Intergenerational trauma is when a parent is traumatized (by abuse, mental illness, war, a personality disorder, etc) so they traumatize their kids directly and indirectly. The kids grow up and traumatize their own kids.
Great Grandpa was in a war, so his son grows up with avoidant attachment issues. That persons daughter grows up with alcoholism issues, which causes her daughter (the great granddaughter) to have narcissism issues.
On the subject of intergenerational trauma has it been found how many generations it usually lasts before burning out? Is there a pattern of what dysfunction leads to what dysfunction? In between personality disorders, addiction issues, attachment disorders, PTSD, depression/anxiety, etc theres a lot of ways to be messed up.
Some people try to break the cycle with therapy, not having kids, doing the opposite of what their parents did, etc and thats great. so that can break the cycle.
But if just allowed to run its course, does intergenerational trauma just fizzle out after 3-4 generations?
At some level, one might argue that it can last hundreds or thousands of years.
After 9/11, when George Bush the Younger declared a “crusade” against terrorism, that was widely criticized because the idea of a “crusade” is offensive to Muslims. The actual Crusades happened about 800 to 1000 years ago and remain a sensitive and sore point in Muslim society to this day.
I knew an Army guy who was tasked with researching the background and history of the strife in the Balkan area, and reporting on that to his superiors. He told me a similar thing: That the strife and hatred among the various groups in that area can be traced back to Crusade days, and remains to this day.
At a college I went to, students were required to take a year of World History rather than American History. That was many years ago, but there was ONE lesson I picked up that stuck with me: One of those medieval European empires (don’t remember which one) tried to suppress all the local cultures and languages and religions and fashions of all the various little local communities throughout the empire. Fast forward 400 years when the empire disintegrated, all those little communities brought out and revived their hidden holy books, histories, local languages, cultural festivals, manners of dress, and so on. The empire could suppress all that for 400 years, but even after that time, they could never exterminate all the local memories. Of all the long-forgotten details of history I learned in that class, that was the one thing that really impressed me.
I agree intergenerational trauma on a society wide level can last millennium easily. Anti-semitism, the fighting between sunni and shia, the Indian caste system etc are traumas that have lasted a thousand years or more.
I’m more wondering about dysfunction within a family more than society wide dysfunction. Parents are screwed up, so their kids end up screwed up and screw up their kids, who screw up their kids, who screw up their kids, etc.
Does the process burn out or does it just keep going until someone breaks the cycle by getting therapy or choosing not to have kids? Or does it actually have a burnout process it follows where the trauma becomes less intense each generation until it ends after maybe 3-6 generations?
I can understand how adults today are traumatized by their grandparents dysfunction, but are people on an individual level traumatized because one of their ancestors in the 17th century was a giant asshole?
Speaking of trauma on the society wide level, I’ve heard that WW1 and WW2 created a lot of inter-generational trauma within families (emotionally damaged parents from the war raised emotionally damaged kids, but I don’t know the details beyond that (how the trauma worked out, how generations are affected, etc).