Studying Murray Bowen has been a revelation for me. What I like the most is «how to avoid being triangulated» or, in other words, how to avoid falling into gossip and all the consequences of this national cancer. I loved how harmful gossip is and how it slows down human beings! I have suffered firsthand the consequences of people’s gossip, and they are not pleasant at all. Luckily for a long time I don’t give a damn what they think of me.
Human beings live by playing «games» in order to triangulate us, to get on their side. For example: you have two friends who have quarreled, and each wants you to be «on their side» and agree with them.
However, we should not say anything until we hear both. Of course, we should not tell one what the other said, being upset. That will only succeed in separating them further and placing us on one of the «sides», that is, falling into gossip, being triangulated by one to the detriment of the other. But if we can hear them both in a neutral way, we can all grow up and still be friends. We usually don’t, because for a lot of people, gossip is very tasty!
They have taught us to look for “guilty”. But not falling for a gossip is a way of thinking, observing what happens without looking for guilty. The «guilty-innocent» idea is outdated and hasn’t worked for a long time. There are no good and bad, as they want to sell soap operas. We all have bad and good things, we are beings in the process of development. Some are more advanced than others, that’s all.
Emotional neutrality is reflected in two ways:
• In the ability to see both sides of the relational process, that is, try to understand both sides as objectively as possible.
• Do not get bogged down in what «should be», in the ideal. Ideally, they would not have fought, but we should not focus on that, but on what really happened.
Being neutral does not mean being cold, nor does it mean disconnecting. We must listen and offer feedback. I said comments, not judgments. The opinions we express must be ours, without being dogmatic. We must be clear, sincere. Being neutral is saying what one believes even if the other does not agree with you. As a good friend says: to understand you I don’t have to agree with you.
When we defend ourselves, when we get defensive, we have been triangulated! It is not necessary to defend ourselves, unless we consider ourselves attacked. If we accept that others may have opinions and think differently from us, there is no reason to defend ourselves.
My dear teacher Job Luis Blasco used to say that gossipers are psychological dwarfs, that they need to «climb over others to see themselves.» Reading Bowen I confirm that at least they are people who need to «grow» more. It’s difficult but not impossible! The results are fabulous.
I don’t want to end without sharing with you something I read a long time ago on an office wall: «Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, little people talk about others.» For the record, I’m not talking about height!