Trauma can seriously disrupt your life. It often focuses on people who have witnessed extreme events, such as terrorist attacks or members of the military. is important.

There are various toxic effects that can result from unchecked trauma. Indeed, it can directly derail the mental and physical health of the individual experiencing it. It extends across generations into women’s families and communities.

Let’s take a closer look at how cross-generational trauma affects women and what can be done to break the cycle.

What is intergenerational trauma?

To effectively break the vicious circle intergenerational trauma, it is important to understand what it is. Without knowing what it looks like and how it occurs, it’s difficult to address the key factors. Too often, people dismiss the concept of intergenerational trauma as angry young people blaming previous generations for their hardships. Still, it’s a very real experience with tangible consequences.

In essence, intergenerational trauma is the process of passing on the effects of a traumatic experience to the next generation. This means that women are likely to live with the negative consequences of a traumatic event regardless of whether they witnessed it first hand. still have some questions.For some women, it is the result of conditioning from living with trauma-changed behaviors of previous generations of women. research To the possibility that trauma is inherited genetically through chemical changes in genes.

of effect There are also different types of intergenerational trauma. As for symptoms, outcomes often depend on the type of trauma.

Intergenerational trauma manifests similarly to PTSD, so understanding the complex symptoms of PTSD can be a great starting point. Intergenerational trauma can overlap with other disorders or be misdiagnosed. Common symptoms include denial, depersonalization, isolation, memory loss, nightmares, numbness, hypervigilance, substance abuse, and unresolved grief. Those experiencing intergenerational trauma may also find it difficult to trust and connect with others, deal with anger issues, become irritable, and have debilitating nightmares. .

what is the reason?

Intergenerational trauma is a highly personal condition and can often be confusing. After all, you are coexisting with symptoms that are not necessarily the direct cause of your lived experience.

For many women, intergenerational trauma commonly stems from one or more of the following causes:

domestic and sexual abuse

Violence against women is a highly publicized component of our society and has been for centuries. 41% of women experience “Contact intimate partner sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking.” No wonder. This can affect the next generation’s sense of security, domestic and sexual partner comfort, and self-esteem. It can also result from forms of psychological abuse that can affect behavior and perspectives.

alcohol and drug addiction

Another important cause of intergenerational trauma is alcohol and drug addiction. This can take the form of passing on patterns of addiction behavior either through genetics or influence. This type of condition can be particularly difficult to manage. . This may include having a toxic relationship with her partner or drug dealer or abusing her own loved ones.

historical conflict

Some women experience cross-generational trauma as a result of living in conflict, conflict zones, or famine. They may convey some of the symptoms of war-related post-traumatic stress, such as hypersensitivity and irritability to stimuli. Some may have inherited more difficult forms of grief.

Even in times of world peace, women can inherit trauma from generation to generation. for example, Historians and epigenetic scientists have discovered Historical great famines, such as the Dutch Winter Famine of 1944, the Chinese Famine of 1959, and the Irish Potato Famine of 1845–152, potentially increased the incidence of mental illness among the homeless. may have been This confrontation — people who were simply pregnant at the time.

Conflicts of this kind can be particularly burdensome, especially for women, making this kind of intergenerational trauma even more complex.

How can I break the cycle?

Breaking any cycle is a difficult process. After all, we often need to unravel decades of deeply ingrained behavior. With organized work and support, many women have a way of navigating their own experiences, healing their wounds, and avoiding negative impacts on future generations.

One of the most important actions here is talking about trauma. This is easier said than done, but a powerful tool. This includes talking with other women about their experiences of cross-generational trauma and sharing the collective wisdom of overcoming it. Parents should also talk to their children. They should discuss their own symptoms of hereditary trauma and where the problem is coming from. This helps give the young woman the information she needs to navigate her experience. Even popular culture has begun to embrace intergenerational trauma, with the award-winning filmAll at once, anywhereFinding books and movies that resonate can be incredibly cathartic and can help people living with cross-generational trauma not feel alone.

Beyond informal discussion, more formal therapy is an invaluable part of healing strategies. There is a growing number of psychiatrists and counselors who specialize in the unique challenges of intergenerational trauma. Their expertise not only helps women process their symptoms, but also helps them manage the long-term effects of behaviors where the effects of trauma are less noticeable. It goes without saying that talking itself is healing.


Intergenerational trauma can negatively affect women for decades. Recognizing the root causes of these problems can help women navigate their experiences from a place of knowledge. You can, however, break this vicious cycle by seeking professional treatment as well as dedicating yourself to talking about your personal and family experiences.

About the author

Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about how technology, education and health intersect and affect our daily lives. She often gets lost in her good books.

Photo credit: Pexels





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