art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

What Isn’t Being Said?

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

In previous blogs, I have talked about the unsaid – the unspoken words and emotions – that continue to linger and can cause ongoing tensions between us and the persons with whom we have interpersonal disputes. This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog speaks further to this common tendency to not say all we want and need to in the midst of a conflict, and the consequences of that. At the same time, we are not likely hearing what the other person wants and needs to say either. In either case, many of us have queries about the unsaid – our unspoken words and emotions and the other person’s. We may retain the sense that the unsaid was and still is important and we didn’t express (or haven’t expressed) all we needed to. We may wonder if it was or is our fears and other emotions precluding us from doing so.

In reality, it is difficult to effectively express all that is on our minds and in our hearts when we are in the midst of an argument. A lot is said – some of which we mean to say and some of which reflects our state of mind when we are experiencing a range of emotions – that we don’t always mean. A lot is also left out. In the same vein, it is difficult to stay present and pay attention to what the other person is saying – and what they are not saying – when in conflict. Just as we hold back on some things we want to express, so do they. We both may be afraid of saying things we’ll regret and we both might lose perspective, making it difficult to express so that the other will hear what needs to be said. It is not an easy time and the ability to hear what isn’t being said is as challenging as listening to and hearing what is.

To answer this week’s series of questions, consider a dispute you have had or are in or have had:

  • What is the situation?
  • What in your view caused the dispute?
  • What might the other person say caused the dispute?
  • What upset you most in this situation?
  • What didn’t you say to the other person that you wished you had?
  • What would you still like the person to know about that (your answer to the above question)? What else remains unsaid by you?
  • If you had expressed what you wanted to what difference might that have made to the dispute? To the other person?
  • During- or since – the dispute what did you hear or discover that the other person is most upset about?
  • What might be their ‘unsaid’, as you think about this situation now?
  • If the other person had expressed their ‘unsaid’ what difference might that have made to you? To them?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflict management

This entry was posted in Conflict Management Coaching. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *