Many of my clients struggle with parenting issues, and how these impact their relationship and their sex lives. I too am a parent and have grappled with some of these concerns.
WHAT’S YOUR PARENTING STORY?
Parenting can be a highly charged topic for most people, even for those of us who’ve graduated from the Process. After doing the Process, we are very aware of the patterns we adopted from our parents and caregivers. While we have disconnected from many of them, we can still find ourselves playing out some of them.
I was curious what story was at the root of our tendency as parents to second-guess and berate ourselves as parents. I decided to ask some of the Hoffman staff the following questions and received some insightful answers.
If you are a parent: What’s a story you tell yourself about parenting that makes parenting hard and makes you feel terrible about yourself?
If you are not a parent: What story do you think parents tell themselves about parenting that makes it so hard and makes them feel so badly about themselves?
RESPONSES FROM PARENTS:
“I was not emotionally available to my child. I was focused on my own unhappiness and on how I could try to change her father.”
“If I’m not a calm, peaceful mama all the time then I criticize myself and feel like I will never get there.”
“My partner knows more than I do; I must defer to her in day-to-day parenting and in our parenting philosophies. The story is that I am not good at it and I must defer.”
“There’s a strong social expectation that parents have to follow the advice of so-called experts and when we can’t, or try and are unsuccessful because it doesn’t work, we tend to beat up themselves and feel like we’ve failed. We feel bad and second guess ourselves. It makes parenting that much harder. I remember reading parenting magazines in the doctor’s waiting room and thinking, ‘I can never do this.’”
MORE THOUGHTS FROM PARENTS:
“There’s something missing in me because I didn’t have a healthy mother/daughter relationship growing up.”
“I’m living in perpetual fear of being my own parents; showing up for my own kids like mom and dad did for me.”
“I often hear myself say, ‘Oh my god. I sound like my mother. And I promised myself I would never repeat her parenting behaviors.’ Or ‘Damn. This is why I shouldn’t have had kids. I knew I would mess them up. I knew I didn’t have what it takes. I am too damaged from my own childhood.’”
RESPONSES FROM NON-PARENTS:
“They [parents] have to deny how they feel – they put on a front to protect their child and the child can see and feel it anyway. Parents get to feel. It doesn’t help anyone in the family to not show their true feelings.”
“There are expectations on them that they should be perfect. When you love someone like your child so much, hurting them hugely magnifies the pain – the weight is like a shame download of self-criticism.”
“Being a parent requires one to perfectly protect and provide children with a loving and kind approach.”
By Julie Daley at the Hoffman Process https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/