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Guide Overview

Section 1: Dissecting Your Experience

Discover how your own upbringing impacts your parenting and begin the journey of self-reflection and healing with the Attachment Nerd workshop.
May 8, 2023
Summary Notes
  • Section 1: Reflect on your own attachment experiences growing up
  • Section 2: Reflect on your children's needs based on their feedback and therapeutic principles
  • Section 3: Create a plan with actionable steps for personal healing and repairing your relationship with your children
  • Explore topics such as affection, tenderness, anger, body image, sexuality, and core values
  • Share reflections with a trusted individual for support and additional insights

 Hi everybody. Welcome to the Attachment Nerd. I wish I had known workshop. I wanna start first by saying how incredibly brave it is to come to this place of understanding and awareness that there were some things in your parenting journey you wish you had done differently, and I want to assure you that that is true for every single parent on the planet in the history of mankind.

I also wanna acknowledge that not everybody starts with the same level of privilege in their parenting journey. Not everyone starts with an awareness of attachment or a supportive family that can come over on weekends while you clean the house, or the same financial stability or culture that supports the secure attachment process.

So wherever you're at, whatever it is that you regret, whatever it is you're trying to repair, I want you to offer yourself kindness because we're not gonna heal anything if you're beating yourself. Repeat after me. I did the very best I could with what I had. And I wanna acknowledge what I wish I had done differently and what I'm going to do differently in the future.

That's what we're doing today. I've divided this workshop up into three separate stages. For some of you, you might be able to watch this whole thing in one day and process all of it. That's great. And for others of you, you might even watch half of one of the sections at a time just to take in all of the things that you're processing and feeling.

That's also great. I want you to go at the pace that you can truly absorb it. So if you're watching me one sentence at a time, taking notes, slowing down, going back and reflecting, journaling about it. Cool. If you're like, oh my gosh, I can't stop watching. I just wanna hear more. This is so helpful. That's also cool.

I want everyone to honor who you are, where you are, your story and your particular context, because it's different for everybody. In section one, we're gonna talk a little bit about your attachment experiences, the way you grew up, so that you can understand the context that you brought to your own parenting.

Section two, we're gonna talk about the things that you need to reflect on when it comes to your children, based on what they're telling you, what you know in your gut, and some kind of general principles that we know from a therapeutic perspective would be good to reflect on. And in section three, we're going to create a plan.

I'm gonna give you tactical things that you can be doing both for your own healing and for your children. To help repair the things you didn't know to do differently. All right, let's dig in Section one. What they didn't know. We know from a solid body of research that attachment is not genetic. That is passed down through experiences.

So the way in which you've been relating to your children is directly correlated to the way in which your parents related to you, which is directly related to the way in which their parents related to them, and so on and so forth. The goal on reflecting the way that our parents related to us is not to bash our parents, cuz they also did the best that they could with what they had.

The goal is to understand what they had and what they didn't have and how that impacted. Throughout this workshop, I'm gonna ask you questions. After I ask a question, my encouragement is that you pause the video and do some reflecting in writing and take that writing and keep it somewhere in like a truss, the old trundle that Sunday your kids can read and look through and go, oh, that makes so much sense.

That's how they were thinking at that time. No wonder that felt like this. Or give it to one. They're 12. Honestly don't even give it to when they're 20. Like they need to have like had their own kids and reflected on their own life and they can be like, Hey, if this would be helpful, you can go through my own reflections of how I was raised and how that might have impacted you deep.

Also, I'm such an old lady, I put everything on paper. So, um, if you would prefer to put it in a digital thing, like a phone, do that. My first question to you is, what did your parents teach you about affection and love?

Have you found yourself coming up short? As in, I don't know how to answer that question. It's likely a result of having grown up in an avoidant family pattern. It just means that affection was seen as frivolous or extra or indulgent in some way. That's likely because somewhere back in your generational history, There was a war time or there was a trauma or a loss that precluded the ability to enjoy each other.

Something got in the way of the capacity to connect, and so instead, your ancestors or however far back they were, learn to function through perfunctory interactions. So I'm gonna make your lunch. I'm gonna make sure you know how to do your L We're learning your ABCs, your whatever. But like, I'm not gonna give you a hug and a kiss.

I'm not gonna kiss your booboos because like that's extra. Right? That would be. A painful thing as a child, but something you probably learned to numb out to, if you answered that affection was conditional. You grew up in a family that was performative. Similar to the avoidant family, there would be a sense that you get rewards for doing things well as opposed to affection being something that's supportive a lot.

