Families can be interesting, to say the least. Some of you are old enough to remember Archie and Edith Bunker. Often, we laughed with them instead of at them. The characters on the show could come very close to describing some of our own family members. Families come in all shapes and sizes, functions and dysfunctions, personalities, traits, strengths and weaknesses. The important point I want you to remember? None of them are perfect.
You are saying, “That is not a news bulletin, Randy.” However, we tend to create this “quality world” in our minds. That is a term from William Glasser, the author of Reality Therapy. We each have this image of a perfect partner, parent, child or sibling. When they do not match our image, it creates dissonance, or a conflict within us. We have a choice of how to handle the conflict within us. One, we can try to change the person into our perfect image. Good luck with that choice! Second, we can become angry and frustrated with the person, or we can become depressed. We fool ourselves into thinking since we cannot change the person, we cannot change the situation. More on that below.
Another choice? We can change our image to fit reality. Once we grieve over the reality that our partner or family member will not become the image of what we desire, we can learn to embrace the reality of the person including all the warts and imperfections. You see, even some of the strengths we admire in a person can also have a negative flip side that can become annoying. Example. A person with the strength of responsibility is desirable at work and often in relationships. However, this positive trait can become annoying when the person goes beyond the normal call of duty in a situation and chooses other people or a task over a partner or family members. They can feel in second place. Second place often feels like last place.
And, finally, we can change our situation. We can set boundaries, and if necessary, create distance or even leave a situation. You may feel trapped at work. Do something about changing the situation! Get a new job, start a business, do something to improve your situation. You may feel trapped in a relationship. Change the dynamics through therapy for yourself and the other party, just remember, you can only change YOU! William Glasser said reality is a good thing. As mediators, sometimes we become the agent of reality. We help people see the real world, not just their quality world. And when you see the real world, now you can make choices of how to adjust to reconcile your quality world with the real one.
At Genesis, we have helped many couples and families create peace. This is not therapy. We cannot resolve addictions, personality disorders, or other long-term therapy needs. We do have great success in helping couples and families reconcile estranged relationships and begin a process of healing. Do you know anyone who needs some peace? Send them our way, because our job is creating peace.