Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Listen to part 1 >
In this 2-part series, Jodi explains how your children can become emotionally disconnected—and if you do not understand distortion, you won’t even recognize that they are disconnecting! Get equipped to recognize the signs and symptoms of distorted thinking, so you can inoculate your children against disconnection, and guide them back into connection if they choose to disconnect!
Episode 99: Distortion & Disconnection—The Silent Killers of Children (Part 2)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
You will be introduced to the foundational principles of personal integrity, which are: how to live impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, humility, vulnerability, openness, willingness, transparency, and boundaries.
This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
Hundreds of people have participated already, and have drastically transformed their lives by living and being in Truthful, emotionally honest relationships. They report experiences of personal empowerment and emotional and mental sophistication being introduced into their relationships.
So, now it’s your turn to come and participate. This classroom experience will change the way you interact with yourself and others in powerful ways, giving you the tools and emotional sophistication to connect deeply inside yourself and invite other in your life to do the same.
Come and experience connection. Go to www.connexionsclassroom.com, and hit the “Go to Academy” button and sign up. I look forward to meeting you and connecting.
[00:02:48] Distorted Thoughts
Alright, welcome back. So, I want to pick up here talking about distorted thoughts. I just talked about how it requires humility, it requires a child to become humble to come out of that place of trying to control their vulnerability, trying to control their experience, and acknowledge that they’ve done something inappropriate, they’ve done something wrong, they’ve done something dishonest, irresponsible, and that they can come back into Truth. However, the distorted thoughts inside their minds are so loud, and the fear is so loud, that it’s very difficult for them to humble themselves, and get into the Truth, and be emotionally honest, and responsible for the choices they’ve made.
Distortion shows up and always tells the person that its personal. It says things about you, like, “You’re going to get into trouble,” or “You’re going to be yelled at. Or it says what someone else is going to do to you, like, “They’re going to hate you,” or “They’re going to think you’re stupid.” That’s how distortion speaks, it either says you’re going to have something bad happen to you or someone else is going to do something to you that you’re not going to like. Those are the two ways that distortion speaks to your children and to you and as an adult.
[00:04:11] Distorted Thoughts
So, let me ready to you what the definition of a distorted thought is. Distorted thoughts are unsound, untrue, unfounded, inaccurate, flawed, crooked, contorted, misshapen, and deformed interpretations of what your experiences mean about you. Wow. Distorted thoughts are unfounded, inaccurate interpretations of what your experiences mean about you, about your identity and value as a person.
The belief or thought that your experiences can change your identity or value is a colossal perversion of Reality—thus we name it distorted. Distorted thoughts always attack your core identity either by claiming that you are less than—which is self-denigrating—or better than—which is self-adulating. One of these angles is not more or less bad than the other; Both of these presentations are utterly false, fictitious, and fraudulent. Both are emotionally and spiritually deadly. They are slanderous, poisonous, detestable contortions of Reality.
Most of the time, you believe distorted thoughts only because you are unconscious or unaware of 1) what you are thinking, and 2) that your thoughts are distorted. Many of us have been perceiving in distortion since early childhood because distorted thoughts begin so young, you oftentimes distort the Reality of your experiences without even realizing you’re doing so.
If you consciously or unconsciously believe your distorted thoughts, you are believing egregious lies about you, you’re believing egregious lies about others, your value, your safety, your confidence, your beliefs, your morals, your relationships, your Reality. Be wise. Do not believe the venomous, malignant, cancerous, deadly mirages called distorted thoughts.
At one extreme of distorted thoughts is self-denigration: the idea that I am unlovable, bad, unworthy, and not enough, and the compulsion to be “selfless.” At the other extreme is distorted thoughts is self-adulating: a position of selfishness and pride where I feel entitled, deserving, and better than others.
In both extremes, my focus is on myself. On myself. One is not less bad than the other, they both are positions of lies. It’s just a continuum of distortion.
Distortion, both adulating and self-denigrating, is deadly poison. One flavor is not better than the other, they are both lies—illusions—that distract your attention from the Reality and cause you to focus only on yourself. To visualize the spectrum of distortion, imagine you are standing in front of a bridge leading straight ahead over a filthy pond. Self-denigration would be the rotting slime floating in the pond to the left of the bridge, and self-adulation would be the rotting slime floating in the pond to the right of the bridge. Although both sides reek, pay no heed to either; your business is with the Reality, the Truth across the bridge in front of you. It’s a great image for us.
[00:07:56] Self-Denigration and Self-Adulation
So, I am going to invite you to learn more about self-denigration and self-adulation. There’s so much that I could teach you about those two positions, and I’ve done so many podcasts on those two that I’m going to invite you to listen to some other podcasts to learn about those two.
Both self-denigration and self-adulation are positions in distortion. The person who believes the lies and deception of either position—either I’m less than or I’m more than—is invited out of Reality and Truth. The person then uses their choices to either stay in the distortion consciously or unconsciously, or they can choose to exit the distortion consciously and come back into Reality and Truth. A person who stays in distortion believes that what they are thinking and feeling is the Truth, and thus needs people—needs adults—they trust to share Reality or share Truth with them so they may choose to leave the distortion.
That is so, so, so invaluable, that information is invaluable. Your children need you to help them get out of their distortions. They need you, they can’t do it by themselves. A child cannot do that by themselves. They need adults around them to say, “Hey, little toots, you’re in distortion, we need to help you get out of that.”
And the way you get back into Truth from distortion is you tell the Truth, you invite them into being responsible and you invite them to be humble about it as they’re learning to be honest about themselves.
When children are allowed or enabled to live in distortion—an absence of Truth, facts, and Reality—they become very self-focused hence they go into self-denigration, self-adulation. So, you can hear those two words, they both have self. Their whole focus becomes about self because all of their experiences are distorted. They continue to choose in distortion, and therefore, they are in active violation to Truth. This hurts them, to be in violation to Truth. Every time they tell themselves a distortion, a lie, it hurts and harms their souls, literally.
So, I want to invite you to do an activity, those of you who are listening to the podcast. You can also invite your children to do the same thing. Think of something you did today. Now tell yourself a lie about it, like, “I got up and blamed my daughter for making me mad because she put her shoes in front of the door, and because she put her shoes there, I tripped and spilled my drink all over myself and the floor.”
So, that’s something that happened to me today and I told myself a big whopper, a big lie about it. I went into distortion around it.
Or here’s another one: The dog peed on the carpet and now I’ll never be able to sell the house.
Can you hear how dramatic and dishonest those things are? The dog peed on the carpet so now I can’t sell the house. So dishonest.
How do you feel when you tell yourself a lie? My guess is you feel “off,” or bad, or upset. Do you feel disconnected when you go into distortion? Can you recognize your self-adulation and self-denigration? I sure can. I can hear them. I could hear both, I can hear my self-denigration and self-adulation.
So, the Truth is, is that yes, my child left their shoes out in front of the door. And yes, the Truth is I tripped over them, I didn’t see them. And yes, the Truth is, yes, I spilled my drink all over the front of me and all over the floor. That is true. And it’s also the Truth that the dog peed on the carpet. But it is not the Truth that I can’t sell the house because of it. And it is not the Truth that she left her shoes in front of the door on purpose. And she didn’t make me mad, that was not the Truth either. I chose to react that way.
But just notice how you feel when you go into those distortions. I feel horrible when I do that. Absolutely horrible.
[00:12:23] What Distortion Sounds Like
If a child continues to speak in distortion, you need to be able to teach them what distortion sounds like. So, get a piece of paper and write this down. Here’s what distortion sounds like. If your child continues to speak in distortion, they’re going to have these characteristics. You ready?
- They’re going to say thing that are very dishonest, like dishonest to the Truth.
- They’re going to into drama. If you don’t know what drama is, podcasts 26 and 27 are about drama.
- They’re doing to be unwilling, they won’t be humble. They’ll be very rigid and just not open to looking at themselves.
- They will show up controlling, and they’ll hide, and they’ll lie, and they’ll keep secrets.
- They’ll be unwilling to validate and be vulnerable.
- They’ll go into denial, and distraction, and blame, and manipulation.
