For five years now, I have been consciously facing my shadows. These are the unconscious parts of myself that I suppressed in the course of my development for various reasons. I bring them to light, look at them consciously and relive the pain and anger that I did not express at that time in order to be able to re-integrate them.
I call this consciousness work. I make myself aware of my unconscious parts again. Every time I integrate something, I recognize a new part of me that I used to deny.
When I face my shadows, I take my surroundings to help me. I know that I project my unconscious parts onto the world and onto my peers. I know that my immediate surroundings reflect me sometimes consciously and very often unconsciously. Only by using these tools it is possible for me to recognize my deepest and most hidden shadow parts. Alone I will never be able to do that.
This approach is taken for granted among adults in the field of consciousness work. But how does it look in relation to our children? What relationship do we have to our children with regard to our personal consciousness work?
We don’t realize that we project so much onto them.
We don’t realize that as the weakest link in the chain, they are so often just the mirror of a situation.
Not long ago, two of my roommates were on vacation. So “only” my little family was left in the house. My husband, my daughter and I. My daughter, she is almost seven years old, asked me every day when the roommates would be coming home. The question was clearly meant to imply that this day should be far in the future. She was very relaxed that week. I saw my daughter and began to doubt whether it was good for her to live in a shared apartment. I was worried if it was too much for her.
When my roommates were back home, I told them about my observations. My roommate just said: “She picked up something from you”. Suddenly, the scales fell from my eyes: it’s me who didn’t want them to come back home. It’s me who felt like it’s been too much lately. It’s me who began to feel at my core that a part of me would also like to live on my own as a little family. It was me who was much more relaxed this week, which of course had an impact on my daughter.
This is only one small example of all the hundreds of thousands of our projections that our children are exposed to and all the mirrors that our children show us that we do not recognize!
And that is still a fairly harmless example. I’m also thinking of all the situations where children are accused of behaving deliberately in a bad way. Or the projection of people who sexually assault children and say that the child has prompted or animated them.
These are always the projections of the adults!
The child is not the problem!
To be fair, I must add here that it is also almost impossible to detect projections onto children. On the one hand, certain projections are so strongly rooted in society that you don’t really have a chance to get to the bottom of them. On the other hand, consciousness work with the involvement of children requires an even higher level of intransigence, which is second to none. Because far too quickly we look for the problem in the child. Far too quickly we grab our children so that we don’t have to look at ourselves. Because it is always much easier to look for the problem in the other person rather than in ourselves. How wonderful if the other person is a helpless being who is dependent on our protection and love!
Every moment you look for the problem in your child, you abuse it.
Children are not the problem!
If you let these statements sink in completely…. If you accept these statements fully, so many things change at once.
You recognize the pain you are causing your children with your behavior. But you also recognize the pain that was caused to you by such behavior.
You become humble and I hope you realize how important it is to put an end to this cycle.
This is a great challenge that will result in many struggles. When you set out on this path, you will be confronted with many things that you do not want. It will be painful and exhausting, you will want to give up, you will get angry, and you will also eventually not know which end is up.
I still hope you have the courage to start. The courage to set out, to stop causing the pain that we unknowingly inflict on our children every day.
Let’s start “small”: For now, you can forget about all the parenting guides. (And poof, I just gave you a piece of advice ;)) That doesn’t mean that they are all nonsense. They all have their partial truth. However, you will recognize this truth only when you have recognized the truth in yourself. That is, when you have brought your shadows to light, re-lived their linked emotions, and thus been able to re-integrate these parts. Then you will be able to use the books for what they are. As tools (and not a Bible) that can be helpful at certain times and at certain stages to get in touch with your children without causing them pain. Because rigidly following every rule and concept inevitably leads to pain.
Along the way, you’ll realize that raising children has much more to do with intuition than with following rigid rules and concepts.
Only a child upbringing that comes from your deepest truth is a healthy child upbringing. Your integrated self has the wisdom to do the right thing in every situation or to even do nothing.
Because first of all there is something you need to do with yourself!
Lots of love,
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