We used to never get enough…

43051d76d4b1990ed41.jpgWhere has the comedy gone? Relationships are falling flat and the adult world is taking over!!! The following is a review of Penny and Leonards System Dynamics. I would LOVE your feedback on the joy…or discontent… you find with these lovable friends!  (***ALERT*** longer post than usual but it’s worth dealing with the extra 3 minutes of reading! maybe.) P.s. I am sadly aware there are so many from this tribe I did not get to mention… mostly because this became SO LONG!

System Dynamics

Penny and Leonard Hofstadter’s family dynamics are challenging. They are a newly married couple living with a third party at all times. Discontent about a roommate with compulsive and controlling behaviors living with them named Sheldon Cooper was prevalent. Despite discussions, it ends with complaints without actions.  A newlywed couple in our society can view this as a negative impact on their time together.  Finally, Sheldon moves out and the couple then moves in another one of their friends, Raj, with his own personal interesting issues and challenges adding more tension.  There have been indicators prior to marriage that both parties do not believe they have another choice for a relationship and have settled for one another.

Boundaries are challenging within the Hofstadter couple’s marriage and are identified as permeable.  Both Sheldon’s and Raj’s issues bleed into Penny and Leonard’s relationship.  I believe most of the friend’s issues stay in the forefront in this household as people are continually coming and going.  This triangulation has become such a challenge, Sheldon even went on the honeymoon with the couple to San Francisco for what he convinced them was for personal reflection (International, 2015).
Leonard has mommy issues and low self-esteem, he seeks validation and affirmation from both Penny and his mother. Penny is a socialite, can appear selfish, shallow and is always looking to capture her dream as an actress. Penny seeks refuge in the wisdom of her one newly married friend (Bernadette) and one single friend (Sheldon’s Amy) to sort through marital challenges. TV-Show_the-big-bang-theory_270880.jpgThe couple has adopted Sheldon as a relationship akin to a younger sibling or a child.  They are unable to ignore him and move forward.  The more Leonard needs Penny, the more Sheldon needs Leonard. The couple presents with continual attempts to sabotage their own marriage, I believe both are in fear of losing the other and are finding themselves unable to face that fear. Pushing through fear is challenging and a way back to a healthy marriage is communication about these issues.

Sheldon has limited emotional recognition (maybe a sweet pea sized amygdala to blame) as well as lessened expressions of his own emotion.  He is controlling and orderly and many have described him as having Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, but he insists his mother had him tested and he is definitively not classified as crazy.  Raj is not as overtly challenging as Sheldon, but his presence in the newlywed’s home still draws the focus away from whatever issues the couple may need to resolve.  If the issues remain on the back burner, they can fester and grow rather than create growth.

The couple’s supra-systems are impacted by social group differences and families of origins (Wetchler & Hecker, 2015).  Leonard’s personal devotion to all things science fiction is far removed from his wife’s yoga practicing, low-tech lifestyle choices. The families of origin come into play periodically abrasively reminding this couple of their vastly differing upbringing. Minimal history is provided of legitimate financial stability other than Leonard refusing marriage therapy due to the cost being a strain. Leonard comes from a high-achieving family and personally is an experimental physicist at Caltech with a sibling working as a tenured law professor at Harvard. Penny has a high school education or equivalent and a few college courses. There a is minimal family of origin history other than she has a sibling with drug addiction and a criminal record.

Penny and Leonard have a relationship agreement drawn up by Sheldon and agreed upon by the couple.  It consists of rules, roles, and expectations for their marriage. The covert rules are the challenges that create miscommunication, hurt feelings, and arguments between the couple after the issues have festered for period of time (Wetchler & Hecker, 2015).  I do not believe there has been at length communication about roles and expectations outside of this contract drawn up, signed, and amended when necessary.  This contract was developed due to Penny’s discontent over Leonard’s lack of romantic pursuit of her and her challenge to communicate her feelings with him.