All those things will create a sense of self-neglect. They’ll misdirect their aggressive anger, and they’ll show up entitled, and maybe even have addictive behaviors.
All of those things are manifestations of someone being in distortion. And when someone’s in distortion, they will disconnect from themselves. They’ll disconnect from themselves.
Now, juxtapose the Truth. When a child or an adult lives in Truth, here’s what Truth will look like.
The person will be honest with themselves, so even if they go into distortion for a few minutes, they come back and they’ll go, “You know, I’m sorry. I was in distortion, I told myself a story that wasn’t the Truth, will you please forgive me? I want a do-over.”
- So, people will be honest. They will also be responsible for their feelings, thoughts, and choices, and outcomes.
- They’ll be open, and willing, and humble. They’ll willingly go into their vulnerability and validate.
- They offer forgiveness, and they repent quickly, and they’re willing to surrender the things they can’t control.
- They hold boundaries, and they’re very safe, and they are trustworthy, and compassionate.
- They’re conscious, and self-aware, and they make empowered choices. Empowered choices means honest and responsible choices.
Those are the characteristics of living in Truth, and when someone lives in those positions, they have connection. Isn’t that exciting?
[00:15:06] False Beliefs
If I choose to keep staying inside distortion, I will create something called false beliefs. False beliefs generate distorted thoughts. Now, remember, distorted thoughts are erroneous perceptions about yourself, others, and your experiences. In other words, false beliefs are the root system that nourishes your distorted perceptions of reality when you enter into denial and distortion.
False beliefs generate distorted thoughts, and thereby deceive you in your efforts to feel safe and have a sense of worth. False beliefs and distorted thoughts cause a child or an adult to question their worth, value, lovability and safety.
So, I hope it is becoming clear why it is so important to practice speaking Truth, and being willing to live in Reality and accept your vulnerability. All three of these statements mean the same thing: Truth, Reality, and vulnerability. I hope it’s becoming clear to you that you need to speak the Truth, that you need to live in Reality, and accept that you’re vulnerable.
When you choose to enable your children to choose Truth, you can move through life’s experiences with honest, and responsible, and humble choices, and learn the gems of Truth that experience is meant to teach you. If you choose to live in Truth, you will experience calm, peace, happiness, joy, compassion, validation, empathy, vulnerability, and wisdom. Isn’t that awesome?
Rather, if you choose to spend much time or the majority of your time choosing distortion and enabling your children to choose distortion, they will experience unwillingness to look at oneself, an unwillingness to be humble, they will become angry, they will become selfish and act entitled, they will blame, they’ll become reactionary, they’ll be dishonest, irresponsible for their feelings, their thoughts, and their choices, their outcomes. You’ll have a life where you won’t experience all the lovely outcomes of connection.
So, if you or your child is behaving in ways that are indicative of distortion—the list I just shared with you about Truth and distortion, I just went through them, what distortion and Truth look like. Learn those lists, understand where you are on any given time during the day and know where your children are. Are they spending the majority of their time in distortion or are they in Truth? Because you cannot have connection if you are living in distortion, and neither can your child.
You know what the issue is? It’s always the same issue. The child or the person is perceiving and placing meaning onto their experiences in distortion. So, if someone is having the outcomes that I just read to you of being dishonest, and blaming, and manipulating, and being angry, and living in drama, it means they’re disconnected. That’s what it means. That’s what it means. They’re perceiving their world in a place of distortion.
Even if someone did something to the person and they feel justified in responding in distortion, that is not appropriate. My son was telling me the other day that somebody spit on him. He’s out in Spain and he was sharing a message with somebody and they came up and they spit on him. And he wrote me in his email how upset he was. I just thought, holy smokes, if anybody’s justified in going into distortion, that would be it. I mean, I tried to empathize with him, like, oh, that’s disgusting, somebody else’s spit on you?
And I told him it’s not appropriate to go into distortion, you’re going to have to take some real deep breaths, and wipe that loogey off, and try to understand why they would do something like that. Hold your boundaries, get away from them, let them know that that was not alright and you won’t place yourself in an environment for them to do that again, and don’t go into blame, and anger, and retaliation—you just disconnect.
