The Two Types of Responsibility in a Healthy Relationship by Damien Bohler

An overemphasis on Self-Responsibility without temperance by Other-Responsibility is narcissistic.

Written by Damien Bohler · 1 min read >

If you aren’t interested in the impact you have on those you are connected with – you aren’t in relationship.

You are behind a wall.

Healthy relating requires radical responsibility.

Which is two parts:

Self-Responsibility – Maintaining own internal hygiene, boundaries, emotional state, regulation. Being able to take ownership of one’s own needs, wants and desires and create one’s own life experience.

Other-Responsibility – Awareness that we don’t live in a closed system, we are relational. Our actions have impact on others, and while not responsible for the way they interpret (react) to that impact, we are still responsible for how we are creating impact on those around us.

Is our presence in their life leaving them better or worse? Are we helping support their nervous system into regulation, or causing dysregulation?

Without a tenet of mutual care/responsibility a meeting of two people isn’t a relationship, it’s something else. A pseudo-relationship. Without this care and responsibility, there are not two people in a connection. There is just whoever cares the least who sets the frame, and the other who, with some degree of sycophanting, hangs around.

If we aren’t interested, or don’t care, or we tend to justify and use righteousness to say that others feelings are their own shit and nothing to do with us, while we act in ways that are potentially damaging and only self-serving for our own needs…

Well we aren’t acting relationally and, really, are only a fine line away from narcissism.

No matter how spiritual we think we are.

An overemphasis on Self-Responsibility without temperance by Other-Responsibility is narcissistic. An overemphasis on Other-Responsibility without a balance of Self-Responsibility is codependent.

It’s a balance. A dance. And one we are in with others.

No human exists in isolation.

Written by Damien Bohler – head facilitator of Evolutionary Relating. He has been facilitating and teaching groups in intersubjective and relational practices for over a decade.

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