Bonds of Loyalty


No matter how far we go, we always remain connected in visible and invisible ways with our family. Many of our decisions are based on these bonds that are formed in childhood as we were growing up.

Each family has its own ways of functioning and as children, we remain loyal to the way our family is. If I have grown up seeing my parents work hard and never really rest, then unconsciously I may repeat this as an adult even though my situation may have no place for hard work. I will choose to be loyal to my family system through this unconscious act.

If I sit down to really think about it, I find that my environment demands very little from me in terms of movement, yet I feel compelled to move, to take action, to keep the momentum going. These movements are mostly done without deliberate thought and in breaking the momentum of the movement, I may experience an unconscious guilt of betrayal. Betrayal almost always has a form of punishment attached to it. The easiest way to punish ourselves is to fall ill, hurt ourselves, or some other form of self-sabotage. Almost like we pay a price for not being loyal.

Strangely we can live a large part of our lives without even knowing that we continue to act out of loyalty for another. We continue to repeat certain situations in our life, out of this hidden loyalty towards the family. Even if a way is harmful to your growth, you unconsciously create it again and again in your life.  Who are you being loyal to by constantly being in the same situation? Who are you tied to without knowing it? For example, You may have a family that loves you but you are constantly away at work and mostly find yourself alone on many occasions. Or you may have a lifestyle disease out of nowhere. Or it could be something as simple as the fact that no matter how much help you bring in you constantly seem to be working. Somewhere in these acts, there is a hidden loyalty to someone within your family system. Where is it coming from?

As we grow up we sometimes question certain ways of doing things. The necessity or the non-necessity of certain ways. We may break away from certain patterns but even in the breaking away we definitely carry some guilt of being disloyal to our kind. This guilt is lost when we connect with more people like ourselves but occasionally it does surface. There are triggers that set off this feeling. It is almost like an invisible thread is pulling you back to those loyalty binds, preventing you from really putting your best foot forward.

How can we break this chain and yet remain a part of the family? We can do this by creating space and boundaries for ourselves. Space to understand who we are and allow ourselves to be all that we can be and, boundaries so that we learn to not merge ourselves with our loved ones. I find constellation work really puts these threads in perspective as we learn to see what is keeping us entangled and what is separating us so that we find the midway of being separate yet connected.

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