Family Blog Post #1
Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds; they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material. F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, “Notebook O,” The Crack-Up
In my mediation practice, divorce mediations are difficult and emotionally draining. I am working with two people, who at some time in the past, gazed into each other’s eyes with passion, trust, hunger, and a hope of forever… but now sit here in a Plaintiff versus Defendant battle and feel little but pain, anger, bitterness, and a desire to hurt one another. Oh, how time changes us…
However, this is nothing to the height and depth of the negative emotions and settledness of division in many of my cases involving family mediation (involving adult children and sometimes their parents). According to McKinley Irvin Family Law, “The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years.” Eight years from bliss to bitterness. Ninety six months… only ninety six months from heaven to hell, from glory to gory.
The easiest mediations I do involve two parents who knew each other for all of 15 minutes… enough to create a child and bring a new human being to the planet. These folks never had time to get annoyed, grow in irritation and aggravation that often comes with cohabitation. There is not that deep seated hurt to battle through.
Family mediation is toughest because it often involves siblings who, although loving and best friends in their tender years, hurts, disappointments, and open emotional wounds end up making them bitter rivals and many times mortal enemies. Eight years? That is nothing. Try getting people to talk who have fifty years of animus and hatred between them… tis a daunting task indeed.
It is, however, possible. I had a case a few years back involving a woman in her late thirties whose estranged father wanted to restore a relationship that had soured when she was in junior high. The woman came to me broken and exhausted from years of decades of alternating periods of deafening silence and then heart wrenching emotional battles.
I met with her several times. Then I met with her father. Finally, I met with the two of them together… they had a safe place to talk and a third party to help them stay focused on the future and not the past. They did hard, hard work. They did deep work. They did good work. A hurdle was clamored over and a framework for cooperation and hope was established. In the end, after a few more meetings, it was if no time had passed.
Time does not heal all things.
Love, forgiveness, honesty, and humility, however, can heal many things. It just takes one to start the process.
Take some time to consider healing your family quarrels. Leave a legacy of harmony for the next generation…that is something you will never… ever… regret.