There is a path which starts with discomfort, passes by avoidance to finally reach drama. That path uses the context of a situation to hide what the persons involved actually want.
Most of the people have something they find difficult to ask for.it can be for example to ask for attention, recognition or help.
Instead of asking for it, they will use behaviors allowing them to avoid talking about their need or request. Imagine for example a couple sitting around the dinner table. They are eating dinner and he notices, that for his taste the potatoes lack salt. As the excellent cook, he finds himself to be he’s in an awkward situation. For him, it’s important that his partner enjoys dinner. Now that he found out, that something might be wrong, what if his partner doesn’t like that dinner? And if so, what is there to be feared?
With such a feeling of discomfort, it is almost automatic for most to avoid looking at the fear. But avoiding the fear also means to seek for some kind of comfort elsewhere. The tension he starts to sense is located somewhere between his expertise as a cook and the appreciation his partner has for him. Both being threatened from his point of view.
In the dialogue that unfolds, most people will then try to resolve the tension by seeking some kind of recomforting. Instead of sharing his own experience our cook might then ask if his partner find that the potatoes have too little or too much salt. His partner’s answer can now only be in disagreement with the appreciation hoped for. A shift occurred, the dinner or the situation now has become an excuse to hope for appreciation, not only as a cook but also as a person.
The discussion itself will continue to deal with dinner and how it has been cooked.
It’s a perfect setting in which tension starts to build between the discussion partners. The discussion now starts to feel like a hot potato. Way to hot to stick with it.
It feels like a battle. One with a known outcome. A feeling of not being appreciated.
But as that “battle” avoids to look at the mutual appreciation and continues to debate if there is enough salt on the potatoes, tension builds up until it can’t be managed anymore.
That’s when the “battle” or conflict can only be solved by some kind of explosion.
In a then dramatic ending, partners will only see aggression, walking away or stopping to talk with each other as possible ends of the conflict.
The context brought discomfort and allowed at the same time to hide from it.
What if we’d look at that discomfort?