How Intergenerational Trauma Is Hurting Mothers and Daughters Relationships

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How Intergenerational Trauma Is Hurting Mothers and Daughters Relationships

Trauma is something that is often passed down from generation to generation, and it's not just limited to physical or sexual abuse. Trauma can also occur when there has been a death in the family, financial struggles, or even moving around a lot as a child. This form of intergenerational trauma means that if you have been exposed to any form of trauma during your lifetime, then your daughter has also been exposed to some sort of trauma as well.

You may not even realize this has happened until something causes you to look back at what happened while raising her. It's important for mothers with teenage daughters who have experienced intergenerational trauma themselves to be aware of how this affects their daughter so they can help them heal from these events in their lives too!


How does intergenerational trauma effect your teen daughter?

You’re probably wondering how intergenerational trauma can affect your teen daughter.

When your daughter experiences a traumatic event, she may also experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD symptoms include:

  • flashbacks of the traumatic event that seem real even though it happened years ago
  • nightmares about the event or things related to it
  • avoidance of places, people or situations that remind you of what happened and cause you to feel afraid
  • feeling on edge or irritable for no reason and having trouble sleeping because “you’re always ready for danger"


Why does trauma get passed down from generation to generation?

As a parent, you want to give your child a better life than the one you had. You may think that simply showing up and providing for them will be enough to give them a good start in life. However, this isn't always the case. Trauma can be passed down from generation to generation, so it's important for parents to understand how this happens and how they can break the cycle of trauma in their own homes.

Trauma Gets Passed Down Through Our DNA

Trauma is not something that our children are born with; instead, they learn it from us through our behaviors and actions (and sometimes even words). How? The answer lies in epigenetics—a process by which environmental factors change gene expression and influence traits passed on to future generations. For example: if a mother was abused as a child or teenager herself but never dealt with those feelings or emotions until she was an adult woman, then when she becomes pregnant with her first child there's still an open wound inside her heart carrying all those old feelings along with her blood supply from one generation down into another through DNA replication during fetal development."

While we don't know exactly how this happens, it does happen and is the reason why kids who grow up with trauma can end up experiencing similar things to their parents. They may also struggle in their own lives because they're not sure what's "normal" behavior and what isn't.


What are the symptoms of trauma in teen girls?

Feelings of anger, sadness and hopelessness


Low self-esteem and lack of confidence




Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks and specific phobias (fear of heights, spiders, etc.)

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Self-injurious behavior like cutting or burning oneself. These behaviors may be done to cope with the emotional pain or stress caused by trauma; however they are not a good way to deal with it. If you notice your daughter doing this, look for signs that she has been through abuse in the past.


How can mothers help their daughters heal from intergenerational trauma?


As a mother, you can help your daughter heal from intergenerational trauma by recognizing your own trauma and being aware of how trauma gets passed down from generation to generation. The first step is to talk about it and educate yourself about the effects that it has on your daughter's health, both physically and emotionally.

You can also work to heal some of the past wounds caused by intergenerational trauma in your own life. This might mean having conversations with other family members who have been affected by this type of trauma, attending family therapy sessions together, or seeking out other resources that will help you understand how intergenerational trauma hurts your teen girl.


It's important for mothers with teenage daughters to be aware of how trauma gets passed down from generation to generation.


  • It's important for mothers with teenage daughters to be aware of how trauma gets passed down from generation to generation.
  • Trauma impacts how we love and care for our children, ourselves and the world around us.
  • It can happen in many ways: a child witnessing violence, experiencing abuse or neglect, losing a parent at an early age, unresolved grief, parental incarceration, natural disaster, and divorce can all result in intergenerational trauma.

The most important thing you can do is to be a good parent. This means that you are aware of your own trauma and have tools to help you manage it. It also means that you are able to provide your child with the love, care and attention they need to thrive.

Ways intergenerational trauma is defined:


You've probably heard of intergenerational trauma, but what does it mean for your teen daughter? Intergenerational trauma is defined as any form of trauma experienced through three or more generations of a family. These can include events such as war, genocide and mass violence, slavery and colonist slavery trade, homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault.

Trauma can be passed down through DNA (including epigenetics), stories told by the survivor to their children and grandchildren that don't reflect reality ("When I was your age I was a good girl"), cultural beliefs ("It's not bad if you fight back against bullies") or fear ("You're never safe anywhere"). It can also be transferred from one generation to another through shame or guilt about the past because children feel responsible for their parents' behavior.


This trauma can be carried in our DNA.

The trauma your daughter may have experienced in her childhood can be passed down through generations. This means that when you were growing up, your mom probably lived through trauma as well. She then passed it on to you, who also grew up with it and now pass it on to your daughter.

