My guest today is Ivy Kwong.
Ivy shares about her journey to become a psychotherapist and how she’s healing her relationship and connecting with her parents. Ivy talks about increasing your capacity for discomfort and staying regulated during conversations. Casey and Ivy dig into genetic & experiential intergenerational trauma and how to start healing by expanding your awareness and reparenting yourself. They talk about knowing your inner-selves at different ages and what brings them out. Casey asks what clues we can look for that we have trauma to heal and if we need apologies from parents to move forward. Ivy explains setting boundaries with our parents. Casey and Ivy wrap up by talking about finding compassion for ourselves on our journey.
Ivy Kwong is a psychotherapist specializing in relationships, love and intimacy, trauma and codependency, and Asian American mental health.
She has a private practice for therapy clients in CA and WA and coaching worldwide. Ivy is the author of “Healing Codependency” and “The Little Girl, The Ocean, and The Moon,” a children’s book for both young and grown-up children on the importance of remembering and honoring your childhood dreams.
She speaks with companies, organizations, and ERG’s on mental health and relationships. Ivy is currently writing a book on healing your relationship with your parents for children of immigrants.
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Takeaways from the show
- Creating safe spaces for conversations
- Increasing your capacity for discomfort
- Healing intergenerational trauma
- Reparenting ourselves
- Knowing your inner-selves at different ages
- Clues that you have trauma to heal
- The desire to change our parents
- Setting boundaries with our parents
- Finding compassion for ourselves
What does joyful courage mean to you
Joyful courage means having and taking and saying yes to the opportunity to show up fully expressed as all that you are in this moment and in each moment.
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Casey O'Roarty, Ivy Kwong
Casey O'Roarty 00:04
Hello hello my friends. Welcome back to joyful courage, a conscious parenting podcast where we tease apart the challenges and nuances of parenting through the adolescent years. I am your host, Casey over already positive discipline trainer, parent coach and adolescent lead at Sprout double, where we celebrate not only the growth of children, but also the journey and evolution that we all get to go through as parents. This is a place where we keep it real. Real stories are real parenting. The teen years are real messy, and there aren't many right answers. But the more we trust ourselves, and trust our teens, the better the outcomes can be. The Parenting we talked about over here is relationship centered, you won't find a lot of talk about punishment, consequences or rewards. What you will hear is a lot of encouragement about connection, curiosity and life skill development. Our teens are on their own journey. And while we get to walk next to them for a bit, we don't get to walk for them. Their work is to learn from the tension of their life. Our work is to support them and love them along the way. I'm so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.
Casey O'Roarty 01:29
Hi, listeners, I am so excited to welcome you back and to welcome my guest today. IV Kuang IV is a psychotherapist specializing in relationships, love, intimacy, trauma and codependency and Asian American mental health. She has a private practice for therapy clients in California and Washington and coaching worldwide. IV is the author of healing codependency, and the little girl the ocean in the moon, a children's book for both grownups and youth on the importance of remembering and honoring your childhood dreams. She speaks with companies, organizations, and ERGs on mental health and relationships. I've he's currently writing a book on healing your relationship with your parents for children of immigrants. Hi, Ivy, welcome to the podcast.
Ivy Kwong 02:18
Hi, Casey. Thanks for having me.
Casey O'Roarty 02:20
Well, you start off by telling us your story of getting into the work that you do.
Ivy Kwong 02:28
How much time do we have? It's been a journey. Of course, growing up to Asian parents is very much doctor lawyer, these are the only two professions that exists that you're allowed to consider. I started out on the law track, and very quickly felt my soul shriveling underneath fluorescent lights, doing lots of faxing, and contracts. And I started volunteering on the suicide prevention hotline for hours every week. And after a while, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. And if there's a way for me to be able to do it for a living, I would like to say yes to that. Because just working in that space, you realize how much pain there is in the world. And I learned that by holding space in a really sacred way, just really listening to hearing and supporting people where they were at. There's a way to alleviate a little bit of that. So I'm very much a believer in leaving people places things situations better than when you found them. And so that was the switch to therapy. And I actually in the very beginning of my journey as a therapist specializing codependency and have since evolved to include Asian American mental health, certainly given the events of the past few years. Also really hopeful when it comes to having more avenues to speak about mental health and a culture and community that very much does not or has not previously due to shame, and it not being part of our upbringing, but that's definitely shifting, which is really helpful. Yeah, do
Casey O'Roarty 03:56
you feel like generationally that, you know, like, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z, like there's more of an opening for Asian Americans as far as releasing that shame and being willing to dig into their mental health experience?
Ivy Kwong 04:13
Absolutely. What I'm noticing is amongst the new generations, an openness, a willingness to understanding, just speaking, just speaking and sharing about what's really going on and seeking support for that, I mean, I feel like more and more people recognizing how the importance of mental health is just as important and very intimately tied to physical health. It's interesting, I think, in Asia, I forget where they opened up a mental health clinic and nobody went in, and they changed it to like, physical health clinic and everyone started going and it was essentially the same offering, but you just kind of market it in a slightly different way. It's really encouraging seeing a lot of folks who are parents and even grandparents being more and more open to the Derby, seeing how transformative has been for the children. I mean, this is also In something very new, certainly what I've been hearing and working with, so Well, I
Casey O'Roarty 05:06
am as a podcaster. And someone who loves to be in all sorts of conversations, especially in the context of parenting, raising kids, teens, specifically, I'm always seeking out new voices and new people to talk to, especially people of color. And when I came across your Instagram account, I was pulled, right. And I think I sent you a message. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I just watched, like, 15 videos that you posted of you having conversations with your parents, and inviting them into some really vulnerable, sharing around their experience of being parented and of parenting you, what inspired you to collect those conversations, and then to share them.
Ivy Kwong 05:52
I've been having a very unexpected journey of healing with my own parents in recent years. And it has allowed for so much more openness and possibility in terms of the conversations that we're able to have. And so the last few conversations prior to the one that I've recorded, where they're so rich, I was found myself wishing that I could just have them to have for myself. And so I did not plan on posting anything, I just really want to have these memories of myself maybe to share with my sisters, we have a go, I have three younger sisters, we have a sister's WhatsApp chat, I'm like, Oh my gosh, I'm gonna share this with them, too. We live in the east coast. So I just started recording. And it just kind of propped it up by the napkin holder and didn't say anything. And then had a conversation that ended up being one of the most powerful and profound, and I sent it to my sisters. And they were very much oh my god, I had no idea i Please mom and dad, we'd never heard some of these things shared before. And I realized that there was so much there that could maybe help support others who have immigrant parents or parents who have come from different countries, cultures, generations, just different lives, different worlds, and to be able to offer some compassion. Because I think if you listen to what is said, on one level, you might feel shocked or horrified or deeply unsettled. And wait a second instead, okay, and then in the little copy area of each video, I kind of elaborate on why what is being said is being said and where it comes from, and hopefully supporting greater compassion for all involved, which I didn't have before. I was very angry in the past about not getting the love, I wanted for my parents the way that I wanted it. And now they can say the exact same thing that would have caused me to fly into a rage in my teens and 20s. And that I can now listen to the message beneath it and receive with gratitude and much love.
Casey O'Roarty 07:46
There's just such a sweetness in your response to them. And a lightness, you know, like, especially when you were talking about saying I love you or there was a point where your mom was like, Yeah, I'm not into that. Basically, she's like, Yeah, don't do that. You do that you like that? I'm like that
Ivy Kwong 08:03
energy was just like, oh, I don't do huggy. huggy. Yeah.
Casey O'Roarty 08:07
And it's just like, you know, I mean, it's such a gift to come to that place. Because, you know, we all have whatever the baggage is that we're carrying based on how we were parented in the way that we were loved. And it's so easy to hang on to that. But to get some space and some perspective and to circle back and recognize that. I mean, we love people as a response to how we were loved either reliving the same thing that was given to us, or making a conscious choice of seeking out what we need and seeking out something different. But to go back, and to just kind of connect those dots to our parents and their experience of love. And, you know, and our grandparents experience of love, I just think it allows for so much healing and forgiveness and connection, and it's so alive in those videos. So thank you for sharing those. They were so sweet.
Ivy Kwong 09:07
for watching and for feeling what you felt.
Casey O'Roarty 09:09
Yeah. How did you create safety in those conversations? Like I imagined that outside of what was captured on camera, there might have been a little bit of like, why are you asking us this? Like, what's going on? And so how did you create safety because a lot of people want to have these kinds of conversations with their parents. And it's like, there's a barrier to that. Even as I think about my own experiences, I know that there are some painful memories for one of my parents in particular around how they showed up early on. And so it'd be able to hold a space where she's able to step in. is challenging.
