The Truth About Confrontation

our enemy is our inner me

Confrontation is scary especially when fear has intimidated you and you’ve coped by shutting down, smiling and being cooperative even when you were mistreated or lied to.

Jamie hated confrontation. As long as she could remember, she was always afraid to stand up for herself because she felt like she was going to be ridiculed or criticized.

For her it seemed easier to keep her mouth shut, especially in romantic relationships.

Even though Jamie and her boyfriend Jeff broke up over a year ago, she was still afraid to confront him.

After their break up Jeff would often text her or call and ask where she was and what she’d been doing. When she told him Jeff would prod even further. “Where else have you been?”

Jamie felt like he was checking up on her, as if he somehow already knew where she’d been and he was testing her to make sure she was being honest.

She suspected that Jeff was tracking her. When she asked him about it, he admitted that he used to but he didn’t anymore. Jamie felt obligated to believe him, even though her gut instincts told her otherwise.

The thought of him tracking her made her feel naked, disrespected and invaded.

One day her sister told her that he was probably able to see her location on her phone since Jamie was still using the phone that Jeff had purchased for her when they were together. Jamie was livid and immediately figured out how to turn off her location.  

“I wanted to confront Jeff,” Jamie told me. “But for some reason the thought of confronting him makes me feel extremely guilty, anxious and ashamed.

As a peace keeper Jamie never wanted to rock the boat because somebody might be disappointed in her. For a lifetime, she’d been subdued by anxiety and shame. And it kept her compliant. Timid. Afraid.

That’s when I had an aha moment.

“I wonder if you’re looking at this situation wrong,” I said. “What if you’re not confronting Jeff?”

“What do you mean?” Jamie asked.

“What if you looked at this confrontation from a different perspective? What if, instead of confronting Jeff, you realized that you’re really confronting yourself? What if it’s not Jeff that you’re afraid of, but the false guilt, shame and anxiety that have held you in bondage?”

Jamie’s eyes widened. “You…are…absolutely…right. I’m not afraid of Jeff.”

She let out a huge sigh.

“I’m afraid of Me.”


Confrontation is a challenge. It’s an opportunity for personal growth. For Jamie, confrontation helped her defeat the giants of anxiety and shame that had held her captive her entire life.

What about you? Do you deal with shame, anxiety, self-doubt or people pleasing?

If you ignore these invisible giants and allow intimidation to dictate your actions, you’ll remain in bondage as the roots of anxiety and shame grow even deeper. But I have good news. God wants you to overcome!

Ask Him to show you when you’re cowering to your internal critic. Ask him to show you when fear threatens to rob your worth.

When you recognize that your battle is not so much with the other person as it is with yourself, with God’s help, you can take back your confidence!

Mind if I ask you a couple of questions?

Are there internal giants you need to face?

How does the perspective that you might be more afraid of yourself than others challenge you?

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38 Responses to The Truth About Confrontation

  1. Sherri at #

    Spot on thank you !!

    • Stephanie Miller at #

      I’ve not learned how to handle confrontation well. It wasn’t demonstrated good at all. I can confront some issues at work but but I’m my love life. That’s why I’m divorced twice and my current boyfriend and I are going through something that only I see is a problem.

      • Christy Johnson at #

        The more emotionally involved we are the more difficult it is to handle confrontation. I suspect that’s why issues at work are easier for you to deal with. The fear of abandonment or rejection can cause us to avoid confrontation, but it’s not healthy. Confrontation isn’t pleasant, but a healthy relationship can withstand it.

        • Jolyn at #

          My issue is with adult sons. They are hurtful to me and my fear of rejection keeps me from standing up for myself. I’m widowed and don’t want to be out of their lives, but it can be toxic to me.

          • Christy Johnson at #

            It is important to consider the cost. Sometimes we do need to confront someone who who has offended us. Sometimes we need to overlook an offense. Not because we’re afraid of rejection or confrontation, but because we know how to pick our battles and and because we are being the bigger person. Other times we need to PRAY and WAIT for the right time to address a situation so we can maintain our self control and respond instead of react emotionally. The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. And then there are other times when confronting the person will do no good so we confront the situation. For example, Abigail in the Bible was married to a narcissist who refused to help David and his men. She confronted the situation and provided what David needed instead of confronting her “foolish” husband. In the end, she was rewarded. You can read her story in 1 Samual 25. I pray God gives you the wisdom and understanding to discern the right way to address issues with your adult sons. I know it’s not easy, but nothing changes if we do nothing.

