How do you feel when you’re blamed for something you didn’t do?
Often when we think of collective trauma, we consider the victims, most often with our love and compassion.
But how do we compassionately embrace the perpetrator’s reality? Thinking of ourselves as the perpetrator in a collective trauma brings up a lot of feelings. We feel guilt, shame and anger. Often, we feel rejected from the group of people we see as the victims who deserve compassion.
A White European Facilitating Constellations To Address Racial Trauma
I am a white European. Earlier this year, when I facilitated a course about collective trauma with black Bermudians, I gained a firsthand experience of the implicit blame towards me because of my ancestry.
As we opened the field for people to share their painful experiences related to race, story after story poured into our space. “White people” were the perpetrators throughout the stories.
This was difficult for me. What I felt was the implicit blame of my ancestors’ role in the abuse of people of color around the world. I hadn’t hurt anyone in the room personally, but the classroom was filled with tension and impatience. In other words, the room was filled with consequences of the wrongdoing and pain inflicted by white people in the past.
At the Inner Arts Institute, we focus on a mixture of methods to help a person release trauma from his or her body. One major concept behind our work is the transgenerational transmission of trauma.
Studies on epigenetics confirm that our ancestors, grandparents, and parents pass down wonderful traits like our gifts and talents, strength, and our body type. What our family also passes down is unfinished trauma.
But how do unfinished trauma transmissions work? How do we inherit our gifts and long-passed traumatic experiences from family members we may have never even met?
1. Through our DNA
As seen here in a PBS video
about the children of Holocaust survivors
Epigenetics, as written beautifully
within the Atlantic Monthly, Oct 2018
Getting in touch with these three areas help us to become aware of the root of many of our personal issues. Although talking to a supportive person is helpful, talking keeps us in our higher brain functions and does not allow us to access our unconscious or transgenerational issues.
To connect with these issues, we need to stay in tune with our bodies and become highly attuned to our breathing patterns and physical states. When we are triggered, our mind and our logic is of little help. Our nervous system goes into fight, flight, or freeze.
Introductory comments: What we find in each Family Constellation is unique and belongs to only one family system. That said, our family may be playing out its own version of a pattern we observe in another’s family system. I offer these case studies to give you a small taste of the issues that can arise in this work.
As you will see, some of these patterns originate in the current generation. Others originated several generations back.
Please keep in mind that constellation work functions in a rather kinesthetic, felt-sense, so the written examples will not convey the impact of a constellation; but I hope they give you a better understanding of how the work is done.
THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER RIFT
Angela presented this issue: “I was always very close to my daughter until she turned 15. Then, she began hating me.”
My first reaction was that maybe this was more of a developmental movement rather than a Family Constellation issue. But when I voiced this, Angela replied, “The same thing happened to me. I loved my mom until I turned 15, and we still barely speak.”
This clarified the generational component. And so we began.
First we put up 3 representatives: for mother, daughter and grandmother. With the representatives installed, the constellation indeed displayed a similar disconnect between mother and daughter in both generations.
I decided to add another representative: the great-grandmother. Interestingly, the same stony coldness was felt between the representatives for mother and daughter in this generation, too.
The sign at the Center for Body Oriented Psychotherapy was intriguing. I went to a class. There were about ten people in the large room in the Victorian house in Union Square (Somerville MA), and several of us were new to Breathwork.
Samvedam Randles was our facilitator. In the introduction she told us, “You will lie on the floor with your full attention on your breathing for approximately one hour.”
“You will breathe through your mouth ,” she continued, “ deep into your belly, and then expand the breath up to your chest. You will let go like a sigh. Like this. She demonstrated. “The breath is circular; the inhale goes into the exhale and back again to the inhale. You want to eliminate the pause between the inhale and the exhale. This will intensify the breath.” Continue reading Breathwork as Transformation ~ A Student Perspective→