You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 199, I got to hang out with Dr. Nicole LaPera to chat about re parenting your adult self. This is a pretty buzzwordy word in our industry right now. And I want to break down, what does it even mean? And what does that look like to re parent while your parenting? What happens when those triggers come up from our childhood through our children? All right, folks, let's dive in.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
Hey everybody, today I get to hang out with Dr. Nicole LaPera. You may know her as The Holistic Psychologist over on Instagram. I feel like you basically just slayed Instagram in the last couple of years you were like, Instagram done, check! Thanks for hanging out with me today.
00:01:26 Dr. LePera
Of course, Alyssa. Thank you. So so much for having me. And yeah, the Instagram whole world has been a whirlwind in many ways. But I think the topic that you and I are going to talk about today represents a lot of the reason why it has grown so astronomically and so quickly, because I think, most of the topics I'm talking about, especially reparenting, which I talk a lot about, is so universal. So I think that's what I attribute to. But yes, some slaying. I guess it's happened, and it's been quite a whirlwind over here. But thank you. The work you're doing, like I said before, when we were chatting is incredible. And I'm honored to dive in a little deeper with you today.
Thanks, babe. Let's start by just letting people know what is re parenting. What does that mean?
00:02:08 Dr. LePera
Yeah, absolutely. So the way I define what re parenting is, it's a process quite long term for most of us that we go through typically in adulthood, the way I conceptualize it. It's kind of the relearning of how to identify and our physical or emotional and our spiritual needs, because I'm of the belief that that a lot of us are struggling in those areas to even realize we have needs, and any or all of those of those sectors, and where we're struggling to meet them in a way that works for us, largely based on our past experiences and modeling or lacking in modeling that we were given, you know, when we were very young, and in a completely dependent state, where we needed our needs to be met by someone else. So, unfortunately, a lot of us into adulthood are carrying patterns that don't serve us as the adult, the unique adult that we have become. So what reparenting is short and simple. It's like I said, a long-term journey in adulthood, where a lot of us are kind of returning home, finding the ways to connect with our physical or emotional or spiritual selves in ways that work for us, which involves for many of us, undoing a lot of those conditioned habits that are keeping us stuck unfulfilled and sometimes even downright upset and miserable, and, you know, on edge and in fight or flight and all the things.
Yeah, yeah, we have talked a little bit over at Seed about our subconscious and our conscious selves. But what folks have been like dming and showing up with is like the surprise for how much we live in our subconscious when we're sharing stats and figures of like what it, even breaking down, things like anxiety, people are like, oh, that's my subconscious like what? And so let's dive into that a little bit of like what the social programming kind of does, and how I think one of the key things that I've learned from you in this journey that helped me continue through in a greater way, was really that we're not trying to get rid of these things, they're not things that you can get rid of. They're a part of us. They make up who we are. And and so what does that look like to build this awareness and and truly, be able to respond with intention, rather than reacting from that place of subconscious?
00:04:26 Dr. LePera
Yeah, absolutely. And you're saying something else that's really important, you know, they are parts of who we are. And I really want to highlight that "part" piece, because a lot of us, I am a human who had known anxiety for as long as I can remember. So up until, you know, I went through my dark night and my healing, I would have actually embodied and referred to myself and embodied, I'm an anxious person. So what I mean when I say that is a lot of us are defining, you know, ourselves the whole of us who were who we believe we are in our totality you know, based on a lot of these condition patterns. And because I come through and I can relate to so many of them. And, you know, I've healed so many of them, and I've developed, I've created that space right to begin to exercise choice around new behaviors, which, over time, when repeated consistently enough be turned into new habits, right? New condition patterns. I've done that. So I know now that that is possible. But first and foremost, yeah, it's alarming how often we are in that know the computer, the autopilot, right? That the thing that's driving our human car for us, and that that is pervasive. That's not only whoa, what are my daily habits, right? A lot of us think of our autopilot. Oh yeah, what do I know? I'm on autopilot, you know, getting my breakfast. I do it the same way every day, you know, my lunch, Etc. Where it's beyond that, you know, we are on autopilot with narratives, voices in our heads, stories we tell ourselves, again about who we are, most of us are missing a big part of the story about who we are. So the work really is first and foremost, identifying that reality that we are in that autopilot, that we are living, you know, through the in those condition patterns and learning how to show up differently. And so the way I talk about showing up differently, right, is in that conscious state where we can observe ourselves, observe these patterns and the pulls to gravitate us into those patterns, because that's there again, that's part of the subconscious part of our mind. It desires the familiar which, to put it really simply, is that which has been done before, right? So we become stuck in these loops. These patterns loops until we become conscious, until we start to observe that patterning. And then, as a lot of us talk about re-create the space as a language where we can to use where we can see the patterning and action, right, whether it's what I'm doing, what I'm thinking what I'm feeling, we can develop that observer, that self, that's kind of behind the scenes. The self that actually embodies all of who we are. And then once we begin to do that, then we get to exercise choice, where we get to, like I said earlier, create new behaviors which turn into behaviors and thought too, practice new stories that tell the whole of who I am, and that happens over time. So it's identifying, right. The pattern or the fact that we're unconscious, subconscious so often, identifying the patterns that don't work for us. So in those areas of repairing, right, how do I meet my physical needs? Well, let's look, let's spend a week, two weeks, a month, just observing what my habits are emotionally. How connected am I to my emotions? How disconnected? I know I was quite disconnected, right? Are there some emotions that I know how to cope with? Are there some emotions I don't, spiritually do I have a sense of that self, right? Do I, am I connected? So as we become observational first, and we see how we're doing in those areas, what a lot of us will see is that, oh, our patterning, some of us will know where it came from. Some of us won't. And I get this question a lot too well, do I need to know? Not necessarily, because we're living the pattern. And the point is to create that space right, to create the change.
Yeah, and so I want to give some folks some like examples that feel potentially tangible to what this looks like it was in coaching last week, was working with a client who has been working on anxiety and fear. And one of her biggest fears is safety for her kiddos, right? That like, if I can't see them, they're going to get hurt. And what's that going to mean about me as a parent? And so she's been doing a lot of this work, and she'd started to get to a place where she could notice it and pause and be able to respond with intention and doing all this work in this covid season, where it's just their little family. And now all of a sudden, her parents are coming over to the house more, and she was like, oh, my gosh, I am seeing it as an observer. But now I'm watching it with my mom doing this and I'm like, oh man, that's like where this came from, and we say, like apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But this is also in these like habits and patterns, right? This is like our conditioning from our childhood, we'll say, I open my mouth, my mom came out and in like so many times, like, oh, Margaret, there you are. My partner will just say, like, all right, Margaret, that's my mom's name. And I think, like, as we are starting to do this work and building the awareness piece, what is that? An and a lot of folks come to us with Seed, kind of starting off in with a little bit of a basis of what they know they don't want to repeat, right? And what we've started to see is this real big pendulum swing.
00:09:51 Dr. LePera
Of like nobody talked to me about emotions. There was no safe space for me. And so we're talk about everything all of the time.
00:10:00 Dr. LePera
And kiddos are like, actually, I don't want to talk about it right now. We're like, no, you are going to sit down and talk about it. And we're really working to help folks find that middle ground, where we aren't reacting from circumstances and instead can respond with intention. Can you speak to this journey a little bit? I know you aren't a parent. And you also are professional in this field.
00:10:24 Dr. LePera
Yeah, 100 percent I can relate to that. I mean, the language I used to describe that Alyssa, is overcompensation, and it's very well-intentioned, right? I've lived a hurt. This is what we all do our mind, right? The organ is our brain. The mind as all the functioning, when we, really simple, something hurt, my mind knows that thing hurt, right? And essentially it's going to try to avoid that hurt again in my life. Then again, by extension, my children, I don't know what it is to feel about something I created. I can imagine a whole lot of love and a whole lot of fears, a two things right now come to mind. So I get it. So, very well intentioned, right? Okay. So if I had this pain as a child, right? Not having anywhere to talk to feelings about with my feeling, lets use your example, very well intentioned. So I had a similar experience personally in my journey with boundaries. I come from a very boundary-less home, meaning there was no limits, no, no differentiation between where I ended, and where my entire family began. Our emotions were all a ball. It I have a family motto of always something. Our favorite something is the newest stressor. And now Alyssa stress could be right, the lawn didn't get, you know, cut to their liking, or it could be. My mom is actually in the hospital and ill as she had been, right. So, really spans. But we had this collective experience of these emotions. So that's what I mean when I mean a mesh net, right? One person is stressed. The lawn didn't pertain to me when I was a child, right? However, because the feeling of the family was stressed, it did. So this always something. So I did a little of that over compensation as well. In terms of boundary, I got really rigid with my boundaries with my family. In particular, I actually went no contact before I was able to find, you know, that that middle ground. Something as you were talking, came to mind, because I find it interesting that's in that moment, right, mom, dad, caregiver, whomever is in a lot of ways, still acting from their vantage point, right? So I'm going to, again, by extension of trying to protect my child, right? But in that moment, it's a little more still about the parent or the caregiver right and managing their feelings. Instead of looking to the child, right? Johnny, Janet, whoever, you know, and seeing what the child needs, because I'm of the belief. And I don't know what your thoughts are on this. Kids are the most intuitive creatures. Well beyond us as adults. As us as adults, a lot of us have become so disconnected from intuition. Yes, they need help to be shaped, right, and they need guidance. Like I said, they're dependent. But it's so interesting, as I was hearing you talk, I was thinking that's so interestinging because in that moment, right the child and their needs is, in a sense, being bypassed, right? Because the parent in a lot of ways is still trying to find their middle and is responding to themselves. And this is why this is so goddamn hard, because the parent, hypothetically, you know, this is why a lot of us resonate with books. A book I'm always talking about is, you know, "Adult Children, Emotionally Immature "Parents. You know, a lot of us come to the awareness that we were not equipped, because our parents weren't equipped. And we are limited, you know. And we all, I think, resonate a lot with that, and we're very much trying our best. So it's really being aware and learning how to contain what I'm feeling about a situation so that I can a tune myself to what my child needs in that moment. But I'm happy you brought that over compensation, because I think that happens a lot in a very well-intentioned manner. But it does miss that mark, it misses that balance point. And I guess what I'm offering now is on some level and misses that attunement, to not what I need in this moment. What do you need? Child, little little human, tiny human in front of me?
Totally. Yeah. And I think one of the key things to doing what you're just saying is, is having a regulated nervous system, right? That if we are going to respond with intention, we have to be regulated, and that you were saying we had the emotions were collective, right? That, of course they are, because as of mirror neurons, and they're going to everyone's going to fire off each other, right? Like Zac comes in from work. And if he's pissy, I could be in a great mood. And all of a sudden I'm like, why am I pissy? Yes, he's brought that shit into the house. And I have to be mindful of that and regulated. We share a lot that a dysregulated adult cannot regulate a dysregulated child. And and there's this narrative, I think, in parenthood, that taking care of yourself comes last and lets chat about what? What role taking care of yourself and meeting your needs for your central nervous system plays and being able to do the re parenting work?
00:15:13 Dr. LePera
Yeah, foundational. And I agree, I too have come through, you know, family culture systems that have professed in many ways. This idea of, you know, caring for self is selfish, right? I even heard this when I did make gestures at putting up boundaries with my family in particular, I was very much granted that offering that. Yes, it is indeed Nicole you shouldn't be doing this. And I do think that this idea of selflessness is other before me is highly problematic, because you're right. So one of that state, one of the states of dependency that you know, as you know, and I'm sure listeners have possibly heard in childhood is within our nervous system, we cannot regulate ourselves. That's why infants cry, right they're dysregulated. And they quite literally need another human in that calmer nervous system or a parasympathetic state to bring that child right from that sympathetic into that parasympathetic. Most of us haven't had that grounded parent. I know I didn't get, my mother, so I describe myself as an anxious child. I'm sure you can imagine. I had a very anxious mother. So her nervous system was completely dysregulated. So without that home base in infancy, right where we need this person to teach my nervous system how to go go from right, activate it to that calm state over time. The goal is for the child, right to internalize that so that they can then they have a healthy nervous system that can do that itself. Most of us don't have that parent. So we do end up in cycles of dysregulation, which is why, when I talk about another, the word that we like to say, corporate triggers, that are emotionally activated as core wounds, why it's so goddamn hard to choose a new response in that moment, we are dysregulated and we are in some version of a survival mode that trying to preserve ourselves. So to be there for a child, we have to, part of the reason, one of the main reasons why I work and why I call myself now holistic is because I do understand that it's not just the mind. We cannot just think new thoughts and, you know, fully change everything. We have to acknowledge the body, in particular the nervous system. So without that foundational balance where I, as a parent, or I as a human right, can regulate my nervous system, I'm never going to be able to help my child regularly. And I'm also really going to struggle in those moments of reactivity with choosing that new response, because to some extent, I have lost control. And my nervous system is dictating what it needs to do, or what feels it needs to do to keep myself safe, which is why I think a lot of us can be really shameful and hard on herself. I know I could every time I had that eruptions that small, so this is what I carried right? Always something in childhood led to a version of always something in adulthood where it would be, the smallest, you know, kind of event, and I would lose my shit. And after the fact, I would feel shameful at what I did. What I said, how I was when I lost my shit. And on some level, I always could acknowledge that something felt out of alignment in that losing my shit moment. It actually didn't feel like I meant it. And then over time, right as I, cultivated that consciousness. I came to realize that I didn't, that was that remnant of that overactive nervous system. So what it was for me, it was building in my balance. What it is for parents is building in that foundational balance so that they can attune and help regulate their child and or give themselves, you know, the opportunity to begin to break out of some of these patterns of reactivity.
All right, my wheels are turning, as you were talking about that, because I was thinking, not only like do we beat ourselves up over it, but we also can bring shame to the tiny humans when they're in a reactive state, when they're hitting and kicking when they're biting. And we choose shame in that moment because we are embarrassed, or we want that behavior to stop, and we're like, we know that they know what to say, or we know that they know that that's not allowed or that that hurts somebody, right? But they're reacting, and I had a mom reach out of a couple weeks ago who was like, I'm just having like a terrible day. I feel so bad. I keep snapping at my kids. It was like 3:00 pm. And I was like, cool. Tell me about your day. And this just like in DM's on Instagram, she walks me through kind of her day, and I was like, cool, what'd you eat? Like, what have you done? And we went like little deeper, and she had like eaten her kids scraps. And like, really just been like picking up the scraps throughout the day. And I was like, babe. Can you imagine if you barely fed your kids food throughout the day by 3 o'clock? If they made it to 3:00 before they were yelling, I would be like, wow, they're doing great right? Like we wouldn't expect them to do it. So why are we doing like ourselves?
00:20:10 Dr. LePera
Powerful. Absolutely. And that's fact, this idea of self is right, because whether or not it's acknowledging my physical needs of hunger in the moment, whether or not it's acknowledging the need for my nervous system to be balanced, which might you know, incorporate some sort of breath work training, or any sort of vagus nerve toning exercise, maybe it's, you know, I'm doing some work on my own internal world and my inner child, until the emotional realm, and really beginning to explore my emotions, you know. And I say, explore, because if you're someone like myself, who had spent so much of my life dissociated, emotions were completely new for me. All I knew was stress that I was confident in stress. I wasn't so great in coping with it, but sadness, anger, those were new. And then furthermore, had to learn a new toolkit. So back to this idea of selfish if you know, we don't put ourselves first. And we have partners, loved ones, tiny humans, right? The disservice really is going to be to that relationship, right, or, and ultimately, to then the child who is dependent on you showing them and you modeling them. So putting ourselves first, whether it's eating and making sure our body, I mean sleep. I know sleep for especially new parents is, but a concept. It's difficult, like very hard. If my body is in getting the rest it needs, of course, are some circumstances where, you know, it's unavoidable. But we really need to prioritize re parenting the topic, right caring for our physical or emotional or spiritual self. So that then we can care for others our children and it isn't selfish that's actually going to give us the best opportunity to show up how we need to when we need to.
Yeah, I loved it so much. We in the village talk a lot about sensory rich activities and the central nervous system for the tiny humans, right like we have shared. I've I work with OTS a lot, and that this input last in our body for about 90 minutes to two hours, we talk a lot about what this looks like for kids. Maybe it's wrapping them up like a burrito and giving them that a deep pressure input, or popping them on a swings, then get some vestibular input, and or it's eating every couple hours, The introceptive system. And and I think we often leave ourselves out of that conversation of like, we're also human too. And we need that input every couple hours too which I think really ties into boundaries. And like, how do we set boundaries within a family system where we are the parent, so that we can take care of ourselves? What does that look like to do if you didn't grow up seeing that?
