Family constellations work has been extremely helpful in my own path and I’m so excited to share this healing modality with you. So many of the challenges we face don’t actually start from us, such as people pleasing, certain triggers or fears. Actually according to Marine 80-90% of them come from our family’s. In this conversation, we discuss epigenetics, ancestral healing and how to bring about reconciliation with the work of Family Constellations. Enjoy!
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Episode 404: Healing Ancestral Trauma + Family Wounds Through Family Constellations with Marine Selenée
By Sahara Rose
Namaste, it’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes You, Your Soul’s Highest Evolvement.
If it’s your first time listening – welcome, I’m so grateful that you’re here! And if you’re here every week, you’ve been here for months, years, I’m so grateful that you’re back! I love learning and growing and exploring different spiritual topics with you!
And this, really has been like a spiritual university, here on the Podcast! It’s been over 4 years now, 400 Episodes, of free spiritual content, here, to support you in your evolution, and I’m so grateful that you’re here! I’m grateful for every single person who has shared on this Podcast and this is another Episode that I know you’re going to love! It is so transformational and really holds a dear place in my heart because Family Constellations work has been one of the most healing forms of healing and modality, I’ve done that have supported my life.
So, if you’re not familiar with Family Constellations, it’s a therapeutic approach designed to help reveal the hidden dynamics in a family or relationship in order to address any stressors impacting these relationships and heal them.
So, if you recently saw that show on Netflix, the Love, Sex and Goop Show, they actually show Family Constellations in one of the episodes and how it’s done in a group setting. But I actually did Family Constellations, one-on-one, with a woman you’re about to hear today on the Podcast, Marine, and it was so helpful for me to really dive into, not only my relationship with my parents, but their relationship with their parents, which I had never really gave so much thought before, and how a lot of the dynamics that they have experienced in their childhood, they echoed back in mine.
And you could go even beyond, deeper than that, and that came from your grandparents were raised, which came from how their grandparents were raised, etc. And now, the study of Epigenetics, really shows that a trauma that has happened in, for example, our grandparent’s lives, actually impacts our genome, which will impact the way that we react to certain, particular triggers.
So, I was actually reading a book about this recently, and they did this study on mice, and they electrocuted mice, and at the same time exposed them to the smell of cherry blossoms. So, the children of these mice, whenever they would smell cherry blossoms, they started to get very anxious and release a lot of stress within their bodies, even though they had never lived through that electrical shock, but simply because their parents have, they were born with actually more neurons to sense the potential smell of cherry blossom, and created a more adverse reaction of extreme anxiety and stress, whereas other mice, whose parents did not have that experience, did not have that reaction.
So, if that’s not crazy enough, they took the test a level further and the children of these mice, so, now the grandchildren of the mice who got electrocuted with the smell of cherry blossoms at the same time, they exposed these grandchildren to the smell of cherry blossom, and the same thing happened. They would get really anxious, they would have a really bad stress response, even though it was their grandparents who got shocked, and their brains produced more neurons to detect the smell of cherry blossoms.
So, what that means is, a trauma that our grandparents may have gone through, for example, the Holocaust; for example, slavery; for example, child marriage, which is the case with all of my grandparents. My grandparents also, and my parents actually, escaped from war and revolution, so, I am born with deeper neurons that make me more naturally afraid of political instability or getting thrown in jail, or being forced to marry someone against my will, because that was the experience of my parents and my grandparents, and every generation before that. Whereas, someone else, they may have had the experience of extreme poverty or assault etc., and they may be indicating that with certain other triggers and certain other factors.
So, the entire study of Epigenetics is really, really interesting, And in this conversation, we speak a lot about how family traumas are passed down, and how, actually, so many of the things that we are struggling with today, maybe you’re like “Oh my God, I don’t know why I have such a fear of speaking my voice” or “I don’t know why I’m a people-please” or “I don’t know why I can’t finish things that I start”, or whatever the thing is that you feel like it’s a ‘you’ problem, it’s a personal problem, Marine actually shares how maybe 80%-90% of it, actually comes from your parents and 80%-90% of that comes from their parents.
So, so many of the obstacles that we are confronted with are intergenerational, so we can’t even have a conversation about healing and spirituality if we don’t address this, because the Western approach is very clinical, it’s very “It started with you, why are you like this, you need to fix it”, but when we actually take a higher lens and see it from a more cultural perspective as well.
And she also shares where Family Constellations originally came from, which was inspired by the Zulu tribe, the way that most of the world really handles different situations is through intergenerational support, and that’s really what we’re missing. We’re missing that context, we’re really healing in a vacuum and trying to fix things on our own, without looking at “Okay, well, maybe I feel this way because of my childhood” and “Maybe my childhood was this way because my father never had anyone that listened to him” and “Maybe because his father never had anyone who listened to him”, “Maybe his father died, maybe he wasn’t even around”, whatever the thing was, and it really gives us such a greater compassion and understanding for why we are the way that we are, and then also allows us to get to the root of healing it.
So, in this conversation, we talk all things, Family Constellations, Ancestral Trauma and Healing. We talk about how this work works; we talk about healing from different expectations that we may have had of our families; we talk about immigrant families and how sometimes the ways that we were brought up in one culture are different norms and ways we were brought up in this culture, and so much more!
