How Halle Berry Forgave Abusive Father By Coming to Terms with Family Legacy

Halle Berry says she was able to heal some of the wounds of her childhood by coming to understand the generational trauma of her family, which included ancestors who were enslaved.

The Oscar winner opened up about confronting this traumatic legacy on a recent episode of NPR’s “Fresh Air” podcast.

Specifically talking about the abusive relationships at the center of her directorial debut “Bruised,” the star got very real about her own life and healing process.

“There’s lots of abuse in my childhood,” she said. “I grew up with an alcoholic father that was very abusive, both verbally, emotionally, physically.”

Halle previously spoke of her father, Jerome Jesse Berry who died in 2003, in a Father’s Day Instagram post from two years ago (below), but went into much more detail during this NPR talk.

“When he died, I was given a gift of talking to a spiritual healer and someone that took me through some spiritual exercises to sort of heal my wound with my dad.”

“He wasn’t born into the world an abusive, alcoholic man who was out of control,” she explained. “He became that by what he was and was not given; what he was exposed to and by what he wasn’t exposed to.”

With the help of therapy, she began to “look at him as an innocent little boy who got raised by an alcoholic father and a mother who was so broken herself.”

But the legacy went even further back through the generations.

“Going back another generation,” Halle said, “they came from slavery, where my great-great-grandmother saw her daughters ripped away from her and the trauma that caused.”

“When I keep tracing it back, you realize that this was just generational trauma. That my father was just trying to survive. He was trying to find himself, find his manhood. And he was doing the best he could, and while he failed me and my family miserably, he really was only working with the tools he had been given.”

“And when I looked at him that way, it did make me feel full of love, and I had empathy for him,” she said. “I felt sad by the life that he lived.”

The “Monsters Ball” star said she came to understand his coping mechanisms and “realized he was turning to alcohol as a way of numbing his experience and numbing the fact that he felt like a failure.”

“So, looking at it that way, I’m full of love for him.”

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