Ending the Cycle of Generational Trauma and Anxiety.

My mother passed away recently after a long battle with cancer. The passing of a parent is never an easy thing to go through. But when you are dealing with the death of a parent that was abusive or neglectful it is a whole different experience. 

I went to Florida to visit my mom to say my goodbyes and I was surprised to find that a lot of emotions came to the surface. An abusive or neglectful parent is still a parent. I visited my mom in in a motel that was basically for homeless addicts. My mom has been an addict since she was 16 years old. It was painful to see that at the end of her life, she still had not broken free from addiction.

I love my mom and I have forgiven her despite the trauma she exposed me to. I came to realize that she chose addiction to deal with the trauma and pain that was suffocating her on the inside. Back then, there were so many less resources than we have today. If you look back through my family history you will find a long line of ancestors turning to addiction to deal with their trauma and as a result passing that trauma on to their children. The cycle just kept continuing onward. 

As you can imagine my early childhood was not pleasant. My mom’s addiction did not allow her to care for me properly, so the first 6 years of my life I lived in a dangerous world of crime, drugs and violence. At age 6 my dad was awarded custody of me and I was given a safe home. But early developmental trauma had lasting effects on my life. 

Understandably I was a very anxious child, more anxious teen, and extremely anxious adult. During those 6 years I lived with my mom, my brain knew I was not safe and developed a hypervigilance that kept me on alert for danger all the time. 

When my dad got custody of me at 6yo, my brain was still not convinced I was safe. I remained hypervigilant and anxious for many years. Even though the danger of living in a world of drugs, alcohol, and violence was not over. The subconscious beliefs I developed from living in a world of addiction continued to affect my life. 

– I believed I was not loveable, because my mom choose alcohol and drugs over me.

– I believed the world was not safe because MY world was not safe.

– I believed that people could not be trusted, because I was not cared for properly and my basic needs often went unmet. 

Many of you reading this know what I am talking about…

Because it was been your experience as well. 

When I became a parent I was scared. I knew I still had so much to work through. I stayed away from drugs and alcohol but I knew I was living with emotional turmoil.  More than anything, I did not want to pass my anxiety on to my kids. I was determined not to. 

But my first child was born with 7 birth defects and subsequently pass away at 15 days old. And my anxiety got 100% worse. I went to therapy to talk about my grief and just talking about my struggles only made me feel worse. I was told my “terrible childhood” meant anxiety would take me years to overcome and might be a lifelong struggle. 

I just did not want to pass this legacy of anxiety on to my kids. But I did. I did not know how to escape and I was not finding the answers.. so I continued to struggle for years. I began to feel like I was hopelessly broken. But my brain was not broken, it was keeping me on guard and overreacting to keep me safe. My anxiety was a natural result of living in a dangerous world. 

I learned about the subconscious mind and how to reprogram anxiety when I was 45. So most of my kids grew up with a highly anxious mom and my older kids ended up with anxiety. 

But I am 54 now and I am free and my kids are also learning to taste freedom and move forward. I really wish my mom could have been free but I cannot change the past. 

I can only move into the future with gratitude. I am thankful everyday that I have found peace. And now it is my sincere desire to help an many people as I can break free from the grip of anxiety and keep that pattern from transmitting to the next generation. 

I am now thankful for my past… even with all the pain and imperfection, it made me who I am today. I doubt I would be as strong as I am today without the lessons my mom taught me. I question whether I would be the compassionate and empathetic person I am today without knowing the path of suffering, struggle, and recovery. And I know I would not be able to help others recover if I did not understand their pain. 

We cannot change the past. But we can transform the present and empower ourselves to create a different future for ourselves and our children. We can break the cycle of trauma. We can change the world one person at a time.

Starting with ourselves. 

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