The day that I realized that confrontation wasn’t all that bad!

The day that I realized that confrontation wasn’t all that bad! I had been a quiet kind of kid, never fussed very much, seldom got into any fights with anyone in my family (except my sister Deb), including my parents. I was never in trouble with the law, except my first speeding ticket when I was 19 years old. I was a pretty good kid, never had to be asked to mow the grass or take out the trash, would keep the garage clean, wash my dad’s car from time to time. Never missed school, liked doing homework, even going to the library.

Now on the other hand, what I lived through was tough. Both my parents were alcoholics, my dad was never home, and my mother..well, she was always drunk, when I came home from school. Life was hard for my sister and I. I would make dinner for us, and not exciting ones at that. Usually white rice and canned corn. Back then we didn’t have all the frozen dinners we have today.

One evening it was around 10 PM, when I was waiting for my dad outside that mid-October evening. I had been working on putting up a basketball backboard after school and waited to shoot some baskets with my dad, when he came home. It was a windy and unusually warm fall evening. I could hear the leaves blowing down the street and in the branches above me where I sat in the lawn chair.

I saw the headlights from a car coming down the street, and then pass the house. I started to bounce the basketball as I waited for my dad to show up. I was by no means any good at shooting the ball, I just wanted to spend some time with my dad, and on his terms. I was 14 at the time, and knew little about the problems associated with alcohol, except for my mom. I was embarrassed to bring friends home, as I never knew what condition she would be in.

Finally my dad arrived home and parked in the driveway, and got out of his car. I asked “dad can we shoot some hoops?” I tossed him the ball, he took two shots and went into the house. When I followed him in, he said nothing about the backboard that I put up, or that he enjoyed shooting some hoops. The pain of that incident caused me great heartache, still hurts today when I see dad’s neglecting their own sons and daughters.

When I started High School, I was active in football, track and field, and weight lifting. I used these activities to keep me away out of the house and away from my mom’s drinking. It worked all my years in high school and college. Sports was a great get escape for me.

I can remember when I went and wanted to have a man to man talk with my dad. I didn’t have a script, I wanted to share with him my feelings of their drinking and neglecting my sister and I. I was scared for sure and needed to get some things off my chest. When my parents were drinking hard, my sister and I were physically abused. Hit repeatedly with whatever was within reach, belts, hangers, brooms, hairbrushes, etc. It was often that bruises and welts were very visible for our teachers and friends to see.

I had a football game in high school that I had asked my dad to attend, he always found an excuse not to attend, while other parents would be in the stands watching their sons play. After the game, I went home and my dad was in the hallway as I went into the house. I asked him if I could talk with him, and he said that he was busy. I said “dad, we need to talk, can we please talk now?” He said “NO”, I started to plead my case with him, and he became very upset with me, he clinched his fists, and stared at me as I spoke with him. I thought that we were going to have a fist fight. I continued to tell him how mom’s and his drinking was killing my sister and I. I told him how many bottles of Jack Daniel’s I poured down the kitchen sink. I was fighting a losing battle with my dad. I was going nowhere with him. The more I talked the more angry he became. I looked at him with tears flooding my eyes and coming down my cheeks. I told him, I could no longer take it, enough was enough. I shared with him my feelings and thoughts, I got no results form my talk, but I sure felt a whole lot better by getting it off my chest.

Have you carried years of guilt and wanted to confront someone who has hurt you? Here are some tips that can help you:
By getting organized and working out a plan of action, confronting and handling people becomes much easier. The key is your preparation.

Follow these seven steps to prepare yourself for dealing with the difficult people in your life.
1. Plan to face up to the person directly and by yourself.
2. Write down the exact problem you need to handle and your goal for the confrontation.
Examples of problems to be confronted that you might write down:
“Joe is refusing to pay me despite our agreement.”
“Chris is hurting office morale and causing me stress with her continual complaining.”
“Bob is supposedly telling people that my work is inferior and I am dishonest.”Once you specifically name or identify the problem, write down a goal for the meeting. “By the end of the meeting, I want . . . .”
3. Write down a Plan or List of Points You Need to Make to Support Your Goal: Facts, Reasons and explanations you may need the other person to understand. List the points in order of priority or importance.
For example, to get Joe to understand why he must pay you, you might make these points:
A. Jim requested the service.
B. Jim signed an agreement to pay for the service.
C. We provided the service as promised.
D. Jim was happy with the service.
E. Etc.
4. You need to write down any objections, reactions or disagreements the other person may have with you. Include everything you are afraid might happen during the meeting. Putting specific concerns and fears in writing reduces their impact on you.
For each objection, reaction or disagreement you expect will happen, write a solution of how you will deal with each.
5. Organize your thoughts and put them to notes and gather supportive documents.
6. Arrange the meeting place where you will not be disturbed, preferably in a space you control and on neutral grounds.
7. When you start your meeting.
A. Look the person directly in the eye.
B. Explain the specific problem you want to resolve as you noted in Step 2.
C. Go over your first point on the list from Step 3.
D. Listen carefully to the other person and make certain they feel understood.
E. Hold a position on your points.
F. Use your solutions to their reactions as you worked out in Step 4.
G. Continue describing your points and listening to the person’s side.
H. Do not give up. Communicate and persist for as long as it takes to reach your goal.
The more frequently you confront and handle difficult people, the easier it becomes. The amount of time it takes to prepare for a confrontation decreases. You become strong and tough.