    • Genetria Mills at #

      I don’t have a problem with confrontation. When I try to confront what happened in my past relationship with the person they turn the conversation. It seems as if they won’t hear me out or make the conversation about them or accuse me of everything I’m trying to share. So I sit down and I don’t say anything.

      • Amy at #

        I am the same way! With my husband when I confront him he turns it around and starts to justify everything he does and blames it all on me for his actions. There is absolutely no reasoning with him! He is a great, smart guy but also an alcoholic and I feel a hopeless battle.

    • Jeanine at #

      I realized that my problem with confrontation also runs deeper with childhood trauma with an alcoholic father and then I ended up in a marraige with a narcicist….I was to afraid to speak up and if I tried I was ignored or had to endure anger oubursts…..I really want to heal….but I am not sure how to not be afraid….I

  2. Laverne at #

    My internal giants are/were fear, anxiety, people pleasing. Although I am working on this through therapy, now that I have started to speak up, I still feel guilt for saying no. I still feel bad and embarrassed when others are disappointed in me for not doing what pleases them, even when it makes me uncomfortable.

    • Christy Johnson at #

      I’m glad you’re working on squashing your giants. The more you look for opportunities to be authentic, the guilt and embarrassment fade, and the easier it gets.

    • Linda Zibaya at #

      Spot on

  3. Lori at #

    I was always scared to let others down, but never scared to let myself down. So I did – over and over. To the point I’m divorced now and wondering where did I go?

    • Christy Johnson at #

      We often think it’s easier to bear the weight of disappointing ourselves, rather than others. It’s true in the short run, but the long term effects of bearing the burden are too heavy. Lesson I learned the hard way.

  4. Cathy at #

    Christy, what an eye opener!! Coming out of an emotionally abusive marriage of 37 years 6 years ago, I was afraid of his responses when I’d confront him. I’ve noticed in these 6 years I’ve been growing more confident in myself with people, but not all people. I am harder on myself than other people. My family and church family have been great support, but the biggest support I have is my growing a stronger relationship with the Lord.
    I was drawn to your articles, but, a lot I couldn’t connect to, until this article.
    I’ve had one close relationship with a male friend, on and off for 2 years. We really were good for helping each other grow from toxic relationships. But, he actually ended it for good when we finally had a confrontation he couldn’t deal with. It was a STRONG Biblical deception he had that he won’t let go of. I wasn’t afraid of him or me in this case. So, I’m growing.
    But, now I see when I am afraid to confront ANYONE, it’s me I’m dealing with, and can be more confident to go forward in mercy, grace, and wisdom with Jesus right there guiding me, and supporting me

    • Christy Johnson at #

      Unfortunately, confrontation sometimes ends relationships. Confrontation is a good way to test the strength of a relationship. Wise people listen to others, but fools think their own way is right(Proverbs 12:15).

    • Amy at #

      I am so proud of you for getting out of the emotionally abusive relationship after so long! If only I could do the same! I’ve been in one for 22 years! It really takes a toll on you. I just read one of Christy’s bible plans on the Bible app and it really told me a lot about submission that I didn’t know about. I’ve been submitting to the evil one in our marriage because that’s what I thought I was suppose to do but I now know I don’t have too!! I am praying for strength to do what I need to do for me and my boys.

  5. C at #

    Hi Christy,
    Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and insight.
    I have been in a verbally and physically abusive marriage for 15 years. On April 13 of this year I ran from my husband in fear for my life at 3am in the morning. Since then I have done a lot of thinking and with that comes fear of confronting him due to not knowing if he will react in anger or out of love. I have tried but he does not admit to his abuse and blames it all on me for leaving him emotionally years ago which is not true.
    I had been trying over and over.
    He wants to work on getting back together and glorifying God through it even though he started sleeping with someone immediately after I left and we decided to separate.
    My fear is going through the divorce and asking for what I deserve and not knowing how he will retaliate is making me procrastinate.
    I also want to do what is right and know God hates divorce but I also feel God does not want me to live in a marriage of fear and that kind of abuse. Never knowing what the day will bring.
    I need to face my giants!!!! God help me!
    I could use some Prayers for strength wisdom and direction from God.

