Healing Your Self

Do you feel that your intense negative emotions sometimes get the best of you? One of the best benefits to being a parent is that you can heal yourself in the process of raising your child. You may have noticed aspects of your parenting that upset you because they remind you of painful experiences from your own childhood. This is very common. As parents we tend to re-create in adulthood the same dynamics and emotional climate we experienced as a child because humans are drawn toward the familiar. Adults who come from chaotic homes filled with alcoholism or a sense of helplessness often marry a partner with similar characteristics and repeat the pattern. Adults who felt emotionally abandoned as children frequently create adult relationships that leave them feeling abandoned because this is the feeling they are most familiar with and, ironically, most comfortable with.

We also tend to copy the familiar. Parenting behaviors are to some degree preprogrammed in us. While parents of a new infant often automatically feel a strong urge to behave in certain predictable ways—like cradling their infant when he cries and keeping him warm, protected, and fed—these automatic parenting behaviors are soon replaced by the behaviors observed from one's own parents. If there were serious flaws in the way you were par-ented, this can lead to the repetition of these harmful techniques. Before you can break this pattern, you need to make an honest assessment of your childhood.

The first step to addressing this is understanding your negative emotions, where they come from, and how to begin to help yourself heal and release the binds of your past.

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