• Erin

What if it isn’t yours? Healing ancestral wounds

Ancestral patterns impact your daily interactions, they create chronic behaviors and belief systems that can influence decision making in all areas of life. The energy that is passed down from your lineage can express itself through you. These systems can be supportive, and some are based in a need to survive. Today we’re exploring the latter, ways in which the traumas and wounds of those in our bloodline need to heal. They aren't serving us in being our best selves. Stop great, great, great, great grandmama's experiences from making impact in your relationships; from influencing your feelings about motherhood, work or marriage.

Some wounds we've adopted through the many years mirroring the behaviors and/or coping mechanisms of the family members that have raised us, seeing the way in which they've dealt with hardships and creating a version of that for ourselves, again with the intention of survival. As children, surviving is number one. As adults, many of those ways of coping stop working as efficiently, and in some cases become barriers or cause harm. They can show up as the “weird” things we do that don’t quite align with the situation and prevent growth, but give us temporary relief or escape.

Something that has been fascinating to explore are the patterns and traumas that can be passed down through many generations of family members. Research in the study of epigenetics shows us how on a physiological traumas and health issues can move through our family tree, one example being connections between stress hormones and the descendants of Holocaust survivors.

What could this look like for you? Perhaps you are experiencing a health problem without an origin you can place and your grandmother experienced abuse in her youth. You could also be seeing symptoms of anxiety, trauma or flashbacks and not understand why you’re having them. Let’s also bring in belief systems such as what your perceived role is within your family system. Sometimes it could feel like an invisible restraint that keeps you from doing things that you're being pulled to do. There's a psychic or a subconscious block against being able to do it. In that are the ancestral wounds and traumas.

There are lots of ways in which science gives us language around this, but my experience has been focusing on the power behind practices that I do within my own mind and body to heal, rather than spending too much time intellectualizing the experience. To work toward healing the traumas of my grandmothers, my grandfathers and of those that came before them - that live within me- so I can appreciate the gifts they shared with me as well. Overtime, it has developed into an understanding my own connection to divine wisdom. Not necessarily a God figure, but cultivating an ability to listen to my own inner wisdom. To be able to make decisions for myself without leaning into another individual or our current cultural influences to tell me whether something is right or wrong for me. It is a practice. It takes time to see, to make visible the hidden.

One practice, and a powerful tool, to heal the residue of the pain that has been shared by many generations of our family is to become aware. To see the patterns that have been guiding us, that have been shaping our perspective, and that have been living in us. Sometimes all they desire is our acknowledgment. Start today, begin exploring the feelings or patterns you are seeing repeated in your own life. Then get to know your family members and their experiences, do you see any connections between how you feeling and their stories?

Due to the complex nature of this work and how deeply seated patterns can be you can also work with someone to help you gain clarity, to begin to see what you can’t see in this moment. If you’re ready for some support in clearing away and healing the wounds of your ancestors give me a call.

#trauma #familytrauma #epigenetics


Erin McCloskey provides confidential, client-focused counseling, coaching and therapy services specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Women’s Health, Chronic Stress, Life Transitions, Low Motivation, Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, Self Esteem, Spirituality, and Maternal Mental Health including issues in Pregnancy, Prenatal Anxiety, and Postpartum Depression.

Serving: Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark and Greenville, DE as well as Media, Garnet Valley, and Chadds Ford, PA, and their surrounding communities.

Erin McCloskey, M.Ed., LPCMH

3526 Silverside Road, Suite 36

Wilmington, DE 19810


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