How To Address The Hidden Traumas In Your Life, with Mark Wolynn

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Whether we are consciously aware or not, we all carry some form of trauma in our lives. Sometimes the reason for the trauma is obvious, but sometimes trauma can be hidden. In the fourth and final episode of a series with “It Didn’t Start with You” author Mark Wolynn, he and Daniel and Tana Amen give you tips for identifying the various traumas you carry with you, so you can treat them and feel happier and healthier.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We are here with Mark Wolynn. I hope your mind is being blown as ours was. I mean when I read the book, I was just so excited and so many of these things just make sense with a lot of my patients.
Dr Daniel Amen: So when I was a young psychiatrist, I learned a technique called hypnoanalysis where you'd basically go to the symptom a person was having, what are they thinking and feeling, and then take them back under a trance to the first time they had those thoughts or feelings. And then reading Brian Weiss's book, Many Lives, Many Masters, well he would flip them into other lives and I thought that was fascinating. But it may not be a past life regression, but it could be a past family tree-
Tana Amen: A generation, yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... regression. So before we get Mark into more tips, how can people learn more about your work so they can obviously get the book, It Didn't Start With You, How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle. Brilliant. How else can they learn about your work?
Mark Wolynn: The book's everywhere. Bookstores. It's in 20 languages.
Tana Amen: Audible, you said?
Mark Wolynn: Yeah, Amazon, Barnes, everywhere. And to connect with me directly, I teach trainings for clinicians., W-O-L-Y-N-N .com, training in Copenhagen, one in San Francisco, and one in Sydney, Australia. So always three trainings [crosstalk 00:02:37].
Tana Amen: Fantastic.
Dr Daniel Amen: Wonderful. And then do you have a center in San Francisco?
Mark Wolynn: Yeah, I'm located here in Marin actually. Yeah.
Tana Amen: Fantastic.
Dr Daniel Amen: So let's talk about more tips people can do if they're thinking, and one of them I think they should do what I did, is I went and talked to my mom and dad and I'm like, "I want to know more about your mom and dad and were there any traumas in the family?"
Mark Wolynn: Yeah. So nothing beats that. We've got to have the story of what happened if we can get it, is amazing. So a lot of people who read the book then if the parents are alive, they can ask the parents. Sometimes they have to ask an aunt or an uncle or an older sibling or a cousin because everybody's gone. But some of us are adopted and some of us, our parents are gone. We have no one to ask. It's important to know that this information, even if it's not known, still lives in our trauma language.
Mark Wolynn: It's in our fears. It's in our symptoms. It's in our self-sabotaging behaviors, our self-destructive behaviors. It's in the symptoms of an illness, as I talked about earlier. It's in an anxiety, a symptom, a depression, something that appears after a difficult event. It's in our relationship struggles. It's in the repeated ways we deal with money and success. So even if we don't know exactly what happens, doesn't matter. We've got a sense of what might've happened because it's showing up in one of those areas. So what I ask people to do if they can, is to what you did, Daniel, shake the family tree. See what falls out.
Dr Daniel Amen: I love that analogy. That's a beautiful image.
Mark Wolynn: What family secrets were never talked about that were hidden? What stories didn't get told? What traumas never healed all the way? That's the biggie. What traumas never healed all the way? And because of the trauma, people collapsed, people shrunk, people turned away. Your grandfather stayed angry at his sister, was that who you said?
Mark Wolynn: So these types of experiences can block the healing of the trauma. In other words, anger is easier than grief. So we go to anger.
Mark Wolynn: Secondly, talk about the traumas in your family. Try to work through them. We need to try to work through them ourselves, that's essential so they're not passed down into future generations. In one of the mice studies, they found that as they put the traumatized mice in positive low stress environments, it actually changed the DNA. It inhibited the enzyme that causes DNA methylation or histone modifications, which are, some of them, the mechanisms of transfer.
Mark Wolynn: So talk about these traumas because the more we talk about them with our kids, the more they're able to have relief. The more they're able to get an answer for... To have a coat hook for the coat that they're wearing in a sense.
Tana Amen: Yeah, that's so true.
Mark Wolynn: [crosstalk 00:06:38] hang the coat.
Tana Amen: That's so wild. Because so when I was growing up, my grandmother, she used to, because of what happened to her, and I never understood this. Well, two things happened, my uncle was murdered in a drug deal and then she also had gone through the war and all of that stuff for a war torn country. She'd sit in her room, she became a hoarder. And so she would keep old used tinfoil. She was so afraid of a war breaking out. She became this hoarder. She would throw anything away, plastic utensils, nothing.
Tana Amen: And she also would sit in her room and cry. She would turn the news on and just cry and ball and wail all day because she would just think about what happened to her. Well, I never understood that. And so all I knew was what is happening? This is so weird. What is this crazy behavior?
Tana Amen: I knew there was something wrong. I just could never figure out what it was. And when I was writing my book and I actually went back and asked my mom and my uncles, I'm like, "Something's got to give here." And around the same time, my grandfather was also hit by a train and became a quadriplegic. So there were a lot of things in her life. And when I began to put it through that lens, it was like, "Oh well geez, no wonder she sat in her room and cried." And she had a language barrier so she couldn't express herself. And so she didn't speak English very well. And so all of a sudden, there's this sort of a warm feeling that came to me and this empathic feeling like, "Oh, I just, I feel bad for her." Rather than that was just such a weird way to grow up with this woman in the corner crying all the time.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, judgment is so easy.
Tana Amen: It just changed everything.
Dr Daniel Amen: [crosstalk 00:08:11] understanding why. I'm in a new docu-series with Justin Bieber. Justin's been one of my patients for a long time. And when you... I read his mother's book, so Patty wrote an autobiography. It was just the best psychiatric history. But when you see the traumas that she went through or his dad went through and how he relived some of those, and it may not be his genes but rather his epigenes that... Because people think, "Oh well, I inherited this so I'm going to have schizophrenia or I'm going to be bipolar." And it's not so. It's really what happens to us that turns on or quiets those genes that make us vulnerable. But knowing that is just so important-
Tana Amen: And easier not to judge I think when we understand.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, my goodness, we are out of time. So Mark, I hope we become friends. I'm so excited and just so grateful that you wrote It Didn't Start With You, which you can get on Amazon or You can also get the audiobook of it which it's just got a ton of positive reviews. You can go to Mark Wolynn, and learn about workshops and his appearances and courses that he has done and I'm just grateful for the work you do.
Tana Amen: Such good information. It's just so important. Such great insight.
Mark Wolynn: Thank you. I'm so happy to meet you both and to be with you here on the show and let's become friends.
Tana Amen: Yes. If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way podcast, please don't forget to subscribe, so you'll always know when there's a new episode and while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating as that helps others find the podcast.
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