What is Generational Trauma & How to Heal From It
Trauma can change a person. After going through a tragedy where you saw or heard something so unimaginable, this can lead you to experience changes in thinking, feelings, and behavior. But did you know that trauma can impact family members indirectly? Unfortunately, trauma casts a wide net, and the impact of trauma on one person can be passed down to their children and trickle-down generationally.
Generational trauma involves children being indirectly affected by the trauma their parents experience. This cycle can even continue for many years. There are even cases where the parent unknowingly puts the child through the same trauma they have been through. Maybe your parents passed away, which led you unresolved hurt in yourself taken out on your family. Violence, substance abuse, and trauma-informed mental illness can, and often are, passed down from one generation to the next. Knowing what generational trauma is and how to heal from it can stop the cycle of trauma.
Generational Trauma Symptoms
In order to know if you are suffering from generational trauma, it is important to understand the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. After all, most family members who have gone through trauma will experience this mental health condition. You may be experiencing symptoms such as:
- Memory loss
- Substance abuse
- Unresolved grief
- Trust issues
- Inability to connect with others
Exposure to generational trauma can affect children, and they can carry it with them for the rest of their lives. Children can act out in school, drop out, or even get kicked out.
How to Heal From Generational Trauma
One way to heal from generational trauma is by letting people know about your past issues. If you keep them hidden, your children will believe your odd behaviors are the way they are for no reason. If you abuse drugs or present aggression, it is because you are a bad person. Speaking to your children at an age when they understand heavy topics can allow your children to sympathize with your situation and maybe even end the cycle.
Once your children are aware of your past issues, they will see that sadness, anger, and substance abuse all stem from trauma. In order to stop adding new trauma, certain bad habits like abusing drugs need to stop. You can all work as a team to prevent your children from going through the same emotional hurdles.
How to Get Help From Generational Trauma
If you notice any abnormal behavior and know it is affecting your children, it is best to seek help from a professional. See a physician to ensure you are not going through a medical illness.
After you discover the cause of the physical symptoms, speak to a mental health professional who has expertise in trauma-related care with generational trauma as a focus. If everyone in the family unit participates in therapy, everyone can heal together.
How to Stop the Cycle of Generational Trauma
In order for the cycle of generational trauma to end, everyone in the family needs to continue talking to each other. This involves not being afraid of asking personal questions to each other.
Think about who in your family is the one you go to when life gets hard. Lean on this person when your trauma symptoms arise. Think about the family stories that have been shared and how they have impacted your life. Once you are on the path to healing, the rest of your family will follow suit, leaving room for more pleasant memories to occur.
If you are still struggling with generational trauma, here at JoyFeel Therapy, we are ready to listen and support you. Contact us today.