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Welcome to this episode of Friday Reflections by Dad.Work!
Every Friday I share the best of what we have been doing in the Dad.Work community, to provide perspective, new ideas, and motivation for you to continue on your journey to becoming the best man, partner, and father you can be.
In this episode, I share with you a meditation method that I created and recorded, and that I’ve been utilizing for a couple of years now while dealing with my triggers as a father.
Dad’s… If you want to develop a safe attachment to your children that is full of love, empathy, and respect, you must first identify your triggers and repair the underlying scars that control them.
We go deep talking about:
- Developing a meditation and breathing practices
- The need to express yourself verbally rather than screaming and yelling
- Taking a breather and calming down in the middle of a heated situation
- Why its vital to visualize yourself responding to situations calmly beforehand
- How to Form a Trusting Bond with Your Children
- Why you should be grateful for the triggers your children throw at you
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad Work Podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work This is episode number 77. Visualizing triggers beforehand meditation for dads, the Friday reflections episode, for this week, in April 2022, I am going to share with you guys a meditation that I developed and recorded. And I've been using this one for a few years now. And I used it extensively over a period where I was being triggered all the time by my kids. And I really, really needed to stop being triggered so much, or at least, to stop reacting so much to the triggers. And I did this one almost daily for like six months, it was intense. And it actually was one of the most effective tools or practices or crutches like I talked about last week in my arsenal, that allowed me the space to do the healing work that actually fixed the problem that was underlying all of this. So I'm going to share this with you today I'm going to talk a little bit about triggers. First, I'm gonna go into what your kids need on how to create that secure attachment and why being triggered gets in the way of that. And so I am basically saying here, guys, that if you want to have a secure attachment with your kids, if you want to have a loving, empathetic, supportive, respectful relationship with your kids, probably the number one thing you can do is to sort out your triggers, and to heal the underlying wounds that control them. And we're going to touch on a little bit of that, and I'm going to drop into meditation, you'll be fantastic to listen to the first half of this and just get a sense of triggers and go deeper on that. And it's also going to be super helpful. If you guys sit down with his meditation, I think it's 10 or 11 minutes long. And just sit in the morning, do the visualization exercises, and see if it helps, because guys had helped me significantly, which is why I'm sharing it here with you. I have a quick request for you today. If you have not yet left a review for the data or podcast, would you please do it today? This is perhaps one of the best mediums that I have ever found operated on. I love listening to and recording podcasts. And yet, it's one of the hardest ones to share with people to see how it's going to hear feedback from because it's all in this weird podcast data downloads, gloop that I never really get a sense of is this hitting for you? Are you enjoying this? What would you like to hear? What have you liked hearing? So I'm asking you guys, if this has impacted your life at all these free episodes, would you please just take 30 seconds and leave a review on Apple, if you're on an iPhone, or you can go to Spotify and leave a rating, I think they've got a number system now at the top of the podcast there, I'd really really appreciate it. I really love to share this work with other men because honestly, I think this is how we change the world. If more men hear this, if more men start doing the work it takes to heal their wounds. And to get better with their triggers. They're going to raise kids who don't have the same wounds. And those kids are going to go on to create a beautiful, loving, amazing world. That's the kind of world I want to live in. And literally guys with a podcast, at least, the best way to do that the best way to get into the hands of those men who need it, is by leaving a review. And I can't do that myself. All I got to do is sit here and ask. And it feels weird. feel silly. But guys, there's been a ton of value, not even from me, hopefully for me, obviously, but from the guests we've had. So would you please take just a few seconds right now, pause this, go to Apple, please leave a review. Let me know what you think. Leave your honest feedback. I'd be very, very appreciative not just for me, but for every other man who needs to hear this, and who the algorithms will show this podcast when there are more reviews, I'm sorry, has to be that way. I really hate doing that. And I'm going to keep doing it because I want this work to reach more men. Thank you very much, guys. Let's dive into this episode now, which includes a 10 minute meditation, which I think you'll love. Here's episode number 77 of the dashboard, podcast. Let's go
Alright guys, we're going to talk about getting triggered by our kids today. And this is obviously our favorite topic as a father. And this is one of the things that was the worst thing in my life. That opened the space for me to react destructively. And it caused all sorts of issues. I scared my kids, I scared my wife, I showed up poorly for each of them. And honestly, the amount of guilt, shame, regret and time wasted. time wasted spent hating how I showed up in my life, man, it's just I look back and just cringe. And I'm grateful for what happened because it led me to here which I'm very happy to be. Because this is so important because even though I knew how I wanted to show up, I really wanted to be a calm, confident, happy, playful dad. I just kept getting triggered. And that meant that there was something going on under the surface, something that was triggering my nervous system, something that was triggering a response to keep me safe. Because when you're triggered You're typically feeling unsafe. And usually it's subconscious or unconscious. It's something from childhood or the past, that you have created an ego defense mechanism to protect yourself from because you learned it was not safe to be in that situation. And so when you yell, for example, you take control of the situation with your anger, you become bigger, you no longer have to feel the guilt, or the shame, or the anger or the sadness, or the embarrassment or whatever feeling is underneath that. And you get to be in charge. Now, obviously, this is destructive. This is a very basic example. But it's important to know that getting triggered and getting angry like this isn't just, oh, that's me. No, that's actually pointing to a wound inside you. That something that you developed in the past that made you feel bad, not worthy, unlovable, or alone. And so when you're triggered after the fact, typically, because it's hard to do this in the moment, I wonder what it would be like if you gave thanks. Thank you. Oh, man, yeah, thanks for triggering me because, and get this because when you're triggered, it gives you a clue. It gives you a clue as to where in your body were in your soul were in your mind and your heart. Do you need to go looking to heal what feels broken? When you're triggered, it's like it's a tripwire it catches on a hangnail, almost think of it like that you're moving through life, something triggers you. And it's like, oh, when you get your finger caught in your pocket, you get a hangnail, and it's just like, ooh, this immediate pain that wasn't there before because nothing was pressing on it. But there's something there, that hurts when it gets touched. I sometimes talk about this, like the hamburger example that I've used in the past, imagine that your eating hamburger goes down into your guts, but you don't have a digestive system. This is like being hurt as a child, and not having the coping mechanisms to digest that pain and move through it. And so you go through life, you go through a couple days, couple of weeks, maybe even a couple of years, it's kind of uncomfortable once in a while, you're gonna forget about it cuz you don't have a digestive system. And now whatever, you know, it goes down and you live your life. But now let's say you're an adult, and you're in the office, and somebody steps out of their office, they don't see you and they accidentally elbow you in the gut. Well, this is like being triggered. Somebody does something that unbeknownst to them, really hurts you and stirs up a bunch of stuff inside. Well, what are you going to do when you get elbow in the gut with a hamburger that's been rotting and festering there for years? Well, to put it bluntly, you're going to crap it all over everyone. And that's like being triggered and exploding in rage, or shutting down or whatever it is that you do that hurts other people around you, because someone has hurt you by accident. That's what a trigger is. So noticing that, and knowing that is a great first step to be easier on yourself to not feel so bad when you are triggered and you react poorly, to give yourself some grace, and to see it as something you can get better at. If you identify what the original pain is. And the feeling behind that, that you need to feel to process to move through it, you can actually do that. You can be the adult or the parent that you needed in that moment of pain. When you were a kid or whatever this was, you can be that for yourself, you can feel that in the safety of your adult body and mind and heart. And you can move through that. And eventually the trigger may dull, and it'll no longer be a trigger, you'll be able to control your reactions better, you'll be able to respond instead of react. So I wanted to go over triggers real quick just to get very clear, because what we're going to be talking about today is not reacting with such destructiveness when you're triggered. It's important to remember as well as we went through triggers, but also guys, you have to remember, and I try and say this all the time, your kids aren't giving you a hard time they are having a hard time. They need empathy, they need love, they need affirmation, they need someone to listen to them. They need someone to hold space for their feelings. Because I am willing to bet most people listening to this podcast didn't get this from their father and from their mother growing up. And that's probably actually where a lot of your wounds and triggers come from. I know it was for me. And so imagine if you get triggered and react poorly to your children, you are passing on the exact same thing that you're hurting from, and they're gonna have to deal with that later. But what they actually need is for you to remember Okay, they're not trying to be mean to me, they're not trying to trigger me. They're not giving me a hard time they are having a hard time and they don't have the coping mechanisms to deal with it. So when someone's having a hard time, what do you do? If your wife or your friend or coworker comes up to you? It's like, oh, I'm really struggling. Right now, can I lean on you for some support? You're not going to get triggered and scream at them and call them idiots. And so why do we do this with our kids? It's too easy, right? They know our triggers. They've been around from the moment they were born, they have been seeing us, they've been observing us, they've been feeling into us. They've been mirroring our nervous system. And so they know more than anyone. And so kids, they need empathy. They need love affirmation, obviously, as the Father, you need to be challenging them, you need to be encouraging them. But