I’ve actually had the pleasure of working with Marine, one-on-one, which was super amazing, and then my parents actually said yes to doing their own sessions with her, so I’m deeply grateful for her work and her new book, which she’ll be sharing more with us about in this Episode.
So, without further ado, let’s welcome Marine to The Highest Self Podcast.
And before we get started, I have an announcement for you.
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Again, that’s iamsahararose.com/masterclass and you can find that link in the show notes. I’m super-excited to see you in there!
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Welcome Marine, to The Highest Self Podcast, it’s so great to have you here!
Thank you so much for having me, thank you.
The first question I’d love to ask you is, what makes you your highest self?
So, what makes me my highest self is definitely doing things that I love, being surrounded by love, being loved. Yes, that’s love, for me. Love, love, love. That’s for sure!
And what you really work with is helping people come back to love, because so many of us, we really have obstacles. And, for myself and for so many of us, they’re often related to our families, family obligations, guilt, what can feel like a burden.
So, can you share a little bit about what is Family Constellations work and how does this help us come back to love with our families and our relationships with ourselves?
So, Family Constellations work helps you to uncover and dissolve any blockages in your health, a career, love life, relationships, anything, through your family story. Because, the thing is, everything starts with your family story, with your family system. That is your first foundation. And whatever you will do, wherever you will go, your family system will follow you anywhere.
So, in order to bring love back into your system, through Family Constellations, we bring back together what was once separated. We make peace with the past so then you can be fully in the present moment. We acknowledge what happened to you, we give a place to a trauma, a difficult situation, a secret, an estranged family member, and then, finally, love can be back and flow again, in your family and in your life as well.
And it’s so important right now. I feel like Epidemiology and the study of how traumas in our lineage, can affect us today, now is so well-researched and well-backed with science, and so many of us are realizing that many of the things that we suffer from, they didn’t just begin with us, but they were passed along.
So, can you share how family traumas, family obstacles, but also, family gifts, and, you know, things that really makes us unique, can be passed on intergenerationally?
So, first of all, there is a scientific aspect of it. Like, in the 80s, it has been proven, that through our cells, through our DNA, the term is ‘Epigenetic’. From generation to generation, we can pass on traumas through our cells. The good news is, when you set up an environment with love, respect, peace, deep healing, your cells are going to readapt to that new environment so you won’t pass on any traumas anymore, that’s the first thing.
In a way, that’s exactly what we do with Family Constellations. We acknowledge what happened, for example, my grandparents survived from the Holocaust, of course, you can imagine awful situations, emotionally draining and everything, and you, because you want to be part of your family system, because you would love, actually, to take care of your grandparents, you are going, subconsciously speaking, to repeat the same dynamic, maybe of being guilty of being alive, so, self-sabotaging your life, losing your money, not being happy in your love life. And so, finally, doing Family Constellations, will give you permission to give back the story that happened to your grandparents, and finally writing your own story, like, “I acknowledge this happened to my family, it did not happen to me, it does not belong to me, so now, I give myself permission to be happy, to do better.” Because, again, the only way forward, is to own what happened before. And when you do that, you can finally take care of your own destiny, without feeling guilty.
I love that so much! And I have a friend, who, she shared that she was always really territorial with food, and whenever there was food, she would have a really hard time if someone wanted to share it, and she was like “No, I need to know if you want some of my food”, and even though she’s always had enough food in her life, it was like, she just had a really tough time, she felt like she needed to finish her plate all the time, she would binge-eat at night, and she never really knew what it was, she thought “I don’t know, maybe this is just my thing”, and then she realized it was from the ancestral trauma of the Holocaust, specifically, that her grandparents did not have enough food, which made her parents always like “Finish your food, there may not be enough food”, subconsciously, which led to her having that same realization So, it’s so crazy that so many things that we think are our own quirks or bad habits, actually come from this ancestral trauma.
Yes, exactly. Again, like you just said, it did not start with you. Whatever you are going through right now, honestly, 90% of the time, it is connected to someone else’s fate or destiny or life, and maybe that person could not heal it or did not find the strength to face it. So, the family system will always look for reconciliation and reparation. So, the next generation is always a next chance for the family system to finally heal.
So, how can we tell if it did start with us or it did come from our ancestor? Are there any tips that you have?
I would say, when, emotionally, your emotional reaction is out of control. It’s like, you can understand it, you can process it, as an adult, like “Okay, I understand, I was angry because someone cuts a line, for example, at the post office, I was angry”, but that’s it, in one minute it’s done, it becomes to the past. If your mind is running like a crazy rabbit, like “Oh my God, how dare he? I’m so invisible, I don’t have a place, who am I? I’m not worthy”, you can be sure that story also belongs to your past. It’s emotionally, it’s just out of control, you cannot deal with it in a proper way I would say, you’re just do it like “Okay, I understand the situation, I process it, next!”
Yeah, and I think a lot of things, that even stem from our childhood, come from our ancestry, because even our childhood, we were raised by our parents. And, for example, let’s say one of your parents had an avoidant attachment style and you always felt like “No one cares about me, no one cares about what I feel”, most likely, one of their parents dealt with them the same way, and it’s really just this intergenerational thing that I think a lot of our parents just didn’t have the tools or the awareness to know how to deal with it.
Another question I have is, in my own experience, and many others, our parents grew up in different countries. So, they grew up with different cultural norms, expectations of what a family is supposed to be like, how involved families are really supposed to be.
I’ve done sessions with you and both of my parents have, which has been amazing, but it really brought up the discussion with my dad. I opened up with him and shared “I wish you were more involved. I wish I was able to talk to you more. I wish we had a stronger relationship”, and he was like “Do you know what my relationship with my dad was? I saw him sit at the dinner table and that was it, and I wasn’t really even allowed to talk to him the rest of the time because that’s just what fatherhood was like there”, and his father abandoned him, so he’s like “How am I supposed to have this role of what an American father is supposed to have, when I come from a different culture”, and it kind of brought me to this other perspective of “Oh wow, I’ve expecting you to be the dad from Full House, because that’s what I’ve seen on TV and your expectation is father’s aren’t even involved in people’s loves”, so he actually felt like he was the most involved father he’s ever seen.
So, can you share more about different cultural norms and expectations of parenthood?
Yeah. I relate with your story because that’s kind of the same story with my family, my mom and dad. Of course, even, my mom was born in France, she was raised differently, her mom telling her “You need to get married, it’s very important. You need to have children young, it’s better. Before 30, have your children, get married, and for the career, you will see, it’s not that important.’ So, of course, my mom got married at 22 and had me at 24, just like, easy, and then, so, she had me and how she raised me was actually “My daughter, you need to be financially independent, you need to take care of your career, that’s very important.” Thankfully enough, my father was very open-minded and actually supported his wife to have a career as well. So, I witnessed a new age of relationship, the woman can make more money than the man, and it’s okay, they can still be in love, they can still be respectful towards each other, for sure.
But my example is kind of unique, because back to the 80s, our mothers, they are kind of the first generation of working, of making money, just a bit, but it was just a bit chance for them. I always say ‘we are’ a generation of women bon in the 80s and 90s, where we can make money, where we can be seen as a successful woman. And this, of course, for our father, our brother, it’s like “Oh, okay, that’s interesting, that’s new”, even for our husband, for our partner it has been hard to adjust because their position as a provider has changed. “I don’t need you anymore to take of me, I can take care of myself, so you better show me something else, so then we can be together.” So, men also got lost in that new way, that new dynamic between a woman and a man.
And I think, you know what happened is – for example, in Italy, it’s a mama, the mother takes care of the children, especially her sons, and you, as an adult, you meet your wife, you expect her, of course, to take care of me, “My mom used to do my laundry, she used to cook my favorite dish and everything”, so then we have to educate our partner, like, “I understand where you came from, I understand your heritage, but could we do differently now, because the world has changed?” And of course, for your father, I’m sure he thought that he was great because maybe he was talking with you, he was paying attention to, I don’t know, your studies or asking you questions “How did school go today?”
So, my father, he was abandoned by his own father. So, my father also, as well, thought he did an amazing job, which, if you ask me, I didn’t have a father, I didn’t have a relationship with him, he was a great husband with my mom, but as a father, he was completely disconnected. So, here is a thing, it’s either, you choose it as an excuse of not doing better, or you also choose to be like “You know what, okay, I did not get the chance to have a father example, but together, with my wife, with my children, I’m going to create a new way of being a father”, because that’s kind of the same thing when my clients tell me “Marine, my family, I came from an addict family, I came from an abusing family, I came from a violent family”, again, you can say “You know what, in my country, my family, men are violent towards women”, what’s the problem? Yes, of course you can do it again, but you’re not going to do any good.
In order for the next generation to be happier, you need to do better. So, you need, subconsciously, to be like “I’m going to break the pattern, I’m going to break the cycle and I’m going to give myself permission to do better!” So, yes, your country of origin, even your religion, maybe you came from a Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, background and religion, and right now you don’t want to go to church every Sunday, maybe you’re even more spiritual. So, the reason, or the decision, to break free from what you received from your parents, what you still believe, that “Yes, I would love actually to pass this on” and what you don’t want to do it again.
So, it is also your choice as an adult, your responsibility as an adult, to choose what you like and what you don’t.
Aha, and I think it just takes it back to, yeah, just because it’s in your lineage, it doesn’t mean “Oh this is just what we’re like.”
I see, sometimes, on social media, on TikTok specifically, a lot of people joking about getting beaten up as a kid, especially in a lot of cultures that happen to take the chankla, the sandal, and they beat them up with it, or in a lot of African cultures, Middle Eastern cultures, and kids kind of bond over it, of just like “Well, this is just how we’re raised.” And to me, there’s like a sadness to that acceptance of like “This is just who we are.” And I think, yes, it is important to have that acknowledgment of “Yeah, that happened.”
And even in the 80s, I’m sure spanking your kids was what they actually recommended people to do, you’re saying yourself too, that’s actually what they thought was good child bearing, and we can still continue to choose and to do better with more information.
So, my question is, let’s say our parents raised us in a way where they yelled a lot or something that we don’t want to pass on – how much of a responsibility or necessity is it to have that conversation with them and have them apologize and see that was wrong vs. just carrying on and not repeating that pattern, especially if your parents get very defensive when you bring up anything that they did wrong?
