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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking approach to transforming traumatic legacies passed down in families over generations, by an acclaimed expert in the field.

Depression. Anxiety. Chronic Pain. Phobias. Obsessive thoughts. The evidence is compelling: the roots of these difficulties may not reside in our immediate life experiences or in chemical imbalances in our brains - but in the lives of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. The latest scientific research, now making headlines, supports what many have long intuited: that traumatic experience can be passed down through generations.

It Didn't Start with You builds on the work of leading experts in post-traumatic stress, including Mount Sinai School of Medicine neuroscientist Rachel Yehuda and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score. Even if the person who suffered the original trauma has died or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory and feelings can live on. These emotional legacies are often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language, and they play a far greater role in our emotional and physical health than has ever before been understood.

As a pioneer in the field of inherited family trauma, Mark Wolynn has worked with individuals and groups on a therapeutic level for over 20 years. It Didn't Start with You offers a pragmatic and prescriptive guide to his method, the Core Language Approach. Diagnostic self-inventories provide a way to uncover the fears and anxieties conveyed through everyday words, behaviors, and physical symptoms. Techniques for developing a genogram or extended family tree create a map of experiences going back through the generations. And visualization, active imagination, and direct dialogue create pathways to reconnection, integration, and reclaiming life and health. It Didn't Start With You is a transformative approach to resolving longstanding difficulties that, in many cases, traditional therapy, drugs, or other interventions have not had the capacity to touch.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Mark Wolynn (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Mark Wolynn does a masterful job of illuminating the ways in which our ancestors' unresolved suffering, often unknown to us, disables us and binds us painfully to them. He gives us the tools and skills - an approach that combines understanding, imaginative dialogues, and compassionate reconnection - to free and heal ourselves." (James S. Gordon, MD, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey out of Depression)
"It Didn't Start with You takes us a big step forward, advancing the fields of trauma therapy, mindfulness applications, and human understanding. It is a bold, creative, and compassionate work." (Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness)
"This groundbreaking book offers a compelling understanding of inherited trauma and fresh, powerful tools for relieving its suffering. Mark Wolynn is a wise and trustworthy guide on the journey toward healing." (Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge)

What members say

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Valuable insights one big flaw

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The book is a very mixed piece of work, valuable as a manual on Hellinger family trauma work and very doubtful when it sets as an ultimate goal for adult children to understand the limitations of the parents, take responsibility for the break up in a relationship with their parents, and repent. The book recommends to all listeners as a resolution to contact their parents and tell them "Mom/Dad I miss you, I am sorry for not being more loving and pushing you away". The approach seems to work for the cases presented in the book. A serious flaw that I see comes from applying this advice to cases of child abuse that can and should be classified as criminal offence - rape, molastacion, severe/systematic beating. The author dose not talk about such cases but by coaching all childhood trauma survivors toward loving their parents and expressing remorse/responsibility for the break up in the relationship with them he inadvertently sends the victims down the path where they ae responsible for their rape/torture etc. The reason I think it's a very big flaw of this book is because it takes a lot of courage and coaching for such victims to overcome shame and properly direct their anger on the abusive parents and not on themselves and here the book can be potentially very misleading.

Would you recommend It Didn't Start with You to your friends? Why or why not?

No, I would recommend something else on Hellinger therapy

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Not audible friendly, get written version

Not good as an audible book because every five out ten minutes he's telling you to stop the book until you do the written exercise. I'll never finish my laundry this way!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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New approaches to self discovery and healing

Wolynn's basic theory is that we sometimes inherit trauma from people throughout our family tree, not just in our immediate family, but from people in our extended family, maybe even from previous generations. Pain and psychological issues can be passed down from one generation to the next even when the source of that pain has been shrouded in silence. You might have a fear of being suffocated, for example, because of the trauma experienced by a great-grandparent who died by asphyxiation, even if you can't recall ever hearing about his or her life and death. The process by which this happens is somewhat mysterious, but Wolynn presents it in a very eloquent and articulate way. Whatever the mechanism, these traumas can block us off from our own vitality and happiness, causing all kinds of psychological issues and health problems. The way to reclaim that vitality is by healing the divide between ourselves and disowned family members, by reaching out to them for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation. Wolynn's techniques for doing that are effective. I've gone through the exercises and have had some amazing insights.

