The Seven Deadly Sins

7 deadly sins

One of my favorite professors at University of Denver, Bob Melvin, gave his conflict theory students an excellent reading list.  I immediately purchased all of his recommendations, but only recently began to read one of them:  Henry Fairlie’s The Seven Deadly Sins Today.  My interest was piqued by my son who, over dinner, rattled off all seven without a blink.  I was unfamiliar with the list.  I went home and immediately plunged in to the book.  Here is a little trivia:  Can you name the seven deadly sins? 


Stone wall eliminates communication

Stonewalling: To refuse to cooperate, especially in supplying information.  It is employed by those who are indifferent and who wish to punish.  When passion exists (a very positive or very negative emotion), stonewalling is impossible.  The one who endures stonewalling is often clueless about what the conflict is about.  It is the epitome of an unfair fighting strategy.  One is left to fill in the blanks with the most extreme, even irrational conclusions. 

Respect & Pity

Self Respect

Conflict makes us chose a response. Our choices begin at a very young age, and behaviors take on many forms in interpersonal relationships: patterns emerge and develop over time; with a lifelong curriculum involving experience and discipline (or lack of discipline) that results in our core character. The earliest lessons often begin at the most tender ages of early childhood as we perceive low or high levels of personal power.

Family Communication


Perhaps the most painful experience in life is on-going conflict that simply doesn't get resolved.  The expectations of closeness, the roles we assume the other should fulfill, history that is decades old can resurface and instigate sudden alienation.

Consequences of intractable conflict reverberate out in expanding concentric circles to the nephews, nieces, grandchildren, and so on.  Weddings and funerals come and go without some of the family attending, and the words we wish we would have said are left to haunt us after a loved one has past.