Parenting Your Inner Child

Understanding The Process Of Unresolved Issues

I love the title of this chapter, for me – it strings a chord.

What I found when I read this book is that it was easy for me to picture my childhood in the various explanations given. When I could identify my childhood, it helped me not only understand what I went through but why I felt the way I felt going through it. It also helped me connect the dots to reflect on how those things continued to shape me into who I was.

For example, do you ever think to yourself:

– What would have happened if one “event” did not happen?

– If you did not meet a certain person?

– If you said yes that one time instead of know or vice versa; how the events after that situation would have unfolded differently?

It’s the same type of thing. If your parents had handled things differently how do you think it would have shaped who you are today?

The more I read about how these affect development, relationships, self understanding, emotional regulation, and self-identity, the more I could understand my triggers and how they related to certain unresolved issues that life typically makes us sweep under the rug, because that’s the old way of doing things – you suck it up and keep moving because “people have it harder than you”.

Except now with today’s science, studies, research, and psychology, we are learning how much damage that actually does to a person and their mental state.

Most parents adore their children in one way or another, we’re not going to talk about those who don’t. So you know the feeling of infatuation with your baby, with your child, however old they may be, and the happiness they bring you. The smiles you share; the laugh that warms your heart. But then in the heat of a frustrating moment when they are not listening, or they’re refusing to go to sleep, or they’ve gotten up for the third time that night, or you’ve already told them “no” 10 times about the same item or action and they’re not listening, or they just threw their food across the table because you won’t let them have any more spoonfuls of ketchup, and you lose it, that’s where we fall apart just for a moment. Sometimes we snap. As psychology states it, that’s the moment we take the “low road”, you react irrationally given the members in the situation. Given the developmental state of the mind of the child you’re interacting with.
Suddenly it becomes about us and how we feel and how they’re making us feel – because we see it as it is ‘how they are making us feel’, and not just ‘how we are reacting to the situation’. That often stems from unresolved issues, lingering hurt from our own childhood, and our own let downs from our parents.

What you’ll find is that most of the information and contents loops back to the way the brain functions from child to adult. Taking the low road is the same type of scenario in what happens when the amygdala is setting off fire alarms as described in Parenting Kids, Seriously.

Everything nicely loops back to the basic understanding of the upstairs and downstairs, left and right brain, and memory processing sectors described in previous pages. It also results in repetitive information on pages throughout this site, which may be annoying to some readers but I find it helps show just how much you can connect with your child through your own inner-child.

Although moments and episodes of taking the so-called “low road” are bound to occur in every parents life at one point or another, those caused by unresolved, unfaced issues will make these episodes occur more frequently and be more difficult to deal with.

An example given in the book of compiled unresolved issues and how they can in-turn subconsciously affect your internal and external thoughts, feelings, and actions towards your child:

The low road experience has 4 elements as described by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell:

Trigger, transmission, immersion, and recovery.

“Triggers activate our unresolved, leftover issues; Transition is the feeling of being on edge – before we fully hit the low road; immersion is the low road – often filled with intense emotions and feeling out of control; recovery is when you are able to reactivate your upstairs brain by calming the amygdala and are able to take the high road.” – page 178

“The low road is a repetitive cycle you find yourself in under stressful conditions. Having leftover and unresolved issues makes you vulnerable to triggering low road responses.” – page 174

“When processing on the high road, we are able to involve the rational, reflective thought processes of the mind. Taking the high road gives us the opportunity to be thoughtful and intentional in our communication and choose actions that support a healthy, loving relationship with our children.” – page 175