Invisible loyalties in family system

What if some invisible, unconscious loyalties linked to ancestors would contribute to our problems in everyday life? What if we couldn’t resolve some problems without connecting them to transgenerational issues? What if our lack of pursuing these issues will cause next generations carrying it on and on?

Would it be worth to explore what is unconscious yet seriously affecting our life?

We, modern people, still prefer to follow XVIII century reductionism views which limit our ways of cognition to physical and repetitive experiments as an “objective” source of knowledge.

It is like we’d say that all humans are exactly the same, like clones. No one sane would say that – yet we try to “verify” observations of psyche by statistical measures, based on isolated factors and interpreted with distortion of reduced empirical lenses.

Physicists agreed long ago that everything exists as a specific form of energy (however linking the word energy to our psyche is still a kind of a social taboo in the modern world).  So, if we acknowledge that everything is a form of energy, our thoughts and emotions would be a form of energy which brings further implications.

The newest neuroscience findings prove that our thoughts and beliefs can change not only chemistry of our brain but also can make permanent changes to our brain (google neuroplasticity).

What happens to the energy of our thoughts, emotions or – simply said – our inner experiences? Following energy laws – that energy goes somewhere to be transformed to other forms of energy.

Thoughts and feelings of your great-grandmother were influencing genes of your grandmother when she was a fetus in the great-grandmother womb. That’s no longer a fantasy but a scientific fact (to those interested there is a link: Ghostgenes).

Family Constellation as a phenomenological method searches these generational chains and their influence on our life by setting representation for family members and sometimes also for features important for finding solution; the person suffering cancer for example, could set an inquiry about the illness. Depending on presentation the facilitator could set representation of the client and some family members, and of the illness itself.

I was participating in a constellation set by Bert Hellinger; the client was a woman in her 30ties, ovaries cancer survivor however the remission was only a year long. Bert set up a representative for her and for the cancer. There were no words, no interview, just simple settings of two representatives. Representatives movements were very slow, almost invisible but they happened; these movements (in this particular situation)showed a dynamic of a positive connection of the client to her illness, and the illness was serving bringing her closer to her mother; when that primary connection (mother – daughter) was strengthened, the client’s representative moved slightly to the right and looked beyond. That was a perspective for health.Flame

That example shows many things: I’d like to emphasize two features. First – that was a particular constellation, the Spirit – Mind (Movements) Constellation; a method developed by Bert Hellinger after traditional form of a family constellation. That development in Systemic Family Constellation consists of a minimum of a facilitator intervention and a minimum of story/words with a simple inquiry; there is a minimum use of sentences, and a solution unfolds by very subtle movements. Movements are subtle, almost invisible yet they have powerful implications in a long term perspective. Experience, focus and patience of the facilitator is required. Personally, I prefer that kind of constellation if applicable.

The second feature from this example: there is a relationship between a person and an illness; it could be a part of more complex relationship dynamic in a family system. Family system dynamics and entanglements are going through invisible loyalties in family system, linked to Love, Guilt, Rejection, Denial, Secret, Abuse etc. Loyalty of love might cause such negative consequences like having unhappy life (in a child unconscious loyal statement to a parent: “I don’t deserve to have a better life than you”) or to have an ill health, or going to death. Bert Hellinger, and pioneers before him like S.Freud, C.G. Jung, V.Satir, J.Moreno and others, discovered these hidden dynamics under the surface of our consciousness.

Not always a positive solution is available and not always is seen during a constellation; if family system entanglements are complex, usually a first constellation would show a specific angle of issue, and that first constellation would initiate a process of unfolding other themes from family history; it is also possible that the person setting inquiry could not accept the solution or what is unfolded; these problems are big topics themselves. Off course, the fact that a constellation could not show a “naked” solution – creates avenues for skeptics who wouldn’t agree to keep open minds to find out what actually is going on. And the Systemic Constellation Method is not a clairvoyant method but a method of  showing hidden dynamics in family system affecting our life (We don’t deny electromagnetic fields existence even if we don’t see them. They are “seen” by effects of their activity).

These hidden dynamics in a family system often look contradictory to our wishful thinking like “family is the safest place”, “home sweet home”, and contradictory to that wishful thoughts about love bonds between family members should be only positive. Well, that’s not the true about human nature and the nature of relationships entanglements. Ancient Greeks exposed some of these shadows of human nature and family system entanglements and hidden loyalties in myths and ancient tragedies.

Did you ever wonder why Oedipus or Antigone fates within family system were so heavy? Why Hamlet couldn’t find a  positive way out of his fate entangled in the loyalty to his father, the fate which brought him to suicidal ideations? And from tradition of European storytellers – why Snow White was going to die in the forest? Why Red Hood couldn’t see a danger in her encounter to the Wolf?

These are not fairy tales for naughty children; there are deep insights about what is hidden to our consciousness. As many of my friends and clients know – I love archetypal wisdom of myths and ancient stories. But that’s another story…

Hania Gorski


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