What is generational trauma?
Generational trauma is a relatively new field of study. It is also known as transgenerational trauma and intergenerational trauma. It is trauma that was not only experienced by one person but was also passed down to one generation to the next.
Vivian M. Rakoff and her colleagues introduced this concept in 1966, when they identified high levels of psychological distress in children from Holocaust survivors.
Can generational trauma affect me?
In theory, any person can be affected by generational trauma. Any type of extreme and prolonged stress can have adverse psychological effects that can result in anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Domestic violence, abuse, neglect, exposure to a natural disaster, being victim of a crime… can cause generational trauma.
How can I know if I have generational trauma?
Some of the symptoms of generational trauma include: hypervigilance, mistrust, a sense of shortened future, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, as well as issues with self-esteem and self-confidence.
Is there any hope for me?
Yes, there is hope for you or anyone that is dealing with generational trauma. Please talk with your doctor about your symptoms and seek treatment of a mental health professional. Just as traumatic experiences can be passed down from one generation to the next, the ability to overcome the trauma (resiliency) can also be passed down.
Ending Quote: “Healing generational trauma takes courage and strength. It’s common for dysfunctional families to deny their abuse. They silence victims and dump toxic shame onto them. Complicit families keep abuse alive from generation to generation, until one brave survivor boldly ends the cycle of abuse.” ―