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Accepting the truth: A step toward reconciliation

Author(s): Ilić Zoran

Journal: Temida
ISSN 1450-6637

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2002;
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The truth is not only about accepting the facts. The truth includes emotional components - longing for acknowledgment of mistakes and validation of painful losses and experiences. While one side in the conflict considers itself as the only victim and experiences determination and acknowledgment of the truth as a possibility for healing its own trauma through satisfaction of justice and compensation, the other side is not accepting the truth. For this other side, confrontation with the facts is a painful trauma, which endangers individual moral norms, threatens the national identity and requires, on individual level, plugging in the defense mechanism, in order to prevent penetration of painful emotions into the consciousness. Primitive psychological mechanisms of defense, focused around splitting (projection, denial), are the main obstacles in accepting the truth both on individual and group level. There is also another extreme form of reaction manifested through "hypertrophy" of the truth and one-sided self-accusation. In this paper the author presents psychological explanation of the process of accepting the truth as the prerequisite for reconciliation and transformation of the conflict.
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