Fight, flight and the 21st century human

Fight, flight and the 21st century humanYou don’t often see a movie where the main protagonists arrive on the scene saying ‘we come to negotiate – how about it?’ Generally, the usual plot structure begins with those protagonists forming two or more opposing camps, swiftly followed up with a general plotting of ways to fight one another to win; over territory, religion, food, trade or something else. And fight they generally do.

Or sometimes they run….to the hills

Over millennia we as humans have behaved thus. The thing is our human brain hasn’t had a hardware update for hundreds of thousands of years and consequently, our response to any perceived ‘threat’ can be along those very similar lines – to come out fighting or retreat.

And so when humans are presented with ‘threatening’ situations in life which require in them an immediate response, this is often the scene, even now in the sophisticated context of the 21st century. When people find themselves in extreme situations whether physically or emotionally, these responses exaggerate.

When people find themselves in a divorce situation, one perhaps that they did not want, did not look for and certainly did not see coming – this can feel like an extreme threat – to security, to family life, to the norm, to the relationship they had thought would be a safe haven for ever…..They respond to this ‘threat’ with fear, anger, shock – precipitating the response to fight or flee…..They have detected a threat (perhaps a more modern day threat, but a threat nonetheless) and their fight or flight responses kick in

So the symbolic ‘threat’ in our modern times can often be emotional – but the response requires our IMMEDIATE attention. We know that in these situations a different part of our brain is activated – the amygdala, where threats to our emotions are handled.

So how can this be addressed in mediation?

Skilled mediators are able to reshape the emotional landscape of a potentially tricky situation – and diffuse the escalation of this amygdala response

By understanding that one of the main threads woven into all disputes is emotion

Experienced, accredited mediators

  • Reduce the emotional temperature
  • Diffuse the response of the brain that responds to threat

By keeping

  • Issues focussed
  • The worst argument partners at bay

And by using not only

  • Humour to de-escalate problems
  • But above all Humanity

If you would like to learn more about mediation and learn how our accredited family mediators can assist you with those difficult conversations and help you avoid the earthquake, please telephone the office on 01279 211657 for a fully confidential and free, no obligation discussion of your needs and one of our mediators will talk you through our step by step mediation process.

Carolyn Hanes

Carolyn Hanes

At first glance Carolyn Hanes appears the archetypal legal professional. Beyond her many qualifications and years of experience in Family Law however lies the heart of a classical musician and poet. Originally from the Lake District, Carolyn’s love of nature vies constantly with music in her soul for top place, and best passion. Her working life over the years has been dedicated to finding a better way to help families in transition.
Carolyn Hanes

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