Disagreements with the book
One point I did not agree with in the book was when the author addressed paradoxical responses to getting a person to change his behaviour.
Friedman (2011) gives an example of a cheating spouse who continues to break her marriage vows and when her spouse decides to stop fighting it and making it easy for his wife to cheat, the fun and excitement of the affair is broken and the wife returns to the husband.
I have experienced infidelity and I can tell you this does not always work. This tactic is rather juvenile in approach and does fall under justified reverse psychology which in some situations can be effective. Playfulness and paradox do work to alter the structure of an emotional triangle and change a person’s thinking (Friedman, 2011).
In my opinion for this particular situation, using this technique can make one seem uncaring and as if they have given up on the relationship.
Another problem I have with the book is the explanation of applying family systems approach to the secular work environment by sharing information with others in the relationship triangle. Differentiation can be encouraged by reporting what each member is saying about each other (Friedman, 2011).
To me, this violates trust and confidentiality between co-workers and I liken it to trying to start problems. I do see the benefit of addressing problems between individuals in a non-confrontational, confidential approach but I do not think the way the author presented it in the book is advisable.
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13). In my opinion, relationships are built upon a foundation of trust whether they be personal or business. In breaking a confidence, trust is eroded thus disabling the relationship from moving forward or further developing.
In the case of a marriage, lies, infidelity, and other untrustworthy behaviours such as mind games and dishonesty about one’s feelings breakdown the covenant of the relationship and its biblical purpose. “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9).
We do not possess the power to change certain things about our lives and sometimes doing so can create more problems.
Friedman, E.H. (2011). Generation to generation: Family process in church and synagogue.
New York, NY: Guildford Press. ISBN: 9781609182366.