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Intergenerational Trauma

What is trauma you ask? Basically, it is an emotional response caused by experiencing an event or a series of events defined as distressing in an emotional, physical, psychological, and/or environmental manner. There are various types of trauma, but we will be exploring intergenerational trauma and its often resultant effects. In a non-judgemental / non-accusatory manner, this type of trauma can be described as multi-generational, that was passed on to us from our mothers, and that was passed on from their mothers and so on - from generation to generation.

Trauma is in effect, an individual’s response to a tragic event (an accident, physical or sexual violence, or a natural disaster).It can be described as trauma inherited as early as conception that can result in changes in an individual’s DNA. It can be marked by flashbacks, as well as unpredictable physical and psychological emotions.

It follows then that intergenerational trauma is theoretically, the type experienced by one member of a family, in this instance, a parent or grandparent that can be passed on to future generations.

Trauma can influence a person’s psychological, emotional, and physical health throughout their life span and as just discussed, have the potential to affect future generations as well.

In 2008, researchers who studied epigenetics, (the effects that environment and behaviour have on genes) found a link between prenatal exposure and the child’s exposure todis-ease of body, mind, and spirit. Additional studies support the idea that an ancestor’s exposure to trauma impacts future generations.

Potential long-term effects may include:

  • Emotional dysregulation*

  • Emotional lability**

  • Numbing or detachment from thoughts, behaviours, and memories

  • Physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal respiratory and dermatological

  • Hyperarousal, or hypervigilance

  • Triggers, flashbacks, and self-harm

The question is, what are you carrying that was passed on to you from your ancestors?

FIT with Dr Helen Z

Set up an individual zoom chat so you can learn to overcome your embodied intergenerational trauma. If you have experienced intergenerational trauma, work with me and learn to forgive your ancestors for the trauma you embody.

FIT with Dr Helen Z places emphasis on forgiving intergenerational trauma regardless of who we consider is to blame. It is an opportunity to learn and focus on the well-being and peace of the individual.

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*Dysregulation, or emotional dysregulation, is an inability to control or regulate one's emotional responses, which can lead to significant mood swings, powerful changes in mood, or emotional lability**. It can involve many emotions, including sadness, anger, irritability, and frustration

**Emotional lability refers to rapid, often exaggerated changes in mood, where strong emotions or feelings (uncontrollable laughing or crying, or heightened irritability or temper) occur. These very strong emotions are sometimes expressed in a way that is greater than the person's emotions.

Is it time for you to Forgive Intergenerational Trauma?

Helen Pearman Ziral, PhD is a purpose driven coach and facilitator whose work is centered around personal transformation and wellness. She assists women in uncovering their true essence and to shine as the person they are meant to be. Dr Helen Z has conducted individual and group coaching sessions and workshops about achieving the balance essential to multiple dimensions of wellness.

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