Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt
In this episode, Jodi explains how to confront and resolve conflicts with loved ones. Confrontation, when done appropriately, is extremely loving to others and to self.
In every relationship, there will be conflict. Conflict is not a bad or scary or wrong thing; it is a human thing. In every conflict, there is some issue that needs to be confronted and addressed. We need to learn to address conflicts—or else the conflict will never go away; it will only be avoided or ignored or pushed down. When issues are addressed, they are truly dealt with and healed. If I avoid or ignore conflicts, I will inadvertently create conflict for the rest of my life, and I will automatically engage addictive behavior and/or substances, and as a result, I will create even more conflict!
Although the situation of every conflict is different, it is not unique; all conflicts have similar components. Conflict is usually the result of fear, lack of education, and confusion. There is always a person who is acting out in a way that needs to be intervened on. There is the person (or people) who are needing to intervene on the acting out behavior. Frequently, when we are in this position, we become reactionary or afraid of the person’s acting out behavior. Typically, we either react in shock and horror to a loved one’s acting out behavior, or we join them in their disconnect. Meanwhile, the person who is acting out will grow increasingly numb and disconnected and shamed, which will allow them to engage in more and more egregious behaviors.
If you want to heal conflict, you cannot ignore it. It will become more exaggerated instead. Every time.
After listening to this episode, you will be better-equipped to confront and intervene in the lives of your loved ones, in ways that are compassionate and empowering.
PDF Version: Episode 63 Transcript: How To Confront A Loved One
Episode 63: How to Confront A Loved One
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
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Hello and welcome to the week of July 11th, 2015. Thank you for tuning in this morning to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. I want to thank you, sincerely thank you. If it wasn’t for you, this podcast would not be possible and so I am honored and in awe of how many people are tuning in to listen to these. It’s an exciting experience for me because it’s telling me that what you’re listening to, you appreciate, you are gaining something that’s beneficial for you, because you are sharing it with family, friends, associates. And that is one of the reasons why we are growing at very quick speeds.
We are having thousands and thousands of people joining us and listening to these podcasts and so, thank you, thank you. I appreciate that compliment of referring it on to people that you love. And I feel so grateful and happy that what you are experiencing is actually blessing yourself life, that the things that I’m talking about resonate with you, they make sense with you, and in some small measure, I hope that somehow, the different principles that I’m talking about are blessing your lives and also the lives of those that you love.
Because we’re having such an interest in what we’re recording, we are going to be writing a book. That is in the works right now. The book is going to address most, if not all, of these concepts that I talk about: connection, how to love, how to truly forgive, what is drama and shame, how to manage fear and anger. All those kinds of things.
One of the things that we need is some help from you. Two things. One is, if the things you’re listening to are helpful for you in any way, I would really appreciate it if you would get on the ConneXions Classroom website which is at www.connexionsclassroom.com and give us your email. Right on the front page—on the landing page—it will say name and email address. What we’ll do once we get your email address is that we will send you newsletters as we write those, and keep you updated with what’s going on here at ConneXions Classroom. You’ll be the first to know about upcoming books, or workshops, or speaking engagements. Like I said, you’ll be the first ones to know when something new is happening here at ConneXions Classroom.
The other thing that we are needing is help with this book. So, one of the things that’s really helpful is to tell these principles through a storyline. And so, if you have a story that illustrates or illuminates these principles, choose one of the principles and then get on the website, www.connexionsclassroom.com, and write your story out to us. Send it to email@example.com. You’re welcome to send it to me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us those stories and we will be choosing from among them which ones that we’d like to put in the book.
[6:41] Conflict & Confrontation: Universal Principles
What I’d like to talk about this morning is how to confront a loved one. This is something that I deal with on a daily basis. I want to say that probably 80 percent of my practice, in some way or another, is helping people on one side of that conflict or the other side, interact with each other in a healthy manner. Because obviously, if you’re in therapy, there’s some kind of conflict going on. It’s either an internal conflict or it’s being created by an external source. But there’s conflict happening. And so few of us know how to manage conflict appropriately. And so, when it comes to someone you love, someone that you’re friends with, someone that’s important to you, even though it might not be an intimate relationship—it might be a co-worker—there is a way to confront, and there’s a way not to confront.
And so, though I’m very aware that every situation is different as far as the setting, as far as the ages of the people, and the actual confrontation, like the acting out of the person—all those kinds of things are different. However, when it comes to confronting, every situation is different but it’s not unique. And what I mean by that is that it’s not unique because there have been billions of people on the planet, and other people have gone through similar confrontations. Like I said, maybe the setting is different, but there are certain components that always present themselves in any kind of conflict.
And so, at the base of the conflict, these principles will always, always be present. And that’s why I can speak to how to heal a conflict without even knowing what the conflict is, because they will always have evidences of specific principles that are being acted out.
And that’s what I want to go over with you.
Today, I was working in my office and I think there were about four different units, like family units/couples that came in that were in some kind of conflict. And all of them had the same foundation.
And oftentimes, when I’m running groups, part of the reason a group is so powerful is because other members of the group can say, “Oh my gosh, you sound like me, I feel that same way, how is it that my situation, that’s about my daughter and she’s 14 and she’s being belligerent. And your situation is about your husband and he is not being honest with you and he’s not being forthcoming about where he’s at in the evening. How can our situations look so different but be so similar?”
And the reason that is, is because like I said, all of conflict has at the center of it, the same components that are actually creating the conflict. So, again, though I know every situation is different, not every situation is unique. And so, I want you to think about that, that you are not a unique soul on the planet. And one of the problems is when we go into believing that my situation is unique or different, we become part of the problem in the conflict because we believe that no one has ever experienced this before, like my situation is different than everyone else’s.
