Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Creating a Diagram of Your Own Relationships

Get a clean piece of paper and chart your own relationships, and possibly those of previous generations in your family. Get creative! Use different colors or special lines and express yourself.

Christians weighing in on Botkin Syndrome:

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

From pages 148 – 151:

Charting the triangles is often tricky because, as we have seen, the dynamics of relationships are not always clear and simple, and not always what they seem to be at first glance...

[D]o they help you see more clearly how the dynamics of your family life affected you? Do they point out particular relationships that did not work well, particular individuals whose impact on you was harmful in some way?

If so, your tendency may be to get angry or bitter at such individuals. That would be an understandable reaction. But our goal has not been simply to nail down “who did what to whom” so that our blame and bitterness can be more accurately targeted. Rather, our goal has been to get a clearer picture of where the damage lies so that we can respond to it constructively.


...But the important thing is not just discovering where the problems and who the “villains” are. The important thing is what we do with this information now that we have it. Whatever may have been done to us while we were children, we are now grown-ups who must take responsibility for our attitudes and actions. Whatever others may have done in the past, what matters is what we do today.

It is not enough for us to label others as “villains” and blame them for all our troubles. We need to understand what has been done to us so that we can take responsibility for our lives as adults and find the freedom from our past hurts. We cannot change what has happened to us. But we can learn to respond to what has happened to us in a way that helps us to rise above the negative influence of the past.

How can we learn to respond in such a way that we can begin to experience the freedom of forgiveness? What about those who have hurt us? Can they be released from their pain as well? In Part Two [of Stoop's “Forgiving Our Parents...” the source quoted here –YOU should BUY the book if this resonates with you!], we shall discover that there can be release for ourselves and others if we and they learn the lessons of forgiveness.

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)