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Get Out of MY Parking Spot! What to do when you get triggered?

Photo provided by Lou Gieszl

12615575_10153440751018562_1398132397776142577_oIt has been over a week since we experienced record-breaking snowfalls. Blizzard Jonas left a lasting mark as clean-up crews continue to plow and remove over 20 inches of snow from the streets of Baltimore City where I reside. Even as an adult, I still get excited when I hear snow is in the forecast. But that excitement is short-lived because once the snow has finished falling, I along with everyone else, have to deal with the aftermath of shoveling out and potentially hazardous roadways and sidewalks from melted ice. The potential for conflict to arise is everywhere.

An interesting conflict the occurs during snowfalls in Baltimore City is over parking spots. Thursday night before the storm commenced, residents began placing folding chairs and other miscellaneous furniture outside to reserve the spaces in front of their houses. I belong to my community’s Facebook group and people quickly began posting pictures, ranting and debating about whether this is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. What I found intriguing about these discussions is how fast they escalated into aggressive responses like, ” I will slash your tires if I see you removed my chairs and took my spot.” Those angered by these comments countered with, “The street is public property, you don’t own the space.” Many of these discussions became so heated that the administrators of the group deleted posts and called for a ceasefire.

Last week on our Conflict Chat program Pattie Porter, Zena Zumeta and I discussed how incidents such as disputing over a parking space or becoming irritated in traffic can trigger us into a protective mode. Pattie then posed the question, “What are we protecting when we get defensive?”

We spoke on-air about how those who have shoveled themselves out may feel protective of that parking space because of all the hard-work, time, and energy they used. When someone swoops in and takes something of value to you, such as a parking space, it could trigger you to become defensive because you want to protect what you see as yours. We challenged listeners to be more self-aware in these situations. You can do this by asking yourself when you’re feeling defensive, what is triggering me to feel this way? What am I protecting? What is of value to me in this situation?

Luckily, I was not one of those people fighting for a parking space. However, I did find myself in morning traffic leaving the city last week, and I was running late to work. I was getting antsy as the first car in the lane I was in appeared not to be paying attention when the light turned green and after a few short moments other cars and myself were pressing our car horns. It was as if the car horns woke me up and I recalled the conflict chat with Pattie and Zena. I then decided to put talk into practice.

I asked myself three questions, and by answering them, I became more self-aware of my emotions, and I was able to gain a better understanding of myself and the situation.

  1. What is triggering me to feel this way? I was running late, and I was nervous I wouldn’t make it on time to work. I was also angry with myself for leaving later than I should have.
  2. What am I protecting? When I beeped my car horn at the car in front of me, I was protecting the rules of the road.

3. What is value or need in this situation? My time, reputation, and professionalism were of value to me                 in this situation. I did not want to show up late to work and risk being unprofessional and perhaps damaging             my reputation.

Next time you find yourself triggered by anger or becoming defensive ask yourself these three questions which can assist you in becoming more self-aware.

Be sure to check out our Conflict Chat program here:

 

Abigail R. C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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Who Is The Big Bad Wolf and Why Are We Afraid Of Him/Her? How race relations create, nurture and perpetuate the existence of this fictional character in our daily experience.

 

This  broadcast will feature a lively discussion of tough issues related to race and conflict. The presenters will posit that much of today’s race-based conflicts are rooted in fear. Thus, addressing racism and transforming conflict may depend on creating opportunities for positive interactions across racial lines, with an emphasis on recognition, acknowledgement and understanding. Mr. Johnson will illustrate this view with examples from his extensive experience as a mediator and his lifelong advocacy for diversity and equity in professional and community settings.

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Race, Diversity and Conflict: A Conversation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diversity, Race and Conflict show series for June is brought to you in partnership with the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO) in Maryland, and with great appreciation to Lou Gieszl and Cheryl Jamison for their dedication and passion to this topic.

During the month of June, we have looked at some tough issues related to diversity. We started the month looking at the fear embedded in racism. Next, we moved to the political arena and discussed why good people are divided. On June 19, there was a discussion of the meaning and importance of Juneteenth. Now, it is time to hear from you. We will be taking your calls as we have a conversation with Cheryl Jamison and Lou Gieszl about race, conflict, reconciliation and the roles we can all play in promoting and celebrating diversity. Listen to their past show Race and Conflict in American Society

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Race and Conflict in American Society: A Conversation

 Join in as Lou Gieszl and Cheryl Jamison examine conflict dynamics when race is an issue. Racism is less overt and yet more complex than at any other time in our history. Because racism tends to be implicit, it often gets overlooked or mislabeled. How can we recognize when race is an issue? Are there landmines that can be avoided? The presenters dispute the notion of a post-racial society and argue that effective conflict management often depends on acknowledging race as a divisive issue. Focusing especially on Black-White relations, the show includes tips for identifying racial issues underlying interpersonal conflicts as well as ideas for building positive connections across racial lines.

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