The importance of good Adult ego state in relationships

The Boyd and Boyd relationship model shown here in the top diagram has been criticised as it does not include the Adult ego states of either party. The second diagram does where I include the Adult to Adult communication as the fourth C.

Four Cs Jpeg

If there is good Adult communication what does that mean for a marriage.

The ability of the couple to put any feelings aside and communicate in an intellectual logical way.

To react to emotional situations objectively

To accept criticism without problem feelings developing

To face difficult or unpleasant situations

To keep the Child ego state emotions in check such that it does not excessively disrupt the communication

These are generally seen as the criteria of emotional maturity.

If a couple can communicate like this, that is a very good thing for a marriage. They can have logical problem solving discussions between them. Some just cannot do this as the old feelings in the Child ego state get in the way and stop the mature Adult to Adult communications.

To develop such emotional maturity one needs to learn how to drop a feeling, as we say in psychotherapy. This is a good skill to have, both for one’s relationships and for their own general psychological wellbeing.

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What is dropping a feeling? Well it is that, you let the feeling go. It is not resolved by discussion with another person or by some cathartic release, one simply drops the feeling. There can be discussion and catharsis but these do not actually let the feeling go. That is primarily a cognitive exercise that the individual does with self.

The opposite to dropping as feeling is carrying a grudge. Usually over time it gets easier to drop a feeling. The person has the emotional maturity for the angst or problem feeling to be let go from the Child ego state such that it no longer has influence in the person’s own psyche and their relating to others. As I said before this is a very useful skill to have and any long term marriage or friendship cannot remain of a good quality unless both parties are capable of doing this at least to some degree.

Revenge, wanting justice to be done, to have my day in court or for things to be made fair are all wishes and desires that reduce one’s ability to drop a feeling. To be able to let go of what one perceives as transgressions against them, by another, is a very good skill to have. If done the two parties are much more able to have good problem solving discussions and planning which of course are crucial to any successful marriage.

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