What is Generational Trauma?
Generational trauma is defined as a cycle of trauma that passes through families. When the trauma experienced is unaddressed, it can cause psychological symptoms to get passed on like they are genetic. Certain risk factors like adverse childhood experiences, war, discrimination, racism, natural disaster, and sexual abuse put specific identities in a vulnerable position. Research shows that marginalized groups like Black, Jewish, and Indigenous Americans are more predisposed to experiencing generational trauma.
Within the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, many Jewish and Muslim Americans may be feeling heightened emotions at this time. Maybe they have family members or friends living in the affected areas, or maybe they do not. However, they still are witnessing an attack on their identity that the generations before them have felt before. The oppression of their ancestors have been passed to them, causing generational trauma to be experienced. This can have a serious impact on the mental health of a Jewish or Muslim individual, more specifically those that are Israeli or Palestinian.
The Israel-Palestine conflict has been a dividing force between us since 1947. You may side with Israel, or you may support the Free Palestine movement, yet one thread of humanity runs through us all. We want to see an end to violence and the taking of innocent lives. Doctors and Psychologists have labeled the recent events in Israel and Palestine a global health crisis. Many people are reporting spiking anxiety and distress during these times of uncertainty. For those directly affected by the war in Israel and Palestine, these feelings run much deeper. Israelis and Palestinians are experiencing a trigger of generational trauma.
Both Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia runs deep in American history. After the Holocaust, many Jewish people came to America for safety. Yet, Jewish people still face persecution and discrimination in a country that was thought to ensure freedom of religion. Anti-Semitic hate crimes increased 36% in 2022 from 2021. The highest month of hate crime was reported during May 2021, when conflict ensued between Israel and Hamas. Jewish people in America are reporting high numbers of distress, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD during this current time of conflict.
Muslim Americans are also experiencing these feelings of distress, anxiety, and PTSD. Islamophobia in America reached new heights after September 11th, a day no American will ever forget. Hate crimes against Muslims spiked after this time and continue to spike whenever a terrorist event occurs. Muslims in America have a unique stress that many will never relate to; they are feared and deemed as violent for just existing. This is a lived trauma that is passed along through generations of Muslims.
If you are struggling with generational trauma during this time of conflict in Israel and Palestine, check out our linked resources. Therapy is the best resource to address generational trauma. The longer trauma goes unadressed, the more likely it will get passed on to the next generation of your family. Healed and Educated offers holistic, client-centered, affordable, accessible therapy for residents of North Carolina. If you do not live in NC, we encourage you to find another provider to help you heal. Scroll to the end of the blog post to find the link to our therapy services.
1. The Impact of Generational Trauma on Muslim Children
2. The Wisdom of Jewish Trauma
3. Generational Trauma 13+ Ways to Break the Cycle
The Author: Amanda Morgan
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Timisha is a Therapist, Life Coach, Educator, and strong Mental Health and Social Justic Advocate. As the Founder & Owner of Healed and Educated, her goal is to raise awareness about mental health, empower those who are struggling, and provide valuable access to multiple levels of care. This platform is a place where you can find information as well as services. If you are interested in working with Timisha as a therapy or Life Coach Client follow the link below