The Confrontation

Back in September, I wrote about dealing with confrontation and an experience I had been through at work.  At the time, I hadn’t got to the point of closure and was in turmoil about what to do about it.  My manager had accused me of inappropriate behaviour during a discussion between us, which was not the case.  The feedback had been delivered in quite a hostile and aggressive manner, which had taken me completely by surprise.  It was playing on my mind and I knew that I had to deal with the confrontation and find the closure that I needed.

The DERAC Process

The DERAC process is a well-known acronym, describing the stages that someone can go through when being performance managed.  The stages are Denial, Emotion, Rationalisation, Acceptance and Change/Continue.  My path to closure most definitely followed this path, leading to the ultimate closure I eventually found.

Denial and emotion came together very quickly.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as I received the feedback and left the meeting incredibly upset and shaken.  As I described what had happened to 2 colleagues, I burst into tears as I struggled to make sense of what had just happened.

Rationalisation came from the calming and balanced advice from a friend who helped me to compose an email, describing my view of our original discussion and my objections to the subsequent feedback given.  I decided not to send the email, preferring to take some time to reflect on what had happened. However, it provided me with a clear reminder of how I felt immediately after the event, removing any risk of me allowing the situation to remain unchallenged.

Acceptance for me, was realising that I had to step outside of my comfort zone and stand up for myself, even if it ultimately required confrontation.

Change/Continue!  I didn’t need to change.  The outpouring  of support from colleagues, reassured me that I am professional and that my communication skills are not questionable.  I had to continue with my pursuit for closure and this meant challenging the feedback I had been given.


My last blog was about patience.  This experience tested me on this big time.  I wanted an instant resolution to what had happened but knew that time was needed, if I was to find my closure satisfactorily. It was important that I was prepared for my challenge and what my rights were.  I sought advice from various people and spoke to the person who was there when I allegedly acted inappropriately.  It was a relief to be to be told that in their opinion, the allegations were not true.

I tried to put time in my manager’s diary, so that we could have an informal chat about what had happened, but was unable to find a mutually suitable time.  This led me to send an email asking for him to request the time and so the wait began.


After almost 3 months, I still had not had the desired meeting and looked at putting time in his diary again.  This time I found a 30 minute slot and booked it.

The minute I had done this, I felt that uneasy, nervous sensation in the pit of my stomach.  I was about to face one of my fears, dealing with confrontation.  I have never been comfortable with it and the last time had been a disaster for me, causing me to find myself in this predicament.

It was important that I prepared myself.  The original unsent draft email was now invaluable to me.  It reminded me of just how I felt immediately after receiving the feeedback.  I used it to compile a list of questions to ask and statements to make.  Thinking ahead allowed me to remain rational and objective,  building my case as to why I felt the feedback was not warranted.

The meeting took place in the same small room that we had met before.  With my head held high, I shook his hand and thanked him for making the time to meet with me.  I asked permission to make notes and ask my questions.  Being prepared put me on a completely different footing to before.  My confidence grew and I actually felt that I was in firm control of my emotions and showing myself in my true colours.

One of my key points was that I was still waiting for specific examples of how my behaviour had been inappropriate.  His response that he did not really remember much about the interaction truly underpinned my argument.  I told him that I remembered it vividly and could not see how he had reached such a conclusion about me.  If he had been more specific, I would have reflected and apologised if his point was valid.  It also transpired that he has a high  work load and a diminishing team.  At this point I asked if this could have possibly influenced his thoughts on the day, to which he agreed.

As we talked, the beginnings of a new and improved working relationship started.  My manager was finally listening to me and understanding more about who I am.  At the same time I was learning more about him.  A conclusion had most definitely been reached.


After I left the meeting, I felt a huge weight lifting off my shoulders.  It had been bugging me, but I did not realise by how much.  I was on the verge of euphoria.  I had learnt and been tested so much from the experience.  I sought and found closure.  Boy did that feel good!


About the author: Stuart Dickson’s passion for personal development began in September 2013, when he joined a Network Marketing Company.  Part of his development is increasing his spirituality and the many ways of doing this.  His first blog, Happy Monday People was born from a project that came about from his personal development journey


‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’



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