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Freezing When in Conflict

by Cinnie Noble
August 2012

Cinergy Coaching by Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble

When considering that one response to being provoked is to freeze, this week’s blog encourages thinking about what that means and what to do about it. So, what does freezing mean in the context of conflict? It may be a matter of becoming hard and cold internally or towards the other person or both. It may also be a reaction that reflects feeling immobilized. We feel powerless to know what to say or do. Typically, our brains are ‘on hold’ and we are not able to think at these times. These and other ways that freezing affects us have a huge impact on the journey that our interpersonal conflicts take. That is, if we freeze, regardless of the form it takes, the result of such a response effects the outcome.
Freezing may be our reaction and it may be the other person’s. Or, it may occur for just one of us. In any case, it helps to reflect on what is happening at these times that may exacerbate conflict or deflect conflict or serve some other purpose. For today’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) then, it is best to consider a conflict you are experiencing in its beginning stages or one you are in the midst of and find yourself freezing. You may even look at a previous conflict when this phenomenon occurred as you answer the following questions:

  • How does freezing happen for you when you are in conflict?
  • What does that feel like?
  • What is actually ‘frozen’ at these times for you?
  • How do you describe what you have observed in others who freeze in conflict?
  • What does that feel like for you?
  • What impact does freezing have on the other person and the interaction when you freeze?
  • How would you describe the opposite of freezing in the context of conflict?
  • What positive outcomes come from freezing? Negative?
  • What would it take for you to thaw out when you freeze, if you wanted to?
  • What could you do to help the other person thaw out?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

Biography


Cinnie Noble is a lawyer, mediator and certified coach. She created the CINERGY model of conflict coaching in 1999 and coaches, consults and trains the CINERGY model in Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Australia and Europe.  Cinnie is also the author of Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY Model.



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