info On "Monkey" The phrase “to have the monkey” means to be given responsibility against your will. “The monkey” is something someone else puts, most often, on one's shoulders, hence the picture: the laughing, ridiculous homunculus, hanging on tightly to one's shoulders, which is impossible to get rid of. There is always someone who has it. There is always someone who has to have it. There is no family without responsibility. There is no situation without responsibility. There is always someone who bears the responsibility. There is always someone who “has done it”. The monkey is passed from one family member to the other, from one person to the other. It doesn't have to be the parents who “have the monkey”. It can also be the children. Now and then, the children also bear the responsibility – and fail. It is first when someone fails that you find out who has the monkey. A veritable fight for who has the monkey can begin. A quarrel is often an expression that there is disagreement about who has the monkey. A settled quarrel is an expression that, for a moment, there is agreement about who has the monkey. Just as slowly, and at other opportunities, the monkey is moved from one member of the family to another. The monkey is passed from one to the other. Who has the monkey is perhaps not immediately obvious to outsiders, but within the family it is obvious. Somebody has the monkey. We don't say it out loud, but we know it. If someone willingly takes responsibility without having it palmed off on them, then nobody “has the monkey”. When the monkey is voluntary, then there isn't a monkey at all. Fortunately, there are long periods where nobody has the monkey at all. It is possible to be totally monkey-free, invisible as well as visible. It first sticks its ugly head out when something goes wrong. Who's next? Who's next to get the monkey? by Pablo Llambias.