Friday, June 25, 2010


Growing up, I was never given a true example of how confrontation can be addressed in a positive way. Like most women in my mother's generation, confronting someone was seen as a very negative thing to do. I think there is a positive and constructive way to confront someone, but that doesn't make it easy.

Recently, I was forced to confront an acquaintance of mine who stepped over the line in our relationship. When it first happened I was willing to ignore it, to just let it go. But a friend of mine, when I told her what had happened, said to me "What kind of relationship do you want to have with this person? Do you want to allow this to happen again? Because by not saying anything, you are silently giving permission for this to happen again." I was sick for three days about the way this person overstepped the boundaries, and the feeling wouldn't go away. I was forced to confront the situation. I said my part and walked away, allowing this person a way out should they want to hide from me for a while, in shame. I also gave this person permission to discuss the situation with me. Honestly, one confrontation is enough for me, but should this person want to talk with me, I need to be open enough to listen. And strong enough to keep my boundaries clear.

A few months ago, when we put on the "Boundaries and You" workshop, I thought I knew something about boundaries because of my experiences in my family. It is so much harder when faced with a challenge outside of your comfort zone. By being passive in this particular relationship, I really was giving this person permission to walk all over me. And that wasn't right. It is okay for me - and you - to set up boundaries early on, and to confront another person when those boundaries are overstepped. For me, personally, I am hoping this whole situation will blow over quickly. With a new outline for us to follow, I am sure that this person and I can move on in this relationship amicably. There is always the chance that this person may be hurt or embarassed by what I had to say, but sometimes you need to call people on naughty behaviour. It wasn't right what happened, but because I said what I needed to say, I can feel myself forgiving this person. Having compassion for someone who wronged you can be a very powerful thing.


  1. I find confrontation a very difficult situation as well. I'm never sure what to say or do; my usual way is to walk away, try to forget what happened and let it go. But sometimes, I know I would be better served if I said my piece. As you've discovered, it opens the way for a new relationship where boundaries are observed and for the person to know exactly what your boundaries are.

    But I get all balled up finding the right words, which wasn't the case a few years ago, when my brain worked well, heh! Kudos to you for doing this very difficult thing and finding compassion for the person who pushed hard against your boundaries.

    " And strong enough to keep my boundaries clear."...I love this line. A superb post, are an inspiration to me!

  2. Well said ,Nicole. I have all my life kept things to myself, and it has hurt me greatly. My father and I will never be on the same page nor have the relationship a father and daughter should have. He recently did something that really upset me, and instead of holding it in, I decided to email him and tell him how I felt. I was very nice about it, and I have left it up to him to respond. He has not responded, but I expected that from him. A couple of days later his facebook status read " If you give a person a piece of your mind be sure you can afford it. Enjoy life, there is plenty of time to be dead." Now I am not sure this made a whole lot of sense to me, or whether he was directing that at me. I simply responded with this..."Maybe some people give other people a piece of their mind to give themselves peace of mind. " That didn't spark a response either. Oh well. :)

  3. There are always going to be consequences when you face your fears. Especially the fear of confrontation. We are afraid of it because it means we are putting ourselves first. This person is now not speaking to me either, and I need to allow this person to go through their own process of reflection. My personal hope is that I did strike a chord in this person's heart ... hopefully sparking something in them to help them to change in some way. But that is not up to me.

    Thank you so much for your comments ~ I do so appreciate them!!