Disappearing upset: A not-too-belated Christmas present


Speaking of kinship structures, I personally made it through Christmas without any dings in the duco, but I did witness the fallout from a blow-up between father and son in a family I know.

They’re new friends and others told me it was longstanding – of course! – and had happened before. There was the father and son killing each other with love and hurt and disappointment, blowing themselves up, and threatening to blow up their 30-year-old business and all its loyal customers to boot.

Something had happened, an upset, and the fuse had been lit again.

I’m closer to the father than the son but I can see the son is a lovely and tender-hearted man, just as his dad is proud and charismatic and generous. I want to tell them that first they have to deal with the upset. Nothing is possible while the upset is still there. Once the upset is disappeared, then there is the possibility of healing, talking, loving again.

How does one disappear upset? Here’s how I was taught at Landmark and in my experience it’s foolproof. It consists of one step only.

Underneath the experience of upset is one of three things:

  1. a thwarted intention
  2. an unfulfilled expectation
  3. an undelivered communication.

When you are upset, look and see which of the three it is. When you identify which it is, the upset will disappear.


Image: Goat’s Horn with Red by Georgia O’Keeffe


2 thoughts on “Disappearing upset: A not-too-belated Christmas present

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