Thursday, July 10, 2008


I don't know a lot about generational dynamics, professionally speaking, but I am having all kinds of "fun" watching them play out in my life.

I first heard the term, "Family Constellations," from Ruth King. Ruth trained with Bert Hellinger, and uses his system in some of her Healing Rage work. It's powerful. That, I do know, first hand.

"I swear, the healthier I get, the crazier my mother gets," I told a trusted friend, also a trained therapist.

"That's exactly what happens," she went on to explain. Then she gave me the quick and dirty Family Constellation explanation, that I had forgotten since working with Ruth.

Hellinger speaks of the Orders of Love He says, "The solution to life in family occurs when each of its members takes his/her appropriate and actual place, takes upon his/her roles in life, taking care of himself/herself and avoiding intervening in other's destiny."

"Intervening in other's destiny" has me chasing my own tail.


How many of "my" decisions really have been mine? My mom was a teacher, I became a teacher. My mom had a daughter, then a son, I have an older daughter and younger son. My mom always wanted to write a book. I've written a book. And on, and on, and on...

The question is not whether our two lives are dysfunctionally fused, the question is how am I going to take my own/appropriate/actual place in my own destiny?

I have a friend that is adopted. She's known forever that she was adopted, and has grown up issue-free with that fact. Her adoptive parents loved her, adored her, ate her with a spoon, she couldn't have, and didn't, ask for better. She is now married, happily, has three amazing kids, a beautiful home/life/church/community/friendships/etc. This is a highly functioning, funny (should totally be a comedian), confident, got-it-all-together woman.

Enter the birth parents...

It's her story to tell, not mine, but through a fascinating turn of events, she first met her birth mother, and then, eventually, her birth father.

She looks like her birth father.

She has siblings that look like her.

She has mannerisms that resemble her "family."

She's freaking out.

There was nothing "missing" in her life. She was happy! Now, Pandora's box has been opened.

We sat under her grapevined arbor, drinking espresso from matching demitasse cups, two women with "enough," talking about nature versus nurture.

"But why does it matter?" She asked. "Why do I care? Why do I need to know these people? Why do I need to meet my siblings? Why is any of this important?"

"Because it is," was my not-so-great response. "It's not that you don't have 'enough,' you do, or that your adopted family wasn't great, they were, but you are part of another family, whether or not you ever meet them."

She may be (and is) fine with her lot in life, but a system was broken when she was given up for adoption, and that family is affected. It is not her job to fix them, heal them, rid them of guilt or blame, but it does "matter."

Doesn't it?

* Photo from, entitled "Earth-love-hug"


Jerri said...

I think it does.

And don't forget--what ever we run from chases us.

My kids are adopted and I hope someday they'll know their birth families and take their appropriate place within that family as well as our own. The thing is, I don't have any idea what "appropriate place" will look like.

I think that's the key for your friend, too. Finding how these folks fit into her life and she into theirs and letting it evolve as it will.

Tall order. I send blessings for her journey.

Terry Whitaker said...

wow...a "what if" that actually became known...

Michelle O'Neil said...

My mother was a nurse. I got a nursing degree.

All I'm sayin.'

kario said...

I'm not sure it even makes sense to ask whether it matters. In asking the question, I think she's answered it. It does matter to her on some level. She needs to avoid judging that and just explore it so she doesn't feel bad about it.

Anonymous said...

"I swear, the healthier I get, the crazier my mother gets," I told a trusted friend, also a trained therapist.

How would you feel if your daughter wrote this kind of thing about you? Might it be forgive your mother and even show a bit of gratitude for the life she gave you?

Amber said...

Can I just say how blessed I feel to have connected with you? So often I feel like we could yap and yap, given the chance.

I understand your friend. Myself, not growing up knowing my father's family. And I do feel like I am "enough"... But still there is this feelings of needing to know. And then my cousin, who grew up with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle. Also couldn't have gotten better people for adoptive parents...But he just needed to know. It was something inside he could never name. Not "missing"...just.,,Well. It just is. I think it is natural.

But no. It is not her job to fix them in any way at all. Everyone is working out there own karma.


Amber said...

Wow. I hope "Anonymous" never reads my blog. LMAO!

1) Being a parent is not a free pass on all the stupid shit you might do to, or pass on to your kids.

2) Getting to forgivness is a journey. And sometimes a very, very, very valid journey. And it isn't really about the other person as much as it is for your own the time it takes is the time it takes.

3) I never heard her say she didn't forgive or was not thankful for her life. let me tell you first hand, it is very possible to still love your CRAZY-ASS mother! ha!

But let me ask you, as a person who has worked with many abused children, Anon-- Should abused children just be thankful they got to be born, and have no right to their pain and feelings? Or to the process of working it out?

4) And finally, again with the "Anonymous" crap.
...makes me think perhaps something hit close to the bone. Just sayin'.

Sorry C, if my words here bug you. Maybe Anon's word hit close to MY bone, huh? lol