So there are (as you know) many types of conflict, but in conflict resolution, we are talking specifically about a difference between ideas, interests, or fundamental beliefs. Battle in this arena plays out in discourse, argument, disagreement, discussion, or other linguistic venues. It can be loud, heated, passionate, or civil. It is precisely not defined as a physical altercation. Physical conflict is not conflicted at all – it is a fight or a beating or bullying, or any other situation where ideas and belief systems are thrown out and the void filled with hostile and hurtful action.
These are critical distinctions to understand. Aggressors, bigger, smaller, or in-between, when held to account for their lack of morals – will revert to fists and weapons – and they do so because they have no moral ground on which to stand. These aggressors whether they are parents, police, teachers, or peers, are not involved in a conflict – they are looking to accomplish nothing more than inflicting corporal punishment with the intent to draw blood.
Case in point – the orange man, squatting in the white house: he is a bully, an abuser, and a man of non-existent morals. He represents the most deplorable elements of this nation. He precisely exemplifies the definition of a bully – an opponent unable to back his dialogue or intent with the structure necessary to have a pure argument. The bully then resorts to his weapon of choice – most often for the orange squatter this is verbal abuse. And he makes me want to puke at the very thought of anything he may say.
I have been on the receiving end of bullies. I have taken my share of beatings that left me bloody and sliced open. I have studied Judo and enrolled in self-defense weapons training, and I am still afraid of physical altercation. I am armed to the teeth to win in a conflict but lack the skills to win a contest.
Conflict without content is a fight. When confronted with a situation of unknown basis, assess the potential level of harm and evaluate for intent. When I look into another and see that void, I will cave, run, scream, pull the pepper spray lashed to my purse strap, and brandish the knife I carry – because that is not a winnable conflict – that is a fight pure and simple. You can’t counter this attack with logic or discourse because the opponent is unable to engage in a combat of conversation. The orange squatter in the White House is a moral and ethical black hole, so my advice is to run or get a bigger stick and prepare to get bloody because conflict resolution is impossible for him.
But, if the result of that assessment shows your opponent has an opposing ethical or moral structure, the result is a verbal sparring or even a heated argument. I say bring it on baby! There may be tears of passion or pain from the truth, but there is also a path to resolution.
Finding a path to a usable solution is the definition of conflict resolution, and you should lean into it. By this, I mean, embrace the other’s point of view. Roll the words around your head and test them on your tongue. Spit some out, take others in, and find a way to an agreement that is better than where you began. Don’t shy away from a disagreement. Wrestle it to the ground with your opponent, work it over, bend it, shape it, and build it anew. When you exit out the other side, you may find you have created greatness together – something the orange squatter bully in the white house will never, ever, under any circumstance, be able to accomplish.
It’s definitely time to find a bigger stick. I wonder if Negan is using Lucille? Hmm.