Trauma, pain, suffering and dysfunction can be passed down from generation to generation through learned behaviours, attitudes, and coping mechanisms that sometimes we don’t even understand as harmful, because it is all we know. It is what was modelled for us by our attachment figures who we trust and love. Many people begin a healing journey and start to see where their patterns of behaviour arose from and decide to break these cycles for their children and future generations. It is only when you look inward that you can sometimes see that implicit (unspoken) messages are unhealthy and not allowing you to live a life in the way that you want to. Perhaps you didn’t have a parent who could regulate their emotions, this would make sense that you, too, would struggle with that. Often these journeys include people being curious about why they choose the partners they do, and what attracts them to different people. We repeat what we don’t understand. This healing process can trigger a range of emotions including sadness, anger, guilt, shame, and fear. You may also struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness, as you may be separating yourself from family members who continue to perpetuate the cycle of trauma.
Breaking these cycles requires hard work and a willingness to confront past experiences and engage in self-reflection which includes acknowledging your own trauma and your role in the issues or cycles you are experiencing or caught up in. This is where the value of a neutral person walking beside you can help significantly as they can act as a mirror for you. Sometimes we are so enmeshed in things that we can’t see what is right in front of us. Many unhealthy patterns of behaviour and beliefs are so deep rooted we don’t even realize there is another way to think or behave when it comes to certain situations.
Breaking generational cycles of trauma is a long-term process, and takes an incredible amount of courage. There are always setbacks and challenges along the way. However, this is the long game and by taking these steps, people create a better future for themselves and future generations.
~ Laura, Clinical Therapist
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