Processing When a Child is Newly Diagnosed, with Dr. Lynyetta Willis
This week I’m talking with Dr. Lynyetta Willis about navigating the journey when a child is newly diagnosed with a neurodifference. A psychologist turned family coach, Lynyetta specializes in empowering women in their relationships, as well as combines her foundation in psychology and trauma healing with best practices in empowerment coaching to help her clients strengthen their parenting, partnerships, and personal growth to create joyful, connected, and harmonious families.
There are so many things I could have talked about with Lynyetta, but I wanted to dig into what happens to a couple, and a family, when a child is newly diagnosed — an often challenging and real process for many parents of differently wired kids. We talk about the sister emotions of grief and guilt, the importance of self-compassion and self-care in the process, how to handle different reactions in partnerships, and more.
About Dr. Lynyetta Willis
Dr. Lynyetta G. Willis, psychologist and family empowerment coach, helps frustrated families break unhelpful patterns and cross-generational cycles so they can move from stable misery into peaceful harmony. She helps her clients and audiences learn to strengthen their parenting, partnership, and personal growth practices so they can feel harmony in their hearts and homes.
Things you’ll learn from this episode
- The difference between practicing clinical psychology and coaching work
- What are the common emotions after a diagnosis and how to process them in a healthy way
- Lynyetta’s PATHS framework: Perspective, Awareness, Tools, Healing, Self-Empowerment
- Tips for getting on the same page as parenting partners
- What is meant by the term “stable misery”
Resources mentioned for navigating when a child is newly diagnosed
Special message from our sponsor
ND Renegade is a neurodiverse family-run business that shines a light on neurodiversity. Their clothing is comfortable, tag-free, and has cool designs that celebrate neurological difference such as autism and ADHD. They aim to start conversations and to help neurodivergent people feel proud of their differences. ND Renegade is here to tell the world that neurodiversity is beautiful!
Use the code NDRTilt15 for a 15% discount. Learn more at NDrenegade.com.
Debbie Reber 00:00
This episode is brought to you by ND Renegade. ND Renegade is a clothing company that celebrates neurodiversity. They make teas, tank tops, hoodies, and sweatshirts all with designs aimed at making neurodivergent people feel proud of their differences, and their clothes are tag free. Learn more at ndrenegade.com and use the code and NDRTilt15 for a 15% discount.
Lynyetta Willis 00:27
One thing I would say is, this is just a label. It’s just something that our field puts on a particular constellation of symptoms, if you will, quote unquote, and numbers and things like that. How this can be most powerful is to ask the question. Okay, now that I have this information, what do I do? How do I use it?
Debbie Reber 00:57
Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host Debbie Reber. And I just have to say before I even introduced this episode, I am traveling right now post move, and I forgot my good microphone. I’m sitting in a closet in my friend’s house in Seattle using really not so great earbuds. So I apologize for the audio quality for the introduction, but rest assured the interview itself was recorded with my regular setup. Anyway, onto the show. This week, I am talking with Dr. Lynyetta Willis, a psychologist turned family coach who specializes in empowering women in their relationships, a lot of live yet his work combines her foundation in psychology and trauma, healing with best practices and empowerment coaching to help our clients strengthen their parenting partnerships and personal growth to create joyful, connected and harmonious families. So there are so many things I could have talked with lineata about but for today’s episode, we focused our conversation on navigating the emotional fallout after a diagnosis. It is a difficult and real process for many parents of differently wired kids. We talk about the sister emotions of grief and guilt, the importance of self compassion and self care in the process, how to handle different reactions in partnerships and more. This is one of those packed conversations with lots of great insights. And I love how Lynetta’s passion for her work shines through. I hope you enjoy it. And as always, I just want to say thank you so much for being a part of this tilt parenting revolution. If you want to stay in the loop about important news, new classes and special live events, you can sign up at tiltparenting.com. And if you’re on Facebook, be sure to join my Tilt Together community for sharing resources and insights from other parents and caregivers like you. You can find that at facebook.com/groups/tilttogether. Thanks so much. And now here is my conversation with Lynyetta.
