How to Stop Fearing Confrontation
Confrontation. Yikes – even just that word is scary. Anyone else get triggered? 2s, 7s, and 9s – this one is especially for YOU. Of course, all Enneagram types can view confrontation negatively, but for these types specifically, we HATE it!
Take it from me – an Enneagram 7 – confrontation is the actual worst. It’s something that only in the last few years have I even been able to BEGIN overcoming, and that comes with lots of introspection and dedicated work. 7’s core fear is to be trapped in pain – and literally trapped in a conversation that is going south, battling someone over an opposing view certainly sounds painful to me. 2’s essentially want to help people and be liked by everyone, so confronting someone can seem like a way to compromise those things. 9s are peacemakers, so confrontation feels counterproductive, naturally.
Why is it that we automatically think confrontation is bad or scary? Why do we automatically think confrontation is negative and not a positive thing?
Do you avoid confrontation? Wouldn’t it be nice to not fear confrontation? To not avoid people, let it fester and get all awkward, and then try to figure out how to re-establish communication even though absolutely nothing has been resolved? Think about a confrontation that you’ve been avoiding. What are the chances it’s going to go away on its own?
You are going to have to have the confrontation at some point. Acceptance is the first step.
Not all conflict has to be bad. There is such a thing as positive conflict. Positive conflict can eliminate problems and prevent issues from growing larger, and the goal is to understand more about each person involved.
Negative conflict creates more negative issues and grows the concern, and the goal here is to simply oppose the other person.
What would happen if you viewed confrontation as a positive conflict instead of a negative one?
Positive conflict can eliminate present frustrations and prevent problems from happening in the future. It helps you understand the other person and allows you to be more knowledgeable of all aspects of the situation and closer to the actual truth.
Avoiding conflict only delays the problem. Little issues grow into bigger concerns. Ever have a frustration that started out very small but grew to be a huge awkward or angry issue simply because you put it off? Let’s learn to address confrontation sooner than later because short-term conflict seems to be way better than long-term conflict.
2s – you worry for less time about people not liking you.
7s – that means you are trapped in pain for LESS time.
9s – more time of peace
Here’s a mantra for you: conversation is not confrontation.
Try to identify what specifically is it about confrontation that you don’t like.
Being yelled at.
Having to disappoint someone.
Somebody not liking you.
Causing a disruption of peace.
You are trying to avoid these specific things – not confrontation itself.
You have a negative connotation about confrontation – the first step to overcoming your fear of confrontation is – you guessed it, just like everything else – switching your mindset on it.
Let’s go back to positive confrontation. Now, it doesn’t help that the first definition of “confront” in the dictionary is “to face hostility or defiance, to oppose.” Can we change this? Can we change the way we view confronting? The second definition of confront is “to present for acknowledgment.” I like that one. It’s less scary.
You want to be acknowledged, right? You want your feelings to be acknowledged? Let’s start here. Instead of avoiding confrontation (aka acknowledgment) let’s present for acknowledgment. You, your emotions, your thoughts or feelings cannot be acknowledged if you run away.
I’m inviting you to sit down with your anxieties over confrontation and really do the work to discover what you are truly trying to achieve.
Want to go deeper into learning how to stop avoiding confrontation? Listen to my podcast - it's totally worth it!
Apple Podcast Spotify Google Podcast