RE: Breakdown of Process in Cohousing
From: Maggie (
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 09:04:48 -0700 (MST)

DocArtemis wrote

 I've heard about the phenomenon of the "lightning rod" member in some of
cohousing literature.  Tag... I'm it.

I like the metaphor of the lightning rod because it is very descriptive of
the phenomenon as I experience it.  I "pick up" the static of dysfunctional,
harmful social interactions and then respond with anger and outrage that is
circulating in the subterfuge of the collective unconscious.
I recall reading about the lightning rod some time back in the Communities
magazine.  I understood it to mean that one person seems to be the cause of
the problems, this week/month/year.  Everyone thinks that if they can just
deal with that particular person the "problems" will be resolved.  What was
suggested and I have experienced is that as soon as the "lightning rod"
person moves on....another one appears and the process begins again.  My
feeling is that a certain level of conflict and dysfunction is to be
expected. Most of us have not had training in community living or conflict
resolution and don't handle it well until we learn the skills and have
opportunities to practice them.  What is most important is how life in
community affects YOU and how you deal with it.  YOUR anger is not good for
YOU and the only thing you can control is how you respond/react. It would
help you to figure out why these actions of others so severely bring up your
anger.  Learning how to detach has been helpful to me.  I am sure others
like Rob and Sharon will have more useful suggestions and thoughts on how to
deal with your specific situation and I look forward to reading their wisdom
as always.  I can't imagine how to handle a board who thinks issues like you
mention are not their concern.  What if you arranged and invited community
members to a session with a mediator/facilitator?
Good luck and keep us posted.  It would be nice to learn of how situations
like yours get resolved.  It sure is interesting to have this forum to bring
situations to light.  Peer Support is a marvelous thing and this list is one
of the best examples of it I have ever experienced.  Here we have virtual
community that supports our vision for "real" community.
Congrats to the Cohousing-L as it celebrates 10 years and thanks to Fred for
being there still.
Maggie Dutton,
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. (where we are gearing up to apply for
Project Development Funding (PDF) for an affordable cohousing project from
Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. aimed at single income parents and
low-income singles)

Cohousing-L mailing list
Cohousing-L [at]  Unsubscribe  and other info:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.