Kiku would shoot me a look, and then I’d jump in. Activated and ready to defend her stress and emotionality.
You see, her stress triggered my stress. I jumped in to protect her, but to also protect myself from feeling stress.So, when she was having a hard time with our son, all she would have to do is appeal to me with her body language or a look.I don’t think she knew she was doing it. I didn’t know she was doing it.But, it was like I was a puppet on a string of her emotion. It was so reactive and automatic, I couldn’t see it. Until I did. And then I was like, shit. This isn’t good. Here we have a child who is non compliant and/or dysregulated, and a mom who is reacting to that… now I jump in with the same, or more activation… and anger. Not good.Protecting my wife from my child… seemed reasonable at the time. But in retrospect, it was not. He was not the enemy.It was a mess. We did all the wrong things. LOL.I’m writing this both for moms and dads to be aware of. This is a common thing that happens in families. Mom wants help. Dad wants to protect. Recognize if you are doing it, and then decide if you want to keep doing it or not.If not, then both people can do things do remove themselves from this pattern, and create something better.Both parents can work on regulating themselves and separating themselves from the emotions of others. They can work on seeing emotionality not as a threat, but as an expression that the person is having a hard time. And then, the parents can work on validating the emotions of who ever is having a hard time… while helping that person regulate themselves. And then collaborate and empower solutions that work.Love ya,Drew