It Didn't Start With You Book Summary - It Didn't Start With You Book explained in key points
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It Didn't Start With You summary

Mark Wolynn

How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End The Cycle

4.2 (366 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

It Didn't Start With You by Mark Wolynn explores how inherited family trauma can affect our lives. With case studies and exercises, Wolynn provides tools to break generational patterns and heal past wounds.

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    It Didn't Start With You
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Severe trauma can lead to negative behavior and feelings, even when the trauma isn’t your own.

    Many people struggle with emotional problems. Some hold irrational fears, exhibit destructive habits or feel trapped in unhealthy relationships.

    If you’ve ever faced problems such as these, you might think that you’re to blame, that you’re the source of your emotional turmoil.

    But often such unhealthy behavior stems from trauma that you instead experienced, directly or indirectly, through your family.

    Traumatic events, such as an early separation from a mother or an act of violence, can affect a person deeply. These events not only cause stress and fear but also can change a person’s behavior.

    Importantly, if a person isn’t able to resolve the symptoms of such trauma, that person might instead suppress them and as a result, develop unhealthy behavioral patterns.

    Worse, such people can even pass the effects of trauma to the next generation.

    In short, you can carry symptoms of trauma in your life that you didn’t experience. You might have recurrent feelings or exhibit behaviors that aren’t the result of any particular event in your own life.

    One of the author’s patients, for example, was overwhelmingly afraid of dying. She was severely claustrophobic and feared being unable to escape from a life-or-death situation.

    She described the feeling as “I can’t breathe, I can’t get out; I’m going to die.”

    The patient wasn’t reacting to trauma from her life but to the experience of her mother’s relatives, who she later learned were murdered in a gas chamber during World War II.

    Severe trauma like this can be so powerful that echoes of it can affect people who personally didn’t experience it. But how exactly can this be the case?

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    What is It Didn't Start With You about?

    It Didn’t Start With You (2016) sheds light on a common thread in family relationships. These blinks explain how the source of your emotional or mental problems isn’t necessarily you but instead, your family history. You’ll learn how trauma can be passed from generation to generation, and what you can do to break the cycle.

    It Didn't Start With You Review

    It Didn't Start With You by Mark Wolynn explores the intriguing concept of inherited family trauma and how it can shape our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Provides fascinating insights into how our family history can impact our behavior and beliefs, offering a new perspective on personal struggles.
    • Offers a practical roadmap for healing through exercises and techniques that help break the cycle of inherited trauma, making it highly actionable.
    • Through compelling case studies and personal stories, the book creates a sense of connection and empathy, keeping readers engaged and invested in the content.

    Best quote from It Didn't Start With You

    Of all the core language tools you learn … the sentence that describes your worst fear, your Core Sentence, is the most direct path to uncovering unresolved family trauma.

    —Mark Wolynn
    example alt text

    Who should read It Didn't Start With You?

    • Anyone struggling with depression, anxiety or phobias
    • Parents and children seeking to mend relationships
    • Psychology students

    About the Author

    Mark Wolynn is the founder of the Family Constellation Institute, which specializes in the Core Language Approach in addressing family trauma.

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    It Didn't Start With You FAQs 

    What is the main message of It Didn't Start With You?

    The main message of It Didn't Start With You is that our present-day struggles may be influenced by unresolved trauma from our ancestors.

    How long does it take to read It Didn't Start With You?

    The reading time for It Didn't Start With You varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is It Didn't Start With You a good book? Is it worth reading?

    It Didn't Start With You is worth reading because it sheds light on how ancestral trauma affects our lives today, offering insights for healing and personal growth.

    Who is the author of It Didn't Start With You?

    Mark Wolynn is the author of It Didn't Start With You.