When a marriage is in crisis, both people are often suffering from unmet expectations, dashed hopes, stored resentments, impenetrable walls, quiet desperation, and even overt war.
At such an intense emotional impasse—couples will fall into a mode of either fight-or-flight or frozen purgatory—and neither is the place from which to make life-altering decisions.
I have worked with thousands of men and women who come to me for a divorce because they had been living in pain for years without making any changes.
Compassionate Mediation® gives you the tools to make changes before divorce is the ONLY option, and if it becomes the final option, Compassionate Mediation® offers you a way to create a Compassionate SELF-led Divorce®.
For over 35 years, as a therapist, mediator and attorney, I have worked with thousands of individuals and couples who want to improve (or leave) their relationships.
My heart goes out to each one of them. Often, I wish I had been able to help them years before our first visit, because they could have avoided the pain, anger or sadness that had affected their lives.
I can only see a limited number of clients in person each week, and my hope is to reach people everywhere with a message of self love, hope, possibility and happiness.
My goal in creating my book and online course is to share what I have been doing for decades so that people all over the world could learn the skills of Compassionate Communication. You can learn how to heal the pain from your past, let go of limiting beliefs, connect to your spiritual source and relate from your highest and best SELF.
It’s no secret that half of all first marriages end in divorce. But it may be surprising to learn that the failure rates for second and third failed marriages get even worse: 67 and 73 percent, respectively, according to a 2012 article in Psychology Today, “The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages.”
But what about the statistics on married people who are “thinking” about divorce?
Researchers estimate that 1 in 3 divorced couples try to reconcile later, according to a paper written by a noted marriage scholar and therapist. Also, a significant number of divorced individuals—about half—say they wished they or their spouse had tried harder to save the marriage.
In other words, divorce is all too common, and there’s a lot of regret out there. It’s these people whom I want to help —the ones at a crossroads of their marriage— as well as those struggling with challenges in their marriage and seeking to make their union healthier, richer, deeper.
Compassionate Mediation®for Relationships at a Crossroadswill show you how to become more conscious of your own behaviors as you better understand yourself and your partner, and create something new, together.
I’ll share with you the secrets to becoming more empathetic and considerate.
You’ll finally be able to talk about every subject with clarity and courage, including finances, parenting, responsibilities, extended family, and sex.
You’ll learn how to ask for and get your needs met as you lower your “walls,” change the “filters” through which you see yourself and your partner, and forgive yourself and each other.
You’ll remember how to be grateful again for what you do have, and learn how to reflect the attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance you both desire.
The world needs to be a safer place for marriage and divorce.
Children should be shielded from the shrapnel of their parents’ animosity. This book will offer a new paradigm for couples at a crossroads.
I believe that families need not be “broken,” but can be peacefully, and respectfully, restructured.
My book and program will give you the roadmap you need—whether you choose to put passion into saving your marriage, or compassion into getting a divorce.
As a therapist, mediator, attorney, and Chopra-certified Master Teacher of Meditation, Yoga and Ayurveda, I’ve successfully applied this approach to thousands of couples in my thirty-five years of private practice.
Couples no longer have to spend years “on the fence” in an unhappy, dysfunctional relationship.
Through my book and program, you will learn how to set healthy boundaries, as well as how to ask for what you truly want and need — even if it means you can only give it to yourself!
Compassionate Mediation is about helping individuals and couples get “unstuck” and clear so they can move forward—whether that means reviving their marriage and starting anew—or ending the relationship with compassion for both their sakes.
In-between the weeping, beauty abounds: my story
I once was where you are now, and it’s a painful, lonely place.
I discussed my situation with friends, family members, and loved ones, but in the end, no one could make the decision for me.
There were moments when I was clear and determined, but more often, I was trapped in a state of limbo, unable to leave but unhappy in the marriage.
Because I’ve experienced divorce firsthand, I have much to share about what to do—and what NOT to do.
For years, I asked myself, “Should I stay or should I go?”
In the decade it took me to finally decide, I took the pain of my own failings and missteps, and turned them into lessons learned and methods developed that are now helping others succeed.
