Are relationship metaphors helpful or harmful to relationship parties? They are neither intrinsically good nor bad but simply inherent in the human experience (Lakoff and Johnson 1980). Are some metaphors more accurate than others? This question presumes that a single relationship reality exists as a benchmark against which to assess a given metaphor's adequacy. Relationships are different for different people, and different for the same people from one time to the next. Further, relationships are multifaceted, with many layers of meaning and function. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) suggest a different question to pose about any metaphor: "What does this metaphor illuminate and what does it obscure about relationships?"
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LESLIE A. BAXTER