I’m kind of embarrassed to admit how terrified I am of confrontation. I hate it. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t like people being mad at me, or I don’t like hurting people’s feelings, or I’m sensitive to the bone and confrontation makes me feel too much, either way, we don’t get along. I have moved to a completely different state (14 hours away) to avoid it. Twice. I have quit my job because of it. I’ve completely cut people out of my life in order to avoid it. When I say I’m terrified, I’m TERRIFIED. It’s fear. And when fear gets a hold of you, you do some questionable things.
We can’t avoid confrontation, that’s the thing. Apparently, I have all my life. I’ve also been alone most of my life. It usually ends up like this, I hold in my anger until I can’t take it anymore, I explode, and then I peace out. I never stick around to see what will happen after I explode. It doesn’t even need to get to that point. Truth is someone is going to cross our boundaries or maybe we might cross theirs. We are different. Confrontation is bound to happen. And life will eventually make us face things that we run from. Perfect example is me now.
I got into a pretty big argument recently with my brother/sister-in law. Since we live together, my instinct was to leave. Move. It’s what I do to avoid that “feeling” afterwards. It’s a combination of rejection, guilt, shame, hurt, anger, sadness, and fear. Too much for my soul. I panic and take off. Well being that I have no money and nowhere to really go, I was stuck. I had nowhere to run to. I had to deal with that uncomfortable feeling. It’s been about a month and a half. I went into my recluse state. Dealt with what I was feeling. Went to my cousin’s. Went to my friend’s. Did some crying. A lot of writing. A lot of anger, but I kept it to myself. Tried not to complicate things more. Now I’m slowly feeling better. Slowly talking again. I analyze the crap out of everything. Another reason why I hate confrontation. But I’m glad I was finally forced to deal wth it.
I’ve learned I need to say how I feel when I get upset. Well, when I calm down, but don’t hold it in until I explode. It’s probably best not to confront people when I’m already angry. Another thing – people are going to react. It’s not my job to control them. I can only control myself and how I react. I’ve learned to love myself through it all. If I feel guilt, shame, unworthiness, I can’t abandon myself and start hating myself. Something I’ve also learned with depression. It’s a lesson learned. I made a mistake. Don’t do it again.
I learned if I get angry, it’s a cue that someone has crossed my boundaries. I’ll get angry if:
1. I feel you’re disrespecting me (or others).
2. I feel you’re trying to take something/someone away from me (or others).
3. I need space.
4. I feel you’re trying to hurt me (or others).
But see some of these, just because I feel that way, doesn’t mean it was the other person’s intent. That’s where communication comes in. I can’t assume someone is out to hurt me all the time. I have to speak up.
Confrontation is not something to be afraid of. It doesn’t have to end in an all- out war. I think that’s how it usually ended up when I was a child so I became afraid of it. It’s uncomfortable, but I think it’s how you approach it. If I confront the person yelling, yeah, they’re going to yell back and get defensive. But even if I’m calm and they’re still yelling, I control how I react. I can choose to stay calm, walk away, or yell back. But I have to communicate and if I do get angry it’s a cue something is wrong. I have to figure out why.
-Sonja Jackson, OpenHeartTin