Debbie Reber 03:18
Hello, Lynyetta, welcome to the podcast.
Lynyetta Willis 03:21
Hi, how are you? I’m so glad to be here.
Debbie Reber 03:25
I’m happy to have you here. We had this schedule for months and months ago and it’s funny how that seems like a long time ago and how nothing has really changed between now and then in life. I’m happy to be finally having this conversation with you. And I would love it if you could, you know, I’ve read your bio, your credentials and the fancy stuff. But if you could take a few minutes to just tell us a little bit about who you are in the world. And what you do and maybe your personal why for doing that work.
Lynyetta Willis 03:56
Yes, yes. So I am a family empowerment coach and trained as a psychologist, I have two children, ages nine and 12. I feel like I probably should know that faster, but they just grow so doggone fast. I just can’t keep up anymore. And let’s see, I now do. I had a private practice for a number of years and before my daughter was born, I closed it when we moved to a new city. And I always thought I was gonna open it again. That was always the intention. And it was probably about two years in and I said yeah, I’m not opening this thing again. And I decided that I really wanted to have a wider reach and help people not just in my area that come to my office but you know, all over the globe. So I started looking into coaching and fell in love with it. And now I literally coach people all over the world. I have a parenting group program that I run called Triggered to Transformed and there are people in there from all over the world, which just gets me so excited to be able to touch so many lives and connect with so many people. And so my why oh, wow, you know, I grew up in a time and in a family where things like children should be seen and not heard and spare the rod, spoil the child and stop crying before it gives you something to cry about. And all those types of phrases were used. And when I haven’t experienced it with my little sister, I have a sister who’s 20 years younger than me. I don’t know what my mother was thinking, I hear the question I hear. It’s like reading through the airwaves, I have no idea. But nonetheless, I have a sister, lover her to death, 20 years younger than me. And when I was in college, I had an experience where I screamed at her and I threatened to hit her. And I still remember that moment, just watching her face crumble. And I said, I’m not doing this, like this has got to stop, you know, this legacy of spanking and threatening. And I call it the four horsemen mindset, pain, blame, shame and avoidance that we often see used in different families. And so I made a promise to her and myself that I was going to do everything I could to stop that. And now, I love helping frustrated families, break free from what I call stable misery, you know, you find yourself caught in those unhelpful patterns, that often times are the result of what we experienced growing up ourselves. So I love helping people break those intergenerational dramas and raise their kids differently from how they were raised. And like I said, I work with parents as well as couples, and individuals too, and I just do it because it needs to be done. Right? We need to start as human beings and be Congress is great. But I really feel like we have to raise the consciousness of families, right? Everybody in Congress comes from a family. And I really feel like, we have to switch and shift how we show up on a familial level in order to really shift the consciousness of the planet, which I mean, call me, you know, overly optimistic, but I do think it’s possible.
Debbie Reber 07:20
I love it. I love your optimism, I am going to join you in that optimistic outlook. And I love this work that you do. And actually, this is just maybe a little question, but I’m curious for people who are listening, could you explain what differentiates work as a psychologist and in that space, and then coaching what you said you really fell in love with? What’s the distinction?
Lynyetta Willis 07:43
Yeah. As a psychologist, my main specialty area was trauma healing. And that was extremely rewarding work. And it took a lot of energy. Right. So as a psychologist, we spent a lot of time in the past, we spent a lot of time really working on really deep healing work, which people need, I needed it like, you know, I had my own therapist for a while. And so it’s really important. Now as a coach, what I do is I say, you know, we get an Airbnb or VRBO in the past, but we don’t buy a home there. We use it as a tool, to help us envision how we want to be in the present and where we want to go in the future. So I’m much more action oriented as a coach. And of course, I use my resources and my knowledge and wisdom, from trauma, healing, and things of that nature. But in terms of working with people for years, years, and years and years, healing those deep wounds, people usually come to me after they’ve already had some of that healing work. So most people that I see are pretty self aware and know where a lot of the skeletons are. And really, they just want to figure out, Okay, I have this awareness. Now with this awareness. How do I take those forward steps? How do I move forward in my life in relationships, so that I’m not stuck anymore, right? So they have the wisdom, they have the insight and the knowledge. It’s like, how do I move forward? How do I keep going, and that’s where I come in as a coach.
