We definitely have genetic predispositions to physical illness, our appearance or a predisposition to how we might respond to stress in our environment. That is passed down through the genes. But these predispositions are activated with stimuli in the environment. For those who understand Epigenetics, the genes are the gun and our environment are the triggers that can activate genes. For example, there are genes for cancer, but we cannot get cancer if we take care of ourselves and heal from trauma — in spite of having the genes for it. Same with trauma: How we might react to trauma might be genetically “predetermined”, but there is no reaction without the trauma taking place. We don’t react to trauma unless we have been assaulted or abandoned by another person.
The reason people might want to believe in gene-based emotional illness could be because of a subconscious wish to be in denial of trauma as the cause. Very few want to think that they might have been assaulted as a child, especially sexually. So many of us might want to believe that our parents loved us and that we had a decent childhood. Wanting to believe that flashbacks are passed down through sperm is especially true of parents who don’t want to entertain the idea their children might have been sexually abused under their watch. Very few want to hold accountability for that — one of many reasons might be because their own sexual abuse is repressed and to face our own children’s sexual abuse means we’ll be forced to look at our own. Articles on the effects of trauma being passed down — (exclusively) genetically —- target those wanting to escape the truth.
It can be too difficult handle the possibility that really bad people and really bad things happen to people and it’s prevalence. If we think the effects of trauma are passed through the genes without any trauma happening, it can keep us in disempowering denial of the people who abused or neglected us –especially if they were our own parents. It can prevent us from taking accountability for our memories of our abusers and our emotions about them. This denial prevents people from the empowerment of full recovery. It also prevents us from holding perpetrators responsible as well. And as a result, perpetrators continue perpetrating and the cycle of abuse keeps continuing throughout generations.
We really have to be careful of what we read out there because not all trauma theories are correct and some could be potentially damaging since they exploit our desire to be in denial. The media publishing gene-based emotional illness articles might figure if they make it look scientific with impressive photographs of sperm and use names of universities and doctors that people will believe it. It is unfortunate that people do bad things to other people and it is unfortunate that we have been abused, and it’s unfortunate that our children might have been abused and it is unfortunate that we have so much unbearable and repressed guilt that we did nothing about it, but this is the truth that needs to be faced to truly heal and stop the cycle of generational abuse.
If it’s not “false memory syndrome“, it’s something else that begs trauma survivors to question their own memories, flashbacks, nightmares, behaviors and emotions. In modern times, we are now being conditioned to doubt what we know is true deep down inside. We are being asked to defer to authority instead of following what we know is right inside us.
It does nobody favors unless you are a perpetrator.
We are going to continue seeing the effects of abuse for generations and generations until we all face the truth of how it impacts us and why it even happens at all. There is the truth we want to believe that provides temporary comfort and then there is the inconvenient and painful truth that eventually liberates and gives our power back.
When reading trauma-related material out there, please use discernment. It can save your life.