Parenting with a history of trauma is one of the hardest, and bravest things you can ever do. I see so many parents who carry their own personal story of hurt, shame and trauma, and who are searching for ways not to pass this along to their own children.
They are doing the work.
The work to know and own your story, and then transform it so it does not pass hurt & shame on to the next generation is some of the most valuable we can ever do. It is ceaseless, strong and so very important.
I am asked constantly how the best way to go about this is. And all I can share is what has worked for me. Here are the three things that have helped me move from shame & stigma, to humour, positivity & love.
I GOT HELP.
And I say to every person doing this work – get some professional help. You are worth it. Help looks different to every single person, and sometimes it takes a while to find just what will work for you. I have tried counselling, psychology, tapping, dance therapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation, play therapy… you name it, I think I have tried it. And now I know what works for me. A bit of dance, a bit of art, regular time with an exceptional psychologist and loads of time in nature. Make your healing a priority, and something you are proud of.
I LEARNED TO FIGHT.
When I was 17, a dear friend took me to a boxing gym. He introduced me to a practice that changed my life. Since then I have trained, at different times, in combat, weapons, martial arts & now in reality based self defence (aka street fighting with a fancy name!). I have learned to run long distances and pushed my body further than I thought it had the capacity to go. At times it hurt, but for the first time, I was the one in charge of my body. I owned my body, and I got to decide what happened to it. And the other little side effect? I got to feel like I could look after myself. I got to trust my body again, as a place I could feel safe.
I LEARNED TO LOVE SEX.
This has been one of the most fun and delightful journeys I have ever undertaken. So many abuse survivors struggle to reclaim a sense of passion & sovereignty over their sexuality ever again, but it is this magical key that has made the biggest difference to my personal healing. Understanding that sex was more than a physical act, that it had dimensions of passion, connection, joy, fun, spirituality, silliness, has allowed me to change the story I can pass on to my own children. This is the truth I want them to know about, but I had to find it for myself first.
Wherever you are on this journey, even if it is day one, I applaud you, I see you and I am here for you. You are an incredible parent and it will be worth it.