Author Topic: Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?  (Read 8342 times)

Anonymous

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« on: December 16, 2003, 11:01:17 PM »
Do you have movies and/or books you feel depict equilaterally voicefull relationships, win-win types at home and/or work?  

Or do you have an example in your own life?  Specific things that a loved one does or you do or you both do or a boss or a coworker does specifically that speaks of mutual respect and conflict resolution and shared support for growth vs. voicelessness/win-loose power struggles?  A kind of before and after picture...actually just the after picture of what you found in a healthy relationship? Especially specifics and especially any conditions or behaviors or feelings that you hadn't believed in before or were ignorant of all together?  Especailly that you have found now in a long term relationship.  

I am trying to add to the depth and breadth of my view of what is possible and probable to aim for in a relationship and establish more realistic expectations and am looking for some specific examples of manifested behaviors with which to build a vision for future relationships.  For example, Ella recently wrote of the distinction between courtship and seduction.  I would love to hear about examples of courtship behaviors.  I know a lot about what to avoid (I understand more than I ever wanted to regarding seduction)  and am eager to have more of a sense of what I might aim for.  The ability to negotiate is a big item on my new list of what a more healthy relationship entails.  I am not looking for more about what to avoid....got a lot of that.  

I went to see a movie recently that had a little bit of a comparative example regarding relationships: "Something's Got to Give".  There was a lot missing from the movie and there was sexism still and cliches yet I felt really good seeing even a simulated short example of a woman being treated with respect AND tenderness (& strength and vulnerability were shown to be two sides of the same coin not mutually exclusive in a woman!not oil and water after all - ok well at least in the movies).  

I am also reading a book called the Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness.  I like that book because it focuses on positives and describing those positives in terms of specific behaviors not only concepts.  There is an example in that book in the chapter entitled "connection" of a mother who responds lovingly and openly to her son's considering droping out of college to do something like ski.  The guy ends up staying in college and is a now a chemist who may win a nobel prize and he said that if he does and he calls his mom he knows that her response will be along the lines of "and are you happy about that? Do you feel good?".  WOW.  

I don't have a tv though I have rented an HBO show that surpirsed me - I never expected "Sex in the City" to be about friendship.  :shock:  I had just heard so much hoopla over it for years and thought ok, I'll rent it once and because of the title expected little or at worst to find it offensive .  It has many ridiculous and even offensive moments and yet so much of it is actually about friendship between a group of women who are very different in many ways and they work through some of those differences.  It is funny too.  Bonus.

Anyway, anyone care to share some examples?

Anonymous

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Post was from Acappella
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2003, 11:02:34 PM »
That last post was from me, Acappella.

Argusina

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2003, 07:53:13 AM »
When I was divorcing my husband I was staying with my sister. One evening I was sad and lying in bed (not crying but kind of "down"). My six-year-old nephew (who has been brought up in a very loving atmosphere) came into my room and put his very own teddy bear next to me, without uttering a word. Then he stroked my head and left.

That was, without any doubt, the most loving gesture I have ever experienced.  :cry:  :cry:  :cry:

This little boy still walks in the heavens and his voice is clear and loud. My sister has broken the cycle of abuse!

Hugs from Argusina

Acappella

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2003, 11:09:27 PM »
From the hearts of babes.  

Please do tell what the "loving" environment in which your nephew is being raised is like.  What do you see happening there that is breaking the cycle  - and/or building another cycle in which empathy and teddy bears are exchanged without fear of scarcity?!

P.S. as a poet and recipient of your nephew's gift who passes along the treasure you too are breaking the cycle and building a better one.  Thanks.

Argusina

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2004, 04:35:34 AM »
Dear Acappella,

I think one of the things that's different in my nephew's family, is that he is not USED. He is a Child and his parents tend to his needs. He is not used to comfort, support or cheer up his parents. That's why he could give in such a delightful manner. It was not out of fear, or guilt or feeling overly responsible. I think that's why he could leave after he had "comforted" me. It was pure empathy and love in action!

Another thing I've noticed in his family is that all feelings are valid and accepted. Anger and sadness are no less important that happiness. He is belived and seen. His mother will encourage him to have a wide spectrum of feelings and also to express them through various means (dancing, drawing etc)...

Finally, they verbally and with hugs often express how special he is, while at the same time tenderly pointing out what he must work on... Children are not Little Adults, and his family never gets angry when he does things "imperfectly"....

There are many many more traits and my sister has worked so hard to break this cycle with many years of therapy, reading, grieving and self work....

Hugs!

Simon46

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2004, 05:12:33 PM »
As I became aware of what a healthy family relationship looks like I wrote the following Children's Bill of Rights and posted in on the refrigerator. My kids sometimes remind me by pointing to one, and I am glad that they feel they can do that. Here it is.

