One way trauma passes through family lines is from parent to child. Let’s imagine that someone’s father grew up with an alcoholic father. To escape his family home, he joined the army, where he was exposed to more stressful and traumatic situations and developed PTSD. He then has three children and feels overwhelmed by the PTSD, work, and his children. He finds himself drinking alcohol to numb the pain and to sleep. He becomes unsafe in different ways for his family.
The son of this man learns that men are unsafe and unpredictable. He spends his younger years trying to appease his erratic and sometimes violent father to no avail. As he becomes a teenager, he rebels against his father, and he starts drinking himself, stealing, and smoking. The trauma continues through the family line.
The work begins when this man decides to stop that pattern. When he is ready to say no more, I don’t want to be my father. This is where therapy is invaluable. Reparenting helps you connect to the vulnerable part of yourself and learn to give it everything that was not received when you were a child.
When we are parenting ourselves in a loving, supportive and safe way when we have children, this energy naturally flows to them. It is natural for us to be kinder with them because we have learned to be kinder to ourselves. When we are kinder to our children, we are the cycle breaker.
To all the cycle-breakers out there – much love on your healing journey