In the context of our small group, Karen* showed up early, offered to make copies or set up the room, and was quick to ask clarifying questions for the sake of others. Having this type of person in your group can be a blessing. I began to notice, however, that if I did not verbally affirm and appreciate her for everything she did, she tended to become critical and contradictory toward me.
After witnessing this dynamic multiple times, I gently asked Karen if she was aware of what she was doing and if there were any parallels between her current behavior and how she responded to her mom. Tears flowed as she recounted her mother’s favoritism of her olde siblings and how she only received attention if she did above and beyond what was asked of her.
Karen didn’t know it at the time, but she was working out aspects of her unresolved mother-daughter relationship via a process called transference.
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WomenLeaders has many fabulous articles. If you are a leader, I’d encourage you to spend a bit of time noodling around over there. Here’s another awesome article: Discover Your God-Given Calling.