Family Secrets & Inherited Traumas

in Natural Medicine3 months ago (edited)

Ever thought it possible that the traumas of our ancestors could still manifest in our lives today?
Why do some families almost seem cursed by tragedies, as if it’s imprinted in their DNA?
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It didn't start with you...

According to the author Mark Wolynn who wrote the book It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, we can bring an end to that trauma, but first we will have to do some digging into the past and try and find out what tragedy set off this inexplicable curse.
Wolynn specializes in helping people with depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, panic disorders, and a whole host of other mental disorders.
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SA Concentration Camps

The homeopath who helped me over the final hurdle on my road to recovery from depression, asked me to do some digging as she had written a thesis on the horrific concentration camps set up by the British during the Second Anglo Boer War during 1900-1902 where over 26 000 women and children died.

She thought that perhaps the tragedies our family faced possibly started there, but further suggested that it certainly started with hurts that were swept under the carpet, as many of us tend to do.
We all know what happens to dirt that’s left to stew!
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I however could not find any evidence that someone in our family was a victim of the concentration camps.

It's very sad to think that this part of South African history is being ignored and not spoken of today as the horrors committed by British soldiers wiped out many families, which included the systemic destruction of crops and removal of livestock, raping of women and even children, burning down homesteads and farms and forcibly moving tens of thousands of men, women and children into camps.

Most of the men were sent overseas as prisoners of war while the women and children remained in the concentration camps which were poorly administered, with overcrowding, poor sanitation and hygiene, meager food rations, leading to malnutrition and contagious diseases like measles, typhoid and dysentery.
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Long Lost Family

I did some digging, and discovered long lost family; learnt that they also had some really bad traumas very much like our family have experienced, but sadly could not learn much else as the older generation who are still around, could not shed any light on any tragedies that may have taken place in the lives of our ancestors.
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The Mystery of Inherited Trauma

This fascinating subject is a science that really makes sense, and I quote from a talk Psychology Today had with Mark Wolynn:

Many of us walk around with trauma symptoms we can’t explain. Whether sudden onset or chronic, we have anxieties, depressions or obsessive thoughts we’ve never gotten to the bottom of. We never think to connect our personal issue to what’s happened to our parents or grandparents. We’re now learning that traumas experienced by previous generations can be biologically inherited and I think that’s surprising for many people.
It’s typically traumas that have been ignored or have never been resolved that create problems. The ones no one talks about. The good news is that once we make these links, we can then break the cycle. The bad news is, if we don’t make the links, we move forward with something we never quite get to the source of.

Do yourself a favour, check out the LINK which makes for fascinating reading!

Keeping silent about troubling issues leads to unfinished business that will linger on and haunt for generations to come, until someone is brave enough to talk about the family secret that everyone whispers about thus bringing an end to that cycle!
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How horrible that the British did this to the people down there! I truly believe trauma can be passed on, behaviorally, and through our DNA as genetic memories. It makes sense, DNA stores data and memories are data collected by a person throughout their lives. It would be fascinating if we could somehow consciously tap into this storehouse of memories.

When I started writing this, it struck me how odd it is that this part of South African history, namely the Anglo Boer War is not spoken about in the media yet other atrocities are dug up over and over!
You've put it very well Eric, I do believe that trauma is passed on through genetic memories.

It would be fascinating if we could somehow consciously tap into this storehouse of memories.

If only we could!

Thanks, @Lizelle. I agree, it is odd that certain events get all of the media attention. This is one way they media, and those in charge of it, shape public opinion.

It's so interesting how so many of us spend a good portion of our lives trying to figure out and heal from this kind of past trauma. My father had a very tough childhood and grew up in, quite abusive, foster care. I've seen him struggle with the consequences of that his entire life, mainly because it wasn't acceptable for males of his generation to talk about their feelings and struggles. You've talked about this stigma before too in some of your blogs. He, unconsciously, passed this down to my brother and I so we've had to work through it because he hasn't.

This has played a huge role in my promotion of meditation and mindfulness. I feel like if each person would just make the effort to work on themselves the world would heal one person at a time.

 3 months ago 

Curated for #naturalmedicine by @neyxirncn.

Brilliant!!! Have you heard of Family Constellations? In them, you can see these energetic movements - its roots, what is exactly happening and how can you heal that within you. It played a TREMENDOUS healing role in my life since I have been experiencing a terribly fear or rape as if it had happened to me - and it has not, thank God - and, with them, I could see how it has been in my lineage for a long, long time. Loads of women before me!

