Breaking the Circle: Creating Space for Real Connection.
Updated: May 8, 2020
Did anyone make you feel rejected or scared in the past? Did you lose someone special? What’s your most painful experience?
Think about the last time you reacted to your child’s behaviour. You were probably triggered by something they did or said. Did you really react to your child, or to an unresolved hurt? Your emotional baggage can shape the way you raise your child.
How can our attachment experiences as a child have an impact on our parenting?
-We may have difficulties recognising children’s emotional needs, as we would be projecting our emotions and thoughts onto them.
-We may react or overreact to children in ways that could affect their self-esteem.
-We may communicate in ways which children don’t understand.
There’s a reason why you react the way you do, that’s why it’s very helpful to understand your reactions, and perhaps even their origins. For instance, we develop our own unique way of connecting with other people based on our early experiences, especially our relationships with our parents. We may think the past is gone, but the truth is that it’s behind us. We all say words we heard spoken and act in ways people did towards us in our childhood. We all possess unconscious parenting strategies and, when we become aware and reflective, we can pick and choose which ones are best to keep and which to let go.
When we bring our insecurities and unresolved emotional baggage into our relationships with children, we unconsciously push them away from us. We need to take the journey and look inward even if it’s painful, so we can liberate ourselves from the past and allow children to have a secure attachment.
Each of us develop different coping mechanisms. As long as we push our emotions away, they will keep trying to be seen. Once we allow ourselves to feel our emotions and become aware of our patterns, we will start to heal.
We can choose what we bring into our own parenting. For this to happen, awareness is essential. We need to understand that the emotional imprints we inherited from our parents will have an impact on the relationships we have with our children.
We get triggered by the past and we lose connection with the present moment, with what really matters. Every time we react in the same old way, we become prisoners of our history. Sometimes we transfer our unmet emotional needs onto others. ‘Transference’ is an unconscious displacement of feelings, reactions or expectations that were once appropriate to significant figures in our lives, often parents, onto people in the present. This process dominates our relationship with our environment, as we carry over the past into the present. However, through gaining awareness, we can become free to choose what we want instead of letting the past decide for us. You would be surprised finding out how many of your choices are tied to your past. Unconsciously we redirect our emotions to another person, or we transmit our experiences from one situation to another. There are issues that we could transfer onto our relationships with children.
Creating moments of real connection and making space for intimacy:
There are moments in which transference and projection vanish and all we see is a real person in front of us. For this to happen, we need to be truly there for the other person, creating a space where attention, acceptance, presence and affection are present. So, we are open to perceive the other for who she or he really is, letting go of our past long enough to be in the present moment. When we are present mindfully, we create a true you-and-I relationship, in which we can be real.
Life is a journey and we can’t carry everything with us. By taking the time to understand our past experiences and emotions, we can be ready to make the conscious decision to let it go.