Striking out on a new pathway
Among the different Holistic Healing programs conducted for the holistic wellness of the secondary victims, this year a two day workshop was conducted at Santhana Retreat House, Galaha recently for 03 days with the participation of 30 women the theme being ‘Conflict management’. The theme was relevant at the precise moment in their process of healing to hand over the tools of handling their own conflicts in life.
The secondary survivor group, the wives of the primary victims of torture, rape, family members of the disappeared and the family members of the prisoners of Human Rights Office Kandy, in their path towards recovery evolved themselves as the “Women’s Unit” by 2011. Remer and Ferguson (1995) said that victimization can have a “ripple effect”. That the damage to the primary victim can spread out in waves and have an effect on those with whom they have intimate contact, resulting in stress and trauma related symptoms in the person trying to help. Dealing with the primary victim can awaken emotions in the secondary victim that need to be dealt with, and it can also be emotionally draining for the person, resulting in “compassion fatigue”.
The input sessions confirmed the natural fact that Conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship and occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes these differences appear trivial, but for the trauma survivor conflicts triggers overwhelming feelings, in the depth of their anguish remaining locked with unbearable feelings. Learning how to deal with conflict—rather than avoiding it—is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to the individual and the relationship, but when the conflict is properly managed they can create something entirely new in their lives and in their relationships which will be a source of strength and vitality in their recovery.
Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of conflict.” Conflict management minimizes the negative outcomes of conflict and promotes the positive outcomes of conflict with the goal of improving learning in a society. (Rahim, 2002, p. 208)” Group sharing, sharing of personal experiences on situational conflicts in life, and role play, were effective means in the learning process of the conflict management.
In the role play of the participants it was evident that most of the survivors so far have responded to conflict management either with fight behavior or flight behavior. The best behavior pattern to be adopted in management of conflict is Collaborating - cooperating behavior with the other party to understand their concerns and expressing one’s own concerns in an effort to find a mutually and completely satisfactory solution (win-win). The participants were impressed by the experiences of collaborating behaviors in their group performances specially the way it promotes creative problem solving, and foster mutual respect and rapport.
With the sun rise the participants gathered together for one hour of meditation with movements of healing memories. The reflections on forgiveness invoked courage, a mental attitude to go on living conflict after conflict and hope to imagine and desire again the very things in life that were cherished and destroyed.
At the end of the three day workshop was the talent show. The participants looked forward to the Talent show with eager and enthusiasm to relax, enjoy together and to strengthen their bond of love and affection as a group. The two day program was geared towards creating an awareness of a holistic view point on life, to strengthen their togetherness as a group, with unique experiences of loss and violence and to provide space to relax, and enjoyment for the women who work all through the day in family chores from morning till evening.
“Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love”.
Martin Luther King