No matter how organized and productive you may be, if things aren't right in your family life and relationships, it's hard to feel good about what you're doing. So often, we may feel we are the only ones struggling with parenting our children or bonding with our spouse. The truth is, many of us struggle for a variety of reasons. Join Lynyetta Willis and me in this episode of the Productive Living series as we discuss how to empower ourselves, refocus our energy, and be our best self for our family.
Productive Living: Family Empowerment and Productivity
Dr. Lynyetta Willis is a psychologist, family empowerment coach, speaker, and author who helps frustrated families break free from stable misery and unhelpful habits in their parenting and partnerships, so they can create more harmony and joy with those they love. She lives in Georgia with her husband and their two children.
Lynyetta has been in the mental health field for 20 years, specializing in trauma healing, family and couples work, and parenting. She had her own practice for many years but has since closed it and is now coaching, working with families all over the world. Her clients (mostly women) tend to be very high achievers who feel like they are doing well in so many areas of their life, but when it comes to things like self-care, parenting, and partnerships, they feel like they are failing. This is an area Lynyetta refers to as stable misery: a place where we can get stuck in unhelpful patterns, often with those we love, making us feel unhappy.
Another phrase Lynyetta uses is stable misery minions, meaning the things that keep us in those habits, such as a sense of feeling disempowered.
One of the things Lynyetta really focuses on is family empowerment, as she has always been interested in family work in general. When we feel disempowered as parents or partners, it can really cause us to stay down in that place of stable misery. Lynyetta works with couples and families who just want to break free from that place so they can feel more in sync with who they want to be--and know they can be.
One of the ways Lynyetta helps is by helping people find the tools they need to feel empowered in their most important relationships. She wants her clients to feel empowered so they can show up in the best, most aligned way possible, for those in their lives. And when Lynyetta says she wants you to feel empowered, she doesn't mean over people, but by having power within yourself and with people. She wants you to ask yourself, "Where is my power in this moment", and then use that in a healthful way to shift the moment, or shift yourself, to positively affect what's going on around you.
Creating self-awareness and recognizing triggers
Lynyetta runs a 12-week program for parents called Trigger to Transform, in which she helps parents with transforming their triggers so they can overcome their unhelpful habits and become the parents they want to be. What often happens is that parents will read books and do other things to become the best parents they can be, but will then get into a situation with their kids that will trigger them and the book they just read will ultimately not be useful to them. This often makes parents feel worse about their situation. When we get triggered, the part of our brain (frontal lobe) that holds all the knowledge from the books we may have read gets locked up and we become emotional. We are put into a "fight or flight" mode and we fall back on old patterns that no longer work for us, such as yelling or shaming. Lynyetta talks about the Four Horseman Mindset in her work, and those four horsemen are pain, blame, shame, and avoidance. Those are the four default emotions we can fall back into when we are feeling triggered and disempowered.
Lynyetta says the best way to change these patterns of behavior is to realize that y