Lying to Children, its not nice, don't do it.

Yesterday I was in the women’s restroom and I overheard a woman saying to her child in a voice strong and laced with anger, “If you want to leave than tell me right now and we will leave.”  Obviously this woman wanted to leave and she was angry at her child for doing something she deemed inappropriate for public places.   She was telling her child to tell her the truth in a way about what she/he was feeling but the tone of her voice was telling a different story.  In Processwork psychology, this is called a double signal.  Your words say something but your body says something else.  We all pick up on double signals all the time and they are pointing to a conflict inside ourselves.
If she was to say this to her child in a coherent way where she owned her own emotions, she might say something like this:  “I’m very angry and embarrassed right now.  I would like us to leave the store.”  Or  “When you picked up that toy and hurled it at that other person, I felt ashamed and angry, and like we should leave the store.”  Not owning your own emotions is in effect a lie.  It is an untruth because you are projecting your emotions onto another.  If you don’t want your children to lie than don’t teach them from the get go to do so.
I must say that family is the hardest to do this around.  Its so hard to process your emotions when their are people with you that you identify as being a part of you.  Family often feels that other family members are an extension of themselves.  Its one thing to get angry at yourself, but often we get angry because we want to control the situation and the actions of another, especially those we feel we own or are a part of our selves.  Many parents feel they own their children.  This is a dangerous and false interpretation of this relationship.  Parents do not own their children.  They are stewards of their lives and development until they become of a certain age that they can do this by themselves.
How do we learn how to own our own emotions?  Well first we must take some time to learn to identify different emotions that arise within us.  This is fear and this anger and then it becomes more complex with how they are linked together and how one arises triggering another, and how thoughts and beliefs are involved in this process, etc.  Its a huge project and one that many of us were not taught.   Five-Elements in Chinese philosophy and Buddhist and yogic systems and some psychotherapeutic approaches in western society can help us with this.
Then or maybe at the same time as identifying arising emotions we can learn to language them from an “I” perspective.  This emotion is arising in my body in this moment.  Non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenburg is a great resource for this.  A key and amazing teaching to help you cope with all your thoughts, emotions, etc., is to know that you are not those things.  You are the space, literally, a physical body, that provides a container for these things to arise.  You are the physical location they are arising in.  And then they move, transform, change, as all energy does in the cycle of life 🙂

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