Q I hate it when I see a mum or dad shouting at their kids, or even worse grabbing or hitting them. I want to explode and I have to walk away because I’m afraid of what I’d so otherwise. Then I feel ashamed and guilty at having turned a blind eye and not helped that kid somehow. I don’t know what to do, or why I react as I do. I had parents like that myself, but that was a long time ago, so why does it seem to still upset me so much?
A Your reaction is a natural and healthy one – to empathise with the feelings of the child and want to protect the vulnerable and abused.
All the more so if your own history is being triggered and you become awash with feelings of fear, and being overwhelmed by the need to either escape or defend.
I also find it hard sometimes to empathise with those out-of-control parents. I have to remind myself that they probably still have unresolved childhood trauma of their own, and are re-enacting old scenarios out of awareness and without empathy for their child’s needs or feelings. [Read more…]