Sitting on the Anger Iceberg With You

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The door slams shut with a loud BANG. Marcia feels the frustration and anger rising in her. Here we go again! She can hear her 11-year-old daughter slam drawers and scream at her sister to get out of her room. “That is really taking it to too far”, she thinks. “How dare she behave this way? If I had ever acted like this, I would have been grounded for life!”

Marcia has different voices in her. The outraged voice is one of them. Then there is the sad voice that feels frustrated and helpless to guide her daughter through this time in her life. Then there is the voice which says she has failed as a mother; she somewhere must have gone wrong in raising her children.

Marcia has not failed. Most of us have just never been given the tools to cope with anger in a healthy way. We learn it is wrong to be angry and that showing anger or even rage is inappropriate. Yet, this response is literally evolutionarily ingrained into our brains for protection. The sub-cortical areas of our brain are wired for fight or flight. Stan Tatkin calls those more instinctive parts of our brain our “primitives”. When we feel overwhelmed, stressed, threatened or unsafe in some way, anger instinctively kicks in for us to be able to fight and keep ourselves safe.

Gottman Anger Iceberg

In November, The Gottman Institute posted an interesting article about anger by Kyle Benson. He uses the analogy of an iceberg to describe how anger is only the tip of that iceberg. More important than the anger visible above the surface is what is underneath the water. Anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is our protection from more vulnerable feelings, like helplessness, sadness, grief, loneliness and shame, just to name a few.

Anger is our internal GPS and guidance system that we are somehow off track in regards to our needs. When we accept anger as a feedback mechanism rather than a problem, which needs to be fixed or suppressed, we can investigate why it is there. It’s easy to see your partner’s or child’s anger but it can be more difficult to see the underlying feelings the anger is protecting. We need to listen closely to what is going on at a deeper level. Underneath anger there is a longing for something else. Marcia will need to sit on the anger iceberg with her daughter to help her figure out what she is really feeling.

Your partner or child’s anger is not a personal attack. It’s about their underlying primary feelings and unmet needs. Rather than judging her daughter’s outburst as wrong or taking it personally, Marcia needs to become curious as to why she is angry. Is her daughter perceiving something as unfair, is she sad about a recent loss, is she confused, is she experiencing helplessness, is she feeling like a disappointment, is she carrying responsibility too heavy for her age and therefore feeling overwhelmed, are her human needs met, and so on?

Dhebi Essential Human Needs

As Dhebi DeWitz’s chart from her book “The Messenger Within” illustrates, our needs can be grouped into physical nurturance, autonomy, interdependence, celebration/play, integrity and spiritual communication. As a child transitioning from childhood to adolescence, Marcia’s daughter, for example, wants and needs to feel physically safe and taken care of, loved and accepted, able to play and laugh, able to experience a sense of achievement and independence while being reassured she can reach out to others, develop a sense of purpose as well as beliefs of a benevolent universe.

Anger often lives in our shadow. We have learned to disown our own anger as “bad” or “wrong”. The more Marcia has embraced her own anger, the easier it will be not to be triggered by other people’s anger. She can then let her daughter know that it’s okay to feel angry. She can invite her to connect with the more vulnerable emotions and the possibly unfulfilled needs that the anger or rage is protecting. When her daughter feels heard and accepted with all her emotions, pleasant and unpleasant ones, her primary emotions can rise to the surface and steps can be taken to address the underlying needs.

Join Dhebi DeWitz and myself for our next bi-monthly FREE webinar. Our topic on Tuesday, May 7 is “Are Your Essential Needs Being Met?”. How to discover your essential human needs that are not being met in your life and to honour them. Click here to receive the link to join us life from 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST or 5:00-6:00 PST. The webinar will also be posted here for you to access it at any time.

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Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Constructive Disagreements in Relationships – PART ONE And Baby Makes Three

We all know that life changing events like death, divorce, retirement, a job loss or major health issues cause stress. These major life changing events go hand in hand with loss and grief. What we often forget is that positive life changing events like getting married and having a baby can also bring on a crisis. According to a study by E.E. LeMasters in the 1950’s, 83% of couples go through a moderate to severe crisis when they become parents for the first time. Other studies in the 1980s have confirmed his findings.

Both parents go through major changes in their identities, which can be challenging and overwhelming. New fears might come up and our values and goals in life can change. Many parents want to be better at parenting in some way or another than their own parents. Mothers often become very involved with their babies. The energy which used to be solely directed towards their partner is now redirected towards the child. The dad can feel left out and depending on his own childhood experiences and wounds, feel unimportant, rejected and abandoned. Often both parents end up feeling unappreciated. Having a new baby brings lots of changes and challenges. When we are so busy, we forget to say “thank you” and “I am so proud of you”, and we forget to ask “How was your day?”

gottman-saying-thank-you

When we are sleep deprived for a long time, we feel stressed and can also get mildly depressed. Sleep deprivation also makes our daily hassles seem more intense. New parents tend to feel more emotional and more irritable. The frequency and intensity of relationship conflicts and fights increase.

The greatest gift parents can give their baby is a happy and strong relationship between the two of them. What the child needs most of all, is for their parents to feel supported by each other and safe in their relationship. It makes the child feel safe in return. The blood pressure of babies rises when they witness their parents fighting and signs of depression in parents also have effects on the babies. “In the first three years of life, fundamental neural processes are being laid down that have to do with the infant’s ability to self-soothe, focus attention, trust in love and nurturance of his parents, and emotionally attach to his mother and father.” (Gottman, And Baby Makes Three)

Keep your fights constructive and respectful. Be gentle with each other and take responsibility for your part without being defensive. Listen and acknowledge your partner’s view. Children need to learn how to communicate their needs and feelings successfully and that their emotions matter to others. When you work on how you communicate, you can model successful interactions for your child. Your child will then develop the neural network for school achievement, healthy relationships and a future happy life.

If you have been struggling with constructive disagreements so far, don’t blame yourself. Let the past go and focus on the now. It is never too late to shift and change and thus show your child how we can all interact differently.

 

  1. Softer Start Ups

The start up is how we bring up an issue with our partner. 96% of the time, the start-up of a conversation determines how a conflict conversation develops. When we introduce an issue with a harsh start up—for example with blame or criticism—the likelihood that the other partner gets defensive right away is much higher. We need to be aware of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stone-walling. They destroy our relationships. A complaint, on the other hand, starts with neutrally describing the situation, how we feel about it, what need we have, and ideally, it includes a request.

gottman-harsh-start-up-2

 

Here are some examples based on those by Julie Schwartz Gottman and John Gottman.

Harsh Start-Up: You don’t care about me (blame). You only care about yourself (criticism). You are just wrapped up in your own little world, with your face stuck in that newspaper (contempt and criticism).

