What if you learned that a lot of the trauma you’re carrying, whether consciously or not, isn’t even actually yours? What if I told you that it’s trauma that has been passed down from your ancestors and embedded in your DNA?
There’s been a lot of talk lately about generational trauma, and yes, it’s a real thing.
So many of us come from lineages that have dealt with deep suffering, pain and unhealthy environments. Some families pass down beautiful heirlooms, while others pass down trauma without even realizing it.
As an immigrant myself, I’ve seen this play out in my life firsthand, which is why one of my mantras is, “The cycle ends with me.”
So what is generational trauma and what does it look like?
“Being systematically exploited, enduring repeated and continual abuse, racism, and poverty are all traumatic enough to cause genetic changes,” child and adolescent psychiatrist and author Gayani DeSilva, MD, explains. “So African Americans in the United States and around the world are particularly vulnerable. And the families affected by catastrophes such as the 2004 tsunami in Asia will have traumatic reactivity for generations to come."
People in countries that have endured years, even decades, of war may also have generational trauma, she adds. Domestic violence, sexual assault or sexual abuse, and hate crimes are other acts that can also result in generational trauma.
The symptoms of generational trauma may include hypervigilance, a sense of a shortened future, mistrust, aloofness, high anxiety, depression, panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, a sensitive fight or flight response, and issues with self-esteem and self-confidence…just to name a few. Yeah, it gets deep.
This is why March’s Wellness Webinar will focus on Intergenerational Trauma with guest teacher Madina Wardak.
Madina Wardak MSW/ACSW is a mental health social worker of Afghan descent based in Los Angeles. She will be teaching about intergenerational trauma, a documented issue in a number of marginalized communities. During this webinar, Madina will provide an introduction on intergenerational trauma, and illustrate how it manifests, share current research surrounding it, and the steps to take towards healing.
Madina studied Political Science with an emphasis on the Middle East, as well as Social Work as it pertains to children, youth & families. Madina is passionate about accessible mental health resources for the SWANA community and regularly engages in dialogue on her platform Burqas & Beer to deconstruct taboo on a variety of issues.
There’s a quote I love that you may have seen me post—“It ran in my family until it ran into me.”
When I talk about us being the “chosen ones,” I mean just that. We have made it our mission to cut the cords of trauma in our bloodlines, and in order to do that, we must first become aware of it.
So, in honor of our healing journey and the healing of our ancestors, I hope that you join Madina and I on March 14 for our Intergenerational Trauma webinar via Zoom where we’ll begin to dissect and unpack the heavy baggage that was never ours to carry.