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Early Childhood Trauma Manifests in Adulthood

From the Show: HER
Summary: Maybe your anxieties and fears aren't your own. Traumatic experiences of your parents and grandparents can manifest in your life.
Air Date: 11/28/16
Duration: 30:32
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Mark Wolynn, Director of The Family Constellation Institute
Mark WolynnMark Wolynn is a leading expert on inherited family trauma. As the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco, he trains clinicians and treats people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and persistent symptoms and conditions.

A sought-after lecturer, he leads workshops at hospitals, clinics, conferences, and teaching centers around the world. He has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Psychiatric Institute, Kripalu, The Omega Institute, The New York Open Center, and The California Institute of Integral Studies.

His articles have appeared in Psychology Today,Mind Body Green,MariaShriver.com,Elephant Journal, and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker.
  • Book Title: IT DIDN’T START WITH YOU: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Early Childhood Trauma Manifests in Adulthood
Have you ever felt fearful, angry or depressed for no apparent reason?

The study of epigentics is revealing that trauma (physical and mental) can be passed down a genetic line. It actually causes chemical changes in DNA, altering genetic expression.

A trauma doesn’t change a sequence in DNA, but it informs a cell to ignore or utilize a specific gene. These genetic shifts affect how you think and feel.

You may find yourself reactive to a situation similar to a trauma that happened to a previous generation. These gene changes can also be transmitted to your children. Mark Wolynn, expert on inherited family trauma, suggests thinking of this phenomenon in terms of your personal computer. It’s not like you’re born with a clean hard drive. There is already an operating system in place from previous generations that is intended to improve your survival.

What made your parent act like a jerk? What happened to your mom or dad that could’ve led to that behavior? Learning about these situations can help you gain compassion.

When you inherit family trauma, Wolynn says it can also express itself in physical ways.

Four Unconscious Themes that Interrupt the Flow of Life

1) You’ve unconsciously merged with the life experience of your parents and grandparents. Let’s say your parents divorced in their 30s and you experience a rocky marriage in your 30s. Then, you discover your grandmother was widowed in her 30s. The biological stream flows downward.

2) You have rejected a parent and have unconscious effects. You may not see how you are like that parent and project those rejected qualities onto a partner. If you’ve rejected your dad for being critical, you may be inwardly or outwardly critical. You have to heal these rejections.

3) You have an early break in the bond with your mother. A physical separation or trauma early in life can separate you from her, even if the separation was for a short time.

4) You’ve identified with someone in the family other than a parent. You take on the characteristics of that person.

It’s important to recognize the residue of these traumas. Ask yourself if you're having unexplained fears, anxieties or symptoms because of your own experiences. Or, are those feelings courtesy of your ancestral alarm clock?

How can you heal? Have a powerful, new experience to override that trauma that lives inside you. Practice the new feeling from that experience. Find gratitude, compassion, love, kindness or meditation to give you peace. It needs to steal traction from the trauma cycle.

Listen in as Wolynn joins HER Radio to share how inherited trauma manifests in our lives.

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