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Castor Panfilov
Castor Panfilov

The Uninvited

In his Sound Relationship House Theory, Dr. John Gottman uses the metaphor of the house to describe the elements of a sound relationship. My intention here is to explore the metaphor of the uninvited-invited guest in terms of the Sound Relationship House in order to explore the effects of substance abuse on an intimate relationship. I also suggest how the externalizing metaphor of the uninvited-invited guest might be used in couples treatment for substance abuse.

The Uninvited

Like an interfering and meddlesome in-law, relative, or ex-partner, the uninvited-invited guest of substance abuse can erode the first three levels of the Sound Relationship House. If substance abuse has been a guest in the relationship from the start, chances are that Love Maps and true Fondness and Admiration will be weak. If substance abuse entered the House later, chances are that they will be deteriorated by the constant interference of the uninvited-invited guest. Furthermore, instead of turning towards bids for connection, chances are that partners will be turning away from or against one another, sometimes quite literally, abandoning each other while going on a drinking or drug-using binge.

The fourth level of the Sound Relationship House is the Positive Perspective. The lower three levels of the Sound Relationship House determine whether this level is positive or negative. This level is what it feels like in the relationship. With the erosion of the first three levels of the House due to the interference of the uninvited-invited guest of substance abuse, chances are that couples where substance abuse is present are caught in the Negative Perspective, which, in turn, has a negative impact on problem-solving discussions and the success of repair attempts during conflict.

The fifth level of the House is Manage Conflict. The uninvited-invited guest of substance abuse tends to both impair the ability to manage conflict and to further escalate it, both because of the effects of substance abuse on the brain and because of the deterioration of the relationship caused by substance abuse. It is a well-known fact that intimate partner violence often occurs in the context of substance abuse and as a result of the inability to manage conflict in a healthy manner while intoxicated. Substance abuse is like an unwanted guest that interferes in the relationship, further exacerbates conflict, and becomes a further source of conflict.

The sixth and seventh levels of the Sound Relationship House are Make Life Dreams Come True and Create Shared Meaning. A crucial aspect of any relationship is to create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her dreams, values, convictions, and aspirations. Create Shared Meaning is the attic of the house where our important dreams, narratives, myths, and metaphors about the relationship find a home. It is nearly impossible to make life dreams come true or create shared meaning when the uninvited-invited guest of substance abuse enters the relationship house. Just as possessions and treasures that might be guarded in the attic might be sold to support the addiction, the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the partner and of the relationship are often sold away and the attic is one day found to be empty.

Finally, the two walls of the Sound Relationship House are Trust and Commitment. Obviously, trust and commitment, like the levels of the house, are weakened or destroyed by substance abuse. Substance abuse is often experienced as a betrayal of trust and commitment, as if one of the partners were to have an affair with the uninvited-invited guest. Effectively, substance abuse becomes the third person in the relationship, violating the trust and commitment of the primary relationship and tearing down the retaining walls that support a sound relationship house.

Manasvi throws a party at her home to celebrate the end of the pandemic, inviting all of her close gal pals - except for one who she is avoiding... until the uninvited guest shows up at her door, forcing her to reckon with what she has been burying deep within.

Federal District Court Judge Damon Keith rejected that argument, citing the Fourth Amendment protection of "a defendant from the evil of the uninvited ear." Referring to the attorney general's assertion of a power to decide where, when, and whom to wiretap, Judge Keith wrote that "such power held by one individual was never contemplated by the framers of our Constitution and cannot be tolerated today." The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case, with Detroit lawyer William T. Gossett defending Judge Keith's decision on a pro bono basis, and affirmed Judge Keith's decision. 041b061a72


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