I read an article today about how the PTSD and trauma experienced by survivors of the Nazi death camps may have effected the way that the children born to these mothers later in life by changing the amounts of the chemicals that fight stress, and therefore effecting the way those children cope with life and stress. Coupling that with being parented by a person who experienced trauma may also be included in that equation.
Children of Holocaust survivors may have been indirectly traumatised by the event due to genes passed from their parents, a remarkable new study has found.
The startling research reveals that traumatic events can alter a person’s genetic make-up, meaning the effects can be carried through generations.
A team working in an American hospital found children of parents who suffered under the Nazi regime had an increased likelihood of developing stress disorders, attributing this to ‘Holocaust exposure’.
Years and years ago when I was in school we learned how famine effects the offspring of those who were starved. Every woman born has all the eggs she will ever have the moment she is born. So if she was starved before she was born in a mother who was involved in a famine the female child or the male child of famine will be somewhat mentally retarded. However, if after birth these children are fed an “ideal” diet none the less the FEMALE children of famine will pass on retardation for THREE generations even if the father of their children is “normal” IQ. However, because the male is not born with all the sperm, even the retarded male child of famine can produce normal offspring.
When we think of the trauma in the world today, which we can see on the nightly news every night, and see the innocent civilians who are traumatized and threatened on a daily basis for years, to say nothing of the millions of refugees who are deprived of sufficient nutrition we can only imagine the effects from this being perpetuated through the generations.
We do know that psychopathy and other mental abnormalities are some what genetic to start with, and twin studies and studies of adopted children prove this beyond a doubt, those parents who have a child or children by a disordered person, while experiencing trauma themselves have a good chance of having children who are atypical. A good friend of mine who was married to a psychopath who abused her and her child finally distanced herself from him, and raised her only son in the best environment she could provide while healing herself. Now that her son is grown, he is showing signs, though, of the DNA and the as well as the trauma he experienced as a youngster and “becoming more like his dad.” While her son is not nearly as abusive as his father was/is, none the less he has a narcissistic sense of entitlement and seems to think the world (and his mother) owes him a swanky lifestyle without him having to work and earn it.
How much is DNA from the father and how much is from the trauma his mother suffered through during her pregnancy with her son isn’t known, but I have no doubt that the high levels of stress hormones that we have produced in our own bodies in order to cope with the trauma and stresses of dealing with a psychopath ourselves has an effect on our offspring as well, even if they do not have a psychopathic parent for the other parent.
Recent research has shown that various things have effects on our DNA, for example it has been demonstrated that 12% of the population of European descent are immune to HIV because their ancestors got the Plague and survived it. Somehow the plague changed the DNA in those survivors which was passed on to succeeding generations which were then immune to the HIV virus.
We also know from studies that stress hormones (especially very traumatic stress or long term high stress) changes the chemicals and the anatomy of our brains. Stress causes many many changes in our bodies and our brains and literally “stress kills” so why wouldn’t those changes to some extent be passed on to our offspring?
We also know that psychopaths also tend to be left handed at a much higher rate than typical folks, as well as they tend to be more apt to be bi-polar, and/or hyperactive.
There has been an “old farmer’s tale” that cattle or horses with the “hair whoral” lower on their heads rather than higher tend to be more calm. A few years ago a study was made of this “old farmer’s tale” and it proved to be scientifically valid, and I’ve seen it myself in my own herds of both horses and cattle.
In my own life I have seen the effects of the PTSD after the plane crash on my short term memory, and even physical health, which has now improved some over the eleven years since the crash.
If you have experienced trauma and/or abuse I highly recommend that you seek counseling for both yourself and any children you have. Having been a counselor I found it difficult to seek treatment for myself, though I did take my children to counseling after my pretty traumatic divorce. I don’t say that counseling will “fix” everything…my son Patrick sure wasn’t fixed by any counseling, his DNA was too strong, but for those kids who didn’t inherit the extreme psychopathological genetics, it might avoid some future problems. I’m also very glad that I did eventually seek treatment for the PTSD and stress and anxiety I experienced.
God bless us all.