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The Person’s Interactions

Union versus Apartness
  • John J. McGee
  • Frank J. Menolascino

Abstract

We have looked at ourselves and examined the many interactions we need to consider in order to become more value-centered and less domineering. Turning our attention to marginalized persons, we can see similar interactional patterns. Their aggression, self-harm, or withdrawal represent apartness—a surrender to anguish, meaninglessness, and choicelessness. Our dominative interactions compound them. Our central role is not to find ways to get rid of their behavior problems, but to enable the learning of accepting and returning unconditional valuing and engagement. As we do this, feelings of apartness disappear. Behavioral difficulties do not exist as much as interactional ones, and we play a central role in the presence or absence of violence in others through our everyday interactions. There is no form of aggression, self-injury, or withdrawal that is not related to and influenced by our interactions. If the person is slapping or hitting, we have to ask what we are doing. Are our words demanding? Is our gaze devaluing? Is our tone authoritarian or cold? The homeless person on the street falls deeper into despair with our frozen stares. The woman with schizophrenia who is grabbed by a caregiver loses more of life’s meaning. The child spanked by a parent senses more loneliness. And although some persons are born in disharmony, our commitment needs to be centered on teaching even those most distant persons to be part of family and community life. The process, then, needs to start with us and move both ourselves and others toward companionship. Our purpose is to diminish a sense of being apart from others by establishing feelings of union with us and others.

Keywords

Community Life Behavioral Difficulty Homeless Person Human Spirit Individual Talent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. McGee
    • 1
  • Frank J. Menolascino
    • 1
  1. 1.Creighton University Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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