Lessons my mother taught me
I spent part of Sunday thinking about my mother.
Now, that may not surprise you, it was Mother’s Day after all.
But here's a confession for you - my mother rarely crosses my mind.
I was raised by my grandparents and as far as I’m concerned, my Gran was my mother.
When I was 13 my mother came back to live with us.
And promptly blew everything up.
A full-blown narcissist, she couldn’t hold down a job.
She stole all of my grandparents’ money and ended up bankrupting them.
She had issues with drink and drugs and gambling.
But all of those “addictions” would go away when she got caught out.
She would pick fights for fun and say the most horrible things.
She broke my grandparents’ hearts with her behaviour.
My Gran taught me patience, compassion, strength, resiliency
She taught me kindness and the meaning of small gestures.
She was a true Southern belle from the mountains of Tennessee. A great hostess and our table was always filled with people of all races and religions.
Both of my grandparents were community spirited and were always off at a meeting for one of the many clubs they belonged to or at a fundraiser.
But my mother taught me things as well.
She taught me that I can’t count on anyone other than myself.
She taught me that money sitting in your bank account is never safe and often will be taken from you by the people you love.
She taught me to be hypervigilant, always waiting for the next disaster to come along.
She taught me selfishness and emotional detachment.
It took me a long time to realise I was carrying generational trauma and mine came out mostly as passive aggressiveness but also moments of pure, blinding rage.
The kind of rage that saw me put my fist through a wall.
My nervous system was a complete mess
The only time I truly felt safe was in times of drama and chaos.
I came to this healing only in the last few years, so I’m very open with my children about the work I’m doing. It’s important to me that they understand I recognise behaviour I don’t like in myself and my daughter has gotten really good at calling me out on my passive aggressiveness when it pops through!
I don’t want to pass my baggage on to my kids so you bet I’ll keep doing this work as long as I need to.
You don’t need to have a parent like my mother to be carrying generational trauma. We inherit pain from family members and if it’s not coped with, it gets passed on.
A 2018 study even showed that intergenerational trauma can be passed to us through DNA modifications or while we’re still in utero.
For most of us, we pick up our generational baggage from the way our parents treated us or the behaviour that they modelled for us.
Maybe your mother was obsessed with weight and always commented on yours.
Or you had an emotionally distanced father.
Or, like one of my clients, do you have family members that “wear their busyness as a badge of honour” and make you feel bad if you’re not exhausting yourself “doing” every day?
They say your niche is your biggest pain point which explains why I am so passionate about this type of healing work, using tools such as Rapid Transformational Therapy, NLP and a deep understanding of the mind/body connection.
Intergenerational trauma has shown up for my clients in a variety of ways
💔 Controlling behavior
💔 Using alcohol to numb their emotions
💔 Self-punishment through an unhealthy lifestyle
💔 Low self-esteem
💔 Fractured relationships with their children
💔 Constant apologising for aggressive behaviour
💔 Severe social anxiety
No matter how your intergenerational trauma shows up for you, it can end with you.
Discovering the root cause of your symptoms helps you to understand the reasons behind your symptoms.
Learning healthy coping skills you can pass on to the next generation frees them from what you’ve gone through.
If you’re interested in learning more about how inherited trauma could be affecting you, let’s have a chat.