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Breaking the Cycle: Understanding Intergenerational Trauma

intergenerational trauma

Trauma has a profound ability to reshape lives, sometimes reaching across generations to affect families for decades. You may still see the legacy of global events like the Great Depression, WWII, the Holocaust, and the Vietnam War passed down to you from your great-grandparents or grandparents. Similarly, modern crises like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly cast a shadow on your children and grandchildren.

The Roots of Intergenerational Trauma

Our ancestors evolved a fight-or-flight response to immediate threats. While this cascade of reactions and split-second decisions is crucial for survival, it can have lasting adverse effects on trauma survivors. This heightened state of alert can become a default setting, leaving people in a perpetual state of hypervigilance, even in safe environments. The resulting chronic stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health – leading to a state where your body and mind are always tense and ready for the next crisis, never finding genuine peace or relaxation.

If your ancestors experienced trauma, the same defense mechanisms that helped them survive those events may live on in you today, manifesting as symptoms like anxiety, irritability, and emotional dysregulation. Unlike PTSD, which includes vivid flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts about the traumatic experience, intergenerational trauma manifests in people who haven’t directly experienced the original trauma but still inherit its psychological effects.

Breaking the Cycle With Trauma-Informed Care

Intergenerational trauma can significantly impact parenting. The trauma responses you learned and internalized from previous generations can influence how you bond with and attach to your children, potentially making it harder for you to form healthy emotional connections. Your children will repeat the behavior they learn from you, perpetuating the trauma cycle in their future relationships and interactions.

Acknowledging and addressing intergenerational trauma is the first step in healing. A trauma-informed approach to therapy can uncover these deep-rooted issues and help you develop strategies to manage and overcome them. In working with a therapist, you can recognize the trauma response patterns in your family, learn healthier ways to cope with stress and anxiety, and ultimately, provide a more stable and nurturing environment for your children.

  • Identify the origins: Pinpoint the sources of intergenerational trauma in your family history.
  • Understand the symptoms: Learning how these traumas manifest in your life and the lives of your family members.
  • Develop coping strategies: Find ways to manage stress and anxiety that do not perpetuate the trauma cycle.
  • Healing and growth: Make a conscious effort to heal yourself for future generations.

Escape to a Retreat

At Amend Wellness, we’ve gone above and beyond to provide our clients a clean, comfortable, and beautifully appointed retreat experience. Recharge with a Tempur-Pedic mattress, mental health spa, and other mental health amenities. Take the time to finally unravel years of stress, depression, and anxiety. Our counseling team delivers trauma-informed therapy, tech-based treatments, and accurate diagnostic assessments to create a comprehensive guide to your physical, mental, spiritual, and nutritional well-being. Reach out to our wellness advisors today for your judgment-free consultation.