292 Days ’til 40: Confronting Someone (When they harm you)

05 May

Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead. ~ Jerry Gillies

But in fantasy, you can make a complete break, and you can put people in a situation where they are confronted with things that they would not confront in the real world. ~ Elizabeth Moon

We all hurt….  We have all been wronged.  We have all felt the pain, anger, annoyance, or sorrow at the hands of another person.  At times the individual may have meant to harm us, at other times it may have been completely innocent and accidental and it could have been somewhere in between.  It is a natural part of the human experience to feel these feelings and to have strains and stressors in our personal interactions.  The question is, “how do we deal with it?”

I believe it is so important to be honest and direct with people.  This is not always easy.  Rudy Giuliani said “When you confront a problem you begin to solve it.”  This is so true.  Only by addressing issues do we open ourselves ip to the possibility of moving forward, and of growing personally and in our relationships with those who have harmed us.

I find that individuals have different reactions to the need for confrontation.

  1. Denial (AKA: Living in Egypt – get it??? De Nile?)  Anyhow, these people will avoid admitting there has been any sort of harm caused to them because their fear of confrontation is worse in their mind then living with their inner pain and frustration.
  2. Minimization:  These individuals insist that it is not so bad, and prefer to convince themselves and others that all is okay, rather than admit to the extent of the injuries and talk through them.
  3. Gossiping (AKA Passive Aggressive):  These individuals are happy to tell everyone BUT the offender that the offender did something wrong.  Sometimes they are hopeful that this strategy will allow the message of the hurt to get back to the offender without their needing to take responsibility for a direct confrontation.  Other forms of passive aggressive behavior include:  sabotaging the workplace, nasty anonymous emails, etc.
  4. Passive Confronters:  These people will drop hints that they have been offended in some way and then wait for the person who harmed them to put the pieces together and apologize.  They are disappointed if the offender misses the hints… and if they do pick them up and address them, it may be met with, “It’s okay, it wasn’t that bad.”
  5. Rage and Anger:  These individuals look for those who harmed them and scream and yell until the offender apologizes profusely.  Nothing is really resolved because the offender often apologizes out of the desire for the yelling to stop instead of true regret.
  6. Direct Confrontation:  These individuals deal with the issue head on, but in a respectful way.  They often believe that resolving conflict leads to new understandings and stronger relationships so conflict does not scare them.  Through the dialog process the relationship cannot only be repaired, it may grow stronger.

Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined. ~ Leo Rosten

Today, 292 days ’til 40, I and going to continually strive to confront those who harm me when it occurs.  I realize that my own avoidant nature is not serving me well and that if I take my own advice and use honest, direct communication I will build new bridges of understanding in my life.  May be all have the courage to confront those we need to…. and develop stronger bonds.

Tags: , , , , , ,

56 responses to “292 Days ’til 40: Confronting Someone (When they harm you)

  1. pinkagendist

    May 5, 2012 at 00:36

    Confronting is one possibility… another, and this is related to your previous post, is knowing when to step away. I’ve seen some people remain in mutually destructive, co-dependent friendships for their entire lives. It’s pointless. Sometimes it’s just better to accept some people just aren’t good for us.

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:57

      Yes, you are so very correct. Sometimes confrontation is worth it, and at other times it is better to walk away and understand, as you said, that some people are not good for us and we have to be okay with letting them go.

  2. aide4caregivers

    May 5, 2012 at 00:52

    Your last few blogs have hit really close to home and I can’t help but wonder… are you living next door and spying on me? 🙂 Thanks for another reality check. Keep them coming!

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:56

      Funny how we have those moments….. I often write based on my current issues, so if we met for coffee I imagine we would have a lot to chat about!!! 🙂

  3. narf77

    May 5, 2012 at 00:54

    Some confrontation is completely impossible. My now deceased dad was a bully. My mum left him when I was 10 because of his violence and he moved away when I was 17 and I didn’t hear from him again until I was 33. When you are a bullied child you really can’t deal outright with something like that…you have to learn to live with it. I moved back into my dads life when I moved to Tasmania. I was an adult with 3 almost adult children at the time and I was ready to deal with my dad. I tried many times to talk to him but right up to his death he was totally unable to deal with anything that involved sharing any inner part of himself. What I am trying to say here is sometimes you are NEVER going to be able to deal with hurt, anger whatever it is that you are feeling but as I got older, had kids of my own, went through all sorts of issues with them you suddenly learn that sometimes people behave the way that they do because of their own personal issues. It gives you a degree of separation from your own hurt and you get an insight into that person as another human being. I ended up being able to let my dad go…to not allow him to hurt me (verbally) any more because I actually felt sorry for him. He died a lonely bitter hurt man and even though I tried to deal with past hurts and relate to him as he was, it wasn’t enough to breach his own personal inner turmoil. I think sometimes we just have to be able to distance ourselves from people that hurt us… deal with it by being honest with ourselves and knowing that there isn’t anything that we can do and move on. Time, age and a degree of separation can give you a bit of space between you and the person that hurt you and you may arrive at a place where you can not only forgive that person, but see why they might be acting the way that they are, healing yourself in the process. Life is good and honesty and understanding is better 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:55

