I’m embarrassed
and confused.

How can someone who loves so much
be so deeply hated?
How can someone with so much conflict resolution training
and experience
be unable to communicate
with her own family?

Is there something wrong with me?
Is there something wrong with them?
Or are there just some people
who don’t belong together?
And sometimes they’re family.

I’m hopeful,
yet afraid.

Will anyone love me unconditionally?
Does that even exist?
Can I be accepted in a family that loves
when mine is filled with hatred and pain?
Is family all it’s cracked up to be?
Or is it The Art of War alive in civilians?

Are we merely gaming each other
for tiny areas of dominance?
Can we and should we seek
fairer ways of relating?

I am becoming resigned
and cynical.
Maybe I’ve wasted decades,
trying to reconcile people
who are better left separate.

Perhaps I’ve wasted
tens of thousands of dollars
to offer services no one wants.

It might be that
no matter how we try to overcome it,
our amygdala will always win.

Yet I’ve seen the masters resist
our default programming.

And so I persist.

Nance L. Schick, Esq. is an attorney, arbitrator, and mediator based in New York City. She is the founder of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick, where we create resolution. Her holistic, integrative approach draws from her experience as a human resources supervisor, as well as her legal, ADR, EEOC, FINRA, and ICERM training. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition). She currently serves as the Main ICERM Representative to the United Nations.