Role of Conflict LO9808
Sat, 7 Sep 1996 12:40:00 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO9768 --

Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM> writes:

>What a great personal example of the unproductive outcomes of blaming. In
>my prior marriage, I actually enjoyed these types of interactions because
>I used to have the same verbal "jousting" with my mother. WE were able to
>enjoy the process without the personal expense of getting our egos


>BTW Jill - have you gotten that garage door fixed yet!


You raise a good point about enjoying conflict. One of the interesting
things about conflict is the difference between participants' accepted
level of confront. Clearly you have a fairly high level of confront and
don't take "jousting" too personally. Many people respond to a raised
voice, intense expression, or verbal expression of a different opinion as
though it were a personal attack. The difficulty is not so much in some
people having a low level of confront, but more in recognizing the

Sometimes the conflict is only partially rooted in the actual content of
the discussion, but far more deeply rooted in the difference in how each
views the appropriate means to resolve the dispute, each misinterpreting
the other's intent. For example, say you and I have a difference of
opinion, and when you express your beliefs, I think you're arguing with me
and implying my beliefs are somehow wrong (please excuse total disregard
for grammar in this sentence). Maybe because you enjoy this kind of
discussion you're voice raises a little. I think you're getting mad at
me. Your level of confront is higher than mine. What to you is a fun
debate of ideas, to me is an attack on my basic beliefs, and therefore me
as a person. Things might not get out of hand if we can recognize the
difference at this point. Most likely, however, I'll react to the
perceived attack, perhaps by attacking you in return, which may trigger a
series of defenses and attacks creating a far greater conflict than the
original difference in ideas. The only thing keeping us from having an
interesting and enriching exchange of ideas is the difference in what we
think is an appropriate method (or level of confront)for sharing them.

Btw, I live in a condo that has no garage. Of course, we won't say
anything about the 14 year marriage that preceded the move to the condo.
Actually, we're still close friends despite garage doors and other
catastrophes. Just for the record though, the garage door scenario was
purely fictitious. Being a conflict trainer and consultant, I, of course,
*never* get into ugly conflicts (kindly insert huge wink here)!


Jill Johnson and Associates, Inc.
Specializing in The Conflict Dojo:
Conflict Management Training based on the
ancient teachings of the martial arts
12932 SE 272 ST, #242 Kent, WA 98031 USA
206-639-0776 fax


Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>