Generational Trauma- Time Does Not Heal All Things
I’m the person that used to roll her eyes when I heard terms like generational trauma. Puuuhhhlease. These damn hippies and their hippy beliefs.
But no, it’s not just some woo woo belief, it’s science.
When I think about my generational trauma, I think of the hardship that my family on both sides had to endure for generations.
On my mom’s side, there were 14 children, that’s FOURTEEN, living in a little ranch in rural, rural, rural mexico. My grandpa brought electricity to their tiny town. He made sure streets were paved. They started the only school in town. And times could be tough. That, coupled with having to grow your own food, poverty, machismo, racism, religious beliefs centered on shame,degrading beliefs about women, how normal corporal punishment was in society…all created for some conditions that would be pretty traumatizing for anyone. I see how hard of an environment it must have been for all of them.
On my dad’s side, there were eleven children. My grandpa died when my dad was nine, leaving my grandma as a single mom of eleven children, ELEVEN. There wasn’t much time for I love yous, hugs, and tenderness. There was time for work, discipline, accounting, feeding, keeping everyone alive. I see it. It must have been so hard.
Often, through my own life experiences I’ve reflected on how being “soft” is a luxury that some get access to.
When you have to fight for your life, for every opportunity that you get, when your race, your gender, and the country you live in make life even harder, sometimes there is no space for soft. There is only, or it can feel like there is only, space for grit, fight, survival. Soft can feel like a luxury YOU don’t get.
Growing up as a kid, physical and emotional violence/abuse amongst us immigrant kids was pretty normal. We would share stories of “oh, your parents beat you like that? That’s nothing…this how I was beat. They hit you with a belt? That’s nothing, they threw a iron at my head” These were our stories as kids. Makes me so deeply sad.
I don’t know if it was once I got to the US, living amongst Americanos that I saw that not everyone was beat at home and treated with violence. Maybe it was seeing that the other richer, whiter kids and parents would be alarmed at the type of violence at home that was normal to us kids living in the “bad” side of town, that let me know as a little kid that this was wrong, and that maybe, I had a tiny intsy so infinitesimally small amount of power against it. I remember comforting the violence at home and saying, this is NOT right, but that didn’t change very much.
I left, escaped is more like it, as soon as I could. I knew those dynamics could not be healthy, it wasn’t right, and every part of me knew that no one should be treated like that.
Now, back to generational trauma- once I left that environment, the environment did not leave me.
There is a saying that says that “time heals all things.”
That’s not how trauma works. It literally lingers, from generation to generation, until someone gains awareness over it and says, “I will heal my lineage, this will no longer hurt people in our life. I will take on the task of healing for me and for us all”
I was now safe, but my body did not know that.
Heck, some days my body still doesn’t know it’s safe.
My grandma’s/grandpa’s protective but harmful behaviors and ways of thinking became my mom’s/dad’s harmful behaviors and ways of thinking, and surprise surprise, many of them became my own.
My grandpa’s lack of boundaries became my dad’s lack of boundaries, became my own lack of boundaries.
And gosh…that boundaries lesson cost me so much to finally get as a grown ass woman. But it’s changed everything, and I am SO grateful I am better at setting boundaries. Understanding what boundaries are. It leads to more safety, to more joy, love, all the things I want in my life…
What about in your life?
What are your triggers?
What are the harmful behaviors and ways of thinking that have been passed down from generation to generation?
Is it codependency?
Is it being judgemental?
Inability to sit with vulnerability?
Inability to say no?
And i invite you to not do this as a self-shaming exercise, but a loving exercise that allows you to have more of what you want in your life.
For me the question was- how do I create more love, joy, softness, ease, fun, sensuality, aliveness? What’s keeping me from those things? And then looking inwards to identify the parts that need to be healed, to be loved on, tended with care, forgiven, and seen. To gain awareness, to get to know my triggers, not from a place of shaming, but from a place of love and compassion.
Because I am committed to healing, committed to liberating, committed to creating a life of more love, softness, ease, and joy for myself and my future ancestral lineage.
What about you? What are you loving, compassioning into healing? What are you liberating to create a better future for yourself and your lineage?