In every system there are roles. And when a person is placed into a role, there is sometimes very little they can do to get beyond the role. Suddenly the person becomes their role and then they are stuck. Unless the system changes, it is very difficult for the person to change.
Think of these roles in a family system:
Black Sheep of the Family
Most Disobedient Child
The One who is Never Home
And the list goes on. As a system gets more and more dysfunctional, people become more and more entrenched in their roles.
If the overbearing father comes home at the end of a rough day but is happy to see his family and ready to relax, he may not get the chance. He may walk in the door and the children stop laughing and having a good time and head to their rooms because they EXPECT him to play his role.
The spoiled child may be planning to do his chores, but gets distracted. Before he has a chance to remember to complete them, older siblings are yelling at him and their parents for letting him get away with it. Eventually he doesn't bother to try.
As people sink deeper into the roles of the system we become more and more angry at the person. We argue with them. We fight with them. We blame them. Each day we are more and more frustrated by THE PERSON when really their role is a part of the system.
So the 4th guideline is to fight and fault the system not the person. In coming into my position this has been very helpful to me because I can clearly see how well intentioned good people have been sucked into their roles in the system. I try hard to see them with fresh eyes and to recognize that the fault and blame lie in the system.
Shake up the system by attacking it, instead of people in it. Change the way YOU respond to the people in the system. Breaking free of your role attacks the system. Expecting behaviors different than a role that has been assigned messes with the system.
I have had a pretty rough week because I have been working hard to challenge a system that is being controlled by the enemy. I was feeling anxious and insecure this weekend about all that happened this week and Bart said something really significant. He said that sometimes it doesn't matter what you do to change the system -- it just matters that you do SOMETHING to shake it up.
So if you are thinking to yourself today that there is a person at work, or at church, or in your family that is driving you CRAZY.... ask yourself if it is really the person or if it is their role in the system. Then, attack the system. You may be surprised as to the difference that can make.