What is Reparenting and How Do We Use It?
I am beginning a study that I hope to be developing as a series of talks for prisoners. America spends so much money of incarceration and so little on rehabilitation, that I want to take a program to prisoners about reparenting.
Having been an addictions counselor for years and in my personal recovery since 1976, I know that healing comes from within. It usually begins with someone realizing that another person is loving them unconditionally. What is unconditional love? It is love from one person to another without ulterior motives. Unfortunately, we usually experience unconditional love from new people in our lives.
As children, we are taught hundreds of ways that we are unlovable. Transactional analysis states that we have over 20,000 hours of negative feedback about ourselves that we are continually rebroadcasting to ourselves.
After we learn how to shut off this committee of negative voices in our head, we begin to see how our real self is vulnerable to such attacks from our mind. The mind is best used a the switching station for our thoughts. If it is allowed to dominate and control, it will choose to keep us submissive by negatively. I always say that our mind is out to get us. But, in reality, we simply have to learn how to use the mind and begin relying more on the soul as our guide for our lives.
To help prisoners to learn about themselves, I have chosen reparenting as an avenue to help them to not only learn how to parent but also to learn how to be better parents to themselves. Personal growth is like the grass, as Walt Whitman wrote in his poem about war, “I am the grass, I cover all”. When I was at Guantanamo Bay, from my office I looked down on the air field below me that was unused and covered in wild grasses. And I understood that as a living creature, I was either living or I was dying. Grass doesn’t get to a certain height and then stop growing. It is either, as on of favorite bloggers says, in a quote from Dylan, “he not busy being born is busy dying”.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to another is an avenue to help them to help others. If you have a negative self-image, you don’t believe that you have anything to give. Teaching prisoners how to parent– which is what reparenting is–teaches them skills to help anyone. As we help others, we learn how to love ourselves.
According to Dr. Tian Dayton, children who grow up with alcohol or other drug abuse may experience:
• Loss of Trust and Faith Due to deep ruptures in primary, dependency relationships and breakdown of an orderly world.
• Distorted Reasoning Due to convoluted attempts to make sense and meaning out of chaotic, confusing, frightening or painful experience that feels senseless.
• Easily Triggered
• Development of Rigid Psychological Defenses When this person develops long term ‘character armor’ to defend against letting pain in.
• Desire to Self-Medicate When this person attempts to quiet and control their turbulent, troubled inner world through the use of drugs and alcohol or behavioral addictions.This can be part of how addiction gets passed down through the generations.