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Healing the Lost Relationship with Mother—The Interrupted Reaching Out

Perhaps the most important day in the life of every individual is the day that he or she was born. According to Bert Hellinger, the creator of Family Constellations, events surrounding birth and the time shortly thereafter, can have a lasting impact not only on the individual’s developing personality, and also on the path he or she chooses in life—and even whether or not that person will live a truly successful life. It is important to remember, however, that Hellinger reminds us that early traumatic events can be addressed and resolved in Systemic Family Constellations.

Many things can go wrong during a delivery, or with events immediately following birth, that result is what Hellinger calls an “interrupted reaching out”—a loss of connection or attachment with mother. For example, if the delivery is a difficult one—maybe forceps are required to “pull” the baby out—this can result in the infant’s pulling away—withdrawing from mother’s love. It’s as if that tiny infant has the cognitive ability to say something like, “How can I trust this person who allowed such a trauma to happen to me?”

Or perhaps the baby is born prematurely, or has some kind of birth defect, and the infant is taken away from mother and placed alone is an incubator—where it is incessantly poked with needles and tubes. Maybe that baby is sent away from its mother and given to a loving adoptive family—but that infant nevertheless experiences the trauma of being taken from its mother, and this huge loss is an “interrupted reaching out” experience.

Sometimes the mother is ill and someone else must take over the nurturing of that young child, but even the most loving substitute is experienced by that baby as a loss of mom. And if the baby is so ill that hospitalization is required, a sense of loss of mother is the result—an “interrupted reaching out.” Hellinger maintains that this “interrupted reaching out” is internalized by that child as a separation, or loss of mother, and results in trauma that can last a lifetime if left unaddressed.

Hellinger points out that these early traumatic events can lead to unfortunate, albeit unconscious, conclusions for the child, resulting in similarly unfortunate decisions. The child may decide to give up, to remain alone, to keep a distance not only from mother, but also from others as well. This injured child can grow to adulthood, consistently turning away from the most important thing of all—he or she may turn away from love!

Systemic Family Constellations provides a venue for healing these early traumas by allowing the individual to reunite with mother. In a constellation, other participants in a workshop can be used as representatives for both the individual who has experienced this “interrupted reaching out” very early in life and is suffering from distance from mother and others as well. The facilitator using short appropriate phrases can bring the lost connection back to the individual by bringing the constellation to resolution so that healing the lost connection between the individual and the most important person in his or her life—mother!

Often individuals are resistant to “making up” with mom, because they are angry, or don’t believe it will help—but once the lost connection is established, this transformational experience can result in healing of not only the relationship with mother, whether she is alive or dead, or even with the unknown birth mother, but relationships with others will also begin to be healed, and successes will begin to replace failures.


Dr. Liz Jelinek as a Training Center for Constellations Facilitators
And to bring this amazing process to all!