Medical professional. Murray Bowen invented what has come to be known as “Bowen Theory” or Family Systems Theory. Medical professional. Rabbi Friedman put Bowen’s theory to work for rabbis, pastors and other faith based professions in Generation to Generation and his posthumous work Failure of Sensors.
This theory of family behavior is based on several key concepts about why people behave like they munchin cat for sale do in groups, not based on mechanistic roles but on how people in groups act emotionally. This theory thinks in terms of emotional processes and not in hierarchies or mental terms.
This article investigates why most people love cats as a method to elucidate many of the main ideas in Murray Bowen’s theory of Family and Societal Systems.
We irrationally love cats–those of us who do. Those who hate cats hate them irrationally. Why all the emotions about cats? Because they expose the truth about human emotional systems by introducing catlike emotional behavior!
The cat, any cat, introduced into the human emotional system, will cause the human emotional system to piece together. Not because the cat does certainly not because of how the cat is emotionally.
- Cats Tend to be Emotionally Self-Differentiated
Self-differentiation is the goal and high water mark of readiness for the Bowen Theory. Cats own it.
They know what they like. They know who they like. They know what they will and will not do and refuse to train. They have no desire to win approval but seek emotional support (petting) when they want it and from whom they want it.
Most humans call this independence or detachment. It is really the career of self-differentiation to which we all aspire. We admire cats for being able to be aloof and standoffish. What we truly admire is their capacity shamelessly self-differentiate.
Those who hate cats most likely are uncomfortable with others who refuse to participate in emotional hubbub in the human system too.
- Cats Do not Accept Anxiety from Others
When there is “drama” between humans, cats usually run off or keep out of the mix by hissing and entering fend-off defensive mode until they can escape. Cats refuse to accept anxiety from others.
They should definitely purr around you when you are upset, but that, we all know, is pure coincidence. Cats take care of their own emotional distress. They cannot ask for help. They fight their own combats and never seek to recruit the “gang” or “herd” effect as humans do.
- Cats Have learned a perfect Balance Between Closeness and Distance
Cats never become so attached that they cannot do without you but never so remote they don’t look for you after you have been gone a while.
They have found the perfect balance of distance and closeness that humans rarely find. Most humans become so close together they fuse either by loving or fighting. Or humans distance from each other in a reaction to anxiety thus keeping the combination on a distance level.
If you are gone a year or an hour it makes no difference. They will react the same to your return in predictable patterns. The longer you are gone the less they may react upon your return.
Most humans respect the border of a cat much more than the emotional border of other humans!
- Cats Are Remote but Connected
They never “leave” the device. They do their own thing and then, suddenly, it seems, they will arrive into the emotional system with purring and a desire to be petted on their own terms. Try to coax them and you will only get disdain and disinterest. Try to stop them when they WANT strokes and you will have to profit a broom.
- Cats Learn This Behavior From Parents
While kittens, they show no self-differentiation except when they will pitilessly shove the runt out of the way to get the last draw of milk even though the runt may be hungry to death.
Cats are social animals like humans, but even the caretaker is self-differentiated. She for when she is like it and protects the cover if she is in the mood.
Humans are interested in this closeness/distance balance but we admire it too.
The kittens learn it from their parents. The father stands off sideways as a sometimes defender of the cover and the mother attends the tiny ones without asking a thing more from the father.
If a pussy-cat acts up, the caretaker never threatens the kittens with the return or retribution of the father: she does the swatting herself.
- Cats May Feel Anxiety During Times of Change but they Handle Their own : They cannot Triangle
In Bowen’s theory, humans always triangle. We cannot handle the common doubts of life and so we seek out you to definitely share our anxiety. The anxiety producer–whether it is a situation or a person or a pressure–is always the third person in the triangle.
Cats do not do this. They handle their own anxiety like the elder leader of a lion Pride. When the young lion challenges the Pride leader the first choice may put up a ceremonial fight but handles the anxiety. He does not seek to share the anxiety with anyone. He goes off into the distance and watches the Pride move on without him.
Humans admire this and fear it at the same time. Someone who is self-differentiated is frightening to those who are not. The reason for this is because humans tend to be a herding species, especially when there is change or upset in the “normal” way anxiety is handled in the system.
- Cats Nourish themselves on Herds They Never Form Herds
Cats eat from panicked herds. They cannot form herds. They form Prides. Even the name suggests independence and positive attributes.
When humans experience anxiety, they tend to herd together to expel the anxiety by assaulted it or running from it instead of dealing with it.
For instance, think of the undesirable images on the television documentaries of lions eating water buffalo or gazelles. Notice, if the herd suddenly activated the cats, the cats would lose. Even if several, maybe just a handful, of the thousands-of-pounds critters activated the cats, the limber but vulnerable-to-stomping cats would flee in panic.
Herds “group think” and panic. They run from anxiety or mindlessly attack each other trying to find the panic-making perpetrator, but they rarely attack the real predator which has been following them for days.
They fail to see the real danger: the cat in the room.
- Cats Can Switch Prides Based on their own Self-Interest
Cats can go from owner to owner, Pride to Pride, without loss of self-differentiation. Give a cat away and it will adapt immediately to the new situation because it was not emotionally fused with the last one!
Humans may experience this as selfishness on the part of the cat or self-absorption. In fact, it is adroit emotional version. Some cats will leave one household and adopt another with web no regrets if the new situation is in the best interest of the cat. And the cat knows.
Selfishness and self-differentiation are not the same and cats manage to fully grasp this. Cats are not selfish. They share when they decide to share. They show affection when they want to and not when they ought to.
They don’t NEED humans. They can hunt if they have to. If they do choose to hunt, they generally bring the indegent monster to their humans to supplement the food the humans gather from God knows where.
- Cats Can Behave like Kittens if they Feel like It
Cats can, fantastically, from time to time suddenly behave like a pussy-cat! –Playing with tennis balls and dancing after laser lights moving from a human penlight. Cats can regress when they feel playful or curious.
This capacity regress is not emotional weak spot but the determination to be emotionally open when they feel like it. There is the key: when they feel like it.
Their unpredictability is delightful to most humans. Some humans hate cats. They aren’t needy enough. They don’t fuse. They are worthless anxiety receptors. An angry human may kick fourteen weeks is the and the dog will cower. Kick a cat and see what the results are. They’ll not share your anxiety.