Breaking Generational Cycles

Photo Source: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash.

Halla Mannering – Genetics are likely the reason why I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and an anxiety disorder that responds well to Zoloft.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become much more interested in the other things I’ve inherited; things like codependency, serial avoidance, and religious trauma.

It is these things, the generational cycles, that seem to affect me much more than the biology that was passed down by two people who met in Chicago, got married in Seattle, and gave birth to a daughter at the intersection of determination and confusion.

Generational cycles are the ghost that seems to be constantly in our emotional attics, yet they’re rarely talked about. Just as with many things that are taboo in our society, the distrust which manifests itself as avoidance of this topic allows for the same unhealthy grips to continue holding their power.

Breaking generational cycles is an act of bravery.

As a woman, I am not encouraged to be brave. Therefore, I am not encouraged to break generational cycles. Instead, I’m taught to stay quiet, be submissive, and continue the same narrative that was started centuries ago.

Somewhere between getting my first period and piercing my nose, I realized that I would be different. Different, but not in a superior-better-than-you kind of way. Instead, in an I-deserve-better-than-what’s-always-been-done way.

I spend a lot of time thinking about my family members who have died. By seeking to break generational cycles of trauma, I am throwing aside what they passed down to me.

I feel guilty.

I recognize that this is irrational, but everything seems that way when you begin digging deep into the lies that have been passed down like an heirloom that’s seen better days.

If one of the only things that I have left from previous generations is unhealthy patterns, does seeking to break them make me a bad daughter/granddaughter/great-granddaughter/human?



No, I am not a bad human. I am brave and courageous and seeking to do what others have not had the strength to do. But yes, most of my family would probably view me as a bad omen because of this. After years and years and years of trauma and hurt and pain, living a truly happy, unaffected life is something that hasn’t yet been done. So, I am going against the norm. And those that constructed the norm always view that as a bad thing.

I would like to have children someday and I would like for them to only carry their own trauma. Not mine.

Trauma is a fact of life. We’re all traumatized and trying to find a way out. At least I am.

I wish I had a clear answer as to how we can begin breaking generational cycles. I don’t. But the best that I can do is to start trusting myself. By trusting ourselves, we’re taking back power that has always been owed to us.

Trust yourself.

Trust that you know how to live your life and then go live it.


Halla Mannering is a Seattle-based freelance writer. She uses her psychology degree to create inclusive content. Her favorite pieces are ones that inspire and inform. Check out her website:


Photo Source: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash.