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Beyond Your Past
Parenting as a Survivor of Childhood Trauma, and Healing Your Past, with Jeremy Schneider, MFT - Ep. 111
December 31, 2018 Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

My guest on this episode of the podcast, Jeremy Schneider, MFT shares his experience as a survivor of trauma, and his work with individuals and families helped inspire him to write "Fatherhood in 40-minute Snapshots".

Jeremy G. Schneider is a marriage and family therapist whose career spans more than 15 years of working with individuals and families, focusing on parenting, relationships and mental health. For his work, he has been a featured in The New York Times, TODAY, and CNN and has been a speaker on panels in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Liverpool, England. Jeremy lives and works in New York City with his wife, Gem, and his son and daughter, Lucas and Dorit.

During our chat on the podcast, Jeremy and I dive into some aspects of parenting as a survivor of childhood trauma:

  • At 9 years old, he realized that not only did he have things he needed to work on in his own life due to a traumatic childhood, but that he wanted to be a therapist when he grew up.
  • During grad school he came to a greater understanding of both himself and his family, and that if he was going to help others he also had to learn how to help himself.
  • One of the most challenging things about coming to terms with a traumatic childhood is not only, "this is what happened to us and we had to deal with those events as a child", but also now as adults, "we are the ones who have to do the work to heal".
    • How facing your past allows you to be much more free than if you continually run from it.
  • How the trauma he experienced as a child still causes him to struggle at times today, but even with that ongoing struggle the realization that life is so much better now than ever before because he continues to put in the hard work of healing.
    • Understanding that just because you will struggle as an adult, doesn't mean that we should just not even bother to try to heal.
  • He shares about his inspiration for writing "Fatherhood in 40-minute Snapshots" and how the experience of writing has changed him, and his perspective on life and parenting.

My chat with Jeremy Schneider was such a great experience and I'm honored to have the opportunity to share some of his story with you here on the podcast. I hope you'll consider checking out his current book, as well as his memoir due out in mid 2019.

Be sure and follow Jeremy on Twitter and Facebook, and on his website, JGS.net. You can pick up your copy of Fatherhood in 40-minute Snapshots, on Amazon.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

 All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:00You've just tuned into beyond your past part of the mental health news radio network.

Speaker 2:0:18Welcome back to beyond your past. I'm your host, Matt Pappas, certified life coach, specializing in overcoming anxiety and trauma recovery, and this podcast is all about helping you move forward from what holds you back. Each week. You'll hear from coaches, clinicians, and advocates who've overcome tremendous odds and are now using their journey to inspire you throughout yours. This is your place to feel validated and encouraged as you take your life back and live free from your past. Are you ready? Let's do this.

Speaker 1:0:47Hey, greetings my friend and thanks so much for taking some time out of your day to tune into the show and I hope that this episode inspires and encourages you on your own journey. Big shout out if you're listening to the podcast for the very first time, I hope that you enjoy it and perhaps consider checking out some other episodes as well. And for those of you who are regular listeners, you guys all rock, you're all amazing and I always appreciate the support. So very much a big thank you to my amazing sponsors, I nlp center.org, offering a world class online neuro linguistic programming and life coach training to people in over 70 countries. I'm honored to be able to receive my certifications from ILP center and utilize their research and incredible training programs and to daily recovery support. Interactive daily group calls in a safe atmosphere for survivors of complex trauma, equipping you with the skills and information you can use every single day in your healing journey.

Speaker 1:1:39Learn more about this affordable resource and get signed up@seeptsdfoundation.org. If you find this podcast helpful, please consider subscribing, leaving a review on sharing it with your friends. That would be so awesome and I would definitely appreciate it. So today I'm honored to be joined by special guest, Jeremy Schneider. Jeremy is a marriage and family therapist and survivor of childhood trauma, whose career spans more than 15 years of working with individuals and families focusing on parenting relationships and mental health. His story and work has been featured on the today show, CNN, the New York Times, Sirius Xm, the Washington Post, and many other high profile outlets. In addition to being an accomplished speaker. He lives and works in New York City with his wife and two children during our time on the podcast at Jeremy's shares that at the very young age of just nine years old, he knew that he was going to be a therapist one day and how an experience in Grad school showed him that in order to help others, he first realized that he needed the help and understand himself. We cover some of the most challenging aspects about coming to terms with childhood trauma and also the rewards that come with putting in the hard work to heal. We discussed some of what still causes him to struggle today and how he overcomes their struggles and now his daily commute to work inspired him to write fatherhood and 40 minutes snapshots and how that experience of writing has changed his life. All this in so much with incredible. Jeremy Schneider on the podcast starting right now. So. Hey Jeremy, welcome to beyond your past. How are you?

Speaker 3:3:08I'm good. Thank you so much for having us.

Speaker 1:3:12Absolutely, and I am equally excited to have you here on the show. When your assistant reached out to me, I was reading over your website and I had seen some links to your work previously through social media, so I was somewhat familiar with you, but today we're going to talk about your book and your work and some of the story that you'd like to share. Um, but before we get into all that good stuff, why don't we take a minute. You can introduce yourself so everybody knows who exactly you are.

Speaker 3:3:38Sure. Ever since nine years old I was able to get the dream. I got my master's in marriage and family therapy in my mid twenties. And I'm just fascinated in trying to help people. I like to talk about how we can kind of increase our own sense of self awareness, self understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. We're able to better able to grow as people, partners and parents. And so I think that's kind of what my mission is. That's really what I'm focusing on. I've been writing about my family and my kids and my experiences as a dad for over 14 years now. And I think we'll probably discuss it a little bit, but I recently published my first book. It's called fatherhood in 40 minutes. Snapshots.

Speaker 1:4:40Absolutely, yes. We will definitely talk about your book and your work and I'm very interested in it. So I gotta ask though this question too. So what drove you to want to become a therapist? I'm at such a young age because I think I probably wanted to grow up and like my life's goal was, was to play with matchbox cars. So maybe you could share a little bit about, um, you know, the reasons perhaps there were goals or excuse me, the reasons or maybe something in your life that kind of drove you to pursue a field of being a therapist.

Speaker 3:5:13Well, let's just be clear. I also played with matchbox cars.

Speaker 1:5:16Okay, good. Alright, good.

Speaker 3:5:18I loved matchbox cars. I knew from an early age I wasn't having a sort of typical childhood and I think on some level I understood that there was going to be work I needed to do in order to get myself to a better place. And I think a lot of that sort of stem from this belief that, you know, I can help other people maybe. And that's really what I was thinking. I mean, I don't think I really knew what the word therapist was that nine yet, but I knew that I wanted to be the guy that other people. And shortly thereafter I learned what a therapist was in that kind of crystallized in my head what I wanted to be. And it was honestly the thing that got me through high school and they got me through college and Grad school was really amazing because it was like, this is what I've been thinking about. These are all of the ways that families interact and the effects that parents have on kids and so on and so forth was just so fascinating to me. Uh, and I, I, I, I love it.

Speaker 1:6:28Absolutely. Yeah. It is amazing to have that kind of awareness. Um, you know, when you're so young. And I came to a similar conclusion obviously a lot later on in life that I wanted to be in a role that was helping people, um, specifically in the areas of anxiety and being a trauma survivor. And for me the reasons of course ware that, you know, things happened to me when I was a child and then I didn't start to really kind of put two and two together as to what happened until about three decades later. So, um, is there a parts of perhaps your story or being a survivor or something that kind of led you to believe that maybe your childhood wasn't a typical childhood or maybe there was something that was kind of pushing you towards a helping type of role?

Speaker 3:7:09No, it's interesting. I think later on after I graduated from Grad School, one of those raw moments of insight that you can get, it was this realization that I didn't even necessarily go to Grad school. I went, I went for a marriage and family therapy degree. So I really went to, ended up feeling like I went to Grad school in order to really understand my own family, that it was this sort of self healing process that I wasn't even conscious of. You know, here I was thinking that I was learning this in order to help other people. And I think obviously I was, but a big part of it was also I needed to learn this in order to be able to help myself. You know, there was so much that had gone on in my childhood that I didn't understand or was interpreting in a way that was so much more harmful to myself and sort of learning the theoretical and relational dynamic aspects of parenting and families was very powerful for me and I almost sort of wish it was like required reading, you know, for, for people because I think sort of understanding the role that parents play in our lives, the role that other family members play in our lives and how it affects us both positively and negatively I think could be really valuable for a lot of people.

