I am Not My Mother, My Daughter is Not Me

“Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate” Carl Jung

I like a good podcast to keep me company. I don’t always like to listen to them when i walk home after work: I like to immerse myself in the walk and the quiet. And yet, i was pulled to have company on a few walks recently. So, podcasts were a great solution. And guess what, they gave me both company and pause.

For instance, on Glennon Doyle’s recent podcast episode on her wonderful program We Can Do Hard Things, she had Dr. Becky on a two-part episode. They talked about parenting in modern times and the struggle to be present parents. And yea! They talked about IFS.

There were some nuggets in there for sure. As an attachment-based trauma therapist, a lot of what she shared was not new to me. And yet the timing in my own life is pretty serendipitous.

Here are some quotes i got straight from the source:
– “It’s the child job to have feelings and it’s my job to guide them to be able to have a way to process through them”
– “I need to embody my authority and boundary AND honour my child feelings”
– “We can’t learn to regulate feelings you don’t allow yourself to have”
– “We react most to who and what provokes our earliest attachments”

So this felt really relevant to me. I definitely have witnessed and experienced for myself that we look to shutdown in others what was shutdown in us: It is just too much for us to bear. It’s partly because we are triggered by our children in areas that not finished in our story. What doesn’t get healed and integrated in ourself can manifest into anxiety. And as Dr. Becky reminds us “anxiety is a symptom of what you want to do right or new but it old wiring and need to update the circuits.”

Um…yup yup yup.

In my recent therapy session, my own therapist reminded me to track what is my story and what is about my daughter directly. This was not a new idea to me: I’ve been noticing that this ending and beginning interplay between us has been quite present over the years. I have learned to say to myself “what is mine and what is not mine.” It’s a way of helping me discern where my own story ends and my daughter’s may begin, especially if there is overlap.

Lately, there has been a lot of overlap.

Some of it goes further back and i am also noticing what my mom’s story was.

It’s important to have this distinction because it helps to know what is within my control and worth tending to. It also gives me some agency to know what is worth my energy or when i might be transferring my own needs and experience onto my daughter.

For instance, i shared last month how my daughter is again facing a year at school where she is separated from her friends. I know this is a common experience, and yet it angers me that it still continues to be so. I wish that more consideration went into what we know now about children’s self-esteem and attachment theory.

I know what it’s like to be alone, separated from friends and not having a felt sense of belonging. Having a community is essential to help us grow into more actualized adults. It also can help buffer us from further pain related to relationships. When we have a good foundation, it gives us a healthier perspective on relationships and life in general.

Let’s not forget we are social creatures, wired for connection.

My mom did not have a big community when i was growing up. She had a few friends and spoke to our neighbours. My parents came to Canada during a mass immigration, but before the diaspora due to the war in what was Yugoslavia. She didn’t belong to a community, even though she supported family to come after her. I saw her try – with exercise classes, Spanish lessons, and talking to other dance moms. She was shy and quiet, mainly due to feeling insecure about her strong accent and a deep distrust of sharing herself with others. So that meant that i didn’t really see her socialize and have friends. It was rare for her go out in the evenings with a friend. More rare, or in fact never happened, was a weekend event outside the home.

Now, as an adult, i am catching myself comparing myself to my mom. I see one of the hardest struggles she endured was loneliness and a deep aloneness in her experience. She turned to me to be her confidant and emotional support. Even at 15 years old, i knew my place was to hold other people’s needs. It’s no surprise that i chose to be a psychotherapist, holding space for other’s feelings and narratives.

In my personal life, I make an intentional point to make plans with friends. This is important modeling for my kids. I want them to see not just that i value community but that having a felt sense of belonging establishes a healthy self regard for ourselves. It is also tied to feeling joy and pleasure in our life. I am grateful for a dinner out with friends or being able to start hosting them again in my home.

And yet, these past few months have been more lonely and alone than i ever would have expected. And that comes on the heels of a pandemic, rather than at its peak most isolating period.

So, when my daughter learned that she was not in the same class as her friends, i couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes. We are the same size so i actually worry i put her in my shoes.

My trauma is not my daughter’s trauma
My mom’s needs are not mine

Relational and attachment wounds start in childhood, mainly due to an insecure attachment to a primary caregiver. They can also arise later in life, due to an unhealthy relationship with an intimate partner or toxic friendship. They are a type of trauma. Being separated from friends in school can be a “small t” trauma itself. We feel so alone in the classroom, it feels like noone has our back and it is us against the world.

Here is the distinction though: not all events lead to trauma. What may be impacted by one person as trauma, another person who experiences the same thing may not be traumatized. In The Body Keeps the Score, countless stories remind us of this truth. It is not just that they are more resilient, but rather they were not alone in their experience and had a space to unpack their feelings. Peter Levine shares that one reason that trauma gets stored in the body is because we are alone in experiencing it and no one was there to help hold the story for us.

In the book What Happened to You, the authors shared their concept of the Three E’s of Trauma: Event Experience Effect. All three need to be reviewed to get a sense if the person is experiencing trauma as a response to an event.

This knowledge of trauma healing work gives a better backdrop to a family’s trauma cycle: the generational experience and patterns that may lead to intergenerational trauma.

Did you know that the egg that made you was first embedded in your grandmother? So her life experience can carry into your own cells. This includes legacy burdens.

“Only with heightened coping skills will we be able to rise above our shell shock and be who we want to be. All of us have the capacity to do this, and when we do, we will increase our own happiness and be of greater service to those around us.” Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia
Break the Cycle
I’ve been thinking a lot about epigenetics and the impact of intergenerational trauma. I have been tracking what ages of my children have been harder for me, not just as their mom but also as it brings up triggers of my own experience. At times, it shows me the scars of my unresolved traumas are being cut open again.

There are some things are definitely mine: The pandemic, my own birth trauma, i left home at 16 and i am the only mother in my extended family who also works outside the home (to name a few examples). And there are other things that are in my mom’s backpack baggage: Driving is hard, dating as a wife and romance was not visible, she left home country at 20 and had no family support.

How do these very different experiences impact us? One way we are impacted by intergenerational trauma and attachment wounds is our self-esteem. We witness our mothers and how they care for and see themselves. That modelling gets passed down to us and we internalize how we think we need to think about ourselves.

Self-esteem is the internal understanding of our self-regard. It gets mixed in with confidence, but that is an externally based reflection, due to a focus on attributes, success and sought-after items. Take for example, my parents got me a car in high school. It helped me get to dance class and yet it was a hot commodity with my friends. My confidence was boosted by the popularity i received by owning my own car.

Our self-esteem is a lifelong journey. At times, it is tumultuous. Many of us were raised in an era where our self-esteem and worth were not at the forefront of parenting or child-related systems (i.e. school). Now we know better.

Girls’ self-esteem peaks at age 8. In an era of social media and technology, i can’t help but wonder if the age is even younger now. According to Richard Schwartz, who created Internal Family Systems, we are born with all our Parts. What changes their role is how our life is shaped between the ages of 0-11 years old.

My kids are 13 and 10. No pressure, mama.

I have not always caught what triggers me until after the fact. Case in point: my daughter’s room. I thought i’d be that mom that didn’t care about how messy a kid’s bedroom got. For a while, i would just brush off the impact. At other times, i would go in and clean it up. Now, i barely go in there – and let’s be clear, it’s almost impossible to step foot on the actual floor. But i have to be mindful of what i say here – i am not a fan public shaming. Rather, my point is noticing with surprise, the impact my daughter’s room has on me. I have learned it’s a trauma response for me that is still unhealed, that makes it hard for me to accept the state of her room. I was never allowed to have a messy room. I internalized that in order for me to feel safe and calm, i needed a tidy space with everything where it belongs. For the sake of my nervous system, this helped me feel safe when i felt like i walked on eggshells at home.

