Family System Dynamics – The Burden

The Burden

The Burden

This is another concept practically unknown outside of family systems work: The Burden.

Here’s how it works:

When we are born into a family, we quickly become aware of all the emotions around us. All the energy swirling and engulfing us. It is our family, after all.

And being loving and caring children, we choose to help other family members, out of pure, innocent love.

So if one of our family members carries a negative energy – whatever it is – we take on parts of it. Sometimes a little part, sometimes a big part. We take on this burden in order to make their lives easier.

This can be anything. It can even be something handed down this way through generations.

Anger. Shame. Guilt. Grief. Loneliness…

We carry this Burden

The problem is, we take on these emotions and energies out of innocent love. But we carry this burden and can’t really dissolve it because those are not truly our own emotions, or problems, or experiences.

Of course, this interferes with our lives.

We can’t really, truly be ourselves and follow our passions when steeped in the dark energy of someone else.

But most of us don’t even know.

Recognizing the Burden

Now, I’ve been trained in this. I can see the patterns easily in my clients. But even you can recognize a Burden.

First of all, you can ask yourself if that feeling that’s making your life hard is truly yours.

It sounds like a silly question, but it isn’t. Ask yourself and be aware of the answers that come up.

Try to localize that feeling in your body. Does it feel like it belongs? Or does it feel foreign?

It won’t feel strange because you’ve been carrying it for so long, that’s the trick with this. But it will feel like it may not belong to you.

Releasing the Burden

Of course, now that you may have become aware of such a burden in your life, you probably want to let it go. Do remember that you picked it up as a kid out of deep love. This is nothing to be ashamed of.

#hugs#

Actually releasing it is fairly easy (and of course, you can always get help from me). You can visualize the energy flowing out of your body into a vessel of some kind – the style is totally up to you. My clients often use baskets or large bowls.

Once you feel that all of this burden energy has collected in the vessel, you order it to go back where it belongs. And you can visualize it flying off – possibly in several pieces – to go home.

Not wanting to give the Burden back

But why should I give it back if I took it on out of love?

This is part of the misunderstanding, and very common. This is exactly the love speaking that took on the Burden. Behind it is the feeling that the Burden is too hard to carry for the person who owns it.

Thing is, that person needs that energy back.

Without that energy they cannot heal what caused their dark emotions. They are the only ones who can heal that injury, that wound. So they need it back.

Again, please don’t blame yourself. This happened when you were a kid and didn’t understand these things. You’re just now learning it may have happened.

#more hugs#

Take some time to get clear on this. It’s a tricky concept – but releasing the Burden can really change your life, your writing and your author career.

It is worth the effort. Totally.

And I can help, if you prefer to be guided through this.

Tapping Suggestions

No blog post of mine would be complete without tapping suggestions, of course. And this is a very tappable part of family system dynamics.

Even though this is the first time I ever heard of this concept, it resonates … and that’s scary!… I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to explore this concept.

Even though it feels horrible to have carried this stuff all my life, and I blame myself for picking it up, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to remind myself that this was and is an act of love.

Even though it feels terrible to carry this burden, and also terrible to hand it back, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to send that energy back where it belongs, with the same kind of love that made me pick it up.

Asking you:
Does the concept of the Burden resonate with you?
How does it feel considering to send it back?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics – The Void

The Void

The Void

Going back to the Law #1 which states that everyone born into a family actually belongs to it (and adoption counts, as well), bad things happen when a family member is denied their space by other family members.

An empty space in the family system invites trouble.

I like to call this The Void.

The family system doesn’t “forget” a member. And if someone is ousted from their place, the family system keeps that space “empty”.

At the same time, just like nature, a family system abhors a vacuum.

So the system tries to fill that empty space.

And someone always volunteers.

Which is a bad thing.

Filling someone else’s space is hard.

There are several reasons why filling the void is bad for the entire system – but better than leaving it empty – and bad for the individual filling the position.

Filling the void with another person is still a massive disruption of the family system. It disturbs the balance, it tilts its energy, and it often creates another, smaller void a generation further down.

The ripples of a void can be felt even generations later, when nobody remembers anymore what happened. They get smaller and diffuse eventually, but it would be much better to avoid them completely

It’s also bad for the volunteer.

First, the volunteer generally has no idea they volunteered to be someone else within the family system. This tends to happen on a subconscious level, without a true decision, but it also usually happens out a deep love for the family – this is a sacrifice in the true sense.

examples are the eldest son filling the void of a father who left and was denounced by his wife, a daughter “replacing” a mother kicked out from the family, a kid filling the position of her black sheep aunt or uncle, etc.

(Yes, these are amazing plot elements. Let your writerly brain play with this.)

Second, the volunteer has a very hard time living their own life, since they are busy filling the void of a person they may not even have known. They are trying to live two lives and fill two positions in the family system – which cannot function very well.

Their sense of self can also be warped – because how can they know who they really are if they are busy replacing someone else? If they work to represent energy that’s not their own?

Can you imagine the confusion this can cause?

How to heal a void:

Fortunately, there is a very easy way to avoid creating a void or to heal one if it has been created by an earlier generation.

The solution is very simple: Recognize that this person has a space in the family system, and give it back to them.

Of course, it’s never quite that easy, because a person usually gets kicked out of a family for a reason and there is often a lot of anger, resentment and grief around the whole situation.

If a man leaves his pregnant girlfriend to disappear without a trace, it is quite likely she’ll hate him and deny his space in the family. Even more so if she does find a new partner who accepts her and the baby.

But the family system remembers… and has a space for that man.

If a husband embezzles money from the family business, obtains a divorce before it all blows up and leaves the ex-wife to deal with the bankrupcy and debt caused by his actions, it’s very understandable that the ex-wife denies his space in the family and casts him out.

But the system remembers… and the void cannot be denied.

This is an uncomfortable truth.

These bad people still belong to the family. It is their birthright. It is the result of their marriage and the result of having children.

And that is very hard to accept.

But accepting that these people are – unfortunately – part of the family doesn’t mean condoning their deeds. It doesn’t even mean they have to be forgiven.

All they have is that position within the family.

All they can demand is their space in the family.

And once back in the family system, they will be subject to Law #3, which is about balance, and giving and taking.

The man who left his pregnant girlfriend? He owes a massive debt and will – whether he knows it or not – spend his life making up for that debt. It’s a bit like karma, except within the family system.

The husband who embezzled the money? It’s highly unlikely he’ll live happy ever after – because he owes a huge family system debt to the people he betrayed.

And giving them that space, that position which is theirs?

It ensure that the debt will hang around their necks.

That feels good, doesn’t it?

Time to heal that void.

The simplest way is to get a picture of that person or to draw one, so they have a physical representation.

Then speak to that picture and tell them exactly what their place in the family system is and that it is theirs to fill.

No more and no less – it’s their position, their responsibility and their duty to fill it.

There is also no need for forgiveness, for any fake love, or any demonstration of being chummy relatives. All they get is their position, with everything it encompasses.

And yet, this step is incredibly powerful.

Because with it, you’re also calling in the debt.

That sentence gives me goosebumps, btw. Because there is amazing power in it. It’s not about revenge, you see. It’s about balance. Which can only happen if that person has access to and is pulled back into their position.

And I do have some tapping phrases to make this easier for you if you happen to have a void in your family system.

Even though reading about this void is scary and unpleasant, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m open to taking a closer look at my family system – and to heal any void that might exist.

Even though I can’t imagine letting xyz back into my family system, what they did was so unbelievably horrible, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I’m now open to the idea that it’s better to call them back than to have someone else try to live two lives.

Even though it feels horrible to accept that xyz is my [position] when I really don’t want such a bad person as part of my family system, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to see that letting them back in will also call in the debt they owe to my family system.

Asking you:
How does it feel to think about a potential void in your family?
How does it feel knowing it can be healed?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics – Ancestral Energy

Ancestral Line

Ancestral Line

Family systems encompass more than just your immediate family, ie. the one you grew up in or the one you live in now.

In fact, those systems stretch back for generations, from grandparents to great-greats and beyond. Usually, however, the influence from way back is small.

Usually.

There is one area where the influence remains strong through the ancestral lines:

Ancestral energy

Obviously, there are two different lines of energy through the generations, maternal and paternal. And they hand down different types of energy.

The maternal line tends to carry love while the paternal line carries strength and power.

Did I mention that family systems are conservative?

Fortunately, every one of us has access to both lines, no matter what our genes say or our gender is. We can connect to them and receive both love as well as strength and power.

Maternal energy is love.

Let’s start with this kind of energy. It flows down the maternal line, ie. it comes down to you through your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother and even much further back. You may be able to imagine this line of women, gradually fading into the murk of history.

This is also very important for men. If you can, open yourself up to it, especially if you’re a man. We desperately need more love in this world.

Now, this flow of love can be broken. It only takes one member of the chain to refuse to pass on her love, and you will have much less of it.

I have ways of working with my clients to restore this flow of love, but it is generally very individual. What I can offer you without looking at your family system are the tapping sentences below.

Paternal energy is strength and power.