Ivy Kwong 09:49
A few options that I say yes to that kind of set this up unintentionally. One was timing, timing is everything. This conversation and after a meal All right, we're all kind of just sitting around chatting a little bit of fruit, there's spaciousness, people are more relaxed, more present, just there's all right. We can busy this space, or we can all leave this space and play with the kids or on our phones, or we can stay here and continue to engage. And I think that every time I have approached my parents with sincere curiosity, care and no expectation, that's a big one going to zero expectations about it, because I think people can feel when you're wanting something from them. Oh,
Casey O'Roarty 10:33
yeah. teens and parents are like, Oh, yes. And
Ivy Kwong 10:37
we're very sensitive, then sometimes the first reaction is to close up and you don't get that? Well. So just curiosity and openness. And previously, if I heard something said that I didn't like that triggered me I would react by arguing, debating having them explain just it became more of an argument as opposed to a conversation. And so I found that one of the most beautiful ways to support people in sharing is to, again, lead with curiosity. Can you tell me more about that? As opposed to why? Why would you say that? Why are you like that? You know, just tell me more. Tell me more. More. I'd love to hear more. Can you elaborate on that, and I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing that. And maintaining that spirit of curiosity care and genuine presence with what is being shared without judgment, without shame without blame is really, I think, integral to any sort of safe space in any conversation you may have. Yeah,
Casey O'Roarty 11:29
I love that. You know, I just asked you how you created safety with your parents. And then I kind of joked about, oh, it's the same with teens. It is, it's human relationship. You know, human relationship. I recently had a client who's working on creating relationship with her kids. And you know, she's kind of moving in this personal growth space, and her partner is not and she's like, What do I do about this? And, you know, I really got to say, all these things that we've been talking about to create conversation and connection with our teens is absolutely stuff that you can lean into with your partner, you know, like, what do they need? What's their vision? How do they want to be, you know, spoken to what works for them? If you're taking lead? How do they want you to step in? Do they want you to step in. So, you know, this is just a reminder that, you know, for listeners, we package things as this is parenting, but really, it's humanizing. It's being in relationship with each other. And I think that really highlights what you're saying really highlights that
Ivy Kwong 12:31
one of the greatest gifts that we give ourselves or anyone else. relationally is increasing our capacity for discomfort, because so many conversations become derailed. Whether you're a parent having conversation or to team with your partner with your own parent, it's Oh, no, I'm triggered, suddenly, I'm in fight or flight mode, suddenly, I'm dysregulated. You know, maybe it's a parent talking their teen something triggers, and they're afraid and they want to protect their child and that you're no longer listening, you're no longer present. You're trying to save them or yourself. And so I found that in all conversations, being able to notice, oh, I'm having a response, I'm having a reaction, my heart is racing, right, and taking a moment to regulate so that you can continue the conversation because connection happens when you're regulated. When you're both regulated. When you calm and safe faster, you can connect, if you're in fight or flight or complete numbing out, you can't connect in that space. So the more you can do to support your own nervous systems regulation, the more present you can be, and the more rich your relationships can
Casey O'Roarty 13:31
be. Yeah, I love that. Talk a little bit about intergenerational trauma, and how that can show up. I think that's definitely something that therapists speak. It's been kind of a buzzword the last few years. And I feel like there's a lot of parents that don't even realize that they're experiencing intergenerational trauma, and that it's actually moving through them and into their experience with their kids. Talk about what it means to you.
Ivy Kwong 14:03
So a couple of things are coming up. I'll give a personal professional example. In the sciency world, they've done an experiment with rats, where one generation of rats gets to smell cherries while being zapped and electrocuted. And it's not fun, right? It's being shocked. So that generation of rats learns to have a very strong aversion to the smell of cherries, well, winds will run away well avoided at all costs. They found that six generations, six levels of offspring, you know, their children, their children's children, had an aversion to the smell of cherries, even though you know, six generations later, they had never been directly shocked. And so the things that we learned the trauma that we hold experiences that we have, we pass on both genetically and experientially, to our offspring. And if we don't have the awareness that it's happening, it just keeps going. I mean, just using an example of if the only form of discipline you ever knew was to Hit write, then one generation will get beaten and told well, this is how you're going to learn, they in turn, be the next generation, this is annoying, we'll learn they in turn, be the next. This is how you learn, this is what my parents did to me and their grandkids. To them, this is just what you do. Right, then it's very unconscious. And if you don't know you have a choice, you actually don't have a choice that is profound. And so so much of the work you do in therapy is expanding your awareness of knowing what you don't know. So that you can start to realize, oh, I can have choice. And once you realize you have choice, and you can have freedom, and that's where there can be healing for yourself generations before you and generations after you.
Casey O'Roarty 15:37
Yeah, so healing intergenerational trauma, like doing the work to expand awareness and realize you have a choice and interrupting our conditioning are those both the same thing?
