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  • Danielle Aubin, LCSW

3 Books That Can Help You Heal From Intergenerational Trauma


Healing As A Gift To Future Generations


Our ancestors passed down gifts. Their wisdom was passed down from generation to generation to help us survive. Unfortunately, our ancestors also passed down their trauma. Whatever traumatic experiences they had were encoded into their DNA and behavior and passed onto us whether they realized it or not. It has become my life's work to heal from the trauma that I carry from the previous generations as well as help others heal from the trauma they carry. When we heal, we not only improve our own lives but also the lives of each generation that will come after us.


Your own healing is the gift that you will pass on to your children. Your increased consciousness and willingness to face your shadow, your faults, and your pain is something that you model for your children. It isn't always a pretty picture and you will mess up a lot. But if you are committed to this deep healing work, you will see progress.


As another traveler on this path of healing generational wounds, I find myself reading many books on trauma in my free time. There are three books I have read recently that have had a profound impact on my healing journey. Below, I will briefly review each book and explain how they can help you on your healing journey.


3 Books To Help You Heal Intergenerational Trauma


Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents By Lindsay C Gibson PsyD

When we experience trauma, it can impact our ability to develop into emotionally mature adults. Many of us were raised by parents who experienced trauma and emotional neglect and therefore, did not have the tools to provide an emotionally nurturing environment for us. Emotional nurturance is not a luxury, it is a biological and psychological need for children. When we are emotionally neglected, this can have a serious impact on our own development and psychological health. The book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents reviews the various types of emotionally immature parents and the ways children adapt to emotional neglect by either becoming "internalizers" or "externalizers". I highly recommend this book to anyone who experienced emotional neglect during childhood. There are great tools inside the book to help you deepen your understanding and heal. This is not a book about blaming your parents but it takes an honest look at the real ramifications of being emotionally neglected as a child.


Emotional Inheritance By Galit Atlas, PhD

Without realizing it, many of us are walking around carrying the trauma and wounds of ancestors that we never even met. These wounds live in our unconscious and, at times, may pop into our conscious awareness. We may have unexplainable fears or relationship challenges and we can't figure out where they come from. This book offers us a clue. Emotional Inheritance is a psychanalyst's journey into historical and intergenerational trauma via the lived experiences of her patients. Her patients come in with unexplainable fears or behavioral problems and they ultimately find out that the root of their issue is connected to a wound an ancestor experienced. This is a profound book that highlights how intergenerational trauma operates in the real lives of regular people.


What My Bones Know By Stephanie Foo

I have never read a book more raw, real, and relatable when it comes to the healing process. This book contains the personal account of a quest to heal complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is different from PTSD in that it results from chronic, severe abuse/trauma exposure. It is much harder to treat and heal from. But it is not impossible and this book is a beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring testament to our ability to heal even after decades of suffering. When the world is full of triggers and our reactions seem out of our control, healing is possible. We are not broken forever, we can heal, we can mend the broken parts, and we can become whole. Does that mean we aren't still wounded in some ways? No, the wound is there but our reaction to it has changed into something that doesn't hurt us anymore.

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