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Archive for June, 2016

Here’s a far too familiar family drama.

Bobby comes in from playing and heads for the refrigerator. He stands in front of it, surveys its contents and grumbles, “We never have anything to eat.”

Mom, already frustrated from cleaning up the four messes that Bobby made earlier that day, says sarcastically, “Then what do you call the stuff you’ve been shoveling in your mouth? And close that refrigerator. It’s not an air conditioner, you know.”

Dad sitting at the kitchen table, gets into the act and says, “He’s a growing boy dear, what do you expect?”

Bobby responds, “Yeah, Mom, I’m a growing boy.”

Mom gives Dad the evil eye and says, “And who invited you into the conversation?”

Dad answers, “Just trying to be helpful, dear.”

Now Bobby looks at both parents and says,”I hope you two are not going to fight the whole night.”

“That will be enough,”Dad replies.

Within two minutes, this very typical family has traveled the triangle and everyone has had his or her turn at being a Rescuer, a Victim and a Persecutor.

How did it all start?

When Bobby left four messes in the kitchen and didn’t clean up after himself, Bobby became a Persecutor. When Mom took responsibility and cleaned up the messes, Mom became a Rescuer and defined her son as Victim.

A persecutor on the triangle is a person whose behavior is hostile and angry. The Persecutor usually “gets” people with nasty remarks, sarcasm, and hostile behavior, but denies or discounts the fact that he’s angry.

A Rescuer is a person who takes care of people who don’t need to be helped or who takes care of people when they don’t want to be helped. In both instances, the Rescuer discounts the other person’s ability to take care of himself.

A Victim is a person who acts as though he can’t do something for himself when, in fact, the opposite is true. The Victim discounts his ability to take care of himself.

When Bobby walked into the kitchen and grumbled, “There isn’t anything to eat,” Bobby became the Persecutor and Mom moved from Rescuer to Victim.

Mom, however, made a fast shift from Victim to Persecutor when she commented about the food that Bobby has been shoveling into his mouth and the fact that the refrigerator was not a cooling system.

Dad hopped on the triangle with his comment, “He’s a growing boy.” Dad became Bobby’s Rescuer and Mom’s Persecutor.

Bobby, taking permission from Dad to persecute Mom, responded to the invitation with his own persecution: “Yeah, I’m just a growing boy.”

Mom, unwilling to stay Victim, came up swinging with,”Who invited you into this conversation?”

And on, and on . . . Which, of course, leads to the moral of my story: With so much drama in the family, who needs television?

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Trivial Pursuit isn’t the only game couples play.
Lisa, walking into the bedroom, says “Jeff, did you know the light bulb is burned out in the bathroom?” Jeff raises his eyebrows and says, “Oh?”¬†Inside his head, Jeff says, “There’s no way I’m going to replace that light bulb. If she wants me to replace it, she’s going to have to ask.”

Two days later Lisa says to Jeff, “I can’t even see to put on my makeup in the bathroom.”¬†Jeff gives Lisa the old “um-hmmm” response and reaffirms to himself that he’s not going to replace the light bulb until she asks.

Another week goes by and Jeff notices that Lisa is straining to see herself in the mirror with the light that’s coming from the hall. At that moment he feels some compassion for Lisa, and later that day, when she is nowhere around, he replaces the light bulb.

The saga continues when Jeff, decides not to tell Lisa that he replaced the light bulb and Lisa continues to put her makeup on using the light from the hall.

A few days later, Lisa walks briskly into the kitchen and yells indignantly, “When are you going to replace that light bulb?” Jeff looks up from his newspaper, leans back in his chair and says, “Why, I replaced it last week. Didn’t you know?”

Lisa caught off guard, feels confused and indignant. Jeff, on the other hand, feels triumphant.

Lisa takes a deep breath and is ready to fight. Jeff becomes defensive, and for the next 10 minutes they engage in a heated exchange of words followed by another half-hour rehashing who did what when.

Usually in situations like this, a couple will repeat the scenario. The topic will be different, but the scene will play the same way. The reason is because deep down the partners are afraid of closeness. However, because they are human, and each of them has a need to be close and emotionally recognized by the other, they quarrel. Their quarreling allows them to engage each other emotionally, while at the same time avoid closeness.

If this scenario sounds too close to home, examine your motives when arguing, and vow to make some changes in your relationship.

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