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Emotional Time Warp

Patterns of change are revealing themselves. When you can recognize the patterns, you can change your reactions to responses, your attitude toward change, and the consequences caused by the changes can be reduced. Conversely, when you don't recognize the patterns, you'll constantly find yourself reeling, falling, and quitting as you feel overwhelmed and afraid as you feel hopeless in light of all the changes.

I often tell my clients to step back and take a look at the patterns. Patterns are revealed over time when you find yourself feeling "stuck." Consider...

If you are arguing over the same problems that never get resolved, what is the pattern of solving the problems? Do you fight because no one has any solutions and you both just keep pointing out the problems? Or are the solutions obvious, but no one wants to be responsible for making the change?

When neither person wants to be responsible for making change, no change can happen. In one way this is comforting because with change SOMEONE must be responsible for initiating, controlling, and continuing the change. They also are responsible for the success or failures of that change. This sounds risky to the person who wants to avoid responsibility and so they want to push the responsibility onto the other person (spouse, partner, parent, or child). I see this in business as well as I work with employees sent for therapy by their employer to address their unhappiness at work.

All change is difficult. It gets real when you realize that the only way to make a change is for you to be responsible for that change. Often, parents will bring their children in for therapy because "they" are depressed or anxious. After listening to the problems, I often will turn to the parent and inform them that this is not the child's problem to solve, but theirs. Tears will fall, anger will flair up, and defensiveness usually gets directed at me, until they realize I'm speaking truth. They can kick the ground and stomp their feet, but ultimately, the choice is theirs if they want to help their child or only blame them. Sometimes, it's an easy fix that only requires tweaking what they currently are doing. More often, the parent has childhood trauma of their own that is being manifested in their current relationship with their child.

When we address the parent's childhood trauma, we can fix their current relationship problems with their own children. A willingness to do this is key to the success of change. A parent who refuses to take responsibility for changing their past will fail at effecting change in their present. You can't give what you don't have and an unhealthy parent cannot help an unhealthy child without change. You will repeat unhealthy patterns from your childhood in your parenting style today, and you'll be stuck in an emotional time warp that can continue with your grandchildren as well. A hardened heart that refuses to look into the past will not be able to look at the present.

Parenting is like soil that must be toiled prior to planting. This means it gets ripped up, flipped over, revealing any roots from prior plantings. Bringing the roots to the surface and letting them dry out creates a soil that is nourished and ready for the new seeds. When a parent refuses to toil their soil before planting their own "seeds", your children are being choked out by your past' roots. Tear out your old roots and your children will grow to blossoming beauties.(Oooo, I like this analogy).

9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow

come down from heaven,

and do not return to it

without watering the earth

and making it bud and flourish,

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

12 You will go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field

will clap their hands."

Isiah 55:9-12


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