Let’s talk about generational trauma, also known as, generational curses. I say trauma because it is more fitting. Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, while curse is defined as a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something. Trauma can be healed if you put in the work. Calling it a curse, in my opinion, would remove the power you hold to heal from it. A generational curse would make you a victim, and may give you sense of I don’t have the power to rid my family of it. However, when you change the word to trauma, you are in a mindset of “I have the ability to heal from this, as long as, I have the mindset to do it.”
Trauma is being passed down generation to generation because no one has taken accountability to heal. People are not acknowledging their pain, the hurt past experiences has caused them; instead, you have people with horrible characteristics hurting more people and they say things like, “this is who I am, either love me or leave me alone”, or ” hurt people hurt people”. Instead of making people suffer with your toxic behaviors and hurting more people, why not just heal?
Let’s be honest, you are only behaving in such a way because you are still hurting, you are miserable, and you do not love yourself. [The saying, misery loves company comes to mind]. In addition, in some cases, generational trauma, may cause someone to hurt themselves.
Generational trauma is affecting both men and women in all aspects of their relationships: boyfriend and girlfriend, child and parent, siblings, friends; no one is safe. Generational trauma causes people to act out mentally, behaviorally, spiritually, and physically.
- You have men who are making babies with multiple women and not taking care of them because their father was not present, and his father was not present, etc.
- You have girls being raped, and the mothers are choosing to ignore it or believe the boyfriend over their child because her mother did her the same way, and her mother’s mother did the same thing as well.
- Men treating women like shit because he hates his mother, and the reason why he hate his mother is because she went through some shit when she was a child that may have caused her to be an unfit parent.
- Women accepting abuse from men because she was never shown love as a child from her father and is desperately seeking an emotional attachment to a man and is willing to go through anything to get it. And her father may not have been able to show her the love she deserved as a child, because he went through some shit as a child and he wasn’t shown love, thus, preventing him to show love to his kids.
- Girls growing up in a household where their mom was bullied by her boyfriend, so they grow up and as women, seek men who they can abuse and bully.
- Boys seeing their dad not working and seeing their mom take care of him financially and sexually, while dad just sits around doing nothing, grows up thinking women are supposed to support them.
- Women not being able to have lasting friendships because they were taught to compete with other women and not to trust them due to their mother’s, or other women in their family, toxic thoughts on friendship.
- Men and women having kids at an early age, not being able to fully grow and enjoy life in their teens and twenties; therefore, they leave other people to raise their kids, ignore, and/or neglect their kids, because they want to live life. Those kids develop behavioral and/or mental and emotional trauma that affects their lives as they grow older, and eventually, their offspring.
These are just some examples of generational trauma. Believe me, there are many more I can give and each example can be switched with either gender.
Everyone reacts to trauma differently, one child may grow up to be the aggressor, while the other grow up to be the victim. Some people become meek, people pleasers, quiet, liars, etc. While others are loud, promiscuous, rowdy, violent, addicted to drugs, etc. All in all though, no one is happy and if they have kids, their behavior is affecting those kids. The behavior of the parent(s) will be shaping those kids’ future in ways that will cause them to self sabotage and sabotage other people.
What’s important to remember though, is that it is trauma. And with all trauma, you can heal and become stronger from it. It just takes you taking control over your destiny and making the decision that you no longer want to hurt anymore, you don’t want to hurt yourself, your family, and most of all your kids.
The first step in healing is acknowledging that you are a toxic person. Be vulnerable with yourself. Take some accountability in being a toxic person. Stop making excuses about why you do the things you do. No more saying, I am not in my child’s life because my daddy was not in mine. No more saying, I saw my mom being abused and taking bullshit in her relationships so it taught me to be passive in my relationships and accept abuse as well. Stop. Even though that may very well be the case, with that thinking, it takes away your power. You are a victim with that mindset and being a victim prevents you from having control over your behavior.
Secondly, you must have empathy and you must forgive. Empathizing with what your parents, and grandparents, and so on, may have gone through as a child, or even an adult, growing up could give you some understanding, which would make it easier to show empathy for their experiences. Slavery, Jim Crow, and the treatment of black people in America has caused soooo many years (of) and sooo much trauma to the black family structure in America, and even though we keep going, we keep going with pain in our hearts. In slavery our families were broken up, so maybe your grandfather did not know how to be a great dad to you dad and left your dad to be lost in the world, which caused you to be lost because you didn’t know your dad. Maybe, because black women were forced to look away when their daughters were being raped by slave owners, and she (had no power to do anything) didn’t know what to do or (how) to support her daughter because no one supported her. That is how trauma gets passed down.
When traumatic experiences keep affecting children born, then the next generation of children born, and so forth, and no one has healed from it; it becomes a continuous cycle of trauma with more trauma being added. I am not making excuses, but at some point, we cannot continue to take this trauma and pass it down to the next generation. At some point, someone has to say, this stops with me! I am going to be a great dad to my kids; I am going to be a great mom to my kids; and how I am going to accomplish this, is by healing. Empathizing will ease the anger and will allow you to become empowered. Being empowered will make you open to, and ready for healing.
Thirdly, forgive! Forgiveness is so major in healing. You have to forgive your parents and you have to forgive yourself. Forgive your parents for their transgressions because you now understand that they were hurting too. And you have to forgive yourself for allowing yourself to become the toxic person you were. Forgive yourself for the hurt you have caused yourself and others. Forgiveness is the most freeing act you can perform. You are freeing yourself of hurt, guilt, shame, and embarrassment. With forgiveness you go from victim to survivor. With forgiveness, you are no longer allowing your pain to have control over you.
Lastly, you begin the journey of healing.
Healing does not include drinking every night, smoking constantly (cigarettes and weed), doing drugs, cutting, over or under eating, having sex all of the time, or even going to church every day. Healing is facing your pain head on, acknowledging it and letting it go!
Healing is seeking therapy, growing a closer and stronger spiritual relationship with God, doing yoga, balancing your chakras, doing shadow work, journaling, reciting affirmations, reiki, reading self help books, eating healthier, meditating, exercising, and sharing your experience. Healing is being aware of your toxic behaviors, emotions, and thoughts; and then, checking yourself.
Healing is not all happiness, fun and positive vibes… but the outcome is. And happiness, fun, and positive vibes should be some of the things you want to pass down generation to generation.