It Didn’t Start with You

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End it

Mark Wolynn


The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
— William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

I’ve always wanted to understand what I may be carrying from my parents and even the generations that came before my parents and how what I may be carrying is affecting not only me, but my children as well. It has been fascinating to read about these experiences people have that they simply cannot explain until they look back into their family history. It’s acknowledging this history and embracing it’s effect that allows one to move on.
Wolynn takes the understanding of inheriting family trauma a little farther than most, going deeper than just childhood interactions with your parents – especially when he refers to one or two generations back, referencing people you might not have even known personally.
A quote from the book gives a little hint of how he explains the process (But of course, to really get it, you’ll have to read the whole book). Here’s the quote:
“The history you share with your family begins before you are even conceived. In your earliest biological form, as an unfertilized egg, you already share a cellular environment with your mother and grandmother. When you grandmother was five months pregnant with your mother, the precursor cell of the egg you developed from was already present in your mother’s ovaries.
This means that before your mother was even born, your mother, your grandmother, and the earliest traces of you were all in the same body – three generations sharing the same biological environment. This isn’t a new idea: embryology textbooks have told us as much for more than a century. Your inception can be similarly traced in your paternal line. The precursor cells of the sperm you developed from were present in your father when he was a fetus in his mother’s womb.
…Both precursor egg and sperm cells, science now tells us, can be imprinted by events with the potential to affect subsequent generations. The implications of this are startlingly vast…”
In a world where everything has come down to diagnosis and prescriptions, it’s refreshing and encouraging to see the field of Psychology embracing alternative options – options that are healthier and lead to more self-understanding.
The book includes so many different exercises, quotes, case histories, and experimental evidence.
Next time you’re at Barnes and Noble or perusing Amazon, make sure you check it out.
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