One meeting – One hour

Women disagreeingI met with two people who had only know each other for a short time so their history together was brief.  We are on a team together providing a service and support to a person going through a transition time. They had a need for clarity, security and understanding between them if their relationship was to continue as friends. The hurts that had occurred between them could not be ignored if they were to work on the team anymore.

They agreed to meet with me for a mediation session. We set the day/time to meet.  I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with each of them prior to the joint session to better understand their position and to explore what were underlying issues, needs, expectations that would help move us forward when we met.  Each person was comfortable with me and trusted that the meeting would be a “safe” place for them to share their thoughts and feelings. Both were also somewhat apprehensive in coming to the table to talk together.

It is so common for all of us to dread something and then when we actually experience it the fear or anxiety we had imagined turned out to be far less that we expected.  This was the case for them too.

Our time together lasted one hour.  It could have taken longer, or it could have been shorter if needed. The process I used to allow them to share, listen, respond and clarify worked as predicted. There is no quick solution or answer when conflict is being addressed.  However there is a way to work through it that is sure and definite. Each situation is different. One key to the quick resolution was they were both willing to try to resolve the conflict without having any guarantees that it would happen.

It is gratifying to be a facilitator of communication between individuals and groups. In the meeting I just described, (and in most of the mediations I lead,) I am an important part of the initiation of the dialogue then I fade into the background more and more as the discussion ensues. Except for an occasional re-framing of a point/position or to ensure we have covered all the issues that were shared, my role becomes a listener.

If you are experiencing conflict, contact me and give me a chance to help. Conflict is easier to prevent than to resolve. If you want to schedule me to come and do training for conflict prevention then let’s make that happen as well.   Have hope!

SAFE CYCLE™

TOGETHER utilizes the safe cycle to help with conflict management.  We help you Stabilize the situation.  Once calming and safety is in place, the people in conflict can be helped to reach an Agreement.  A decision on how to move Forward from where they were leads to peace and even Enjoyment again.

 

Safe Cycle verses the unsafe cycle:

SAFE CYCLE™
CONFLICT → Stabilize →Agreement → Forward → Enjoy

 

UNSAFE CYCLE
CONFLICT → Chaos →Disagreement →Stuck → Misery

 

Four phases from conflict to peace

 

I am the father of five, maybe six children.

14274278_s - heart in piecesI am not sure about the sixth because the miscarriage, if that is what it was, happened suddenly within the first eight weeks of my wife “sensing” she was pregnant but no pregnancy test was taken beforehand to confirm or deny. She had given birth to two children prior to this time and the way she felt, the way things tasted and smelled told her that she was with child. I take her word on it, I am guy and I can’t really know these things first hand.

The three children I talk about (a lot) are the ones I saw born. I have held them, laughed with them, cried with them and everything else that comes with parenting.

Ok, let’s see where we are now. 3 + (?) = 3 for sure. What about the other two, you wonder? I did introduce myself as a father of five.

Well, those two are the ones I don’t talk about. I haven’t spoken of them to more than a handful of people ever. I don’t think about them very often either. But sometimes I do and it makes me sad. Just mentioning them now stirs my inside, churning me with emotions that I usually can press down, push over, block, or ignore. You know probably what I am talking about; when you have a memory that is not pleasant and you try to remove it from your mind but it is still there in the background.

Why am I dragging this out? What’s the deal with the other two children? Did they make bad choices or embarrass me in some way? No, they never had a chance to do anything right or wrong. They were taken from the womb before they were old enough to go it on their own. I still am dragging my feet here, funny, well not really funny like “ha ha”. Strange may be a better word, or difficult to just say the “A” word.

They were aborted.

There I said it.

Am I relieved to get that off my chest? No, I didn’t think so at first. As I have let it settle into my mind that I am free of the long-term storage fees, I do feel relief.

Do I feel any better about it now that more than a few people know that has happened in my life? I can only respond with “maybe”. My feelings on how it is received and acted on will be the determining factor on that answer.

Will I regret sharing this information? I hope not, only if it brings additional harm and not healing.

If I get defensive and seek to justify what happened, I start to talk about those early years of my life in rebellion; a “prodigal” from my Christian upbringing.

When I get real, I say both abortions were terrible things to have happened.

But when I own it I admit the abortions were wrong and tragic events that I caused.

Yes, it took two people to get pregnant. However in both cases, I was the pursuing party, seeking my own selfish pleasure and without self-control to with-strain my desires and respect the women. Did they agree to have consensual sex with me? Yes.

Don’t miss my point, especially my pointed finger to myself and other men who may read this. I could have prevented the death of my two children by not helping to create them. I put two women in a situation that they had to make a choice that I wish, so wish, they never had to make. One I knew about and let it happen. The other I was told after it was done.

There are complications in my sharing of this long-held, “Classified” information.

First, the women that chose to abort the pregnancies I helped cause don’t know I am sharing this and have not given me permission. “Oh, well tell it anyway, it’s your story” is one thought. However, I continue to remind myself that it is not just my story and I must respect their privacy to process through the post-abortion life in their own way. They haven’t asked me how I am doing, how I feel about any of it; as a matter of fact, I don’t have contact information on either to even approach them. I wish I could share more of the details; it would probably be helpful to others. But as it is now, I won’t.

Second, by bringing this up, and out, I cause a lot of attention to my life and my past. That is not comfortable, especially since I am like everyone else I have ever really known; I have made mistakes in choices and behavior. To have people sorting through the facts of my stories, like a browser at the yard sale is disconcerting at best. In most areas of my life, past and present, I am an open book. In this area I have fiercely guarded the lid on the box from even cracking open a little.

Third, revealing myself to others has caused to me examine the evidence carefully before presenting it. As I thought back over the emotions and mental struggles I had after the abortions, I recounted other consequences that were a result of  loss and pain that I needed to acknowledge. There were also issues that had occurred in my life before the “wild” days that contributed to my bad decisions and actions. It all has been a lot to process internally and sort out.  It has been worth it.

Privacy for the other people is showing respect that I didn’t show before. Letting people in on my secret is risky but also, somehow freeing. To let a burden be shared with others can make it lighter. There is a level of healing by letting it out and there is a sense of purpose from it — if the telling helps someone else that is burdened or if it prevents it from occurring in someone else’s life. Again, I say it is all worth it.

I am committed to helping other men get relief from their past.  The reality is that if a baby you helped conceive was aborted, that was your child too. Your can’t raise him or her now, however you can let the life count for something.

Crisis marriage workshop for an engaged couple?

I talked with the bride-to-be about her plans to marry. Even though the wedding day is several months away, she was grateful to be able to attend a weekend intensive workshop designed to help any marriage, most especially marriages in extreme crisis.

Her parents, attended the workshop two years earlier and the destroyed relationship was rebuilt, their marriage given a new life, the family restored to health, and hope was born anew for everyone involved. Why was this oldest daughter going through the experience with her fiance when they had not even said the vows to one another yet? It was her parents’ wish. Actually it was their requirement of her and all her siblings.

As a condition of supporting the wedding the parents are requiring each of their children to attend the workshop before they are married to receive the tools, resources and perspective they need to have a deep level of commitment, love and intimacy in their marriage.

This story is beautiful in so many ways. One is the fact that this young girl and her future mate are willing to prepare for the future in this way. It is so encouraging to all of us that have weathered marital challenges, saying afterwards that we wished we had known preventive methods earlier in our relationship.

Conflict prevention is a part of my work with individuals, couples and groups. This is a great example of doing that in a marriage commitment. She told me that she will gladly go to the training she needs for marriage to prevent her future family from going through what she and her siblings endured with her parent’s struggles.

When I asked her for an email to send the enrollment information, she laughed and told me that she and her fiance had a new email address. “A” new email? Don’t you have individual ones? Not anymore. We decided to begin our oneness preparation by sharing one address together. Then she gave me the email address. It is her and his first name, their date of marriage @(blank.com).

When I shared this story in a mixed group, the ladies in unison, said, “Awe, how sweet!” The guys just shrugged their shoulders. I couldn’t containment my excitement about this whole plan with the finale about the joint email.

Guys, look this is brilliant! Everyday, this groom will be seeing his bride’s name and their wedding date. Don’t you see the conflict management built into this incredible idea? He will remember his wife’s name, his wedding date and will be able to do the math quickly to say how many years he has been married upon request for the rest of his life!

I am a quick learner. Here is my new one: keithrona12586@gmail.com. Wife’s name? Rona. Check! Anniversary Date? January 25, 1986. Check! Years married? ah….26.  Check!