And fortunately, every one of us has a father. Yes, even a purely biological father counts and has his place in the family system, but a social father can also pass on this energy.

Try to imagine this line of men, your father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather and so on. It doesn’t matter whether you knew them or not. They exist and existed, and that’s all that matters for a family system.

And ideally, each of them passes on his strength and power (and love, there is always some love) down to you. Regardless of gender. That means that we daughters can receive it as well as the sons.

If this flow of strength and power is broken, we will have a much harder time succeeding in life. We may find life difficult and hard, with many challenges.

Again, this flow can be restored. If you feel that the connection to your paternal line may be broken (and it doesn’t have to be between you and your father, it can have happened further back, greatly diminishing the flow), please also try the tapping sentence. And I’ll be there to guide you if you need more help.

Restoring the flow of maternal and paternal energy.

Receiving both love as well as strength and power through our ancestral lines gives us much more capability to deal with what life throws at us. It gives us resilience and confidence, as well as the ability to build connections with friends and find support there.

And yes, even as introverted writers, we can make good use of resilience and confidence… as we have to market and show our books to the world.

So this is a thing you would want. And you can get started with some EFT tapping, since it’s energy work and can influence family system dynamics easily.

Even though I never even heard about this ancestral energy, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to access it.

Even though it’s possible I never really felt much of this energy because the line is broken somewhere, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m now asking the family system to restore the flow of that ancestral energy.

Even though my family system is chaotic and wild, and I never thought it would influence me that much, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to restore  this ancestral flow and receive that kind of energy.

Asking you:
Have you ever heard of ancestral energy? What do you think?
How did it feel to imagine these lines of ancestors?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics – Law #3

Balance

Balance

Law #3 is all about balance, and that’s much less obvious than the last two laws.

Basically, within a family system there has to be a balance between giving and taking. Once again, I’m going to use the mobile analogy: If one or two family members constantly take, they get heavier and heavier. And in very bad cases, they can tear that mobile apart.

Now we all know people who love to give and give and give and have a hard time actually receiving anything. We like to look at those as if they were heroes. Our society thinks they are generous and loving.

They are not. They are distorting the balance by not allowing others to give back.

Constant giving is destructive.

I can tell a sad tale about that, one that might sound familiar. And yes, it is true:

I had a very nice couple as friends when I was studying at university. But money was tight, and so they came to an agreement: He would work to earn the money they needed to live on and put her through university, and once she got her degree and a good job, he’d get to study and she would support him in turn.

That’s a pretty good deal, isn’t it?

Well, the moment she got her degree, she left him and moved to another town to marry someone else.

Boo. Foul play. She broke the deal.

Yes and no. You see, it took her years to finish her studies. Years that he worked and earned the money for both them. Years where he gave and she took.

And that upset the balance so much that she couldn’t stay. There was no way she could repay him, not just for the money but for all those years he had sacrificed for her. The string had been stretched too far. The relationship had become impossible to maintain.

What they should have done is either alternate in their studies, or she should have taken jobs in the summer breaks to help. That would have brought back some balance. But they didn’t. They had no idea they were breaking a family system law. And to top it off, as far as I heard, she never used her degree… paying for the debt she incurred.

Balance always matters.

The above is just one example in an individual partnership. But the law of balance can also stretch across generations, making members struggle to repay the moral debt an ancestor incurred.

(Can I see your writer ears prick up?)

It is a bit like karma in the way it works, except that it works across the entire system, and can call on innocent members to pay back a debt they had nothing to do with. And that’s the scary part – we may never find out what happened to incur that debt. We can only watch for symptoms and strive for balance.

If you find that you’re a “giver” and gain much satisfaction from being so selfless… well, take a closer look at what’s going on. And work on receiving.

And if you find that you’re a “taker”, well… practice giving for a change. You might find it interesting.

The single one exception

There is one single exception of this rule, one debt that can never be repaid: The gift of life.

We can never repay that gift to our parents. But we can pay it forward, either by having children ourselves, or by “giving birth” to something we’re very passionate about. For me, my client work and my books represent that kind of paying it forward, of giving back in a roundabout way.

All in all, balance is the most overlooked aspect in family systems – because the other laws are so clear and this area can be very murky.

Which means we can just do our best, practice giving and receiving, and if in doubt, give a little more than we think is due. This creates a positive circle but no blatant tilt of balance.

Give just a little more than you receive and create a positive spiral.

Of course, no blog post of mine would be complete without some tapping. With this law, awareness is key, and so I’ll suggest tapping for that.

Even though I had no idea that the balance of giving and receiving is so important in family systems, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to become very aware of this aspect.

