The only thing to fear is people who fear conflict

Twice now I have seen people mention they don’t want to discuss something at the monthly meeting because it could create conflict. What???

That sums up my community in a nutshell. So afraid of conflict that they are now scared to discuss anything. Isn’t making group decisions part of cohousing? Now these preemptive strikes against that?

Luckily, one member is an experienced communitarian and forced it on the agenda to discuss an issue that others worried would cause conflict.  It was about forming a policy on parking spaces. It was being a forward thinker. Discuss it before it is a contentious issue. Find a way to divide up the spaces so it is as fair as possible. How many spaces per unit? How far from the door? Etc.  I think once it was discussed people were glad that it did get on the agenda.

I prefer to be proactive.  My reactions aren’t as calm and collected.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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6 Responses to The only thing to fear is people who fear conflict

  1. Flower says:

    I wonder if you saw this or not. While researching I found this transcript from a podcast and don’t know where to link to it on your site as I was looking to see where it may fit in. Here’s the link and it’s called, What is Community? Fantasy vs. Reality. Here’s the link: https://www.ic.org/podcast-what-is-community/

    I think I made a comment about “community” and what was meant by it since I see that word used everywhere and in ways that I do NOT agree with and think are inappropriate.

  2. CJ says:

    I listened to it awhile ago. I love her podcast and now don’t have to update mine since there really is a podcast dedicated to ICs like I wanted. But she does do a great job discussing fantasy vs reality. She doesn’t dive deeply into the reality but talks about what an intentional community is and I was into the fantasy and ran away from the reality. I also hear her when she says she loves living in IC and wouldn’t have it any other way. It works out for some. They have a community that is worth the hard times. The balance at my cohousing was not worth it and I was just the first to leave. Since then many more have come and gone and most of the founders are gone too. I’m visiting friends out of town and when I told them my horror story they pointed out that most of the other members sounded like narcissists. I knew a few key players were but now I think about it, at the mediation it was everyone for themself and no one seemed to care about the group, the real issue hurting people, nor how what they said hurt me. It makes it clear – I choose correctly to leave a toxic environment.

    • Flower says:

      I read her transcript. I seem to absorb info better when I read as opposed to listening, although the last year I listened to a lot of podcasts about cults.

      I think taking a deeper dive into the “reality” would be helpful and discussing hard times and what that looks like or could mean. I recognize that is probably easier said, than done. It’s hard to get that information, which makes me feel that they are not being upfront or honest about the drawbacks and potential problems.

      It’s not a good sign when the founders leave. It would be good to know the reasons, but it sounds like it’s difficult to get that information. Narcissists create chaos and confusion through manipulation and gaslighting. I know from experience. That’s why I’ve spent a lot of time researching–the books that I’ve mentioned and therapy, because narcissists don’t see counselors/therapists. They blame you–you are the problem. They never take one iota of personal responsibility. It’s talked about more now, then what it once was. Removing oneself from a toxic environment isn’t always easy and it’s good that you had options.

      It’s also good that you have friends that emotionally support you. I searched for that and never found it, although they want validation and emotional support from me with no reciprocity on their part. I think being seen as a “nice” or “sensitive” person attracts people seeking to exploit or to take advantage. Anyway what was left for me was therapy and I was fine with that.

  3. CJ says:

    The truth is we find few people that are true friends – that give and take. I have my best friend from when I was 7 and we’ve continued but everyone else just kinda went different directions in life. Then there are the friends you look back and see it was one sided or toxic. Lately, I realized I have to let another friend go. He’s trapped in a toxic relationship and can’t meet half way even just to get a kid free night. I’ll be there later when he’s free.
    So, it’s not you. Being nice is a liability! I used to think everyone was worth my time but not anymore!

    • Flower says:

      My best friend was toxic, yet I was loyal until she ended the relationship. She planned a pregnancy at 15 years old. It was a conception by deception situation. I had horrible experiences due to my friendship with her. She referred to me that I once was a “true friend” but she didn’t behave well towards me. After some time she resurfaced in my life and I was wary and cautious, but responded to her letter. She returned a letter and then I never heard from her again. Then she resurfaced again, locating me on the Internet and then randomly showed up at my door uninvited. I was seeing a therapist at the time for something unrelated and she was the only person who recognized what a huge boundary violation that was. It’s a long story. I know there are the “friends” that once you re-evaluate the dynamics you begin to realize how one-sided and toxic those relationships were. I’ve experienced many of those and they too resurfaced in my life. I’d moved on and didn’t welcome the intrusion. I do recall feeling emotionally violated, although at the time I did struggle with feeling that I always had to “censor” my thoughts and words. I’m very discerning about relationships which I learned from those many harsh experiences. I think one hones that emotional skill set over time.

      I appreciate you letting me know that it isn’t me. I’ve experienced a lot of the scapegoating and blaming and I agree about “being nice” is a liability. I’m glad to hear that you no longer think that everyone is worth you time!

  4. CJ says:

    As young people, we are so vulnerable to whoever happens to be in our neighborhood or school. I look back on some of my “friends” and just cringe. Luckily, as adults we can see the toxicity and take control (esp. with the tools of therapy). The way she called you her “best friend” reminds me of the lovebombing that cults do.

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