HELPING PARTIES SPEAK THEIR TRUTH
When needs, interests, or survival is threatened, an exaggerated self- interest dominates us.
What should be held in reverence is treated like a battered commodity, even if this refers to our precious children, or our homely family residence. When parties become polarized by conflict, they simply lose sight of what things mean in the larger context. Sometimes demands and expectations are simply not achievable, but this is not seen when we are in the midst of conflict.
Often in divorce, for example, parents often have not fully faced that neither will be able to see the children whenever they want, as they would in the intact family. They may know this intellectually, but it has not penetrated, and the conflict over every precious hour or overnight stay is often rooted in not having accepted this sad reality.
Going to court will only highlight this polarity and the positon will become even more entrenched whilst the children get caught up in the middle.
People in conflict have lost the ability to speak to each other from their core. Much of the initial discussion in mediation is about one party justifying oneself or trying to make a point: it’s only normal under the circumstances, we’re only human; but it’s not helpful.
And so mediation can really help to pave the way for healing by helping parties to lay aside old grievances, increase mutual understanding, build trust, become less angry, and look at the viable options together. The mediation process is a rare opportunity to respectfully acknowledge profound human concerns at a point where parties are together and are capable of listening.