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Systemic Diagnosis & Identity Loss

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Relationships can be confusing. When problems happen,
do you get caught up in your emotions and not see the larger issues?

If you do not understand the dynamics underlying your relationships, it will be difficult to resolve conflict and move beyond your current problems.

Relationship Dynamics & Systemic Health

Many people fight about issues such as money, sex, other people, how to raise children, how to spend their free time... but, the deeper issues usually include power, affect and respect. These dynamics  are part of every relationship and constantly influence our behavior.

1. Who has control? Most people want to influence or control what a partner does, but they do not like to be told what to do. The real issue is - who has control?

2. Who likes who? We constantly signal how we feel about the person we are with through our posture, facial expressions, touch, eye contact, and so on. We constantly signal whether we like the people we are with. The real issue is - who likes who?

3. Who respects who? Do you show respect or disrespect for another person's ideas, values and beliefs, etc? The real issue is - who respects whose opinions?

We can rapidly assess and predict many relationship dynamics using our systems diagnosis. We evaluate relationship dynamics to provide the information we need to help people fulfill complex goals.

Our systemic diagnosis helps people assess and evaluate their lives, habits and potential futures. This provides deep and valuable information about emotions and relationship in the least time, and the information can be correlated, tested, confirmed and integrated with other systemic coaching skills.

Systemic Diagnosis & Systemic Treatment

Relationship diagnosis elicits a collective perception of relationship systems, from multiple perceptual positions. Goal diagnosis uncovers the consequences and side-effects of goals and strategies for achieving them. Together, relationship diagnosis and goal diagnosis find appropriate goals and strategies for achieving them.

Although the validity of a goal or any step towards its achievement can be tested logically, emotionally and non-verbally, the best tests are real-world success in the context of the goal and the desirability of the consequences of achieving that goal.

Relationship Entanglements

Relationship entanglements refer to unwanted emotional bonds between people, often based on injustice and guilt. Entanglements can generate enormous suffering, and can cause further unhealthy relationships. The consequences of entanglements include depression and illness.

Children and immature adults often excuse themselves, blame others, complain and justify their entangled behavior. However, most people will suffer long before they seek relationship coaching that can resolve their entanglements. For most people, suffering is an essential step towards health.

Depression can also follow entanglements with cults and cult-like organizations. Our Exit Coaching can help people disentangle from unhealthy groups and organizations.

Helping professionals and managers who can recognize the following behaviors can predict problems, get help early and protect people and organizations from unpleasant consequences.


Identity Loss

In any human relationship system, people are alert to justice and guilt, and respond to perceived injustice following the examples set by parents and grandparents. A common response to relationship problems and injustice is what we call identity loss. Some common forms are:

  • Cannot choose own life goals (Identifications)
  • Cannot change beliefs or behavior (Identity Bonds)
  • Cannot make decisions without conflict (Identity Conflict)
  • Cannot describe, feel or express emotions (Lost Identity)

We often help people resolve identity loss.


A member of a system may identify with another member who is perceived as having been treated unjustly. (Watching cinema often produces short-term identification lasting only a few minutes). Some common identifications have predictable sets of symptoms:

  • Victim identification: chronic anger, suspicion, vandalism and possibly violence
  • Dead person identification: chronic sadness, melancholy and possibly suicide
  • Hero identification: chronic fear, anxiety attacks and possibly agoraphobia
  • Dependent identification: chronic guilt, self-sabotage and possibly depression

People with identifications may express emotional outbursts. A search for emotional triggers often indicates the causative entanglement and the type of identification. Although identifications are common, a dysfunctional identified person may be labeled "psychotic".

Identity Conflict

People with identity conflict may swing between two polar identities - sometimes within a few minutes. A decision or promise made in one polarity may be forgotten or ignored in the other. In extreme cases, a person may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or, if amnesic of the personality changes, with multiple personality syndrome.

Lost Identity

A person who cannot describe or feel emotions may lose sense of self. We call this Lost Identity. (An acute type is nervous breakdown). Lost Identity can result from abuse [see Child Abuse ], or from being ignored as a child. People with Lost Identity often function in a robot-like manner - they may not participate in life. Lost Identity may be called post-traumatic stress disorder (see Trauma & PTSD), chronic depression or codependence.

Relationship Bonds

People who stay in relationships despite having very good reasons to leave are often emotionally bonded. We perceive relationship bonds to be a form of identity loss that may manifest as helplessness and hopelessness - often supporting beliefs such as "I must do as I am told", "I don't deserve better" or "I cannot leave". Such beliefs are often conditions for difficult relationships to continue. See Bonds

Online Relationship & Life Coaching

If you accuse a partner of wrongdoing, partners typically:

  1. get defensive – fight back or withdraw (stop listening)
  2. offer an (insincere) apology designed to stop your attack
  3. hide and conceal similar behavior in the future

We help entangled people control their unpleasant symptoms and regain their lost identity. We can provide prompt relief and lasting benefit for responsible people who want to control negative emotions and enjoy healthy relationships.

Do you want to resolve your success and relationship issues?
Do you want to build success and healthy relationships?

Contact us


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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email