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Why Your Past Might Be Causing Your Current Problems – 10 Things To Do About It

Colleen & Dana are well-established healers and coaches. They are the creators of The Black Belt Mind, NAP, & YIM, incorporating Colleen’s Traditional Chinese Medicine training and Dana’s extensive coaching & martial arts experience into systems you can use to improve your health, career, and every relationship in your life in unprecedented ways.

Executive Contributor Colleen Robinson & Dana Pemberton

Do you feel like there is something wrong with you that you just can’t change? Do you feel like you’re stuck, unhappy, and repeating the same patterns? Happily, this kind of ‘mystery’ problem might not even be yours. Even more happily, there are things you can do about it. This article dives in to the concept of inherited trauma / inherited Qi/epigenetics, shows you that your problems might not really be yours, and shares simple steps you can take to uncover the real you underneath the trauma you’ve learned to live with.

Women feel strain or tired from mental health illness

What is inherited trauma or inherited Qi?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches that 50% of our Qi is inherited from our parents: anything from strong bones to a bad temper or a habit of anxiety or trauma.


What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of how your environment, emotions, & behaviour can change how your genes behave, like a switch that can be turned on or off.


What does this mean for how you behave?

This is where it gets interesting. The prevailing sentiment is that behaviours and problems can be traced to an experienced trauma, childhood, or family beliefs. People raised by an anxious parent may learn to model anxiety. Someone who was attacked by an animal may be fearful around animals.


But what about those other behaviours, the ones that just don’t make sense?


What if your parents have a great relationship, but you somehow end up in bad ones, despite choosing people you firmly believe will be different? What if you start a new exercise program only to sprain an ankle and be side-lined once again?

If there is a pattern in your life that you keep working on, keep “failing” to change, or simply cannot understand where it comes from no matter how much work you do on it, there is a very good chance that it’s not your pattern, it’s not your behaviour, and it’s not your choice: it’s inherited.


Why would trauma be inherited?

It could be a way to survive, like when extreme stress or cold changes someone’s metabolism. It could be because something is considered a necessity, like this study of adult children of Holocaust survivors who had the markers and behaviours of people with PTSD.

If trauma is viewed simply as anything that we are not well-resourced enough to completely process and learn from at the time, then inherited trauma is simply something that needs to finish processing. If we have inherited a trauma, if our genes have switched something off or on, it’s because that trauma still needs to be integrated.


So it’s not my fault?

It’s nobody’s fault. In fact, it’s the opposite.


If you think of these changes as your system doing its level best to keep you alive and as healthy as possible, then there’s no fault. It’s just your system loving you enough to want to help you..


The 6 most common inherited trauma categories

In the clinic, there are an infinite number of things that can be inherited. However, the most common types include:

1. Relationships

You date different types of people and yet somehow end up in the same kind of relationship. You promise yourself you’re going to find more loving, supportive friendships only to find out that they weren’t the person you thought they were.

2. Arguments

You promise yourself you’re not going to have the same fight with your partner, or your parents. You prepare different responses, and yet you somehow end up clashing.

3. Pattern changes

You meant to do it differently this time, to leave early and be on time; to have your clothes washed and ready to go so you weren’t scrambling in the morning; to exercise every day. Yet somehow, you can’t make the change permanent.

4. Emotional stagnation

You’ve been to therapy, you’ve done the work, you’ve taken the supplements, but your emotional default remains the same (depression, anxiety, anger, etc.)

You searched for a different job where you were respected and appreciated and rewarded for good work. Somehow, though, it’s just the same thing inside of different walls.

6. Hidden agendas

You’ve sought out help, you’ve done self-analysis, and you still have no idea why you’re doing what you’re doing.


10 tips on how to deal with inherited trauma

1. Understand that it might not be yours

Simply accepting that a problem might be inherited can take pressure off of you and free you from the heavy, dangerous cycle of shame and blame.


2. Change your approach

If you normally do talk therapy, consider adding in somatic therapy, physical trauma release exercises, Traditional Chinese Medicine or Integral Medicine. Somatic or trauma release work can relieve the body without having to mentally process everything. TCM has acupoints and herbal formulas that connect the heart and mind to clear out old trauma. Integral Medicine in forms like tapping, YIM, or NAP are capable of getting to the root of things even if it isn’t understood.


3. Make a list

This is a list of the issues you’d like to change, not the reasons for the issues. Instead of listing “I suck at relationships,” use “Relationships 10 months or shorter.” A pragmatic list without judgment can help point to the underlying pattern.

4. Remove the blame

Blame is generally not useful, but in this case it definitely doesn’t help. If you didn’t start it, you can’t carry the blame. It’s faster to clear things once you’ve moved the heavy burden of feeling you have somehow caused your own misery.


6. Work on your “zeroes”

With a 0-10 scale to assess how much something bothers you, people ignore zeroes.. However, true zeroes are highly unlikely. If you emphatically believe that you have zero negative feelings about something, it could be because it’s buried so far back you don’t have a conscious memory of it or that your system is pushing it away from you. Clear it anyway – it can’t hurt to feel even better about it.


7. Work on the things that don’t make sense

One of the ways our minds protect us from dangerous ideas is by making them seem like nonsense: either “that’s a silly idea” or making the words literally not make sense in that moment. If you cannot make sense of a concept, that could be a sign to slow down and reach further in to it.


8. Work on family issues

It can be a lot easier to see other peoples’ challenges. If something has been inherited, it might show up in your siblings lives, parents, or grandparents. You might recognize a pattern in them that you’re managed to ignore in yourself.


9. Remember that these are survival tactics

Of course, inherited trauma isn’t fun. But it’s also an adaptation to be more resilient. To survive. That means you can celebrate it, even and especially if you’re ready to celebrate it and then put it away.


10. Work on things in a group

When you’re working with like-minded people, there will be things that obviously apply to someone else and not you. Let yourself work on them anyway and allow your nervous system to connect the dots for you, even if you don't consciously know how or why.

Start letting go today

Inherited trauma can be one of the most frustrating things to clear. If you can’t connect a reason to your concerns, it can feel like you’re not trying hard enough, like you’re the problem, or like you’re somehow sabotaging your own progress. That’s a common way to think, but if it’s not helping you, then you don’t have to keep believing it. Give yourself some space to recognize that you may be acting out someone else’s worries, fears, traumas, and hurts. Give yourself more space by working with people who are used to studying inherited trauma patterns, identifying them, and helping people clear them.

Come join us and learn some techniques to help you clear old, inherited, stuck-feeling problems gently and easily.


Colleen Robinson & Dana Pemberton, Wellness and Leadership Strategists

Dana and Colleen bring partnership to a whole new level in their work together. Vastly different in many ways, they deliver their own brand of magic to the groups, companies, and individuals they work with across North America. Colleen’s experience as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, fascination with the intersection between science and spirituality, and focus on healing combines with Dana’s “boots on the ground” approach based on a lifetime of martial arts training (he started at age 3) and several decades of coaching. Together, their focus is to help you find and clear the old patterns that are holding you back, and replace them with simple concepts you can apply to move forward with ease.



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