top of page

What is Shadow Work, Generational/Ancestral Trauma, & Inner Child Work?

We are going to be talking about shadow work today. Because right now we're going through a really intense energetic shift, and we've all been worn out by the pandemic as it is - the elections, and events all over the world. With everyone going through so much, we wanted to provide resources so that you guys can take care of yourselves during this time and also make it a productive time for healing. Let's dive into the deep, tough stuff.

There's an energy shift going on. Can you tell people what's going on? Also, what could we be doing in the meantime?

Just to start before we dive into defining shadow work, I want to say that we're not being punished or anything. It's a natural progression of our earth and humanity. We agreed to rise at a certain collective consciousness. Inhabitants of Earth and Earth itself are now contracted to start really raising their awareness, getting to the next level.

Our race is ready for a new energy and so is our earth. With that, we have to start to really cleanse, and we've been doing it. It's to help us in the long run and to help us help each other because we're just fighting. That's something really important to remember: we're not being punished. This is to help us.

We have to dive deep. If everyone dives deep within themselves with shadow work, for example, we can really get through this in a productive way and then be at a whole other level of personal evolution, getting rid of all the toxic crap in our lives.

What is shadow work?

MARIA: I just found out the other day actually from another creator that the concept of shadow work is really actually pretty ancient and belongs to some very ancient indigenous cultures, but in a modern world, it was kind of rediscovered through psychology by Carl Jung who used this to talk about concepts such as the inner child.

Really in the spiritual world, we talk about it as facing our shadows within us, because we all have a light side and the shadow side. We are dual beings.

When we are doing shadow work, what we're doing is we're addressing our deepest, darkest wounds, traumas. They are things we're doing that are toxic and things that toxic people have put into us. Also, it’s the process of re-identifying who we are and all that. What has been put on us? What has been imposed on us and who are we in our truest form?

Sometimes we don't know that, and we don't realize that we don't know who we are until maybe halfway through our lives; that's a midlife crisis. Shadow work is this deep, inner exploration of all the darkest aspects of ourselves: going back to our childhood, revealing things that traumatized us, working through these different things and slowly but surely, healing them, finding resolution, and lifting them out of our energy into the light so that we can continue to grow and know who we truly are and what we're here to do. That's kind of my little metaphysical explanation.

So just to reiterate shadow work is diving into old wounds, old traumas from your past and starting to bring them to the surface. And you can use different healing modalities to do this. We talked about EFT Tapping. For example, you can make a trauma timeline by writing it all out when all these traumas happen. And then one by one, you can meditate on those, go back to inner child work where you're telling the child that experienced that trauma or the person that experienced that trauma. You come in your current form of the knowledge and wisdom you have now, and you can say “it's okay. You're protected. You're safe.” Or you can say things to that inner child. That's just one technique. It's inner child work. But shadow work is just a general deep dive into healing your deepest shadows. So, the skeletons in your closet, that's essentially what it is and the intentional practice of working through those ones by one and starting to heal through whatever modality you choose.

TRANG: What I learned is that shadow work is dealing with deep-rooted issues. Half the time, people don't know what they are because when we've been through trauma or things like that, we've suppressed it for such a long time that usually it might take a professional to help dig that out. And usually it comes from childhood. Most of the time people are like, “I don't remember childhood”, but usually people can tackle it by saying, “How did you feel? What do you think about childhood? What were the emotions that came out of it? A lot of people, unfortunately, don't say it was all happy, glitzy, glamor. Sometimes a child can feel burdened; they can feel scared, things like that.

And I saw something on Instagram yesterday that I thought described this really well, where it says: “Emotional trauma that has not been dealt with will reveal itself in either avoidance of conflict.” So there are people that avoid conflict. People pleasing behaviors for everyone who like to people please, or make sure everyone's okay. There is a reason why you keep having a pattern of that. Codependency relationships or even abandonment fears - and so you might go into unhealthy relationships. Why does it make you go into unhealthy relationships? Why do you seek external validation from other people, avoid your own personal needs, and not having boundaries set? There is a reason why you have these patterns.

Sometimes people say, “Oh, I always end up with an asshole.” The first relationship - yes. But if you've been with four assholes in a row, you have to start questioning yourself, “Why do I have this pattern?” You know, maybe it's you. Shadow work is hard because no one wants to admit that they have this flaw, that they have this fault. And it's really painful a lot of times to dig deep into that.

Maria and I are also huge advocates of therapy because a professional can get a fresh perspective and they're also trained to do this type of stuff too, and to dig deep. But if you don't address your emotional traumas, you're going to have chaos or abuse in your relationships, whether it's romantic or with friendships or family.

Is there a light and shadow part to everything?

MARIA: Yes, there really is. That's part of our human existence is this extreme duality. It's one of the hardest things about choosing incarnation as a human on earth and there are various timelines. This is a tough one because we are meant to explore these shadows. So basically we are here to discover such depths of our being. That's part of why the duality is here, why the earth is designed the way it is, and why humanity is designed the way it is, so that we can exercise these different aspects of ourselves. The light and dark contrast really do help to bring things to the surface and teach us. Everyone has a light and shadow side, even the nicest person. It's just part of who we are, and we can't hate ourselves for that. We're just being human.

What is ancestral trauma? Why do a lot of people seem to encounter difficulty breaking negative family cycles?

