Couples who are too close…….

by Rod Smith

Edwin Friedman – a pioneer in family therapy, writer, teacher, and rabbi and who was trained by Murray Bowen who is considered the “father” of family therapy and “Bowen Theory” – wrote about helping couples to separate, establish space, maintain individuality and secure room to breathe and room to move in order to help the couple avoid radical separation (divorce) in their future. Friedman suggested sometimes couples were “too close” meaning that everything done one or both persons seemed to unsettle or rock the world of the other or both.

Identifying couples who are “fused” or who are too close:

1. Every thought, move, glance, blink of the eye, every gesture is interpreted to mean something by the other person and the meaning is usually negative.

2. Mind reading is at its most intense. What is damaging is that what is “read” or interpreted is believed as fact. “I know exactly what you are thinking when you look at me like that.”

3. There’s no room for change or growth because there’s no emotional “wiggle room.” If one person is convinced that he or she knows exactly what the other person will do and will think there is no room for anything new to occur.

I have named these writers to facilitate reading beyond this column.

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