Even though I always believed that giving was better than taking, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to look carefully and strive for balance.

Even though it’s a surprise to see how important this balance is for a family system and for every one of us to function, when all the focus has been on giving, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to practice receiving along with my giving.

Asking you:
What do you believe about giving and receiving? Is one better than the other?
How did it feel to look for balance?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics – Law #2

Family Positions

Family Positions

Now that we know that every member of the family belongs to the family and the system, it’s time to move to the second law of family systems.

This law is about order within the family.

This means that every family member has a firm position within the family.

There’s the father position and the mother position. (And it’s flexible enough to make two moms or two dads possible.) These positions are bestowed upon becoming parents. If there are no kids, the positions are just “lover positions”, basically, because there is nobody to parent.

Children’s positions are determined by order of birth, very simply.

Except it’s not that simple. Stillborn babies count, as do aborted babies. They have a position in the family, and – as mentioned last week – they definitely are family members.

And if the parents of this family had children before founding this family, those kids also count. See where it can get tricky?

And see where it might be difficult to give everyone the right position? Continue reading

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Family System Dynamics – Law #1

Family and Outcast

Family and Outcast

The family system knows three “laws” as I like to call them, because these are firm and not flexible. Pretty much everything else are “guidelines”, but these three laws rule.

Today, I’m going to talk about the first and most important one: Belonging.

It’s actually quite simple: Everyone born into a family belongs to the family.

Everyone belongs.

That includes stillborn babies, aborted babies, children given away for adoption, as well as any and all black sheep. A family simply can’t go and declare someone outcast.

There is one and only one reason why someone might lose membership of a family system and that is the brutal murder of another member. (And no, that does not include abortion. No discussion about this.)

Now, I’ve seen a few family systems where a member has been outcast – vehemently outcast – and I’ve also seen the results of that decision. They were not pretty.

You see, a family system protects itself. Not the members. Continue reading

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Family System Dynamics for Writers

Family system as mobile

Family System

This new blog series is about family systems and how they affect you as a writer.

The way I see it, knowing about family systems and their dynamics will help you be more successful by explaining and eliminating potential blocks and limits for your writing.

And on another level, employing your knowledge of family systems in character creation will make your stories more interesting and more believable.

Sound good? Here we go.

Family systems are everywhere.

We cannot escape being part of a family system, since we do have at least two biological parents, and usually grow up in a family. It doesn’t matter how small a family is, it forms a system.

That system also includes ancestors, that is, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc. So even if you say you don’t “have” a family, maybe because you’re living alone, it is more than likely that you are part of a family system.

In other words, everyone is part of a family system.

Including you. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Final Thoughts

Happy Author

Happy Author

I’ve been running a writing message board for many years now, starting long before MySpace and LifeJournal and Facebook.

And once we had a member who was being pushed by a writing coach. He was supposed to write a short story every week and submit it somewhere, to build a name and a writing career.

A short story per week.

Now, if you think 5,000-10,000 words per week, that’s entirely doable. And I believe that with the right support in place, with good self-care, plenty of time to write, good food and exercise and such, it is even doable for a long time.

This kind of work used to be a great strategy for building a name in the genre field. And having 50 stories per year to submit and show up in various magazines is a great tactic. In theory, at least.

Or you could put that amount of work into a novel, and you’d end up with one every two to three months. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Write Every Day

Laptop - writing every day

Writing every day

Part of self-care is to maintain who we are. Or to work towards who we want to be.

For a writer, that means writing. Preferably every day.

I know it’s hard. I know I’m not doing it all the time myself.

But the truth is, you are a writer as long as you write.
(And publish your books, and market, and all of that, too.)

And in order to stay in your identity as writer, it’s very helpful to write a little every day. (Or a lot, if that works for you.)

If you stop writing – you stop being a writer. So write every day. It’s as simple as that, and yet… Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Feel the Joy

Goofy Happy Joy

Goofy Happy Joy

We not only have to be aware of our thoughts and our success, we also need to be aware of our emotions.

Because they are our guides. They let us know how the things we do fit us and our dreams and goals. They warn us if something is wrong. So it’s worth it being aware of our emotions. Get that message.

And even though most of us have been taught that our emotions are like a force of nature that we have to endure, that simply isn’t true.

We can choose how to feel.

(Yes, there are limits, and I have great respect for people who carry on despite depression. *hugs for you*)

But even within those limits we can choose to feel joy.

There are tricks to do so, and it’s absolutely worth to practice this. Because feeling joy or feeling happy does a lot of good things to your body and your mind. Continue reading

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