I had yet another nightmare about my mother last night. I told my husband about it this morning, & the topic of the nightmare was similar to something she used to do repeatedly when I was a child. He asked if I ever confronted her on it, & I said of course I did when it was happening. He suggested I confront her now, as an adult, & I said absolutely not. She’s still the same person she was back then, so I’d end up frustrated or hurt again. His perspective was at least I’d get the anger out of me.
I later got to thinking… this happens a lot. I’ve noticed many people think confrontation is always the way to go when someone has hurt or abused you. And, many times it is the right thing to do. Normal people don’t want to hurt others, so when you confront them, they will apologize & try to make it up to you.
There are times though, when confrontation isn’t right for various reasons. When someone is a narcissist for example, confronting them most likely will lead to them making you out to be the bad guy, them the victim. Plus, now they know that action hurts you, so they will do it over & over specifically to hurt you.
Rather than just blindly confront your abuser, I strongly suggest thinking about it first. How does this person respond to confrontation? Is she/he open to making changes? Does the person care about hurting others? If the person is a narcissist, & you know they will turn this scenario around, will it still help you to speak up? Answer these & any other questions honestly, then you can choose whether or not confrontation is the right thing for you to do in this situation.
I opted not to confront my mother, by the way. This is usually how I handle things with her. I don’t like it, because I believe people need to know when they do bad things. However, she also likes to use things that hurt me repeatedly. If I can conceal my pain, I have a better chance she won’t use that tactic repeatedly. I’ve learned with her, it’s best to show zero emotion when she hurts me & I’m in her presence. Once I leave, I cry or vent, often writing in my journal & praying. Getting my feelings out to her would only result in being completely invalidated & honestly, I can’t handle that anymore from her- she has done it too much in my life. It isn’t a perfect solution, & it probably won’t work for everyone, but it works for me.
Learning about setting & enforcing healthy boundaries also will help to eliminate the need for many confrontations. Knowing what you will & won’t tolerate, & making that known, eliminates disagreements & problems before they start.
Limiting contact with the person will help you as well simply due to the fact you spend less time with her.
As I found what works for me, you need to find what works for you. I pray God will guide you in the right direction for you when the time comes.