“Apologizing First” Works For Confronting Defensive Family Members As Well As Business Associates

“I use this because I find it very hard to say what I need to say when I know someone is wrong.”

 

G. subscribed to my minicourse, Integrity: Use It Or Lose It (www.TheIntegrityCourse.com); the beginning of this conversation was about how much she enjoyed my writing — so of course I responded. Then she sent this:
 
I tried one of your tips of apologizing first and saying I may be wrong before I start and it worked.
 
I'm dealing with defensive family members who are quite angry at the moment as my mum has just passed away and trying to get through to some of them is a nightmare as one in particular is going down the wrong path. She wants to shun my Dad because she had a terrible childhood while he is grieving. My dad is very kind now and I'm trying to get her to love the man he is now and not live in the past of 40 years ago. I can only say very little to her or she explodes or puts the phone down on me if I tell her she is being unkind, or she tells me she doesn't want my help.  So any more tips would be greatly appreciated.
 
This simple technique really helped me and is now stuck in my head so going to use it always as I find it very hard to confront anyone or speak up for myself. I find it very hard to say what I need to say when I know someone is wrong.
 
Many thanks
 
G
 
Laurie: In terms of trying to get anyone else to do what you think is best for them, you have taken on a difficult, if not impossible task. I suggest that you continue to love and support your dad and just let your relative follow her own path. You might even tell her that you know you can't get her to change her mind and apologize for trying. Good luck.
 
I don't know if you were on the call, but I hope you have had time to listen to the recording.
 
(I thought perhaps she had just listened to the teleclass, "Planning Challenging Conversations: Secrets to Saying What You Think and Getting Heard –
­Without Getting Into Trouble." You can get the recording at http://tinyurl.com/ydx4tvr ).
 
 
G wrote back:
 
Hi Laurie
 
I've still to listen to your recording, on my to do list, but will definitely do as will help me i'm sure.
 
That is all I'm doing is supporting my Dad and letting her follow her own path. But it still upsets me when she tells me she has been mean to my Dad, although she doesn't see it this way, and I never say anything, I just listen.  Do you think I should tell her when i think something she is saying or doing is mean, or just leave it.
 
I think I feel upset with myself as I don't wont to rock the boat with her, so feel I can't tell her when she is being mean and she thinks she has a perfect right to do the mean thing as she doesn't see it as mean. It's like she can't help herself and she can't see the destruction and hurt she is causing.
 
Many thanks
 
G
 
 
I answered her question “Do you think I should tell her when i think something she is saying or doing is mean, or just leave it.”
 Laurie:Try repeating what she said to her and either ask her what she meant by it or just say (in shocked surprise) "Did I actually hear you say___________?" or, just try asking if she would like to be treated that way if she were grieving or say that you would be upset it if someone treated you
that way.


G responded:

Many thanks

Will try

 G

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