Between Two Fires

relationships

The closeness of a fight.

Do you often find yourself between two fires? How does the role of the peacemaker fit you? Are your successful at it? Our friend Mary, the main female character from a fantasy novel with romance ‘Out of the Forest and into the City’ was not able to alleviate the following bickering between her boyfriend’s mother Gertrude and her daughter-in-law Alice:

‘Gertrude really started shouting this time. She hoped she could chase the little devil from the staircase with her deep voice, but Alice wouldn’t give in:

“Old women like you belong in a home. Instead we are putting up with you here!”

“I do not have dementia and I can take perfectly good care of myself. Besides, there is always Margaret to do the cooking and help me with anything I can’t do myself. My home is here!”

“Margaret is old herself! You should both be put in a home!”

“Oh dear, cursed be the day that I gave you away to her, Steve!”

“I married your son out of pity! He has a drinking problem!”

“And you have an attitude problem! You think the whole world revolves around you. Try stepping into somebody else’s shoes now and then for a change.”

Mary couldn’t stop herself from stepping onto the staircase, even though her instincts were telling her to stay out of the conflict:

“Ladies, please, your loud voices will cause the façade to crack. Please stop fighting over something so insignificant as the geraniums.”

Gertrude did not recognize the reconciling effort in Mary’s words. On the contrary, she saw it as another attack from the younger generation and yelled at Mary:

“Insignificant! Insignificant? My geraniums are far from insignificant! They have a central position not only on the façade, but also in the way we present ourselves to the public. What would others think if we just threw them out, like this little devil is proposing!”

And there it was again. Mary had just poured more fuel on the everlasting fire of hatred between Gertrude and Alice. The daughter-in-law shouted:

“There! I said you had dementia. You forgot what I said. I never said anything about an empty balcony! I was proposing to replace the geraniums with even more beautiful surfinias.”’ (end of quote)

The role of a peacemaker is not an easy one. Firstly, we have to get their attention. Secondly, we must be cautious not to make the two even angrier. Thirdly, there is no guarantee they will listen to us and calm down. Yet there are situations, when we absolutely must interfere. For instance, as parents we are supposed to settle conflicts between our children. Or, to name another example, as a leader of a group, be it at the office or in some spare-time activity group, we should do the same, when there is a conflict between the group members.

In my experience one has to be aware that there are also situations, when our role as a peacemaker is dangerous or at least superfluous. For example, when two of our work colleagues are fighting, but we are not the leader of the working group. To name another instance: when our parents are fighting or another couple, like our friends. In my opinion, we have little chance of success in such cases, because we have no authority over the fighting parties. Unlike in the above mentioned cases of being the leader or the parent.

I would like to hear your views on that. Please enter your comments below.

Take care,
Helena Smole, author of:

– a fantasy novel with romance Vivvy and Izzy the Dwarf: A series about relationships

Balancing the Beast, a book offering a bright view of schizoaffective disorder ˗ bipolar or manic-depressive type

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