Beyond Intractability
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by emailThis rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Power Struggles in Families
Nancy Ferrell
Former CRS Mediator, Dallas Office; Private Mediator and Trainer
Interviewed by
Julian Portilla
2003
 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Q: What other elements... you mentioned the elements of not communicating fears... but are there elements that lead to intractability in family conflicts?

A: It usually is based in some sort of power struggle where one party or the other has had the power and the other one decides they don't want to be subservient to that anymore. And it could be violence power, where there's abuse involved, and the power's been imposed through the abuse and at some point the abused person says I can't live in this anymore. But even at that, when did it start? When did the first bowl of corn flakes get put on the table and you didn't say I don't like corn flakes. When was the first, "you're stupid, sad", and you didn't say, "I'm not willing for you to call me that."

And so ten years later you're not just saying, "you're stupid", you're knocking me to the floor, and I don't want in any way to say that the victim in any way causes this, but certainly there is some mutual energy around people who get into situations where they are being taken advantage of, whether it's in an employee situation or a family situation. What was the first instance? How did this begin and how did it escalate?

Q: That reminds me of an old saying in Mexico, which is that it takes two hands to clap. Which is not to say, as you said, that the victim is to blame, but that everybody has choices and they could have done things differently at some point.

A: And I think holding people accountable and being willing to take responsibility for yourself is important. If I challenge you and you don't want to be with me, then I've got to go on my own and take care of myself. Sometimes the payoff of staying together is greater than the risk of being alone.

Post a comment or suggestion about this page or topic...
(If you have a comment or suggestion about the system in general, please post it on our Comments and Suggestions page instead.)

 

Beyond Intractability
Copyright © 2003-2012 The Beyond Intractability Project, The Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado;
All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission.
Inquire about affordable reprint/republication rights.

Beyond Intractability is a Registered Trademark of the University of Colorado
Contact Beyond Intractability
Privacy Policy

The Beyond Intractability Knowledge Base Project
Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess, Co-Directors and Editors

c/o Conflict Information Consortium (Formerly Conflict Research Consortium), University of Colorado
580 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA -- Phone: (303) 492-1635 -- Contact
University of Colorado Boulder