If you were raised in the church like I was, you are probably familiar with the infamous generational curse. Exodus 34:7 says God “visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.” But surely that can’t be true for those who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus…because forgiveness right? So why are so many believers still shackling themselves to the idea that their horrible habits and diseases are passed down? It’s easier than believing they have the power to fix them of course! Take for example addiction, codependency, overindulgence, violence and fits of rage, insecurity, and many other not so nice things which can easily be attributed to lifestyle exposure. So many people slip into these behavioral patterns, and rather than making the choice to do the work necessary to reverse the patterns, they blame family curses and inherited DNA. It doesn’t matter if you are agnostic, religious, spiritual, or believing in nothing at all; science speaks truth, so let’s listen to what it says and see if we can learn a little bit from it.
There is truth to the so called generational curse, but not in the way you may think, and while this may be alarming there is good news, so hold onto hope and read through to the end!
If you have read any of my previous posts, you already know that I am a big fan of mapping your own brain; putting in the work to form and reshape your pathways to create and become the person and live the life of your dreams. Thoughts become things, as I demonstrated in my previous post: Seeing Is Not Always Believing, But Visualization Helps!
There have been epigenetic studies which demonstrate that life experiences and the choices we make have the ability to change our brains, all the way down to our DNA. Epigenetics is everywhere; it is where you make a home, the food you eat, how you exercise, your sleep habits, etc. Epi, comes from the Greek meaning “on top of.” When you pair that with genetics, meaning inherited, you end up with epigenetics. These are essentially added to (or switched on) and can be reversed (or switched off).
Epigenetics is transgenerational, meaning it can be passed not only to your children, but to future generations as well. In an Emory University laboratory study, mice were trained to fear a certain odor which was associated with a shock to the foot. The fear was successfully programmed in these mice and when new mice were born, the pups had the odor aversion without the shock…the fear reaction was programmed and passed down to future generations. This to me screams evolutionary response. It demonstrates how we evolve to protect ourselves, to adapt to our environment and to respond to certain triggers. We see evidence of this in humans, particularly babies born to women who were pregnant and present during the 9/11 attacks. The women who were carrying babies at the time experienced extreme trauma, and their offspring were found to have PTSD as well even though they did not experience the trauma first hand. Curiouser and curiouser.
I did say that this is reversible, so there is hope; we aren’t damned…unless we want to be. Another study involving mice which were bred lacking brain development were genetically tested and found to have certain genes showing they had developed a certain bad gene. They were then placed into specific environments with toys and stimulation. Their brain developed over time with progression in memory. This caused epigenetic modifications to occur on a DNA level even into the next generation of mice. When new pups were born into the stimulating environment, they were still carriers of the bad gene, but it was switched off and their memories were well developed. This shows that even though the bad gene which was produced in the lack environment of the first generation was present, the stimulation in the later part of life in the first generation switched on the gene modification which passed on the instruction to turn on the good gene in the next generation. This is such an important takeaway because you need to know that nothing comes from doing nothing, but something comes from doing something. If you want to see change, you must make a change…you must make an effort and it has to be repeated in order to be expressed on a DNA level.
The power to change your inherited DNA and break free from cycles that have held your ancestors back is in YOUR hands. It is NEVER too late to make a change. Start now, and repeat it daily.
Sending you all the best through love and light!
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Dias, B. G., & Ressler, K. J. (2013). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience, advance online publication. DOI:10.1038/nn.3594
Yehuda, R et al (2005). Transgenerational Effects of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Babies of Mothers Exposed to the World Trade Center Attacks during Pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, DOI: