For several years I’ve been studying inherited trauma, also known as multi-generational trauma or epigenetics. I began studying this in part to heal myself of the negative behaviors, beliefs, and patterns passed down through my ancestors to me. Also in part because I was having PTSD triggers for several years which intensified in 2016 to a point that in moments it was debilitating. I needed to understand what happened in my ancestral past (and past lives) so I could untangle the web of patterns and begin to heal. As I began to heal, so did my living family members, even if they don’t realize it.
One area I have barely touched until recently, related to military research and trauma, is the war loser’s story or ‘the bad guy’s’ story and how that impacts his or her descendants. Additionally, how that story, which we often ignore, also impacts the collective. We are all connected so what affects one affects all. When one heals, all heal.
The WWII German – The War Loser
It is said that history is written by the winners, not the losers. We all know the Allies won World War II. Germany came out as the loser again. In essence, they are “the bad guys” two wars in a row. A label that did not go away when the wars ended but are carried through negative emotions in the descendants of both wars still today, even two, three, or four generations down. Often unconsciously.
I have heard from German friends and colleagues and spiritual and mental health facilitators, that the shame of loss, what was done in the name of the Fatherland, and out of force, control, anger, and propaganda, was shoved away. Germans lost and had to carry that shame forever through all eternity. Their children and future descendants carry the sins of the father. Sins for which they may never be forgiven. The German people, like everyone else in the world, had to pick up when the war ended, start rebuilding, move on with life, and create a new reality – only for them, a divided country reality.
World War II also brought other trauma to these people when the Russians invaded, and also the Americans (which people do not like to speak of because we won the war). Rape, sexual abuse, numerous babies born not out of choice but force and hate. All this was swept under the rug and women shut up and moved on.
How do we begin to heal ‘The Bad Guys’ story?
It starts with descendants looking at their family tree and exploring the family patterns, negative and harmful beliefs that were passed down, and negative behaviors an individual carries. From here one can begin to unravel the tangled web and bring the dark aspects of their history to the light. See the lessons and release the old beliefs and pain. Will this cause physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain? Perhaps. We must feel the emotions in our bodies in order to heal them.
This healing can also be done with the winners looking at their family patterns and belief systems. I have heard many Dutch, Belgian, and French people say their grandparents or parents who survived the war hated the Germans. They would never forgive. They would not buy cars made by the Germans, etc. These feelings, whether spoken or not, were absorbed by the children of these survivors. Even in America we hear stories of our veterans returning home with such anger against the Germans for what they did (or the Japanese). It is not isolated only in Europe, these hateful angry feelings and beliefs.
When the winners look at their patterns and beliefs and their own feelings about the winners or losers, it allows those dark things to come to the light. Once we push our ego out of the way and see that the German who fought against our family member was doing his job, same as our veteran, and that neither may have wanted to be there, and both are souls having a human experience, we can begin to process the trauma that was inflicted and heal.
Not everyone can or will do this healing work and really look at the dark shadow sides of themselves, their beliefs, or their family history. It takes a strong, courageous person to dive into the darkness and do this work. When we heal ourselves, we heal everyone.
Israel and Palestine ‘Bad Guys’
A more current example of the trauma of the ‘bad guy’ comes from a book Wounds Into Wisdom by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone. In one story he tells of a Jewish man Avner who joined the Israeli military as he was required to do. He served his time and became a different person. In part of the story Tirzah tells in this book, she quotes Avner when he talks about being the bad guy.
“That was simply what we did. It was seen as the right thing to do. And of course, when it came time to go into the army, that was seen as the right thing to do. …….Because that’s what my dad did, that’s what my brother did. Why shouldn’t I?”
Do you see in the above paragraph how it was just accepted without question that you would “do the right thing” according to the family history, and yes in this case, the rules. We create more trauma for ourselves when we do things unconsciously and do not stop to question. The things we do on an unconscious level always have consequences later. Usually very uncomfortable consequences because we are not responding out of our intuition and what is truly the right thing to do. History repeats itself over and over as humanity continues to blindly obey instead of question.
He goes on to say, “In that sense, if I think of trauma – I had the trauma of being the bad guy. But understand, the main victims are the Palestinians. We are not the main victims. We are more the victimizers. And that in itself is traumatic.”
Avner not only had to deal with his ancestral Jewish trauma but also the trauma of being a victimizer. Something that has not been allowed to be brought to the surface according to the information within the story Tirzah tells.
The victimizers of World War II – in this article, the Germans – had that layer of trauma to also process and heal. It has been documented the children of German soldiers carry a lot of their parents war wounds. Much of it unspoken, unconscious, yet painfully there.
Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here looking at these very brief examples of ancestral war trauma? First, we look at what our own family carries. What roles our families played in World War II, although you can use this for any mass trauma event whether global or local.
What beliefs do we have that may not be ours? What beliefs do we perpetuate onto our children and are they conscious or unconscious? Do we dislike or hate a certain country’s people because our parents and grandparents told us they were “bad”?
What stories have we heard about the winners and losers of the war? How did those stories shape our perspective of the war, trauma, our family’s habits and beliefs? How did those stories shape our emotional growth? Are emotions even something our families have or did they shut them down after the war to just survive and “move on”?
There are so many questions that can be asked and explored. Coming soon I’ll have new webinars and services to help you explore your family patterns and beliefs so you may also heal the past.
Are you ready to begin untangling and looking at your family’s war trauma? Or any other family trauma that has affected your life? If you would like assistance in this, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask how I can help you. I use facilitation packages of 1, 3 or 5 hours to work with clients as we explore their genealogy and military histories, to find the patterns, and do energy healing together.
Are you ready to heal your past to live a fuller, more vibrant life with more possibilities?
© 2021 WWII Research & Writing Center