It is so easy to blame the parent or parents (or anyone) for the misery we might be going through. But they did what they did with what they knew at the time. And it was what it was; there is no turning back the time. We cannot change what happened. So why resist reality? Acknowledging what was and what is, is the first step towards peace. Saying “yes” to the past is more powerful than resisting to accept it. Now, when acceptance enters our system, we can attend to those feelings we were not able to express when we were subjected to emotional and/or physical bruising. Our parents (or whoever hurt us) may still not have the skills to hold us in that pain. But we know what we needed when we were in that place. So now we make sure we give ourselves what we needed then. Step by step. Slowly and intentionally. Sometimes, this means reaching out to someone who can hold us when we’re hurting. And this is how it goes. Until we have attended to all those inner children and teenagers inside. And that can take a lifetime. And that is okay.
Whilst agreeing with the statement above, I believe that we still hold a form of inner relationship with family members, whether we like it or not. In my experience it is helpful to work on those uncomfortable relationships, because the negativity or abuse that came from them towards us will have been internalised during the years we had endure it. Until we have made peace with them within us, we will be triggered by the people who act like those family members. We’ll simply meet them or find them represented in other people we meet and have relationships with. So, yes, turning away or not interacting with those family members who continually agonise us is probably advisable, but we still need to address our internal family system in order to find peace. For that to happen we need to get to a deeper understanding, and that usually happens when we allow ourselves to see a bigger picture.
Both my parents were completely unable to regulate their own nervous systems and therefore snapped every time I stretched their patience. It did not take much to be severely punished. It still doesn’t. Through Family Constellations and other healing work I saw how they grew up, their difficult childhoods, their traumatised parents, the hardship they had to survive, I came to understand where they are coming from, and I find it much easier to be in relation with them. I just continually and consciously decide to be with them in a way they can handle. And inside of me, through all the healing I’ve done, I have been holding them with love and respect, despite their failings. That has given me so much more peace. Meeting negative behaviour or abuse from others I can handle so much better, knowing, we all have a history that made us who we are. And besides, I have in some respects failed my children too.
If you are looking for healing your inner relationship with family members, I suggest to get in touch with me for a free 20-minute chat during which we can figure out if I can help.
#selfdevelopment #familydynamics #FamilyBonds #TheTRANSFORMProcessTM
Children & trauma
My youngest daughter was only two years old when within a few months only her dad had to leave us and her adored and much loved big (5 year old, half-) sister left us to live with her dad (which wasn’t my youngest daughter’s dad). It came as a big shock and could not be digested by my little girl. It got stuck in her system as a trauma. At one point she started shouting and screaming at night while she was sleeping and would not be touched or calmed down. Those ‘attacks’ lasted for a good half hour or longer. I had – at the time – no idea why and felt completly helpless with the situation.
A little later, at a women-and-children’s clinic, I learnt to just be there until the attacks finished. I was advised to stay calm and keep still, which would eventually affect my child. During the stay in that clinic I learnt a lot about myself, my situation and received a huge amount of loving care from the therapists and nurses. Therapy showed me that I was a child in need, too, and that I had to learn to give myself those things I was missing. I had to understand that I would never get what I needed from my parents, as childhood was over, and my parents wouldn’t change just because I wanted them to.
After a few months of many sleepless nights with screaming attacks, my daughter slept through the nights again. I understand that she had to get the anger and frustration, as well as the feeling of being powerless, out of her system.
The trauma, though, was still there, and she developed many different kinds of symptoms during childhood that had to be dealt with. My oldest daughter was influenced against me and everybody in my family, so there was no contact for many years. My girls were separated.
One day, when my youngest was about 9 years old, she told me how angry she felt that her sister didn’t want to have contact with us and expressed her disagreement very emotionally – she was furious. I decided to use my family constellation skills on the kitchen table using jam jars, cups and glasses. I placed our situation using those cups and glasses and made them representatives of our family system by giving them names and positions and let my daughter take over to change and move them where she wanted them to be. My clever little girl knew exactly how the different people in our system felt in the different positions.
During this ‘constellation’ it became clear to my daughter that her sister was meant to be with her dad and that she just wasn’t able to contact us, although she really wanted to. She understood that everything was as it had to be. I was astonished how clearly she saw what was really going on and how the dynamics worked. This new insight gave her some peace and understanding, and from that day on she never questioned the situation again, she accepted it and kept hoping that things would change for the better (which they did eventually). She kept a loving contact in her heart and sent postcards and little messages now and then to let her sister know that she still loved her and would always be there for her. The same did I. And we often sat together, looked at older photos of my oldest and sent her good thoughts and wishes from our hearts. It was always very emotional but good for both our minds and souls.
Two years later we were ‘re-united’ after seven years, although my oldest daughter decided to stay at her dad’s in Germany. But we were back in contact, and we were re-bonding and have been doing so since.
I am convinced that family constellation work is a wonderful and powerful tool to help children (from a certain age) and adults to understand and accept their situation, find peace and even solutions.
I could not avoid my children getting hurt, as at the time I didn’t know better. But I was able to address my issues and heal myself in order to become a better parent. I see it as my duty to be the person in my children’s life they can rely on one hundred percent. I see it as my duty to be an example, because I know they look to me first.
As a constellator and grown-up I know how much my children want me to be happy and content, and that they would give their lives to take my pain from me. Therefore I am constantly making sure that I am happy and content.
Both my daughters carry the burden of their own heart breaks, which I am responsible for. But I have forgiven myself for causing pain and confusion, because I know I didn’t know what I was doing and I was in pain and I was confused myself.
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