Just because you have become a mother, that doesn’t mean you stop being someone’s child. The effects of an abusive, toxic, or damaging mother can be passed down through generations without you even knowing it. New mothers hoping to take their parenting down another, non-toxic direction have a tough road to travel.
Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D., LCSW, a family therapy professional who practices in Manhattan states, “There is an axiom in family therapy known as repeat and repair; you either repeat the same mistakes or repair them. Either you mindlessly keep the same cycle going that you experienced as a child or you decide to be the one to make the change. To stop a hurtful cycle in its tracks, you have to understand what about your childhood worked, and what didn’t. You can educate yourself about healthy parenting practices, and put your knowledge to work each day as you endeavor to break the cycle.”
Try hard not to let the past creep up on the present. These damaged roots influence just about everything in our lives — and go much deeper than you realize. The past is a part of you. The way you were raised influences psychological and emotional development. It can hinder your ability to move on in this world with purpose and comfort.
One thing we often do when trying to change patterns is overcompensation. Keep in mind though that trying to be the perfect parent all the time is incredibly stressful, and sadly, usually doomed to fail. You’re not Supergirl and shouldn’t try to pretend to be. Relax, take lots of deep breaths and be aware of your actions and what you’re trying to overcome.
Possibly one of the most important things to remember is to not forget about self-care. It’s so vitally important to remember to make time for self-care. Yoga classes, therapy, artistic pursuits, and hobbies. Remember what they tell you on a commercial airline flight – secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. It translates into many facets of life – you are no good to others if you can’t function properly yourself.
Don’t give up and DON’T GIVE INTO ANGER. Once you give in to anger and frustration you have lost. Stay on course, taking time for yourself when you feel overwhelmed. Talk to your spouse, friends and family for support.
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