That is actually very problematic and it creates more conflict instead of actually being a part of the solution.
So, every situation has the following things. It has someone who is acting out, so an individual who needs to be intervened on. Again, I want to just on the front end say that there are lots and lots of different conflicts from really mild conflicts to really intense—like someone’s threatening to kill themselves—conflicts and everything else in between. And these principles will apply; if you will learn them, they will apply to any type of conflict.
So, there’s always an individual who needs to be intervened on or one who is doing the acting out or the inappropriate behavior. The person who I deem, or others deem, or agree with me, that is out of control.
And then, to what degree they’re out of control is the degree that I react to them, if that makes sense.
So, if someone is sneaking out of their room at night—I’ve got a teenager that sneaks out of the bedroom at night and I know she’s going next door to a girlfriend’s house, that is creating a conflict. However, it is not to the degree—because I know the parents of the girl, and I know the girl, and I don’t get a sense or maybe I have enough confidence that they’re not engaging in really destructive behavior. So, even though there is a conflict and there is lying and hiding going on, I don’t have the same kind of reaction that I would if she were sneaking out and meeting her boyfriend, or her drug dealer, or some stranger is picking her up in a car at night. I will have a very different reaction, and thus the conflict will rise in my mind to involve a greater reaction. That’s person A.
Person B is the individual who desires or needs to intervene on person A. So, those are the people or myself that say there’s a problem, there’s a conflict, this person is acting out of control. And usually people become scared, because of person A’s acting out behavior, and then they become reactionary usually to their behavior. And what I’m hoping is to be able to give you some principles so that instead of you reacting to your daughter slipping out of her bedroom window at night, you become responsive, that you respond through conscientious and thoughtful manners or behaviors, so that you’re not reacting just as she’s reacting.
So, this dynamic has and does repeat itself just billions of times in our world. There’s a conflict, and so regardless of someone’s age, or socio-economic background, or culture, or language, or gender, no one is immune to going in to conflict. Some of us have been on both sides of conflict, or some of us have exclusively been on one side, or exclusively on the other side, yet we all realize and recognize that conflict will create issues that need to be addressed.
So, any time there’s a conflict, there are issues or there is an issue that must be confronted. So, conflict is not a bad, or scary, or wrong thing. It is a human thing. Like I said, every day, there are billions of conflicts going on, and we get to address them. But for most of us, or many of us, we become scared or reactionary and so we try to not address them. But every one of us who is listening to this understands that they’ve had conflict, understands that they’ve been on one side or the other of that conflict, and probably many of us who are listening are maybe still confused about what happened years ago or what’s happening currently in this conflict; but realize that there are issues that need to be confronted.
And so, if the issues are not confronted, the conflict will not ever go away. It will not ever go away. Those issues will only be subverted, or denied, or pushed down, or ignored, but they do not go away. And so, I am very interested in helping you actually heal the issues in your conflicts, so that they actually can be addressed and they can really be acknowledged and truly absorbed, like disappear, so they don’t come back up at a later time.
So, for some of us, we know that conflict and we don’t know how to confront it. I want to shift into how we as people typically address conflict. There’s two different ways.
[17:09] How We Typically Address Conflict
Some of us feel the conflict, see the conflict but don’t know how to confront it. So, let’s say I walk into a store and someone runs out of the store and they’ve got a six pack in their hand and you understand that they are stealing, and in your head you say, “Don’t get involved.”
It’s not about right or wrong, it’s probably more of, “deer in the headlights,” I don’t know what to do. I know what’s happening, I know that that’s inappropriate, I see the store clerk running after this person, but I don’t know how to confront it.
For those of us that show up that way in conflicts, we will have conflict go on the rest of our lives—whether I’m the one creating the conflict (which by the way you will always be on one side of that spectrum where you’re creating conflict because there’s no way to not create conflict). Some of us are more belligerent about creating the conflict than others but we will always be on both sides of that spectrum at some point or another. And our goal, I would assume, is to become really conscientious, so that we create as little of conflict as possible for ourselves and other people.
But if I don’t know how to deal with conflict and I don’t want to address issues, and I like to ignore them, and deny them away, then I will have that kind of energy following me for my lifetime. And when I ignore conflict either in my own body—my own emotional, or physical, or social conflict—then it only gets worse. It creates a life of its own which is really confusing for me because I think “Hey, I’m ignoring this, how come it’s getting worse?” Which then will create my co-dependency to become really exaggerated, because if I’m not willing to address my conflict, I start becoming addicted.
Co-dependency is an addictive behavior. And so remember, addiction, the whole function of addiction is to alter my mood, change my experience, not feel the emotions that I’m currently having because I don’t want them, so I engage in addictive behavior, or I engage in an addictive substance, because then I won’t have to feel the conflict.
And so, trying to avoid conflict doesn’t work, and it just creates more conflict because now, I start having addictive behaviors.
Now, a lot of times, for those of us that are afraid or confused about how to deal with conflict, it’s being created because I’m afraid, or I am uneducated, or I have some kind of confusion. And usually, it’s a combination of all three of those: fear, uneducated, and confused.
And so, what I mean by that is if I don’t understand what’s happening, then it’s really easy to feel afraid. Fear oftentimes comes because I don’t know what this is. And so, instead of learning about whatever it is, I just react and feel afraid. That will ensure that the conflict will continue because it’s something that’s unmanageable for me.
