Generous weight of empathy is due the person caught between conflicting friends, where all parties, by their circumstances, must operate as if all were well.
In a sick dynamic, tension increases and intimacy is crushed as trust takes vacation, even going AWOL without promise of return. Though there are three parties—us and the other two—only two are to blame and only two have the power and control over reparation.
And let’s get it clear, there is always the potential for a satisfactory truce. It takes just one of those warring parties to initiate an olive branch arrangement. It takes just one to start with a loving end in mind.
Managing The Impossible
Staying on friendly terms with warring parties may be possible through avoidance alone, by letting them sort themselves out. What we can’t allow is for ourselves to become the pawn of triangulation—as the go-between in the mischief making.
If they want to fight, or even pretend they want to make up, it shouldn’t have anything to do with bystanders of innocence.
Being apart from conflict means committing to wise objectivity; to know where the boundaries to support and interference belong, and abiding by them.
Being a friend to parties who are warring may seem impossible, but it is achievable through discipline—a necessity where no other sane option presents.
Necessity Of Discipline
Ensuring the retention of proper place—no side taking or view making—requires our submission to discipline. We may need to upset one or both to stand our ground, having faith that time, and a more sensible space for judgment, will prove our vindicator.
We are offered no other reasonable choice than discipline; for it, alone, is everyone’s best advocate. Discipline creates solutions for many impossible problems.
Stuck between warring friends is no fun. Discipline calls us to maintain the order of objectivity.
If these two warring friends are ex-partners there is double cause for caution. There are times, though, when one or both may need to pour their hearts out—it’s fine to be a sounding board or a listening ear for their personal (not their interpersonal) maladies. But we need to be wary of being dragged between them and the other person.
What is a reprehensible social situation requires grace, courage, and wisdom. To be stuck between warring friends is no desirable circumstance. Our discipline will help us to resist interfering, to maintain safe boundaries, but also ensure our availability for each in their real need.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.