Ivy Kwong 15:49
One is included in the other. Okay, so Gord of the work of healing, intergenerational trauma is expanding your awareness to give you greater choice and greater freedom, greater healing, there are so many levels and so many ways you can approach this healing. So one is also in the form of re parenting yourself, and giving yourself what you didn't get used to stop going to the source that cannot give it to you. So just to veer away from this, but it's also included in this. So many people choose romantic partners, who on some level, remind them of the parent that they didn't get what they needed from the most. So for example, if you had kind of like a withholding father who wasn't very emotional, perhaps you will be very strongly attracted and drawn to people who have more emotional unavailability. And then you try and heal that core wound, like showing how lovable you are and changing and fixing them. And if you get the love from them, that means you've healed the original wound. And we can rinse and repeat things in so many areas of our lives. But if we take the time to heal that core wound from within, then you stop looking for it externally. And I will say the same time, trauma that happens in relationship can only be healed in relationship, in community and with yourself. There's a balance to
Casey O'Roarty 17:01
this. Tell me more about that. So I'm thinking about my own experience of like, I notice, talking about being dysregulated. Like, I noticed that when I'm with my dad, I talk really fast. There's this like desperate energy that can show up not all the time, but sometimes it can show up. And I'm waiting for him to tell me how proud he is of me, because I have veered away from the expectation that I have been presented that I believe was kind of the conditional expectations that I think were placed upon me and kind of done my own thing and still want that approval. And so I noticed that when I put my shoulders back, and breathe, and feel my feet on the floor, and speak slower, and share with my dad from that body. I enjoy the sharing, and it's more about getting to share and less about needing something from him. Right. And part of that, too, is just being really clear for myself, that I am proud of me. So is that kind of the RE parenting. I'm always curious about re parenting. If I understand it, do I not understand it?
Ivy Kwong 18:16
So I'll go into repairing. But first, I just really want to honor what you shared about noticing how different it is, when you're speaking really quickly and have that Oh, Dad, are you gonna show me that and tell me that we're desperate? It's painful. One of the questions is, how old do I feel in this moment? Right? Do you feel like you in your current present day self? Do you feel like you're six years old, you feel like you're 1015 years old. And that's a part of you that's yearning for that validation that support those words from your father, so badly wanted to hear them. And part of the repenting work is okay, if that is not something my father has said ever said might ever say. Then the grieving of that on one level, and also the giving that to yourself, on another level, right? Standing yourself connecting with what is true for you, I am proud of what I'm sharing, and also finding people who are able This is the community, right? Yeah, to give you that from a sincere place of really being able to see you and share that from a place of their own truth. And so at that point, you don't need to have him say it so you can stand it and feeling what it feels like for yourself. And then ironically, that's actually most likely the place where she did actually feel you from a place I don't even okay, it's now and I can just enjoy this with you and feel whatever I'm feeling. So yeah, re parenting is essentially I believe that we hold all the parts of us that have ever been within us. So our infant cells, five year old cells, 10 years like all of our younger selves with their memories and their feelings and their desires and their dreams. They're all still inside of us and repair and he's kind of getting to know each part your inner child, your angry teenager. belly is teenager, right and getting to know them and being curious about who they are. And when they show up, and when they feel like they have to take over your life, because you don't have it, and they've got it. But you have a bunch of six year olds and teenagers running your adult lives, which, you know, we see this often in our culture in our society. Right? Wow. Oh, my gosh, I and so what would it be like to have fully embodied adult you, there's the practice and the cultivation of that, which is parenting and caring for all these younger versions of you so that you can be able to reassure them, hey, I've got this, I really appreciate you showing up for me so strongly, because you have so many times in the past, you can rest now, I've got us, right. And it's the practice of developing trust with different parts of yourself. One younger version of yourself might say, I don't trust you to have this, I've never seen you take care of this in a way that would take care of it. So I've got to get us. So it's basically a dialogue that you can have people journal, they speak out loud, they record they, you know, just meditate on it. But it's really developing a relationship with all of these younger us so that you can be more integrated as a whole notice who's showing up when and be able to call in your present day self to be able to choose whether you would like younger self to lead or your present day self to lead to give and give yourself that choice.