When I say unmanageable, it means I don’t know how to deal with it—it’s out of control—and so, I try to just ignore it. But if I do that, I will ensure that it will never leave and I will be feeding it because I’m not willing to address it or I don’t know how to address it. And that will be being driven because of my fear of not knowing how to address it, or my fear that they’re going to dislike me, or my fear that they’re going to be angry with me, and/or my confusion of, I just don’t know what to do.
So, I hope that that’s clear to you. I hope that I’ve explained that in very clear ways that if you want to heal conflict, you cannot ignore it. Let me repeat that again for anyone who is in denial. If there is conflict in your life, whether it’s inside your own self with you, or whether you’re in conflict or someone’s in conflict with you, you cannot eradicate conflict by ignoring it. It will create a life of its own and it will become more exaggerated, more verbal, and you will have more and more consequences as a result of you ignoring it. That is a promise. That will happen. It may be subtle at first, and those will be the outcomes. That is not a threat from me, that is just the unequivocal Truth about not being willing to deal with the issues that are in your life.
Like I said, those kinds of issues, when you try to ignore them, will create addictive behaviors—obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
So, here I am and I am in a conflict either with myself or with my loved one or someone that’s important to me. I will do one of two things with this person.
I will either join that person in their massive disconnect. I will go into denial with them, I will acknowledge that this isn’t that big of a deal, I’ll try to justify, minimize, rationalize what they’re doing because I want to join them in their disconnect because it appears easier to join them in the disconnect than it does to confront them.
Or I will do number two, I will look on to their life or into their life in horror. I’ll feel shocked as to, “How can they do this?” kind of a thing. It’s like, what in the world is going on?
So, I either will join them in the disconnect, join them in the denial, join them in the rationalization of what they’re doing and minimize their behavior, or I will look on and be shocked and mystified as to how they can be so disconnected.
That’s the person that is not doing the acting out; it’s the person that is wanting to confront them, I’ll show up in one of those two ways.
Now, the person who is acting out, who is showing up in this out of control behavior will grow increasingly more numb—disconnected—which allows them to engage in more and more egregious behaviors. Hopefully, that makes sense to you. I, the person who is acting out in whatever way, with drugs, or alcohol, or sex, or lying, or keeping secrets, or anger, or whatever it is, whatever I’m acting out with—stealing—the more that I do this, the more numb that I become, which creates disconnect. Disconnect from what?
Disconnect from Reality, disconnect from honesty, disconnect from your loved ones, disconnect from being accountable, disconnect from being humble. All those things that actually keep you well, and healthy, and connected, the person who is acting out in their acting out behavior, they feel more and more shame.
Now, if you don’t know the word shame, I’m not going to explain it here because it’s quite detailed, please go and listen to the podcast that has shame in the title. You need to learn about shame because shame is at the epicenter of all disconnect. Shame is at the epicenter of the issues that are found inside conflicts. And so, you have to understand what shame is, your own shame and someone else’s shame, so that you can be educated in such a way to help them and also respond appropriately to yourself and to the other person.
So, you’ve got a person who is acting out and the more they act out, the more they feel shame, they feel bad about who they are, what it means, like I go and I get drunk and that means I’m no good. I cheat on my spouse and that means I’m unworthy. And those things are lies. The truth is, is that my behavior is egregious and I need to take responsibility, and clean it up, and be honest about what I’ve done, and go through a process of restitution and repentance to make things right with myself, with the other person, and if you believe in a Higher Power or a God.
And the other person is either joining you in that disconnect—is either joining you, drinking with you, minimizing your acting out behavior, because 1) they feel fear, 2) they don’t know what in the heck is going on and so they think if they just connect with you like this, then maybe they can convince you to stop.
But when people do #1, which is join the person in their massive disconnect, when they do #1 and join them in that acting out, they do stuff like this: they go into just massive amounts of denial. I’m actually going to do another podcast next week on denial and how denial leads to enabling behavior, and juxtapose for you the difference between mercy and justice, and how enabling or going into denial contradicts or violates justice and mercy.
So, I go into all this massive denial by justifying, rationalizing, compartmentalizing, making excuses for them. I minimize. And this is often done unconsciously just so you know. People aren’t just consciously, like yeah, it’s fine for you to go cheat on your wife, I don’t have a problem with that.
But typically what they’re trying to do is say, well, if I cause them to be angry, then they’ll keep doing that kind of behavior, so if I just make them think that I’m okay with this or if I make it less to me than what it really is, then maybe they’ll stop. Or maybe I don’t really want to see what a serious thing this is, because if I do, then I’ll have to do something about it.
So, a lot of times, this is done in unconsciousness. Most times it is. And the reason people are unconscious is because oftentimes, they’re trying to avoid the person’s upset, the person’s wrath, their threats. That’s what they’re trying to avoid. Or people go into that because they feel a lot of shame themselves, they feel a lot of responsibility for the other person’s choices, like maybe I had an affair two years ago and so now that my spouse is having an affair, it feels justifiable because I did that to her or he did that to me.
But again, that’s not real clear logic. It’s not alright to engage in egregious behavior that is hurtful and destructive just because somebody else did. But it’s amazing how many people will justify that kind of behavior because they have shame around something that they haven’t really cleaned up or they don’t really have a lot of clarity around. A lot of parents feel shame, they’ll say it’s guilt but really it’s shame. Like if they get divorced and they’re kid’s acting out and they’re out of control, a lot of parents will say “Well, I kind of caused this because I got divorced from their father or their mother and so I feel badly but this is kind of par for the course.”
