Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Should You Confront Someone Who's Mistreated You?

I'm Catholic, so I try to follow the teachings of the Church. The Bible says that if someone sins against you, to tell him or her directly. That's why I believe this is the best way to proceed.

However, when dealing with a disordered person, you must be extremely careful. They won't accept responsibility for their actions. They also won't apologize, no matter what they've done. Don't expect them to. What you'll probably see is a wall of denial and, probably, a lot of blame shifting as they try to pin their terrible behavior on you. Don't fall for it.

Confronting an abuser sends a strong message you're not going to take it anymore. Especially if you do it the right way. The trick is to be totally detached and unemotional. Focus the conversation on their actions, rather than your feelings. If the other person has a personality disorder, they don't care if they've hurt you. Telling them how sad you are doesn't register. That's why it's better to stick to the facts, and base your conversation solely around their behavior.

Back everything up with specific incidents. In fact, it's better not to confront unless you have a list of these incidents.

You could encounter what psychologists call "narcissistic rage." That means the person will lash out at you. But you don't need to respond. Simply say, "I see we're going to have to talk about this another time," and walk away.

If this drama is playing out at work, though, you'll need to tread lightly. Use a minimum amount of words without any emotion.

However, if you deal directly with an emotionally unhealthy individual, be prepared. She knows you're on to her. She's terrified you'll tell other people what she's done, even if you don't plan to. So she might spread some malicious gossip, in hopes that if you do talk no one will believe you.

Flickr photo by bobsfever

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