Drastic conclusions can be made when we don’t challenge our assumptions.
Louise Neilson, MSc has worked as a professional mediator in the Portland, Oregon area for the last 30 years. She has worked with activists, lawyers, educators, police officers, not-for-profit boards, psychologists and union members.
In a mediation there are two “parties.” Party one is the person that initiates the mediation. They present what they think is the problem. Party two is the person “causing” the problem in the eyes of party one.
The focus of mediation is to find out what exactly the real problem is.
In order to reach a resolution, both parties need to know how the other party views the problem. Because what might be a problem for one person might not be a problem for another. Very often, both will have shared interests, they just don’t know that yet. This tends to occur because they have deliberately avoided the problem and not talked to each other.
One of the things that Louise has discovered is that frequently in neighborhood disputes Party One begins with the words, “My neighbor is crazy.” This is one of them.
My Neighbors are Satan Worshipers
…what a way to start a meeting.
Party One, a client of Louise’s, was convinced that his neighbors were Satanists. The reason? On the edge of his property, he found a mutilated plastic doll foot. He believed it had been a part of a Satanic ritual.
Based on his own past experiences, this gentleman thought he knew that his neighbors – Party Two – were partaking in devil worship. He was convinced that these folks, who he wasn’t acquainted with, had put the foot there to torture him. His wife had joined his belief, and the pair were offended, upset, and concerned about their neighborhood. Louise was tapped to help the two parties sort it out.
The mediation began with both neighbors and their spouses. It was uncomfortable. They dug into the question of the mangled foot. They quickly discovered that what Party One believed to be a token from occult practices actually was… a dog toy in the shape of a foot.
That was the end of the negation. No Satanism, just a dog toy.
It pays to challenge your assumptions. You will see Louise’s cases and many other examples of what was originally thought to be the problem was not the problem in my new book Solve the Real Problem. We are in the final stages of completing the book. Here is a link to pre-order. I will be autographing all preordered copies. Thanks for reading!