Page 19 - Peace-Centered Family

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“watch” his family dynamics in action. Suddenly in the spotlight every-
one, including Joe, was caught with one hand in the cookie jar. It not
only was a “who dunnit” without any guess work, it also showed it was
a family affair––that everyone had a part to play in the way the family
functioned. There was no more mystery.
Joe’s two marriages had ended in divorce and he had made an
appointment with me because he thought there was something wrong
with him. Immediately after drawing his map he was able to put his fin-
ger on the real problem.
“We never did anything as a family. That’s probably why I’ve
always been a loner and don’t seem to have much luck with women.
Can’t seem to please ’em no matter what I do.” In an instant, Joe could
see for himself that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with him.
He simply had never known what a healthy relationship looks like. That
one hour-and-a-half session had set the stage for his success in therapy.
Conflict-Centered Relationships
If you were to map any family that is out of balance, you would find
that all have one element in common: they either have a weak center or
they have no center at all. Which means nobody’s quite sure who’s mind-
ing the store. Or worse, nobody’s minding the store.
Every family––regardless who’s in it––needs to have someone in
charge. This is especially true when there are children. In a two-parent
family the parents [which these days often means one biological parent
and a stepparent] have to learn to run the family together; how to share
the task of parenting equally. They need to keep a dialogue going, be able
to come up with solutions, and feel secure in their relationship. All at the
same time. If there is one parent or an alternate set of caregivers, then
must be in charge. Remember, if we’re looking at the family as an
organization, the only way to run an organization is to make someone
responsible for running it. Otherwise there is chaos, continual conflict,
confusion, and discontent.
Looking over Joe’s shoulder at his map we can also see what Joe
was able to see: there is no center, the parents have nothing resembling a
partnership, nobody’s minding the store, and Joe is isolated from every-
one, even his siblings. Furthermore nothing was ever resolved because
issues, like his mother’s affair, were allowed to slip under the radar and