ERP 320: How To Evolve Family Lineage Patterns To Support Your Relationship — An Interview With Judy Wilkins-Smith

By Posted in - Podcast May 17th, 2022 0 Comments

One of the benefits of knowing your family history is that it can help develop a strong sense of who you are, but did you know that it can also reveal some dysfunctional patterns that may be affecting your relationships?

If you’re having difficulties and/or feel stuck, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What was the pattern?
  • Who else in the family system was stuck?
  • Am I borrowing that pattern from them?
  • Is it costing me or serving me?
  • What is my destiny with this pattern when I take it on?

It’s worth noting that if you notice patterns that you tend to replicate over and over again, it’s possible that your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or other family members did as well. 

The good news is that revealing these patterns could help you stop these particular problematic patterns that have been repeated in the family for generations.

In this episode, Judy Wilkins-Smith discusses Family Constellation work, a therapeutic intervention used by therapists to gain insight into a client’s family history, dynamics, and potentially dysfunctional patterns, as well as some resources to help you get started on your own journey.

Judy Wilkins-Smith is a highly regarded organizational, individual, and family patterns expert. A systemic executive coach, trainer, facilitator, thought partner, and motivational speaker, she has 18 years of expertise in assisting high-performance individuals, Fortune 500 executives, and legacy families to end limiting cycles and reframe challenges into lasting breakthroughs and peak performance.  Passionate about visionary leadership and positive, accelerated, global change, Judy uses her ability to understand systems and patterns to create growth and success.

In this Episode

10:23 Understanding what the Family Constellation is and how they affect you.

22:07 A real-life example of someone in a relationship who is repeating a similar pattern.

33:00 Discover the wow version of yourself in a practical and logical manner that you can apply and use on a daily basis.

43:48 Developing a purpose and staying on track.

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and actions and replace them with those that will get you where you want to go.
  • Make a conscious decision to transform yourself.
  • Develop a growth mindset.
  • Find somebody that you can resonate with and can assist you in moving forward.
  • Seek professional support to help you navigate the family constellation work.
  • If you do not have the luxury of having the family support in a therapeutic space, use Judy’s book, Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint: A Powerful Guide to Transformation Through Disentangling Multigenerational Patterns, and begin your own journey.
  • Start making positive self-talk a habit.
  • Invest in a meaningful purpose or goal. The more powerful it is, the more those neural pathways and habits will be reinforced.

Mentioned

Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint: A Powerful Guide to Transformation Through Disentangling Multigenerational Patterns (*Amazon Affiliate link) (book)

Capability & Resilience DNA (Upcoming Event)

Emotional DNA (Upcoming Event)

Connect with Dr. Judy Wilkins-Smith

Websites: judywilkins-smith.com

Facebook: facebook.com/judywilkinssmith

Instagram: instagram.com/judywilkinssmith/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/judywilkinssmith

Youtube: youtube.com/channel/UC2deofVCmw7Fxdq866SpJbQ

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Facebook: facebook.com/EmpoweredRelationship 

Instagram: instagram.com/drjessicahiggins 

Podcast: drjessicahiggins.com/podcasts/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/EmpowerRelation 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

Twitter: @DrJessHiggins 

Website: drjessicahiggins.com  

Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Judy, thank you so much for joining us today. 

Hi, Jessica. It’s lovely to be able to spend time with you. 

It’s such a privilege and an honor. You are so advanced in this industry, in this field, and the research and the trainings that you offer and your wealth of background and experience. So, we are definitely in for a treat today. We are going to be looking at Family Constellation, and then more specifically, how it relates to the couplehood experience and relationship. And before we do that, I would love to just get started for people that are not familiar with what Family Constellation is, can you help us with what it is?

Sure. So, when we do this body of work, it’s systemic work and constellation. The systemic work piece is the study of you within a system. You didn’t just happen, and you weren’t created in a vacuum. So, it’s how do you relate to the different parts of your system and how did they affect you? And more specifically, in fact, how did they affect you. 

And then a constellation is, think of your stars where each star has its place. And that’s what creates that specific constellation. Well, in your case, your family system creates a field. And so, you have your place in it. It’s impossible for you to not belong. You may not always feel like it but you belong. And so, a constellation is an approach where we take an issue that you want to discuss, and we set it up dimensionally. So, you’ll hear me often say I’m dimensionalizing an issue. And what that means is, we’ll either use inanimate objects like pieces of paper, or we’ll use live representatives. 

At any one of my events, you’ll see me use live representatives. And so, what we do is we’ll represent each part of your system. So, pick a representative for mom, for Dad, for brothers, for sisters. And then I ask you to give me a picture of what that looks like for you. So, place them in the room the way that it is for you. And what you may see is mom and dad are close together or dads at one side of the room and moms at the other. It’s giving us a dimensional picture of what’s going on inside for you or how it’s been. 

The advantages of that is that you’re using multiple senses. Now, you’re actually seeing your system. You’re listening to your system. You’re speaking to it. You’re interacting with it. You’re walking through it. You may even be smelling things that are familiar. But what it does is with that multi-sensorial approach, it gives you an insight into the system you would not have had before. And that often leads to a multisensorial and embodied experience that you would call an aha or transformational moment. 

In that moment, what we often see happen for people is all of their old thoughts and their old feelings start to rewire right then. It’s like, “Oh, you mean mom didn’t take me or it wasn’t like that?” You can see everything starting to rewire and create new pathways for the brain to go down. Which means that instead of living ancient history, and that’s all of the emotional DNA that you’ve inherited, you’re now in the moment and creating a completely unique future.

Thank you for just wrapping that up in a nutshell. I love that you’re able to speak to the power of the work as well as what it can provide in the transformation for people. I just want to slow down for one moment and just look at the therapeutic, multi-dimensional sensorial aspect to this because I recognize when you maybe are speaking about traditional talk therapy, it’s that dimension of telling the story through the conversation, and perhaps the questions that therapeutic practitioner is asking can start to round out the picture. And still the pace of that might take time to really unpack all of that. And what you’re describing is not only are we giving it dimension, but the multiple senses that we might be able to access and how revealing that is. Like, it’s almost encapsulating. And what we have access to is so much more rich. Is that what you’re saying?

Yes, I’m also saying that, that when you have that piece happening for you, all of the things that you thought were so once you see them in context, may very much change for you. So, let’s suppose for an incident that I have a client who says, “My mother never sees me.” Well, when we set it up, and we have a look at mom and then grandmother, and we see how she’s looking for her mother. Or maybe she’s looking down and I ask where their children lost or is there someone missing? And the answer is yes, they can suddenly see why mom couldn’t see them. Her attention was elsewhere. 

So, now it becomes not about them not being seen. It’s, “Oh, I get it.” So often what you’ll see is anger shifts to compassion and insight. And the whole-body and mind shifts its orientation. And if there are patterns that we’ve inherited from family members generations back, we suddenly get to see what they are, how they’re expressing, how they’re affecting us, and most important, why they’ve come to you so that you can rewire them into something completely different. 

Yes. I’m appreciating that you really underscored that, because that is so important for the therapeutic process, not only being able to access the information, but the perspective that we get from being able to confront and really engage with it in a different way.

Absolutely. I think one of the most important things is it stops the victim piece. Because you look at that, and suddenly realize, “Wait, this has come to me because this is giving me…” There are two patterns always sitting next to each other, the one that wants to stop. In other words, why am I here? And the one that wants to start. In other words, where could I go? 

And the where could I go depends on the why I’m here. So, to look at, so what pushed me here, what ignited the need for more or for different, and that’s a gift. When we can see that we’ve actually been prodded to see that gift, we can use it to turn it into a strength and to write our own unique chapter. And that’s really important.

So, to put this more in context of what an individual might be feeling. Oftentimes, we don’t have the luxury of having our whole family in a therapeutic space together, right? [unclear 16:48] are saying we have things that play that part, whether or not it’s an inanimate object or another person in a workshop. But that luxury to be able to have that contact, right, it’s a real gift to be able to look at the dimensions here and that it can be so revealing. And then not only that, but what we get to do about it, how the choices that we get to make and how we move that forward.

Absolutely. We don’t always have that luxury, which is exactly why I wrote the book I did, because it shows people how to do some of this at home on their own and to begin the journey. So, you actually learn that there are ways to make the unconscious conscious and the invisible visible. This literally does that. So, it allows you to go okay, well, what if that were not true? What if that were different? How might it be different for me? How might it live differently in my body? And if it does, what being am I going to become?

Yes, and I think this can be so much more easily accessed when we are connected to that different perspective or the different dimensions because I think sometimes where people get caught up in this is it just feels like we’re pulling it out of a hat, right. 

In some degree, when we open up to possibility and choice, there’s some truth to that that there’s so many different options that we can engage with. But when we’re looking at the current difficulty, that can be a big step. But when we can have that perspective, we can see it more clearly. 

And then, we can recognize, “Oh, from my younger version of myself, or what was passed down to me, it makes perfect sense why I’ve been holding and experiencing things in a certain way. Can I cut those cords? Can I free myself of that, and kind of have a different choice? And then, the liberation that might come from that possibility.

Exactly. I think the important piece about that is what you said, “cut the cords.” In this work, what it actually says to you is don’t cut the cord, give the cord its place. In other words, shift its place from being on your back to being next to you or to having a really specific place. That allows it to become wisdom instead of a burden. So, that’s a very nice one to have. 

The other piece is that yes, then you are not settled anymore. Now you can move. Now you can start. It becomes, as you said, a lot less cloudy. It actually solidified into something that you can see and you can use. I think one of the most important things is that it doesn’t matter how stuck you are or how much of a train wreck things look like right now. It got to here for a point, and you can make the choice and the shift. 

Now, you were saying it’s easy, you know, the affirmations and all of that sort of thing. And again, I write about that in the book, to just say it with your head will get you flat nowhere. But we are very, very good. And this is how I explained it to people. We’re very good at telling ourselves horror stories about ourselves and believing them. “You’re stupid. You’re no good. You’re an idiot. I knew you’d get it wrong.” This is ridiculous. How could you think that? So, we do that, and then the body feels it and goes, “Yes, I agree. I’m stupid. How could I do that?” 

Now, if we can do that, we’re equally capable of saying, “Hey, I can do this. I can take a step. I can see this this way. And I feel really happy when I do. I can head off in that direction. And I know that’s where I want to go and I want to be happy there.” But you’ve got to tell it to yourself in such a way, that as much as you’re buying the spell of the horror, you’re buying spell of the possibility. And that’s where when I’m working with people, it’s switching up those thoughts and feelings, and actions one at a time. All you need is one new thought, one new feeling, one new action, and you’re setting off in the direction of what’s possible but you’ve got to buy it.

Free Happy Family in Bed Stock Photo

“All you need is one new thought, one new feeling, one new action, and you’re setting off in the direction of what’s possible.”

Yes. But I would also bargain that the work that you’re doing is in such support of this, that it’s backing, and giving a container, if you will, to be able to choose this different thought.

You’re exactly right.

When we’re cloudy. We don’t have the relational experience, because when we have those really horrific self-beliefs, they’re usually supported by experience in the past that happened in family or in relationship or some experience. And it was the best conclusion at the time, and kids notoriously internalize and think it’s their fault, right? It’s this full multi-dimensional experience that you’ve been referring to. So, I feel like your work really helps people access the emotional, the physical, the spiritual, the relational, the intellectual, like all of it, to be able to then have a new thought. 

I’m wondering for people that are listening. And we can kind of drift back and forth. But can we make this more concrete? Do you have an example of maybe someone in relationship that is experiencing a similar pattern on repeat, and they’re like, “Oh, why do I keep feeling this way?” Or they’re wondering, is this something that I might have picked up in family? Can you give us some example here?

Sure. I have somebody who came in, and let’s see if this works but I think it’s perfect. I had a lady who came in who said, “I need to come and do a piece of work, because I’m about to divorce my third husband because he’s stupid. I just can’t seem to keep men.” Bear in mind that husband was with her. I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh, this is going to go well.” 

I said, “All right, let’s have a look at the family system and look at what’s going on.” She said, “I’d really like to have a good relationship, but I keep bumping into these stupid men, and then I’ve got to divorce them.” And so, I said, “Okay.” 

So, we set up herself and these three husbands. And then I said, “Tell me about your mom.” Oh, she was married three times. She had to divorce them in because they were all stupid.” So, you can hear there’s a bit of a pattern, right? So, I said, “Tell me about grandma.” “Well, she had the ultimate stupid. She married three men that she had to divorce, but it was the original one. Because she was wealthy, she came from a wealthy family, and he lost everything. He gambled it all away. So, she had to divorce him because he was stupid with money.” 

So, I said to her, “Okay. So, you can see the three generations here. Can you see that?” “Yes. Is there a pattern?” “Oh, yeah. There’s a pattern.” We have a look at the pattern and I said, “Do you understand that for each of you, it’s not just, I have to divorce my husband because he’s stupid. It’s I have to divorce my husband because he’s stupid with money and it puts us at risk.” And this is echoed all the way through. 

And I said too, “And besides that, if all of the men and we’re now counting nine men have been kicked out, your number nine, which is your third husband right now didn’t really have a shot, did he?” “Well, no, because I was waiting for him to do something stupid. And then, I’d have to let him go.” So, I said, “So, if you look at it, you really have a hidden and unconscious loyalty to mom and to your grandmother. Grandmother couldn’t keep a man because they were stupid. Mom couldn’t keep a man because they were stupid with money. And now, you’re saying the same. So, what’s happened for you this time?”

“Well, my husband’s well off, but he’s really, I mean, the things he does to get money are very unusual.” “And so, because they’re out of your realm, they seem stupid.” “Yes.” So, I said to her, “Can you tell your husband, I’m sorry, but in this system, you don’t have a shot?” And she looked at me and she went, “I suppose they don’t.” So, I said, “No. Do you have children?” “Yes, I have two daughters and a son. My son wants to leave home.” I said, “Yeah, he wants to leave home. Can you figure out why?” And she said, “Oh, well, I suppose the men aren’t really welcome. And I have told him a time or two that he’s stupid with his money.” “Is he?” “Well, he does things differently.” So, I said, “Good.” 

If we were to have a look and say, “It’s okay for me to stay. I have my money. You have yours. You do what you need to do. And as long as I’m feeling safe, we’re going to be good here.” “Yes, but I don’t feel safe when he does different things.” “Do you know what he’s got in the bank?” “Yes, he’s got a lot.” “Then, can you say I have mine and I am safe. And now, I can stay tuned.” “Oh, yeah, that I can do.” 

And in that split second, she started to giggle and she said, “I don’t need this pattern anymore, do I?” I said, “Well, do you?” And she looked at her husband and she said, “I think we have to talk.” So, notice how being able to see the pattern, understand its complexity, unwind it, and then see a different possibility allowed her to then put down that piece that she was carrying for mom and for grandma. It wasn’t hers to hold in the first place. But this gave her the permission to be able to put it down. So, she didn’t have to keep bumping into that same brick wall.

And I’m very aware, Judy, as we’re talking, there’s one dimension here, the verbal, I’m sure there’s other things that we’re experiencing as we’re listening. But this isn’t entirely doing it justice, because as you’re talking, I’m imagining what it looks like. But I know that I’ve had experience and I know not all listeners have had experience with Family Constellation. So, I’ll do my best and maybe you can help me with this, Judy, to put a video on today’s show notes so people can actually see something in action because it’s one thing to describe it but if you can actually imagine putting your family tree and people playing the part of your mother, your grandmother, the three husbands for the grandmother, the three husbands for the mother, and then the two previous husbands like, that’s pretty powerful to be in connection with.

Absolutely. And you’re describing it beautifully. Thank you for that. Yes, a lot happens through words, but a lot. The breakthrough piece about this work is that people are actually able to see it and experience it. And for her, what we did was we walked her back to her grandmother and she said, “This is very heavy.” 

And then walked her over and I said to stand in your mother’s shoes. And she said, “It’s still very heavy.” And then I got the two women to put their hands at her back and she went, “This is too much.” But it was the feeling, and the seeing, and the watching the men.

At one stage she eventually burst into tears. She said, “I look at it. I’m watching the men here. They don’t have a chance. We lost many good men.” So yes, it is absolutely it is the experience of standing in it and feeling it as you’re talking about it that has people quite shaken.

Yes. Because the other thing that I’m feeling, in addition to what you’re describing of what we have access to that’s so much more dimensional, multi-sensory, that, again, I don’t think that we can fully do it justice in words here. It’s incredibly powerful. 

When we look at change, so often it’s the somatic and the emotional that really helps us have profound change. Even in the therapeutic work that I do with couples. Insight alone is not helpful, getting them to look at it. But if they can have an emotional experience where their partner is looking at them, their facial expressions, that neuroception that I think was also probably part of what you’re doing, where the nonverbals and it’s felt, and it’s this experience that your partner is seeing you, hearing you, and responding to you. That emotional shift creates safety that then allows for that intimacy and that connection that changes everything. 

Absolutely. 

And what you’re describing is also this ability to observe from this different vantage point, the compassion, right, because one the things that you spoke to, a real change agent in the story is that, oh, I don’t have to carry this pattern anymore. And that that’s a protective strategy for the grandmother to say stupid man.

Exactly. Exactly. And this is what we went through as well. But what I look for in this work when I’m working with somebody is exactly what you’re talking about. There are two pieces of that. When I see the first physical jolt, I know they’ve just recognized what’s happening in the system. “Oh, my goodness. We are losing all of the men.” Boom! Or, “Oh, my goodness, I’m looking at grandmother and she must have felt terrible, because how did she provide for her children?” Boom! So, that becomes a very felt sense. So, that’s the first piece. 

The second piece that I look for is when we start to use the languaging and the movement because movement is huge. When we start to use both of those to redesign or to start shifting the pattern, you will usually get a second jolt, “Oh my goodness. I can actually put this down.” or, “Oh, my goodness. I’m allowed to love.” “Oh, my goodness. I can stay.” And you’ll see a very visceral jolt in the in the client. And when that happens, they are as you described, they’re now keying into not just the brain and the thoughts. 

The throat is feeling it, the heart is opening. The gut, which is incredibly important, that’s your inner compass, the gut is sensing it. So, when you have a head, heart, gut alignment, that’s when the head says yes, the heart says yes, the gut says yes, you will feel that jolt. And what happens for you then is you begin to rewire. And it happens pretty fast. 

People will tell me, “The whole night after I worked with you, I could feel myself saying different things. I could feel my body feeling different. I could feel myself joyous for the first time.” So, it is extremely visceral. And so, what you were talking about earlier on is this then supersedes by miles any kind of mantra. It is an embodied experience that shifts you completely.

It’s almost as if the world changes. 

The world does change. You’re exactly right. It’s not even almost as if. It does because now you can’t see things or experience things the same way. And the minute you reorient, everybody else does too. So quite often, I will work with somebody and in the middle of it or we finished, they’ll get a call and they’ll say, “You’re not going to believe it. My mother hasn’t spoken to me for 20 years. She just called me. How?” Everything is shifting. We know we’re energetic beings. And so, as soon as one part begins to shift, the entire system begins to shift. It can’t help itself.

Free Couple Having Fun Stock Photo

“We know we’re energetic beings. And so, as soon as one part begins to shift, the entire system begins to shift. It can’t help itself.”

The orientation, as you were saying is entirely different. So, everything’s different. 

Exactly. 

How would you help somebody recognize they could benefit from this work?

Well, the first thing I would say to them is if you’re running into challenges, or you’re stuck, or you’re struggling, say, “Yay! Congratulations! You’re in a box that is too small for you. And it’s telling you it’s time for something to grow. It’s time for you to move.” 

How do they benefit? When they can come and see what’s trying to emerge through them and feel it and embody it. What it does is it cuts down. I have people every day who tell me, “I’ve been working on this for 20 years. How is it possible that this has shifted in an hour or two hours?” Because you’ve incorporated all of those senses. And because this is such a non-judgmental approach that it is safe for you to go and explore. 

And so, with all of those factors in play, there is suddenly not all the barriers to normally seeing or experiencing or thinking that we have. You’re wide open to what’s possible. So, how does it help you? It makes the unconscious conscious; it makes the invisible visible. And it leapfrogs you over years of needing to struggle.

Well, it almost feels like an intensive immersion. Because, you know, I just can say and that being in the personal growth world and my own process, that’s when I’m journaling or I might have some insight or I’m even in therapy and I get real nuggets and aspects of healing and work that it feels so profound, but it feels like I’m almost putting together a puzzle with my eyes closed or something. When you’re talking about this work, it almost feels like it’s an intensive and it’s an immersion. Is that a good way to describe it?

I would say it’s an intensive. It’s an immersion. It’s an elevation. And it’s a transformation. It is all of those. It’s a little bit like you get reintroduced to the wow factor of you. Or if you’ve never had it, you get introduced to that. It is not a hype. You will feel it at your deepest, deepest level. 

The best way for me to describe that is the first time I went on. This is going to sound odd, but people may get it. The first time I went to Disney World. Everybody was laughing and smiling. I cried for a week because I got at the deepest level what man was capable of if he put his mind to and created a game big enough for everybody to come play, where people were going to play at their highest form. 

That’s what this does. It actually gives you an insight into who you are in a very high form of you yet in a practical, logical way that you can apply and use every day. But no, you will not be the same. It is a one-way door.

So, Judy, it does sound like you’re answering my question. Do you think everyone could benefit from this? Or do you feel like there’s people that might have recognized, “Oh, I heard somewhere along the line that there’s been trauma or where there was this betrayal, or there was this secret, or this thing in my family history.” Like, I’ve always thought that those people who maybe haven’t had the processing around that, his family history could really benefit from the Family Constellation work, but it sounds like you’re saying anyone could. Is that right?

Truly anyone, because I’ve worked with everybody from those who’ve never even heard of this kind of thing to people who are very skilled in this. People who are very skilled in this will come back because they know, if I want to shift something, this is an exceptionally good way for me to do it. 

The other piece just to address trauma is that people will say be careful, you don’t retrigger a client. My invitation to people is to say, “A trigger isn’t to retraumatize. A trigger is an invitation. It’s a gentle invitation to have another look.” And with this, you can look in a safe space.

Free Man and Woman Kissing Beside Window Stock Photo

“A trigger isn’t to retraumatize. A trigger is an invitation. It’s a gentle invitation to have another look.”

Well, that’s the key, I think, that you really had spoken to earlier and speaking to again, is there’s the word “slow” and “in a safe place”. I think sometimes when people get triggered, they’re not experiencing that slow safety to access and it can overwhelm the system.

Yeah, sometimes it’s not so slow. Sometimes it can happen quickly, but it’s really at your pace. This is a place where you also learn to be your own champion, and not in a rah-rah way. You suddenly see what was the pattern? Why did it come to me? What is my destiny with this pattern when I take it on? So, you begin to see that there’s literally no human being who doesn’t have a destiny. We may think we all have fate. We don’t. It’s a matter of looking. Transformation isn’t for the chosen few. It’s for those who choose it.

