Being a parent is my most important role in life.
Sadly. I know all too well what it is like to be a child of an addicted, traumatized, and mentally ill parent. If my parent got more of the help they needed, so much of my pain would have been prevented.
Now, as a parent myself, I am relentlessly committed to my own healing. I see the real world impact of how my healing impacts my presence, attunement, and care for my kiddos. For awhile, it felt selfish pursuing so much healing because it meant time away and so much money invested. In hindsight, not healing would have been the selfish route. When my trauma was not healed, I spent an endless amount of time and money avoiding my pain, living a life that distracted me so well from it. How could I really see, celebrate, and connect with my children when I was so caught up in reacting to and avoiding my own pain? But, after a couple of years of intensive IFS therapy combined with psychedelic assisted therapy, a noticeable amount of my trauma and shame were healed. I no longer felt like a frightened child in a grown man’s body. I was a confident, secure, and compassionate adult.
I am now present in my life and in my kids lives in a way I never was before. Our connection deepens as we go. And I wouldn’t trade that connection for anything.
What about you? What unhealed trauma do you have that hinders your connection with your children? What unhealed pain in you leads to unnecessary distractions, compulsions, and tangential pursuits that take you away from being the parent you want to be? Away from the caregiver your kids need you to be? What intense emotions in you make it impossible to attune to and regulate your children’s emotions? What reactivity and rage in you makes you more like a threat than a safe refuge that holds your children’s hearts?
These are fucking difficult things to think about, I know! It is scary as hell to look inside for the parts of us in pain. But this kind of honest soul-searching is what good parents do. We take a brave look inside our psyches and we attend to whatever we find that needs care and healing. We get the professional help we need from those who know exactly how to heal it. We do everything we need to do until we are noticeably healed.
And we savor the connections and celebrate the memories with our children that result. When we someday take our last breath, we know without question that the connections we made with our children will live on long after us.
Join me in making healing our priority and connection with our children our purpose.
In compassionate support,
Forest Benedict, LMFT
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