Having seen so many distressing experiences of many, also here in the blogging world, I felt compelled to write this post. The timing seems right too – the lock-down and the month of May, which is observed as the Mental Health Awareness Month in the US.
The post is lengthy, around 1000 words, and is not a substitute for any kind of medical advice.
What is confrontation?
Confrontation implies hostility. Considering it only on the personal front, it is, in general, disagreement expressed in words between two groups of people.
It need not always be angry or aggressive conflicts. It is something that needs to be addressed urgently in a direct and proactive manner.
When can such situations arise?
The need for confrontation on interpersonal relationships arises mostly as an outcome of intense depression. A major depressive episode may occur once, very rarely with long intervals, or may return repeatedly when any simple incident triggers your worst memories.
The troubles could be based on a relationship issue – mutual misunderstanding, infidelity, disagreements – or even childhood fears.
Is it okay to confront someone who’s close to you?
Many of us fear confrontations, or go to an extreme extent to avoid them completely. This stage could even be an upshot of your own insecurities with the person concerned or the fear of losing them.
The person to be confronted could be to parents, siblings, better-half, friends or even colleagues.
By confronting, you’re not going to kill each other. You know that the people concerned are important ones in your journey. So, consider it as an opportunity to mend broken ties and strengthen your linkages.
“When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So, it’s better to speak”.
– Audre Lorde
Often a simple exchange of words mends hearts than prolonged silence. Don’t ever hesitate to be the one to break the silence.
Should you really confront?
Confrontation is the last step to clear your depressed mind.
Confrontation demands courage. You’ve to break all your self-doubts. There’s nothing wrong in accepting tough situations, in acknowledging that you were shattering inside, feeling choked, and stood alone while being showered with toxicity.
“I remind myself
if happiness is fleeting,
then so is sadness.
I remind myself
depression is the weather,
and I’m a weather-worn tree.
I remind myself
even the worst storms pass.
I remind myself
I’ve survived them all.”
– Shaheen Bhatt in ‘I’ve never been (Un)happier‘
What if you are still doubtful?
During depression, thinking may not align with reality. You might experience lot of trauma.
So, be patient. Write a letter. Read it after 2 or 3 days. If whatever you’ve written there matters then, you should certainly confront to clear out your mind.
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
– Albus Dumbledore in ‘Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire’
Once you are devoid of doubts about whether to confront or not, and made up your mind to confront, do not jump into action directly.
Be prepared to face the reality. The result could be healing or disastrous. Never train your mind to accept an apology from the person concerned. Be a pessimistic optimist. Expect the worst and you won’t be disappointed, to the least.
Just make sure to clearly express how you feel, how things have changed and shaped you, because of the concerned topic in discussion.
The following tip (in italics) is a snippet from a book.
A confrontation by letter works exactly like one done in person. Both begin with the words: “I am going to say some things to you I have never said before”, and both should cover four major points:
- This is what you did to me.
- This is how I felt about it at the time.
- This is how it affected my life.
- This is what I want from you now.
These four points provide a solid, focused base for all confrontations.
Few additional tips
- Never confront in the heat of a situation; or, when you’re angry.
- Keep in mind that confrontation doesn’t equate to a tale of accusation.
- If possible, try to end your arguments in a lighter tone.
If you feel the person to be confronted is capable of handling situations calmly, and can take it on a serious note even when he/she is alone, then you can express your thoughts through a written note. Draft and finalize, if you feel the need.
If not, rehearse and get ready for a face-to-face clash.
Will it work?
The person you are to confront might not accept your view and completely deny. The person might not have known that those simple activities mattered a lot to you, and so is not ready to compromise on their stand.
Don’t worry. You’ve let out your mind and obtained considerable peace. You’ve got the courage to expose and relieve your suppressed mind. It’s a healthy sign of healing.
On the other hand, confrontation may also yield positive results. You may not experience the same issue ever again in your relationship. In rare cases, you might get an apology. Either way, it’s a welcoming sign. In this scenario, do not worry or feel guilty about having hurt someone.
‘Pain is the catalyst for healing.’
Things don’t fall back in place, in a jiffy. Everything takes its own time, or maybe, it’d be apt to say scars fade away with time.
Consult if your partner/kid/parent has some unsaid issues regarding your activities, in a light-hearted casual talk, at least twice a year. It’ll help you identify and rectify the broken areas of the relationship (if reasonable), in addition to strengthening your bond.
“Embrace the flaws and imperfections of each other.”
Take life easier. Move ahead irrespective of the aftermath.