Episode 383: Vulnerability and the Will to Change with Andrea J. Lee - Your Kick-Ass Life

PODCAST & BLOG

PODCAST & BLOG

This week I have one of the OG’s of the coaching industry on the show, Andrea J. Lee. Andrea joins me to discuss verbal abuse from the perspective of the abuser and being vulnerable enough to sit in that intensity in order to make a change. We also explore how to be bold and kind in a world full of injustice and misgivings. I am excited to share our conversation with you.

Plus, after 8 years and almost 400 episodes, the podcast is getting a new name! The unveiling is coming tomorrow. So keep an eye on the podcast feed for the official announcement. 🎉

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • Andrea J. Lee explains what she means when she describes herself as a futurist with her finger on the pulse of the human spirit. She also explains her experience as “A Canadian-born Taiwanese, cis-gender woman (she/her) who has been brought up with white privilege inside the model minority myth.” (6:06)
  • Andrea J. Lee offers a different perspective on emotional abuse through her digital newsletter – how do you not become the thing you suffered and not become an oppressor yourself. (10:15)
  • How Andrea J. Lee realized she was being verbally abusive to her husband and why she decided to share publically about her experience. (17:35)
  • Being vulnerable and why vulnerability might be held against someone. (19:57)
  • If we are not willing to fully experience the pain we are going through, if we can’t sit in that intensity, we are not going to make a change. (28:53)
  • “It’s possible to be fierce, outraged, bold, and go for your goals while also being kind.” Andrea J. Lee shares some ways to do this when you see injustices happening that anger you. (35:35)

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Follow Andrea on Instagram
Andrea J. Lee’s website
We Can Stop Being Abusive
Brené Brown: The Call to Courage
Episode 358: Healing from Narcissistic and Traumatic Relationships with Britt Frank

YKAL is supported by:
Better Help –  Use code kickass to get 10% off your first month.
Green Chef – Use code 90kickass to get $90 off including free shipping.

Andrea Lee is a futurist with her finger on the pulse of the human spirit and how it can change the world. Throughout her life, Andrea has done one thing – help the people she cares about achieve what they think is completely impossible.

Not once, but twice, she helped reinvent the coaching profession and knows one thing for sure: humanity is essentially good, and astonishingly powerful!

Andrea is a trusted source of coaching innovation, and a force for change in the field of emotional abuse and interpersonal violence. Her business was once named an extraordinary ‘Bull Market’ company by Seth Godin and Fast Company Magazine, and her clients often like to call her names. Things like Morpheus, the Jay-Z of Coaching and …the Hello Kitty coach.

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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Andrea J. Lee 00:00
The kind of thing that you see done when people are restoring art is extremely inspiring to me when it comes to repairing and strengthening relationships. The love it takes to mend a piece of art, because it is so beautiful, and so worth mending is extraordinary. Extraordinary. There's so much history, their shared experience. There is something even more beautiful that comes out of a restored painting. I can say to you as a 25 year you know, married for 25 years gone through this abuse cycle, the intimacy, the joy, the hot damn sex. The amazing, like it's really going through it has incredible awards.

Andrea 00:57
This is Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast Episode Number 383 with guest Andrea J. Lee.

Andrea 01:04
This is Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast with Andrea Owen. A BS guide to self-help and badassery. Because ladies, let's face it. Life's too short. And here's your host, the girl who serves it up straight with a side of crazy. Andrea Owen,

Andrea 01:25
Hey there ass-kickers Welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you are here. So after nearly 400 episodes, and almost eight years of the podcast, it's getting a new name. I'm not leaving. Are you kidding? Do you think that I would retire my microphone, but there's no way. A) I love to talk to you much and B) I love to connect with amazing experts. And C) I love all of you way too much to walk away from this podcast. So new name coming tomorrow. If you're listening to this podcast the day it comes out, which I know a few of you do. April 15th is my birthday. It's a Thursday. We're dropping a bonus episode. So, when you see that episode, I guess it's Episode 384. It will have a new name, it has new art, new intro music, which I can't wait for you to listen to. That was fun sifting through so much stock music to pick. And there was this one particular song that I could not stop dancing to. I was like, well, this is it. I guess this has to be the one and a new intro. I'm just really really excited. It's, it's just it's something fresh. It's something new. I'll talk about more of the reason why and what you can expect in that bonus episode that's coming out on April 15.

