Introduce yourself

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    • #3205

      Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, your special interests, what has drawn you to peaceful parenting and what you’re hoping to get out of this group.

      We’re hoping that members make connections that they can then develop through one on one phone, skype or google hangout organized active listening partnerships or just chatting on the phone or better still connecting with others in your local area.

    • #3812
      Wendy Andrews

      ***TRIGGER WARNING*** mention of childhood sexual assault (no details though)

      Hi everyone, I can kick off this introduction thing. Many of you know me from the peaceful parent q&a group and/or mentoring on the ecourse here.
      Some random facts: I was born in New Zealand but also lived in Wales, England and Australia as a child, the last being where I still am (and I got here by overland adventure in the mid 70s with my parents in a Land Rover and with 3 younger siblings, I was 11 at the time).

      I’m a raised working class person. My mother worked in factories and cleaning jobs and my father had been a police officer when I was young but moved into computers, which he was passionate about.

      I was the first of any in either side of my family to go to uni and it was there one day, aged 17, that my legs started to shake. It led to a diagnosis of epilepsy and I was on drugs with some ‘interesting side effects’ for a couple of years for that, until it was changed to ‘panic attacks and agoraphobia’, for which I spent a month in a psychiatric ward and, having sworn off medications after the epilepsy drugs, was intimidated into taking a strong anti-depressant.

      At the same time, I was very outgoing and represented my country and won awards for various things. Then, in my late twenties, I came across some information that changed things. I was told that shaking was a natural response to fearful situations and that crying was healing (I did it a lot and had viewed it in a negative light).

      This helped me down a road of releasing lots of big feelings. It wasn’t until after my daughter was born though that I attended a course for survivors of childhood sexual assault that I started to ask questions like, ‘what sort of family life did I have that I didn’t think to tell anyone about this when it started at age 11?’ and ‘why didn’t anyone notice all the ways I was showing there was a big problem?’ That’s what led me to face that I was the scapegoat in a very dysfunctional family system.

      For some, they describe their childhood as a ‘war zone’ but I had to face the fact that my whole childhood was similar to being in a concentration camp (mostly intensely boring with random acts of violence and cruelty). When your adrenaline and cortisol levels are raised most of your life, it can be useful to use the label, complex ptsd, for a while as you sort it all out. That’s what I’ve been doing for a few years now. For those of us to whom this applies, there’s also usually numerous incident specific ptsd’s in there too on top of that. For me, the last one was the traumatic birth of my daughter and I still have work to do around that.

      I’ll just add that for my teenage years, my parents swung from extremely strict and punishing to wildly permissive and I was let loose on the world, heavily drinking and having sex from age 15. It was an interesting combo of the two parenting extremes!

      Now, I’m 51, married with a 15yo daughter. I was lucky to have the peaceful parenting info from before Alia’s birth so she’s always been raised with it, which doesn’t mean I haven’t ‘had my moments’ but I clearly see the results of getting to release emotions from day 1. My partner and I have always struggled with full-on, intense emotions and I am currently doing a ‘mindfulness based stress reduction course’ and learning about ’emotional flooding’, which is funny because I talk about the same thing all the time for our children but, until now, hadn’t linked it to what was happening in my own body! (Mainly because dissociation is my main survival tactic so being in my body has not been a common event but the mindfulness is fixing that).

      Ok, I think that’s long enough! Would love to read others’ intros, if you feel willing or find the time to put it here. I love, love, love being on Genevieve’s team…..she is a guiding light and I’m so glad I found her.

    • #3858

      Wendy, thank you so much for your very generous introduction. It’s so brave to share one’s journey with such openness.

      As you already know but others may not, there are a few parallels in our stories. Many differences of course, but both survivors of childhood abuse, including sexual abuse, and both blessed to have started the journey of healing early in life and to begin parenthood with a strong awareness of the importance of allowing, validating and accepting the whole range of emotions, and the power of healing the past through giving to our children that which we didn’t ourselves receive. And also, the awareness of just how much work it is to maintain a high level of consciousness as parents.

      I’m so happy for you that you’re doing the mindfulness group. It really can play such an important role in re-parenting, in bringing that peace and calm and conscious presence to ourselves.

      I’m very blessed and grateful to have you on the team Wendy. Your generosity and openness of heart and wisdom in helping other parents never ceases to amazes me.

    • #3861
      Wendy Andrews

      thank you Gen, I am doing the daily ‘body scan’ practice and it’s certainly highlighting that I’m really not ‘in’ my body very much and, where I thought it was my adult self I was hearing most often in my head, I think it’s actually still the hurt little girl….always room for plenty more growth and learning hey!

    • #3863

      Yes always Wendy! The journey continues! So excited for you in doing the mindfulness work.

    • #3878
      Anja Mohn-Mitchell

      Hello Everyone,
      here is my introduction:

      I am in my 40s, married with one child. Our little family lives in the U.S.; I was born and raised in Germany and immigrated to the US in 2001.
      I am a late mother, I actually never thought I would have children due to my difficult childhood. Things changed however, due to my many healing efforts including therapy and intense meditation practice (soon 15 years) and meeting my wonderful husband, Kris.

