A leading and respected mediator on divorce and family mediation based in the US, Oran Kaufman, offers some tips to what couples going through a divorce can do to manage their conflict in a better way. Mediation provides such couples with a safe environment to discuss their divorce.
Whilst conflict is often seen as the precursor to even more stresses, there are many instances when conflict can lead to opportunity. Kaufman says that most of us handle conflict two ways- either the conflict is ignored or the reaction is to attack back. He says we are not hard wired to address conflict in a non-adversarial manner as its counter-intuitive. Taking a step back from the vortex of the conflict would allow you to view matters from a different perspective. You would then be in a position to recognize what benefits would be personally available to you if the conflict was effectively resolved.
Conflict leads to dialogue. It is only through dialogue that the parties can become more enlightened about a particular issue. Discussions which skirt the real issues or avoid conflict, are not true or full discussions. Obviously, conflict is not always going to result in opportunity or transformation. However, in the right context, in a safe setting and if necessary, in a facilitated setting, addressing conflict has an enormous potential for positive results. To truly listen to the other person is very important. Typically, what happens when the other person responds is that you are listening to what he or she is saying and thinking about your next response at the same time. By doing both of these things at the same time, not only will you miss some of what is being said to you but you do not take the time to process what is being said.
Kaufman reminds us that conflict is a normal part of all of our lives. It allows us to look at alternate ways to resolve a situation. The key however is not to ignore conflict but to resolve in a safe, productive and efficient manner. To prevent a matter getting out of control, it’s important to take the time to really listen to what the other person is saying. Take moment to reflect on life will be like a few years after the divorce. You should endeavour to be able to look back and say you conducted yourself in a sane, amicable and fair manner.
Mediation however will not automatically undo years of ingrained behaviour. How you deal with conflict is often rooted in how conflict was resolved by your family when you were growing up. With the help and guidance of a trained mediator couples going through a divorce would find the journey through this difficult time in their lives, that much easier, on their wallets and their emotional well-being. As contradictory as it might sound, conflict can often be the source of a productive outcome. Resolution of conflict conducted in the proper way can lead to many positive results. Mediation works! Give it a try.
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