But we do have a guest for you today. I am pumped to have you listen to this conversation. One quick another announcement. It's really not that dramatic even though I kind of made it sound dramatic. Just wanted to invite you to come and hang out with me on Instagram, I have a new Instagram name. And so many great changes happening over here for so many people in 2021. I’m @HeyAndreaOwen on Instagram and I'm having some fun with reels, I am giving book recommendations and some quick tips and tools and strategies to live your best life as we all want to do. And in my stories, you'll still see some quick videos of my dog Gisele who is napping peacefully right now. She's a senior, my senior dog, as well as some behind-the-scenes of making the podcast and writing books. I'm gonna be doing more of those for you because that's always just like fun and exciting to get a little peek behind the curtain. So @HeyAndreaOwen over on Instagram.

All right, let's move into this fantastic interview with my friend Andrea Lee. For those of you that don't know her, let me tell you a little bit about her. Andrea J. Lee is a futurist with her finger on the pulse of the human spirit and how it can change the world. Throughout her life, Andrea has done a one thing help the people she cares about achieve what they think is completely impossible. Not once, but twice. She helped reinvent the coaching profession and knows one thing for sure, humanity is essentially good and astoundingly powerful. Andrea is a trusted source of coaching innovation and a force for change in the field of emotional abuse and interpersonal violence. Her business was once named an extraordinary bull market company by Seth Godin and Fast Company Magazine, and her clients often like to call her names, things like Morpheus, the Jay Z of coaching and the Hello Kitty coach. So, without further ado, here is Andrea.

Andrea 04:52
Andrea J. Lee, welcome to the show.

Andrea J. Lee 04:53
Hey, thanks for having me.

Andrea 04:54
Did you like how I said your full name?

Andrea J. Lee 04:57
Yeah, I sat up straighter.

Andrea 05:00
Oh, it's so profesh. And to differentiate you, you know, because we do have a shared the same first name and same pronunciation. I'm excited to have you on the show. And and I was I was looking at your website before we jumped on together. And I'm like, how many books have you written? And I didn't know this, but you're I think it was your first book, Multiple Streams of Coaching Income was actually published in 2003. And that was my introduction to you.

Andrea J. Lee 05:24
Oh, my gosh, for real!

Andrea 05:25
That was a long time ago. 18 years?

Andrea J. Lee 05:28
We're totally dating ourselves. Oh, my gosh.

Andrea 05:31
You have a book that is a legal adult.

Andrea J. Lee 05:34
Exactly. That's exactly what we say about it.

Andrea 05:37
Yeah. You were like one of them, you're kind of the one of the OG’s of the coaching industry. And I know, you've sort of branched out and done a lot of different things now that we're in this, you know, new era, but I'm super excited to have you.

Andrea J. Lee 05:53
You know, what, if you can't go back in time and get to know new people? Does that make any sense? So, it's fantastic to be here with another Andrea, we have like 18 years of shared history, let's do it. Let's go deep, let’s go.

Andrea 06:06
Well, and I have you know, you and I, we just kind of formally met a few weeks ago, and you're, you know, contributing to my new book that's coming out which thank you again for that. And I am enjoying getting to know you a little bit more. And one of the things, the first thing I want to ask you is, is this is from your bio, and I was like, I need to ask about this. It's the first sentence of your bio, it says, ‘Andrea Lee is a futurist with her finger on the pulse of the human spirit and how it can change the world’. I was like, I don't know what that means. But I want to know more. So please, like what? How do you describe that? Say more about that.

Andrea J. Lee 06:40
Okay, so it. Are you a Star Trek fan? That's…

Andrea 06:43
maybe that's why it makes me so curious. Okay. No. Harry Potter. Yes. But Star Trek, no.

Andrea J. Lee 06:51
Well, Harry Potter works also. So, in Star Trek, very briefly, there's a character called Counselor Troy. And for our Trekkers out there that that will be very familiar. She's the character like kind of like Hermione in Harry Potter, who's just like, you know, feels a lot picks up stuff between the lines is that I'm not gonna say psychic, that's not a word that I relate to, Oh, that's cool. I'm just kind of a deep feeling kind of person if I could put it that way. And because of that, I often feel like I'm listening between the lines. And I can sense when that something is happening, let's say within the coaching profession, I can sense that right now there's like a return to roots and stuff like that. So that's what I mean, finger on the pulse. The heartbeat of things is something I'm tuned into quite a bit.

