The Importance of Family Orders and Entanglements

The Importance of Family Orders and Entanglements

In the intricate web of human relationships lies a profound bond that connects individuals within a family system. This bond is governed by an underlying force, which German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger refers to as the “family conscience.” This unconscious author, present within every family, regulates the dynamics between its members. It attends to the balance of giving and taking, determines the fate of each family member, and establishes the orders within the system.

One crucial family order decrees that every family member has a fundamental right to belong, even those who have passed away. Exclusion, scorn, or forgetting of a family member, such as a stillborn child, activates the collective conscience, leading someone else in a later generation to unconsciously identify with the excluded individual. Thus, the entangled person may mirror aspects of the earlier family member’s fate without comprehending the underlying reason or having the means to protect themselves.

Additionally, the family conscience upholds a hierarchical ranking based on time. Parents take precedence over children, and the firstborn holds priority over subsequent siblings. In the case of sequential families, the latest family supersedes earlier alliances, even if formed through the birth of a child from an extramarital relationship. Unlike our personal conscience, which provides instant feedback on the consequences of our actions, the family conscience safeguards the cohesiveness and continuity of the entire family system.

Disturbances in these fundamental orders can manifest as guilt or persistent unmet demands stemming from an unconscious need for balance. It is through the practice of systemic constellations, wherein family entanglements are explored that a broader context emerges. This context extends to all individuals affected by the collective group conscience within the family.

The family system includes not only blood relatives but also those who have made a significant impact, positive or negative, through their fate or death. Stillborn children, adopted or fostered siblings, aborted pregnancies, as well as parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents, are encompassed. Furthermore, individuals who have occupied certain roles in the family, such as previous partners or victims of violent acts perpetrated by family members, remain connected to the family group.

These interconnected individuals form what Hellinger terms the “community of fate.” It is through acknowledging and addressing these entanglements that individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their own experiences and pave the way for healing and reconciliation within the family system.

In conclusion, the family orders and entanglements governed by the family conscience profoundly impact the lives of every individual within a family. By exploring and acknowledging these connections, individuals can gain insight into their own experiences and work towards restoring harmony within their family system. It is through this process that true healing and understanding can be achieved.

What should be learned from this in our everyday life? Ensure that you honour everyone in your family, even if it is too difficult, because of their character or behaviours. Including doesn’t mean forgiving or accepting their behaviour, but honouring their place in your family, if your mind and heart. For example, if one’s uncle has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has demonstrated the repeated behaviour of hurting others, which has led to exclusion from one’s life, then the physical exclusion can stay if one chooses so. However, from time to time, one should give place for the uncle in their thoughts and perhaps use Constellation sentences (in their thoughts) such as, “You are my uncle, and I am your Cousin/Nephew. I choose not to forgive you yet, but I accept the truth about your place in our family”. Sentences like that will ultimately honour their place in the system, taking away the entanglement and negative energy by one trying to push someone out of their lives. Inclusion is not forgiveness or acceptance of someone’s bad behaviour!

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