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July 5, 2019

How to Reparent Yourself

A sad fact of life is that most people can vent (at least a little) about the faults of their parents- dealing with the trials and errors of parenting, bad decisions, honest mistakes, and everything life throws at a parent can leave a child victimized extremely easy. 

It should be noted that severe childhood trauma is a different, more daunting beast to tackle than regular parenting mishaps- for more information, see this link

Although some face more trauma than others, it seems to be a collective struggle to recover from the faults of parents and “reparent” the self. In fact, a part of the growth process of recovering from childhood is digesting your parents’ faults and successes, learning from them and passing down that knowledge- either through your own children or how you treat others. This process is why intergenerational trauma and bad habits pass through blood so strongly- we inherit more than we know. Before you enter the process of reparenting yourself, understand that a certain amount of error should be accepted in parenting- you will make some, too. 

To begin the process of reparenting yourself, it’s good to have a motivating mentality- why would you want to delve into the deep dark past and unpack your parent’s successes and failures? Shouldn’t you just try your best moving forward? 

The difference between reparenting yourself and just wallowing over negative memories is the intent- you’re not reflecting on isolating memories, you’re explaining them, putting a name to them, giving them closure. Allowing yourself to get rid of your limiting beliefs. This is healing and growing.

A good place to start this process is to analyze your parents’ place and context: where they grew up, in what type of household, in what culture, what values were passed onto them? This helps to explain what types of mistakes they’ve made- they may be mistakes to you, but their background may help explain their perspective. This will give you the outlook you need to outline which of your parents’ choices impacted you the most. It may give you the insight to understand what you would have done differently, why, and what traumas you might unintentionally pass on through that choice. 

Part of this process also involves recovery, taking care of yourself. In delving so deep into your past and analyzing your parents’ mistakes and success, you may scrape scars- but this is okay. This helps build the callus in a healthy way. Instead of analyzing negative events and simply feeling sorry about it, you’re placing them in context and explaining them, and giving them closure. You should leave this process feeling more at peace and understanding of your upbringing than ever.

Just about anyone can tell you how their parents went wrong. Some parents go so wrong that their kids wonder why they were left with them- it helps to know what you can learn from that experience. Understand what traumas you have and why. Try not to pass them on, and try not to pass down new ones in the process.

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