Bethan O'Riordan

This weeks Ask Bethan: “I’m so triggered by other Mums – help!”

Being triggered is a difficult feeling.  It’s an out of control sensation that has a domino effect of causing; over-thinking, shame, guilt, critical thinking… I could go on.  Being triggered by other parents is  normal. I’m imagining Motherland (BBC and Netflix) and chuckling at the accuracy of the portrayal of the characters. 

Triggers come from comparison and can leave parents asking themselves, “am I doing the right thing?”.  Parents do like to talk about their children’s achievement, after school activities, school grades, amount of friends, basically anything really that helps people gauge how they are doing.

People like to create security by seeking external validation. There is no greater threat to humans than being excluded.. I read recently that isolation is a key indicator for Alzheimer’s, so we cannot underestimate how significant the threat of not being ‘in’ is.

We have really complex human minds, with a tribal brain and a predisposition towards the threat other mums can be triggering. There really is nothing that holds more importance than your child’s wellbeing so it is huge when others are voicing their lives and you’re left wondering about your own.

I honestly can’t understand how all parents don’t need some level of consistent emotional support from outside the family. There’s so much at play!

What I strongly encourage all parents to do is to create your values within your unit. Create your boundaries and be okay with how you’re raising your family.e.  Your children need parents who are confident in their decisions and the way their children are growing up. If you’re operating from a place of fear or wondering if you’re doing the right thing then your children will absorb this too.

On a practical level, consider who you’re associating  with. If your inner world is being stirred, distance yourself from the people you’re triggered by. Take the time to be proud of yourself and the way your unit is developing. By doing this, others’ comments won’t impact you so much. Yes, that tribal brain may come on board, but when you create security within yourself you can come back to this inner foundation to support you. This is also a wonderful gift to pass on to your children.

  1. Try the Calm Parenting Club free for 7 days. This online membership is a powerful low cost way of accessing myself and other like minded parents to get the support and answers you’re looking for.
  2. Book a Counselling/Psychotherapy Session and create change within your life. Available online or in person in my practice in Blarney, Cork.

Don’t forget to get your free guide 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting for practical tips to help support you to be the change your children need.

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