Your mother’s experience of being hurt by someone else is stored in her body and brain as memories and feelings like anger, fear or sadness. Your daughter carries these same memories and feelings about her own life experiences, but she sees them through the lens of her own personality traits (e.g., how sensitive she is).

Trauma impacts how we love and care for our children and ourselves.


  • Trauma impacts how we love and care for our children.
  • Trauma impacts how we love and care for ourselves.

As a child, you experienced pain that was not your fault. That pain may have happened in your family or at school, with friends or strangers. It's important to recognize that this trauma impacted who you are today—and what you believe about yourself as an adult, parent and daughter. This can show up in many ways: difficulty having healthy relationships with other people; difficulty building trust with others; difficulty trusting yourself to be safe or happy; feeling like life isn't worth living because of all the bad things that have happened to us over time (or maybe even just once). When these feelings take over our ability to function normally during the day then they become more than just thoughts but rather "trauma symptoms" which hinder our ability to live freely without being controlled by past trauma experiences...

These symptoms can also show up as depression and anxiety, addiction, eating disorders and self-injury (cutting). All these are ways of coping with the pain that we feel inside. They are not bad things—they are simply survival strategies for dealing with the trauma that has happened to us.

Talk about it.

If you have been through the experience of trauma, talking about your feelings and experiences can help you and your daughter. Talking about it is an important step for healing. You may want to share what you learned about yourself, or how you are feeling now. It is also ok if this conversation makes her uncomfortable or sad—she might need time on her own to process what she has heard from you.

Use writing to get your feelings out instead of holding on to them.


If you're struggling to talk about your feelings, then writing can be a way for you to process all of them without having to say anything.

Many people find that journaling helps them process difficult emotions, and this is particularly true if they don't feel comfortable talking about their feelings with other people. Writing allows us an opportunity to express what we feel without the pressure of having someone else's attention on us while doing so. Through journaling, we can write down our emotions in a safe space where no one will judge or criticize us; this helps us process our experiences more fully than if we were just talking about them verbally.

Make space for yourself to try new things as well as process old things.


  • Make space for yourself to try new things as well as process old things.
  • Don't wait until you feel like it's "safe" or "appropriate." It never is, because trauma can be triggered at any time.
  • Create a little ritual around the activity you choose, like lighting a candle or playing music while you do it (or having someone read you poetry). The more it becomes part of your life, the easier it will become to access when you need help coping with stress or anxiety caused by intergenerational trauma.


Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself for not identifying this sooner.


You are not alone. You can see it because you are the mom, and you know her better than anyone else. You were the first to know she was hurt by a father who wasn't around when she needed him, or by an abusive stepfather. You may have even been one of those abusive parents yourself! Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for not identifying this sooner—you are doing the best you can; your daughter needs help now more than ever before!

Be patient with yourself as well as your daughter. It will take time for her to change her behaviors, to speak up about what is hurting her inside and out, but please don't give up hope! Remember that everything in life requires patience and effort; none of us can change overnight! Just keep reminding yourself that all mothers deserve love just like all daughters deserve love from their mothers."


Try a therapy that is outside of your comfort zone.


One of the most important things you can do is to explore all of your options. Try a therapy that is outside of your comfort zone. The more you expand your horizons, the better chance you have at helping your teen daughter overcome her trauma and anxiety.

Try a therapy that is new for both of you. It might be helpful for your teen to try something different from what she has been exposed to in the past. You may also benefit from learning new techniques and theories, which could help improve communication between the two of you, as well as provide some relief from stress related to parenting an adolescent who struggles with mental health issues.


Find a therapist who specializes in intergenerational trauma.


Find a therapist who specializes in intergenerational trauma.

A therapist with experience working with people who have experienced intergenerational trauma can help you and your daughter feel validated, understood and supported through the healing process. Intergenerational trauma therapists are trained to understand how the legacy of abuse and neglect has impacted not just your daughter but also you as her mother. They'll be able to help you both learn how to rebuild trust, communicate effectively and work together toward healing goals for both of you.

Therapy can be helpful to you in healing from intergenerational trauma. Therapy is a process of self-discovery, reflection, and finding peace with yourself and your life. You will have the opportunity to explore what has happened to you and how this affects your life today. You will learn how to find a new way to live your life that makes sense for you. The therapist will work with you on building a strong mother/daughter relationship so that she can help guide her daughter through adolescence into adulthood as an empowered woman who knows her worth.




Intergenerational trauma is a topic that needs more attention and awareness. It’s important for mothers with teenage daughters to learn about the signs of this type of trauma so they can help themselves and their daughters heal from it.