Surviving Malicious Intent -- Stop and Look

Do not quickly assume malicious intent. Try all the other possibilities for difficult listening. If none of them work, and if confusion is often the result of interaction, then you may be dealing with malicious intent. STOP and get distance to study the situation.

For Surviving Malicious Intent, STOP speech, movement, and trying to connect. STOP and review all the LOOK and LISTEN methods for all difficult listening. This has pieces of all the others all confused and twisted, so get a good listener to sound off with.

For Surviving Malicious Intent, LOOK at what's happening by asking the question, "Is there a decided or deliberate intention to hurt or destroy?" Does he connive to get your job or authority? Does she set traps rather than fire you outright?

LOOK by asking yourself, "Is there a decided or deliberate intention to hurt or destroy?" Keep your answers tentative as hypotheses to be tested. Malicious intent can come from above, beneath, or the side, from wanting higher, top, or only spot, for any reason.

Using the STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN methods for Surviving Malicious Intent will not make a warm relationship with that person. So decide. If that person has already decided he or she will undermine any win-win, then perhaps the answer is "No win-win, no deal."

Grieve the loss of deeper connection with the person of malicious intent. LOOK for and invest in connections more profitable for you. This is not to judge or denigrate that person. He or she may have fine connections with others whom he or she has no need to take down.

LOOK for the specific tools of malicious intent: lying, vicious language, barbed jokes, many notes, large portfolio, doesn't like rules, disdains the skills of better listening, commandeers the skills of better listening but you don't feel listened to.

LOOK for some more specific tools of malicious intent: "I always get them." "I always get what I want no matter who stands in my way." "I'm just bearing news (hurtful to you)." "Let me ask one (quiz or trick) question." "Everyone's against me." 

One tool used of these mentioned here does not identify malicious intent. LOOK in memory to see if these tools have been used recently, and if suddenly you realize this person uses almost all these tools, then first sound off with your good and safe listener.

Some of the ideas in this article came from: Haugk, Kenneth C. Antagonists in the Church: How to Identify and Deal with Destructive Conflict. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1988.

Copyright 2014 Wilma Zalabak