Casey O'Roarty 21:20
Are you longing for a community that allows you to be real about mothering through adolescence? Do you feel like everyone else has it all together, and yours seems to be the only household with struggling teens and struggling parents. I know how hard it is to be with the challenges that come up during this season of parenting. My own journey of moving through my teens anxiety, depression, disordered eating and school refusal felt super lonely, even with a circle of friends and family loving me through it. This is hard work. This is hard work. When we come together and community and hold space for the real stories and the raw emotion of our experience. It can take the edge off and give us the confidence to believe that we will get through what we're going through the living joyful courage membership is a year long program that does just that twice every month, we circle up moms from all across the globe for connecting learning and sharing. The membership also includes retreats, book clubs, one on one coaching, and an active private forum for in the moment SOS calls for support. All the lJC members are also invited to sit in on the public six week positive discipline 14 classes that I put on throughout the year. This is such a special community, I only open the doors twice a year, and there are a few spots available to fill. If you're interested in sinking into this community and growth while raising your teens, consider joining in the enrollment doors will open January 1, you can get in the weight on the waitlist. Now by heading to www dot FBI spreadable.com/ljc. Again, if you want to make sure that you don't miss those doors opening, head over to be spreadable.com/ljc That'll get you on the waitlist and you can find out more information about the program. It's so interesting, because my son is almost 17. And my daughter is almost 20. And I would say the inner self that shows up that gets me into the most mischief just in a variety of areas is my like 16 to 20 year old self. And so I can see when I'm paying attention, right? I'm not going to act like I'm super Zen all the time. But when I'm paying attention, I can see that, you know, especially lately with my son, and I think I've even talked about this on the podcast. So he's in that individuation process where you know, who am I separate from you? What views of mine are separate than yours. And that is a place where I have serious being dismissed issues like when I went to college and I started learning like a more liberal mindset than the really conservative minded household that I grew up in and came home and was all excited about what I was learning. Basically, the message was, you do not really know what you're talking about. Like that's not right, and just complete dismissal. And I notice though, when my child when my son comes to me with information, especially when it's contrary to what I believe I'm like, No, ooh, right. And so I'm really working. And I also speak into like, hey, when I was your age, this is how I was made to feel. And I want you to know that I'm working really hard not to create that kind of dynamic between the two of us so I'm really expressive about that but Man, it is like, right under the surface. Things right
Ivy Kwong 25:06
out there. It's embedded into you. You literally have to restructure your cellular. Yes. So you do. And it's possible with time practice the words consistency, to embody a completely different way of being and relating, but it takes constant. humbling.
Casey O'Roarty 25:23
Yeah. Well, and humbling and like being willing to notice when it's after the fact, I noticed, like after the fact, I'll say if I'm, you know, again, if it's like, oh, I want to explore this, because that felt really shitty. Right? So what was going on? For me? That that was my response for him?
Ivy Kwong 25:44
What can I reflect on what was happening in that moment? And what would I like to do differently, one of the most powerful things any parent can do for their child, and we can do for anyone else in relationship is to apologize and take responsibility for what has happened, what you have done, and what you can do differently in the future, from a place of sincerity, thoughtfulness and care. When you
Casey O'Roarty 26:06
work with clients, and you have an inkling maybe they're a new client, or you just haven't kind of explored intergenerational trauma with them yet, are there indicators that show up to you that are kind of like, Oh, I wonder if this is a place to explore? Because I'm thinking about listeners who might just be like, No, I think it's easy to hold a narrow perspective on what Big T trauma is, and like help the listeners kind of explore their own possibility around, perhaps there being something to heal or reparent.
Ivy Kwong 26:40
So there are clues. There are clues, and some of the clues show up in the form of this is how it's always been. And this is just how it is. Do you find yourself saying, Well, this is just how it is just how the world is, this is just how I am Whoo, that's a big one. This is just how I am.
Casey O'Roarty 26:56
Oh, my God, I have to tell you, I said that to my husband, when we were like dating, and I was much more of a drinker. And I remember being like, I get mean, when I drink. It's just my mom and me coming out. And he looked at me and he was like, well, you can change that. Yes. I didn't realize at the time how profound that was. I'm sure I was irritated by the response at the moment. But of course, what
Ivy Kwong 27:17
are you talking about? No idea. Let me prove you, right. And so anything where there's that level of No, right, like, almost a fear of losing that part of your identity, that belief that you've held to be true for so long? And if you have an opportunity to actually look at it, and maybe be curious about it, and maybe it could soften. And that's where there's more space for the curiosity, the compassion and change, as opposed to the rigidity.
Casey O'Roarty 27:50
Yeah. What do you think about having this feeling around needing an apology from parents, like, well, they need to apologize for me to be able to move on.
