It can be difficult to figure out where all the ISH comes from, if you know what I mean. What is mine vs. what is my responsibility (even if it isn’t mine) is a core concept of why ancestral healing is needed for a holistic view of life.
When we heal ourselves, we heal the past, the present, and the future. - Steven D. Farmer
By understanding that all of us are carrying around unhealed trauma, we can also understand the need for trauma healing in each of our lives. This is ancestral healing: using the perspective of ancestral healing and the techniques for relieving the effects of trauma, working through issues until peace and joy are re-established.
Any issue can be ancestral simply by the fact that it is passed from one generation to another. Often times there is some kind of benefit to the pattern-- whether that benefit is conscious or unconscious, real or imagined. Let's explore a few of the issues that may pass from parent to child...
"All season the girls have been pushing themselves, even when my daughter was sick with food poisoning the coach still wanted her to sit on the sidelines. Now that we are supposed to go to the national championships, he is throwing it all away-- he said he isn't going, he doesn't want any other coach to take the team, and he's giving the spot up to the #2 team. None of us understand what is going on!"
I was speaking with a friend of mine who related this story about her daughters' lacrosse coach. How can someone be so dedicated and push themselves and their team so hard -- only to get right to the cusp of victory and then throw it all away?
Stories like this present themselves to me all the time. Self betrayal or self sabotage are common among those who deal with any type of trauma, including ancestral trauma. Even though you may think that you are doing all you can in order to work towards your goals, you feel like you're never quite there... and at the last moment or when things get challenging, it feels like the world crumbles around you-- and you with it. Or, you simply wake up every day and go to bed every night in constant denial or regret of the ways you feel you are failing yourself.
This could be as simple as failing to stick to your diet and exercise plan, or as complex as leading an entire team to national excellence before quitting. It can impact anything in your life, and generally hurts in the areas we care about most: our relationships, our passions, our health, and so on.
Some other examples of self sabotage include not living in personal truth, addiction, not meeting one's own needs, and unhealthy habits.
Like I said before, there is some kind of benefit to all these patterns. That benefit is generally not visible from the outside-- truly, most of us only know ourselves well enough to learn how our harmful cycles are benefiting us after we're able to recognize that we are stuck in them. From there, it can take time to disentangle all of the emotions and behaviors that are built around the underlying beliefs and thought patterns which keep you stuck. At that point it is possible to become clear on how our patterns are benefiting us, and what we must be willing to trade for real freedom and happiness.
Sometimes people can hunger for more than bread. It is possible that our children, our husband, our wife, do not hunger for bread, do not need clothes, do not lack a house. But are we equally sure that none of them feels alone, abandoned, neglected, needing some affection? That, too, is poverty. - Mother Teresa
The research is piling up, indicating that safe, stable, nurturing relationships are what children need just as they have physical needs for food and shelter. Being around an unsafe parent can cause trauma, having unstable parents can cause trauma, and cold or neglectful parent-child relationships can cause trauma.
Not only can childhood trauma be caused by harmful parenting, but harmful parenting itself can be passed down- so that children grow up to mistreat their children, too.