Family Trauma is Not Just Something To “Get Over”
We must face the things that harm us and keep us from living our best lives.
Before I begin this, I want to share that I am not an expert in family trauma. I am a life coach and I specialize in confidence and wardrobe manifestations. But I want to share this with you because I understand the dangers we hold when we run away from things we simply don’t want to deal with. In the end, I’ll share brief actionables brought forward from Mark Wolynn, the author of It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.
Running away is not the answer.
I’ve recently received some very strong backlash from my most recent newsletter. In it, I spoke about my SIBO, where it stemmed from, and how I found I was forcing my body to heal. And if you understand how healing works, then you’d know that there is no forcing healing.
For healing to occur, you need to:
- show up
- do the work
- invite healing to come forward
- sit with the discomfort
- let your body exhale what does not serve you
- embrace your power
If anyone tells you it’s easy to heal, they’re selling you something.
I don’t share this with you to scare you, but to say that it’s a worthwhile journey. Having a support system is so important in walking on this path. You can do it alone, but I don’t see why anyone would want to make it any harder on themselves. That’s why it saddens me, deeply, to see families invalidate each other and ask us why we just can’t get over it and let it go. My family included.
The thing with just “getting over it” is that nothing truly becomes resolved. All we’re really doing is turning our backs on history and waiting for it all to happen again.
Why is it that we can study the Holocaust and its impacts for decades, but we don’t allow ourselves to study our own traumas and how they shape our lives? Just to clarify, I am in no way trying to compare one to another, but rather imply that it is invalid to pick and choose what traumas we give our attention to when they all affect us.
Not facing your family trauma is running away. And we can’t run away from what ties us back from living the life we dream of. Of course, if you don’t have family trauma, good on you – but for the other 96% that come from dysfunctional families, this is not something that you can graze by. It can haunt you and creep into your impulses, emotions, and perspectives.
Again, my goal is not fear, but rather I want you to understand the gift that comes from doing the work. Keep reading, I’ll elaborate.
LET EMPOWERMENT BE YOUR GUIDE
I consider my dark night of the soul and great awakening to be two separate events. The first came to me when I was 22 after I completed my A.A., and the later came when I was 25 after I completed my B.F.A. They both also came after great heartbreaks and in the midst of a depressional spell. To me, these synchronicities say a couple of different things:
- There is light in darkness.
- There is no light without the dark.
- It is when we are vulnerable and open that a pivotal transformation can come through.
Let me define these two terms if you are unfamiliar with them.
The dark night of the soul can be used to describe a few different things. But in this, we are referring to a spiritual awakening in where our world view that is held by the limited perspective of the ego collapses and we start to begin to see what can be possible when we allow spirituality to flow into our lives. It provides us with a new, deeper meaning of life.
The great awakening is also spiritual, but it is more closely tied to the discovery and understanding of the toxicity that has surrounded your world and held you back. It’s learning you are Truman and your life is not what it seems.
My Truman Show was realizing and accepting that I grew up with parents that neglected me, a brother who abused me, and trauma developed by all those who surrounded me to tell me how worthless I was. I had never put my needs before others, and I had been suffering from a toxic disease for most of my life.
It was through taking action in addressing my heartbreak sorrow that I sought therapy and coaching. Even though it was as clear as day the reality I had been living in, I had to have it explained to me – several times, for me to grasp what my life had been until that point.
And that’s why I decided to become a life coach. My passion stems from various sources, but always, at the top, I want to create resources and be the coach that younger me needed. Believe me, younger Brittany Marie looked, she just didn’t know how to find it. And I don’t ever want that to happen again – not if I can help it.
What brought me home, to my inner divine, to my true self, was not running away from my past. Without understanding it, that’s what I had been doing my whole life – something I had been nurtured to do from the very beginning.
We can learn our truth, see our world for what it really is, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stand up and demand a better outcome for ourselves. They say that knowledge is half the battle, so when you are in this fight to live to the life of your dreams, we cannot give up once the curtains are drawn. We must choose empowerment and follow that onward. Or else, are we choosing at all?
Your drive for better, for love, for light is what will anchor your success in walking this hard, but worthwhile journey. It’s what I have done, and look how far I’ve come.
YOUR TRIFECTA KNOWS – THE SCIENCE
I want to shift now to the science behind this. I’ve done a good job of explaining what we do and do not face, and how difficult it can be to see the truth, but we’ve diverted, ever so slightly, from the way family trauma develops. So let’s back this up.
First, if you’ve interacted with my content before, then you know I love talking about the trifecta. I find time and time again that when we dive into spirituality, the trifecta can get swept underneath the rug and forgotten. If the trifecta is also new to you, it’s simply our mind-body-soul connection, which is in constant communication with each other. The trifecta is essential, but it certainly isn’t as exciting as moon rituals and creating an altar.