Debbie Reber 09:22
Got it. Thank you. Thanks for explaining that. So obviously, we could talk about so many things today and your work. sounds fascinating. And one of the things I wanted to focus on when we first, you know, started communicating about bringing you on the show was how to support couples, parents navigate that process of finding out that their child is moving through the world differently, right. Maybe they have just gotten a diagnosis. Maybe they’re on that path and it’s kind of that moment where they’re confronting Okay, this is not what I expected. This is going off path, of course, from where I thought we’d be right now. And so I’d love to get into that a little bit and maybe talk about, from your experience, what are parents experiencing maybe on an individual level? And then there’s also the couple piece of it, like, how do they do that together? So could you talk a little bit about that?
Lynyetta Willis 10:25
Of course, one of the biggest things that I see parents struggling with or like to say dancing with when they receive that diagnosis, is first it’s like the shell shock. And so parents had a whim or an indication, like an indication that there was something going on. But to hear it, it knocks a lot of people over and the main emotion that I see is one of grief. Because we have, you know, we like to think sometimes I think that, Oh, I’m so open whenever my child wants, that’s fine with me, um, you know, but I mean, if we’re honest, we have visions of what we want our child to do, and how we want our child to be what we imagine our child becoming, and, and when we get indicators that our child may not be neurotypical, or there may be other things going on with them. We, sometimes those beliefs, or those fantasies can seem to be dashed, or cut short. And so the first thing that I noticed that parents go through, and I actually encourage is grieving. And in addition to the grief is also sometimes guilt, hey, they often are sister emotions, because what happens is they’ll get the diagnosis. And then it should be this idea of, oh, if I grieve, then is that a sign that I’m not fully accepting of my child? Is that a sign that, you know, as a parent, I’m wanting my child to be different, and that in some way makes me bad. And my thing is, no, it doesn’t, it doesn’t make you bad, it makes you normal, it’s okay to say, I thought things were gonna go this way. And now they’re not, right. And sitting with that is really, really important. And realizing that that’s not a bad realization, it’s not a bad thing to accept about yourself. One of the things that I created, it’s called the pavs framework. And it’s a framework that I use to help families really strengthen their relationships, and especially move through those triggered moments. And the first letter stands for perspective. And perspective represents our vision of what we want. So getting clear on that, which I’ll talk about in a bit, but also it represents the stories in our head, right? So allowing ourselves to grieve also involves sitting down and having a conversation or writing down in your journal, what are the stories in my head that are coming up about the diagnosis or about myself or about my child, and really getting all of those out, so that you can acknowledge them? And really understand and connect and not be overwhelmed by them? That make sense?
Debbie Reber 13:24
Yeah, absolutely. And I find this topic of grief. So interesting. You know, I use that word in my book when talking about exactly what you said, like giving ourselves a minute to acknowledge, you know, these beliefs or fantasies, as you said about what we thought this was going to look like. And that disconnect between what’s happening and I find this word grief is very triggering for a lot of people and that there are some spaces where, using that term, people can jump to the conclusion that that means you don’t wish that child existed or, and so I’m just wondering what, and I think it’s important that we don’t bury that stuff that we we do confront it, and we do sit with it, as you say, so how do parents do that in a safe way that isn’t going to trigger shame, or guilt, but really give themselves the opportunity to process it so they can move through it?