    • Christy Johnson at #

      Your H has shown by his actions that he is not safe or trustworthy or faithful. God values your safety over a covenant and allows for divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts. Filing for divorce will have consequences, and it’s not easy, but going back to abuse is not a wise decision.

    • Ruvimbo at #

      Thank you so much for this blog

  6. Flacagorda at #

    For me I’ve always confronted the person but when reading this story, I’ve never confronted myself. I hid behind accusations and blame but never seen who was the originator of the problem… ME. I approached a person about a problem, and when they said “you are the problem by talking to other and not letting it go”. I felt a huge shame, cuz they were right. For the first time it made me look at self, the mirror was right in my face looking at ME and what I needed to confront… MYSELF!

    • Christy Johnson at #

      I’m so glad this different perspective was helpful to you!

  7. Carl B at #

    I’ve been an introvert and abused my entire life. I’ve never looked at me as the biggest problem until I became what I was used to being treated like but blaming others or my past. My wife has left becuase I’ve become the emotional abused and became toxic towards her. I’m learning and trying to be good and work on our marriage although she keeps saying it’s too late.

    I’m trying to look at my inner self but I feel so much shame and stick in a rut of she might come back as long as I keeping working on me and trusting God.

    It’s hard keeping my faith some days but I try to find fellow Christian to sharpen iron. I hope I can fix me first show she wants me back even if it takes years.

    I’m sorry to all the ladies that read this post and think my husbands toxic or mean or emotional abusive. I can’t blame past trauma or ptsd any longer just keep taking one foot forward everyday.

    Thank You christy for your articles and pray for my Christi too

    God bless Carl B

    • Christy Johnson at #

      We all attempt various ways to recover from our past wounds until we realize only God can heal us. I’m glad you’ve recognized the blame and the shame and the ways you’ve repeated the abuse that you grew up with. Recognizing the unhealthy ways we deal with pain is one of the biggest parts of recovery because we can’t progress until we acknowledge the part we’ve played in the destructive relationships. Stay in the Word and worship. Find a strong support group and mentors. Your recovery is worth it!

  8. Sonya K at #

    I am sure I do have internal giants I need to overcome. Time will tell. I just confronted and overcame a huge external “giant” that has been in my life for 7 years , so now I will be dealing with the emotional fallout from that. I have support surrounding me to help me get through it. The fear of the unknown is probably my biggest fear, but with my support system and a lot of prayer I think I’ll be ok!

    Sonya K

  9. Morgan Thomas at #

    What if the anxiety you need to confront could tear your family even further apart?

    Feeling like I’m between a rock and a hard place, because I love and respect my parents, however the lack of compassion from one, and understanding from the other feels like they have been disregarded.

    Mental health has always been a prevalent issue in our family. Like your family, mine has also been very active in ministry. I have always felt the stigma to not show the imperfections outside of the home. Most of the time we’re told to “get over it,” or “step up/grow up.” When most of the time understanding is what we all needed.

    My prayer is that my family never goes back to where it was before. I believe the past has led us to this new challenge. Would you stand in agreement with me in prayer that our family will find the resolve it needs?

    We have our issues, but I couldn’t imagine life without them.

    Thank you.

  10. Christy Johnson at #

    Like surgery, sometimes the pain of change is so great at first that we put off confrontation in exchange for temporary peace. When we face change with wisdom, eventually healing comes forth. May God give you the wisdom and insight you need to face the new challenges in your family.

    • Morgan Thomas at #

      Thank you for your response.

      I’ve taken steps to recognize my own traumas, and have learned to deal with some bitterness. I’m just not sure how this will ever get better unless my family can unify and work together to solve it.

      What has your family done to overcome things like this?

      • Christy Johnson at #

        To be honest, I tried to change my family members for a long time. But after lectures and protests produced nothing, I finally understood that change had to begin with me first.. Learning to accept the reality of what family members were capable of and then changing my expectations was huge. Instead of changing them, the Lord began to teach me how to walk in grace. What began as an attempt to change them changed me. What if the outcome of adversity and relationship struggle was for me to learn grace?

  11. Morgan Thomas at #

    I feel I would have a lot more grace, if the things that were done, could at least be recognized, instead of placed in the ‘I didn’t say that’ category.

