Most parents are guilty of having lost their temper with their child/children. Sometimes even a minor misdemeanor is enough to trigger a parent into violence. Why does it happen? Unfortunately for most of us, our own childhood determines how we parent our kids. If we had a shitty childhood we get triggered easily.
Controlling Our Emotions
The recent death of Sherin Mathews highlights the very real problem faced by all parents. Rage, temper, anger. How the lack of control of our emotions could end up having disastrous and life-altering consequences from which there is no return.
Most of us parents come with a shitload of past baggage. The baggage of being abused as a child, consequently all our good intentions go right out of the window and we end up feeling our kids are responsible for our shitty feelings.
Oh, I always told myself that I would be the best mother in the world and never smack my child. That I would be patient and understanding, Not snap at my little one. I imagined that the world for my child would be having a saint for a mom.
However, the reality was sadly very different. I never imagined I would become a single parent when my son was only two, forcing me to return to work. Suddenly, the bubble which I lived in was shattered, I had to fend for both of us, financially plus being solely responsible for my son emotionally.
Patience and Stress Levels
Wham, my stress levels went up and patience flew out off the window. All I could feel was me gritting my teeth whenever my son did something which meant more work. Believe me, it took all my will-power to stop myself from being triggered to do something rash like forcing my child to submit to my will with deadly results.
The one tactic I would resort to when triggered would be to move away and bang at the pots and pans in the kitchen, which helped diffuse the emotional build-up in my system.
Thankfully, my son seemed to get the message to lay off and he’d busy himself with his toys or the dogs. By putting a physical distance between them and their kids, parents can stop rage from escalating to violence.
Parenting Without Being Triggered
Parenting is tough, moreover, for those of us who were abused as kids, the truth of the saying the sins of the father are visited upon the children becomes a reality. It has become coded in our DNA to react like our parents
We must recognize that what happened to us as children affects the way we think, feel and act as adults. This is especially true when it comes to parenting because nothing triggers feelings from our childhood more than our own children.
Since our offspring resemble us in physical and emotional ways, it is easy to see them as emblems of our child selves. This over-identification leads to our reenacting incidents from our childhoods with our own children, especially the incidents that were traumatizing to us.
At those times, we lose it and suddenly find ourselves treating our children as our parents treated us.
Heal The World – by Michael Jackson ( a victim of child abuse who became an abuser)
And I know that it is love
In this place you’ll feel
There’s no hurt or sorrow
If you care enough for the living
Make a little space, Make a better place
As parents, we have to become aware of and heal our past demons. We need to raise our innocent little ones with the mindfulness that every act of ours makes or mars their lives.
Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting by Joyelle Brandt & Dawn Daum