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What happens when two people who may have been even-tempered most of their lives suddenly find themselves in a position where they simply refuse to stand down, no matter the cost? Behavior becomes completely irrational when these dynamics are in motion. You can be having a nice dinner with your partner in a favorite restaurant and suddenly find yourself out in the parking lot in a fist fight. It is seen in every road rage incidents and most often between two people who are in a relationship and have taken a stand they simply cannot or will not relinquish. Two fools have collided.
This happens when pride, arrogance, envy, lying or cheating have stepped into the discussion. These are the emotions that prompt us to take a stand and refuse to alter our position. Even though in many cases, it is not even an issue we imagine is important enough to defend. If you are unlucky enough to engage in a stand-off with a narcissistic personality, you may find yourself being stalked, threatened and harassed beyond your wildest imagination. And there is arrogance in play, controlling the game to the extreme.
Families. particularly siblings, are notorious for taking ridiculous stands and refusing to relinquish their ground. They may not speak for decades and typically cannot remember why after so many after so many years have passed. Envy is usually at the core of family stand-offs
The Hatfield's and the McCoy's are perhaps the most notorious families who have held their ground despite tremendous losses to both families. A belief that one family was being cheated prompted that battle of wills. This behavior continues for years because ending the stand-off requires someone to give up, give in or let go. That s a paradigm shift moment, like the story below which is an excerpt from 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effect People' by Dr. Stephen Covey.
"Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow."
"Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out.
Lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signal man, "Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees."
Back came a signal, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees."
The captain said, "Send, I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees."
"I'm a seaman second class," came the reply. "You had better change course 20 degrees."
By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send, I'm a battleship. Change course 20 degrees."
Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."
We changed course."
Extreme arrogance was the emotion fueling this stand-off; the paradigm shift, or a-ha moment came when the Captain was able to see the situation in an entirely different manner. Every time two fools collide there is a false perception of reality that must be intercepted to move past the stand-off. Standing at the center of that false perception is one of those five emotions that fuel this kind of scene.
If you are caught in the middle of a stand-off, understand that it ends when one of the two who have collided are willing to see things through a different perception or reality.
The winner is always the one who changes course.