Overfunctioning emotionally in order to protect our kids from our partner’s low emotional maturity perpetuates the very same dynamics we desperately long to be rid of.
But what other choice is there, you ask. Our kids deserve emotional safety from one parent, at the very least.
A good first step is to be honest with ourselves about what we’re doing.
Rather than denying or minimizing our circumstances and overfunctioning as an unconscious coping strategy, we can name where we are AND start to envision what we want and how we’re going to need to grow in order to get there.
Here’s an example:
“I am doing more than my fair share of the emotional labor in our home because…”
Next, envision what you want instead, name what’s true for you, and imagine how you’ll have to grow in order to eventually change things:
“This isn’t the story I want to be telling in 1, 2, or 5 years from now, and it’s up to me to build the skills I need to change my part in this dynamic (like assertiveness, boundary setting, and the ability to endure stretches of tension and discord between us, etc.). I’ll never be truly content in a partnership where my partner isn’t willing to grow and evolve, so if my own growth threatens the relationship, the foundation was never strong to begin with. Though my genetic and cultural inheritance would have me play small and keep quiet to stay alive, I know that given the freedoms won for me, I can be uncomfortable and still be safe. This is part of my work in the healing of generational trauma.”
This is often enough to help you identify the next right step forward, which is all we need in order to change the course of our lives.
Just one step,