In the modern Western world, we don’t take curses seriously. We relegate them to biblical texts or fairy-tales. But cultural beliefs like these are common amongst many African and South American people.

They believe their ancestors’ spirits cause ailments or misfortune, and if it continues through the family, they blame a generational curse. So, should we take these ancient beliefs more seriously? This article examines the causes and steps to breaking generational curses.

What are generational curses?

Generational curses are sets of beliefs and ideas carried down through the generations. A generational curse is a living thought that affects our behavior.

Some may think they are just a load of spiritual or biblical nonsense with no bearing on modern-day life. But even if you don’t believe they exist, you can understand how a pattern of abuse can manifest through families.

For example, a great-grandfather abuses his children who repeat the process until it gets to you. So, how do you go about breaking generational curses? The first step is to understand how they form.

How do generational curses manifest?

Generational curses form in three ways:

  1. Psychologically
  2. Physically
  3. Spiritually

Psychological generational curses

Psychological generational curses are the easiest to understand. Think how we mimic our parent’s behavior. Perhaps your family has always lived below the breadline. If so, it’s difficult to imagine yourself as a wealthy person.

Abused children may repeat this damaging behavior against their own children. Children growing up with aggressive parents might continue to use anger as a bargaining tool.

Even decisions such as sending your children to university or not can become rooted in your family’s psyche and hard to break.

Physical generational curses

If there was a history of alcoholism in your family, it is because of genes or the environment? Genetic diseases like Tay Sachs and Sickle Cell Disease pass down through generations, so why not curses?

Epigenetics is the study of how our environment changes our genes by silencing or expressing the gene. Once this change imprints, it passes on to the next generation. So, our environment and behavior are more influential than the genes we are born with.

Don’t believe me? Epigenetic inheritance studies show that Holocaust survivors pass down trauma to their children.

“The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents,” Rachel Yehuda et al.

The Dutch Winter Famine (1944-1945) is another example of external factors affecting our genes. Children born to women who starved during the famine had a 10% increase in mortality in their late 60s.

“How on earth can your body remember the environment it was exposed to in the womb — and remember that decades later?” Dr. Bas Heijmans, geneticist

Sudden trauma or chronic pain affect our bodies on a cellular level. Stored in our reproductive organs, it passes to our children. Without knowing, our children then pass on this trauma to their kids, and so on.

Spiritual generational curses

Spiritualists believe when we die, the soul leaves our body and waits to be reincarnated. Spiritual curses refer to practices such as the occult or a curse upon your soul.

Those who engage in witchcraft, voodooism, or satanism use spells, incantations, or rituals to place curses. Enacting the curse dooms the soul, no matter how many times it reincarnates.

Types of generational curses


Abuse affects us both psychologically and physically. Suffering trauma can not only change our perception of what’s acceptable behavior, but also our genetic makeup.

When you live with an abuser, you get used to certain behavior. This changes how you act. You may unconsciously seek abusive partners because you don’t think you’re good enough or worthy of love. On a cellular level, you are at risk of passing down certain genetic traits that affect you in later life.


Experiencing trauma affects people differently. However hard we try to process it, we unconsciously transfer it to those around us. For example, studies show the impact of 9/11 on parents in the holiday season immediately after the attacks. Parents were much more mindful of the dangers and kept their children close to them.

Maurice De Witt, a Fifth Avenue Santa, said parents would not “let the hands of their children go. The kids sense that. It’s like water seeping down, and the kids can feel it.”


Living with severe poverty changes your mindset. You may settle for a below standard existence because you’re not used to getting what you need. Perhaps you cannot imagine being wealthy or owning your own house because your parents never could.

Maybe you have to overcome the fear of never having enough? Or do you surround yourself with material things to compensate?


When it comes to breaking generational curses, anger is the simplest to understand. Anger is easy to pass on in families. It creates an environment of fear, secrecy, and shame. We learn anger from generation to generation.

Children growing up quickly learn it is acceptable to use violence, so they perpetuate it in their relationships. Our parents teach us how to handle problems and express our emotions. If the people we learn from use aggressive behavior, then we will too.

5 steps to breaking generational curses

If you want to know how to break a generational curse, the first step is to identify it.

1. Identify the generational curse

Are you always attracted to the wrong guy? Do you suffer from a mental disorder? Are you prone to addictive behaviors? Is it impossible for you to break out of poverty? Have you got destructive tendencies that sabotage your efforts? Do you have a victim mentality that stops you from taking responsibility for your life?

Then examine whether this curse originated from your mother or father. Look for patterns of behavior or narratives that your family has passed down.

2. Talk to your parents

If you can, speak to your parents to get some history of their struggles. Sometimes it helps us understand our place in the family dynamic by seeing what came before us.

For example, you may not know why your parents were so strict with you until you find out that their parents treated them the same way. Or maybe the reason you didn’t have any money growing up is because your parents lived in poverty too.

3. Talk to your ancestral spirits

If this next part seems like mumbo-jumbo, you’re welcome to skip it. Spiritualists believe that time is not linear as we perceive it. Your ancestors are here in spirit form, either waiting to be born or guiding you through the spiritual realm as guardian angels.

Because we are all present at this moment in some form or another, we can work to heal together. Our family can heal at the same time we do. The energy encoded in our souls connects with all our past and future lives. So, healing now not only breaks the generational curse for our descendants but also our ancestors.

4. Change your mindset

Can you break a generational curse if it’s genetic? The environment can switch genes on and off remember. However, the most powerful asset you have is your mind. It is your belief in the curse that gives it power over you. Your family has given energy and momentum to this curse.

Believing in the curse is more powerful than the curse itself. Remember, it’s your life, not your ancestors. You have free will. If you want to break a generational curse, you must be accountable for your actions, drop the victim mentality, and proactively end the cycle.

5. Use a ritual

Rituals are useful for breaking generational curses because they give us an ending and closure. Try writing the curse on paper, then lighting a candle, speaking to the universe and burning the note as a cleansing ritual. Give yourself a clean slate where you can start again.

This is difficult, as your entire family has grown up around this curse and enabled it to flourish.

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to break a generational curse. Curses or beliefs have great power when passed down through the generations. However, it is this belief in the curse that gives it power. Once we understand the origin, we can be the cycle breaker in our family and release the curse for past and future generations.



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