September 26, 2021

Alcoholic women drinking around child

Marian Jefferson, a therapist at Greenhouse Treatment Center that specializes in trauma, wrote an op-ed for Blavity about the intergenerational trauma she only realized she experienced later in life and how the prevalence of this type of trauma is not uncommon.

In the article, Marian details growing up around untreated mental health issues, alcohol addiction and abuse – circumstances not unlike the families around her. With others living similarly, as she points out, it’s difficult to admit to there being a problem, and even more difficult to understand that help is needed. Later in life, Marian, too, developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, using it to numb the abuse and trauma she suffered earlier in life. It wasn’t until these issues were adequately addressed when she discovered she was experiencing generational trauma – where trauma is passed down by family members from one generation to the next.

Surprisingly, generational trauma is quite prevalent. An Adverse Childhood Experience study found that two-thirds of adults ha experienced at least one form of abuse, neglect or household dysfunction during their formative years.

Further, Marian offers tips to those who may be struggling to move forward due to lingering trauma and things to do to break the cycle.

Marian’s entire piece can be read at Blavity.