Is TB an ancestral disease

Family ties

Family - a haven of security, a haven of conflict. A conglomerate of lifelong connections and entanglements. It is based on the transmission of genetic material from generation to generation. However, the legacy of the ancestors is not only in the external appearance.

Behavioral patterns, attitudes to life, experiences and relationship dynamics also shape the members of a family in their own unique way. Often this remains unspoken and unconscious. Expectations, taboos, secrets and legends, but also family rules and family communication skills determine the “emotional and social legacy” of the ancestors.

These complex constructs are increasingly an issue in psychotherapy. It's about recognizing and understanding entanglements. Because not infrequently they have led to stressful and long inexplicable feelings such as shame or pain.

Transgenerational transmission

Not really a new finding, says psychology professor Peter Kaiser in his office at the University of Vechta. There has been national and international research on this since the 1960s. It is only now, however, that the findings from this are meeting with broader interest in public and in psychotherapy practice.

Long-term studies have shown that children of divorce are up to three times more likely to get divorced in their couple relationships. You grew up in a family where separation was a common way of solving problems. The children then often avoid binding ties.

Or they categorically exclude the desire to have children for themselves in order not to expect their own daughters and sons to separate. The psychologist Kaiser asks his colleagues to help decipher this so-called social inheritance.

Hidden questions

The phenomenon of separation may still be obvious, but its effects are often not. There is hidden and hidden. Unfinished business. Oppressive.

The Lindau Psychotherapy Weeks in April: Every year up to 4,000 specialists from medicine, psychology and child and youth therapy meet for two weeks of advanced training at lectures, seminars and workshops on Lake Constance.

One of the world's largest regular specialist conferences on the various psychotherapy methods. Behavioral therapy, analytical and deep psychological psychotherapy, conversation psychotherapy and systemic therapy are the five scientifically recognized methods.

Long-term entanglements

The experts discuss proven knowledge from theory and practice and new treatment techniques across schools. On the fringes of a plenary session, one participant reported that in her work she was very confronted with sick people who, strictly speaking, actually have an entire family system with them.

Research shows that such entanglements among the generations often cause mental disorders. According to current studies, Peter Kaiser assumes that to this day a third of the total German population is so severely affected by such a complex family situation that millions of people need professional help.

On the one hand, family patterns can shape behavior; on the other hand, the research results of so-called epigenetics also show the influence of the ancestors on the offspring: There are increasing indications that experiences, experiences and emotions also affect our genetic makeup and change it so permanently that the change can also be passed on to subsequent generations.

Inherited trauma

This can not only include relationship dynamics, but also stress, fear, traumatic experiences such as unemployment, bankruptcy, accidents or serious illnesses. Many people are unaware of how much and in what ways these things can burden them. Nevertheless, they feel laden with an invisible weight or sense a discrepancy.

In Germany, a look at the role of ancestors in recent years has above all shed light on the legacy of families of origin from the Third Reich - we are all in the second, third and fourth generations of people who have been persecuted, displaced or perpetrated.
Often a concealed pain and grief are hidden here, as well as denied or hidden feelings of guilt. This has left its mark on many families, and its effects on war and post-war children and grandchildren have only been publicly discussed for a few years.

Systemic therapy as a possibility

Family and social interrelationships and a psychological perspective over several generations are also at the center of the work in so-called systemic therapy. Systemic therapy is considered a further development of early family therapy in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the family network there is also the potential to solve a problem, to carry or to cope with an illness together, according to the experts. In fact, the scientific advisory board for psychotherapy confirmed in 2008 that systemic therapy can successfully support adults with depression or the treatment of schizophrenia.

In the case of chronic physical illnesses, the method can also be helpful - this was the result of the renewed evaluation of the studies which had already determined the effectiveness of systemic work. If you include a family, relatives or close relatives, this broadens your view of a problem - more perspectives also open up more opportunities to constructively overcome it.

Hidden Opportunities

Family can be a persistent source of stress, but it can also help get rid of it. Be it in consensus or in defense, in letting go of family entanglements. A balancing act that may never be completed for a lifetime.

Every family defines itself as a family in its own way - and everyday family life has changed overall, due to more mobility, more work for women, and new gender constellations. Nowadays sociologists speak of a "doing family", of constantly re-establishing the core task of the family: the care of the generations for one another.

Recognizing the emotional family inheritance can be an opportunity to free yourself from unpleasant entanglements - but also a chance to possibly establish a new connection to the ancestors. Family ancestors can just as easily pass on strengths - be it openly or unexpectedly hidden.

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