A challenging week

I was told it was a “Virgo full moon” where old conflicts were supposed to come to head with a potential for resolution. Whether there is some truth to this or it was simply synchronicity, I don’t know, what I am clear on is that situations came to a head which focused on issues that I have “borrowed” from my parents – worries over money and boundaries. Let me side step for a moment before coming back to this –

One concept that many therapists are familiar with from Bowen’s Systems theory is that of Multi-generational transmission of symptoms. What this means is that the areas that our parents struggled in are often the same issues their parents struggled with as well as the same concerns we are now being challenged with in our present lives. The “symptoms” in the form of limiting beliefs, self-sabotaging actions, and the repetition of ineffective choices become “transmitted” from one generation to the next.

Another way of saying this paraphrases from another spiritual belief system “Our sins travel for seven generations”.

I will say that I don’t believe that our “sins” need to be transmitted for the next seven generations – however the transmission of limiting beliefs and thus poor choices and ineffective actions makes sense. We model our lives and what is possible or not possible upon the environments we grew up in and the people who most influenced us. Often when you hear about someone “breaking the pattern” they will attribute it to a coach, teacher, mentor, or other individual that was outside of their family or immediate environment.

It was the simple fact that someone took a stand for them and believed in them more than they did themselves. I want to be clear – for many of us our parents were consistently taking stands for us – however they may still have unconsciously transmitted their beliefs which may prevent us from taking actions that are different than the one’s they took.

Let me step back to where I started this; so for me this week issues of money and boundaries both jumped into my life in the form of a sudden debt that needed to be paid that I was unprepared for and in the supervision of an individual who had violated a basic norm of the therapeutic profession. What I realized in the course of the week was that neither challenge was really that challenging. One was simply a fiscal issue that I can balance within a couple of months and the other – once I let go of the emotional loading from my family – was handled with a simple conversation outlining both the violation of the behavioral norm, the expected future behavior, and with a clear discussion of natural and logical outcomes if the norm were violated again. What initially gave these events “emotional loading” was historical, and to be more specific, someone else’s history, not mine.

As you move forward in your own life I encourage you to consider what issues you are holding that are, in fact, not your issues. What has been transmitted from one generation to the next, not because your parents or grandparents did anything wrong, but simply because as developing human beings we are incredibly impressionable and “imprint” both the things that make these people wonderful as well as the struggles they hold which often have pushed them to become those incredible people – but struggles they themselves would not want us to hold onto in our own lives. Struggles they, in fact, may have chosen to endure, so that we would not have to.