00:22:59 Dr. LePera
Yeah, yeah, I mean, on the deepest level, we need to shift the narrative, but either it is of selfishness, or, you know, whatever the narratives that's preventing us from feeling worthy, because that's going to be the deepest work, because a lot of us, you know, if we aren't connected to why? You know, we have to prioritize our self. Or if we don't get connected to why it's going to be really hard to enact as a language, I use the boundary and maintain it right? So, getting really connected to and really understanding and over time coming to believe that it isn't selfish, and that it is important. And I say that very intentionally, because beliefs don't change overnight. If you like me were raised with this idea that others first, you know, is the selfless valiant thing to do coming across a podcast and the work that you do, you know, on the daily and hearing this is just going to be a thought, you know, I always joke I say, your subconscious going to roll it's eyes, it's not going to believe it. So it's practicing into that belief that over time, you come to understand that it is important. That's the deepest part, though, because it's the beliefs in often in opposition that keep us from doing the thing that we need to do. And then we have to acknowledge that it's going to be difficult to keep the promises to keep the boundary up, because for a lot of us like I acknowledged earlier, these are new words. These are new concepts. Many of us did come from a home that had some version of codependency like myself. So there's going to be an inherent discomfort in that which is unfamiliar. So boundaries, important boundaries, you know, for caring for our self, for re parenting the adult human when we're in a village of little ones, right? Usually around time, time is going to be one right. How much time do you want to set aside for whatever your act of reparenting or acts of reparenting become right, carving out the hours the minutes in the day, you know where you can do that, and then protecting it, up holding yourself to that, going into your bath, or going into your, on your meditation cushion when you said you were right, that's when it's going to be hard, because this is when a lot of us are plagued with two things externally, maybe everyone's kicking and screaming and yelling, because where is Mom? And on the surface, it's going to be a violation of expectation, right? If Mom is ever available 24 hours a day. And now with Mom decides, you know what, this half-hour is Mom's, the family's going to be a bit confused at first, because right? So it just could be on the, oh this is new. I'm not just a mom doing this. So there could be external kickback. It also could live in our mind. I call them the feel bads. So you might be sitting on that meditation cushion, not doing meditation, because you're feeling so bad about screaming that your hearing, maybe in the living room. And can my partner take care of this? Maybe I should just leave what I'm doing and go and right? So we put the boundary up around time, and then we need to maintain it.
00:25:59 Dr. LePera
Resources that also applies, on days where any Mom, Dad, caregiver, whomever is depleated, is exhausted, right? Again, some scenarios, I understand we have to show up anyway, but if we don't, we're going to do the interactions that we have with our children a disservice, because when I have no resources left, I am so close that point of reactivity, as opposed to you know what? This is the night. I'm exhausted. I've had a terrible day. This is the night. Maybe I remove myself. I let my partner do the parenting responsibilities a little bit more, right? So sometimes it's around emotional resources us knowing when we've reached our limits, and when we can honor those limits, taking the time away to reboot, recharge, regulate, maybe our nervous system, and then returning right to the family or to the experience at that's difficult, because that is necessary a lot of times for us to fall into that regulation. But it's also helpful to know and to set herself up to succeed, right if I know I'm having a bad day, and I have no energy left. If I push myself and try to be there for her emotionally difficult moment. If I have someone else that could swoop in right and and help my child, that might be the better that, the better path at that point. So it's tim, right it's emotion that our resources, all of which we can define, the boundary that would work a little bit better for us. It might be uncomfortable to even consider doing this. And then we have to practice doing it right, time and time again, and upholding that till we get to the place, which I assure you will happen, where the benefits of this new practice will start to show itself. And then those choices get a bit easier, because then you feel yourself a bit more replenished. You feel yourself, you know, prioritizing yourself a little bit. And then you start to feel maybe a little bit better making that next time you make that choice a little bit easier.
Yeah, a couple things came out for me. I was thinking of the word guilt kept coming up for me of like, I know that I was thinking of a conversation with my one of the folks who work at Seed. Rachel has a couple of kids, and she was sharing the story of like, she has a five year old and a one year old, and her partner was at work, and he walks into the house as she was yelling. Why do these children always need something from me? And as he's like walking in the door, and he was like, I'm gonna take the kids for a run. So he popped the kids in the stroller and went for a run, and she called me and she's like, oh, my gosh, like what a day. And she's expressing. And I was like, cool. What are you doing now? Like with this time while they're out on a run? And she was like, well I wanted to switch the sheets on the bed and get laundry in, and it's going through this to-do list that she's going to tackle while the kids are gone. And I was like, cool cool. So when they get home home, how are you going to feel at that point? If, if all you've done is go through the to do list like, at what point are you going to carve out some sort of time for you? Especially right now, while the kids are gone, and she was like, I know, I know I should be happy, there's no shoulds, you can do whatever you want, and when they get home, if you've gone to the to do list and haven't taken time for yourself, what's the rest of your day going to look like? Is that what you want it to look like? And she was like, okay, okay. And she ended up like going and like painting and drawing she's a beautiful artist. And then later that night, I got a text that was just like, thank you for making me like, do something for me and not, but it's so hard when you are also like, okay, but I have this whole to-do list. And and I think so often, when we start to do those things where I know I've been in play spaces where I'm like, you know, where my sit down and color with the kids and just play and be. And while I'm there, I have this running in the back of my head. I was like, okay. And you throw in laundry, have to do the dishes. Yet all these things that you have to do, and that feeling of guilt can come in and like, because I'm choosing to play, or to be, or to color, or to not do the to-do list. I feel guilty.
