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Humiliation is deadly

An insightful Policy Brief by Swiss Peace highlights how emotions both shape and reflect escalation of conflict. Although it is based on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the insight is relevant for daily life.

The main takeaways for us here are:

  • Focus on emotions to de-escalate conflicts - emotions can be shifted faster than the underlying factual situation. Use knowledge and empathy to see the facts in a way that is conducive to a peaceful resolution.

  • Anger is better than shame and humiliation. Feeling angry does not necessary lead to violence.

  • Humiliation is by all means the worst. When people feel humiliated, aggression and violence spikes, as well as autoaggression. Avoid humiliating others at all costs. Tell the truth in a respectful and sensitive way, whether you are speaking to your kids, your colleagues, your subordinates.

Here are some quotes:

“Emotions shape the setting of conflict”

“Conflicts might start initially about real disagreements, but our inability to solve them is mostly linked to psychosocial entrenchment.”

“Since emotions fluctuate stronger than other constructs relevant to social action, they might provide promising targets for individual conflict transformation.”

“In conclusion, out of several emotions elicited during conflict escalation, anger seems the one closest associated with nonviolent action. As humiliation is generally destructive, avoiding humiliating communications, trying to reframe contexts, or at least acknowledging anger either within mediation settings or in motivation for peaceful conflict transformation seems obvious.”

Read the full Brief here.

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