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Navigating Family Dynamics on Your Road to Ancestral Healing


If you are on any form of healing or personal development journey, then you know exactly what I’m talking about! One of the MOST triggering aspects of this journey is spending time with family. But there is a reason why this happens, which I’ll explain.


Having recently spent a month with my immediate family under the same roof, I was reminded of this vividly. At the beginning of my journey, dealing with complex family dynamics was one of the hardest challenges for me. It’s a topic that isn’t addressed enough, yet the backlash from family once you begin making changes can be hard to ignore. It felt completely isolating and just plain confusing. Here I was, working to improve myself, and all I received was criticism, deflection, and defences.


However, this recent month felt different. In the past, I would have felt much heavier, more triggered, and taken things more personally. And don’t get me wrong, I did get triggered and take things personally at times, but I was also able to process and heal significantly during this period and see the ancestral patterns for what they are.


Why Does It Happen?


This might be tough to admit, but our families act as mirrors. This goes both ways: we mirror to them, and they mirror to us. Sometimes, the mirror reflects qualities we share, and other times, it reveals qualities only they have, which elicit a reaction within us.


Our family unit is the storage house for a significant portion of the conditioning, trauma, and limitations we carry. These elements are not just passed down from generation to generation but are carried through our ancestral lines until someone in the family decides to heal and break free. This process is known as ancestral healing or ancestral lineage healing.


A famous psychology experiment involving monkeys illustrates this well. In the experiment, five monkeys were placed in a room with a ladder and a bunch of bananas at the top. Whenever a monkey went for the bananas, all the monkeys were sprayed with water. Eventually, they all stopped trying. One by one, the original monkeys were replaced with new ones, and each new monkey, upon trying to reach the bananas, was pulled down by the others. Even after all the original monkeys were replaced, none of the new ones went for the bananas because they had learned from the others' behaviour, despite never experiencing the water spray themselves.


This is how ancestral conditioning is carried through a family line. It’s not about laying blame; it’s simply how human conditioning works. As children, we learn through observation and absorb our environment until about age seven. We learn how to act, behave, speak, and show up based on what we observe and what we were allowed or not allowed to do. Our conditioning is defined by how well our needs were met, and where they weren’t, we adapt to try to get them met. This is precisely what happens to our parents, and their parents, and on and on.


Before we begin a healing journey, we are largely unconscious of our patterns and conditioning, simply existing in them. For some, the toxicity in the family is blatant; for others, there might be no evident problems. This was the case for me, and it’s common among clients who initially say their childhood was fine, only to realize the root of their issues lies there.


Many find that things with their family start to heat up once they begin awakening to their conditioning and start healing.



Tips to Support You on This Journey of Ancestral Healing


Be Kind to Yourself


In the grand scale of triggers, being with family is akin to putting an alcoholic in a bar. It is HARD! You may have placed an expectation that the new version of you will show up in all its glory, only to find yourself slipping back into old ways. The worst thing you can do is place expectations on yourself for how you should show up and then guilt yourself because you got triggered. It’s normal to feel resistant to slipping back, fearing you’ve ruined your progress, but you haven’t.


My advice is to allow. Allow what comes up to come up. If you’re triggered, then you’re triggered. We don’t create change through resistance but through allowance and acceptance of all parts of us. Be kind and forgiving, and know that over time you won’t slip back as much. Find ways to be kind, whether it’s tuning into your inner child, spending time comforting them, releasing emotions, or stepping away for time alone—do whatever brings you back to centre.


Work Out Your Boundaries This is a must, especially for fellow people pleasers who say yes when they want to say no. Start by reflecting on what your needs are. If you don’t know what they are, you can’t create boundaries. Consider where the tipping point is based on past engagements: what has been too much for you? Consider the amount of time spent, where it’s spent, and the topics and activities that cause the most difficulty. If you have a toxic family member, your boundary might be taking a break entirely. Only you can know your boundaries, and your body is a great source of intelligence for this. When a boundary is crossed, your body will naturally want to protect itself, often through a subtle or obvious contraction. Pay attention to this.


Now to the hard part: communicating them. Go slow! If you’ve never communicated a boundary before, don’t start by laying them all out at once. Your nervous system will go into chaos. The other person might also resist since they aren’t used to you setting boundaries. Start small, finding a boundary to communicate that still stretches you but you’re about 80% confident you can do it. Gradually, over time, you’ll draw all your boundaries.


Use It to Propel Your Ancestral Healing Journey This was precisely what I did the last time. As with all deep healing journeys, to go forwards, we must go backwards. We must allow the ancestral shadows to surface, and they absolutely will with family. The best thing you can do is observe, note it all down, and reflect on it. Watch for emerging patterns. You might even reach epiphanies about your childhood by observing your family now. Patterns don’t change unless we take action to change them, so your family is likely running the same arguments, criticisms, and storylines. You can gain a lot of insights into what you experienced as a child just from observing this.


Get Support This journey can be incredibly isolating, especially if you’ve never encountered these types of problems before. Seek support, either from friends on the same journey or from someone who can help you process and heal these patterns.


Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT®) is one way to process through family conditioning and ancestral patterns. I have worked with hundreds of clients now to heal their past using RTT. The method is so powerful because it combines the best principles of Hypnotherapy, NLP, Psychotherapy, Neuro-rewiring, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapies to address your challenges deeply and holistically. The central foundation of RTT® is the awareness that our challenges and limitations stem from our subconscious beliefs formed during childhood based on our family and ancestral lineage. Our lives are a product of our past beliefs and programming, which shape the way we think, behave, and feel.


If you’re ready to break free of stubborn family behavioural patterns, book a free strategy session to see if RTT® is a good fit.





In Summary


Above all else, be kind to yourself. This is a hard journey, and it takes time.


Working on the shadows of the family shines a light on them, which is uncomfortable for those who don’t want to face them. This is where the difficulties lie.


Remind yourself that it isn’t personal, though it feels like the ultimate kick in the gut. They aren’t rejecting you; they are rejecting facing themselves. Some relationships may break down temporarily or even completely, but always honour yourself and what you need.

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