Ivy Kwong 28:03
So much of humanity puts a pause on their own healing and moving forward, because I cannot I will not move forward unless and until I get that apology, unless and until if they can't take accountability for the pain that they caused. I'm going to continue to hurt myself, or to prevent myself from being able to live or to experience any sort of joy or pleasure, what's coming up as you're hearing that. It's like, oh, let me continue to punish myself. I know that for a long time, I was like, my parents, cause pain continue to cause pain Don't account I haven't. And so you know what, I'm going to continue to punish myself. And they apologize. And then it will be announced, like, whoa, whoa, whoa. And for a long time, that was just how it was driving. So many of my decisions and behaviors was this anger and rage I had towards them that I actually turned inward towards myself. And so many people have this anger, rage, resentment, that they either turn inward or outward towards others that are actually not their parents, because that's a whole nother dynamic that maybe you cannot be as direct with about your emotions, especially when you're both in dysregulated states, right? Just first of all so much compassion for your having been harmed. And sometimes the people who harmed you will not realize the harm. Do you acknowledge the harm? Do you believe that they harmed you? Surely won't. I know that for a lot of folks in my community, the parents are very much well, I'm going to berate you, and I'm going to call you a stupid idiot. And I'm going to motivate you this way. And this is loving you because by motivating you to achieve and perform and do well through this threat and punishment and emotional abuse, right, that's me making sure that you'll be okay in the world. And so you can experience that as very real harm and your parents might experience it as very real love, if that's what they experienced with therapy. Then from their parents from their parents or their parents. And so both of you are actually right. And there's two completely different realities that are, quote unquote, right? So what do you do with yours because if you want an apology that's using you to change your entire reality to be the same as my reality, and sometimes that just isn't possible. And so so much of that work is first and foremost, recognizing and acknowledging the harm is real. I say sometimes you have to go through a period of fu like Screw you anger before you can get forgiveness and peace and gratitude and joy, right? You can't spiritually bypass all of that grief and anger that year. Because that sorrow is real, that pain is real, that sadness around you have to allow yourself to feel it. And can you allow yourself to acknowledge that that is not okay. There are things that I would like to feel but are not those things? How can I create those for myself? How can I create a world where I can receive that from others? And how can I resource myself in the RE parenting, right? You parenting, I'm so sorry, little six year old self that that happened to you. I'm so sorry that they hurt you. Um, so that was not okay. And I've got you now. And I'll protect you now. And I'll make sure that no one speaks to you like that again. And then from that space, perhaps from there, as you have your need taken care of, you don't need the apology, you can see your parents in a broader way as the wounded traumatized child they are.
Casey O'Roarty 31:30
And again, as you do your own healing, you can have space to hold the reality that you're experienced, while not dishonouring your own. So you can then hold both and more the and and both not either, or, I love what became possible for me, when I let go of needing this thing that wasn't going to happen. And letting go really of my parents personal growth journey, like I'm not in charge of their personal growth journey. And I'm in charge of my personal growth journey. And actually, the more that I grow, and I focus in on that awareness, and the path that I'm on and looking for purpose, you know, whether it's the purpose of my relationships, or my parenting experiences, or whatever my work, it's like, all the things that are binding me to these people are unraveling. And I can enjoy them so much more without these ties of this is what I need from you. By the way, you're not even this person. So why am I expecting? Super deeply emotionally? Yes,
Ivy Kwong 32:38
right completely. And again, if you keep hoping to interact with someone who is not actually the person you're interacting with disconnect, loneliness, sadness, grief, and what happens if you are able to, again, show up for yourself in a way where however anyone else shows up or doesn't show up, that can be theirs. And so often, when you're a child, you are entirely dependent upon your parents for survival. You just are right, right. So if they don't change, your life is literally in danger. And so sometimes you try and change yourself, you don't trigger whatever it may be of harm or danger to you. And as we grow up, suddenly, there's Oh, well, maybe I can change my parents and kind of change this home history past present future. And that's such a deep childhood desire. Um, Dad, when when will you be what I want to need to be? And again, I see this in folks who are 20s 30s 40s 50s 60s, even their parents who have passed, they're still why weren't they what I wanted them to be. And once you shift from Why aren't you what I want and need you to be? To? How can I give myself what I have needed from you for so long? And then how can I see you and perhaps have the chance to be with you as you are. And sometimes there's a realization, there might need to be some boundaries set in that space, internally or externally. And sometimes you realize that, ah, there are some things about this dynamic that are not okay. And maybe I can now speak and share them from a place without attachment to the outcome, but from a place of love, because I'd like a more genuine connection. And again, this can go any which way. But again, you're not doing it for the purpose of that outcome. You're doing it because this is true that you need to hear spoken from your lips about what is true for you.
