Legacy Burdens seen by IFS Therapy
In our childhood, we were highly dependent on our parents and caretakers. In our eyes, they knew how the world works and we needed to learn about it from them.
At that young age, we took all their teachings without any skepticism. We didn’t have a rational part who could distinguish good things from bad things - legacy gifts from legacy burdens. So we took it all and soon it became the foundation of our own internal family:
When we grew up, we still didn’t know which parts are holding the legacy burdens - ways of thinking („It’s dangerous to trust men”), attitudes („The world is a bad place”), and roles (i.e. extreme caretaking) that are now making it hard for us to access Self-energy.
When we discover it in the course of therapy, some angry parts may be triggered. They may say: „It’s my father’s / mother’s fault!”. And then we feel that we need to find space in ourselves to forgive them.
But the truth is, it’s not their fault. They may have gotten it from their parents. Or from the social programming that was dominating at the time they were children. It’s hard to discover the true source of our Legacy Burdens.
IFS Lead Trainer Ann Sinko wrote: „Legacy burdens are communicated first-hand from parent to child but are secondhand in the sense that the origin of the belief (the reason that having a particular need or desire is a threat) comes from the experience of someone else, someone who might have lived generations earlier”.
IFS Therapy shows us that we can heal those burdens, returning them to our parents or caretakers… so they can return them to their own parents or caretakers. The process of dealing with those burdens is different than the one we normally use for our own burdens.
We need to learn what „amount” of a particular burden comes from someone else. And then we imagine a beautiful ceremony… a ceremony in which we see all the past and future generations together, standing in one line.
As our work with our own system deepens, we become aware of the intricate burdens our parts hold. The more we practice IFS inside and out, the more familiar we become with the cultural, ethnic, or transgenerational burdens we are carrying.
IFS Therapy model invites us to identify parts that carry legacy influences, find the heirlooms in the legacy that can be embraced. It allows us to experience and practice the legacy healing and unburdening process.
Through noticing, validating, getting to know, befriending, and bringing healing to:
- Trailheads to Legacy Burdens - implicit or explicit biases and isms we grew up with: racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, genderism, heterosexism (homophobia), ageism, classism, patriotism, ableism, individualism, patriarchy, religious prejudice, etc.,
- The microsystem that is arranged around Legacy Burdens,
- The various protectors holding aspects of the Legacy Burdens,
- Polarizations around the Legacy Burdens,
- Protective system’s fears around releasing Legacy Burdens,
- Exile/s holding aspects of the Legacy Burdens,
- Heirlooms related to the legacy,
- The healing process of unburdening the Legacy Burdens.