My Family
Childrens’ Bill of Rights
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You have the right to be loved and taken care of.

You have the right to be treated with respect.

You will never be deliberately hurt, either physically or emotionally.

You have the right to tell us how you feel.

You have the right to express yourself.

You have the right to disagree.

You have the right to be angry.

You have the right to ask for help.

You have the right to make mistakes.

You are a very important part of this family.

Anonymous

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2004, 10:34:16 AM »
Quote
My kids sometimes remind me by pointing to one, and I am glad that they feel they can do that.


I am so glad there is parenting out there like you are doing Simon.
I am warmed to the core and also energized each time I read your bill of rights.  As much as we might like to believe we are entitled to good parenting and it is our "right" the fact is we are born where we are born with no such bill of rights and it is only through efforts like yours and Argusina's and R. Grossman's (and the list goes on) that even just the potential for such an emotionally healthy environment is achieved.   Not only do you walk the talk (evidenced by the quote above) but you are teaching your children so much about how life and loving is a process and that adulthood doesn't mean we reach some sort of grandiose nervana of omnipotent perfection (what a relief for adults and children alike to let go of that facade/OZ).  This is truely an expample of giving your children both roots and wings (love and freedom/independence).  

Warmed to my core,
Thanks Simon.

Acappella

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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2004, 10:37:16 AM »
That last post is from me, acapella...thought i was logged in (lately i have to go through the loggin process twice to get in once.)

Simon46

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Healthy/Healthier Relationship Examples?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2004, 05:12:39 PM »
Yes, to anyone reading this, please feel free to use these ideas. Even better, write your own.  Going through the actual process of writing your own Children’s Bill of Rights has tremendous value. For me the really interesting part was in the inner struggle I had in doing the original writing – particularly the ones I got hung up on – Like telling my kids that they have the right to be angry at me. It was originally very difficult for me to say “sure kids, it’s OK for you to be mad at me and to express it.” As I wrote this one in particular I really had to ponder why this was so hard for me to write, and do I really want to give my kids this sanctioned explicit permission to express their anger at me, their parent?

I later realized that it was hard because it went against my unconscious internalized image of what a parent is (Supreme Ruler, Lord over all, Don’t you dare dispute my word, etc.) based on how I was treated. If I had expressed my anger or even disagreement with my parents I would have been whacked. The message was burned in “Kids don’t ever express anger at their parents without serious repercussions.” It’s much easier to act like you are the only one that matters.

I realized that in healthy families all members can express their true feelings without fear. In unhealthy families only the parents can. I certainly did not have these rights as a kid, but I should have and I want my kids to.

Acappella

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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2004, 12:26:31 PM »
Hi Jacmac,

What a great reminder for living and loving!

I am constantly learning that emotional stuff comes out sideways and all sorts of seemingly bizarre or "wrong" directions yet underneath they are all part of some basic universal elemental things we humans share - fear, love, anger, sadness.  It is so easy to blame the medium or messenger...focus exclusively on the way someone expresses their feelings rather than see the method of expression as almost stylistic, much more variant than the content usually is.  

I am going to volunteer today with a group of “at-risk” kids and reading your post helped me focus on what matters (at home too!).

I love the way that you acknowledged both that the cut was old and gone and also acknowledged his feelings.  I imagine a parent who doesn’t tend to the feelings is likely to encourage hypochondria as would, I also imagine, a parent who indulged the tending to the physical wound as if it were totally real and also didn’t acknowledge the child’s need to be nurtured.  Wow, the complexity is daunting and beautiful like looking at one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Razing children and adults is a wonder!  It isn’t rocket science!  It is much more intricate than that.  The art of science or is it the science of art?  Miraculous and humbling either way.

I am working with "at-risk" kids.  It is so easy to focus on the right or wrong reality of their behaviors (often necessary social judgments about what is appropriate or tolerable even).  AND so easy to ignore, to throw out with the bath water so to speak the baby, the coexisting parallel emotional underlying truth that is really their truth and is what needs tending to and is not something anyone else can even begin to benefit from judging.  I realize over and over again that I have to be able to look beneath their awkward expressions and behaviors to the emotional truth beneath so that I can help them recognize and face it and to expressing it in a more acceptable manner or at least help them understand the reaction they may elicit if they don't. It is easy to just tell them not to swear or throw something or whatever and I do AND yet my primary focus is to inquire about how they are feeling and then when I can help lead them to the emotion I then can chaperone their practicing more acceptable mode of expressing their feelings.  

