Before we begin I would like to first say that working on improving our emotional health is a life long task. If you have done some work on you emotions already surely you know the benefit is great. We touched the subject of emotional health through parenthood, but it is always going to be beneficial for you as an individual as well. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that first you will feel the affect in yourself. After that, just the way pebbles create ??? when thrown in the middle of a lake, everything around you will be affected too. Including you parenthood.
Who cares about emotions
Our emotions affect our actions. The short term ones and the long term as well. When it comes to parenthood, our emotions affect our children too. That is why I believe there isn’t a better gift you can give you children than check you emotions on a regular basis and make sure they are all good.
It’s hard to describe what good emotions are exactly. It might be easier to go about explaining it the opposite way, through emotions that are considered not good. By not good I do not mean negative, but more – very extreme. Whenever we experience very powerful emotions, it would normally indicate there is something buried underneath there. Something worth checking. Be it anger or an extreme need to protect our child and make sure he is never sad.
How to begin
So the first step would always be realizing you are over reacting. Normally it begins with us being very frustrated with our children. Sometimes we might take them to be checked with different therapists. We might try harder. Try softer. Try all different things, until a moment comes when you admit to yourself it is not your child but rather yourself who have got an issue here.
it’s not to say you child is actually an angle. There might be some severe behavioral issues related to him.
As long as you are not operating from a mature and healthy place, there is no way you will be able to handle you child properly.
What does it mean ‘Mature place’?
We all have tons of memories from our early years. Hopefully many are good ones, but it’s pretty safe to assume that some of them are probably not so good. That is if we’re talking best case scenario. If you had a good upbringing.
If you weren’t so lucky, chances are you have buried deep inside of you memories of difficult situations you have experienced.
These could be practically ancient but if you were bruised by those bad enough be sure they are still there.
Then one day a very little person whom happens to be your son or daughter addresses you in a way that forces you to be in a very similar situation to the one from many years ago. When that happens you are flooded unknowingly with the emotions from all those years ago. Some call it ‘Touching a nerve’. It feels just like that – like someone has touched an exposed nerve of you and it is likely to be extremely painful.
On top of that, once those old wounds begin to bubble to the surface again, you are very likely to find yourself behaving like the child you once were. That is because old wounds keep those emotional parts of ours that are related, in the same mental condition as they were at the time we were scarred. It’s like time stops in that tiny little kingdom that is only but a small portion of emotional self.
So you child touches that old wound of yours (They are very very good at doing that) and now not only you’re hurting, but you are also operating from a very childish part of yourself. A part of you that got stuck at the age of 8 or 10 or 15.
From there you hope to get control over the situation.
See the problem here?
Painful comes in different ways.
Before we talk about what to do with these wounds, I would just like to add that old wounds always carry pain with them, but pain have many faces. Be it anger, anxiety, depression, and many others. Just remember underneath it all there is an old pain of the child you once were hidden. If you carried it until today, you probably felt very lonely at some point.
What do we do
First I would like to repeat myself and say that wounds like those described here could be very traumatic. If you have any doubt – Please go and see a therapist. Don’t take this lightly.
If you feel things rising in you but they are not so powerful in a way you completely loose control over yourself, you may try to investigate them yourself.
How do I investigate my emotions
Please be prepared that these kinds of self investigating while highly rewarding are not easy.
Like anything related to digging deep inside ourselves, first we must find a quite place, where we know for certain we will not be disturbed for 20 minutes at least.
Sit yourself comfortably and close you eyes. I always begin with a few deep, slow breaths.
Then try to relive in you mind a recent situation where an extreme feeling got the better of you. Slowly go through the events that led to the extreme feeling. Make sure all along you notice how you feel.
If you relive the situation properly, that same powerful emotion will rise in you again. Once it does, simply let it be. Imagine you have eyes inside yourself and use those to watch carefully what is happening inside you.
First you are likely to simply feel that extreme feeling in a very powerful way. If you manage to stay with it and simply feel the feeling (which is not always easy to do), at some point other emotions or snaps of memories will start bubbling up in you.
Those are the ‘treasures’ we are looking for. The original stories to why you react with such severe emotion towards you child over mundane everyday issues.
Be it a memory or a feeling, it must have been a difficult one. Many times underneath it all you will find yourself a child again, alone or scared, or both.
If you managed to reach this point, simply allow yourself to be with that old painful memory.
You can imagine you adult self supporting you child self from all these years ago. I know it sounds like a funny thing to do, but it does wonders.
Normally underneath all of this there is a child that felt very lost at some point in his life and had no one to be there with him and make him feel safe. Reliving it and supporting that child though might be painful, could heal that old wound.
The magic – things will simply change
After doing this exercise a few times you should begin to feel a change in you emotions. Slowly you will notice that
when you tread on delicate grounds with you child you feel different. You will notice that you are not loosing it and drowning in a pool of very strong emotions, but rather able to watch the situation from a more mature place and therefor handle it in a different, much healthier way.
I hope you will find this helpful. As this is all related to emotions and some of us have been through rough situations in our growing up years, I advise again, if you find you are over flooded with emotions and find it hard to handle, that you go seek counseling. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it could bring great relief to you. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I believe this is the best gift you can give you child.
If you have any questions or would like to share anything related to this article, I would love to here from you.
All the best, Nirit