Quick Signs Things Are Getting Intense: Bruce Banner vs Incredible Hulk

Let’s connect two of my favorite things – Marvel comics and mediation. Have you noticed that some people turn into the Incredible Hulk when they are in conflict? Think about the last time that something upset you or that you had a conflict with another person. Was that the best version of you?  Were you present as the mild-mannered PhD and MD scientist, Bruce Banner, or his alter ego, the big green monster, the Incredible Hulk?  
I would like to explore this concept even more and help you take stock of what’s going on physiologically so that you can try to control your inner Hulk!

Before some freak accident created The Big Green Dude, Bruce Banner was just hanging out being a normal cool scientist with a PhD and MD.  We all know this guy and maybe some of us are this person – mild-mannered and relaxed until something ticks us off and that conflict will catapult us (I mean, Bruce) to literally a big green monster. Think about that for a second…. As a mediator and lawyer who is often called to help people when they are in a conflict state, I often wonder what that person would have been like if I met them when they were present as Bruce Banner.   

Everyone has a different physiological response to conflict.  Here are some things that I have noticed: 
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  • Fist clenching
  • Tightening of the jaw
  • Pursing of lips
  • Rolling eyes
  • Body tenses us
  • No longer using inviting body language
  • Crossing arms


  • Pacing
  • Fidgeting 
  • Tone of voice changes
  • Yelling
  • Type of language used (cursing, off-color language)

When these signs are present, it is very important to keep this in mind: 
Awareness may lead to de-escalation. 
Being aware of when a conflict is escalating can prevent the conflict from getting worse and may be the first step to reaching your breakthrough. 

"Awareness may lead to de-escalation ."

Damali Peterman

Damali Peterman

Damali Peterman, Esq., is the Founder, CEO and Chief Conflict Resolver of Breakthrough ADR LLC. Damali has extensive experience in corporate law, mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. She is a highly sought after mediator and trainer for Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government entities, nonprofits and small businesses.

About Breakthrough ADR

BREAKTHROUGHADR partners with you to identify the best paths to achieving your goals. Whether you need help reaching agreement with another party or giving your partners, employees or students the tools needed to navigate and resolve conflicts, BREAKTHROUGHADR will work with you to help you accomplish your objectives and find your breakthrough.

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