If so called not "at risk" folks practiced separating the medium from the message we might have fewer wars. Imbalance teaches balance.  Teaching to separate the medium from the message, I  (probably an “at-risk” adult :-)  )  am learning it at a deeper level in my own life too.  I can, with adults – myself included, more easily separate the behavior from the underlying need….I am tempted to eat potato chips..hmmm what am I feeling underneath?  Is it physical hunger or something emotional?  If I get annoyed at my behavior AND at don’t acknowledge or separate it from my underlying emotion I toss out what needs tending in me right along with the potatoe chips and in so doing insure I’ll go ahead and eat the chips either now or soon after!  I still enjoy my potato chips, more so even when I am eating them primarily for their salty fat content rather than to quell nervousness.  I can see the underlying emotion of someone else better too and not fear them (fear as a result of my own ignorance often) and still also choose to skip being exposed to the behavior if, as CC writes, “it sucks for more than an hour” or whatever criteria.  Empathy and boundaries are not mutually exclusive and in fact enhance one another – wow, who knew?

Acappella

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RULES TO LOVE BY
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2004, 12:37:12 PM »
Hi Simon,

thanks for posting about your process. I admit I assumed (not consciously) that the list was somehow easy for you.  Not that I thought about it directly but when I considered thinking of some similar rules I felt an internal resistance and moved on to something much more important like, well ah, like cleaning the house or watching paint try.   :shock:  :D

ah, social ecology...when we give to others we are getting too, contributing to the ocean from which we all ultimately drink - meaning as you wrote the list for them you learned about you.  

your list is so complete AND i am going to do an internal review to see what sort of correlate lists I can create for my life...in the work place with friendships etc.

thank you!

Wondering what %

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Are most families narcissistic? Know any that aren't?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2004, 05:54:58 PM »
Maybe I just attract narcissists or notice the behaviors now because I understand the issues so well; however, it seems that most people and families have these issues.  I remember the common sayings from when I was a child (during the 60s) like "children should be seen and not heard".  Many believed (and some still do) that you couldn't "reason" with children which was given as justification for the common use of a belt on them.   Many families pretend everything is fine to the outside world regardless of what is happening.  Children are told they are responsible for making the family look good.  They don't have any rights to feelings or input into decisions.  Passive-aggressive behavior is the norm in families where communication doesn't exist.  Entire extended families are so unaware of their feelings (and others') that even into old age they're still treating each other hatefully.

Simon46

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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2004, 01:17:10 PM »
Wondering:

Yes, yes, and yes!  I agree with what you are saying. I think the majority of families are what we would today call dysfunctional to some degree. But, I know a few that IMO were not. They get along, they like each other, and they respect each other. You can tell the difference. They were raised with a healthy dose of "You are OK as you are." You can mess up and we still love you. Your thoughts and feelings matter. It has chenged their whole life as children and adults. Those of us on this board did not get that.

Acappella

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The most realest yet....
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2004, 01:55:40 PM »
Wondering%, I have spent a lot of time wondering if "better" was real and finally now, more often than not, I just take the plunge into making an effort in the direction of my ideals regardless of "proof" and am also more often than not pleasantly surprised.  

There are a bazillion humans in the world so how could I be the only one aiming for "better"?  That is proof that for anything we strive towards there are more realized versions than our own in the world because other folks have also been working along similar lines.  It is like some sorta wacky social physics (faith?).  ("wacky" = over my head = physics of any sort)

I agree Simon that there are some healthier families out there because in part I am now one of those healthier people (relative to how I was one, five and 10 years ago) that I wasn't aware existed.  As I aim for each new level I am never sure it exists until I get there and even then I wonder sometimes if I have "arrived".  Often parts of me arrive before other parts - awkward to discover but an entertaining humorous visual later.  Your list (just that you even made one at all Simon) was proof that some folks have a better grasp, are able to articulate, and are putting into practice fuzzy things I intuited must or should be out there but hadn't felt tangibly yet.  

I suppose there is a social evolution process (no matter what one believes about the origin of the universe).  I like to think that we are progressing over all.  For example, we humans did not used to live very long at all and perhaps therefore we were more focused on our after lives than on this one?  We were focused not too long ago on nothing more than basic survival.  One generation's "functional" practices are often the dysfunction of the next.  Context changes and so does what is acceptable.  Perhaps we have the relative luxury now of raising our standards? Perhaps our standards are just different not even better or worse?  Ok I am getting way out into territory best left to non-mortals.   :shock:

I am glad to note that (thanks in large part to discovering this board, & posters like ...well too many to name, my ownposting like crazy, and having a protracted period of unemployment) I am finally too busy living and enjoying doing so to ponder more on this topic.  Perhaps a generation or two from now people will do a lot more pondering still!


XXXOOO  LOL (lots of laughs, love and lettuce?)