      When our son Miles was born in 2012, I was soon drawn to Peaceful Parenting, because I did not have a model for parenting and felt the need for a parenting model that resonated with my intuition. My many hours of Internet research brought me to the book the Science of Parenting, which mentioned Aletha Solter’s Book the Aware Baby. Both book were my Aha! moment and I found first the Aware Parenting website and later the Peaceful Parenting FB page and group and the Peaceful Parenting site and Group has become my go-to resource and support community for all parenting related questions and struggles.

      Our son Miles is now 3 years old. I started to make a conscious effort to listen to all of his feelings when he was about 3 months old. The birth was very difficult and looking back it seems what I thought was Ppd was actually PTSD. As my son grew I also started to realize the many hindrances in my effort to maintain close connection. I cried a lot and at times felt like running away. I realized (contrary to what I had thought) how little I had actually healed from my childhood experience and how much was still unresolved. I tried therapy, but have not had much luck with therapists and therefore considered self-therapy options. I have done a self-therapy called Internal Family System for a little more than one year now including a support group. The therapy works with the inner voices or parts and for the first time I feel I can actually make sense of what is going on inside of me. The inner world of children, their protectors (my defense an coping mechanisms) are a fine mirror of my childhood home’s dysfunction. The therapy is very effective for me and I have managed to heal a great deal of shame, and change dysfunctional behavior like yelling to more calm and centered and patient presence.
      Through the therapy I have put light on abuse experiences that I knew, but could barely remember. I have even recovered some of my memories. Sadly, I have suffered sexual, emotional and physical abuse. My main defense mechanisms were, like yours, Wendy, dissociation and numbing, and emotional avoidance, which has now become my main problem: if I could just feel and release these stuck emotions, I think I would be a lot further.

      Some recent events triggered my mother wound of not having had protection and having been silenced to preserve family ‘peace’ and image. Even though being triggered majorly creates a lot of stress and upheaval for the family I now realize the opportunity to make big steps forward. I have realized inside and emotionally that I was still searching for protection and loving, warm mothering in the outside world, and that I need to develop these qualities and skills in the inside. These realizations hurt a lot, as growth often does, but I now believe that I am the grown woman, who can keep herself safe and have found (am developing) an inner, nurturing parent to give love and nurturance to my many hurting inner children.

      Thank you for listening,

    • #3881
      Sara Donetto

      Hello everyone, some of you know me from other groups but just in case, I am Sara, I am 40 and based in London. I am mamma to Alex, who is nearly 2 and challenging life partner to Egbert. 🙂 I work in research (four days a week) and find myself almost completely unable to do anything other than work and house stuff at the moment. I am finding being a parent incredibly challenging so far. Not just harder than I’d have ever imagined but also a rather violent rollercoaster involving copious amount of anxiety and self defeat as well as bliss and crazy happiness. I guess it may sound familiar to some. I was reading the thread on self-forgiveness and started weeping – I guess that says a lot. I will post in the correct thread but just wanted to say hello in introductions first! 🙂

    • #3884

      Thank you @Anja and @Sara for introducing yourselves here.

      Anya, I’ve also found, both for myself and work with clients, that working with parts/aspects of self can be very powerful. It’s really lovely to read your sharing of how that therapy has been so effective for you. I could also relate to that sense of grief that can come with realizing that certain qualities need to be developed internally, as if (for me anyway it has often felt like) I’m giving up on getting that from others. And also I’ve found that as I develop and strengthen certain qualities in myself, that slowly but surely the right people, the right relationships have either come into my life, or started to develop more in that direction.

      I finally feel so very secure with my husband, so confident that he’s not going to head for the hill when crisis hits. He’s amazing at being there for me and saying all the right things when something upsets me.

      Yet heading for the hills was exactly what he used to do in the earlier years, because of his avoidant attachment patterns and unhealed childhood trauma. It’s been a long and gradual journey of him awakening and getting stronger and gaining the skills to manage his internal distress, which has made it more possible for him to walk the hot coals at the most difficult times. And this has been a parallel process as I’ve got stronger and stronger in my commitment to honour my needs to be responded to in a supportive and caring way, developing the belief and faith that it’s possible and working hard to maintain the connection and kindness to self and my husband (or friend) during the difficult conversations about the relationship dynamics.

    • #3885

      Sara, thank you for bringing your voice in to this group, I was hoping you’d discover this space. I hear you about how difficult it’s been, and so much more difficult than you imagined. It must be especially difficult to be out of the family so much when you’re so committed to working on the relationship with Alex. That anxiety and sense of self-defeat can weigh so heavily. I’m glad you read the self-forgiveness thread. It’s so so painful isn’t it when we see or fear that we haven’t been meeting our child’s needs.

      I know that reassurance can only reach so far, but it can be really helpful to remember that even the most securely attached children don’t experience a congruent satisfying response to all of their cues, communication and expressions of needs. In fact, they reckon that it’s more like about 60% success in terms of satisfying responses. I’m so glad you’ve found your way back onto the site to make the most of these groups.

      It’s very satisfying for me that these conversations aren’t going to get buried in the way that discussions on facebook disappear so fast.

    • #3888
      Wendy Andrews

      lovely to read more about you Anja and Sara. It’s such a big, ongoing journey for some of us hey, glad to feel your presence in the carriages of this roller coaster ride that is life, parenting and partnering.

    • #3915
      Jenni Clearwater

      Hi there,

      My name is Jenni, 39yrs.
      We run a small business and my partner and I have a family of girls 20yrs, 17yrs (step), 4 1/2yrs, 2 1/2yrs and a 1 1/2yr grandbaby girl. Our household is generally very busy but has been super full on up until last week. In the last few months we have had lots of movement in our home – our 17yr old decided to move out and into her grandparents home (lots of space and peace for her final years of College), our 20yrs and our grandbaby moved in (her and her partner had separated). Last week after a few months apart they moved back in together. It all bought lots of angst in me with loads of concern for our girls. It has been pretty draining and rather an emotional rollercoaster. With love and fun in amoungst it (not as much as I would like). I’ve found it tough going when I’m running on empty and trying to keep things ticking along.

      I grew up with an alcoholic father which created a lot of confusion, disharmony and a lack of self esteem and confidence. Lost my mum to cancer when I was 18 and my baby (now 20yrs) was 3 days old and have lost my brother and father to cancer since. I really struggled with my mum’s death. And death in general I guess.

      My current focus is on really working hard at caring for myself and listening to what I need so I can be a more loving, caring, calmer mama. I’ve been struggling with a feeling of being overwhelmed and being reactive with my wee girls (especially with there bickering and fighting). Which is promptly followed with self shame and disappointment and the feeling of ‘I’m not cut out for this mum thing’. Felt a bit like a sinking ship (Very disappointed in myself since I’ve done lots of work on myself and peaceful parenting). With all the goings on I’ve found it difficult to find the space to tap into this wonderful community of knowledge and support … not to mention the feeling of embarrassment (good old self sabotage!). Anyway moving forward … I’m feeling very relieved to have some space and time to get back on track and up to date. Tears flowed as I read the previous posts – thank you for all your beautiful honest words that broke me out of my wee shell.

    • #3918
      Wendy Andrews

      Great to meet you Jenni! I’m heading off to bed but just wanted to say a quick hello. Those ARE very heavy losses of family in your life, at such incredibly vulnerable times. And I’m hearing lots of changes in family dynamics at your place right now. I look forward to hearing more.
      warmly, Wendy

    • #3921

      Hi Jenni,
      thank you for bringing your voice in here and sharing your intro. And a bit of an update on your daughter getting back together with her ex, if I understand correctly? And so now he’s moved back to your place? And your step daughter has returned from grandparent’s place? Lots going on!

      I really felt your sadness in sharing those moments of feeling like you’re not cut out for this mum thing, I don’t know how much of a sense of that being the voice of overwhelm and hoping that you’re overall holding onto faith in yourself. I know you to be such a beautifully committed and kind hearted mum. There’s a thread happening at the moment in the self-healing group on the topic of self-forgiveness, which might also bring some releasing tears of shared experience for you. I’m so glad you’ve logged back in and reconnected and look forward to hearing your updates.

    • #3922

      Hi Jenni,
      thank you for bringing your voice in here and sharing your intro. And a bit of an update on your daughter getting back together with her ex, if I understand correctly? And so now he’s moved back to your place? And your step daughter has returned from grandparent’s place? Lots going on!

      I really felt your sadness in sharing those moments of feeling like you’re not cut out for this mum thing, I don’t know how much of a sense of that being the voice of overwhelm and hoping that you’re overall holding onto faith in yourself. I know you to be such a beautifully committed and kind hearted mum. There’s a thread happening at the moment in the self-healing group on the topic of self-forgiveness, which might also bring some releasing tears of shared experience for you. I’m so glad you’ve logged back in and reconnected and look forward to hearing your updates.

    • #4003
      Jenni Clearwater

      Hi Genevieve,

      I feels really great to be back reconnected – I feel a shift back to myself through that process of reconnecting and opening up :-). And surprise surprise I have had a calmer and more gentle few days with my girls…yay!

      So My daughter and grandy have moved back in with her partner – they are living in their own place. And my step daughter is going to stay with her grandparents (at this stage) until she finishes school next year. So we just have the four of us at home now. It’s very unusual, but I feel like I have the space emotionally and physically to settle back into some rhythm, self care and more fun time with Amani and Milly.

    • #5291

      Hi. My name is Denisa. I live in the UK (Southampton) with my husband and our 2 children , Maria (9 yo) and Iustin(7mo). I came over here in 2010 , from Romania.
      It is hard for me to find words and describe what I feel because most of the time , I feel my brain is in a mess where I can’t sort out my thoughts , I can’t relax and can’t express myself.
      Sometimes I feel like a baby who wants to talk but doesn’t know how to .
      Since I remember myself , I always hated the way I was and suffered a lot because of that.I think I hate myself even more now , because I’m a mum and I can see how much influence I have on my daughters behaviour and personality. She’s a little me which I don’t like at all.
      Many times i tried to think about my childhood and find excuses for the way I am but never found enough. I had a good relation with my mum but not with my dad. He used to drink a lot , used to argue with mum a lot , mum used to cry/complain/slag him off in front of us . He used to be angry all the time , when he was drunk used to slam doors , windows,be very jealous,swear and wanting to argue . He used to tell ugly things about mum,that she was a whore (though he didn’t have any reasons to say that)and lots more . We were living in a house inherited by mum from her family and he never liked that, he always felt inferior as my mum’s family was “well off ” comparing to his family – those days. Overall I didn’t have a happy childhood but it wasn’t very unusual in my country. Usually parents were ocuppied only about the basic needs a child needs and that’s it . I know I’ve took lots of bad “things” from my dad but I don’t know if it’s because of him the way I am . My sister is 3 years older than me and she’s a much nicer,relaxed person,though we’ve had the same childhood.
      I think I’m just not a very nice person in general but mostly with people I feel comfortable with(husband,daughter,sister,mother ) – that’s when I show my true colours.
      I struggle to have patience with simple things.I get annoyed easily and I can be very sarcastic most of the time , like I like making people feel bad . I always see the worst in everything/everyone , therefore I always had problems in making friends . I’m always comparing myself with people and get very frustrated for the way I am / my life is / my kids are / etc etc . I’m always complaining ( my dad used to do that – he still does it . ) and I’m never happy . Sometimes I feel like I’m afraid to be happy , because I know something bad will happen and it will ruin my mood or I don’t know how to be happy . I never have enough of what I want – is always room for more.
      I have a lot of problems with managing anger too .I think I’ve changed a little tiny bit over time after reading lots of parenting books but there’s not enough change . I remember I used to be upset with Maria for hours and hours even after she would apologise . I used to hold so much anger/frustration/sadness and I used to hate her because she wa’s always able to take out the worst in me .
      Now I’m trying not to show her that I’m still upset but is still in there after we have an argument/incident etc.
      I get triggered very easily and depending on my mood sometimes I don’t even need reasons to be miserable . I know what I’m doing and in those moments my feelings are so strong that I can’t or I don’t want (?) to control them ?
      It sounds stupid , but I can’t understand myself . I want help but I don’t put enough effort in doing something to help myself or my kids. Many times I wished to have the courage and leave my family , I thought that maybe that way , they will grow up differently , they won’t be adults(parents ) with problems just because their mum’s way of being / behaviour?
      Many times I questioned my feelings for Maria,for my husband , for everybody. Many times I thought about myself that I’m not capable of loving, I’m only capable of hating/criticising and arguing .
      I don’t know how to change , I’ve tried many times and always failed ( like I usually do with everything) . I’m so tired in fighting against me and all thease strong feelings are draining my energy most of the time . It feels like a nightmare to live in my body. My brain always over works and thinks too much and sometimes because I worry myself for everything and stress myself so much I think that’s why I have a rubbish memory , no general knowledge at all and I’m rubbish even at having conversations (even in my own language) . I forget words,I don’t make sense in what I’m trying to say sometimes – I get anxious etc etc
      I’ve tried to listen to Genevieve”s guided meditation though I can’t concentrate , I need to listen over and over again but can’t find the time . I’ve tried to print some of the articles too and read them whenever I get time ( I’m always out of time though I don’t do anything beneficial when I do have time to spare , eg when baby sleeps during the day )
      and my way of thinking changes slightly but only when I read the articles ..after that I go to my usual self .
      I hope I will read as much as I can on the course as I can do it only at night time after baby falls asleep but he’s a very bad sleeper so I’m trying to sleep whenever I can too .
      I want to change , I think . I need to change. For the sake of my kids , but I really think is imposibile . I have so many issues(frustration , anger , sadness )that is too hard even to want to change yourself .
      Any advice/help would be appreciated . Thank you

    • #5300
      Wendy Andrews

      Hi Denisa, I hear your frustration and pain.

      I want to reassure you that you can absolutely recover from the trauma of your past (and I’m so sorry it was so awful).

      There are reasons your sister is different. She may have a different temperament; you may be more empathetic/sensitive, so daily life may have affected you more; you may have had added traumas that she didn’t; your trauma response may have been more ‘fight’ while hers is more ‘flight’ or ‘freeze’; sometimes people lock everything away deep, deep down and it is only when some big life event happens that the lid comes off.

      It sounds like your cup is pretty empty, which makes it really hard to find anything to ‘give’ anyone. I wonder if you are able to do some one on one counselling with Genevieve via Skype, I think you’d really benefit….or with someone else nearby (it’s just that Genevieve has a REALLY good understanding of what you have survived and what you are trying to parent on the top of).

      It’s worth remembering that you are at least ATTEMPTING to parent in a very different manner to what you experienced, even if you don’t manage it the way you would like to. No matter how many mistakes you make, it will never be as bad as what you experienced.

      If you are doing the parenting course, which your post suggests, I think you will really benefit from the graphics that get sent out with the different sessions, as there are few words and sometimes the visual image sticks better. Your ability to concentrate should improve as you sort out other areas like healing from the traumas of the past.

      I warmly wish you all the very best.

    • #5432
      Bianca Green

      Dear Denisa,

      I hope you do not mind my responding to your post but I resonated with a lot of what you said. I have been on a long journey and still working my way through. It is hard to explain but I have come to see my journey as a blessing as I have so much more understanding and compassion towards others. However I also look back at some of the things I said and did, and feel regret and embarrassment, and shame.

      I do not want to overwhelm with you a list of all the things I did to start the journey, but I have posted in the past, I think it was titled “cPTSD is not an excuse, but awareness is key”. It might help you.

      I really hear what you are saying about meditation. When I started I could not sit still and I thought meditation was useless. I have been practising for a long time and now I can do it. If it helps to know this, and to set the intention to do 10 minutes a day? I find it best at night when all my children are asleep – or we do guided meditations/imagary together as a family when we are lying in beds after books. Other things which might help to calm your brain (okay this IS the weird side of Youtube) is AMSR videos. I watch them and it is like being re-parented. I also find Patty Winfler’s videos (Hand in Hand) and Genevieve’s First Aid audios are very relaxing to listen to, as in some they use the tone a gentle mama would use, it sounds strange but the more I watch or listen to them, the softer I feel?

      One thing Genevieve said, and it may have been in the e-course, or in a private consult – is that I need to prioritise calm. Keeping every thing calm and soft helps to stop me going into that pain zone. Lots of self-care is a priority. And also talking gently to yourself. Shame Resilience is crucial, because the more we beat ourselves out the more we lash out (Ref Brene Brown).

      I want to say how brave I think you are to reach out. And how amazing your self awareness is.



    • #5474
      Paula Gee

      Hi all
      This has been a very long time coming for me, to finally sit and share on here parts of my story.
      My name is Paula and I am married to a very faithful and forgiving husband, Matt. We have identical twin girls who are almost 8 years old. They bring us LOADS of joy.
      My journey to peaceful parenting started when my girls were 4 years old, we meet a lovely person through my girls speech therapy and it turned out we had a few things in common (one being eating whole real foods). We clicked straight away and decided that we would rather be friends outside of the speech therapy sessions so we changed speech therapists to do that!
      This friend introduced me to attachment,conscious parenting. She was pregnant with her first child so I got to see first hand how attachment parenting worked at that baby level……as i watched her do this there was much pain for me as I knew then that THAT is what I had wanted to do for my girls when they had been babies and I hadn’t. Why? Because i had NO IDEA about any other form of parenting except conventional (time outs, child do as the parent says, smacking, parent is always right, child must submit to the parent, etc etc!), because I only new to ignore my gut instincts, because I only new the way of what I was bought up in. I had had no exposure or awareness of a different way of parenting (even though as i parented my toddlers I knew instinctively something wasn’t right as my relationship with them was strained and I longed for so much more than I could give them).
      THIS was the start for me and I’m so so thankful that God placed this friend in my life as it has lead me to a place where i can finally breath and say “I’m an attachment/peaceful parent”, “that still makes plenty of mistakes and stuffs up”!!!
      It has been a particularly painful three years for me. Physically my body decided to let years of stress/pent up emotion/past traumatic pregnancy issues out all in the one go. In the midst of my then 5 year olds starting school, me trying to change parenting styles, moving out of house for Earthquake repairs, i developed hyperthyroid issues. To be honest developing this issue saved me, I was already on the path of doing life naturally but this really cinched it for me. So amongst my awful thyroid symptoms (uncontrollable anger, extreme emotions and other physical things) i was trying to support my girls starting school, I was an emotional mess with them leaving me all day (I KNEW they needed to be home with me to heal their past), I could not develop that attachment with them i so deeply desired. My girls were an emotional mess leaving me too, everyone kept telling me “its FINE, its NORMAL for there to be a transition phase like this”. After three weeks of them being at school, i couldn’t stand it any longer, my gut was SCREAMING to me “let me have my babies back”. So I talked to my husband who fervently disagreed with homeschooling, he agreed to one year of it as a trial run (we are 3 years later still homeschooling/unschooling lol). Both sides of the family disagreed with homeschooling which added to my already internal mess. Not long after this i was in desperation point, i could not live like this anymore so i initiated counselling – best decision I had ever made in my life! This is where i was able to finally let go of my pain in a safe place.
      The other things I have dealt with during the last three years are, severed relationships with both sides of the family, especially my own mother, really rocky marriage time with hubby where I said i was at the point of leaving him, huge diet changes to aid in healing my body which was extremely depleted, leaving our church as it no longer fitted with peaceful parenting and I could not reconcile both of them,
      coming in and out of different homeschooling groups to try and find our “fit” and there may be a few other things I have forgotten to mention, haha.
      it has taken me three years to get to a place where I can finally look outside my little bubble to other parts of the world, I can now see other’s pain, my wrongs and want to right them, an emotional world around me and not be scared from it. I am now embracing what life throws at me. I’m not perfect and I am enough. I am enough for my girls and hubby, I am enough, just how i am, with still more pain and hurt to deal with and it is going to be okay.
      There is one more thing i want to share, it weighs on my heart for other parents heavily, for those parents who have started peaceful parenting when their children have been older……it works, don’t give up, don’t loose hope, peaceful parenting works no matter when you start it with your children. I would NEVER have believed my counsellor when she said it is indeed possible for your children to heal from their past cos of conventional parenting and to move forward in a way that will still support them and grow them to be empathetic adults. Oh my I did not believe her and guess what, it is happening before my eyes with my own girls. They are healing from their past from our strained relationship, they are watching me closely, copying the empathy they see, they are FEELING the difference from their very own mama. The conversations we have been having in the last year have been more than amazing as I can tell them simply why I am making the changes, how that will help us all. It is even better when the Dad’s get on board and my hubby is slowly getting there as he is seeing the results of non conventional parenting.