Free Side view full body romantic senior couple wearing trendy outfits standing on waterfront promenade and kissing gently on overcast weather Stock Photo

“Transformation isn’t for the chosen few. It’s for those who choose it.”

Well, can you talk to us a little bit about what can happen? You shared it in the example with the woman and men being stupid and what was passed down to her. And you spoke about loyalties. I’m hoping maybe you can share a little bit about how that impacts relationship and couplehood.

Yeah. If you’ve got a hidden loyalty or an unconscious loyalty to someone in a prior generation, let me explain what that looks like. I’ve always been sad or depressed, or I get to a point in a relationship where I know I must disengage. If we go looking and you’ve got someone from a prior generation who did disengage or who was sad because of and this had an impact on the family system, it becomes that epigenetic piece of the impact creates an imprint, which creates a blueprint for the way that we now react and behave for generations after that. 

So, if we had grandma, who was always depressed, mom, who was always depressed, I’m always depressed. And in a relationship, I don’t do so well because I’m just waiting for the person to leave. Well, who left? Who left? Grandmother’s husband left. And then, moms in a sentence became my dear mom so that you don’t suffer on your own. I will too. If you couldn’t keep your husband, I won’t keep mine. 

And there’s an inner part of us that takes that on and knows I’m doomed. I’m going to have to let go of the one I love. And so, I’m depressed in this relationship. And so, what you want to do is go back and have a look at it and really have that in sight in conversation of this doesn’t belong to me, there are many women who have been loyal to that. I want to show a different way. I don’t want to have to leave. In fact, I think I’m choosing to stay. 

That becomes a very much an embodied choice. You know this. When you choose and your choice is yes, all the way through your body, as we discussed, it becomes your new purpose. Now, if you can say all of the women were depressed, and I don’t choose that, it may be as simple as they never got on to meds. I did. That’s a step. It may be as simple as they never went to see somebody. I did. 

You’re stepping yourself out of the pattern that seems to have held the generation stuck. You’re stepping into a new way of being. That may be a number of steps but you’re looking at what you can do differently. So, in relationships, where you find yourself stuck, you want to look at who else in the family system was stuck. And am I borrowing that pattern from them? Is it costing me or serving me? Because if it’s costing me, this is a pattern that’s actually saying to me, “Stop, you’re not growing the system. We need you to do something different.”

Free Group of People Smiling and Standing Stock Photo

In relationships, where you find yourself stuck, you want to look at who else in the family system was stuck. Am I borrowing that pattern from them? Is it costing me or serving me? Because if it’s costing me, this is a pattern that’s actually saying to me, “Stop. You’re not growing the system. We need you to do something different.”

I love that because so much of what I referenced in my work with couples is the attachment system. And what we look at is also how that early imprint of relational experience and how we knew comfort, how we knew a sense of soothing and safety with others. That tends to inform what we predict and what we anticipate in relationship and then also our moves, right? We tend to protect ourselves and have protective strategies when we haven’t gotten those needs met. And it’s likely that some of that was even modelled from our parents and modelled from their parents. And so. I really appreciate just the power of what you’re these questions that I would love to just highlight in the transcript and the show notes for people to easily access because this is tremendous to be able to reflect like, noticing when I’m stuck. Who else in my family was stuck? I mean, those just are all very powerful questions. It allows for that perspective, but also what we’re talking about here and being able to have the dimensional multi-sensory experience.

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“The family system’s greatest need is to survive, but its highest ideal is to thrive and it depends on you.”

I think the other thing that’s important to that is as you’re disentangling from that, sometimes people get stuck because they have an inner sentence or an inner feeling that says, “But if you didn’t succeed, how dare I?” And there’s something that’s very important about that. 

The family system’s greatest need is to survive, but its highest ideal is to thrive, and it depends on you. So, it’s actually waiting for you to take a limiting pattern and reshape it into something remarkable that sets them free. So, you’re the change agent. You’re the one who can bring about the more, the better, the different. And so, I always say to people, they say, “Well, I was taught not to want much.” 

I’m the opposite. I teach people want lots. The way you evolve is by wanting. And if you invest strongly enough into your want, it becomes a purpose. And then it pulls you past all of your excuses and all of the multi-generational reasons for not having a good relationship. And when you invest in that, you’ve given your history dignity and you’re creating an incredible legacy for the future.

I’m just in great gratitude, Judy, to what you’re describing in the transformation. I don’t know that we have enough exposure to this around what’s possible. I’m wondering, just on my last question, do you find that there’s an integration process? You have this jolt, these aha, and this transformation. We also have our habits and our patterns that I believe these aha and even the neural pattern shifts that you’re describing are powerful. Is there any integration process that you see?

If we are talking about integration, I see people suddenly developing a purpose and purpose is super helpful when you’re going to integrate because it gives you a reason to stay on track. Now, the jolt means that people will not go back to where they were. That’s a given. They may think they’re lapsing, but they won’t go back to where they were. But the more that you invest in the purpose or the goal, the better it is or the stronger it begins to reinforce those neural pathways and habits. And it becomes really, really exciting. 

I always say to people. If you can create an adventure around it, it’s going to help you incredibly because that will lock you in so that no matter which way you’re swayed, you still know what the end goal is and you invest in that. And so, for me, I’m going to use a not relationships one. 

When we moved over here, I went to Disney World for the first time and I watched all of these people coming out of different places. We were staying way off property. It was amazing to even be able to afford it. And I looked at all of these people, and I thought, “You know what, every time that I do a piece of work, I’m going to take just X amount, and I’m going to put it away, because one day, I want to own a timeshare here, because then I can bring my family. And we can all have fun together. And we can all have good intimate time together in the heart of magic.” 

And because I was so invested in it, even the days that were tough, or struggle days, when I could take that little bit that I’d said I would and set it aside for that purpose, it really felt good. And the first time I took everybody on vacation, beyond priceless. It shifted something more for me. It kind of felt like I can do this. 

It’s no different in relationships. If you’re wanting to have healthy, happy one, it’s, “What can I do that’s different?” Everybody in my family is mad. Okay, so once a day, can I turn around and relate to somebody in a way that is happy and open. Just once a day. And build that and feel what it feels like. Because ultimately, I want to be that happy, open person who relates super easily and I’m not scared anymore. And if you keep building on that, this is your real, genuine, live adventure. And it will take you places you never anticipated.

It sounds like it’s the guiding principle, the motivating force, this purpose that keeps us on track when we may have different things that happen for us or struggles. But this keeps us oriented and this possibility, the transformation, and the becoming,

I would say yes. And I would say also really looking at your library of thoughts, feelings, and actions, and starting to restock it with ones that support where you want to go. I am enough. I got it right. I did well today. This was good. I wasn’t depressed, I was happy. So, start the self-championing language and feelings and actions too because if you can restock your library with that, it reinforces your direction and your purpose.

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“Start the self-championing language, feelings, and actions because if you can restock your library with that, it reinforces your direction and your purpose.”

Judy, thank you. And how do people get in touch with your workshops which you’re teaching, your books. What would you like to invite people to engage with?

I would love to invite them to preorder the book. It’s Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint. That is available at all of your big sellers. And it is available for preorder. The other place to get a hold of me is JudyWilkins-Smith.com. And for events, we have a July event in which I will be teaching the foundations of this work and it’ll be highly experiential. 

And then in November 10th through 13th is the one at Disney World. And this year, I’m teaching capability and resilience DNA. So, it’s this work related to your capability and resilience. And so, for four days we look at where does your feeling of not capability come from? Where do you struggle with resilience? How do we wire that in? And you do that all in the heart of the magic.

Wow. Well, I will make sure to have all of these links on today’s show notes. Thank you again for sharing your time, your wisdom, your insight with us here today and for the work that you’re doing.

Thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.

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Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching