Conflict Resolution – isn’t it all about the way we deal with others?

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Conflict Resolution – isn’t it all about the way we deal with others?

It seems to me there are four main conversation styles when it comes to dealing with others, particularly conflict resolution but does it really matter which style we adopt?  I prefer to aim towards assertive behavior myself but what do you think?

Here’s a summary of the different types:-

Passive Behavior- If something happens in your life and you’re too afraid to say to that other person what you think, this is passive behavior.  That’s an implicit way of saying you are less than the other person and the other person will realize it too.  If you go along with this you’ll have less self confidence because you’ll feel bad about yourself.

So often a passive person doesn’t really feel they have the right to speak up as another person violates more and more of their rights.  They value the other person over themselves and in effect become a doormat.  A passive person feels others always win and they lose and this type of behavior often leads to panic attacks or resentment.  The message they are giving out is ‘I don’t matter’.

Aggressive Behavior– This is the type of person who has to win and prefer you to lose and they often have an exaggerated sense of their own entitlement.  They’re easily spotted when they write and speak because their sentences usually start with the word ‘you’ when they deal with others.  The reason being they don’t ‘own’ their own feelings/actions and don’t usually feel accountable but tend to blame other people.  This is the way they try to stay in control of their own lives, it was the other person’s fault anyway so let them deal with the consequences.

The aggressive person seems to have lots of self confidence but underneath their brash exterior hides strong feelings of powerlessness.  To bolster themselves up they swear and swagger through the conversation but underneath they know they are really as powerless and helpless as the passive person because when other people finally get sick of their behavior and stand up to them, their life spins out of control. None of us have the right to violate boundaries of others (what we’ll put up with). This is the type likely to be very harmful to others because their motto is ‘You don’t matter’.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior – Here we have the typical martyr-type complex.  This is the type of person who’s always complaining about others behind their backs rather than speaking their minds.  They are the classic sniper.  They’re not sure enough of where they stand in relation to other people so they tend to control by subtle manipulation. They often function as victims through learned helplessness. 

Because they don’t know themselves, their boundaries are always changing and so know one else knows where they stand either.  This is the type who will deal with the consequences of their actions but will make others pay for it. For the passive-aggressive type it feels like no-one wins and while they may be a doormat they just can’t stop complaining about it. Their motto is ‘I don’t know what matters’.

Assertive Behavior – The key to being assertive is to let others know how we think and feel without harming anyone and therefore there’s nothing vague about us.  If you’re assertive you teach others how to deal with you and that’s very important.  Other people know where they stand.  We look for win/win situations, where possible in all our dealings with others.  That’s it in a nutshell.

An assertive person doesn’t feel the need to control others, only themselves, so they’re mature enough to take responsibility for their own behavior and you won’t find them playing the ‘blame game’.  When in conflict with others they’ll respect the boundaries of others but only because they have strong boundaries themselves and can express them clearly.
Being assertive means we are aware of our own strengths and weakness and are prepared to be honest about them, there isn’t any need to conceal or manipulate because we feel in control of our own lives. When you first start being assertive some people may seem surprised and you may lose those that didn’t really like you.  If you’re assertive you’re part of the group but you don’t care so much what others think of you.

 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


cj
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I've been meaning to get to your post all day...

The default, the most used conversational style may be of one of these four types.  But I think a lot of us use other styles when the occasion calls for it.  At least, I have noticed that in myself. 

I grew up with someone who was passive-aggressive.  As a young person, I was usually passive, but could be easily pushed to aggressive.  As an adult, I strive for assertive.  I sometimes think the person who coined the term "assertive" knew my mother-in-law.  Her conversational style was so different from my own mother.  And so I try to model my conversational style on my mother-in-law rather than my mother.  Life has been much easier since I have known her.

I still don't respond well to passive-aggressive people.  I still either give up and go away or lose my temper.  And losing my temper is so - tiring and counterproductive.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:The default, the

cj wrote:

The default, the most used conversational style may be of one of these four types.  But I think a lot of us use other styles when the occasion calls for it.  At least, I have noticed that in myself. 

I grew up with someone who was passive-aggressive.  As a young person, I was usually passive, but could be easily pushed to aggressive.  As an adult, I strive for assertive.  I sometimes think the person who coined the term "assertive" knew my mother-in-law.  Her conversational style was so different from my own mother.  And so I try to model my conversational style on my mother-in-law rather than my mother.  Life has been much easier since I have known her.

I still don't respond well to passive-aggressive people.  I still either give up and go away or lose my temper.  And losing my temper is so - tiring and counterproductive.

 

Hi cj – I’m aware the post was too long but couldn’t really sum it up but thanks for replying. 

I grew up with someone passive-aggressive too – and just like you say I was passive most of the time and then aggression would burst out. There was a lot of aggression coming out in the family anyway with people shouting their emotions instead of speaking to each other.  It was also a rule that we had to be upbeat all the time so you couldn’t talk about sadness or anger etc. either.  As there wasn’t a way to talk about emotions there was a lot of drama going on and no way to articulate. I realise now its called dysfunction!

Lucky you have an assertive mother-in-law, I know what you mean, it was strange for me to meet an assertive woman for the first time when I met my aunt who was a nurse I couldn’t quite ‘get’ her but pretty soon realised it was a better way to go.  Then buying a few books on the subject helped - I find that people often interpret assertion for aggression when there’s a big difference. I've found one way round that in a conflict is to use sentences starting with ‘I think or feel’ rather than ‘you think or feel’ and the broken record technique.

Like you I find passive-aggressives difficult because they won’t let you know where they stand and they tend to get very hurt and angry if you challenge them about their manipulations to bring things into the open and then you’re pushed into the bad guy position if not careful!  The most difficult place to encounter them is in a work situation because they fire shots at you disguised with a smile when they're really being mean.

 

 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


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 I think you might need to

 I think you might need to add a fifth category passive-assertive. I tend to be passive in many areas, although it has nothing to do with a lack of confidence or self worth, it is simply because I don't care. Passiveness is pretty much my default with anyone I don't have a reason to believe I will be seeing again or people I see rarely (for example, extended family) and any kind of personality clash/drama is undesirable. The great part of being passive is that it is very difficult for anyone to pick a fight with you, making it a great way to deal with belligerents looking to create drama for the holiday. 

My natural style when interacting with anyone I care about or have to interact with often is to be assertive.


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Beyond Saving wrote: I

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I think you might need to add a fifth category passive-assertive. I tend to be passive in many areas, although it has nothing to do with a lack of confidence or self worth, it is simply because I don't care. Passiveness is pretty much my default with anyone I don't have a reason to believe I will be seeing again or people I see rarely (for example, extended family) and any kind of personality clash/drama is undesirable. The great part of being passive is that it is very difficult for anyone to pick a fight with you, making it a great way to deal with belligerents looking to create drama for the holiday. 

My natural style when interacting with anyone I care about or have to interact with often is to be assertive.

That's pretty much what sums up my attitude with people as well

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Beyond Saving wrote: I

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I think you might need to add a fifth category passive-assertive. I tend to be passive in many areas, although it has nothing to do with a lack of confidence or self worth, it is simply because I don't care. Passiveness is pretty much my default with anyone I don't have a reason to believe I will be seeing again or people I see rarely (for example, extended family) and any kind of personality clash/drama is undesirable. The great part of being passive is that it is very difficult for anyone to pick a fight with you, making it a great way to deal with belligerents looking to create drama for the holiday. 

My natural style when interacting with anyone I care about or have to interact with often is to be assertive.

Hi Beyond & harley – Passive-assertive that is a unique take on it and a new category.  I think that’s a very wise move with people who you don’t see so often and saves a lot of energy!

 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


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  When ever possible I

  When ever possible I actively avoid all human contact.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote: 

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  When ever possible I actively avoid all human contact.

 

I understand that, really, I do.  Anymore, I often do not want to talk to friends and I really don't want to visit.  I might be fortunate in that my friends ignore my unspoken wishes and come to visit or invite me to dinner anyway.  And they aren't turned off by my attitude of - gee, you're here, so I guess I will be polite.  And no, I can not bring myself to tell them go away once they show up.  They usually do call and ask before showing up -- and I have been known to assertively say, not today.  And that is fine.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Peggotty wrote:cj wrote:The

Peggotty wrote:

cj wrote:

The default, the most used conversational style may be of one of these four types.  But I think a lot of us use other styles when the occasion calls for it.  At least, I have noticed that in myself. 

I grew up with someone who was passive-aggressive.  As a young person, I was usually passive, but could be easily pushed to aggressive.  As an adult, I strive for assertive.  I sometimes think the person who coined the term "assertive" knew my mother-in-law.  Her conversational style was so different from my own mother.  And so I try to model my conversational style on my mother-in-law rather than my mother.  Life has been much easier since I have known her.

I still don't respond well to passive-aggressive people.  I still either give up and go away or lose my temper.  And losing my temper is so - tiring and counterproductive.

Hi cj – I’m aware the post was too long but couldn’t really sum it up but thanks for replying. 

I grew up with someone passive-aggressive too – and just like you say I was passive most of the time and then aggression would burst out. There was a lot of aggression coming out in the family anyway with people shouting their emotions instead of speaking to each other.  It was also a rule that we had to be upbeat all the time so you couldn’t talk about sadness or anger etc. either.  As there wasn’t a way to talk about emotions there was a lot of drama going on and no way to articulate. I realise now its called dysfunction!

Lucky you have an assertive mother-in-law, I know what you mean, it was strange for me to meet an assertive woman for the first time when I met my aunt who was a nurse I couldn’t quite ‘get’ her but pretty soon realised it was a better way to go.  Then buying a few books on the subject helped - I find that people often interpret assertion for aggression when there’s a big difference. I've found one way round that in a conflict is to use sentences starting with ‘I think or feel’ rather than ‘you think or feel’ and the broken record technique.

Like you I find passive-aggressives difficult because they won’t let you know where they stand and they tend to get very hurt and angry if you challenge them about their manipulations to bring things into the open and then you’re pushed into the bad guy position if not careful!  The most difficult place to encounter them is in a work situation because they fire shots at you disguised with a smile when they're really being mean.

 

I think my introductory sentences were unclear.  Let me try again.

Each person may have a default conversational style.  But they may switch to another style as the situation either demands it or triggers old habits.  For example, if I am talking with one of my birth family relatives, I find myself back in the same old patterns of conversation from when I was a child.  My hard won assertiveness - "I" messages, standing up for my needs, broken record and so on - flies out the window.  Your family sounds a lot like my family.  I have moved away - very far away, over 1500 miles - and I intend to keep away.  Life is so much more comfortable around my in-laws.

Beyond said what I was trying to convey - he is passive unless he is assertive.  I can say I am assertive unless I am passive.  And I can be aggressive, though that seems to be less likely as I get older.  Aggression is just more trouble than it is worth lately. 

I have had passive-aggressive bosses and you are exactly right.  There is no way to express yourself - passively, assertively, aggressively - to be able to keep your job and stop the stomach ache from swallowing your own anger.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:I have had

cj wrote:

I have had passive-aggressive bosses and you are exactly right.  There is no way to express yourself - passively, assertively, aggressively - to be able to keep your job and stop the stomach ache from swallowing your own anger.

 

My experiences with passive-aggressive people (at least the definition in the OP fits their behavior perfectly so I am calling them passive aggresive, tend to be bullies towards those that they can get away with it on.

For instance, I knew someone that was always trying to please people and talking to them in public wonderfully, but would talk ABOUT them with a hate-filled venom behind their back. But, I was in a relationship with this person and they had no problem bulldozing all over my feelings at any time they felt like. They were extremely moody, prone to think of you as an enemy one day, a friend the next day and never really had a permanent stance on any issue (other than the fact that they were always highly irritated by EVERYONE behind their back and nice to their face).

Why I tolerated this for a few months rather than a few days is beyond me. (I was at a low point in life and just allowed it). But finally, enough was enough and I got fed up with their endless tromping all over my feelings and all their "I can be a real tough bitch" sentences (one of her favorites) and I broke it off. After I let them know exactly what I thought of them.

I feel sorry for whomever gets involved with that person. But I made sure there phone number was blocked off of my cell.

The thing that killed me was when I finally stood up for myself (quite aggressively) the first message that I got the next day was asking me why I was being angry at them when all they had ever wanted was to be a close friend. Whew, glad I have not seen that person in a LONG time. But, if I never see them again, it will be TOO soon.

I've had bosses like that as well. They act like they are being persecuted, endlessly trash talk people behind their backs, and always blame everything on someone else.

I'll take an argument with an aggressive person any day. At least I know what they are. Passive-aggressives seem rather sneaky and manipulative.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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cj wrote:ProzacDeathWish

cj wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  When ever possible I actively avoid all human contact.

 

I understand that, really, I do.  Anymore, I often do not want to talk to friends and I really don't want to visit.  I might be fortunate in that my friends ignore my unspoken wishes and come to visit or invite me to dinner anyway.  And they aren't turned off by my attitude of - gee, you're here, so I guess I will be polite.  And no, I can not bring myself to tell them go away once they show up.  They usually do call and ask before showing up -- and I have been known to assertively say, not today.  And that is fine.

 

I can see that if you’re not lonely and enjoy your own company that’s perfectly natural.   I’ve always been more interested in doing some project or other and that always seems more fun than sitting around talking to others without anything meaningful being said which to my mind is very boring.  I’ve got a few close friends which I’ve had for years and we drop the social persona quite quickly and pick up the conversation from when we last saw each other, so it’s kind of ongoing communication.


I see that trait in myself as to do with being an introvert rather than extrovert,  I can do the extrovert thing (stream of consciousness) for a while but then I have to go back to being alone for a while to recharge the batteries.
 

 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


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harleysportster wrote:My

harleysportster wrote:

My experiences with passive-aggressive people (at least the definition in the OP fits their behavior perfectly so I am calling them passive aggresive, tend to be bullies towards those that they can get away with it on.

For instance, I knew someone that was always trying to please people and talking to them in public wonderfully, but would talk ABOUT them with a hate-filled venom behind their back. But, I was in a relationship with this person and they had no problem bulldozing all over my feelings at any time they felt like. They were extremely moody, prone to think of you as an enemy one day, a friend the next day and never really had a permanent stance on any issue (other than the fact that they were always highly irritated by EVERYONE behind their back and nice to their face).

Why I tolerated this for a few months rather than a few days is beyond me. (I was at a low point in life and just allowed it). But finally, enough was enough and I got fed up with their endless tromping all over my feelings and all their "I can be a real tough bitch" sentences (one of her favorites) and I broke it off. After I let them know exactly what I thought of them.

I feel sorry for whomever gets involved with that person. But I made sure there phone number was blocked off of my cell.

The thing that killed me was when I finally stood up for myself (quite aggressively) the first message that I got the next day was asking me why I was being angry at them when all they had ever wanted was to be a close friend. Whew, glad I have not seen that person in a LONG time. But, if I never see them again, it will be TOO soon.

I've had bosses like that as well. They act like they are being persecuted, endlessly trash talk people behind their backs, and always blame everything on someone else.

I'll take an argument with an aggressive person any day. At least I know what they are. Passive-aggressives seem rather sneaky and manipulative.

I can recommend a good book on the subject of passive-aggressives called ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People’ by Dr. George Simon.   He points out how to spot, understand and deal with abusive types like these that are so hard to pin down.

 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


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Peggotty wrote:It seems to

Peggotty wrote:

It seems to me there are four main conversation styles when it comes to dealing with others, particularly conflict resolution but does it really matter which style we adopt?  I prefer to aim towards assertive behavior myself but what do you think?

Here’s a summary of the different types:-

Passive Behavior- If something happens in your life and you’re too afraid to say to that other person what you think, this is passive behavior.  That’s an implicit way of saying you are less than the other person and the other person will realize it too.  If you go along with this you’ll have less self confidence because you’ll feel bad about yourself.

So often a passive person doesn’t really feel they have the right to speak up as another person violates more and more of their rights.  They value the other person over themselves and in effect become a doormat.  A passive person feels others always win and they lose and this type of behavior often leads to panic attacks or resentment.  The message they are giving out is ‘I don’t matter’.

Aggressive Behavior– This is the type of person who has to win and prefer you to lose and they often have an exaggerated sense of their own entitlement.  They’re easily spotted when they write and speak because their sentences usually start with the word ‘you’ when they deal with others.  The reason being they don’t ‘own’ their own feelings/actions and don’t usually feel accountable but tend to blame other people.  This is the way they try to stay in control of their own lives, it was the other person’s fault anyway so let them deal with the consequences.

The aggressive person seems to have lots of self confidence but underneath their brash exterior hides strong feelings of powerlessness.  To bolster themselves up they swear and swagger through the conversation but underneath they know they are really as powerless and helpless as the passive person because when other people finally get sick of their behavior and stand up to them, their life spins out of control. None of us have the right to violate boundaries of others (what we’ll put up with). This is the type likely to be very harmful to others because their motto is ‘You don’t matter’.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior – Here we have the typical martyr-type complex.  This is the type of person who’s always complaining about others behind their backs rather than speaking their minds.  They are the classic sniper.  They’re not sure enough of where they stand in relation to other people so they tend to control by subtle manipulation. They often function as victims through learned helplessness. 

Because they don’t know themselves, their boundaries are always changing and so know one else knows where they stand either.  This is the type who will deal with the consequences of their actions but will make others pay for it. For the passive-aggressive type it feels like no-one wins and while they may be a doormat they just can’t stop complaining about it. Their motto is ‘I don’t know what matters’.

Assertive Behavior – The key to being assertive is to let others know how we think and feel without harming anyone and therefore there’s nothing vague about us.  If you’re assertive you teach others how to deal with you and that’s very important.  Other people know where they stand.  We look for win/win situations, where possible in all our dealings with others.  That’s it in a nutshell.

An assertive person doesn’t feel the need to control others, only themselves, so they’re mature enough to take responsibility for their own behavior and you won’t find them playing the ‘blame game’.  When in conflict with others they’ll respect the boundaries of others but only because they have strong boundaries themselves and can express them clearly.
Being assertive means we are aware of our own strengths and weakness and are prepared to be honest about them, there isn’t any need to conceal or manipulate because we feel in control of our own lives. When you first start being assertive some people may seem surprised and you may lose those that didn’t really like you.  If you’re assertive you’re part of the group but you don’t care so much what others think of you.

I've seen these four categories before, but they are not really so easily packaged into four separate types of behaviour. For instance, what one person views as 'aggressive' (because it is being used to argue against them), another views as 'assertive' (because they are using it to argue their point).

The rhetorical point of using these four categories is to give emphasis on the benefits of 'assertive' communication styles. And it is very generally true that using the 'assertive' style is better for those that use it, and also better all around because it does not seek to escalate things into a higher level of conflict. However, I think that all four styles are really just different mixtures of many separate communication tactics, and that most people will readily pull a tactic from bag A, and another from bag D, and if that doesn't work, try bag B, etc.

For me, conflict resolution is about looking into the far future and your long-term goals, and asking, "Will this course of action lead to a real resolution of conflict in the long-long term?"

If you look at it this way, then clearly sometimes passive is the best mode, sometimes passive-aggressive, and perhaps, even aggressive (I would strictly limit that to being *non-violent*, though) can be the most appropriate way of resolving long-term conflict.

