I'm experiencing a bit of a rebellion lately. And it's not a problem! It's all part of an organic process we can experience as we move through life. Whether or not we're aware of it, we're constantly receiving guidance from the body in the form of a "push or pull"; that, if we learned to listen (not from the mind but through awareness in the body), we'd realize there's a path unfolding before our feet that we can follow. As much as we can appreciate guidance from the outside, ultimately it's all helping us (if we let it) clarify our own path.
An (on my heart) episode riffing more on the topic of parentification and what it means to walk away from that dynamic with a parent. We're thwarted in our development when we stay in this dynamic as adults; doing a disservice to ourselves, but also often to those we seek to rescue (and be responsible for) as well. Speaking for myself, I could never become the mother I wanted to be until I was able to do the work to reclaim myself from that dynamic.
The parentified child is the child who often played the role of the parent in relationship to her own parents. Becoming "adult too soon", and bearing more responsibility for an adult's well-being than she could actually carry. This experience can create belief patterns and behaviors that we can carry into adulthood. It's not always easy to see this happening because it's such a pervasive experience; but knowing about it can help us understand experiences we had as kids, why we may continue to struggle as adults, and how we can help avoid re-creating this dynamic with our kids. This episode pairs well with the episode on emotional development.
I'm not dishing out any parenting advice in this episode - but I'm also not against parenting advice and parenting strategies per say - what I am promoting in this episode is a parenting beyond the books approach. You don’t need the outside world to tell you how to parent. When we learn to trust ourselves everything else falls into place. And when you have reached a place of self-understanding and you’ve learned more about what it means to be a human being in this world through studying your own life; you will come to trust and to know in your bones what each next step; each next response; needs to be.
Statistics for childhood sexual abuse are abysmal, with some stats reporting 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys under the age of 18 experiencing childhood sexual abuse. Stats like that are enough to bring on a sense of powerlessness in the face of an epidemic like that; it's little wonder why it's one of the top concerns mothers have. But we are far more powerful than we realize to influence the prevalence of this experience. I'm on a mission to help women and mothers (and anyone who cares for children) realize just how powerful and influential they actually are to create the kind of environment in which this experience is far less likely to happen. Like all of what we do; it starts with us. It puts the power back in our hands to act and to act effectively. Listen until the end of this episode for a special call-out to hear from women and moms like me, who want to know what makes a child vulnerable to this experience and what makes the experience far less likely.
At the heart of what we often struggle with most as mothers is how we can provide for our children something we didn't have as kids. This is not a matter of blame more than it is taking an honest look at our lives and experiences. One area we often struggle most is in how we think about and work with our own emotions. We often either shut down and avoid “difficult” emotions, or we become emotionally volatile or easily triggered; both indicators what we don’t have an equanimous relationship to our own emotions. And we likely didn’t learn how to be with and relate to our emotions in healthy ways. It’s endemic in our culture and so our parents likely didn’t know how either. This imbalanced relationship to emotion can create havoc within us, and until we learn another way of being with emotion, we’ll likely pass on these patterns to our kids.
What does it mean to grow up? This question has driven my own search over many many years to find an answer. It doesn’t have to do with chronological age. To grow up, for me, is to take responsibility for our own well-being in such a way that we can regulate our internal states and emotions. We can learn to have an embodied sense of safety that comes from knowing how to guide ourselves back into balance when we get triggered in life. This happens automatically for a child who experiences co-regulation (when a parent helps a child regulate their stress responses and emotions), but for so many of us, that didn't happen. Our own ability to help our children depends a lot on our ability to do this for ourselves. And it's never too late to learn.
I have a couple of practical resources to share with you today as well. You can find them here!
An episode about the revolutionary power of someone's belief in us, and the world of possibility it opens up. We often struggle to connect with our creativity and imagination around how we can experience life. If you've ever had the isolating experience of depression or anxiety, you know how the kind and compassionate attention of another person can resurrect us from the depths of that experience. And when they relate to us in ways we've never experienced, and see in us things we've never seen, a radically new path can start to unfold beneath our feet. The people who believe in us, and who can help us see things in ourselves we've never seen, and who can teach us to love and to trust ourselves as we've never been taught to do, they are true a GIFT to this world. This episode contains a personal story about someone who revolutionized my way of being in the world.
Depression affects the lives of over 300 million people worldwide, according to World Health Organization stats. What's ROCKED me more recently is just how many women and mothers I work with, and also friends of mine, struggle with depression (diagnosed). Depression has been linked to our gut health, and it's been linked to inflammation in the body, but the prevailing perspective is that it's a chemical imbalance in the brain and that 40% of the time, it's genetic. This perspective is being dismantled as our understanding of trauma and the nervous system evolves and as we begin to understand the link between early childhood experiences (traumas) and the later development of mental illness and disease. This is important learning for us going forward as we explore a new model for thinking about and relating to the experience.
This episode is a short reflection on the stories we tell ourselves about other people and how those stories cut us off, and keep us trapped and disconnected. I'm also going to share with you why it is that I love being wrong (sometimes).