How Many Perspectives Are You Gathering?

genealogy genealogy education genogram inherited trauma wwii Aug 18, 2022

A big question I hear from those researching their ancestor's military service is, 'How do I know which account of the battle is correct?'

My answer is always, 'It depends on which perspective of the battle you are reading or hearing.'

Do you understand what I'm saying? If not, let's look at it this way. Two riflemen are in a foxhole facing forward, anticipating the attack to come from that direction. Then, as artillery flies and small arms fire begins, they realize it is also to their right. One man continues focusing forward while the other turns to the right to fight off the enemy.

After the battle, when you ask each man for his account, you are likely to get two different stories. Two different perspectives. There may be some overlap but possibly not a lot. Which is correct? Both are actually. It is up to you to weave the accounts into your family history narrative.

The same idea applies to our family history stories, ancestral patterns and traumas, and our own personal experiences. The perspective or lens through which we view the experience affects how we process and what we do with the information.

Our perspective might also change as we gather more information or continue on our healing path. I'll give you an example.

When I started researching my Grandpa Joseph's WWII Navy experience, I had very little information. I was told his mental state had changed based on fantastical war stories I was told. I was angry when I learned he left my Grandma Libbie home with three boys to go off and fight. I was irritated that no one in the family would really talk about Grandpa and what happened to him.

Then I received his Navy files and learned the true story. I better understood his mental state and realized the stories I was told were made up (by whom I'm not sure). I understood he was going to have to go fight at age 37 no matter what so he chose to enlist in the Navy. I've moved beyond irritation that no one in the family will really talk about Grandpa to understanding what's behind the unwillingness to talk about him. There is a tremendous amount of pain, shame, guilt, and grief attached to his life and story.

The more I learned about his experience and that of my Grandma and discovered I was living their lives with my former Dutch husband, my perspective changed on who they were, who I was, and who I am becoming.

We really need all those different perspectives and allow ourselves time to process each layer of perspective and information we receive. Only then can we truly heal ourselves and our ancestors. Moving through these layers takes time. Sometimes a lot of time to process. In some cases, as the story with my grandpa, certain events have to take place before other lessons, stories, and awarenessess can surface.

Would you like more content on perspective and inherited trauma? Stop by my YouTube page and watch my short video on skipping generations. Also please hit the SUBSCRIBE button to receive news about new content.

Would you like help identifying your personal and ancestral patterns?

There are two ways I can help you identify personal and ancestral patterns that might be holding you back and not allowing you to release and let go. I offer private facilitation sessions and genogram sessions. You can learn why these are valuable and how they can help you by exploring the differences on the Facilitation & Genogram Session page.

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