Children love their parents unconditionally. Both of them. No matter what happened between the children and their parents, no matter what the relationship was between the parents, they are made up of 50% Mum and 50% Dad. When the father is not present or is unknown, or “just” a donor, or abandoned them, or committed suicide, is abusive or not emotionally available because of his own entanglements, it helps when the mother can say to her children :“it is OK to love your Dad”.
A frequent dynamic we see in constellations is when a Mum “does not allow” the child to love his or her father. But the implicit message “Don’t be like your father” usually brings the opposite effect. If the father is alcoholic, chances are that the child will follow his behaviour or his mood and could become an alcoholic himself. Sometimes the form of addiction varies. It can take the form of drugs, sex or gambling, or the child can enter into risky behaviour, emulating his father’s destiny in an unconscious attempt to get closer to him. If obliged to choose, the child will become socially loyal to his Mum, but internally loyal to his father. There is a split in his identity. It is an impossible choice.
Rejected parts of our family tend to reappear. In conflictive relationships there is a logical reason behind the mother’s tendency to emotionally separate the child from the father: she wants to protect the child, so he does not become like him. Yet, what constellations show us persistently is that rejected aspects of our family system reappear in the following generations. Separation and exclusion have consequences. It is an illusion to think that the child can choose between Mum or Dad. He needs both. Mothers can be very supportive if they can genuinely say: “You can have us both”. So the child does not have to choose and can be loyal to both. They don’t need to internally recreate the conflict between Mum and Dad any more. They can relax and feel more whole.
In constellation workshops we consistently witness the deep effect on the clients when they can see their Mum and Dad side by side for the first time, represented by two participants. They are taken aback by the picture, as they had never seen them so close to each other before. They experience a new image that touches their soul. Bert Hellinger says that constellations “bring together what had been separated in the family soul”. “In my heart, I can have you together”.