Softened Start-Up: When you read the newspaper at dinner and you are not talking to me, I feel pretty upset. I miss talking to you and connecting with you. Can you ask me how my day was or tell me how yours was?

Harsh Start-Up: You think I’m ugly, don’t you? You want someone skinny, like the girl you were eyeing yesterday (blame and criticism). I know I am heavy, but so what? I just had a baby.

Softened Start-Up: I am worried that I am not sexy enough for you now that my body has changed. We are going to this party and I have put on this fancy dress and it is way too tight. I feel insecure and I would really like some compliments from you right now.

 

  1. Accept Your Partners Influence

In any argument, there is no objective truth. There are always two subjective realities, ours and our partner’s. When we insist that our perception is the only one that’s right and our partner’s perception is wrong, we end up in a power struggle in which we both lose. Instead of focusing on persuading your partner that you are right, acknowledge that there are two sides to every fight and strive to understand his or her point of view. Open-ended questions invite your partner to share more, for example “What makes this so important to you?” Step into your partner’s shoes for a moment and view the issue from your partner’s eyes to see why it makes some sense to have those feelings. Restate your partner’s point of view and validate it. When we accept our partner’s influence, we are honouring our partner as someone who is intelligent and well intentioned.

Gottman - understanding partner's position.jpg

 

  1. Calm Your Conflicts

When one or both partners get flooded and go into a state of DPA (diffuse physiological arousal), also known as “fight or flight”, it is time for a break. When we are in DPA, our hearing is compromised. Surges of adrenaline give us “tunnel vision”. We are not able to be compassionate or to be creative and problem solve. We see danger lurking and our partner feels like an enemy.

We need to request to halt the talk. When we tell our partner how long the break is going to last and when we intend to come back and resume talking, they will be more receptive. A break should last at least 25-30 minutes to give us adequate time for our heartbeat to slow down and for the adrenaline and cortisol levels in the body to decrease. At the very most, a break should last one day or otherwise it can feel to our partner as if we are avoiding the talk or are trying to passive-aggressively punish them.

gottman-30-min-break

 

During the break, anything that helps us physically soothe ourselves is a good idea: going for a walk, meditating, playing the piano, petting the dog, reading a book or anything else that is personally comforting to us. Ideally, you can combine deep breathing with a progressive muscle relaxation and with guided imagery. To learn how to do this, contact me.

 

  1. Compromise

When we are relaxed and able to express our feelings and needs, we can communicate successfully about problems. Part of successful problem solving is working out compromises. First, define the most minimal core area of need which each of you cannot give up on. What is your core need? Then define areas of greater flexibility, for example in regards to when and how you each get what you need. Third, come up with a temporary compromise.

 

Gottman - repair attempts.jpg

 

  1. Make Repairs

For a relationship to thrive the partners need to make and accept each other’s repair attempts. There is no right or wrong way to make a repair but it has to be made by one partner and heard by the other partner. Repairs can be words of apology, smiles, a joke or even a goofy face. Some examples of possible repair statements are:

  • I am sorry. I overreacted.
  • I might be wrong here.
  • I really blew this one.
  • Can we “rewind”? Let’s start over.
  • Let me try again.
  • I apologize. I got really triggered.
  • That must have really hurt your feelings.
  • I need to calm down. Can we please take a break and continue talking in 30 minutes?
  • That hurt my feelings.
  • Tell me you love me.
  • Can I have a kiss?
  • I am feeling unappreciated / sad / misunderstood.
  • I feel defensive. Can you perhaps rephrase that?
  • Please don’t withdraw.
  • I know this isn’t your fault.
  • Let’s compromise here.
  • I love you. Let’s work on this.

 

If you don’t want to miss part two of this article about perpetual problems in relationships, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika

Relationship Coaching and Belief Changes

905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

Good As Gold – How Siblings Carry Each Others Shadow Traits

I have written in the past about partners carrying each other’s disowned energies and how children mirror our shadows for us. Another way to find out what is in your shadow is to take a look at your sibling(s). Sometimes the differences between two or more siblings are subtle but in many cases they are quite obvious. Often siblings carry each others opposites.

The older sister—or brother—might be, for example, over-identified with being the responsible one, the one who is more conservative, careful with money and striving to save up for sensible goals like buying a house. He or she might be the one who studies and works hard. The younger sister or brother then often steps into the opposite energy. He or she shows up as “irresponsible”, fun loving, care-free and able to spend money on an adventure or instant gratification. One sibling perhaps seems to live for the future, worrying that everything turns out the way he or she hopes. The other one lives in the present and does not dream of owning real estate or saving up for retirement.

Is one of them right and the other one wrong? Neither one has made the “better” choices, neither energy is bad. In fact, to be whole we need to feel we have a choice whether we want to be responsible in a situation or less responsible, whether we want to make a sensible choice for future safety or possibly a choice to enjoy the present moment. It is important to plan ahead; it is also enriching to feel care-free and to fully live right now.

Being identified with one energy while disowning the opposite energy, affects our relationships. Instead of truly supporting each other and being friends, the siblings usually end up judging in each other what they don’t allow themselves to be. The older sibling will judge the younger one as “irresponsible” and the younger one might call the older one “boring”. Meanwhile there is a part in both of them which longs to be whole, which feels resentful when the other sibling’s approach seems to give them an advantage. The older one, who feels he or she has worked so hard and always does what is expected might feel annoyed to see that the younger one gets through life alright, apparently without worrying about money and having so much fun. The younger one might secretly feel inferior and wish at times that she had savings or better grades or higher qualifications.

Yet, neither approach to life is right or wrong, neither is better than the other. Those are two different experiences of life, based on different choices and a result of the fact that they are both not fully conscious of how energy works.

Both are depriving themselves from being truly whole and having a free choice in each given moment in life who they want to be or what energy they want to display. What the other one mirrors to them, what they are irritated by and judge in the other sibling, is actually, as Hal Stone says “the medicine they need”.

Hal & Sidra what we judge in others

Hal and Sidra Stone

The older sibling is not automatically the more serious and responsible one. John is the father of a 15 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. He has come for relationship coaching as he is greatly struggling with his son. He describes him as “disrespectful, irresponsible, messy, unreliable, not applying himself in school, lazy” or in short “incredibly irresponsible”. As John talks about his son, he is getting agitated and angry. It is palpable how much the teenager triggers him. When I ask him about his daughter, he smiles and his voice becomes soft. “She is good as gold”, he says several times. “She is always reliable and tidy and gets good marks in school. She helps around the house; she is always even tempered and so responsible. She is really good as gold.”

