Bowen Theory

As I pointed out in my last column, there are several steps one must take to learn how to create a loving, committed and intimate relationship with another so that one has a partner with whom to share life’s incredible journey .  But, there is a catch, a paradox : until a person truly understands that he/she is on a solo quest to discover the real Self which loves, honors, accepts and is totally comfortable with that Self . he/she will NOT attract the perfect mate !!  Until your light shines from within and for yourself, you are destined to attract and choose partners who are also unaware of their inner light. As Ernest Holmes wrote : “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it”.

So how do  we do that ? What is one of the first steps to take ?  I always advise my clients to pause, sit back , take a deep breath , become comfortable and tell me exactly how they feel sitting in my office . Are they nervous, sad, excited, hesitant, shy, hopeless ? Why have they come in ? What do they need ?  In other words listen to that still small voice within which is our intuition and the voice of whom we really are . Since our feelings define who we are , we must become aware of how we feel every moment of everyday. I just had a client tell me this morning that she had never been heard nor her feelings validated by her family until she began therapy with me. She had been born into a wealthy family which provided every material comfort and opportunity, but not a whit of understanding of any family member’s feelings. Any time my client would express a feeling, her Dad would tell her “no, that is not how you feel “. She  “coped” by disassociating. And…it isn’t as though her dad didn’t love her ; his co-dependency prevented him from knowing how he felt !!

My client and her father were the victims of  the “multi generational transmission process “ about which Dr. Murray Bowen wrote in his books on Family Systems Therapy. Certain behaviors modeled through the years  actually become involuntary without a conscious thought or feeling as to whether or not they contribute to a healthy, well-functioning Family system . .So, we end up as wounded children who are never really encouraged to know and express how we honestly feel.  And….that is the ego state which goes out into the world looking for love. If we are disconnected from our true selves because we have never been encouraged to express our feelings and thoughts , we are attracted to the same types of people with whom we were raised , suffering the same consequences of never really creating a safe place with an intimate partner where we can “just be”.  Our choice of partners will reflect who we are like a mirror.

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