I do share some of the concerns expressed by other reviewers of this book; namely, that it's not necessarily a good idea to attempt reconciliation with a parent (or other family member) who's abused you in the past, or is actively hostile to you in the present. So many of Wolynn's examples are of people who inadvertently harmed us due to circumstances out of their control--you may have fears of abandonment because your mother was hospitalized while you were a child, and so on. What about people who have inherited trauma from family members who inflicted pain and abuse on the people around them? I think the ideas in this book are still valid, but I would like to hear the author speak more directly on the topic of abuse and neglect. It would be a GREAT subject for a follow-up book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not recommend

There are some helpful information but most of the stories/exemplifications sound more like coincidence rather than empirical evidence. All of his patients seemed to be able to ask their parents and grandparents about the traumatic events that happened with the past generations, but what about the trauma that are already buried with the ones who passed away? We can never know anything then and even when we ask, parents may not give us the truth. What to do then? You would never learned how it all started and wouldn't be able to fix anything?

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The truth shall set you free!

Do the work and this book will lead you to the tools you need to heal. As we can't solve what we can't (or refuse to) see, many of my patients and myself have tried to fix or treat the effects of illness with medication or therapies that miss the mark. Most therapies focus on bailing out water from a floundering ship, which can work for a time, but will never allow true forward movement or solve the underlying issue(s). The only way to stop the leak of mental or physical energy is to first find the hole and then patch it. Mark's book provides a map to repair the leak and move the ship forward to a new and fulfilling destiny. The negative energy seeks both expression and consciousness to resolve and this book is an expression of consciousness in itself. I can't recommend it enough.
Russell Kennedy, MD

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Surprised by the spiritual nature & direction this

Well I tend to love books with deeply personal, spiritual accounts, and scientific data to back it. This book ticks all the boxes! I adore the part about Wolynn's personal life and what he overcame. Won't give anything away. It's an act of bravery to work on yourself. Congratulations.

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Healing for Everyone

This should be required reading for everyone, since every family tree carries layers of inherited trauma. I felt
elated after reading the book and doing the exercises. It is a liberating journey, through understanding and empathy. Thank you to a wonderful author.

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Awesome healing

Easy to read awesome healing pathways I recommend it to anybody for creating more peace in life.

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Highly Recommend!

Excellent resource for working with your own personal family history. Thought provoking, great questions and lots of examples of how past family history may be impacting your present life.

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  • CN
  • 04-13-17

Revolutionary

The information in this book has the ability to change your life and the lives of generations to come in your family.

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  • Miss B
  • 02-18-17

A book that must be finished before judging

Outstanding book i hated it at first was even considering asking for my money back. Its my first audible book i bought only took me 2 days to listen to it & do all the task but has completely changed my view of my parents. I've heard so many times in life you must forgive your parents but never really understand why until now. I hated this until i got to about chapter 10 i was so angry listening to it. My parents were very abusive & abandoned me very young which lead to abusive childhood which i had never truly forgiven them for, now i understand by not forgiving them am also not forgiving myself. Fighting life trying to not be like them unknowingly i've actually created the same relationship they had, which i must forgive them so i can forgive myself. I now understand the importance of knowing your history. This is a book that until you get to the end you dont see its true value & its true healing. Would highly recommend this book especially if you come from a dysfunctional childhood. This book is also good for those suffering from anxiety, misery, depression, deep seated sadness, fear, loneliness, it will help you find the root cause which you maybe completely unaware of. This book will help you find healing within yourself. So glad this was my first audible book looking forward to my next one :)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • cat
  • 12-24-16

Really insightful and compelling

It's seems in some ways like quite an out there idea but they are good and making you see how this could be why I carry so much more than I can explain it opened up the connections in my family's past and my grandad a life was ruins by ptsd that started the same age as mine, which I have spent my life battling with, it connects you to the big picture and facilitates forgiveness I think or at least has planted a seed I have to go back and do all the exercises properly but I think it's great for those who have found it it's likely you came to it for a reason! Merry Christmas xx

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 05-15-17

Amazingly simple

This all makes so much sense when you think about patterns within families. We really are the sum of our ancestors experiences. We would have a more just and understanding world if all parents read this book before they have children. It jettisons some false deep rooted ideas we have about ourselves. Most of our issues didn't start with us. We need to own that and trace its origin.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer.Scotland
  • 03-21-17

brings some things to the table.

Brings valid helpful issues to the table...very easy and enjoyable to listen to.
But like so many insightful books fails to deal with the real issues of who we are..what we are.how we are meant to do life...as creatures before the creator.Very enjoyable book...

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  • Yvette
  • 08-07-16

Your core language shapes your world experience

What made the experience of listening to It Didn't Start with You the most enjoyable?

This is a very well written work on the way in which our core language - the stories we carry with us, impact the way in which we experience all we do - our relationships, our work, or health. More than simply identifying what these may be, Wolynn offers a pathway for us to get clear on the way to heal these inter-generational patterns by moving towards them, not running from them, and visualising a new way of experiencing the very things previously causing us pain. I think its such an important book, I have bought a copy for all of my family members.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 06-27-16

Attached pdf

Where's the attached pdf he refers to throughout the audio? Would be very helpful to work on what has taught.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful