What is Metaphor? How to Use Metaphor Flexibly
What Metaphors to Learn?
Excerpt from the introduction: Thomas H. Smith. Metaphor Awareness and Skills: Learning A Few Good Metaphors, Paper presented at the Fifth World Mediation Forum, Crans-Montana (Suisse) 9-11 September 2005.
Does the best mediation occur when the mediator is particularly insightful about what participants are really saying? In mediation, as in life, people talk and we wonder,"What do they actually mean? "Meaning" has multiple facets. When one facet promotes conflict, another may help conciliate. We know that what people say is only an outward indication of their true experience or what they actually mean. More of the true meaning may remain hidden than revealed and it can be the mediator’s job to bring more of it to light.
People are not machines. Except in specialized domains or in describing the"what", "where" and "when" of specific cases, words do not have a one-to-one correspondence to objects and actions in the "real" world. Note that when describing "how" or "why," words inevitably become multi-faceted to convey "many-to-many" relationships with the real world. Concepts, metaphors and conceptual metaphors are what put these many-to-many relationships in a readily usable form.
The human mind works by compressing many-to-many relationships into simpler form. For example, we can think about things that do not exist or never happened by combining a generic thought of their presence with a specific instance where they are absent, expressing the result as"this paper has no value." Or, we think of a conflict by combining the generic idea of a blockage or barrier with the specific instance of interacting with another person, expressing the result as "I’m talking to a brick wall."
In turn the linguistic characterization of the blended and compressed ideas will now have influence of its own. Language summarizes the blended result and a shaping or convergence process is set in motion that influences what is"meant" over time. The nature of this process is becoming better understood after twenty-five years of concerted effort in the cognitive sciences, and many researchers conclude that metaphor is basic to human thought (see discussions by Lakoff and Johnson, 1999; Kövecses, 2002).
So potent are they that metaphors are likely to be found invaluable by mediators to better understand what disputants really mean. Metaphor helps us notice how two very different ideas blend, and that the experience of one thing can influence how we understand something from an entirely different realm of experience. You may reflect, for example, on how you decided to come to this conference or to choose to attend this presentation.
You may have figured out the worth or value to you of each possible choice; the italicized words help us identify the metaphor: DECISION MAKING IS (metaphorically understood as) ECONOMIC ACCOUNTING.
You may have weighed the different choices: DECISION MAKING IS (metaphorically
understood as) MEASURING PHYSICAL PROPERTIES.
You may have considered your long-term goals to see if this choice helped move you along your path to reach certain goals: DECISION MAKING IS A JOURNEY.
But maybe you were already here and, to conserve energy, you just stayed where you were: DECISION MAKING IS THERMODYNAMICS.
Some people make these decisions without such reflection, just saying yes to what rings a bell, sounds good, or feels right: DECISION MAKING IS SENSORY PERCEPTION. These kinds of metaphors are ubiquitous and can be found throughout negotiation and mediation dialog. The metaphor-aware mediator would have ready knowledge of all the structural details pertaining to these metaphors, knowing such things as the following:
Not only that Accounting involves writing down amounts and adding them up, but also the balancing of amounts; when someone says "…that doesn’t add up…" or "…the bottom line for me was…", if you are aware of the accounting metaphor, you know that the lines just above the bottom can be crucial, and you may ask, "If that’s what you gain, what did it cost?"
Not only that Journeys involve moving on a path, but finding the right path in the first place and the possible involvement of maps, vehicles, baggage, etc.; when someone says "…this moves us forward…", a query that metaphor-awareness might generate is, "Tell me more about the map you’re following."
Not only that Sensory Perception involves immediate sensation but also sensitization and habituation; so when someone says "…it just felt right…" you might be able to provoke new thinking by asking about previous experiences that heightened receptivity to this stimulus, or masked another one.
Which Metaphors Should We Learn?
These examples draw on Accounting, Journey, and Sense Perception metaphors. If you are interested in familiarizing yourself with the metaphors most likely to come up in mediations or negotiations, are these the most important? What are the metaphors that, if you were to make yourself more fully aware of them, would be likely to benefit you the most?
