Reena's Exploration Challenge · whatever!


Reena’s Exploration Challenge, Week 8
This week Reena challenges us to look at confrontation
and how we handle it, what we do to resolve it and how it affects us.
On her blog, she has posted an excerpt from a conversation with
psychotherapist Barry Michell about a tool
to use when facing confrontation.


I am not a fan of confrontation and rarely initiate it but I do not run from it either. It helps if there is notice that there will be a difficult conversation so that emotions can be held in check and tempers don’t rule the meeting. Being blindsided by aggression is never easy. It takes patience and restraint under the best of circumstances to take the time to really listen to what is being said so that the problem is understood and can be resolved.

The paragraph below is from the conversation. There are two paragraphs before this one that set up the premise and it would help to read them for understanding. The link is here.

The first step of the tool is to scream silently to yourself, “Bring it on!” and move right into the cloud. Once you’re in it, you scream silently, “I love pain.” In this case “love” simply means I am one with this pain—I’m inside it. To get through something, you have to become one with it; then, and only then, can you let go of it. In the third and final step of the tool, the cloud spits you out; you find yourself soaring into a realm of pure light…and you say to yourself, “Pain sets me free.”

I can’t say I have used this approach. It seems counter-productive to me. I do think it is important to prepare yourself and accept that it may be unpleasant or painful and to acknowledge your feelings but I am not sure “pain sets you free.”  I have had my share of painful confrontation and I can’t say I have ever “become one with it” before I let it go.

We all see and work through problems in different ways. That’s what often brings on confrontations. Maybe if we spent less time centered on self and more on others the confrontations would be less confrontational and more conversational, less aggressive with more accomplished.

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21 thoughts on “Confrontation…

  1. Well done, Patricia, and I like your approach. We work through confrontation in different ways, depending on what the issues are and how we react.

  2. I agree whole-heatedly with your closing sentence. It’s the only way to peace, on both a personal and an international level; consideration and conciliation, not aggression.

    1. There will be no lasting peace until everyone understands that all people have value and reason for being. Why does that seem so hard for some folks?

      1. I don’t know. I have a sister who occasionally cries our “Oh, why can’t people be nice to each other!”, and then hunts for an excuse to attack me. If I don’t rise to the attack, she finds another cause or contention, and another, until I finally snap. This hurts me.
        If family members can”t show compassion to each other, how can we expect nations to? Sometimes I despare of the human race.

        1. Compassion and kindness do start with those we are closest to…or should. If we cannot share openly and with careful thought with people we know and care about we will not do so with strangers. Seems a puzzle we are unable to solve. But we gotta keep trying.

          1. Thank you for that thoughtful response. After a lifetime of being intermittently bullied by my younger sister. I’ve tried all my life to conquer her cruelty with a mix of kindness and avoidance, but nothing works, so I’m taking heavier action – for her sake as well as mine (people call her The Shrew) . I’m sending her a harsh and truthful, but loving, mail, and keeping your words in my head will help to prevent me from saying anything unhelpful. As an extra precaution I’ve asked a wise online friend to check it over for me.

  3. Interesting post. Although there are some good basic things to remember, I believe each person has to handle it differently. It’s hard to keep emotions in check, but important to try to stay calm. . .is that possible? Plus, not every person or argument we confront can be dealt with the same way or even at all. As to pain setting us free—nope. I can’t agree with that one either.

    1. You are right. Each person and every confrontation is different and needs to be treated in a way that reflects the understanding that differences are not in themselves good or bad. We must respond not react to those differences to have resolution acceptable or at least tolerable to all involved.

  4. The important point that you raise here, is about where we are centered. Will that consideration for others cause a repression of self, which can explode in other ways later? As I see it, the idea behind this tool is to familiarize onewelf with the emotion, so that it ceases to hurt. The problem that I see in ‘becoming one with pain’, is how to release it later. Do I have three versions of my conscious mind – pain, joy and neutrality, and I keep switching from one to another?

    Do we see an equanimity in the later years, as one has seen it all, and those things have ceased to shock? Should we let the mindset of ‘wonder’ take a backseat? For example, I see a child do something that enthrals the parents, and the grandparent says, ‘This is how you were in your childhood.’ Does it add to the joy, or take away from it? The same grandparent is enthralled by a technological wonder, which the children take for granted? As I write this, another term strikes –gratitude, for the small wonders in life.

    Guess I should say ‘Thanks for contributing’, before the comment turns into a full-fledged post 🙂 The discussion on this challenge has added immense value to the poser.

  5. Excellent response Patricia, I do like your final conclusions….and I agree we do all react to confrontation in different ways.

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