​Why People Suddenly Flip from Silence to Violence in Tough Conversations​

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From David Maxfield: When someone goes silent in a tough conversation they back down, cave in, and knuckle under. These conversations almost always fail. Other times, conversations fail because they go to violence. Someone gets hostile or defensive, and they explode in anger, often without realising it. Here’s the tricky part: after remaining silent over a period of time, people tend to move from silence to violence, and it’s not a gradual process. When people go to silence, their problem isn’t solved. When they fail to speak up, their concerns fester, turn ugly, and the person flips from silence to violence. We wanted to learn more about how people made this sudden flip, so we decided to study this phenomenon in the prison system.

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