Re: Division question
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2020 17:48:56 -0700 (PDT)
I think that if a majority of the community chooses to not "take
sides" but rather to evaluate each issue individually that will go a
long way toward creating separate communities. Those individuals need
also to decide that they won't "be against" the people who just can't
help but be on a "side".

The thing that happens over time is that people who seem to always be
on the wrong "side" turn out to have depth of personality that we all
didn't see in the early years. It's one of the things I love about
cohousing--unlike other groups where it is easy to leave--over time
you see strengths of the people you didn't like as much, and the
weaknesses of the people who seemed more like yourself.

So early on you want to create situations to see each other outside of
the decision making and gossip. Sit with different people at common
meals. Volunteer to work with different people on work days. Join a
team or circle that is different people then you usually hang out
with. NOTE this doesn't need (and shouldn't) be a *rule*, it is just
something that lots of people can do in order to break down potential

Liz Magill
Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin, MA

On Sun, Aug 2, 2020 at 11:41 AM fergyb2 via Cohousing-L
<cohousing-l [at]> wrote:
>      It seems to me that as groups rub along together after awhile trust 
> builds as you live together and make many decisions together.  One of the 
> advantages of a long multi year planning process is you have a chance to 
> really get to know each other and the folks who absolutely can’t compromise 
> and MUST have their own way get weeded out over one issue or another.  The 
> rest learn to trust the consensus process and put the necessary time and 
> attention in to arrive at a decision acceptable to all.  That’s not to say 
> it’s easy.  There are always unexpected surprises that come up and must be 
> dealt with.  Folks who are used to efficiently run business meetings can have 
> a hard time adapting to a model where everyone needs to have a say.  We run 
> into trouble most often when we try to skip through the process too quickly 
> and some  people feel unheard or disrespected.  That will always come back to 
> bite you later, guaranteed.
>      Also certain issues are predictably contentious, like Pet policies, and 
> standards around child behavior, and how to get exactly equal amounts of 
> community work out of everybody; what's acceptable and what’s not.  The more 
> you talk these out and come to common values before move in the less time you 
> will spend in meetings arguing about it later.  And then just when you think 
> it’s all settled after 19 Years a bunch of new folks move in who weren’t 
> around for the previous agreements and want to revisit all  those topics 
> again.  Prepare to get a Ph.D in communication if you live in Cohousing.
>      Finally, certain narcissistic personalities will always create drama and 
> division in any group, cohousing is no exception.  Beware of people with a 
> long history of dramatic break ups.  Don’t bend over backwards to keep people 
> in the forming group who threaten to leave if they don’t get theIr way on 
> some issue.  It’s part of the weeding out process, let them go.  Groups have 
> dissolved after years due to the divisive nature of one or more members.  You 
> want folks capable of being considerate of everyone’s welfare and opinion.  
> Even so there will always be differences of opinion but they can be worked 
> through with care and respect.  If a new narcissistic person moves in later 
> you would be surprised how quickly an established community will come 
> together and resist their attempts at division because the trust has been 
> built over time.
>     Good luck and love,
>      Bonnie Fergusson
>       Swans Market Cohousing
>       Oakland, CA
> Sent from my iPad
> > On Aug 1, 2020, at 7:46 PM, CJ Q <homeschoolvideo [at]> wrote:
> >
> > Hi all!
> >
> > I’ve heard about conflict in Cohousing especially in newer groups where 
> > people tend to take sides and the whole place gets divided up m. I’m 
> > wondering what makes those type of things happen and how do communities 
> > heal from it. you can email me off list if you prefer.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Carol
> > homeschoolvideo [at]
> >
> > Sent from my iPhone
> > _________________________________________________________________
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(The Rev. Dr.) Elizabeth Mae Magill
Pastor, Ashburnham Community Church
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

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