Andrea 07:43
That's so interesting. Okay. And then it goes on to say, and I can't remember if this is in your bio, or somewhere else on your site, and this made me also super curious. So, you say I am a Canadian-born Taiwanese cisgender woman who has been brought up with white privilege inside the model minority myth. Can you say more about that? Super intriguing.

Andrea J. Lee 08:05
Yeah, well, you know, I am Asian. So, I look Asian. But I was born in Canada and brought up like, speak only English, you know, at school, but go to Chinese school on Saturday. So, I'm this person who looks Asian on the outside, and I'm Taiwanese, but a lot of my education and who I am my makeup, like the values that I have, very much of Canadian culture of white culture. And so, it sounds like, there's this word. It's a big, it's a big, big ass word. It's like hegemony. I don't even know if I'm saying it. Right. But it's like you see through these eyes of the system that you're in.

Andrea 08:24
Yeah.

Andrea J. Lee 08:25
And because I grew up in, you know, like Catholic boarding school, and I was one of like, only three Asians in my whole class. But that I surprise myself sometimes, Andrea, honestly, I realized, like, I'm behaving very white. And that's not bad, per se. It's just a little surprising. When my own mother looks at me, it's like, you know, I guess you are married to a white guy. So, I'll let that one pass. It's a culture shock. That way

Andrea 09:20
A culture shock for you?

Andrea J. Lee 09:23
A culture shock for me a culture shock for the Asian people in my life. My family.

Andrea 09:30
Okay, interesting. Thanks for explaining that more. And I just always get so curious about it. I just, I also feel like for anyone listening who's ever written a bio, I feel like those are some of the hardest things to ever write. And, of course, you have your professional credentials, which for many women can be a struggle, you know, sort of bragging about yourself, but then also kind of trying to infuse who you are as a human into it. And when people write interesting things like that, I always get really curious. Like, tell me more about It's such a, I feel like it's such an intimate peek into your life in just one sentence.

Andrea J. Lee 10:06
Hmm, yeah. And you're also making me realize I have a couple of really long sentences in my bio and….

Andrea 10:15
Critiquing run-on sentences. Well, what about um, okay want to sort of jump over to, to this new-ish topic that and you please tell me like when you started writing about this and we have a mutual friend Samantha Bennett, she's been on the show a couple of times. And she sent me the link to it. She's like, check out Andrea's blog about her work that she's doing. It's called Stop Being Abusive. And I was like, wait, what? And I thought I my immediate thought when I saw it was like, Oh, you were in an abusive relationship, and now you're healing from it. But it was not the case. So, can you tell us about that?

Andrea J. Lee 10:52
Sure. The full name of the blog. So Stop Being Abusive is you know, the short name, but really, the premise behind it is that you can stop. Or maybe even better, we can stop being abusive. And I started writing that my first sort of public outing with this topic was in 2018, so, three years ago now in the Washington Post, where they very kindly, Lisa Bonos, very kindly took a big risk and published this article, I verbally abused my husband. Here's how I stopped. And that thing took off. Like, um, it was really sweet the way it took off, you know…

Andrea 11:37
The Washington Post article went viral?

Andrea J. Lee 11:40
Yeah, well, what's viral? I guess? Yes. Yes, ish, viral-ish. But lots and lots of, you know, hundreds of comments. And there's a video that goes with it. That was up on Upworthy. That was millions of views within a couple of weeks. So ish, viral-ish. It is a topic that I think concerns all of us. So, before any of our listeners today, I think he was not a not for me. You know, I like to say, especially now, given American politics that, you know, the violence that we see on TV, you know that the violence we saw, on the news, all the signs. That starts at home, every single person who we see on TV behaving violently, grew up in a home that somehow added, contributed, or did not support something different. This thing about being emotionally abusive, and verbally abusive, or psychologically abusive concerns all of us.

My particular story is that I grew up in a verbally and psychologically abusive household. So, I really, I do have that experience of being a victim or survivor of abuse. But then I internalized it. And it felt like I got a taste of what power was like when I've raised my voice. And in my marriage, which is now you know, thank you to all the powers that be 25 years and better than ever. I was really, really just an asshole to my husband for like, a long time. And that that has turned around now and slipped into something really beautiful. And so that's what I write about is how do you not become the thing that you suffered? How do you fight racism, genderism, ableism, all the things classism, elitism, and not become an oppressor yourself? How do you not propagate the cycle? Perpetuate the cycle of abuse?

Andrea J. Lee 13:45
Or if you are, how do you turn things around?

Andrea 13:51
Yeah. Well, I'm definitely gonna send people over there and the link will be in the show notes. But can you, can you give us a sneak peek? And where I'm really curious is, how did you kind of come to admit, and realize because I've been in that situation before. And this is a much smaller scale, but like, if I've been in an argument with somebody, and I realized that I'm wrong, you know, and that they have like, a really excellent point. And I'm like, oh, there's kind of that sinking feeling of, okay, I have two choices at this in this moment. I can either keep arguing my point, which I know is wrong, just for you to know, to save face. Or I can back you know, say I'm sorry and say actually you're right. I apologize. Like so. When that crossroads for you. Like was your husband telling you, was it a therapist that was telling did you, did you realize that on your own? What did that look like?

Andrea J. Lee 14:44
It definitely was in a relationship like it was it was the reflection that my husband was giving me of my behavior being unacceptable. So, whether you know you're working in a job and you are supervising someone, and somebody you who's on your team, you know, gives you that look like you know, what the fuck did you just say to me?

Andrea 15:07
Shocked face? Yeah.

Andrea J. Lee 15:08
Right or you are a person who is working for somebody and they are treating you poorly and you're making that face. I think it's all in the reflections for me. I'll put it very openly, very delicately, but very pointedly, I could tell that there was fear in my husband, about me. Like, it's like, an analogy that I use in one of the posts on the blog, it has to do with the fighting dog rings that are so sad. And we hear about them, you know, these dogs that get abused to make them fight for money in these fighting rings. And this is a perfect analogy. When an animal, let's say in this case a dog, flinches when you stand up, that's when you know that that dog is abused. Yeah. And that's similar. Humans are not that different. If you have circumstances around you where you know, your child flinches, because they think you're going to raise your voice at them again, which by the way, is so normal 100% of parents do this, right? That's your signal that you could probably back down or you could say something different.

But to the point that you were making around that, that moment of that sinking feeling. I think that I think that's a really easy thing to do and try to embrace is just own from the beginning that X is true about you or us. In this case, I'll say me. I needed to get to a point where I was like, You know what? I'm being abusive to my husband, right? Yeah, that's what that's what's happening. It's the default. It's not the thing that I have to take a deep breath and go, oh, my God, I can't believe I have to admit this. But I guess I think I might be like, no, yeah, it's similar to within the Black Lives Matter movement. You know, one of the great, great teachings that have come out of that is just to say, we are all racist. racist. So, if I say blah, blah and I use a bad word or phrase like, ‘sold them down the river, which is a very terrible racist phrase. Apparently, I learned. Now, if I accidentally say that, because it's a habit, and I'm still working on it. I’ll say, ‘oh, totally racist phrase, let me back up, say that differently’. And that's just normal to do that.

Andrea 17:35
Yes, I thank you for sharing all of that. And it's, gosh, what a different world we would live in if more people were more, was more paying attention a little bit more to the people that they're in close relationship with? Who are you know, like, giving those reflections back to you know, and just a just, I think we would live in a totally different world.

But was there ever a moment where you decided because I remember when I first got sober. And it was one of those things where I thought to myself, well, shit, I have this big thing that's a part of my life, and I know that I can help people by talking about it. But I really don't want to. Because, you know, this was in 2011. And I was still, you know, a fairly new-ish life coach, and, and feeling like, what are people gonna think? Did you ever have that moment? Or were you far enough along in your work where you're like, nope, I have no doubts about this? I'm going to talk about it publicly.

Andrea J. Lee 18:34
Oh, hell, no, I was not that.

Andrea 18:36
Okay. Okay.

Andrea J. Lee 18:38
No, no, no, no, no, I had serious misgivings.

Andrea 18:44
Because this is something you could have just kept in your marriage and kept it private.

Andrea J. Lee 18:47
Totally.

Andrea 18:49
What made you feel like you needed to go public with it?

Andrea J. Lee 18:52
It's probably a combination of things. But what's coming to me to share at this moment, is that you know, it was gonna be work to keep it a secret.

Andrea 19:01
Really say more about that.

Andrea J. Lee 19:04
Like, you know, like, okay, so let's say I'm out and I'm socializing with girlfriends, and someone talks about the fact that they're being abused in their marriage. Or a girlfriend talks about how they yelled at their kid and they feel really bad. It was gonna be work for me to not say anything in those moments.

Andrea 19:27
To share your experience, you mean?

Andrea J. Lee 19:29
Yeah.

Andrea 19:30
Okay, I see. Yeah.

Andrea J. Lee 19:31
And just kind of like be a bystander and kind of be like, Well, I'm not gonna say anything because if I sound like I'm too smart about it, I'm going to out myself and I don't want to admit, I just I for me a definition of a kick ass life is a life where I can be no holds barred all of me, not checking in, you know, like censoring and wondering what am I giving away about myself that I am somehow hiding that's work that I don't want to do.

Andrea 19:57
No, I agree with you. I would be that person. too, that would, that would go publicly for it. I just I don't think it's for everyone. So, I don't want people listening. If you have these very vulnerable moments in your life, you have to start a blog about it.

Andrea J. Lee 20:11
Yeah. Oh, you know, thank you for making that distinction. I love that. And I, I, I want to join you. Like, I'm not saying you should start a blog or write to the Washington Post. But how about transparency within the relationship? Like, if you have something going on, you could say, you know, I know that I yelled at you. And I don't like that. And I, I think of it as wrong as well, I see that it's hurting you. I want it to be something we can talk about. I'm really sorry.

Andrea 20:48
Yeah. That conversation has taken it took me two marriages to get through, not that I'm on my third, I'm on my, only on my second. But I know that to get to that place where you can admit your wrongs, and then ask for forgiveness and apologize appropriately, and then do the work to right your wrongs. That is an incredibly vulnerable place to be. Because for some people listening, and I just want to acknowledge this, they fear doing that, because that has been held against them at certain times. And I know, I know, the amount of courage that it takes to actually.

I remember the very first time I very vulnerably apologized wholeheartedly to my husband and admitted that I was wrong. The look on his face was just like, it was like, I don't know if he'd ever never heard that before or anything, but I was like, okay, this is this has the, this has the opportunity, this is the opportunity to completely transform my marriage. Yeah, and it has, it has not been easy. But I know how it. I would rather be super vulnerable about my own, like addictions and alcoholism on my blog to a bunch of strangers than admit to someone I truly care about that I have completely fucked up to make it right. Like, it's a different vulnerability.

Andrea J. Lee 22:07
Totally. It's a more venerable, more vulnerable vulnerability. The thing, I think that's key in that area, which I love if you're willing, I mean, it'd be very curious to not to turn the tables on you, but maybe a little, that when you're vulnerable in an intimate setting, and it's been held against them. Like, I'm curious about that, and what the roots of that are because that's where the gold is, in that scenario, in my opinion. Like, if we can get to the conversation around why it's scary, what is the fear around vulnerability being held against us, then we can find a way to do it anyway, and protect, you know, get what we need, protect ourselves, blah, blah, etc. So, apologize, be wrong, and, you know, be able to take care of ourselves. I want both, that's what I want.

Andrea 23:02
Yes, ideally, that's fantastic to have both. And when in when the outcome is that way, I think it's a very beautiful outcome.

In my experience, both in my experience, in my personal experience, and professionally, just in what I've been trained to do, is that vulnerability is held against someone when the person you know, will call them the oppressor, is is shaming them is it typically happens when they have grown up with the model that we don't do vulnerability, that vulnerability is weakness. And then I need some kind of, for lack of a better word, ammunition to have against this person, so that I can't get hurt.

Andrea J. Lee 23:44
And so, what happens when the oppressor sees that like vulnerability and is like a predator in that moment? And like, like, gonna jump in on that? Like, what, like, is it used against you? And it's, you know, like, hard words and, you know, violence and you know, stuff like that can happen. I totally see that. Yeah.

Andrea 24:02
Yeah. And I'm not I mean, I think this is definitely something if people are experiencing this to work through it with a therapist. But off the top of my head, my advice to that would be to, as kindly as possible, call it out in the moment and just and say, you know, this is, this is an example of, you know, this is a trust problem, and I want to have a better relationship with you, I care about us, you know, whether it's a friendship or a romantic relationship, and this kind of behavior, throwing it back at me and holding it against me and essentially shaming me for it is moving us farther away from each other and not closer, and I would like to be closer.

Andrea J. Lee 24:46
Oh, I love that so much can we like cut that out and framed that piece.

Andrea 24:51
That would be really hard for me to do in the heated moment. Normally, I would throw shit back and then have to circle back later. And say those nice words when I've calmed down.

Andrea J. Lee 25:02
Wait, let's do this and see that that's perfectly I think you've just described every North American’s experience is that, you know, like when you get poked with a stick…

Andrea J. Lee 25:10
When you get backed into a corner. Yeah.

Andrea 25:12
Yeah, totally. And so, this becomes a conversation around who's going to blink and how to blink safely for yourself, right? Like, there are definitely situations where you should not be being vulnerable, if you know that the person is going to hurt you because of it. Don't, don't be vulnerable in that moment. It's only when you feel like you can, you can find a way to do it, like, you know, a 1% vulnerability, test the waters see what steps have, right have the conversation, frankly, about, you know, I was listening to a podcast was really an awesome podcast was two Andrea's about vulnerability, and I was thinking that, you know, maybe that would be a way to try and have an even better relationship. So, I'm going to try and be a little bit more vulnerable, and I need your help to feel like that is going to be okay and safe and not used against me, would you be open to that,

Andrea 26:08
That's a good entry point. Also, the Netflix special Brené Brown’s, I think it's called The Call to Courage
is really great for for people who, you know, I'm imagining people listening to this, who might have partners who are new to this work and suggested that for a Netflix night, and I think it's a great introduction to the topic, and then maybe have a conversation about it afterwards.

And my experience, too, and I imagine there's a decent amount of people listening who have been in a relationship where they have been verbally or emotionally abused or psychologically abused. I have. And it was actually, what was interesting is that I didn't grow up in a house like that. And I got into this relationship when I was 17 and we were together for over a decade. And then when I got out, it wasn't until probably several years later, where I realized, oh, that wasn't okay. I had, because the process happened over time, that I, essentially, I was groomed. And I didn't know that until a long, long way, either. Because it's sort of like the frog in the water, you know, and just you don't know it's heating up.

And it's, it's interesting that when I got into a new relationship, I was trying to repeat the old patterns. And my now husband was like, I don't, I don't do this. So, we need to figure out another way. Not that he's perfect at communicating, we've had to work through a lot of stuff. But my whole point is that I think that you can use that as a gift. And believe me, it's taken me a long ass time to be able to say that, but now I know exactly what I don't what I will and will not tolerate as far as communication. As far as manipulation, as far as intimidation, immediately now. No, no, I can spot it so fast now. And, and also, I am I am not the same person that I used to be. And so all that to say, which I think is the whole point of you writing about this, and speaking about this, is that people can change, there's hope. 100% people can change.

Andrea J. Lee 28:22
Yeah, you just like preach it. That's exactly what I'm saying. I think that sometimes in this like kind of very self-help world, we can get discouraged, you know that it's like, ugh, I tried to change in cat. The main thing that I would love to say, Andrea, just in this little moment is that if we're not willing to feel the pain of the things that we're going through, we're not going to sustainably change

Andrea 28:52
Say that again.

Andrea J. Lee 28:53
So, if we're not willing to fully experience the pain of what we are going through, whether we are being abused, or we are being abusive, if we can't sit in that intensity, the acidity, the pain. We're not going to get that changed done. So to the degree that we can take those deep breaths, right right now listening to this right now, you and I like to remember that we have toes be in our body, wiggle, wiggle those toes. Remember that where we have an animal body and kind of take it out. It's like, you know what, what I said that time? Ouch. Like, ouch. And I, I promise that getting with that ouch is what fuels and nourishes real change that you really, really can change. Yeah,

Andrea 29:57
Yeah, yes to all of that, and I just want to tack on one more thing around this topic is very recently. Well, I think it was last fall, I had a guest on my show, Britt Frank. And if anybody missed that episode, I definitely encourage you to go listen to it. And she talks about being in relationships with narcissists, and how, you know, what does that really mean? What does it look like? It's kind of a word that gets thrown around. And she either she was on her website, or she had talked about on the show, I can't remember, but she talked about reactive abuse.

So, one of the reasons I poo-pooed that my ex-husband was an abuser was because I did it back to him. And I didn't know what reactive abuse was, it was when what it is just kind of the Cliff's Notes version is that it's when you are pushed and pushed and pushed to the brink of I can't take it anymore, you get back into a corner, and then you lash out, and you're not your best self, you might name call or, or strike out physically, I did that a few times. And so, I kind of felt like, well, how can I call him that when I was doing it back to him. And so, learning about reactive abuse was extremely helpful to see everything for what it was and also to be able to forgive me and have compassion for where I was at. And then I was just trying to survive and get my needs met, and you know, try to make this relationship work. And so, I just wanted to throw that out there for anybody listening, who's really interested in this topic.

Andrea J. Lee 31:24
I so love that that that is such a helpful thing to insert in this moment. And I mean, the thing that I would say, just zooming out, because this is, like a very important kind of principle of the writing at my blog is that most I would say, except for like real personality disorders, perpetrators of abuse are reactive. And so somewhere this cycle started, right. We talk about ancestral lines, we talk about lineages. And so that compassion that you found for yourself, which I'm so glad you did, and it's so beautiful to hear. Similar to my story, were just like, well, how do I swallow this about myself? Reactive abuse totally, and when we look at people who we think of as perpetrators, even people across the political divide, you know, people who we think are doing bad things that is reactive in some way. And so hopefully that gives even more of it like a big picture bridge, to understand people who are behaving differently from us.

Andrea 32:25
Yes, thank you for that you were pointing that out. And it's such a big topic, and I appreciate your, your transparency on it.

Andrea 32:30
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Andrea 35:35
And I want to kind of switch gears a little bit, because there was there was something that something else that jumped out on on your website, and I'm gonna quote you, and you say you say, “It's possible to be fierce, outraged, bold, and go for your goals while also being kind”. So, can you talk more on that? Like, what are some ways to do this when people are seeing injustice is happening that probably anger them and hurt them?

Andrea J. Lee 35:49
Mm-hmm. So it's interesting, I think the way that I like to talk about this in a certain direction, so I would love it, if I could just I'll give the definition of trauma that is used a lot in psychotherapy and psychological circles, and that is that trauma is too much too soon and too fast.

Andrea 36:09
I like that short and sweet definition.

Andrea J. Lee 36:13
It’s so interesting because you know, like, so let's take, let's say somebody's near and dear to you passes away. It's a lot. It happened quickly. And it's happening amongst a busy life already. So that might register then on the trauma scale. It's like, too much too soon. And too fast.

Andrea 36:34
COVID is an example of that.

Andrea J. Lee 36:37
Well, yes, yes. So, it's really helpful to have that definition because then you can walk around in your life and kind of go, ‘whoa, pump the brakes, too much too soon, too fast’. Chill, just like, flow it down, you know what I mean? And that we can protect ourselves from re re-traumatizing ourselves or creating new traumas for ourselves.

And the reason I bring this up, in answer to this particular question is, like, if we can find ways to understand that slowing thing down, doing less, is going to prevent us from lashing out is going to prevent us, other people from behaving badly. Like that, that's like, all you need. Does that make sense? And so, I like simple, like, if we can hang on to just one thing. Be watchful for when things are feeling too much too soon too fast. And a lot, a lot will change.

Andrea 37:45
Yes, I wish I would have heard that advice. I'm not sure if I would have taken it though. When I was first starting my business and I had two babies and I had just gotten sober. It was too much too soon, too fast. Yeah.

Andrea J. Lee 38:00
So the reason I say that an answer to your question about the yes. And you know, you can be you know, angry and kind is that if you bear in mind that, you know you can be angry but not too angry too fast too soon, you can be angry at someone who was really, you know, behaved in a bad way. But also be kind, like say, you know, ‘I would really like to talk with you about this issue. It was hurtful to me. I think that you know, there's opportunity to do better what's a good time and you know, good space for you to have that conversation.

So that's respecting that there is a good time there is maybe a busy moment in their life or now would be a bad time to talk to them about this. And then when you do get to that place of talking to them in that good spot that you could say you know, it makes me really angry that this happened. I know that there must be reasons for it. But it was brutal what happened, and um I really need for you to know that see how it can be you can be like outraged?

Andrea 39:13
Yeah, and still talking to a calm voice? Yes. I want to add on to that if I may, in that you know,  I entered the quote-unquote coaching world with like zero tools. Like I had been to therapy, but I still wasn't totally and completely admitting that I had like my own flaws. I know that sounds incredibly arrogant, but it was more so like I was afraid to look at like my shadow side and, and things like that. So, I was really good at blaming and deflecting and dismissing and it just, you know, I was just, I was just doing what I was taught. As I walked into the work. And it was incredibly uncomfortable for me to have these hard conversations. Like when I went to training for life coaching, I didn't know that it was going to affect my personal life so much like I thought I was just gonna get training in new tools like, like, you go to beauty school, like do your cosmetology license, you're just gonna be like that, but a little bit different. Well, it wasn't, it was very, it was very personal and dove into my personal life.

