Do you sometimes worry that you’re repeating, with your child, some of the patterns that you inherited from your parents?
Or that your child sometimes feels how you once felt?
I want to share with you the story of a conversation I had with a mum that really moved me…
Watch the video or scroll down to read more…
In fact, by the end of the conversation, I had tears pricking at the back of my eyes because there was such a profound realisation on behalf of the mum I was speaking to.
It felt like this wonderful release and relief.
This mum has been working with me for a little while. Things have changed a lot. There are far fewer meltdowns, tantrums, and conflicts.
“But,” she said, “sometimes I still shout when we get really frustrated with each other. And in that moment, I have this fear, this worry that we are going to have that same relationship in the future that I have with my mother, because we’re really not very close.”
I don’t know if you worry about your relationship with your child, but when we have a worry like this, it can really take over.
Sometimes I feel, with my clients, that when there’s a worry such as this one, it’s like wearing a rucksack on our front. There’s this big presence there, in front of us, and whatever we’re doing – being parents to our children and being partner to our partner – there’s this thing that’s in between.
If you have this worry, that that you may be passing down negative family patterns, have you ever asked yourself whether this affects the way you show up for your child?
Or whether it affects your sleep? Your ability to be present? Does it put you on edge?
I know that whenever I worry, it makes me more on edge.
I have some quite big changes coming up in my life soon. (I’ll tell you about that another time.) And my son actually said to me this morning in the car that I was a bit grumpy, and I’d been grumpy for about two weeks. I realised that it’s because, while I’m excited about these changes, I’m also anxious, and this is what anxiety does.
And so, I wanted to share with you the three questions that I asked my client, which helped her.
They might help you:
- Do you and your mum have similar parenting styles?
- Is your child’s experience of childhood similar to yours?
- When you’re a bit shouty with your child, do you repair – and did your mum repair with you, when you were little?
As my client answered these questions, this huge list emerged, of all the differences between her childhood and her daughter’s childhood. And not just in her parenting, but also in the amount of siblings, and wider issues like financial status.
So many things were completely different.
Suddenly, it was as if the scales fell away from her eyes and she saw that actually, she and her daughter had nothing in common in terms of their experience of childhood.
And then I said something to her which I think helped to clarify things even more.
I said, “Sometimes things happen that remind you of events that happened in your childhood. For example, you may sometimes use the very same words that your mum used, and see your daughter getting upset.
“But the similarity stops there.
“What it brings up for you in terms of these fears, or projections, about future relationships and lack of intimacy and affection between you, is your own private experience.”
And I didn’t say this to her at the time, but reflecting now, it’s actually her inner child who pops up in those moments, and says, “Oh no! This is what used to happen. It’s really bad and it’s really worrying.“
This is what our inner children do because they’re small and vulnerable.
But this has nothing to do with our own actual children, who are having a completely different overall experience.
And, of course, if you’re repairing with your child after a difficulty or conflict, that makes all the difference.
This lovely mum realised that she’d been extrapolating. She’d taken a small event and then, as we do, she’d been focusing on the very small amount of negative and making it into something big, which, again, is what our inner children are so good at.
That’s why there were tears of relief and release at the end of this conversation; because she realised she didn’t have to do that anymore. It was a great big load she could just put down. And that was wonderful to see.
If this is a worry for you, I really recommend you go through these questions too. And if this helps, that’s great.
But if you still feel a wee bit stuck, here’s what you can do.
There aren’t that many in the diary this side of Christmas, but there are some, and there are also some on the other side of Christmas. We can have an exploratory conversation about what’s coming up for you – what’s worrying you – and you can begin to get some clarity.
I’d love to talk with you, so do go and book a call now.
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