When I explain about opposite energies and shadows John has a hard time seeing how any of the traits his son displays could be useful energy or good in any way. He wants his son to be “good as gold” just like his daughter. However, that is not how energy works. The younger sister has taken on the brother’s responsible shadow and he is carrying his sister’s care free energy. Both children are not showing up as their whole complete selves. They have polarized into opposites and being labelled as “irresponsible” and “good as gold” manifests this situation. They don’t see a way out of this polarization. The daughter gets positive attention and affection by being a perfect little angel. The son gets attention by being the black sheep.

Angel 3

I ask John what happens when the daughter makes a mistake or gets a mark that’s not a perfect score. At first he says, “But that doesn’t happen! She is an A student across board!” Then he admits that she beats herself up for any mistake or less than perfect performance. She is tough on herself. She worries about the future too. She has a hard time relaxing, doing nothing for a few hours.

As parents we see this polarization between siblings from the outside. Often, we will look at one of them and feel more comfortable with their approach to life than with the other. We mustn’t forget that our children are a mirror for us as well, for what we don’t like about ourselves (our dark shadows) or what we maybe admire about others and think we are not (our light shadows).

It is our job to allow all our children to be whole. It is up to us to encourage a child who is identified more with responsibility or perfection to loosen up, to be okay with making mistakes, to enjoy life right now. And it is also our job to trust the child who shows up as more irresponsible that they are capable and willing to take responsibility for their actions. It is our—perhaps most difficult—task to allow them to learn their own life lessons. By embracing our own shadows which we see in them, we can come to a place of non-judgment and true unconditional love.

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

Would you like to understand the energetic dynamics in your family more? Is there a relationship you would like to improve? Do you want to stop being triggered by certain family members?

To learn more contact me (Angelika) for individual sessions or Shadow Energetics Workshops.

905-286-9466 (free phone consultation) or

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

For 2016 workshop dates and locations go to Upcoming Workshop.

 

 

HOMEWORK – Part Two – by Angelika Baum

This is the second in a two part series on homework. The first part, called “How a Grade 3 Book Report Turned into a Parenting Life Lesson for Me” was written by my friend and colleague Mary Strachan, the Founder of Fresh Perspectives and mother of two.

PART TWO

Nobody Likes Homework – Or?

By Angelika Baum

For the past ten years, I have been trying to convince my oldest daughter to throw out an old school project that was taking up room in the closet. It was a huge model of an airport runway, buildings and model planes attached to it. She made this project in grade two—or so we think. We also cannot remember anymore what the title of the assignment was. Yet, this project had become like a fifth limb to her. It had turned into the perfect representation of her creative ability. It was probably one of her first experiences of being resourceful and able to produce something that looked good and felt good. For this project she had to “interview” two people who worked at the airport. Ironically, she works at the airport herself today. The project—or what was left of it after all those years—stood for being able to achieve anything she sets her mind to.

As a teacher as well as a parent, I have seen children come into school with these elaborate and perfect projects which have so clearly been 80% produced by a parent. Have you ever wondered what is underneath this? Could it be our fear that our child will not be able to compete without us?

Let’s sit for a moment with the beliefs that cause this fear in us.

Does our story go a little bit like this? “It’s a tough world out there. It’s hard to compete with others. If you don’t get good grades in school you are not going to get a ‘good job’, and if you do not get a ‘good job’, you will not make ‘enough money’, and if you do not make ‘enough money’, you won’t be happy.”

Sometimes the fear story goes “My child is different. He/she is too sensitive/has too much energy/ADD/etc. Unless my child learns to be ‘normal’, he/she is lost and is going to fail in the system.”

Just notice your fear story. Be compassionate with yourself for having it. It was probably instilled long time ago by your own parents and your own experiences. Also ask what it would be like to let go of that story and trust that everything is alright. And what would it be like to trust our children to be smart, complete and resourceful? If we are packing their symbolic luggage to go out into the world, what would we like them to have in that suitcase of theirs?

homework - suitcase

What limiting beliefs do we teach our children by doing their homework for them?

“I cannot do my homework by myself.” Or more specifically, “I am not good enough (smart, creative, etc) to do it myself.” Maybe even, “I cannot do anything by myself; why even try.” He or she learns, “I am not good at problem solving” and “Homework is overwhelming.” And most limiting of all, “I need my parent in order to get through life and to compete with others. In order to make it through life I need help.”

It does not even have to be a project, regular everyday homework provides the opportunity for either learning limiting or supportive beliefs. Now that school is in full swing again, many parents find homework time stressful. Emotions fly high, tears roll and there is a lot of struggle when the experience could be completely different.

Am I saying that we shouldn’t under any circumstances support our children with their homework? Not at all. But there is a difference between supporting them and doing it for them. It’s the difference between teaching them strong beliefs about themselves and teaching them limiting beliefs about themselves, school and life.

Is homework a big dramatic event in your household? Do you have a child who puts all his or her energy into not doing the work or into whining about it? Do you hear “I don’t want to do this,” “I can’t do this,” or “I don’t know this” a lot? Do you find yourself being pulled into endless repetitive games around the school work?

homework H Ford quote

If this is your household, your child most likely believes that learning and homework are hard and not fun. Instead of embracing the homework as easy and enjoyable, your child puts his or her entire energy into fighting the situation.

How different would life be like for this child if he or she had the following beliefs?

  • I can do most of my homework by myself. If I need assistance, it is given to me.
  • I can think for myself and problem solve. If I need further clues, I can ask for them.
  • I am good at reading, writing and problem solving.
  • I am smart and I can do whatever I set my mind to.
  • I have the choice to make homework pleasant and I do.
  • I like doing my homework and I am good at it.
  • My homework is my responsibility and I do it as soon as I can.
  • I always complete my homework efficiently.
  • I do my best in school and my best is always good enough.

Now you might be thinking, “Sure! When pigs fly!”

I promise you that you CAN shift the energy in your house—but you need to start with yourself.

Do you truly believe that homework can be fun and easy? Or do you feel burdened by it and are secretly thinking, “It’s the teacher’s job to teach my kids in school, not mine at home on the weekend!” Watch how you are responding to the homework; how do you feel when it’s homework time; how are you are talking about it?

We also need to be conscious of our own fears and not pass them on without questioning their measure of truth and their usefulness. Is it more likely that our children will thrive in life when they are living in fear, or when they are embracing new challenges and tasks with curiosity and joy?

homework 1

How different would your family life be if you embraced your child’s school work not as an evil which has to be done but as something positive? Show interest in what they are doing in school, supply an everyday context for what they are learning, or be impressed by the amazing knowledge or skills that your child is currently acquiring.

Provide applications for what they are doing in school. Math, for example, is abstract if I am only writing numbers underneath each other and adding or subtracting single digits. Give your children money to buy something small rather than you buying everything. Point out prices and do calculations. When they ask, “How old is grandpa?” don’t give them the answer but say “Grandpa was born in 1945. How old do you think he is?” Life is full of mathematical calculations. Playfully practice the times tables and simple additions, subtractions and divisions. Most of all, know that you child can do this. They are smart enough to put their energy into avoiding thinking and doing homework. Just re-direct that curiosity and intelligence to playfully learning every day.

Walk your talk about learning and school work. Does your child see you read to relax or educate yourself? Do you enjoy when you have to write something? Do you approach problems with an attitude of I’ll find a solution rather than “I can’t do this”? Are you making time for creativity?

homework - bookshelf 1

Nobody is perfect, so if you have noticed that you are not modelling to your child that thinking, learning and being creative are fun, be open about it. Say to your son or daughter, “I don’t read as much as I would like to. Let’s find some time each week for you and I to read together or sit in the same room reading.” Or “I think grandma would really like to get a letter. Let’s sit down together tomorrow and write one for her.” Or “When it comes to new things, I sometimes give up to fast. I want to change that. What do you think I should do?”

Children value transparency and truthfulness. Don’t get annoyed, angry or lecture. Don’t tell them stories about how you always did your homework right away when you were a student. Be honest and prepared to make changes yourself. Change your own attitude towards homework. Use it as an opportunity to connect and have fun with your children. School is their life; you can help them to enjoy it.

Angelika

Coaching & Conscious Parenting

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

greendoorrelaxation.net

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Piece of Advice for My Daughter

My friend Crina was sharing a lovely blog with me in which a mother gave her daughter 32 principles or lessons on life as she is moving out to go to school. That made me wonder, if I could only give my own daughter one piece of advice, what would that be? What is it that I have learned that has made a fundamental difference in how I experience life?

Sometimes clients resonate with a part in me, like a tuning fork will trigger another equal one into vibrating. That might be a part that I needed to see in a mirror, or a message I needed to hear. Other times, I recognize a part that I haven’t connected with in a while but have integrated or made peace with over the years.

Lately, a few of my younger female clients have shared about the part in them that feels that the “clock is ticking” in regards to reaching their goals. That part used to speak to me very loudly as well when I was in my twenties. The story that part would tell me went something like, “You only have so much time to make it all happen, to finish your education, start your career, find the perfect partner, get married and have children. You better hurry and make it happen or you will be too old in no time.”

Piece of Advice 2

That part wants us to have a plan for the future and to focus on reaching it. It is undoubtedly a useful part. Yet, if we over-identify with this part, it can also put us in a place of anxiety and of constantly living in the future. We miss out on the present moment. We deprive ourselves from living right now, from experiencing and enjoying the magic of today. That magic is not just present at whatever age we have decided our life will surely be perfect, but continues to be constantly present during our twenties, thirties, forties and so on.

The one piece of advice I would like to give my daughter as she is starting out on a new adventure is to honour the part in her which is focused on the future, while not forgetting to live fully right now in the present. The voice in us which is aware of the passing of time and the need to “get ready for the winter” like a squirrel, is only one voice on our committee of advisers, only one voice on the panel of our internal board of directors.

How would it feel if we just moved into a place of trusting that everything always unfolds perfectly? Our career will take the twists and turns it needs to take for our personal growth. We will learn from each of our partnership(s) until we decide to start a family. Children will come in their own time and in their own way, some biological, others as adopted children or stepchildren. What would our experience of life be like if we—instead of feeling we have only a limited time to make it all happen—relaxed into everything unfolding with ease and grace?

Piece of Advice 3

Angelika

Life Coaching

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Additional Points to Consider for Step-Parenting

Do you know what a pot-bound plant is?

When a plant is growing in a particular pot, it keeps growing but its environment, the pot, does not grow with it. The plant gets to a certain point and then becomes what is called “pot bound”. The roots just keep going round and fill up the whole pot. They become more and more rigid. They cannot spread out in that cramped environment. When you break open the old pot and replant the plant in a bigger pot or in the garden the plant can stretch out and grow much bigger.

A stepfamily, according to Sidra Stone—who came up with this perfect metaphor—is like breaking the old pots open and giving the family members, especially the children, a place to grow which is much bigger.

stepparenting - heartWith this new, unfamiliar and bigger space come a lot of adjustments. The plants need to get used to the new soil. If loving gardeners make sure the new soil is rich and fertile and full of nutrients, the plants are more likely to do well in the new environment.

These days, who doesn’t know someone who is part of a stepfamily? In 2011in Canada, there were 464,335 “melted families”. This represents more than 10% of Canadian families with children. Melted families are becoming increasingly complex. In 1995, the simple stepfamilies—in which all the children were the children of one of the spouses only—were still in the majority. Today, complex stepfamilies with children from both spouses are as common or even in the majority.

Stepparenting 7

In my blog “Points to Consider for Parenting” on September 1st, I elaborated on four aspects of parenting which can help us to be more successful parents if we are aware of them:

  1. The Adults in the Family Should Be True Partners in Parenting
  1. Children Carry Our Disowned Selves; They Show Us What We Tend to Judge and Dislike
  1. Be Aware of the Energetic Linkage: Who is bonded into Whom?
  1. Ask, What Does This Parenting Situation Have to Teach Me?

Stepparenting 1

Here are two additional points to consider particularly for stepparenting:

  1. You Are the Parent of Your Own Children

Don’t try to be the disciplining parent for your stepchildren, especially if they still have two biological parents. It’s impossible and bound to fail. Don’t expect to take the part of their mother or father. There is no such thing as “just” being the stepparent. It is an important and enriching experience for everybody involved. Yet different guidelines apply for the stepparent than apply for the parent. When the parent is not taking charge of a situation, it can understandably be challenging for the stepparent to hold back.

It is therefore important for each parent to step into your parenting role when it comes to your own biological children. It is your responsibility to parent your children. Leaving it up to the stepparent to do the disciplining or activities that you do not enjoy is unfair to everybody. Communicate clearly with your partner what you need from him or her. This can mean that you—or your partner—need to step up and become a more confident or involved parent.

Stepparenting POINT 5 - Step up to parent

  1. Vulnerability

When old family systems are dissolved and we move from being a couple to being parents or stepparents, from having no siblings or full siblings to suddenly having stepsiblings, everybody is vulnerable and insecure: the adults as well as the children. Everybody is faced with a new situation and adjustments while navigating their own feelings and experiences.

We need to be aware of our vulnerability and this vulnerability has to be available between the partners. We usually live in our power selves of pusher or rational mind or assertive self and so on, which exist to protect our vulnerability. These power selves are useful for our survival but can prevent real connections.

Vulnerability gives us the option to be with somebody without all the defences and guards. It allows us to be authentic and to feel and communicate all feelings. When things happen in the parenting situation, it allows us then to come to our partner and express how we truly feel and to work out a solution together. If we are not able to do that, we might end up attacking our partner or his or her child because we are not aware of our own vulnerability in a situation. Our power selves jump in and take control. Communicating the vulnerability is the first step towards aligning with your partner. The next big step is to bring this same open communication to the children or stepchildren instead of coming from a place of power all the time. The interactions can then become deep sensitive connections with them, a totally different quality of interactions than when we come from our power selves.

Another vulnerability that comes into play is the new set of in-laws for each partner. In the case of a second or third marriage, we have even lost one set of in-laws and siblings-in-laws from the previous relationship and we need to navigate the new rules and ways of the new in-laws. The new in-laws might be struggling just in the same way with the changes which come up. They might fear losing the contact with their son or daughter and with their grandchildren, now that a new person has come into the picture. It is a situation which brings up lots of vulnerabilities, insecurities and fears. Be loving and kind with yourself and those around you as you are going through those changes.

Stepparenting POINT 6 - Vulnerability

When the parents choose to parent consciously, both stepping up to be involved parents who are aware of vulnerabilities among the family members and ready to address them, the conditions are ideal for new growth. Children can spread out to make new experiences and to grow strong roots in their new and more expansive environment, like pot bound plants that are being replanted in larger pots.

Angelika

Conscious Parenting & Life Coaching

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

905-286-9466

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Points to Consider for Parenting

Traveling in Europe and comparing parenting styles in Great Britain and Germany to Canada reminded me of how different parenting is from culture to culture.

The examples of British parenting we saw were gentle reminders of manners, sometimes interlaced with humour. Yet, the children seem to know exactly that something said in a sarcastic or humorous way still has to be taken seriously.

German parenting is more direct and humourless. German parents navigate an interesting balance between granting their children a lot of individuality and freedom—much more than we do in Canada—and yet being quite outright, outspoken and direct when it comes to enforcing rules.

German parents are reluctant to encourage kids to do something they are not in the mood for. Your five-year-old does not want to give grandma a hug and kiss? That’s okay. Your eight-year-old does not want to join in the games at the birthday party because he thinks it’s “blöd” (stupid)? That’s okay. Your twelve-year-old does not want to join the family for dinner even though relatives are over? That’s okay. Your sixteen-year-old does not want to come on vacation with his/her parents? That’s okay.

Hardly ever are children encouraged to put the needs of others or a group over their own individual needs and wants. I suspect that is a result of the Nazi time in which obedience and conformity was put above else. As so often in history an entire nation has done an 180˚ turn. Yet, when children cross “the line”, whatever that line in each individual case and each individual parent is, the parent can get very direct, authoritative and will raise their voice.

Clearly each country or culture has different values for parenting. What seems right in one culture might be frowned upon in another. I was wondering if there are any common points independent of the culture that one might want to consider for parenting and/or step-parenting.

Parenting 1

Children change the dynamics of every partnership greatly. When a new baby is born or when step-children enter into the picture, the self contained unit of the two grown-ups loving each other or the previous family system break open to include one or more other people. If we are not aware of the changing dynamics and in touch with our own feelings and fears, conflicts are inevitable. Instead of bringing more joy and growth, parenting then becomes a burden for the relationship.

Here are some points to consider for parenting based on Hal and Sidra Stone’s work, which I believe might be applicable in many different parts of the world:

  1. Acceptance of the Partnering Model for Parenting

Partnering is a non-hierarchical model of parenting. In partnering, both partners are equally involved in all areas. In partnering everything is a joint venture. There is a sense of a no-fault kind of relationship, instead of blaming the other parent. Each event brings with it a new learning. Both partners should be sharing the authority, the responsibility, and the power in the relationship to the children as well as to each other.

The basic connection in the family system must be between the two people in charge, the couple. Children “smell” very quickly when the connection between the parents isn’t working and are naturally going to take advantage of that fundamental flaw in the family system. Dynamics then begin to happen that don’t work well for the family.

For each partner that means to look at the children and step-children from your partner’s eyes. You do not necessarily need to agree with your partner but you need to understand where he or she is coming from. You need to be able to see and feel their point of view. Learn to honour the viewpoint of your partner, no matter how different it is, because there is a teaching there for us. It is an opportunity to integrate our disowned selves, the traits we don’t like about ourselves and others.

Parenting POINT 1 - Make sure adults

  1. Primary and Disowned Selves, Opposites & Polarization

The Primary Selves are the group of selves who make up our identity, or who we are identified with. The Disowned Selves are the ones we have had to drop because we learned they are not good to have. We usually treasure our primary selves and are attached to them (“That’s just how I am”); the disowned selves we don’t like. The stepchildren, new in-laws, and other people in our life – even the pets—are going to carry our disowned selves and show us what we tend to judge and dislike.

Those family members show us the opposites which we are not comfortable with and we often even polarize into those opposites further as we live and interact together.

For example, if I am quite neat and my child or stepchild is a bit sloppy, the child might polarize into being even messier while I become more paranoid about cleaning and tidying up. The child is taking on my messy energy that I—and possibly everybody in the house—have disowned. However, once they move out, we might find that living on their own, they have quite a neat household.

If I am identified with cleanliness, I might judge the person very strongly for living in a mess. Judgements give us the keys to our primary and our disowned selves. When you feel yourself judging other family members, remind yourself that the judgments give you a feedback about yourself and the parts of yourself that you disown.

Parenting POINT 2 - Children carry disowned

  1. Energetic Linkage

Tune in to find out who is bonded into whom in the family. What I mean by that is notice who feels close to whom and how the bonding happens. Are the energies truly flowing between you and your partner, or perhaps you and your favourite child? Where the real warmth is shows us the bonding patterns in a family. These bonding patterns are always going on underneath. Be aware of them and consciously make sure the main bond is between you and your partner. Enough time and opportunities to maintain the bond between the couple who are the core unit of the family are very important for the entire system and for successful parenting.

Parenting POINT 3 - Be aware

  1. Life is a Teacher

Trust that challenges are there to be worked through. You always have the choice to step back and ask, what is the teaching or meaning of what comes up? Life, illness, relationships and parenting are each a teacher for us to learn to become more whole. Our partner can always trust that we are willing to work something out, when we honestly ask the question, what does this parenting situation have to teach me?

Parenting POINT 4 - Ask what does

Angelika

Conscious Parenting & Life Coaching

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

905-286-9466

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Childhood Messages

Most childhoods are full of mixed messages about love. Most parents and care-givers did not and still do not know how to truly love themselves unconditionally. How can they teach the next generation about unconditional love? Instead we learn “I am loved if/when…”

It is an elemental need for everybody to be loved. Therefore, it becomes our task as children to “crack the code” to this love which is conditional, to figure out who we need to be for others to like and love us. The rules of conditional love vary from person to person. Maybe our mother loves us when we are helpful, our grandmother give us attention when we smile a lot, our father loves us when we excel in school, our friends like us best when we agree with them and our teacher rewards us for neatness. So we become little actors, take on different roles. Those roles are not a conscious choice. We step into them to have our most basic need to be loved met.

