How to Confront People the Right Way

Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 2:53 PM

Being Under-Assertive

It is a difficult situation when we feel we are being wronged, especially by a family member or close friend, not to have our feelings taken into account. This may make us feel we are being taken advantage of by someone we trust. This is often a difficult situation because we feel trapped, not wanting to have a confrontation, but hoping they will soon see the pain and discomfort caused by their actions.

But, in many cases that awakening never happens, and we continue feeling used and frustrated when the situation does not change. This,  in turn, can lead us to emotionally disconnect from the individual and withdraw from the relationship. Bitterness can also start to take hold of us.

This is an example of under-assertiveness. Instead of confronting someone about not providing something expected of them, or taking an action that wronged us, we instead elect to turn the “other cheek” or just “keep our mouth shut” once again, hoping the person sees the errors of their ways and changes.

Many people believe being under-assertive is a proper way of behaving. To them, acting in an assertive manner is an act of anger and moves us away from treating people in a Christ-like fashion. However that is not proven to be a Biblical truth.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15

Being Assertive

Assertiveness is an important concept for each of us to practice in order to know where we stand with one another. But, this is only accomplished by being assertive with a Christ-like heart and speaking the truth in love. If our motive in confronting is to prove we are right, or tear someone down, then we are acting inappropriately. This approach is as unhealthy for us as internalizing our feelings and electing not to confront them.

The real solution requires we stop internalizing feelings of offence and burying our heads in the sand, hoping the individual will suddenly move toward us and stop their negative behavior. Instead, we need to find the courage to do the right thing and open our hearts by sharing our disappointment and hurts with those we believe have done us a disservice.

This requires us to:

  1. Be vulnerable and willing to share our heartfelt disappointment and hurt with the individual
  2. Focus on letting the other person know our pain instead of pointing out their shortcomings
  3. Establish boundaries with those individuals who refuse to accept responsibility and continue with their destructive behavior

Although confrontations are never pleasant they can be handled in a manner that is appropriate with the teachings of Christ – where we treat people with honor and respect even at times when they don’t seem to deserve it. Finally, Christ-like confrontations also can start the process of removing unnecessary frustrations and negative energies from our lives, while enriching our relationships with stronger emotional connections.

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