      Sooooo, I am ready, I am ready to take responsibility for my on self healing with God’s help, I am ready to do some more hard work and move through more pain, I am ready for the joy that will bring to my life and my family’s life.

      (Genevieve, look at what you inspired today in your workshop!).

    • #5480

      Paula, I’ve just spotted and read through your post here and am moved to tears as I sit here, sad and happy tears for you, for your girls, for your whole family and for all of those who are facing the impact of realizing more and more the impacts of unmet needs from those early years and how powerful it is when parents like yourself who have really done the hard yards and are committed to continuing to do the hard yards share such beautiful words of encouragement to those who are in that place you used to be of struggling to believe that repair, that healing is possible.

      And Bianca, your words to Denisa also touched my heart in this way, seeing your heartfelt encouragement to Denisa is so very heart warming, as you share what a struggle it continues to be, but that strength of conviction in walking the path you’re meant to walk comes through so strongly. And beautiful to read about what helps you continue to soften your heart (especially towards yourself!!) again and again, more and more.

      I truly hope that lots of members read this thread, there’s so much gold in it.

    • #8886
      Michelle Gillanders

      Hi everyone,
      My name is Michelle and I as I have read the other member’s introductions, I have related to and resonated with a lot of what has been so bravely shared. Thank-you!
      It has taken me years of personal work (mostly one on one and group psychotherapy, and meditation), to understand and validate my early pre-verbal experiences of emotional trauma. This involved issues with feeding as a baby, my own mothers stress and post-natal depression and being left to cry (“controlled crying”). As a baby I did not get enough positive mirroring and validation of my feelings and experience to develop much of a positive self-identity. Because these were pre-verbal experiences, they were cognitively unknown to me and “invisible” even though they had a huge impact on my life. It makes all the difference in the world that I am now able to understand why I have such a hard time with feeling emotionally overwhelmed, overstimulated by sensory inputs, and struggle with emotional self-regulation.
      As an older child I was introverted and highly sensitive. This was different to every else in my family and I tried hard to cover up these qualities that I felt a lot of shame around. I now know that I am an empath, an HSP (highly sensitive person) and an introvert and that these also have a positive side when I can accept the reality of who I am and not try to be someone I am not. Although my parents did a pretty good job by average standards, I never felt seen, known or understood or that being who I was was ok. I now work to be that parent to myself and my nearly two year old daughter Clara-Jade. One who really wants to know who this unique beings is and help her (and myself) grow to be who we are. I feel like I have two children I always need to be aware of in terms of needs and care – my actual daughter, and the child within me in all her unmet needs and deep insecurities.
      For me it has been really hard feeling like there was no obvious major reason to struggle so much with just the basics of life. My very loving and supportive husband has helped me significantly to move from an ambivalent attachment to a more secure attachment style and this has transferred to being better able to more consistently supportive of myself and thus sustain things and relationships in my life that provide meaning and security.
      The other crucial piece of the self-healing puzzle for me was (and still is) meditation. Through meditation I am able to directly feel my own innate goodness and from that place I know I am valuable, worthy, loving and loved and can actually feel that as a felt experience in my body. I regularly listen to podcasts by a Buddhist psychologist called Tara Brach to keep myself reminded of this and highly recommend her talks. We have powerful conditioning toward what she calls “the negative evolutionary bias” which she says is not our fault, and yet we can overcome by “tending and befriending” all aspects of ourselves. I love this world view because it allows for the complexity that is inevitable in being human.
      Until I met my husband, I did not think I would cope with having a child and so it’s a blessing to have the opportunity at all. I am now 43 and CJ is nearly 2. I am so relieved that I did not have her until I was in the position I am now, where I have adequate support and wisdom to do a good enough job. As a perfectionist I have to regularly remind myself I am doing a good enough job! Being a parent is wonderful and really hard. My old avoidance based coping strategies are not particularly helpful so I am having to learn more healthy strategies relevant to the unrelenting responsibility of motherhood. So thank-you to spaces like this where this can happen.
      The other important thing I would like to share about myself and my family is that we are vegan out of compassion for animals and a desire to see peace in the world for all. My husband and I facilitate a vegan parent’s group in Dunedin and have a website (not just about veganism). We both also facilitate Laughter Yoga, it is how we met and we enjoy laughter yoga as a family each week. My husband John is very involved with the Dunedin Timebank and I offer therapeutic listening and cloth nappy laundering services through this. I have just started attending a NVC (non-violent communication) practice group and I intend to start a mindful listening group next year. At some point I would like to complete psychotherapy training.
      I hope you’re still with me, I didn’t mean to write a novel sorry!

    • #8887
      Tabitha Jonson

      Hi Michelle,
      So lovely to read your introduction and learn about you and your family.
      I love how you describe that feeling of ‘parenting two children’. Our actual child and our inner child. This has been such a huge insight for me over the years. Feeling very inspired by all the work you have done which is now enabling you to nurture your wee one in the way you hope to. And yes we need to keep reminding ourselves that we ARE doing a good job!

      I must listen to some more of Tara Brach. I read one of her books -Radical Self-Acceptance – and some of her meditations and did enjoy them.

      Really great to have you here Michelle. 🙂

    • #8889

      Hi Michelle,
      I so appreciate your sharing. I get that it’s been such a huge journey for you over the years, great that you’ve been able to access the one on one and the group psychotherapy and that meditation has been a part of your journey, each no doubt meeting different needs. Really interesting that your inner work has helped you identify the emotional trauma from those pre-verbal stages of life. So sad that you were left to cry alone. This level of work has also played a huge part in my own healing journey and was so big for me that I went on to bring a lot of that healing work into my individual and group work with clients/ group participants. One of the residential retreats I used to run over quite a few years (and hopefully will run again in the future) was Healing your Birth weekends facilitating regressions back to time in utero, birth and infancy. The implicit body memories continue to be held and so much energy can be mobilized, released and resolved, hence resolving related patterns when we reconnect with frozen trauma from so early in life. As you describe, the invisible becomes visible. It’s so good and heartening to read that this work has had such a positive impact on you, helping you to better understand so much about yourself, your patterns, emotional self-regulation and sensory issues.

      It’s very interesting because this very topic came up just this week on a friend’s facebook. As part of that discussion Robin Grille’s name came up as he talks about this in his books, so I tagged him and he reminded me about one of his articles on the subject. I’ll post it separately in this group.

      How sad that being a highly sensitive child and an introvert was something you felt you had to cover up in your family, that it wasn’t spoken to and framed in a positive light, that you weren’t helped to understand and explore those aspects of your personality. We humans are wired to connect and so deeply crave to feel seen, known and understood. Clara-Jade is so blessed that you’re so committed to peacefully parenting yourself while parenting her with the emotional sensitivity that you would have so needed.

      It’s so good that your husband’s loving support has helped you develop that secure attachment in your relationship and that this in turn helps you develop more inner security and care.

      I really hear you about the value of meditation, so great that it provides you with access to your innate goodness and increased peace with yourself. And lovely that Tara’s podcasts help you maintain that access to your inner peace. I love the phrase of “tending and befriending” all aspects of ourselves, so beautifully put!

      Yes so important to keep our expectations of ourselves realistic, that doing a good enough job is good enough. I’ve always been surprised at how tolerant and kind my children are towards my imperfections and as much as I wish I got it right every time, I have many times had those insightful moments when I really get it that being in and resolving and repairing differences and conflicts in the family have equipped my children with how to do conflict well and that if I’d been as perfect as I can’t help wishing to be, then maybe they’d be lost and bewildered when dealing with conflicts with others.

      I really honour you pushing past your avoidance based coping strategies and despite being more introverted that you’ve shared all you’ve shared with so much generous openness and vulnerability. I wish I could have responded sooner, but at the end of a 3 day nature education conference that I was part of organizing, running and presenting at over the weekend, I burnt the candle at both ends a bit much and ended up getting ill but I knew I wanted to share how much I resonated with so much of what you shared. Thank you again so much for sharing and also for your very brave advocacy work that you do. I love your website!! What a great service to offer to the vegan community in Dunedin. So great also to be in a NVC support group, compliments perfectly with peaceful parenting. I think I explained at the Dunedin talk how I first came to learn about Marshall Rosenberg’s work, and I’ve been a big fan every since and my husband and I have attended a few workshops by the very skilled Susie Spiller in Auckland.

