Emotional inheritance; What is it – what are the effects – how can we stop trauma that is passed on from generation to generation

As of 2018, I use emotional inheritance as part of my mission in my work, blogs and writing a book(s). And I came up with emotional inheritance because as I experienced myself, unresolved traumas are passed on from generation to generation, until someone heals it!

(This is an English translation of a Dutch blog I wrote years ago, and to which more and more attention is being paid)

Do you ever think; my relationship with my partner is like that of my parents – I keep attracting the same painful situations – my life is like that of my father or mother? Then it could very well be that history repeats itself! A similar history to that of your parents and/or ancestors. You can stop this!

In this blog I will talk about emotional inheritance and how it can express itself in a human life. In short, an emotional inheritance is the emotional part that you can inherit from your parents and ancestors. Everyone knows that you can inherit physical characteristics such as hair color, body type, and diseases, etc., but it is also possible that you inherit their unresolved traumas and pains. You receive them at conception, and are passed on from generation to generation until someone heals them! Of course you can also inherit the positive emotions.

So, it is not a strange thought at all when you think of similarities between your life and that of your parents or ancestors. It truly happens! When one or both parents have not processed a trauma and have children together, these children will attract a similar trauma.

The emotional inheritance are the words I use and came up with in 2018 for my Dutch book; “Everything starts with THE EMOTIONAL INHERITANCE of our parents/ancestors. I would like to have this book translated into English, as it had and sometimes still has such an enormous impact on my life, and it is so important to know what your history is and tells! It is partly my mission to bring more awareness about this.

Those who don’t know their history
is doomed to repeat it!

By making wrong choices during WWII, 6 people from my family (father’s and mother’s side) were interned in various camps, often for years and under the most horrible conditions. From serious abuse to medication and food withdrawal and sexual excesses. No one collaborated with the Germans, but they were labeled as such and captured. No one has had a fair trial and no one has been able to live a normal and happy life afterwards!

And they all lost all their possessions and never got them back…

I am the (grand)child of a traumatized family; both my parents and the so-called ‘wrong’ grandparents during the Second World War.


When you are familiar with the history of at least both your parents and compare it with your own life, you have taken the first step of becoming aware. Awareness of where possible causes of inner pain come from and where healing can begin. If you start working on this, you can prevent further repetition in your own life but also in that of your children!


“I was terrified of my father’s black boots with spurs. I always crawled under the chair when he came in. Don’t know exactly why. My life was controlled by fear.”

These are the words my mother told me in 2002 about her traumatic war past and her captivity as a child in a Dutch camp just after WWII.

Suddenly I understood my recurring nightmares, which were exactly the same as what had happened in reality when my mother talked about her father. In my nightmares I also saw a man in a German uniform entering with black boots and myself sheltering under a desk (instead of a chair as in my mother’s reality and the only difference). I now understood that I had inherited this fear from my mother and that it was my grandfather, who had naturalized as a German during WWII.

Suddenly I also understood my many inexplicable fears, including my fear of the dark, fear of rejection, fear of… all of which I had inherited from my mother and all the women in the generations before. I discovered this when my mother ‘opened up’ and told me, at the age of 37, about her traumatic past. And then my father followed…

Only then did my real inner processing and healing of heavy emotional inheritance begin…it took me 23 years…


It is very natural when people have suffered a traumatic experience that they would like to forget it as quickly as possible. They no longer want to feel the pain they have suffered, either because they are taboo, or out of shame, and/or because they are too painful. Often a pain or event is hidden as far away as possible and many see this as a solution, so that they no longer have to talk about it and can forget it.

In reality, trauma is not forgotten, but suppressed and therefore not processed. Its memory is stored in the cells of our body and is triggered again and again in our lives by external events. The result is that we then start to react and act from old pain!

Until we become aware of this and start to break through, feel, resolve, or heal the pain in the family line! And discovering that we are not our (grand)parents, but our own individual with our own identity!

If you still carry the burden of your past with you, you will not be happy.

The best way to help and heal yourself is to first become aware of your pain, recognize it and discover where the cause lies. Then feel this pain(s) when you are triggered and therefore do not push it away!

There is no point in suppressing pain, there is no point in denying it, in fact, it always returns to your life in one way or another, until you pay attention to it.

Tools to help you

Feeling pain is not an easy task and can be extremely painful. Yet this is necessary. Below I give an exercise for feeling and reducing/resetting pain.

When you feel pain and not just rationalizes, the pain will automatically end, you process it. If you only rationalize pain, you are avoiding this process of feeling through, which will work against you. When you also feel the pain, it disappears from your body and thoughts, you let it go…

If you do not wish to do this process alone, ask a practitioner for help!

As I already wrote, the first step is to find out about the history of your parents and grandparents, especially the painful side. Do this your way, but I would definitely recommend taking notes!

A second step is to place your notes of your (grand)parents’ history next to your own life. How do you recognize things, pains, traumas, similarities? This requires honesty and often also courage to recognize and acknowledge things.

A third step is to feel these pains as soon as they arise. How:

Exercise ‘Observing yourself’

  1. Find a place where you can be alone and lie down or sit.
  2. Then close your eyes and go back to the situation when the pain came to the surface.
  3. Feel the pain again and let your tears flow if necessary. Leave your feelings where they are and don’t judge. Just observe the pain. Where do you feel the pain in your body?
  4. Say your feelings out loud, if you wish to express them (in present tense). This can also help bring out any suppressed pain. Acknowledge the pain – feel the pain – and let go of the pain.
  5. Once the pain has decreased, gently return to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths and open your eyes.

From wound to scar

And so you can make an important start in healing your emotional inheritance and transforming your open wounds to scars. With an open wound you are quickly triggered and you return to an (old) pain. When an open wound has become a scar, you will be triggered less quickly or no longer and will be able to respond from an adult consciousness, from your own identity! I absolutely believe in the self-healing capacity of humans!

Loving regards,

Monique Angèle van de Laar

E-mail: praktijkhappyworld@gmail.com