So I’ve gotten my authentic roar back. Spirit/genius woke me up super early to share about the bumpy growth ride to get here and she wants to make certain that I can still write.
This summer I’ve been a loud tigress a couple of times as an embodied choice. I even scared myself it was so LOUD in my own head and being! Now my Peaceful Parents in the crowd may cringe and worry about my ability to regulate but let me assure, I am actually functioning in a far more instinctual and embodied way. I woke up this morning because I read something yesterday on a Peaceful Parenting post that made me restless. It was about how kids raised in kindness without discipline show up bad. The comment was made by a nanny who had a horrific time taking the kids she cared for out into the world. There were all kinds of helpful comments about strategies and understanding that a child raised with peaceful internal strategies may show up badly to more authoritative onlookers as they are figuring things out and this takes more time than simply obeying out of fear. Absolutely true said my internal voice and then the nanny said one child is aggressive and attacks other kids and the mother told her this is how he is working up and out his big feelings.
All the Peaceful Parents in the room are now thinking uh oh… that’s not it and that certainly isn’t what I am doing…
In full truth, my own child was allowed to treat me badly occasionally for almost 2 solid years. I thought I was showing him boundaries and clear communication through kind understanding as he was figuring out how to treat me, trying on ugly behaviors, discerning from an internal place how to treat those he loves. YES, AND I was also unconsciously allowing and processing the repetition of my own abuse trauma. As a younger one he was sweet and this never came to the surface. I never allowed him to hit me or others but he would hurt his father physically. Confusing for me was this type of roughhousing as I had no father play in my own life, I couldn’t help guide my spouse. My child sometimes left marks on my husband’s body. The abuse recipient repetition was there for my partner too. Despite the many neuroregulatory benefits of rough play, trauma from his abusive past was echoing through as well.
My kiddo wasn’t beating up strangers in the park. These were nuanced leaks of the transgenerational trauma. Attacking outside of our family would have been obvious for us. Instead, he was beating on us. I don’t share this to shame either myself, my partner nor my kiddo as we are so clearly a learning/healing/growing family. No one has done any permanent damage and we get to clean up from where we slipped off track.
I am motivated to share this growing awareness because it can help each of us who are dis-integrating cycles of abuse move more lovingly and with more freedom as we choose to parent differently. If someone would have told me this stealthy part of my trauma was showing up a few years ago, I would have defended my child’s behavior and my chosen kindness parenting strategy to the death. And I have defended a few of his behaviors over the past couple of years that were absolutely disrespectful. I have developed the protect part of motherhood beautifully over the years, dis-integrating the lack of my own protection as a child…and now it follows, that I get to extend this protection towards myself.
These leaks of the past I am describing came to a head this spring while home hiking with a friend. She noticed the way my child was talking to me and reflected it back for me. She leaned in with utter CARE and asked, “Is he ok? I’ve noticed a real change in him toward you.” The way she loves me and the way I trust her as a mother had me listening and observing. It was true. I’m tired. I’ve been alone so much. There were so many reasons that I had not reeled him in this year. Devastatingly, the instinctual part of me that had once existed to protect myself was misfiring. In addition, for my partner the instinctual stand for the protection of mother was dangerous territory in his own home growing up and was certainly not modeled. Trauma blocked him from the assist I needed. It’s in these wobbly places where our painfully paired traumas with our partners line up that rough waters form. Thanks to a year separated from our village combined with homeschooling, this year’s isolation has surfaced the leaks to where we could get ahold of them and begin to ask questions and then take them to a professionals for help. Without the support of our village, we could see ourselves more clearly through the unmistakable change in our child’s behaviors.
This necessary function of self protection was literally beaten from my body as a little child. The compiling power of neglect from being partnered with someone in surgical training for so long had seduced me back into an older historical version of myself that relished the painful familiarity of neglect, the repetition of someone who should love me making no time for me. Three fathers taught me that I was not worth their time. The decade of neglect in my marriage had refreshed these ugly stories of my worthlessness. Without my friends and village to turn to, my marriage was also on full display this year.
Ya’ll I thought I had beaten these dragons already! I bet by now you are seeing how difficult it could be to peacefully parent from this place missing this integrity inside myself. And yet, I recognized the pattern and I am doing something differently!!!!!!
This is turning into a book. I am going to stop here so now that means you get to stay tuned for part two of: How I got my Roar Back…..