      Yes, you make a very important point – there are times when you cannot have a healthy conversation with an individual and at that point you may need to walk away (or separate as much as you can) in order for you to live as much of a normal life as possible – away from the unhealthy person’s harmful dysfunction. This can be easier said than done.

      • narf77

        May 5, 2012 at 23:58

        Especially when it is impossible to “walk away” because the person who is hurting you is family. Thats where you need to learn to adapt yourself to deal with it rather than confront sometimes 🙂

        • 400daystil40

          May 6, 2012 at 00:00

          Yes, or find a way to walk away….. which can be tough….. I moved across an ocean – that helped! 🙂

  4. Louise Behiel

    May 5, 2012 at 01:37

    good analysis of the types of confronters.

  5. Katie

    May 5, 2012 at 02:21

    Ugh. I so need to join you on this one!

  6. Katie

    May 5, 2012 at 02:22

    Btw: love the pic. 🙂

  7. Denny

    May 5, 2012 at 02:26

    Direct confrontation doesn’t necessarily lead to a change in behaviour. The offended person may then become frustrated and angry. At this point is it useful to engage a mediator? And if so how can this be arranged if the person confronted is resistant?

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:53

      Very good point, and ultimately you are right – if someone refuses to engage in dialog, there is little that can be done.

  8. allthingsboys

    May 5, 2012 at 02:59

    Wise words indeed. It’s too bad its not a required class in high school…

  9. Laura

    May 5, 2012 at 03:16

    Throughout the stages of my life, I have represented all six of your reactions. I am striving to represent #6. It helps to keep a level head.

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:52

      Yes, definitely – which is hard to do in the midst of emotion!

  10. kahyehm

    May 5, 2012 at 05:09

    Gossiping hurts too.. especially when your friends with the one you hurt.

  11. writerwannabe763

    May 5, 2012 at 06:26

    There has been more than one occasion in my life of feeling offended and hurt deeply but one in particular I feel didn’t have to cause me the pain that it did except for very bad advice from my immediate and secondary bosses & HR… where I worked.I was terribly wronged but I was advised not to confront the person as he was the ‘top boss’ and I was told he wouldn’t admit to being wrong and it would just make things worse and to let it just go..Well I took their advice but it festered inside of me and each time I saw ‘the’ person I avoided any glance even. It bothered me for years but after ‘retiring on disability’ I sent this person a letter to finally confront the situation without derogatory remarks and explained how things were misunderstood etc. Well he wrote me back a letter and apologized etc etc…Finally I had the peace I should have had much sooner.

    To summarize I would emphasize that confronting (if possible as it always is not an option) in a respectful, meaningful and honest way can at least tell you if it is possible to put the issue to least knowing you did your part in trying to make it happen….Sorry to be lengthy but this hit a cord…..Diane

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:50

      Yes, such a very good point – confrontation may not work, but if you do not attempt it you really do not know how the other person will react…. will they rise to the occasion? If not, that says a lot about their true character.

  12. thelastsongiheard

    May 5, 2012 at 08:00

    I’m a #2 LOL Unless it carries on… at which point, I’ll ask them to stop (usually #6… sometimes #4, if I’m honest LOL)… after that, I’ll try to avoid that person or that thing like the plague but still get irritable about it… which would be mostly #1 I guess… LOL

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:49

      …… which makes you as human as the rest of us!

  13. Spider42

    May 5, 2012 at 11:15

    Excellent post and you seem to have covered pretty much the whole lot.

    If I may be contrary though (as seems to be my nature sometimes…) I felt that those like me – few though they may well be – are not listed here. Must admit, not really met too many who react to anger like I do, so far anyway.
    Personally I feel anger kills you on the inside and losing it serves no purpose (unless you’re The Incredible Hulk and even he has moments when it’s a BAD thing!). Someone gets on my last nerve, I’ll either go right up to you and calmly and peacefully tell you that you are pushing your luck and if that resolves it, good. If not, I tell them to go.. do terrible things to themselves (all as gently and smilingly as possible) and make my view very clear and make it clear that as far as I’m concerned, their actions thereafter are not my concern and nor should their troubles be so. If you can’t apologise or admit an error, you’re on your own buddy.
    Harsh? Maybe, I’ve thought as much at times… but then I treat others as I would like to be treated and I think that being the case I can’t feel bad about it because convention doesn’t neccesarily like such behavious.

    I bear no one any ill-will, you are simply either an accepted and ready part of my world or you’re not.
    If you care, you will not do things to create that kind of situation and if you do, will have the decency to at least agree you are at fault – don’t even have to say “I’m sorry” really.

    And before you get the wrong idea, if it turns out I’m wrong or I’ve angered someone needlessly – I’ll do my best to not have it turn into a physical confrontation (proud to say I’ve not been in a fight in over a decade that was not called for and pretty much none at all the last couple of years) and if I am indeed wrong, will apologise or simply admit my mistake, shut up and move along.
    In a way it ties into my whole “Life’s too short” philosophy because it is too short to be carrying grudges and wasting brainspace and my what joy I can scrounge in this life being pissed at someone or something that in the end is not THAT important.

    HOWEVER, I will admit that from my parents I have inherited a very intense temper, so I may look like Buddha (as I’ve actually been dubbed jokingly since I was a kid, seriously…), on the inside it might scare people for those moments until it subsides and my better nature takes over. I don’t suppress it, mind you, I simply acknowledge, accept, come up with a suitable response or reaction, logic the hell out of the situation and then move on.
    There are a handful of people who I hold a lasting enmity/dislike for and some who I would love to pay back for certain things, but except for moments like this, I rarely ever think about them if I don’t need to…

    Dammit, just realised this comment is longer than the post, more or less… bloody hell I talk too much…

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:48

      Ah, in a sense your reaction is very similar to # 6 – direct confrontation. I must admit that I have done what you have done and it has been very healthy for me (though a problem for others at times). I once refused to be friends with someone I found to be very negative (this was a bit problematic, as this person was good friends with my partner) – I just could not handle both the negativity and the mean comments that were masqueraded as jokes (they were not funny to me)….. Many people understood…………

      By the way, it takes a lot to be able to calm a short fused temper, but if/ when we can it means healthier relationships in life and less stress (internal) that we place on ourselves!

      • Spider42

        May 7, 2012 at 09:13

        I know what you mean and do tend to agree.

        And I say from experience (and being a bit of a sarcastic twat myself at times) that there is a big difference between humour, jibes, poking fun, friendly dressing down vs mean comments and even if they pass at first, to anyone paying attention and sensitive to undercurrent in conversation, demeanour and attitude (because lets face it, all these things come into play in the delivery of a lines meanings).
        Some folks I’ve learnt are just oblivious to such things but most pick up on it sooner or later.

        Feel good though, people who pick on others like that have either (a) been wronged and its payback (b) are bitchy, have self-image issues and do it to feel bigger or (c) are morons and actually think it’s funny and deserve a face-palm and some pity.
        Well, thats my reading most of the time, not always, just largely.

        • 400daystil40

          May 7, 2012 at 22:42

          So very very true! I do love to joke with my good friends when it is really a joke…. it just stinks when it is really meant to harm someone and called a “joke” – our middle school students seem to do this regularly (tis the age).

  14. seakist

    May 5, 2012 at 14:11

    Direct confrontation is the approach I use, but mind you, no matter how eloquently you try to deal with it, some individuals are just born haters and will look for every excuse to make your “right” a “wrong” — especially if they see that you are growing and becoming a better person because it’s intimidating to those who would rather stay in their comfort zone.

    Another form of passive-aggressive is people who say nasty things, then try to cover up by saying something like “I was only kidding” or twist things around to make light of the situation when they know damn well they were in the wrong, but refuse to admit it or apologize.

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:45

      Ah yes, this is another reality – just because we are open and honest does not mean the person we are confronting is able to receive the message (that is a different post altogether!) And you are so correct about people saying nasty things and then attempting to joke about that. This is something I am often calling the students on and reminding them that it is considered bullying.

  15. irishsignora

    May 5, 2012 at 15:15

    I’m still working on my skills for #6 🙂

  16. Gilraen

    May 5, 2012 at 16:30

    Of course it is also possible to go through all stages 🙂 It is what I did in my previous relationship. It was not until I got to the last one that I managed to resolve the issues for once and for all. The other half stayed in Egypt so to speak.

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:42

      Definitely, I can see myself in all stages at different moments of my life (or in different moments within a relationship)….. Yes, if we can get out of Egypt we are doing well.