It’s kind of like their behavior—that’s kind of what they believe. And it’s like no, that’s not okay. Yes, I understand you got divorced, and I understand that they went through some hardships, and welcome to life. Nobody goes by in childhood without being banged around a bit. It’s not meant to hurt you, it’s meant actually to refine you. And so, no one has permission to be destructive towards self or another person in the spirit of “bad things happened to me.”
So, let’s go back to what I was talking out before. There’s two positions. #1 is I join the person in massive disconnect and #2 is I look on in horror.
When people go into #2, which is looking on in horror and being shocked about how they can do this, they also have denial but not as much as the #1′s do. They are mostly confused by their behavior and they don’t know how to interpret it—it’s not rational. They look at it and go, what are they thinking? How could they do this? I’m so confused, I can’t follow their thinking. And that’s typically where the #2′s go. They want to do something but they just don’t know what to do.
So, they often will align with them and just intuitively do what feels loving, like give them money. Also, like I said, they go into denial, they minimize their behavior—to their face, they minimize their behavior, but when they’re away from the person, they go back to horrified and shocked. But when they’re with the person, they don’t want to upset them. And so, they tip toe around the person because the person that is acting out is manipulating, and threatening, and lying, and “causing” them to feel certain emotions because they’re just exploiting the dynamic.
And so, it’s very destructive when you have a system—a family system, or a dynamic with a friend, or with somebody at work, or whoever, and the system is split. So, what that means is, you have some people who are going into the #1 position which is they join the person in their massive disconnect and then you have some people who are going into the #2 position. And when that happens, the person who is acting out or is in conflict cannot be adequately supported, because they will always take the path of least resistance, which will always be #1. Always.
They want to interact with people who will go into denial with them. And all of you—the person who is acting out, and you who goes in and joins them—all of you will be manipulated and split.
So, when I say manipulated and split, again, I’m not talking about both parties are being conscious of doing this. Both parties are typically not conscious of doing this, and it’s not until you get educated and you start teaching or someone teaches you what’s actually happening, can the person or you take responsibility for what you’re actually doing. You’re just reacting.
So, the person who is acting out, their whole goal is to stay in hiding. They have engaged in some kind of behavior or they’ve had something done unto them, some kind of trauma, that has caused emotion. And the emotion is so uncomfortable that they don’t want to deal with it.
The Reality of whatever has happened to them or whatever they chose and the consequences followed, whatever that Reality is, is so uncomfortable that they don’t want to deal with it and so they go into this acting out behavior. And as they’re acting out, they feel some kind of reprieve because they go numb. Now, the rest of us who are on-lookers start feeling this conflict and start getting really concerned about them. But if we go into the #1 position, which is where we join them in this massive disconnect, then we will be being manipulated by them, and we’re manipulating them as well.
So, nobody is getting helped. In fact, everybody in that dynamic is being hurt because you are enabling and engaging in the lying, and supporting the lying, and the manipulating, and the secrecy, and the irresponsibility to continue because you’re not confronting it.
Just to make clear, when you join them, you hurt that person. Your hurting of them will not look like it’s hurting, it’s not like you can see them hurting, because it will be very hidden and camouflaged, because the person will want to be around you. They love being around #1′s because they feel understood, they feel like you get it, they will try to convince you that you are the nice one and that the others are really mean, and unloving, and unsympathetic, and they don’t get it. You’ll feel like you have an “in” with them, when in reality, they’re just manipulating you. Because they will always be lying. They’re not just going to stop lying because you join them in the disconnect. But you’ll think that you can help them from that position, but I’m telling you—I want to say warning—I’m trying to be really clear with you. You will not be helpful. You will be a distraction and a hindrance if you go in there in disconnect, because they will always feel comfortable around you in their disconnect. And in that way, you’ll be harming them because you will allow them to 1) not be responsible, 2) not be honest with what they’re doing, and 3) not be humble about who they’re affecting and how they’re affecting.
So, those three characteristics I just mentioned: no responsibility, no honesty, and an inability to humble, or be transparent, or be vulnerable. Those characteristics: responsible, humble, honest, are the three characteristics that will heal the human soul.
Those characteristics are the only way for someone to heal from any and all acting out behavior. The only way.
I’m going to say that again. Because we are souls—we’re not just a brain running around, we have a soul inside of our body—and our souls know what is right and what is wrong. We all know that when we gossip about somebody, that that could hurt their feelings. We know that’s wrong. We all know that when we hit somebody, that that causes pain. We all know that stealing is inappropriate. We know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
And so, our spirits know that we need to be honest. They also know that we are responsible for ourselves: we’re responsible for our thoughts, our feelings, and our choices. We’re also responsible for the outcomes that those choices create. And we also know that it is our responsibility to be humble, to be teachable, to be open.
Now, I understand that there’s millions if not billions of us running around that don’t espouse those principles. And what I’m telling you, in my practice what I have realized, is that every single being, regardless of the characteristics of age, or religion, or gender, or belief system—every single person understands that it is their obligation to show up and be honest. It is also their obligation to be responsible for themselves and to act in a humble, vulnerable manner.
Yet, if I’m not willing to show up in those ways, I will do everything in my power to convince you that I’m not responsible for my life. I’m not responsible for my feelings, or my choices, or the outcomes. I’m not responsible for what it is that I choose.
When I’m in acting out behavior, those three things, being responsible, honest, and humble, I will try desperately to convince you that I’m not responsible for those things. That I am a victim of my circumstance and I will try to convince you that you must understand that it’s not my fault.
