Does Unresolved Trauma from my Past Affect How I Parent?

I have unresolved trauma in my past. Will this affect the way I parent my teen?

According to Google, trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. It’s my best guess that 99.9% of us have something we’d much prefer hadn’t happened. Life happened and, either, we haven’t dealt with it. Or, we’ve dealt with it and it’s back.  

It’s not like you chose the trauma

Trauma is never something you ask for or want. It’s not like you chose the trauma. I’d like you to stop reading right here, and breathe into the truth of the last statement. It’s not like you chose the trauma. And the trauma some people have to deal with is enormous; in no way do I intend to trivialise anyone’s trauma or suffering. My heartfelt empathy goes out to those who have suffered through no fault of their own.

We can spend a long time in the place of victimhood. That time when so much of our focus is on feeling that it seems so unfair because, that thing, it happened to us. And there’s the wishing we’d like to be whole. Or ‘normal’. And now, we think life would be so different if there wasn’t this big grey area of ‘yuck’ sitting inside us. If we weren’t damaged. Or broken. We think we’d have space for lightness and joy inside us if all the space wasn’t taken up with the baggage we’ve been carrying. 

What if you knew you could choose to lighten your load and let some stuff go? Would that make a difference to the way you showed up in the world? And how would it change the way you parented your own children? 

Your trauma doesn’t define you

My own personal experience says “yes, it sure does.” And after what felt like a long time of working through things, it became (much to my surprise), “Thanks. I learnt so much.” I’ve had trauma in my life that I still deal with from time to time, it has that way of popping up every now and then. That’s okay. Now I see it for what it is. A past experience that doesn’t define me anymore.

Before working through everything though, there was a large amount of time in my life when I was deeply ashamed of the things that had happened to me. 

Now I see them for what they were – experiences that happened to me. And as a parent that lightens my load significantly. I’m able to talk about my processes with my teenagers openly as a learning curve for them – obviously not sharing all the intimate details, it’s teenage appropriate of course – and they’re so interested in how my mind works. Used to be that I was a closed book. Now I’m far more trusting and open. And also far more vocal about bringing out the things I’m ashamed of. And when I feel uncomfortable, I’ve learnt to recognise that for what it is – an old pattern of people pleasing that my brain used to employ to keep me loved and safe. 

Feeling uncomfortable might not be great in the moment, yet after it’s awesome. Because it means I’m challenging something I haven’t wanted to challenge before. And when I challenge that thing, I grow from it. 

Choosing to let it go

Brought out into the cold hard light of day, being ashamed seems so ridiculous now. The facts are the facts. It’s the story I told myself about them that made them so shameful all this time. Shame Busting is that moment when you realise that what’s been keeping you caught all these years simply isn’t worth it. And so much of what kept me stuck for so many years is no longer applicable to my life. In fact, working through it has added an enormous amount of texture and richness to the life I live now.

The difference? I realised all I had to do was CHOOSE to let it go. 

I’m not saying it was an easy process. Sometimes I would rather have not gone there. And parts of it were messy. Getting through it though? So worthwhile.

Parenting without the burden of your own trauma is both positive and rewarding. The best gift though; watching the effects of dealing with your stuff ripple out to the next generation. 

Individual Coaching to work through trauma
One to one coaching is the perfect safe and private space to share your concerns about your teenagers while exploring and learning from the things that are keeping you up at night.

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A series of four completely free lessons that cover:

  • Panic Attacks:  How to help if your teen is having panic attacks
  • Safety at home:  Steps to take to keep your teen safe in their own home if they are suicidal
  • Self harm:  What to do if you find out your teen has been self harming
  • Building bridges:  Keeping your teen in contact with the rest of the world

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