Speaker 3:8:39To help them open their eyes a little bit and be able to say, oh, wait a second. Maybe the reason I feel this way or I react this way is not because there's something wrong with me, but maybe something wrong with the way that I was. Great. And once you start like lifting that box, right and sort of peeking behind what's inside there, you know it. It's terrifying and can be a pretty traumatic experience in and of itself. But it also opens you up to potential. You didn't even green was possible and I think you. I think you understand that certainly. I think that's something that I really learned to, to understand and certainly something I really hope to help other people see that. Yes, it's terrifying to face what you've been through. Absolutely. And I'm not ever going to lie about that, but there are real genuine life changing benefits when you do. And I think that's the part that people don't really understand enough because how can you understand something you've never experienced? You know, it's like when my kids are saying, oh, I'm going to feel this way for the rest of my life, and I'm like, well, you're almost 16. Probably not going to feel this way for the rest of your life. It's not obnoxious. It's just when you're on the other side, it's a lot easier to see how things can change. Then when you're looking at it from the front,

Speaker 1:10:03I think it's so fascinating the way that you came towards this realization. I know for me, I came from the other end where I started to learn about my past and as a result I'm like, wait a minute, I can use this to help other people, and as I was working through it, I began to do what you were mentioning was that, and although it's hard and it's still hard at times as it's not that there's something wrong with me or that I'm broken, but there's something that was wrong with the way I was raised. There was something that happened to me that wasn't my fault and that that opened up a lot of doors of healing, a lot of ways to be more compassionate to myself. You know, I have more self self to be more kind to myself, to give myself a break and enter, but I spent so much of my life beating myself up like, oh my God, why am I so broken? What's wrong with me? Why am I being bullied? All these things. And when you see that, when something happened to you in your younger years, it affects you years later. It really kind of takes you off the hook, right?

Speaker 3:11:06Yeah. I think that's absolutely true and I know it's interesting that the only. The only concern I have with the phrase takes you off the hook is it absolves you of that sense of fault. Unfortunately it's still believed us and obviously you dealt with this already, but it leaves us with a sense of responsibility to do something about it and I think that's been one of the most challenging things about kind of coming to terms with a traumatic childhood and how it affects us is that it's not just that this is what happened to us and that we have to deal with the consequences and side effects of it, but it's that as adults, even though this is what happened to us at kids as adults, we have to remedy it. Right? We're the ones that then have to do the work because of what happened to us and I think that's the sort of unique cruelty to be honest about a childhood traumas and then the trauma.

Speaker 3:12:14Trauma is something that happened to us. It wasn't our fault that we didn't do anything to wine and yet we're the ones that not only have to deal with the pain and heartache of that, but we also have to be aware the effort and work that we do to make our lives better, to make ourselves feel better. And I think some people are, have a hard time being able to accept that level of responsibility because it, it's unfair, frank, frankly, and I certainly understand that. I just, you know, I keep trying to come back to the idea that I know firsthand, I've seen it with so many other people that when you face your past, you much freer than if you're trying to run from your past.

Speaker 1:13:01Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It's worth noting again, the clarification that leads us and lets us off the hook in terms of we didn't bring this on ourselves and we didn't do anything wrong. There's nothing wrong with us that we invited this trauma, tragedy, whatever happened, but at the same time you are right as well that nobody's going to heal for us but us. And it's unfortunate and it sucks that we have to go through it, but the point is is nobody can do this hard work for us. We obviously seek out the help of therapists such as yourself or trauma informed professionals to help make sense of it and understand why we feel the way we do and how it affects us and all of these things. But ultimately the helping professionals can give us the tools and the insight, but it's up to us to run with it, to apply it, to own it and realize that the alternative is staying stuck in being miserable. Right? And so we have to do something to advocate for herself.

Speaker 3:13:56The point you're making is really a really good one. I just want to kind of jump on it for one more moment. It's the hardest part about one of the hardest parts about trauma is that we had to experience it alone. Something terrible happened to us. And when we're kids, we often can't. We don't have the language, we don't have a vocabulary. We don't. Maybe if the person who hondas with someone very close to it, like a parent or other family member where there may be no one else we can talk to so that we are truly alone and isolated while going through this traumatic experience. But as adults we do get to make a choice on like we had when we were kids. We didn't have a choice of what happened to us, but as adults we get to make the choice as to how we want to deal with it and also realized that we don't have to deal with it alone the same way we experienced.

Speaker 3:14:52We can reach out to professionals. We can have a support team of friends and family that can really help us. And I think, you know, there's so much still stigma associated with therapy though. I do think it's getting better, but you know, a good therapist can make a world of difference. You know, I've worked with a number of therapists in my life to work on my own stuff and know the world changes when you have a good therapist on your team. And I think that's a really important way of thinking about it is that yes, when we were kids, we were alone. When we were kids, we had no choice when we were kids, we were helpless. But as adults, even though we feel that way leftover from when we were kids, we aren't. We do have some control. We are empowered to take steps to help ourselves and we can find other people who can help us

Speaker 1:15:54had it not been for the amazing therapist that I worked with for quite a while would be today. And you're right. I mean having someone on your side who understands, who knows what it means, who can be everything that you need, that you never had before is just absolutely so important. And when you find it, and it's not always easy to find that person. And it certainly doesn't happen the first time all the time. But man, when you do it, just having a good therapist on your side to help you make sense of what happened and then to keep instilling in you that, hey, you're not alone anymore. You're not going through this. It may have happened and you were alone, but now you're an adult. You've, you know, you've made a choice to reach out for help and that is something that I struggled with for a while, even though I had a good therapist. I'm like, yeah, but I'm still alone. Yeah. But. And I kept minimizing things and going down all kinds of trails, which I'm sure you're familiar with, but in time with the continued work, it just, it opened up so many doors. Once I got to a point where I could embrace that somebody else actually care, that somebody understood and that it was important to actually talk about all this stuff.

Speaker 3:17:00Yeah,

Speaker 1:17:05indeed. Indeed. So obviously as you mentioned, you've worked with a number of therapists in your life to work on your own stuff. And so now of course, as an adult, as a father, as an author, speaker, and how much of your past still affects you today? How much do you still struggle with certain things? Because I know for me, being at this healing journey for a number of years, I still have days where I'm just like, oh my God, like here we go again. Old feelings, you know, worrying about things I can control and you know, minimizing progress and all the things that we do. So I'm wondering how much you might still struggle with was with some of your past as well.

Speaker 3:17:42I definitely still struggle with it and I don't worry about saying that to people because I don't want to feel that there's no reason. Like if you're still going to be struggling, why bother doing the work? Uh, and I think I've done an enormous amount of work. I've worked, you know, in, in therapy probably more of my life than not, uh, in an effort to really kind of recover from what I experienced and, and not just get to a, an okay place, but to get to a good place where that I can experience the love of my family in a way that I didn't even know loving for most of my life. But I think the reality is is that those of us who experienced particularly childhood trauma, we've been scarred and there's nothing that can undo that scar. There is no magic eraser that can go back in time and erase it as if it didn't exist, as if it never happened.

Speaker 3:18:50And I think unfortunately that's really important thing to understand about the healing process is we. There is no undo button. That being said, we still have an enormous amount of growth and change that we can perform on ourselves to have a quality of life that is significantly higher than what you would, what you normally experience from trauma. And what I mean by that. And I guess the best example of that is for the longest time because of what I went through, I had disconnected from my emotions. The fear of experiencing something bad because it happens so regularly while I was growing up, kind of forced my brain to just disconnect from all emotions whatsoever. And the downside of that was that I didn't get to enjoy the good things in my life. And what really happened was maybe 10 years ago, I could look at my life, I could look at my wife, I could look at my kids, I could look at our family and know that we had something special and that this was really good, and yet I couldn't really feel it.

Speaker 3:20:07I couldn't really enjoy it. And so I know as I do, I went back into therapy and I really started working on that and was able to really build this connection to myself that kind of had been blocked and allowed me to really feel the love that I have with my family. And yes, I still have bad days and bad stretches and difficulties and challenges, but I have the good that I never used to have. And I think that's really what I try to help people to understand. You're not going to be able to undo or erase what happened to you. You're not gonna be able to make it so that there's no impact on you as an adult. The puck, despite how much work that you do, but what you can do if you can open up a whole other aspect of your life that's able to enjoy and experience what is good and what feels good and what makes you happy.

Speaker 3:21:06Uh, and even like even when we go to a concert or we go to a Broadway show where we go to a movie and my ability to enjoy that experience is so much more intense, which is amazing and yeah, it's terrible that I don't, that I'm still so kind of emotionally handicapped, so to speak by what I've been through. But for the most part if you look at me, you probably wouldn't know and there are still all these amazing things that I am able to experience that I wasn't able to do before I did this work.

Speaker 1:21:40That is exactly what I'm talking about right there. And I think you mentioned some key points. I mean we could talk for like a whole another hour just to get to your book, but what you mentioned too is so important because you're right. I mean, I, when I work with clients and things that I've written about and I always talk on this podcast is to me healing is a lifelong journey. It doesn't mean that you're stuck in survivor mode. It doesn't mean that you're miserable, doesn't mean that your default up old unhealthy coping skills and you're unable to enjoy life and struggle all the time, but it means that you are, as you mentioned, being able to enjoy the good things and feel more alive and free and be mindful and fully present and be a part of your own life in such a way that even though you're going to struggle here and there, it doesn't keep you down as long. You're more resilient or more able to enjoy what's in front of you. So I just, I always, and I tell you, I mean I don't judge anybody, but if somebody tells me they have completely 100 percent heal from childhood trauma, I kind of questioned it because I'm like, well, so you're telling me you didn't struggle at all like you are completely. One hundred percent. Maybe quote unquote normal, whatever that is. And so again, I'm not judging anybody, but when I hear that I'm like, hm. So in any event, because I know

Speaker 3:22:54I don't even know if you could do that from a good childhood. Right, right. And were raised by two minutes and interact with humans. So I'm with you on that one as well.

Speaker 1:23:10Awesome. I love it. Cool. So let's get into the book that she wrote and I think it's very fascinating. It's fatherhood and a 40 minute snapshot. So give us an idea of exactly what it is, why you wrote it and pretty much what it's about. Because I love the idea of writing while you're kind of traveling to work, right?

Speaker 3:23:28Yeah. I mean that's how it started. My kids were about one and a half years old. I was still commuting into the city everyday and it's a shockingly a 40 minute train ride. And so I would, you know, sit on that train and I would start writing about things that were kind of troubling me with the kids or something happened in the morning and I didn't know what to do about it or this was really cool. I want to make sure I remember it and maybe share it with other people and so I started just by writing these individual articles every day and then before I knew it I was writing all the time and you know, a couple years ago I realized, wait a second, I've got good 13 years of articles about my children and about my experiences as a dad and it would be really great I think to be able to share that with people and give them another perspective of what being an involved dad is really like.

Speaker 3:24:24And so that community is kind of the goal of the book. Right? I really want men and women. I want dads and moms to be able to see what an involved dad looks like. What are some of the benefits of being an involved dad both for the dad but also obviously for the kids and for his partner and I think that's what I was really trying to do in this book. It's broken up into different sections, so it's the things that we kind of big picture stuff that we deal with as parents. One is getting prepared, getting ready to is bonding, um, how do you connect with your child? There's a whole section on sleep issues because that's not easy with kids, so there's a whole bunch of things so that you can kind of look at it in pieces like, oh, I just need a little bite today. I just want to, I'm having issues with sleep. I just want to look at one of those articles or two of those articles on that. And the articles are one, two pages long, so it's a pretty easy read, but, or you can read it all the way through and just sort of get a whole picture of the experience of, of parenting, at least up until the point that they're 15 years old.

Speaker 1:25:34It's so cool. And I'm interested in the feedback that you've received from your readers and obviously, you know, your book has been featured on many outlets, which I'll put in the show notes, but as you were writing this over the years, I started to put together a book and realized that this might be something that others could benefit from. I'm curious how putting this together over the years actually affected your parenting approach and you know, maybe how it's changed in our alternate or maybe caused you to see things in a, in a different light. And I know it being a writer myself when I write, when I, when I look back, I see a shift in writing over over time, have, you know, different progress as I made different insights. Maybe maybe changing my views on certain things and I'm curious as to how this has affected your role as a parent, as, as a spouse and you know, just because I think it's fascinating because I'm sure you've had more than a handful of wow. Really kind of moments, you know, as you've been writing.

