Katie’s Bookshelf: It Didn’t Start with You by Mark Wolynn

IMG_2685It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle is a book that explores this concept of epigenetics and how we may carry our ancestors stressors and traumas in our genes.  The book does a good job of explaining how this happens and provides some examples.  I thought some of the examples seemed a bit “out of this world” and unimaginable but interesting.  I think this phenomenon plays out more in the not so obvious ways the book provided.  When we start digging deeper in our family history, we are bound to find stressors that play out in our lives as they are our own.  The book uses “core language,” “core complaint,” “core sentence,” and “core trauma” development to help the reader discover their greatest fears and help possibly connect to an ancestor who had a similar experience.

“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.”

Many chapters including the “core” ones have writing exercises to help with discovery and ways to process well as release our stressors and traumas.  I believe the writing exercises are beneficial and give the reader ways to work through what they have found.  The author goes into areas that are traumatic that we may overlook including in utero and early childhood attachment issues.

Overall, the book was intriguing for me personally as a therapist as it provides another avenue for self-discovery as well as understanding possible reasons why we struggle with what we struggle with.  I would suggest having the support of a mental health professional while diving into these topics.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in epigenetics
  • Believe your ancestors may provide more insight into your own struggles
  • A mental health professional and want to help your clients dive deeper into their past

Buy it Here