Echoes of trauma are traced in the relational narratives that the sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors tell about their experiences growing up in survivor families. An innovative combination of the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme (CCRT) method with narrative-qualitative analysis revealed common themes and emotional patterns that are played out in the survivors' children's meaningful relationships, especially in those with their parents. The relational world of the second generation is understood in the context of an intergenerational communication style called 'knowing-not knowing', in which there is a dialectical tension between knowing and not knowing the parental trauma. In the survivors' children's current parent-adolescent relationships with their own children, they aspire to correct the child-parent dynamics that they had experienced by trying to openly negotiate conflicts and to maintain close bonds. Clinicians treating descendents of other massive trauma would benefit from the insights offered into these complex intergenerational psychological processes.
• Offers reflections on clinical implications for psychotherapists treating descendents of massive trauma • Relevant to those interested in communication and emotion in personal relationships • Allows readers to learn from a systematic analysis of recollected accounts and from their parent-child relationships
1. Introduction: a narrative approach to bridging the gap between clinical case studies and empirical research; 2. Studying relationship narratives with the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme (CCRT) method; Part I. Relational Themes in Narratives: 3. Wishes for closeness and autonomy; 4. The need to protect vulnerable parents and to avoid conflicts; 5. 'Without words': themes of interpersonal communication; Part II. Emotions in the Narratives: 6. Anger; 7. Guilt, shame and embarrassment; 8. Anxiety and helplessness; 9. Loneliness; 10. Joy and pride; Part III. Healing Trauma in the Chain of the Generations: 11. The second generation's experience of parenting their adolescent children; 12. Growing up to the music of knowing-not knowing: reflections and clinical implications.