when something specific happens like this, like an emotional outburst that you feel unprepared, for, you should be looking to establish secure attachment. That means in the words of Dr. Dan Siegel, you want to have your children feel safe, seen soothed and secure, they want to be safe, they want to feel physically safe from you, and from the outside world, because they know that you will keep them safe. They want to be seen, which means not just okay. Yeah, there you are. They want to know that you can see them empathetically, that you get them that you can see their inner world through their eyes, and they're like, Oh, I just feel so seen my entire being is seen right now, soothe, of course, when something is going on for them, when they're having a big feeling when they get hurt, they want to make sure that you're going to be there to soothe them. And all of these things will develop in them this feeling of security, that you can be trusted to come to that you are in the words again of Dr. Dan Siegel, you're going to be that safe harbor where they come back to in troubled times and the launching pad from which they safely enter the world. But you can't develop the secure attachment when you're triggered. Usually your child is having a hard time. And they don't have the coping mechanisms for all these overwhelming feelings or disappointments or stresses or whatever is going on in their lives. And it drives a wedge between you it's not what your kid needs when they have these huge feelings when they need help navigating them because they're kids, they couldn't possibly have learned to do these things on their own. If you react angrily, or poorly or destructively or you shut down, or you tell them you know, I'll give you something to cry about. They're not going to develop the four S's safe scene soothe and secure. So all of this, giving your kids what they need secure attachment, raising emotionally intelligent children, it actually all requires you to not be so easily triggered. It requires you to have coping mechanisms and coping strategies that allow you to respond rather than react. Which means you need to become more emotionally intelligent. You need to do the work, Dad healing your own wounds, and have strategies for dealing with the stress in the moment. But I talked about last Friday reflections a week ago on having crutches, right, some of these tools, they're not the be all end all but they do act as crutches to allow you to hop around hobble around and get off of your broken leg. And in this case, the broken leg is that wound that keeps being triggered. And so you need them so you can heal the broken leg, which is your deeper wound. And once you use these crutches you can start to do the deeper work to heal that wound or the leg in this case. And that's why we use them. And this was one of the most I'm going to share with you guys in a minute. One of the most powerful crutches that I created for myself in my meditation and healing journey. I used to tell myself after every time I reacted poorly and yelled at my kids be like never again. I noticed that go I know what it is. Now I know how to see it coming. Never going to do that. Again, it feels so bad. I hate myself for how I just reacted there. I'm never going to do that again, ever. They would go by my catch myself two days go by and I'd be triggered. And I yell and I blow up and I'd be like, Why would nothing work? Why am I so broken? That I can never fix this? Well, the answer was I had deep, deep wounds that were unhealed that were unfelt. And I needed to go through and do the work to heal those to finally get better, so to speak. Which means you know, integrate, become more authentic, not feel so bad all the time, initiate myself into manhood, all these types of things. But one of the things that I had to learn to do along the way, before I got to that healed point, was use these tools to not blow up. And so some of the things I did was have regular meditation practice, the more you are paying attention to everything around you, including inside your own body, and your own experience, the more you're gonna be able to notice when things come up, you'll be able to hedge them off sooner. Things like breathing in the moment when you're feeling really upset, taking a deep breath. Getting that nervous system settled, walking away, learning to communicate better, expressing my feelings with my words, rather than screaming them. I'm feeling angry right now. I need a little bit of a break. Please give me a moment. I'm gonna take a breath right now because I'm feeling so frustrated and I don't want to yell, things like that. But guys, I use this particular tool which I'm about to share with you for about six months straight. I would do this in my head every single morning. And maybe I'm just, you know, dense or something that it took so long to get through or maybe I was just hurting so bad that the trigger was so enormous. And I know a lot of guys can relate, I talk to you guys every week, that anger, impatience, frustration, these things are the usual ways that we react to being triggered. And so I'm gonna share here, a meditation that I developed. I uploaded this meditation to Insight Timer, which is a meditation app, but I'm going to share it here with you. Because this is a platform that we can reach more men. I know there are more of you listening here than there are an Insight Timer. And I'd love to see if this meditation works for you. I call it the visualizing triggers beforehand, meditation. And what we do is we sit down at the beginning of the day we meditate, it's about a 10 minute meditation. And what I do is I actually visualize a likely trigger, that will probably happen later that day. So for me, it might have been my older boys fighting, it might have been one of them yelling at me. It might have been being interrupted when I was working, whatever it was maybe screaming loud noises that would really trigger me. And so I visualized this happening in the quiet when I was meditating, I saw it happening. The next thing I asked myself was, why might this person usually my children be doing this? And I'd be really charitable? Oh, well, maybe they're hungry, or they're tired. Maybe they're lonely. Maybe I haven't actually played one on one with them for like a week or two, they're probably feeling pretty lonely, and they want some attention, even if it's negative. Maybe they're upset that their brother took something without asking, like, there's all sorts of reasons, really rational reasons, especially when you understand that your kids don't have the coping mechanisms that we're supposed to have as adults, why they would do things. It's like, oh, okay, well, in this calm space, and this couple of minutes, I can see why they might be doing this. That makes more sense. And the final step was, I would visualize myself calmly responding to the situation. I'd walk over there in my mind's eye, I kneel down and get on their level and breathe with them. I say I see, you're having a really hard time right now. Looks like you're really angry. And sports cast, which is a tool I picked up from Janet Lansbury, and ride parenting, which we talked about inside the village. Over the last week, we've done a little bit of a kickoff in a workshop on mindful parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children. And I would sportscast and I would empathize and would validate and I would just be there. And I create the secure attachment in my hand. And I would repeat that for as many triggers that have come up as many kids as I had any triggers that each one of them would likely make for me that day. I just visualize that process and go over and over and over. And what it did was it gave me a template in my mind to remember when it happened in real life. And so when did happen, it was like, Oh, I've done this before I did this earlier today, I know how to handle it. And obviously, you know, it's much more triggering when you're in the moment. And you wouldn't always work that well. But when I did this for months, at a time, it eventually started being my normal operating procedure, where I'd be like, Oh, yep, no, I've dealt with this one plenty of times, both in my meditations and in real life now, because I know what my triggers are. That's why guys, it's important to know what your likely triggers are. When do you get upset? When do you close off? When do you numb out? When do you Storm Away? When do you, you know, become mean, or whatever it is that you act like when you're triggered. Make sure you have that list handy in your mind, even journal about it. So that you can start putting two and two together and use this in your meditation. So first step, visualize the trigger while you're calm. Second step, ask why and be very charitable. And the third step is visualize yourself responding calmly. So I'm gonna drop the meditation into this podcast. Hopefully, it's useful for you was very useful for me in my journey. And you can just listen to this, I encourage you to find a spot in the morning. And fast forward to this portion of the podcast, listen to the meditation, and just start using it if it's helpful for you, because I know how helpful it was for me. So guys, like I just said, we are a couple of weeks into the launch of The Village by Dad Work. We've got about a bunch of men in there doing the work together, which is so amazing. We've had a kickoff call already, we've had a workshop with a parenting expert, who just blew my socks off, like I know all this stuff, so to speak, I've read it, I've practiced that, and a half her bring, you know, an hour and a half of just straight value was incredible to be a part of and we're already getting so many guys discussing things talking to one another, supporting each other, becoming better fathers. It's just incredible. If you want to get in, you can go to Dad.Work/Village. And I'd love to be along for your journey as you become a better man, partner and father. With all that being said, I'm gonna drop in the recording of this meditation. The visualizing triggers beforehand meditation so that you can start responding rather than reacting, especially reacting destructively when your kids trigger you. And hopefully this will lead to more peaceful home life, less guilt, shame and regret. and generally a more secure, loving relationship between you and your children. And likely a better marriage too. Because when you start showing up this way for your kids, man, it transfers over, everything gets easier. Literally, life becomes better when you start learning how to do this stuff, guys. So I'm gonna drop the meditation in here. Thank you guys for listening. And I'll see you back here on Tuesday for another episode of the downward podcast.
Welcome to a conscious fatherhood meditation by dad work. This is called visualizing triggers beforehand. The point of this meditation is to prime your nervous system, prime your mind to deal with a trigger properly, to be compassionate and calm when something happens later in the day that you know is likely to trigger you, whether that's your children screaming, whether that's them not listening to you, whether that's mess in your house, it doesn't matter. What we're going to do in this meditation is visualize that trigger happening. And they're going to visualize you reacting calmly and compassionately. And what this does is it helps to build pathways in our mind and our brain. So that when it happens in real life, when we're triggered, our mind remembers that there's a different way to act, rather than the usual reaction which may be explosive, which may be not the way that you wish you would react. So I'm going to get into it now. Find a comfortable seat. Adjust your posture, with your feet on the floor, or crossed beneath you have your backup straight, but relaxed. And I'll invite you to close your eyes. If it's comfortable to do so when if not just cast a 45 degree gaze down on the ground in front of you.
