Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Biblical Examples of Triangulation

Christians weighing in on Botkin Syndrome:

Excerpts from "Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves" by Drs. Stoop and Masteller.

From pages 146 - 147:

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

We can also use triangles to better understand some of the dynamics in the families descended from Abraham. Again, we constructed a genogram for Abraham and his descendants in Chapter 4. Charting the triangles helps us get a better handle on what happened among some of the key characters.

At the start, when Ishmael was born, all seemed well in Abraham's family. We would represent it with a balanced triangle out of all straight lines.

But things got more complicated when Isaac was born. Sarah, as we have seen, rejected Ishmael and made Isaac her favorite. This put Abraham in a bind. For him to remain loyal to Ishmael would have driven Sarah – and, presumably, Isaac – away.

Here's how we would represent the resulting situation. Notice that we overlap two triangles to show the inter-relationships among the four people. Notice also that the triangles are in balance.

Stoop continues to discuss family relations in Isaac's family, including his relationships with Rebekkah, Esau and Jacob, accounting for their unique alliances. The book also explores the interesting dynamics of Jacob's relationships between his two wives, Rachel and Leah as well as the effects of those relationships on Jacob's relationships with the children of both women. The Old Testament provides us with generation after generation of the effects of prior relationships and the consequences each relationship had. They were all burdened with unique problems, and the Old Testament patriarchs provide us with many examples of family dysfunction. Even in the very first family, we see terrible relationship problems between Cain and Abel, resulting in murder. (Pun intended: Apples generally don't fall far from the tree!)

Taking these examples into account can become a mirror (James 1:22 -25) for us to view our own lives and relationships with greater clarity.

Excerpt from
Dr. David Stoop & Dr. James Masteller's
"Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves:
Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families"
Regal/Gospel Light, 1996 (Servant, 1991)