Learning to Belong

When we begin to explore our family dynamics through the lens of constellation the role of the mother can appear to have a greater influence on the entanglements upon us within those family dynamics. It can be easy to become entrenched in constellations involving the mother and the maternal line. This is in part because of the direct physical connection and bond between a mother and child during pregnancy, birth and the early years of a child’s life. The connection with our mother is influential over our emotional life, our ability to receive and give love is deeply influenced by her. The mother carries more ‘weight’ in terms of the family entanglements relating to emotional connection and emotional belonging but the father and the paternal line are influential on our physical belonging, our sense of place in the world. Any entanglements within the relationship with our father can be devastating because they fragment our physical belonging and sense of self. 

An interruption to the connection with our father, and to the paternal line and field, is an interruption to belonging both within our family of origin as well as to our outer world connections. Whenever belonging is interrupted it changes how we are seen and heard by others in our everyday life, and how we feel when we interact with others. The interruption can be anything from the end of your parent’s relationship in your early childhood resulting in a loss of connection with your father, to his inability to see you because of the weight of his own trauma. It can influence how safe we feel in a relationship or friendship. It is quite a big deal, but it is so often overlooked because of the vibrancy of the emotional entanglements that come in through our maternal lineage. 

The structure of a constellation – The point to aim for

When we begin to delve into the world of constellation and entanglements we are not doing so blind. There is a particular order and structure that flows down from our ancestors to us. This structure becomes disordered and entangled when points of trauma and events are unseen or unacknowledged in the generations before us, and the field of influence we are living through and being seen through, is not our own.

There is an optimal flow that we look to achieve within the constellation setting that is informed by the orders and structures of the field of influence upon us.

The main principles within any constellation are:

Belonging This is where you as an individual source your belonging within your family field of influence. Commonly from your birth parents but not always and nor does it have to be.

Balance The family field itself looks to always be in a point of balance, this is why the roots of entanglements are created. If there is unacknowledged trauma within the field it will impact the field as a whole and the generations that follow will knowingly or unknowingly pick up the entanglements in an effort to balance the field. There is an unconscious familiarity with the weight of an entanglement that can be associated with safety.

Structure The order and flow within the family, the hierarchy of belonging that runs from the ancestors to the descendants. 

The flow of belonging and order can be thought of as:

The belonging for us as individuals flows to us from the structure of our family, our relationships, the community around us and the collective global influences. The belonging is based upon the balance within each part and is most often seen through a lens of shared beliefs. 

Our inherited beliefs can be cultural, religious, spiritual, political, personal and even unconscious in nature. When our beliefs, the passport to our belonging and the structural order within the field are not accepted and balanced internally within ourselves, then the field of influence will become disrupted. For example, if you have been brought up catholic and then choose to become Buddhist. Or if your family does not ‘believe’ in divorce and you choose, reluctantly or otherwise, to become divorced. When our own beliefs are in opposition to our family or community we can become displaced as we unconsciously try to balance that within ourselves. 

In addition to our inherited and personal beliefs there is another very important factor that we need to be aware of.  

If there has been migration or displacement of some form within our family field of influence, then the belonging and the order within the structure of our family system is also disrupted. Think about that for a moment – migration or displacement of any kind. Can you think of points in your present or past family history, or indeed your partner’s family history where there has been migration? I can. I am sure you can too. This very common theme of displacement is one of the main reasons why it is important to consider our connection with our paternal line and field when beginning to work with our ancestral constellation, as any potential fracture through movement can severely impact on the individual sense of belonging of future generations.

These disruptions create the entangled memories that are passed trans-generationally and are invisibly inherited by us as individuals. It also affects how we see others and how we may perceive others as potentially dangerous for our belonging. Considering this cause-and-effect pattern on a global scale for a moment, the current geo-political situation may be more understandable.

The father and the father’s line are particularly important, they are influential on our physical and material belonging, on our sense of safety. On our ability to have and accept a place of belonging upon the land, and to be seen and heard within that context. This is no small thing. The culture and heritage of our ancestral land, encompassing religious, political and cultural beliefs, are ingrained in the unconsciously inherited memories of each of us as individuals. Each of us unknowingly carries the beliefs of those who have gone before us in our fields of influence. Oftentimes those beliefs can be in stark contrast to our personal beliefs, causing us to hit potholes on our forward paths as we actively attempt to be true to ourselves. The attempt can be anything from choosing a love outside of the belief system of our ancestors, getting divorced, choosing to work in a field dominated by the opposite gender or maybe choosing to follow a spiritual rather than religious belief. Take a moment to think about times in your own life when you have chosen or attempted to choose yourself and follow your dreams? How smooth was your path forward? Do any bumps or potholes in the road come to mind? Can you choose to follow your own dreams without invoking old patterns of sacrifice and debt?

My understanding of the influence of the paternal line and field has deepened considerably over the last two decades. A pervasive feature of the paternal line and field that I have noticed is the presence of silence. The silence is often accompanied by guilt and overwhelmingly traumatic entanglements to previous generations.  The types of traumas range from the suffering of war, violence or displacement and migration as well as the perceived weight of broken promises within the field, whether those promises were emotional, intimate or financial. The hidden entanglements appear time and again within the silence of this part of the constellation field. I began to understand the absence of the men within the constellation process, because it is in fact very hard to look at and sit with such pain. The weight of the broken promises, particularly those relating to love and intimacy also open the door to a flood of messy emotionally rooted entanglements that draw the focus away from the deeper roots of fractured and displaced belonging. But there is a great cost to consciously or unconsciously choosing not to see the fractures within the field of the paternal and it affects us all individually and collectively. 

The experience of this in present time for us as individuals, and the close generations around us, is of a significant number of silent, missing and absent men within our life. This symptom of the deep-rooted entanglements within the paternal line and field can actually serve to exacerbate the entanglements experienced within the dominating maternal line and field, which has a weighty influence on our emotional lives. 

What this essentially means is that if we have a silently fractured relationship with our father and that line, then we can find ourselves drawn in to emotional relationships that are similarly fractured. We can feel ourselves displaced or excluded within our relationships and friendships, not being or feeling seen by our partner. That horrible feeling of not being enough, not being seen and not being heard or valued has its roots here within these entanglements. And this is a hard place to be. Spinning our wheels in the quicksand of unhealthy relationships trying to fix the emotional root when the actual root issue is in an entirely different place. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Are you willing to step into your place as a free soul and ‘see’ the unseen and forgotten souls within your paternal line & field?

Even the simple act of reading those sentences and understanding the essence of them will begin to move the field within you. And that is a good thing. 

2 Replies to “Learning to Belong”

    1. Hi Max,
      Do you mean conscience within belonging in terms of choosing to see or being able to choose to belong with or without the inheritance of guilt? I think the inheritance of the entangled memories, particularly within the paternal line and field have a deep influence on belonging.

      I perceive memories to be held within the land and they can hold particular sway over the paternal line. These memories are held within our blood, our conscience, and pass silently from one generation to the next, and they become stirred at points of transitions, choices and change that are in resonance with our ancestors and their fields of influence.

      For me the aspects which consistently appear within constellations involving land and belonging of any kind are around displacement, the excluded, perpetration, the forbidden and silence.

      What do you perceive it to be?

      Best wishes,

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