“No man is an island” is a phrase that expresses the idea that no one truly acts alone. In one way or another, our actions—no matter how small— will impact others. The whole concept of generational curses is a clear example of that.
When we were just babies, new and naïve to the ways of the world, there was no way we could’ve known what our families would be like. But as we learn and grow, every action, interaction, event, and happening helps us to not only further our understanding of the people around us, but makes us both a witness to and a participant in that same dynamic.
When that dynamic is one that is based in repetitive pain and trauma, a generational curse is born.
So what does that mean for us? We must unlearn and rebuild—and that’s no easy feat. Here are three books helping you break down toxic family habits and patterns, while also teaching you to live a life of love and healing.
It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, $13
There is a clear connection between the pain we experience as an individual and the experiences of our loved ones as a collective. It is very clear that traumatic experiences are not something we create by ourselves or even suffer through alone. In fact, they can be passed down through generations.
This book offers both insight and understanding into how family trauma can be inherited. It’s a sobering look into how depression, anxiety, negative-self talk, and even chronic pain and phobias can be a family affair.
Imagine all the things you would allow yourself to do, think, and say if you knew that no one would judge you for it. That version of self is the one that lives outside of vulnerability and shame, but deeply within healing.
As a collection of essays, this books breaks down personal experiences in shame resilience, learning to be accepting of oneself in the face of white supremacy, and offers us all a “a [safe] space to be vulnerable and affirm the fullness of Black love and Black life.”
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, $31
For too many of us, growing up meant emotionally and mentally raising ourselves while simultaneously cultivating a stronger sense of maturity and emotional intelligence than our parent(s) ever knew.
Not only is this an experience one that creates a deep, hidden generational trauma, but it turns us into people who know how to cater to and care for everyone but ourselves.
This book is an ode to the child who played the position of the parent; It’s a guide meant to help you process feelings of loneliness, burden, and betrayal, and step into a life where your emotional needs are finally met.