Speaker 3:26:37Yeah. For me therapy has, is always like writing, like writing is has always been therapeutic for me and I enjoy, you know, there's many of these articles in the book, but I didn't know where they would end up when I first started writing them. And, you know, partly I was trying to figure out an issue I had or maybe in the article I'm able to show, uh, how I was able to resolve an issue. Sometimes it was something I figured out sometimes it was something that my wife was able to help me with no site. The best example of that is just the, there's an article called big brown eyes and my son would follow me around. He was one and a half years old and I was rushing to catch my train in the morning and he would follow me around and every time I would turn I would kind of like stumble over him and was so frustrating.

Speaker 3:27:29And can I, I know I'm, I'm rushing to get to work and like he's just like literally underfoot. And I was talking to my wife about it and she said, you know, he just wants to be with you. And it was just like such an obvious statement and I just felt like such an idiot. But I was in that zone of like, I gotta get ready for it, got to get ready for work, got to get ready for work, and was missing the opportunity that this presented myself and then what the simple solution was just to get up a little bit earlier and then I could have time with him and not feel stressed out. And so just, you know, just like being able to process that stuff through the writing and through my experience I think definitely, you know, writing about things affected my perspective on it, but also as I've grown and all the work that I've done over the last 10 years, I'd feel like my writing is getting more and more.

Speaker 3:28:23Uh, I've always been very genuine in my writing. I've always write from a first person style because I like the feeling of talking to the reader. But as I've gotten more connected to myself emotionally, I'm finding that my writing it become more genuine and, and kind of deeper in terms of sharing my true feelings about everything. Uh, and I, I like that. And I liked that. I think it, I think it, it makes my, my writing a little bit more powerful, uh, and actually I, I, next year we'll be publishing my memoir which will really cover the traumas I experienced as a kid and what I've done in my life to overcome them, which I hope to maybe be a blueprint for other people. Not that this is the right way to do it, but just as like, here are some ways that I was able to overcome what I've been through. Maybe those will work for you. So, um, I'm hoping to get that published probably in the summer of 2019. And that book is called in my rear view mirror.

Speaker 1:29:25I'm excited for that book to come out and I think you're right. And it's always the more tools we can have at our disposal to help us figure out parenting life. Being a dad, being a mom, whatever it is. Because you're right, there's no necessarily one all perfect way to do it. But, you know, taking bits and pieces of many different strategies and ideas and things you never really thought of and kind of forming your own little guidebook so to speak, uh, in terms of being a parent and being part of a family is huge. And so I think it's really neat how, how this book just offers, um, little small sections and very, um, short digestible parts, you know, we're just waiting for a couple of pages or a few paragraphs because especially in this day and age when everybody's on the run, you know, we don't have time to sit down and read a book all the time.

Speaker 1:30:18But, you know, having, having. Exactly. So I love that. This kind of little 40 minute snapshot of this happened that happened. And then, uh, you know, to just send something else, to kind of piggyback a little bit is having that realization that, you know, as you mentioned, you're, you're running around the house getting ready for work and you keep tripping over your kid and you're like, oh my God, Oh my God. And then you're like, wait a minute. Like how long have I been doing this and how long have I been missing out? And then we have to almost as as trauma survivors, one of our default coping skills is, is to shame ourselves and be like, oh my God, I can't believe I did. Right, right. Exactly. So, so I'm curious too, if that's something that you kinda had to work through and those and those moments like you mentioned with realizing that just getting up early, what solved the problem?

Speaker 3:31:06Definitely sort of once I have that mind shift, it very easy for me to move forward in terms of. Once I realized it the next day I was up 10 minutes early, 15 minutes early and it was fine. But the, the, the trauma piece of it, right? The machine learning piece of it like that that was there thankfully doesn't seem to stop my behavior too much, but it just still churns through my brain. And I think one of the challenges of being a parent with you to your kids, the effects of what you went through as a child yourself and yet there is no way to really do that. I do as much work as I can, I am incredibly conscious and try to be as incredibly conscious and aware of what I do and how I am with them, but the reality is there isn't much of my personality that hasn't been affected by what I went through as a kid and so they get some sort of like a innocent bystander effects of that, you know, whether that is just me being moody sometimes or having difficult stretches or whatever it is and I know what I ended up trying to do is try to sort of when I'm present to be as present as humanly possible and hoping that that's really the foundation that I'm building in terms of my relationship with them, which I think it is.

