Does Your Inheritance Include a History of Family Trauma?
Recently, my friend and fellow neuroscience tapping colleague, Suzanne, had told me that there was a brand new book that I just had to read. Its title sounded fascinating, so I picked up a copy. I could not put it down and was inspired to contact the author directly. He was generous enough to sit down and allow us to interview him. The book is; It Didn’t Start With You; How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle. His name is Mark Wolynn and is a Family Constellations therapist in the S.F. Bay Area. Sounds intriguing eh?
First I will say, just get yourself a copy, it’s a must read. Especially for ANYONE who is an EFT or Matrix Reimprinting practitioner, but really for anyone committed to and working on their past history. While I am aware that most people have a full plate just doing their own Personal Peace Procedure on past adverse life events they remember, this added dimension offers invaluable perspective and may offer you the missing piece that could be the elusive answer to the puzzle that has gone unsolved for you despite all your tapping.
We all recognize the importance of our own childhood trauma and its role in our current mental and physical health. You know, the experiences that we all lived through, though difficult, challenging, perhaps abusive or neglectful. Beyond that are the traumatic experiences we may be unaware of, from infancy and even in the womb; sharing experiences intimately with our birth mother with whatever was happening in her life. We often do not take into account that epigenetically it has been shown that a father’s sperm literally carries the genetic residue of his traumatic experiences in addition to the life experiences of a mother who is carrying the eggs of her yet preconceived child. He references the traumatic lineage of effecting three generations with a singular traumatic event that is fascinating to really take into account.
“The vast reservoir of our unconscious appears to hold not only OUR (my emphasis) traumatic memories, but also the unresolved traumatic experiences of our ancestors.”
Many of us have taken on and identified with a member of our family and as a result taken on beliefs and behaviors as a result, attempting to protect, heal, vindicate, punish or complete that which was never completed. Here are some questions from Mark’s book that you might ask yourself:
• Could you be feeling like, behaving like, suffering like, atoning for, or carrying the grief for someone who came before you?
• Do you have symptoms, feeling, or behaviors that are difficult to explain in the context of your life experience?
• Was there a trauma in the family (an early death of a parent, child, sibling or an abandonment, murder, crime, or suicide etc.), an event that was too terrible, painful or shameful to talk about?
• Could you be connected with that event, living a life similar to the person no one talks about?
• Could you be reliving this family member’s trauma as though it were your own?
These kind of questions have us looking beyond our own life experiences and begin the expanded view of looking to how, for a variety of reasons, we have taken on a mission that in a sense has nothing to do with us.
His stories of clients whose grandparents survived the Holocaust and war and other devastations are powerful and reveal how this kind of healing allows a person to put down a huge life load that allows profound healing and transformation to occur. Accounts include the carrying on of traumatic legacies in which stories were kept secret and never verbally revealed, yet their effects and legacy continued anyway through the epigenetic expression of parents, grandparent and great grandparents.
As practitioners, how can we do a better job to include this possible root cause of people’s seemingly unchangeable patterns? We can ask questions that better include for this possibility…questions like:
• Who in your family was abandoned or excluded?
• Who in your family was wrongly accused or jailed?
• Who in your family lost a child, was adopted, who committed suicide, harmed another or was significantly harmed in war or other tragic circumstances?
• Did your mother lose a child or pregnancy before you were born and more…?
Blending beautifully with EFT and Matrix Reimprinting is his fascination with listening deeply to the words that emerge when a person attempts to describe the root of their pain. Words act as carrier pigeons from the unconscious, fluttering forth with messages that need to be revealed, be it in metaphor or language that feels somehow estranged or belonging to another’s life experience. He discusses ideas such as the Core Trauma, a person’s Core Descriptors and Core Sentence as doorways into the subconscious to find where healing needs to happen. In this discovery, a space opens in which healing can happen and he offers a variety of alternative and simple methods that support healing with our parents and prior generations, whether alive, estranged or deceased.
As the science of epigenetics expands, as our culture further accepts the importance of why being “trauma informed” is so critical for our schools, penal systems, child rearing and communities…it is books like this that will help us to inform the mainstream and be able to serve those who are ready and asking for our help.
Craig Weiner, DC