When it comes to analyzing conflicts it is important to be aware of their structural traits. I will explain this with an example:
A man and a woman are going through a very difficult couple situation. Their relationship has degenerated to the degree that they no longer keep respect for each other. They decide to separate. The custody of the child is assigned to the father. The child attends primary school and as a matter of fact, her mother works as a teacher in the same school. The mother has restricted her rights to take care of the child once she gets out of school, by judicial decision. No matter the sentence, the mother cannot get rid of her mother role and everyday takes care of the child before she joins her father and goes home. The school has adviced the mother/teacher that they are legally responsible for leaving the child in the sole company of the father. The mother states she is being porrly treated by her company. She believes the school should allow her to get in touch with the child. The opposite reflects the unsensitivity of the board of teachers towards her working mate. Some other teachers have positioned themselves alongside the mother/teacher and in opposition to the team ruling the school. This has generated a stream of unpopular comments in the school. The mother/teacher also states she will prove the father is treating the child badly. This statement, without any proof sustaining it for the moment, sanctions the father's public image and his reputation, as long as it will take some time to the judge to give a verdict.
In this case, we can clearly distinguish the conflict's structure unfolds in an ever growing perimeter of influence:
1. The conflict is between the couple. They separate.
2. The conflict extends to the child.
3. The conflict affects the working environment of the mother, especially the board of Directors.
4. The conflict spreads along the community of teachers, that is the social life of the school.
5. The conflict risks extending to the whole social environment of the couple, by the accusation of bad behavior.
This is a perfect example of a Snowball Conflict. And it is taken from real life.
My advice in this case is to deal the conflict at each level, what french intellectuals would call, deconstructing it. This way, the inertial force of the conflict loses power.