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Emotional Freedom © Martyn Carruthers

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Man soll den anderen so nehmen er ist, nicht so wie man ihn haben moechte. Bari
(See a person as he is, not the way that you want him to be. Bari)

If you visit Munich, you could take a pleasant walk along Prinzregentenstrasse, and stroll around the beautiful Englischer Garten. I walked there with a German friend, discussing cross-cultural modeling. After stating each concept, my friend would ask: “Alles ist klar?” This very common German question means: “Is that clear?

Clarity seems especially important to German people, who often check whether their communications are understood. German people, perhaps more than most cultures, seem to maximize clarity.

Although clarity may seem desirable in most communication, many people avoid it, finding relief in philosophical, negative, conflicting and abstract statements. Some people rarely offer clear communication. “Alles ist nicht so klar!

Relationship Clarity

You can develop your clarity in appropriate relationships. For example, you treat your intimate partner as a human being whom you value and with whom you want a long-term intimate relationship. If you habitually communicate to your partner as if to a child, or as a parent, or as a colleague - confusion will follow – even if both of you accept or even enjoy these roles.

Here is a useful hierarchy of relationship types, with the approximate minimum ages when most people can begin fulfilling the relationship responsibilities of that type, and example responsibilities.

Approx Age Relationship Hierarchy Example Relationship Skills
0+ Childhood Express emotions, learn to walk, talk, use toilet
3+ Extended Family Group play, patience, sharing, delay gratification
5+ Friends Keep promises, complete tasks, trust others
11+ Teams Active co-operation, accept group rules, modesty
16+ Partnership Create and maintain intimacy and an intimate “space”
21+ Parenthood Create supportive home, develop child raising skills
24+ Community Community participation, action and support
28+ Global Humanitarian / Environmental / Systemic activities

You can gain both clarity and skills during each relationship experience - and use these skills to prepare for subsequent relationships. If you get stuck in one relationship experience – you may be unable to advance until you master the appropriate skills.

If you cannot maintain a friendship, you are unlikely to be accepted into a healthy team or a long-term partnership. Instead you may be only tolerated. Motivation alone is insufficient. Skills are needed.

If you are “stuck” at some age in this relationship hierarchy, you may appear immature and feel emotionally age regressed – mature people may say that you act childishly. Common causes of relationship stuckness include emotional incest and trauma. Events such as parental separation and parental alienation can have traumatic consequences.

Dynamic & Frozen Relationships

Your relationships are dynamic if you are developing on many levels, while testing and pushing your limits. Dynamic relationships allow freedom, growth and inter-dependence. Or your relationships may be called frozen if you avoid challenges and development. Frozen relationships are often attempts to cling to old beliefs and decisions. People in frozen relationships often avoid clarity and prefer foggy communication. Communicating with such people can be like talking to foggy walls.

It is useful to recognize the abstractions you use while communicating. If communication is arbitrarily divided into levels of abstraction, (based on the genius of Dr Gregory Bateson) the following hierarchy results, with example questions that you can use to increase clarity.

Abstraction Self Questions Relationship Questions
Things What is it? What does it do? Who does it belong to? How can we use it?
Emotions What am I feeling? What do I want you to feel? How do you respond to me? How do you express emotions?
Communication What do I express? What do I respond to? How do you respond to me? What are your wishes?
Actions & Consequences What am I doing? What do I want? How do you respond to my actions? How do I respond to your wishes?
Competencies What am I capable of? What else can I do? Who does this influence? Who should do this?
Beliefs What is true? What is possible? What is right? How can we express our beliefs? How do we respond to each other’s beliefs? How do we decide what is right?
Values What is important? What is worthwhile? What values do we share? Whose values are most important?
Identity Who am I? What are my qualities? Who are you? What are our relationship responsibilities?
Relationships What am I part of? What is my role? How close or distant are we? How can we co-operate together?
Planet / Humanity Why am I here? What is my purpose? How do our lives affect this planet? What can we do to help our planet survive?
Creation / Cosmos What is the purpose of creation? What are our relationships with unmanifest creation and with a manifest universe?

These are examples of how you may clarify concepts and presuppositions within your relationships. (Beware that the above questions may irritate people who, for whatever reason, avoid clarity or who prefer to live in confusion.)

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email