Speaker 3:32:48I think it is. I don't want to be too harsh on myself. Right. So I know the foundation that I'm laying with them in terms of unconditional love and acceptance, I think is, is present and so that when I have those bad days that they don't think, oh well that's about me. Or they don't you about themselves. They don't think that's about themselves. They don't think that they did something wrong to warrant that. They just go, oh, daddy's in a bad mood, or daddy had a rough day and that's kind of the end of it, which is the best that I can hope for. Frankly, you know, I just, we all have bad days as long as they understand that my days are not because of them, unless it is of course, but because of them, I think that's good, you know? Um, but I do know that the challenges of parenting when you had childhood trauma I think are enormous.

Speaker 3:33:46Just even in things like, you know, they were, they were times when they reached to because I have twins. So when they reached the age that when some of the traumas started to happen for me, that was very triggering, but I didn't know that. Right. I just started getting triggered by being around them and didn't understand why it was happening. And it took me a little bit of time to realize, oh crap, this is the age where it started for me and that's why I'm freaking out. You know? Um, and just, you just never know. I mean, even now like I'll do, you know, if one of my kids has trouble going to sleep at night, I'll talk to them and we'll figure it out and I'll help them go to sleep and I walk out of the room with this kind of sense of pride that I was able to be there for me in that difficult time, you know, when I was able to be there for them, are you in that difficult time and going to sleep is such a vulnerable state for people.

Speaker 3:34:45And if I can help my kids get through that, I think that's great and I feel a sense of pride about that. And then. But I also feel like, well why didn't anybody do that for me? What was wrong with me that, that I wasn't good enough to try and, and be there for me in that way. And I know it's not my fault. I know it's my parents' fault, but you know, it's this kind of double edged sword, but it's double edge, you know, emotional difficulty with being a parent of children in wanting to be involved in present and knowing that at the same time, like if we were to line up my childhood and my kids' childhood and let them overlap each other, that their experience is just about the polar opposite of my experience and that I'm, I'm happy for them and that's what I want for them and that's what I've been trying to provide to them. But it also makes me sad that it's, that they got this and I didn't, not jealousy but just, you know, it's like a, it still hurts a little bit from what I went through and I still wish that I could have had that experience, but I didn't. And that's part of the loss of trauma that we deal with our entire lot.

Speaker 1:36:12Yeah. It's so true. And you're talking about helping, you're helping your son to go to sleep and uh, you know, kind of walk it out saying, you know, you know, obviously feeling a sense of pride as you mentioned, but then that, well, why didn't anybody do it for me? And I know one of my sons came to me. This was several years, yeah, I guess several years ago now. And he had been experiencing some form of bullying in school and it brought up a lot of emotions because I, I mean I hadn't, I experienced emotions are, excuse me, bullying, like endlessly all through middle school. And so I had to, I was in this kind of quandary my mind of like I wanted to run away and hide because I never told anybody and I just internalized it and, but I knew I had to help him. And then I was on the other side of letting me go and kick this kid's but or you know, go scream screaming his parents because of what they're doing to my kid. And so I had this weird kind of quandary in my head for lack of a better term of I want to go run and hide because that's a triggering thing for me, but I can't let my kid go through this. And so that was a struggle, a huge struggle.

Speaker 3:37:18But it's great, right? Like you're able to see the two, that sort of the trigger of being, of what you went through as a kid and how that leads you down one path. But then being a healthy adult and being able to understand, yes, that's the path I want to go down, but I'm going to make the choice to go down my own path and be there for my son. That's pretty impressive, right? I mean that's those, those moments where you look at yourself and go, okay, so the work I've done is paying off because I can't control the fact that the, the reaction happens to want to run. Right? But you can control what you do with that. And that's I think what, what the therapeutic and and sort of self healing work is an actual toy. Whereas without the therapeutic healing process, you're left with only one option, which is to run, and that's what a lot of people continue to do because they didn't get a chance to learn that there is another way.

