• Emotional Inheritance

  • A Therapist, Her Patients, and the Legacy of Trauma
  • By: Galit Atlas
  • Narrated by: Galit Atlas
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (256 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Internationally known psychoanalyst Dr. Galit Atlas draws on her patients' stories - and her own life experiences - to shed light on how inherited family trauma affects our lives; "illuminating" (Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone).

The people we love and those who raised us live inside us; we experience their emotional pain, we dream their memories, and these things shape our lives in ways we don’t always recognize. Emotional Inheritance is about family secrets that keep us from living to our full potential, create gaps between what we want for ourselves and what we are able to have, and haunt us like ghosts. 

In this transformative book, Galit Atlas entwines the stories of her patients, her own stories, and decades of research to help us identify the links between our life struggles and the “emotional inheritance” we all carry. For it is only by following the traces those ghosts leave that we can truly change our destiny.

©2022 Galit Atlas (P)2022 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

“An intimate, textured, and compassionate exploration of intergenerational trauma, how it is carried and transmitted within families, and how it can be skillfully invited in, recognized, attenuated, and perhaps resolved through the therapeutic relationship, metabolizing what has hitherto not been named or nameable.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of The Healing Power of Mindfulness)

“Beautiful, artistic, and elegant. Dr. Atlas skillfully uses stories from her practice to explore the archeology of transgenerational trauma. The descriptions of the therapeutic process pull you in; you come to know both patient and therapist. In doing so, you cannot help but reflect on your own journey. Emotional Inheritance is a gem for anyone, but it is an essential read for those seeking to understand trauma, therapy, and the healing process.” (Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, coauthor (with Oprah Winfrey) of the number one New York Times best seller What Happened to You?)

"Dr. Atlas writes with profound living compassion for those who have carried, in their bodies, minds, hearts, spirits and souls, the most often unspoken and secret traumas of their own hurt elders. As a first-generation American child growing up in my tough family of war refugees, deportees - the ethnically cleansed, struggling immigrants, I humbly assert that I know about generational traumas in depth. I recognize Dr. Atlas as one who writes in full knowing detail - about what I call in my work, ‘the generational wound." (Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Reyés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves)

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Underwhelmed

A succession of war stories gleaned from the author’s clients all in support of the theory that historical trauma is passed down through generations. No real model provided to understand the mechanism or treatment. The book lacks original insight. The author should give her royalties to her patients—they did all the heavy lifting for this book.

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Loved every minute of this!

A must read/listen! This book gave me new insights into my own family history through stories from the author, Galit Atlas @galitatlas, which were engaging and insightful. The audiobook is extremely impactful, as Gait speaks with such compassion to create a connection with me as a listener as well as for me to my own emotional inheritance.

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I heard my story in her book

Loved it. Didn't want it to end. I heard my story woven into those she chose to share. Gained new personal insights as to the why behind the what.

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This is a must read for everybody!

It took me two days to read this book - the author covers things in such an amazing way, while showing how our ancestors trauma is interwoven into us, she uses actual case examples.

“2nd and 3rd generation descendants genocide survivors… these are high productive and functioning people living with ghosts of persecution inside them. Under the surface they carry the trauma and guilt of the survivors. I learned that these people, from childhood age have images, daydreams, nightmares of the genocide. The memories live inside them, even if their parents and grandparents never talked about it. It continues to effect them and the way they live.”

As a 3rd generation descendant survivor of the Armenian genocide, and also have the survivor guilt of having family in Lebanon during the civil war in the 80s and in Syria during the current conflict - I can see how this trauma can be carried on to us survivors. I know as a child knowing the stories of the genocide, I would think about it often. I even went into refugee work and then took on secondary trauma from all the refugees - I never thought about the cycle of all of this. What my grandparents and great grandmother went through, I was now hearing daily at work from applicants and did this for many many years.

My great grandmother got her neck partially cut off by soldiers and it was deep while she was running and carrying two kids. She somehow held her head on, although she had to of been bleeding, and kept running for safety… she kept going… and the lesson to me in that has always been, no matter what - you keep going. But I don’t know if we always have to. If we are hurt, maybe we need to stop and take care of ourselves.

I think another learned thing from both sides of my family was that my great grandmother in the Middle East was left as the sole parent, because all the men were killed and my maternal grandmother was left as the sole parent, when my paternal grandfather died of cancer (when my mom was 14). Both women had to be strong independent women and raise their kids on their own and manage life - my maternal grandmother had to run a farm. My paternal great grandmother had to get her children to safety as refugees and find a new home and life for them after living only in a village for their entire lives. Female independence was inherited in my life and that is obvious in my sisters and my life.

This book can make you think about your friends lives and your own..: it is well worth reading and a fast one.

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Go to therapy

"Emotional inheritance can be worked through and altered…Trauma can be transmitted to the next generation, but also, psychological work can alter and modify the biological effects of trauma."

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Intriguing

I thought the stories were good and couldn’t help but get immersed in them. Some made me cry, others laugh and smile.

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Important Perspective on Family Trauma

First off the topic of this book is so important - understanding the unspoken and secretive nature of inherited family patterns and trauma. The book centers around a series of stories about uncovering the hidden family histories that brought several clients to Dr. Atlas’s office. They are definitely rich and illuminating stories that helped me see patterns in my own family.
Ultimately I was listening to this book to try to get more perspective on my own family history. I wanted to learn how people recover from multi generational trauma. Alas, except the implied solution of finding a therapist fluent in this field, the book offers little to guide people. It was a great listen but left me wondering, “now what?”.

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Fascinating book but read way too slow

At normal speed I was having trouble listening because of the exaggerated pauses and how slow it was being read. But once I bumped up the speed I was hooked by the stories and really enjoyed this book. Not a lot of research-backed data on emotional inheritance but really interesting stories and made me think of similar parallels in my own life.

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Wow! A must read!

This was an excellent book, Galit’s performance is phenomenal! There is so much wisdom in each story. I gained a lot of self insight while listening. In full disclosure, there are times I had to take breaks to reorient myself emotionally before continuing. However, the amount of discovery in these pages I’m sure is enough to spark personal shifts within your own story and understanding.

Completely extraordinary book, I will be on the look out for more works by Galit!

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Amazing!

Galit Atlis shares her knowledge, as well as her clinical and personal experiences with such clarity. This is definitely required reading for anyone looking to know themselves. And listening to her narrate it herself is icing on the cake. Thank you, Galit!

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