And it’s so tempting isn’t it? Imagine you’ve just stepped into an escalator. Level one is fairly peaceful and level 20 is nearer to all out warfare.
We all know how it feels to be in a position where we feel tempted to ‘cut our nose off to spite our face’. We know the feeling that when conflict escalates sufficiently, we can sometimes seek to get back at the other party and if it causes us a bit of damage, then it’s still worth it….Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting for one minute that we are all irrational, vengeful and downright spiteful, BUT that it is human nature for our rational minds to be sometimes clouded …..
So you’re at the 3rd floor and someone gets in. Let’s say it’s you ex….who says ‘ Well you broke your promise, you didn’t do what you said…you’re the one who’s ruined EVERYTHING….’
And your response? ‘Well, you made me.. you’ve NEVER listened to me…EVER …’
That escalator is already on the 5th floor. Your ex opens the lift door momentarily, the sign on the wall reads ‘5th FLOOR – already out of hand’. And on and on they go; ‘you’re ALWAYS controlling everything’ if it wasn’t for you…’
And so the conflict grows , onwards and upwards and upwards some more…
By the 12th Floor the chances that you’ll hear : ‘Do you know – you’re right . I am always late, I broke my promise, I didn’t do what I said I would, I’m always wrong…’ is fairly slim.
Well, perhaps you might, but not often. The ‘you’ conversation sets a blame game in process. So how do you state the problem without blame? How do you prevent the escalator of conflict? Try these top tips (with gratitude to Fisher and Ury) :
- Try to actively listening – and by doing so understand the other person as well as yourself
- Ask them to repeat what they have said if it’s not clear, or seems unreasonable
- Repeat it back to them to check understanding
- Say clearly what needs to be said, directly to them
- Speak about yourself – not the other person. Focus on your feelings and perspective and NOT the other person’s failings or motives
- Talk about how this is making you feel and not what the other person has ‘done’ in your view
- Speak for a purpose – pause, consider, remember LESS can be MORE
If you want to find out more about how mediation can help genuine dialogue between you and your ex in finding solutions to practical issues, please call our offices at New Landscape Mediation and speak to one of our accredited family mediators for a no-obligation, free, fully confidential conversation on 01279 211657.