Breakups and Divorce from the Perspective of Family Constellations: 6 Key Points

Patzia Gonzalez

  Happiness has a very short attention span,
 it forgets what came before.
 Unhappiness, on the other hand,
 has a very long memory.
~Bert Hellinger 


“Sexual relations create a deep and binding bond. When a man takes a woman as his woman; and a woman takes a man as her man, sexual consummation creates a deep, unbreakable tie that affects the soul. This tie is stronger than that of parent and child and makes it hard to leave the relationship without feeling guilty.” 

 Break-ups hurt; love pain is one of the worst pains we will ever feel. When the relationship is over, we tend to forget that once we were happy, passionate, in love we forget we chose to be with that person. We ached to see him / her, talk to him, and go out with her. And suddenly we become enemies, with passionate anger, resentment and hurt pride. 

 We hire attorneys to help us get back, get even, get everything from our former beloved, and many times our children are pawns to this unfortunate game. We long to be right, have our complaints addressed and be avenged through the legal system. At some point, it’s important to remember several key points:  

 The couple is separating; parents do not divorce their children.   

  1. Many times custody is awarded to one parent, limiting the other parent’s access to his or her children. So it’s crucial to remember that both parents keep all their rights and all their obligations.   
  2. Children cannot take sides against one parent without part of their soul being affected. They need to know that whatever is happening, is being experienced between adults. They need to know that even if you now dislike your ex-spouse, you are happy that your soon to be ex-spouse is the child’s other parent.   
  3. The children need to know that you will both continue to be their parents, and that in him (or her) you honour your ex-spouse.   
  4. Children are not their parent’s confidants. Even grown children should never be put in this position… please find a therapist, a support group or friends with whom you can share your grief, your anger and your resentment.   
  5. Children are not messengers or go-between the parents. Adults can communicate with each other without using the kids. Fortunately, there’s email and Messenger, so you don’t necessarily have to do it in person or on the phone.   
  6. Saying “You’re just like your mother/father” should be heavenly praise for a child, not an insult.   

 Separations ere excruciatingly painful, and they bring up a lot of previously unresolved grief. When a person is willing to face the pain, and allows this pain to enter their heart, their body and their soul with all its intensity and bitterness, this pain usually—most of the time—is short even though it seems it will never disappear. Nevertheless, when a person goes through it, taking responsibility for their pain and their part of what went wrong in the relationship, suddenly they wake up one day and notice the pain is gone, it’s done. Even though they may still have to work through some issues, they can now start looking at the future, and finding the gift in the awe-ful situation they have just survived. 

Children also go through a grief process and need a lot of support, empathy, and understanding. It may be hard for a grieving parent to be able to be there for them, therapy can help. Usually children feel responsible for their parent’s break-up and feel very guilty about it. When we can respect our ex-spouse in the children we will help ease their pain. 

Counselling and EFT can greatly assist in the process of rebuilding your life when your relationship ends; and as a support during the legal process of ending your marriage. 

We Are The Stories We Tell About Ourselves

by Patzia Gonzalez

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” — Sam Keen

We all carry within ourselves our stories and the stories of our ancestors. Add to that, our culture also shapes the stories we hear and how we retell them. We hear others tell stories of our early childhood. All these stories shape us, and our perception of ourselves and the world around us.

In a recent workshop I asked if anyone could remember a specific event in their life that still caused some distress. A woman shared that “she felt rejected” and was very surprised when I said that wasn’t an event; it’s a theme.

As a theme, it’s composed of a myriad of very specific events that lead to the conclusion “I always get rejected, that means I’m ….” Feel free to fill in the blank: I’m not important, not loved, not worthy, dumb, dull, etc., etc.

A specific event is, “I invited my whole classroom to my 13 year old party. There were 30 kids in that classroom and I was very excited to have them come over to my house for a party. My mom and I planned the food, the games, prizes and party favors. The day of the party, my mom baked a chocolate cake, we decorated the house, set out the food and drinks and waited, and waited… and waited some more. Finally, four of my classmates arrived. All five of us had a good time, but I felt hurt and sad that my other classmates didn’t come or call; my stomach felt queasy and I felt a knot in my throat that wouldn’t allow me to express how I felt… rejected.”

When enough events that have the same feelings and sensations occur, they lead to the development of a theme or core belief. This theme or belief becomes the filter through which we tell our story and influences our thoughts and actions. It’s like a “forest” composed of “rejection trees.” You can see the forest, but not the trees. This theme, or forest, becomes like a very tangled ball of yarn.

To unravel this tangled mess, we need to find a specific event to start pulling the thread. The level of entanglement shows up in the difficulty to find a specific event, any specific event. “There are so many.” “Can you tell me one?”

Many times this question provokes silence and a frozen look on my client’s face. We then go to the sensations that come up in the body when the client says,   “I always get rejected.” In this case, the sensations are “a queasy stomach” and “tightness in the throat.” These sensations bring the emotions of hurt and sadness with them, and a specific event. We can now work on releasing the constricted energy that will allow you a different lens to see the event through. What happened, happened. How you view the event can change radically. When the way the story is told and lived changes, the theme or core belief changes too. Suddenly, the trees in the forest become visible and a space can be made for something new.

(c) Patzia Gonzalez