And here’s where you, who is on the other side of the conflict, must understand shame. Because if you do not understand shame, you are going to get so lost in what this person’s doing. Because that presentation of victim coming at you—that’s victim, I’m not responsible—if the person is in victim and they cannot get out because they don’t know how to take responsibility for themselves, and you don’t understand that that’s what’s going on, then you will unconsciously, inadvertently keep supporting them in that destructive role of I’m not culpable, I don’t have any accountability, life is mean to me, these things always happen, you did this, I didn’t, and on and on. And they will be stuck there for the rest of their breathing days. So, you’ve got to get educated or you will end up being a sucker in their distorted reality.
The next thing you need to do is try to get everybody on the same page. If you’re in a system, like a family system, or maybe you’re trying to confront a friend, try to get as many people as possible on the same page with you. If you cannot get everyone on the same page, then the ones that are #2′s, who are willing to hold them accountable no matter what— (Remember, #2′s are the people who are looking on in horror but they don’t know what to do).
#2′s are usually willing to confront people if they understand what they need to do. So, get as many of the #2′s together and get educated. Decide that no matter what, you’re going to hold this person accountable. But together, get educated and then buckle up my friends, because you’re going to be in for a very, very bumpy ride.
If you try to get people together who are doing the #1′s, which is I’m in massive disconnect, it’s like filling up a bathtub and having somebody keep pulling the drain on you. That’s what #1′s do. You’re all working together to fill the tub, and #1 comes in there and pulls the plug and says, “You know what? I think it’s better that we just don’t confront them.” Or, “This is really going to upset them,” and they keep sabotaging the interventions because their fear or their shame is so great that they’re more concerned about how they’re going to be seen or how they’re going to feel, then they are really concerned for the person who is acting out and who is out of control.
That really is the Truth because I don’t want to confront them because then it’s going to feel uncomfortable for me. Now, they usually don’t see it that way, they usually see it as, it will cause upset for the other person and so I don’t want to confront. But really, it’s when that person’s upset, then they’re going to be upset with me and I’m going to be uncomfortable, so let’s just not do it.
So, don’t try to rally #1′s together, let #1′s do whatever they want. Get your #2′s together and talk to them about, we’ve got to get educated and figure out what’s going on here, and no matter what, we’re going to stay together.
Now, the person who is acting out will do certain things always. You ready? They will always not account for themselves. You’ve got to remember that.
Number two, they will compulsively lie. And they will not be humble, or open, or honest.
Those three things, humble, open, and honest, they ain’t. So, they will not be accountable for themselves, they’ll blame everyone else, they’ll lie compulsively, and they will not be humble, or vulnerable, or open.
So, therefore, you must, must, must model those three characteristics for them. That is what they need because remember, those characteristics are the things that actually create health for every single soul. It doesn’t matter who you are. Every single soul will heal if they are willing to live those three principles. It’s kind of like, if I have a common cold, it doesn’t matter when I’m born, how old I am, how many kids I have, where I live, it doesn’t matter. The same antidote will heal my cold as it will heal anyone else’s cold anywhere else in the world if they have the same cold.
That’s what this is. Issues inside confrontation are the same issues. It’s, I refuse to take accountability. I want to blame other people. I’m a victim of life or my circumstances. Those will always be at the center of a conflict.
What will also be at the center is, I have a right to act this way. it’s not my fault. This person did this to me. Because of this, I have a right to…. Those kinds of statements are all wrapped up around the victim mentality. Victim will always be at the center of the conflict.
So, you who are the person on the other side of the conflict who is trying to help them, must, must, must model that those three characteristics of honesty, responsibility, and humility, to this person and don’t deviate because they need your emotionally honesty and I really mean that. I mean, when I say need, they need it like breath, they need your emotionally honesty. They need invitations from you to ask them to be responsible. They need to know that you are vulnerable and they need invitations for them to be vulnerable and humble.
Those three characteristics look like this, I say things like this. When I’m in emotionally honesty and I’m inviting someone to be responsible and humble, I invite them to be vulnerable, and I validate them. So here’s what I can say. I can say, “When you say that you hate me, I feel sad.” So, the sentence stem is: when you (fill in what they did), then I feel (fill in what you feel).
So, “When you get angry by me confronting you around stealing money out of my purse, I feel insulted, I feel hurt, I feel used.” That’s honest. You are modeling honesty for them when you do that.
Another way that you can model honesty and responsibility is when you say, “Help me understand why you stole the money out of my purse.” That’s inviting them to be responsible. “Help me understand why you stole the money out of my purse.” You’re not saying, “I can’t believe you stole the money out of my purse.” You’re saying, “Help me understand why you did that.”
And when you say that to them, you’re inviting them to be honest, but you’re also inviting them to be responsible. Don’t be afraid of the person, because if you feel fear or you feel shame, then you’re going to get manipulated. Remember that they are emotionally numb, but also realize that their shame has a hold over them and so anything you say to them, they will misinterpret.
Anything you say that doesn’t benefit them, they will misinterpret. So, be ready to be honest with them and reframe the things that you said. So, what I mean by that is, because these people are still trying to hide themselves emotionally, and because they don’t feel real deep feelings because they’ve numbed them out by other behavior, they have a lot of shame over what they’ve done, they feel bad about who they are. So, that shame is dictating things inside their head, saying things like, “You don’t matter. You’re not enough. You’re no good. Nobody will love you. You can’t fix this. This is always going to be the reality.”
Those kinds of absolutes. Shame also says things like, “You deserve better, I can’t believe they’re treating you like this.” Or, “You don’t have to sit here and take that.” Or, “They don’t love you.”
