“Generational trauma” and true healing

“Generational trauma” and true healing

From my own personal experience, healing doesn’t come from dwelling on the past. But I have found a solution!

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 [emphasis added].

Generational trauma – a hopeless case?

Constantly looking to the past to find a reason for the source of my unhappiness … there must have been something that happened in my childhood, or some genes I carry from traumas of my ancestors past. “Healing generational trauma” – have you heard this phrase a lot lately? I have, and it has me thinking.

I’ve been thinking thoughts of deep thankfulness that a lot of taboo subjects are becoming much more natural to talk about. Being able to put a word on a negative or traumatic experience and be understood, get help, go forward is maybe one of the best things that will come out of our generation. A new sort of openness where we don’t need to carry things alone, an openness where we can speak freely with our friends, spouses and children without the weight of secrecy, taboos, traditions, shame. Where we can learn from the past and bring something healing and good to the next generation is a blessing that we shouldn’t take for granted.

I use social media for my work, and therefore have a lot of exposure to current topics and trends. The phrase “generational trauma” is a very popular theme right now on social media. There is a lot of good and a lot of hope that comes along with it, but as is often the case with good things, there is a flip side; at least it’s something I recently noticed about myself. I was starting to narrate my life with a constant defeatist attitude of “I act like this because of things that happened in my childhood;” “Our family has a history of so and so, so this is how I am;” “These fears or things I am feeling have surely been passed on from my ancestors,” and as interesting as those thoughts can be, some of them enlightening and some of them holding bits and pieces of truth, I suddenly found myself making excuses for most of my problems by blaming things on the past.

The truth is from the day that Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, we have all inherited something: a sinful flesh in which nothing good dwells (Romans 7:18). From the very first fall, from when God’s first creation chose willingly to disobey His perfect words, sin has come into the world, bringing with it a host of tendencies such as anxieties, selfish behavior, anger, and sadness. This sounds quite hopeless, like what can we do to stop these potentially trauma-causing tendencies from being passed on from generation to generation? But I don’t believe it’s hopeless.

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The root cause of suffering

While psychology and therapy and medication definitely have their place and can be a necessary part of some peoples healing process, and while there is a lot of truth in inspirational quotes and speeches and meditation and all sorts of methods, I believe that in order to truly bring healing and hope to our own lives and to the next generation, Gods deepest longing and desire for us is that we get to the very root cause of all suffering, which is our fallen sinful nature. 

From my own personal experience, healing doesn’t come from dwelling on the past or from making excuses for myself based on current events in my life. Healing and freedom from sin and new behavior and tendencies don’t come when I pump myself with “positive” thoughts and resolutions about being a good friend, partner and parent.

A new creation – true healing

I’ve felt in my heart so strongly recently and have begun to experience on a personal level that God doesn’t want to patch up my sinful tendencies, He wants to make me a new creation. “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19.

I shouldn’t be surprised when I come face to face with my sinful tendencies, even if yes, they may be inherited from my ancestors or even shaped by things that have happened in my childhood, as it is written in 1 Peter 4:12–13: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

God allows situations and experiences to come over my life where I can really see these things in my flesh that need to die in order for new life to come to myself and bring a blessing to the next generation and glory to His name! It’s not patchwork, but a new creation! This happens in small everyday choices, and bigger, sometimes potentially traumatic events. When I trust in Him completely, and seek Him from early dawn, and am obedient to His workings in my heart, when I hate what He hates and pray for healing and a desire to do the good, He chips away at my sinful nature, miracles take place, and little by little He fills me with His divine nature. This is true healing. This is my hope and my lifeline.

The greatest gift we can give our children or our friends is to fight a conscious battle together with the Lord against sin which is the root of all suffering. This sinful flesh is part of us as long as we have a mortal body, but it doesn’t need to have any power over us, for the Spirit that is in Him is greater than the spirit of this world. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.

“But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.” Malachi 4:2 [emphasis added].


This article was written by an anonymous childhood sexual abuse and infant-loss survivor. [ed.]

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.