Secrets and entanglements in the family system
“I will never be like my mother”, the young woman vows.
With great awareness, this young woman creates a different life and new circumstances with a deliberate focus to create a different life. Before the young woman knows it, she has fallen into the entanglements of the burdens of past generations. Although she did everything different to her mother, her daughters accused her similarly with “I will never be like my mother!”
How is this possible?
In Family Constellations, we observe the power that secrets hold within a system. From the client’s repeat life patterns, the history in the family system emerges.
Secrets create entanglements which in turn show up as repeat patterns.
It is easy to judge a mother who is not fully present as a mother.
We judge a mother who struggles through her emotional hardships, and the children suffer as a result. While I in no way condone a parent’s neglect or abuse of a child, whether mental, emotional or physical, I hold a compassionate perspective when acknowledging the entanglement the mother finds herself in.
The mother-daughter theme from different abuse patterns highlighted this phenomenon for me, as a facilitator, in the past month.
Many traumas in the family system were and still are not spoken about.
Illegitimate children were secretly adopted out or aborted.
The abuse happened behind closed doors and was not revealed. Often it was seen as normal behaviour and accepted as such.
Families of higher status hid ‘disgraceful’ members from the world.
In my family, there is a high tendency towards addiction or addictive behaviour. My mother consciously avoided any alcohol or destructive addiction yet was a smoker all her life. My addiction is my need to buy books just to have them. Some addictions appear more harmful than others, yet they all hold us in bondage in one way or another.
What is the pain that we try to avoid by giving in to the addiction?
What is the trauma that lies entangled in the family system? What is not spoken of in the family?
What is the secret that holds the entanglement in place?
We do not solve our struggles with our mothers with anger, the bitterness of a difficult childhood, with accusations towards a dysfunctional mother or wayward daughter.
What offers an excellent healing path forward from a dysfunctional relationship?
When we gain an insight into the mother’s line of mothers, we can see the pattern emerge. From our hurt, we create further hurt.
What stops the pattern?
On Saturday, I witnessed the most beautiful movement in a Family Constellation Workshop. The client realised that the trauma she experienced as a little girl resulted from her mother’s neglect in the family system of mothers before her. When the client acknowledged her mother’s pain, she was moved to honour each of her grandmothers in the generational line, seven mothers before her, individually. It was touching to witness. She later said that with each grandmother she honoured, she felt more relief and free from the heaviness of resentment and depression that she carried with her all her life.
The destructive and entangled pattern is healed through the emergence of unconditional sacred love despite the burdens and trauma experienced.
Healing occurs when the secret is lifted and acknowledged for the position it holds in a family system.
All secrets are held in love out of love.