The thing is, what your parents, or your family, were able to do, were able to give to you, it’s actually the only way that thought, that they believed in. They could not have done any better, and that’s the first thing, first, to recognize. Of course, you can talk with your parents, you can tell them “Listen, what do you think about your behavior when I was five and you were spanking us? Could you now understand that, maybe, it was not the appropriate way to teach me a lesson?”
Your parents, on a rational level, of course, they might acknowledge it, “Yes, that’s true. You know what, as for now, I can see it was maybe not the right way.” But in terms of apologizing for it, how do you want to apologize for some things that you thought was the right thing to do? It’s like the same thing with tough love.
My father, for example, was a very tough dad, we had (my brother and I) to have straight As at school, and if we were going to misspell a word, he was going to take the dictionary and we had to read the definition ten times until finally we were repeating the word correctly. But for my father, it was a way of giving education to his children, for him, he was not doing anything wrong, for me and my brother, it was a trauma. Every time we would see the dictionary, we were like “Oh my God, here it is, ten times, let’s do it!”
So, of course you can have a discussion with your parents, but if you want to have the discussion with your parents, do not come, do not enter the discussion with anger or frustration or with resentment, because, otherwise, you are going to channel, actually, your inner child’s emotions and you won’t get the discussions that you want as an adult. If you want to have the discussion with your parents and feel at peace after, or even just bit lighter, you need to show up as an adult, “I understood where you came form because I can also understand your story through my grandparents” because your parents, they were also children at some point. What happened to them with their own parents? Maybe they’re even going to tell you “You know what, it was so much better than with my dad”, and yes, you know, you are right, it was so much better. But if you have the discussion just to prove that “Mom, dad, you need to apologize because what you did was wrong”, they are going to defend themselves, that’s for sure, that’s guaranteed. Your parents are not going to listen to you because they are going to feel attacked. And it’s not about them apologizing, it’s about you finally releasing the hold on that story, because what truly matters is only your emotions and feelings with that story. That’s where really the healing is.
So, the story in itself, it happened, but you cannot rewrite the story. However, you can acknowledge your emotions and be like “Mom and dad, I understand where it came from, however, I want to tell you that I felt rejected, I felt hurt at that moment”, using the ‘I’. Your parents, they are going to listen to you and you, in the meantime, you are going to free yourself from that burden.
Do you feel like, if your parents aren’t in a place to even have, they’re not even open to that conversation, that just writing a letter, addressed to them, that you never actually give them, can do same amount of healing work?
Yes. Because the thing is, again, it’s not about them, it’s about you, it’s just the recognition of your story, of your emotions, of your feelings. So, even the simple act that I actually give to my clients, to write a letter, just recognizing what happened, will tremendously help you because, remember one thing, you are now in charge of your inner child, you are in charge of your little girl or little boy and sheltering his emotions, whatever he did not understand, this is your job now, to tell him what happened.
So, yes, you can also do that as well.
And I feel like writing a letter of everything that you want to say, it’s so freeing and cathartic to just get it out of even the ‘you’ of “You hurt me, you this”, just to get it out. And for me, that was helpful, to, before I had a conversation with my dad, to not come from that place of rage and tears and this and that, but come from a more neutral place of just “Here’s how I felt with it” without getting back to how I felt as a child, which, again, would make him get more defensive and then perpetuate my thoughts about him.
Yes! Exactly, exactly! When you come from a place of self-power, self-love, self-respect, you can have a positive discussion, a positive conversation with one of your parents, or the two of them, without expecting them to give you what you need. At that moment, true healing can happen, that’s guaranteed.
Would you recommend, if a parent feels toxic, to actually, to cut off communication with them or do you think that even if they are, maybe they’re even mentally ill or narcissistic or something like that, that cutting off that communication is almost like cutting off a part of yourself?
I think you have the right to know what’s best for you, and it’s your own boundary. You need, also, to be aware of maybe the toxicity of your mother, and again, with a lot of love, acceptance and respect, being like “You know what, you are my mother, I am your daughter, but I am not here to suffer from you”, because you do know that whatever your mother is dealing with, it’s not because of you, it’s not even your business, so you have the right, if it feels better for you, of course, to not call your mom anymore, to not talk to your mom anymore, until, maybe, finally your mom starts working on herself. Maybe it will also trigger her own desire to finally be like “You know what, maybe it’s time, now, for me, to see what I can do and how I can be a better mother.” But yes, boundaries, toxic, mental illness, you cannot take care of your parents, that’s not your job, your job is to protect yourself, that’s for sure.
Yeah, and maybe even setting a time of “Mom, I think it’s best for both of us to take one month or six months, or whatever it is”, just so she knows when to expect and maybe in that time you can send her a book or something, if she’s open to it.
I think what’s difficult is, so many of us are doing all of the healing work and we feel like we’re the one who’s, you know, pulling the grunt of the work and our parents may actually go deeper and deeper into their own story with that time apart.
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What do you say to those of us who often feel responsible for our parents? Maybe as a child we were the parent’s therapist and their best friend and the one that helped them get through everything, so the idea of cutting them off, it feels too hard because we’re like one of our parent’s emotional support systems.
So, what is your suggestion for that?
