It Didn’t Start With You: Inherited Trauma
Friday, September 16, 2022Lindsay
A relatively new field called epigenetics focuses on how behaviors and the environment influence the way genes work. Changes to gene function are epigenetic because they do not alter the genes themselves, but how your body reads and expresses your DNA sequence.
Epigenetics has led to a fascinating hypothesis that people can pass the effects of a traumatic experience on to their descendants. In other words, inherited trauma from your parents and grandparents can impact your future in various ways, even if you didn’t personally witness those troubling or life-threatening events.
What Is Inherited Trauma?
Some research suggests that children born into families touched by trauma could be at an elevated risk of developing chronic diseases and behavioral disorders. It’s also possible for the ongoing stress caused by adverse childhood experiences to change your brain’s structure and function, which you may then pass on to your children.
Traumatized adults are also more likely to be emotionally unavailable, depressed or unpredictable – and when those adults become parents, they can unconsciously perpetuate intergenerational trauma.
Long-Term Effects of Trauma
Trauma can profoundly affect every aspect of someone’s life. Potential long-term effects may include:
- Emotional dysregulation
- Numbing or detachment from thoughts, behaviors and memories
- Disrupted sleep
- Substance use disorders
- Unwanted, intrusive flashbacks and nightmares
- Self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Co-occurring mental health disorders like depression and anxiety
Regardless of the source of your trauma, a customized treatment plan is essential to restore your quality of life and help you start moving forward again.
How to Recover From Inherited Trauma
Despite the harm caused by abuse and neglect, these may be familiar patterns to you if you grew up in a dysfunctional family. Trauma-focused treatment guided by a trained therapist can break this cycle, ensuring you don’t pass intergenerational trauma along to your children.
Trauma can damage the parent-child relationship by making it more difficult for you to bond with your children. If you have children or are thinking about starting a family, you can become a more emotionally stable mother by understanding and addressing inherited trauma. Patience and commitment can help you overcome negativity and create a healthier family dynamic.
Trauma Treatment at Canyon Crossing
If you are uncomfortable discussing your trauma and how it has impacted you, you can start working toward healing in a safe, compassionate environment for women only. At Canyon Crossing, we specialize in trauma care and addiction recovery. We have developed our trauma-focused treatment program as a safe place for women to end the shame and guilt resulting from their traumatic experiences and start regaining control of their lives. Reach out to learn more about how to find a fresh start.