thinking about historical trauma...
When a trauma happens, it changes us, literally...
Published: January 13, 2021
Trauma causes chemical changes in our DNA. Often, it changes the way our genes work.
Technically, chemical tags are attached to DNA that causes cells to use or ignore specific genes, allowing them to better cope with a recent trauma. Our genes are influenced in a manner that changes how we behave or feel.
The changes in our behavior and feelings becomes inherent in the next generation. So, we may become sensitive or react to situations similar to the original trauma, even if the trauma occurred in a previous generation.
So... ...if you don't heal from YOUR trauma, you are possibly allowing the transfer of trauma to your offspring.
Historical trauma is not just about what happened in the past. It's about what's still happening.
"Our Ancestors knew that healing comes in cycles and circles. One generation carries the pain so that the next can live and heal. One cannot live without the other; each is the other's hope, meaning & strength." - Gemma B. Benton
Still think you aren't your ancestors?
Imagine if your grandparents come from a war-torn country.
soldiers lining people up...
bombs going off...
people being taken away...
people being shot...
Our grandparents could pass on a skill set or reactions (like sharper reflexes, quicker reaction times) to the violence they experienced.
The problem is, we could also inherit a high-level stress response. The outcome of such circumstance produces humans prepared for a catastrophe that never arrives.
We rarely make the link that our anxiety, hypervigilance, or depression are connected to our parents and grandparents. We just think we are wired this way. Sometimes we're told this, which we'll explore in a future post.
This is where one of the most significant challenges exist - how do you and I know if we're carrying the effects of an inherited family trauma?
We can be born with anxiety or depression and never be inseparable from the events of previous generations.
We may also experience fears or symptoms that come on suddenly or unexpectedly when we reach a certain age or when we reach a particular stage or event in life.
Trauma causes people to miss opportunities for healing. Trauma also causes the lose of valuable stories and history.
We are at significant risk!
Well, to be accurate, those stories aren't really lost. They've just been rerouted and can show up in our verbal and non-verbal communication about trauma. It might also impact how we remember the history.
With so many are currently traumatized by a range of situations and circumstances, we must consider one question:
...what can we do NOW to better care for our brothers and sisters to help those here now and those yet to be born?