Confrontation? No Thanks.

Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no.

I admit it. I’m terrible with confrontation and tend to avoid it at all costs. I want everyone to be happy. Of course I know I can’t control that. But I try. With the encouragement of my husband, I’ve gotten much better at speaking up for myself. I’ve learned there’s no harm in asking for something. It doesn’t hurt to try.

This past weekend I had to deal with a tough issue I didn’t want to face. Here’s what happened. My husband and I hosted a couple of large parties to celebrate my beautiful mom’s 80th birthday and Easter. Our daughters, Mackenzie and Talee, were home for the weekend. And one of my sisters, who lives in another state, came to stay with us. It was more than amazing to have a house filled with love and laughter.

It sounds great, and most of it was. But while my two sisters and I were here, in one place (which doesn’t happen often), we had family business to attend to.

Mom is 80 and Dad is 87. We’re blessed, as they’re both relatively healthy, independent, and happy. I won’t go into details, but basically, we’ve realized that since Dad is having difficulties moving around, Mom needs to do more, and Dad needs to do less. This means grocery shopping, getting the cars filled with gas, and running errands. Our parents are used to their own routines and despise change, especially Dad.

In the evening, after the first party was over, my sisters and I were lounging and chatting in the family room. My husband and brother-in-law joined us. Our conversation soon led to Mom and Dad’s issues. We agreed we needed to voice our concerns directly to our parents. And that it must be done by all three sisters together, to have the greatest impact.

As far as avoiding confrontation, my sisters are exactly like me. So who’s going to lead this? We’ve been dreading the tough conversations that often need to be had between aging parents and their children. We knew this was coming. And it was just the beginning.

That night I was anxious. I didn’t want our parents to feel like we were ganging up on them. I wasn’t sure how they’d take it. I went to sleep worrying and woke up anticipating a difficult day. I felt bad because I’d worked so hard to make this a perfect weekend. This wasn’t supposed to be part of it. 

To make a long story short, our discussion went very well. Phew. Dad agreed to slow down, and Mom said she’ll take on some of Dad’s usual responsibilities. No one was angry, and our parents understood our concern. We felt relieved that we said what we wanted to say.

Confrontation usually has a negative connotation. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Fortunately in our situation, there was a positive outcome.

The next day was Easter Sunday, which meant going to church and preparing for our second family party that weekend. Daffodils and sprays of brightly colored flowers decorated our tables, and platters of food sat on the buffet. I looked around at the twenty of us, laughing and enjoying each other, smiling for pictures, and listening to the youngest one blurting out words she’s just learning to pronounce. I took a deep breath. Enjoy this. Enjoy it all — the good times as well as the challenges. We’re all here, together.

By the end of the weekend, I was exhausted and exhilarated. It felt like I had just taken an emotional roller coaster ride. But you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world.


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36 thoughts on “Confrontation? No Thanks.

    • Thank you. That’s exactly what we were trying for. Had to choose our words carefully, so it wouldn’t seem too much like an intervention or super confrontational. I really think it helped with all three of us being there, to support each other 🙂

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  1. Like you, I’m not a fan of confrontation and try to avoid it. Actually, I find that the lead-up to on makes my anxiety issues harder to reign in. So, I’m happy that you, your sisters, and your parents were able to have an amicable conversation about a sensitive issue. And, I’m glad you had a lovely visit with your family! 🙂

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  2. Well done! Easter sounded so lovely, good for you for being completely in the moment. Thanks for sharing this post. I work with so many families who are facing caring for their aging parents. I think sometimes there is a huge sense of relief for parents when their children recognize how aging is affecting their lifestyles. It let’s them off the hook by not making them admit out loud that they are aging, and opens the door of not feeling like a burden for asking for some help. 😉 G-uno

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    • Yes, that’s absolutely what we were thinking! Our dad didn’t disagree or fight what we were saying at all. Neither did our mom. We know that in his heart, my dad knows he can’t do as much as he used to. And by us saying it, it sort of gives him a valid excuse to slow down, because he doesn’t want us to worry. Thanks for your comment, it reminded me of the other side to this, which is very important. Have a wonderful weekend G-uno!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, Thank you for calling over at my blog today I really appreciate it, you certainly had a busy easter, but it is lovely to share with family, I know how difficult it can be to tackle certain situations, but finding your voice is a wonderful thing and will help you alot with your anxiety, it is so easy to just talk through what is on your mind, without a confrontation, you are just giving your opinion on something, which you have every right to do, this can be done in a calm tone, and you know people just might take more notice of this approach than you think, I am looking forward to following your blog, hope you have a lovely week end, pleased to meet you,


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  4. Well done! I know about anxiety, avoiding confrontation and an aging parent so I understand how difficult that was. I didn’t start standing up for myself until I was in my 40s and now you can’t stop me voicing an opinion 😄 Thanks for looking at my blog too!

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    • Thank you! You’re right, it was more concern. But we had to confront them (in a concerned way)… Usually I think of confrontation as being angry at someone or a situation. In this case, it was out of concern. Thanks for your comment and insight! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you did awesome! I could really relate to how it feels leading up to a confrontation and how most of the time, the outcome is a lot better than we ever expected. I find that most of the time, it brings your relationship closer and lets you understand each other more. I think often we think that we are all mind readers and there is really lots we don’t know until we talk about it.

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    • Oh, that is so true! I think a lot goes unsaid, in fear of hurting the other person, or just too hard to talk about. But once you do, it usually feels good to say it out loud. Thanks for visiting my blog! Have a lovely week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats, Jenny! What a great example of how to effectively communicate important issues successfully! Compassionate, caring people don’t avoid confrontation. They know how and when to have those tough conversations, how to set boundaries, how to ask for what they need. You, your sisters, and your parents did a great job! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m definitely going to remember it as a source of encouragement the next time I find myself in a tough spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenny that is great you were able to confront a difficult situation. Nobody likes confrontation, but it is a necessary part of life. I read once that we have a right to ask for what we want or need, but we may not always get it. The important part is that you expressed your feelings. Glad your parents worked out a plan:)

    Liked by 1 person

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