When we are children, our parent figures create our entire reality.
Our life depends on them.
Our core drive is to receive love from them, to be connected to them, and to feel like they’re proud of us.
We cannot view our parents as human beings with their own trauma, their own past, and their own issues. Everything they do, we personalize. Which is why many adults still feel guilt or shame around being “difficult” children. Or, around causing events like divorce or other hardships.
The single greatest influence on our neural pathways (thought/behavior patterns) as well as our nervous system responses are our parental figures.
While they teach us things verbally “be polite” or “share”— they teach us MANY things non-verbally. Most of these things parents aren’t even conscious that they’re teaching.
And many of us are aware of how these memories live in the subconscious mind and body. We are sponges, absorbing everything we see.
1. OUR RELATIONSHIP DYNAMICS: we learn how relationships function by the first relationships we witness (between our parents, their friends, family, and even strangers) How they communicate, interact, their expectations all become the foundation of we function in adult relationships.
2. HOW TO HAVE BOUNDARIES: we learn boundaries through the boundaries our parents model (or don’t model). If our parents place clear limits and respect the limits of others, we understand them. If they are codependent or enmeshed we struggle or feel guilt placing them.
3. CORE BELIEFS ABOUT WHO WE ARE: we absorb everything that’s said about us by parents and take it as 100% truth or reality (though most of what is spoke to us or about us simply reflects our parents emotional state— not the truth of who we are)
4. HOW TO REGULATE EMOTIONS: how we watch a parent navigate stressful emotions becomes how we will navigate them. We are either modded to be emotionally reactive, or to consciously respond to stress.
5. HOW TO TREAT OURSELVES: parents who treat their minds/bodies well and do not betray themselves model the same behavior to us. Parents who neglect themselves and their needs unconsciously teach us our needs do not matter