When we say we're in our feelings, we're actually reliving our childhood pain. We derive our deepest wounds and sensitivities from here. Certain situations and behaviors from others can trigger our childhood wounds and sensitivities, causing unresolved grievances (resentments) to form inside our hearts and minds (memories). These grievances take the form of negativity, distrust, suspicion, blame, offense, and so on. In a sense, they serve as a lens through which we reflect on all things: our circumstances, partners, friends, and even our children. We are constantly seeking situations that confirm the reality of our inner grievances.
We are also searching for external solutions to our grievances: we seek validation to resolve unworthiness, pleasure to resolve pain, love to resolve self-hatred, and loyalty to resolve betrayal. As long as our grievances live within the shadows of the past, they will continue to haunt us. Our grievances are triggered by current events that cause them to awaken and yell: "See! The truth is out! I am entitled to complain! My grievance is valid!”
In this zone, we must control and manipulate others to create a sense of stability and balance. For example, if I tend to believe others are always trying to belittle and devalue me, it validates my sense of unworthiness. However, I am continually seeking external validation so that I can resolve this. I therefore feel compelled to force the situation to meet my needs for worthiness. So I manipulate situations or people to fulfill this need in a distorted manner. Why is it distorted? Because I’m not able to understand my unworthiness stems from childhood, a time in the past that is not connected to the present situation, therefore my view is distorted. I may try to please people to feel worthy, or point the finger, blame and accuse others to prove I am right - therefore worthy. In my family, I may manipulate and control my children to create an illusion of love and respect, but in reality I accomplish the exact opposite. It leads to resentment.
Sift All Things Through Self
The only way for me to see clearly is to sift everything through myself. But exactly how do I do this? I must pass all situations that stir up an emotional charge through self-inquiry, self-reflection, self-examination in order to promote self-healing, self-love, and self-respect. This is all done through introspection: the act of observing and examining one’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions- one’s soul.
Whenever our child does or says something that triggers us, we must be aware of the feelings that are triggered. Whenever we experience triggers, it is a sign that something in us needs attention. Do we feel angry? Disrespected? Is our parenting based on emotional states instead of a sound mind? Are we parenting from the past rather than the present? How often do we feel angry and disrespected by others? Are we easily hurt by others' words and actions?
No matter how much we blame our children, these feelings may not actually originate with them. This may be due to deep-seated wounds and sensitivities within us. Sifting the situation through our own self will allow us to regulate our emotions and see things from an entirely different perspective. When we find the balance, we can deal with the situation and meet the hidden needs of our child that are causing the behavior. Better still, we'll be able to identify the unmet needs that make us vulnerable to triggers.