What Is Ancestral Trauma?

Several years ago I published a book entitled, ‘Healing From The Inside Out: Overcome Chronic Disease and Radically Change Your Life.’ If you have not read it, in the book I go into much depth about healing, which is the process of becoming whole. It essentially means to cultivate and integrate all the levels of who you are including physical, mental, emotional, vibrational and spiritual.


In the chapter on mastering your emotions, I mention that often we suppress negative emotions related to a traumatic event from the past because they are too painful to feel. I call these emotional blocks. Ever since the publishing of this book I have been confronted by a number of readers who suffer with emotional blocks but do not have any apparent childhood trauma, that they can recall. I also frequently get asked about why children get ill with disease if they are too young to have negative thinking, limiting beliefs or emotional blocks.


I’ve given this question a lot of thought and, although I don’t have all of the answers, an important piece that I’ve discovered that could underlie childhood illness and emotional turmoil with no apparent cause is ancestral trauma. Let’s discuss this in detail.


What is ancestral trauma? It is trauma that is passed down through generations which can affect someone at the physical, mental, emotional or even spiritual level. If you truly scrutinize all of human history, you will discover that there is nobody on the planet that is free of ancestral trauma. In fact all of human history is, essentially, about one group, tribe or nation exerting its control or inflicting trauma on another group or tribe.


Now, this may sound harsh but truly think about this. Europe has suffered through two world wars, in the Far East, Japan suffered the US attack involving two atomic bombs, Russia and China, two of the largest countries in the world, have have a history of being ruled by ruthless dictators, who killed millions, Vietnam suffered through the ravages of the US-Vietnam war, Cambodia was once ruled by the psychopath Pol Pot, who slaughtered innocent millions, many African countries have suffered through civil war and the associated atrocities, every country in the middle east lives with the pain of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, all of South American and Central America has been colonized by Spanish conquistadors who brutalized the indigenous people, not to mention the European settlers to North American who did the same.


My point is that, no matter what part of the world you are from, you are likely not free of the effects of ancestral trauma. So if you have physical, psychological or emotional symptoms, which have no apparent cause, you need to look at ancestral trauma as a possible cause. If you do not think that this is possible then please check out a study, which I will reference here, which showed that this kind of trauma can be passed down in mice.


The question now becomes, what does one do if ancestral trauma has been identified as a cause of an ongoing health issue? This is a question which I am still in the process of exploring and do not have all the answers for you. What I do know is this; if you suffer with any symptoms at any level of your being, which you cannot explain, you need to explore ancestral trauma as a cause.


Even though I do not have all the answers, I do have some ideas as to how to get on the path to healing ancestral trauma:


1) Journal on a regular basis on your thoughts and emotions, especially if these are negative for no obvious reason. This will help you put them into a greater context to make sense of what you are going through.


2) Find out about your ancestry and discover the trials and struggles that your ancestors went through so you could be here today.


3) Realize that you are a being of light, pure energy and you are not your physical body, thoughts, emotions and life story.


4) Meditate on a regular basis in any tradition that you resonate with. If you find it hard to meditate, spend lots of time in nature. Nature reflects to us who we truly are and is a place where we can find the connection to the whole that may be missing from our lives.


5) Find someone who you trust, your spouse, a family member, a close friend or other confidant and discuss with them how you are feeling right here in this moment. They may not be able to heal your ancestral trauma but having a compassionate listener will let you know that you are not alone through whatever you are suffering with.


Ancestral trauma is real and, although it may not be obvious how to deal with this, there is a lot you can do right now to get on the path to healing, not only yourself, but prior generations from your ancestry.


Dr. Nauman Naeem


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