Metaphors are sometimes discussed in the conflict resolution literature: A dispute has been metaphorically understood as a Battle, a Sport or Game, and dispute resolution as Cooking, Commerce, or sometimes even Dancing and Gardening (Cohen, 2003). Wilmot and Hocker (2001) discuss sixteen common metaphors that negotiators use to approach conflict or to form a perspective: War, Struggle, Explosions, Court Trial, Force of Nature, Animal Behavior, Messiness, Communications Breakdown, Games, Heroic Adventure, Balancing, Bargaining, a Tide, a Garden, a Dance, or as Quilt-Making. Gelfand and McCusker (2001) cite some of these and add Theatre/Cinema. Haynes (1999) discusses War, Competitive Games, and Journey metaphors. Coleman (in press), distinguishes five metaphoric frames for understanding conflict: Games of Strategy, Social Psychology of Human Relations, Disease and Pathology, Subjectively Constructed Meaning, and Complex Systems.
Many of the same metaphors just mentioned as having been identified in the conflict resolution literature have also been studied and described in detail by cognitive scientists studying a wide variety of other spoken and written discourse (including Deignan, 1995; Lakoff and Johnson, 1999; Eubanks, 2000; Kövecses, 2002; Charteris-Black, 2004): Games and Sports, Health and Illness, Food and Cooking, War and Conflict, Animals, Plants and Gardening, Light and Dark, Building and Construction, the Parts and Functions of the Human Body, Journeys, and Complex Machines. In this literature such metaphors are termed "conceptual metaphors" to signify their connection to cognitive processes.
In my own research (Smith, 2005b, that involved family, business, personal injury, and labor relations conflicts) I have studied a subset of these conceptual metaphors that are both widely documented in cognitive science and also named by specialists in conflict resolution: (1) War/Fighting/Struggle, (2) Animals/Animal Behavior, (3) Games/Sports, (4) Journeys, (5) Construction and (6) Plants And Gardening. The most frequently found metaphor domain was by far that of the Journey, followed by that of Construction, and then War/Conflict/Force/Struggle and Games/Sports. The Conceptual Metaphor domain of Plants/Gardening yielded only minimal instances and Animals/Animal behavior none at all.
Quick, Unobtrusive, Holistic -- Reorganizes Your ThinkingMetaphor can be very influential and work quickly and naturally to facilitate dialog. When skillfully used, metaphor is unobtrusive to the point of being unnoticed. It operates quickly and holistically, without analysis, explanation or persuasion.
Metaphor works by reorganizing one’s experience, re-positioning one relative to the problem, and by directing attention to where solutions may be more easily found. It can orchestrate thinking at multiple levels while integrating perspectives and possibilities. A metaphor can re-work the logic of facts, emotions, needs, intuitions and behaviors, bringing them into a working whole. This effect changes how difficulties are thought about and how communication is guided.
Examples:The metaphors given as examples below are actually elaborations on Primary Conceptual Metaphors of cause and effect that, once you understand them and become fluent in their use, can greatly extend your capabilities.
Gardening MetaphorDiane Yale's use of a garden metaphor… deliberately introduced to lead clients on creative, generative track. Entailments include preparing the ground, planting seeds, caring, weeding, fertilizing, watering, pruning, thinning and seasonal dormancy and sprouting back. It helps set a direction (for those in this age who are familiar with gardening).
Ice Hockey MetaphorBernie Mayer's example with Canadian clients… found ice hockey metaphor accidentally. Entailments include a set of known rules of the game, deviations from the rules are "fouls" that are expected to occur from time to time and have penalties (not punishments), regions of the ice and positions that mean specific things, various game strategies and tactics that fans know well. It helped these clients communicate in a richer, common language (but excludes those not savvy).
War - Contest - Journey MetaphorJohn Haynes acknowledges the war metaphor that many clients and their lawyers seem automatically to use, and he attempts to shift them to the metaphor of a common journey. Entailments include steps towards a destination, cooperation in travel, overcoming obstacles, and learning new customs. But he illustrates how clients retain elements of the war metaphor and fight over proper destinations, getting there first, etc.
(Lists of Metaphors)
Metaphors Package Names and Entailments Together
Metaphor in Negotiation (2)
Excerpt from the introduction: Thomas H. Smith. Metaphors for Navigating Negotiations,Negotiation Journal, July 2005 21(3), 343-364. © 2005 Blackwell Publishing.
Negotiations require us to not just hear what the other person is saying but also to understand what he or she really means.We know that what a person says is an imperfect representation of what that person is thinking. So we listen to what he says, and then we make inferences about what he is thinking. Here is where we may do the hardest work — penetrating the thinking behind the words, examining and clarifying these inferences — so that our negotiations cover all important concerns, reveal all parties’ issues and interests, and explore likely avenues of mutual gain.
This means that throughout a negotiation, we play the role of psycholinguist who tries to extract salient meaning from language. This article is intended to make more accessible to negotiators some practical applications of what has come to be called conceptual metaphor (Kövecses 2002; Lakoff and Johnson 1999). An extensive, interdisciplinary body of research that has been conducted on conceptual metaphor strongly suggests that it is central to our thinking processes and that we use the structure of metaphor to guide our inferences from what is said to aspects of what is being thought.
To start, consider this metaphor I have found to be operating in a negotiation dialogue. Below is the first of a series of statements taken from a transcript in which a shopping mall developer and an anchor tenant are negotiating the length of a lease and a possible subletting arrangement (Wheeler and Morris 2001). It shows how one negotiator metaphorically understands the relationship between the two parties. The developer’s agent says to the retailer’s representative:
Let me propose that in the event that you would be thinking
about leaving that you would give us eighteen months’ notice
and that we would both engage in the process of looking for a
subtenant. Now, that would allow . . . either one [of us] to come
up with a really good replacement for you and it would get us
both in the game, both working toward the same thing . . .
A metaphor that can be discerned here is leasing is a game or, more specifically, fulfilling a lease is playing on the same team. Let us assume that the negotiator used this metaphor not just to be clever but to say something important yet difficult to put into literal terms. The metaphor indicates at least part of this negotiator’s subjective understanding of the relationship issues at hand and how she thinks about how people play in a game or stand on the sidelines, how team members work jointly to score points, how the participation of players depends on their assigned positions — all of these are likely sources for the meaning behind her words.
At least some aspects of team games or sports are projected onto the commercial leasing process, team members’ diverse talents are projected onto the lessor and lessee’s roles, and game strategies are projected onto the terms and conditions of a lease.
If one is aware of metaphors in this way, what might one do differently in a negotiation? How can negotiators use metaphor to boost rapport, to expand viewpoints, or to shift direction and expectation? Methods include:
(1) joining or aligning with the other person’s metaphor to enhance rapport ("Because we are both on the same team . . ."); (2) building on the metaphor ("We can put specialists into play long before anybody has to consider walking off the field"); and (3) shifting to another metaphor with different expectations ("When might we prune back, rather than transplanting. . . ?").
Metaphor in the Expert Literature of Mediation
Excerpt from the introduction: Thomas H. Smith. Do the Experts Mean What Their Metaphors Say? An Exploration of Metaphor in Mediation Literature. Paper presented at First International Biennale on Negotiation, Paris: 11-12 December 2003,
For theoretical guidance in uncovering such metaphors [in the mediation expert literature] we turn to conceptual metaphor theory (especially as summarized by Lakoff and Johnson, 1999; Kövecses, 2002) including the extensive work done in documenting conventional metaphor in various linguistic communities. This work on conventional metaphors has little touched the mediation profession (except Jones and Hughes, 2003).
Definitions of Metaphor
Conceptual metaphor theory emphasizes the existence of two domains – the target domain (the subject being discussed – e.g., a property dispute) and the source domain (the figurative vehicle from which new meaning is derived – e.g., two children trying to play with the same toy). A shorthand title for a metaphor follows the form TARGET DOMAIN IS SOURCE DOMAIN. For this metaphor it might be A PROPERTY DISPUTE IS CHILDREN TRYING TO PLAY WITH THE SAME TOY, which means "a property dispute is metaphorically understood as children trying to play with the same toy."
Also, conceptual metaphor theory exploits the abstract nature of the target domain and the more concrete, grounded nature of the source domain to map the physically experienced aspects of the source and project them onto the target (e.g., toy corresponds to the particular property in question, playing corresponds to ownership, physical pushing or jostling corresponds to legal maneuvers, and so on). The target seems more real in terms of universal bodily activity such as movement and sensation.
Conceptual metaphors analyzed here are more universal across languages and cultures than are, say, idioms, myths, parables or allegories. And they depend much less on extent of education or sophistication. The concrete knowledge that conceptual metaphor is based upon comes simply from having and growing up with a human body, handling objects, moving in space, and encountering obstacles.
What Constitutes Evidence of Metaphor Use?
