|Re: advice on resolving conflicts||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Mark Harfenist (markharfyahoo.com)|
|Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 04:16:59 -0800 (PST)|
Tree's response, pasted below, is worth reading and re-reading. A community which practices conflict-avoidance (in whatever form, including "It's too expensive," or "we don't have the time....") needs to admit to its collective self that problems do not really reside in individuals. Hoping that the troublesome individual in question will just get a clue or vanish in some way doesn't really work; instead, it strengthens a shared, often unspoken set of protocols for dealing with problematic members. The tendency is for the same or similar problems to arise again and again in different forms, often embodied in different people, since they are expressions of systematic issues, human nature, or random probability. In other words, even if the person in question leaves the community, someone else will mysteriously step forward to play the same role. This can be very depressing to experience. Furthermore, the tendency is for avoidance to absorb more energy than confronting the problem actively ever could have, although at a different intensity and pitch. On the other hand, avoidance is an established way of running, for example, families, communities, macroeconomic systems and international geopolitical processes. As long as everyone experiences it as a deliberate choice--"I'm choosing to put my energy elsewhere..."--and understands the implications, who's to criticize? We're all somewhere on the same confront-vs.-avoid continuum, and we're all constantly experimenting with where we'd like to move on the continuum in the future. Hope that perspective is helpful. Mark (of Bellingham Cohousing, but writing from southern Chile, where similar issues are being played out in a very different realm) Tree Bresson wrote: However, the situation as you describe it sounds problematic, and i'm not just talking about your designated problem person. ANY way to solve this is going to take substantial time and preparation, whether you hire an outside facilitator or not. If people don't have the energy to deal with it, then i think y'all need to acknowledge that you are actively choosing to live with this situation as is. On the other hand, if "i don't have time" said by your members is a euphemism for "i feel too scared to take this on, this situation requires more skills than i/we have," then hiring an outside facilitator may help. While i am hugely in favor of using local consultants, seeing it framed immediately in terms of cost, combined with the resistance to gathering in circle, makes me worry that your community's ongoing commitment to gaining the skills required to deal with situations like this may be lacking. No matter how this particular situation turns out, in all likelihood it will not be the last time that your community has a tough conflict with one of its members. The communities i've seen that are the happiest and healthiest are the ones that make a strong commitment to "learn how to fish" by gaining core peacemaking skills. This may happen in a variety of ways, such as study groups, internal presentations by community members who have expertise to share, hiring outside trainers, supporting members to attend workshops and report back, etc. Good luck, --Tree **********************************
- Advice on resolving conflicts Fred H Olson, February 23 2010
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