Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"There'll be hidden worlds that shine...."


Two guys named Joe and Harry built a window with four panes. They use it as a tool to help others learn more about themselves. Each section represents a different portion of awareness ....what we know and dont know about how we see ourselves and how others see us. They called them regions and are defined as follows:

  1. what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others - open area, open self, free area, free self, or 'the arena'
  2. what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know - blind area, blind self, or 'blindspot'
  3. what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know - hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or 'facade'
  4. what is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others - unknown area or unknown self

And it looks something like this.....It appears to be such a simplistic tool for facilitating a discussion on self awareness, but it carries a depth which can be tapped into quickly and easily. The region which fascinates me the most is the blind area. More succinctly....how the other regions impact it.

Our behaviour is our language. How we act and what we do is our expressed story....and the underlying REASONS why we act and what we do is the key to learning more about our emotional make-up. So often our behaviour is seen by others in a very different light than the one shining on our awareness. This more than likely happens because we repress, deny, suppress and hide behind a facade of shame and guilt and anger.....of fear, of ugliness, of previous actions we are ashamed of, or abuse we have experienced and have been painfully wounded by. Our hidden area.....our own personal knowledge hidden under a facade is often clearly revealed by our behaviour. If there is a disconnect....for example....if we THINK it is hidden from others still and yet our behaviour shows a very different reality, we are in a place of deep emotional pain.

Abuse is a strong factor (and probably the most common ) in the unhealthy disconnect between the hidden self and the blind area. Traumatic abuse, unresolved and festering....HIDDEN from the rest of the world or so the human victim supposes almost always reveals itself in the actions which others can see, which the victim might not be able to. All forms of addictions, substance abuse, sexual, gambling even obsessive compulsions particularly about others, living a double life of secrets.......all deniable, all rationalized and mishandled behaviour and actions by the human being, but sometimes VERY visible to those around them.


The key as a friend or a family member to helping someone shrink their blind area....to letting them SEE how their behaviour is being perceived and how it is manifested is to gently reveal it to them. It's very difficult especially if the self destructive behaviour is a means of coping...of SURVIVING.....of meeting unmet NEEDS....or even of finding a way to escape the harsh realities in their lives because it will be met with brute force dismissal and even anger.

You don't know me!


I'm aware of why I'm doing this. It's none of your business!


How presumptuous of you to assess what I'm doing!


I've dealt with that part of my life! It doesn't impact me anymore.

uh....ok.....if you think so......

Timing is key...and openness on the part of the person acting out blindly is really necessary. There's no point in pointing out to someone that what they are doing is self destructive if they aren't open to hearing it because a power struggle will ensue. If a person wants to live a lie or wallow in their own rationalizations as a means of survival/control, they will stubbornly remain in that frame of mind. Their "JoHari" Window panes will remain rigid. If their need is to be needed.....is to NEVER be forgotten because of unexplored abandonment/rejection issues cause by abuse, the behaviour reverberates blindly and recklessly all over the place. It is quite frightening to observe this happening.

We all have blind spots. Our hidden world sometimes needs to seep out, EVEN when we don't want it to....sometimes as a means to let SOMEONE who is paying attention KNOW that we are hurt and wounded.....we may not even know it when we are screaming for help through our addictions and obsessions. Sometimes learning about how we have misbehaved/misfired racks us with shame and embarrassment. This is often the case. We've been "found out" ..... like being caught with our pants down and it's a terrible terrible feeling. Hunger to be loved and validated....to be VISIBLE often supercedes the need to remain hidden.

But isn't it better to know how we are being seen and perceived...HOW our behaviour is being interpreted than not know? Wouldn't you want to know if you were acting like a complete fool? Or would you rather remain in the dark? I don't know the answer....I'm just wondering....Our hiddens worlds do shine.....right out the window.

11 comments:

paris parfait said...

Dear Dana, I am so behind in blog-reading - please forgive me. I want to come back here later and catch up. Meanwhile, some good news: you won my "Three" blog giveaway! Please email me your mailing address and I'll get the prize off to you. Felicitations! xo

Awareness said...

Tara...what a nice surprise. I'll be in touch. thanks.

myrtle beached whale said...

I studied the Johari Window years ago and it fascinated me then and it still does. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Awareness said...

Rick...me too. I used to refer to it when I taught life skills classes and like you hadn't thought about it in a long while. today, it leaped into my head again....drummed up by the line I pulled out of Springsteen's lyrics to use as a springboard. :)

Here's to Joe and Harry.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It is a real dilemma sometimes, because people's denial of certain aspects of their lives IS what keeps them alive....!
I had a very very good friend who had cancer and it had reached 'the point of no return'....But HE was determined to NOT face that, and in fact, lived much longer than the doctors predicred because of his "denial"....He clung to hope and to just NOT accepting that things could not get better....!
This may not be a good example of what you are talking about, but it is the first thing I thought of when I read this post.
I guess what I am saying is, there are variations on this type of thing and who makes the decision that what the person is doing is bad or good or destructive, etc., etc. Some things are very obvious--behavior-wise---if someone is abusing another person or persons---someone needs to step in and help with this. The abuser somehow needs to be made aware of the damage they are doing and be ecouraged to uncover what lies beneath this behavior of theirs, etc., etc. The four Boxes does seem a rather simplistic way when we know there are so very many shadings every-which-way....!
As always, my dear Dana, a very thought provoking post with the answers being as varied as the problems themselves....

Awareness said...

Naomi...i think its a great example because it made me see this from a different angle. I do see the need to act in one way as a means of survival. I believe people who are living in abusive relationships or have been a victim in the past do so for good reasons...because of the emotional shakiness and vulnerability they live and breathe. Gotta get through it...gotta get through another day. I hadn't however saw it as a means of beating cancer. So, thank you for offering me another way of looking at it.

The Jo-Hari window is at first glance very surface-like but it is like the tip of an iceberg. When one begins to consider the fact that we ALL have these "regions"... our windows clash, overlap and bounce off one another! :)

Nikita said...

My blind spot? I think it shows on my blog... but in my life outside in the 'real' world it's not seen. Or at least that's what I think, Will would tell you different I'm sure. x

much2ponder said...

Awareness...this is a very good post, one of the best ones I've read here, at least IMO. I will need to come back later to read it again or maybe I will print it so I can spend a little extra time chewing on it's contents. These are similar thoughts to ones I have often thought of, but never heard of the window theory. I like it. A lot!

Awareness said...

Niki....me too, well except the Will part. lol! Sometimes I post stuff and have no CLUE its reflective of me until someone points it out.

m2p...thank you. it's is a very helpful little tool to use in group work and in individual counselling. It could be a party game too I guess. :) If you're interested, I would suggest you just Google Jo-Hari Window because there are many sites available for more information.

Brother David said...

Jo n Harry's window - bit like a kaleidoscope, nice toy to play with, some amazing sights and difficult to replicate.
Something we need to look through/at more often. Hmmmm - good stuff!

much2ponder said...

Thanks for the tip. I plan on using this with my Character/Ethics and or my Personal Development class. Good stuff!