  17. Eloise

    May 5, 2012 at 16:53

    Ahhh, the nasty ways people communicate their feelings. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’ve found that total silence is an excellent response. Eventually, the offending party realizes that you are not going to play the game and what they want is a response or an audience. Silence denies them of both. May take a while for them to figure this out.

    Doesn’t work with everyone, but it will turn off a number of offenders.

    Good post!

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:42

      Ah, great advice! I have used silence before, but I do not use it enough!

  18. Cafe

    May 5, 2012 at 17:50

    Great post! Explained all the different types of confrontation styles really well. It would be great if we could all learn to be better at direct confrontation — save a lot of misunderstandings and arguments!
    Thanks for stopping by my page, btw 🙂

  19. saymber

    May 5, 2012 at 18:44

    I’ve dealt with harm from another in almost every way you describe at one point or another in my life. My natural instinct is to lash back in kind but I’m really working on taking a “pause” and think things through before I react to things. I learned from a very young age to lash back and it has taken some time to reprogram myself. Only 292 days….time flies doesn’t it?

    • 400daystil40

      May 5, 2012 at 23:41

      Me too – I want to react, though I have learned how to hold myself and think about proper reactions! Yes, the days are going by quickly (except when it is late at night and I need to do my daily blog and all I really want to do is sleep!)

  20. Anonymous

    May 6, 2012 at 17:03

    I grew up in an extremely violent environment. When I was wronged, I usually said nothing, but instead to walk up to that person and begin pummeling them till there was blood and someone would pull me off. By then the damage I had done to myself was done, for I could not shut it off. My rage often continued by physically beating those who stopped me from my endeavor. Today I am truly and Humbly thankful that I did not take that person with me into adulthood. I do not deny that he is still with me, in the recesses of my struggling inner man. I only know that I now have control over the primordial instincts that I had once developed. Today I simply will not waste my time dealing with those who would harm me, as having verbal exchange only proves to force me to stay in the hurt and that I do not want. I let go of much and those who know me can often be puzzled by it, but I don’t do it for them. I do this this for me, because I am not that guy. I now understand that Life is often hard, and then you just die, and that acceptance of corporeal living, just proves to me that it is more important to stop and smell the flowers or to listen to the singing of a lone bird up somewhere in a tree where I cannot see him. If I were to allow myself to process that which hurts me the most, I would not only be fighting with shadows, but the internet police would likely come along and lock me up. All I can possibly know today is that my enemies are invisible and yes, “My Arms are too Short to Box with God.

    • 400daystil40

      May 6, 2012 at 22:35

      Yes, you make some really really good points…. and I agree, the damage caused by physical violence is rarely worth it… though I can certainly see how a person who is a product of a physically abusive environment would first turn to violence… it is probably all that they know.

  21. Anonymous

    May 6, 2012 at 17:09

    Poof. and like that, all that I wrote is gone. . .
    I was proud of my writing
    And I really want to share
    But everything I do these days…
    Must I be a pc wizard too?

    • 400daystil40

      May 6, 2012 at 22:34

      Don’t worry, I have made them all reappear! 🙂

  22. The Beachwalker

    May 6, 2012 at 17:32

    Please bear with me a moment, I have just placed two posts, both to just up and be gone to I know not where. I am trying to figure out where I went wrong before I have to confront my pc with my frustration….
    (it will be just my luck that this one works)

    • 400daystil40

      May 6, 2012 at 22:33

      The way the message board works is that the messages have to wait for approval, so they appear after approval….. sorry for the confusion!

  23. The Beachwalker

    May 6, 2012 at 17:36

    I did actually write a paragraph that had some meaning that is now gone. Writing for me is like Art; it is fleeting, I could not repeat it if I tried. at least I didn’t throw the pc out the window….

  24. viveka

    May 6, 2012 at 18:30

    Confronting needs at time … it’s all about how we confront – to go head to head only ends up in a “ZERRO” conversation, but of course we have to confront if wrong has been done.

    • 400daystil40

      May 6, 2012 at 22:32

      Yes, I agree with you…. the key is to find that balance…

  25. NZ Cate

    May 7, 2012 at 02:51

    This is great and comes at a good time for me as in a FB group I run we are talking about confronting people who harm us. I have provided the members with the link to this as I think it is so helpful. Thank you. 🙂

  26. delemares

    May 8, 2012 at 10:15

    Reblogged this on MMM… Meditation, Mental health, Mindful crochet and commented:
    I’ve reblogged this because relationships are a key to mental health


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: