Stop Avoiding Confrontations and Start Having ‘Carefrontations’ in your Relationships

Confrontations get hard when it’s a relationship that is important to you, a relationship that matters.

One of the reasons why you’re afraid of confrontations in personal relationships is because you’re worried about how what you say is going to be heard, received and how you would be perceived by the other person. You may also be afraid of being rejected or judged and as a result choose to avoid these tough conversations instead.


In a series of blog posts to follow, I will share with you what has helped me to have the tough conversations with my beloved partner. There are 3 stages to this process – (i) creating a foundation with inner preparations, (ii) creating a safe space for the tough conversations and (iii) actually having the conversation with your loved one. Let’s begin with the inner preparations. Here are 4 ways to do that:


(1) Become aware of your expectations of a ‘confrontation’

The meaning of the word ‘confrontation’ itself means a hostile or argumentative situation or meeting between opposing parties. When you prepare yourself for a confrontational conversation, you’re already expecting your partner to reject or oppose what you’re about to say. Imagine entering the arena with your protective shield and gear on, your sword pointing, waiting to charge ahead.

When you enter the conversation in this stance, you’re expecting to be rejected, hurt and you’re expecting that the other person will be upset. The moment something feels ‘off’ or you feel ‘threatened’, your brain is triggered to ‘survival mode’ to protect you by avoiding the person or situation, emotionally shutting down or numbing your pain.

I know this feeling intimately because I used to turn my phone to ‘flight mode’ to disconnect and remove any possibility of contact from my beloved. I also changed my what’s app display picture to something else, instead of our couple picture to show that I was feeling upset. These ‘moves’ were actions to express what I was unable to do so in words, when I was triggered.

Think about the topics that you often feel you’re getting into a confrontation about with your partner. Reflect on the expectations that you may have had, before entering that conversation.


(2) Reframe ‘confrontation’ to ‘carefrontation’

Iyanla Vanzant defines a confrontation as “a communication with a person that you have an important relationship with where information needs to be shared, clarity needs to be gained, feelings need to be expressed or something that is going to enhance, heal and grow the relationship.”

When you bring the concept of ‘confrontation’ into personal relationships with your partner or loved ones, it becomes a ‘tough conversation’ with a person that you absolutely love, who may have a different point of view.

Iyanla goes on to reframe ‘confrontation’ as ‘carefrontation’. She says “I care enough about you to want this relationship”.
Use variations of this statement such as:
I care enough about you, to have this conversation.
I care enough about you, to make this relationship work.

Allow this mantra, intention or belief to be at the basis of your conversation, before you approach your partner.


(3) Accept your anger

One of the first steps to being better at confrontations and conflicts in relationships is to start being ok and accepting your own anger and strong opinions. Create space within yourself, to hold your own anger so that you can begin to create space within your relationship to hold anger, disagreements or differences in opinions.

Your anger is part of your power. – Bethany Webster

My colleague made a comment recently that ‘who wouldn’t be afraid/nervous’, when it came to working with clients who feel angry? I knew that the intention for this comment was to ‘normalise’ the experience, knowing that you are not alone, however this comment did not resonate with me.

As I practiced mindfulness this year with a focus on allowing my emotions to surface, making peace with how I felt and reflecting on why I was triggered… it helped me to expand my ability to hold all of my emotions. It was a process of feeling it fully, expressing it and then letting it go. By doing so, I saw that I was able to speak calmly to clients who presented with anger. Over time I began to have difficult conversations with my partner too in ways that felt better for me.


(4) Dig deeper into your perceptions of the confrontational response

When your partner responds to you in a confrontation – what are some of your thoughts running through your mind?

At times I had thought that…
he was upset with me,
he was rejecting what I was saying,
he was pushing deep into my open wounds,
he had no regard for my feelings,
he did not care and so on.

Most of the times when my partner communicated a strong opinion, I took it to mean that he was angry. I realised that that was not true. He was communicating what he believed to be true. If my ego was in control that day, I would feel hurt and disconnected from him. On days that I am aware and centered, I was open to receive his view and his reasoning behind it. In fact, I would invite him to share his view about something or his view about how I was feeling about a situation etc.


If your close relationships are important to you, take time to do this work and you will see the benefits of it as you put it into practice. I’d love to what you found helpful about this blog, so leave a comment below and let me know!


PS: If you’d like support with daily prompts and accountability, join my group Flow of Appreciation where we have daily practices that will help to shift your important relationships in your life. . I’ll see you inside the circle!



Allow Your Wounds to Heal instead of Protecting Your Pain

“Your self care and healing activities have been a band aid on your wounds.”

Stress and overwhelm while I work in the child protection field led me to pick up the courage to see a psychotherapist who told me, what I had been connecting the dots to, the months leading up to the session. I was ready to receive my truth. I was ready to do the work necessary to stop going through the up and down emotional rollercoaster ride. I knew that I was led back into this work for a reason and I was not giving up easily.

During the first session, I was told that all the activities that I was doing for myself as an act of self-care – the painting, journaling, meditating, singing, alternative healing – were all band aids on my wounds. This was a big realisation for me. Yes, I had been through growth periods. Yes, I had received amazing healings. And yet… 5 years into my spiritual journey, I learnt that it was time for me to remove the band aids and allow my healing to truly begin.

“Adverse childhood experiences are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect, household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, incarceration, divorce or parental separation or growing up with family members who substance misuse – introducing a stress-based response in the brain and thus the body”.


With the support of my therapist, through the practice of mindfulness on a daily basis and making peace with my feelings as they arise, I uncovered the biggest puzzle pieces of my personal story. I realised that as a sensitive child, I had taken on the trauma of a family member. Though I had no conscious understanding of what happened at the age of 7, I had felt a strong sense of rejection. This realisation became the stepping stone to release my pain and I felt a sense of liberating freedom.


I had been practicing sitting with my triggers without suppressing them further, giving space to my stories, listening to my little girl and the teenager within me, making peace with my feelings that arise, connecting with Source and releasing it all to the light. Each time I did that, I found ease and peace in my inner world. My reality began to reflect the calm that I felt within me. I developed a sense of emotional stability within me and was no longer sucked into the turmoil or chaos that happened around me.


There’s a fear that if you rip off your band aids, you will fall back deep into the rabbit hole. The past may feel ‘too much’ for you to handle. I’ve discovered that your fear of the darkness is what keeps you hidden, unseen, unheard. This is not a reason for you to turn a blind eye. If you’re reading this post, you know in your heart, what you must do. I believe that when you are ready – your memories resurface or the truth falls into your lap. All you have to do, is ask and be open to receive.


Every important relationship in your life that triggers a response within, holds a light onto the fears and resistance within you and hence presents an opportunity for the release of your fears and pain, allowing your healing to begin. Every important relationship in your life – will show you where you can start.


As Brene Brown says, if you numb your pain, you numb your joy too.


This is another level of tapping into your inner power, to truly allow yourself to experience your feelings in the moment – even if it’s anger, pain, disappointment, shame, guilt, frustration. When you can create space within you to hold both pain and joy, as well as appreciate your experience in those moments, you are allowing yourself to own your experience and be all of who you really are.

When you can do that for you, you build your capacity to experience true joy without waiting for the other shoe to drop. You bring a greater sense of self acceptance and compassion into your life. Your close relationships deepen and your sense of satisfaction in life increases.


I love the book Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer and the chapter “Removing Your Inner Thorn”. I leave you with this quote from the book…

“In order to grow, you must give up the struggle to remain the same, and learn to embrace change at all times. One of the most important areas requiring change is how we solve our personal problems. We normally attempt to solve our inner disturbances by protecting ourselves. Real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth.”


PS: If you’d like a safe space with support on daily practices as you rip off your band aids with love, join my group Flow of Appreciation. . I’ll see you inside the circle!