Every conflict is made up of three stories: your story, their story and the actual story. This is an adage that we often quote yet seldom follow.
The benefit of acting as a mediator, which I am want to do occasionally, is that in virtually every case both parties have logical, rational and plausible reasons for their feelings and actions. I am yet to be involved in a case where one side of a dispute is completely irrational and unreasonable.
Don’t get me wrong; there are often cases where there appears to be a right and a wrong. It’s just that even when someone may be wrong regarding a certain issue, it doesn’t make them totally irrational. From their perspective they are acting reasonably.
It is therefore crucial that every person intent on living a peaceful, conflict-free life ensures they are supported by an independent outsider who can guide their thoughts, feelings and actions. When one is stuck in the mud of a problem, an objective mediator is often needed to reach in and pull them out of the muck.
Although you may think your adversary is living in an alternative universe, perhaps it is you living in that universe. Only an independent outsider can tell for sure, because from where I sit, reality may in fact only be my reality.
In the ethics of the fathers we learn that the only time, possibly in history, where there has been an absolutely one-sided dispute is that between Moshe and Korach. Every other dispute has good and bad on both sides. No one is ever fully right or completely wrong.
It behoves us, therefore, to look for the justice in our antagonists’ claims rather that merely rest on our laurels, believing that “we are right!”