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?