Category Archives: BE THE PERSON YOU WERE MEANT TO BE

BE THE PERSON YOU WERE MEANT TO BE: ANTIDOTES TO TOXIC RELATING – NOURISHING AND TOXIC RESPONSIBILITY – AN EXAMPLE OF A NOURISHING RESPONSE

In a nourishing relationship, regardless of the depth of the love and caring, one person is not responsible (obligated) to do something about the pain, frustration, and anxiety of the other.
Rather, it is the person’s choice how much he wishes to respond to the other and in what ways. It is also his choice (and responsibdity to himself) to set limits on his givingness. An example of a nourishing response (antidote) from Mrs. S. would be as follows:
“I am concerned and feel badly about your anxiety when I leave you alone. I feel that I share a great deal with you, and I enjoy being with you. However, I also need some activities away from you, even though I love you deeply.”
It is an honest reaction if Mr. S. continues to resent his wife’s attitude; he doesn’t have to like it. However, if he is interested in sustaining their nourishing relationship, he is willing to accept (recognize the existence of) her need regardless of his own feelings. In contrast, a toxic response would be to continue to make her feel guilty, or to otherwise manipulate her in the hope that she will give up her independent activities.
Mr. S.: “Well, it’s Wednesday, so I guess you’re going to leave me again. Aren’t you finished punishing me yet? Haven’t you proved your point that you can be independent?”
This is the kind of “bear-trap question” that is most apt to precipitate still more poisonous interaction by continuing to magnify the issue into a major conflict.
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