On Mothering – Part 2

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As I said yesterday, I have been asked to elaborate on this together-and-separate dynamic as it applies to mothering and will be doing so by responding to questions on this topic starting tomorrow.

First, I wish to offer this picture I use as I work with people and relationships:

I like to work with circles. I think of each person as being a circle. Each person or circle represents that person’s self.

Enmeshed relationships are where the two circles, representing two people, overlap almost completely. There is almost no differentiation between the two people, and in an enmeshed relationship, they stay locked this way, both persons contributing to this.

Alienated relationships are represented by the two circles not intersecting at all, not having shared space where the circles overlap to even some degree.

In a Healthy relationship, the two circles or two individuals are free to come together and to overlap as they mutually agree upon. Similarly, they are free to separate themselves some from the other as is healthy for them to do. There is a mutual give-and-take, a flow that respects both self and the other person.

I have most often used this mental picture with adult-to-adult relationships, but it certainly can be applied to raising our children. It applies to both mothers and fathers, but in this article I am simply addressing mothers as we honor us on Mother’s Day and look at what helps to create both healthy children and healthy selves.

So think about these circles as you go through your day. Remember you have one and your child has one. Our intent is, over a lifetime, to help each circle of self to be clear, strong, and honored for the person they/we are.

I will talk more about the circles tomorrow as I start answering some questions.


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