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What Survival Equipment Did your Parents Give you?

“I’ve never seen anyone die from being mad”-Iyanla Vanzant

you can't control your emotions,

but you can control your actions."


When your mother was a child, her parents were abusive. Like all children, she adopted a coping mechanism to shield her from abuse. When she was unsafe with her parents, she cut her emotions off because it helped protect her from pain. Eventually, she became an adult who continued these unhealthy coping mechanisms because she had not yet realized that she was in control of her life. She has not realized that she can pick her environment, set her boundaries, and leave whenever she is disrespected. She can be emotional and protected, but she has not learned that yet. She has not learned that life no longer requires her to shut her emotions off because she does not have to be with people, places, or things that do not make her feel safe.

Most of our parents have gone through some variation of that. Your parents were abused and, they adapted. However, they no longer need that coping mechanism anymore. Without therapy, interrogation, self-study, or conviction, they raise children who go through the same thing and develop the same coping mechanism. We take their programming as children and adopt it as our process. We walk around like them and don't understand why.

The truth is you downloaded faulty programming. You downloaded their copy. Now you process emotions how they process emotions. You see others how they view others, and you view yourself how they view themselves. Unfortunately, a lot of their programming you will have to let go of. It is unhealthy, but it isn't "bad." You aren’t "bad." You simply have practices that no longer serve you. It's like having braces and then having them taken off. How you take care of your teeth with braces on is different from how you will take care of your teeth without braces. One practice is not good and the other practice, bad. They are different practices and appropriate for that circumstance.

Your mother or father cutting off their emotions because their parents were abusive helped them survive. It was a practice that kept them alive. However, the circumstances have changed. The braces are off. They no longer need to do that nor do you. You have to grow up from your parent's programming. It is a hard process, but it is what is required for adulthood.

Growing up or changing these practices that you downloaded will require awareness and oftentimes confrontation because who the hell knows when they are toxic, unhealthy, or unhealed until they are interacting with other people. Once you notice the moments when you are anxious, paranoid, angry, or sad, you need to start interrogating it. Do you need to note when it happened? Who was around? What mood were you in? Were you hormonal? Was it just a one-time occurrence? What was your reaction? Was it an automatic reaction? Or did you process it? Did you try to understand it, accept it, and control your behavior? Auditing yourself is like being a scientist. You have to look at yourself from every angle during this moment and learn yourself.

You have to learn yourself and accept it. This looks like recognizing the trigger and the message you created around that trigger. For example, If you walk into the office and you feel someone is judging you. you have a trigger. If your behavior changes and you become unbearable to work with, you need to change your behavior. Then you have something to work with. From this, you know the trigger is the people. The thought is they are judging you, and it is impacting your behavior because you are creating hostility in the office. Now, that you know this process you must create a plan.

The plan is as follows:

1. Figure out why

2. Accept the emotion.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting you are angry, sad, or anxious.

3. Replace the thought with something that feels as powerful.

4. Change the behavior.

Of course, it is complex but this is a general guideline to help you start. What you are doing when you are replacing is rewiring. You are slowly changing the habits and eventually changing your mind.


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