The Family Stone

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The Family Stone: Elements of Conflict
Conflict Management Resolution/HBD 6771.E1
May 4, 2011
Dr. Barbara Hollingshead

The Family Stone: Elements of Conflict Conflict, according to Wilmot & Hocker (2011), is defined as an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals. At the core of all conflict analysis is perception (Wilmot & Hocker, 2011). In interpersonal conflicts, people react as though there are genuinely different goals, there is not enough of some resource, and the other person actually is getting in the way of something prized by the perceiver (Wilmot & Hocker, 2011). This
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Meredith wants to hold on to the guy who “validates” her and reinforces her self-esteem with attention and adherence to her lifestyle (BMW, tie-wearing, Manhattan city life). The family sees themselves losing the attention and affection of a beloved family member to someone who is attempting to make him like her (The Family Stone, Bezucha, 2006). Meredith feels that all of the family members interfere by ganging up on her to render her relationship with Everett as null and void. The family perceives Meredith’s presence as an interference to the purpose of the family gathering; especially the mother, who wanted to utilize the occasion to talk to the family about her terminal illness. However, Ben, sympathizing with Meredith after she gives out Christmas gifts to the family members, gets her to relax and hang loose by getting her drunk at a town pub. She finds herself in his ability to be sensitive and non-judgmental toward her (The Family Stone, Bezucha, 2006). Everett and Meredith, too, are caught up in “expressions of struggle.” Incompatible goals manifest themselves in the fact that they both want the same things – she wants the comfort, camaraderie, and adventure with someone who loves her, and he wants the comfort, camaraderie, and adventure with someone who loves him. They thought they had that in their current lifestyle, however, they discover it was all very shallow with no love
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