Why We Lack Conflict Resolution Skills

Joonie joons, everything has changed. That’s right, you heard me. EVERYTHING. I’m a new woman. You can’t necessarily see it, but my heart has melted from the inside out, and things will never be the same.


We Iranians don’t always have the best conflict resolution skills.

For example, a friend recently told me about a period in her childhood when her baba gave her several months’ worth of the saaket (silent) treatment for mishandling a glass of water near a computer. That sounds a little disproportionate, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, it reminded me of a very similar experience with my own father, whom by now you all know and love as the zealous, yet clueless, Facebook stalker that he is. When I was hella way younger, I went running down the driveway of the house he, my mom, and my two older brothers shared in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.

It was sunset, my favorite time of day, and the last rays of daylight were streaking through the fronds of palm trees and the wires of telephone poles. I was carrying a ceramic mug full of water and I must’ve tripped, or something, because next thing I know, I’m crying hysterically and Daddy dearest is landing open-handed smacks on my body and roundly denouncing the ills of breaking mugs in the driveway.

The rest of the night putters by in fits of agonized sadness from me and rageful admonishments from him. Yeah…and that was a drop in the ocean of quality family time he and I shared before and after that.


I’ve taken the time to illustrate such a personal story, because after hearing my friend’s own testimony and seeing a few other indicators from Iranian friends, I’m convinced that there’s a pattern here. In my friendships with other Iranian-Americans, I’ve borne witness to the fact that if our parents haven’t got the tools for peaceful conflict resolution…

we probably won’t either.

A generation, a nation, a society of people largely without such skills is in something of a torshi (pickle).

My friend and I share more than one thing in common: besides our shared challenges with handling liquid-filled vessels, we also both may never know what happened in the old country to make our fathers the way they are: so angry, so sensitive, so unreasonable.

Maybe that information would be helpful in understanding them — and in understanding ourselves. But we’ve got to do the best we can, as the saying goes, with what we’ve got.

And I’m writing to say that no matter what it takes, for my family, the buck stops here.

It stops with me.

Every time I want to lash out at someone for making a mistake, I will instead turn a loving gaze upon them; and every time a friend holds me to an inhuman standard, I will love them, too, with the love we both deserve.

It’s the love a child deserves when he breaks a glass; it’s that same love that a father deserves, yes, even when he himself can’t give it to his daughter. It’s what we all deserve, and when we lack it, its absence is what drives us to tear others down. So that stops with me. Right here, right now, azizaan, I fill my heart with love, and I offer it all to you.

Everything has changed.




boos boos,



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  1. This spoke to me so much. My dad grew up with a mother who had her hands full with a husband who was addicted to opium and would bring home nothing from his job since it was all spent on gambling and drugs. His father was horribly abusive to all of them. I remember 1 particular story of why my dad had to get surgery on his ears. His father had boxed in his ears for coming home with used shoes from a friend and “shaming” him by insinuating he wasn’t providing for them. He died when my dad was 14. Long story short my dad has a lot of emotional issues that were dumped on to my mother and his children. I hurt for him daily but for my own sanity I’ve had to distance myself at times or I can feel my own anger start to build up at his vindictive ways and how he can never take responsibility for his actions. I have a son of my own now and I refuse to let him ever be treated like I was. Luckily I didn’t marry my father and my husband is everything that I would have liked to have as a father….which are some issues I’m having to deal with more and more as I get older.

  2. You have pleasantly revealed in your writing a profound truth: The individual has control of his or her own attitude, and ultimately, how they perceive and react to everything in life.

    For it is a fact that the only thing you can control in your life is your attitude. All else is ethereal, and at the whim of chance and destiny. But you can choose love over hate, compassion over condemnation, cheerfulness over sullenness.

    God bless you and your journey.


  1. […] makes Persian Dads so angry? Are Iranians just really bad at conflict […]

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