Healing childhood wounds through parenting

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      TRIGGER warning, physical and emotional abuse.

      “Dear Genevieve, this is something I would like to share with other parents ….

      I grew up in a household with physical abuse from my father towards mother and siblings and mental and emotional abuse from my mother towards myself and siblings. Consequently, as I approached adulthood, I said to myself that I didn’t want to have kids and do to them what my parents did to myself, brother and sister, until I had worked through any ‘stuff’ and baggage that I needed to.

      The point at which I chose to have my children, I felt I had arrived at a level of respect for myself, for both my parents (they’d both done the best that they literally could) and very fulfilled with my work and career. Alongside this, as a new mother, I chose to listen to my instincts and trust my footsteps in the dark and soon learned, after my son was born, my intuitive approach was very akin to attachment parenting. He’s nearly four now and we’ve had peaks and troughs along the way but, no matter what, I’ve always been able to turn to my instincts to guide me. In the work I had done on myself in my 20’s and early 30’s, I explored in depth my own journey in utero and through pre-verbal infancy, and have been very aware that, the journey I’m now embarking on with my kids, stands to throw more up about my own traumas as a child and how I was treated.

      Very peculiarly, it’s not until now this has reared it’s head. I say very peculiarly as my mum maintains she became pregnant with me through being raped by my dad, I was illegitimate – which in the 70’s was still quite a big thing, and he had an affair straight after I was born, so I’ve been surprised that issues around these things haven’t arisen before.

      However, in the last six weeks or so I started to have a very tough time with my son. He was fine, just being his usual self, changing but in nonetheless no different way than before. But I felt a huge huge urge to push him away and a desperate need of space from him. This was very unlike me and I found it massively difficult to accept. I didn’t know what to do and, for the first time since his birth, I felt completely disconnected from my gut.

      I wasn’t sure where this longing for him not to need me was coming from until this weekend. In a meditation I came back to being 3.5 years old in a room with my mum. I stood there frozen with her screaming at me and an overwhelming sense of her wanting me to bear her load. And then my 3.5 year old frustration and anger coming, wanting to push her and her stuff away because I could not take it.

      And with it I realised, YES my son had started to push my buttons. My buttons of not being able to cope as a child. Not knowing how to respond to a bright and eloquent three year old’s requests. Of my mum not knowing, not having the ability how to hear this and my consequent dark spot – then and now.

      So the light has shone. The heat has come off my son’s ‘demands’ and my instincts are back. But most importantly, I have no desire to push him away and he now lies in (not literally as I write) in my embrace once again. And with it, as I continue my quest to transform my own negative childhood experiences into informed parenting choices, I have learned that, should I feel disconnected either from him or my intuition again, I will give myself some time to reflect and wait to see what arises.”

      I so appreciate Sarah’s willingness to share her journey with us all. This is the kind of journey that I’m myself very familiar with and that I witness clients going through all the time as I guide them to follow the threads of the sensations in their body that arise when they react to their child, which invariably leads them back to how they felt as a child, which consequently leads to greater understanding of what’s happening in the dynamic with their child in the present. When understanding comes in, empathy for self and our child follows. This story is such a beautiful example of the beauty of the journey of healing through parenthood. ~ Genevieve

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