This was first published in Dec 2012. I am reposting it because the holidays can be a time when we feel the pressure of deviating from family norms. Enjoy!
Family Constellations teaches that guilt is the price of leaving. What if there’s a new way?
When we leave a family unit, or any group that gives us a sense of safety and identity, it’s like we are leaving the gravitational field of a planet. It takes a certain momentum to leave. Often this momentum can be the form of a strong emotion like anger or maybe blame. If you just look at it from using the gravity example, you can see how you need something strong enough to propel you out of the force field of the tribe.
Similiarly, when someone leaves a group, the remainder of the unit can go into a close ranks mode to protect the perceived integrity of the group. It’s all about survival.
There is a way to leave, and let folks leave, without anger or blame if we understand the dynamics from a different perspective. But even just understanding the anger or guilt or blame in the context of leaving can bring significant relief.
I invite you to instead to see and honor the original love and the value of originally belonging to the group and to also honor the need/decision to leave. It takes emotional maturity to see both.