La importancia de dar y recibir

Boszomeni-Nagy is a famous family therapist whom I admire. He stresses the importance of relational justice. In other words, human relationships must be fair, because otherwise they do not last and do a lot of damage.

For example, if in a relationship of husbands, children, relatives or friends, one gives a lot and receives nothing or very little, there is a relational injustice. The one who gives and does not receive, is filled with anger, pain and a lot of depression, among other things, because he is being used as an object. That person takes care of everyone, cooks, is attentive to the medicines of others, visits the doctors with the minors or the elderly of the family, always provides emotional or financial support, but receives nothing or very little in return. If you get sick, no one accompanies you, no one is attentive to give you emotional support.

There are people with low self-esteem, who never believe they deserve what they receive. They are ashamed that someone buys them something, that they pay them well (they always charge less) and they even find it difficult to spend for their own benefit. They will never buy something they like, because «it costs a lot, it’s expensive.» They feel they don’t deserve anything. These people, in general, give a lot but do not know how to receive. Human beings have to claim to be allowed to give. It is unfair that we cannot give. To grow, we have to give. If we only receive, we do not grow.

Nagy considers that relationships are governed by the Reciprocity Ledger, it is a kind of accounting volume in which we keep what is given and received in all relationships. Like any ledger, it must be square: so much went in and so much went out. It is a give and take that must be reciprocal. Otherwise, it is virtually impossible for those relationships to work. Maybe for a while, but sooner or later they will explode.

For example, a loyal, caring, passionate wife lives for her husband. She gives a lot, but her husband does not. There is no relational justice here, but if there is no justice, it is hell.

As I say, it is not the same to call the devil than to see him arrive. The one who uses others, the one who asks, but never gives, is condemned to failure in his relationships and always ends up alone, even if he is supposedly accompanied. Keep an eye on your Reciprocal Ledger if you want peace.

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