That’s a common theme in Family Constellations, a disorder when the child becomes the parent. The thing is, when a child becomes the parent, because maybe mom is depressed, dad is an addict, whatever it is, you are not going to enjoy your life as an adult, to the fullest. Maybe you are going to stay single, to stay with mom; maybe you are going to self-sabotage your career so then dad can still give you money, so then he still has a place and feels useful.
That’s, you are in a way condemning your adult life by still being responsible for your parent’s lives. And when, finally, you recognize that “You know what, I am your son, I am your daughter, you are my mother, you are my father”, it’s, of course, going to give you strength, but it’s also going to help your parents to finally be aware of their own behavior.
The thing is, cutting off your parents, if really, you’re in a very abusive relationship or toxic relationship, I think it can help, but no matter what, your parents will still be behind you. Mom on the left side, dad on the right side, and what you can already practice, it’s really giving them place behind you, meditate on it, visualize your parents taking your own place, and when you feel that your mom is trying again, to manipulate you, be like “Hey, mom, I see it, I see you, but I cannot take care of it for you”, too demanding, too needy, no matter what, you can be sure that your mom did not have a mom either, that’s also the thing, it’s just like a repetition. Because if your parents did not have a strong support, a strong system with their own parents, there is a lack, so of course they’re going to, as children, be that person for me, but it’s unfair to your child.
So, as an adult, you can also be like “Hey, mom, what about you? What happened to you as a little girl? Did you feel supported by your parents?” and maybe your mom will be like “You know what not really. My mom was mean, she was strict”, “Okay, so why don’t we do together, for example, a woman’s lineage ceremony?” Finally giving back to the children, the mother.
You can also do something altogether, if, of course, your parents would be willing to do it, but I think it’s also a beautiful way to heal together, because we are all connected.
So, rather than just being like “Hey, what do you think of your story? What did you experience? Because if we are having that issue, something happened, as well, to you. Why don’t we take care of it together?” That would be my suggestion.
Yeah, totally! And I think, also, so often, our, especially mothers, they may have grown up being that crutch for their mother, and who was the crutch for their mother and their mother, and they may feel “Well, I am always taking care of my mom, I’m always there for my mom, so who’s going to take care of me? Who’s going to be my emotional system?” And I feel like daughters, especially, they are that brent of it, of needing to be the emotional caretaker and regulator for everyone in their family. So, to help your mother do that healing work on her own, rather than…
And I feel like too, empowering her to find her own Coaches, books, programs, etc. so, again, it’s not like “Okay, now I’m your therapist and healing your childhood”, which can create more of that co-dependency.
Yeah, just like we are all connected, we all belong to the same fate, with a different destiny. And again, it did not start with you. So, ask your mom “How was your relationship with grandma?” because grandma was great with you, maybe she was an amazing grandmother, maybe your mom is jealous, actually, of your relationship with her own mother, it’s so unfair. But that’s also how you can break the cycle between mother and children. So, maybe, of course, your mom is going to refuse to do the work. At that moment, we tried, you cannot force your parents to take care of themselves. Again, you are the little one, you are not the big one, that is also something to accept.
And I would add, there is that amazing affirmation, I think, in Family Constellations, is “I trust you, I trust your destiny”, meaning wherever you are at that moment, that’s yours, who am I to tell you it’s not enough, you should fix it, you should work on it, you should heal it, it’s not my place. My place is to lead by example. And the more you shine on your own, the more fulfilling is your life, I think the better you can help your family, your friends, your partner, your children.
Yeah, and I also feel like, each of us, each generation that goes on, we’re kind of rising in consciousness, one, because of the world we’re in, but also on a spiritual level of, people call them the Indigo Generation, which was like, they say, between the 60s-90s, who were kind of the generational breakers of the different bondages, and now they’re saying it’s the Rainbow children and the Crystal children, and these different vibrations that they’re giving it vibrations for different levels of consciousness.
So, I think what happens is, sometimes as a child, we see the family’s dysfunctions so clearly, we’re like “Wait, there is some weird narcissistic, co-dependency thing happening here, there’s some weird, not talking about what’s going on here”, so, then, in that way, we see it so clearly, we feel responsible for sharing it. And then sometimes, especially people listening to this Podcast, we become the way-showers for the whole family that it’s almost like we can’t fully step forward because we’re always holding all of their hands and trying to get them to come with us. But at the same time there is a beauty in that too.
I know for myself, my parents were definitely not spiritual but I kept introducing them to it, I kept introducing to them, even if I would be shut down, that eventually, it got to the point that, I shared with you, I was having this dialogue with my mom, how I wrote about them in my book and she was so unhappy and were kind of like going back and forth, going back and forth, and then my dad was like “Okay, everyone close your eyes, imagine your mother on your left side”, and she repeated the meditation that you showed it, which he has never done it in his life, and I was like “Wow”, you think they’re not listening, but in that moment he saw we were fighting and he’s like “Let me guide them through a meditation”, which is just those little ways that you never know how you make an impact in their lives.
I love it! Honestly, when you told me that story, I was like “He did listen, he did care about his daughter’s gift as well”, with the session. And at the end of the day, it’s all of us doing our part and trying to do better, and just connecting with each other. And I think what your dad did at that moment was great, and I’m sure you were like “Hold on a minute, I know that meditation”, but at least it stopped the conflict between you and your mom, so it did help. I think they are listening! We can only plant seeds.
Even with your clients, I’m sure, sometimes, I do that with my clients, some of my clients, they are resistant to the change, but they’re like “But Marine, I’ve been anxious for my entire life, that’s my way of belonging, and you’re telling me that I don’t need to be anxious anymore and I will still be a part of my family? Hold on a minute here, maybe I’m not ready yet”, and that’s okay.
Yeah, you can’t force it. Yeah, I think it’s so powerful right now, that we’re given access to all these tools, but it’s also our nervous systems, take a certain amount of time to open up to something. Some of us, we’re here for the transformation; other people it’s that feeling of belonging, of let’s say, I had a friend and everyone in her family just yelled at each other, that’s just how they spoke. So, for her, whenever anything would happen, she would start yelling, I’m like “Girl, why are you yelling right now”, and I realized that’s just how people in her family communicate, it’s almost whoever’s loudest. And they don’t really take it that personally but then if she enters into a relationship and shows up like that, people would be like “What?” So, it’s almost like we take on these aspects of our family identity and even if they’re not serving us, it’s that inner child that just wants to belong.
Yes! All of the issues that you are dealing with at that moment, that’s the same route, we want to belong, it’s always a belonging issue because we want to be seen, we want to be heard and we want to be recognized. So, whatever it takes, we will do it. If everyone is an addict, okay, I’m going to be an addict; if all of the women in my family had miscarriages, okay, I may also have a miscarriage just to belong, just completely subconsciously speaking. Same thing with eating disorders, same thing with depression, with anxiety, with not making money or you are going to make a lot of money but then you’re going to feel guilty so you are going to lose all of your money, so then “Hey, don’t worry, I’m still here with all of you.”
So, when you finally understand the power of your family’s system, over your own life, you can finally break the cycle and like “I can still belong with who I am.” Not yelling, for example, for your friend, “You know what, you still want to yell, okay, but I’m going to show you a different way of talking”, and maybe the mom’s going to be like “Oh, that’s nice; okay, that’s new”, and then, maybe the brother and then maybe the father, like “Hey, it’s great”, and then finally we can move on.
I love that! So, what is your advice, the holidays are coming up and a lot of us are going back to our family homes or even our in-law’s homes where a lot of the same, or different, issues exist.
So, what is your advice when it often feels like you go back to your inner child when you’re around your family? The same triggers show up, the same anger shows up, that it, honestly, may even feel toxic for you to be there, but you also do want to be there for your family.
So, what are your tips on making that more bearable?
I would say, the discussions, the inner discussion with your little girl or little boy, will be the best choice to practice, to do, before Thanksgiving, before Christmas, going back to your family. Because, again, it’s not your adult self being triggered, it’s your inner child being triggered. And you can definitely reassure her, tell him what’s going to happen – it’s like, you know when you tell your own child “Okay sweetie, we’re going to see the doctor, the doctor’s going to ask you to open your mouth”, whatever it is, “Then he can check your throat.” It’s kind of like the same thing “Okay, we do know that mom might trigger us by maybe asking us “Hey, are you still single? When am I going to have grandchildren?” Okay, so we’re already aware of that situation; and instead of being like “Could you please just give me a break, I’m tired of that question, I do whatever I want”, you can be like “I understand that you would love to be a grandma, but right, mom, that’s not my choice.” You always need to use ‘I’, as soon as you use ‘you’, ‘you did’, ‘you hurt’, you can be sure that it’s going to be an attack mode, defensive mode, and it’s going to be a mess.
When you say “I feel”, “I am”, “I think”, you just take charge of your own behavior and reaction, which does not create an aggressive environment.
So, yeah, take care of your little girl or little boy before, because you do know, already, the triggers, you do know what’s going to happen, you do know that your uncle is going to get drunk again, it’s been 15 years, so there is no miracle here. So, just be aware of “I know it’s going to happen, it’s not about me and I can also set up my own boundaries.” And if really, at some point, it’s too hard for you, you feel like it’s overwhelming, leave the table for five or ten minutes, excuse yourself, just go outside, maybe for a walk, or just go to the bathroom, just breathing with yourself, just being with yourself, reconnect with yourself, you can also do that.
I would say, forcing yourself to stay in the same room where you can feel you are not doing great, leave, have that wisdom of being like “What do I need at that moment? I need to leave. Okay.” For, five, ten or fifteen minutes, go back to yourself.
So, what is your take when someone says like, for example, I feel like our generation is all about boundaries. And when I say these things to my mom, she’s like “When I grew up, my ten cousins would show up at our house and I had to sleep on the floor for a month, we were flexible.”
So, what is your take? And the way that she sees it, she’s like “Your generation is so inflexible, you need to have it your way and on time and you can’t deal with other people who you don’t like, whereas for us, we were just around people all the time, that we had to be able to get along with anyone.”
So, what is your take on, maybe, yes, we have become very individualistic and even isolated, in the Western society, that it is hard for us to be around other people, different generations, etc., but also, at the same time, they had no concept of boundaries or their own needs at all, so they may just see that as flexibility?
