Uncover Systemic Stressors


Systemic stressors arise when your  relationships – personal, familial, social or professional – are broken or remain in conflict. Such tensions and frictions can compromise your immunity and affect your health. If you can discover your systemic stressors and what triggers them, you can take specific and targeted actions to recover from them.


No man (or woman) is an island

We are all part of a system: family, workplaces, societies, etc. The quality of our relationships determine the health of the systems we live in, and the health of the system plays a big role in our own health.

How do relationship dynamics become stressors? Psychologists and energy workers provide different perspectives.


Our family is our basic systemic unit. Family members are biologically and also energetically inter-connected. An unresolved issue among family members can cause an emotional-energetic blockage or vacuum in the system, which can eventually result in one person in the family bearing it in his or her body by falling ill. It is much like the ‘weakest link’ that gives way in a chain.

Bert Hellinger is the world’s foremost expert on Family Constellation Therapy and in his work over 40 years, he concludes that the single most important family dynamic which contributes to illness is ‘exclusion’. For example

  • A daughter may have been ‘disowned’ by the family for marrying outside the community or religion.
  • A younger brother may have severed ties with the other siblings due to a business disagreement.
  • There may be an illegitimate child from a second wife.
  • Perhaps an estrangement due to a messy divorce.
  • One child being sent away to be brought up elsewhere, due to difficult financial circumstances
  • A particular condition (such as schizophrenia or alcoholism or sexual abuse) is ‘hushed-up’ and never discussed in public

These situations are quite common and it has been said “there is no such thing as a fully functional family”. Sad, but true. What is also common is that in every situation described above, one particular energy, which is meant to be part of the system, is somehow excluded from it. As a result of this exclusion, the system’s overall equilibrium is disturbed.

Hellinger’s great insight is that the excluded energy belongs in the system and longs to be included again. And one way for it to be energetically included is to manifest as illness in one of the members. In other words, an individual may be carrying an illness, which actually represents the energetic stressor of the larger system.

Naturally then, addressing such systemic stressors is a subtle and complex process; it needs to be done both at an individual level as well as at the group level.


A curious power equation often establishes itself in relationships, especially that of patient-carer. When the patient loses the sense of empowerment they have to depend on the carer, as their source of power. The patient is locked in a position of “I’m not OK, you’re OK” and can come across as needy. The carer reciprocates by feeling “I’m OK, you’re not OK” and gets a false sense of empowerment and importance.

Each side seems to fit perfectly into the other’s needs and while this may be necessary for a short period, it is actually a distorted power equation which holds them both down. This state is called co-dependence.

Co-dependence is very common between couples and in families. It arises because we humans mistakenly deal in an exchange of ‘power’ when what we really need is an unconditional give and take of ‘love’.

We hope you found this information useful. Confronting uncomfortable questions about our deepest relationships is a lifetime’s work, and we appreciate your courage to explore this level of your being.


  • What is the health of my significant relationships: parents, siblings, spouse, children, etc?
  • Can I identify co-dependence in any of them?
  • What are my family ‘un-discussables/ dysfunctions’ and the possible ‘exclusions’ which need to be addressed? Which energies need to be honoured and re-included?

The Holistic Health Questionnaire (HHQ) will help you understand your stressors. To take the free test, please visit hhq.cancerawakens.com

More from this series

Title About the article
Uncovering Physical Stressors The key factors in maintaining optimum physical health are diet, exercise, rest & relaxation, personal habits (smoking/ alcohol) and sociability & laughter.
Uncovering Mental Stressors Our mind is in constant chatter, with a series of voices saying this, that or the other. Limiting beliefs and negative self talk are a major source of mental stress, which eats away at our immunity.
Uncovering Emotional Stressors In this article we will explore where negative emotions come from and how they can be managed.
Uncovering Spiritual Stressors Sometimes our physical, mental, emotional and systemic levels may not reveal what is really going on, at least, not enough to explain the manifestation of a life-threatening disease like cancer. In many such cases, the stressor may lie in the spiritual aspect of our selves, which we have to delve into.
Uncovering Systemic Stressors We are all part of a system: family, workplaces, societies, etc. The quality of our relationships determine the health of the systems we live in, and the health of the system plays a big role in our own health.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here