Different authors, like John Gray and Carolyn Myss, have come up with different groups of childhood roles. None of these lists are complete, they are examples of how we respond to conditional love. Instead of being our authentic selves, we create a persona which we hope will be accepted and result in attention and love. Sometimes we feel we cannot get positive attention. In those cases—as every teacher knows—negative attention is better than none.

Robert Holden describes the following seven roles in his book “Loveability”: The good child, the helper, the star, the happy child, the melancholy child, the independent child, the rebel, the genius, and the peaceful child.


THE GOOD CHILD

childhood messages - good child

He or she believes “I am lovable when I am good”. This child behaves like a good little adult, neat and tidy, is never a bother. As an adult, this person shows up as the “good friend/partner/parent/employee”. Having a free choice to be “good” is one thing. Feeling you need outside approval and you always have to behave in a way which is deemed as “good” by others is extremely limiting.


THE HELPING CHILD

childhood messages - helping child (angel)

The helping child believes they will be loved when they are a little nurse, angel or therapist. This child might grow up to be an adult who always feels the need to help others but never be helped. He or she might have a hard time receiving and might end up with partners and friends who constantly need to be rescued or helped.


THE STAR CHILD

childhood messages - star child

Life for the star child is all about winning the “Oscar” for being outstanding, for being the best. Excellence is a virtue to strive for but the star child feels he or she is only lovable when they are the best version of themselves in any given moment and not for being the authentic self. As adults, star children feel they have to be the model partner, best parent, or most outstanding in their career.


THE HAPPY CHILD

childhood messages - happy child

The happy child is convinced they are more lovable when they are happy. He or she is always cheerful and positive, always “A-OK”, never angry, never sad, never worried. As an adult, the happy child is still worried that her emotions—other than happiness—will drive others away.


THE MELANCHOLY CHILD

childhood messages - melancholy child

This child is exactly the opposite of the happy child. He or she believes they are loved more when they are unhappy. Melancholy, crying, and withdrawing gets him or her the attention we all need. As an adult, the melancholic person is still afraid to be happy, fearing they won’t get any attention.


THE INDEPENDENT CHILD

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The independent child puts on an act of strength and bravery. He or she believes “If I am independent, I don’t need anybody else and cannot be hurt or disappointed”. Being fiercely independent as an adult prevents us from true intimacy and closeness. Only if we open up to the fact that we all depend on others, can we experience letting ourselves be loved and cared for.


THE REBEL CHILD

childhood messages - rebel child

The rebel or difficult child believes they are unlovable anyways and cannot win. They are a typical example that negative attention still feels better than no attention. At least we don’t feel invisible. That attitude causes life-long problems in all areas. In relationships, the rebel attracts drama, fights, tragedy as that is how they see themselves.

The rebel might in some cases become the black sheep of the family who carries everybody’s shadow.


THE GENIUS CHILD

childhood messages - genius child

Being competent and brilliant at something is the genius child’s way to love and attention. Similar to the star child, only the highest achievement, often of academic nature, will do. The genius believes they are loved for their brilliance not for who they truly are.


THE PEACEFUL CHILD

Peaceful place

This child does whatever he or she can to keep the peace and to not rock the boat. Striving for harmony and oneness in relationships is great but the peaceful child will grow up to be an adult who leaves their own needs completely out of the equation just to preserve a resemblance of union.


Have you recognized yourself in one or more of these roles?

What about your own children?

As we are learning to love ourselves more and more and to love our children truly unconditional, we all need to be less and less of an actor and can become more whole, more authentic, more true to our essential nature.

Relationship Coaching and Conscious Parenting

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you are enjoying my posts you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the follow button in the right hand corner of your screen.

 

Conscious Parenting – Finding Authentic Compromises Versus Bargaining

Just a few days ago, a memory from seventeen years ago came to my mind. Back then, I was a relatively young mother, who was still partially figuring out what kind of a parent I wanted to be. As an elementary school teacher, I had worked out which rules apply to having a classroom full of 6 year olds as opposed to a classroom of 10 year olds. As a foster parent of a little girl I had—through trial and error—worked out what she needed during those four years that we fostered her. She needed so much more of everything parents can give: more reassurance, more consistency, more love. What I hadn’t worked out, yet, was a conscious awareness of needs—mine and other—and negotiating true compromises.

At that time, I was witness to what struck me as a very odd scene between an Egyptian friend of mine and her 17-year-old daughter. The topic of the conversation was the daughter’s curfew on a Saturday night. The daughter suggested 11:30. The mother countered with 8:30 which resulted in a dramatic response from the daughter. So the mother went to 9 o’clock and the daughter countered with 11 o’clock. Half an hour and several more outbursts of emotions later, they ended up with 10 o’clock. The daughter was pleased as punch.

When the young girl had left the room, I turned to my friend, who had made a big show of having given in, and said, “What was all that about?” She smiled and said, “I knew we would end up with 10 o’clock. She will be exactly home at the time I wanted her to be home.”

I was flabbergasted, especially as I was a “no-negotiating-by-any-means type of parent” back then. The bargaining or sometimes blackmailing that they seemed to be doing on a regular basis in her family around her three children’s needs seemed unnecessarily exhausting to me, but most of all inauthentic.

Now, there is bargaining and there is mitigating everybody’s needs. The difference between bargaining and negotiating compromises is tremendous.

Bargaining vs Negotiating by Greendoor (1)

What values and beliefs are we teaching our children by bargaining? They are learning that their needs are not worth being met without a fight. We are teaching them to be deceptive instead of open with what they want and need. We are teaching them to think of how they can win, rather than how everybody can win.

Negotiating means finding a compromise to meet everybody’s needs. Negotiating is not about who wins and who loses. Negotiating is about being creative in finding a win-win. We are teaching children that there is a way to have your needs met and that everybody can have their needs met. We are teaching them to express how they feel, to honestly ask for what they want or need, and to trust that a creative solution can be found. We are teaching them to collaborate rather than to compete for their individual gain.

I used to think that the parent has to be the boss and makes the rules. I still believe we have to remember that our child is not the boss of us but that a democratic boss opens up some decisions for discussion. When we refuse to acknowledge needs and refuse to negotiate to find compromises, we are teaching the next generation that they can never get in life what they truly want. The outcome of those experiences are grown-ups who don’t know what they want or need and don’t even attempt to express their wishes. We raise pleasers who are only able to follow the wishes of others. We raise people who feel their only strategy to get their needs met is by lying, being secretive, or being manipulative. They have no concept of living from integrity, their own personal integrity. They learn that they cannot be their authentic selves.

