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Is your Nervous System Dysregulated? Is it Affecting How you Parent?

Is your Nervous System Dysregulated? Is it Affecting How you Parent?

Parenting is hard work. It’s challenging on all levels. There are times of such great joy and wonder and there are also times of overwhelm, anger and frustration. How do you cope with this?

When I look back and assess how I was parenting my small children (they are in their late teens now) I realize I yelled and got angry. Looking back now, through the lens of nervous system awareness, I realize I was dysregulated and trying to manage my children from a place of Fight or Flight which is a nervous system stress response. I was scared something was going to happen to them, so I tried to control them by yelling. I realize now I was The Yeller and I was parenting from a place of my own overwhelm and fear. I was stuck in the Fight stress response.

Other times, I was busy cleaning; never really able to sit and rest and give myself space to decompress from the day. I just kept going. I was envious of those new moms who could nap when their children did. I couldn’t do that. Instead, I cleaned the house. I realize now I was The Busy Bee stuck in a Flight stress response.

Other moms could behave in the opposite way. They could be The Avoider and avoid dealing with the fight their kids were having, the issues that come up with their partner or their To Do List. Their house could be a mess and their fridge empty because they are stuck in the Freeze stress response. Perhaps they are functioning in the world and they are in Functional Freeze but, unfortunately they too are stuck and dysregulated.

Another way you could be parenting is called The Pleaser. Attending and befriending those around you to avoid conflict and to keep the peace. In this case, we are pleasing and appeasing our children and our partner to make sure everyone is happy. Pleasers do this because they don’t feel safe. All of these stress responses come from a place of not feeling safe at a cellular level.

When we live with chronic stress or we have experienced a traumatic event, the energy from that experience gets stuck in our nervous system. If we are not able to resolve this energy, the tension can cause dysregulation in our nervous system. Our baseline of regulation rises and the place from which we experience our world is now  in fight, flight, freeze or fawning. Overtime, this becomes normalized.

If the chronic stress you are living in doesn’t find a relief valve then this can become normalized and then this is the lens from which you are living. This is the new baseline on your temperature gauge.

In the image below we can get a visual of this temperature gauge.

In the blue area we feel safe and we can engage with others in the world but as our frustration, worry, fear, rage and panic rise, so does out temperature. If there is not an opportunity to come down from this rise it will continue to elevate our baseline. Overtime, if we are living in a state of chronic stress, and let’s be honest, parenting is a state of chronic stress, then our baseline – that blue line in this image will rise and overtime it may move up to the point of overwhelm and freeze which is where that dotted line is. Instead of rising and falling and ebbing and flowing like a regulated nervous system would, we can become dysregulated and we get stuck in a stress response of either fight, flight, freeze or fawning. Then this becomes the place in which we experience and respond or react to the people around us.

How do you shift out of dysregulation and return to a healthy regulated nervous system?

  • By cultivate a feeling a safety in your body again.
  • By connecting with the sensations in your body and understanding what these sensations mean.
  • By developing a set of self care tools and body based exercise to support you in building capacity and resilience in your body.
  • By understanding and respecting and listening to your own threshold of enough.
  • By moving through my body based wellness program called Nervous System REST you can achieve all these things and more.

Reach out to me and lets talk about how I can help you reset your nervous system so you can live a more calm, serene and joyful life.

Reach out to me at: Lisa@LisaCipparone.ca.

I can help.