Intergenerational Trauma: Causes and Treatment

Do you know that if your ancestors suffered a distressing event your family’s generations could be impacted by their emotional and behavioural responses? This is called intergenerational trauma. Keep reading to learn more about intergenerational trauma: Causes and Treatment.

Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma could be caused by going through personal trauma like domestic abuse or trauma that is culture-specific. Other causes could be ethnic and racial trauma caused by a string of major happenings like slavery, wars, and violence.


Long-Term Effects of Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma could have a lot of negative effects on a person’s health in a lot of ways, they could be different reactions to it through generations, however, some effects include:

  • Shame
  • Anxiety and guilt
  • vulnerability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Increased rates of heart disease
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship issues
  • Difficulty controlling aggressive feelings
  • Extreme reactions to stress
  • Damaged cultural identity

However, many people are unaffected visibly by the trauma that earlier generations of their family experienced.

Causes of Intergenerational Trauma

Although the causes aren’t clear, experts think that the main traumatic event could affect the way your relatives or family members relate to people and could also affect how they behave, including their beliefs.

The way your family is structured and how your parents interact with you regarding the traumatic experience seem to be key factors in determining whether trauma is passed on to future generations.

For instance, a parent’s trauma history may influence their parenting style and contribute to the negative behaviour of their children.

Additionally, scientists are investigating the potential significance of “epigenetic alterations.” According to the theory, environmental changes may have an impact on how your genes function and may be passed on to future generations.



Who Is Affected by Intergenerational Trauma?

The majority of research on intergenerational trauma has been on the children of those who experienced a traumatic historical event.

Examples are Holocaust survivors who made it out of the camps alive.

People of African descent who were kidnapped and sold into slavery, experienced segregation, or systemic racism for a long time.

Due to government legislation, Native Americans suffered from colonial atrocities or had their children taken away from them and placed in boarding schools.

Japanese Americans had to spend World War II in detention camps and Vietnamese War veterans

According to some experts, additional study is required on the transgenerational trauma encountered by family members of people with disabilities.

Some groups of disabled individuals have experienced trauma throughout history as a result of things like unfounded prejudices, discrimination, forced sterilisation or mental treatment, among other things.

Also believed to be impacted by intergenerational trauma are family members of those who have experienced tragedies like:

  • Rape or murder
  • Natural catastrophes
  • Abuse of the body, the mind, or both
  • abusing drugs
  • Neglect or abandonment
  • a critical ailment, a disease, or an untreated mental condition
  • Food insecurity and poverty

If these are not addressed, there are bound to be issues of transgenerational trauma which will affect future generations.



What Is The Treatment?

More study is required to decide which therapies are most effective at addressing intergenerational trauma.

The first thing you should do is consult your doctor if you believe you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms.

They might be able to handle medical issues such as intergenerational trauma-related mental health issues or other medical issues.

They might also suggest that you seek assistance from a qualified mental health expert such as a psychologist or a certified therapist:

  • Other things you should do are, Investigate the trauma history of your family.
  • Control any rage, stress, or numbness that may be caused by your ancestry.
  • Talk about current traumas that might be connected to the original trauma, such as racism.
  • Utilize self-care strategies such as mindfulness and exercise.
  • Find the triggers for your trauma and demonstrate ways to limit them for you.
  • Pick a medical professional or therapist that respects your culture, race, or ethnicity.

You might be able to locate a specialist who helps you connect with your ancestors’ culture and traditions to help you move through the grief of past traumas, depending on your background and your therapy objectives.

Traditional healing techniques and ceremonial activities are used in some therapeutic procedures.

However, it takes awareness, courage, and support to end the cycle of transgenerational trauma. Victims of trauma and their children can benefit from family therapy and treatment. It may seem hard to face cultural trauma head-on, but it’s an important part of moving forward.

Comments (3)

  1. You’re certainly wise and thoughtful. I wonder if I could submit a question? It’s just that..I know extra lessons that contradict this.

    April 14, 2023 at 2:45 pm
    1. Hi, thank you for leaving us a comment. Yes, you can submit questions. Knowledge is always evolving and we also learn along. Looking forward to …

      April 15, 2023 at 8:41 pm
  2. I’m a little unsettled about your reasoning?

    April 14, 2023 at 2:45 pm

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