Does that make me a permissive mom? Maybe. It also makes me a conscious, respectful and regulated mom who accepts what i cannot change.

Gretchen Smeltzer wrote in her book, Journey Through Trauma “the feeling of safety is an outcome, not an input, and trauma work. You create a safe environment in mind body spirit emotions and relationships and then you practice taking safety in.”

We become our patterns especially when we are not aware of them. That is what gets repeated.

I had an out of body experience recently, looking at my life from the outside in. Going through my mom’s things had real hon me how similar I have become to her. I have been so dreading becoming my mother for years. Her unhappiness, her endless craft works in progress, her lack of community. And lately I feel like I became her subconsciously, without realizing it. I noted that I don’t have to repeat what had been broken.


Coming out of the woods and back on our path is like healing from trauma. It is a hero’s journey – what we do with our life after healing trauma. Judith Herman’s theory of the 3 stages of trauma therapy really unpacks this process well. They mirror the journey of the hero, finally getting to integration.

Trauma is not just what happens to us, it’s what was taken from us because the trauma got in the way of our development. It’s also not having the support and resources we need to heal.

Trauma is a nervous system wound, and it is also a heart wound. “The ways it shapes and takes and changes us could be nothing less than heartbreak.” Syanna Wand. So it is also grief work – grief of what could have been, and was taken from us and can never be.

Trauma resolution is moving from a trauma vortex that’s designed to protect us from further harm to a more embodied place of pleasure and living life with full expression

Healing takes time and new wounds can happen, as new traumas can be had. What shifts is the dual awareness of what we need now, and what no longer is stored in us as a trauma vortex, but a more healed one.

So this is where I sit now – being able to notice where my story ends and my kids’ begin. It’s a way of stopping the intergenerational trauma from continuing on.

No pressure, mama.

I am Now a Motherless Daughter: A Club i did not sign up for

My mom died recently. It’s beyond words to have such a loss happen. While a part of me knew that it would come eventually, none of us were prepared for it to be so soon and so sudden.

Having my own personal experience with loss and the grief that is tethered to it has been an awakening. I don’t love all the new insights i have found and yet they have been transformative.

For instance, i see more clearly just how scared we are of death. It is not the death itself but how to hold the feelings that come with it. It reminds us that our own end is inevitable and that feelings that are messy and raw will be attached to it.

We are left alone to grieve. On the other side of life, we celebrate birth and rebirth – we have customs and rituals for rites of passage like the birth of a new being, graduation, getting a new job. In death, while we have rituals, they are still left to do in the shadows of the day. People may come to an event and then leave us alone in the aftermath.

They say grief is a type of trauma. While not all grief is trauma, all trauma has grief: Of what didn’t get to happen. Some grief is trauma because a person may die unexpectedly, in a painful way. Too quickly.

Like my mom.

We were just starting to see each other more, after 2 years of playing it safe for her. We were just starting to talk about sleepovers for the kids, and adventures to do together. I have been doing my own inner work and healing and was planning to reach out to know more about my ancestral line, my Family Tree and all the recipes and rituals of my heritage.

Those dreams are not dashed away with her ashes. There is so much regret there, in that grief and loss.

I have never lost someone close and important to me. When i was told my mom died unexpectedly, i was leaving to pick up my sister from the airport so that we could be with my mom. We were on our way to visit her together. I don’t think i will ever forget the scream that came out of my body when i was informed of her passing. I remember collapsing on the floor and my partner’s hesitant understanding of what i had just heard.

I went into auto-pilot and feel like it’s been that way since. As the eldest daughter, one who is trained to hold others’ grief and support them, it fell on me to do that for my family. No one stepped in to help guide us and hold space for us. No one offered companionship in what was needed to be done, or how to do it.

We had to learn each step on our own.


Ways to Care for Yourself after a Death
I don’t wish that for anyone. So, i wanted to share a few observations with you now, as a possible resource for when you lose someone. Because you will – death and loss are an inevitable experience for us all.

1) Get Help
We are still figuring out what help we need. But we need help to be fed and calls to make. We need help to distract us and to hold us when we cry. Ask a friend who you know has experienced a loss who may be able to help put you in the right path. Find a friend who will provide you the support you need.

Think about reaching out to a Grief Expert. That can be a Death Doula or companion, a grief therapist or group, a Wills lawyer, or even some of the many books out there. Like this one, I’m Dead, Now What. I’m also reading Finding Meaning, and am so grateful for the work of Amy Wright Glenn, who i have trained with several times.

I’ve been taking this training with Janina Fisher and am so grateful for its timing. It’s serving as a guide for me in a way that helps me make sense of things, when so much doesn’t right now.

We are not meant to grieve alone. We are grieving the loss of someone we lived. We grieve what matters so need community to companion us as community is what helps us heal.

2) Take Time to Honour Your Loved One
My family doesn’t have any rituals for death to honour, so my sister and i found ways to do it for ourselves. We created rituals that felt right and meaningful for us.

For instance, my sister and i carefully, lovingly, and thoughtfully put together what my mom would wear when she was cremated. We also put together a care package for her journey into after-life. She did this a lot for us, so it was fitting we would pay her back and honour her this way. We collected things that were meaningful and important for her – her reading glasses and a notebook for her thoughts and ideas, a favourite book, some yarn and knitting needles, letters from us and photos of us all. We also included some crystals and lavender to help her be cared for.

While this was a big emotional task for us, it was also so cathartic to honour her this way. It gave me a place to put my feelings, and to show her the love i was not always able to display.

3) Keep Talking to Her and About Her
I think people are afraid to ask us how we are, not just because it can bring up our sad feelings, but also because it is a fear of needing to hold us in them. And yet, it is so helpful to have a space to unpack our thoughts. That is what Holding Space is – and not everyone can do it. I want people to ask me about her. I want to talk about her, even if it makes me sad. It reminds me that even though she is gone, my thoughts and memories of her are still ever present.

That’s why i’ve come to chat with her. A give her a simple hello, or “Good morning” Mom.” Ironically, i know she wanted that more in life, so i guess i am trying to make up for that now. It helps to hold my grief in a more softer way. Seeing things that remind me of her are quite hard and yet also wonderful, as they keep me tied to her.

4) Take time for Pleasure
This may feel selfish or counter what we are told about grief. As we know that grief is tied to trauma and our nervous system, it is so important to titrate the hard feelings and stay in your Window of Tolerance. That’s why i kept my special date with my partner. I wanted to have a place to soften, and stay present in the here and now. That’s why the fresh flowers we get in ritual are so healing. They may forever be connected to the loss (i’m afraid of seeing peonies next year) and they help us see something beautiful right here right now.

So, make sure to take time to laugh a little, indulge in a gift for yourself, savour a glass of wine or chunk of chocolate. That is doing your body and healing process a favour, i promise.

5) Hold your Feelings

Just because you’re sensitive that doesn’t mean you’re not strong

The difference between holding your feelings versus holding in your feelings is where the healing starts or stops. When we keep them in, we start to feel more sorrow and suffering. That dance of feelings keeps us tethered to the loss in a way that does not honour our own place in the world. We grief what we loved. So we need to come back to feeling what was loved. It does not serve us to keep them in – we need to let ALL our feelings be felt and seen. This is the hardest part of grief – we don’t know how to hold some of these harder emotions. One place i start is to name them and see what my body needs in relation to the feeling. If i’m sad, i let the tears out. If i’m angry, i scream or dance really fast. If I’m lonely, i reach out to a friend.

If any of these tips is hard for you to put into practice, that is the place to start. I think it serves us to start to prepare for loss long before it shows up at our door. My own inner work was not enough – i had just started to tell people about my mom’s health and my worry of losing her. I wish i added the parts of what i need to care for me.

Another way that i hold my feelings is by writing. As a Narrative Therapist, i treasure this part of me. Here is what i wrote to my mom and for her when i said goodbye.

Motherless Mother: In My Own Words
My mom was so much more than my mom. And yet I think her role and identity as Mom is what shaped her life.

Her new role of grandmother was probably one of her favourite parts of who she was. And she was more than a grandmother.

She was a chemist and knew so much about herbs, plants and the science behind them as healers. Her thumbs were the greenest I’ve seen.

She’s creative – she could knit anything and had such a beautiful eye for detail in her paintings.

My mom has such a gentle soul and yet such a fierce spirit. She’s been through more than anyone needs to be in a lifetime. And yet she also fought for what she wanted. She chose to go through those adventures with an open heart.

My mom was more than just my mom and yet she’ll always be my mom. I’m so grateful for her guidance and love. I’m the mom I am because of her.

She gave her all to us so that we could live our best life. She martyred herself in how much she devoted her life to her family.

While I’m still in disbelief that she is gone, I know in my bones that she wanted to let go before she become a bother. Even in her last days, I think she was thinking of us. I also love that this was her last bit of control, choosing death over a long painful last chapter.

The woman who died was not my mom
She was a woman who needed peace in her body
My mother was magic:
She was a beautiful soul
She was complicated and strong
Brave and vulnerable
Creative and a collector
Gentle and fierce
And under it all, it was all love

I will miss my mom when
I see hummingbirds
I hear rain hit the glass windows at the cottage
I need a hug
I eat Burek and crave Ijvar and poppyseed strudel
I reach for a tissue or hard candy
I lean in to smell my peonies

I will miss her when
I put my hand out of the car and feel the breeze
i see catch the rainbows in the sky or when they dance on the floor
i am curling up with a good book
i need guidance with how to mother my children
i am planting in the garden
i am knitting
I want to tell her about something i’m proud of at work
i set the table for our gatherings

“There is a wild woman under our skin who wants nothing more than to dance until her feet are sore, sing her beautiful grief into the rafters, and offer the bottomless cup of her creativity as a way of life. And if you are able to sing from the very wound that you’ve worked so hard to hide, not only will it give meaning to your own story, but it becomes a corroborative voice for others with a similar wounding.” Toko-pa Turner

My mom is now with the wild women, the wise women that guide us. May she rest now and be my wise woman from beyond.

Thanks Mom for your love and care, your commitment and the foundation that you created for us. You are now a child of the universe and i will forever seek your guidance.

This is Our Attachment Styles

I am a fan of the show This is Us. I love it for several reasons – It makes me release the tears i hold in my body, i appreciate the genuine and honestly imperfect relationships and characters, i am glad to see diversity represented, to name a few reasons. While there is so much to appreciate, one particular gratitude i have is how the show depicts attachment and relationships.

You don’t have to watch the show or even like it to see attachment theory as a repeating guest in its story. I promise not to intentionally share any spoilers, and yet i can’t help but notice the way Randall, Kevin and Kate, known as The Big Three (the 3 main characters are triplets) showcase the various types of attachment. It’s a good reminder that personality, our own genetic make-up and our resilience are all factors in how our attachment styles show up.

First, let me give you an overview of Attachment Theory, from early childhood development to how it manifests in our adult relationships later on in life.

Generally speaking, there are 4 different attachment styles where young children (before the age of 3) start to attach to their primary caregiver – Secure, Ambivalent, Avoidant and Disorganized. Thanks to the good work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, we have a better sense of these categories. The differences can be found in many great resources like HERE OR HERE. But to summarize, a Securely Attached child is one who trusts that their primary caregiver has their back, will respond to them with love and attention, and will come back when needing to be apart. An Ambivalent child has some trust that their parent will be there for them, but because sometimes they weren’t able to comfort them (for whatever reason), the child is unsure (or ambivalent) about how much they could trust their adult. An Avoidant child does not entirely trust their caregiver either, but they are more dismissive or avoidant in their reaching out to their adult. As you can imagine, a Disorganized Attachment is one where abuse, neglect, violence or other forms of trauma get in the way of building a healthy bond.

In the show This is Us, the family experiences a tragedy in The Big Three’s late teen years. Diane Poole Heller speaks extensively on how trauma impacts attachment Prior to that, you can see how the children each had their own relationships with each other and each of their parents. You can also see how the death of their dad, Jack (spoiler from season 1) impacts them into their adulthood.

The latest seasons unpack this even further. We get glimpses of their lives growing up and how their relationships with their mom form. The show really is about how trauma impacts a family, and how different attachment styles play a further role in how we move in with our life.

According to Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Attachment is formed by these 6 stages of proximity, sameness, significance, love, belonging and being known. Watching this show, you can see how these stages play out in The Big Three’s childhoods. It is reassuring how they created a way to acknowledge both their differences and sameness as all of them love the same sports team and going swimming in their local pool. In their adult life, the siblings continuously show love, significance and belonging with each other, even with all their different paths in life.

The show moves between past storylines and present-day experiences. As we see both time periods as the same time, this makes the impact of attachment that much more explicit.
Our attachment styles are formed in childhood, and take years to fully develop into any style. When we become adults, that original style typically stays present as our current relationships reinforce it. Or, we heal or shift our attachment style. Some people heal old attachment wounds and form healthy secure attachments with their partners or friends; others get stuck in abusive unhealthy relationships that put cracks in their formerly secure attachment. Stan Tatkin has adapted the Types of Attachment from childhood to reflect on these early attachment styles present themselves in Adulthood. This helps us understand both our love/intimate relationships as well as how we connect to our friends.

The Anchor
Randall is the most securely attached, both to his parents and how it shows in his relationship with his partner and children. Ironically, he has further intersections of trauma that could have played a more key role in how he attached. Scenes from their childhood show that he is the most securely attached to his mom of the 3 siblings. There are some episodes that show how his anxiety is related to his enmeshment to his mom, where he feels responsible for her. It may be because he doesn’t want to lose her as he did his dad, as well as his biological parents. Some of this may stem from his early Attachment Trauma Wound and race as he is black and was adopted into a white family. For many years in their childhood, they struggled with how to intentionally connect to his roots and identity.

It is important to note that our behaviour and personality does not all stem from attachment. This balancing act reminds us just how crucial nature and nurture is in families. Randall has experienced feelings of anxiety since he was young. A way it manifests in his teens is how committed he is and how he cares for his mom even at the age of 18. Now as a committed husband and doting father, he demonstrates how a healthy family can be born.

Memory recall plays a key role in what to look for when reflecting on our attachment styles. Attached people can describe all memories coherently, both positive or negative ones. Adults who are Dismissive don’t remember as much, or idealize parents; Preoccupied adults are wrapped up in those past hurts. These differences become evident in the show, through The Big Three as they recall their dad’s life.

The Wave
Kevin is an actor and he married his high school sweetheart when they were still teens. He has had a harder time committing to any relationship, but always shows up for his family, even when it’s messy showing up. He has struggled with how to take care of his grief and it comes out in unhealthy ways – his originally adaptive social side became maladaptive when it led to a struggle with addiction. He quickly refocuses his love for his partner, who he married at a young age. After the breakup, he struggles with healthy relationships for years.

His need for connection, being seen, and belonging keeps him in the loop of casual relationships and sexual encounters without connection. He commits hard, but then quickly spirals into a worry that he is either not good enough, or the relationship is not what he needs. He is like that perpetual wave; he’s in for a bit and then out. His work life reflects this even more.

Looking back, with the help of more recent seasons, it is easy to understand how torn he is with his grief and guilt regarding the loss of his father. This too is a powerful reminder of how trauma and attachment wounds are instrumental in carving out our life paths as adults.
Just like personality, delinquency is not connected to attachment all the time – risk taking is necessary for adolescence development. It’s when someone becomes more anti-social that is linked to attachment needs not being met.We have learned through research about childhood and adolescent resilience that children typically respond to adversity in three different ways: Promiscuous and Risk-taker, the Perfect Child, or Withdrawing to be Invisible.

Some of what shapes us is our attachment style, as it can be inherited by how our own parents modelled connection and bonding. This is where the concepts of Legacy Burdens (a concept from Internal Family Systems), generational patterns or procedural learning come in. We also are shaped by how our family is reflected in the bigger systems and society. This article showcases what makes a ‘healthy family;’ attachcment is just a part of the bigger picture.

The Island
The sole woman of The Big Three, Kate shows the most powerful transformation for me. Spoiler alert: she was able to heal her former insecure attachment and now become both securely attached as a woman in her adult relationships as well as start to heal the old traumas of her childhood with her mom.

In earlier seasons, Kate is in an abusive first relationship as a teen. She does not believe she deserves better, as she lives with low self-worth and body image. While her parents repeatedly support, validate and encourage her, she feels more seen by her father. When he dies (don’t worry, this is not a true spoiler as we find this out in the first season), she doesn’t feel the same secure attachment to her mom. She feels like she lives in her mom’s shadow and does what she has to get out from under it.

There is something to be said about the ties between mothers and their daughters. As mothers (and maternal nurturing role figures in general) are who in general model connection, this makes some sense. A whole genre of books, courses and stories has been a lot of focus on mother-daughter relationships. Just look at The Lost Daughter to get a sense of this. Sil Reynolds (a Marion Woodman-Jungian coach) wrote a whole book on her relationship with her daughter. Bethany Webster works specifically on Mother Wounds and wrote a pivotal book Discovering Your Inner Mother; and Strange Situation by Bethany Saltman speaks directly about her attachment style and how it shaped her foundation of attachment with her own daughter.

“Take everything off your shoulders and give it to me. I can take it. That’s what I’m here for. ~Rebecca (Mom) to Kate

While we can heal attachment styles, it bears mentioning that they can be passed down through family. Again, this show portrayals the impact of family violence very well. Jack’s own father was very abusive to his mother. This impact of Intergenerational trauma could have become a legacy burden for Jack, a carried down belief that violence and abuse was acceptable. Instead, Jack does some deep inner work to not repeat the pattern.

I love a show where some of my favourite topics as a therapist are covered. Attachment Theory, healthy relationships, trauma, family, for instance. My whole family now looks out for these themes when we watch TV together. While This Is Us in one of the best portrayals of these themes, we don’t have to look far to see them: Stranger Things; Marvel movies for instance – the origin movie for the Black Widow for example; the movie and book The Lost Daughter; the latest Disney movie Encanto (a new favourite as a therapist!)

So the next time you are watching your favourite show, or a new one, think about what the character’s attachment style is. How might that play a role in how they behave in relationships?

Knowing what our history is with attachment, how our family of origin modelled connection and commitment are key hints to what our current relationships are. They set the foundation for our attachment style and ability to hold right relationship wth others in the present and future.

These past two years have really put us through a lot. Our mental health has been impacted, our bodies (whether we got sick or not), and our relationships with others. I know a lot of us have regressed in how we socialize and our connections have suffered. This can impact our attachment stye. Sometimes, our attachment style starts off insecure, and can heal; other times we start off with secure attachment and then have an unhealthy relationship: This shows that our attachment style can change, or be different depending on who we are in relationship with. So, if you are left wondering about how to repair some of your own attachment wounds, don’t’ worry – they can be repaired. I’ll be sharing some ways to do that just that in next article.