Afraid of Confrontation? Not Really!

conflict resolutionWelcome to my new website. I hope you will find it helpful, first for yourself as you get to know me a bit better and learn about the counseling services I can provide for you and your family, and secondly, know that I can be a referral source for assisting your friends and work associates. You will also learn about the book I have written over the years that has become an added in-print resource for many of my clients and workshop participants. I hope you will take a moment and read the table of contents and sample chapter, and consider it for your own personal library.

I will also blog from time to time to keep you up on various issues and topics which I believe can be useful in your daily life. I encourage you to give me feedback on what you read, ask questions, and pass along my articles to others you believe would be interested in what I write. I look forward to hearing from you.

Recently, I heard (as I often do) someone say, “I’m very afraid of confrontation. I avoid it whenever possible.” I took the opportunity to clarify to her that, most likely, she was actually afraid, not of “confrontation,” but of conflict. I explained to her that there is a big difference in those two experiences:
Confrontation focuses on issues, whereas
Conflict focuses on people.
Confrontation is a very good and constructive experience. It occurs when two or more people present an issue, a problem or a goal and then, through respectful discussion, negotiation, and decision-making, resolve the issue. Conflict, on the other hand, occurs when people begin to feel threatened and react defensively and aggressively toward the other person(s). They become manipulative and critical. They seek to induce guilt or anxiety in others and reduce their comments to shaming put-downs that have little to do with the actual issue at hand. Such people-attacks invariably create hurt feelings and broken relationships, while never really solving the problem at hand.

Since most people, in their childhood observation of the “big folks” attempting to address an issue and letting it deteriorate into emotional combat, assume that all “confrontation” will ultimately end badly for them. Thus, they believe that what they fear is confrontation, when it is actually conflict they dread. And well they should! Conflict really is bad and needs to be avoided when possible.

In my book, “Definitions for Living,” I have included a chapter on “Conflict Resolution.” You may find it helpful in learning how to confront (solve) a problem and prevent it from becoming a free-for-all attack (conflict) on the people themselves. Good reading and even better practice!

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