Decision At The Crossroads: Same Old Road, Or Discovering The New Path?

Dear Visible Man:

     I am seeking to obtain some feedback regarding an incident in which my adult son and I had an intense disagreement.  I became so angry that I got up and left the house.
    To provide some background, my adult son has continued to reside with me since his childhood and adolescence.  For the last several years, he has been unemployed and I have supported him.  I have allowed him to stay at home rent-free and I have picked up the costs for groceries.
    Recently he got a job and since he has income now, I informed him that he would have to pay $300.00 per month rent plus $150.00 for groceries totaling $450.00 per month.  He replied that I was being unreasonable and thus was considering moving out on his own.  I became so angry and needed to cool down so I stormed out of the house.  Later he texted me and stated he would pay the 450.00 per month rent/groceries.
    He still believes that I am being unreasonable.  I feel his logic is stupid.  Am I right or wrong about this?  What are your thoughts on this issue?
     Bewildered Parent Seattle, WA

Dear Readers,

     The story being provided is in reality a trap.  It is a trap set to get the reader “caught up” in taking sides with one person as well as identifying the “bad guy” in the interaction: the father or the son.  The goal for the reader is to not fall for the trap; to be able to look beyond what is being offered as both individuals seek answers to this dilemma—one that occurs daily in many families and households.
     Due to the economic realities of this era, many young adults may find themselves at one time or another, in the following situations:
·       Unable to leave the “nest.”
·       Returning to reside at home, similar to latent adolescence.
·       Seeking financial assistance and other resources from parents.
·       Feelings of failure on the part of both the parent and the adult child.
     There will be, of course, disagreements/conflicts from time to time, the combination of which may or may not be obvious to the observer.  These issues are divided into the following areas:
·       Conscious- the awareness of and responding to one’s surroundings
·       Subconscious-the part of which is not fully aware but which influences one’s action and
·       Unconscious-occurring in the absence of awareness or thought
 Let’s identify some of the conscious issues:
·       Father and son have different perspectives in regarding how much should be charged for
rent and groceries
·       Father gets angry and storms out the house
·       Son contacts father relenting on the monies being sought
Now, let’s look at the underlying or subconscious issues:
·       The focus on who is right or wrong
·       The message sent and received when the father left the house in anger with the issue
·       Communication styles of father and son
Finally, let’s identify the unconscious issues:
·       Fear of the unknown
·       Lack of comfort zone
·       Beyond the attained experience
     In the journey known as life, I believe the father and son have arrived at the “Crossroads.”  The signs posted at the divide are marked “OLD ROAD” and “NEW PATH.”
     My assumption is that since the adult son has continued to reside with the father since the beginning of his life without a break in the timeline, each time the two individuals reach the Crossroads (that is, enter into conflict), both make the unilateral decision to continue down the same “old road,” where the same things interchange with the same behaviors (i.e. shouting, name calling, exiting the conflict) and yet expecting a miracle, that being that something different is going to occur.
   One may be quick to label this repetitive behavior and expectations as either “insane or stupid.”  To do so would result in the reader committing another error which is in reality the “trap;” a strategy, set up by the “larger group,” (i.e. family, community and society), so that the individuals involved fail to examine the consequences of their own behavior.
    At any point, the “larger group” could mediate the conflict and provide assistance to both individuals.  However, to do so would “empower” the two individuals and consequentially there would be a risk of loss.  Loss of what?  Answer: Resources, numbers, and yet most importantly, power.
    Of the three issues identified earlier–conscious, subconscious, & unconscious– let us focus on the “unconscious.”  All three segments (the larger group, father and son) are engrossed in fear. Father and son are uncomfortable in the formation of the “new relationship” that has now been created i.e., equity in adulthood.  The larger group fears the loss of participation of both the father and the son.
    Within the journey of Life, the crossroads represent conflict, the posted signs are the directions in which the individual and/or group either “wants to” or “needs to” …..GO.   The posted sign of “OLD ROAD” leads to the known, comfortable and lack of change.  It is a road based its travelers living to either survive or exit.  The other posted sign, “NEW PATH” represents the unknown, uncomfortable, and new.  It is a path in which the individual experiences change and discovery.
    The larger group – the traditionalists– will not be of assistance to the father and son due to its fear of impending loss.  Instead, the traditionalists reinforce the fears of the father and son to bind both of them to the group.   Instead of engaging in the same old behaviors of conflicts, name calling and self-debasing i.e. (insane/stupid), the father and son could, if they are willing, embark on a new path of uncovering, discovering and recovering.  In doing so, unlike the larger group, they must want to learn to “live with fear” instead of living in fear.
     What would this new path look like?  It would require the individuals to focus on examining, responding and coming to “acceptance” of the transition of adult development (adolescence into adulthood) and the transformation of the relationship and interaction i.e. (equity and partnership).  Both individuals would be open to learning empowerment strategies, which would reinforce the newly designed relationships.
     Such strategies would include concepts such as the I Factor, in which both parties would learn the strategies for processing, including the following: information, involvement, integration, implementation and impact, and reframing (i.e. respite, reaction, reflection, response and reevaluation).
     The outcome of learning these new tools would be the opportunity to reach common understanding as both continue onward towards their own destinations within the journey we know as LIFE.
·       Will these two individuals come to resolve their issues?
·       Will they stay on the same “old road” or will they seek the “new path?”
·       Will they stay with the “traditionalists” or will they seek to empower themselves?


Fear is here…..Forever.

It (fear) never left.
You must choose….
Live in fear….. or ….Live with fear.
Fear is nothing more than an emotion.
Embrace Fear!
Embrace me.

The Visible Man

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