Individuality versus Togetherness

There’s actually a lot about balance in Bowen Family Systems Theory, and it has to do with the balance between individuality and togetherness.

In all of our families and in all our organizations, there’s a pull towards togetherness. There’s a pull towards the leadership to think the way I think, think the way we as a group think, be here for us, no matter if you have to get sick doing it, because they don’t give you enough time to yourself. So, there’s this togetherness pull that can do the leader in.

Bowen talked about this a great deal. We spend a lot of time discussing individuality. “How do I, as a leader, get some individuality? How do I think about who I am as a person, out of all this togetherness? Does togetherness pull?” And so that’s the balance that we find in this theory.

And then, in individuality, of course, there’s a great deal of thinking about, “What do I believe? How am I functioning? How much does the togetherness pull, dictate, and dominate my life?” versus me, myself, dominating it, and dictating what I want my life to be like, and look like, and how I’m going to relate to people.

How much does my generation dictate the kind of person I am? Most people have never thought about that: how much their generations are really influencing them to this very day.

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- Roberta Gilbert

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