Friday, 15 Feb 2019
Rethinking Our Understanding of Confrontations
By Dr Becky Spelman
For most people, confrontations bring up the
image of an altercation, aggression and there being a definitive winner and
loser. That, of course, can be true
and plays out in many couples. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We don’t need to confront from a stance of hostility. In fact, it’s entirely possible for it to be a
peaceful interaction; one of reconciliation and communication that works for both
Confrontation, when placed in its broader
context means facing an issue head-on. Nowhere is it written that it needs to
be an uncomfortable or chastening experience for either person involved.
When we approach our issues with this mindset, what were once ‘altercations’ become an opportunity for growth and to speak your mind without the tenants of shame and blame dictating the flow of conversation.
Communication is such an underestimated tool
when it comes to the art of relating to one another. It’s often assumed that
because we’re constantly interacting with one another by speech then surely we
must be good communicators?
This isn’t entirely true.
Talking is the medium by which we communicate,
but not everything we say can always be regarded as effective communication.
When initiating a conversation, there needs to
be a clear intent as to why you’re engaging the person in question. To launch
into unfocused dialogues is the reason why so many of our grievances escalate
into arguments. Catching people off-guard in this manner leads to
Before bringing up your frustration/challenge,
it’s important to re-affirm that person’s value to you. This signifies what
you’re about to say is for the good of you both, and not intended to hurt or
condescend. You simply want to express your feelings and to be heard, so you
can move forward together.
When you adopt this mindset of reconciliation
and of ‘nonviolence,’ you change the whole dynamic of the encounter. And what
might have previously been a source of tension, gives the oppurtunity for you
both to hear and receive in equal measure.
It is important you both feel part of the
The old paradigm thought about raising an issue
with someone is it could be seen as pedantic, but if we’re genuinely aggrieved
by something, burying our feelings is not the answer. This only creates
feelings of resentment, making closure that much harder to reach.
It is an act of avoidance.
And it can become so much a part of our
narrative we’ll go to great lengths to avoid offending or risking the status
quo for fear having our partner abandon us. We talk ourselves into the belief
we’re jeopardising our relationship by ‘confronting’ someone over our
The irony is, it’s only by raising our
misgivings that we’re able to build strong and long-lasting connections. It’s
these moments of sincerity that create trust and serve as the foundation for
all successful partnerships.
By approaching others with the focus of
acknowledging their value first, we communicate we don’t want to hurt them, but
to grow stronger and deepen our connection.
Confrontation does not have to be an act of violence.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.