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Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions 1st Edition
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After the Speech: When Teens Get Real
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Top Customer Reviews
The basic theory is this: in order to have good relationships, you have to be a well-differentiated, individual self. This means that you have solid boundaries, and you can relate to other people without "lending and borrowing" the self, as Gilbert says. Or in my view, you can be friends with people without trying to become them or making them become you. Ironically, in order to work on being a differentiated self you have to do the work through your relationships. None of us are perfectly differentiated, so we can all improve our basic selves and our relationships. The less differentiated we are, the more anxiety in our relationships (because we get all tense about them), and the more they take on the following five postures, which can relieve anxiety in the short term but only mess things up more over time: conflict, distancing, triangling, under/over-functioning, and cut-off.
Probably the most important aspect of this theory is that undifferentiation and relationship postures are carried on from generation to generation. So it's not really your parents fault, but yes you learned it all from them, and they learned it from their parents, etc etc. Also your own level of differentiation and the postures you adopt in relationships are based on how you interacted with your entire family of origin, not just your parents.Read more ›
Gilbert examines the theory of Murray Bowen, who countered notions of individual psychology (like those of Freud) with the theory that personality develops as a result of a family unit. The nuclear family, like a herd of amimals, reacts against each other, speaking a common language that is known only to them. Children raised in that family then detach from the family to form their own adult relationships, where dynamics may follow the family system.
In order to heal adult problems, the author offers some practical advice, like taking the time to observe old patterns as they crop up (family Christmas fights come to mind) with the dispassionate mind of an observer. The author states that individuals will better be able to understand family dynamics and their role in them by doing this.
I've read this book twice, and it has helped me better understand my family, and my role within it. I would recommend it for those who are seeking to better understand their family of origin, and what they can do to improve their present life through understanding the past.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely insightful. Helped me to relate to my teenage son in a new way and to take a second look at my family of origin.Published 24 days ago by Edward Ruiz
Academic - but someone interesting. Seemed to have circular reasoning - but perhaps the reasoning was missed on me since I am not a practitioner. Read morePublished 1 month ago by dcallahan
Wonderful way to learn more about Family Systems theory. Very accessible to the beginner, and shows how paying attention to and changing your behavior in relationships can... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jennifer Kottler
Great book even for me, a person who prized myself on a pretty good thinking-own-up system. I learned cutting off feelings is part of the feeling not thinking system. Read morePublished 6 months ago by khampakone chanthyasak
excellent book that helps show the origin of a how a person is... basically this book tells us that we are the way we are because of the relationships that existed/exist between... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sameer