The foundation of systemic phenomenological work


12 January 2021| Other

Longing or expecting

“What about a life without children?”  was one of the questions in the chat during an online training with people from Latvia.

After the break I wanted to broach this topic, but I had no idea how. I had already understood that this is a major concern in Latvia, and I also heard it in Slovakia, that in the current fertile generation there is so often difficulty having children, and finding partners is also an issue.

I started broaching this topic without knowing what I was going to tell about it.  And suddenly the quote on yesterday’s tear-off calendar comes to mind:

“Is what you want based on expecting or on longing?”

I read the quote yesterday, but didn’t really get through to it.  And now while talking, I realized what a huge difference it can make whether you want something from a state of longing or a state of expecting.

Longing is connected with what is not there or what you did not receive.

If I am single now and long for a partner, then I try to fit the imaginary partner, or the imaginary child into my life now, as I know it.  But it is an illusion to think that my life is the same when my life becomes connected to the life of a partner or a child.

A state of longing keeps us stuck in keeping as it is.

A state of longing is also linked to the past. The longing often contains the unconscious child illusion to repair the past. That may be your own past, but you can also subconsciously keep busy with giving your grandmother a better life than she had.

If you as adult continue to see such a child illusion as a life task, then you have an inner conflict as you turn to the future and turn your back on your grandmother. This alone can be a systemic reason for not having a partner or not having children: you feel that you should leave the past un-repaired, and as long as this is an unconscious process, the price is usually too high and there is no opening for a partner or child.

When you imagine that you are thinking from the state of expectation of a life with a partner or with a child, then there is probably a voice with inner protest: “you cannot order a partner, you cannot order a child, that does not work!”. And that’s right, you can’t just order a future.

Expecting demands a completely different mode from you.

Going into a state of expectation means leaving the desire behind.

With expecting, I know that I have to take myself into the process from here to what I want. When ‘what I want’ is reached, I am also different, or should I be different.

It means that you open up to growth, that you open up for that you are going to change and that your life is going to change and you have no idea how and what the result will be … It means that you are already on the journey before the possible partner or the child is there.

Then another question came from the group: “and what about demanding?”

Demanding is an expression of an adult who remains in the angry-child position. To demand that reality be different from what it is, comes from a state of emptiness. It is an attempt to impose your own will on reality.

It is an expression of personal conscience.

Children do not demand in such a way.  When we interpret children’s behavior as demanding, this behavior is hard at work to point out to adults that something from our systems’ history still wants a place, that there is still something to integrate for the adults.

Longing is an expression of the system conscience, in which a child (and often in an adult age) believes in the illusion that the past still needs to be repaired and therefore does not have time yet for the future.

Expecting is already going on an adventure with yourself as luggage, expecting something unexpected to happen. This is a state of being in which you can just be taken by the evolutionary force that moves your life as you never could move your life yourself…


Bibi Schreuder

January 12, 2021

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