Healing the Wounds of My Father: Intergenerational trauma

Jen Wozny
4 min readJun 13, 2024

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(Photo credit: Brittani Burns via Unsplash)

I celebrated my birthday recently. I turned 44. I was really looking forward to this particular day because 4 is my favourite number and I’d hoped that that “meant something.” But instead of a happy time, I spent most of the day with a heavy heart: I was suddenly grieving the loss of my father. Plot twist: My birth father is not dead. He’s out there somewhere. He just doesn’t want to be a dad anymore, so I’ve spent the last 18 years processing “it’s not me, it’s him.”

As a Healer, my natural inclination is always to go deeper into what I’m feeling, to really understand it. The unbelievable strength of what was dragging my heart downward told me that this pain was deep. And old. And related, of course, to my dad.

So several days after my birthday, I looked inside myself, searching for the wound. What I found was that this horrible grief and pain that I’d felt wasn’t actually mine. It was his.

Unloved.

That’s what I found.

The wound of feeling and being unloved.

I remember, growing up, that my dad would often tell me and my birth brother about his own childhood. “Did you know that my father never once told me he loved me?” he would ask us. “Not once.”

Having grown up with a mom who always made me know how loved I was, I just cannot imagine what it would be like to not have that. To have my own parent not love me.

The absence of that energy must have been a gaping hole in his life. It definitely shaped him.

Not knowing what love really was and felt like, my dad was unable to recognize it when he had it. My mom and I both saw him, felt for him, and loved him deeply. But he couldn’t see that. Attachment patterns coloured his vision; what felt like love to him was actually dysfunction, and so he blocked out the real thing. In doing so, the childhood wound ensured that he continued to do without.

In my own self, I do have the wound of “unloved.” We all do, I think. In so many ways, this world is good at telling us we don’t belong here or there, we’re not good enough for something or someone, we’re rejected or ejected from the tribe. We get overlooked. Forgotten about. Dismissed. All of that pokes at a wound that only love can fill.

So I understood why this came up. And I kind of already knew it was there. I just didn’t know that it was mine to heal. His wound; I didn’t know that that had fallen to me. But such is the way of intergenerational trauma: What they don’t deal with, we must.

Having recognized the work ahead, I sat down on my meditation cushion, got quiet, and tuned in to myself. I followed the thread of “unloved” right to my father’s wound. The first glimpse I got was heartbreaking: a broken soul crying out to be noticed and loved. The full extent of the wound, though, was massive. At this level of zoom, it wasn’t just his pain; it was a collective trauma, held by many more male souls. After clearing it for myself, I cleared it for my birth father and all those who sat with him in that particular level of hell.

And then I brought my father to Source. Asked Source to wrap him in love. Did the same for myself. And closed the session.

I share this story for several reasons. First, so that you know that not everything you feel is yours; some of it belongs to others. Second, I wanted to illustrate what intergenerational trauma really feels like: it feels like our own pain; it gets easily mistaken for something that we created. Third, let me state clearly that this time on our planet has been designated as a time for all of this old, ancient pain to rise to the surface — for the sake of healing it once and for all. Since this healing just weeks ago, yet another major wound of my father’s has risen inside me, needing my attention. I often hear clients say, “It’s one thing after another…” Yes, it’s that. That’s the dynamic we’re in right now. That’s what we’re doing: healing one thing after another after another. And so, fourth, I want to implore you to keep healing yourself, keep turning inward, keep unpacking the emotional baggage. That leads me to my fifth and final point: I want to help you with that. You can learn more here: https://putthelighthere.com/

~ Jen

“You’ll always be my little girl,” and “There’s nothing more important than family,” said the man who, 18 years ago, decided he no longer wanted to be a dad.

Hear me when I say this: Unhealed baggage breaks families apart.

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Jen Wozny

BA, MSc. Holistic Energy Healer and Coach for your soul, emotions, mind, and body. Former Intel. Founder of www.PutTheLightHere.