00:30:17 Dr. LePera
Yeah, I completely Alyssa, resonate wholeheartedly with that. And the suggestion that I practiced myself and I urge everyone to practice is what I call choosing
00:30:27 Dr. LaPera
your choice. Right. Once I've decided that this is how I'm going to spend my time is sitting here playing, to be as present as possible. It doesn't mean that the endless to-do list of shoulds, So mine looks very much like running a business. I mean, I could be working 24 hours a day, and still never, you know still have an endless list. So I've had a lot of this myself because I am someone who my anxiety over this to-do list. My shoulds were so powerful that I was able to channel my anxiety into being that creepy student who had their paper done. I'm not kidding a week after it was, if it was, it was assigned weeks before it was due, because I didn't like to know it was there. So I just I just do it real quick and be done with it. And I did that as a function of that discharge, that anxiety, right? What I've come to realize as life has worn on now, I picked up on the reality that that to do list never really ends, right? It's like, kind of like that magical thing that just keeps repopulating. So that's when I came to the conclusion of there is always going to be other choices I could have made in this moment in time. And I'm only doing myself a disservice if I don't embody the choice that I've come to, because I've done this with everything, right? I'm exhausted. I'm not going to go to the gym. So I'm going to rest today, resting for a long time for me. Look like laying on the couch, beating myself up about going to the gym, raising my cortisol, my adrenaline, I might as well have been at the gym, right? So choose choice, right? If I do have the shoulds, which I know I have had them for quite some time, and I still do if I've acknowledged that I'm playing now, or I'm resting now or meditating now, I'm taking a bath now, working that attentional muscle, right? Knowing that my to-do list thoughts will still be there if that's how I'm conditioned and refocusing my attention time and time again, as each thought tries to pull it away onto the moment at hand, right? Embodying the fact that I'm playing, using our maybe our senses can be really helpful to ground, as I'm sure you talked right, getting in my body, and then practicing that. And the mod, the kind of Mantra that I would repeat to myself, to help myself become present, is "choose my choice", like, okay, I didn't make the choice to go to the gym or to do the laundry right now. I made the choice to sit here and play. So let me just embody this choice. It actually ends up saving us a little bit of energy too, to make another choice to expend energy in a different way later. So the the laundry maybe that was waiting for you. I don't have to feel so depleted, because I didn't beat myself up emotionally while I was over here playing, I might actually have a little bit more energy left to do this laundry later.
Totally. Oh, I love that. Choose your choice. It's so simple. It's so good as people are on this journey. And they're really getting to know these inner child voices and starting to try and rewrite some narratives or respond with intention, rather than reacting from the subconscious. Obviously, our whole thing in our village is like progress over perfection. In fact, I've never left a day with tiny humans have been like, nailed it, I was, and it's never I've never met a human who has left the day with tiny humans and done that. And so as we are navigating progress over perfection, they're going to be times where we have to enter into the rupture and repair cycle. And so when we're looking at this in this journey, where you're like, oh man, like I have now noticed that I reacted, and I didn't respond with intention, I yelled at got scared, Etc. What what does that repair look like in a way that still Foster's this growth and development for us? Yeah, I'm going to answer this in in, in two connected ways. I guess I'll start with the deepest part of it first, a lot of times, what we really need to be repairing is our relationship with ourselves, right? Extending ourselves graces, extending our self compassion and doing the repair in our own to our own critical voice, right and forgiving ourselves. So, starting with the deepest part of the work, which obviously takes the longest that that's the work there. Because a lot of times we are, it isn't really about the repair it is, and it's about the repair with ourselves. We hold our self up to an unattainably high expectations. You know, again, we think that because we're aware of that childhood wound that gets touched in these moments, suddenly, I should now be able to navigate it differently. I'm not. So it's the grace in the self-forgiveness and the repair of the relationship with ourselves that I think drives most of the process. Then there is the repair of, you know, what happened in the relationship and possibly the harm, you know, that that has come based on, because what typically happens in relationships with peers, you know, roommates, partners, friends, Etc. Also with children. But a little less is we have the whole system or a stressor happens on the system. It could only be one of the partners having the quote-unquote issue, if you will, or the emotion, if you will, but because of the way that person might be reacting, you know, from their own fear-based subconscious protection that likely often triggers and the other person to become protective of themselves too right. So now we have two people engaging right in this unconscious act, attempting to protect ourselves. And I think that happens. You know, that's a big part of the story as we shift into this, like I need to. I need to watch. I need to protect myself mode, and it's really hard to then stabilize the system back to safety. So, you know, we have to understand how to how to forgive ourselves in those moments. That's why I always talk about the nervous system, the body, the ways that this is our body responding, right? So it's doing what it's supposed to do, actually. So maybe I can relieve the shame I can offer my inner voice that forgiveness. What do I do in the relationship owning honesty? Right? This is the work, the closer this relationship is, the safer you feel typically at a time when both of you are now no longer activated, right? We're not going to have these conversations toward repair when we're both emotionally activated, not going to happen might be hours later might be days later, but that's an important piece of this waiting until you're in is regulated of a body as you can be, and assessing the the person that you want to repair with as well, whether it's again, your peer, your partner, your child, if they're in a state of nervous system overwhelm or stress, or emotional activity or reactivity, not the best time either to have that conversation. We need to set ourselves up to suceed. And that's frustrating, because you could be really ready and prepared and in a great space. And then the person who you want to have the conversation with, or your child might have come home from school terrible day, not the time to have it. So timing, balanced nervous system, and then acknowledging, right, owning the part you played, and just sometimes a direct, honest conversation and the closer you are to the person a lot of the times they get it, or they can understand what had happened. And that's when we can have a productive conversation with one person acknowledging what was going on behind the scenes for them. And we're with both parties acknowledging what that experience was, but from a different perspective, rights and that different mindspace, not the subconscious reactivity that space, that we get a bit more space to choose a new response. So timing is incredibly important to set ourselves up to repair and not to just escalate into another conflict. Yeah, it has such a hard lesson for me to learn. I am like Zach, and I are very different humans in that when I would really love to keep talking. And he's like for the love could you leave me alone?
