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Divorce Blog

5 Ways to Control Your Emotions During Mediation

By Karen Stewart

Couple Talking to MediatorIn most divorce cases, there will always be the “he said” and “she said” grievances to the mediator. As a result, the argument will usually continue and prolong the process that both parties likely want to be completed sooner than later.

The two characteristics explaining why mediation is a successful form of alternative dispute resolution planning, also play the role of encouraging the “he said” and “she said” moments; the support from the mediator and the confidentiality promised to clients.

Support and confidentiality prove mediation to be a success because it welcomes the candid stories used for the mediator to be able to understand what is most important to you and how you want to move forward. Mediators seek to understand every case individually and use these conversations as fuel to negotiate on your behalf. For this reason, there may be opportunities to recognize when your spouse is inflating the truth, as you know it to be. How you react when caught in this scenario will influence the length of the process; and who wants to extend the time that it takes to get a divorce? So what do you do if you are caught in this situation?


Learn to Catch Your Emotions Before the Ball Drops

  • Start writing a journal in order to learn how to manage your emotions
  • Begin by identifying situations triggering your emotions and write them down; stick to the facts.
  • In the same fashion, identify the emotions you were feeling in these situations and write them down next to the situations.
  • Identify your behaviour and thoughts in reaction to the situation
  • Question yourself on how you would have liked to have been perceived in each situation and what actions should have been taken

Learn Assertive Language Instead of Passive and Aggressive Language

  • Assertive communication carries respect for the feelings, needs, wants, and opinions of others.
  • In order to be assertive, be firm with a relaxed voice, fluent, sincere, appropriate volume, cooperative and constructive.
  • In the same light, be a receptive listener. Maintain direct eye contact, open body stance, smile when pleased, and frown when angry
  • It is also important to understand passive and aggressive communication to know what not to do
  • Prepare responses such as “my experience is different than yours…here is how I see it”

Do Not Elaborate on the Past

  • Be aware of your current surroundings and acknowledge the challenges of the past to understand where you have come already
  • Understand how trauma can affect the brain and learn how to move forward based on science
  • Accept you cannot change what happened, only how you view it

Remember What You Want the Conclusion to Look Like

  • Similar to setting a goal, decide and define what the end looks like to you. An example of this would be how you want to co-parent after divorce.
  • Comparatively, define your terms and ask why these are your terms
  • Brainstorm what your next actions will be to meet your realistic terms and accomplish your goal; be specific.
  • Understand how to handle each position to get to that end goal; use step 1 and 2.

Learn to Choose Your Battles

  • It is important to determine what your critical results are. To clarify further, you need the home to raise the children but having the vacation home is not critical.
  • Although you defined your critical results, be sure to remember to consider the other side to avoid arguing for the wrong reasons
  • In like manner, recognize your trigger points

It is never advised to fight fire with fire, so I suggest you prepare yourself emotionally for the just-in-case factor that your ex does not tell the truth as you know it during meditation. Think of preparing yourself as stretching and warming up before playing a sport; you don’t want to pull a muscle because the ball was thrown too hard in your direction. Equally important, with the above points in mind, your time spent in mediation will be efficient. You will reach your goal sooner than later.