If you don’t want to get roped into an argument, then the easiest solution is to not defend yourself. I know it sounds crazy and counter to what we might initially feel, but it’s true. What happens when someone backs you into a corner and you don’t feel like arguing?
The first thing you might say, “I don’t want to argue, okay. Just stop.” Do they stop? It makes it worse. They then might throw whatever baggage you have to get you upset. Do you defend yourself? Do you let them get under your skin? Is it easy for people to piss you off? Hey, some accusations might be partly true or all of it might be true. The truth can hurt. Sure. But, what if you want to get passed the past? It isn’t easy to do so if you are confronted by it and reminded of it. If you’ve moved on and healed but the person confronting you hasn’t or won’t. That’s where the confrontation usually begins. It can be that some people in our lives stubbornly refuse to let things go. No matter how miserable it makes them and others.
Forgiveness isn’t freely given, which is okay because we can’t control other people. Forgiveness is a choice not something forced on someone. You might not be able to do anything about someone else’s lack of forgiveness. Even if there was no one to blame. But, as humans we want to blame someone don’t we? We want to find someone to take the fall. There is a time when defending yourself is necessary. There is a time when you have to stand up for yourself. Then there are days, when you realize time is too valuable to have to explain yourself or prove yourself.
We are all on different journeys. Some of us choose to work on ourselves. Other people might be on a path where they haven’t gotten where we are yet. Should we sit there and defend every accusation with an accusation of our own? If you’re a lawyer, you might already be forming an argument against my advice. Some people want to argue and get into it. For a long time I felt the natural urge to defend myself against attacks. It’s fight or flight. But then, I learned it’s better to listen and then let it go. It’s better to know when you need to defend yourself and when to simply drop it.
Some of us are more confrontational than others. I don’t mean passivism is the solution because it can often lead to passive aggressive behavior. What would it be like if we simply respected each other’s opinions, regardless of what they are and just listened? If we listen more, show empathy, and speak less then we find that there isn’t a need to get so defensive.
The Bottom Line:
I am a firm believer in the old cliché “pick your battles.” Is it worth all the headache of “getting into it” with your opponent? Is it worth getting out the gloves? Is it worth all the rehashing? We take things to heart and we take things personally, but often an overly confrontational person has anger built up from a history of unprocessed emotions.
It’s not your fault.
Someone else’s baggage doesn’t need to be our own. They can defend themselves all they want and attempt to hurt you with your past. But, you don’t have to absorb it. Let those that try your nerves carry their own baggage, leave it with them and don’t pick it up. If we sit long enough with a negative individual, we find ourselves becoming sucked in to their negativity.
Personally, I say there is no need to defend yourself because it can often be a huge waste of precious time. Sometimes, it’s much better to say nothing at all and simply walk away.