Family System Dynamics – Law #1

Family and Outcast

Family and Outcast

The family system knows three “laws” as I like to call them, because these are firm and not flexible. Pretty much everything else are “guidelines”, but these three laws rule.

Today, I’m going to talk about the first and most important one: Belonging.

It’s actually quite simple: Everyone born into a family belongs to the family.

Everyone belongs.

That includes stillborn babies, aborted babies, children given away for adoption, as well as any and all black sheep. A family simply can’t go and declare someone outcast.

There is one and only one reason why someone might lose membership of a family system and that is the brutal murder of another member. (And no, that does not include abortion. No discussion about this.)

Now, I’ve seen a few family systems where a member has been outcast – vehemently outcast – and I’ve also seen the results of that decision. They were not pretty.

You see, a family system protects itself. Not the members.

And if there is a missing member, unrecognized by the others, it tries to bring that member back. Alternatively, it “makes” someone else represent that member. The system cannot tolerate a “hole”, and usually someone jumps in to fill that hole.

Someone else represents that missing member.

How?

By representing the energy of that missing member.

That’s not very hard in the case of stillborn or aborted babies. All they need is to be acknowledged and given their place (I’ll talk about the places in family systems next week).

It’s much more troublesome and disruptive if an adult member is missing or has been actively cast out. Actually, it’s worse if he or she has been cast out, because those who cast them out have made themselves guilty – and that’s another energy inside the family system causing problems.

Frederik was cast out of his family because he betrayed them. As it happens often, his actions didn’t serve him well, and he eventually lived out his life in poverty.

His original family was shattered by his actions, with half taking his side and the other half vowing that Frederik is no longer a member. But Frederik’s energy must still be represented in his family, and so one of his children who loathes their father – has begun to display Frederik type behavior. That person is being just as manipulative and selfish as Frederik, and refuses to see any connection.

That particular family broke the family system law #1.

And they have to live with the consequences. Most of them are not happy. That child will live a very twisted life, representing their father and not themselves. And children further down the line will also have to deal with this twisted, missing, ill energy.

How could this be solved?

This family would have to acknowledge that Frederik is a member of their family, albeit a bad one. They would have to give him back his place in it.

And that’s all.

They wouldn’t be required to love him. Or talk to him. Or even remember his birthday. But they would have to reinstate him in his spot in the family system. And the moment they do that – possibly with a little ceremony – that child could stop representing Frederik’s energy and begin to live their life.

That does sound like something straight out of a novel, doesn’t it?

But the thing is, this is real. This affects families. This could affect you.

How many writers are black sheep? Because they don’t meet the family expectations of having a big career or taking over the family business?

If this happens in your family, always remember: You belong.

You belong.

Nobody can take that away from you. Take your place in the family as first, second or third son or daughter, and be aware of it. That’s all it takes – no need for big displays of affection, no need to twist yourself into something you aren’t because of Thanksgiving, no need to break into big declarations of love… you just belong.

I know from experience how much relief that knowledge can bring.

Here’s some tapping to reaffirm this belonging.

Even though I never thought about family systems, and I have this sense of not belonging anywhere, I’m okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to see that maybe I do belong to a family, after all.

Even though this whole family system stuff seems weird, I’m okay the way I am, and I can accept being part of a family with no special obligations.

Even though it feels weird to think of my family now, and to realize I’m part of it no matter what, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to accept this idea and get used to it.

Asking you:
Are you happy to belong to your family?
Does it feel like a burden?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics for Writers

Family system as mobile

Family System

This new blog series is about family systems and how they affect you as a writer.

The way I see it, knowing about family systems and their dynamics will help you be more successful by explaining and eliminating potential blocks and limits for your writing.

And on another level, employing your knowledge of family systems in character creation will make your stories more interesting and more believable.

Sound good? Here we go.

Family systems are everywhere.

We cannot escape being part of a family system, since we do have at least two biological parents, and usually grow up in a family. It doesn’t matter how small a family is, it forms a system.

That system also includes ancestors, that is, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc. So even if you say you don’t “have” a family, maybe because you’re living alone, it is more than likely that you are part of a family system.

In other words, everyone is part of a family system.

Including you.

What does it matter? I hear you ask.

Unfortunately, family systems matter a lot.

Family System Laws

There are three major laws that govern family system – they are about belonging, order and balance. None of these laws can be violated without consequences. I will explain each of those in the next few weeks.

Family Rules

In addition, each family system has a ton of rules. Those rules cover everything anyone might ever do. We learn those while we grow up, and we follow them. Inevitably.

