• Vika

On re-parenting

‘Nobody ever will love you more than your own mother will’, she said.

I threw my arms around her neck. At that moment I didn’t know that I will.

~ note to self

This coming Mother’s Day celebrate it as a mother to yourself.

Yes, you’re your kindest, wisest and most attentive parent.

When we’re infants, we’re dependant on those around us, a source of love and care. And as development psychologists have shown, we, humans, have inborn capacity to internalise that love with extraordinary speed. If everything goes well, we gain inner sources of safety, love, happiness, belonging, resilience and strength that we can draw on throughout life.

Yet the most remarkable fact is that even if those positive states were not created early, or emotions like shame cut us off from them, we still can find ways to nurture and develop these resources. At anytime in our life we can cultivate our access to inner sources of nurture, love and belonging.

That’s call re-parenting.

Pose Work for Plinths I 1971 © Bruce McLean

Redefine what childhood trauma is //

Stop denying your distressing experiences from your childhood with ‘some had it worse than me’.

Childhood trauma is also:

  • A parent denying your reality

  • Not being heard or seen

  • Being told directly, or indirectly, that you shouldn’t experience certain emotions

  • Having a parent who excessively focused on appearance

  • Having a parent who vicariously lived through children

  • Having a parent who projected his/her childhood lack onto their children in order to overcompensate

  • Having a parent who was unable to regulate emotions

You better grow up (detail) by Louise Bourgeoise, 1993

It doesn’t mean that everything in your childhood was pathological. It means that some of your deep needs weren’t met.

Re-parenting is a practice of learning how to meet your needs as an adult.

How to know if we need re-parenting //

  • Issues with setting & holding boundaries

  • Low self worth

  • Codependency: long term subordination of self to emotional needs of others

  • Perpetually dysfunctional dynamics in relationships

  • Chronic fear and/or criticism

  • Addictions

  • Fantasies from childhood of wanting to be fixed/saved, wanting to fix/save someone

Emotional baggage by Jane Sterbak, 1997

It doesn’t mean that your parents are bad.

It means that your parents weren’t taught certain skills from their parents, so the modelling continued with you.

It is your opportunity and responsibility to be the wise parent to self.

So practice it //

  • Validate your reality & feelings by observation and acknowledgement, rather than judgement of what is and how you feel about it

  • Learn to trust your essential goodness. You’re inherently innocent & expansively large. And everything is on the other side. Leap.

  • Keep small promises to self everyday and talk kindly to yourself when you do so

  • Pausing throughout the day and asking ‘what do I need right now? what can I do to meet that need?’

  • Learn to say no when you feel you’re out of self-integrity

  • Small acts of self-care: adequate bedtime, nourishing meals, regular drinks of water, movement of your body that feels good

  • Connection & exploration of self through solitude in meditation, breath work & journaling

  • Find joy in creative expression, connection & being of service to others, childlike curiosity & unplanned, on a whim events

  • Access sense of belonging in nature

  • Make peace with the unknown. You will never know it all. You’re it.