Divorce and Responsibility/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on June 5, 2011


The saga of Rep. Anthony Weiner of NY, and his tweets, has the making of a Greek tragedy. Choosing silence when he should have talked, and choosing talking when silence is in order, Rep. Weiner has not had a particularly good week. Most importantly, he has taken responsibility for nothing; not a good way to stake a claim for a sympathetic hearing by the public.
When we are under stress, and divorce is a prime example, it is easy to blame others for our predicament. However, a recent piece on mediate.com entitled “Responsibility in Dispute Resolution” (Delores Manwar author) poses the question if we can ever admit responsibility for what has transpired. Such an approach makes our subsequent arguments more convincing and makes us more credible. Ms. Manwar states a simple formula for such an undertaking: “I accept my part” in this matter. We need not be martyrs nor unduly fair to our antagonists, but is it not true that often we too are to blame for the quagmire that has been produced? If we learn accept responsibility, the article indicates, we can eventually utilize negotiation towards an important end; to bury the hatchet. Being mired in anger with no resolution is a self-inflicted wound. Accept your role for the impasse that has occurred even as you assess blame on others, seek closure, and move on with your life. The alternative has been played out by Rep. W this past week. It did not make for a pretty scene. Mediate don’t litigate.