Respectful Confrontation offered me a path to freedom! I wanted to find a way of communicating that did not dissolve into anger, despair, and cold silence. I wanted to be a model for my sons and their friends. I wanted communication tools that would allow me and my boys to hold on to our dignity, and let the other people we’re dealing with in very difficult situations keep theirs. I now have access to feelings and memories that had been closed off to me.
Respectful Confrontation removed my fear of communicating. Without the fear, I am more aware of what is going on. I notice both the words [J1] and the “freeze, flight, or fight” patterns. Instead of assailing or retreating, I am present when I speak with others, and don’t get lost in anger and despair. I have clarity, and with that clarity I am able to make decisions.
I am now more in touch with my own power. My response to “fight” and out of control communication is to state my position and/or my boundary and stay there. I am open, but not acquiescent. I no longer define “quiet” as peaceful. Being aware of my strengths has allowed me the confidence to reach out more.
Following the Respectful Confrontation principle of right time, right place, and right attitude, I approached my husband about the ongoing issues of his harsh/abusive speech directed at me. I told him how it makes me feel–—sad, angry, attacked, and abused. I asked that he stop doing this because it has been poisonous to our relationship.
He seemed confused that I had set forth both the issue and my feelings about it without tears, anger, or personal attack. I only dealt with the behavior. After being silent for a while, he stated that speaking that way was just how he is. I responded that he seemed to be able to speak politely with others. He countered with I’m always trying to make him the bad guy. I pointed out how he was treating me at that moment, naming the behavior. He responded that I was always laying something on him, and I should know how he is at this point. That was the end of the conversation.
Respectful Confrontation does not give me happy endings with my husband, but it does allow me to clearly see the issues. In this case, it clarified for me that my husband does not choose to recognize some very basic issues in our marriage. His “flight” behavior, through anger and misrepresentation, won’t dissuade me fromor my need for clear communication and working things out over time. Knowing that allows me to make different choices and embrace my heart and life.