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Breaking Generational Trauma Quotes
Breaking free from generational trauma is no easy task, but reading quotes can help you relate and heal from toxic patterns.
When trauma, neglect, and abuse are passed down from generation to generation, it can be hard to break the toxic patterns.
But with the help of these quotes, the toxic cycle can end with you.
Can trauma be passed down from one generation to another?
Trauma can absolutely be passed down from generation to generation.
In fact, studies have supported the idea that an ancestor’s exposure to trauma may impact future generations.
Intergenerational trauma is the theory that trauma can be inherited, because there are genetic changes within a person’s DNA.
More specifically, epigenetics is the study of the effects that environment and behavior have on genes.
👉 If you import your family tree on MyHeritage.com, I’m sure you’ll uncover years of history that can be rooted in trauma.
It’s incredible that you can connect with your distant relatives, and you can even get your own DNA test done if you’re feeling fancy.
How do you deal with generational trauma?
The cycle of abuse and trauma can end with you.
Working on healing your inner child is an incredible way to see just how much your family may have negatively influenced your life so far.
Sometimes cutting ties with toxic family members, relationships, and friendships is the key to kickstarting and ending the cycle of generational trauma.
Of course, if you struggle with systemic issues like poverty, war, or racism, overcoming generational cycles can be that much more difficult.
But knowing the things you do have control over is where substantial healing takes place.
Speaking of healing generational trauma, have you downloaded your free inner child healing workbook yet? 👇
And now for 35 quotes about ending generational trauma…
Quotes About the Cycle of Trauma and Abuse:
1. “Our family was stuck in a cosmic hamster wheel of toxic love, making the same mistakes, saying the same words, being hurt in the same ways generation after generation. I didn’t want to keep playing a role in this tragedy of errors.” ― Yamile Saied Méndez (Furia)
2. “If we are their children, their abuse started on our first day of life and will only deepen as we age or for as long as we remain connected to them.” ― Sherrie Campbell (But It’s Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath)
3. “My father told me abuse is generational.” ― Glenn Beck
4. “The family drama may look and sound different from generation to generation, but all toxic patterns are remarkably similar in their outcome: pain and suffering.” ― Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)
5. “In a certain sense, members of a dysfunctional family are participating in a ‘consensual trance‘, i.e., a ‘survival trance’ supported by false narratives, toxic shame, anxiety, and egoic defense mechanisms, such as denial and projection.” ― Rebecca C. Mandeville (Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Understanding Family Scapegoating Abuse)
6. “Toxic mothers plant seeds of guilt, low self-esteem, and low self-worth into their daughters which further manifests when those daughters get into their own relationships making them extremely needy or even toxic just like their own moms.” ― Anonymous
7. “Sadly, no one in our family ever said, “I love you.” Do you realize that? The truth is, I think we were all frightened of saying it, since the obvious reply would’ve been. “Well, if this is love, what is hate like?” ― Louie Anderson (Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child)
8. “Toxic parents are the root cause of all dysfunctional families because the fish rots first at its head.” — Anonymous
Breaking Generational Cycles Quotes:
9. “This toxic pattern within the broken family system will continue from one generation to the next, until one brave survivor finally ends the cycle of abuse. The dysfunction, bullying, and abuse didn’t start with you, but it most certainly can end with you.” ― Dana Arcuri (Soul Rescue: How to Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse & Heal Trauma)
10. “Fear of breaking family loyalty is one of the greatest stumbling blockages to recovery. Yet, until we admit certain things we would rather excuse or deny, we cannot truly begin to put the past in the past, and leave it there once and for all.” — Ronald Allen Schulz
11. “Many neglected and abused children grow up to be adults who are afraid to take risks of striking out on their own. Many will remain dependent on their abusive parents and unable to separate from them.” ― Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused — And Start Standing Up for Yourself)
12. “About the expression “Hurt people, hurt people”.. Hurt people are not going to stop HURTING other people until they receive the memo that it is WRONG, (or if there are actual consequences for their behavior.) Feeling sorry for them and understanding where they ‘came from’ is not helping to stop the cycle of abuse.” ― Darlene Ouimet
13. “When you were abused, those around you acted as if it weren’t happening. Since no one else acknowledged the abuse, you sometimes felt that it wasn’t real.” ― Beverly Engel (The Right to Innocence)
14. “I explain to my patients that abused children often find it hard to disentangle themselves from their dysfunctional families, whereas children grow away from good, loving parents with far less conflict. After all, isn’t that the task of a good parent, to enable the child to leave home?” ― Irvin Yalom (Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy)
15. “It’s okay to cut toxic family members out of your life. Blood ain’t thicker than peace of mind.” — Anonymous
Healing Intergenerational Trauma Quotes:
16. “Healing generational trauma takes courage and strength. It’s common for dysfunctional families to deny their abuse. They silence victims and dump toxic shame onto them. Complicit families keep abuse alive from generation to generation, until one brave survivor boldly ends the cycle of abuse.” ― Dana Arcuri (Soul Rescue: How to Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse & Heal Trauma)
17. “Sleeping inside each of them were fragments of traumas too great to be resolved in one generation.” ― Mark Wolynn (It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle)
18. “The failures of our parents may become our burden, but it is our choice to continue carrying it onward into the next generation or put it down. My adopted beliefs were my written script for living, and I played it out like a self-fulfilling prophecy. As I moved toward healing, I learned unconscious patterns can change once brought into awareness.” ― Oriana Allen (The Truth in Our Scars: Untangling Trauma to Discover Your Secret Self)
19. “The black sheep blazes the trail for other family members to follow when they finally see the wolf.” — Anonymous
20. “Remaining silent about family pain is rarely an effective strategy for healing it. The suffering will surface again at a later time, often expressing in the fears or symptoms of a later generation.” ― Mark Wolynn (It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle)
21. “Recovering from family scapegoating requires recognizing that being the ‘identified patient’ is symptomatic of generations of systemic dysfunction within one’s family, fueled by unrecognized anxiety and even trauma.” — Rebecca C. Mandeville (Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Understanding Family Scapegoating Abuse)
22. “The most powerful ties are the ones to the people who gave us birth it hardly seems to matter how many years have passed, how many betrayals there may have been, how much misery in the family: We remain connected, even against our wills.” ― Anthony Brandt
23. “Your inner child is waiting for a genuine, heartfelt apology.” ― Yong Kang Chan (Parent Yourself Again: Love Yourself the Way You Have Always Wanted to Be Loved)
GENERATIONAL TRAUMA AND EPIGENETICS
💭 Have you heard about intergenerational trauma?
