This week I am marking the beginning of my 8th year as a father of twins. How many jolts of responsibility are more powerful than jumping into parenthood? Not many.
Content Warning: Mental Health
Parenting has been a wild ride, but a very privileged ride for us in many regards. Everyone’s had healthy bodies from the day we found out the kids were en route, which is amazing.
For me, however, my mental health is a different story and that comes with both consequences and opportunities.
The interesting thing about having a traumatic childhood and then experiencing children that you love later in life is that the children may trigger memories or experiences. As they reach milestone ages or have certain experiences, flashbacks and emotional flashbacks can pour on.
These first triggers are difficult to manage and are often huge system shocks for the uninitiated. I had very little resiliency at first and often felt like a victim to both my childhood circumstances as well as my depression. Though I was a real victim and in need of help, I was also amplifying a victim mindset. This mindset clouded my opportunity to be responsible for who I was and my situation in life. This is not conducive to being the father I want and need to be.
Now, I don’t mean being responsible in the sense of putting food on the table and roof overhead. The kind of responsibility I am talking about is the kind that lets me parent with full integrity. This kind of responsibility replaces a victim mindset.
Victim Mindset vs Responsibility
A victim mindset does not serve me. A belief that problems happen to me and are outside my control does not serve me. Talking to friends, peers or colleagues about my struggles doesn’t necessarily serve me. And believing that my mental wellbeing is outside of my control does not serve me or my children.
To combat my victim mindset, I began shifting to a mindset of responsibility. Though my depression was initially outside of my control, I am responsible for the consequences it had. I’ve had to fess up about my role in relationships that did not go well because of how I was. I had to get comfortable about incomplete work and things that just weren’t turning out as I’d hoped. And I also had to begin taking control of the conversation about this with my kids so that my “brain tricks” weren’t something that happened to them.
I don’t hide my struggles with mental wellness from my kids. In fact, my kids have been tuned into this since about age 4. They know about my “brain tricks” and we talk openly about how “brain tricks” can impact a person and the people around them. We also talk about how to prevent “brain tricks” through healthy, honest living, which I trust can only help them grow.
Being responsible puts me in control of my present and I now own the consequences of my mental health. I enjoy having conversations with others, including my children, about mental health and how we are each responsible for our own lives.
The New Future
As a coach, conversations with clients about responsibility deliver powerful shifts in very short order. This is because it is responsibility that allows us all to have a future of our own making. Responsibility is absolutely essential to maintaining an ideal state and taking action that serves us.
While this skill and my experiences serve clients, they also serve my children. This powerful responsibility in parenthood was revealed to me through my children, but the opportunity to act on it was mine.
With my coaching and our work together, you will learn to be responsible for your own present, your own future, and your life overall. Book a complementary session today.