    • #9111
      Michelle Gillanders

      Hi Tabitha and Genevieve,

      Thanks so much for your supportive replies to my introduction.
      I must not have mastered the site yet, as I have only just seen these replies now, when I came in to post something else. I have tagged to be notified by replies on email but I guess it hasn’t worked.
      Never mind, it is nice to read these belatedly anyway.

      Kind regards,

    • #10882
      Karen McCarthy

      Hi everyone
      I have 3 kids 4, 2, and newborn. I constantly listen to podcasts, online summits, purchase and only partially read books. Peaceful parenting resonates with me and I want to follow it and I try hard but in the moment rage gets me more often than I’d like and I find myself grabbing the kids roughly to stop them doing things usually it’s making a mess which seems to be a huge trigger. I had a normal loving childhood but seem to have an avoidant attachment style I feel it’s a lot of inter generational wounds that have been passed on. I want so badly not to do this to my kids as I suspect I absorbed my parents pain. But I just go red sometimes and feel such shame and guilt and fear for their future particularly my eldest girl. I try to always accept emotions and tears and practice stay listening it’s the mess and dysregulated behaviour that really triggers me. I presume this is something buried in me perhaps even implicit memory as i have no recollection of ever getting in trouble for mess as a kid.

    • #11712

      Hi everyone
      My name is Avih and I live in India with my 2 kids, aged 3 and 5. This journey began 3 years ago for me when I was expecting my younger daughter. My husband and I have both been brought up the traditional way where parents know best and the child must conform or get yelled at or thrashed. I didn’t know any other way but somehow, my husband did. We clashed a lot. Finally, he got me to read Peaceful Parents Happy Kids by Laura Markham and that really changed my world view. There was another way… a much better way. Since then, I have been trying but it hasn’t been easy.
      A bit of background: my husband has had mental health issues since my son, 5 was born. Something about having a child and his business venture not working out at the same time triggered suppressed childhood trauma and in a space of 3 months, he went from being a thoughtful, nurturing, loving person to an angry, unreasonable and unhappy person who constantly blamed me for everything, from the baby crying to his own depression/anxiety. Since I was the only earning member, I went back to work 3 days a week. In the beginning, my husband sought help – medication and regular therapy sessions but after my daughter was born, he stopped and has never gone back. He has been my best friend and partner since I was 16 (now 39) and I have known nothing else. So, even though I felt abused and lost, I powered on until one day, I just broke down and cried in bed all day. That’s when I sought counselling. It has helped. My husband also realised that the situation was toxic and decided to leave (it had become so bad that he hit my son a couple of times). So, we are separated, living in different towns and the kids are with me. I work one day a week (for the past 3 years) when my parents look after the kids and that’s the only support I have. My parents and I completely disagree on our style of parenting but they know that they can’t hit my kids or yell at them.
      The current situation: I am trying to heal; I am trying to help my children heal. But it’s hard. I have been with my husband since I was a child and I don’t really know who I am without him. Even though I’m financially secure, I feel terribly insecure. I am supposed to have had a “good” childhood but I have no memories of it -AT ALL. I just know (from family conversations etc.) that we would get slapped if we didn’t listen or didn’t do as we were told. There is a story that my mother tells of how I lied about eating cookies once and she put a spoon of red chilli powder in my mouth – I must have been 3 or 4. I have never lied since. I don’t remember any of this. Yet, when I try to be peaceful with my kids, I get angry often. I feel so overwhelmed some days, I want to hide somewhere. I want to be kind to them but so often, I fail. I have started a meditation practice every morning. That’s the only child free time I have because the kids have understood not to disturb me at that time. But I’m feeling stuck!! I don’t want to be like my mother but so often, the words that come out of my mouth are words that I have heard before. I need help but I don’t know what would help. My counseling continues and it has definitely helped me to stop blaming myself for the situation with my husband but I feel like I have hit a roadblock with that also.

      • #11715
        Cleo Webster

        Hey Avih
        I read your intro. Wow, sounds like a lot to experience. You are standing in your truth, you are ceasing the trauma that passes through the generations, and that is amazing. I think facing adversity comes with the territory! It doesn’t make it any easier to deal with though. The changes you have made have rippled through the people you know (even though it doesn’t always look that way!) and again that is incredible. Change starts with us.

        With regards to where you are now, I am a massive advocate of inner child journeying, healing the past and the present heals itself. I highly recommend Robin Grilles book, well all of his books actually but the inner child journeying especially.

        I would happily talk you through what it means and how it helps heal if you want to zoom.

        With love Cleo x

        • #11717

          Hi Cleo

          So kind of you to reply. Thank you. Would you really be willing to talk to me about inner child journeying? The fact that I can’t remember most of my childhood really bothers me at times. And anything that helps me heal that part of me is very welcome. I really appreciate your offer and am ever so grateful.
          I am free tomorrow but I suspect there is a big time difference in our locations. Where do you live?

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