Now I want you to take a few breaths consciously. And notice where in your body you feel the breath could be in your nose, could be in your chest could be in your belly. Just take a couple of breaths, noticing where you feel it most closely and try to allow the awareness to sit where you feel the breath.
As you use the breath to connect to the body, I'm going to invite you to scan down your body from the very top of your head, the crown of your head, moving past your face and the back of your skull. Almost like an x ray, a few inches away from your body 360 degrees noticing everything that's happening right now. As you move down your face into your neck, into your shoulders. Noticing your arms and hands, how they feel any pain, any tingling, any temperatures you can feel, noticing your chest and your upper back. As you scan down, noticing your stomach, lower back, hips, groin, moving down into your legs, front and backs of each knee down the legs further. Feeling finally the ankles, the heels, soles of the feet and the toes. Nothing bad or good here just noticing being with what is.
And as you sit with what is I'm going to ask you to bring to mind one of the things that your children do that triggers you the most. Just take a moment pick one of your children pick one of the things that they do that you know drives you up the wall, that you constantly find yourself losing an ad that you answer with anger or impatience or frustration that you act in a way when this trigger happens that you don't like. Just bring that to mind. And I want you to visualize that happening is over happening right now just in the eye of your mind
and as you see this play out in your mind's eye start to notice how you Feel? Is there a tension in your chest? Is there a quickening of the heartbeat? Are you breathing faster? Do you feel warm? Do you feel cold? How does it feel as you visualize this trigger?
The point here is just to get comfortable with whatever feeling comes up. Knowing that you're safe right now, you're in a calm, peaceful meditative state. You can handle it, nothing is actually happening to you right now. And we're just going to continue to sit with that for a moment.
Now, I want you to ask yourself, why your kids might do this? What is it that is going on in their life that causes them to do this thing that's triggered you, there's always a reason, they might feel unseen, unheard, nervous, worried, hungry, tired, angry, dysregulated. What ever the case, from their point of view, it makes perfect sense. And just see, even if you can't get the exact reason try to empathize and see if you can see if there's any reason that they could have for doing this thing that triggers you so much, and just go in with compassion and empathy. Try to find something to make makes sense for them.
With empathy and compassion in your heart, just remembering that they're not doing this to give you a hard time, but that they are having a hard time that our children need us to be there for them, to see them, to hold them in their pain in their suffering in their discomfort.
Now from that understanding that whatever they're doing makes sense to them based on how they're feeling. I'm going to invite you to visualize yourself now reacting calmly and compassionately to this trigger. See yourself coming online in the scene. See whatever's happening to trigger you. And now watch you as you visualize your best self, not freaking out, not having a huge outburst. Sitting with the discomfort being a safe harbor for your child to bring feelings to things they need to share things they need to be seen and heard. I want you now to just visualize yourself in this triggering situation, reacting calmly and compassionately in build those neural pathways.
Noticing how it feels to be calm and compassionate? If you're usually not. See the look on your child's face perhaps surprise, perhaps love? What does it feel like to be acting like this rather than your usual patterns? As you just continue to watch this play out in your mind's eye
perhaps you visualize yourself taking a calm, deep breath continuing in this triggering situation to be as calm as you are right now in this meditation session.
All right, so I'm going to invite you if you have completed the visualization, and nothing else is coming to mind right now. Feel free to connect back to your body, your breath. Notice the rise and the fall of your stomach or your chest. Open your eyes eyes and come back to the surroundings. And if you have other children or if you know there are multiple things during the day that are likely to trigger you, I encourage you to sit for just a few more minutes and do that again. Go back, consider the trigger, watch. Ask yourself why your child might be doing that. And then watch yourself reacting calmly and compassionately to the trigger to your child. And just continue to do that you can do this daily, you can do it multiple times per day, or even just a couple times per week. The point is to build these neural pathways so that when we are triggered in our day to day life, our mind doesn't immediately go back to our habitual patterns of anger, annoyance, disapproval, dismissal, it gives us the chance to be calm and insightful for just the one or two seconds between the action and the response to show up as the calm, compassionate man that you just visualized in this meditation. So if you have multiple kids, if you have multiple triggers, encourage you to continue to sit with this. And when you're done, of course, connecting to the breath, opening your eyes and coming back to the room. That's it for now. I look forward to chatting with you in the next meditation. Please use this when and as you need it. Thank you
that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL Dad.Work/Pod to find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.
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