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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Mental Illness and Family Karmic Debt
Article ID: 11900
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: September 9th. 2007
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What if mental illness is the result of one member of a family being the repository for the family’s karmic debt? By that, I mean that any family that has a level of dysfunction in it creates karmic debt as a collective. It may be something that was passed down from generation to generation unknowingly. There is no blame or guilt in this theory, only a possible idea for healing a family’s debt as a whole. And thus, breaking the cycle of mental illness within one of the family members’ life.
Karmic debt, as it is referred to in this writing, is energetic imbalance that exists at a spiritual level. Karma is a concept of spiritual cause-and-effect that is derived from the choices that we each make in our lives, and the cosmic results of those choices. Thus a karmic debt is the amount of imbalance that exists with a given person or group.
Additionally, many people who are deeply involved in spiritual growth recognize the concept that a group of people who are emotionally connected to each other create a separate energy entity called an ‘egregore’. The ‘egregore’ is the spiritual consciousness that was created from these emotional connections. To understand more about what an egregore is, feel free to research the topic on the web.
So, here is the theory in a nutshell: The dysfunction of a family often times threatens to destroy the family as a unit. Alcoholism, emotional bankruptcy, and neglect are examples of behavior patterns that systematically erode the familial connections. This dysfunction then creates a state where no one in the family wants to get together, no one feels proud of their families, and subsequently they all go off in different directions. They separate, and carry those unhealthy patterns with them when they leave. They doom subsequent generations to being subjected to the illness and the debt created by previous generations.
A family that has a history of mental illness may be a family who hasn’t paid their karmic debt for generations. So each subsequent generation has one person who is the repository for all the ills of the family, and thus they become too sick to function independently.
Their illness then forces the family to stay together trying to cope. Sharing this burden, indirectly forces the family to stay together. It forces the members of the family to be in each other’s lives on a regular basis, keeping emotional connections alive. This side effect may be the family unit’s way of trying to heal itself.
So then, the first step in testing this theory is to look at your family and see whom the person is whose behaviors (diagnosed or undiagnosed) are causing the family to have to sacrifice their freedoms on some level to stay together to deal with the issue.
This person may be very sensitive, and often feel like a victim. They may not be able to deal with the challenges of life as easily as everyone else in the family does. They were raised in the same space, with the same people, and yet they have difficulty coping with the same stuff.
Forget the Jungian labels for what role that person may be playing, and just look at the situation from a holistic-family-unit perspective.
Find the person that you think is the carrier of the karmic debt, and examine their behaviors against these questions:
1) Do they seem to have disproportionate amount of emotional drama in their lives that draws the family together?
2) Do you find yourself wondering what can be done to help them help themselves?
3) Do they seem to need more help with common life challenges than other members of your family?
4) Are you involved in some way in taking care of them, such that you cannot move on to other stages of your own life?
5) Do you invest a lot of time within your own immediate family discussing ways to heal them?
I am betting that once you answer those questions, the person who is carrying your family’s karmic debt will be obvious to you.
So what do you do once you have identified this person? Gather your family together for the sake of nurturing your emotional connections. This can be anything: dinners, cookouts, re-unions, phone calls, photos, websites, etc. The goal is to make a real change in how you live your life such that your family staying together and keeping those emotional connections strong becomes a higher priority than it has been before now.
It may take years of action, to turn the tide and pay the debt. Perhaps your family has not been together or nurtured your “tribe’s blood” for many generations. So it may take years to fix. The question you need to ask yourself is this: is your own independence and freedom to do what you will worth the cost of your karmic debt carrier’s happiness?
As foreboding and melodramatic as that sounds, think about how mental illness affects the person who is experiencing it. They deserve to be free of the family’s debt, and live their lives in happiness and independence. Whether they were chosen to fill this role by the ancestors, or somehow chose it themselves is irrelevant to healing the karmic debt and breaking the cycle.
Think about the number of people in the US who are on some kind of anti-depressant or mood enhancer. Perhaps the disconnection of our family units is generating the illness of our society, and if we do not work to re-build those connections we are dooming ourselves to destruction as a race? A bit extreme as a concept, but worthy of consideration I think.
In the context of this writing, families are not defined by traditional roles. Families are not just a Mom and a Dad who had kids. These connections cross traditional boundaries because families are defined by the emotional connections that we had as children with the people who nurtured us. By that I mean that a family connection can be from grandparent to grandchild, from aunts and uncles, or any other nurturer that was present in your childhood.. it is defined as those people in your life who you would refer to as “my people”.
I’m not suggesting that this theory is the silver bullet to our nation’s ills. Nor do I believe that it’s something unique that hasn’t been discussed before in different contexts. I am merely interested in the possibility that mental illness is a signal to a family that they have something to fix AS A WHOLE UNIT, rather than just some unfortunate burden that they must bear in ignorance.
Family reunions and cookouts may not heal the mental illness in the person who has it now, but it may prevent subsequent generations from having a child who is the repository for the debt.
Basically, we just don’t know...
But it’s worth entertaining the idea that healing emotional connections as a family will create a stronger world for children to grow up in and may heal our community.
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