One Generation Carries the Pain so that the Next Can Heal and Live.

Seeking the Truth, Forgiveness and Reconciliation are the ingredients to begin the inter-generational healing process.



This is the first Inter-generational Trauma blog series. This particular segment focuses on inter-generational family trauma and helps you by outlining a few tools that can help you on your healing process.

There are two types of triggers; internal and external. Internal triggers have more to do with your inner relation to the trauma such as memory or emotion. External triggers define the environment, so it is either a person, place or thing.

In psychology, a trigger can be a smell, sound, or sight that reminds you of past trauma. For example, spending too much time alone can trigger your traumatic high school experience. A perfume scent can remind you of a toxic ex partner. Being put down can trigger your inner child who was never good enough for their perfectionist parents.


There are two types of triggers; internal and external. Internal triggers have more to do with your inner relation to the trauma such as memory or emotion. External triggers define the environment, so it is either a person, place or thing. Coronavirus for example, may be an external trigger for those struggling with mental illnesses that strive in isolation.


In the family sphere, trauma can be passed on between generations (inter-generational trauma). Family patterns do no exist in emptiness; we all get affected through generations. Your DNA holds memories of your ancestors, good and bad. Maybe it is alcoholism, abuse, addiction or neglect.


The good news is that inter-generational justice for this type of trauma is available. We do not only inherit trauma from our ancestors, we also contribute it to our children if we do not correct it. Perhaps you are one of the few who have looked at your generational patterns and boldly declared that YOU are where the unhealed trauma in your family lineage stops!


Here are some key practical steps to begin the inter-generational healing process:

  1. 'Seek the truth'. In post apartheid South Africa, the Truth & Reconciliation Committee was established to heal an entire nation through truth. Honesty is our greatest legacy and the saying that 'honesty is the best policy' is gold. Perhaps there's a pattern of sexual abuse in your family. Or the women in your family always got neglected after falling pregnant leading to an inter-generational trauma of great seeds being neglected. You need to be honest with your predetermined vulnerability. That is, you need to prepare for a messy journey of unpacking painful truths and their often devastating long-term effects. The truth will set you and the next generations of your family free. And remember, it is always easier to predict what is already brought into light and not what is hidden in denial. After all, light will always overcome darkness.

  2. 'Forgiveness'. We cannot always control traumatic events in our lives but we can control whether we forgive the world or people involved after these events pass. Hypothetically speaking, forgiveness is such a positive action that it recreates our DNA, and therefore heals us. For generations, there may have been emotional and/or psychological abuse in your family. However, if you allow yourself, you can forgive the past so you may see today for what it is. Forgive the past so you can enjoy and live in the now. Un-forgiveness yields an anxious expectant spirit. Being anxious expectant is a traumatised response. You can never heal trauma with trauma!

  3. 'Reconciliation'. This step is where healing is delivered through hope. Love, acceptance and healing are the greatest examples of reconciliation, and probably the most reliable. Reconciliation invites a (hopefully healed) image into our consciousness with a life that agrees with how we would like to live our lives. How great is that!? Your role is to hold every negative though captive by displacing it with love, acceptance and deep-surface healing.

Our thought patterns are so effective in determining our responses to the circumstances in our lives. When we seek the truth, forgive the past, and reconcile our inherited unhealed traumas with hope, we begin to create a different and better path for not only our own lives, but our future generations. Where there is a Will, there is a Way.


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