I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t like confrontation. I completely understand that because I’m one of those people. I would love a world where I never had to confront anyone about anything. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a world like that and neither do you. At times, people are going to say and do things that hurt our feelings and/or make us angry and, if we confront them, although things may or may not turn out the way we’d hoped, we've taken a huge step in building our self-esteem.
Of course, there are people who choose to avoid confrontation. There are those who say what they think we want to hear instead of having the courage to tell the truth. Others, simply nod their heads as if they agree with us. I don't trust those people. I prefer to interact with people who say what they mean and mean what they say - with kindness and tact, whenever possible.
When someone offends us, we have a decision to make. Do we ask them what they meant by what they said or did and talk it out (sometimes people don’t mean things the way we take them) or do we refuse to deal with it? If we choose the latter, we’re going to have problems because, if something really bothers us and we pretend it doesn’t, there will be repercussions.
1. Some people turn those feelings inward, rather than dealing with them, setting themselves up for depression because they've refused to stand up for themselves and they've allowed someone to mistreat them.
2. Some let resentments build up and, sooner or later, they're going to explode. Not necessarily on the person who offended them; it’s usually someone close to them who they feel will tolerate their abuse.
3. Some would rather end a relationship, even a close and/or long standing one, and walk away rather than confront someone to attempt to resolve the issue. How sad is that?
So, how does this topic relate to writing? We can use it to show the growth of our characters. For example, in my Malone Mystery series, Ann Kern is married to an alcoholic and, in the first book, Mixed Messages, she is nervous and leery of confronting her husband, David. One reviewer referred to her as “wimpy.” And, while I wouldn't use that word to describe Ann, she is timid and non-assertive – at first - but there's a reason for that. Alcoholism affects the family members of alcoholics in different ways, depending on their personalities, and Ann, who was raised by an alcoholic father and a passive mother, learned to adapt to her situation in order to avoid David's rage.
Fortunately, Ann began to attend Alanon meetings and, as the series progresses, she’s learning how to overcome the effects of the disease and to stop “walking on eggs” with David. In other words, Ann grows. I hope you’ll follow her journey as she becomes a more assertive woman and gets involved in a few mysteries along the way.