Sullivan’s interpersonal theory; Dynamisms
Dynamism according to Sullivan is a set of patterns in an individual’s behavior (Feist & Feist, 2009).These behavior patterns are classified into a set of conduct associated with particular parts of the body. This paper seeks to examine these classifications in relation to Biblical teachings as shown in the book of proverbs.
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Malevolence is a disjunctive dynamism, which occurs in children between 2 and 3 years of age (Feist & Feist, 2009). At this stage, children begin to experience the harshness of the world through experiences such as physical punishment. They begin to feel that they are no longer loved and, consequently, begin to perceive the world around them as consisting of enemies (Feist & Feist, 2009). The end result is that they distance themselves from people and begin to mistrust others.
Contrary to such feelings, the Bible urges people to accept reproof. In addition, people should love their neighbors and should not perceive them as enemies. In the book of Proverbs 1:15-16, it is evidently indicated that any person who puts up security for others will suffer but those who have faith in others and do not look for refuge for pledges are safe in hands of God.
Intimacy is a secure relationship with another person; it presupposes understanding of a person who shares more or less similar lifestyles with others (Feist & Feist, 2009). This stage helps children and adults identify people whom they can easily share their experiences in life, which is necessary for cognitive development, interpersonal development and social development. Intimacy reduces tension, anxiety, loneliness and hatred (Feist & Feist, 2009).
The Bible supports Sullivan’s assertions since it constantly urges people to live as brothers and Sisters in Christ by being their brothers’ keepers. Proverbs 15:18 counsels against adultery and urges that a man is happy and rejoice in the wife of his youth. The verse 19 explains the benefits of the intimacy between the two; they satisfy each other and are captivated by each other’s love.
Lust is a powerful isolating dynamism that often leads to low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness. Lust is a self-centered feeling that does not need any intimacy or love. In addition, it does not require the presence of someone else for its gratification rather is based on sexual satisfaction.
The Bible strongly condemns lustful thoughts. Proverbs 6:20-35 warns against lustful thoughts that may lead to adultery. These thoughts are evil, shameful and punishable by God. Verse 25 in the Bible tells us not to yearn in our mind after its attractiveness.
Self esteem is a conjunctive dynamism involving a consistent behavior pattern which guards against anxiety by helping people to maintain interpersonal security (Feist & Feist, 2009). Self esteem is important in maintaining one’s personality.
Over time, people develop the following security apparatus to address security threats to their self esteem; dissociation which involves consciously blocking from awareness, experiences, threatening an individual’s security, and selective inattention which involves accepting specific experiences (Feist & Feist, 2009).
In regard to self esteem, the Bible advocates that people form strong personalities to courageously face challenges in life. Proverbs 25:28” state that any person who lacks control over their spirit is like a city that has been broken into and which lacks walls”. This means that self esteem is important in a person’s life to make rational decisions.
Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.