As I struggled with my own marriage and emotions, I returned to school to study psychotherapy, earning my second graduate degree and becoming a licensed clinical professional counselor, as well as a mediator and attorney.
Surely, I thought, as a lawyer, mediator, and therapist, I could get us through our divorce as smoothly and painlessly as possible. But trying to mediate your own divorce is like trying to deliver your own baby. Sure, it may be remotely possible, but ultimately, it’s way too difficult.
I tried to make our divorce “picture perfect,” until I realized: codependence isn’t the same thing as compassion, and that yes, LOVE is the answer, but it starts with loving your SELF.
During my journey of self-discovery and healing, I became the oldest Vedic Master trained by Deepak Chopra, David Simon, and Davidji at the Chopra Center University (the trifecta of certifications). I used to say I got my Medicare card in May and my Vedic Master card in June.
I’ve always believed that our struggles are part of our dharma or purpose.
We can only offer wisdom to others by healing ourselves.
I’ve learned through the years that being open and vulnerable with others, that sharing from the heart is more powerful medicine than ten degrees or theories. Hard-earned wisdom has finally surpassed my education, and I want to share it all.
It’s the mistakes I made along the way that may help you the most.
This book and program will lead you through the steps you need to take so you can resolve your issues for the highest good of all concerned.
Love is the answer, and it starts with loving your SELF.
Through the art of Compassionate Mediation, you’ll learn how to heal burdens from your past, let go of limiting beliefs, connect to your Spiritual Source, and relate from your highest and best SELF.
So instead of asking the question “Should I stay or should I go?” you’ll now consider, “How can I bring my best SELF to this relationship and transform it from the inside out?”
As a therapist, coach, mediator, attorney, counselor or clergy, we are called upon to help individuals and couples, affected by the quarantine, who could use new skills to resolve conflict. And that is what we do with Compassionate Mediation. We help each party understand the suffering of the other – so that mutual empathy can heal and transform the relationship.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh a global spiritual leader offering advice on helping people resolve conflict. Here is what he said:
“To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of both sides.
If we take sides, it is impossible to do the work of reconciliation. And humans want to take sides. That is why the situation gets worse and worse.
Are there people who are still available to both sides? They need not do much.
They need only do one thing, go to one side and tell all about the suffering endured by the other side, and go to the other side and tell all about the suffering endured by this side.
That is our chance for peace. That can change the situation.”
And that is what we do with Compassionate Mediation.
We give each party — or if you're working with an individual, give the individual — a chance to come from their highest SELF, let go of their limiting beliefs, unburden pain from the past, and relate from their heart.
And then when they relate from their heart, they can talk about their feelings that they've exiled — the hurt, the sadness, the fear — and their partner can listen to that.Their partner can't listen to the judgments, the “you” messages — “You always do this…. You never do that…“
Unfortunately, and especially now with all the quarantine, a lot of people are getting into some very bad habits of communicating. Maybe they're fighting more.Maybe they're distancing more. Maybe they're doing the dance of fighting and distancing.
Now more than ever, the skill of Compassionate Mediation can be something that you can use with your current clients or future clients to teach them a new way to communicate. Compassionate Mediation starts with compassionate communication.
How Does Compassionate Mediation Training differ from other trainings?
The Compassionate Mediation Tools course is my introductory course. It's four and a half hours, and it's something that I wanted to offer so that you get a general feel for the kinds of tools that I teach in the process.
Starting this fall, I'm going to have a certification process. And that certification process is going to take you from the very beginning of working with an individual or couple to all of the different tributaries that they can go into — creating a new marriage, deciding on a separation, deciding if they want to get divorced — and giving you the scripts that I used to have all those dialogues.
For instance, in the Compassionate Mediation Tools, in lesson one and lesson two, you actually get the script I use to introduce IFS (Internal Family Systems therapy) Self and Parts. You get the script I use to talk about empathy and how I share that with people.
In the third session, we talk about the legal and financial.
I know that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more to talk about. And what I do in this certification process is I give you the information you need to stay one step ahead of your clients, or many steps ahead of your clients.
