How to change your life with reparenting

reparenting
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One of the key tools when reparenting yourself involves developing strong boundaries. When you’ve been raised to cater to everyone else’s needs, setting boundaries is far more difficult than it sounds.

Having poor boundaries has been our brain’s way of keeping us safe by people-pleasing. That’s because as children If we could keep our parents happy we escaped punishment, and received their “love”.

So we carry that equation of people pleasing = safety into our adulthood and end up abandoning ourselves completely.

One thing that may surprise you about setting boundaries is the consequences. And these consequences will feed into all the fears you have around people not liking you and how scary that is. 

Reparenting the inner critic

Another key component of reparenting is taming the inner critic. Most of us who grew up with unmet childhood needs have a harsh inner critic that we inherited from our parents.

If our parents never taught us that we’re loved for who we are and not what we do, we believe our value lies in our accomplishments or what we do for others. 

So any time we’re not perfect we berate ourselves. We protect ourselves by refusing to follow through on our goals and dreams.

This is the self-sabotage of procrastination and shiny object syndrome. Our subconscious mind tells us that if we don’t follow through on a project or goal, no one can say we failed. 

That’s why the common self-help advice that more willpower will solve self-sabotage, misses the mark for people who’ve been through childhood trauma. 

In fact, you have more willpower and strength than the average person but you’ve put it into survival instead of moving yourself forward. This keeps you stuck, and traps you in a frustrating cycle of letting yourself down and holding yourself back.

Imagine how far you could go if you replaced that inner critic with an inner self-advocate. Someone who’s on your side instead of against you.

Rather than reacting to threats and perceived danger, you’ll start designing and creating your desired life. You’ll become aligned with your values, goals, and dreams and move toward fulfilling your highest potential.

Change is possible

reparenting

Maybe you’ve had therapy and self-help that hasn’t worked because it wasn’t trauma-informed. And that intensifies the inner critic because you feel you’ve tried everything and beat yourself up because you feel unfixable.

But change is possible. Years ago, I was self-loathing, people pleasing, emotionally dysregulated, and had a relentless inner critic. My self care regime consisted of drinking to numb my feelings because everything felt so bad. 

Today, I’m living a life that’s completely authentic and aligned with my values. I love and care for myself and put my needs first in ways that would have felt impossible a few years ago.

I want  to offer you what I’ve learned over these past several years about reparenting and how I’ve used it to transform my life. So, I’ve opened enrollment for my course The Self-Parenting Solution.

If you want to finally change your life and feel like other self-help strategies haven’t worked for you, I encourage you to sign up. It’s only $37 until Friday and you’ll get a bonus lesson on how to break free from toxic people.

How to overcome avoidance and head in the sand

avoidance
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Do you tend to put your head in the sand when challenges arise? Instead of facing something head on, do you struggle with avoidance of the issue?

Someone from my past said they wished they’d never opened the mail when it revealed a suspended driver’s license. And that was over unpaid parking tickets they’d also avoided.

Avoidance is a maladaptive strategy for bypassing pain that only delays the inevitable. And makes that pain worse in many cases.

When we never learned to deal with conflict, we avoid it at all costs. If we experienced conflict as something bad or dangerous, the need to stay away from it feels life-saving.

But, of course, that’s the lie our minds made up to keep us safe. What worked in childhood, i.e.., smoothing things over to avoid a beating or tongue-lashing, only holds us back as adults.

Avoidance strategies

Procrastination is one avoidance strategy that causes more stress because it puts us in the position of having to scramble to get everything done at the last minute.

You may have even convinced yourself you work better under pressure. Whether true or not, you’d be a lot nicer to yourself if you paced your projects instead of overloading them at the end.

When we’re in survival mode, however, self-compassion rarely enters the equation. And many of us who suffered from unmet childhood needs are using a brain wired for survival.

Many of us who suffered from unmet childhood needs are using a brain wired for survival. Click To Tweet

That’s a mind on high alert for threat, fears making mistakes, and being viewed as foolish. Procrastination becomes a way to delay the inevitable failure we fear.

Addictive behaviors are another avoidance strategy. Rather than feeling your feelings and dealing with them, you drink them away, eat unhealthy comfort foods, or binge watch TV.

Workaholism is the most socially-acceptable of these addictions. Burying yourself in work becomes an excuse to avoid intimacy with family, friends, and self.

Avoidant attachment style

People with avoidant attachment can lose relationships or never find intimacy because they end things whenever conflict arises. Due to past conditioning, they fear conflict as life- or relationship-threatening.

People with avoidant attachment can lose relationships or never find intimacy because they end things whenever conflict arises. Click To Tweet

In many cases, they grew up in homes where conflict was forbidden. Perhaps feelings of any kind were eschewed and resulted in withdrawal of love from the caregiver.