I think it’s a very interesting time right now because we are actually going, for me, we are going back to the collective consciousness with boundaries. It’s like “I am because we are”, it’s together that we can definitely create change. And for example, we saw it with #MeToo Movement, it’s not only about women, it’s about men as well, because your sisters, your daughters, your mothers, your grandmothers; that was also the same thing with Black Lives Matter, we need to be here for each other. It’s not only a problem for black people, it’s a collective problem, white people, black people; same thing for religion.
So, I think we are at that moment where we understand that our real strength and power belongs to the people altogether, making change, but we also need to acknowledge our boundaries, that’s for sure, because otherwise, people are just going to take and take and take. When has a woman, we do not have a voice to say “No, I don’t want to sleep with you tonight”, and we had to force ourself to have sex with that person, that’s a lack of boundary. But then in our mind, even in movies; even in movies Sahara, when you watch movies from the 80s, you’re like “Oh my God, that’s not appropriate”, and then of course, those behaviors, they were seen as normal. So, okay, but what happens here, why do you want to change it?
So, I think, also, that generation, making the change, sacrificing, also, maybe, just for a bit of a well-being, to also be like “You know what, we can do better”, and we need, also, to say yes and no, “Yes, this is acceptable”, “No, it’s not acceptable”.
So, maybe your mom, for her, it was inflexible to sleep with ten cousins, but maybe right now, yes, you can still have your entire family going home for vacation, because no matter what, then it’s resentment, then it’s frustration, then it’s anger, and it’s not helping either, because then it’s health issues, it’s cancer. So many, of course, we could dive deeper in each, but your body will then take care of it, to show you that there is something that is wrong and completely off with your lifestyle.
So, selfish, being selfish is actually a positive feeling for me. You need to know what you need in order to give your best in your different relationships with others. That’s also the problem with a pleaser or the over-giver, “But I gave you, I gave you”, “Yes, okay, but I never asked for all of this.” So, you need also to receive, everything is a balance, giving, receiving, order, disorder, it is so important.
So, I think, actually, we’re pretty flexible. New generation, we’re pretty adaptable, because we have been giving permission to others to have a voice, to get married with the same gender, to have a voice like “I don’t identify as a woman, but as a man.” I think, actually, we are open-minded, like “Okay, what can I do in order to help you feel that you belong with me, that you have a place as well?”
Yeah, I agree, we are definitely, collectively, much more open-minded than ever before and it’s in these broader ways. Growing up, whenever you go on family vacations, I’d be like “I’m taking the bed”, and that was always the thing, I’m so selfish, but I’m like “I know my back will hurt, so I’m going to take the bed and if you don’t mind…”, but it was always, maybe just intuitively, I knew, but I think, also, just the expectation is like “Oh, a kid needs to…”, it’s like a hierarchy of where you are.
And I think, especially in more community settings, which a lot of people in the Middle East and India, all over, they live in communities, so it is like, the youngest one is going to sleep on the floor, the youngest one is going to do this, the girls are going to clean up and be in the kitchen for the three hours after dinner while the guys sit around and play Backgammon and smoke their cigar, and that’s just the way it is. So, when someone speaks up against a cultural norm, they’re seen as selfish, but it’s really, they’re awakening to something bigger. And at the same time, I do think that it is more challenging for us in the Western world to adapt to intergenerational and communal living just because we have such high standards for how we want to spend our time that we’re like “I don’t want to spend 4 hours watching TV with you because I have better things to do”, whereas in that generation, time was just a lot more superfluous, they didn’t really have these high-demanding jobs so you could just spend the whole day “wasting time”, doing nothing, whereas of us, we’re so hyper-diligent on our time.
So, mu question for you is, a lot of people do want to move to community right now, basically recreating their own family with friends, how can this work in a way that, right now, we still are so used to getting things that we want, when we want it?
So, first of all, if you want to be part of a community with your friends, you better be at peace with your own parents, because the community is going to represent your mother’s relationship, and then, of course, in your community, you need, no matter what, to have rules, to have boundaries which will represent the father’s relationship. So, that’s the first thing first. Even some of you all are like “Yes, it’s going to be so cool, no rules, no boundaries, we love each other”, no! In a month, I just give you a month, one month, you are going to want to kill your best friend, kill them, because guess what, we are human beings, we are not perfect. At first, it’s a fantasy, we’re going to do better, that’s not true, okay!
So, first thing first, be at peace with your first foundation, meaning your family, your parents, your siblings.
Then, you need to set up rules, community rules, community values, community beliefs, who is who. I don’t know, maybe there is a musician and he wants to play guitar until midnight, but maybe you, you are a mom with a newborn and you know what, the guitar, until midnight, no, because you want to sleep, actually, your newborn is sleeping as well. You need to talk and communicate about all of these insignificant details, but at the end, that will create the functioning of your community. And remember one thing, the Zulu tribe in Africa, where Bert Hellinger discovered a type of Family Constellations at first, it was actually a way of resolving any issues happening in the tribe. It came from the Zulu, they used to create a circle where everyone was allowed to share their emotions, frustrations and feelings. So, yes, that’s also what’s very important, no matter what, we need a structure. People who think that without a structure we can be okay, I’m sorry but it’s a pipe dream, it does not exist, because we are part of a systemic world. The first system – family; second system – school; third system – friendships; fourth system – your career. We are part of a systemic world, so if you wanted to work, we need also to create a structure. There is nothing more anxious than when a person does not feel “I have a structure in my life.” That’s what happened with Covid, the unknown – we didn’t know what was going on. Every day we are getting a new information, it’s going to open, not open, mask, no mask, that’s the same thing, we don’t do well with the unknown. So, you want to create a community, I think that’s amazing, but you need to have a structure of it and be at peace with you family of origins, please, then, you just take care of it.
