Friday, October 12, 2007

Superman, kryptonite, and family system therapy

I wonder how many people have pondered the Superman story line from the perspective of family system therapy?

kryptonite was actually a piece of Superman's home planet. Ironic eh, that this part of home (not all of home just a part) is the thing that can bring him down? A lot of adults find themselves similarly rendered helpless by parts their homes/families.

When my parents called, to tell me we need to meet and talk in person, I started to think about kryptonite. I remind myself that emotional cutoff won't make family any less kryptonite-ish. But maybe the point with family is to keep the good stuff of home and find ways to differentiate from the power of our families kryptonite.

Differentiation is staying connected or in conversation even in the face of differing opinions and difference. It is sure tempting to say "to heck with it" but that usually is a sign of cut off which is done when you are enmeshed or under the power of that home kryptonite. And cut off doesn't feel as good, or as adult, as differentiating in the face of stress.

I also remind myself when thinking about this upcoming meeting with the folks, that my ability to handle stress in that conversation is a function of differentiation. The more well-differentiated the person (me), the more resilient, and the more flexible and sustaining of relationships. The less well-differentiated the less stress it takes to produce symptoms of.... well lets just say the power of kryptonite. :)

So let the power of me, the adult me, being in my own skin, naming who I am in the face of difference and stress begin, or rather continue.

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