 Integrity De Angelis

Over Easter, we were spending time with friends and family. The more people are in the mix the more needs are sometimes colliding and need to be negotiated. One child ended up crying because she had hoped for a particular activity. The response of the adults present was mixed. The opinion that she should not get what she wanted because crying is not an adequate way of expressing your needs was voiced. The parent of the child felt she was trying to manipulate her way to what she wanted through this behaviour. That parent would have been me 15 years ago! I was an “I don’t negotiate” kind of parent. I strongly believed children shouldn’t get what they want by crying, sulking or throwing a temper tantrum.

Today, I believe that it is important to differentiate. There is more than meets the eye in a situation like this. If a child chooses to sulk, cry or get angry, we have to understand that they have already learned this is their only option. There certainly are more appropriate ways to express one’s needs. They might also truly just be expressing their sadness, disappointment or anger. We have to teach children that their needs and feelings matter and that they will be met if it is at all possible. They have to learn how to arrive at compromises to have everybody’s needs met. Life is about win-win, not about how to achieve a win over others.

When our children are getting emotional, let’s sit them down, help them to express how they feel, for example “disappointed”, “angry”, or “unimportant/like I don’t matter”. Let them know they have a right to feel what they feel. Then put everybody’s needs on the table, for example: “You want to play this game which takes an hour, Anna wants to watch this movie, Mom has a headache and wants to take a nap, Dad has to start cooking dinner, the dog has to go for a walk and Peter needs a ride to work. We have two hours left. What do you suggest?”

Then sit back and trust them to be creative to work out a compromise which is a win-win situation for everybody. Let them be the problem solvers. If they are struggling to come up with ideas at first, make suggestions. Negotiating teaches them to truly listen to others and to care about everybody. Our job as parents is it to be a role model and reminder of non-violent communication and to hold the knowing that a peaceful solution can be found.

The more compromises the children get to create when they are young the more we can count on them growing-up to become balanced adults who know what they want, who believe that their needs matter and who naturally are striving to create win-win situations in all areas of their lives. After all, our children are the leaders of the future who need to be able to negotiate peace for our world.

Angelika

Life Coaching, 905-286-9466

 greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 Angelika wide picture for blogs smaller

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What do Easter traditions mean to you and your family?

“What does Easter mean to you?” my father asked me just yesterday. He wasn’t asking about how we celebrate Easter, about the traditions in our family, which he of course knows about. He wanted to know how I interpret resurrection. He started a discussion about the concept of all humans being sinners by birth, and the teachings of Jesus as God’s son, who takes away all our sins through his own death.

To understand why a talk like that is a bit of a surreal experience for me, you need to know that I grew up in a family with a catholic mother—who wasn’t practicing her religion but whose beliefs and fears were strongly shaped by the belief systems of the Catholic church—and an atheist father with an uncompromising belief system of “nothingness” after death.

Easter Lily, yellow

Now that my mother has passed on and my father himself is in his eighties, he is reflecting more about our mortality and the here and after. He is interested in what spiritual concepts other people find comfort and peace in. I can sense a longing in him to believe in something, yet his logical mind is struggling with a whole set of beliefs about whether it is okay to believe anything at all. He is unaware that—beyond spiritual beliefs—our entire reality and all our experiences are based on our individual beliefs, and more importantly, on our collective beliefs about this world.

As I am answering his questions, sharing my own very personal spirituality with him, he almost makes me laugh out loud because he grumbles “you mix and match religions”. He is struggling to understand how I can possibly be so sure that our soul will continue beyond the death of the physical body, and why I choose to believe that we can all be close to God. In fact, that we all are God—or whatever you want to call that Divine Energy which flows through every one of us.

I don’t think my father will find the answers he is looking for about an afterlife or re-incarnation until he himself is on the other side. I should make an agreement with him to come back after his passing and to give me a clear message or sign that his soul indeed continued in the eternal cycle of life.

Easter Sunday 3

So what does Easter mean to me? Eastermore than the religious meaningshas a strong component of being a family tradition, just like Christmas, New Year’s or Thanksgiving. Every family has their own rituals. Easter for me spells out sunshine, spring flowers, a wonderful new beginning, the eternal life cycle, re-birth, but most of all family togetherness and fun time.

When my oldest daughter was little, the TV show “Blues Clues” was her absolute favourite. That started our family tradition of Easter treasure hunts rather than just hiding eggs and looking for them. Over the years, the treasure hunts got more elaborate, pictures became words, words became riddles, English or German riddles became French or Spanish “clues”, depending on what language my children were learning at the time. I was delighted when my older daughter took on the task of creating the treasure hunt for her younger sister. Like some of our favourite Christmas or New Year’s traditions, the treasure hunt will undoubtedly also be passed on to the next generation in some form.

Despite the girls being almost grown-up now, they still enjoy the treasure hunt for their Easter basket. However, other Easter traditions which used to be part of our celebrations, like colouring eggs or making Easter crafts have lost their attraction for them. Sometimes, you need to give your family traditions an overhaul. While traditions provide a sense of belonging and create lasting memories, they must be altered to keep up with changes in the family. After all, traditions are supposed to serve our family, not keep us stuck in the past. Flexible traditions enhance the family sense.

photo

What about blended families? What can they do to enjoy those first holidays as a newly formed family? A key is to be willing to modify your rituals to suit your new bonus family. It is a fine line to walk between keeping some of the old traditions for your own children to give them a sense of continuation and opening up to embracing new traditions to welcome new members to the family. Sometimes we tend to make it all about the younger members of the family and we forget the feelings of the older ones. The result could be that the older children learn that they and their needs don’t matter as much.

Somebody told me a childhood Easter story which is a prime example that we learn limiting beliefs about ourselves and the world during those precious holiday experiences. He is the oldest son with two much younger half-siblings. One Easter, after both his siblings had been born, he was excited to find many Easter treats. When he proudly brought his basket filled with his goodies back inside, he was presented with a letter from the Easter Bunny, telling him that from now on he would have to share every Easter egg with his baby siblings.

As much as I can appreciate the parent’s attempt to teach the son the values of sharing, this child also learned destructive beliefs like “I can never get ahead in life.” “When I have had a success it will be taken away.” “I don’t deserve to be successful.” “Why do I even bother to put any effort in?”

Obviously, one experience like this does not teach us lifelong limiting beliefs about ourselves. Most people have repeatedly been taught certain beliefs. The parents in this example could have avoided the sobering experience, had they from the start explained that from now on, the Easter Bunny was bringing three times as many treats for all the children and that he, as the oldest, would for now have the important job to find all the eggs. He could have learned that there is enough for everybody, that he deserves good things and he could have felt proud of taking care of others.