Well, intergenerational trauma is the theory that trauma can be inherited, because there are genetic changes within a person’s DNA.
More specifically, epigenetics is the study of the effects that environment and behavior have on genes.
I know that’s super science-y, but basically, studies have supported the idea that an ancestor’s exposure to trauma may impact future generations.
👉 If you import your family tree on MyHeritage.com, you can uncover years of history that can be rooted in generational trauma.
It’s a fantastic way to connect with your distant relatives, and you can even get your own DNA test done if you’re feeling fancy.
Quotes About DNA and Trauma:
24. “We’ll learn about epigenetic changes—the chemical modifications that occur in our cells as a result of a traumatic event.” ― Mark Wolynn (It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle)
25. “The depth at which we take in the preceding generations astonishes me. There is likely an epigenetic component to this as well as transmission through the internalizations that get passed down through the generations. Whole cultures are carried forward that way, so it makes sense that family legacies might be transmitted that way as well.” ― Bonnie Badenoch (The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships)
26. “When entangled, you unconsciously carry the feelings, symptoms, behaviors, or hardships of an earlier member of your family system as if these were your own.” ― Mark Wolynn (It Didn’t Start with You)
27. “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. —Thich Nhat Hanh (A Lifetime of Peace)
28. “Until we uncover the actual triggering event in our family history, we can relive fears and feelings that don’t belong to us—unconscious fragments of a trauma—and we will think they’re ours.” ― Mark Wolynn (It Didn’t Start with You)
29. “Poverty has long arms that reach through generations of people, leaving telltale bruise marks on its victims even after they are blessed enough to get out.” ― My Name Is Child of God…Not “Those People”: A First Person Look at Poverty)
More Quotes About Generational Trauma:
30. “If people have harmed us, that part is usually a protector whose need to cause injury comes from desperate attempts to not feel destroyed by the pain and fear they are carrying. Generally they are not conscious of this process, but it likely mirrors what has been passed down through the generations in the family.” ― Bonnie Badenoch (The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships)
31. “My sister only has one side of the story but she is sure that she knows the whole story because that is how the dysfunctional system works. We don’t question everyone or even consider that there may be another side to the story but instead automatically believe the one who has the most power in the relationship.” ― Darlene Ouimet
32. “By developing a relationship with the painful parts of ourselves—parts we have often inherited from our family—we have an opportunity to shift them. Qualities like cruelty can become the source of our kindness; our judgments can forge the foundation of our compassion.” ― Mark Wolynn (It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle)
33. “Persons in dysfunctional families characteristically do not feel because they learned from a young age that not feeling is necessary for psychic survival. Family members generally learn it is too painful to feel the hurt or to experience the fear that comes from feelings of rage, abandonment, moments of terror, and memories of horror.” ― Kathleen Heide
34. “I feared putting a child through more pain than I had gone through. Yet the more I tried to avoid acting like the men in my childhood, the more them I seemed to become.” ― Lucas Bessire (Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains)
35. “You don’t get to choose your family, but you do get to choose how they’re allowed to treat you.” – Anonymous
Reading quotes for breaking generational cycles
Quotes about the cycle of abuse and trauma can help shift things back into perspective.
When you feel yourself slipping back into the toxic ways of your family, you can remember why you’re wanting to break the pattern in the first place.
💾 Bookmark this page for whenever you need a reminder of the best quotes for breaking generational trauma.
More quotes to read:
- 70 Healing Inner Child Quotes (to Help Overcome Childhood Trauma)
- 107 Toxic Parents Quotes (When Mother and Father Are Abusive AF)
- 101 Healing Inner Child Affirmations (to Reparent Yourself)
- 50 Gaslighting Quotes (for When You’re Being Emotionally Abused)
More inner child healing posts:
- 17 Magical Crystals for Healing Childhood Trauma (and Emotional Pain)
- 40 Child Abuse Songs (When You Had a Bad Childhood)
- 13 Nostalgic Activities to Reconnect with Your Inner Child
- 21 Powerful Inner Child Healing Meditations (Guided and Unguided)
- 13 Inner Child Healing Exercises (for Your Wounded Younger Self)
- 17 Must-Have Healing Gifts for Your Inner Child
- 11 Ways to Heal Childhood Trauma Spiritually (and Awaken Your Inner Child)
- 23 Inner Child Oracle Cards (for Deep Shadow Work)
- 23 Tarot Decks (for Intense Inner Child Work)
- 33 Sentimental Toys for Your Inner Child (for 90s Babies)
- 13 Therapeutic Essential Oils for Healing Childhood Trauma
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