Trauma and pain can be passed down from your ancestors, but you have the power to break the cycle
As women, we hold the shame, trauma, regret, and fear of our maternal lineage deep within our own bodies. This powerful connection to our ancestors means that healing is necessary both for ourselves and future generations.
The power to heal generational trauma is within you. Through embodiment practices, energetic womb clearing and mindset work, you can step into your power and take responsibility for healing old wounds.
“Every woman who heals herself helps heal all the women who came before her, and all those who come after her.” - Dr. Christiane Northrup
Pain Passed Down
The way that you are raised and the circumstances of your household can greatly affect your personality, beliefs, and coping skills. Whether you grew up close to your parents or not, you are inherently connected to them, and to their parents and so on.
Ancestral trauma takes this idea a bit further, and suggests that a traumatic or life-altering experience can create such a shock wave in someone’s life that the effects of the experience are felt for generations to come.
Let’s say that you have a fear of abandonment. Consider for a moment that instead of this fear originating with you, your grandmother lost her father at an early age and always struggled with feeling abandoned.
Additionally, it may be possible for you to pass down your unresolved trauma to future generations, or to subconsciously take your childhood insecurities with you into adulthood.
Perhaps, you feel that you never received enough attention from your mother. To you, she was unavailable when you needed her the most. You may find that this manifests in your intimate adult relationships, and you find yourself feeling like your partner isn’t available to you when you are needing extra love and support.
We are a very individualistic society, so it may be hard to believe that our pain or trauma is anyone’s but our own. It may seem a little far-fetched that we could be affected by something that happened to our mother, grandmother, or even great-grandmother, but there is actually a lot of emerging data to prove this.
The Science Behind Ancestral Trauma
We have known for some time that a stressful pregnancy can lead to health problems for mother and baby. Additionally, it has been acknowledged that extreme stress during a pregnancy can have harmful effects on the baby’s ability to handle stress later in life.
One study done on pregnant women that were near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 solidified this idea. The conductors of this study believe their research to show that stress can be inherited in utero, and is not necessarily the result of the nurturing (or lack thereof) the babies received after birth.
Epigenetics is a field of study that has to do with DNA and gene expression. Basically, epigenetic changes to genes do not change the structure of the DNA but they do affect how the gene is expressed.
In animal studies, a dramatic change in environment or diet has been linked to changes in metabolism and/or behavior for future generations. And further epigenetic studies on humans suggest similar patterns. Research suggests that adverse or traumatic situations to one generation could lead to ill health or disease in the next.
Epigenetic changes are the result of behavior and environment, so the idea is that a traumatic event could actually imprint on your DNA and change the way your genes work. These changes can be passed down to your children- or they could have been passed down to you.
One important and interesting note about epigenetic changes is that they can be reversed. This goes to prove that a healthy diet, positive thinking, meditation, etc., all can work to change the way your genes are expressed, which is pretty amazing if you ask me!
How This Can Affect You Spiritually
Ancestral trauma is one of those really interesting topics where science and spirituality beautifully intertwine. If you believe that we are deeply connected to our ancestors on a soul level, then the science behind it all probably doesn’t surprise you.
The way that this shows up for you spiritually may be feelings of depression, anxiety, and disconnect. You may not realize that these feelings aren’t solely your own, and that you are actually carrying previous generations' grief with you.
Your inner child may be screaming, or you find yourself often playing victim. When playing the victim, you are not taking control of your life rather just letting it happen to you, often in an indifferent or unsatisfied way.
Ancestral trauma can energetically manifest in how we process emotions and how we view our place in the world. It can affect how we hide or show ourselves to the external world and influence how we choose to spend our lives.
We may be less inclined to follow our dreams, not knowing that unresolved trauma in our lineage is limiting what we feel allowed to pursue and clouding our vision for the future.
It can be difficult to pinpoint in just how many ways ancestral trauma is negatively affecting the present. On top of the emotional reactions, our body often displays physical manifestations of ancestral wounds.
How It’s Connected to the Pelvic Floor
One unique part of the biological makeup of women is that they are born with all the eggs they will ever have. This means that your grandmother carried both your mother and you in her womb as the egg that created you was formed in your mother as a fetus.
To me, this is beautiful imagery and it really goes to show how innately connected we are with the women that come before us. The womb space is a powerful place of birth that is responsible for not one, but two future generations.
With this significant connection, we are also connected to all the residual trauma and shame that our ancestors carried with them. Often this shows up for women as physical problems within the pelvic floor.
Depending on the type of ancestral trauma, it can show up in specific parts of your pelvic floor as tension or weakness. The left side of the pelvic floor often relates to the maternal lineage and the right to the paternal. A tight or weak posterior chain (muscles of the back body) are often connected to a lack of support.
It is incredibly interesting to me to see this physical embodiment of the relationship between women and their ancestors.
This connection also confirms that it’s possible to heal these old wounds and trigger points through intentional mindset work, meditation, coaching, and breathing exercises. And it’s of the utmost importance for women to undergo energetic womb clearing and establish a healthy relationship with their pelvic floor.
It’s Possible To Heal
Although, you have no control over the things that have happened to you or your ancestors in the past, you do have control over how you move forward. It is possible to break the cycle and heal. You just have to be ready and willing to put in the work.
At first, it can be a little disheartening to consider that your grandmother’s pain has become your own. But when we accept that this is part of our innate connection with one another, we can become more motivated to heal, not only for ourselves, but for our ancestors and descendents.
As women, with a maternal or selfless nature, we may be more inclined to begin a healing journey if we think that it will also heal someone else. You can let that be your motivation to do the work.
Biological traits aside, our parents also pass down other (sometimes harmful) attributes. False limiting beliefs and patterns of negativity that permeate your childhood household often follow you into adulthood.
Consider your feelings around money. Whether you realize it or not, these beliefs were most likely established early on through the beliefs of your parents. Without ever examining this for yourself, those beliefs became yours.
If you grew up in a home where money was tight, you may have felt your parents’ stress over keeping the bills paid and food in the fridge. Due to the obvious lack of money, it’s possible that you grew up with a scarcity mindset, and still to this day (no matter your financial situation) worry that there won’t be enough.
The circumstances surrounding you and your caregivers' attitude affects your perception of the world whether you realize it or not. Repetitive thoughts create neural pathways in our brains that you can think of as ruts.
We get stuck in these ruts of thinking. Destructive thought patterns become hard to break out of, and we struggle to overcome established mindsets even after recognizing that they may be harmful.
Neuroscience does tell us that it is possible to change these neural pathways and replace negative ways of thinking with positive ones. Our shadows and limiting beliefs can hinder our growth but we are always capable of changing and creating new pathways in order to find peace and satisfaction.
Breaking the Cycle by Healing Yourself
Ancestral trauma may be responsible for some of your negative emotions and it’s possible that it has held you back from reaching your fullest potential. When you come to realize that some of your pain and grief may be the result of situations or events that happened before you were born, it can be freeing.
However, it also sets a certain sense of responsibility on your shoulders to heal those wounds. It can be helpful to remember that by going on our own healing journeys, we can change the legacy of our lineage.
In his book on ancestral trauma called It Didn’t Start With You, author Mark Wolynn points out that “...traumas we inherit or experience firsthand can not only create a legacy of distress, but also forge a legacy of strength and resilience that can be felt for generations to come.”
You have the tools you need to break the cycle and heal yourself. I believe that it can be powerful to have support as you take on this process.
My work with women combines connecting with the pelvic floor with other wellness practices like mindset work, breathwork, and meditation- all of which can help you break the cycle of pain passed down. As you get more spiritually connected to your womb space, you make room for new ways of thinking and a more satisfying and sensual life.
Are you ready to stop letting wounds of the past hold you back from living in the present?