Before you label someone “high conflict,” be very aware of all the ways this label can be a mistake. And escalate conflict further. Let’s be very cautious about gratuitously equating someone who disagrees strongly, emotionally, and even frequently, with having a personality disorder. “He’s such a high conflict personality that I’m scared to disagree with […]
Examining mental models
A dear friend had a stroke last week and she has lost the ability to speak, at least for now. To all appearances she looks almost fully recovered, yet her communication has been a mix of pain, frustration, and the occasional triumph.
As her friends form a circle of love around her, one of us next to her hospital bed every morning, afternoon, and evening to support her and try to interpret her gestures, scribbles, and diagrams, we hear again and again from the her medical team that the work ahead of her is to re-form the links, the neural pathways, that were damaged by the stroke.
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What if we stopped expecting so much of ourselves (and others) when we’re frustrated, and started by assuming the first draft of our conversation is going to stink? Ring the bells that still can ringForget your perfect offeringThere is a crack in everythingThat’s how the light gets in – Leonard Cohen, Anthem What if we […]
What a difference a single word makes. When we’re in conflict, our own egos and the level of hope (or hopelessness) we feel can become obstacles to finding resolution. Sometimes, a simple reframing of a key question can help us overcome these obstacles. I was reminded of this while listening to a public radio interview […]
Pete Seeger was so right.
Conflict doesn’t necessarily mean something fundamental has shifted in your business or personal relationship. It’s possible the relationship is as sound and strong as it ever was. It’s just hard to see that when the conflict is crowding out your wider view.
I was reminded of this recently in an experience with a certain company whose services I use to manage a small digital aspect of my conflict resolution business.
When a conflict looms large it can begin to feel like the only thing left between you. That’s an error of perception, of course. You are not one-dimensional figures with a single agenda; neither of you has become that. The conflict has lured you into a false way of viewing the other person, as though there is nothing else important about them anymore. Don’t let it.
Empathy researcher and bestselling author Brené Brown has put together a good primer on the important differences between empathy and sympathy: