My brief explanation of the word “Constellations” and how it works
There will be more … I will explain in more detail how it works and how it can help. So, watch this space.
There will be more … I will explain in more detail how it works and how it can help. So, watch this space.
Rubin Alaie posted this video on his Facebook Timeline (when you click the link below, the video starts playing):
The original was posted here: https://www.facebook.com/instituut.UNLP/
Albrecht Mahr explains this approach, his experience with Family Constellations, the history and the development. He is one of the leading teachers in the Constellations World. It’s just over half an hour long and very interesting.
I am Silvia and I offer clarity coaching, free talks on Emotional Well-being and Moving away from Pain and facilitate Systemic Constellation Workshops, as well giving as guidance and hosting sessions on Mindfulness and Meditation.
I was born in 1966 as the first of two children in Germany. I am a happy and content individual today with harmonious family, friend and business relationships. That was not always so. Here’s a little bit of my history:
My mother was quite young when she had me: 20 years old only. My only sibling, a brother, was born two years after me.
My mum is a dominant character and my father could suddenly be quite threatening and, being nagged enough, even become violent. I grew up with a lot of tension within my family and generally felt pressed into a mould. Often, I was not allowed to be myself and certainly missed being appreciated and loved unconditionally (I know I’m not an exception). Fear of punishment drove me to being a ‘good girl’ most of the time. I was often beaten and not allowed my own opinion. It was not all horrible, though. All in all, it was probably a good childhood. There were times when I was my mother’s best friend and we had a good laugh together, and I always loved my parents and brother to bits (and still do).
My outward relationship with my dad was ruled by my mum. She would always try to pull me onto her side in a conflict situation and tell me things about him that I didn’t want to know. If I took sides with my dad she would become hysterical. I always tried to be a mediator but not sure I ever succeeded.
I am a very sensitive, emotional and empathic, touchy-feely kind of person, which is all my parents and brother are not (on the outside). At the same time I have a strong will and am quite passionate, which got me into trouble loads of times.
Breaking free from childhood
From the age of 16 – becoming an opinionated teenager with some more guts – my relationship with my mother became more and more difficult. I wanted to break free as soon as I possibly could, which is why I finished school after what was called O-levels in the UK (or GCSEs these days), in order to learn a profession and be able to support myself. At that age I started smoking and missing college and surrounded myself with the more naughty kind of youngsters.
At 19 I passionately fell in love and shortly after left home to live in my first own appartment. I was in an apprenticeship as a legal secretary. My relationship with my mum relaxed a bit but ever so often we would clash and I would storm out and have no contact for a while.
Trauma / meeting father of 1st child
At 21 my first big love finished with me, and my world totally crashed. I lost every self confidence and started dating men. Very quickly I moved in with a man, but moved out after only half a year. Shortly after I fell for a man who later would become my worst enemy. I remember seeing all the signs right from the first date, but I closed my eyes to them. I just wanted to be loved.
1st daughter / separation from parents / re-connection with parents / separation from father of 1st child
At 24 I had a daughter with this man (we did not get married). At the time I had no contact with my parents, the father of my child wouldn’t allow it. My parents got to know their first grandchild when it was 8 months old. I re-connected with them after having had some counselling. When my first child was 1.5 years old its father reported me as a neglecting mother, which made me pack my bags and my child and move back in with my parents, who at that point owned a house with enough room for us.
Back at home, the old family patterns kicked in, and it was hell for me. After a very short time I found an appartment – and another relationship – both advertised in the same paper. I moved into that apartment for only half a year before I moved in with the new partner, being pregnant again.
First marriage, 2nd child
At 27 we married and had my second daughter, and for a little while I thought everything was good.
At 29, though, I separated from the father of my second child and in the same year let my first child move in with its dad. My self-confidence was non-existant at that point, and I did the only right thing: I went to a GP and had myself transfered to a mother-and-child psychological residential resort for three weeks (we call it ‘cure’ in Germany).
I think that was the beginning of reflection and self development for me, and – maybe for the first time in my life – I felt nourished, accepted, respected, cared for and listened to.
Shortly after that I got to know a body worker, who suggested to attend a self development seminar with Klaus Frey (New Ways Seminars, Baden-Baden, Germany, see: www.neuewege.de). After that first seminar, called ‘Initiative’, I quite quickly attended the second, which is called ‘Charisma’ and the third, called ‘Excellence’. Klaus Frey became my guide – I guess I saw a father figure in him. I started then a 1.5 year training called ‘Leadership and personal competence’ and became his assistant in the next training.
Separation from my first daughter
When my first daughter was nearly 8, she decided she didn’t want any contact with me anymore, and I eventually – under pressure – voluntarily gave up custody for her. She was brain-washed from an early age on by her father. She was not allowed to love me. I was the enemy.
Second marriage / separation / another new start
Around that time, at 32 I got to know my second husband through an online dating page and moved in with him quite quickly. We separated when I was about 36, and I moved into an apartment with my second daughter. At that point I had learnt a lot about myself, who I was and who I wanted to be, and I was becoming a therapist alongside working in admin.
