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Ancestral Trauma? I Didn't know...No one talked about it...We weren't allowed to ask...

Updated: Aug 21, 2023



Whether you are descendants of Holocaust, Enslaved people, WWII or of ancestors who suffered trauma caused by exposure to multiple and chronic traumatic events, such as violence and childhood abuse, you carry some understanding of that trauma.


You do not have to study the Science of Epigenetics to understand that ancestral trauma, the wounds our ancestors suffered are passed down to the next generation. You feel it and see and sense it, in your family. It is in the stories that haven't been told. I hear so often " I didn't know" , "No one talked about it", "We weren't allowed to ask". Families hold on to secrets for many reasons. They may feel what happened was too horrific and shouldn't be repeated as a way of protecting you. There may be shame associated with the trauma and then it may be the old idea that "it's none of your business."


I recently talked with someone who said they were not allowed to go near their Grandfather if he fell asleep in a chair at a family gathering. He was a WWII veteran and had experienced war trauma and if he was woken up suddenly he would have a violent reaction to the waking. As children they were afraid of him when he did fall asleep but if they did ask what happened the response was always the same "Don't Ask,"... and now as an adult they still did not know what he had gone through.


My father lost both of his parents at the very young of five and six years old, to Tuberculosis. He and his brother were luckily raised by their aunts but sadly when his parents passed, they thought it was better for the children to put all pictures and memories of their parents away in the attic thinking it would prevent them from experiencing trauma. But my father was old enough to remember them and when his Aunts passed away the pictures were found and the trauma from the loss emerged again. Only, the grieving was harder. I remember vividly when the pictures were found, I was seventeen and my father was in his mid-fifties and he had never seen a picture of his mother and I had never seen one of my grandmother.


In both stories, the center is trauma experienced but not explained, not talked about. The children were left to grow to adulthood without the understanding of the trauma that was now theirs. It was passed down. And when it's passed down and not acknowledged or explained it takes on a life of its own. We replace the not knowing with what we think may have happened until that becomes the truth to us.


Genealogy helps you find what has been put away in the attic. Even if you have no attic and no pictures, the stories can being to be discovered through the many genealogy resources that are now available. Historical information gives us the backdrop and historical documents related to your family fill in the pieces so that you have that understanding of what their life was like. Sometimes it will give you the whole story but it will always give you more than you know now.


Ancestral Healing is truly a gift and as always, I would love to hear your thoughts or stories.


Share your Questions, Thoughts and Stories with me.


If you would like to know more about Ancestral Healing you can find more at my website.

Genealogy & Ancestral Healing

and how I can help.


Thanks for reading; we will talk again soon,

~Bernadette

Tell Me Our Story- Genealogy/Ancestral Healing



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