things go south.

Let’s say you want to confront your colleague at work about the fact that she never puts her dirty coffee cup away. Every day, she leaves the dirty cup in the sink, for someone else to place into the dishwasher. Now, you realize that this is a small thing, and you feel a little bit ridiculous saying something about it, so you don’t. But it still bothers you and every day, when you see that dirty cup in the sink, you get just a little more irritated until, finally one day you’ve had enough, and you can’t take it anymore. You take the dirty cup, stomp over to her desk and through gritted teeth inform her that you are not her mother and it’s not your job to clean up after her disrespectful ass. Her reaction is less than accommodating. Go figure.

The fact that this confrontation went bad is due to several underlying problems:

  1. You let the problem fester until you exploded. Every time you saw that dirty coffee cup in the sink, you took it as yet another sign of disrespect. It was as if she was offending you over and over again. Over time, her behavior was completely blown out of proportion in your mind – she might as well have been pooping in the sink. But you never said a peep until your resentment and anger quite literally exploded out of you. When we wait to confront issues, our emotional reaction to them can get completely out of hand.
  2. You tied the coffee cup to something else, something that has nothing to do with your colleague. Whenever we have a negative emotional reaction, it means that some underlying, limiting belief is being triggered. In this case, the clue was in the fact that a dirty coffee cup was able to trigger such anger. Clearly, there was more going on here, but it was easier to blame your colleague than to take responsibility for your reaction.

The key to a successful confrontation, one that matches my definition above, is to approach these situations authentically. As you may have guessed by now, this does mean doing a bit of work on yourself before you ever have that conversation.

BEFORE you confront:

  • Figure out what’s really bothering you. What belief is being triggered? Why do you care about the stupid coffee cup, for example? Perhaps you feel responsible for picking up everyone else’s slack. Why? Because you feel that if you don’t, the whole world will just fall apart (remember that beliefs are rarely rational). But is that true? Would that coffee cup actually trigger the end of civilization as you know it? If you find that you’re reacting to some underlying belief, release that belief before you confront the other person. On many occasions, the confrontation will become unnecessary (the behavior will stop bothering you.)
  • Determine what it is that you really want the outcome to be. In the workshop example, the HR director thought that what he wanted was for his employee to admit that she had a personal problem with him. He wanted to clear the air and didn’t know how to go about doing that without the whole thing blowing up in his face. But after some discussion, we determined that what he really wanted was for this employee to perform certain tasks differently than she was currently doing. Clearing the air was simply what he thought he had to do in order to get what he actually wanted. Focus on the end goal, on what you truly want, not on the steps you think you need to take to get there.
  • Focus on what you want the outcome to be, NOT on what you want to avoid. For example, instead of thinking, “I want her to stop defying my instructions”, go for “I want her to deliver the reports on time and in the format I requested.”
  • Make sure you’re not making any assumptions that you have no proof of. They are not doing this to you on purpose. They probably have no idea that their behavior is bothering you. We often assign all kinds of evil characteristics to the other person when they’re doing something that bugs us, as if they could read our minds. They can’t. So take the approach that this is a misunderstanding. People generally have a perfectly good reason for everything they do. They are not all idiots whose sole purpose is to make your life difficult.
  • Make sure that the outcome you’re focusing on is win-win. If you’re secretly just trying to be RIGHT, instead of actually trying to resolve a conflict, things aren’t going to turn out well.
  • Expect a positive outcome. If you’re feeling apprehensive, you may well be focusing on what you’re afraid might happen if things go south. We tend to get what we expect, so clean that up before you have any kind of conversation with the other person.

How to successfully confront someone

Note: All of these steps presuppose that you’ve taken the time to prepare using the pointers above.

