Clearing Ancestral Trauma For Intentional Living

Ancestral Healing for Intentional Living

Ancestral trauma is part of the lineage that we inherit. Ancestral Healing helps us to reflect, forgive, and learn lessons from our past. Even with a desire to know more historically about our families, we may fail to recognize that the roots of our struggles began long before we experienced them. As it happens, you needn’t experience the same traumatic events that your ancestors endured for it to affect your life. Clearing ancestral trauma has the potential to create new attractive patterns moving forward and ensure better outcomes not only for yourself but for future generations.

Nudges to Work on My Ancestral Healing

The rattle in my car has continued for many months. At the garage, I tell them I want at least another 100,000 out of this car and don’t wish to drive around with a shaky foundation. A dismissive eye roll communicates their message. It has almost 180,000 miles! It’s a Toyota, so I’ll be driving it for a while longer and don’t wish to have it clunking along.

My thoughts drift, and I find myself wondering why, after numerous repairs, my car still creaks and sways over minor bumps. The more time I spend with my parents, the looser and noisier my car seems to get.

My mother often says, “Everything’s a struggle.” I’ve thought about how that programming carried into the very experiences of our day-to-day lives. How long has the mindset of struggle and strife, working so hard to achieve any minor gain, been part of my family’s wiring? Overcoming default negative thought patterns has taken me many years. My parents’ perceptual lens and explanatory styles, distorted by their history, my grandparents’ history, and my great grandparents’ history (you get the point), have been an anchor that pulls me back into the vibration of the past. It’s a place I’ve worked very hard not to be!

It’s clear that if I don’t seriously address my ancestral healing, these familial roots will continue to infiltrate any foundation I create and damage whatever I place upon it.

Ancestral Healing: Reflecting on the Roots of Struggle

My name, often thought to be Estella because of my Italian last name, was my French Canadian paternal great-grandmother’s name. I knew very little about her, only that I was named after her to make my grandmother Helen happy. It appeared to do just the opposite. In the photo below, the woman with the plow is my great-grandmother, Estelle. My grandmother, Helen, is tethered to her side. The only story shared about Estelle, told in jest, was that she supposedly had her teeth kicked out by a horse. My Canadian relatives had few resources and limited access to medical care, so she received treatment from a veterinarian, not a physician.

Ancestral Healing
the roots of struggle

It was a hard life, and every day’s work was a matter of survival. This story is one of several ancestral rabbit holes that I discovered that helped me begin to uncover the areas of my ancestry in need of healing.

Let’s briefly jump to a Sicilian side. The photo of my Sicilian great-grandmother Chiara with my grandmother Emilia to her left and my great-aunt Josepina to her right is the featured photo of this blog. There were 12 Bonaceto children that I know of, five girls and seven boys. Below are four of my great uncles in their youth.

Ancestral Healing

Few people today can imagine having 12 children. To say that it would be difficult to supervise and ‘attune’ to the needs of that many children (even under the best of circumstances) are an understatement. Additional challenges included English as a second language, poverty, and addiction (to name just a few). We often dismiss the challenges of immigrants, past and present, removed from their experiences.

When we dig deeper, we may view the past with eyes of compassion, ask questions, and make connections between the past and the present.

The wounds of my ancestors, their stories (your family stories), if we knew them all, would be too numerous to list. Yet what I do know has helped to illuminate that the roots of my experiences, the thoughts, fears, and subsequent energetic internal struggles of my lifetime were not entirely mine. These attractive patterns had already been in vibrational circulation for a very, long time.

The discovery of the photo taken in rural Canada prompted questions like: Where was my great-grandfather? I learned he was a raging alcoholic, and that my grandmother Helen lived with a violent father who beat my great-grandmother. I suspect Estelle had a better relationship with her horses than with her husband. The true story behind the veterinary visit was quite possibly more ominous than being kicked by a horse. Before I judge him too harshly, I remind myself of the absence of his story. Not a story that excuses violent behavior, but one that broadens perspective on his roots of malady.

Having my teeth literally kicked out is not a trauma that I have experienced and yet, I’ve had many a metaphorical kick in the teeth. I don’t know what it is to plow a field with my child at my side, but I do know what it is to need to bring a child to work, to have an abusive and then absent partner, and feel it a struggle.

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Knowing this information about my grandmother Helen’s childhood upbringing shed much light on her disdain for me. Was she plagued with a gnawing inner discomfort planted from a childhood home filled with unpredictability, and did that create her need to control anything outside of her? Perhaps her observation of my young free spirit brought forth her secret anger about being cheated of a childhood, free from being tethered to her mother’s working hands.

Ancestral Healing Begins When We Learn and Share the Truth About Our Ancestors

In a way, entertaining a broader story behind our own diffuses some of the charge. What may have been overly personalized and made you feel unloved, unworthy, or shameful is exposed as the failing of a limited individual or family based on complex circumstances. The roots of your wounds are outside yourself. These blocking bygone vibrations you carry can be released with love.

Within families, many cover stories keep hard truths from surfacing. It can feel like a betrayal to the ones we’ve loved to shed an unfavorable light. To know the truth is to look more intently at the portrayals of hero and villain. For deep ancestral healing, we need to explore the silenced stories that were reduced and dismissed. The ones of our mothers and our grandmothers primarily. We benefit when familial information or stories are questioned and new perspectives explored. How true this is of historical “facts” in general.

Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.

African Proverb

The dominant group dictates the narrative and it’s repeated. Throughout my younger life, many historical accounts felt more like fairy tales. The absence of favorable narratives of women entirely was not congruent with my observations of the world.

We are taught not to question the accounts of events, especially when they come from those we’ve been conditioned to believe. Subjective interpretation based on personal beliefs or individual experience may be passed off as factual. It’s like a repeated storyline with the same cast of characters, some always the victim, others the villain or hero. People are attached to the collective storylines and can get angry at even a slight variation. Many, myself included, have grown tired of the portrayals that never resonated.

We can lie to ourselves about our own experiences. Trick ourselves into believing the same storyline about our ancestral histories, minimize them or dismiss them entirely. We fear pointing fingers that shame and blame will tell us we’re falling into victimhood. Ego defenses come up as the armor that denies vulnerability. It may not feel safe to say there is a history of unmet need.

Owning your personal and ancestral histories diffuses some of their power to harm you. When you anchor in and claim what is true, strength follows. Pretending no experience has ever caused you harm and holding pains in silence is energetically weakening.

Experiences color our lens. It is what each person has before them as they view the world. As we try to make sense of a dysfunctional society, our greatest contribution to remedy is to look at that which has been dysfunctional within our own immediate and extended families, past and present. It is up to each of us to make connections, correct our lenses, and reclaim our energetic imprint to intentionally emanate what we wish to experience moving forward.

Recognize Familial Patterns. Abuse and Addiction Cycles

Many people grew up in families where children were emotionally and physically neglected. I used to hear my mother say, “Kids raise themselves”. It would infuriate me and my reply would always be, “Not my kid!” As I knew all too well, in the absence of supervision and proper parenting, children are vulnerable and unprotected from those who wish to exploit them.

In my closest circles and within my vast work experiences, the patterns of abuse and addiction have glaring similarities. It’s kind of the chicken and egg scenario, but round and round it goes. A chemically, mentally or physically absent parent, disconnected from their inner world, is unable to share the burdens of running a home and caring for children. The supervising parent becomes preoccupied emotionally and mentally, now lost within anxious disconnection (Is he drunk? Is he cheating? Is he dead?), feels powerless, and attempts to control whatever they can. Familial conflicts to varying degrees ensue. Meanwhile, unsupervised children have many unmet needs and are vulnerable to predators. Their reports of harm done are silenced or dismissed.

There are many versions of these cycles and entirely different familial dynamics that need ancestral healing. In trying to make sense of the past, know that peace could never be found trying to control the uncontrollable. Cycles of addiction and abuse create the energetic diversion that compromises connection and parenting, creates energy leaks, blocks creativity, and stifles personal growth and expansion. We must identify and remedy the roots of disconnection to make sense of the past and heal the present.

Ancestral Healing of the Silenced Stories of the Past

There are many real casualties within the survival stories of our ancestors. Gently resting in a soft middle may help you to honor the spectrum.

Our ancestral strengths will be exhumed from underneath the watered-down stories of the past.

It’s like, everyone had that odd uncle, an abusive parent, or a creepy neighbor. That’s just how it was. We come from generations who accepted that lambs will go to be slaughtered, par for the course. Sometimes there was violence, often there was neglect. Emotional and physical safety were not guaranteed. At an earlier time, for many of our ancestors, there was no space for grieving nor for justice, only survival.

Those neglected, physically and sexually abused often became the addicted. Connecting the dots of the past and seeing connections to ourselves is an opportunity to break the patterns of denial and self-sabotage. Recognize the ego defense of suppressing emotion and numbing through distraction creates other ailments.

Being authentically candid about your own experiences, will make it possible to do the honest, ancestral healing necessary to heal what remains raw. It will also bring in new clarifying energy.

See through a new perceptual lens of how your ancestors survived to reveal their strengths and resilience. They paved the way and sacrificed much to give us an easier go at life, free of many of the struggles they endured. We owe it to them and ourselves to learn from the past so we may be fully accountable for the choices we make in the present.

Ancestral Healing: Thoughts on Moving Forward

Honor your ancestors by acknowledging how their struggles may have blocked their talents and impeded their evolution as you claim those strengths moving forward.

I ask for healing to go back to celebrate the strength, wisdom, and courage of my ancestral grandmothers and I hope they know that their suffering was not in vain. Future generations going forward may claim their empowerment and healing and grow exponentially because of their suffering.

The Passing Down of Pain Will Find its Death with Her. She Will be a Rainbow at the End of a Generational Storm.

Stacie Martin

I’ve raised my daughter honestly, sharing the truth of my mistakes and my early struggles, but more importantly, she’s increasingly been witness to the overcoming of these experiences. She’s my biggest critic and strongest ally. She’s emerged from her own experiences within our family’s struggles, in a way that my ancestors would be proud of. She was not born to be silent. She is loud and real. Her emotions run clear and her communication is skillful. Safely and freely, she acknowledges the truth of her experiences, communicating both her joy and her anger.

There is liberation from the burdens of your ancestral past when you no longer play out the outdated stories of your ancestral trauma. Equipped with the knowledge that dysfunctional familial patterns needn’t be brought into the future, you are free to claim any buried ancestral strengths that may have previously felt out of reach. Such a gift to your ancestors who likely never had the privilege of bringing these out into full expression.

Closing Thoughts

Give thanks to your ancestors for all the beautiful gifts assimilated into your vibrational lineage and disconnect and release with love what continues to present obstacles to your highest vision of living.

Ancestral Healing
Claiming Gifts. Nasturtium flower connected Great Grandmother

I walk outside and notice a nasturtium flower in bloom. It aligns me with the energy of my maternal great-grandmother, Chiara. I’ve heard she liked to add nasturtium flowers to omelets, possibly to spice them up, or maybe she just liked how they added a splash of color to the top. She was a survivor of many things. Today, I celebrate a simple story from my ancestral past, and I feel a message of hope that the ancestral healing is already promoting a sense of wellness.

So this car of mine still bumps and rattles along. I expect it will need ongoing maintenance, but I keep on driving. The investment in it is worth it! There are many more miles to drive and after all, it’s a Toyota! They are built to last.

To learn about services that will support your intentions to begin ancestral healing, please visit my Coaching Services or Metaphysical Services (Spiritual Tools 101) pages. For additional reading related to this topic, I encourage you to read: Live Authentically and Develop Inner Wealth.

If you’re interested in supportive services to assist you with creating a living environment that is free of ancestral trauma and supports intentional living, please visit me here: Estelle Bonaceto. Wishing you growth, healing, and empowerment on your journey of ancestral healing. May you heal back, anchor into your highest intentions moving forward and make your ancestors proud.

Estelle Bonaceto
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