The month of February brings Valentine’s Day and encourages us to think about love and relationships, of which there are many different kinds. Relationships are not limited to those with a significant other, but span the various activities each individual experiences throughout their lifetime. Some people find relationships easy to form and have many close friendships. They do well in business and seem to intuitively know how to get along with both peers and superiors. These individuals tend to be great bosses as well!
So then, why is it that some individuals are lonely and have difficulties forming intimate relationships? Why do some people find it hard to work for others? And why are others lousy bosses? Interestingly enough however, some people who cannot work for others are great bosses and people love to work for them. So why is love and friendship easy for some and so difficult for others?
According to Bert Hellinger, creator of Systemic Family Constellations, this can be traced to the early relationships with both mom and dad. He pointed out that a child can also become entangled with the fate of an ancestor and this can result in relationship difficulties as well. However, the primary relationship in every individual’s life is with mother and if there is an early separation from her or a difficult birth, this will impact the person’s ability to get along with others later in life. Fascinatingly enough, those with long difficult births often don’t find it so difficult to form relationships, but tend to find it almost impossible to let go—they keep people in their lives long after a relationship is over—often to the detriment of both.
It may seem easier to understand that one’s relationship with mother can impact future relationships—romantic, business, as well as friendships—however, the relationship with father is important as well. According to Hellinger, the father sets the tone for the household—dad leads and mother follows. If dad is absent or weak, then the balance, or flow of love is interrupted, and this is passed down to the children. In the US, some parents may have worked out a different style of parenting—especially with same sex partners. But according to Hunter Beaumont, one of the earliest Constellations experts, ex-pat American and long-time colleague of Hellinger’s, there needs to be a head of household—someone must lead the family.
Children need direction, and permissive or weak parenting doesn’t work—it leaves the children feeling insecure and adrift which in turn creates difficulties later in life in both intimate relationships and careers. Early divorce can leave children with a significantly lowered standard of living and a young mother not knowing how to negotiate the world. This is passed to her children and seeing dad every couple of weeks, no matter how hard he tries to be a good dad, cannot make up for his absence. Shared custody with children living one-half the time with mom and the other half with dad can be even more confusing—there is no sense of permanence for these children and developing relationships later in life becomes very challenging. Parents may travel for business or the military and it is essential that their presence be felt by the children, even though they are physically absent. Today’s electronic media makes this easier to manage.
By Liz Jelinek