Easter Bunny Hug 3

Wishing all of you, your families and children of all ages a

HAPPY EASTER!

Angelika

“My Child Does Not Love Me”

I shared a story with a client yesterday which I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

My client and I were talking about how we sometimes feel closer to one child than the other, how one child might respond more to us than the other, and how we make that mean something about ourselves which really it doesn’t. We might feel judged by this child because he or she triggers our deepest fears of not being a good parent. We might convince ourselves that the child does not love us.

Ten years ago, when I separated from my ex-husband, I felt much closer to my older daughter Cara—who was nine at the time—than I felt to my four year old daughter Tia. I was the older sibling myself and had always connected more with my mother and less with my father, and somehow I had fallen into the same pattern with my own children. Unconsciously, we often repeat what we have experienced. Just as I had the better relationship with my mother and my younger sister connected better with my father, the same seemed to show up for my children. Until a few years ago, when I consciously decided to heal my relationship with my father, I felt deprived of his love just as my sister felt not as accepted by my mom. I deep-down feared that the same family dynamic would unfold in my own family.

However, from noticing this to making a change, I needed someone else to comment on this situation and to be a mirror for me. I had confided in one of my friends—who still is a good friend today and will probably read this with a smile—that I was afraid to completely loose my younger one’s love during the separation. I believe I even said to her that my younger daughter loves her father more than me. I probably wanted to hear from her that wasn’t true and was hoping to get some reassurance that everything would be fine.

Instead she gave me something much better. She started observing how both my husband and I interact with the children. A few days later, she came back to me. Still to this day I remember her words because they hurt at the time and had a deep impact. She said, “I know now why Tia loves Tom more than you. Your energy is always going towards Cara while he focuses on Tia.”

I didn’t like her comment one bit. That was not what I wanted to hear! I was really hurt at the time and didn’t talk to my friend for a few weeks. She had confirmed my worst fear.

Was it true that my younger daughter “loved her father more”? Of course it was not true. My friend had just taken the story I had chosen to run and reflected it back to me. She also pointed out to me that there is a cord, an energy going between us and others, and that we can choose to focus on somebody, feel them and communicate with them beyond words. Relationships between parents and children are built and maintained by how we feel about ourselves and about them and by the energy we send out.

I was so annoyed at my friend and what she had noticed that I swore to myself to change the situation. From that day on, I worked on building a closer relationship with my younger daughter.

2014-01-09 St Jakob's Tia & Cara 2

A couple of years later, my fear was completely forgotten. I had learned that my children love both their parents equally, because there is enough love to go around. It is not a question of “either or” like it was in my family with my parents for the longest time.

For four decades, I was convinced that my dad loved my younger sister more. And on top of that, I had an older half-sister who I felt threatened by. It seemed like the younger one had “stolen” my dad’s affection and the older one through her existence had taken away my “position” as the oldest. My feeling space was that I was the Nobody in the middle between them. The situation triggered a feeling of “not being special”. I felt judged by my dad, and never good enough as far as he was concerned. I truly believed he didn’t like me as much and for the longest time I gave up on the relationship. After all, I had my mom, who I knew loved me like nobody else ever would. To her I was “special”.

Was this true? Did my dad not care about me? Of course that was not true. He just felt helpless and didn’t know how to connect with me. He felt the judgement from my side of not being a good enough father. Were we consciously judging each other? No, we were just triggering each others insecurities. We were mirroring our deepest fears for each other.

I am deeply grateful that I had the opportunity to heal the relationship with my dad and to see how much he cares. I wasted forty years during which I could have felt that to him I was also special. He used to say “I love my three daughters the same”. I used to feel that was a lie. I still don’t believe he loves us “the same” because we are very different women, but I believe what he was trying to say is that there is no “more or less” when it comes to the love of a parent. Each child is special. I love both my daughters as the amazing and beautiful individuals that they are.

The bond between a mother and her child, or a father and his child, cannot be broken as long as the parent continues to be loving and accepting and stays out of his/her own fear story. “My son does not love me as much as he loves his dad”, or “My daughter doesn’t want to connect with me, only with her mom” are self-fulfilling prophecies. We are creating and manifesting broken relationships by choosing to buy into these stories of fear and pain.

The key is to find ways to spend time with our children, as a family and alone. When did you last have one-on-one time with your son or daughter? And the answer is always Love. Nobody can take the love away that a child naturally has for his/her mother and father—no ex-partner, no new partner or step-parent. Your mother is always your mother and your father is always your father. There is no competition which needs to be feared. Any relationship which is at one point shaken up, can be completely healed.

 

Relationship Coaching and Healing & Conscious Parenting

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

Who is the Black Sheep of Your Family?

In families and in relationships, we carry each other’s shadow sides, usually without being aware that this is happening. We are convinced that the other person is what we are not. Meanwhile ALL energy is in all of us, we have just disowned and pushed away a certain part of us. The energy we push away is the one we are uncomfortable with, or afraid of, or have learned is “bad” to be. However, energy has to go somewhere. If I push it away, it might either “go underground” and wait inside of me to take over when I am not paying attention; otherwise, another person takes it on for me.

Children carry our disowned shadow parts beautifully. My children have certainly been great mirrors for myself over the years. A parent might for example be punctual and responsible and the child is always late and seemingly irresponsible. The more the parent harps on the child for being irresponsible because they hate that energy potential in themselves, the more the child will be polarized into it.

messy child's room

This week, I have come across parents who are very neat and have made their daughter and her room the joke for every guest coming for a visit because she is “just so messy”. They have disowned their own sloppiness and the daughter has taken it on. They are so afraid of that energy potential in themselves that they feel the need to clearly distance themselves from it. Outside themselves they can laugh at it and make it clear to anybody who wants to hear it, or not, that their daughter does not take after them. They don’t just rob her from living in a tidier environment by labelling her as “unbelievably messy” and “incapable of being tidy” but they also deny themselves to be more relaxed and to live in the moment.

 

black sheep

Many families have a “black sheep”. The Black Sheep is the person who is carrying all the shadow characteristics for the other family members. The Black Sheep has taken on the energy that all the others are pushing away and don’t want. The Black Sheep might be rude and outspoken, or perhaps unreliable and self-centred, or messy and constantly late, or addicted and a “failure”, or perhaps all of the above and more; the list goes on and on. The Black Sheep of the family is the one who displays everything that everybody else judges and suppresses without being aware that all energy is in all of us.

Are you the Black Sheep of your family? Or do you have a Black Sheep in your family? You have the ability to change these dynamics at any time by doing some shadow work to reclaim your disowned selves.

If you want to integrate the parts you have disowned to live more conscious non-judgmental relationships contact me for a free phone consultation.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca 

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