Bruising and Healing: The Dynamics of Resolving Grievances

Bruising and Healing: The Dynamics of Resolving Grievances


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In our interpersonal relations, both in the communities surrounding us and as part of the processes taking place on a societal level, we encounter conflicts and suffer “bruises”—the wounds that these conflicts inflict. The parties concerned can talk about the injuries suffered or can avoid each other; they can get closer to or further away from each other. This article features models of a Reconciliation Spiral and a Distancing Spiral that identify a range of points in each process that can help us understand the dynamics that can drive movement toward one or the other. The models are supported by established research in the field, the author’s education in criminological and psychological research, and her experience in conflict resolution projects and cases working in mediation/conflict management in Hungary. Stressing that the models she offers are not prescriptive, but rather descriptive of the general shape and flow of the processes of reconciliation and separation that she has witnessed, the author helps to identify key places where specific responses and actions can support creating dialogue for reconciliation.

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Borbála Fellegi, Ph.D.