How to deal with confrontation


Sometimes, I can extend the boundaries in my life. For example, I know the the norms and customs of society. Sometimes I like to live outside of the norms. Even to my face, some say I’m different or even weird. I don’t think I;m weird and don’t mind that so much but if someone is aggressive towards me because I break the norms then it can be hard on me more than its hard on them.

So my question is - is there an atheist’s guide or something like about how to handle confrontation and win? or is it a case of constantly training how to be assertive just in case someone gets aggressive with me? I shouldn’t have to be on constant alert when I go out socialising for example as then I can’t relax and be myself as easy.

All the best,

That would be great, but there is no official atheist book. There’s the Ghandi approach, but that’s more about large movements. I’ve done non-violence training. It’s not about “winning” so much as getting away with no one getting hurt. Martial Arts do this too, a good sensei will anyway.

Techniques for arguing are the same for family therapy as they are for strangers. Braver Angels is group formed with that principal. They do seminars with people of opposite political beliefs and apply those techniques.

Thanks that good advice especially about considering leaving a scene first and foremost. I’ve also read up on self-defence and the best option is either to be prepared to avoid those situations in the first place followed by leaving if a confrontation starts.

Since I started this topic, I found this wikihow giude - interesting rule number 1 and the last rule number 5 advises to make an excuse to leave or leave part way through if necessary:
3 Ways to Deal With a Confrontation - wikiHow

One aspect missing from the article though, is explaining how to leave eg what does one say? for example

Here’s a quote from Bertrand Russell.

"If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. If some one maintains that two and two are five, or that Iceland is on the equator, you should feel pity rather than anger, unless you know so little of arithmetic or geography that his opinion shakes your own contrary conviction.

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion. So whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants."

— Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1943)

Careful, I found myself getting a little mad that he stated this wrong. I think it’s important to step back and figure out where the anger is coming from. I get mad at election deniers because of who I associate them with. But most are misguided, and have been blinded by emotional appeals. My anger, if directed at them, doesn’t help. I can be mad, or just frustrated, but I should find how I can affect change. Like voting, or promoting education about how elections work.

We could do with a Bertrand Russell in today’s world. Thanks for passing it on. To me, the quote is useful in that it states to be on your guard - for me that more useful than having pity especially for repeated aggressive verbals from the same individual/s. Having just pity will not prevent hurt feelings caused in an argument or prevent possible unrepairable damage to a relationship or protect one’s confidence that much in my opinion. If one is mentally hurt then there can be healing process that’s a factor as well, Walking away has to be the number one tactic for me from now on as well as being on my guard in these situations.

I like this quote from him also:

  • The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately. Bertrand Russell