What You Don’t Know

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I knew going into the Certified Trauma Recovery Coaching that I would have to look at my own trauma and recovery. But I naively thought, “oh, I can do this. It’s just me we’re talking about here.”

Wrong.

Trauma does not happen in a vacuum. And it’s not a static thing. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Trauma is cumulative and complex. And believe it or not, the trauma other family members suffers does effect some of your childhood experiences. Sometimes, a certain worldview, motto, rule or experience gets handed down from generation to generation. Sometimes, this comes in the form of trauma. When it’s labeled as such, we call it Intergenerational Trauma.

Sadly, there are many families that have significant amounts of intergenerational trauma and the only way to get to the bottom of it is to recognize it. Seeing the trauma passed down through family members is a big first step in trauma recovery. Acknowledging that perhaps some of the trauma that someone has endured is part of a family tradition allows a traumatic individual to make the conscious decision to either STOP the trauma cycle or continue it. But what’s important is that once you KNOW it’s there, it’s very hard to “un-know” it. Aka, it’s harder to make the choice to let it continue.

During class this week, our instructor said something that will stick with me and offer me guidance when/if I work with my own clients.

“As a coach, we never ask our clients to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves.”

As such, we were asked to complete a few worksheets that asked about our own possible intergenerational trauma so that we would know first-hand what that experience was like should we ask our clients to do it.

During this assignment, I learned that while my family doesn’t have a lot of intergenerational trauma, there have been quite a few traumatic “events” in the lives of my family members that I had no idea about. Trauma that lends credence to why certain family members are the way they are. This was really eye-opening to me because on the one hand, I could totally see the connection between that family member and their trauma — but on the other hand, I would have never guessed that certain family members had gone through certain events. Which supports the theory we’ve learned that trauma manifests in different ways. Not every individual who has experienced trauma has lasting effects. Some recover quicker and adapt well, while others do not.

I think the biggest takeaway from this week’s class is just how much trauma touches us ALL as individuals. I don’t think there’s a single familial unit that hasn’t been marked with some kind of trauma. It makes the idea of compassion so much more visceral for me because if there’s trauma in my own family that I didn’t even know about (and have known/been close to so many of these people my entire life), what am I missing about the people outside of my family unit. What trauma have they suffered that I might be missing?

It takes the idea of “you never know what someone has been or is going through” to a new level.

I wish everyone could take a moment to sit with this idea because if they did — the world might be a much nicer place to live in.