Name-Calling in Conflict

Even though we know that name-calling is infantile, sometimes in the heat of anger, we realize we have resorted to blaming the other person with names that hurt. Or, the other person is verbally attacking us with hurtful and demeaning names. Unfortunately, the sentiments experienced in these words often echo long after the disagreement is over and may even get dragged into subsequent conversations.

Name-calling is an impulsive habit for responding to something another person says or does that offends us. Or, some use it as a tool purposefully to put the other person down, insult and hurt them. From the point of view of conflict mastery, it is worth exploring the feeling and words behind name-calling and the moments that incite them. Won’t you consider the following questions in this regard from this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog if you chose name-calling in an interpersonal dispute?

  • If you name-call at times, what name(s) did you use in the last conflict when you did so?
  • Why did you choose those particular names or that name?
  • What were you hoping to achieve with calling the other person that name or those names?
  • What did you need, expect or hope for from that person that there weren’t delivering (if you didn’t refer to one or more of these above)?
  • What do you suppose motivated you to name-call at that time, rather than responding differently?
  • What emotions were you experiencing?
  • What was the observable impact on the other person when you called the name(s) you referred to?
  • How did name-calling work for you? How did it work against you?
  • If other people have called you names, how have you responded?
  • Consider one of those situations (if someone called you a name or names). What could they have said or done in that situation, that would have kept the conflict from escalating?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
author

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE

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