Seeing like a bird

by Rod Smith

Gaining a bird’s eye view of all of your relationships can be very helpful. You might notice:

There’s interdependence among all the people to whom you are related and all whom you know. We need each other.

While there is a give and take in all healthy relationships, absolute dependence, on the one hand, and complete independence, on the other, is seldom helpful. Both, though, are occasionally necessary. An ill person might be dependent for a week or two. If there has been violence within a family a complete cut off could be necessary. Other than in extreme circumstances, extreme positions of dependence or cut-off are seldom helpful.

Interdependence is the better option. Interdependence (mutual give and take) is fostered by the ongoing refusal to over or under-function.

In every relationship one person will drift toward one position or another – often with the benign cooperation of the other. A lazy wife sees her husband’s compensation for her laziness as an act of love! A disengaged dad expects his wife to over-parent on his behalf. A teenager might know that there is no limit to how many times mom or dad or grandma will bail him out! A colleague might expect you to cover for her just as you might have done a hundred times already and therefore secured her irresponsible behavior.

Creating a flow-chart, a diagram, some form of visual of all your relationships will assist you to see how, where, and when to change your expected behaviors that you may secure a healthier, more interdependent future.

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