Intergenerational trauma is real. Trauma is passed down through family lines. When a family member experiences a trauma, such as being raised by an alcoholic, experiencing slavery or genocide, these traumas have biological and behavioural impacts on future generations.
Research has shown that unresolved trauma has links with violence, addiction, mental health issues, incarceration and obesity.
When entire generations of people have experienced trauma, such as with the Stolen Generation in Australia, symptoms of that trauma expressed not only through the generation to experience the trauma but also their children and their children’s children.
Re-traumatisation happens when a person is re-exposed to the original trauma. A classic example is the Australian stolen generation. One hundred thousand children of aboriginal people were taken by the government and church and placed in institutions until the 1970s.
- 🔅Child taken and raised in an institution with no natural motherly love
- 🔅Child doesn’t know how to raise a child with love and secure attachment
- 🔅Child has little community support or cultural connection, struggles with depression
- 🔅As an adult, she has a child
- 🔅She struggles to care for the child with her depression and lack of communal support
- 🔅The child is taken into care
Indigenous children are 10 time more likely to be placed in out of home care
This is re-traumatisation.
Do you think there is intergenerational trauma in your family?