By: Carolyn Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN

Every human being has faced the pain of exclusion at one time or another in their lifetime, and undoubtedly, you have faced exclusion’s piercing knife as well. Exclusion cuts profoundly deep into the depths of your body, heart, and soul because it is a violation of the law of God. By way of your creation, you were placed in a community, and in the eyes of God, you belong to this community. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live a communal life, you too are created for community and inclusion. – Excerpt from chapter 7 of Understanding the Jesus Code


There are basic rules that, when followed, allow for love to flow freely in the family system. When love is given freedom healing occurs effortlessly and the family comes to experience a fullness of provision, protection, nurture and comfort. However, families today suffer as a result the violation of one or more of these rules. The resulting imbalance can then manifest as physical illness, mental illness, addictions, heartache, divorce, abuse, neglect, infidelity, unforgiveness, anger, and/or rage in any or all of it’s members. Fortunately, restoration can happen through forgiveness and acceptance. Love can once again be given full reign in the family to heal as only love can.


We are all born into a family and our birth gives us a basic right to belong to this family. Strong bonds take place in families, and for good reason. Our survival depends on the care of others. An infant would not survive without someone to care for them. For this reason, a baby comes into the world deeply desiring the love of their mother and their father. When all goes according to love’s plan a child will reach out to their mother and father seeking love, and in return, he or she will receive the protection, provision, nurture and comfort desired and needed for happiness. This desire for maternal and paternal love continues throughout one’s lifetime. However, when a family practices exclusion this flow of love is interrupted, leaving deep wounds in the excluded person, other members of the family, and also those who exclude. Harmony is achieved when love is once again allowed to heal and this requires forgiveness and acceptance of what is. Sometimes this means accepting our family as it is and allowing other’s to provide love for us. Remember, we are all one body in Christ and in being so we can assist one another in our need for love.

Matthew 18:12
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?

Love and family


There is a natural order that love follows in the family. In order to understand how to support the flow of love we must acknowledge three things.

  1. First, love and life flows to us through the generations who came before us. Honoring our parents, grandparents, and those who came before us serves to bring forth happiness deep inside our soul. However, the pain suffered in these relationships can run deep. In these cases it can be helpful to offer gratitude to our ancestors for giving us life and acknowledging they have carry (carried) woundedness as well. Faith can help heal our wounds and sometimes the best thing we can do is unite our pain with Jesus’ cross.
  2. Secondly, when a man and a woman create a new family this new family takes precedence over any earlier family, this includes the family of origin, and sadly in the case of divorce or separation, this includes the first marriage/relationship. In the case of a second marriage or relationship the children and spouse of the first family can experience untold pain. This is one of the many reasons God created marriage to be sacred and holy – a place where children can be raised with love and support of both parents.
  3. Lastly, love and life flow through, and to us, from the source of all life – God. Given this, in order to support love so that the family can be healed, we must honor those who came before us for what we received from them – the good and the bad. All of it has the potential to serve the higher good in our lives.


When the primary laws of love are not followed, as in the case of exclusion, love is obstructed and pain soon follows. In an attempt to restore balance younger individuals in the family will often attempt to bring about restoration by identifying with the individual from whom love was withheld. Almost as if to say ” Look, you love me and I’m like him or her, so therefore they are worthy of love too.” We call this entanglement. Often the entangled person is unaware of their entanglement; however, when the one who was excluded is placed in a Family Constellation the entanglement becomes obvious. Entanglement can manifest as generational addictions, physical and emotional health issues, and a plethora of other forms of heartache and pain.

little boy giving


Often a child is the one to become entangled with an excluded person in an attempt to restore the flow of love. When a child comes into a family they seek love and when they sense the pain of a break in love they will attempt to restore and heal the pain without regard to their needs. You see this acutely when you look at abused children. Often, they deeply desire their mother’s or father’s love at such a cost as to accept the abuse or blame themselves for the abuse. Younger siblings will often attempt to absorb the pain their older siblings experience and children will often attempt to take responsibility for healing their parent’s pain. All of this is done in an attempt to restore the flow of love in the family.


Unfortunately, we witness individuals exclude themselves from the family today. Oftentimes we count their behavior as “blameworthy”. I use quotations because no one leaves the family system for a “blameworthy” reason who has not experienced a disruption in the flow of love at some point in their life. When love is obstructed via self-exclusion the question then arises, how much of an effect did the exclusion have on the family members and how can we bring about restoration. We often see self-exclusion in divorce when one parent leaves the family, when a family member is imprisoned, or when someone falls into addiction or depression. If love has been hindered we need to address the root cause of the exclusion and offer forgiveness and acceptance so that love is allowed to flow and heal as only love does.

Acts 2:39
For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”


If you would like to schedule a session with Carolyn or inquire about inviting her to speak at an upcoming event or retreat of yours we invite you to click here: Carolyn Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN