I deal with a lot of perfect storms.  A series of events that escalate to a mighty crescendo of almighty conflict, loud and cruel words and hurt feelings.  It’s like watching a movie; event after event leading to this incredible moment in time.

As an outsider looking in it is obvious that this moment is going to occur if not today at some time in the future; but not so for the parties involved in the conflict. They are so absorbed in everything that is going on that they don’t see how close they are to this defining moment in their relationship.

The parties to the perfect storm always want to tell me about what happened on that eventful day when the crescendo hit. They want me to believe their version of the events. They want me to understand how “reasonable” they were in that moment.

I always believe what people tell me about those events. They are telling me their truth. And it is imperative that they get an opportunity to vent and tell their story.

They are processing all of the events and they do not want to be the one who was responsible for tipping the crisis to this point.

And that’s ok….because what happens on that day is usually not the main issue. It is an outcome not a cause.

I want to understand why it happened, not what happened. I want to hear about the feelings of resentment, unfairness, of not being valued or of being disrespected.  I want to know what triggered those feelings. Then, and only then, can we start the healing process.

The main question is not what happened… it is why did it happen?


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