MARIA: Ancestral trauma and generational trauma is truly one of the biggest things that hold people back from progressing in this life because they have taken on the burden, of like an entire family. How that happens is it starts with an ancestor that introduces a certain pattern into a family aligned.

So for example, great, great, great grandpa. Oh, we can see this in, for example, our president, right? His great-grandfather was not necessarily a good person. Then had his son, who was not a great person and it went on. You see how the generations just keep that as part of their generational karma, generational trauma. Believe it or not, yes, even someone like Trump was traumatized by this and it shapes people.

If that's what's modeled to you or if you're deprived of certain things, you can end up like that. So that's an example of one and a lot of people have this. So for example, I keep seeing patterns of several people who are sexually assaulting their own family members in the same family. And it goes back to like great grandpa and then grandpa, and then uncle Bob, and it's carrying down this trauma.

There's like every generation has that trauma in it somehow or some way, even if not everyone was affected by it or was a victim of it. It still affects the whole family. It becomes part of that processing. So especially in this energy, it's time to release that you do not have to sit here and suffer for your families indiscretions or negativity anymore. You can release that and, it's hard, it's a journey, but it is beautiful and it is possible to heal from it. So you can begin to break the cycle with tools like shadow work, inner child work, tapping, etc. And we'll go into some of this stuff later, but that's a little bit about ancestral trauma. Some people will call it a family curse. It's really ancestral trauma.

TRANG: I think a lot of times when people use the word curse it feels so disempowering just because people think, you know, the curse kind of gives that connotation of like you can't ever get rid of it. But a lot of times it's a response to trauma growing up and you know, with help methods and techniques you can, like Maria said can break through trauma and heal from it. Actually just realizing that there is trauma or there is that's ongoing in your family. And the first place is a huge first step to take. You know, a lot of people don't see it at all. And some people are even meant to come into this life to break ancestral trauma, generational trauma, that's been ongoing and it doesn't have to be something huge as even being, you know assaulted and assaulting each generation. It could be even things like neglect.

You know, I think I was reading the kind of like, you know, the back of a book cover, you know, the summary to be like, I don't really want to buy this book, but I just want to see what it talks about. And it was, I think Trump's cousin, who's a psychologist, that describes his upbringing. And it was because I don't think the mom was in the picture. She might've passed away, but the dad, he didn't give them any attention at all. He was a businessman and he just wanted them to obey everything he said, you know? And so that psyche is gonna that's going to mess up his psyche and then make him the way he is today. And most likely he's going to pass that down to like another generation like that. But again, you always have free will to learn and break the cycle. It's really tough. And that's why we want to share more about where you can probably seek help and support about when, if that you're encountering that in your own life right now, too.

Could breaking a family cycle be our purpose, in the family?

MARIA: Yes, it can be. So many times the people who come in that are like the black sheep that are challenging, what has been put before generation after generation. You're constantly at odds because you want to be free and live life the way you want to live it. You don't want their religion or their culture necessarily. You don't want to continue the same patterns. You vote differently than they do. You're literally coming in there. You're shaking stuff up. You're the rebel. And you make everyone nuts because you refuse to conform. You guys are likely here to break the generational cycles, break the ancestral chains and move the family to a new direction. And they're going to get so annoyed at you and so frustrated. You may even have to eventually distance yourself from them.

You are here to bring in a different energy and sometimes it's very traumatic to be in this role because you spend your whole life feeling like you don't belong in your own family. You a lot of times have to find a friend group that you've built, that is your new family, because they get you. You're kind of custom building your own family. So that is a common pattern.

Know that you are brought in differently because you were meant to be different. So embrace it. Do not let them beat you down. You're here to be different. You're here to be you.

So yes, it is exhausting. Sometimes they will never stop trying to convert you. They never stopped trying to brainwash you and bring you back into the fold, but you are meant to raise the vibration and break the cycle. So keep doing it.

Let’s talk about shadow work, but more in the relationship realm. People hear about “twin flames” or “soulmates''. Can you talk about shadow work in terms of toxic relationships?

MARIA: Well, this is a tough one. And I have seen so many people who have traumas fall into the trap of seeking the perfect relationship through the idea, especially of twin flames, sometimes people get obsessed with the idea of soulmates. This is a perfect example of people who are not coming from a healthy place necessarily when they are looking for a relationship. The idea of a twin flame is inherently, sure it sounds magical. It's like the twin flame is literally the other half of your soul that's manifested into a relationship or a romantic partner in an incarnation or the other half of use in another realm watching over you sometimes. But people are looking for this like a treasure hunt, of finding this other half of their soul. Inherently, that creates so much expectation and also an unhealthy mindset that you are incomplete.

You need to find your other half, right? We talk about this a lot in our culture. I'm finding my other half or my other half did this, no, you’re a whole, you’re a whole. And inherently looking for someone who is your other half and putting a metaphysical label on it that makes it sound like it's the best relationship ever. When actually, if you read more about it, it's one of the most traumatic things you could probably go through a lot of time. It's causing people to find people they think are their twin flame because it's hard. And because they are getting along with people who are sociopaths and psychopaths and narcissists who are mirroring, trying to manipulate someone who's desperate to find their twin flame. And really, they're just manipulating the other person to think that they are that person. They just absorb your characteristics and reflect it back to you.

So meanwhile, you think you've found your twin flame, but really they're just mirroring who you are back to you. They're not that person. And you end up getting stuck in some sort of toxic relationship, and you will not leave because you think, this is just part of the process. This i