This creates a personality in which the child (and later, adult) will avoid the necessary conflicts that increase intimacy. They are unable to support their partner’s emotional needs and will keep relationships superficial or end them.

You might avoid difficult conversations by keeping things on the surface. Instead of saying how you really feel, you act phony to maintain the status quo of the relationship (even though it’s superficial and unfulfilling).

When we use these avoidance strategies, we’re trying to keep pain at bay. But the pain we incur is far worse and longer-lasting. It can lead to an entire life that’s based on nothing more than escape from reality.

So, how to stop avoidance strategies and face conflict head on?

avoidance

1. Acknowledge your avoidance.

The first step to undoing unhealthy coping strategies is to recognize that we use them. Catch yourself when you go into avoidance instead of facing a conflict or challenge.

What triggers you? Can you slow things down before barreling down the road of avoidance? This is a process that can take years to come to terms with and you will likely need support, but you can begin anytime.

2. Feel your feelings.

Avoidance strategies come from a need to run from perceived pain. When we grew up learning that our feelings were unwanted, we tamp them down in order to survive.

When we grew up learning that our feelings were unwanted, we tamp them down in order to survive. Click To Tweet

As youngsters, without our parents love we feared we would die. So, when our emotions resulted in loss of love we did our best to stop feeling them.

We stopped asking for help and dealt with our needs on our own. If we can begin to acknowledge our feelings and share them with others we’ll stop feeling so alone.

3. Consider the consequences.

Can you see the consequences of your avoidance all around you? The lack of fulfillment, fake relationships, and isolation? Are you ready to change that?

Can you see the consequences of your avoidance all around you? The lack of fulfillment, fake relationships, and isolation? Click To Tweet

Have you considered the benefits of facing conflict? Did you know that relationships go to the next level as a result of resolving necessary conflict? The couple who never argues is not necessarily healthy, but avoidant.

Personal growth arrives through overcoming conflicts and challenges. Yes, it is painful sometimes to deal with these but it’s a short-lived pain that brings a worthwhile outcome.

Avoidance, however, may keep pain away but produces a deeper kind of hurt. That’s an unlived life or one where you never get to find out who you really are.

How to stop feeling unworthy of getting what you want

feeling unworthy
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Before I started my healing journey, a voice inside my head would whisper, “that’s not for you,” anytime I thought about something I wanted. Feeling unworthy came as naturally to me as breathing.

Whether buying only sale items, or spending time with people who neither inspired nor respected me, I betrayed myself by settling for less than what my heart desired.

This self-saboteur was a remnant from my childhood of unmet needs. I had been parentified into believing the needs of the adults around me took precedence over my own. And so abandoned myself accordingly.

Unmet needs in childhood lead to feeling unworthy of getting what we want as an adult. How? Because we get imprinted with the belief that we don’t matter and don’t deserve to feel fulfilled.

Unmet needs in childhood lead to feeling unworthy of getting what we want as an adult. Click To Tweet

Usually, these limiting beliefs remain unconscious (although that voice in my head sounded audible). Since our subconscious minds dictate the bulk of our results and outcomes, these beliefs keep us stuck.

How do we get out from under these false beliefs of feeling unworthy? How do we change our mindset and begin to believe we deserve to get what we want out of life?

3 ways to stop feeling unworthy

feeling unworthy

1. Ask

The Bible verse: “you do not have because you do not ask” and the law of attraction both dictate that you get not what you deserve but what you believe you deserve. And have the courage to ask for.

Think of the things you want but don’t yet have. Have you been bold enough to ask for them? Have you spoken your desire out loud to those who could help you achieve or receive it?

Sometimes we’re afraid to ask for what we want because it seems too big. Or we want to protect ourselves from the disappointment of not getting it. But that only ensures more of the same deprivation.

One common example of this among people with unmet childhood needs is to say they want a meaningful relationship instead of marriage. If you want a husband and not a live-in partner, say so.

2. Improve self-image

Positive mantras only work for those who already hold a positive self-image. So, if you’ve wondered why repeating them hasn’t had a lasting impact on you, that’s why.

Positive mantras only work for those who already hold a positive self-image. Click To Tweet

If you look at other people with less intelligence, creativity, and resources, and wonder why they’re so successful, it’s likely self-image at play. They believe they deserve good things as a result of their positive self-image. You believe the opposite because of your negative one.

In my experience, improving self-image starts with self-kindness. That means treating yourself at least as well as you treat others, especially when you’re not perfect. It means practicing self-forgiveness, and refusing to dwell on your mistakes.

It means setting boundaries around your time and energy. Eliminating frenemies whose thoughts toward you contribute to your inability to get what you want.

It means investing in yourself with coaching or counselling and material things your heart desires. Because you are worth it.

3. Adjust your expectations.

If you’ve grown up with unmet needs, there’s often a disconnect between your true desires and what you expect to receive. Adjust your expectations UP instead.

Expect something better than you’ve got in the past by overriding automatic thoughts with your conscious mind. The self-help classic Psycho-Cybernetics suggests spending 30 minutes per day envisioning your ideal life to aid the process.

When you shift your expectations, your actions work to create new results that end up transforming your life. Enter the success and fulfillment that have long eluded you. They’re not only for other people to enjoy, after all.

How to go on a 21-day pleasure diet

pleasure diet
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Have you ever gone on a pleasure diet? I’m not talking about eating things that make you happy (though that can be part of it). I mean engaging in pleasure-seeking activities to reconnect with yourself.

Often our lives become so consumed with have-tos, we forget about the importance of want-tos. That leads to feelings of heaviness and burden that take all the pleasure out of life.

Over-responsibility makes us feel overwhelmed, grumpy, anxious, and confused. When we’re disconnected from pleasure, we tend to lose trust in ourselves and our intuition.

Pleasure helps us step out of the masculine doing mode and into the feminine receiving mode. Of course, we need a balance of both for a healthy and prosperous life.

But many of us are missing out on the feeling of being cared for and need to give it to ourselves. It’s part of the reparenting process that helps us get our needs met now, even when we never got them met in the past.

It’s true you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else well. A pleasure diet will help you show yourself that love and remind you of your worthiness.

You are worthy of receiving care and attention as much as you give it (more!). I’m currently engaging in a 21-day pleasure diet. Here are a few ideas that will keep your self care bucket full.

Ideas for a 21-day pleasure diet

  1. Eat a piece of quality chocolate.
  2. Take a luxurious bath.
  3. Order a lovely meal.
  4. Cook yourself a delicious dinner.
  5. Go window shopping without an agenda.
  6. Buy yourself some beautiful lingerie.
  7. Get a manicure.
  8. Get a blow out.
  9. Enjoy a pedicure.
  10. Indulge in a massage.
  11. Give yourself an essential oil massage.
  12. Walk in nature.
  13. Curl up and watch a cozy movie.
  14. Laugh out loud to animal videos.
  15. Listen to your favorite music.
  16. Dance.
  17. Read a light novel.
  18. Go out with a friend.
  19. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea.
  20. Visit an art gallery.
  21. Buy yourself fresh flowers.

How to approach trauma-informed self care

trauma-informed self care
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How do we care for ourselves when we never learned that we matter? That question differentiates trauma-informed self care from the everyday variety.

When you’ve grown up without the affirmation that you’re worthy of love and attention, self care becomes complex. It’s less about having the time or resources and more about having no idea what you need or want.

People pleasing may be so entrenched in you that you can’t imagine life without it. Setting boundaries may be so scary that you feel like you’ll die if someone pushes against them.

That’s why self care from a trauma-informed perspective encapsulates more than a to-do list of pampering activities. How do you get past the inner critic and pleaser to tap into your own needs?

Asking “what do I need in this moment” may be a loaded question. Trauma-induced brain fog can make it impossible to think clearly enough to answer the question.

When you’ve been primed all your life to focus on others’ needs and wants, turning that radar within feels like navigating foreign territory. Because it is.

You’ve become an expert at discerning other people’s desires and catering to those. You’re attuned to the smallest change in facial expression and will adjust yourself accordingly.

Who are you if you’re not fitting yourself into what other people need? That’s why self care for individuals with complex PTSD can feel harder than maintaining the status quo of self abandonment.

Because self care requires boundary setting and that invites conflict and anger from others. When you’ve been primed to experience such rejection as a type of death, it’s no wonder self care goes to the backburner. It doesn’t feel good at first!

What is trauma-informed self care?

trauma-informed self care

Trauma-informed self care means acknowledging how difficult it is for you to prioritize your own needs. And stop shaming yourself for how you should feel and what you should be doing.

Shaming yourself for your perfectly valid feelings only adds another layer of negative emotion. Start with compassion for yourself for how difficult it is to set boundaries and why that may be so.

What happened in the past that made self care and boundaries feel fraught with danger? Or that made it difficult to even imagine what self care looks like for you?

Besides self compassion, you might take some time alone and make a list of your likes and dislikes. Add something from the like list to your life and eliminate something from the dislike list.

This will help you tune into what you want, which others may have buried with all their demands on you. The simple act of sitting by yourself for a few minutes without an agenda may bring up some useful information about how to care for yourself.

Trauma-informed self care starts with an internal journey of getting to know yourself. It requires understanding who you are outside of the role you’ve been assigned in your family and life.

Is there one small boundary you can set to exercise your self care muscle? The low-hanging fruit, so to speak, of saying no to something low pressure. And can you honor that no even when others’ challenge it?

Gradually you’ll work up to bigger no’s as you learn to give yourself the love you may not have received as a child. You’ll stop abandoning yourself in favor of others and your life will improve as a result.