Until about twenty-five years ago metaphor was thought to be merely an artful embellishment to literal statements and logical arguments. Then Lakoff & Johnson (1980) argued that most metaphor is used unconsciously and that it reveals a conceptual structure that is no accident or decoration but is, in fact, indicative of how the speaker is thinking. Not only does it convey the underlying conceptualization of the speaker, but it frames and sets up the reader or listener to understand what is being said in certain terms, with particular limitations, and an implicit inference structure. Here is a simple example of a conceptual metaphor taken from the corpus studied here:
"… [the proposal] only fits their own needs."
The use of the italicized word may not seem particularly metaphorical. In fact it is. The word fits is incongruous as it applies literally. It means something quite physical, as of pieces or parts shaped such that when they meet, their proportions correspond to form a unified, smooth surface. Proposals don’t literally have physical parts that can fit with needs. Whatever one believes needs are, presumably they have no actual physical shape. This incongruity is taken as lexical evidence of a non-literal or figurative use of language – in this case a possible metaphor. The shorthand title for this metaphor would be PROPOSAL SUITABILITY IS PHYSICAL PARTS FITTING TOGETHER; this shorthand means "proposal suitability is metaphorically understood as physical parts fitting together."
But to confirm a metaphor we must have more (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999, pp. 180-183 indicate several sources of corroboration). The source domain of a metaphor (physical parts fitting) is multi-faceted and the facets have correspondences with the target domain (the proposal). It is not necessary to name these facets because, from our everyday experience, we already know about what enables or prevents things from "fitting." It is such correspondences that compress and transmit large chunks of meaning in a very few words – a result that makes metaphor so useful and attractive.
From the above example some of the correspondences are:
· The physical parts in the source domain of the metaphor correspond to facets in a proposal and to facets of needs.
· How physical parts in the metaphor work together corresponds to how proposals and needs work together.
· The physical parts of the metaphor have a shape that might bealtered, and this corresponds to how parts of the proposal might be altered.
· A possible sequence of meshing physical parts in the metaphor corresponds to a possible sequence in the proposal.
These correspondences contain a logic and certain inferences (that sometimes take the form of questions) that will automatically be made: A proposal has points of contact with parties’ needs; the proposal might contact some needs and not others; the shape of the proposal can be changed to better articulate with needs; the shaping of a proposal is mechanical and manipulable; the limits on changing shape of a proposal has to do with the physical qualities of the material; do you start with the needs and fit the proposal to the needs, or the other way around? if there is not a good fit damage may occur.
Does all of this come from the metaphoric use of the word fits? Not entirely. That word is one of many that work together to offer what might be called a cluster of structuring metaphors. Combining, attaching, picking parts, matching, shaping, measuring, balancing, stabilizing, making a foundation or firm base, using sound principles, etc. (as we shall see below), all indicate a larger metaphoric understanding of how to construct something. The use of these words occurs throughout the expert literature on mediation – not always metaphorically, but in large part – such that we can identify it, along with certain others, as an important metaphoric theme.
Two Ways to Use Metaphor
Excerpt from the introduction: Thomas H. Smith, Using Disputants’ Metaphors in Mediation, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, December 2005, 23(1), 5-23.
Two Modes of Metaphor in Mediation
Metaphor can be used by mediators in at least two ways: First, particular metaphors can be introduced by the mediator to influence the disputants and the results of mediation; for example, the mediator might talk about a dispute as a dance requiring a complex sequence of steps. This can be called a"guiding metaphor" because it may help to orient disputants in a certain way.
Secondly, knowledge and awareness of metaphor can allow the mediator to hear and understand disputants better; as when a disputant remarks that,"I’ve been cast as the bad guy and I’m rejecting the part," and the mediator replies to this by asking about the plotline. Here we are talking about detecting and responding to disputants’ "operating metaphors." It is the latter that this paper focuses upon, showing how a mediator uses detailed knowledge of metaphor in general, and clients’ operating metaphors in particular, to explore and expand discussion and, when indicated, introduce guiding metaphors. Let us start by reviewing why a primary emphasis on operating metaphors is important.
To date relatively few published accounts deal with metaphor in mediation and quite often they concentrate on guiding metaphors. Haynes (1999) and Yale (see Walker, 1991) are typical. Haynes acknowledges the war metaphor used routinely by many people and their lawyers in combat over divorce. He describes how a mediator may shift them to a metaphor of sporting competition and ideally to the metaphor of a common journey through which they can get on with their lives. Yale deliberately introduces a gardening metaphor to suggest how, even in divorce, people are preparing the ground and planting seeds for their future. Despite their beneficial intent such accounts seem to assume that the mediator knows best what direction to take in mediation and that metaphor is a subtle yet forceful way to put disputants on the right track.
