Accidents or misfortune

The below is an extract from: Unraveling Family Secrets. Bert Hellinger interviewed on Family Constellations, By Humberto del Pozo in Santiago de Chile, September 1999.

You have said there are dynamics conducive to recurrent patterns of accidents or misfortune. Will you please tell us about the dynamics in such cases?

Serious illnesses, suicides or suicide attempts, or accidents are some of the things we often see in psychotherapy that are motivated by love -the love of a small child. Small children love according to a magical belief system. For the small child, love means: “Wherever you lead, I will follow. Whatever you do, I’ll do,” or “I love you so much that I want to be with you always.” That is: “I’ll follow you in your illness” and “I’ll follow you in your death.” Whenever someone loves in this way, he or she naturally is vulnerable to becoming seriously ill.

But how must the person feel who’s loved in this way? How must he or she feel upon seeing that his or her illness or death is causing a child to become ill? How must they feel? Bad, right? Exactly! In the constellations, we invariably observe that the deceased, the ill, and those who have suffered a difficult fate wish the survivors well. One death or misfortune is sufficient. The dead are well disposed toward the living. It’s not only the child who loves, but also those who’ve suffered or died. In order for the systemic healing to succeed, the child must recognize her deceased relative’s love and honor his fate.

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