Re: what motivates an outburst/ managing outbursts
From: Cheryl A. Charis-Graves (
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 09:05:01 -0600 (MDT)
I am finding this topic both interesting and extremely relevant to what 
I perceive is happening in my community. I believe this is a complex 
issue, one not easily categorized or remedied (is that an obvious 

I, too, find the language of "needs" more helpful than the "thinking/
feeling" continuum. In my work, addressing the question of "What do you 
need?" has been essential to the successful resolution of any number of 
concerns and problems. However, my experience in the community has been 
different. We talk a lot about differences in expectations, but not much 
about needs. The language of "What I need" seems to not be present. I 
have even heard one person respond to the query, "What is behind your 
concern? What do you really need?" with extreme anger that the speaker 
was digging into her personal psyche. I heard the question as relevant 
and caring; she heard the question as violating her personal boundaries. 

In my personal experience, I have learned to remain silent when I am 
experiencing heightened emotions in a large group meeting. I need time 
to process what is going on. Later, when I am clear about what was 
happening, I have had tremendous success identifying follow-up action to 
address my concern. I have NEVER been happy with the outcome if I 
express my emotions in the moment. I end up feeling "wrong" or I feel I 
have expressed myself in a way that made someone else "wrong." For me, I 
always regret those moments and have worked very hard to stop myself 
from reacting in the moment and giving myself the gift of time to 
process it through BEFORE I act.

Another dynamic that seems relevant is the appropriateness of the forum. 
Is a business meeting the place to delve into personal needs? In our 
community, we have talked about the fact that a community meeting is not 
group therapy. And yet we are people with needs and with varying levels 
of self-awareness and with varying abilities to express ourselves, our 
needs, our feelings. In an intimate relationship, you have permission to 
deal with the relationship issues at a different level. In a meeting 
with 40 people, there is the issue of vulnerability and personal safety. 
How public does one have to go with one's baggage in order to facilitate 
effective process in a meeting where the primary focus is group problem-
solving and decision-making?

I appreciate the level of discussion. I appreciate the experiences and 
perspectives of those who have posted on this topic. While I would not 
want to monopolize the list, I am interested in learning and discussing 
more on this topic.

Harmony Village, Golden CO


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