Healing Generational Wounds?

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all4peace

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Healing Generational Wounds?
« on: September 06, 2017, 11:18:12 AM »
I have spoken here recently about how shaky I am feeling. It is horrible to have conflict on both sides of our family. Sometimes I feel deeply shaken, like I must, MUST be to blame or how could it possibly be so pervasive?

But I can also remind myself that in both cases the relationships started to crumble when boundaries were set. In IL's case, it was a matter of how much pain we could take. With my family, it was a matter of how much we could silently tolerate NM's behavior and in no way "make her feel bad" by backing away, no matter how she behaved.


I was crying to a dear friend recently, sharing this worry of mine, and she brought up something that has been coming up over and over, in various types of therapy I have been getting. Generational wounds. She stated that DH and I are trying to break strong generational dysfunction and create healthy boundaries, have a healthy marriage and a healthy relationship with our kids. She said that we may be a threat to our families since our boundaries make them aware of their dysfunction that they aren't able or ready to face, that we're a constant reminder of that and they feel the need to defend themselves and their behaviors around us. She said that we're shining a light into the darkness in our families, and it is not welcomed by them.

I have had multiple surgeries, and have been having complications from the scar tissue, so received two types of "physical" (versus psychological) therapy to help with that. And I've been seeing a therapist. And ALL of them are starting to deal with generational wounds.

Acupuncture: Working through the wounds of my grandmother, my mother, myself, and even my great grandmother and beyond. This healer's belief is that for generations the mothers haven't mothered, and that I am being a mother to my mother, and a daughter to my grandmother (good luck sorting that out :) ) and that I need to step back into my place, even if they are not able to be what they need to be.

Alternative therapy: The belief is that childhood and life traumas create excess scarring, pain, dis-ease. This healer manipulates the body while talking through old traumas and helps release the emotional pain that leads to physical problems. She helps go back and "reparent" the inner child to release that pain, do for that child what was never done for it, and heal the body.

Psych: We are talking through the patterns of my childhood to come to conclusions on why I would allow my ILs to treat us the way they did for so long, to figure out better ways to parent our own children (or validate the ways we already are), to do "brain surgery" as my T says to come to a healthier set of core beliefs that give me a better set of tools for coping for all the things that life brings our way.


In each of these therapies, there is a focus on doing it better, healthier, different. There is nothing about "going along," staying to the old course, submitting to what the previous generation wants.


DH and I have often talked about breaking the cycle, but maybe I haven't fully meditated on what that means. Cycles like to stay cycles. It takes a lot of energy, fortitude, strength and will to break a cycle. Maybe this pain inside me isn't because I'm wrong. Maybe it's because I'm standing in the middle of a raging stream, surrounded by elders trying to pull me back into the current, while I hold onto my children and my husband and fight my way upstream. Maybe that's why I'm so exhausted and weary. I am desperate for my children to go into adult life with the tools to distinguish between safe and unsafe people, for them to feel safe and able to talk with us about anything they want to, including ways we may be a problem for them. I want them to feel safe, trusted, trusting, loved, cherished. I want them to know their spouses and their children will also be cherished, respected, loved, safe. I want them to understand that they can choose any type of life they want, and we will find a way to adjust to that. They don't need to be just like us. We will be delighted (I hope) and not threatened by their choices and differences. More than anything, I just want them to know we are approachable. That as long as there are trust, love and mutual respect, we really can talk through and work through pretty much anything.

If we could really, REALLY figure this out in time for our kids, maybe this could become the first generation in both our families in which there was open, loving and respectful communication between the generations. If we could manage that, I can genuinely say all the pain will have been easily worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. And I can't even take credit for figuring this out. I just know the pain became so physically unbearable that my body forced me to start figuring it, and then I found all you lovely people :)

I'd welcome any and all thoughts on this!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 11:22:07 AM by all4peace »

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daughter

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 11:32:56 AM »
I share belief that my primary responsibility is to be a good parent, to break those same generational wounds (dysfunctional behaviors and inappropriate expectations/demands taught to me as "parental rights" to be ended) inflicted upon me.  This is reason why we felt that NC was only viable option left to us (DH and me).  My NBM and NF "normalized" narcissistic behaviors and dysfunctional family relationships for our children; it was obvious to us that our children were absorbing those lesson-examples in their interactions with my parents, my nsis, and nsis' family.  Our children had witnessed their grandparents' unwarranted meddling, frequent bad behavior, flagrant disdain and disrespect towards their parents and other folks, their fawning adoration of nsis and nsis' family, while their own family viewed as inferior and unworthy, etc.   I only regret not implementing NC much earlier, at least a decade earlier, before that full negative impact manifested itself upon our kids.

