The burning question forty percent of the population wants to know is why we should parent ourselves. I have explored various parenting courses, books, workshops, and online tools. What I loved about Kim Holman’s and Meg Judge’s empowering parenting masterclass is it is all about empowering that person and self-discovery. The live online course begins September 18th.
Most parenting courses only give suggestions to various behaviors, but the parent still needs to learn why we should parent ourselves. This masterclass gives people the insights and information into ourselves and our lives, as if a mirror is reflecting back at us. Revealing to us all our personal conflicts, generational trauma, issues, and wounded parts. Most parenting courses do not take this important element into consideration. It’s all about the child and not the parent discovering their authentic self to better parent their child. And the logic behind it is everyone is unique and different. No two people are the same. Just like no two children are the same.
About half of parents parent the same way they were parented. We must stop doing this because better resources, support tools, and information exist. Plus, everyone has baggage, which is why everyone should parent themselves. We were not born to hate another person or treat them differently just because they look, speak, and dress differently. We are taught these ugly traits and behaviors, and we can change our ways of thinking, acting, and behaving as we mature and become more compassionate.
Therefore, Let me explain in more details why we should parent ourselves because when we don’t, that baggage will influence and bleed into various areas of our lives.
Why we should parent ourselves
When we are born, we are like a spounge and we obsorb all the sensory stimuli within our outer world. This stimuli of information forms are likes and dislikes. Depending upon our life experiences, culture, and environment, we all will have our own unique experiences, which can create negative or positive sense of self. We all experience fear, loss, heartache, disappointment, anger, questionable thoughts, and rejection. These negative experiences will influence our lives and how we enteract with the people around us. Even if you decide to NOT become a parent, we should still parent ourselves. Here is why.
Why we should parent ourselves
I am a storyteller by nature and the best way explain my point, is to tell you a story. This story is about Pam. Pam is a freshman in high school and lives in an average home with loving parents. One day Pam appeared fine and the next day, Pam was completely different. Is it teen hormones or something else?
In one evening, Pam’s life changed completely. She experienced trauma. Pam did not know she developed PTSD and how it would negatively impact her life. Days after the event, Pam soon lost her motivation, drive and purpose in life. She felt dead inside and fearful. Her parents did not know what was going on with Pam. Her dad’s logic was that Pam would eventually get over it, but Pam could not.
Like most teenagers, Pam did not feel comfortable telling her parents about her traumatizing experience with her best friend. Pam parents were so confused because Pam appeared physically fine on the outside, but inside she was a mess. Pam’s parents grew up in a household that did not talk about their feelings or emotions. They were taught to keep those private matters to themselves. So, instead of connecting with Pam to find out what was really wrong, the parents left Pam feeling confused and disconnected.
Therefore, Pam did not feel comfortable sharing with her parents that she witnessed her best friend at a party get drunk and be sexually assulted by some classmates. Pam experienced in-direct trauma and her best friend experienced direct trauma.
As time passed, Pam’s PTSD went into remission. When Pam became a senior in high school, she decided to become more social again. After a high school football game, Pam decided to attend a party to celebrate. To Pam’s surprise, she noticed that it was difficult for her to relax around her classmates drinking alcohol. The boys got loud, flirty, and drunk.
This made Pam extremely nervous and she became hypervigilent to all the questionable activity around her. Then a boy bumped into Pam by accident and grabbed her arm before she fell over. Pam screamed out loud when he grabbed her arm. The room became silent and some girls started laughing and giggling. This made Pam feel stupid and small. Pam did not know what was wrong with her and why she was reacting, instead of calmly responding.
Time passes again and Pam has met a really nice man in college. The young man is kind and respectful towards Pam. Pam’s boyfriend, Tom, has moved up within his internship and the boss invited him to a dinner party. Feeling confident and comfortable in her own body, Pam decided to wear a lovely dress that fit her body like a glove. Pam has a lovely hour glass figure and Tom said, “You look amazing!”
The dinner party was exciting and fun, but some guests had a few too many glasses of alcohol. Again, Pam thought she was over it, but the anxiety started to bubble within Pam’s belly. A few men got overly flirty with Pam and when one gentleman put his hand around Pam’s waist and whispered in her ear, “You look so sexy Pam in that dress. If Tom every dumps you, I will scoop you up myself.”
Before Pam could calming respond and remove his arm wrapped around her waist, her PTSD trigger kicked into gear. Pam almost jumped out of her skin when this strange drunk man touched her in a manner that made Pam’s skin crawl. The drunk gentleman got offended and accused Pam of being a tease in that seductive dress.
Tom witnessed Pam’s reaction and was confused. He had never seen this side of Pam before. He thought, “What is her problem? She is embarassing me in front of my boss and coworkers. I can’t afford to get fired or lose this internship. I need to have a serious talk with Pam.”
Tom, pulls Pam aside and starts questioning her conduct and behavior. Pam begins to cry and this irritates Tom further. Pam is unaware of how the PTSD trauma triggers are all firing warning bells to fight or flew. Tom cannot reason with Pam and eventually takes her behavior personally. Therefore, he decides to end the relationship with Pam. Tom feels that Pam is unstable and no longer a suitable match.
Pam is heart broken and feels broken inside. She does not know what is wrong with her. Pam decided to speak to a professional about her most recent experience because now Pam is afraid to date another man or attend any dinner parties.
After diving deep into Pam’s history, the therapist discovers that Pam did experience and witness extreme trauma. “Witnessing rape is just as traumatic as witnessing an attempted murder.”, explains the therapist. “Ask any cop and they will confirm it. It changes a person life completely and some people can experience identity erosion. Let me help you, Pam.”
This is just one example. One in three women in their lifetime will experience sexual assault. Men are not taught how to support a woman better when they have witnessed or experienced sexual assault—sex changes for that woman. For example, she might want to have sex but is afraid of sex. If you or anyone you know struggles with sex or how our bodies change after having children, a great book is Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. I learned so much from listening to that audiobook.
Therefore, we can have split parts of ourselves that need to join the primary personality again. Those parts can be trapped within us, sometimes dominating and controlling the primary personality. Let me explain. Have you ever seen a grown man act like a five-year-old? You are witnessing that the five-year-old part dominates the primary personality because that five-year-old does not know that a man is 30, 40, or 50. Therefore, that five-year-old part shows up when that wounded inner child feels threatened, controlled, or triggered. The trigger could be any of the following:
- Tone of voice (demanding, belittling, threatening, authoratarian, or controlling. It could be laughing or giggling. There is music and holiday music.)
- Body laungage (crossed arms, hands gripped into a fist, disgust, stink eyes, locked jaw, or a arm raised)
- Smell (alcohol, abuser’s perfume or after shave)
- Touch and Energy (firm grip, personal space invaded, standing too close, unwelcome sexual advances)
Why we should parent ourselves
I will explain parts if you have not heard this story before because EVERYONE has parts—even I. This story is about a client I worked with over 20 years ago. I will call him Tom. Tom hated Christmas. He hated the Christmas music, decorations, and especially the Christmas tree. Tom did not realize he had a wounded part within that was trapped. This wounded part learned to hate Christmas based on a family tradition. Therefore, when Tom heard the Christmas music playing in a grocery store, he got mad. The wounded child would dominate the primary personality, and Tom was clueless as to how questionable his behavior became. He just thought it was a part of himself that hated Christmas, and he was correct.
One day, while he was waiting in the lobby for a session with a therapist, the receptionist pulled me aside. She was concerned about Tom’s behavior. The receptionist explained that Tom had been complaining about the holiday music, decorations, and tree for ten minutes. She wanted me to sit Tom down and talk with him. Tom was not scheduled to work with me, but she knew I was an expert in parts therapy.
When Tom was alone with me in my office, I playfully asked him why he hated Christmas. Tom said, “A part of me just hates Christmas. I hate the music, decorations, and especially the tree.” I asked, “What happened to you during Christmas that made you hate it because most kids love it. I sure did when I was little, and you did as well. What happened to you?”
Tom shared that he was very excited about Christmas when he was nine. All his friends had their homes decorated, and the tree was up. The house and tree were not decorated in Tom’s home until Christmas Eve. This was Tom’s family tradition, and Tom did not agree with or like it. Therefore, Tom decided that year to surprise his parents.
Tom skipped school and cut down a tree when his parents left for work. He decorated the whole house and put up the tree. When his parents came home, Tom excitedly yelled, “Surprise. Let’s celebrate Christmas early this year.” Well, Tom’s parents did not embrace his excitement or joy. They were pissed off at Tom.
Therefore, Tom parents made him take all the decorations down and made him dump the Christmas tree next to the trash cans. As he stood at the bottom staircase, Tom’s parents told him that he was grounded, was not having dinner with them, and was being sent to his bedroom to think about what he did wrong. His parents expected an apology.
That experience traumatized Tom, and that wounded nine-year-old split from the primary personality. To protect Tom from being hurt or injured again, this nine-year-old part will dominate the primary personality whenever Tom hears Christmas music, sees the decorations or tree, or celebrates Christmas. This wounded part destroyed the holiday joy and excitement Tom’s children deserved. This wounded part was influencing and bleeding into Tom’s ability to parent his children positively. And if I did not fix this problem, Tom’s kids could negatively impact the next generation and the next.
This is why we should parent ourselves. We have parts that act up and make us appear unstable, irrational, childish, immature, fearful, jealous, envious, and out of control. One’s fear of dogs or heights could influence another person. If someone is dating a person with an anxious attachment style and they have a secure attachment, the nervous behaviors could influence that secure person. Yet, when you already understand attachment styles, it is easier to understand the strange anxiety behaviors. The secure person can parent themselves to stay grounded, centered, and present when their partner has an anxiety attack. This is a good thing because the person with anxiety needs support to become grounded, calm, and centered again. I hope you know where I am leading you when your partner is in the dark. It is usual for someone to take those odd behaviors personally, and people get hurt.
So, here is my advice. There are parts of me that come up and act out. I have learned to stop and observe those parts acting up. And when I say parts, there can be a timeline of pop bubble memories linked together. The best example is to think of Pam again. She had her first main event, then a second and third event. All those events are woven together, and each can have a part that got wounded at a different age.
Therefore, Pam needs to heal all the parts that are woven together. If she does not, alcohol can still be a trauma trigger. A drunk man can be another. When that part appears, this is your place of power. Could you stop and talk to it? When you listen to the rest of this interview with Kim Holman and Meg Judge, they are talking about this. We all need to heal the parts of ourselves that appear to be self-sabotaging us. The problem is these parts are not intentionally sabotaging us. They always have an underlying positive intent. They don’t want us to get hurt or wounded again. So, they act out of fear and dominate the primary personality. And I could go even deeper in my explanation, but I won’t. I do not want to overwhelm anyone with my nerdy parts therapy brain.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post and podcast about why we should parent ourselves.