Transgenerational Trauma – How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who You Are

Transgenerational Trauma – How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who You Are

Unconsciously, we relive our mother’s anxiety. We repeat our father’s disappointments. We replicate the failed relationships of our parents or grandparents.

Just as we inherit our eye color and blood type, we also inherit the residue from traumatic events that have taken place in our family. While our physical traits are easily discernible, this emotional legacy is often hidden from us. Anxiety, fear, financial worries, depression, illness and unhappy relationships can all be forms of our unconscious inheritance. Unresolved traumas, some going back two or three generations, can ensnare us in feelings and situations that don’t even belong to us. They can forge a blueprint for our life, and can even pass onto our children. It doesn’t have to continue. It can end here. Start by answering these questions bellow.

Three Generations of Family History

Below are some family history questions to consider before we work together. You don’t need to write anything down or send anything in advance. You may need to do a little research, however, by asking your parents or other family members. Don’t worry if there are answers you can’t get. What you already know will be enough.

  • Who died early?
  • Who left?
  • Who was abandoned, isolated, or excluded from the family?
  • Who was adopted or who gave a child up for adoption?
  • Who died in childbirth?
  • Who had a stillbirth, miscarriage, or abortion?
  • Who committed suicide?
  • Who committed a serious crime?
  • Who experienced a significant trauma or suffered a catastrophic event?
  • Who lost their home or possessions and had difficulty recovering?
  • Who suffered in war?
  • Who died in or participated in the Holocaust or some other genocide?
  • Who was murdered?
  • Who murdered someone or felt responsible for someone’s death or misfortune?
  • Who hurt, cheated, or took advantage of someone?
  • Who profited from another’s loss?
  • Who was wrongly accused?
  • Who was jailed or institutionalized?
  • Who had a physical, emotional, or mental disability?
  • Which parent or grandparent had a significant relationship prior to getting married, and what happened?
  • Was someone deeply hurt by another?
  • Did anyone, including you, experience a week or more away from mother at an early age?
  • Did your parents go on a vacation when you were young?
  • Were you sent away to visit relatives or grandparents?
  • Were you or your mother ever hospitalized and forced to be apart from one another?
  • Did something traumatic happen while your mother was pregnant with you?
  • Did you experience a difficult birth?
  • Were you born premature?
  • Were you adopted or separated from the mother shortly after birth?
  • Did you experience a trauma or a separation from your mother during your childhood?
  • Did your mother experience a trauma or emotional turmoil during your childhood?

As well, I’d like you to form a sentence or two about your worst fear. If your life fell apart, what’s your worst fear?  What’s the worst thing that could happen to you ? This is probably a feeling that’s been with you your whole life. The answer to this question is key.

Source: Mark Wolynn

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