Under- or Over-Functioning….

by Rod Smith

Take up your life

Take up your life

“Under function-ers” and “Over function-ers” usually find each other wildly attractive and often fall in love at first sight. But, alas, sooner or later, one or both will become symptomatic*. “Under functioning” (not playing your part) and “over-functioning” (playing more than your part) go hand-in-hand and, although both can be very subtle**, neither promotes health in any family, church, or organization.

1. Under functioning: expecting others to think and act for you, to read your mind, to predict your needs, to be your calendar. Refusing to exercise authority legitimately yours, avoiding taking a stand or making up your mind, avoiding necessary conflict. Refusing to fill your own shoes.

2. Over functioning: thinking for others, predicting what could go wrong because “so-and-so never does what you ask him to do,” carrying the weight of the family or organization all by yourself, “sighing” through life because others are so irresponsible (or inconsiderate or unmotivated or incapable).

The challenge is clear. Step up to the plate if you under function. Pull back where you run too strong! In either circumstance, announce your intention. Stepping into your legitimate role where you have thus far been absent, or pulling back where you have over-functioned for any length of time, could take people by surprise. Don’t. Announce your intentions to fully play your role, no more, and no less. Remember someone is always “benefits” from your over or under performance and that someone will probably not like the change!

Of course it is so that the same person can both under and over-function in the same relationship. It is also so that some one can over-function at home and under-function at work.

* Lethargy, anxiety, feeling invaded, feeling used, feeling unappreciated or a whole lot more!
** Both conditions can have the appearance of love. “He’s so loving he just lets me make all the decisions,” or “Look at him! He is such a servant. He looks out for my every need.”

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