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Module 1: The Ancestors

Welcome to this first module of our journey. This module has a purpose, to become aware of the fact that we are "inhabited" by all the characters of the family, and that they can speak through our interiority, if we want it.

It is possible that you will get amazing results, or on the contrary apparently disappointing. In any case, always keep the results of your searches, both objective information and intuitive material. It is also possible that family tree resistances make your results seemingly flat, mundane, or confusing; as you progress through the study of the tree, perhaps you will discover a particular detector. Furthermore, some concrete information that you missed at first can suddenly acquire an important meaning.

In this module we will study the influences of the family tree on a person's life, in particular on various inexplicable behaviors when viewed in the light of the person's life experiences. The core is that sometimes behind the symptoms of psychosomatic illnesses, of serious illnesses, there are repetitive behaviours that lead to dramas, suicides, failures and accidents often already experienced in the past by a family member without the descendant's knowledge. Repetitions of destinies over several generations of the same clan.

The objectives of this module are:

  • Search for one's own roots and identity;
  • To highlight the processes of transmission and transgenerational repetition;
  • Understanding the effects of unresolved grief and the effects of the "unspoken", or rather the mysteries present within our family tree;
  • Highlight the different family roles and the rules that imply them.

Psychogenealogy explains the family transmission - from one generation to another - of memories of tragic events, of unresolved debts and obligations, of unconscious repetitions of behavioral patterns, of uneased life cycles. The memory of injustices, in fact, crosses several generations falling like a heavy burden on the descendants, who often sacrifice their lives and dreams, driven by "family loyalty" to heal the unfinished of the ancestor and to restore justice and the order of love in the family system.

Seeing your family history represented in a clear and complete whole allows you to unify it and grasp it at a glance. Past and present are finally gathered in an overview.
A genosociogram is a graph of a family tree complete with important life events and affective ties: "tree of life", genealogy over 3-7 generations, cards, conventional signs and stages. It is drawn on a blackboard, on a sheet of drawing paper or on sheets that will stretch and enlarge, if necessary.

In short, a genogram or genosociogram is:

  • A commented family tree
  • A graphic representation of family ties
  • A design that outlines the major stages of the life cycle of the family system
  • An indispensable tool for the transgenerational analysis of the family system

The genogram allows to understand the functioning of the family system according to a systemic perspective, and to evaluate the connections from an inter-generational point of view. It is a fundamental tool for Psychogenealogy.

There is a substantial difference between the use of the family tree and the genogram: the family tree presents the external structure of the family, the representation of the kinship ties that exist between its members, without dealing with how these bonds actually interfere in the affective relationships of the various components. The genogram, on the other hand, starts from personal data, but looks at them from a psycho- social perspective, considering the family as a system based on a set of relationships. It can be defined as the tool that provides the internal structure of the family.

The genogram highlights the information of the family, so as to offer a quick overview of the complex family dynamics. In the genogram it is important, therefore, to highlight the type of relationship that binds family members, for example a distant, close, conflictual relationship, and the emotional intensity of the bond.

 

What to indicate in the Genosociogram:

The genogram also indicates life events made of successes but also failures, dramatic or important events. Also local or national historical events (during the war, during the German occupation, the day of the declaration of war, the day of the local shooting, or important family events).

4.1.a - Names
Names are important: it is above all a matter of knowing why they were given.
Often the name recalls a love of youth, or the name of the real parent, a previous child who died in childhood, the name of another son hidden from the father, or of the first husband, or of the grandmother's boyfriend, never forgotten, a character from an important film, a hidden bond or to be discovered.

4.1.b – Jobs
The genosociogram also indicates the trades, the degrees of study (specifying for example "failure to maturity"), the removals and uprooting, the important facts of war, certain small or large pathologies, a genetic problem, such as an important mental or physical disability, a missing organ or member (being blind from birth or becoming), psychosis, prison sentence, or preventive prison with no place to proceed, psychiatric internment, suicides (and those who discovered the body, and reason, including lack of family attention, or lack of good psychiatric care, or depression), failure, or various sources of shame (suicide before prison, for example).

 

Who and how to start? From themselves or from their parents?

