Page 18 - Peace-Centered Family

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We can see how his brother––using Joe as the conduit––barraged their
sister with constant attacks. He had drawn
connecting lines
to his mother
and his sister but he had also poignantly shown how isolated he felt. He
drew his two
fence lines
coming to a point enclosing him in his own
space.
Joe’s father was half in and half out of the family circle; his mother
was close to the edge. The barrier between himself and his father did dou-
ble duty by keeping everybody else in the family out as well. The
connect-
ing line
between the two parents was almost non-existent. It’s a safe bet Joe’s
father felt just as isolated in that family as Joe did.
“I only heard my mother get mad at him once. After that it was like
nothing had ever happened but she started going out at night. She said
she was going bowling with her girlfriends but I always suspected she had
a lover stashed away somewhere, because a couple of times she wasn’t at
the bowling alley when we called her.”
A family drama began to emerge. Conflicts simmered below the
boiling point and very little happened in the open, except for the older
brother’s bullying of the younger sister. It was a story rich in detail, a
thinly disguised tragedy of smoldering frustrations and deception.
Like a boy playing with miniature wooden soldiers, Joe became
more and more immersed in his other world. His old passions surfaced.
It was a story of survival, of trust and betrayal. When he laid bare the
bones of the organization of his birth family Joe could see the actual
structure itself.
“That’s incredible. It’s like seeing my family for the first time. But I
also see how little progress I’ve made since I left home. That’s pretty
scary. I still feel squeezed from two sides like the middle in a sandwich.
And alone.” He was astonished. Yet because he had made the discovery
himself he trusted the information. I knew instantly that I had stumbled
across a powerful way to access self-discovery in therapy.
Discovery
After Joe left I thought about all the ground we had covered in one
session. What was it that made this impromptu exercise so powerful?
After sleeping on it [something I do regularly when I want to figure some-
thing out] I realized that putting his story in picture form had the effect
of propelling Joe outside of the story, as he was telling it, so he could
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1 – DISCOVERY