Casey O'Roarty 34:25
Yeah, I really appreciate the boundaries conversation. I have many parents, I've stepped parents and I have two different households that I grew up in, which was just that was just normal, and went through a particular challenge with my older child. Actually, I've had a couple of different moments where one was sending an email like, Hey, this is what's happening. This is what we're choosing. I love you. I know you have opinions and I'm not giving you permission to share your opinion. And then another time where I was only going to communicate via text because I had to protect myself. I was already in so much doubt and worry around how I was supporting my child that it would not serve me to get, you know, the extra, we think you've just got to do it like this. This is how it should look. And it's hard. Like, I mean, I adore my family. And, you know, it can feel really painful sometimes to be around them because of their lack of filter. awareness that not everybody sees the world the way that they see it. Yeah, so permission listeners, right, like set the boundaries you need to set and they don't have to like it. Right? It's not about them. It's about what do you need? What is your family need? What is your inner child need? That's what I'm really hearing you say IV, is to choose that inner child,
Ivy Kwong 35:46
yes, to choose to care for the inner child. That means you need to take some space and a break through them and yourself. And absolutely, you do that, you know, there's internal boundaries. What am I going to do with my capacity right now, like you said, I'm going to text my son right now and not call and have a voice conversation. So that was an internal boundary for yourself.
Casey O'Roarty 36:06
That was with my parents, not my kids. They prefer tax. My kids are setting boundaries with me like we'll talk about this over text. conversations over text right? With the teenagers.
Ivy Kwong 36:19
Or I can imagine Yeah, yeah, but the extra boundary of how you allow yourself to be treated by another, right? No, it's not okay for you to yell at me like that, and screaming and the conversation now we can reconvene at a time when we can speak to each other and these conversational tones. Also, I just want to be mindful the fact that culturally, in many Asian cultures, what is a boundary? And how dare you set a boundary with me? Right? So so many times there's a you are not your own independent, autonomous being you are an extension of me. And so therefore, there is a lot of expectation, filial piety, you must respect me I am the elder, you don't question me, you're not allowed to have your own preferences opinions is because you must always defer to that of what is in the greatest good of the family, which I decide,
Casey O'Roarty 37:06
right? Is that that difference between like an interdependent society versus this independent kind of Western white?
Ivy Kwong 37:15
Handed? Very much we're all in connection with each other. Independence is we are all separate autonomous beings, and there can be in measurement, and then there can be too much independence to point of isolation. Again, for those who have grown up in two different household with two from cultures in two different worlds. Where do you go? And how do you decide and determine what is actually most true for you. Because for some folks, they say, I will never cut off my parents, a lot of white therapists tell me to cut off your family. They're toxic, don't have anything to do with them. But they're like, but it would hurt me more, to be completely cut off from them, than it would hurt me to have to be in the presence of some of their harm. So I choose the lesser harms. And this is different for everyone. What is more helpful, that doesn't move into the realm of being it's more harmful? Yeah, and that's a personal individual sacred decision that everyone can make for themselves and no judgement. Yeah, that's true. You?
Casey O'Roarty 38:15
Yeah, well, and I appreciate you bringing that up culturally, because it's easy to, for me with my lens and my life experience to look at something a certain way. I mean, cuts, there are days where I'm like, What is with you people, but at the end of the day, I adore my family, they're wacky and have their own special brand, but I want to be in relationship with them. And even in that want and that desire, again, I get to come back to but what is this person actually capable of offering to me? Right, and can I receive the love the way that they're able to give it? And can that be enough?
Ivy Kwong 38:50
Yes. Am I a resource sort of place where I'm able to hate in a way where I can maintain my foundation? groundedness smile with them? Or do I need a little bit of space before I reach out or reach back?
Casey O'Roarty 39:03
Yeah. Oh, my gosh, this is so good. So good. What advice just as we I'm looking at the time, I can't believe how fast time just went by even though we had tech difficulties at the beginning. I know that cut into it, but oh my gosh. So once we start to realize like, I'm having these realizations about where I'm looking for, for me, like that sense of worthiness, and you know, being seen, and then I start to notice all the different places where the conditioning runs deep and it can feel discouraging it can feel like my ever gonna figure this out. Am I ever gonna? I know the answer to this. Am I ever gonna get to that place where this is no longer an issue for me? Probably not. But how can we source compassion for ourselves and just the journey that we're on with all of this?