But your trifecta knows. It sees all and it remembers. The stress brought by trauma will create a physiological change to our trifecta so that we can live with the stress and ‘manage’ it. When the trauma is a source from family, you hold that trauma together and that bond encourages it to stay alive and unattended to. It becomes a systematic chain that’s hard to break. This can also be called secondary PTSD.
Within the last few years, there have been new developments in the study of epigenetics, which is inherited gene changes from the traumas experienced by our parents and grandparents. Many a time it has been proven to induce various diseases – mental, physical, and spiritual. Again, the trifecta knows.
You can read a review on the report of such a study, here.
It’s believed that the idea behind epigenetics is that our body, or trifecta, takes on the weight of these traumas because it wants us to be prepared in case something similar happens in our own lives. It can be helpful, but only if addressed and empowerment is sought after.
A really helpful, 15-minute interview held on WAMC’s The Roundtable with Mark Wolynn talks about this in more detail. Here is a quote:
“This is what we’re learning from science. These are inheritable stuff. These traumas – we’ve got to talk about them. Because when they are left shrouded in silence, when they are hidden, we think we are immunizing our children. Just the opposite. We need to talk about these things so the pattern doesn’t continue.”
Mark Wolynn is the author of It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle – and a practiced expert in this field.
To listen to this interview, click here.
HOW WE INTERNALIZE
Considering we’re mixing spirituality with science, I want to continue merging the two in looking at how this gets passed down to us. The current controversy, that I can find, on the validity of epigenetics is on how it can still come to be when there is a thorough cleansing, or purification process when a sperm and egg intertwine. But, as we already described earlier, our genetics can mutate. And if stress encourages that mutation, shouldn’t we be looking at other methods aside from sperm and egg?
The way I understand this, even with the debate, studies are showing that it can be passed down genetically. We can also inherent family trauma from emotional legacies, the transference of energy, and everyday language.
- Emotional legacies would be something similar to the memories of our relatives and the reported experiences they had. After I was diagnosed with IBS, I learned that my great grandmother also suffered from the same disease. She wasn’t a woman known for her kindness, but she was very kind to me. My great grandmother is no longer with us, but the more I learn about her, the more I see parallels between our lives. If you listen to that interview I shared above, Mark Wolynn has several great examples.
- With the transference of energy, a lot be can be communicated without language, and even when you aren’t around someone. Energetically, we all hang in the rooms we’ve entered before, and so does our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Think of saging as an example. We sage to cleanse the energy in the room and within us. What would be lingering if we didn’t cleanse?
- I feel that everyday language is simultaneously the easiest and hardest to get behind. It’s easy to start to see, but it’s hard to address because shame, baggage, and despair can come into play. So then we end up having to pivot, inch by inch, to come into a full understanding of how the everyday language imbedded and influenced the way we have internalized this trauma.
I hope this sheds some light even further on why we must not run away or simply “get over” it. When we have something so deeply ingrained, it will affect every and any element of our life that it can. And it will also encourage our trifecta to develop disease in order to protect ourselves from getting hurt any further.
By facing family trauma, we take back our strength, our truth, and the capabilities of our life.
MARK WOLYNN’S THREE ACTIONABLES FOR HEALING FAMILY TRAUMA
I got these from an article Mark Wolynn wrote for the Mind Body Green Mindfulness blog.
1. Start first with the trauma experienced in your trifecta – your body, your mind, your spirit. It’s important to clear out what you can to make the battle digestible, setting yourself up for success. It will also help you develop strength as you continue on.
2. Ask your family for stories from your heritage and see if you can find something that aligns with the stress that you experience. They may see this as revealing the skeletons that are in the closet, but what we’re really doing is encouraging them to let go of unnecessary shame.
3. Tell your children the traumas you’ve experienced. Don’t hide them away to appear to have strength. The strength you wish to hold and that you impose onto your children will only cause weakness and a continued trail of despair to move through future generations.
If you’d like more support in your journey, as a life coach who focuses on confidence and wardrobe manifestations, I can help you continue to empower yourself and add tools to your toolbox. To have these conversations is tricky, but I know that our work together would guide you in gaining that strength you’d need to show up and do the work.
Remember, I became a coach to be what younger Brittany Marie needed. If you can resonate with my story, we might just be the fit you’ve been looking for.
A super easy and affordable way for us to work together is by having a coaching correspondence through email. If that sounds interesting to you, all you gotta do is click the button below.
I believe in you, my friend! You’ve so got this. We both do.
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