I was recently in the Boston area where I grew up and visiting with a friend. She shared with me her concerns about her relationship with her daughter.
She finds herself “sounding like Harriet!”, her small, round, alcoholic mother, now deceased.
Harriet was always on my friend’s tail, holding her back from much of the fun the rest of us were having.
My friend was always pretty crafty though. She’d invent ways of getting out of her home so she could get out and have fun!
Here we are, 30+ years later, both with our own teenagers at home.
Like my high school friend, my ex is dealing with the same issues with our daughter. He’s reached the point of recognition and is working to change himself. The revelation had a major impact on him.
As parents, it’s completely normal for us to mirror how our parents raised us, including the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our childhood. The problem, is the bad and the ugly continue in an unending cycle over generations until it becomes recognized.
Neither my friend, nor my ex want to treat our children the way we were treated, but we need to start to deprogram the patterns hardwired in our brains.
So how do we stop these never ending patterns?
Let’s start with judgement. Judgement comes from a recognition of ourselves in someone else.
When you catch yourself judging someone, including our children and our parents, add the phrase “just like me” to the end of your thought.
This little phrase zaps our subconscious to the conscious, alerting us to the patterns we don’t ordinarily see in ourselves. Once you recognize these patterns, you can change them!
My ex is doing it. I’m doing it. YOU can do it too – Just Like Me 😉