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I am a human. A woman. A human with a past. A human woman with a ‘bag of shit from my past’. While my history shapes me, it also triggers me and challenges me in all of my relationships. I am mostly triggered as a partner and triggered as a mother.
Last year I saw a therapist to work on some of these triggers (among all the other baggage we all carry that is good to offload). The work I did with the therapist was deep and it triggered me! It took me time to realise that all the reasons I had for why I hadn’t picked up the phone to make another appointment were just excuses.
- She went away for 5 weeks and now we have lost the flow of our sessions.
- I’m too busy to take the 3 hours (with travel time) I need for the appointment.
- I am in a different place now and maybe she is not the right therapist for this ‘new place’.
- Maybe she was never the right therapist and I just didn’t realise until I had a break.
- I’m not sure if I can afford it right now.
In the end the realisation of being triggered by the work we had done, came when I did an Art therapy exercise at a workshop. I have explored it from there and been very gentle with myself about the feelings that came with that.
So while some of my ‘excuses’ were actually a real part of what prevented me from going, they were a part of my protection mechanism, A protection mechanism that comes from my history and a need to protect myself from feeling or exploring things in a certain way.
The decision as to whether to reestablish my support relationship with the therapist down the track is still undecided.
2016 was a great year of exploration to these triggers. I worked on building a great support team both professionally and privately, to guide me through and keep me accountable to moving through the shit that I was carrying with me from my past. (Then we moved overseas for 6 months! More about that in another post soon)
People think that because I work as a counsellor, a person that helps others move through their shit that I must have all of mine sorted out.
Well, no I don’t.
How can I support people, support parents through their triggers and daily challenges in their relationships without understanding and working through my own? As I said I am a human, a human with a past.
We all have a history that we carry around in an invisible bag. It is challenging and triggering to unpack the bag and clear away some of the shit we don’t need or want to carry around anymore, but it is;
‘Oh So Important’ – to do it regularly. It is especially important to do so, as it impacts on the most important and valued relationships in our lives.
This doesn’t mean you have to flesh out your whole history, tell your life story to a psychiatrist while lying on a leather day bed in a plush office like in the movies!
There are so many wonderful therapists, counsellors, psychologists, art therapists and social workers, just to name a few of the wonderful helping professions out there that can help you to unpack and repack ‘the bag of your past’.
So have a think through your excuses. Here are some I hear all the time and some ideas to overcome them.
I am way too busy to deal with all of that.
- Drop something from your schedule and fit it in.
- Find someone who will see you after hours or in your home.
- Bring this stuff up a few notches on your priority list.
There is nothing ‘wrong’ with me so I don’t need to get any support.
- Are you a human? A human with a past? – Remember the part about ‘the bag of shit from your past’ above.
- People often call me when they are in crisis mode! I get that and of course I can help but the ‘good work’ is often done, when we are in a better place, to prepare us for those times that we are not in our best place.
Sure parenting is hard, having a new baby will be a challenge, and relationships weren’t meant to be easy BUT I should be able to handle it all on my own.
- No. We all have our shit and you NEVER have to do it alone.
- Having a community of support both professional and family/friends in good and bad times is what gets us through.
- Emotional wellbeing IS A THING! Stress, overwhelm, worry and fear, especially for parents are things that you don’t have to keep to yourself. If you had ‘a job’ that made you feel those things, you would quit it eventually. We can’t quit our relationships, especially those with our kids!! We can give ourselves permission to get support to improve our emotional wellbeing.
I don’t have the money for professional support right now
This is one I hear all the time. There are 2 options for this one.
- Find the money to pay for it! (Maybe the kids don’t need to do swimming or ballet this term, maybe you value this enough to put it before another non-essential item?)
- OR find a no or low cost alternative. Look for a student clinic, see what the government funded services in your area can offer, ask what concessions people offer to low income earners.
- Group programs or group therapy are another alternative that often cost less per session and I am a big believer in the power of groups to create lasting change for individuals.
Exploring our triggers and organizing our ‘bag’ (having a clear out, a baggage de-clutter) is a helpful thing to do for everyone. So if you have been thinking about it, NO MORE EXCUSES.
Are you part of the Parenting Transformation Community Yet? The PTC is a private Facebook group for the ever-evolving parent, the parent who wants support and a community to move through the continuous transformation that is parenting! I share strategies and free mini webinars via live chat every week, and guide discussions about hot topics with parents from around the world. Head on over and join us in your Parenting Transformation by clicking here.
If you are ready for more, you can check out my Work with Me Page to see the ways in which we can work together to not only unpack your bag, but to repack it with all the tools you need to be the parent you truly want to be.
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