The New Johari Window #26: Quadrant Three: Alternative Johari Models
This large Quad Two and Quad Three will be commonly found in relationships where there is considerable differentiation of power—especially when in the one-down position (as is the case with Kevin). Perhaps, as the British school suggests, we are guided by the signal anxiety associated with material in our Quad Four that is associated with specific relationships we have established—such as one in which we are the subordinate and have only limited power.
When we explore a specific relationship, we might find that only certain aspects of this relationship are “safe” for us to explore. Other aspects trigger considerable anxiety (the signal function). We learn quickly to set aside these aspects in order to focus on those that are less anxiety-ridden. Kevin, for instance, might find that he can explore his relationship with Sheila as an authority figure, but can’t explore his relationship with her as a woman.
An even more threatening topic might be the combination of authority and gender. Sheila might remind him in certain ways of his own authoritarian (controlling) mother. This would be much too threatening an issue for Kevin to address. The wisdom of Kevin’s defenses would kick in and he would move rapidly to another topic.
Thus, using the stabilized image model, we would portray Kevin as a man who has some selective knowledge about his relationship with Sheila that previously was unconscious. While he can’t yet share this knowledge with Sheila (Quad Three to Quad One), he can monitor his own interactions with Sheila and make use of his new insights about authority to dampened his reactions to Sheila and even change the way in which he interacts with her.