The past never dies. It’s not even over.William Faulkner
One of the most serious obstacles to overcoming mental trauma is that its original source often remains hidden. And without a context to show us how to interpret our feelings, we often don’t know what to do. But there are ways to find the root of the trauma in order to stop unconsciously repeating the past.
That’s what he thinks Mark Wallin, personal and group therapist with more than 20 years of experience, one of the pioneers in the field of hereditary trauma and author of the book “Not everything starts with you”.
Here is one of Mark Wallin’s blog articles on:
How do you know if you have inherited an emotional trauma and how to break the harmful pattern?
With the advent of new discoveries in epigenetics, many of us are asking ourselves important questions such as: What do my children actually inherit? Is it possible for my emotional baggage, the unfinished business that I can’t handle, to be passed on to my children? Can I hurt them this way without knowing?
Buy the book at a discount To answer comprehensively, we must look at science. The latest research in epigenetics shows that we can all inherit genetic changes from trauma that our parents, grandparents have experienced. This is done as follows: when trauma occurs, a physiological change takes place in our bodies to deal with stress more effectively. This change can then be passed on to our children and grandchildren, biologically preparing them to deal with such trauma. This can be a good thing, unless the inherited changes create even more stress. For example, if our grandparents were traumatized by living in a war-torn country with explosions, massacres, the roar of gunfire nearby, they could teach us survival skills — extreme vigilance, quick reflexes at loud noises, and other similar protective reactions. This set of skills would be useful if we also lived in a time of war. But in a safe environment where these reflexes are not helpful, constant over-vigilance can create chaos in our bodies.
Here is the bad news: the pain of our parents, grandparents – their fears, anger, grief, introversion – may inadvertently become our heritage, which we can pass on to our children.
Few of us realize the connection between our own problems – our inexplicable fear, anxiety and depression – and what happened to our ancestors. Instead, we believe that we are the source of the problem, that something inside us must have gone wrong in order to feel that way. And what could be more painful than seeing our children suffer knowing that they continue to experience hereditary pain that we have not processed?
And is there any good news? Absolutely. There are measures we can take to break the cycle.
Here is a short list of things you can do:
1. Heal your own pain
Smooth out the relationship with your parents as well as your child’s other parent. When we find that someone’s behavior is problematic, it is helpful to look at the traumatic events in their family history. Remember that some of the pain can pass to the next generation. And because of their innocence and loyalty, children are easy targets. They may unconsciously carry the unresolved between parents and reflect it in their own relationships. Or (as we understand from epigenetics) to experience it again.
2. Shake the family tree and see what falls
What family secrets are left hidden? What stories have not been told? What injuries have never been completely healed? It may be important to know these things, especially if we are unconsciously experiencing elements of trauma that do not belong to us.
3. Tell your children what you know about the traumas in your family
Tell them about the terrible things that happened to you and what you know about the lives of your parents, grandparents. Children may be involuntary recipients of painful feelings from the past. When you tell them what tragedies are smoldering in family history, it can be a great relief – especially if they find that they have worn what belongs to you or your parents.
I once worked with a man who was unknowingly trying to atone for a murder committed by his grandfather. My client had tried to commit suicide three times. Still alive after the third attempt, he sought help. When we found out that he was trying to pay the final price for crimes he had never committed, he turned to me and said,
“Don’t I have to die?” Are you saying I shouldn’t die? ”
I have found that if we ignore the past, it can come back to haunt us. When we study it, it allows us not to repeat it. We can break the cycle of suffering so that our children are free from the need to live our pain.
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