Generational trauma is pain and suffering that is transferred by your relatives, and it is completely real.
Now I am adopted, so you would think this wouldn’t happen to me. You can’t avoid it. I shared earlier that my grandmother lost most of her possessions in a fire. As I was a child when that happened, I heard stories of it fresh from her experience. As I got older her sadness about this didn’t change. What I learned is that fire is dangerous and dangerous in a very real and wild way that hurts people.
So how did hearing this story cause trauma for me? I am overly sensitive to fire-related issues. For example, ever since I could afford to buy one I have always had a big fire extinguisher near me wherever I lived. I left it there for the next resident in places that were furnished. I always unplug the heater when I leave the house, and I double-check things like the stove/oven to make sure the gas is off after using it.
Now being careful sounds harmless enough right? I have felt safe from fire through these precautions. However, there is more. I often move to different apartments, and the first thing I figure out is the fire escape route if the door is blocked. I double-check to make sure with extension cords to buy very heavy-duty ones so that they don’t overheat, and I check on the cords randomly with the electric heater that I have. I bought an oil-filled heater because it was safe, and I only bought electric heaters with multiple safety protections. I only place electric heaters where they have double the space required around them, and I verify nothing is getting heated around them randomly.
I am not telling you this to get a medal for how responsible I am, but rather that I probably go above and beyond what the average person does about fire safety. Part of this also is because I have used many different electrical heaters in the past and they weren’t always reliable. So my experience with electric heaters has been mixed and I don’t trust them. I also unplug devices that I don’t use, just in the off chance that they develop a short and do something while I am gone.
My gut feeling is that if my grandmother hadn’t told me that her house burnt down by a random electrical short I wouldn’t do any of this. I always think of my grandmother when I do a fire-related precaution, so perhaps this is more about remembering my grandmother than being Fire Marshall Bill. Does this cause problems in my life being overly cautious with fire? No. The worst case is that I may have wasted some time, but I don’t mind remembering her.