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This Stops Now - Breaking the Pattern of Generational Trauma

You've probably been hurt in your life. By a romantic partner and very likely in one way or another by your parents. Start asking why they've hurt you. Ask with curious compassion. Understand why they did what they did and you'll start seeing the patterns which repeat generation after generation. Once you see them, you can say 'this stops now!'

You might reach a point in your life, at which - thanks to yoga, meditation, inspirational books, self reflection or just conversations with other human beings - you become aware of certain patterns.

Patterns in your thinking which are holding you back.

Maybe your own mind is putting you down, keeping you small, telling you that you are not worthy, not whole, etc. Creating the illusion that you need something or someone externally to fill that hole in your being. The next job, the next move, the next relationship, the next holiday. You live your life waiting for the next thing in the belief that finally when it comes, you will be happy at last!

And when it happens, what do you do? While you’re on holiday (excuse the example), you already think about the next thing instead of fully enjoying the moment. Your mind keeps you occupied with thoughts and desires of things that you supposedly NEED to be happy. In reality, these are not needs, but wants and there’s a huge difference.

Maybe you have some deeply rooted beliefs about yourself and are starting to notice them with more awareness. I touched on mine already in my last post, specifically the one that goes ‘if I’m not perfect, I’m not lovable’ and the other main one for me is ‘I’m a burden’.

I was very fortunate to spend the last three weeks in a lovely place with three close friends in Goa. We lived together and initially, coming from lively Rishikesh, we all felt rather bored. The monsoon season in Goa was still going on when we arrived on the 13th September and there were hardly any people around. Any cafe and restaurant we found to be open, we were mostly the only customers and if not, there were maybe 1 or 2 other tables in places where you normally can’t get a seat.

Something very beautiful came out of this boredom though! And this is again the perfect moment to say: everything happens for a reason! Because there were no new people to make small talk with and get to know, we connected more deeply with each other and had evenings of honest sharing. Instead of talking about how beautiful the beach was in Goa (especially when the sun finally made an appearance), we talked about pain and heartache, being hurt by how previous romantic relationships ended, but also being hurt by our parents and other family members when we were kids.

And we started to ask the most important question you can ask: why? And then ask again: why? Not ‘why did this happen to poor old me?’, no, ‘why did my mum say x/y/z in this situation’ or ‘why is my dad not able to see me after years of no contact’ or ‘why did my parents not make time for me’ or ‘why didn’t we ever speak about feelings’ or ‘why didn’t we hug and cuddle more’ or [insert your own question here, ‘cause we all have them no doubt]. There are endless questions like this we can ask ourselves.

The important thing is not to ask with the intention to blame, but with curiosity and compassion. It’s not about saying - how could they have done this to me. But with an open heart it’s about understanding why they have done it. What was their own childhood like? How did their parents treat them?

Sitting there in this beach cafe in Goa, in the evening with my two close friends, asking ourselves these questions in a safe space, really made me want to bring these topics out into the open with my parents directly. So the next day I called my mum, my dad and my grandma.

And I am so happy that I did. There is so much more understanding now and the healing of wounds and beliefs that go back generations has started. It is incredible when you listen to them talk, really listen and try to understand and imagine what life would have been like. Most likely you will find that the same patterns from your own childhood also existed in the childhood of your parents and their parents.

For example, I can clearly pinpoint the moment in which my belief of always having to be perfect came into existence and embedded itself in my mind like an unshakable truth. I came home from school one time, I must have been between 12 and 14 I guess, with the result from an exam. I can’t remember which topic it was, but I had a 2+. In Germany the grading system goes from 1 to 6 with 1 being the best and 6 being the worst. So a 2+ is an excellent result. But it is also just a tiny bit short of being a 1-. I was happy with my 2+, but when I told my mum, instead of saying ‘well done’, she said dismissively ‘why isn’t it a 1’ and that was the exact moment I started believing that I’m not lovable when I’m not perfect.

I am not telling you this - again - to point fingers and blame my mum and say, mum you’ve ruined my life. No. We have talked this through and it is just about bringing awareness to where this behaviour is coming from.

Guess what, when I asked my mum about her own childhood, what did she tell me? That her own mum was quite strict and if she came home from school with a 3, she was in trouble. When my uncle, her 2 years younger brother, came home with a 3, it wasn’t even worth talking about, it was fine. So imagine this for a second, my mum must have developed the exact same belief as me when she was young. And it’s so deeply engrained that she unknowingly passed it on to me.

And it continues. I also spoke to my grandma, my mum’s mum. And take another guess. She told me that 1) she never knew her dad because my great grandma was forced to leave the Czech Republic with her sister and my grandma, when my grandma was just 1 or 2 years old, and her dad, a Czech citizen, stopped visiting them shortly after that. I don’t know why, maybe he couldn’t. Doesn’t matter now. And 2) my great grandma was super strict with the upbringing of my grandma. Surprise surprise.