It speaks in thousands of different ways, but it’s always attacking the being. It either attacks the being who is having the conflict, or it tells them to attack the people who are trying to address the conflict. So, those of who you are trying to address it, you’ve got to be sensitive that this person is loaded with shame. So they’re numb and they hear their shame.
And so, anything that you say that does not in their interpretation benefit them, they’re going to react and they’re going to not hear it clearly. So, make sure that when they distort when you said, that you say to them, “You know what? I actually didn’t say that. What I wanted you to hear was this.”
So, ask them as you’re talking to them, say things like, “What did you hear me say?” That’s an invitation for them to be responsible for what they heard and be honest about what they heard. And then, if they get it wrong or they don’t get it accurate—what you actually said—then, you can say, “I’m sorry that you heard that. What I wanted you to hear was this.”
It’s an act of validation, “I’m sorry you heard that.” That’s validating. “And what I wanted you to hear was this.” This is the part that’s honest.
So, what you’re doing is you’re always being honest with them, with a mixture of validating them. So, when you’re honest with them, you’re also inviting them into being responsible. And when you validate them, you’re inviting them into being humble. Those characteristics are what heals someone. Now, when I say heal someone, I’m not talking about that you’re going to go in and do this and all of a sudden, the person is going to get healed. What I mean by that, is that if there’s any way for a person to get out of this conflict, get out of this shame, get out of these lies, and these issues that they seem to just keep perpetuating, the only way that they can get out is they must interact with people who are willing to confront their behavior. Not attack them for who they are, like you’re such a fool, I can’t believe you did those, what were you thinking? That kind of stuff goes nowhere, it actually adds more shame and the person will stop talking to you if not ever be around you again.
But if you are willing to confront their behavior in honesty, they more so than likely will stay and listen to you. Now, they may run off for a couple of hours, or a couple of days, or maybe a couple of months, but when they are willing to get honest about what they’re doing, they will come back to the person or people who have been honest with them. And honest does not mean enabling.
Honest means that you tell them the Truth about their behavior and how their behavior has affected them. And that you’re validating. People will call validation loving, but loving is too broad, you’ve got to validate. You have to say, “I’m so sorry that this is hard for you.”
And if you don’t understand what validation is—which a lot of people don’t—then go to the podcast, I’ve got several podcasts on validation. Listen to them. Learn how to validate. It is imperative that you learn how to validate if you’re going to confront, because people will not listen to you if they do not feel safe. Even if they have done something super inappropriate, like let’s say you find out that your grown child embezzled a bunch of money, and you want to knock them upside their head, like what are you thinking?
If you do not validate their emotion and try to understand how they got there, then you will be no good in helping them heal how they got there and helping them out of the situation. You must join them in their emotion and validate their experience. And again, if you do not know what that means or how to do it, listen to the validation—there are several podcasts on validation. Go look them up and go listen to them.
Validation sounds like this. I’m sorry that this is going on. I feel badly that you’re in this situation. I can’t imagine having these experiences.
You’re validating the emotion that the person is feeling. You are not agreeing with what they’ve done, you don’t support how they’ve acted out. You’re just saying I understand how you feel. And because we’ve all lived 10, 15, 20 years, we all get certain emotions. There’s not an emotion on the planet that by the time I’m 10, I haven’t felt. So, you are connecting with the emotion, not what it is that they did.
So, another point. Don’t allow the person who is acting out to dictate the reality to you, because remember, they’re in distortion, they’re numb, their reality is totally screwed up. So don’t allow them to dictate the reality, or what you feel, or what you said.
Always reframe back to the person what was the actual meaning, not their warped interpretation of the meaning. So, if I say, “I’m really confused as to why you did that.” And they say, “Yeah, I know. You think I’m an idiot.” It’s like wait a minute, I didn’t say that. And they’re like, “Yeah you did, you said you’re really confused about why I did that, and what you mean is I’m an idiot.” It’s like, “No, no. I didn’t say you’re an idiot. I am confused as to why you did that. I am curious about that. Could you explain it to me?”
See, that’s a misinterpretation of what you said, so don’t just allow them to dictate the reality of what you mean or what your reality is. Always reframe it back into what you want them to hear, not what they interpret you saying.
When you do this, when you confront them and you confront them in honesty, and you validate, and you’re really clear and direct about how they’re affecting you, and you share that with them, not in aggression but in assertion, chances are you’re going to feel like you’ve lost them or that they’re so upset you’re never going to get them back, or that you’ve pushed them over the edge. That is typically what happens when someone gets confronted because they get super upset. Why are they getting upset? Because the Truthfulness of what you’re saying—and if you do it in love and validation—is so powerful that it hits their shame, it hits the lies inside of their system that they’ve been trying to tell themselves, it hits their denial in such a way that it angers them. Or it “causes them to react” or to blame you, and they get real demonstrative possibly. Or maybe they get real passive and say, “I’m going to go kill myself. Life isn’t worth living, so I’m just going to go take my life.” Or maybe they say, “This isn’t possible. I just disappointed you too much and so I’ll just go away and never see you.”
Both of those presentations, the real aggressive presentation and the real passive-aggressive presentation are all manifestations of their shame and you’re going to think Oh my gosh, I did that to them because I was too honest.
But here’s The truth, you ready? The Truth, honesty, asking someone to be responsible for themselves, cannot hurt them. It cannot hurt them. Truth cannot hurt a person. The reason why the person is upset is because the Truth is hitting their lie and they’re now in an internal conflict and they have to decide, am I going to follow the lies that I’ve been spewing to myself, or am I going to follow the Truth of what’s just been shared with me about how I’m hurting my family, and how I’m affecting my mother, or how I’m affecting my spouse, or what I’ve done to my children?
