“You might have inherited not just your grandmother’s knobby knees, but also her predisposition toward depression caused by the neglect she suffered as a newborn.
Or not. If your grandmother was adopted by nurturing parents, you might be enjoying the boost she received thanks to their love and support. The mechanisms of behavioral epigenetics underlie not only deficits and weaknesses but strengths and resiliencies, too. And for those unlucky enough to descend from miserable or withholding grandparents, emerging drug treatments could reset not just mood, but the epigenetic changes themselves. Like grandmother’s vintage dress, you could wear it or have it altered. The genome has long been known as the blueprint of life, but the epigenome is life’s Etch A Sketch: Shake it hard enough, and you can wipe clean the family curse.” Dan Hurley in the article Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes
What patterns lie within that no longer serve you? What parts of your family story no longer resonate with who you are now?
A generational pattern is an inherited belief, fear, energy, habit or pattern. These patterns are passed down from a parent to child, over and over, generation after generation.
These generational patterns create statements or stories that calcify to form beliefs. This statement or story will play out in myriad ways in your life. It has the power to magnetise situations and people into your life. Unfortunately, you’ll tend to attract situations and people that reinforce the belief over and over, giving you the opportunity to heal the misbelief and release it.
Even though this isn’t your energy, you’ve been living by it your whole life. This means you’ve had experiences and learning unique to you. These are the unconscious tracks you fall into, time and time again; perpetuating a long-held belief and the thoughts, words and deeds associated. By releasing these old patterns and clearing active memories of this energy from your own life restores your autonomy and unleashes a whole lot of trapped energy to be available for more healthy uses.
By releasing dysfunctional patterns, you break the patterns carried forward from one generation to the next. This releases the next generation from receiving these same patterns and offers them a new way of being. We heal humanity forward and backwards. With every clearing, with every step towards loving kindness, you heal the collective.
Scientists are now able to identify biological markers in the DNA, showing clear evidence that trauma can and does pass down from one generation to the next.
According to recent scientific research, epigenetic modifications accumulated throughout an entire life can cross the border of generations and be inherited to children or even grandchildren. According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. The DNA remains the same, but psychological and behavioral tendencies are inherited.
Genetic changes stemming from the trauma suffered by trauma survivors are capable of being passed on to their children, the clearest sign yet that one person’s life experience can affect subsequent generations.
Imagine the trauma held within the Jews whose great-grandparents have been persecuted, whose great great grandparents before them were hounded from one town to the next in an endless search for a place to call home. How about those caught in the cross-fire of civil war or invasion, Chinese whose grandparents lived through the Cultural Revolution, young immigrants of war-torn nations whose parents survived massacres, and whose legacy meant growing up with alcoholic or abusive parents. All carry with them more than just memories.
In studies led by Rachel Yehuda at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital stems from a genetic study of 32 Jewish men and women who had either been in a Nazi concentration camp, witnessed or experienced torture or who had had to hide during the second world war.
They found epigenetic tags on the very same part of a gene in both the Holocaust survivors and their offspring, but not found in any of the control group and their children. Yehuda believes that that generational trauma is inherited rather than occurring from our being exposed to our parents’ stories of their ordeals. Yehuda showed that descendants of trauma survivors carry the physical and emotional symptoms of traumas they do not directly experience.
Her research on cortisol (the stress hormone that helps our body return to normal after we experience a trauma) and its effects on brain function has revolutionized the understanding and treatment of PTSD worldwide. People with PTSD relive feelings and sensations associated with a trauma despite the fact that the trauma occurred in the past. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, numbness, insomnia, nightmares, frightening thoughts, and being easily startled or feeling on edge.
Yehuda and her team found that children of Holocaust survivors who had PTSD were born with low cortisol levels similar to their parents, predisposing them to relive the PTSD symptoms of the previous generation.
Not only did she find that the survivors in her study produced less cortisol, a characteristic they can pass on to their children, she also noted that several stress-related psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, chronic pain syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome, are associated with low blood levels of cortisol.
Interestingly, 50-70% of PTSD patients also meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression or another mood or anxiety disorder. If one of our parents had PTSD, you are three times more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD and as a result, more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.
The Silver Lining
But there is hope. Other research suggests we can also change our own epigenetic expression throughout our lives simply be altering our diets, level of physical activity, time spent in nature, positive activism, etc. We have an opportunity to take charge of our own genetic evolution by making different choices.
We have the power to change our DNA, and the DNA of our children. Now, the science of Epigenetics even proves it.
According to Rachel Yehuda, the purpose of an epigenetic change is an adaptation for future generations to cope with high stress, traumatic experiences. “Who would you rather be in a war zone with?” she asks. “Somebody that’s had previous adversity [and] knows how to defend themselves? Or somebody that has never had to fight for anything?” These biologic changes from stress and trauma are useful. Yehuda says “We can develop a better way of explaining to ourselves what our true capabilities and potentials are.”
Viewed in this way, the traumas we inherit or experience firsthand are not only a legacy of distress but can also create a legacy of strength and resilience that can be felt for generations to come.
What You Can Do
You can create real and lasting change through your family line. You can do this by:
• Research your family’s unspoken history so you are aware of any traumas that occurred.
• Contact your ancestors and hear their story in their own words.
• Identify and clear generational patterns.
• Offer forgiveness for any wrongdoing by your ancestors. It offers confirmation, relief, a deepening understanding and an energetic release of any old trauma or regret.
• Identify and release your old stale beliefs and patterns
So many of our ancestors had little opportunity to heal their pain. When pain is too great, people tend to avoid it. When emotions are blocked we prevent the natural release of emotions necessary for healing. These unresolved emotions are internalized because there was no other way or outlet available at the time.
Sometimes pain submerges until it can find a pathway for expression or resolution. That expression is often found in the generations that follow and can resurface as symptoms that are difficult to explain.
These ancestors need our understanding and forgiveness for any wrongdoing. This is incredibly healing not only for them but through the generations – past, present and future. When we heal, their spirits also breathe a sigh of relief. We heal them backwards, while healing ourselves forward. We heal in unison. That healing begins within our own transformation.
From the Horse’s Mouth
I offer a one on one Generational Patterns Clearing to meet deceased loved ones and ancestors. I walk you through a process, offering you all my skills to tune in to Spirit for yourself. This is a wondrous and powerful healing that enables your deceased loved one to reconnect with you.
In a session, we:
– Tune in to your body/emotions/mind.
– Call in your deceased loved one.
– Tune in to them to feel what they are experiencing.
– Ask for any messages.
– Ask for any advice they have for you.
– Clear any old contracts
– Clear and protect your energetic boundaries.
This is an easy technique that you can use in future in the comfort of your own home. It gives you a method and the confidence to connect with your loved one whenever you’d like.
Further Reading/Sources on Epigenetics:
Photo: My ancestor, Annie Allen (nee.Noonan) circa 1882.