Identifying Trauma in World War II Records

7th infantry division ancestral lineage healing genealogy inherited trauma okinawa ptsd wwii Jul 16, 2021

As we research our family's history through genealogical and military records, we often strive to just document the basic facts. Names, dates, places, and a few notes. When we have time, we may dig deeper and record short stories within our notes or family tree to give it more context. Often we seek the easiest to locate and free records to just fill in gaps. Does this really help us heal?

Sometimes to heal and more fully understand a family member or entire generations dynamic, we need to go all the way to get as many records, often paid, to find answers. The people who go the extra miles are often the ones who have deeper questions to answer like,

Why was my father or grandfather so angry / an alcoholic / abusive / violent......

What happened to my mother or grandmother or aunt during World War II that made her choose to ........

Why do I feel like I'm living my grandparent's lives in my marriage?

What happened to my father or grandfather or uncle to make him emotionally unavailable?

Why didn't my father talk about his war experience? Why (if I'm a girl) does he only tell my brother?

Identify the Trauma in Military Records

Sometimes the only way to identify what our family member went through in a war, is to get the unit-level records and histories and read. Put the puzzle pieces together of what he or she experienced while at war.

The problem is, military records do not easily lay out the trauma someone endured and tell you specifically how it affected them. You have to locate each puzzle piece and put it together.

As you create the puzzle, you may find emotions coming up for yourself that you do not expect. This may be because you hold the family's trauma in your DNA and body. We can, if we are quiet and patient, feel our ancestor's trauma and we can heal this.

This snippet is from a 7th Infantry Division report on the assault on Okinawa. Now, anyone who knows anything about Okinawa in WWII knows it was a bloody, violent mess. Many did not survive, many were wounded physically and mentally. Most did not talk about it after the war.

As you read this snippet you may feel nauseous, sad, angry, or any number of emtions. You may also finally understand why so many veterans did not talk about what they saw, did, heard, smelled, or experienced. It was too traumatic. Yet, in their silence, the energy of what they went through passed to the family and down through the DNA into future generations. Two or three generations after WWII, we still feel this trauma only it is decontextualized. This means we feel something we do not understand, but we may feel it. When we do the research and healing work, we can understand the context and start to heal ourselves and our ancestors.

Putting the Puzzle Together

Here are a few questions to ask as you explore military records and better understand your veteran's experience.

  1. What graphic battle scenes do the records describe?
  2. How might this have affected my father, grandfather, uncle, etc.?
  3. Knowing my ancestor experienced, saw, felt, smelled this, what memories do I have of their reaction to normal life things that may have triggered them?
  4. How does this awareness help me better understand their habits, beliefs, patterns?
  5. What patterns do I carry because my father or grandfather was silent? Or dealt with rage and was violent and abusive toward my mother growing up? How did this affect how my mother raised me or chose a husband?
  6. What other clues in the military records can help me better understand his or her experience that may have created trauma?
  7. Did my ancestor seek help after the war to process or deal with their experience? Or did they turn to alcohol, drugs, violence, abuse, abandonment, etc.?
  8. How did this affect me?

These are only a few questions you can use to start digging deeper into your family's patterns, beliefs, and trauma. It is possible to heal the past once we have more information.

If you are interested in learning more about how to identify trauma and other things that impacted your ancestors, be sure to sign up for my mailing list to be notified about upcoming free taster webinars and online classes.

I also invite you to join the Ancestral Cafe Membership Program where I will be teaching more in-depth on these topics and more, along with doing energy healings in each session. Full details are at the link above.

Questions? Contact me at [email protected]

© 2021 Ancestral Souls Wisdom School

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