If you do not share that kind of information with the person, they will never come to that conclusion on their own. Even though you say, “My gosh, don’t they get that they’re hurting? Don’t they get that they’re causing all these problems? Don’t they understand that I can’t sleep at night? Don’t they appreciate how much stress they’re causing?” The answer is no. They don’t. And as much as you want to sit there and boohoo about yourself, and how much you can’t believe they don’t get it, they don’t get it because they are numb. They are not feeling what they’re doing to themselves or someone else and that’s why, if not intervened on, it will never stop.
An addict does not wake up one day and say, “Oh, I think I’m going to stop today.” They have to have some kind of intervention, and sometimes the intervention is jail, sometimes the intervention is they have a heart attack and they’re laying on the emergency room table, sometimes they’ve been beaten to a pulp by a bunch of pimps and they wake up going, “Oh my gosh, what just happened?” But some type of experience has to come and intervene on their life in such a way that Reality is so stark to them, that they say “oh my goodness, I want to stop.”
So, I want you to hear what I just said. The person must have an intervention where the Reality of that intervention is so clear to them that they say to themselves, the benefits of acting out do not outweigh the benefits of being numb. The benefits have shifted in their dynamic now. The outcomes or consequences of being numb are far greater than the benefits of being numb. And you as the person who loves them can facilitate that if you will hold boundaries and you will be clear with the person about how they’re behaving and not just once, and not just twice, but every time you see them, share with them, I love you, I care about you, you’re important to me and you need to understand here’s how you’re affecting me.
Now, I share that and want you to understand that this is still up to them. They still have choice. This is not something that you intervene on and then all of a sudden if you do it right, then they turn around and they make different choices. You could intervene for weeks, for months, for years and keep confronting this issue and they can still use their free agency and not change. And if there’s any way possible for them to change, this is the only way that someone can turn around and come back the other direction. They must have Reality presented to them. And like I said, whether it’s you intervening or whether it’s some natural disaster that happens in their life that intervenes—but they must have some kind of experience. We’ve heard the term “hit rock bottom,” well the Truth is, there really isn’t a rock bottom until you’re dead.
And for some people, they don’t stop until they’re dead, and who knows, maybe they’re still acting out in their next phase of existence. Who knows? But for most people, there will be some kind of intervention, whether it be a natural intervention or a contrived intervention, that will wake them up in such a way that they will say “I’m done. I’m done with this conflict, I’m done with this addiction, I’m done with using people, I’m doing with lying, I’m done with hiding, I’m done.”
That is the only thing that can heal them. So, this is not about you making them happy, or making them like you, or making sure that they don’t get upset. That’s not what this is about. Your job as the person who is confronting them is to be honest. This is about speaking the truth about what they are doing and how it’s affecting you. Don’t speak for others unless you’re in charge of others, like if you are a parent, then you can speak for your children and say, “Hey, your brothers and sisters are being affected this way.”
But if you’re an adult, don’t speak for another adult. You talk for you. Here’s how it’s affecting me. Don’t say here’s how it’s affecting us. This is how it’s affecting me and be very clear about how it’s affecting you. Don’t be afraid to be emotional. They need to see your emotion, they need to see the tears in your eyes, they need to experience—if you’re angry, they need to experience the intensity of your anger, it doesn’t mean that you act the anger out, you just say “I am so upset, I could spit!” You share that with them because remember, they’re numb, and so you’re trying to model for them emotion, because they would feel angry too if they would take responsibility for what they’re doing. But because they’re so numb, they don’t experience it like that, they don’t experience the emotion. So, model that for them.
You also need to validate their emotions and yours—again, listen to the podcast on validation—and what your concerns of where they’re headed. You’ve got to tell them, I’m really concerned that if you continue this behavior, this is where you’re going to go or this is what’s going to happen. Let them know about your boundaries. If you continue, then I will not be able to be in your life. Or this behavior must stop or there will be no more money. Whatever it is that you’re concerned about, share that with them and also let them know about your boundaries.
Express your compassion and your love for them often. While you’re confronting them, tell them “I love you and the reason I’m doing this is because I love you.” And they’re going to be like yeah, right, people who love me don’t talk to me like this. And you can say, “That’s not accurate, people who love you are the ones that actually do talk to you like this. The people that don’t love you don’t care what happens to you, but I do and I’m willing to confront you even though you may cut me off for the rest of your life.”
Hold your boundaries. Now, here’s how you want to think about boundaries. You don’t want to join them in their distortion, you want them to join you in Reality. So, let them know, here’s how you’re going to show up, here’s what Reality looks like for you, and you no longer will be joining them in their distortion.
So, for example, if I have somehow been enabling them, I need to really look closely at the way I’m enabling you and put some boundaries around that. I mean, depending on what the conflict is and how egregious the behavior of the person is, I might need to cut off all connections with you—I can’t talk to you, I can’t see you, I’m cutting off the money, the car, the phone, the whatever. Some people need to go to that extreme because the person is just so far out of control.
And there’s everything from that extreme to not cutting off anything but just talking to them and seeing if they’ll come around. But you cannot be a co-conspirator with their distortion of Reality. If you are in any way, shape, or form facilitating, enabling, supporting them to stay in distortion, you must stop. You must stop, if you’re providing them a house, or cars, or money, or phones, or computers, or even emotional—like you enable them they call up and are really nasty to you on the phone and you just say, it really hurts my feelings when you talk to me like that, and that’s all you say, and the person’s like oh, whatever, you’re pathetic. And it’s like, “Ow, that hurts my feelings.” And you never put a boundary up that says “Hey! it’s not okay for you to talk to me this way and if you’re going to continue, I will be getting off the phone.” That’s a boundary of strength and honesty, and asking them to be respectful to you. Because if you don’t ask to respected, they’re not going to respect you, because remember, they don’t feel.
