If you’re dealing with emotional baggage from your past or unhealthy behaviour patterns, it’s really common to worry about your “stuff” being passed down to your children.
The good news is, this doesn’t have to happen… read on...
Maybe there is a history of abuse in your family, maybe you were even abused yourself. Or there’s alcoholism. Depression. Anxiety. Trauma. Neglect. Bullying.
Life can get heavy, and you’re aware enough to know that emotions and patterns of behaviour can get passed down from generation to generation.
When you have a baby, your “stuff” can come up even more strongly. Big feelings may be right in your face and you may notice yourself behaving in ways that you really don’t like towards your child.
Here is the simple answer to avoiding passing down emotional baggage to your children:
Do Your Own Work.
Face your feelings, face your past, and work through it. Feelings that are avoided have a funny way of finding their way back, so just save yourself the time and heartache and face them head-on.
Here are 6 steps to facing and working through big feelings and patterns that have been triggered from your past.
Step 1: Awareness with Self-Compassion
You can’t change what you don’t know is happening. Observing yourself, your behaviour and your patterns and how they are affecting your child is the crucial first step.
Were you yelled at a lot growing up and now you’re doing the same thing to your own child?
Are you feeling depressed and find yourself isolating and disconnecting from others, including your child?
Right now, just notice and bring self-compassion to your struggle. Remember, it didn’t start with you and by taking this steps you are on the road to healing it so it doesn’t get passed on.
Step 2: Accepting your Feelings
What are the feelings attached to your behaviour or patterns?
Are you feeling uncontrollable rage when you’re yelling at your child?
If you’re feeling depressed, is there loneliness, emptiness, or even anger?
Many of us have been taught that only certain feelings are “ok”. Feelings are described as “negative” or “positive”.
Perhaps in your family it wasn’t ok to feel or express anger. Or you were always encouraged to “cheer up” or “put on a happy face” if you were feeling down.
The truth is, ALL feelings are healthy and ok. To be human is to experience a full range of emotions.
Of course, it’s important to express them in healthy ways and not project them on others! But FEEL your feelings as they come up. When you feel them, they will naturally ebb and flow if you allow them to.
Step 3: Express Your Feelings in a Healthy Way
Feeling angry? Take a big pillow and hit your couch or your bed. Yell and scream if it feels right.
Feeling sad and lonely? Share your feelings with someone you trust or journal about it.
Feeling guilty? Apologize. If you can’t do it face to face, write it down and let it go once you’ve made amends.
Step 4: What is Underneath Your Big Feelings?
What are you making your problems mean about yourself and/or the world?
Are you afraid you’re not good enough? Not lovable enough? That the world is a scary, dangerous place? That you can’t trust people?
Notice these deep suspicions you have about yourself.
Step 5: Discover the Truth about Yourself
What is the truth here? Realize that you ARE good enough. It IS possible to trust people.
Notice how much of you really believes that. If only 20% of you believes it, then that’s a place to start. Keep doing your work and that percentage will go up.
It’s amazing how these deep core beliefs influence us in so much of our lives and keep us stuck. Facing them and discovering the truth is key to shifting them.
Step 6: Share the Truth
Your pain and wounds were created in connection with others, and must be healed in connection.
Share the truth about yourself (I AM good enough!!), or all of these steps, with someone you trust.
It doesn’t have to be the person who created your wounds, it just needs to be another human being who can truly see, hear and understand you.
If you continue to face your feelings and your triggers as they come up, you will start to heal the emotional baggage from your past.
This means freedom for yourself AND your children.
What is healed in YOU won't be passed down to the next generation.
If you need more help to work through your emotional baggage for yourself and for the sake of your children, find out more about my counselling services or contact me.
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Katherine Aucoin, Motherhood Counsellor
Hi Mamas! My name is Katherine and I'm a motherhood counsellor and a mom to two little boys. I'm here to offer tools, insights and support to help you be the best mom you can be for your children AND yourself.