00:38:26 Dr. LaPera
And I have that partner too, her name is Lolly, very opposite. She's like, I cannot believe I married a therapist, that is, you talk a lot.
Yep, he will go take a long shower, because it's the only place I'll like leave him alone, and I am, but it's been so good for me, because it did being in partnership. Being in partnership with him really was the first introduction to this for me of like, oh, when I actually do take that space, I feel calmer and, and then able to navigate a conversation and not feel triggered once we start talking. And we also at the very beginning of our relationship, we would write it like he really benefited from having time to like, read something and process and then come to the conversation when he was ready. And that was really hard for I always at the beginning. Why do we always have to do this your way? And then started to realize, like, when we did it his way, I actually was calmer at that point too, but it was hard to learn. And I think this is something that we can also model with the tiny humans, where I will say, they'll say, you know are you happy now? Are you okay? Are you calm? And I think it's fair to let them know I'm still feeling a little frustrated. I'm going to take some space. I'm going to read my book, going to call my body. And we can talk about it when were both calm, and that it's okay if we don't enter into repair right away with the tiny humans at modeling that you can take that space. And we just had a villager recently share this picture of her little girl. She's like, arms crossed like frustrated face, sitting on a chair, and she, the she sent me this picture, and DM's was like, she just told me, "I'm not ready to talk mom. I'm still mad at you." I was like, yes, this is what I love.
00:40:29 Dr. LaPera
I love that,
That that's awesome. She knows she's not ready to talk yet. She's taking space and letting you know, in the only way that she can, in a pretty nice way, frankly, that I'm not ready to talk to you yet. And then we have to like, accept that answer as the adult.
00:40:46 Dr. LaPera
100% and something I want to offer to you, because I come to realize sounding like we have very similar partners in a lot of ways. In terms of we have to understand, in partnership with whoever right friends, romantic partners and children, right? There's another human with a nervous system on the other side, because a lot of times I am, as soon as I have an idea, and I'm uncomfortable, I want to get it out. I want to get I want the quickest path to feel better that I can get. And what I've come to realize is that the human that I've chosen partnership with Lolly, when I go at, especially if you know, with an energy and emotion behind it, she actually feels threatened. That is not, you know, that then shifts her nervous system into her flee. You know, she will actually shut down, not want to talk. And the beginning would want to leave the home and like, go like physically, which triggered my nervous system, because now I'm a bandit, right? So you can see how this, but the important part of using this illustration, a lot of us are caught in that approach/withdrawal, you know, like my partner's leaving We have to understand that it's because not because they don't care, it's because they're nervous system is acting in service of them in that moment, is acting. And if you do push, you know, to have that conversation with your partner with your child in that moment, the damage on the other end of it, could be, you know, kind of throwing them or overtaxing their nervous system, which is just not ready to be, you know, to feel safe yet. So I talk in those terms, I think that can help us understand, because a lot of us do assign, you know, Mommy doesn't care, or, you know, or my partner doesn't care, teaching our children. And our partners that we do care. We care, loving is balancing myself so that I can show up as the human that I want to show up for you, possibly at a later time, when I can do that. So passing that that lesson on to children is going to go a long way. So now you can have a child you can honor their need for safety. And then also, by extension, honor others and their partners and their friend needs in that moment.
Yeah. Oh, I love it so much. And it just was like a thousand like yeses of similar partners structures. And and I think when we're looking at we, one of our key things that were talking about in our village is trying to be somebody that you're tiny human can break down to. And so many of us didn't have that person right like that, that you can be someone who they don't feel responsible for your feelings, that they're not worried. Like if I tell Mom this is she going to get anxious. If I tell Dad this is he going to be angry and not be able to handle, and that it starts off with these tiny little things, right? These small, two-year-old emotional expressions, and then down the road. It's the it's the big stuff. It's the stuff that really shapes like for me. I shared a bunch in this Village as a rape survivor at I was raped at 14 and my parents weren't safe spaces for me to turn to at the time. And so much of this journey for me has been realizing, like, oh, man, like, that's, that's the key component that I didn't have there. And so much of my reparenting work has like been being that human for 14 year-old Alyssa. And this can get like muddled in our village, especially within the, like respectful parenting community, of not setting boundaries for ourselves, because we want our kids to express, somebody the other day who reached out was like, well, isn't my kid going to feel abandoned if I walk away when she's having a hard emotion? And I was like, what, what are you doing for her if you stay and you're angry? And I think that there is now this idea narrative within the respectful parenting community. And possibly beyond that, we have to we can't walk away from them, and and that we have to be next to them while they are expressing. And like even looking at Zach, my husband that literally is his nightmare, is that somebody sitting next to him while he's expressing, he's like, no, I want space. And we had a 8 year old who was yelling. "Go away Mama" and mom was like, do I go away? I was like, she couldn't be more clear like. And. And so I guess what I'm wondering is like, what about that pendulum swing of like nobody? We didn't have a safe space to break down to. And so now we want to make sure that no matter what we don't leave their side.
00:45:38 Dr. LaPera
Yeah, absolutely. I can relate to that. A family-friendly narrative for so long about myself was Nicole never tells us anything. And and something I had discovered I was experiencing within my family unit. As I got older, it was that I didn't really feel emotionally close and bond it to them. So now hearing that with Nicole doesn't tell us anything, for a long while I wore that responsibility. I thought, okay, well, how can I be close, you know, to mom and dad and my sister and particular when I never let them in, right? So, I was like, this is my fault, I'm this secretive person who doesn't let people in. And so I guess that's the role I played in, not having close connected. You know, family relationships. I've come to realize over that why I never told them anything was that little narrative that I also described you right? Always something. So if I watched consistently enough my family, you know, rocked into, you know, a volcano of stress, you know, at the mail being delivered wrong, if you will, right, what are they going to react to if I start to share with them my experiences and from my family was very well-intentioned because they believed, and they did come to know things that I was challenged with every now and again if it was very obvious or go to them with friend problems, my mom and particular, you know. So they would, they would start to, they will start to like noticing like, see, you know, certain aspects of it, but ultimately, they would very well-intentioned want to help me in those moments, you're upset. So I want to make you feel better, right? And again, very well-intentioned. They want to be there. I'm sure the parents that you're describing, right? I was alone as a child, and yourself included Alyssa, I didn't have the support. So I want to be there. So I share my story, because I've come to realize that the environment, the climate didn't feel safe to didn't feel like I had parents that I could share the little, definitely not the big things with yeah, without one of two things happening, then swooping in to solve my problems in a way that didn't necessarily feel helpful. And or it creating such a stir in the family that before you knew it, I stopped, and I did become Nicole never tells us anything, now that I obviously pull back and see the bigger picture. So it's about atuning to children, right? Finding that space, because I loved it that little when you said that I was joking to myself, that's actually, I have a little that little 8 year old lives in my mind all the time. I don't want to go, right, but it was so beautiful when she proclaimed what she needed. That's what I was saying. The children know what they need. So it in that moment is a little more about being atune, because you might have a child that's different than you. You might be an adult who loves to have someone sitting next to you while you're expressing a feeling, you might have a child. You know, that's more similar to your partner Alyssa, that wants that space. So it's really kind of getting down on the level and helping the child figure out and explore what works for them and creating. And so sometimes this whole conversation we're having right the daily acts of self-care, the moments of that nervous system regulation, all the things that were doing to be balanced behind the scenes, including extending the time not being available. You know, if your child, when your child might need you in that acute moment, maybe it's 10 moments from now where you go do some breathing, and you come back. That safety is what's most important because what happens when that child then shares with you whatever they're going to share with you? That's going to be where the impact is right? Was it actually safe for me to tell my parent or caregiver that, or did that cause a cascade of reactions and whatever direction that didn't feel safe? And that's going to be what determines whether or not your child continues. So creating all these foundations of balance in place and knowing ourselves to know when we are available to show up and receive possibly difficult information to hear from a child, I could imagine and we're regulating ourselves through the dysregulation to enter that space of safety.
Yeah, yes. And one of the things, again, you were it sounded like you were bringing it back to there that I pulled from that was that it is also about us that it is cut looking at like, oh, I didn't feel safe as a kid and so now I'm trying to create this space. And potentially for us as the adult really diving into like safety for what safety for? Like my goal for the tiny humans is safety for you to express without me solving it, right, that like, I'm not going to rush into, I need you to make. I need to make you stop feeling sad or need to, that was what I had as a kid was the like, sure, I could tell them they weren't going to get anxious, they were just going to dismiss it because they needed me to stop. It was too much for them to handle for me to be upset. And so now my goal is that there's safety for you to express without me solving your problem and just holding space for it. But I think when we feel that desire to like, what's she saying? Go away? Can I go away? When we aren't able to attune to that I think what we're bringing into this is the if I, if it was me and somebody walked away from me, I didn't feel safe to feel right that I was looking for something else. And I think it's so key that you pointed out that these tiny humans are not us. And it's so hard to see, though, and it's hard to imagine how their little brain works and what they need. If we're trying to analyze, I said, always, rather than I love, that you just point out, yeah, but they're saying.
00:51:23 Dr. LaPera
We naturally filter everything through us and our experiences. So that's what I was saying earlier. That's the pull of that subconscious. And all those narratives and all those filters, we have to practice, not doing that. And acknowledging that the human a little human you know outside of me is different. You said something else really important too, and just piggybacking on this idea. So, you know, we do have a mirror neurons when I'm seeing an upset child, I feel a version of the same upset. And I also feel likely, some level of immersion of powerlessness. And that creates such a discomfort in very well-intentioned human caregivers right? That again, the quickest way out of that discomfort is to solve the problem, you know, to take it away for, for the, for the child and I. It is really hard to be able to contain that and to allow the child to experience a negative feeling, and to find a that they can, that they can tolerate, you know, feeling uncomfortable and then helping that child internalized that whole process and problem solving and figuring out, you know, the things that work for them that might be different than the things that worked for you when they're, you know, are, quote, unquote problems to be solved. I think another thing that a parents do very understandably, another us lens that's really hard to break, is the maturity lens. When we're hearing our child's issue that they may be having, we have to remember that developmentally, they are a child, right? So, something that might seem little, or maybe you'll, you know, part of you is like, well, as you get older, you're going to realize how little this is, right? All of that thinking is natural, because we've lived many more years, and we do have a developmentally more mature brain and perspectives, right? We have to understand that this is a child, right? You know, not having that friend next to them at that lunch table might be the most devastating thing that happened to them. And even maybe even dare I say traumatic thing that is happening to them in this moment. And because you, you know, I don't like that kid. Anyway, I guess, right? It's not about you, right? For your kid. We have to understand developmentally that that is huge, and it's their feelings that is everything for them in that moment, because it's very natural for us to minimize it again. Part of the reason being, I don't want to embody how uncomfortable or you know how upset you are a little human, because then I'm going to be very upset myself.
