Exclusion Causes the Same Reaction in the Brain as Physical Pain
Many individuals view the connection between social pain—stemming from the trauma of war, loss or exclusion—and physical pain, as a figurative one. People laughingly agree that “love hurts,” but they do not think it hurts in the same way as being kicked in the shin. However, life presents a compelling argument that social pain and physical pain share a common source. For example, a couple who’d been married for 65 years died within 88 minutes of one another!
Recent research by scientific psychologists shows the connection between love and pain, and shows that exclusion causes the same chemical reaction in the brain as physical pain. Therefore it is not surprising that practitioners of Systemic Constellations have been aware that the pain of exclusion is the source of many issues for individuals that appear in the present. The consequences of exclusion by the ancestors are passed down from one generation to the next, and continue to have lasting effects until the exclusion is resolved—often with a constellation that includes the excluded ancestor. The constellation process can facilitate the healing experience of inclusion, and the reconnection to the one who has been excluded—often for generations.
Constellations show that events in a family’s past resulting from a shocking experience or a trauma can create a conscious or unconscious schism—or exclusion. The exclusion, or disconnection, originates from the experience of emotional overload that is the result of a traumatic experience or loss. The system of individual experiencing the trauma, or serious loss, works immediately to disconnect from the pain as an adaptive means of survival—by working to dam up the hole or “whole.” This life-saving step serves to keep the consciousness of the traumatized ancestor unaware so his or her survival becomes possible.
This experience—the one of blocking or damming up the traumatized part—is then passed down through the generations, resulting in the damming up process becoming the conditioned means of response to life. These responses are maintained and expressed in the present in various issues—in both relationships and in careers. The individual in the present stays connected to the family by an unconscious form of love which paradoxically keeps him or her entangled with the fate of an ancestor and separated from his or her family in the present. Although the disconnection from the trauma is often life-saving at the time for the ancestor, it presents challenges for the individual in the present who continues to carry the energy of exclusion, which continues to show up in all areas of his or her life.
By Liz Jelinek, PhD©
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