#75 Anger: A Sword Above Our Own Heads

Anger: A Sword Above Our Own Heads

I think that when we feel a stab of anger we hold a sword above our own heads. This image of anger suggests that it can harm the person who experiences it. We must overcome the natural gravity of the emotion, otherwise the sword of anger will strike our own … Continue reading

#74 How to Move Past Anger’s Payback Wish

How to Move Past Anger's Payback Wish (multiple doors)

Emotions have both meanings and action tendencies. Anger’s foremost meaning seems to be that another person or thing has caused harm and there should be a consequence. However, anger’s action tendency – the way it inclines us to carry out the consequence – can be problematic. One of anger’s central … Continue reading

#73 The Tapestry of Anger: A Review of Benefits and Cautions

The tapestry of Anger: Benefits and Liabilities (many traffic lights)

  Anger is both beneficial and necessary, and at the same time, a potentially dangerous liability. In this blog I write about some of its central benefits along with qualifying cautions. Anger is helpful as a: -Signal of wrong-doing -Means of defense -Message of deterrence -Energetic source of motivation   … Continue reading

#72 Take Responsibility: Four Ways to Get Out of the Blame Game

Four ways to escape the blame game

In conflict, people may acknowledge that they have contributed to difficulties, but then explain how the other party is more to blame. Parties usually have opposing arguments and are reluctant to take enough responsibility for their role in the conflict, and thus the total responsibility taken between the two is … Continue reading

#70 Apparent Sympathy

Apparent Sympathy

When listening to people in conflict you will sometimes hear them sound sympathetic to the other party. Someone who has been speaking negatively about the other party may, at times, ‘switch gears’ and sound like they are feeling considerate towards the other party. What is this apparent sympathy about? First, … Continue reading

#66 The Negotiator’s Dilemma

Negotiator's dilemma

In the previous two blogs I presented some of the ways that one could be taken advantage of in negotiation and how to respond to them. So far I have covered tricks, power grabs, exaggeration, and possible reneging on agreements. But there is another deeper and more profound problem that … Continue reading

#54 Two Specific Ways To Make Use Of Your Defensiveness

Two Specific Ways to Make Use of Your Defensiveness

In the previous blog I wrote that remaining overly defensive is tantamount to turning one’s back on a growth opportunity. By considering the possible merit of the critical perspectives of others, we can integrate new ways of seeing ourselves and of seeing the world. In this blog I will explain … Continue reading

#53 Being Defensive Means Compromising Our Growth

Being Defensive Means Compromising Our Growth

In the previous blog I wrote about how most of us require a specific self-management practice in order to be effective in conflict engagements. But, being thoroughly non-defensive requires more than a self-management practice. It rests on an understanding of defensive reactivity that assigns to it a high level of … Continue reading

#51 Make Your Identity Quake Work For You

Identity Quake

‘Identity quake’ is a term used by the authors of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. It means a disruption in how we view and understand ourselves, and it is an important concept to understand if you wish to gain the maximum from your conflict interactions. An identity … Continue reading

#47 Keleti Train Station In Budapest, Hungary: There’s A Difference Between What’s Frightening And What’s Dangerous

The mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the world, but it is not the animal most of us imagine with fear. I heard an American political adventurer (my term) being interviewed on the CBC radio show, Ideas, use this example to clarify the difference between what is frightening and … Continue reading