Family rules can be changed and shifted. I do that all the time in my work. The trick, however, is to discover them in the first place. I will devote a few posts to those rules, as well, but you may already understand those from earlier blog posts.

Ancestors, oaths and other influences

It’s difficult to explain how family systems work. I like to imagine that a family system is basically a network of energy that exists between all members of a family – including the ones that are no longer alive.

Other say family systems are like mobiles, where shifting one part forces all other parts to move, as well – and restore their balance.

Either way, I have seen how the energy of some family members influenced other family members, regardless of physical distance or even existence. And I’ve seen this stretch over several generations.

In addition, oaths, vows and other promises can have an influence through the family system – either oaths you swore yourself, or those taken by ancestors. Again, I’ve seen this happen. And I’ll talk about those in the last part of the blog series.

The most important fact

I want to explain something that might shock you: Family systems do not “care” about their individual members. They are not beneficial, at least not on purpose. They do not support success or happiness of individual members.

Family systems serve one single purpose: To protect the family system.

That’s it.

And I’ve seen some heartbreaking situations caused by family systems working hard to protect themselves. Fortunately, there are almost always better solutions.

Tapping sentences

Now, the whole idea that you might be part of a family system willy nilly, a system that can have an uncanny influence over you and your life – that might be scary. And I’d like to suggest a few tapping phrases to help you get over that fear and start to be curious.

Because the moment you understand family systems, you can turn their laws, rules and hidden energy into something that works for you. And I can help you with that, as well.

Even though I never heard of family systems before, and they sound ugly and creepy, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to learn about them and make their influence on me more benign.

Even though it is a scary thought that I might be entangled in a family system just by birth, and it influences me and my decisions, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to learn how it works and make it work for me.

Even though family systems sound really scary and creepy, considering how they might influence me and my life, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to learn how they work and clear all negative influences from them.

Asking you:
Have you ever heard of family systems before?
How do you feel about your family system?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Final Thoughts

Happy Author

Happy Author

I’ve been running a writing message board for many years now, starting long before MySpace and LifeJournal and Facebook.

And once we had a member who was being pushed by a writing coach. He was supposed to write a short story every week and submit it somewhere, to build a name and a writing career.

A short story per week.

Now, if you think 5,000-10,000 words per week, that’s entirely doable. And I believe that with the right support in place, with good self-care, plenty of time to write, good food and exercise and such, it is even doable for a long time.

This kind of work used to be a great strategy for building a name in the genre field. And having 50 stories per year to submit and show up in various magazines is a great tactic. In theory, at least.

Or you could put that amount of work into a novel, and you’d end up with one every two to three months.

If you have a professional author set-up, it’s even easy. Writing much more than 5-10k per week is entirely possible. I know people who write that much that every day. They put in 8 hours on their writing just like a job.  They treat it like a business and a job, and they still enjoy it. They tend to make a living as writer.

This guy didn’t. He had a day job. He had no support. And I wasn’t surprised at all when he disappeared after three or four months, utterly burned out. I still blame his coach…

When I think about self-care for writers, I often think about people like him.

And if you think about it, it is really simple:

You need to take good care of yourself.

Especially, if you want to be good at writing and have a successful career. Because body, mind and soul are connected, and you can’t just use one and ignore the others.

Read that again.

We must take care of all three. Body, mind and soul.

In a way that works for you.

And only you can figure out what that is, but it’s so worth it!

Here’s some tapping for this:

Even though it’s so much effort to take good care of myself, all that precious time wasted for cooking and exercise and sleep (!), but I still love and accept myself anyway, and I now choose to know that I need to nourish all of myself in order to write well.

Even though I don’t want to waste time and energy on feeding myself, or on exercise or such, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to know that this is important for my writing self.

Even though I hate the whole idea of self-care, I just want to write and make a living with it, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to take good care of myself so I can keep writing for many years.

Asking you:
What do you do for self-care?
How do you feel about doing more?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Write Every Day

Laptop - writing every day

Writing every day

Part of self-care is to maintain who we are. Or to work towards who we want to be.

For a writer, that means writing. Preferably every day.

I know it’s hard. I know I’m not doing it all the time myself.

But the truth is, you are a writer as long as you write.
(And publish your books, and market, and all of that, too.)

And in order to stay in your identity as writer, it’s very helpful to write a little every day. (Or a lot, if that works for you.)

