Relational Limp Mode…

The holiday season can put significant stress on our relationships with the throwing together of people, emotions, food and drink at a threshold often greater than during the rest of the year.  Factors such as distant relatives not usually seen can add to the drama…

Last week, my Wife and 18-year-old son flew to South Carolina from Wisconsin to pick up his car from college and drive it back home. They were caught in a major snow system and progress was slow on day one meaning their day two travel was a long day of 10-11 hours of solid driving with minimal stops.  Two days later my son said, “Hey Dad, my car has gone into ‘limp mode’.”  I reminded him it did the same after he drove it down to campus last summer and was an easy enough fix then, so hopefully will be the same again.  My wife asked, “What’s ‘limp mode’?” and we explained that it was a system the auto manufacturer creates to restrict wear on the engine when there is something not working right to minimize any permanent damage to the engine.

Similarly, when families are thrown together during the holidays it can put additional stress on major engine components (usually wives and mothers) and the stress or impact can have a similar effect in sending the relationship into “Limp Mode”, think… “Next year your parents can stay at their own place for the Holidays if they find our Christmas so lacking…”’ Or… “If I have to hear one more time about the Amazing Christmas your brother and his family host…”  I am sure you get the idea.

So… what is the fix? Usually, limp mode in cars is fixed by a cleaning and service to key systems and sensors.  For relationships, the equivalent of a “Relational Reset” can be of help.  In the Mandt System, the foundational chapters of Building Healthy Relationships, Building Healthy Communication and Building Healthy Conflict Resolution are full of ideas, options, and strategies.  The good news is these are available for Families online so you can buy a seat and dive into the material and begin the process of resetting your relationships.  

To find out more contact us at

Simon Kemp – CEO

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