Divorce mediation or divorce negotiations include difficult conversations. Often, there is no diplomatic way to have these conversations. An employer firing a friend or relative is a difficult conversation. Telling your in-laws that they are over-bearing is a difficult conversation. Delivering a difficult message is like lobbing a hand grenade; even if it is coated with honey and softly thrown, it will still do some damage. And failure to carry through that difficult conversation is like holing onto the hand grenade after the pin has been pulled. Just remember, difficult conversations are just normal experiences we have during our lifetimes.
As a mediator and lawyer, I meet people seeking divorce or unmarried couples with relationship problems. The happy years ended often leaving anger and bad memories. Our brains remember negative memories more than positive ones. We hear more negative than positive feedback, so we remember the bad more. When unhappy couples meet to resolve issues for their separation and divorce, they are inclined to remember just the bad and in turn become negative in negotiations.
High Conflict Divorces cost time, money and emotional energy. One hallmark of active disputing is verbal abuse: insulting, belittling and demeaning interchanges that occur weekly, often on the telephone or at a time of a transfer of a child from one home to the other. A Background Paper from the Department of Justice - Canada, shows the degree of conflict may be heightened. Significant others (extended family, friends, new partners) may fuel the conflict. Disputes can be sharpened by a party's humiliation, sadness, helplessness, guilt or fear. Without intending to increase a dispute, attorneys, advocates in an adversarial system, contribute to the degree of conflict by advising clients not to talk to their spouse, making extreme demands to increase bargaining advantage and filing motions in a public forum that characterize the spouse in a negative light.