To Take or Not to Take? With Family Patterns, There’s Only One Answer

Family PatternsMy last post explained how every family has a Family Conscience which contains all of the information about each family member. This Family Conscience also contains all of the unwritten rules about how all of the family members should act.

Now, let’s look at another basic principle of family patterns: how energy flows through your family system.

The first thing to keep in mind is that energy flows like a waterfall down through the generations. Each generation passes on its life-energy to the next generation, on and on throughout time. Each generation holds and supports the next generation and in this way the family system thrives.

Bert Hellinger, who developed Family Constellation Therapy, talks about “taking” your parents as an essential element in receiving all of the life-energy that flows down through your family line.  In Hellinger’s parlance, to “take” means to receive and accept your parents just as they are, unconditionally.

Oftentimes, we want to receive from our parents only that which we think is good. We embrace their good qualities and reject their bad qualities. But just as you cannot choose which particles of air to breathe, you cannot pick and choose which part of your parents you receive. You must breathe in order to survive and if the air is polluted, you cannot hold your breath for long, or choose to breathe only the clean particles and not the dirty. You have to take it all in and do the best you can with what is available.

 What you resist, persists …

This is the same with your parents. All that was in your parents is also in you. To reject any part of your parents is to reject a part of yourself — and to reject life itself. The more you reject your parents, the greater the likelihood that you will be like them.  This may explain why children of alcoholics are at a higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves, despite their vows to never be like their parents.

There are many reasons why one might not take their parents, but the result is always the same: cutting yourself off from the full stream of life-energy that flows to you. As adults, these children commonly experience unexplained feelings of emptiness, anger, physical illness, addictions, depression, feeling stuck or stagnant, and lack inner peace.


Some people are afraid to “take” one or both of their parents and with good reason. When a parent is abusive, neglectful, violent, or has abandoned you, the natural response is to want to protect yourself from the pain that their actions have caused you. And for some people it really is best to have no contact with their family members.

But even if you move half-way around the world to get away from your parents, you are still energetically connected to them and are being affected by them. Breaking all physical ties does not break the energetic ties.

So what’s the solution?

How do you resolve “taking” your parents when your instincts tell you to run in the other direction? 

I’ll be answering this question and more in the Discover Your Hidden Family Patterns teleclass. Be sure to scroll up to the top of this page and enter your info on the sidebar to the right so you get the call-in details.

Have a question you’d like me to answer in class? Post it here in the comments below!

Elizabeth Tobin About Elizabeth Tobin


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  5. Ian R. Crawford says

    These last weeks I have been learning a valuable lesson : energy flows where attention goes, so put it somewhere useful. Very often I have been caught up in situations that are not satisfying and yet I have been “putting myself through it” trying to force things to work etc. The thing is, sometimes (quite often) it is a better idea to let go and let things change, re-arrange in to a new pattern that is more harmonious, pleasurable and satisfying.

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