But you don't need to know the law. You don't need to be a financial planner.
You will have a basic understanding of important information that you can bring up and share with your clients whenever they bring up a subject – about money, parenting, the decisions to be made individually and together.
You're trained in therapy or coaching or helping them, what you're going to be able to do is talk about the content of any issue relevant to their future.
You can offer information about CONTENT and then PROCESS FEELINGS.
If you're talking about Property Division or Child Support or Maintenance – you’ll have the tools and skill set to feel confident offering basic information.
What you need to do is talk about the feelings that come up around these subjects.
And far too often we'll be counseling someone and they'll decide they're thinking of a divorce, and they want to go to a mediator or they want to hire an attorney. I mention to anyone thinking of the divorce that mediation is always the best way to go, whether it's Compassionate Mediation or any other mediation, because it gives them a chance to speak with each other.
Compassionate Mediation is an opportunity for healing and a new and better relationship together.
In Compassionate Mediation, we're teaching our clients a way to be more SELF-led, to compassionately communicate, to learn how to empathize, and then to talk about all the different options they have.
Another thing we're doing in Compassionate Mediation is we're taking them off the ledge.
And if you know what I mean, it's when an individual or a couple comes into your office and they think they have to act now. They think they have to jump. They've reached the end of their rope. They're so tired of the same old, same old that they need to make a decision and they need to make it fast. (Deep breath here.)
The important thing is not what they decide, but are they deciding from their highest and best self?
If your clients are not “in SELF”, they are just reacting. They're reacting to their own parts. They're reacting to their partner's parts.
Especially now with COVID, there might be a lot of people who are fighting all the time.
So when Thich Nhat Hanh is talking, he wants us to help the people not get stuck in what their two extreme angry parts may be saying to each other.
We begin to recognize that both members of the couple are trying to cope as best they can — to be cool or to work too hard or do whatever they can to manage their feelings.
But inside there is an inner child in each of them who is scared, who is sad, who is hurt, who is angry — and helping them learn how to speak for those parts is what we do.
Compassionate Mediation is a space to talk about EVERYTHING.
If either one or both parties has thought about a separation or divorce — which often happens in a relationship and often happens in marriage counseling — it is sometimes difficult to discuss.
In marriage counseling, many people don't bring it the parts that have considered leaving because they think that if they're in marriage counseling, all they're there to do is to make the marriage better.
And unfortunately, one or both of them may have already be considering what would it be like to separate? What would it be like to find somebody new? What would it be like to get out of this union?
But because they're exiling that part of themselves, they're only showing up with a part that's trying to be invested in counseling, but they're not fully invested in counseling because they're not talking about the part that's thought about leaving.
So what we do in Compassionate Mediation is we make it safe for all parts to come in, the parts that are scared, the parts that are worried, the parts that are angry, the parts that feel betrayed, and the parts that think, I might want to end this.
What would that look like? And that's why in one of the modules, I talk about how you talk to the initiator and how you talk to the non-initiator.
Talking with the One who wants to STAY and the One who may want to LEAVE.
The initiator is the party in the couple, the one member of the couple, that really would like to separate or divorce. And I tell that person that if they don't process some of the feelings that led to their desire to leave, their partner is not going to be part of this process.
Their partner is going to pull out. So then they'd be left with having to hire an attorney, file for divorce, their partner would have to file a response a year or two later, thousands of dollars later, maybe they'll get divorced. So I tell the initiator, take the time to learn how to communicate, to process the feelings that got you here.
And I tell the non-initiator, the person that doesn't want to think about a divorce, doesn't want to think about a separation, is totally obsessed with staying together, that if they don't open their mind to consider the possibility of leaving, the partner that wants to separate or divorce isn't going to stay in this process, because it's going to feel too much like marriage counseling.
So they have to meet in the middle where the person who wants out talks about feelings, the person that wants to stay talks about what would it look like if I left, and you hold the space for that whole conversation.
You will help clients talk about everything – money and all subjects.
And whatever topic they bring up, if they bring up money and how money is divided between the two of them, that's a subject that could go on for weeks or months.