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tryingforever

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 01:35:01 PM »
all4peace thank you for sharing this. It touched me deeply.

Although I don’t have children I can relate to your struggle of breaking the cycle and of being wronged and shamed for trying to do so . And I too ask frequently that I MUST be to blame because not so many people can all be wrong.

I can see tremendous suffering and trauma as far back as my great great grandparents. I can see how this was passed on from generation to generation. I can see it in me, in the abuse and neglect I suffered and in my own fleas and conditioning. What frightens me is that the majority of my family are unaware of the generational trauma and how conditioned they are. They are also unaware of the family dynamics and how locked in they are. According to them I am the bad seed and I can understand why. Because they cannot see what I see.  And is because they can not see, that the generational trauma exists. It’s perpetuated through the generations by unconsciousness.

But on the other hand, I too am aware that I am still blind to allot, both in me and around me. I know this because as I progress in my inner work I discoverer a flea or a hurt that I wasn't aware off before,and I can only concluded that there must be more, much more. This makes me  sad and humble because I know I have a good heart and I know I am committed with my all soul to growth, but I still have many veils. 

And here I suspect is were forgiveness for myself and forgiveness for my family comes in. I am not at this stage yet, but intellectually I believe this to be so.


 Cycles like to stay cycles. It takes a lot of energy, fortitude, strength and will to break a cycle.

I agree. It takes all of that to became aware and then double that to break the cycle.


Maybe this pain inside me isn't because I'm wrong. Maybe it's because I'm standing in the middle of a raging stream, surrounded by elders trying to pull me back into the current, while I hold onto my children and my husband and fight my way upstream. Maybe that's why I'm so exhausted and weary.

When I read this, it resonated with me so much. I say Yes a million times, to this.

What you are doing is no less than a revolution.

If we could really, REALLY figure this out in time for our kids, maybe this could become the first generation in both our families in which there was open, loving and respectful communication between the generations. If we could manage that, I can genuinely say all the pain will have been easily worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

I am new here, I don't know you, but who writes a post like this one, must have already broken many parts of the cycle.

In my eyes, what you are doing, placing boundaries and withstanding the backlash from both families is like you are standing firm taking all the fire with a shield while your children are protected and are progressing much more freer because of you and your H are taking all the fire. If that isn't an act of love, I don't know what is. I wish my own parents were as fierce as you are.

I don't know if this will make any sense, and I apologize it is so long. Your post touched me deeply, made me think allot. Thank you, really.






“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin

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tryingforever

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 01:54:22 PM »
I wanted to add that all the inner work you are doing with the acupuncture, alternative therapy and psych to heal the generational wound is also a loving gift to your children, their own children and everyone who comes in contact with them. That gift you probably didn't have from your own family.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 06:55:36 PM »
Thank you for such an insightful post.

