In Relationship (Part Seven)

fightHealing or Terminating a Relationship

Relationships are rarely strife free. And when conflict enters a relationship it must be dealt with quickly and decisively for the continued health of the relationship. The two options for a broken relationship are: 1) Heal the relationship; 2) Terminate the relationship. Allowing the relationship to go on in its broken state is not an option.

How do you heal a relationship? You must confront the other. Passive aggressiveness solves nothing. Passive aggressive people will act as though they are the righteous ones as they avoid confrontation. They act as though they are the ones committed to the relationship. They will not be the ones to end a relationship. But truthfully, they don’t care about the relationship at all. They want the relationship to end. They don’t want to put in the work to heal it. And, when the relationship does end, they can take the high road and say, “Well, it wasn’t me who ended it.”

Confrontation always involves the risk of termination. Each time you confront someone you’re in relationship with, with the purpose of healing, you risk ending the relationship. And if that happens, so be it. Allowing the relationship to go on in its broken state is not an option.

How to confront? One way would be to write down all the actions of the other which are bothering you, and have the other write their own list as well. Then, sit down together and go through each other’s lists. Predetermine to not leave the room until you come to some solution. The solution might lead to the healing of the relationship, or the termination of it. If there is to be healing, both parties have to be willing to compromise. If one or both parties are unwilling to compromise, termination will be the result. If that happens, accept it and move on peacefully.

Also read In Relationship Part One; Two; Three; Four; Five; Six

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Visionary Leaders

Visionary leaders are the people who see what needs to be done, and have the drive to get it done. If it weren’t for the visionary leader, little would ever get done.

But, you have to be careful, if you are a visionary leader, or if one has taken an interest in you. The visionary leader tends to be superficial about anything but his vision and thus ends up using people and dumping people when he perceives their usefulness has run out. As quickly as someone is willing to trust you (with no previous experience to do so), they will just as quickly distrust you (again for no reason). Notice with the visionary leader that all his relationships are political.

Don’t use and don’t be used. Plan your life and relationships for the long haul.

Past & Future

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We are all connected in relationship. Some relationships are more important than others. Some are close at hand while others are far away. But we also have relationship through time. We are connected to all those who came before us, and with all those who will come after us.

Below is a link to an article I wrote about how Christian philosopher Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy viewed relationships through time…

Click here: Past and Future

**Note: I’ve updated some of this article in a new blog post.

In Relationship (Part Five)

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Rules and Expectations

“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”

~G.K. Chesterton

I have three rules for my kids: No fighting. No crying unless you’re genuinely hurt. Don’t touch my stuff. Apart from that they pretty much have free reign. A pastor friend once told me that at his old house he had a large backyard. At first there was no fence around the yard and he noticed his children would only play near the house. Soon after he built a fence, and the children began to play all over the yard. Once they knew where it was safe to go, they were free to enjoy the whole area.

We need to know the rules of the game if we are going to be able to function in our relationships. Have you ever broken a rule, but didn’t know that you broke it until after you broke it? Have you ever been in a situation where the rules were not equally applied to each person? It’s frustrating isn’t it? It fact, it can be maddening.

“Even more than they need goods, people want for their contentment a full understanding of their condition. None can find comfort in a position which he fails to comprehend, and protracted perplexity leads to mental derangement.

Perplexity of Rats and Dogs

“Even rats and dogs cannot live in perplexity. Take three sets of rats: give one set a meal a day; give the other set the same meal only every second day; and restrict the third group to a meal on every third day. All three groups will thrive; the rich, the middle-class and the poor will get on equally well. But take a fourth set of rats and feed them at periods varying irregularly between one and three days and you will see the rats of this set die. They get more than the poor rats, yet while those prosper on their meager diet they perish because their organism is thrown into a state of confusion, all their reflexes of digestion are dislocated, they die of perplexity.

“Dogs are more human than rats, and so the experiment by which Pavlov drove his dogs mad shows us even more closely what is wrong with ourselves. He trained a dog to expect food when a luminous circle appeared on a screen, and to recognize that no food would come when a flat ellipse with a ratio of semiaxis 2:1 was produced. The dog learned to differentiate precisely between the circle and the ellipse, showing signs of appetite when the former, not when the latter was shown. The shape of the ellipse was then approximated by stages to that of the circle (ratios of the semiaxis 3:2, 4:3 and so on) and the training of discrimination continued through the successive ellipses. The dog found it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ellipses and the circle and finally, when the ellipse was given a ratio of 9:8 he became quite uncertain in his discrimination. But Pavlov tried to educate him to the limit and continued with this experiment for three weeks. The result, however, was no improvement in the dog’s training but a total breakdown of his discriminating power. At the end he could not see the difference even between the flat 2:1 ellipse and the circle. The dog’s behaviour also underwent a complete change. It began to squeal in its stand, kept wriggling about, tore off with his teeth the apparatus and bit through various tubes. In short, as Pavlov says, it fell into the condition of an acute neurosis.

“This dog broke down when his powers of understanding were overstrained. They were overstrained when it became too difficult for him to distinguish between the symbols signifying food and hunger. His happiness was destroyed, not by need of supplies but by what Pavlov describes as a conflict between excitation and inhibition which its brain found too difficult to resolve.” (Taken from Visual Presentation of Social Matters by Michael Polanyi.)

If I can’t predict the actions of the other parties in a working relationship, I cannot pursue any of my goals. The relationship breaks down, and I will most likely leave, but not after suffering much frustration.

A contract protects people from this ever happening. A covenant does as well, but for different reasons. In a contract there is a “higher power” (the law court) which can be appealed to if one party does not fulfill its predicted duties. In a covenant, each party is at all times fully giving themselves to the other, so there is nothing unpredictable about it.

The problem of unpredictability can really only happen in one of two kinds of relationships: charity or master/slave — where one party holds all the resources over the other. A slave does not have any options in this situation. A receiver of charity, however, can move on to find new donors.

In Relationship ~ Part One; Two; Three; Four; Six; Seven