Th Big ‘C’ Word: Confrontation

It has been one of those days.

Everyone has them. The kids won’t listen, they run everywhere, the dogs bark at the wind and dinner really really sucks. It’s been one of those days.

Since I don’t like to complain on this here blog, I will have to put all that on the back burner and forget it until tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow my 9, almost 10, year old will make me breakfast in bed, my toddler will sleep in and I will win the lotto that I never play.

When you spend as much time as I do at home, you have a lot of time to think. I have been thinking about conflict. I know what you are thinking, ” What a tantalizing subject! Do tell all!”.  Well i won’t tell all, everyone has conflict in their life and at some point if they have any balls at all, they have to confront it. It’s not easy, most of the time it’s not pleasant and you never know what you are going to walk away with or without. I have had conflict that has ended better than I went in with and I have had some that, well, I would rather have my hands cut up and lemon juice poured all over them and then dipped into salt, then go through it again. The point is we all have conflict and I speak about conflict with our loved ones and not with those we could care a flying rats ass about, usually the punk on the corner asking me for money and getting pissed when I don’t give it to him. Get a job (that’s another tangent).

I guess what I want to type here is about resolving conflict in a peaceful way. Sometimes it can be done. Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes you think it ended peaceful and it didn’t and so you are either at square one or not in any square at all. This is the unknown result that makes talking out our differences with others so difficult. If we value the friendship, it can eat you alive and you may start to think it is better not to say anything. Sometimes it is best to keep your trap shut and you have to know when to let sleeping dogs lie. There is no handbook and even the books that are designed to help you on this subject can not know the personal details of your problem, so in the end you have to use common sense, if you have any, which hopefully you do.

It seems in my past 13 years I have had to do more conflict resolution with others and they have had to do an equal amount with me. I am happy to report that most of the conflict has ended amicably. We were able to talk it out and get our feelings out there. So much relief comes from putting all your cards on the table, if done rightly. By that I mean, your feelings have to be checked at the door. I am convinced that feelings really fuck up good things or potentially good things. People make bad decisions every day because they felt it was a good idea at the time. Lots of things feel good at the time, drugs feel great but 10 years down the road after you have popped so many god damned pills that you can’t operate without them and your moody as fuck and can’t remember yesterday, what do you do? Feelings be damned.

What I have learned, and I have learned something from every person I have had to work things out with, is you have to have a healthy balance of feelings. The impulse is to either fly into a rage or over think everything to death and bottle up the feelings. Both cause a lot of harm to you and the person getting an ear full. If you hold back because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or if you really just let loose all your emotional baggage, you aren’t respecting them as thinking, intelligent human beings. Regardless of what you think of a person or how you feel, people deserve a little common decency. Common decency requires honesty and forethought, not an emotional upchuck. That being said, we have all flown off the handle, yours truly included.

This brings me to my goal which is that of honesty and what’s that word????? Forethought. In the past, I have not been honest with people, being afraid to hurt their feelings or just being a damned coward and thereby doing them and myself a great dis-service. I long to be treated with the respect that truth gives, so why not do unto others a I would have done unto me?

Sometimes however, it’s not always black and white. It’s not always a thing of wrong or right. Situations along with our feelings, hurt and anger, often make these sticky issues very sticky indeed and hard to navigate at times. It seems if the person you are talking with is a very loved one, it makes the confrontation all the more painful. Sometimes you do your best and the best isn’t enough. That for me, is the most painful and hurtful. That’s when you have to put it in the fuckit bucket and hope for one day where things might not be as they are right now.

If when the dreaded ‘C’ word  arises, we could listen open hearted to the other person with out getting our panties in a wad every time something is said that doesn’t agree with us or our constitution, perhaps there would be no unneeded anger and hurt. The biggest thing I have learned in the past year is that people are limited. They don’t operate the way you do, so they are limited in their understanding of you at times and vice versa. But if two people really love one another and are committed to their friendship, these things if given half a chance, will actually help make the friendship more beautiful and stronger in time.

You can not surround yourself with “yes men” all the time “Yes men” are people who are of the same mind all the time, they will say yes to you all the time and nothing is ever your fault. They make great gossipers. People who operate in this way have few real friendships. They lack the depth that comes with brutal honesty and understanding. These people become angry and bitter towards everything and even towards the people in their life. We need and it is vital that we have diversity in people in our lives. It keeps us active mentally and pro active in life in general.

Conflict need not be a big red nasty word when talking with those you really love. If we could all understand that if the other person loves us enough to talk out a frustration, they probably are not trying to be mean or have some ulterior motive (this why you need to know your real friends, yet another blog). The old adage “why can’t we all just get along” fits nicely here. So, why can’t we? Well, the simple answer is that life is complicated. However, if we are honest with ourselves and our friends at least we will remain strong in that area of our life so that when real situations come along we can support our friends and they can help to support us. We are all in this big bad world amongst liars and thieves, having friends is what makes going through life bearable at times. We should treasure them enough to keep things flowing, and sometimes that means a maintenance check-up.

*A quick note here, it is important that talking things out is needed, sometimes if ruled by feelings, it can be a terrible idea. Winston Chruchill said “It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right. ” Before you gird your loins to talk to someone, make sure it is truly needed in order for your friendship to grow. To also throw another qoute into this jumble of a blog, Will Rogers said, ” So let’s be honest with ourselves and not take ourselves too serious, and never condemn the other fellow for doing what we are doing every day, only in a different way. ”

When we begin to think of talking with our friends and loved ones, common sense should be applied.

To bring this to an end abruptly and in closing, confrontation, done in the right heart and thought out, isn’t always bad, it’s a chance to grow and learn and become the better people we want to be.


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