For instance, I have often felt the need to be totally passive because a particular situation would severely punish non-conformance, with the long-term goal of eventually getting out of that short-term situation so that I can hopefully change the entire situation which created the enforced conformance in the first place. This, for example, is why I'm now actively working against religion. And when I work against religion, I can be assertive, passive-aggressive, and yes even aggressive (though strictly non-violent, as I said) depending on the context.

So, I suppose real, lasting conflict resolution is more about long-term *strategy*, whereas short-term 'conflict resolution' *tactics* can sometimes just mean 'survival', like "those who fight and run away, live to fight another day". Eye-wink

My test of whether a conflict can be resolved is whether or not both parties will eventually be able to come to a common understanding of reality (such reality includes the desires and motivations of both parties) such that they can peacefully live together to mutual benefit (or at least, a neutral outcome). As such, I see one of the primary (if not *the* primary) obstacles to long-term conflict resolution as being the idea of 'faith' as a way of knowing things.

If you have two parties, A and B, who disagree about some proposition P, and they both argue from the basis that, "I have faith that it's true", then there can never be any agreement about P. A argues that "P", and B argues that "Not P!". Then A argues, "Well, I have faith that P!" and B argues, "So? I have faith that *not* P!"

In fact, the more you turn up the faith 'dials', the worse the conflict becomes. Eventually, holy war. (Sounds dumb, but look at history for a reminder of the reality of this.)

So, it seems to me that one of the first things you have to do, if you are serious about conflict resolution, is to figure out, "What does reasonable dialogue require? If a person believes that P is true, but in reality P is false, what principles would that person need to adhere to in order to eventually be able to see their mistake and to realize that P is not true?"

It seems to me that we are very close to having a complete, workable answer to that question. It *definitely* involves at  least some of the following: Evidence-based reasoning and epistemology, acknowledgement of the limits of an individual's (including oneself) ability to achieve *certain* knowledge (i.e. that it is not really possible, although *fallible* knowledge is possible (e.g. science)), acknowledgement that other people are people, just like you are (i.e. basic human equality), etc.

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Peggotty wrote: I can

Peggotty wrote:

 I can recommend a good book on the subject of passive-aggressives called ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People’ by Dr. George Simon.   He points out how to spot, understand and deal with abusive types like these that are so hard to pin down.

 

I'll have to see if my library has it. Thanks.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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I've displayed all 4 of

I've displayed all 4 of those at various times. Depends on my mood, the argument in question, the audience, and the venue.

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Wonderist wrote:I've seen

Wonderist wrote:
I've seen these four categories before, but they are not really so easily packaged into four separate types of behaviour. For instance, what one person views as 'aggressive' (because it is being used to argue against them), another views as 'assertive' (because they are using it to argue their point).
The rhetorical point of using these four categories is to give emphasis on the benefits of 'assertive' communication styles. And it is very generally true that using the 'assertive' style is better for those that use it, and also better all around because it does not seek to escalate things into a higher level of conflict. However, I think that all four styles are really just different mixtures of many separate communication tactics, and that most people will readily pull a tactic from bag A, and another from bag D, and if that doesn't work, try bag B, etc.
For me, conflict resolution is about looking into the far future and your long-term goals, and asking, "Will this course of action lead to a real resolution of conflict in the long-long term?"
If you look at it this way, then clearly sometimes passive is the best mode, sometimes passive-aggressive, and perhaps, even aggressive (I would strictly limit that to being *non-violent*, though) can be the most appropriate way of resolving long-term conflict.
For instance, I have often felt the need to be totally passive because a particular situation would severely punish non-conformance, with the long-term goal of eventually getting out of that short-term situation so that I can hopefully change the entire situation which created the enforced conformance in the first place. This, for example, is why I'm now actively working against religion. And when I work against religion, I can be assertive, passive-aggressive, and yes even aggressive (though strictly non-violent, as I said) depending on the context.


I think cj covered this point in post #1 and #8 above.  The four conversational styles are only brief summaries to point us in the direction where we can intuit ourselves the different modes of communication and how interchangeable they are.


Wonderist wrote:
So, I suppose real, lasting conflict resolution is more about long-term *strategy*, whereas short-term 'conflict resolution' *tactics* can sometimes just mean 'survival', like "those who fight and run away, live to fight another day". 
My test of whether a conflict can be resolved is whether or not both parties will eventually be able to come to a common understanding of reality (such reality includes the desires and motivations of both parties) such that they can peacefully live together to mutual benefit (or at least, a neutral outcome). As such, I see one of the primary (if not *the* primary) obstacles to long-term conflict resolution as being the idea of 'faith' as a way of knowing things.
If you have two parties, A and B, who disagree about some proposition P, and they both argue from the basis that, "I have faith that it's true", then there can never be any agreement about P. A argues that "P", and B argues that "Not P!". Then A argues, "Well, I have faith that P!" and B argues, "So? I have faith that *not* P!"
In fact, the more you turn up the faith 'dials', the worse the conflict becomes. Eventually, holy war. (Sounds dumb, but look at history for a reminder of the reality of this.)
So, it seems to me that one of the first things you have to do, if you are serious about conflict resolution, is to figure out, "What does reasonable dialogue require? If a person believes that P is true, but in reality P is false, what principles would that person need to adhere to in order to eventually be able to see their mistake and to realize that P is not true?"
It seems to me that we are very close to having a complete, workable answer to that question. It *definitely* involves at  least some of the following: Evidence-based reasoning and epistemology, acknowledgement of the limits of an individual's (including oneself) ability to achieve *certain* knowledge (i.e. that it is not really possible, although *fallible* knowledge is possible (e.g. science)), acknowledgement that other people are people, just like you are (i.e. basic human equality), etc.


A reasonable dialogue to assertively solve the problem might be, if A is arguing ‘I have faith that P exists’ and B is arguing ‘I have faith that P doesn’t exist’ then a mediator could point out that neither can really know as they only have faith whether P exists or not and to resolve the conflict it would be more accurate for  A to state assertively  ‘I believe I know that P exists’ and B could argue assertively ‘I believe I know that P does not exist’ and this would not necessarily be a problem and they both could happily live together for a long time to come.

On the other hand if P is really false then it would be helpful to know what evidence A had to assert that P did exist and to define what P was then B could assert that although they had no proof  (in the sense of a communicable and repeatable result of a demonstration or an experience) because no one does (so it’s not a mistake) but may well state that they have a certain number of reasons or arguments that do seem to be much stronger than the ones that make the opposite case especially if he/she is not a dogmatic kind of person.
 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


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harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Peggotty wrote:

 I can recommend a good book on the subject of passive-aggressives called ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People’ by Dr. George Simon.   He points out how to spot, understand and deal with abusive types like these that are so hard to pin down.

I'll have to see if my library has it. Thanks.

 

My library had it listed as "In Sheep's Clothing", when I searched on the author's name.  It is on hold for me as they only have three copies and there are three holds on the first returned copy.  It will be awhile before I get it - just as well I already have 4 books checked out that i really want to finish.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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cj wrote:harleysportster

cj wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

Peggotty wrote:

 I can recommend a good book on the subject of passive-aggressives called ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People’ by Dr. George Simon.   He points out how to spot, understand and deal with abusive types like these that are so hard to pin down.

I'll have to see if my library has it. Thanks.

 

My library had it listed as "In Sheep's Clothing", when I searched on the author's name.  It is on hold for me as they only have three copies and there are three holds on the first returned copy.  It will be awhile before I get it - just as well I already have 4 books checked out that i really want to finish.

 

 

My mistake, cj's right about the name it is 'In Sheep's Clothing' but it does have a wolf on the front cover!

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens


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Vastet wrote:I've displayed

Vastet wrote:
I've displayed all 4 of those at various times. Depends on my mood, the argument in question, the audience, and the venue.

 

But altho' I haven't been posting here very long, your 'default' mode generally does seem to be more assertive than aggressive and if my OP is right that type of poster wouldn't admit their position anyway because if they are being aggressive it's always the other person's fault and not theirs, although I'm always willing to be proved wrong.

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
Charles Dickens