Ivy Kwong 39:51
So first, noticing when there's shaming, blaming judgment, criticism, right, our own inner critic can be so loud Why aren't you already there yet? There's no there to get to write up on this. Yeah. Right. And it's like, okay, this is present, this would like to be met in this moment, can I beat it now, and now And now and now. And so often so much of the change that I see people don't even see themselves, because it can be so miniscule, but it adds up. And I just say, as long as we have life, as long as we have breath, as long as we're alive, there was more that we can discover and grow from and heal from and have revealed. And this is part of being human right. Like you said, there's no end now I am totally then ever regulated, right? We're just not meant to live like that. Yeah, yeah. And so first of all, you're human. Second of all, can you surround yourself with a compassionate, caring community who can see love you support you exactly as you are on your journey, no matter where it is. 10 steps forward, two steps backward anywhere, you know, on the spectrum, and just love you there. Because you experiencing their love for you where you're at can also support you in loving yourself and accepting yourself. Continuing to surround yourself with if you're interested about something, read a book about it, right, let me learn how to do differently. Let me learn what other perspectives that are, let me learn whether options I have, right, we can learn so much through the stories of others listening to podcasts, right? Like how, in the 12, step rooms, right, there's different people different levels of life experience that you can have experience, strength, and hope and different levels of that in all the spaces because you can create a community for yourself, where you can have different levels of different people at different places in their journey. They can love you or they can love where they're at. And so that's super important too. And And again, when it comes to your own, noticing what you're doing to yourself, right, I'm beating myself up. And the moment I noticed that I can choose to keep going, Yeah, I can choose to keep self flagellating, or I can choose maybe to check in with what part of myself is really hurting right now really not feeling like she's enough, not that she's doing a bad job, right? And then oh, how old are you? Come here? Yeah, it's must be really hard to feel that way. I know that you might have gotten a lot of messages to do things faster, or that, you know, they're not good enough yet. And I just wanna let you know, you're great just as you are, and want to do better with the next little baby step we can take or if we need rest, can we give ourselves rest? Because healing work can be a lot of work, and not burn out on the journey. How can we make this painful and in a way that nourishes us, as opposed to exhausting dreams as
Casey O'Roarty 42:28
well. And I really appreciate to that initial step of being aware that you're in the shame spiral, being aware that you're in the self doubt that you're in the inner critic. And like you said, awareness provides space for that choice. So listeners, pay attention.
Ivy Kwong 42:51
And sometimes if you're in a case really loud, you're like, Alright, I'm setting a timer, you have three minutes, go go for it just go all out. Sometimes you do that there's like a lien kind of shine a spotlight on that part of you. And they can actually be seen as opposed to lurking you know, do to do
Casey O'Roarty 43:06
Yeah, so you're done. I guess we're done. Yeah.
Ivy Kwong 43:09
Alright. So again, all these different practices to try that can support you on your journey.
Casey O'Roarty 43:15
Love it. Thank you so much. And I want to talk to you about codependency like I have more than I want to talk to you about Ivy. Is there anything else that you want to make sure that you would leave listeners with today before we close it up?
Ivy Kwong 43:28
Oh, I'm grateful to be here grateful to the chance to speak thank you to those that are listening, that are making and protecting time and space for yourself. And if there's one thing that you heard or felt during this conversation, to explore that, to integrate that to begin to practice that maybe with curiosity and care for yourself and for others, and thank you for doing the work that you're doing. It's so important, like I said earlier, the work that you're doing to heal heals yourself it was before in those who will come after you.
Casey O'Roarty 43:59
Yeah, I always end my conversations with one last question which is what does joyful courage mean to you IV
Ivy Kwong 44:07
Woo. Joyful courage means having and taking and saying yes to the opportunity to show up fully expressed as all that you are in this moment, and in each moment.
Casey O'Roarty 44:20
Lovely, thank you. Where can people find you and follow your work?
Ivy Kwong 44:25
All my social media Instagram everything handles are at B A R E i vy bear it like they're your soul? Bear you know your IV and my website is Bear iv.com So feel free to say hi on Instagram or YouTube or Facebook or medium.com. So yes, thank you for connecting with me. Great from each video for anyone who's curious.
Casey O'Roarty 44:44
Yay. Thank you again so much for hanging out with me. This was awesome.
Ivy Kwong 44:49
No worries. Thank you, Casey for having me. Take care of
Casey O'Roarty 44:59
ya All right, thank you again for listening in to a another show. Please check the show notes for any links mentioned in this episode. If you liked what you heard today, will you do me a favor and share it screenshot the show plastered all over your social so that other parents know that we are creating value over here for them. If you really want to earn a gold star, head to Apple podcasts and leave us a review this does so much for the show for the exposure. It's a great way to give back. Thank you to my team at Sprout double for all your support. Alana Juliet, I love you so much. Thank you to Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper, for keeping the show sounding so good. And you listener, thank you for continuing to show up. This is hard work that we're doing. I encourage you in this moment, in this moment together. Let's take a deep breath in. And follow that into your body. Hold it for a moment, exhale. And with that exhale, release the tension. And I invite you to trust, trust that everything is going to be okay. I'm so happy to support you. So glad to have spent time with you today. I'll see you next week.