Name of Concept
Nodal third; Significant member; “Tiers pesant”; Weighty third
The term nodal third refers to someone whose presence (physical or evoked) is almost essential to “good” balancing of relationships within a system (Goldbeter-Merinfeld 2016, 2017). While everyone can be a third for two others, in a manner unwitting rather than consciously or even voluntarily, the nodal third unlike what could be called a light third is assigned or takes a specific and permanent feature as the third in relationships in the family. It allows families to stabilize (and rigidify) their functioning around one of their members, who acquires therefore an essential role in the conservation of the balance of the system being a regulator of affective distances and emotional balance among its members.
The departure (in any form) of a light thirdis easy to live with: the system quickly finds another partner to fulfill this function. In contrast, given the “need for...
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