How Your Relationships Affect Who You Are

You thought you had an identity. Actually, you have many of them. This is not my original idea. The idea was first proposed by Kenneth Gergen 20 years ago in a book he wrote called The Saturated Self. I just came across some thoughts I had on it which I want to share with you. Check out Let’s take Carol. Suppose she goes to work and she is a corporate attorney, a very successful attorney. She always gets her deal to the client’s best advantage. When someone thinks of Carol, they think “smart,” “successful,” maybe even “powerful.” But when Carol goes to visit her mom and dad on weekends, she’s not that same person. She’s their “kid.” Mom complains about her not being as pretty as the younger sister. Dad complains about her taking on a “man’s” career. At home, she’s messed up, sad, never right; in short, unsuccessful. So, will the real Carol please stand up. Is she successful or isn’t she? The answer, obviously, depends on which relationship you’re looking at. The problem is not inside of her. She does not lack the right skills to deal with her parents, either, because no matter what she does, they still make her feel badly. She handles them just fine, but so what? She knows they’re not happy with her and this hurts. Carol is married. Her husband thinks she’s sexy. Her children think of her as “mom.” To them, she’s “strict,” “nice,” “loving.” So, does she have problems relating, or not? I, personally, don’t think she has any problem relating, but since her parents find fault with...
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