Yeah. And that for me just brings up the we don't get to decide why somebody feels what they feel if they're allowed to feel it right? If you gave a tiny human and orange cup instead of a purple cup and they're disappointed, it's not our job to decide whether or not they should be disappointed. They already are, just like for me. If I was disappointed about something, and somebody was trying to analyze whether or not I should feel that way, that's not helpful empathetic. And at that moment, I'm just like, screw you like I am disappointed, and you're clearly not going to help me. And so I think we're looking at this like it's absolutely right that when we're, when we're taking our adult line somewhere, like, OK, on the scale of disappointment that I felt in my life, like maybe orange cup over the purple cup for me, feels like not a big deal, because I have felt things that feel heavier or bigger in a disappointment sense. But that doesn't matter for this tiny human, because they're feeling what they're feeling.
00:54:50 Dr. LaPera
Yeah, as you were that saying, I'm smiling Alyssa because you couldn't be more just like, objectively right, there having the feeling complete with the neurotransmitters, the hormones, maybe even the nervous system reactivity, you're seeing that's that's existing in their bodies, right? Again, holistic. I'm so it's important, that's there. That is real and valid. So you making an attribution on the belief, or whatever the expectation it was that caused that. It is already too late. They're already in the midst of it. So I kind of giggled when he said that because I thought, damn, that couldn't be the most objective thing that you're pointing out. That is true. They're feeling it, right? And, yeah, human as an adult. I mean, they're still moments. You know, even in my partnership, we're very and I understand the perspective, because I can embody that now, or I'm having a feeling, and I'm just having it. I understand all of why this is happening. I'm in my feeling, and I'm committed to it in this moment, and I'm gonna honor it. And when anyone, even my partner, especially looks at me with the rational, logical thing that I'm going to come to you. No, I got it. It's there. I'm just not tapping into it right now, because I'm just here, and I'm going to feel this, but it's one of the most infuriating things, and it starts honoring as the adult to in us likely this happened to us, right? We probably had so many moments small, big, right where that were missed, that were invalidated. I talked a lot about invalidating our reality and how that starts, you know, not necessarily intentional or direct ways when so many micro ways that result in us being disconnected from that intuition, right? That child is like, I'm mad, and I'm gonna be mad right now. We become an adult that talks herself out of the man that doesn't feel like we should be married that is doing all of this stuff separating herself from our core existence, which is in that moment, I'm mad for a very, very reason. Something was crossed, I am violated, etc.
And it doesn't really matter why, like it's I'm just there. Yeah, totally. And I think, a huge part of the re parenting work here in order to show up and do that with kiddos to hold that space is, is giving that gift to ourselves of like, allowing out we in creating the CEP method in the adult-child interactions portion. We outlined five phases of emotion processing, and the first one is allowing yourself to feel, and it sounds so simple. But so many of us jump to Phase 5 of 5, which is problem solving, and we miss the entire process. And, and in doing so, we just keep like invalidating as you were saying, this pattern keeps repeating for us as adults. And so then, when a kid has a big emotion, we don't know how to go through these steps, because we haven't practiced it with ourselves.
00:57:42 Dr. LaPera
Yeah. And it's understandable. The problem solved, then this is this discomfort is removed so sign me up, however, and I think this is just an extension of what I think is kind of an epidemic level for humanity, which is living by our minds. We lead with our thinking mind, I think it's primed in the school system as it exists now. And we are, you know, we're cultivating and rewarded for thinking our way through life. And I mean, I'm the biggest believer in thinking isn't the way to even solve problems, especially emotional ones. So a lot of us think ourselves into a corner where we actually can't solve the problem, because we have just as many, you know, for votes as against votes for the same thing. And this is why we're indecisive, and we actually don't know what to do, because we're thinking, we're trying to solve life from our top down, as opposed to reconnecting with our self. And what that guidance that lives in each of us that is very pure in children before you become disconnected for it and feeling our way, which does mean reconnecting with our body and learning how to feel emotions.
Yeah, I think it's so huge, yes. So much yes. So I know I said that you're the queen of Instagram. But if somebody, for some reason on this planet isn't following you, where can folks connect with you and learn from you? You're such a beautiful teacher.
00:59:02 Dr. LaPera
Thank you for saying that Alyssa that means a lot. So my the main hub is the Instagram, the.holistic.psychologist. Pretty much anything. And everything that I'm doing always gets run through there. I have a nice link tree up up with information for my virtual healing community, The Self Healers Circle, which is closed now, but will reopen again in the fall. But the Instagram is the Hub. I'm there every day showing up, healing, writing content to put out there to help others feel. So come join me. Amazing community we have of other people doing the work.
Yeah, it's incredible. And I've also found like a lot of benefit from your YouTube videos. You are, you're a very good teacher. As a teacher by profession. I like, I connect with how well you can take concepts, that for so many of us were coming to it for the first time, or we have never connected to this. And I think you do a really great job of, kind of simplifying things that can be complex in a way that's digestible and consumable.
01:00:16 Dr. LaPera
I appreciate you saying that so much Alyssa that has been a passion of mine since I started,
01:00:22 Dr. LaPera
you know, a practice in therapy, because I always felt, for myself included and for the field in general, my clients that some of these concepts were really important. But I don't think many of us and there's not much literature there are how to apply practically some of these things I talk about ego or reparenting. These things aren't new and I didn't make them up, right? You know what I mean? These existed. But the way been talked about, I think, is always been a bit unapproachable for so many of us. So the fact that my work comes across is understandable first and foremost, and it's practically applicable. I mean, that means everything to me. That's what has been up most of importance to me. And that's been a big driving force in the Instagram account is putting this language out there and the tools out there for free, for anyone who can gain value. So the fact that that translates from a fellow teacher thank you. It means a lot.
Totally. Thank you. Thanks for doing the work.
Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at voicesofyourvillage.com. Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at seed.and.sew. Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag seed.and.sew to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.