“He walks through life as if he’s under a black cloud. When he comes home from work, the whole house feels heavier. And I can never get him to spend any money on anything besides essentials.”
Monica’s list of complaints about the man with whom she shares her life – and 5 children – is far from unique. We hear these types of grievances between couples all the time. Which begs the question: Despite breakthroughs in psychological science and major advances in the field of couples’ therapy, why do marriages continue to fall apart?
Have you ever wondered why you and your partner come up against the same issues again and again, no matter how much work you put into resolving them?
Enter epigenetics. This field of study proves that the beliefs, traumas and experiences we carry with us are almost always handed down to us from previous generations of our own families. When Monica shared that her husband’s father spent years surviving concentration camps, it became clear to me why he would have found spending money on the joys of life, or even living fully, to be incredibly difficult. Unconsciously, we feel a deep sense of guilt about having more than our parents. In our attempts to maintain a sense of belonging in our family, we rarely give ourselves permission to have more than our parents did. Monica’s husband was unable to enjoy the everyday freedoms of his life today, because to his body, this meant having more than his father ever had.
Epigenetic inheritance is defined as “the transmittance of information from one generation to the next, that affects the expressed traits of offspring”. In other words, we can actually be born with a sense of giving up, or with an intrinsic sense of being victimized or threatened. We are carrying within us what was left unresolved from our parents, or grandparents.
The turning point for my clients is often when they are able to imagine a conversation with the loved one. In Monica’s case, she pictured telling her husband, “I love you and all the ways you get pulled away from the joys in our family. I accept that your attention gets pulled away from me and the kids, because a lot of who you are still lives back there with your family.”
The key here is to hold this as an inner statement, which allows you not to take your partner’s mood or responses personally. When we can respond with compassion and understanding, the dynamic simply shifts.
Early life experiences, important family events and family secrets burrow their roots deep within us. The more we are able to understand these roots, the more we can honour the invisible forces behind the behaviours, habits and stuck points in life – and pull them out, for new life forces to grow.
Monica’s husband was moving through life through the eyes of his father, not his own. As she shed tears of understanding with this new insight, she was able to have more more compassion for her life partner, and release long-held resentments and anger.
As this couple continue to resolve their history, which influences how they each show up in their marriage, they are much less likely to share the generational experiences with their children, and grandchildren.
In the 20 years of working with clients, I’ve found that I’m really more of a detective than a therapist. The questions I ask get to the heart of the matter, offering resolution more quickly and effectively than anything else I’ve tried. By listening intently to the words you use to describe your challenges, I’m lead exactly where we need to begin to work, to bring you insight into your life and a sense of freedom and strength you may not have believed was possible. It lights me up to offer this work, and to see my clients come to a place of strength and clarity than they may previously have ever imagined possible.