Speaker 1:38:25Yeah, I couldn't agree more that that is indeed evidence of feeling that's a win. That's something that you can celebrate that something you can say, yes, I'm making progress, so I love it.

Speaker 3:38:35We should. We should celebrate every little win like that,

Speaker 1:38:38isn't it? Oh my God. Yeah. Yeah. That's something I, I try and drive home with every client is. I don't care how small you think it is. Celebrate it. Like write it down. Oh yeah. I love it. So I guess the last question here, because I know that I want to respect your time, is if I'm a parent, a survivor of trauma, I'm a new parent, may be I have kids on the way. Maybe my kids are driving me nuts and I'm. And I'm just trying to figure out life and I'm being triggered all the time. If you have any advice or thoughts that you can leave for anyone who's listening in that scenario would probably be very helpful.

Speaker 3:39:12I think the first thing is I think finding a good therapist give you an outlet to express just like what we were talking about, that initial reaction of wanting to run because of a bully, right? That is not because you're weak or because you were a failure as a parent. Know that was because of what you experienced as a kid and but by doing the work, you were given an op. You essentially gave yourself this other option to be able to say, okay, I see that I'm scared, but I understand why I'm scared and I know what to do about that and how to take care of myself. Now, having kind of put that in a place and put it up on a shelf and respected that, that's your experience. You now can then say, okay, but this is what I'm going to do as an adult, as someone who loves my child and wants to be there for that, and I think therapy is really powerful in helping us be able to get to that place to understand why we react in the way that we do because of our childhood.

Speaker 3:40:24I think once we begin to understand that, again, that's that self understanding, self awareness I talked about in the beginning. Once we understand that, then we start to be able to give ourselves options in terms of how we want to respond and I think that's the biggest thing because being a parent of kids is triggering just generally, right? We just all have issues and kids managed to push our buttons all the time, totally by accident, sometimes on purpose when they're teenagers, but mostly by accident when they're younger and so we need to have a little bit of a repertoire to be able to handle those situations. When you're a traumatized person who experienced trauma as a young child, it's just so much harder and that doesn't mean that you can't do it. I think I'm proof of that and that's proof of that, right? But that need to give yourself that chance, the time and the space for healing and a lot of that starts with a good therapist.

Speaker 3:41:22A lot of that can start with reading other people's experiences. Um, you know, I'd like to think that my book, other than 40 minutes snapshot can be a way to see, oh, okay, so there's a way to be a parent even though you've been through trauma in your path, I think you didn't want to prepare as early as you can in terms of getting yourself to a more comfortable place, to a safer place, to a place where you have a choice in the actions that you take instead of having to take the action that you were trained to as a child through your trauma.

Speaker 1:41:57The show. Jeremy, thanks so much for coming on. Your, your, your wisdom. Your insight is just incredible. I've enjoyed talking with you. Before we go though, let everybody know where they can find your book more about your work and in case they're interested in possibly working with you or wanting some more information.

Speaker 3:42:14Yeah, the best place to go is my website, jgs.net, so my initials are Jeremy j.net, and there you can find the book. You can find ways to contact me. I'm always posting new research about parenting and anxiety and depression and trauma recovery on social media, on twitter, on facebook, so you can get all of that on my website as well and I look forward to hearing from you and that I thoroughly enjoy talking to you. Thank you so much. I appreciate you sharing your story and I'm really honored to be here.

Speaker 1:42:48Part of your program. Thanks for listening to part of the mental health news radio network

Speaker 4:42:54information shared on this podcast is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for or supersedes professional medical health or mental health counseling. Thank you again to my sponsors, I nlp center.org and daily recovery support. I hope you'll consider checking them out as they've joined forces to help keep the lights on here at the podcast and help beyond your past to reach as many as possible with a message of hope. If you'd like to learn more about working with me as your coach or if you're curious about what life coaching is and how it might be right for you, that head on over to beyond your past.com and claim your free one hour session, or we can talk about the struggles in your life in the areas of anxiety and trauma recovery and see if coaching might be okay.

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