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The Family Constellation - Martha Randolph Carr

The Family Constellation is a form of therapy that says all of our present-day kinks in our personality are due to the family line behind us. Malcolm Gladwell touches on this idea in his latest book, "The Outliers," where he writes that how previous generations behave gets passed down till we are unaware of our part in things.

We can see from the results that we don't like something, and we know we have a part in it, but we can't quite say what it is or why we keep repeating the patterns we don't like. We feel stuck and frustrated.

Enter Danuta Jirik, www.holisticresolutions.com, who discovered the work by Bert Hellinger and his Family Systemic Constellations, and is certified to lead constellations through the Hellinger Sciencia.

Start with the idea that the mind, the body and the spirit are all connected, and when one part of the triad is out of sync, the other parts reflect the discord. Now, here's a key element to grasping this kind of therapy.

Our intrinsic value is a constant and is unaffected by our behavior. Our behavior or choices may have consequences, but they don't reflect some kind of sliding-scale worth.

Whatever is going on in the mind or the body is also a reflection of what is out of sync, but is not an indication of good or bad. Ditch the judgment, which pulls us out of the present moment, anyway, and just stick with the facts.

Then we can start to take responsibility for what is our part in something without all of the excuses, because we're no longer arguing that we have a right to be here. That becomes a given. That misconception is what drives us to constantly have to feel right in any given situation. We argue anything into the ground, because to lose would mean that what we really think of ourselves is true. Our worth is very tenuous, and today it fell a few points.

I've lived with that internal contest my entire life.

The details of any event have always mattered to me. Who was present and what did they do and how did each person react? I was full of questions in order to better understand everyone's motivations. I was mapping out the scene, so that I could feel a sense of control even when it was someone else's story.

The need to know has left me on a constant state of alert. It's a kind of edginess that never quite goes away. I have done my best over these past 50 years to think my way out of this box and leave the past alone, but without success. So, I agreed to participate in a constellation with Danuta and volunteered early before I'd actually seen one in order to short-circuit my mapping skills.

I grew up in a chaotic, and sometimes, violent household where addiction was always present. No one ever spoke a word about any of it and blame was passed around rather easily, but it was never connected to the adults. Anyone who has a similar situation will recognize a very familiar story. I had hoped that if I denied it long enough the memories would fade and I could create my way into a new reality.

But two things were getting in my way: misunderstanding my part and not knowing how to forgive. It's as if the responsibility has to settle on someone, and if the adults don't take it on, the children will, but without any resolution. That's what got passed down over and over again.

That was the consequence of silence. However, as long as my worth was wrapped around the truth I couldn't say a word and I couldn't attempt forgiveness. That meant I could only feel love in fits and starts. Nothing penetrated that early lie that children can ever cause addiction or violence. My Family Constellation showed me where the responsibilities lay, but without blame and how to see the value in everyone who has come before me. The heavy weight of judgment came off of them, but not the love. I was no longer staring at the act and I'm finally able to see the people. Imagine how that can change the way someone sees themselves as well. More adventures to follow.

Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.