Lynyetta Willis 14:27
For sure. I’m so glad you brought that up. You know, my first suggestion would be Don’t be in those shame circles. extricate yourself, by whatever means necessary from people who say things like that, you know, grief is it’s a complex one, but it’s an emotion, right? I mean, I would argue it’s a multitude of emotions, but when they all come together, we label it grief. And all that means is it’s just a sense of loss of something. If you have had a vision or a fantasy or a thought. And in your mind, you’re thinking, I no longer have that, or that’s not the way it’s going to be, then grief is a normal reaction. And if we pretend that it’s not there, or we bury it, or we demonize it in some way, that all we’re doing is shoving it down. It’s just going to come out in other ways. So those parts of us that have grief and I use the word parts deliberately, because it’s not all of you, right? It’s not like more than likely, you know, every aspect of you is not sitting there saying, you know, Oh, I wish things were differently different. But even if you have those moments where they are, just be there in that moment, shaming it, burying, it doesn’t make it any different. It absolutely most certainly does not make you a bad parent, and anyone who says it does, again, I suggest you extricate yourself from that, because it is what it is, we can’t control what we feel. We can control how we respond to what we feel. But we can’t control what we feel, right. And if that is the immediate reaction that you have, again, like I said, Get out a journal or sit down and speak with somebody, but just talk out what’s going on in your mind. And if something comes up, where you’re like, Oh, that feels really bad to say, right? Again, just own that. That’s just a part of me, though, and it feels this way right now. And I’m going to allow that feeling to be there, knowing that tomorrow, it can be different, right? They’re not static, they are feelings, they shift and ebb and flow. But realizing that it doesn’t say anything bad about you, because you feel grief, and shaming people or being shamed or even shaming yourself isn’t necessarily going to make that grief go away. going anywhere, still gonna be there. It just varies. And as the adage goes, nothing likes being buried alive. And that includes feelings.
Debbie Reber 17:00
Yeah, yeah. And I’m thinking that what we resist persists, right? We need to get it out. So once we do that processing, and where, you know, we’ve had the, perhaps shell shocked, I think that is probably a word even again, as you said, for parents who had an inkling that or a deep sense always that their child was in some way differently wired. You know, what comes next? Is there kind of a natural progression to I hate to even say to reach acceptance, like, it’s some, you know, and goal, this destination that we’re gonna just reach, and then we’re done. But you know, what does the journey look like for most parents?
Lynyetta Willis 17:36
Yeah. So once we get that sense of, like, what are the stories in our head, the next thing I suggest, which is the next step in the path framework, is to really allow yourself to be aware of all of the emotions and body sensations that are coming up, grief is going to be one and they’re going to be others too. Right. So being aware of that, because the more we’re aware of it we are, the less likely we are to bury it, the less likely we are to turn away, or to take it out on ourselves or other people that we care about. Right? So just being aware of them and of what’s coming up in you. The other thing that people do, the next one in the past model is tools, you know, and I say we’re always using a tool. Question is never Am I using a tool, but rather the question is, is the tool I’m using helpful or unhelpful? And whenever we get information about a situation that’s unexpected, I don’t know about you, but I want to go into like, do it mode, like I just want to do something, you know, so And with this, another powerful step could be to sit down and intentionally decide what am I going to do with this information? What would be helpful when I would do evaluations for parents on learning disabilities and or for children with learning disabilities and ADHD in different diagnoses? One thing I would say is, this is just a label. It’s just something that our field puts on a particular constellation of symptoms, if you will, quote unquote, and numbers and things like that. how this can be most powerful is to ask the question, okay, now that I have this information, what do I do? How do I use it? The information, really, instead of because sometimes the tendency is, oh, well, my child has this autism diagnosis or this certain learning disability or ADHD, and that becomes a label, right? Like, Oh, well, that’s just because of the ADHD or Oh, that’s just because of the all too and it’s like, that’s not as helpful as Okay, now that I have this information, what are steps that I can take to learn more about my child to understand my child and ultimately To help myself and my child move through the world with more grace and ease and enjoyment, right, so figuring out how can I use this information to make our family stronger? And more enjoyable? What questions for this answer? What do I now understand about myself or my child that I didn’t understand before? Right? So using it as a tool, and not so much as just a label of something that Oh, my child has this because that can definitely send us down the road of catastrophizing, right? Oh, well, this means that ABCD XYZ, when in reality, we don’t, you can’t really tell what’s going to happen in the I mean, maybe you can, but I can’t really tell what’s gonna happen in the future. Right? So really figuring out what I can do with this information now? And how can it help me move forward in a productive way? Yeah, really, really a helpful way to approach it?
Debbie Reber 20:59
Yeah, I love that perspective. And then, so now I need to know what the H is in your paths framework.
