All I ever wanted to be in life was a mom and wife. Wouldn’t you assume as a therapist, I would be a natural wife and parent. Well during moments of calm and being on the same page with my husband, I was. But during moments of opposing thoughts or tiredness I was a hot mess. Conflict happened. My husband would be saying things to me or my kids would be pulling at my arm because they needed my help. But I didn’t offer it. I would just stand there silent, say something hurtful or just leave the room. Other times, I’d be so stuck in my own feelings or thoughts and not be present in the moment. I was exhausted after being sick in bed after 8 rounds of mastitis, snappy, and not happy. My family and I were barely functioning. We were Surviving. My marriage was suffering and motherhood was not at all what I imagined. This way of life was not working. Something had to change.
So I began searching through old lessons I learned in school. I was desperate to learn how to save my marriage, be the mom I wanted to be, and goodness simply be the real me, not this stressed out version of myself. I’d Come to find out this isn’t really addressed much in the field of counseling. So I kept searching for answers. I began reading blogs from experts in parenting and relationships, conducting every imaginable google search and even posting on Facebook groups. I got answers all right. But the problem was that the answers were all conflicting and the methods I tried just weren’t working. I didn’t want to dig into my past anymore because I just felt more upset, frustrated and alone. But I knew there had to be a way. So I quieted all the voices in my head and I set out on a mission to get my life back. To feel calm again, to learn how to overcome difficult situations and to preserve what was most important to me.
So I began researching and studying. I was drawn to neurodevelopmental or brain based research. This is what I found. Being reactive (saying hurtful words, being speechless, or even leaving the room) didn’t mean that something was wrong with me. It simply just meant that I was in the survival part of my brain. I felt stuck there, but I didn’t have to be. There was a way out. I learned that using a calming strategy would help me do that. So once I was in the emotional part of my brain, I then needed to deal with my feelings and fears. So often these controlled me and I felt paralyzed by then. I’d rather push them aside than deal with them. But when I did I would be sent back to my survival. So I learned to sit with my feelings and overcome my fears. I was then empowered to make a powerful choice towards loving myself and connecting with those that I love. I also learned it is vital to guard myself from situations or reminders that I will be hurt or experience pain again. So I learned tools to help support me in staying in the top part of my brain.
After learning what I had, I had a choice to use this awareness of my brain and appropriately respond or I could continue reacting as I had done previously. For the sake of my relationship with my boys and my husband, I didn’t want to continue going the way it was. They were too important to lose.
If I could go back and tell myself one thing that I know now, i’d say this. It doesn’t matter how much hurt you have caused or how traumatic your past has been, there is still hope to change. There will always be difficult moments in the future, but you can choose to learn how to respond instead of react.
Want to know how this story ends? After all the research, I came to the conclusion that the life and relationships I dreamed of having was up to me. I was reminded of the scientific truth of the need for calm, sitting with emotions, and overcoming fear. And I found ways to intervene to make sure I never felt helpless, insecure, or alone. That was my biggest concern. But guess what? The time in survival was short. My feelings didn’t destroy me. My fears no longer had control over me. I remained strong both emotionally and physically and my family began to thrive. I could be the mom and wife I always wanted to be.
Lovely lady, I can teach you how to do the same. To use the brain based approach, to appropriately respond in difficult situations and to remain secure in yourself and connected to your loved ones. This class can change your life. Please know a responsive woman lends herself to the most fulfilled life possible. And that’s what we all really want.