A Day In The Life Of Conflicts And Arguments
Hi I thought it might be interesting, to show how certain types of arguments and disagreements occur between people, and how they can sometimes escalate, and get out of hand, to varying degrees, over seemingly simple issues..
As an example: my nineteen year old daughter and I had a conversation that lead to an argument. She was telling me how her best friend, Sally, couldn't talk to her mother or tell her that she had recently gotten a tattoo, because Sally's mother, always overacted and Sally would just rather avoid that recurring situation. My daughter said Sally, who's in college, would rather stay at college rather than come home to visit, because her mother's anger and negative attitude really irritates her.
I said, "maybe Sally's not only trying to avoid her mother's anger, but displaying her own anger as well". My daughter vehemently disagreed with that statement saying " She's not angry she's just tired of being irritated by her mother". I said "sometimes people who've been taught or conditioned not to display anger toward their parents, hink they're only afraid of incurring an angry reaction from they're parents, when they may also, unknowingly afraid of displaying angry toward their parents as well".
My daughter responded, with an irritated voice, "Sally and I are best friends. I know everything about her and she knows everything about me. She's irritated not angry".
I replied "You think you know everything about Sally? You don't know everything about Sally and she doesn't know everything about you".
My daughter shot back "Ok dad you always know the most" as she flopped down on the couch with a slightly, irritated look, of frustration on her face.
Here's how she was taking what I was saying the wrong way. My daughter seemed to think our disagreement was about, who knew the most about Sally, her, or me.
I finally got her to "see", that the disagreement wasn't about, whether I knew more about Sally than she did. It was about, who was seeing the situation between Sally and her mother correctly.
My daughter's emotions, were coloring her perception of the situation, along with her need to show me, she knew more about Sally than I did; and she obviously, had some leftover "irritation" from past incidences, of thinking that "I always think I know the most" about whatever we were discussing.
The conflict, was a result of how we view situations. Her view, tends to be more personal and emotional. My view, in general, no matter what the situation under consideration, tends to be, more non-personal, factual, and focused on the facts of the matter, at hand.
Over the years, I found that my non-personal view of various situations, tends to be the difference, in varying degrees, between me and those who misunderstand, what I say or write, or who take what I say the "wrong way".
Many of us, look at situations with a personal eye, seeing only what we want to see. Or with a personal motive, to show, that we're right and how much we know, or that we know the most about and issue or topic, and can get into all sorts of long drawn out arguments, about seemingly minor, silly, stupid issues or things.
The Kitchen Cabinets
An example of this is what I called "the kitchen cabinets". A seemly innocuous conversation, between my mother in law and my father in law, turned into a raging, burning down the house argument, about when their kitchen cabinets were bought.
Mother in law: "We bought these cabinets two years ago". Father in law, shaking his head, "No we didn't, we bought them about a year ago" Mother in law, looking irritated, "I don't think so! I remember it, like it was yesterday! It was two years ago!!".
Father in law, looking more irritate, voice raising in a irritate tone, " It was a year ago! I know exactly when we bought them!". Mother in law, face showing her anger, voice tone escalating , "It was two years ago!". Father in law, "You don't know, what the hell you're talking about! it was a year ago!".
They went around and around, and back and forth, like this for about 3-5minutes, snarling at each other and foamy at the mouth!.
Their argument, wasn't about the kitchen cabinets. It was about, who was right! Obviously, there were probably other past issues, annoyances or grievances, in the background, sparking the intensity of their disagreement.
It was verbal tug of war, a wrestling match, to see who could overpower the other, shut them down or up!
They were, oblivious to what they were really fighting about. They misunderstood each other, because, they couldn't see, that their personal motives and emotions, were coloring their responses, and that they were reacting to each other personally, rather than non-personally, about what the real disagreement was about. They were so wrapped up in their emotions.They couldn't respond any other way, but the way they did.
Blaming The Victim
Jamal's manager emailed him and asked him to complete a project, stating that, Jamal should already have a certain file needed to complete it. Jamal didn't have the file. He asked Jason, the team leader, if he knew what file their manager was talking about. Jason replied, "I sent you the file". Jamal said, "I don't remember getting a file from you. When did you send it?" Jason replied, in an irritated tone of voice, " I sent it to you two days ago, maybe you deleted it!" Jamal said, "If I had received the file. I wouldn't have deleted. I would still have it".
They went back and forth like this for a couple of minutes. Finally Jamal said, "Ok if you sent me the file you should still have the email, in your sent folder, showing when you sent it to me". Jason replied, confidently, "That's right! I'll find the file and show it to you!"
After searching through his sent emails, Jason realized that he hadn't sent Jamal the file, that he had plan to send it to Jamal, but had forgotten to send it. But then, instead of taking responsibility for his mistake. he said angrily, to Jamal, "Well you should have had the file in the first place!".
Jamal said, "Jason, you're trying to blame me twice! First you say, that you sent me a file that you didn't send. Then, when you find that you didn't send it. You try to blame me again, saying I should have had the file already!. Jamal continued, "Man up! and take responsibility for what you did, rather than trying avoid responsibility, by blaming me, for a mistake that you made" Nobody's perfect. I'm not perfect, you're not perfect We all make mistakes, take responsibility for yours
Jason, obviously had a problem taking responsibility for a mistake he made. He was so overly confident, that he had sent Jamal the email, he didn't check to see if he really had sent it, before asserting that he had sent it. Jason was so wrapped up in his own need, to shirk responsibility for his mistake, he tried to blame Jamal for not having an email, that there was no possible way, Jamal could have had!
I'm sure some of you hubbers and others reading this, have had or seen arguments and disagreements, similar to these I wrote about.
Share an argument or disagreement etc, that you've had or have seen others having, that started out as a simple disagreement, that ended up getting out of hand, in the comments section below if you will. Thanks