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The central portion of a clustering done by Diane, an editorial assistant in her late twenties, is included here. Notice, in Diane's word sketch, how she started with the association "can't breathe" and then brought in some of the other items from the cluster.
"I felt squished in my role, as if I couldn't take a breath without considering how it would affect the others. In the middle with everyone-keeping people happy-but what would make ME happy? I just wanted to be alone, to think things out on my own. But then I feel guilty. I must get out of this trap."
In speaking about her word sketch, Diane added, "I wrote about what I experienced in the past, but I can tell that I'm still trying to please others. That's why I wrote the last sentence: I'm still in a pattern that feels like a trap."
On reflection, Diane wrote how her pattern of being in the middle played itself out differently with her parents and an influential uncle. She mediated her parents' fights and placated her rich uncle when he was offended by her father. Reflecting on the present-"still in a pattern that feels like a trap"-Diane noticed how patterns persist through the years. She is more motivated now to get out of that trap, because putting memories and feelings into words focuses and intensifies one's need for change.
After completing your own cluster and
writing a word sketch, you will have a series of snapshots that connect the roles
you played in your family to the variety of roles that you play in relationships
today. Seeing these connections more clearly will help you assess whether and
how to change your current patterns.
Reflection Exercise #9
Online Continuing Education QUESTION
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