Because when you talk about money, you have to talk about all the parts that are triggered about that conversation. You can talk about the legacy burdens that each of them brought into the relationship, about the roles and responsibilities. You can talk about their limiting beliefs or the way they've managed or the parts they've exiled.
And at the same time, you will know enough to give them feedback about how to talk about money.
You can acquire the tools to help your clients talk about all their issues and resolve them from their best SELF for the highest good for all concerned.
You can also increase you income, expertise, and impact as you offer this new paradigm of conflict resolution and relationship healing.
Compassionate Communication Creates New Beginnings when You're Thinking of Divorce.
The night before I was to be in court to finalize my divorce after a very long separation, I was moved to convert my sadness, hurt and anger into hope for a new beginning. If your marriage has difficulties, or you're thinking of divorce, I want to share with you how I did that for myself.
I wrote a prayer.
When I arrived at the courtroom, I gave a copy to my formerly beloved (and soon to be ex) husband and to his attorney. I hoped to end our marriage in a way that would set the tone for a peaceful and respectful co-creation of our future restructured family.
I wanted us to always be able to Compassionately Communicate –to connect our highest and best SELF, let go of all the limiting (and judgmental) beliefs we held, unburdened pain from the past, and relate from our hearts.
I hoped we could protect our children from the shrapnel of any more animosity or conflict.
I offered it as my prayer, and for some, it can be an intention. It was my heartfelt request for a future of respectful co-parenting, genuine friendship and Compassionate Communication.
I hope others can set the same intention or recite the same prayer.
“Love is the answer – and it starts with loving your SELF.” Linda Kroll
Linda’s Settlement Prayer
I pray for a peaceful and respectful settlement meeting, in which all parties come together from their Highest Selves and their truest connection to Your guidance, wisdom and love.
I pray that the parts of ourselves that are angry, fearful, defensive, revengeful, retributive, punitive, unloving, unforgiving, sad, young, abandoned, resentful, negative, hurting and hurtful – that all these parts be quelled with the leadership of the Self, coming from a place of trust in Your presence and light.
I pray for compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and appreciation. Although our marriage has come down to a business closing of money and asset division, I ask that we remember the love that brought us together, and the wonderful children, which our union has borne. For their sakes as well as our own, we wish to put an end to this process in as respectful and loving a way as possible.
Although we each carry our sadness and pain and mutual regrets, I pray that we can look beyond this difficult period to a time when we can be friends and coexist peacefully. I pray that our once intact family can be rearranged to two intact and loving homes, where our children feel connected and comfortable. I pray that we can hold in a different light the love that once joined us forever; that on the deepest level we wish each other well as we let go and let G-d direct our lives.
For the sake of all we once had, and for all we had planned to share together, let us now finalize the terms of our marital dissolution so that we are both free to get on with our lives.
Let us complete this last painful task with a sense of trust in the love we once shared and hopefully can remember after this part is over. Let us not work from purely simple and self-serving motives, but keep in mind the general welfare of each of us, and our children. Let us request our attorneys to contribute what is needed for the mutual benefit of all concerned.
In the end, let us know that we behaved civilly, that we can look back with a clear conscience, and that as much as we could, we came from our hearts. God bless us and direct us all. Amen.
His lawyer looked it over, and jokingly asked him, “Are there any changes you want to make in this document?”
We all laughed —sometimes through our tears – which is kind of like life.
Even in the heartache, there can come healing and hope.
If you or someone you know is looking at a separation or divorce, please remember that together we can change the face of divorce, one heart at a time.
To learn how to offer this process to your clients, please get the FREE ROADMAP and Video Introduction to Compassionate Mediation®
As a therapist, mediator, attorney, and author, I help others avoid the pain that my family suffered. My transformational processes of Compassionate Mediation® and SELF-Led Divorce® bring peaceful resolution instead of heartbreak.
If your relationship is at a crossroad, you ‘can add passion to your marriage or compassion to your divorce with Compassionate Communication and Compassionate Mediation®. Please visit www.LindaKroll.com for your free chapter of my bestselling book, and for more free gifts and resources to help you add more peace, love and joy to your life – starting now.