Yeah, and I think that’s so important because sometimes people, because they didn’t enjoy, or they have unresolved anger, frustration with their family, they’re like “You know what, my friends are my family. I’m going to create my own community!” However, if you don’t heal that, which doesn’t mean your family has to apologize or own up for it, but you internally have that resolution that you mentioned, you’re actually going to perpetuate that. I’ve seen people create the same dynamics with their best friends of whichever parent they didn’t have full healing with, and it’s like, here they are, thinking they know their best friend so well, and they’re like “Wait, am I actually co-dependent in this relationship or is this same neediness or whatever showing up?”
So, it’s so important because it’s like, whatever you don’t heal, you’re going to keep carrying on, carrying on, and it’s going to keep up showing in your field until you heal it.
Well said! Exactly! Whatever you did not understand or whatever you did not cope with, you are going to ask your best friend, your husband, one of your children, even one of your co-workers, to take care of it. So, that’s why, honestly, that’s beautiful, to create a community, but if you get, still, unresolved situations or relationships, you better take care of them before.
So, for people right now, they’re like “Okay, I see it, I want to do the Family Constellations, the healing work”, how can they get started?
You can get my book, at first, if you want, “Connected Fates, Separate Destinies” it’s about the principles of Family Constellations and I give exercises and affirmations. If, actually, you would like to start the work and get insights on your own breakthrough ‘Aha’ moment, I think it’s a great start. If you’re still a bit scared of doing a Constellation, then, of course, I’m here. I work remotely, I offer workshops, you can find me on Instagram, where I share all of insights about Family Constellations. And of course, if you type on Google, you can find Bert Hellinger’s books. He’s the founder of Family Constellations.
But, yeah, basically, just, I would say become curious about your heritage, and you know what, I can see, in my life right now, it’s always the same pattern, it’s always the same repetition, it’s always the same story. Well, don’t look any further, it’s part of your family’s system. That’s also how you know when it belongs to you or when it does not belong to you, because, despite your best effort, doing therapy, doing healing, and you are still dealing with the same shit (pardon my French), take a look at your family story, that’s where your answer is waiting for you, that’s for sure!
Well, I love the book so much “Connected Fates, Separate Destinies” and it has so many great stories as well, so, if someone is curious about “I’m not really sure, what does it look like?” I guarantee you, you’ll find at least one story that resonates with you and your family lineage.
And for me, doing the one-on-one work with you has been so helpful, and like I mentioned, opened up my mother, father and brother, to all do their own sessions, which has been so great and our relationship is so much better than it ever has been before.
So, thank you so much for the work that you’re doing in the world, i’s so needed right now!
Thank you so much, thank you! Thank you for your trust, thank you so much!
And I’ll see you next time!
[1:02:16] End of Interview
Wow, what an incredible conversation! And I hope this really inspires you to get curious about your parent’s upbringing. What was the time like? What were some traumas that may have experienced? How did they feel as a child? What was their relationship with their families like?
I think it’s so important! I’ve realized that, so often, our parents don’t really tell us that much about their own childhoods, maybe they feel like it’s not important, it’s in the past, they don’t want to talk about it. But I’ve actually learned so much about them, that I would’ve never known before, had I not gotten curious and asked.
So, I hope you take this as an invitation especially because we won’t have our families around forever, to get curious and to just really ask and listen. And I think so much of growth, as an adult, is to move away from seeing your parents simply as your parents but seeing them as human beings, as like their own person having a human experience here, on this crazy earth, with their own dreams and fears and worries. And I think, sometimes, we continue to put them in our minds, only in the role of our parents, but as we get older, we realize that they’re just figuring it out too and they’re still on their journeys.
So, I hope this Episode can bring families closer, allow you to have, maybe, difficult conversations that you’ve been meaning to have. But just know that at the end of any meaningful conversation, comes deeper growth.
So, I’m so grateful for you guys, I hope you check out Marine’s new book “Connected Fates, Separated Destinies” and I’m so grateful to you guys for being here.
If you loved this Episode, I would love to send you a free gift which is the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right for Your Mind-Body Type”. This is a different book than “Eat Feel Fresh“. My first book ever which is not released anywhere, and I am gifting it exclusively to those who leave a review of my Podcast in the iTunes store. So, all you’ve got to do is head over to iTunes where you’re maybe listening to this Podcast and leave a review, take a screenshot that you’ve left it and email it over to me at [email protected] and I will send you back the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type“, which goes all into Ayurveda, Doshas, Plant-Based Nutrition, Body Types – all of the things in a really fun and engaging way. So, this is my gift to you for free for supporting the Podcast. Every single review I personally read. It really helps the Podcast be listened to by more people so we can raise the vibration of the planet together, and I am soul grateful to have you on this journey.
Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you on the next Episode. Namaste.
Episode 404: Healing Ancestral Trauma + Family Wounds Through Family Constellations
with Marine Selenée
By Sahara Rose