Systemic Constellations. «4 Hidden Systemic Dynamics Behind Lack of Intimacy in Couple Relationships»

Couple Relationships and therapy

«4 Hidden Systemic Dynamics Behind Lack of Intimacy in Couple Relationships»

In Systemic Constellations

Assisting couples in rebuilding trust and intimacy, seeking acknowledgement and validation, fostering visibility and active listening, encouraging mindfulness, expressing emotional and physical needs, and establishing healthy boundaries are common healing requests in the couples I work with.

Working with couples using Systemic Constellation work offers a powerful means to illustrate the impact of ‘what we bring’ to the relationship.

In my exploration, I delve into the systemic dynamics within couples that could contribute to a feeling of being unseen, unheard, or emotionally distant, offering an opportunity to view our relationships with a renewed perspective.

Grasping these dynamics can be a starting point for personal growth and the cultivation of deeper, more satisfying couple relationship.

1. Unfinished previous relationships

Case: During a systemic constellation for couples, a couple attended, and the man shared feelings of coldness and distance from his wife. His wife expressed a sense of him being emotionally unavailable.

In the man’s life, there was a woman, his first wife, from whom he separated amidst a significant scandal.

After some clarifying questions, I offered him to set up a constellation of his present family: involving his current wife, himself, and his first wife.

He chosen representatives for himself, his second wife, and his first wife.

The representatives remained silent and focused on their feelings, sensations they experienced while standing in their places.

The constellation revealed the hidden systemic dynamic: Unfinished previous relationships. The representative of the man looked directly at the representative of his first wife and said: “I see only my first wife. All my attention is drawn to her. I don’t see my second wife at all”

Leaving his relationship with his first wife unresolved, the man cannot be emotionally available to his second wife on a soul level and build intimacy with her. He remains entangled with his first wife.

During the constellation process as the unseen becomes visible and connection with former partner is reestablished, then the separation is clear and the man can go his own way, be more available to his present wife and their relationship.  

2. Abortions

« abortion is experienced deep in the soul as guilt…the parents aren’t at peace because they aren’t standing by their own actions…» Bert Hellinger

Family Constellations

I recall working with a woman who feels long-standing anger towards her husband, consistently blaming him. When I inquired about when this attitude towards him began, she said that it started after she had an abortion. It was easier for her to be angry with her husband than to confront feelings of guilt.

Doing systemic constellations to people, I noticed that the refusal to acknowledge guilt and take responsibility for actions related to aborted children has far-reaching consequences. It not only affects the relationship between the man and the woman in the couple but also impacts any children born, whether within their current relationship or in new ones.

Confirming the guilt brings a strength and with this strength the parents can give the aborted child a place in their heart.

3. Seeing someone else instead of who he or She truly is

One day I did Systemic Constellations for one couple. In this case both of partners set up their unique constellation.

During this process, the man (his representative) looked at his wife as if she were someone else. Simultaneously, in her constellations, the wife also regarded him as if he were someone else.

It turned out that every time they faced difficulties, the man, unconsciously, saw his mother when looking at his wife, and his wife saw her father when looking at her husband.

This insight helped them understand why they felt unseen, unheard, misunderstood and emotionally distant from each other, making it challenging to discuss their feelings and show vulnerability.

In this way, the couple relationships can serve as a surrogate for the parental home. Childhood traumas mirrored in the couple relationships. This pattern often becomes a powerful source of conflicts in relationships. That why it is valuable to be able to recognize it, allowing for a deeper understanding of the true roots of conflicts.

4. Double Shift

«In a couple relationship, the double shift is one of the common grounds for conflicts that appear irresolvable. It is like shadow boxing because the actual opponents can’t be seen» Bert Hellinger.

I remember how one of my client wanted to understand the outbursts of anger towards his wife and a recurring thought in his head during arguments, “I will kill you.”

During a constellation session, it emerged that when he was a child, his mother had expelled his father from the home, forbidding him from seeing their children. The feelings of rage that his father should have had, his son had later. It’s the first shift.

My client get loose with his father’s anger, but not against his mother, he started expressing this rage towards his wife. It’s second shift.

Double shift is an unconscious pattern in a couple relationship. Through systemic constellation work this dynamic could be revealed.

After one month this man told me that his relationship with his father had become warmer, he felt more strength, and his intense outbursts of anger towards his wife were gone.

A short summary:

When a couple steps into Systemic Constellation Work, the partners are entering a realm of uncommon solutionThis approach taps into the deepest dynamics of a relationship.

People begin to see just how unseen forces, including non-present family members and those of past generations, and the choices that were made long ago, affect the current partners’ connections with each other at many different levels.