You can also take my Relationship Assessment and learn how to make things better!
If you’re a heart-centered professional (therapist, mediator, attorney, coach or counselor,) you can learn how to offer these processes to your clients at www.CompassionateMediationTraining.com.
Families need not be “broken,” but can be peacefully and respectfully “re-structured.”
Many marriages end because one or both parties don't know they have other options. You can take the time to learn Compassionate Communication and create something new and better together — whatever the form will take.
Often there is one partner who believes that it is “too late” to save the relationship. It is never too late!
Sometimes, one party feels neglected or ignored, as their partner focused on a career or the children. Hurt can manifest as anger or withdrawal, and finally becomes a wall that seems insurmountable.
However, there can be reason for hope even in the face of quiet (or vocal) desperation.
If one person in a relationship is willing to work to save it, a new union can emerge. Perhaps your “first marriage” is over. It’s not about fixing it or settling for what you have, but beginning to create a new relationship that meets both your needs. Who are you now? What is important to you both? And are you willing and able to give the other what you each want and need?”
“I can’t get his attention. I’ve told him how unhappy I am, and he doesn’t seem to notice or care.”
One party might offer love in the form of financial contribution and support. It can be the currency of their caring. However, the other partner may need more time together, shared conversations, attention and affection. The manner in which those needs are expressed may sound needy, whining, or demanding. Learning how to express your needs without judgment or blame is a skill that can be learned. It begins with “I” messages, and includes words like “sad, hurt, rejected and abandoned”. You might find yourself more sad than angry, but being more vulnerable instead of judgmental will help to break the cycle of arguments and distancing.
“I try so hard to please her and she never seems happy.”
After a decade or two (or more) of working long hours, one party may feel the brunt of the financial responsibility for the family. Often they become burned out, overwhelmed with the duties, but afraid to ask for help. They also feel “sad, hurt, and abandoned” when their spouses feel dissatisfied with the life that their work has provided. Then they build walls, too, walls to block out the criticism and anger that is coming their way. They may not have the tools to confront the issues in a healthy way, so they may work more or find other activities to keep them busy and out of harm’s way.
Where there’s life, there’s hope.
Separation or divorce is often contemplated as the solution, and in some cases, that may seem like the only way out. However, learning how to communicate with empathy and compassion can heal wounds that have been festering for years. And if the relationship is meant to end, you can both do the work you need to let go with kindness. Even if the relationship is over, and you are already divorced, you can still create a better method of communication. All that is needed is one willing participant.
“I’ve already done all the work. I don’t want to do any more.”
“I don’t want to be compassionate when I’m so hurt and angry.”
Take the time you need to learn how to communicate with compassion. And the compassion begins with your SELF. It takes a lot of energy and effort to maintain the barricades you might have erected around your heart. Allow yourself to tear down your barriers, put down your weapons, express your sadness, and begin to ask for what you need as you set appropriate boundaries.
As you learn to listen to all parts of yourself – the sad, scared, hurt, angry – you can speak FOR them, and not FROM them, which makes the dialogue much more heart-centered. And as you learn to be compassionate towards your own feelings, you begin to manifest that compassion towards your partner. It’s in that field of empathy that miracles can happen.
“We’ve tried counseling and it didn’t work. I don’t want to do anymore.”
You can always get divorced, but if you got divorced tomorrow, you’d still carry the burden of all those unexpressed feelings. You might meet someone else who will trigger you in just the same way your partner does. You won’t be “wasting time” to allow yourself one more attempt to create something new with the other parent of your children. You can also heal wounds that pre-dated the marriage, which you might be carrying from your family of origin.
”What can I do now?”
Give yourself the gift of Compassionate Mediation®. It just takes one person to begin to improve a relationship.
The only person you can ever change is yourself. If your partner is not ready or willing to participate, begin the process on your own. There is no need to suffer. Help is available. The tools you will learn can enhance the quality of your life and improve all your relationships. You and your family are worth it.
It's never too late to create something new! I'm here to help!