If you stop writing – you stop being a writer. So write every day. It’s as simple as that, and yet… Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Feel the Joy

Goofy Happy Joy

Goofy Happy Joy

We not only have to be aware of our thoughts and our success, we also need to be aware of our emotions.

Because they are our guides. They let us know how the things we do fit us and our dreams and goals. They warn us if something is wrong. So it’s worth it being aware of our emotions. Get that message.

And even though most of us have been taught that our emotions are like a force of nature that we have to endure, that simply isn’t true.

We can choose how to feel.

(Yes, there are limits, and I have great respect for people who carry on despite depression. *hugs for you*)

But even within those limits we can choose to feel joy.

There are tricks to do so, and it’s absolutely worth to practice this. Because feeling joy or feeling happy does a lot of good things to your body and your mind. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Guard your Success

Dreaming of Success

Dreaming of Success

Success is important for us. Even if we don’t have it right now, the whole idea of success is what keeps up going. When we dream about our success – whatever that is for you – we find the energy to keep writing, to keep marketing and to keep doing what it takes.

This in turn means that you need to protect your vision of your success from all those people around you that may doubt you and your ability to succeed.

You also need to strengthen it and keep it strong, so you can return to it whenever you run out of juice.

Usually, there are about four different ways people want to succeed when writing. I’m going to go through them and suggest some visualizations to use in your daydreaming.

Daydreaming? Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Watch your Thoughts

Inner Voice

Inner Voice

“Thoughts become things.”
– Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe

Now this may sound very, very woowoo. Very spiritual and quite useless for everyday life.

It isn’t.

Because how we think about ourselves, our writing, our lives – all of that influences our focus, our work habits and eventually what kind of lives we actually live.

And that’s why I’m writing about your (our) thoughts.

1. Thoughts about ourselves

Take a moment and listen to how you talk to yourself in your thoughts.

Most often, that voice we use to talk to ourselves is a harsh voice. A hard taskmaster. And sometimes, a rather nasty voice.

Oh, you’re such an idiot.

Not good enough. Write more.

Get moving, you lazy ass!

And so an and so forth. Does that sound familiar?

It’s how I used to talk to myself, as well. I thought that being hard on myself like that would make me work harder and get more done. I thought that was how everyone thinks to themselves.

I’ve been completely wrong. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Quieting the Mind

Peaceful Mind

Peaceful Mind

For us writers, the mind is the most important tool. It is where our stories are born. It’s where they grow into full tales that make it to the keyboard, paper or file. It’s more important than the computer and all the other tools we use to get our stories out into the world, because they wouldn’t exist without the mind.

And so we need to take care of the mind as well as the body.

And that’s especially true if we work a day job, have a family and write. It’s not always easy to let go of those parts of our lives and dive into our stories.

I’ll write about transition rituals next week, because I want to do some groundwork today.

If you’re even a bit like me, your mind is full of thoughts every moment in your life. You’re thinking about books and stories, about people you meet, you might even have conversations with them in your mind, and even when you go to bed, it’s hard to stop that run-away train of thoughts. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Posture

Jumping Jack

Jumping Jack

Now, I’m not a physiotherapist. And yes, I’ve dealt with back pains and wrenched backs a few times in my life, so I know how that feels. And I’m certainly not perfect in my posture, nor avoiding all problems.

But I know one thing: We writers tend to sit too much.

So kudos to all of you who already work at a standing desk, on a treadmill or who dictate their stories while walking outside – you’re awesome.

Most of us aren’t there.

I sit at a desk most of the time. Both at my day job and at home. I have a laptop, but I don’t feel very comfortable moving around with it. At home, my place simply is at my desk. *grins*

The one thing I do for my health while sitting at my desk is using one of those stools with rockers and knee supports. That is supposed to force me to sit up straight (also puts my hands at the optimal height for the keyboard tray), to keep me moving a little, and to keep my back muscles from atrophying. That does work unless… Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

Last week I wrote about pain and how to tap for it.

Next, I want to look at some reasons for pain that we create ourselves. I have close and personal experience with at least two of them… let’s start with the one that’s more typical for writers.

Carpal Tunnel

Unfortunately, this is a common one among writers, simply because we move our  hands so much in typing.  My own story about Carpal Tunnel is a bit unusual, but bear it in mind.

Carpal Tunnel is a repetitive strain injury.

And common wisdom holds it that it comes from too much typing.

I got a new computer at work, and my IT colleague flipped out the little supports on the keyboard before she put it on my desk, making it sit higher in the back, making me bend my wrists more when typing. I didn’t really like it, but she assured me it would make typing better. So I left it at that. Continue reading

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