art work by John Ceprano
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Telling Stories

When I was researching for my book Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY Model, many people in the study groups didn’t like the use of the word “stories” to describe their conflict situations. They would say that the use of that word makes it sound like they are fabricating what occurred – that they are not being truthful.

Despite resistance to this notion, the reality is that when many of us share what happened in a dispute, our version is not always what we and the other person said. That is, our recollections are not always fully accurate. For instance, we may leave out things we said and how we acted or sounded; we may add what we wished we had said; and we may attribute words, tones and attitudes to the other person that they don’t necessarily own.

This week’s blog is about storytelling – truths and untruths. To answer these questions, consider a dispute that is currently happening in your life.

  • What is the dispute about?
  • What may you be leaving out about what happened?
  • Why did you leave out that part?
  • What, if anything, did you actually not say despite what you just conveyed as part of your situation?
  • What need does it fulfil for you to leave out or embellish the conflict story?
  • What would the other person say she or he does not really own of what you conveyed about her or his contribution?
  • What compelled you to convey that part?
  • What do you wish you had said? Why is that?
  • What emotion(s) emerge for you when you talk about conflict this way?
  • What are some unsaid truths that arise as you consider your answers to this week’s questions?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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