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Confrontation vs Conversation
(There is a better way to solve your problems).

Imagine a father, enraged by some little incident that occurred within the home earlier in the day. So angry with the hand that life has dealt him that when his wife slaps him across the cheek, he hits her back. Imagine a mother, so heartbroken because of the things that her husband does to her and her children, that, in the heat of anger, she takes a drawer full of his clothes and throws them into the fireplace. Imagine a young, ten year old girl sitting beside her heartbroken mother, knowing her mother was hurting and yet not knowing what to say to take the pain her mother feels away. All she can do is sit there, unable to say the things that might comfort her mother and yet unwilling to let her mother alone in pain. And imagine that little girl laying on her bed, curled into a fetal position, tears on her cheeks, her hands curled tight around a fistful of bed sheet, listening to her parents sling accusations at each other.

The scenes that you've just imagined were part of my daily life. Fighting between my parents is really the only memory I have of them together. Rarely can I picture them laughing or talking while complete peace reigned in the air. I grew up knowing with a certainty I could feel that my mother loved my father and yet very often being left uncertain about what exactly my father felt. I was never quite sure if it was genuine love for us, or the need for attention that continued bringing him home from his unexpected and unexplained trips away from us. And the fights were never explained either.

As an adult now, and entering relationships of my own, I have been told that I am too "passive" and that I "give in to easily" and that I'm "over sensitive" because my body begins to shake terribly whenever a voice is raised or tension enters the air. I used to tell the people that entered my life, crying for help, "There is a reason for everything and one day you will look back on the things you're going through with new understanding" but I never really believed it myself because I never really thought that I would ever gain understanding for those fights nor would there ever be a reason good enough to explain it all away.

That's what I believed, but I was wrong. With the maturity that only time, and the chance to live in relative peace brings, I have been able to reevaluate my childhood and those fights, and with clearer realization , I now understand the valuable lesson they have taught me. Raising voices and fists, getting angry and shouting to get the point across resolves nothing. All it does is temporarily soothe the sometimes powerful need to tell the other person exactly what you think of their actions or words. It does not help the situation. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my mother was even more wounded after the fights, physical and verbal, she and my father had, than she had been to start out with. Before the confrontation, she was hurt because of an action, and she felt abandoned, neglected, or betrayed and keeping those feelings inside of her made things worse until she felt she was going to explode if she didn't get it out in the open. When my father wouldn't talk about whatever it was she wanted to talk about, my mother's anger would explode and, within minutes, a fight had erupted. Words would be spoken, accusations made, and tears were shed until the truth of the original disagreement would get lost in the need to inflict as much emotional pain on the other as she felt had been inflicted upon her.

When this occurs, when this need for revenge and the need to see the other person hurt and degraded, takes over, nothing is said that is of any good because it's probably not even true. From this point on, words become weapons of revenge, not tools of communication, and the disagreement becomes worthless. Nothing is resolved and when the dust clears and the fists come down and the accusations stop, the pain is still there and more comes to the heart because of the new emotional wounds inflicted by the argument. The end result, therefore, seems to defeat the purpose of the original confrontation, doesn't it?

The original purpose, of course, was to resolve an issue, to finally make peace about something that had been bothering you for some time. Instead, all that is accomplished when anger gets in the way is more pain and more issues that will probably be dealt with eventually with a new fight, which will bring about new issues to be dealt with later and so on and so on... In addition to having to deal with the new issues brought about by words that were spoken in the heat of anger, the original issue still remains unresolved. The cycle is vicious and never ending and it affects everyone involved: not only the two fighting.

Because of this belief, and because of the fear I have of raised voices, I have made a conscious choice not to ever engage in a fight. To have a calm discussion about the things that are upsetting me is an acceptable way of dealing with pain that may be inside of me. This accomplishes it's purpose, usually: to bring to me understanding and then acceptance of an action performed or a statement made. What I would do to help this world realize that conversation helps heal so many wounds and in such a more peaceful manner than raised voices ever has or ever will.

God wants us to talk about our problems: holding them inside of us is dangerous. It's like a pot boiling. If you put a pot of water on the stove, and cover it, then eventually, it's going to start to boil and sizzle and if you don't take the lid off of it, then soon, it will burst, throwing the lid off itself. But, if you take the lid off before that happens, then it will sizzle down itself and not result in an eruption. We work the same way. If we hold things, bad things, inside of us, then eventually, we'll burst and an argument will break out: we'll explode. Or the consequences may be worse than that, in that we may choose to harm ourselves. But if we talk about those feelings calmly, and invite God in to help us deal with them, then the bad feelings will slowly and smoothly disappear. We need to talk about our problems but we don't need to shout and use fists and anger to try to resolve a conflict.

In his approximately 30 years of life, Christ is only recorded to have been angry one time: one time in a lifetime! That's a pretty good example to try and follow, isn't it? My mother's philosophy that says, "If you are wronged, then you have the right to express your feelings to the one who wronged you" is correct. You are special and worthy: you have the right and you need to let others know when they have hurt you, but why not learn of more peaceful ways of doing that so that you may find resolution rather than resorting to angry, hurtful and often untrue words that only begin a cycle of more pain for you?

Remember, it is conversation not confrontation that is the stepping stone to healing.