Relational Cultural Theory

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Since the relational cultural theory is based on the assumption that human were made to be in relationship with each other and when there are disconnections in relationships, it causes dissonance in people’s lives. This dissonance in relationships can be difficult to relieve because of the paradoxical nature of being known. To avoid being hurt or rejected by relationships, some people refrain from revealing all they truly are in relationships to protect themselves. Some people keep parts of themselves hidden to preserve what relationships they have even if that means that they will not truly be known because having a little bit of connection is better than the fear of not having any connection. This can create a downward spiral because they feel must hide their true feelings and therefore feel more misunderstood and more helpless. Therefore, this isolation actually keeps them from the connection and relationship that they desire. People experiencing this central relational paradox experience condemned isolation which is a feeling that they are not worth being known. This condemned isolation seems to be related to shame. Shame as described by Jordan (p100) is encompassing and immobilizing because one feels that there is an inherent defect that makes one unacceptable, unlovable and therefore shamed out of connection. Shame not only immobilizes but it also locks people into isolation. Many marginalized groups of people experience this shame because they believe that they innately are not worthy enough. In reality, they are innately worthy enough but it is the false viewpoints of those imposing that belief of unworthiness on them. Because they do not feel worthy of connection, they continue to refrain from being vulnerable and show who they truly are. This is also a self-protective strategy because if people don’t know someone’s true self then their true identity will not be hurt or rejected; only the false identity that they want others to perceive will be...
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