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I'm so glad that you found healing @neyxirncn, but sad that it took generations for that hurt to come to an end, very brave of you and tremendous what you've now done for the generations to come! It was actually Family Constellations my homeopath spoke of, really interesting therapy that makes total sense!
Thank you for sharing that!

 3 months ago 

Fascinating reading. Have you heard of epigenetics? Once I heard about trauma switching on/off gene expressions and how these might be inherited the whole thing made sense. They believe that many Irish American grandchildren had diabetes from grandparents experiencing poverty in previous generations. Intergenerational, inherited trauma is common as secrets kept about trauma just simmer beneath the surface if they arent explosively expressed as depression, violence, alcoholism etc. I worry for the COVID grandkids. Much to be said on this topic.

 3 months ago 

Nice to see you in the trenches. 😜!ENGAGE 15

 3 months ago 

🖤 Thankyou!

Thank you for your engagement on this post, you have recieved ENGAGE tokens.

I have not heard about that but it all really makes perfect sense that past traumas must be stuck somewhere in our DNA as well! I find it fascinating seeing little characteristics of my parents or grandparents showing up in my children as well. This really is most interesting and I will certainly look up epigenetics, thank you for this info @riverflows!

 3 months ago 

This is a powerful post, @lizelle - thank you! I too, have discovered that ugly family secrets have been at the root of so much of my dis-ease and sickness. And I have been able to open the box and move towards glowing health.

That's wonderful @artemislives, I think it's something that comes from the previous generations where they will always tell one not to open up old wounds BUT, how can a wound heal if it's kept wrapped up and not cleaned? The hurt will never go away!
Thank you so much for sharing that, love how you put it:)

And I have been able to open the box and move towards glowing health.

Good post. Descendants have to cut the continuity of traumas, but it is difficult to realize that you inherit it.

Yes the hard part is facing the trauma so it can come to an end!
Thank you for your input @ladyfont.

Take care.

Manually curated by brumest from the Qurator Team. Keep up the good work!

Thank you @qurator!

Very interesting article, it sure made me think.
We are a product of the past, one way or the other. Our family history is so important when we talk to our doctors about say diabetes or cancer , we never consider past emotional traumas. Very thought provoking and certainly something to consider when looking into our mental health.
Nice job!
Have a great weekend.

It all makes perfect sense to me that not only physical but also traumatic events and mental health issues will also get passed on throughout the generations. It certainly is very interesting and has helped many heal.
It's nice seeing you again @farm-mom:)

Good morning, you have me really thinking about this subject.
For years I watched my grandfather (my dad's dad) become less and less happy. He changed from being a funny, loveable guy to one who had no patience with us kids and became really mean at times.
I always wonder why. Maybe it was a form of dementia or just depression at getting old, who knows.
Unfortunately, he had a stroke at the age of 70 and died shortly after. He was a sad and depressed man. Always felt sorry for him because at the end he pushed all our love away.
Life???

Sadly some secrets die with our older folk, may just be getting old or it may be something that's been stewing there for years, it's unfortunate that we clamp up when it's troubling or deep seated issues! Once we start bringing things into the open, healing starts!

 3 months ago 

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I tried what I thought would be an easy family tree and fell horribly short quite quickly. Spent months delving into old diaries (my Mom kept the best family records I could find), to no avail, here in South Africa record keeping is minimal!

What you should be on the look out for are old family bibles, unfortunately my Gran's bible I have no clue where it went, it kept good record of births, deaths with reason written on the front panel. Bibles travelled with families no matter where they went.

Much like you found some photographs, those too are few and far between, still have no idea!

Thanks for interesting reading, I remember being told most genetic jumps happened from grand parent to grand child, again not sure of any actual history down that path either.

 3 months ago 

Your post sure got me thinking!
I have been doing family research and have uncovered some of those hushed secrets and feel fortunate that one of my aunts who is in her nineties but still very shaharp mentally likes to give me a call and the last call we really got into the family stories going back to her granddad and grandma who lived with them and a lost more distant relative who had recently been reconnected to the family. Very interesting to know where your roots came from and how they have shaped your life!
Thank-you for sharing this!

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this and that you could get some family history from your aunt, this will really help you and future generations.
There still is one big family secret I'm trying to get to uncover but that side of the family have clamped up and Mom's dream to meet or even just see a photo of her biological father or half sisters never happened, despite my efforts.
She says she's made peace with that, but it does make her sad at times!
That's a story for another day though.

 3 months ago 

That is so sad that your mother could not get to at least see her biological father or half sister. Looking at photos to see what are folks were like in their younger days can be so telling!