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Confusing dependence and interdependence 🙆‍♂️

3things jordan myska allen personal growth relatefulness stayinlove Nov 23, 2023


I’ve been thinking about the difference between dependence and inter-dependence (kegan 3rd order socialized mind and 5th order self-transforming mind).

Pardon the lack of brevity here; as usual, this writing helps me get a little more clear on vague notions, as well as discover places where my theories don’t line up, and well it's Thanksgiving in the USA and I'm about to prioritize family. It matters a lot to me because dependence and interdependence are easy to confuse and I think a lot of relational people—possibly me!—claim to be training some cutting edge way of being, when we’re actually training people to shape their identity and self-worth on the relationships and expectations of others, fitting in to some ideology of “authenticity”, “surrender”, or “truth”, (which is a dependent way of being, which can be appropriate and healthy to train, but at least I’d want to be aware and honest about it if we’re doing that).

I think a key factor is about how we take responsibility for things—when I’m seeing the world through the dependent mind I think some other adult’s well-being is my responsibility. If my friend isn’t happy, I’ve got to do something about it or I’m bad, defecting from my duty. From the interdependent mind it’s not about whether or not my friend is upset, it’s about the meaning I generate in response to whatever stimuli I’m interpreting as her being upset, and from there noticing that it necessarily reflects or parallels something in me that I can’t see without the interaction because my self- and world- concepts are categorically limited by their own constructs, and no construct can ever be wholly whole. So if I feel upset that my friend isn’t happy, the situation is offering me a chance to question the very principles my understanding of reality and self rest upon, or at least the values and priorities I find myself committed to that motivate my actions in response to the perceived upset. I take the autonomous (4th order) self as an object that I can see and change. If it sounds complex, it’s because it is.


With love, Jordan


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