Over a decade ago I began researching my family’s World War I and World War II stories, most of which involved death or some kind of war wound. About the same time I began researching all branches of the military and exploring records for both wars with a focus on the WWII Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF).
The more I researched and wrote books about my family or the research strategies, I realized the work was changing me. Changing me on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level. I guess in some ways a physical level as exercise was a great outlet to release pent up emotions I picked up as an empath and medium as I read files.
When I was in a relationship with a European man, I also inherited his family’s war trauma. His mother in particular suffered greatly and while she lived, never healed. You will find as you do this work, not only your bloodline ancestors show up for healing, but ancestors of those whom you are in relationship with (lover, friend, etc.). It has also been my experience that the ancestors of my clients and colleagues also show up. The ancestors seek out those they know can help them. You are allowed to say no and send them away. Or send them away for now.
Over time I began to see patterns in my family, this man’s family, and as I was living back and forth between Chicago and the Netherlands and traveling a lot to battlefields, cemeteries, museums, and speaking with many people in Europe about their family’s war experiences, I learned a lot about European collective war trauma and patterns.
Patterns of beliefs, behaviors, and trauma. Patterns of silence and secrets. I heard stories about some of my family members that were completely false, as proven by the military records, yet were told to protect the dead. Stories that were told to protect the living. Stories that in the end, harmed everyone including the descendants like me. Stories that led to a lot of unanswered questions – especially, ‘Would you have married him or her, if the war had not happened?’
The World Wars affected everyone whether they served in combat, behind the lines, on the home front, or were civilians living through the hell or waiting at home. Veterans were told to stay silent on so many things that happened. Many veterans and civilians could not reconcile what they were forced to do or chose to do to stay alive and therefore could not share their experiences. The common emotions surrounding them were shame, anger, hatred, guilt and survivor’s guilt, grief, a sense of loss of so many things. Many people, especially in Europe and the Pacific, made choices to survive and keep their children alive, that they likely had some regrets about later. Many women were publicly shamed or harmed because of choices they made to stay alive. Their descendants and all of humanity carry these things.
All of humanity carries the sins & patterns of the fathers along with the unresolved & unintegrated traumas. Now is the time to heal.~ Jennifer holik
Whether a veteran had physical war wounds or not, every veteran came home changed. Every veteran had some kind of mental issues to heal due to the war, even if they were somewhat hidden or held in secret. Every civilian who lived overseas where the combat was happening was affected. The silence and secrets permeated the energy in families and communities. The propaganda in the U.S. and Europe was to start life again. Rebuild. Start a family. Get a job. Go to school. Assimilate in the new country you chose or were forced to live in. Forget the past. Live for those who died. Never Forget.
Yet as we come to the grandchildren or great grandchildren or even 2x great grandchildren of World War II veterans and families, we find WE are suffering from our ancestors’ unresolved and unintegrated traumas. WE are suffering from PTSD and inherited trauma. WE are carrying the patterns that were destructive in their lives, often on an unconscious level. WE have the tools and resources today to heal and release the past and move out of the destructive patterns.
If you would like to learn more, hear my story, and learn how to identify these patterns and heal, registration is open for Saturday 9 October’s Family’s War Secrets webinar. In this webinar you are granted access to the first part of the process I teach with the replay from the What’s Wrong With Daddy? class I taught in September. Through both of these classes you will learn new tools to identify what your family endured, whether war or any other traumas. You will learn how to identify the patterns that are (often) unconsciously running your life, relationships, work, and choices. You will also learn ways to heal these patterns.
Register today to save your spot. I also invite you to explore all my Family History Month 2021 military research webinars.
© 2021 WWII Research & Writing Center