Have you answered that your parents taught you that affection was steady and regular and consistent, and that you needed to consent for it, that they couldn't just push it on you? Well, you likely grew up with some form of security in your family. There was a secure pattern of showing affection, whether that was through words or touch or acts of service.

There's a sense that they. Were wanting to be near you, wanting to express those feelings to you, and you were allowed to do the same inter if your parents were overly affectionate, meaning they were constantly hugging, touching, kissing you in ways you didn't like. It means they lacked attunement. So while they might have intended to help you feel love through that affection, the impact was actually intrusive.

You likely have what's called an ambivalent or resistant attachment style, meaning that. There were people in your life who really tried. They were trying to give you that affection, but it didn't land right? There was something off kilter, misattuned out of sync in the way in which they were giving you that effect.

Now that you've answered this question and reflected on it, my next question for you is what did that way of relating in affectionate terms due to what you expected in your relationships later on in life, and also in specific how you raised your kids? And I'm gonna give you a little clue here. It might not be that you followed the same pattern.

It might be that you went the opposite direction. You went from, you know, no touch to like, I'm gonna tell my child 27 times a day that I love them. After you've reflected on that question, my next question is, What does your child seem to be telling you about the way that you are relating with affection?

Do they seem to appreciate it? Do they seek more of it? Do they feel uncomfortable about it? Do they ask you to stop? What are they communicating to you? And are there any things that you can see that you could adjust in order to truly understand what it is they're asking of you and communicate that to them?

So if they're saying like, I don't like to be touched. I don't like it when you rub my back. You know, can you go to them and say, you've been telling me for a long time. You don't like that? And I keep doing it because it's something I wish my parents did for me, and I'm really sorry. And I, I'm gonna go ahead and write your child a little letter that says simply this.

I think you'd like this form of affection, and I would like to continue to try to do that better. Please give me feedback. If I'm not, slip it under their door, send it to their college dorm room. Send it in the air mail. Also, if you use email, use an email. This thing is so funny why everything is in paper in my head, but anyway.

Next, I want you to consider what being raised by your particular parents taught you about your tenderness, about feeling sad or scared or lonely or ashamed. What were the messages about tenderness? Were they supportive? Were they dismissive? Were they shaming? Like what did you learn about your tender, distressing needs through the process of relating to whoever was in charge of your caregiving, whether that was parents, grandparents, foster parents, adoptive parents, whoever spent the majority of time raising you in your childhood, and how did that affect the way you related to your child's tender needs and distress?

Similarly, what did you learn about anger?

And I'm putting anger in a separate category from distress and tender needs, even though anger is actually just a part of those things, it's something that we feel when those needs are getting so unmet that we feel violated or neglected. Anger rises up as a form of motivation to get us to bring our needs more forcefully into the center of whatever situation we're in.

But. Anger as a culture gets dealt with often differently than the other tender emotions. So what'd you learn about anger? And also, you know, the follow up question, how did that affect the way that you parented your children?

Now I want you to do the same thing we just did with those first few questions with a few more questions. I'm gonna list them all right now so you can kind of write them down and go at your own pace or skip the ones that you feel aren't relevant to you. What did reading raised by your particular parents teach you about your body?

The value of your body, the loveliness of your body, the shape of your body, the size of your body, the purpose of your body. What did growing up with your particular parents teach you about sexuality and being a sexual being? What did growing up with your particular parents tell you about what matters in life?

What are the core values that they gave you about what you should care about and what you don't need to care about? There might be other questions that you need to ask yourself that I didn't come up with. Ask those questions. The goal in this first step is to really reflect and have a solid understanding of what you inherited specifically as a result of being parented by your parents, because that is what's lined in your attachment system.

And when those things are unconscious, when we aren't thinking and reflecting on them, we tend to act them out in more problematic ways than when we can look at them straight in the eye and go, ah, I know what you are.

Once you've finished on this reflection process, I want you to take some of your reflections and share them with someone who's sick to you. That could be a therapist, that could be a friend, a partner, a cousin, a parent, whoever it is that you know. Has done some of their own work, and we'll be able to sit with you and reflect with you and maybe even add to some of the reflection of what they know about you and your growing up process and what you might need to be asking yourself in order to reflect on some of the things that are feeling complicated in your current relationship with your child.

Okay, you did it. You made it through section one. Feel free to take a breather. A breather is earned after that type of work.