This blog is about how the outcome for your legal problem may be affected adversely by your emotional turmoil. This is because, when we are highly emotional and stressed, we are then operating from primal instincts rather than from logic.
There is an argument that we’re emotional beings anyway and not really driven by logic, but there are certain times when our brain is able to assess and look at information in a much more rational way than other states. Our brain is not usually functioning well when we have been triggered and angry, or when we are extremely stressed or upset.
Now, these emotions (anger, stress, upset) are quite often what we feel when we are facing a legal problem like a separation or someone’s chasing you or your business for money, and threatening the viability of your business. And they will impact the outcome of your legal matter, because you are wanting the emotion to stop rather than focusing on a result that you want.
There’s some research that when you are triggered into a high stress response, your prefrontal cortex of your brain doesn’t function. And you revert back to using the very primal, emotional and basic part of your brain, the animal instincts.
How do we make decisions, then, if we’re dealing with a legal problem that triggers us?
We need to have some methods of being able to make sure our brain stays in a logical state, or we need to learn to recognise that when we are triggered we can’t make a decision, and we need to be able to calm ourselves back down.
There’s also research that it can take about 20 minutes to calm down. If you’re in a mediation, or need to respond to a proposal, doing box-breathing or going for a walk, can help calm your initial emotional reaction.
But walking back into the exact same situation, that’s going to trigger you, can become a never-ending cycle. So what can we do? Well, you can train yourself a bit more in conflict resolution skills. You could also have someone facilitate the conversation for you.
This is quite often why people engage a lawyer, because lawyers can then rationally argue on your behalf. But the problem is that sometimes lawyers can be far more aggressive than you want them to be. Or they assume what your interests are, and they don’t explore all the options that are available for you, and just pursue something that may not be in your best interest. So the outcome of your legal matters becomes morphed completely from what you were expecting.
What are some solutions?
Firstly, knowing what you want, and then secondly, being able to verbalise and articulate what you want – are crucial.
Finally, you can also find and hire the right person to actually represent you and your interests, and not push you in a direction you don’t want to go, or not engage in an overly aggressive form of negotiation so that it prolongs everything.
Many women, in particular, will avoid dealing with legal problems or will completely accommodate the other party just to smooth things over and make it go away. This is quite often because we don’t want to sit in that emotion. We don’t like being in conflict. We don’t like being highly stressed. So we just want it to go away at all costs, which is not actually in your best interest long-term.
Lots of factors here … all of which we explore and teach in the Legally Wise Women platform.