Many mediators, however, are not in favor of exerting such strong direction or influence. They prefer a broad understanding of issues and possibilities from the disputants’ points of view. Even in debates about "evaluative" mediation (such as Levin, 2001) we find reasons that mediation should remain a client-directed process. Descriptions of "transformative" mediation (Bush & Folger, 1994; Folger & Bush, 2001) emphasize careful exploration, understanding how disputants see things, and finding opportunities to encourage (but never to press) movement in certain directions. When using the "narrative" approach (Winslade & Monk, 2000) a mediator painstakingly elicits each disputant’s story of the conflict as a basis for setting a direction. All of these schools seem to assert that self-determination is paramount. It is the disputants themselves who know what their particular conflicts are about and genuine progress depends on this knowledge.
For a mediator to understand a conflict as the disputants themselves experience it is not always easy. Accordingly, a variety of mediation authorities seem consistent in urging practitioners to listen non-judgmentally, probe for clarity, detect underlying concerns, disentangle and manage the flow of communications, reframe salient meanings, and look for openings to promote dialogue, self-reflection, mutual respect and the discovery of new options (Bush & Folger, 1994; Fisher, Ury & Patton, 1991; Mayer, 2000; Moore, 1996).
Detecting Operating Metaphor To Understand the Conflict
Would knowledge of metaphor be valuable for this? This is touched on in the conflict resolution literature. Jones and Hughes (2003) advocate making metaphor key in mediator training. Mayer (2000) describes his clients’ spontaneous use of hockey terminology. Gannon (2001) finds certain nationalities agreeing on business deals in the spirit of a kind of family loyalty while others understand conflict resolution metaphorically as the various sections of a symphony orchestra rehearsing and performing. Schön (1993; Schön and Rein, 1994) points out that, although differing interests may be at the heart of intractable disputes, these interests are understood through metaphoric frames that can diverge so much that disputants can’t event agree on what the dispute is about. Gelfand and McCusker (2001) see metaphor as key to understanding one's life space in the here-and-now, interpreting the meaning of various elements of a dispute as it structures and organizes negotiations; they have proposed metaphor as central for the development of conflict resolution theory.
Metaphor is not simply a clever device for embellishing an idea or heightening interest. It is integral to the kinds of discussions that occur in mediation, the logic used and inferences that are made. People often cannot find words to describe literally their inner experience of a conflict.
As Lakoff and Johnson (1999, p. 59) point out, we can hardly think about subjective experience without metaphor: "If we consciously make the enormous effort to separate out metaphorical from nonmetaphorical thought, we probably can do some very minimal and unsophisticated nonmetaphorical reasoning. But almost no one ever does this, and such reasoning would never capture the full inferential capacity of complex metaphorical thought."
Unconsciously disputants employ metaphors to express their experience of difficulties, needs, interests and values. Metaphor – defined as talking about one thing in terms of something else – projects the logic and information from a familiar and concrete domain of experience onto an abstract, subjective and often elusive domain.
Take an example where disputants are discussing their problems in communicating and one says, "Venom just comes pouring out." Communication is metaphorically understood as poison. Or, in a mediation about licensing rights a party says, "Without the license my hands are tied." Legal permission is metaphorically understood as unrestricted use of the hands. These conceptual metaphors outwardly express a more concrete and accessible form of what is inwardly experienced. Such operating metaphors have logic and content of their own, parts of which correspond accurately to inner experience and parts of which may not.
The examples given so far illustrate spontaneous metaphors present in the sort of ordinary discussion that typifies mediation. These examples of operating metaphor, like most we might come upon, do not portray an overall narrative or thematic organization such as metaphors of war, football or family life. At first an operating metaphor may be difficult to detect because it is so commonplace and lacks drama or special appeal. Nevertheless the metaphors that inevitably arise in everyday language can reveal much about how a person thinks and what he or she means, giving the mediator a range of options for how to proceed.
