You Were Already Angry Before the Internet Came Along

When people talked with each other across the fences in the backyard, they knew (with some certainty, though certainly not ontological certainty) which of their neighbors were angry and which were pleasant.

The bowling league, the local bar, the country club, and even the grocery store served as locations that allowed people to bump into each other in ways both random and purposeful, and to take each other’s’ temperature about the news of the day.

There were opportunities for thought leaders, opinion makers, and public intellectuals to educate the public about what they believed, and because first the Church, and then the government, and then the corporations acted as gatekeepers, democracy of thought and passion was tamped down successfully enough.

If you were an individual looking to step out from the shadow of conformity and the comfort of the crowd, there were few venues that existed for you to walk out those minority viewpoints, and the gatekeepers of the majority existed primarily to ensure that the minority was never heard from.

Or at least, rarely heard from.

Fighting for a minority belief against a seemingly overwhelming power structure became sauce for the cooking of the goose of ideas, and passions, and sometimes, those ideas broke through the dominant culture, leaped over the gatekeepers and struck a chord with millions of people.

In the 4th great human revolution, the one being driven by a global communication channel known as the Internet, the gatekeepers have little power to police, minority voices and viewpoints can connect with each other and influence like never before, and you know how angry your neighbor is, because she tweeted out a passionate comment last week and it popped up in your feed.

Here’s the thing that we forget, in light of the technological show being put on by the Internet now:

Your neighbor was always angry and disgruntled about the way that the world fundamentally worked.

There were always minority viewpoints in the culture, looking for connection, engagement, and searching for meaning against a dominant culture that was perceived as arrogant, conformist and overbearing.

The bowling league, the local bar, the country club, and even the grocery store have been replaced first by chat rooms, and now by the “impermanent” web, and will be replaced further by whatever comes next.

Since the magnification of a problem is not the same as the problem’s ‘root cause,’ it should come as no surprise to us that people are at the root of our angry, passionate, loud discourse, on an open, democratic and connecting tool.

We all can now say, due to the overwhelming evidence and with almost ontological certainty, that if we fix the people the tool will magically change.

[Advice] What to Do When You have Issues…

…and you will.


There will be days when no one will take your cold calls, your warm calls, or even a hot call.

There will be days when the family, the children, the house and other distractions will seem to crowd out the endless stream of productive work that you know you have to do.

There will be days when you will get angry/depressed/despondent/melancholy and it will seem to others that are outside of your internal mental circus that you are actually not all that engaged with reality.

There will be days when, no matter how many accolades and “thank yous” you will receive, they will seem to roll off of your back in the face of mounting debts, panic and fear of imminent failure.

On the days that the conflict consultant has these issues, she should push back from the table, take a break and go have coffee with a trusted friend or colleague.

Physical activity also helps, in taking a walk, or going for a run.

Finally, on the days when the committed conflict consultant has issues the most important thing to remember is that this too, shall pass.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

[Advice] The Container is not the Water

Anger is a secondary emotion, or so we have heard.

It exists below the primary emotions of either fear, frustration, grief, disgust, shame, anxiety and more.

When those underlying emotions are not addressed, they become a problem for other people, and for ourselves.

In the conflict process, where disputes between people are a part of the mix, sometimes anger manifests and parties use that anger as a weapon against each other.

Anger is only used one of two ways: either as a way to manipulate the other party, (in the form of passive aggressive anger) or to overwhelm and emotionally flood the other party (in the form of attacking anger).

The way to defuse all of this in the conflict process is to focus on two basic, immediate tactics:

  • People have emotions and emotions may influence and direct interests, and serve to harden positions in a conflict process, but people are not their emotions. The container is not the water.
  • The process of conflict engagement means moving into the anger and through it with the other party. This may mean walling off your own emotions—for a while—but keeping the other party focused on the higher goals of the process, rather than the presence of unresolved anger, can serve to move them away from manipulation and attack.

The long term strategy is to get the other party to agreement. The tactic is to look at people and the process, independently from the situation immediately in front of your face.

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-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

Going to Work Angry

Anger and stress are natural reactions to external and internal stimuli. However, it is unfortunate that many of us go to work angry.

Making a Dent in the Universe

  • Do we do this because we think that we’re entitled to a good time?
  • Do we do this because we think that we’re going to be able to negotiate a better deal?
  • Do we do this because we think that we’re going to get a better result on a different day?

Anger–just like its kissing cousin revenge–poisons the heart, both physically and emotionally.

But, we can’t seem to get out of our own way can we?

We are so wrapped up in our own stimulus responses that we can’t see a way out, and by the time that we are ready to be done–and we are emotionally exhausted–it’s too late.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

Guest Blogger Joe Coudriet: Combating Negative Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”– George Bernard Shaw

This week’s Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT) Guest Blogger, Pastor Joe Coudriet, along with his wife, Pastor Dawn Coudriet, is the minister of Southern Tier Family Life Church (STFLC), based out of Binghamton, New York. His blog posts this week and next will focus around combating negative communication patterns in your life.
The mission of STFLC (taken directly from the website) is as follows: “We desire to lead people into a real relationship with Jesus Christ as we glorify God, grow together and give to others.”
Meeting at the Boys and Girls Club of Binghamton, New York since the early months of 2011, STFLC has a strong background in service, growth and leadership.
Check out the STLFC website at, follow Pastor Joe on Twitter at @joecoudriet,
and check out the STFLC Facebook page at
Or, if you’re in the Southern Tier Area on a Sunday morning from 10am-12pm, stop by the Boys and Girls Club of Binghamton, NY, and attend service.
I always appreciate the opportunity to contribute to @Sorrells79 and the great work being done through HSCT.  
As a pastor I am full of faith and trust in God’s word.
As a human I know that before God’s word can have full effect in a person’s life that they must first face the truth: The truth about their circumstances, the truths about the relationships they are in, and the truths about themselves.
Of course looking at the truth is Biblical as well and so I guess I never really stray far away from it because the truth, the Bible says, will set us free.
When confronting the negative patterns of communication that hinder our relationships we must first be true to them; meaning we need to own what’s coming out of our mouth and from our actions.
The good news, however, is that if we can begin to be truthful with ourselves we can be set free from the hindrances developed through our communication patterns and then faith can take root in our lives and give us the strength to follow through.

Next…how to face the truth.
-Peace Be With You All- 
Jesan Sorrells, MA 
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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