“Why do we have to talk about my family?”

Sure, I’ll teaching you the coping skills. But we’re also going to talk about the past.

I want to go all the way back to the beginning.

I was trying to think of a really relevant way to present this and the following scenario came to mind:

My dog (Barney) goes to his dog bed (mostly) every night at dinnertime because he knows if he sits like a good boy I will give him a treat. I never taught him this directly, per se, but over time Barney learned that the best way to get fed during human dinner time was waiting patiently for his special snack instead of begging at the table.⁣

Humans are trained too. The word “conditioned” sounds a little nicer, but that’s essentially what’s going on. The reinforcement doesn’t always come in the form of a treat or a toy (although it can), however, our behaviors, actions, and emotions are reinforced, validated and invalidated by our environment.

As a very young child, our environment is extremely limited – mostly to our home and to our immediate family, our caregivers. ⁣

In our early years we are entirely dependent on our caregivers. We look to them to show us how the world works. How others will respond to us emotionally. How we get connection and how easily we can lose it. We have to go back to the beginning because you’ve been programmed, trained, and hardwired since the second you came out screaming into this world (& even before this in the womb and through intergenerational trauma).⁣

It may feel like we’re not going to find much there, looking back. And that may very well be true. But isn’t it at the very least worth getting curious about?

How did you come to be the person you are today?

To do the things you do, to think the way you think, to relate to others in the way that you unconsciously and repetitively do. ⁣

So much of the healing happens when we re-learn how the world works for ourselves. From there we can visit our inner child and tell them they’re okay. That we’ll always be here for them – to parent them when needed, to teach them the ways and to love them through all of it.

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