Trauma can fundamentally change how an individual perceives themselves as well as the world around them. Each person also experiences trauma differently, with a set of unique experiences, thoughts, and effects of trauma impacting daily life. However, some trauma can persist across generations, continuing to influence entire families, children, and communities until addressed. Understanding the effects of generational trauma and its continued impact on families and communities over time is the first step toward taking action to overcome its effects and create a healthier daily life for individuals and others in their communities.
What Is Generational Trauma?
While personal traumatic events can be wholly devastating, such as experiencing violence, natural disasters, injury, loss, and other traumatic experiences, generational trauma instead is defined by traumatic events that can affect entire generations and cultures. Traumatic experiences inform an individual’s current behavior but also have impacts on future generations as the effects of trauma continue to inform daily life, perspectives, and worldview.
Not only can certain traumatic events affect entire generations, but the effects of these traumas can also persist between generations, being passed down through pervasive anxieties, stresses, perspectives, and more, continuing to facilitate a culture and people affected by trauma. Some potential sources of generational trauma can include:
- Natural disasters
Experiencing any of these can greatly inform a person’s mental health, and the pervasive feelings of anxiety, symptoms of trauma, depression, and more can all inform how a person is able to raise or teach their children or the following generation. Others exposed to high levels of violence within a particular community can be at risk for increased levels of depression or find it difficult to emotionally open up or connect with others.
Generational trauma can also manifest within cultures of particular families, particularly through systemic domestic abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences. Those growing up with domestic violence toward their spouse or children normalized can adopt these behaviors themselves due to an altered perception that such behaviors are expected or normal, passing such mentalities and traumas to future generations.
An individual also does not necessarily have to experience culturally traumatic events themselves in order to continue facilitating the passing of generational trauma. For example, living through a time when war was a constant stressor, even if a person did not serve in the military, can still inform daily life through problematic fears, mentalities, behaviors, and anxieties that can be passed down.
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Symptoms of Generational Trauma
Generational trauma is complicated, with many different factors all informing each person’s unique experiences and symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of generational trauma can include:
- Increased anxiety
- Increased use of addictive substances or substance use disorder (SUD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty regulating mood
- Inability to emotionally open up or connect with others
- Difficulty trusting others
- The pervasive cycle of abuse, either physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual
- Feelings of powerlessness or hopelessness
Each of these challenges can be exceptionally difficult to navigate, especially while the influences of generational trauma are still continuing to manifest. Nevertheless, professional treatment is necessary to overcome the profound effects of generational trauma.
Healing From Generational Trauma
There is never only one, single path to overcoming trauma, and the ability to personalize each and every recovery journey is instrumental to its success. This mentality is incorporated into each program at Hawaii Island Recovery. However, there are a number of goals and strategies that can be used for the best approach to overcoming generational trauma.
Acknowledging Its Effects
Because of the profound nature of generational trauma, it can be wholly ingrained in a person’s mentality, and continue to inform their perspectives. Therefore, it can be difficult to identify and address generational trauma and its continued impact. Being able to identify and acknowledge how various factors and behaviors may continue to affect a person is the first step in creating a healthy recovery plan for challenging and overcoming its effects and facilitating healthier daily life and a better future for future generations.
Education about generational trauma, understanding how past events may continue to impact loved ones’ behaviors even subconsciously, and more are all parts of the healing process. Professional treatment to facilitate communication strategies, create a safe space to explore these vulnerable and difficult conversations and more can all be necessary for committing to genuine change.
Breaking Through Isolation
Isolation and loneliness are common symptoms of generational trauma, and it is normal to feel as if an individual is the only person navigating such difficult challenges. Hawaii Island Recovery’s community of trauma-informed care and connection to peers and professionals alike is instrumental in addressing generational trauma, introducing new perspectives, building connections, and engaging in effective communal healing on a personal and spiritual level throughout recovery.
Spiritual Healing From Generational Trauma
Generational trauma can impact an individual from their childhood through adulthood, and this can not only impact a person’s behaviors and unique symptoms but also damage their spiritual beliefs. Engaging in effective spiritual healing alongside dedicated and proven trauma treatment strategies can create the most effective and holistic approach to a healthy future. Our luxury mental health facilities at Hawaii Island Recovery are available to help each person take this first step.
Generational trauma is incredibly complex, with each person having their own nuanced needs, symptoms, and their best path to recovery. Hawaii Island Recovery’s luxury mental health facilities can be an informed and effective place to not only explore the effects of generational trauma but also create the most effective recovery plan for a healthy future. Overcoming anxiety, depression, and the myriad of challenges presented by generational trauma is difficult, but it is always possible to break the passage of generational trauma with the right support and professional care. Combining proven and effective mental health and substance use healing programs with new experiences, spiritual support, and more can create the best approach to a healthy future. Call us at (866) 390-5070.