Intergenerational trauma is an ordeal associated with the passage of untreated distress to the second and the preceding generations. The stress is a case that can be traced to a specific event and affects the members of the same family for a while. It is self-destructive and affects a person's life, resulting in depression, suicide, homicide, and even violence within the family.
An example of this case is the holocaust survivors whose family members were the victims of the death camps by German dictator Adolf Hitler. The events that result in intergenerational trauma can be caused by individuals in power or a set of government policies that affect the whole generation. The survivors of these acts pass the experiences they faced under the dictator when they are having problems dealing with the past, causing the harrowing recalls to the following generations. The encounter is usually passed when the survivors of such actions do not get the chance to address the cases they face, therefore, causing trauma to their peers who never experienced the event.
The story of Leah on her grandmother's experience during the war is saddening. The fact that she had to witness her mother and other family members' execution caused tremendous damage to her life. To imagine losing the people you love and care about at the hands of the soldiers is traumatizing because the soldiers are the ones who should be protecting the citizens. Although she survived the war, the pain and damage that was already caused negatively impacted her life. Leah has narrated the events to the generations that followed which will lead to a continuous occurrence of intergenerational trauma within the family lineage.
How to Cope With Trauma one did not Experience
The effects of intergenerational trauma on a victim’s life can ruin their whole life. Coming to terms with the loss of a family member irrespective of their age is hard, especially those who were executed. Born to a Jewish family, Sonya managed to live through the period of the holocaust despite her religious beliefs and traditions being different. These events affected her life, not knowing how long she could survive if the soldiers caught her.
The pain is stressful because one will always pose the question of why me? What did I do that made me survive while other people were murdered in gas chambers and lost lives in the hands of the soldiers. It is a pain that survivors live with throughout the rest of their lives and share them with the next generations if their cases are not addressed. Leah’s story highlights the effects of untreated trauma on the victims of such activities and the subsequent generations.
There are several ways to deal with intergenerational trauma. The recommended method is to seek help from a mental therapist. The sessions can be done to the whole family to prevent the passage to the latter generations or the survivors of the event, to help reduce its effect on them. The sessions allow the family members to connect to the event where they acknowledge its occurrence and find the alternatives to cope with the distress. There are traditional methods of helping people with intergenerational that have proved to be effective. It is critical that those affected receive attention to help them achieve the best solutions and get back to their lives. By doing so, a large number of intergenerational trauma cases will be avoided because the solution to the problems will be reached.
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