Hi ass kickers! Welcome to our first edition of Listener Q & A. You sent me your questions, and I’ve answered them on the podcast. If you’re not familiar with the podcast, simply click the player button above to listen, or you can find the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast on iTunes (Apple devices) or Stitcher (Android).
I answered three questions on everything from relationships, to the inner-critic, to setting boundaries. And more! I hope you enjoy listening!
At minute 3:51…
My question is, how do I deal with in-laws that I don't trust? My in-laws live several hundred miles away, so I only see them 3-4 times a year. But, whenever I have to see or talk to them, I feel very anxious, tense and guarded. My experience with them has shown that whatever I say or do is closely scrutinized. I have to defend everything I say or do when I'm with them. As a result, I reveal as little of myself as I can. I feel like I'm hiding behind a shield of fabricated blandness. It feels gross and exhausting. I don't trust that they love me unconditionally and I don't trust they have my back. How do I maintain this relationship without all the anxiety and in-authentic posturing? I don't feel safe to let my guard down, but I hate the way this relationship feels and the stress it causes me.
I have three juicy questions for Sara to think about, hopefully that will help her think about the situation from new perspectives. I let her know she may have unrealistic expectations of this relationship and direct her also to another podcast I did with Christine Hassler, author of Expectation Hangover. If anyone has had disappointing relationships, give that episode a listen!
Even if you don’t have the same situation with in-laws that Sara does, you probably have that person in your life where you have the choice to have a conversation with them about something that is unsaid.
I have been doing a lot of work on my inner critic. Every time I start to let her come out, I write down everything she says and then flip the paper over to write what I would tell a friend if they told me that stuff. I haven't done it in a while but have became more aware of the thoughts and more able to switch the thoughts. I'm super proud to this!!
But I have started to neutralize myself. Like I don't feel anything. I'm not sure where to go from here. Sometimes I feel bad for not being such a worrier. I’m not feeling the emotions the way I want. I'm missing out on true joy. I'm scared if I feel more than all the bad will rush back in. Yes, I don't feel as miserable but I don't feel happiness either. What are some tools to use to get over this numbing.
First, can we give Amy a HELL YES for doing the work?
I’m so glad Amy asked this question– this is a typical progression for people that work on their inner-critics. They get to a place where they’re like, “Now what?” In this section of the podcast, I take Amy though some additional exercises to get to “feeling the feels” and drop this quote:
“Be gentle. You are meeting parts of yourself you’ve been at war with.” -from the book, It’s Not About Food
I give Amy 2 more tools to use to help her, and refer her to listen to this podcast episode about how hard it is for so many people to lean into JOY.
At the end of this section of the episode, I talk about the importance of friendships when it comes to processing your feelings. Friendships need to be intentional! I talk more about that here.
Not long before I found you, I decided to divorce my husband as my son deserves the opportunity for two happy homes instead of one unhappy home. My son also has autism – his dad and I have separate ideas of what our son needs (part of the reason for the divorce). Reading Brené Brown’s chapter on wholehearted parenting helped me see that I engage in the comparison of who is the better parent. Unfortunately dad has absolutely no interest in trying to co-parent or get additional services for our son. I feel that I can't do enough to help him, while at the same time reassuring that he is good enough as he is. I know I am not the only parent with 50/50 joint custody of a child where the parents are unable to communicate and discuss the best interest of the child, let alone one with special needs. What I am looking for is someone else who has had similar struggles or a way to figure out how I can do the best that I can do while accepting that dad might be doing the same thing (although I will never know as he hides what happens at his home). What I don't want is to put my son though the court system so I can have full custody thinking that I am the “better” parent.
Even if you’re not the single parent of a child with Autism, this portion of the episode will probably help you. I tell Autumn about one of my favorite sayings from 12 step programs that’s always helpful to let go of what someone else is doing or not doing.
In addition, I provide some helpful resources (my son has Autism too), as well as the importance of self-compassion.
Also, OMG also, I talk about boundaries. Here’s the video I mention of my fairy godmother (and yours), Brené Brown talking about just this:
Lastly, I mention the podcast episode I did with Randi Buckley on setting boundaries.
Ass kickers, I hope this episode was helpful for you and if you have a question you’d like answered in our next edition (coming out in about a month or so), shoot us an email at support@https://andreaowen.com.