Pain in the Neck

Cinergy Coaching by Cinnie Noble

When we are in conflict with another person or the dynamics between us seem to be leaning towards one developing, some of us have a tendency to begin to find fault with the other person. We may say to ourselves or others that she or he is “getting on our nerves”. We may attribute negative motives to her or him. We may stay away from this person or show the emotions we are experiencing in various ways. One of the expressions some people use to describe people who are annoying us and to whom we are reacting in one or more of these ways is to say they are a “pain in the neck”.

According to one source the idiom pain in the neck comes as an euphemism of the ruder “pain in the a$$”. The origin is further described as follows:

“The idiom can be traced to the beginning of the 20th century. To go further, a German-based expression, ‘pain in the kiester’, reached the U.S. in the end of the 19th century. ‘Kiester’ originally meant simply a ‘case’ or ‘satchel’ but later acquired the informal meaning of ‘bottom’. Even earlier, annoying people were colloquially referred as ‘a pain’.”

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog invites readers to consider when you have used the expression ‘pain’ or ‘pain in the neck’ to describe your impression of another person. Please consider a specific incident and person in your answers to the following.

When you say the other person is a pain or a pain in the neck in the incident you have in mind, what do you mean?

What did the other person do or say that led you to say she or he is a pain or a pain in the neck?

How would you describe – in more detail – what the pain feels like?

How does the pain otherwise impact you – like your head and/or body?

If you literally get a physical pain in your neck from some other sorts of activity, such as when you sleep in an awkward position, incur a sports injury, etc., how is that different from your description about the pain you feel in your answers so far?

In what ways is the experience the same?

What do you do to mend a physical pain?

How may you apply those ways – figuratively speaking – to what you are experiencing regarding the person who, for you, is a pain in the neck?

What sorts of other ways may you mend the idiomatic pain in your neck?

When the pain in your neck is gone what do you hope to feel instead – about the other person? How do you physically want to feel?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

                        author

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE >

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