WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Thursday abandoned budget talks aimed at clearing the way for a federal debt limit increase… The breakdown was set off by the surprise decision of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia… to quit the negotiations.
…Mr. Cantor insulted a few people then said in a statement. “There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, I’m now going to say something demanding.” *
Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona… and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made a joint statement in which they put words in someone else’s mouth, attempted to trap that person between two black and white choices that they had created, told that person how to behave, and then stated, “But we are now requiring that third party to meet our needs.” *
…Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and Senate majority leader, also said he expected that the talks would resume at a higher level, though he provided no timetable. Mr. Reid then spent some time blaming other people for the situation. *
…Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters several insulting things about other people and then went on to attribute a negative intention to someone else’s behavior. *
(And that was about the worst of it through to the end)…
Back Up And Tell It Right
One trick we use in conflicts is to talk about others instead of ourselves. If you find yourself starting sentences with “You’re the one who!!!” and “You always!!” then you are on the road to inflaming conflict rather than resolving it. It can be really difficult to only refer to yourself, your experiences, and your beliefs when having a disagreement with someone, but, in conflict, it often doesn’t matter what you’re saying but rather how you’re saying it. As the redacted article above shows, removing the insults, accusations, and discussion of other people (or at least neutralizing those things) helps keep tempers cool, which is the first step to ensuring that differences get resolved.