I was crying to a dear friend recently, sharing this worry of mine, and she brought up something that has been coming up over and over, in various types of therapy I have been getting. Generational wounds. She stated that DH and I are trying to break strong generational dysfunction and create healthy boundaries, have a healthy marriage and a healthy relationship with our kids. She said that we may be a threat to our families since our boundaries make them aware of their dysfunction that they aren't able or ready to face, that we're a constant reminder of that and they feel the need to defend themselves and their behaviors around us. She said that we're shining a light into the darkness in our families, and it is not welcomed by them.
I agree with this 100%. My grandma was a very special presence in my life BUT I know she had a lot of unhealthy dysfunctional traits, I'm sure more than what I witnessed based on how all 3 of her kids turned out. Her mom, my great grandmother, frightened me. She did not appear to be a loving person. Great grandmother had it even worse as her parents abandoned her (but kept her older sister) and she grew up in an orphanage. It is difficult for me to think that my mom was a maternal improvement from my grandmother, but seeing as my sister and I escaped from inheriting the family PDs, that must be the case. I think that being able to see that cycle is half the battle. In a way, it is a gift (a very painful gift) in that we learned what not to do. We can break away from the dysfunction and do better for our own children. Sometimes I panic that there are still unhealthy behaviors that I will subject my daughter to without even knowing it. I'm sure there are, as hard as I try not to. But, as you say, if our kids feel like they can talk to us and if we are open about our mistakes and apologize and if we are open to growing and changing, then I think that makes all the difference. It would make all the difference if my mom could do this for me.

I also agree that instead of wanting us to do better than they did, they see our healthy behaviors as a threat to expose their dysfunction. It is sad that they can't wish better for us, that they can't be open to there being another way.

It sounds like you are doing some intense healing right now. You should be proud of yourself for that. You're breaking the cycle.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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Fightsong

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 10:33:18 AM »
There is a great deal of wisdom, love and courage in your original post A4P. 

I was reflecting on it yesterday and had an image of a drowning couple and one realising that the other person was threatening both. One could have swum, could have said ' Save yourself, and the kids', but didn't, clung on thrashing and ineffectual. In the end with great courage and pain the other had to leave.  Not knowing if the companion would make it but suddenly having seen that without letting go  - neither would ever make it. 

And another of a person dying from an infection in a leg who had to choose to cut off the limb to prevent the infection overwhelming him and killing him. And then having to learn to live without his limb. A new way of life.

We forge on along new and uncharted paths making hard decisions which grow out of a blossoming love for ourselves ( and those who are dependent on us). Made harder the by conditioned guilt. fuelled by a self compassion and love that was never fed until now, and the anger ( once we admit to it) that rises up in us. We who choose this path face guilt and pain. Alienation and hatred and loneliness.  And this we endure in the hope and vision that our future and those we raise ( if applicable)  will be more peaceful, more authentic and more alive than we were to date.

Generations of abuse begets abuse until someone with a vision to do it differently comes along. With the courage to do so, the willingness to do it , maybe a safety net that facilitates the courage and will ( spouse, friend , therapist) and the spark of something else that I think might be inherent. It can lie dormant and I don't know the word for it, but it's the thing that ignites us, pushes us on, makes it possible for us to do this, not give up living and loving.

Hm, that's enough now fight song!

Time for a link to 'love letter to the cycle breakers' again?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 10:35:42 AM by Fightsong »

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all4peace

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 01:35:39 PM »
daughter, I agree! While I have many rewarding aspects to my life in my meaningful work, friendships, outside interests, husband, I know I will never again do anything as important as raising my kids. Remembering that last year finally gave me the last bit of "permission" i needed to start properly focusing on the things in life that matter to me most rather than diverting so much time and attention and energy to our hopeless familial relationships. I know you regret not doing it sooner, but I'm so relieved to read that your NM has let her mask slip recently in front of your older son. Maybe with time...

tryingforever, thanks for your many kind words. Kudos to you for your courage in facing the trauma that has been coming through your family for generations! I love your word picture. I would be so willing for all of this if this is truly blocking my own kids from the trauma before them, and refusing to repeat it in our generation. Those word pictures make it easier for me to cope. It's easier to picture this as a battle upstream rather than just another day of rumination and chest pain. And thank you for calling this healing a gift to my family, as it is too easy to see it as a form of self absorption. I do wish my own parents had worked on healing their wounds.

daughterofbpd, thank you for sharing part of your own story, for fighting the good fight and for sending words of encouragement! :bighug:

fightsong, I love the picture you paint with words! And it would be wonderful to have a link to that letter again! It touched me so deeply when I first read it. Do you want to share it, or should I look for it?

