A Triad: On Inherited Trauma

This post will be a little different from others. I have chosen several excellent methods / modalities to convey this message:

Ancestral and inherited family dysfunction and trauma MATTERS but does not have to DEFINE you.

Let me tell how I came to study this at this moment of my life.


I don’t know.

As often happens, I am led to a topic for reasons I don’t understand.

Don’t get me wrong… like so many of you… there are some… things… that I (my mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother) knew (or at least guessed at) but didn’t discuss.

Maybe we wrote about them in a journal. Or talked to a therapist. Or shared with a trusted friend.

Or none of the above.

Oh, yes. There was something … out there… just beyond our reach.

And, to be clear, even though I said, “Mother” it is non-gender-or-family-member-specific. It’s mothers and fathers, siblings, relatives and shirt-tail-relatives, caretakers and guardians, and even, to a certain extent, colleagues, casual acquaintances and strangers you meet on the street. Every single person you come in contact with has their own story and it mingles with yours, if only for a moment. It all MATTERS.

And, from all my study over the last several weeks, I think I can safely say that it turns out… even if you don’t look at ANY of it … AT ALL … trauma still affects your life. Go figure.

So, several weeks ago, I felt the nudge to take a look at this subject and here is what I found:

  • A book about inherited family trauma and how to end it. This one is more emotionally-based and scientific.
  • A book about how family trauma turns into medical issues and how to heal. This one is more physically-based and scientific.
  • A podcast about how to heal the pain of our ancestors, including the notion that in doing so, we can heal our ancestors, as well. This one is more spiritually-based and supernaturalist. There’s also talk of crystals, which was a nice reprieve, I must say!

While I have taken a *very* deep dive with the help of these resources, it is not my intention to share every dot-and-tittle of what I found regarding my own situation. I have given this a lot of thought. Sometimes, the best course of action is to remember it isn’t just about me. This is one of those times.

However, just so you know, there were NOT a lot of “A’ha!” moments for me. More like gentle (Ha!) smacks in the nose and a few, “Oh, I knew that!” Actually, lots of validation for what I already knew intuitively or from my previous studies. Your mileage may vary.

Bottom line for ALL OF US: It is like a puzzle… and it isn’t finished. There are pieces we don’t yet know about… just sitting outside the perimeter… the full picture is still being created. It is the picture called “Family”.

My family or your family.

No two will be alike.

Here are some quotes from these wonderful resources:

From It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn:

  • The history you share with your family began before you were conceived.
  • For the first time I could remember, I was able to let myself receive my parents’ love and care – not in the way I had once expected it, but in the way they could give it.
  • When your grandmother was five months pregnant with your mother, the precursor cell of the egg you developed from was already present in your mother’s ovaries. This means that before you mother was even born, your mother, your grandmother, and the earliest traces of you were all inthe same body – three generations sharing the same biological environment.
  • When a mother carries inherited trauma, or has experienced a break in the bond with her mother, it can affect the tender bond that’s forming with her infant.

From Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa:

  • After her terrifying childhood illness, Michele never felt at peace, or whole, as an adult: “I was afraid I could be blindsided by any small medical crisis that could morph and change my entire life.”
  • Time does not heal all wounds. One does not ‘just get over’ something – not even fifty years later. Instead, Time conceals. And human beings convert traumatic emotional experiences in childhood into organic disease later in life.
  • It is impossible to estimate how many adults who experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences are getting by, day by day, unwittingly navigating a state of low-grade neuroinflammation […] dealing with general low mood, depression and anxiety.
  • Some people are genetically primed to be more sensitive to what’s going on around them in their environment – including any family trauma or hardship they encounter when very young. Others aren’t as deeply affected by early adversity; things don’t hit them quite as hard. One of the reasons for this difference exists deep within our genetic code.

In this Awaken with Animals Podcast, Marybeth Haines shares the following:

  • Have you ever wondered why illness and trauma repeat themselves in family lines? Did you know that some of your present life experiences might actually be connected to that family lineage and the energy that originates from your ancestors?
  • In this episode of Awaken With Animals, the Guardian Animals of Lightness take us on a deeper dive to explain more about what this means. They show us the steps on how to actually release this, and not only help ourselves but our ancestors as well!
  • Come join Marybeth in a space of love and learn how you can heal ancestral trauma through your family heritage, and how it’s not as hard as you might think. Release what’s no longer yours to carry and move forward into a deeper and meaningful life.

The books, mentioned above, had excellent and robust suggestions for healing, including techniques. For me, in both cases, it was all a little overwhelming. That’s why I went in search of something I could wrap my head around. That’s when I saw Marybeth’s podcast, which was in the middle of the list and could have easily been lost. It literally jumped out at me. Once I listened to it, I knew why! It is simple and yet profound… that’s all I can say.

And yes, I may go back to the books for some further healing work later. This subject is not light nor easy to navigate. You’ll need time. Be sure to give yourself plenty!

For now, I feel like I’ve come full-circle.

I want you to come full-circle, too.


  1. Many thanks for sharing this with us all Sheryl. Ancestral trauma is something that I have found to be coming to the surface more and more, ready for release and healing xo. I also want to thank you for sharing my podcast and it is always my heart’s intention to share this beautiful relationship with animals and humans in a way that is of love….always. Thank you for making a difference! You are such a beautiful gift to this world. ~ Love Marybeth xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is exactly why we need history. Our own past influences us as individuals as well as a nation. This was very well done. (“Dot-and-tittle” ???)

    Liked by 1 person

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