We become confrontational when we believe that we are being attacked or threatened in some way. It is a self defence behaviour intended to get our “opponent” to back down.

Defensive behaviours range from fairly mild, such as when we alter our recollection of an event in order to justify our part in it, to aggression, where we physically, verbally or emotionally try to harm someone. Confrontational behaviour lies somewhere in the middle.

A confrontation is essentially a disagreement between two or more people, where each side is more focused on imposing their needs, values and perceptions on the other, and less focused on finding common ground. When both sides are behaving confrontationaly, the dispute can escalate into aggression. This can happen very quickly.

For some of us, being confrontational when we are feeling threatened is an almost automatic reaction. There are many reasons why this may be. They may not have learned to self-regulate their emotions very well. They may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or have a mental health issue. Their relationship and history with their opponent may also impact how they interact with each other. For some, they’ve used confrontational behaviour successfully in the past, and consider it a valuable tool.

If you find yourself becoming confrontational with someone, ask yourself what is it about them (or the situation) that is making you feel threatened. If the person you’re trying to communicate with becomes confrontational, ask yourself how you might be making them feel threatened.

The goal is to present yourself and deliver your information in as non-threatening a way as possible. When we feel threatened, our attention turns to defense and it is very hard to hear the actual message being delivered. It is harder still to consider the merits of it rationally.

Remember, we all react emotionally first. Then comes our rational thinking. This allows us to make quick, but sometimes incorrect assessments and then react to protect ourselves. If emotion takes control, irrational behaviour is sure to follow. This means that the key to dealing with a confrontational person is to ensure they don’t perceive you as part of the threat.


Stay In Touch

Enter your email address to keep up to date on new information and learning opportunities!


1 (705) 934-2877