During my training with Klaus Frey, I also trained with Regina Heckert, a tantra teacher and family constellation work facilitator, and with Joergen Moerck from Denmark, who tought me my special and unique body work, called ‘BE – The healing continuum of nature’, which derived from ‘Body Harmony‘ (founder: Don McFarland).
My life-changing visit to England
In 2013, when I was 37, I visited my old English friend, whom I got to know in Germany when our children went to Kindergarten together (that was in 1994). At the time, she was spending a lot of time with her brother, as they were both single and had three children each. We were introduced, fell in love; and a year later, in February 2005, I moved in with him in a village in Oxfordshire.
I came here as a Life Coach, wanting to establish Family Constellation Work in Oxfordshire. But life circumstances didn’t allow me to start this venture before late 2010.
I worked as an administrator, administrative assistant and PA, sourcing co-ordinator, sales-assistant and receptionist. Alongside my working in admin, I trained as a counsellor at the Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (OCVC).
Re-connection with my first child
In 2005 I re-connected with my daughter, fortunately she was ready to talk to me again – she was nearing 15. Since, we have re-established a strong bond between us, although she still has problems to let me be close to her. She studies at University in Germany.
3rd marriage / new life
In August 2008 I married my wonderful English man. I finally broke the pattern of being with a partner for only up to three years.
I now help individuals and couples to reach their highest potential.
I was attuned to Reiki, Level 2, in 2014.
I am now also a trained co-counsellor with CCI (Co-Counselling International) and am doing my counselling diploma.
My vision is supporting young people at a school or college as a school counsellor.
It is one month ago that my second daughter flew the nest. It is only now that I can write about my emotions around letting her go. The process started a good year before, when I had a strong sense of having to let her take her own decisions and not being the first person she would go to when she wanted to share something, happy or sad. I could feel how she was maturing into an adult. At that time I was attending a psychodrama group with the wonderful Philip Halmarack, so I took the opportunity and worked on letting go of my daughter. It was very painful, but also insightful and transforming. I realised how very important it was to set her free and that I actually wanted her to move on and live her own life. When it came to the day one month ago, it was still painful, although also joyful, because I am so happy for her, moving in with her boyfriend, whom I really love. She received my full blessing and she knows I’m always here if she needs me.
She has left a big hole in my life. I miss her presence, even though we hadn’t had much time together anymore. I miss her hugs, the chats with her, the fun we had at the dinner table, I miss her coming home from work and sharing her day.
What am I filling this hole with?
At first, I just felt sad and sorry for myself and therefore filled this hole with negative emotions. Then I felt trapped (left) with my husband and the dogs and was quite vile at times, feeling I had no sense of duty anymore. Having a great support network, I worked through those phases quite quickly, though. Slowly but surely I stopped ‘pestering’ my daughter with texts and chats. Instead, I now consciously focus my attention on the things I have to do or I always wanted to do, e.g. writing another post on this blog. I am filling that hole with new projects: Our new house, which we move in soon; new ideas for workshops and how to use our ‘Magic Room’ – a nice little workshop space – in the new home.
I want to find dog sharers, so my husband and I can go away at weekends to explore new things together.
One door closes, another 10 open.
On Mother’s Day I received such a lovely card from my second-born: She appreciated that I struggled to relax into the new situation and she said she would never let go of me and that I’d done a good job, being a mother. Quote: “Well – Look at me!” 🙂
I am very proud of her, being so independent and grown up at the young age of 18 and experiencing a great love that has huge potential. I have my share in her being able to be happy. That I am proud of, too (tapping my own shoulder).
She has been a shining light in my life, and somehow I know she always will be. It’s wonderful to have a close and loving relationship like that. I never had that myself, although I feel it has changed over the years. My relationship with my mother is now so much better than when I was young.
I want to mention my first-born daughter here, too. I had to let her go when she was only 5 years old. At the time, I wouldn’t feel the real pain, I simply couldn’t. I was only ready to feel it when I worked on it a year ago in another psychodrama session, which brought up the relation to letting go of my second-born. Before that I never felt complete; and I experienced a lot of sadness, but never allowed myself to feel the real trauma the early separation caused. It takes a good supportive network to carry one through such re-lived traumatic experience, and I am so grateful that it was there and I was ready. Having her back in my life is a great blessing.
I like the song line from Sting, which says: “If you love somebody, set them free!” That’s what love is all about. But, like everything in this life on Earth, it’s a process, it can’t be done just like that. It involves grieving. Without mourning, there is no letting go.
Right now, I’m going through the process of letting go of my old life. I feel like growing. Sometimes I feel the growing pains, but I know that it is only temporary, and that I will come out the other side like a butterfly; and I will spread my wings…
…and – finally – fly.
Bless you all!
We are all children – We are not necessarily parents, but we are all children. (My husband sometimes says in such cases: “You must have a degree in pointing out the bleedin’ obvious.”). We remain children all our lives, until we die and – actually – beyond that.
