Man soll den anderen so nehmen er ist,
nicht so wie man ihn haben moechte.
(See people as they are, not the way that you want
them to be. Bari)
If you visit Munich, maybe take a stroll around
the beautiful Englischer Garten. I walked there with a
German friend, discussing cross-cultural coaching. After stating each
concept, my friend would ask: Alles ist klar? which means:
Is that clear?
Clarity seems important to German people, who often ask for assurance
that their communications are understood. Germanic people, perhaps more than other
cultures, seem to maximize clarity and efficiency.
clarity and efficiency may seem desirable in most communication, many people
avoid it, finding relief in philosophical, negative, conflicting statements and abstract
Some people avoid clear communication. Alles ist nicht
so klar! It is not so clear!
You can develop your clarity. For example, you may treat your intimate
partner as a human being whom you value and with whom you want a
long-term intimate relationship. If you perceive your partner
as a child, or as a parent, or as a colleague - confusion will follow
even if both of you accept or even enjoy these roles.
I created a simple hierarchy of relationship types, with the
approximate ages when most people can begin fulfilling the relationship
responsibilities of that type, and some key responsibilities.
||Example Relationship Skills |
|| Express emotions, learning to walk, talk, use toilet |
|| Extended Family
|| Group play, patience, sharing, delay gratification |
|| Keep promises, complete tasks, trust others |
|| Active co-operation, accept group rules, modesty |
|| Create and maintain intimacy,
make intimate space |
|| Create supportive home, develop child raising skills |
|| Community participation, action and support |
|| Humanitarian /
Environmental / Systemic activities
You can gain both clarity and skills during each relationship
experience - and you can use these skills in subsequent relationships.
If you get stuck in one relationship experience you may be unable to
advance until you master the missing skills.
If you cannot maintain a friendship, you are unlikely to be
accepted by a healthier team. If you cannot function in a team, you are
less likely to commit to a long-term partnership. Instead you may seek
distorted relationships (e.g. symbiosis and codependence) and be
accepted (or at least tolerated) by other unskilled people.
Most people want better relationships - but motivation alone
is not enough. Relationship skills are
needed - skills based on supportive beliefs and values.
If you are stuck at a relationship level, you may appear
emotionally immature and age regressed people may say that you
act like a teenager or a child. (Sometimes a woman may comment
that her partner is more like another child to care for.)
Common causes of relationship stuckness include
emotional incest and
trauma. Events such as
parental separation and
parental alienation can have traumatic consequences.
We help people clarify and change their relationships.
. Father-Daughter Entanglement
Dynamic & Frozen Relationships
Are your relationships dynamic? Are you developing on many
levels, while testing and pushing your limits? Dynamic relationships
allow freedom, growth and inter-dependence. Your relationships can
freeze if you avoid challenges and development.
Frozen relationships are often attempts to cling to childish
beliefs and immature decisions. People in frozen relationships often avoid
details and prefer fuzzy communication. Communicating with such
people can be like talking to foggy walls.
It is useful to recognize the abstractions used while
communicating. If communication is arbitrarily divided into levels of
abstraction (loosely based on the genius of Dr Gregory Bateson), the
following hierarchy results, which includes example questions that
you can use to increase clarity.
||What is it?
What does it do?
|Who does it belong to?
How can we use it?
||What am I feeling?
How can I express my feelings?
|What feelings do I want to share?
you respond to my emotions?
How do you express your emotions?
||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?|
||What am I capable of?
What else can I do?
|Who does this influence?
Who should do this?
||What is true?
What is possible? What is right?
||How can we express our beliefs?
How do we respond to each others beliefs? How do we decide what is right?
||What is important?
What is worthwhile?
|What values do we share?
Whose values are most important? |
||Who am I?
What are my qualities?
|Who are you?
What are our relationship responsibilities?
||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? How can we help our planet survive?|
|Creation / Cosmos
||What is the purpose of creation?
||How can we relate with manifest
creation and unmanifest potential?|
These questions are examples of how you may clarify your
concepts for yourself, and also clarify presuppositions
within your relationships.
Note that these questions may
irritate people who prefer fuzzy communications and confused
Contact us to resolve emotional and relationship problems.
Doctor reviews Soulwork Systemic Coaching
Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
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© Martyn Carruthers 1999-2018
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