Updated: Aug 3
Trauma can take on a variety of faces, not always falling into the obvious box of major traumatic experiences such as losing a loved one, being the victim of abuse, or coping with severe illness.
While these kinds of events are brutal for anyone to endure first-hand, there are types of traumas that are sinister in the way they hide deep within our bones, forming blockages and patterns that have been passed down through generations to the point that it is engraved in our DNA.
Major, large-scale trauma can reverberate throughout one’s future lineage, impacting not only the individuals who survived them, but the entire family, culture, or race. This kind of trauma has been labeled intergenerational, or secondary traumatization.
Today, I share my expertise as a holistic energetic therapist to help you understand the causes and impacts of intergenerational trauma and how you can start the healing process.
Taking a Closer Look at Intergenerational Trauma
Intergenerational trauma was first noted by researchers after they observed the impacts on the children and grandchildren who survived the Holocaust or the Japanese American internment camps.
Intergenerational trauma has now been shown to have a much wider range of causes. These circumstances include:
Separation of children from family
Indoctrination into a cult or abusive religious organization
Experiencing or witnessing verbal or physical violence, sexual abuse, or neglect
The death or incarceration of a parent
Systemic racism, discrimination, or oppression
Long-term financial stress or poverty
War & colonization
Cultural genocide or ‘ethnic cleansing’ (including loss of language, culture, and traditions)
This list, of course, does not encapsulate all possible causes of generational trauma. However, if you know that any of these situations have occurred within your family, it’s certainly worth investigating and seeing an energetic therapist, such as me, Jolisa Clare.
Historical context is extremely important when it comes to evaluating trauma. Although you may not consider yourself a victim of trauma, you may be surprised by how much hardship in your ancestry can weigh on you subconsciously.
Signs You Need to Dig Deeper
Since you may not have an obvious traumatic experience that you remember, intergenerational issues can sometimes be challenging to recognize. This is also because many of the signs also appear in conditions such as depression and PTSD. The symptoms may also largely vary between people and families.
Many people are so used to the feelings of intergenerational trauma, that they’ve accepted it as their ‘normal’ and may not realize there is an issue.
They believe they are simply destined to live with their toxic beliefs, unhealthy patterns, and uncomfortable emotions.
Some of the common symptoms associated with intergenerational trauma include:
Dissociation and depersonalization or a sense of disconnection from your body and reality
Challenges connecting with and trusting other people
Feeling isolated or withdrawn
Feeling guilt, shame, or self-esteem issues
Feeling helpless or vulnerable
Challenges in establishing personal identity
You may also have feelings of depression or anxiety, have tendencies to avoid certain people, places, or even events, or may suffer from addiction issues. If you are in desperate need of support and are having overwhelming thoughts of death or suicide, connect to a free, 24/7 crisis helpline. Text or call 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Once any emergency needs have been met, your path to healing starts with Jolisa Clare Holistic. The only way to truly let go of intergenerational trauma for good is with somatic experiencing and energetic release such as Emotional Polarity Technique™.
How Does Intergenerational Trauma Get Passed Down?
Intergenerational trauma isn’t just an easy way to justify inexplicable pain. It is rooted in neuroscience that unravels how our brain and body function to protect us from stress. Our bodies have four main responses to stress that rely on the dorsal branch of the Vagus Nerve and the Spinal Sympathetic Chain.
Fight – facing the threat
Flight – fleeing from the threat
Freeze – shutting down
Fawn – attempting to soothe the threat
Consistent exposure to trauma can train your nervous system to remain stuck in one or more of these responses.
While your body’s goal is to protect you, staying in this state for too long can have extreme consequences for your physical and mental health.
It may even lead to changes in your biology by changing gene expression.
How Epigenetics Plays a Role
Research has shown that environmental factors can significantly impact the way genes within DNA activate and deactivate. Intergenerational trauma doesn’t exactly modify your genes, but it can shape the way genes express themselves.
Basically, traumatic stress from an ancestor can be passed through generations.
Learn More > Helping Your Child Heal from Trauma
How to Heal Intergenerational Trauma and Stop the Cycle
If you’ve begun to realize you may be suffering from intergenerational trauma, your first thought is likely, ‘how can I heal and avoid passing this onto my children?’
Recognizing the symptoms is a powerful place to start. Once you place your awareness on something, it is much easier to address them and coax the root trauma to the surface.
Connecting with a mental health professional, such as myself, Jolisa Clare, is one of the most impactful things you can do on your journey. A holistic therapist who practices Emotional Polarity Technique™ will help you on your path to healing by:
Listening to your experiences
Finding and rebalancing the root of your trauma with magnetic muscle testing
Sharing insights into how your body responds to and holds onto trauma
Helping you release attachment to the trauma with forgiveness and affirmation statements uniquely constructed for you
Reconnecting to the culture of your ancestors as well as practicing other somatic healing methods can also be powerful ways to let go of intergenerational trauma.
Heal for Yourself, Your Ancestors, and Your Descendants
While you may not be able to rewrite your history, you can actively take steps to balance your nervous system’s response to trauma. By learning how to navigate stress in productive and healthy ways, you can help your ancestors release their pain while you pass on your knowledge to your descendants.
If you’re ready to begin the journey to healing, Jolisa Clare Holistic can help you rediscover joy and passion for life by helping you let go. It’s not an easy road, but it is so worth it. Call today for your free consultation - 765-382-6996.