Lynyetta Willis 21:08
Yes, yes. So the H stands for healing. And this is really big, because when you find out that your child is differently wired, it can bring up so much of our stuff, stuff that was created way before our child with even a twinkle in our eye, right. And it just, it could trigger a lot of our old stuff around enoughness, or around control or all of these different things. So when we get clear of the stories in our head, and we get clear of our feelings and our body sensations, and and we get clear on what we can do and you know, steps that we can take to make this helpful, and to take helpful steps, excuse me, then we can take all of that and look at it and say, Okay, what would it mean needs to be healed? Right? Is there anything that this is bringing up for me that suggests that maybe I need to enter into a relationship with someone with a professional relationship to get support around what this is bringing up in me? I do work with my clients and sometimes will integrate hypnosis hypnotherapy into the process. And it’s really interesting when we kind of focus on one particular situation with their child. And then it will automatically in our mind connect back to something from like, when they are like six years old, it’s something that happens. And then it was like, wait, what’s that even have to do with anything. And lo and behold, it has a lot to do with what’s going on. And it’s interesting, because as you heal some of that stuff, or as you just get insight into it. Again, if it’s something deeply traumatic, that may be like, Okay, this is gonna take some time, right? Maybe we need to be in a, maybe you need to enter into a longer term therapy relationship. But sometimes it’s just something where it’s just the awareness, and having the self compassion and the tenderness for ourselves can really help clear the way to heal things that come up within us. And and move and then we notice when that thing is healed, it actually releases some of the tension or the anger or the resentment or whatever else is coming up in us related to your child. It’s really fascinating how that can happen. Yeah, so that’s, that’s really important. And also it seems for healing, but it also stands for honoring. When I think parents in general, we have this this some of us, I shouldn’t say all of us, but we have this tendency to not to not meet our needs or think our needs are as important or put our needs on the backburner, right, which can actually lead us to react in ways that lead that leave us feeling less than proud as parents, right? So if I’m overwhelmed and triggered and exhausted and all these other things, that because I’m not meeting my needs, I’m just focusing on my child then ultimately, I’m probably going to show up in ways that leave me less than proud at some point, right? So the H also stands for honoring our needs. So asking like, yeah, maybe I do need to heal something from when I was six, maybe I just need to take time to eat or take a nap or shower. Right so it also stands for honoring our basic needs because when we find out anything about our child, it’s unexpected. We immediately want to go into do it or fix it mode… help it mode, right? So remembering your needs in the midst of that is so important.
Debbie Reber 24:56
I love that reminder. Yeah 100% you are speaking my language. And, you know, I think it goes back to that, that willingness to be able to sit with the discomfort to be aware to, you know, just kind of be open to the process. But there can be so many, you know, healing gifts of that I think our kids give us a lot of opportunity to discover more about ourselves. And that being a tremendous gift.
Lynyetta Willis 25:28
For sure I, I always say, those who bring our stuff up, are here to help us wake up. And our children are definitely good at that, you know, regardless of how they’re wired, or were wired, we all have those moments where we can feel triggered. Yeah. And, you know, I always say, you know, you’re triggered when you handle a laser beam situation with an atom bomb response. And we can really find ourselves in those uncomfortable moments. So being able to just acknowledge that, like you said, and, and, and have that compassion for ourselves, when we’re in those moments is really, really important. And that brings me to the last letter of the past model, which is self empowerment. And this is really important, because a lot of times we can feel disempowered as parents, especially when we first hear that our child is differently wired, right, like, it can feel like, Oh, I have no power, I have no control, you know. And that can lead our brains to shut down and lead us to overreact in ways that are less than helpful. So with the empowerment piece, I work with parents and encourage them to ask, where’s my power in this moment, because we all have power, even if you’re tied up in a basement, you still have power over whether up or eat or you know, so we have power in moments and deciding for ourselves, where’s my power in this moment? And what helps me to feel more empowered, right? What are things that I need to do for myself to help me feel like I have more power in this moment. And it’s interesting, because the reason why I put together this work, how I developed this framework was I realized, these are all areas, getting perspective, creating a vision, which is something else that that I didn’t mention that I’ll say briefly, it, our brains naturally go towards catastrophizing, and focusing on what we don’t want. And there’s an evolutionary reason for that, right. So when we were way back in the caveman days, you know, focusing on all the good things, and the flowers and the lilies and the birds, I mean, that’s great. But you really need to be looking out for that lion that you saw, you know, yesterday, that almost ate you, you know, so our brains naturally go towards the negative whenever we’re in those situations of heightened frustration, because that’s how we can protect ourselves. If I can see the negative, then I can figure out how to avoid the negative and deal with the negative and get my butt up Patrice, that lion doesn’t need it. Right? So it’s very natural to do that. And that’s why I encourage people to take steps towards creating things like being conscious and intentionally creating a vision of the life that you do want with your child. What do you want with your child? What do you want that process to look like? What do you want your connection to look like? And really focusing on that writing it out, speaking it out, allowing you just to bask in it independent of what you’ve been told any diagnosis, you’ve received any of that? What type of relationship do you want to have with your child? What would that look like if you had it all your way, in your ideal world, because when we focus on that, and we hold that, then we’re much more likely to move towards it and to take even subconscious steps towards creating that. When we focus on what we don’t want, we’re more likely to move in that direction. Right? So it’s really important, and I say this all the time. I know people, you know, it’s interesting. We’re like, wait, create a vision? What? Yes, create a vision, it is so powerful, and so important. It doesn’t that you don’t have to pull out a board or any of that, you know, what would I want my child my relationship with my child to look like and another year or two years or six months or 20 years from now, what do I envision, you know, can really help us to move in that direction and towards what we do want in a in a more loving and intentional way.
Debbie Reber 29:39
Yeah, and spending time in that space and giving our brains the opportunity to just envision what that would feel like to have that relationship or dynamic. I know that that creates more of that feeling and more of that experience for us. So it’s so important.
Lynyetta Willis 29:57
Debbie Reber 30:03
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Debbie Reber 30:55
I would love to talk about couples for a moment. So I know from experience, I know from talking to many parents that getting information or a label or diagnosis for a child, oftentimes, both partners if there are two partners are not on the same page. Sometimes one parent goes into research mode and is like all in another might be in denial. They may grieve in different ways. So How can parents who are having these very individual responses and going on their own journey of sorting this out and making sense of it? How can they come together? Or support each other through that?
Lynyetta Willis 31:40
Yeah, the first thing is to acknowledge that there’s distance there. Right? Like, it’s, it’s easy, I think you dive into trying to fight the other person, you know, into submission around like, no, this is what needs to happen, this is what needs to happen. But first, just taking a moment to say, I’m aware that we see things differently on this or I feel as if we see things differently, or we have different ideas on how we should handle this or what direction we should move or not move. Right. So being really clear. First of all that and just acknowledging the fact that there is a disconnect, because what often happens when we fail to acknowledge that disconnect is, that’s when we can slip into that stable misery mode, where we start to rely on unhelpful patterns or not talking and not connecting at all. And that doesn’t feel good either. Right. So the first thing is just acknowledging. The other thing is, and I talked to a couples about this all the time — get on the same side of the net. When we get into arguments, as couples, it’s so easy to almost like we’re on opposite sides of the team, I have a team and we’re fighting each other, when in reality, it’s more it makes more sense to say, and I’ve literally had couples do this, I will say get up, take something, whether it be a ruler or yarn or something and just lay it out on the floor. And then I want one of you to see it on one side of it. And another one to stand on the other side of it. This is the net. How do you feel towards each other when you’re standing on opposite sides of the net? Right? Like not very good, feels odd and awkward and you know, and disconnected and lonely. And then I’ll have one of them, I don’t care which one to walk around to the same side of the net. And I’ll say, Okay, now I want you on the same side of the net in the in the issue that you’re trying to solve, or the thing that you really want to get more information on put that on the other side of the net, not actually haven’t get an object to represent whatever it is, it could be the diagnosis, it could be whatever it is. And now I sit and then I say okay, you’re on the same side of the net. This is on the other side of the net, what do you feel pulled to do? Right? What’s the first step? And inevitably what the first step often is, is to talk to the other person, like problem solve, right? Like you’re like, Alright, what do we do? Okay, here’s the thing, what should be the next step, right? Like, what are we doing? It’s like, Alright, now we have a ball game, because now you’re on a team, you know, and so it’s really just acknowledging, I mean, you could go through all that, but also acknowledging that you both want what’s best for this child. Ultimately, that’s what it is. Now, you might be going in different directions. And there might be different reasons for that. But just realizing that this partner of yours wants what’s best for this child, you want what’s best for your child. If that’s the case, that’s not the case. That’s another conversation. But if you can agree on that, then actually, that’s half the journey. Because now the question is, okay, how can we each use our own ideas of how we should approach this, how can we What are they? Right? Get them out, be very clear about that. And then notice the strengths in each one, right? Is their strength, and just sort of pulling away every once in a while and saying, you know what, we’re not going to talk about this, right? Or we’re only going to talk about this on these days at this time. Or like, Is there a benefit in that? Is there something empowering about putting boundaries around certain conversations? And is there strength? Can the other person see strengths in going all in and researching and reading and doing, you know, what needs what they feel needs to be done? To really like, push this rocket forward? You know, and realizing everybody has their own needs and their own ways of dealing with a situation, honoring that about the other person and then deciding, okay, how can we pull the way that we’re being together, or the way that we want to function in this together so that we can approach this as a team, as opposed to not only pushing our energy in different directions, but against each other, which doesn’t serve anyone.
Debbie Reber 36:14
I love a visual that just I felt it, you know, just facing each other with that net between it feels completely different. And that instinct when you’re on the same team is to collaborate and be like, okay, what’s our strategy? So thank you for that … such a great way to think about things. So before we wrap up, you’ve mentioned the term stable misery a couple of times, and I know that that is a big part of the work that you do is, is helping couples move from stable misery into more productive, peaceful relationships? Because so can you just kind of explain what exactly you mean by stable misery? And how do parents know, how do listeners know if that’s what’s going on with them, and then any suggestions for moving through that?
Lynyetta Willis 37:04
For sure, you know, stable misery is that place that we can find ourselves, it’s usually in our parenting or in our partnerships, where there is that disconnect, and it can show up in many ways, like, for some, it’s, we’re just like, things are fine. There’s nothing inherently wrong, you know, we have a roof over our heads, we have food. But there’s just this sense of unfulfillment. Or there’s this overarching sense of just disconnect, and it doesn’t feel good. And it’s stable, because it’s familiar. And in some ways, maybe even safe and predictable. But it’s miserable, because you’re unhappy, and you’re feeling disconnected and miserable. Right. And as parents, what that can look like is, you know, you can’t remember the last time you actually enjoy parenting, or you, you find yourself seeing and anticipating the drama, more than you see yourself feeling or anticipating the joy. Or maybe you and your partner are constantly going back and forth. Anytime you talk, it seems to lead to a fight or arguments, and maybe you can’t get on the same parenting page. Or maybe you find that you’re overreacting all the time with your kid, even when they’re just being kids, right? It’s like your reaction is to just snap and get really frustrated. Or you’re falling back on those old habits that were used on you as a kid that you note in work, and you promise you would never do but you do it anyway. Or maybe you feel more competent in your career than you do with your family. Right? So I mean, there’s all of these different things that can happen that can come up to lead us to feel as if we’re just not connecting, and it doesn’t feel good. And again, it’s not so bad that it’s like that’s it, we’re done. It’s very clear, but it’s not good, either. It does feel good. So I work with both parents and couples who fall into this because it is possible to get back into that joyful place. Like I was in a stable misery marriage for quite some time, you know, and my husband and I week, realized it and we got in with someone. And it completely transformed things. I say you go from stable misery to dynamic joy, you know, and it’s not that we’re joyful all the time. You know, I say joy is less like an on off switch and more like a dimmer switch. And so you realize that it’s just an indicator, like anything else, you know, if we get two points where it’s like, we’re, we’re kind of off today, aren’t we? I haven’t had much joy in this relationship today. Right? And that’s an indicator that okay, what do we need to notice, what’s coming up, what needs To be our next best step, right? Same thing with our kids, we find ourselves constantly falling into the same patterns again and again and again. And we’re not sure how to break free or how to get out, then it’s time to slow down, turn this around and move even one step closer to joy, again, doesn’t have to be like, oh, parenting Yay. Oh, it might just be like, all right, you know, I can I can, I can stand my kid for five more minutes. Right. And without losing it like that might be as close to joy as you can get today. And that’s, that’s something.
Debbie Reber 40:38
Yeah, again, I think it’s that noticing piece, it’s giving yourself the space to just be aware of what’s going on and to tune in. And also, inertia is a real thing, right? We just get into our ruts, in our patterns. And it’s, it’s a good reminder that, that we can also choose to try to manifest or create or Spark more joy in our day to day lives. So I would love to know you have a lot of things going on — offerings for parents, and a lot of ways that people can engage with your work. So could you tell us a little, you know, for a few minutes where people can connect with you and what you’ve got coming up.
Lynyetta Willis 41:20
So as I mentioned earlier, I have a course called Triggered to Transformed. And it’s based on this idea that a lot of great parenting courses out there. But what I often hear from parents, I’m in this field for over 20 years now. Right? So I started to notice some themes. And one of the things I would hear parents say is, we all that’s great if I can remember it, if I can get to it, right. But I’m so triggered, that I can’t access all that great book knowledge when I need it. So I realized that for the parents that I work with, the first step needs to be dealing with those triggers. Because we all have the 50 bazillion parenting books on our shelf, right, but we have to be able to access the knowledge. So triggered to transform is a program that I created. It’s a 12 week program, where we use the paps framework. And in it you really develop the tools and the mindset, and the know how to really focus in on your triggers. And one of the things that people walk away with is you walk away with your own parenting book, right? Because that is what I feel is so important. It’s great to read. But when you really learn what is the best next step for me and my family for me and my child, right, given my history, given what I do and don’t do or know and don’t know, what is my next best step, that is what’s going to keep us out of the parenting stable misery pit and on the path to transformation, as opposed to feeling triggered all the time. So I have that coming up. But even before that, what I’m going to do is I have a five day workshop that I’m really excited about, that you can do that will actually help you to create your first parenting plan. So in five days, I’m going to walk you through and show you how to create a plan to deal with a specific trigger that you may be dancing with. So I like to call it and you can go to calm my trigger calm to register for that. calm my trigger calm. And then the other thing if you’re curious about how you can implement the path framework into your own world, like right now, you can go to healing, stable, Misery, calm. And you can download that and it goes specifically through How can I implement this framework to pull me out of stable misery today? How can I start that journey right now? So both of those, you can use one caveat I gave about the healing stable misery.com. It’s a roadmap that is just focused on one at a time, please don’t pull up the whole roadmap. Say I’m gonna do all of these today. No focus on one a day or one a week. They’re powerful enough on their own. So just one at a time.
Debbie Reber 44:11
Great. Awesome. Well, listeners, I will have links to all of these resources in the show notes page, I highly recommend checking them out. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve shared with us today. You’ve given a lot of great insights for parents who are especially in their early stages, but at any stage really, of coming to terms with and just a deeper understanding of how to best support our kids through this whole journey. So thank you so much for all of this. For sure. Thank you so much for having me. This is fun. You’ve been listening to the tilde parenting podcast. You can find links to all the resources my guests and I discussed on the detailed show notes page. Just go to tiltparenting.com/podcasts and select this episode. If you love this podcast and want to help cover the cost of its production, please consider joining my Patreon campaign. For as little as $2 a month you can help cover the cost of the hosting platform, editing, production and more. Just go to patreon.com/tiltparenting to learn more. Lastly, please help this podcast stay visible and easily found by subscribing and leaving a rating or review on Apple podcasts. Thanks so much for considering. And that’s all for this week. Stay safe, stay well and take good care and for more information on Tilt Parenting, visit www.tiltparenting.com