The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mediation School Dropout

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I dropped out of mediation training after two days.

Why? Well, I am glad you asked!

One of the participants in the mediation was the annoying older woman who is one of those people who love to toot her own horn about all of her life's accomplishments. Even if the conversation was about something totally unrelated to anything about her, she would steer it back to something about her.

But that is not what did it for me. During the second day of training the facilitator asked for volunteers to participate in a mock mediation based on a fact pattern the class was discussing. The woman, I will call her "M", immediately volunteered to play the role woman whose persona was that of an antagoizer (Surprise, surprise). While there were characters in this role play, two of the players chose to use thier real names, rather than the character names to avoid any confusion. But M insisted on being addressed as K, her character in the role play.

M was combative, insulting and quite viscous in her interaction with the facilitator and the other role players. It was hard to determine whether M was just role playing or showing her true self. I kept looking around the room to see if anyone noticed that distinction.

Finally, the facilitator took a break so that the class could discuss what occurred. At one point, I raised my hand to express one of my observations. I mentioned something about M, who in turn looked at me and said, "I am not M, I am K".

Me: "Excuse me?"

M: "I'm not M, I am K!"

Me: "OK, so you have now assumed K's identity. That is REALLY creepy!"

M continued to call herself K for the rest of the day.

I know what some of you are thinking "Seeking Solace, you did not drop out of mediation training because of the actions of one, somewhat, delusional person, did you?"

Now, come on, people! You know me better than that! There is a lesson to be learned here.

And here it is.

What I realized is that I am not good handling intense conflict and confrontation. The bottom line is I just don't know if I can handle the high level of conflict and confrontation that exists in a mediation. The intensity level was just as bad as when I was am attorney. Let me tell you, I have dealt with some people with some serious mental health issues, people who needed anger management and one guy who threatened to kill me. And that's just the clients. Don't get me started on other attorneys!

M was a perfect example of what I would have to encounter on a regular basis. During the role play, I could feel my own anxiety level rising as I sat in the audience. At one point, I just wanted to stand up and say to M "Oh, will you just shut the fuck up, already!" Not something a mediation should say!

This is a huge step for me. In the past, I have forced myself to continue things that I know are not good for me either physically or emotionally. I would tell myself that I have to suck it up and deal. In the past, that has proven to be bad advice. What I need is to engage in things that lift me up and don't have a huge impact on my physical and mental health.

So in the end, M did me a huge favor. I'd thank her, but I don't know whom I would encounter, M or K!


RageyOne said...

Kudos to you for coming to that realization and doing something about it.

rented life said...

and someone has a split personality disorder!

Kai said...

Good for you for recognizing your own limitations! It's definitely a lesson I could use.

That lady sounds psycho!

StyleyGeek said...

Maybe the people running the training planted her so that you would all have a chance to experience the sorts of interactions you might have as a mediator?!

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks everyone!

Styleygeek: I thought about that when I was considering dropping out. But, the facilitator told me that this person was irritating her too.

Abbey said...

I find it especially insightful that you knew enough about yourself to drop it. I would have pushed through because I hate to quit, and have wasted however long you were going to be in training when I figured out I didn't want to do what the training was for.

Anonymous said...

hehe, m/k sure sounds like she needs more than mediation! good for you for knowing yourself and doing what's best for YOU!

Prisca said...

OMG! That woman is an attorney someplace in Lake Effect Central? She is indeed insane.

Sounds like you made a good decision about mediation. I used a mediator for my divorce and it made a huge difference, but my ex still tried to pull all sorts of crap to involve the mediator against me. I don't think he got the whole idea of the process. ;)

You would've had to be the one really cool head at all times. I know you could've done it, but I could tell it's not for everyone. If you don't think it's for you then I'm glad you bowed out early. At least you'll always have those fine memories of 'M' or is that 'K'?