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Inherited Fear: Roots of My Anxiety

The intergenerational trauma that shapes my existence

By Gabriela Trofin-TatárPublished 28 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024
Inherited Fear: Roots of My Anxiety
Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash

I feel fear in my chest. It runs through me like a cold current.

I feel it in my throat. It chokes me, thins my voice, and strangles my spirit.

It descends into my intestines. It upheaves me, swells me, and burns me from within.

I wasn't always like this. For a long time, I lived free from fear. I didn't even know what fear was. I woke up and ate if I had something. If not, I didn't. I took the subway or the bus, went to school, university, or work, laughed, loved, argued, came home, showered, read, went to bed, and slept.

I don't remember anything about fear in my youth.

But since I found out about my mom's abortion, from the moment I heard that she had to have that abortion because of the Chernobyl disaster, fear was born in me.

This fear. I was also alive back then, only two years old. But that unborn fetus, my brother or sister, didn't get the chance to live.

I couldn't cope with such a fear of losing or having to make such a decision. The fear grew, it popped up from time to time. It only increased when my babies were born, one by one. My fear of ever losing one of them swelled and became even more jagged.

Most of the time, I let it be. I've gotten used to it, and I know it shows me that I love my children and want them well.

Somehow, I felt the strong urge, deep within me, to have a third child. In therapy, it turned out three is the magic number in my life. My lost sibling would have made us three brothers. Without him or her, it was my brother and I, with the lost one in between us.

My husband and I have three kids, and now our family is complete.

Sometimes the fear keeps me awake. Other times it wakes me up from sleep. It's enough to hear through the wall one of the children sighing in their sleep, and I can't fall back asleep.

I've worked a lot in therapy with this.

Fear, my twin sister or brother. The one we lost when I was too small to realize it. But this fear, I inherited it from my mom, deeply through maternal bonds of intergenerational loss.

Why, why is my fear so strong?

All parents worry, but most sleep at night. What is so terrifying for me? Why is it so hard for me?

I've read so much about family traumas, about sufferings passed from parents to children, and so on, but I only connected these dots later.

One evening during a therapy session, we got to my fear that sits on my soul like intimate lingerie.

My therapist asked me: "Who in your family lost children?"

I answered automatically, without thinking too much:

"My mother. She lost one, aborted. I was two years old." I answered.

Her fear of death, hidden within her, came to me as I had felt her fear when I was small. It transpired through her every move, every sign, every word. It made me feel alone, yet loved in a weird sort of paradox.

I feel my mom's fear, woven together with my concern for my children. They mix. I don't know which is which anymore.

It finally made sense. Now I understand.

My mom's suffering demanded to be lived. Slowly I would begin to calm down. Your mom's trauma will heal along with me and hopefully, I won't pass it on to my daughter.

If you live with such a fear, maybe it helps you to comment on this and discuss it with others.

Whose fear are you living, along with yours? Who in your family lived what now scares you so much?

Healing can only come through a process. Family constellations help a lot. Maybe you also read Mark Wolynn's book. For me, his book was a revelation. A few deep past traumas came to the surface and I could start the healing process in therapy.

Today was about fear. Old and new fear.


About the Creator

Gabriela Trofin-Tatár

Full Stack Developer in the making and mother of 3 littles. Curious, bookaholic and travel addict. I also write on Medium and Substack: &

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (17)

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  • Nature Lover9 days ago

    Heart-breaking! You are brave to write this and take on the journey to heal. Hats off to you!

  • Somebody 10 days ago

    Hmm you might like my newest story. I liked yours 🖤

  • Zélia Alyie11 days ago

    I read Mark Wolynn's book! Family constellations are my passion too. You write well, Gabriela!

  • Ameer Bibi13 days ago

    Your perseverance is both admirable and motivating. Keep forging ahead! I admire your way of creating a suspense and curiosity in your story

  • Ameer Bibi19 days ago

    Wonderful story regarding the roots of our anxieties. congratulations on top story.

  • ROCK 21 days ago

    Anxiety is a pre-curser to depression according to somebody. I just subscribed; congratulations on your Top Story also.

  • Tammy Castleman25 days ago

    Wonderful insight on your part, regarding the roots of our anxieties.

  • It is a moving analysis of the intricate relationships between personal anxieties and familial pain, effectively capturing the cross-generational transfer of trauma and the myriad ways it affects our lives.

  • Anna 27 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • I really felt the terror of grief and trauma of loss here, very raw and very personal experience with a passionate will to thrive

  • Kodah27 days ago

    Incredible piece that deserved a top story!! 💝 Beautifully and emotionally written💘

  • Andrea Corwin 27 days ago

    Congrats on TS. Very personal account t of fear - they why, and how it relates to your family. Glad it is lessening.

  • Alyssa Nicole28 days ago

    This is such a deep and meaningful piece. It's incredible how fear and anxiety persist through generations. Thank you for sharing and congrats on the Top Story!

  • Donna Renee28 days ago

    This is so powerful and I definitely relate to parts of it. ❤️ Congratulations on the top story as well!

  • Margaret Brennan28 days ago

    first, congratulations on TS status. This is outstanding. The emotion emitted with each word is like a wake-up slap that makes you stop and think, "what if". Thank you for sharing this.

  • Hannah Moore28 days ago

    Interesting take on fear. We certainly learn it from the world around us. I too can be prevented from sleeping by my child just shifting under their sheets in the next room.

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