“I am talking to my kid about SEX. There were zero sex talks that I recall from my childhood or there were only questions from my mom that I felt I couldn’t possibly answer in honesty because of the ever present Catholic guilt and judgement. I want my kids to know that their dad and I want to be the safe place where they can share and ask (almost) anything.”
“A stiff upper lip. Don’t complain or show displeasure. Bury your feelings and always present yourself as happy and polite. We don’t talk about those things. Everything is fine.
It’s taken me 34 years to learn and unlearn this mindset, and it will take me 34 more, I’m sure. I’m a poor communicator, I cannot talk honestly about my feelings, I bury things away in metaphorical boxes and leave them be, festering. They always open back up.
I won’t let my daughter in on this. I won’t discourage her from feeling the whole spectrum of emotions and I will encourage her to use words, art or any medium she chooses to express herself freely and openly. I will be better for her and I will learn with her.”
“I’m breaking the generational trauma by mothering myself, first & foremost. Took me awhile to get here, but it’s so freeing to know I’m loved by the person that counts the most: me."
“I raise children who not from my womb bc I had step in ‘mothers’ who did the same for me when mine did not. I have been raised by my frequent babysitters, friends & their families, athletic coaches, teachers… & I feel that I need to give back & do the same. In doing so, it allows me to nurture my inner child in ways that my own mother & her mother did not have the capacity to.”
“To be the mother to a brother and sister who are kind, respectful, and generous with each other heals the wound I have with my own brother.
He’s a homeless drug addict with untreated mental health issues. Needless to say, growing up with him in my house was traumatic.
My kids ignorance of what that was like and their innocence with each other heals me deeply.”
“Oh mannnnn.... What specific generational trauma am I breaking/addressing as I raise my son? What am I NOT addressing differently??? I suppose I should preface my response by clarifying that I didn't realize how f*ed up my parental units were UNTIL I had my son. When I held him and felt genuine LOVE toward him it also came with the realization that what I was feeling was a foreign feeling/concept. In other words, my parents hadn't ever provided me that "Love" that blooms naturally in a healthy parent-child bond. They didn't support my dreams. Every dream I had was shot down as a bad idea. Each time I chose something outside of the script written for me, I was reprimanded. (No wonder my young self hadn't been able to identify Love in the world at large and fell into some bad cycles which eventually led to me becoming a single Mom- but ANYWAYYYYYYY) Upon the undeniable swelling of emotion that came with holding my son, and the first months of his life that brought forth a realization of what Love actually felt like, I leaned into the feeling. I let it grow. I let it feed us both. I let it put a smile on my face. I allowed its reciprocity to make up for the lack I hadn't even known I had had- LIKE.... MY WHOLE LIFE! I paid extra attention to what my natural impulses were (my intuition as a Mom) and how my reactions and actions with my son differed from the unhealthy situations and endless rules my own parents had enacted. I made sure that I treated my son as an autonomous human- with his own thoughts, dreams, and life to live- NOT my appendage, tiny helper, or extension of my self-worth. He is another human whom I care for deeply and am happy, humbled, and excited to walk through this life alongside- guiding him when he needs my help. That is my job and my "reward", simultaneously. Unlike my parents, I am choosing to support my child in his passions and hobbies, no matter how obscure. I will not tell him he cannot pursue a dream because it "won't pay the bills" or isn't something I personally support. I will not rob him of his long-range confidence because "you need to get a real job". I won't tell him he needs to meet my conditions to keep me from being embarrassed in my social-circle, to impress the Jones'. I will not sculpt him to be what I want him to be. I will ask him what he longs for, then help him bridge the gap from here to there. I think back on my childhood self, berated endlessly for not wanting to live the life I was "supposed to"; a life others demanded of me.... I will not do that to him. After all, I LOVE HIM... Thanks to my son, now I understand Love supports. Love does NOT hinder.”
“I’m in a state of deep reflection on this as my mom just finished a visit with us after not seeing my kids for 5 years (they are currently 7 and 9). The list I go over in counseling feels miles deep, probably because the hurt associated with it, and potentially the generates carried along with.
I want to break the generational trauma of lacking connection. When time is spent together, presence will be there, conversations will be held and relationship will be prioritized.
I break the trauma of shrinking yourself to fit into a mold or to keep the peace.
I break the ties with actions being the only way you have value.
I break the mask that is put on to fit in, make others comfortable and be valued.”
“The oppression of women”
“I have been thinking about how I grew up hearing my parents talk about weight and weight loss in a negative way at times. And sometimes they didn't talk about their bodies in a positive way. I am working on breaking that mindset and also thinking about the behavior I want to model to my son when I talk about my own body and my relationship with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
“It wasn’t until my teen daughter was abused by a family member that I realized my family, like so many others, is navigating generational trauma. Before that moment not long ago when she bravely shared her story with us, I thought I was a one-off; a lone survivor suppressing a life-changing experience that has shaded all my others.
No one wants their child to experience sexual trauma, but honestly, it was, and maybe still is, my worst fear about my daughter going away to college. I never knew that someone whom I trusted with all my heart, and who had helped raise both my kids, would hurt her and ultimately our whole family. It brought up a lot for each of us - most obviously for my daughter who immediately got psychological help. Our extended family was shaken and shuffled, some relationships imploded and some became stronger.
It is more recently through the process of supporting my daughter’s healing, and my son’s also, that it became clearer how my own healing from childhood sexual trauma (not by a family member) was rather stunted. It was a different time when therapy was less common and my parents were of the guise that if you seemed ok, you were. Everyone moved on. No one talked about it again.
While I personally have not yet confronted the person who abused my daughter, I did have a teary and heated and frenetic meeting with another family member. They again wanted to push away the abuse and pretend nothing had happened. At one point in the exchange, I confirmed what I had always suspected; that sexual trauma had roots in the previous generation of our family. Now one has become three, at the very least. I was very clear that sexual trauma would no longer be quietly buried in my family.
We are now estranged. For me, there is no compromise. I finally took many of the extended family pictures off the walls, replacing them with newer ones. A fissure in our history bloomed. For us, at least for now, there is no gray in how our family moves ahead.
The person who hurt my daughter will die sooner than later. Am I still their emergency contact? The executor of their will? I don’t even know. Only my husband is willing to field calls or texts in the case of an emergency.
Several months ago I realized with new clarity that the perpetrator, who played a foundational role in my life was gone, even while they were still alive. I cried so hard that day that my whole body convulsed over the loss. I still cannot truly reconcile the love I had for that person with the hatred I now feel for them.
While I am moving beyond the grief - over the hurt my daughter experienced, how the trauma may play out in her relationships as an adult, the impact of the abuse on her view of herself and self-confidence, and worrying about her mental health in general - I am also navigating the tremors caused by my extended family’s breakup, reliving the trauma hidden away in my own childhood memories, second-guessing who I can trust, and tiptoeing through the blast zone where my husband, son, and my sibling’s family now live.
It’s been more than a year since we learned of the abuse. My daughter is thousands of miles away shaping the next part of her life. Her adolescent brain is still developing, she is strong and resilient, and able to ask for help when she needs it and quickly. My process is ongoing and hard to unpack. However, I can see beauty through the haze of depression at least most days. I can do more than get off the couch, and go to work. But, we are all still fragile."