Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 63 - Common Enemies


In trigonometry we learned more than I cared to learn about triangles.  The one thing that kept me grounded was that the sum total of all the angles is 180 degrees.  An isosceles triangle has three equal angles of sixty degrees.  Each corner is positioned in the direct center of the opposing side.  This is important to understand because this is how friendships are sometimes formed.  Two people start talking about the things they have in common against the opposing person; the enemy in this case.  As long as the enemy is involved in the triangular relationship, the relationship thrives.  Take away the enemy and relationships that are not built on more substance than the common enemy slowly fizzle out.
This happens within families too.  In any given argument the point of the opposing sides can change within seconds.  For example, Mom comes home from work and finds out that daughter hasn’t done her homework.  She starts arguing with her daughter and Dad intervenes.  Dad is mad that Mom has just come through the door and started an emotional battle without all the facts.  Mom now is the enemy.  Daughter than explains that Dad made her do the dishes and other chores before Mom got home and Mom starts yelling at Dad for not sticking to the Homework First Plan that they agreed to implement.  Now Dad is the common enemy.  Dad explains to Mom that daughter told him that she didn’t have any homework.  Both Mom and Dad now are upset with daughter for lying.  Now Daughter is the common enemy.
In this one situation the common enemy was all three of the participants at any given moment in the dialogue.  This happened regularly in my family.  It wasn’t until recently that I discovered this principle and decided to step away from the dynamic of this triangular situation.  As a Mom, I had a tendency to think that I could solve all the problems in the family.  When Dad got mad at our sons for drinking “his” water or eating “his” food, I would jump in to defend sons and diffuse the situation by running to the store to buy more food or water.  It seems ridiculous now that I sit back and look at it. 
The right thing for me to do now is to let everyone fight their own battles.  My personality is a natural harmonizer.  I try to help and in doing this sometimes end up being the common enemy of the two people I’m trying to help in the first place.  It’s unnatural to sit back and watch the miscommunication happening and not be able to point it out. But I’ve learned that for my own sanity, it’s better for everyone involved.  The two others end up working it out eventually and I don’t become the enemy. I’ve learned that I still only make up 60 degrees of the triangle and together the two other angles total 120 degrees.  Since I’m only 1/3 of the equation, I’m on the losing end unless somebody asks for my help.  Then and only then do I offer the guidance from my point of view. It’s up to the other two points to complete the total sum of the triangle by coming together on their own. My math teacher would be proud.
Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed; in the second it is opposed; in the third it is regarded as self-evident.
~Arthur Schopenhauer

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