Once a metaphor is conceived and expressed its structure continues to influence ongoing thinking and discussion. Metaphor becomes elaborated and creatively extended as people continue to apply it, markedly so when used interactively in dialogue. The proposition of this article is that a mediator, conscious of the metaphors being used, aware of their implications and skilled in their use, will hear more, be better able to reframe, disentangle and guide communications to explore meanings. With this consciousness and skill the mediator may then introduce certain guiding metaphors to enhance self-reflection and expand possibilities. Recent scholarship gives us methods to apply in detecting, exploring and extending the metaphors disputants spontaneously use. Let us now examine in detail some aspects of metaphor that the mediator can particularly profit from.
The Structure of Metaphor
One way to detect metaphor is by noticing figurative use of words and then extrapolating to a metaphor typified by that word use, as done in the examples already offered and in this one: A divorcing parent in mediation says, "If you’re going to haggle over time with the kids I’ll just give you my bottom line." The italicized words suggest that negotiating about parenting is metaphorically understood as marketplace bargaining. This is both interesting and useful in itself because it identifies a possible thinking pattern the mediator could join in with or offer an alternative to. While valuable, more detailed metaphor knowledge will enable the mediator to do more.
Metaphor in Negotiation (1)
Excerpt from the introduction: Smith, Thomas H.,"Getting a Grip on Metaphor: It Has A Hold On Us But Can We Embrace It? Paper delivered at The International Association for Conflict Management (IACM), Seville, Spain, June 12-14, 2005.
Let us start by looking at a segment of an actual labor relations negotiation (part of the corpus analyzed here) where a retail chain union representative has just complained that twoway communications between workers and management are lacking:
Management:Isn't there an opportunity to talk about this at a shiftmeeting?
Labor: Not really, they are only 5 minutes before the store opens. There used to be store meetings, but that has sort of fallen by the wayside.
Italicized words suggest a metaphor, where time is a road along which company operations travel towards a known destination. On the way, perhaps to speed the trip, certain assets are discarding to the side and left behind as worthless. Those who retrieve the discards may be scavengers, not real travelers.
Note that the metaphor (interrupting a journey) depicts in straightforward, concise and physical terms something (having store meetings) that is rather ambiguous and complicated. The inclusion of"sort of" suggests the speaker realized he was speaking figuratively, signaling a package of metaphoric meaning. Review of the dialog immediately following this shows no overt indication, however, that the listener took any figurative meaning on board. But this analysis, which also has intuitive appeal, could certainly be judged speculative or lacking an empirical basis. That is until we realize that journey metaphors have been studied extensively and, corresponding to our intuition and conventional knowledge of journeys, we can put some confidence in this account.
Metaphors have been found basic to human communication, key to understanding not only frames (Schön and Rein, 1994) and unconscious thinking (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999), but "regimes of truth" (Goatly, 2003), intentions and evaluations (Charteris-Black, 2004). Metaphors can shed light on underlying meanings promising the possibility that negotiators can find out more about what is wanted and why. They can promote empathetic connection and are a way to relate to (rather than confront or ignore) opposing views (Smith 2005). Also metaphor provides continuity and coherence in dialog and could be deployed to shift attention and emphasis. Overall, metaphors (particularly the broader conceptual metaphors) may account more systemically for the cognitive and social realities that negotiations are intended to address (Coleman, in press).
When thinking about complicated problems and abstract ideas metaphors are key (Kövecses 2002), and most negotiations involve complexities and abstractions, so we might expect negotiation dialogs to contain metaphors. If so many metaphors are conventionalized and used without deliberate attention, operating mostly outside of conscious awareness, we would expect negotiators to show minimal awareness when they use them, not to notice when others use them, and not to pick up on them purposefully. In such case, negotiators would be missing a major source of information about what is thought, the reality of the situation as seen from differing points of view, how matters are evaluated, and what is intended. Furthermore, they would be dispossessing themselves of potentially useful means for finding additional options for joint gain.
A Case of a Couple Making a "Common Journey"Let me take the "Common Journey" metaphor that John Haynes talks about. In a mediation I recently did the parents were in their first session to negotiate their divorce.
They had told me they weren't able to discuss things very easily.
She spoke emotionally about how her life felt since their separation, uncertainty about money and how to be a parent pretty much alone.
He said they had been separated for two years, it was time to make it official, and have a regular parenting time schedule.
They listened patiently to each other, but she looked hopelessly away when he spoke. When she spoke, his eyes rolled. They were not communicating very well.
(This case is continued in various illustrations on later pages. You can go immediately to illustrations of common metaphors, see example in "Metaphors Package Names and Entailments Together".)