By 1976, after a painful and nasty organization breakdown, just the two of us were in practice together.
Desperate to understand what had gone wrong, I started studying organizational relationships as well as individual ones. In retrospect, we made every mistake in the book. Nevertheless those studies led to a new proficiency — using TA in organizations and teaching others to do so also.
I could follow this path to learning about relationships in organizations and finally to Coaching, but that takes me away from talking about how on earth we came to be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.
One of the most important lessons we learned about relationships is that they are either growing or dying. A growing relationship is always a work in progress. When you understand what's happening you can make reasonable decisions about what to do next.
Because most people just don't understand this — even many professionals don't understand it — every crisis seems as if it might mean ending the relationship.
That's about as useful as saying that every time you have a disagreement with one of your children you need to consider turning them over to other parents to raise. You know that's absurd.
When raising children you expect conflict. You even expect them to say that they hate you from time to time. You don't like it, but you're not surprised when it happens. It's a critical part of individual development.
Those kinds of conflict are predictable in all kinds of relationships. The more we learned about them, the better we got at helping solve all kinds of relationship problems, for ourselves as well as for our clients.
As our practice developed we combined our understanding of individual development with our understanding of relationship development and wound up on a path leading to expertise in the growing understanding and treatment of symbiosis, which we later realized was another description of codependency.
We did begin to understand why continuing individual development was so critical to the development of healthy relationships.
I don't think our relationship would have survived what happened next if we hadn't made this agreement: that WE WOULD EACH SUPPORT THE OTHER TO CONTINUE ON OUR INDIVIDUAL GROWTH PATHS, even if that meant being uncomfortable and/or putting the relationship risk.
One of the bonus gifts we have with the program is an interview where we discuss where this agreement has led us.
Still more to come…
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