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Beyond the Stereo: Stuck in My Head

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April 07, 2005

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(...ed.)

Typically, those that are non-confrontational learned it as children. I highly recommend a book called Self Esteem by Matthew McCay, Ph.D., and Patrick Fanning, M.A. While you may not (or may though I doubt it) have any self esteem issues, there are parts of the book that talk about how we see ourselves based on what we learned as children. There is also a section on the "critic" which we use to have those imaginary conversations with ourselves. As a psychotherapist with I have recommended this book hundreds and hundreds of times and read it my self on occasion.

Ith

That post could have been written by me! I do understand :)

TNT

I'm definitely "non-confrontational". I was going to say I didn't know why, until I read your previous comment here.

I guess one good reason would be my mother. She refused to address any issues when I was growing up. If she was angry with me, I couldn't talk to her about it. She would just refuse to speak to me and walk away if I tried to talk to her about it.

When I was a little older, I could see lots of issues she would just ignore. Completely refuse to deal with like they weren't there (i.e. insurance upon death, her divorce from my father, etc.) BIG issues.

So I'll blame my mom. Isn't that what parents are there for? :)

Helen

My housemate is completely non-confrontational and it is driving me nuts. He constantly says "I going to tell this person....etc" but he never follows through with these big statements.

Anthony

This one is really weird but here goes. A girl I liked alot stopped calling me. I kept calling but never got through. After a year she called me. I asked her what happened. She apparently thought I was Gay. I asked her what would make her think that and she told me it was because I was non-confrontational. At every situation I would avoid an argument or avoid people that I respected a great deal like my family because of the amount of control they had over me. Now I am not gay or metro-sexual. But what does being non-confrontational have to do with weather a person is gay or straight???

Ratus

I would say that being non-confrontational is somewhat associated with being "weak" or a doormat and, by extension, the cliché of being "gay" or effeminate. I agree that making this association is foolish but that's the way the society see it.
I am also personally averse to confrontation, and when a conflict arise I have the tendency to avoid it or to be too mild in my reproaches. That's strange because I do not suffer from any low self-esteem issue and have no trouble leaving people if they are abusing (but the key word here is "leaving" - a way to avoid confrontation - ). So, I wonder what's the origin of being non-confrontational. Maybe, indeed, being with parents who are overprotecting, but this is, in my mind, only one piece of the puzzle. Other factors like social situation, emotional sensitivity, past experiences, self-esteem issue (thought not every non-confrontational individuals will suffer of it) or even genetics may also playing a role.

Dave

Do not confuse "confrontation" with being "accountable." The landlord was not "accountable" if he did not establish guidelines for payment and did not follow through on retrieving them incrementally per the agreement. However,if he were to get in the tenant's face in an insensitive and disrespectful manner, that would be "confrontational." If the tenant received guidelines for payment and deliberately waited, that is nonconformity, a form of "confrontation." The landlord must have the tenant agree to the guidelines that the rent would increase a percentage upon late payment. Otherwise he is setting himself up for possible future "confrontation" over a vague agreement. There should be no margin for "confrontation" when guidelines for payment are in place. Unless however the tenant was the landlords relative. Family ties can often lead to feelings of "entitlement." "Entitlement" is the condition free spin card that trumps everything. If you do not believe it, try being accountable or non-confrontational with a narcissist. Next week we'll discuss litigation and eviction. Confrontation is aggressive behavior, and business is business. And kids and adults are happiest when they are informed and know their limits.

Blake Hrabal

Ok >.> so whats the solutions to this. I've read everyones comments and what they said. And I am exactly the same way u can sum me up with non-confrontational. I have terrible communication skills. Don't get me wrong, I have game with the ladies, i'm a great father/guy/husband (always room for improvement). I'm not a little dude, I will do some damage if someone steps up to me physically. But when it comes to fighting with words which is how I'd rather do things than punch someone cuz i'm not violent at all...I feel like a weak boy...a little boy. I run away from all confrontation. I give people the silent treatment because I just don't know what to say and how to confront a situatino and continue to dish it out if you will. SO after hearing all these stories......WHATS THE SOLUTION on how to be more confrontational, because I would love to be that guy who gets his burger messed up 3 times a Mc Donalds and gets pissed at the managers...instead, by the 3rd time I walk away and say.... w/e screw it.

Jillian

I used to be extremely non-confrontational until I moved out of my parents' house and got an apartment with my boyfriend (now fiance). My mother was the assertive role in my life and if I needed someone, I would just simply unleash her on them. I love my mother, but typically i when I would make my own decision on something or do something on my own, it wasn't the way she would have, so she would do it, or redo it herself. I found that this could have possibly resulted in making me lack confidence in what I do and how I do it.

