I have spent years supporting others in setting strong boundaries with family members, offering validation when someone chooses to be estranged from unhealthy family members, even helping people reframe and rewrite the narrative of their lives. Only to discover that wherever you go, there you are and all your ancestors are lined up behind you. The reality is we can't escape the generational patterns, the DNA or the baggage of our ancestors.
That's not to say that boundaries, estrangement and reframing aren't sometimes necessary. They absolutely are. But after a few years of doing Family/Systemic Constellation work I've seen that the deep work in the energy field of your family system is also critical for true freedom to occur with change.
There are 3 simple (but not easy) principles to Family Constellation work that make it so powerful.
1) Belonging - everything that exists in the family system belongs there. That includes heinous acts, horrendous loss and deep pain. Our natural tendency is to sweep the hard topics under the rug. My ancestors owned slaves, my uncle murdered his wife, my grandfather was abusive, etc. It all belongs. When it's not allowed to be a part of the system, it creates tension in the energy field...the knowing field and this creates difficulties in the descendants. Difficulties like anxiety, depression, addiction, relational issues, health problems, etc. Bert Hellinger the father of Family Constellation work said, "When I exclude someone from my heart, I become like him, exactly like him." Acknowledging that everything belongs is also addressing our shadow material.
2) Order - the energy field of the family system needs things to be in right order for the tension to release. Things like a parentified child or emotional incest throw things off. If a grandparent raises a child instead of the parent this can create tension in the field. By saying healing words and physically moving representatives into the right order there is a release of tension and peace flows.
3) Acknowledgement - Hard truths must be acknowledged in this work. Again, we tend to sweep the tough stuff under the rug. But it doesn't go away. It just creates tension and manifests as symptoms and patterns. We can become attached in unhealthy ways to those who have died, we may ignore the fact that our parent didn't protect us, or we be in denial about the inconceivable death of a young person. And so we must say hard truths such as I am alive and you are dead, or you did not protect me, or you died before your time. By saying these healing words in the "knowing field" it begins healing at the soul level and the dysfunctional patterns begin to fall away.
One of the most powerful parts of Constellation work for me is that there is no saying I'm sorry or asking for forgiveness. Each ancestor must take responsibility for their actions and carry their own guilt and shame. This is HUGE for those of us who are sensitive and are what I call the "packmules for generational trauma" We are walking around steeped in shame and guilt and a big part of it isn't even our own. When we can start carrying only what is ours to carry the freedom is profound.
If you're interested in this approach to healing, I offer individual sessions in person and via Zoom. Email me to schedule.