Boy! Relationships can be messy!

For further reading on relationship agreements here is Sheldon’s and Amy’s for your viewing pleasure!

Penny: You guys just got back together. You might not want to ditch her on her birthday.

Leonard: I think Penny has a point. You can see it another day.

Sheldon: But someone might spoil the movie. No one can spoil Amy’s birthday for me. Surprise, she’s even older. Who saw that coming?

Penny: Aww, that’s nice. Put that on her cake.

References:

International, I. A. (2015). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/AAMFT/Content/About_AAMFT/Position_On_Couples.aspx

Wetchler, J. L. (2015). An introduction to marriage and family therapy. New York: Routledge.big-bang-theory-bazinga_114809.jpg

 

Take a Breath! 

Even when on a working vacation it’s important to practice positive self care! I’m not talking about taking a shower or using deodorant but we are all grateful when those things are consistent. 

Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

            -Virginia Satir 

I’m taking a moment to remind you and and mostly myself of one of the greatest lessons I am continually learning. To continue to move forward in anything self care must be a priority. Self care can wear many faces and people often label things as self care that are far from it. Let’s be real, authentic with ourselves and make time to exist and breathe and be okay. We get caught up in the depths of life’s current struggling to meet expectations of others but as Satie said… “We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.” 

What does that mean for you and your reality today? 

What are some activities or relaxation tools you enjoy in your own self care time? 

Theatre of the shoulds 

The theatre of the shoulds is an explaination for an experience many have when our head and heart must divide because the orthodoxy of Christian living doesn’t meet our needs as we live on earth and the structure of our community. This requires the theatre of the should outside and needs inside. Our hearts need quenched from a thirst far deeper than any earthly gift. We reach for anything that resembles “water”.  Our lives are divided into two parts… our secret life inside and the life others see. It’s a struggle. The alternative many choose is to simply deaden themselves if they do not seek out any water available. 

What other option do we have? I am speaking of those who know Christ yet find themselves in this battle of numb it or drown it.

Despite aiming this at us ladies, I know this is a reality for both men and women alike…

I think a few answers are found in the word, worship, prayer, and community.  Reading the same chapters and books can become mundane at times but that’s when the spirit is able to bring revelation and we find His leading through prayer and community! It’s all connected! 


What other ways have you found to keep yourself filled with joy and motivation? From where do you draw strength? 

No Words

Who or what is dictating the story of our lives?  There are times in life we are left without any words to describe the internal experience of the forming of our story.  How do I feel?  Not how do I think or believe but how do I feel?  This is a challenging question because by and large many people tend to say “I feel…” when they are actually disclosing a thought or belief.  What is going on with me?  Would anyone actually understand?
bd140c955902c9dd708d7ed89cdf6462      I hear this from many clients and I have experienced it myself at times.  When we are left without words to express ourselves or find we are too fearful, isolation can surround our hearts.  An isolated heart can cause us to feel so far from those we love and the adventures we long for. What can we do?

When there are no words… Get creative! Don’t give your control to anything or anyone! Enough of life can be oppressive so stand your ground and own your journey however that may look! I would like to challenge even myself to fear not when I cannot describe and maybe reach out to the opportunity to express instead!  Often describing something that is felt versus thought can cause it to be flat and lifeless. Our feelings are far from flat and lifeless! We feel blue! We smell winter! We are as clean as a whistle! Our lives are more than our thoughts.  Such experiences more valuable in expression than description… how does blue feel and winter smell…

Let’s commit to being a believer of our realities and begin shaping circumstances into life experiences that create more of what we want.  Negativity can be found in all experiences but there’s a flip side as well… the positive outlook is a choice.  If we allow life, it will inhibit.  When will we be believers in our own ability to create better for ourselves?

I would love to hear of your experience with processing the world around you! Let’s stop and take a moment to become more self-aware. Just because we cannot describe whats happening inside doesn’t mean it doesn’t have validity or impact on our existence!