My boyfriend lead me to believe that he was a guy who gets things done assertively, so I was under the impression that he would be taking over that decision making role in my life and fighting my battles for me. Over the span of two years, I had come to find that he was even less confrontational then I was. I found that if I didn't step up, things never would never get done, people walked all over us and I was more stressed out than I had ever been in my life.

There was a time when he was in a band and it went well for a while, until they started playing until 3 in the morning on weeknights. We both work the typical 8 to 5, Monday through Friday jobs that demand our full attention, so I thought this was unacceptable. Especially since they weren't getting paid. I had to step in and tell them that we had jobs to work in the morning and that until this band starts paying for the bills, it's going to take the back seat. Shortly after, they phased him out (the band members must be equally non-confrontational). My boyfriend never blames me for getting him ousted from the band, though it was something he loved.

I have asked him all the time if there are any things about me that bother him and he says (after 6 years together) that there isn't. I fear that there may be, but he is just avoiding that situation. There have been times where he would talk to or flirt with women right in front of me and I would confront him about it and he has since stopped, but any guy that would come talk to me and try to ask me out,my boyfriend would just let it slide. He doesn't give it a second thought. It's as though if he is truely bothered by it, he would much rather avoid the confrontation with me than to show me it bothers him. It is quite frustrating, because I am constantly expressing to him my concerns about other women, but he doesn't express any concerns about me and other men.
I think that your roommate had a terriffic idea of forcing you to confront her about the rent. I think that it is the only way to truely break out of this little shell. Once we are forced to confront things, we lose that fear of the reprocussions because they are heavily outweighed by the outcome of not confronting them. I was forced to be more assertive because I was not going to be letting other people rule my life. It's all about getting pushed to that breaking point.

I hope that I did not rant too much, but it was nice to share some things that have been weighing me down for some time and finding some sort of solution. I hope this helped you as much as it helped me.

Elisabeth

I think it is in-born. My Mom tells me as a four year old I could not handle any confrontation - even when my playmates begged me to stay. Unfortunately, in our aggressive and competitive western society, this is not a very valued attribute in a personality. I have learned to value myself and being a caring, kind, compassion person should be an asset instead of a handicap.

M Cahill

I think that being non-confrontational is an excuse for being indecisive and not taking personal responsibility. Non-confrontational personalities can also be annoyingly confrontational to other people. Grow up, take some personal responsibility and solve a problem like a person, not a cowering dog.

Marla

Women are taught to be co-dependent and non-confrontational. We are programmed into being subservient instead of assertive—out of fear of becoming the most dreaded thing of all—a bitch!
You don’t have to be a doormat to get people to like you. Sure, they might like you but they don’t respect you. You won’t get respect if you don’t demand it.
It isn’t too late to break your programming and learn to set boundaries.
You are also focusing on the WORST possible outcome. As for the issue with your boss, why do you not think you should have to do certain assignments? Does your boss arbitrarily assign tasks to the wrong people? Is your boss picking on only you? What are the needs of the business, and what other resources are available? Your boss may have few choices coupled with the need to get something done. A good way to address this would be to say to your boss: “I’d like to help you with this assignment, but I think we should take a look at my current workload in order to make sure I’m the best choice for this assignment.” You can be assertive AND helpful! It’s all based on your mindset.
Also, people who are non-confrontational tend to repress anger. You’re unhappy about this, and you’re expressing frustration about the condition of your life in this blog. I found this blog as I was looking for opinions on being non-confrontational. I’ve peeked around at some of your other entries, so I don’t know if you’ve changed since you made this posting in 2005. I hope have found or will find a healthy, productive way of asserting yourself to spare yourself from further frustration.

samreen

i cant believe this..........there is smbdy facing de same problem as me....i hv read all the comments above but there r no suggestions hw to overcm this problem....PLZ HELP

SRM

so true about me!

Matt

I'm exactly the same way... Just recently I was at a restaurant where the waitress screwed up my bill and had to run multiple bills through trying to correct the problem and finally the manager approached and told me my card had been denied on the fourth attempt of running my card... I was furious on the inside being that they ran three bills through successfully at varying totals all between $40 to $60 and yet there manager stated the problem for the fourth was that I had insufficient
funds... My girlfriend didn't understand why I didn't stand up for myself and I did not understand either... Other than I simply try to respect others so why make a scene making those
around me feel uncomfortable and depict myself as an a$$... I was absolutely furious at the manager which formed the regret of not doing anything about it... I payed witha credit card and walked away.... Does any one have any feedback on this or insight?

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