  • Stay calm. There’s no reason to get upset, or to raise your voice. You’re not defending yourself against an attack, you’re just providing information. Again, assume that the other person did not mean to inconvenience you (or whatever), and has no idea how you feel.
  • Ask questions and get the real story. They may have a perfectly valid reason for doing what they’re doing. For example, the HR director’s employee might’ve discovered that doing the reports differently was more efficient. So, before you ask them to make a change, find out why they’re doing it their way in the first place. Also, make sure your tone is inquisitive and not accusatory. “Why do you insist on leaving your stinky, dirty cup in the sink?” isn’t going to get you any information. Yes, you may have to do some serious work to get the bitchy tone out of your voice, but the fact that there’s a bitchy tone at all, is a clue that an underlying belief of yours is being triggered and your reaction has nothing to do with the cup.
  • Don’t ask the other person to STOP something, but rather to START doing something different. For example, instead of asking his employee to stop screwing up the reports, he should request that she start doing them his way instead.
  • Don’t attribute emotions or motives to them. When confronting your husband, “You obviously don’t care” is going to be less helpful than “when you do that, I feel like you don’t care.” These two statements are going to elicit very different responses. Focus on your feelings, not theirs, and own your responses.

The actual conversation part of the confrontation becomes much easier if you’ve taken the time to adopt the right mindset and clean up your vibration. In the case of the HR director, once he got clear on what he actually wanted and began to focus on that, stopped attributing all kinds of evil and defiant motives to her, considered the possibility that she might’ve had some really valid reasons for doing things the way she did and removed the triggers that were causing disproportionate emotional reactions, the conversation became easy.

The main problem that we have in confrontation is that what we’re actually confronting often has nothing to do with the words coming out of our mouths. When we get clear on what our own motivations are, on what we’re really trying to accomplish and allow ourselves to deal with others in a truly authentic way, we allow for much deeper connections with others. Conversations become less about assigning blame and responsibility and more about understanding and compromise. And this applies equally in professional as well as personal settings. Yes, it takes work. It means asking “Why is this bothering me?” over and over again until you get to the heart of what you really want. It means learning to give others the benefit of the doubt.

But it also means that you’ll no longer feel afraid to speak your mind. You’ll no longer assume that doing so will make people defensive. You’ll learn how to ask for what you want in a way that others will be happy to accommodate. You’ll begin to see others in a new light – not as rivals that you need to protect yourself from, but as other creators that you get to play with.

Image Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1023

{ 40 comments }

Riley Harrison August 7, 2011 at 21:44

Hey Melody,
I think one of the subconscious fears many have is that the confrontation can escalate into violence. I think that concern is probably more valid outside the workplace. So I suspect some awareness and discretion needs to be built into the decision process as to when to be confrontational. An example – a guy walks into a bar and says “I can lick any man in the house” and a 6’11” body builder type saunters up and says “You can’t whip me”. The guy looks up at him and says “Not a problem I’ll take you off the list.”
Riley
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Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 12:23

LOL Riley. Point well made. :)

I do believe that if we adopt the definition of confrontation that I supply above, violent confrontation becomes a thing of the past. People who attack others are not doing so in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully. They’re lashing out and trying to make, what they consider to be the source of some great pain they’re experiencing, go away any way they can. I’m kind of thinking that people who tend to “resolve” things with their fists are probably not reading my blog. Or yours. And if they do come over here, I’ve got a lady bug with some street cred all ready to go… ;)

Hugs,
Melody
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Glynis Jolly August 8, 2011 at 00:41

I became friends with one of the most wonderful people I have known because of a confrontation. She didn’t like what I said. I didn’t have all the facts. She didn’t appreciate me talking about the subject to begin with. I ended apologizing to her because I had put my foot in my mouth. For the next 5 years, we were best friends. We would be today except life has taken us in different directions.
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Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 12:24

This is what I’m talking about Glyinis! Yay! I’ve had something similar happen: a confrontation over something that could’ve ended a friendship actually ended up bringing us closer together. Confrontation doesn’t have to be a bad thing. :)

Hugs,
Melody
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Vishnu August 8, 2011 at 04:25

So…what vibration are we on when we are confronting people? :)

You forgot point 5 on how to confront someone – send them over to you…lol

finally, great post but I love how you’re doing this from Spain! Come back home and try this.. just saying – people tend to be confrontational more in other countries.

and really, finally, is it possible to have a non-confrontational confrontation? you do give 4 good suggestions but people hate criticism and can go ballistic sometimes…i think the manner in which we confront can turn it into a low key situation or make the person go postal.

Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 12:31

Hi Vishnu!

Considering that I create my own reality, and I tend to take myself with me wherever I go, I will attract the same amount of confrontation in Spain or the US (or anywhere else I might choose to live…) ;)

It’s absolutely possible to have a non-confrontational (old definition) confrontation (new definition). That was kind of the point of the whole article, and I’ve personally experienced it many times. People assume that if they voice a disagreement, it’s the same as attacking the other person. But it doesn’t have to be. First, though, you have to acknowledge that this disagreement has more to do with you than with them. That takes all the attack our of it. Then, if you get clear on what you truly want, on what’s really going on, it pretty much negates the reason for most confrontations in the first place. And for the rest, approaching people with authenticity, clarity and love will ensure a win-win outcome.

I think successfully confronting someone, so there’s an actual resolution to the problem and both parties are left in a better feeling place, is incredibly empowering.

Hugs,
Melody
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Todd | Channelingmyself August 8, 2011 at 06:12

“fear no more my lovelies” you are funny Melody! I think you are right about not letting things fester. For most of us, myself included, we tend to let those annoyances build because we simply don’t believe saying something is worth the trouble. What I’ve been trying lately is a technique my cousin told me about, she read this in a book. Give it love and let it go.
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Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 12:36

Hi Todd,

Thanks! I’ve decided to let my sense of humor out to play on this site. I was afraid it might delude the message, but then I realized I can just attract the people who resonate with the information and also like a good chuckle. :)

That’s fantastic advice on so many levels. Give it love and let it go. I’ve been able to resolve some really ugly conflicts by sending the other person love (and trust me, that was not easy). But when I did so, I changed my own vibration and the conflict disappeared.

It all comes down to us being willing to pay attention to how we feel, though and not being willing to put up with negative emotion.

Hugs,
Melody
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marc van der Linden August 8, 2011 at 07:32

Hi melody,

Non violent communication is a very useful art. Many people have never learnt how to deal with confrontations in an efficient way. Often it is a confrontation of different perspectives instead of conscious personal attacks to others. But if you don’t know how to deal with it, it often results in violent communication to protect ourselves against perceived danger.

I like the way you describe how to effectively confront people.

Thanks for sharing!
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Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 12:37

Hi Marc,

You’re so welcome. Successful conflict resolution is such an important skill. I think they really should be teaching it in schools. Seriously.

Hugs,
Melody
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rob white August 8, 2011 at 15:36

Very thorough and well said, Melody. When we harbor anger it becomes stronger than the thing we were angry at. This is when confrontation can turn ugly. By having the courage to express ourselves with equanimity both parties will quickly see the errors and silliness of their own perceptions.
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Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 17:58

Thanks Rob! It’s often about focusing on resolution instead of being right… :)

Hugs,
Melody
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Dia August 8, 2011 at 15:51

Hi Melody,
Yep, if we let someone else’s behavior annoys and bothers us, then it means there is some work that we have to do internally. Also, the way we approach the other person makes a whole difference. If we approach them while we are internally angry and upset, this is what we will get in return. However, if we approach them while being internally in harmony with whatever is happening, then this is what we will get. Our attitude plays an important part. This is why internal work is very important. Thanks for sharing
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Melody Fletcher August 8, 2011 at 18:00

Hi Dia,

You make a really good point. The other person will respond to our emotional state. This is yet another reason to stay calm and get our vibration in order before ever having that conversation.

Thanks for the valuable comment!
Hugs,
Melody
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Joe Bill August 8, 2011 at 21:58

I think the problem with confrontation is that typically it is seen as a break in duality where someone wins and someone loses. This is especially true for people that have issues compromising.

