I participated in a so called family constellation (or “systemic constellation”) in Ibiza, an island where a lot of (more or less) magical things are taking place. Our host and therapist for the day, Esther, writes that family constellations are a “very effective form to work on repeating patterns, blockages or important situations in our lives”. I know this sounds like a big promise and healthy scepticism is good. Over the past months, I’ve gained trust in formats where emotions are given voice though… So I gave it a try.
In family constellations, a few people (we were six, plus the therapist) take a couple of hours to constellate each participant’s currently prevalent issues. Each constellation takes about 30 to 60 minutes. First, you tell the therapist what question you would like to shed light onto. I said I wanted to constellate my family situation because the little girl inside me doesn’t understand yet all of the things my grown-up self has learnt already. It hasn’t sunk in completely thus far… I’d wish her to find some solace though.
Buckets full of tears
What happened then, has touched me so much. Maybe more than that. It blew me away as only a few things have blown me away before. Nearly immediately, I was carried away by my emotions. I was astonished by how much the participants empathized with each other. How we could read minds, feelings – just by going with the flow, by following our intuition.
The woman I asked to play the role of myself, expressed thoughts on the carpet which I had never said out loud but corresponded exactly to what was going on inside me. The other participants constellating my family expressed things that were amazingly true. I thought: “yes that’s exactly how my dad must have felt. That’s precisely what my brother would say.” The woman who played my mother was crying with me. And so on.
I cried rivers. Buckets full of tears.
I give you back the suffering, the pain…
There were many healing aspects in this constellation. The mere fact that you are heard and seen, your story is appreciated (as in Women’s Circles), is surely soothing for everybody. A safe setting, where we were finally able to welcome our emotions (which thus are also given a chance to say goodbye). I found it magical also what happened when the therapist made me say things out loud that I’ve shied away from in the first moment. Like “I’m angry that you did this…” When you express your emotions and your (new) ways of thinking – that’s when you embody them, I guess.
Although all participants had quite different stories to look at (unsatisfying partner-choice, sexuality-issues etc.), each one of us was sooner or later encouraged to repeat the following, same sentences. The reason for this is – as we learnt – because nearly all issues are somehow connected to the ones we have with our parents. So we would talk to our “dad” or “mum” and tell him or her:
“I give you back the suffering in your life, the anger, the frustration, the aggression and the pain. They do not belong to me.”
What is the supposed effect of repeating these sentences? As it’s not me who is the expert, I can only from personal experience assume that they help us:
- To forgive ourselves for not having taken decisions that would have made us happy.
- To “forgive” our parents for what happened. (Forgiving is not the right word, because who am I to forgive? But you know what I mean: You may better understand the reasons behind your parents’ actions and resolve resentments.)
- To stop judging our parents, siblings or partners and trying to change them. To stop thinking they should be different
In short: to mature 😀
We often live our parents´ life – also by trying to avoid living what they have lived emotionally
It’s no secret that it’s wise to find out whether we lead our own life or the life of others (for example according to the expectations of parents, peers or society). Neither, that we sometimes choose the opposite and discover later that our parents’ choices would in fact also match our nature.
I wasn’t really aware though till now that we can sacrifice our life – not living according to our needs – by doing everything possible to not end up with the same life or destiny as they had. A life of sacrifice, of pain and frustration or of isolation – you name it. And that by trying to avoid these emotions by any possible means, we do exactly this: we suffer. We do not choose what would make us happy, because we’re scared of not being happy.
It’s a paradox… And a tricky one! The first steps in the right direction have been taken. Now the job is to continue to walk on this path…
Just another self-healing trend, you might say. I suggest that you let yourself be blown away… or remain sceptical. Namaste 😉
…and in case you got curious, here I found an interesting video:
Thank you Ariane and Tanit endlessly for your support in realizing this post.