What is a transitional character?

I am a transitional character. I carry that around with me every day. I affirm it daily in my mind, in my meditations, in my heart and in every journey deep into myself.

I believe there are plenty of transitional characters in the world. Some are on their path to realizing it, others are doing the work already. Some are aware of their role in their lineage and others don’t even know what a transitional character is. But they are all the same–they are the chosen ones.

The late Dr. Carlfred Broderick, a University of Southern California scholar, described it as follows:

“A transitional character is one who, in a single generation, changes the entire course of a lineage. The changes might be for good or ill, but the most noteworthy examples are those individuals who grow up in an abusive, emotionally destructive environment and who somehow find a way to metabolize the poison and refuse to pass it on to their children. They break the mold. They refute the observation that abused children become abusive parents, that the children of alcoholics become alcoholic adults, that “the sins of the fathers are visited upon the heads of children to the third and fourth generation.” Their contribution to humanity is to filter the destructiveness out of their own lineage so that the generations downstream will have a supportive foundation upon which to build productive lives.”

Basically, a transitional character is one single person in an entire lineage who is determined to end the cycle of abuse passed down to them by their family and ancestors. They commit to healing every personal and ancestral wound before having children themselves, to terminate the intergenerational trauma and raise children in a healthy, loving family environment, from the womb to the world.

Many people believe that those who grow up in a toxic home environment are destined to recreate the same patterns in their own families. To some extent, research supports these beliefs. However, the transitional character’s mission is to not be another statistic.

That is my “why.” That is why I get up every morning. I want to be a mom. But I want to be a different kind of mom. I want to be the best mother I can be. And to do that, I had to get to work. I had to vow to do everything in power to be a different parent than what I know. I am committed to becoming the best person I can be and ending all trauma cycles and bonds to not pass down any wounds to my future children. All of my efforts and all my actions are to strengthen myself, my relationship and my situation to be the best wife, mother, friend and person I can be.

Transitional characters are a specific type of people. The resilience, determination and heart one needs to accomplish this is incredible. Because being the transitional character comes at a cost.

Primarily, revisiting your childhood is not easy when you grew up in an abusive home. The damage abuse does to a child is irreparable. Childhood trauma is a risk factor for almost everything from physical health issues like cardiac problems to mental health issues. The long term effects of being the child of alcoholic parents is a long, sad list of symptoms that vary from fear of abandonment, trust issues, inability to develop strong interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, addictive behaviour, depression, PTSD and more.

As a transitional character, you need to heal the trauma wounds inflicted on you by your family environment. With the help of professional psychologists, I did cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) until I was finally able to heal. I was able to acknowledge my reality and trust in my truth. Other traumatic events that happened with extended family or people outside of the family need to be addressed, assessed, acknowledged and healed as well. Every emotional wound you do not heal could pass down to your womb. Every toxic relationship you keep around will affect you.

Not all, though many transitional characters must distance themselves from their families. Some are able to maintain some kind of relationship with their parents, siblings or other. Many of them cannot. If you are ending the generational trauma cycles, you need to cut the ties between yourself and the abuser. If you have existing trauma bonds, you need to end those. Choosing to cut out your biological family is going to be the hardest decision you will ever make if it is what you decide to do, but it is a sacrifice you need to make for yourself and your future children.

Being a transitional character means redefining the processes that lead up to having a family. By choosing to get an education, I am redefining the process I was shown. By choosing to heal from my childhood and do therapy and self-development, I am redefining the process I was shown. By choosing to find a good partner and build a strong relationship, I am redefining the process I was shown. By choosing to never adopt verbally abusive behaviour towards my partner, I am redefining the process. By choosing to put thought into becoming a mother, I am redefining the process. By choosing to prepare for parenting, I am redefining the process. By choosing to be financially independent, I am redefining the process. By choosing to prioritize my health, I am redefining the process. By choosing to marry later, I am redefining the process. By choosing to become a parent later, I am redefining the process. By choosing to not abuse substances, I am redefining the process. By choosing to heal from abuse so that I do not become abusive, I am redefining the process. Every decision I make that is different from the decisions my upbringing made is redefining the process of having a family.

Being a transitional character means choosing different, being different and being better. There are many generations of little girls before me that were pushed, shoved, bullied, manipulated, sexualized, verbally abused, put down, insulted, humiliated, blamed, triangulated, dismissed, invalidated, pinned against their siblings, gaslighted, rejected, traumatized, alienated and caught in the middle of their parents’ dysfunctional marriage and alcoholism.

But it ends with me. The course of my entire lineage ended over one year ago and I am creating something new. The process is being redefined and I am full-time at work at ending generational trauma. I am metabolizing the poison that was passed down to me and eliminating it, making sure it never gets passed down below me. No abuse or toxicity will be passed down from me.

I am a transitional character. I carry that around with me every day. I affirm it daily in my mind, in my meditations, in my heart and in every journey deep into myself.

– B

Published by breanna

Journalism student at Algonquin College Fitness and Health Professional Bilingual FR/EN

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