Of course, sometimes someone needs to win, and sometimes someone needs to lose–and sometimes even if it does go ugly, that’s exactly what was needed. A win-win is preferable, but not always possible to achieve.

Melody Fletcher August 9, 2011 at 15:06

Hi Joe Bill,

I’m not sure that’s true. I think if people can step back far enough and see the big picture, a win-win is always possible. But yeah, they may have to let go of a lot of “stuff” before that can happen. :)

Hugs,
Melody
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SEO Company Los Angeles August 8, 2011 at 23:02

Melody-

I have always been a little afraid of confrontation myself, so this article was really helpful for me. Thank you for sharing your insights on successful confrontation, they were really eye-opening and gave me a few new insights on how I can deal with things differently.

~Natasha

Melody Fletcher August 9, 2011 at 15:06

Hi Natasha,

You’re so welcome!

Hugs,
Melody

Justin | Mazzastick August 9, 2011 at 04:58

Hi Melody,
Growing up I had lousy role models growing up when it came to confrontation. It was keep it all until it exploded everywhere. Needless to say that became my model as well.

Seeing how this model doesn’t work very well in the real world I had to study and learn how to properly confront someone which I did.

I found that with people whom I deal with on a regular basis are a little bit uncomfortable with the initial confrontation become more at ease when they realize I won’t bite their heads off.
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Melody Fletcher August 9, 2011 at 15:08

Hi Justin,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I was taught to keep it all in and internalize it. That didn’t work out too well. I did a lot of damage to myself, including health problems (all cleared up now). And you’ve made an excellent point. People aren’t just afraid of confronting, they’re terrified of BEING confronted.

Thanks for the valuable addition!
Hugs,
Melody

Fred Tracy August 9, 2011 at 10:36

“Aunt Bitchydoo” – LOL. I like the title too!

So anyway, confrontation is something that we’re all going to have to master eventually. I don’t like it much, but I will do it when necessary. I feel like I handle it all right, too, but there’s a lot of fear and general negativity that comes up inside me, even if I hide it well.

All right, I’ll admit it. I have a fear of confrontation. Phew! Maybe I should read this thing again…
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Melody Fletcher August 9, 2011 at 15:09

Ha, ha, Fred. The first step is admitting that you have a problem… ;)

Hugs,
Melody

ayo August 12, 2011 at 22:10

hello melody

how are you?

you’ve touched on a very ‘touchy/volatile’ subject and i agree with your responses to the myths about confrontation.

not all confrontation end up in disputes or appear to turn out ugly.

your analysis on what to do before confrontation is quite helpful:

if we don’t figure out clearly what bothers us, we could be barking up at the wrong tree and at times we could actually be the problem.

sometimes(within context) there are moments were we need to overlook or ignore a few things that have no major impact in our lives.

i also believe having an expectation or seeking a constructive result during/after confrontation tends to steer the scenario in the right direction.

making assumptions is a dangerous path to tread on because if it turns out one is wrong, it may create misunderstanding, conflict, broken relationships…..

your advice on staying calm is spot on because one is able to prevent tempers from flaring.

i may be wrong but i think a bit of diplomacy is necessary when confronting people.

thanks for sharing this.

take care and enjoy the rest of the day
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Melody Fletcher August 14, 2011 at 17:50

Hi Ayo,

Thanks for your valuable comment. Diplomacy is incredibly helpful – it’s simply the opposite of having an adversarial mindset. If you approach your “opponent” as an equal and assume that a win-win situation is possible, you’re over 50% there.

Hugs!
Melody
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Tess The Bold Life August 12, 2011 at 23:00

Hi,
I had to learn how to be assertive vs aggressive. Once I did that confrontation became a lot more effective;)

Melody Fletcher August 14, 2011 at 17:52

Thanks Tess!
You’ve made a valuable point. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for ourselves. But aggression generally assumes that the other person is our enemy – they’ve done something to wrong us, most likely on purpose, and now we’re going to set them straight, damn it! But assertiveness, if handled correctly, is simply the willingness to confront the issue and talk about it. I think when people understand that confrontation doesn’t have to be nasty, they are empowered to be more assertive.

Hugs,
Melody

Mary Carol October 25, 2011 at 23:52

Interesting post and comments, Melody! Congrats on another good one – they’re all good!

Thirty years of teaching high school was an excellent training ground for this topic. If you don’t figure out within a few weeks how to handle confrontation, from both sides, you’re probably not going to last out the first year. A few observations gleaned from working harmoniously with teens:

Never confront in public. An audience multiplies problems ten-fold.

Always give the other person room to save face.

Go in assuming that you are just as likely to be wrong as right. And most of the time, there’s not going to be an absolute wrong or right.

Whatever the other person says, take a step back, emotionally, mentally, even physically. Saying, “You could be right” or “I hadn’t thought of that” defuses a confronter and also a defensive responder. Then maybe they’ll be able to actually hear what you’re saying.

Remember a battle cry of the feminists: “Choose your battles and fight to win.” Healthy confrontation needs to be a choice. Consciously deciding that something really isn’t that important is a lot different from letting it slide (and getting more and more upset).

Last thought: all of this is so much easier to do outside the family. I think I’m pretty good at nonconfrontational confronting, but two ex-husbands might tell you otherwise.

Thanks again for a great post, and for letting me soap box a bit. Hugs,

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 26, 2011 at 16:15

Hi Mary Carol,

This is awesome! Thank you SO much for adding this incredibly valuable comment. I couldn’t agree more with your points. If you can deal with teenagers, I think you can deal with anyone. They experience emotions in such an amplified way and across a much bigger range than most adults (caused by lack of perspective, hormones, etc.). I would imagine that this environment made for some excellent training in conflict resolution! :)

Huge hugs to you Mary Carol,
Melody
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David William Peace July 11, 2012 at 02:54

During the silent treatment I was anxiously tip-toeing through after making a proposal to a family member (female), I came upon an epiphany which almost had me in tears. This was reached during my usual imaginary conversation with a therapist. My conclusion was that to abruptly break the silence and say something was an act of disrespect on my part. This is especially a shaky issue with me when having to break into conversation or say something to get my wife or female colleague to provide me with an answer. My belief is always present in the harrowing self-directed statement “disrespectful little boys are bad.”
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Melody Fletcher July 11, 2012 at 13:45

Wow David. What a powerful insight you had! And I love the imaginary therapist. I’m certain it’s very effective (it’s actually a way for you to connect with your higher wisdom).

It’s one thing not to want to shut people out and not give them a chance to talk. It’s another, entirely, to shut yourself down. Conversation is a two way street and you get to participate just as much as everyone else. And let’s face it, with some people, if you don’t learn to interrupt, you’ll never get to talk. As long as you let them make their point, too, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Thank you so much for sharing your insight with everyone here.

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Alice July 16, 2012 at 10:05

“Don’t attribute emotions or motives to them. When confronting your husband, “You obviously don’t care” is going to be less helpful than “when you do that, I feel like you don’t care.” These two statements are going to elicit very different responses. Focus on your feelings, not theirs, and own your responses.”

Response to the latter: “I’m not responsible for YOUR feelings.” & “that’s not my problem” They basically say to me they can say whatever they want and it’s MY fault if I’m offended or feel disrespected by their put-downs, swearing etc because: “I’m not going to change for you.” and I should suck it up and deal with it. If I can’t then “too bad”

Yeah.

Most of the confrontations I’ve had blow most people away. They can’t believe what I’m telling them is true. They are left as speechless as I am.

Melody Fletcher July 19, 2012 at 23:14

Hey Alice,

You make a good point. When the situation has gone on so long or either/both of the individuals involved have associated whatever it is they are talking about with something much deeper and something that hasn’t been addressed in a long, long time, confrontations can quickly get out of hand. In that case, I’d advise getting professional help. If it was a boss/employee situation, a career or executive coach can help. In a relationship, marriage counseling. Or, simply removing yourself from the situation for a little while and working purely on yourself.

The principles are the same but when you’re in a situation where both parties are triggered to an extent where they are just lashing out at each other, controlling the emotions is no longer possible. It’s like trying to reason with a child that’s throwing a tantrum. You have to just let the tantrum end before attempting to make any changes.

Hugs!
Melody
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Zac September 16, 2012 at 05:23

This article was quite insightful in my search on how to deal with a difficult roommate. Although, I’m still left a little puzzled about how to go about it.

The main problem is that this particular person is extremely confrontational, but in the bad way, wherein every confrontation with him has to end up with him being correct or having the last word. Even during small conversations, he does not relent. And I’m not exaggerating. I’ve spent literally hours arguing/discussing with him about various issues and I’m always left defeated and feeling hopeless about resolving the situation because he tends to wear a person down to the point where arguing becomes pointless.

I guess my questions is, how do you employ these tactics when the other side of the confrontation is so “anti-these tactics”?

I could go into his room and say “Hey man, I’ve noticed you haven’t been cleaning up your dishes in the kitchen lately, would you mind taking the time to put them in the dishwasher from now on?” and even that would spark an outrageous response from him about how he’s bought laundry detergent 3 times in a row or how he’s been camping a lot and just hasn’t had the energy to keep up with the housekeeping or or or or…. And no matter what I say or what tactic I try, I can’t even get him to ADMIT that there is even a problem at all so the conversation ends poorly and we’re both upset with each other and nothing gets resolved.

The frustrating part is that I’m normally VERY good with people, especially face-to-face, and this is one of the only people I’ve encountered that I have such a hard to communicating with in this way.

Any insight you might have would be appreciated!

Melody Fletcher September 16, 2012 at 20:24

Hey Zac,

My advice is this: you need to line up with the energy of what you want before doing any confronting. You’re asking him to change so that you can feel better. That’s going to make him very defensive. There’s a lot of information in these confrontations for you.

For example, why does it bother you so much that he doesn’t put his dishes away? Is it because you now feel that that burden will be placed on you? Are there other times in your life when you feel that you have to do everything because others just refuse?

This man is mirroring some awesome crap back to you, and you’d do well to figure out what it is. What do you want? Why do you want it? Dig down to the core reason, and take him and his behavior out of the equation. Don’t ask him to change so you can feel better. Feel better and then he’ll change (or he’ll leave).

Remember that whatever’s happening in your experience, it’s always a perfect match to your vibration. If you want to change the experience, change your vibration (point of focus).

I hope that’s helpful.

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Kane September 21, 2012 at 07:02

With confrontation, I was also wondering how to deal with the “passive-aggressive” type (Ironically as I have a mild streak of this myself, I guess all people do.)

I am watching my own friend fall into the trap of a passive-aggressive/sneakier type of bully. This guy knows he has some weight/self-esteem issues and instead of directly going up to him and saying “wow what a lardass!” he implies it or constantly pokes or pats him on the belly when walking past with a cocky little laugh.
The conversion will be pleasant enough, but he leaves with a little poke or pat on the “flabby” area.

Or people that are sarcastic and you can’t really put a finger on it but they insult you with nice words said in a really backhanded kind of way.

Or the more extreme passive-aggressive (I used to be this kind) that would have snuck into the kitchen and completely smashed the offending coffee cup, with an almost psychopathic, anonymous note left near the smashed up cup with some witty, zinger of a line about washing their stupid cup.

Ok maybe not that bad, but yeah I used to be somewhat like that.

How do you deal with those people and what makes that belly-poker, sneak attack guy tick?

Melody Fletcher September 21, 2012 at 17:00

Hey Kane,

I think the subject of being passive aggressive will need to be explored in a blog post, lol.

But here are some quick answers:
Passive aggressive people are usually very insecure about something and just have a very ineffective way of trying to make themselves feel better. So, your friend who keeps poking bellies, feels insecure about his own weight or appearance.

Some you can do is to call them on their behavior, but don’t do it in a way that makes them more defensive. Don’t be mean about it. So, saying “Are you doing that because you’re insecure about your own fat ass?”, would not get a good response.

But perhaps asking “Do you mean to be hurtful when you do that? Would you like someone doing that to you?”, said in a genuinely interested and compassionate way, could get him to think about his behavior.

People who give backhanded compliments can be stopped in their tracks with a very compassionate “Why would you say that?” Then shut up and make them come up with an answer. They may not change (that’s beyond your control), but they will not poke at you again. Their behavior is a defense mechanism and a question such as this (NOT ATTACKING!), will make them think about what’s really going on, which they don’t want to do.

Those are quick fixes. I’ll explore bigger solutions in a blog post. :)

Huge hugs!
Melody
Melody Fletcher invites you to read..How To Say No, Or Is It Possible To Be Too Nice?My Profile

Sloane November 25, 2012 at 20:56

Great article. I may send it to my boyfriend.

I didn’t read the entire thread of replies, but there’s something I’d like to say. I think that fear of confrontation leads to lying most of the times. My partner and I have had discussions in the past, some of which implied getting mad, crying, disagreeing, not wanting to listen to the other one. So every time we have a discussion now, there is that fear of things getting ugly (even if they don’t at all). This has built in him a fear of confrontation with me. Not because I get aggresive of defiant. But because he just doesn’t like arguing.

I feel that his fear of confrontation leads to him hiding things from me. If I don’t hear about them, then we don’t have to talk about them. Makes sense. Later on, he not only will hide things from me, but mask them when he knows I will find out, so he dresses the issue with something he feels will soften my reaction. And the very next step is completely lying about doing/not doing something. If he says he was going to see his guy friends but in reality he went to meet with a female friend (even if it’s all innocent and right), he is already preventing talking about it. And this is how we become liars sometimes.

I see it quite clearly. He lies to his parents about doing/not doing stuff because he just doesn’t want to explain himself or talk any further with them about X. And me? I tell my parents anything. What I’m doing, where I’m going, who I’m with. Not because I owe them a big explanation, but because there is nothing wrong it what I do and because lying results messier than just telling them the truth.

So what I wanted to say is that being afraid of confrontation sometimes leads to becoming little liars. And then picking up that bad habit poisons not only relationships, but also ourselves.

Melody Fletcher November 27, 2012 at 21:23

Hey Sloane,

That’s a really great point and you’re so right. People often lie in order to avoid confrontation. Often, they end up creating a much bigger mess than they would’ve had if they’d just told the truth to begin with. But the lying is not a logical decision, it’s one based on fear. And fears don’t generally make much sense.

Thanks for adding this great information here.

Huge hugs!
Melody
Melody Fletcher invites you to read..An Example Of Manifesting Healing By Shifting A BeliefMy Profile

Blake September 1, 2013 at 00:17

Feel like im being held hostage in a situation with my girlfriends mother. She is co owner of our house the three of us live in. Life here has disintegrated with her mom telling us we have to leave and buy out her portion of house while she stays without paying for next six months. We have had several conversations about this all ending in discord. Police even involved once. Reading your posts give me hope that a resolution might still be possible. I will try positive vibrations next time but any other advice would be much appreciated.

Ann October 23, 2013 at 03:33

So I totally relate to this article kind of changed my perspective and allowed my to really think about why I’m such a non confrontational person

Even today at class I was telling someone how I’m in charge of a certain duty and then some Student came to the convo and said basically I didn’t do the job the last time and at first I didn’t think anything of it but now I regret not saying anything and this tends to happen alot I hope by reading this article that I can better understand when to speak up and handle confrontational situations without thinking violence will ensue . I tend to hold back and be the quiet one .. Trying to work on it

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