“Not Belonging” Trauma

The desire to belong is common to most mammals and inherent in all human beings. As individuals we behave in accordance with the desires and norms of our groups in order to belong or fit in. Our beliefs and actions are aligned with this group.

The strongest group we are attached to is our family of origin. After that, our identifications link us to groups that represent our cultural background: family religions, racial and ethnic backgrounds we were born into, the people in the area we come from, our state, our nation. The values of each of these groups exert an influence on our own values and behaviors.

Sometimes, however, we must break or disconnect from  a group. If we marry someone from another faith and convert, we leave the religious group we were previously attached to–this may even include the family. Or if someone is homosexual (in the U.S.) he/she must disconnect from the family values, the family’s religion, and quite often the peer group in which he/she was raised. This disconnection may not be an overt break; it may only be internal. But even so, trauma results whenever we leave a group.

These breaks with the groups to which we formerly belonged will cause guilt (from within) and often shame (from without). This is another level of trauma. As justified as we are in making these breaks, they will take a toll on us emotionally and physically and affect our relationships.

These are subtle traumas that cause untold suffering until they are addressed and healed. While Somatic Experiencing can help the individual release these effects, Family Constellations has the added bonus of being able to resolve the traumas between the individual and the group they left. Together, the two form a deep, soul-expanding whole.

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