So, they live in the Reality with you. You don’t go into their reality; you invite them to come into your reality where there’s honesty, where there’s respect, and there’s dignity, and there’s compassion, and there’s love, and there’s giving, and there’s compromise. That’s what you’re inviting them into.
[1:07:13] Shame & Fear—The Enemies of Reality
Now, here are some things that hinder from people from being able to do this. Like I talked about before, the things that make us not be able to confront our loved ones are our own shame and our own fear. And if these two things are present, you’ve got to address them before you start confronting these people, because they know if you’re afraid and they will manipulate the heck out of your fear.
Let’s say that one of my fears is that my child is going to kill themselves. Guess where they’re going to go. You take my car away from, I’m going to kill myself. And right there, you’re frozen in your tracks, you don’t know what to do and so it’s like okay, alright, don’t do that, so how can we negotiate the car? And you find yourself supporting them in ways that you don’t believe in, because they’ve just manipulated the fear in you.
And so, though this is incredibly difficult, you must get to a position where you will not bow to their demands even if they end up killing themselves. Because the Truth is, they are not going to change just because you give them what they want. If they’re going to take their life, they’re going to take their life. But they don’t get to hold you hostage.
And remember that they are not you. So many people look at their own circumstances in life and think oh my gosh, I can’t do this because when I was that age, my parents did this to me and then I reacted this way and so I can’t do this to them because they’re going to react this way. Remember, they’re not you, they didn’t have the same upbringing you did.
So, again, those circumstances are different. What is the same in every conflict is that there’s no responsibility, there’s dishonesty, there’s no humbling or vulnerability, and no one, no matter what they’ve done or what they’ve been through, gives them permission to retaliate on another person. They get to heal whatever’s happened to them. If they’ve been traumatized, they get to heal that. They do not get to say, well, you know, I’m just going to repeat this cycle because somebody did this to me, so now I have a right to do it to somebody else. They do not get to do that. And if you have sympathy for the fact that they’ve had some kind of horrible trauma happen to them, and you do not hold them accountable for the fact that they now want to perpetrate on someone else or act out their anger on someone else because you feel so bad that this happened—if you feel that way about them, then they’re going to be out of control and they’ll be out of control the rest of their lives until someone intervenes and says, “Listen, I understand that this went on in your life, you were adopted and you’re angry, or you were sexually assaulted by your brother and we can heal that and we can address that, and I can show all sorts of upset around what has happened to you, AND you do NOT get to react and hurt other people because that was your experience.”
So, one more point before we wrap up. The Truth is this: our spirits need Truth. We need honesty, we need to know we’re responsible for our thoughts, our feelings, and our choices. We need to know and learn how to be humble and vulnerable. Those characteristics are what create health and peace inside us. Until I can get there and understand how to live those principles, I won’t heal. These are the antidotes if you will, it’s the anti-serum that actually heals a human soul. And you’ve got to know that as the person confronting, so that you can offer that and invite them to learn those kinds of characteristics themselves.
They intuitively will resonate with those things, but they have to get their shame out of the way because their shame is what’s clouding their ability to really see their accountability in all of this.
Now, that will be their choice. It will be their choice to either stay stuck or to listen to what you have to say, listen to your invitations to come into Reality, come into Truth, come into responsibility. It will always be their choice and they will either choose one direction or the other.
And remember, if they start threatening and you react to their threats, you are only causing them to become more and more sick, more and more disconnected. They have to realize that threat will not bode for them—not with you. And that if they choose to do something drastic like run away, or take their lives, or those kinds of things, you have to be willing to let them go. And here’s where the principle of surrender comes in. I have podcasts on surrender. You’ve got to let people go because you cannot stop them. They are responsible for them and only them.
So, they may choose to live in chaos for years and years and years, but what they have to understand is that if they choose that, they are going to choose to live in chaos by themselves because you will not be joining them anymore. And if they would like to choose another path, another option, one where there’s accountability, and honesty, and validation, and where there’s boundaries, and humility, then you will be able to negotiate and be available for them.
So, the takeaway from this is, everyone resonates with being honest, responsible, and humble. Everyone. But some of us are so numb that we don’t remember; we don’t recognize that our spirits really need that. And so, if you’re in the process of getting ready to confront someone, someone you love, remember that you have to get clear about your own shame and realize that no matter what the confrontation is, there’s always at the core of every confrontation is shame and this victim inside them that says, “Because of this, I can do whatever I want.” And that is what you’re confronting. You’re not confronting the fact that I got fired from my job, or the fact that someone cheated on me, or the fact that I feel betrayed. You are confronting this victim inside that person, and the victim inside them needs to be talked to straight, and direct, and clear, and with boundaries, and with honesty, and invite them to come in and be accountable for their choices about their behavior.
And at the same time as you’re doing all of that, you must, must, must validate them, because the validation is what makes them pliable to listening to all that feedback about the things that they need to look at: their behaviors.
Alright, this has been a long podcast but very, very important. I hope that this has been helpful. If you have any additional questions around certain situations, if you will write to me at Jodi@ConneXionsClassroom.com, you can pose your questions and I will answer those on upcoming podcasts.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for joining me, and between now and next time that we talk, stay connected. Stay connected to honesty and being accountable for your own self, and we will talk to each other soon. Bye bye.
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