Up Against a Wall

Conflict
Management Blog
by Cinnie Noble

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular a couple of years ago. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted March 1, 2016):

Sometimes, when involved in an interpersonal conflict, we find ourselves “up against a wall”. This expression means we feel we have no choice about an issue, except to give in, or that we feel stuck about how to manage things. One definition (from Dictionary.com) of this metaphor is: “in a crucial or critical position, especially one in which defeat or failure seems imminent”.

Such situations are very challenging and this idiom paints a picture of something stronger and bigger than us getting in our way of proceeding.

If you have a conflict situation in which you are feeling “up against a wall”, consider the following questions for this week’s blog and how you might help diminish the wall’s power.

  • What is the dispute about?
  • What is the wall that you are experiencing?
  • What makes that wall especially challenging?
  • What might the wall reflect in a metaphorical sense (such as what does it represent, i.e. an emotion, wish, fear, expectation, value, etc.)?
  • With what may you be holding up the metaphorical wall – contributing to its existence?
  • How else may you be supporting the wall?
  • What do you think it would take for you to knock over the wall? What all would that entail?
  • What’s the worst case scenario you can imagine if you knocked over the wall?
  • What is the best case scenario if you knocked over the wall?
  • What learning here likely applies to other situations in which you perceive yourself to be “up against a wall”?
  • 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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