Are you still struggling with your childhood wounds well into your adult life? Do you know that the practice of reparenting can hugely help in dealing with this?
Our childhood is where the subconscious mind is formed.
It’s also where we learn how we process emotions, what relationships look like, how to hold boundaries, and countless other habits and behaviors.
Ideally, our parents are two self-actualized people who allow their children to be seen and heard as the unique individual they are. The reality is that we live in a culture that does not reach conscious awareness, so most of us are born to
Unconscious parents are repeating the same habits and patterns they’ve learned. They’re operating from a wounded space because of their own unprocessed emotions.
It’s important to understand that parents can only parent from their own level of awareness.
We can only give others what we have practiced giving ourselves.
I’ve worked with all the different demographics of people. Over time I’ve come to understand that most people seek help for a relationship “communication problems”, destructive habits (addiction, self-sabotage), identity confusion (“Who AM I”), and generalized feelings of low-self worth.
Each of these issues manifests differently, but they’re all tied to one thing: conditioned behavior practiced since childhood.
Some of you reading this might be thinking “My childhood is over, there’s no reason to go back there.” Or “If my childhood is where I learned most of my coping mechanisms, I’m screwed.”
We tend to be protective and defensive around our childhood experience, but the truth is we have a unique opportunity to heal and consciously choose different behavior as adults. Regardless of what we have experienced in our past.
This process is called reparenting.
Reparenting is the act of giving yourself what you didn’t receive as a child.
My childhood was unique in that I had two (physically) present parents who were emotionally absent. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad was home every day by 5:30 for dinner. My parents were in their mid 40’s when they had me, and there was 18 years between my brother and myself.
By the time I came around, they were highly distracted. My mom was battling severe chronic pain, and my sister (who had her own health challenges) had gone through a series of surgeries throughout her childhood and teen years. Death and illness were a constant focus.
I had zero discipline. I decided from a very young age what time I would go to bed, what I would eat, and what time I would come home. My mom spent the majority of the time in her bed. Her sickness was a focus for everyone in the home.
There was a lot of chaos and co-dependence.
This is where my anxiety began. It manifested as disordered eating and obsessive-compulsive “achievement” behavior.
Of course, this wasn’t seen as a negative. I excelled in both athletics and academics. I won awards. I was offered scholarships. I adapted and channeled my anxiety. A lot of people don’t understand that underneath achievement behaviors is a lot of pain and unhealthy conditioning.
In my 30’s when I was no longer in school or playing sports, I got a clearer picture of more negative manifestations.
I didn’t show up for myself, my spending was out of control, I did not understand how to set (or keep boundaries), and overall had placed no focus on my physical and spiritual health.
Discovering reparenting was a game-changer for me.
It was not my parents “fault.” It meant nothing about who they were as people. Or how much they loved me. They were doing the best they could with their level of awareness.
Now, it was time for me to do the best I could with my own evolved level of awareness.
Reparenting is our personal responsibility. Anyone can begin the process of reparenting themselves. It takes time, commitment, and patience. There is no quick fix. It will require you to show up every day. But it will allow you to heal and forgive.
The 4 Pillars of reparenting are:
Discipline, Joy, Emotional Regulation, and Self-care.
I go more in-depth on these in a video you can watch here: [LINK]
Depending on your unique childhood experience, some of these will be more difficult than others. For me, discipline was the most difficult part. My mind had a tantrum. My childhood-self rebelled. There was no part of me that wanted to wake up early, go to the gym, or really do anything “planned.” It was a process of grieving for my past self as well as self-compassion to allow me to view discipline in another way.