Extinction-level conversation 5

My Aunt Fannie once told me that the argument that led to her divorce from her first husband started about a glass of water  Thinking about this, recently, I found myself wondering if they realized when they started talking that day that they were having an “extinction level conversation” (ELC).

I had an ELC, which led me to quit a job. I don’t think the Executive Director of the place I worked (who was my supervisor on the Org Chart although she never actively supervised me), knew she was having an ELC with me.  I don’t even know if she remembers what she said, although I do.  As much as I forget some things, certain conversations and specific phrases within those conversations are cemented in my memory.

She said, “The things you’ve done, don’t really matter” …pause… to me.”  Her words flew into (and blew) my mind and spirit and I knew then, that I would leave even though it took me nearly six months to give my notice and another two months to leave.

One of the reasons I avoid talking when I’m really angry is that I don’t want to say words that I can’t take back and that may end something that shouldn’t end.  I don’t want to extinguish hope or possibilities.  I don’t want to litter important relationships with poisonous words. I don’t want to add the fuel that can burn out of control and destroy what I have.

I tend toward silence until I know what I want to say, have chosen the best way to say it, and have selected the appropriate time to speak (for me and for the other person).

I have ended relationships – don’t get me wrong – but not in the heat of anger or disappointment.  I have ended things when it was clear to me that the end had come and that I could no longer be who I was in the relationship…when it was clear that I was unloved,  disrespected, or unsupported.

Looking at the negative world news of skirmishes and war on so many fronts, I pray that President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Barack Obama  of the United States of America (as well as other presidents of too many countries in the world  to name) aren’t on the threshold of having ELC.   Unlike ending a marriage or leaving a job, their ELCs could end this world I/we so love.


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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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5 thoughts on “Extinction-level conversation

  • Carolyn

    Thank you for your deep thought about these dark, violent times. It is indeed scary to think that there is so much unkindness, fear-based, chest-thumping, unyielding-to-the-point-of-possible-destruction conversations and below board, sneaky activities afoot in this country and around the world. May God have Mercy on us all. My prayers go up and around the world.

  • Donna

    Thank you Candelaria for your clear perceptions. Somedays, not too many thankfully, I feel as if I’m at both ends of an ELC! I admire your patience with yourself to not engage in angry or petty conversations immediately but to process what is happening to you and/or the other people involved.


    • Candelaria Silva Post author

      Thanks for taking time to read my blog and for the compliment. My patience is hard-won and as the result of having had too much anger swirling around me. I determined to find another way to deal. It’s a work in progress.