Children, when they feel justified in responding in distortion, they need help to reframe the experience back into Truth and respond to the experience in Truth. Like, your brother hit your other brother or your sister took the other sister’s clothes, so they feel justified in reacting. But help them, help them be emotionally honest, help them talk to their brother or sister about how they have been affected, help them take responsibility for their own choices, help them understand and have empathy for their brother or their sister that did those things to them. Because it’s never okay, or fine, or appropriate to react in distortion. It muddies the water between both people, and then both of you go into distortion.
Help your child not to react in distortion. But that means that you have to not go into distortion with them. You need to teach them what Truth looks like and sounds like. You’re going to need to teach yourself as well.
From that place of validating, the person will be more open and more willing to accept that they’re in distortion and be willing to change. Be proactive with your children in teaching them what both Truth and distortion behave, and look like, and sound like. Don’t try to only teach your children in the manner that your child is in.
So, if your child’s in distortion, don’t teach them only when they’re in distortion, like, “Hey, you’re in distortion, you need to get out of that.” Be proactive and teach them at times when they’re not in distortion, teach them what distortion looks like. People are in distortion a lot, so you can say, “Did you see that person? It sounds like they were in distortion when they were yelling at their kid in the grocery store.”
So, don’t just teach them when they’re in it, because it will be hard for them to learn it when they’re in it. And then, when they see it or they get out of it on their own, praise them, validate them as they chose to make choices in Truth. It’s a victory. You have 18 years with these babies and some people who are listening may be done with their 18 years. And so, wherever it is that you’re starting, just begin. Begin to teach them. If your children are adults, invite them to learn these principles. These principles create outcomes of happiness, serenity, peace, love, and connection.
Hold children accountable to their distortions. Point it out to them. Say things like, “Sarah, you just blamed your brother for ______.” Or, “James, taking the front seat even when you heard your sister call for it is selfish.” Or, “Megan, you need to be responsible for your choice to not do your homework and therefore, you didn’t do well on your test.”
So, you point this stuff out and then you help them take responsibility for the choices that they’ve made. And then you invite them into a state, if they need to, of repentance, so they go clean things up, either with themselves or with somebody else.
The confronting of distortion goes like this:
- Call out the distortion, call out the dishonesty, and language it for what it is.
1) “You said you’d do the dishes and you haven’t, now you’re upset that you can’t go to your friend’s house.”
2) “You’re angry at your boyfriend for taking another girl out, yet you went out on a date the other day with a boy and never told him about it.”
Identify the lie, the dishonesty, and the irresponsibility.
- Invite the person who’s in the distortion to use their own words and speak the distortion. For example, “I didn’t do the dishes like I said I would, and now I’m mad that I can’t go to my friend’s house because of it.” They were able to speak their own distortion. Another example of speaking your distortion: “I went out with someone and I’m mad, and he did the same; we need to stop doing this.”
- Get into the Truth of the distortion. It’s called “And the Truth is.” Listen to podcast number 70. I’m not going to go into explaining this but listen to podcast 70, it’s called “Truth Declarations” and that will help you get into the Truth.
So, the first step is call out the distortion and language it for what it is. Step number two is invite the person who’s in the distortion to language the distortion in their own words and have them speak the distortion so they can see it. And then, third step is get in to the Truth. So, you’d say, And the Truth is. “The Truth is, I chose not to get the dishes done. And the Truth is, I chose to tell myself that you’d forget about it and so I could still go over to my friend’s house. And the Truth is, I went out on a date with this boy because I’m really not that fond of my boyfriend and the Truth is, I lied to him about that. And the Truth is, I have no reason to get angry at my boyfriend for going out with another girl when I’m in the background doing the same thing and being dishonest.”
The child or the person, if they are humble with themselves and follow this process, one, two, three, will immediately feel better. So, if they’ll follow this process of state the distortion, have the person state the distortion, and then tell yourself the Truth, they will immediately feel better and practice getting out of distortion and back into the Truth, and then have the fruits of connection.
Thank you so much for listening to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. If this episode has been insightful or meaningful to you, don’t forget to leave a comment on this episode’s podcast page or like, share and tweet about it on social media.
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