An amicable separation. Which wolf will you feed?


An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

He explains, ‘A fight is going on inside me.’

‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.’

He continued, ‘The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person too.’

The grandson was quiet for a while, thinking. Then he asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win?’

The old man simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

I see the philosophy of this old Cherokee legend acted out in the mediation room all the time. My observation is that if someone is feeding their ‘evil’ wolf, it tends to end up hurting them the most. Communication worsens and negotiation is difficult. Wounds get carried into the future and moving forwards is harder. I guess it is just uncomfortable always to be feeling angry and resentful. Even worse, if there are two ‘evil’ wolves being fed in the room, they tend to encourage each other and fights escalate and wounds are deeper.


When we go through a divorce or separation, it is normal for us to experience the ‘evil’ wolf howling in our ears. We are hurt and scared and it is natural to feel anger, resentment and want to get our own back. Our friends and family, in an effort to support us, often tend to feed this wolf too.


But when someone is able to feed the ‘good’ wolf, life does tend to get easier in the long term; easier for them, easier for their children and easier for those around them. They tend to make better decisions and they tend to feel more positive and calmer. An amicable separation is far more likely.


Which wolf will you feed?


Polly Gavins runs Abingdon Family Mediation, a mediation service that

aims to provide a practical and effective mediation process that is delivered with kindness, respect and understanding.


If you would like to learn how to feed your ‘wolf’ differently, call Polly on 0770 651 3496 or email




An amicable separation
Tagged on: