I see a large number of people with Goose and Bottle problems.  They go around showing everyone the green bottle with the gosling in it and bewail the fact that the bottle is too priceless to break and the goose lays golden eggs and so can’t be harmed, but it can’t get out of the bottle and it will die and what’s to be done?  WHAT’S TO BE DONE?

On my snarkier days I ask how they’re dealing with the excrement issue?  Water flush? Did they train the goose to poop out the neck of the bottle?  But most days I ask one simple question?  “Why should any of us care?”  You see, the Goose and the Bottle problem is an ethics question: If a farmer has a green bottle with a fertile goose egg in it, the egg is going to hatch and the goose will eventually outgrow the bottle and die.  The egg is already too big to come out without breaking (ignore the question of how it got in there in the first place), you’re not allowed to break the bottle or the egg and you’re not allowed to injure the goose.  What do you do?  The right answer is “Not my goose and not my bottle.” Or in other words, have good boundaries and don’t voluntarily take on the choices and responsibilities of others.  For those who need to look deeper, it’s like helping a butterfly out of their cocoon. It seems like help, but in actuality it’s a death sentence.  They need to struggle to gain the strength to survive.  Without the struggle they die a weak and lingering death. 🙁

Anyway, people struggle with Goose and Bottle problems all the time.  Someone comes up to them and says “Here’s a bottle with a goose in it….” and before they get any further that person has taken it and is starting to run around trying to resolve it for them.  Over time this becomes an expected behavior.  One person in the group is known as the Bottle Taker and can’t understand why everyone brings them their problems and why no one will deal with their own stuff even as they accept one more bottle without blinking an eye or asking what the actual story is.  They are standing in a pile of bottles, none of which are theirs and can’t understand why they are so tired and under appreciated.  I try to point out that they are very much appreciated in the same way the garbage man is.  Not for who they are, but for the service they do, taking away what is noxious to others and dealing with it so the rest of us don’t have to.

Why do people become Bottle Takers, well, underlying all the whys is the problem of buying relationships.  Bottle Takers don’t usually feel that they are intrinsically worth much at all.  They feel or they have been taught to feel that they must earn self-worth while everyone else gets to have it just for being alive.  They feel they have to earn relationships and that all positive things in their life are rewards for good behavior.  I worked with a client who had never realized that a relationship could be any other kind than a trade for Bottle Taking.  *mind blown*  Helping someone is one thing, being of service is a blessing, but taking on other’s bottles and trying to save their geese isn’t either.  It’s enabling.  If you’re dealing with even one bottle with a goose in it, set it down and walk away.  I guarantee you the owner of the bottle will not only come claim it, but they will miraculously find another way to resolve the issue, perhaps even by doing it themselves.