Start by marking a horizontal line on a large sheet of paper to mark the brothers, and descend vertical strokes to locate each child. Children are numbered as the family does, from left to right. All conceptions are added, i.e. even children who died in utero, spontaneous abortions, deliberate abortions, stillbirths, or deaths of infants or young children (often outside the family numbering).

Males are indicated by a square, females by a circle, in which age is written. Below is noted:

The name, date and place of birth, and some fact such as place of residence, studies, profession, certain serious illnesses and some uprooting, even a small move or change of bed or room in the house can be relevant.
Contrary to the creation of a classic family tree, the coherence of what is written on the genosociogram follows the bonds of the heart and memory and not necessarily logic. Feeling free to talk about yourself, to ask questions to your family, to deal with painful or forbidden subjects, is not easy, often there are waste and taboo topics and there is also self-censorship so it is very important to approach all this with kindness and security.

In conclusion, the useful elements to consider to compile a genosociogram are:

  • Names, nicknames, degree of kinship of each person
  • Dates of birth, death, any serious illness, marriages, separations, divorces etc.
  • Dates of significant displacements / transfers, migrations
  • Intensity and type of relationship between the individuals indicated in the genogram
  • Emotional and affective breakages / separations
  • Ethnicity, occupation, socio-economic level, religious or other affiliations (if significant)
  • Health and personality characteristics.

 

For a Transgenerational Research that allows to reach the compilation of a genogram the researcher will have to retrieve information (where possible clearly), here are some ideas from which to start.

 

1. Couple relationships (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents):

  • circumstances of the meeting: how the love story began
  • the marriage was chosen by them or was "imposed"
  • was there a previous love that did not go well?
  • problems of the couple (what they faced: health, money, social, racial, etc.)
  • separations
  • marriage annulments
  • second marriage or cohabitation
  • children born from a second marriage

2. Composition of one's family (parents):

  • number of children and hierarchy (first-born, second-born, etc.)
  • distance between births
  • adopted children
  • spontaneous abortions (first-born, second-born, etc.)
  • abortions procured (first-born, second-born, etc.)
  • interrupted pregnancies
  • types of delivery (natural, caesarean, breech, umbilical cord around the neck, forceps, etc.)
  • who lives under the same roof?

3. Composition of one's own family (maternal and paternal grandparents, maternal and paternal great-grandparents):

  • number of children and hierarchy (first-born, second-born, etc.)
  • distance between births
  • adopted children, in foster care
  • only children
  • abandoned children
  • spontaneous abortions (first-born, second-born, etc.)
  • interrupted pregnancies
  • types of delivery (natural, caesarean, breech, umbilical cord around the neck, forceps, etc.)
  • who lived under the same roof?

4. The professions of the paternal/maternal family:

  • social sphere (workers, peasants, artisans, musicians, artists, professionals, etc.)
  • studies and training
  • change of profession
  • reverse of fortune
  • skills and talents

5. Money, goods, inheritance in the paternal/maternal family:

  • attitude towards money
  • loss or acquisition of assets
  • inheritance received, loss of inheritance
  • legal processes
  • conflicts because of money

6. Diseases in the paternal/maternal family:

  • important, repeated
  • operations, care
  • internments (hospitals, psychiatry, prisons)
  • mental illness
  • accidents and traumas (including war wounds)
  • causes and circumstances of physical damage/handicap/mutilation
  • situations of imprisonment

7. Deaths in the paternal/maternal family:

  • causes of death, age
  • long-term effects of bereavement
  • suicides: context, means, specific problem
  • murders

8. Removals in the paternal/maternal family:

9. Migrations in the paternal/maternal family:

10. Facts of war and politics in the family:

11. Memories, family secrets, unspoken:

  • abuse
  • rape
  • secret children
  • abandonment of children

Remember again, this module has a purpose, to become aware of the fact that we are "inhabited" by all the characters of the family, and that they can speak through our interiority, if we want to.
It is possible that you will get amazing results, or on the contrary apparently disappointing. In any case, always keep the result of your searches, both objective information and intuitive material.
It is also possible that the resistances of the family tree make your results seemingly flat, banal or confusing; as you go on in the study of the tree, perhaps you will discover a particular detector. In addition, some concrete information that you missed at first can suddenly acquire an important meaning.

Grateful to share the journey.