Unfortunately my great grandma passed away years ago, so I couldn’t speak to her now to ask what her own childhood was like, but you get the idea. Generation after generation, the pressure to perform and achieve the best grades was there. But it is stopping now. I am unlearning this belief - for myself and others. Not only am I learning to love and accept myself with all my imperfections, but I am also learning to love others just the way they are - with all their imperfections.

We are all just humans and we are all just winging this thing called life in the best way we can. And for me, slowly but surely, things don’t have to be perfect anymore. My work, my writing, my yoga classes, my selection of restaurants (especially when friends are coming along), my choice of dish from the menu, my social media content, my outfits, my hair, etc etc. This is not to say that I don’t care anymore and that I don’t want to achieve a good result anymore for myself and my clients, far from it. BUT the big difference is that now I can say at 95% - ok, this is good enough! I don’t need to stress myself to get to 100%. And if I order the wrong dish and get food envy, or if I chose a restaurant and it turns out to be a disappointment, so what. Let’s just laugh it off and order pizza instead!

The other belief, that ‘I am a burden’ has developed more subtly over time because my mum didn’t have much time for me when I grew up and so if I had any problem I didn’t want to bother her, hence I kept quiet. And because of that, for most of my life, I haven’t spoken up to say what I need or ask for help because I didn’t want to be a burden to anybody. This makes for a difficult and lonely life at times, thinking you have to do everything by yourself without anyone there to help you is not healthy - and not necessary.

In fact one of my three friends in Goa told me what someone had said to her about asking for help and it completely changed my perspective: “When someone asks you for help, don’t you feel happy? When you help someone else out, isn’t it a great feeling that you were able to support them?” - “Uhhh, yes” - “Exactly! So why would you not give the opportunity to someone else to feel happy to help you?”

Yeah, good point, when you put it like this! Thank you!

When my great grandma came to Germany from the Czech Republic and my grandma’s dad stopped visiting, she never had another man in her life. Instead, she devoted herself to her work. So my grandma grew up seeing her mother work, work, work, work. And of course, unconsciously, my grandma also worked a lot when my mum grew up. And so my mum just did the same, she acted in the only way she knew and devoted most of her hours in the day to her work. She’s become very successful and has achieved a lot in a way, but she also has regrets which are paining her now, that she didn’t spend more time with me and my sister when we were growing up and that she chose work over family. Now she has the hindsight to understand that this is time that you will never get back. When your kids are growing up, you don’t want to miss it because you’re working too much.

Everyone has needs and communicating them clearly is so important. If I am happy to accommodate other people’s needs and help them out, then I must also be happy to communicate my own needs and ask for help. I am not a burden. I am just a human being living my life, seeking happiness and joy and love, because ultimately that’s the goal. Not amassing a fortune. If that happens, I’ll take it too, but if that was still my priority, I wouldn’t have quit my Marketing career after 6 years. There’s more meaning to life when you focus on love and connection.

I am born in 1987 and my generation, my friends’ generation (1990-95) and my sister’s generation (2000+), we have come to this world with a specific purpose. Among us are more healers than in previous generations because we are in desperate need not only to heal ourselves, but to release our ancestors from all the pain they’ve endured throughout their lives too.

So from the bottom of my heart I encourage you to seek the conversation with your parents and grandparents. Ask them about their childhoods. Ask with an open mind, an open heart, with compassion and curiosity. At the very beginning of the conversation, make it super clear that this isn’t about blaming, but that you just want to talk about these things and bring awareness to these issues in order to bring them out in the open. Shine a light onto them. Shine a light onto the pain that these patterns have caused.

You know what will happen when you shine your light in this way? Your light dispels the darkness. It starts to heal the pain. And it also allow others to find their own light too.

After speaking to my dad, he realised that he now has a lot of unanswered questions about his parents himself. He doesn’t know much about his own dad as sadly he passed away when my dad was just 12 years old. And he never asked his mum any questions like these. The sad thing is that now it’s too late to ask in this lifetime, but he seemed determined to talk more with my auntie, his older sister, to hopefully find some answers and facilitate more healing along the way.

It’s time.

Make the first move. Start the conversation. Initiate the healing.

Break the pattern.

This stops now.

With much love and light,


310 views2 comments


Jessy Fassler
Jessy Fassler
Oct 05, 2020

Thank you so much Jana, me too, I hope to connect with you again in the real world. Fingers crossed it can happen soon! Love, Jessy


Jana Joy
Jana Joy
Oct 04, 2020

Great post Jessy! I especially loved this part: “When someone asks you for help, don’t you feel happy? When you help someone else out, isn’t it a great feeling that you were able to support them?” - “Uhhh, yes” - “Exactly! So why would you not give the opportunity to someone else to feel happy to help you?” I, too suffer from perfectionism and struggle with asking for help. Thanks my friend. I hope to connect with you again when the borders open up! Love, Jana Joy

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