    I’m learning the things we say to each other can really hurt. I know Ive participated in the hurt as well. Does that disregard my pain? I’ve prayed and even spoken to a local pastor, its came to a point I feel all of our pain is valid, but nothing can be done if we dont work together.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

  12. Jeanine at #

    I realized that my problem with confrontation also runs deeper with childhood trauma with an alcoholic father and then I ended up in a marraige with a narcicist….I was to afraid to speak up and if I tried I was ignored or had to endure anger oubursts…..I really want to heal….but I am not sure how to not be afraid….I

  13. Christy Johnson at #

    Verbal confrontations with a narcissist who uses rage to control and intimidate are not wise. Even Proverbs says that when we rebuke a fool, we invite insult. Besides verbal confrontation, however, there are other ways to confront abuse, but it always starts with confronting our own fear and refusing to throw away our confidence. That of course, takes an intentional renewing of the mind to begin to believe that we are worthy and strong in the Lord.

    Focus on scriptures that minister to you and declare them out loud over yourself. Faith comes by hearing!!

    God will never abandon you. He will never rage at you, use sarcasm or insults to restrict your worth.

    The next step is learning how to set boundaries and enforce them with consequences when others continue to trespass against us. We can’t enforce effective boundaries if our confidence has eroded. We’ll always cower under the pressure, so that’s why renewing our mind is essential.

    What are your favorite scriptures that encourage you? How can you declare them over yourself in PRESENT tense and FIRST PERSON.

    For example: I am strong and courageous. I am not discouraged. (from Joshua)

    You may not FEEL like the emotions yet of what you’re saying , but it’s important to say it in present tense, because in the realm of faith, it’s already done. God has already given you those things. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.

    • Denise at #

      ”Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!“
      ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103‬:‭1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
      Christy, I Praise God for leading me to your site and information! Events of this past week have stunned me into realizing there were issues in my relationships past that I thought I’d dealt with, but clearly have not.
      I feel disheartened, but I am grateful the Lord has already begun to help me heal. Although all the messages on this blog reflect my confrontation with Me, Jeanine’s post resonates most. I’m 62, and that’s my story.
      Last Thursday during a Team meeting , a teammate verbally exploded directing his anger towards me. It was just like listening to my father and former husband of 16 years again.
      I’m grateful for the gifts of God’s Word and Prayer. I’m grateful to have an appointment with a trusted Christian counselor next week. I’m grateful for this resource God has shown me through Bible App.! I.will be Praying for healing and wholeness for everyone here. Blessings, Christy!

  14. Andrea Major at #

    I have a need to confront my children’s step mother in order for healing to occur in my own heart. I do not want to resent her or allow bitterness to grow in my heart, yet I am very angry at her for many things that she will deny if I confront her. She will and tries to be very flattery but then I am taking a risk if I speak to her about the things she did to my children, my ex husband (their father) and to countless others in his family. I am not sure how to approach her or if I should yet. I know that I need to gain wisdom from God and His word in order to heal. So many who know her tell me that I should leave her out of my life, but this person still has a grip on my oldest son’s heart and she manipulates him and I want to confront him too, but he will probably think that I am saying things “against her” because “I have not dealt with the issues from when he was a child and that I am blaming her for the problems that occurred when he was visiting at her house”. His stepmother is narcissistic and i feel that I can’t heal from the pain and anger if I don’t clear things up with her; Plus, I think that she will continue to manipulate my son.

    • Christy Johnson at #

      Confronting a narcissist is not a good idea. They are skilled at manipulation and flipping the conversation back on them to make them look like the victim. An approach you might consider would be to confront the situation instead of the person. Are there ways you can set boundaries and give her less control? Your anger likely comes from feeling controlled, which is understandable. Forgiving her will help bring clarity so you can make a better choice about how to resolve the situation. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to trust her, but forgiving will help your heart heal.

      • Travis at #

        I’m reading all of everything here and I know this is all women but I can relate to everything some things I’ve read I’ve already taken personal inventory on and thats on both sides of the fence… me and my fiance need counciling if we really wanna grow together and healthy we, need help.. anything you can do or do you have any resources where you could send us?

  15. Travis at #

    I’m reading all of everything here and I know this is all women but I can relate to everything some things I’ve read I’ve already taken personal inventory on and thats on both sides of the fence… me and my fiance need counciling if we really wanna grow together and healthy we, need help.. anything you can do or do you have any resources where you could send us?

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