In Family Constellation Work this is an important fact and has some weight.
When you visit mum and/or dad or phone them now as an adult, do you know the feeling of regressing to the 16 year old rebelling teenager you once were, or even to the ten year old child that wanted only one thing: to please Mum and Dad? I know it very well. Although I have learnt to handle those tense situations, in my case – when mum is being mum, I still feel all those feelings of a pleasing or a rebelling child. The pleasing bit is easy, isn’t it – you still get all the praise and the shining glimmer in their eyes when you comply to their ideas of how things should be, you feel you’re doing the right thing – you’re in the game. But when it comes to disagreement, that’s another story: You get responses like “Oh, you shouldn’t…” or “I wouldn’t, if I were you …”, or even a “How dare you do that to me/us!”. That feels, … um … dangerous – or, minimum uncomfortale. Doesn’t it?
My family conscience is all around; I take it with me, wherever I go; it is part of me. There’s always that little entity in me that knows exactly what agrees and what disagrees with mum’s and dad’s opinions on how life should be and how things will work. Family Constellation people call this “the family conscience”.
There is also the other thing you get, which is when mum and dad disagree and I dare to act like the disagreed parent: “You’re just like your father!” or “mother”, with that slight expression of disgust in the disagreeing parent. Ouch! That hurts. This is when children are – consciously or unconsciously – asked to take sides with one parent, which is basically tearing them apart. As long as the parents are together, when they disagree from time to time or even often, they actually agree to disagree and that is part of the ‘family conscience’. This is difficult for children and they develop certain skills in order to deal with such a situation.
If parents are separated though, there will be two family consciences. If parents separate in a disagreeable way and keep disagreeing with each other, it can be an even more difficult situation for a person (child). Of course, in other cases, if the parents agree to still be parents after separation, it can be a relief for children.
Any case of disagreement between mother and father and pulling their child(ren) into it, is asking the child(ren) to take sides, which is – because they love them both – impossible.
Children, by default, love both mum and dad and would do anything to make them both happy. They would actually even take their parent’s burdens from them, if they could. And they do try – unconsciously. This is when children (even when they’re grown-ups) don’t live their own lives. They try the impossible. A person’s fate is a person’s fate (or burden). Nobody can take it away from them. And – if everything was consciously happening – nobody would like to give their fate to anybody else. Would they?
The family conscience is a big thing that rules our lives – many people are completely unconscious about that fact. In Family Constellation Work the unconscious can be brought into consciousness. By looking at people acting as representatives for children (that is also adult children) and parents, family dynamics become visible. The inside picture of a family is brought to the outside world in order to have a look at it from a distance. Looking at issues from a distance – as you might know – can be revealing, and as a result the issue can usually be ‘handled’ with more awareness of all circumstances.
These days, when I speak with my mother, I have this whole picture in my mind, which was revealed to me, when I did my own family constellation. I see that she was the younger of two girls (5 years apart), losing her twin sister right after birth, losing her mother to cancer, when she was only 13 years old, having to get used to and accept a step mother, whom she couldn’t stand and a heart-broken father, who treated the wife like a house maid. I see all her short comings and that there was no counselling available to her in order to deal with her traumas. I see her hardly being able to stand on her own two legs without the support of a man by her side (my father), which made me sob, when I saw it in my constellation. These days, when I look at my mum or when I speak with her, I know that she has done the best she could. And with this in my mind, I feel grateful for what she has given to me: My life (and many other things). That is why these days our conversations are mostly harmonious, and we have finally bonded as mother and child. Since I saw what I saw in that constellation, I respect my mother with all her short comings. I am now able to say ‘yes’, when I think ‘no’, knowing that it makes her happy when I agree. I can now talk to her more respectfully, when I strongly disagree. I don’t slam doors anymore or hang up the phone.
It is magical: Since I did my constellation, my mum actually changed as well. She didn’t know anything about it. My attitude towards her changed, and that made her change. She started seeing me, respecting me. It was a process and probably still is, but it made our relationship work.
I still have a choice: I can be part of the family system or I can decide to step out of it. I chose to stay in it. As a result my life changed to the better. It changed from a chaotic life to a stable life.
Funny enough – my ex-partner’s families were all quite dysfunctional, and I never managed to stay with a man for more than three years. Now I am with a partner, whose family is exceptionally functional, and we’ve been together since the beginning of 2004, which is now eight years. And it looks very much like we’re going to stay together for a long time.
Love to the Universe and everybody in it!
A new year, a new venture. I heard them saying: “You’ve got to write about all this, Silvia, it’s all interesting.” I intended to do it just before Christmas 2011, but then my daughter went into hospital, and I just didn’t find the time.
I will write about relationships, especially family relationships, at first.
So, watch this space!
Good night – for now I’ve done enough with setting up this whole WordPress thing. Got to learn as I go along. Will try my best to make this catching.
I send my love to the Universe and everybody in it!