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all4peace

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 01:41:23 PM »
I forgot to add that I saw my T this week. I told him that the last few weeks have been pretty rough, lots of family contact, little sleep, nonstop chest pain and anxiety. As I talked him through our encounters and conversations, he told me nearly identically what my friend had told me, my reference in this thread. I almost cried. I asked him to repeat it again, as I have been feeling like at some level we must actually be deeply bad people. We must be too sensitive, unfair, unforgiving, too focused on the darkness instead of the light, unlovable and deeply flawed.

I'm so bad at remembering actual words, but it was along the lines of "You're doing really well because you are trying to offer a better and healthier way of being in relationship on multiple fronts right now, and you're holding your position and trying to do it with love but also strength, and you've come so far in the 6 months since we first met." or something like that. He said that our parents are unwilling or unable to see a healthier way of relating, and so are going to fight us hard, revise history, justify, blame shift, push our boundaries.

It was such an incredible relief to hear these words from his mouth. I cannot see any way back, so there's only the way forward, but I still sometimes am terrified that we have unnecessarily burned bridges. There were good times. But the bad became unbearable.

Anyway, here's a huge group hug for all of us who are trying to change our family's patterns!  :grouphug:

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Bloomie

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 11:58:15 PM »
all4peace - what a powerful thread. Thank you for articulating so very well what it is like to break generational cycles, unhealthy ties, and trauma bonds. I close my eyes and I see a long serpentine line of people in bondage to these generational dysfunctions and perpetuated distorted value systems. We enter at this moment in time into that long line and we have a choice - will I put on those chains, the prisoner's garb and repeat the pattern for a certain odd kind of comfort and acceptance at the next generation's expense?  Or will I pursue change no matter the personal cost?

I believe it takes a great deal of courage and clear eyed pragmatism to provide stability and leadership for our children in the face of most everyone in our immediate family buying into the PD status quo.

Quote from: all4peace
It takes a lot of energy, fortitude, strength and will to break a cycle. Maybe this pain inside me isn't because I'm wrong. Maybe it's because I'm standing in the middle of a raging stream, surrounded by elders trying to pull me back into the current, while I hold onto my children and my husband and fight my way upstream.

What a powerful realization! Just so beautiful to read and feel you break through to this truth! I am standing on my chair cheering you on!  :cheer:

Quote from: Fightsong
We forge on along new and uncharted paths making hard decisions which grow out of a blossoming love for ourselves ( and those who are dependent on us). Made harder the by conditioned guilt. fuelled by a self compassion and love that was never fed until now, and the anger ( once we admit to it) that rises up in us. We who choose this path face guilt and pain. Alienation and hatred and loneliness.  And this we endure in the hope and vision that our future and those we raise ( if applicable)  will be more peaceful, more authentic and more alive than we were to date.

Generations of abuse begets abuse until someone with a vision to do it differently comes along. With the courage to do so, the willingness to do it , maybe a safety net that facilitates the courage and will ( spouse, friend , therapist) and the spark of something else that I think might be inherent. It can lie dormant and I don't know the word for it, but it's the thing that ignites us, pushes us on, makes it possible for us to do this, not give up living and loving.

This is tremendously moving to me and brings me to tears! Very inspiring. I honestly think that thing Fightsong is describing here that pushes us on is called hope! We have a glimpse and begin to believe and hope that we, along with our children and grandchildren, can live free from the woundedness and brokenness that has mired down our parents/grandparents and all of the generations before them. And you had better believe we are going to fight for a bright and beautiful future! 

We are here for such a time as this all4peace. And it is not an easy place battling upstream hanging on to each other against the raging currents that works to take us along, but we cannot remain silent and passive in the face of generational abuse and wounding and bring relief, freedom, and healing to ourselves and the next generation at the same time. It is a choice with a high price. I choose freedom and healing for myself and the generations after me. And I know you do, too! :hug:

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Fightsong

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2017, 04:12:46 AM »
 :fireworks: :fireworks: :fireworks: :fireworks: :fireworks: :fireworks

Explosions of hope and  joy and resolve fill my  sky.

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all4peace

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Re: Healing Generational Wounds?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2017, 11:00:18 PM »
Here it is: A Love Letter to the Cycle Breakers--http://www.motherhoodandmore.com/2015/12/a-love-letter-to-the-cycle-breakers.html