So, one of the things, I think that was helpful for me to be able to receive, like what you just said, and typically the people in our life, maybe not typically, but sometimes the people in our life are not going to say it as beautifully and as kind as you did. You know, when someone's pointing out something that we did, that they don't like, when someone is, is telling us something that hurt them. One of the things that helped me be able to hear that is to understand that that person's first priority is not necessarily to make me wrong, to point out that I'm a bad person, because that's where I would go. And I'm like, oh, this person thinks I'm a terrible human, then I would beat myself up for it. That person's priority is our relationship. Most likely, that's why they're bringing it. Yes, you are going to get the occasional person who wants to bring something to you. Just to point out all your flaws. But I think for the most part, like if your partner or your best friend bring something to you, it's because they care about the relationship enough to try to give you the opportunity to clean it up and make your relationship better.

That shift in perspective, changed a lot for me, because I was like, oh, this isn't about I mean, this is just about my behavior. It's not that I'm a terrible human being because I would fall into these shame spirals, and then not be able to listen, let alone try to apologize and, and, and make things right. I was all caught up in like, ‘oh, my God, I'm a terrible human being’, like, paralyzed. And it's still very uncomfortable. Like, I do not like hearing that I've been a bad wife. Or that I've hurt my best friend, which I still do from time to time, like on accident. But I'll tell you what, it's a whole lot easier to get through it. If I think to myself, wow, this person loves me enough that they're coming to me as kindly as possible, so that we can have a better and closer relationship.

Andrea J. Lee 42:13
I mean, just like drop the mic. I'll wrap it up. That is so stinking gold and beautiful. Like, it's like…

Andrea 42:20
It was hard to get to that place.

Andrea J. Lee 42:24
And it's a spectrum. It's not a yes, no, like, right this way, you know, there's always a, like, more growth, right? This human, being human thing is so freaking weird, you know, to whatever degree that you can give yourself the safety to hear what you've just said is, that's the progress that we're looking for is that you're not centering your needs, you're putting the relationship at the center of the conversation, so that that relationship can get better. I could not love that more, honestly.

Andrea 42:58
Yeah, it's been that has been like next-level work for me. And I do credit my best friend, her name's Amy Smith. And she, she's helped me a lot. And this she's sort of like guided the way I'll say that. And I still you know, when she comes to me and says like, so there's this thing, I need to get off my chest. And I'm like, I immediately feel that pit in my stomach where I'm like, ‘oh, no, what did I do?’ And I'm not saying I don't feel that I don't go to this magical place of like, Oh my god, I can't wait to hear what I did. So we can better our relationship like no, I'm still like, ‘oh, shit, I’m in trouble’, because it sucks. I would so much rather her say something to me. So, I can do my best to clean it up to be a better friend instead of just ignoring it and not saying anything and then she feels resentful. And then she might say something passive aggressive later, which is how I used to behave, you know, let me just be passive aggressive about it and hope that they figure it out on their own.

Andrea J. Lee 43:54
There's a thing that I love. Like ‘if you can't talk about something that's bugging you, then you no longer have one problem, you have two’. I've never heard that. Like you have the original issue. Right? And then the problem of not about it.

Andrea 44:11
That was my childhood. My god bless my mom and dad. But yeah, that was how they grew up.

Andrea J. Lee 44:18
Everybody has it. It's conditioned to being human. I think, honestly, Martians were to come down and be like, this is part of the test of like, as humans are we going to do like the good thing and stay with this stuff and get better because we know we can. That's what we're all being called for.

I mean, that analogy that comes to me is sort of interesting. Like in the art world, you know, there's new art that's created every day. That's awesome. And then there's this specialty area, it's restoration art. And it kind of has a parallel to reparations and restorative justice. The kind of thing that you see done when people are restoring art extremely inspiring to me when it comes to repairing and strengthening relationships. The love it takes to mend a piece of art because it is so beautiful. And so worth mending, is extraordinary, extraordinary. There's so much history, there's some shared experience, there is something even more beautiful that comes out of a restored painting. Kind of like you know, the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi where a piece of pottery breaks, you fix it with gold. I can say to you as a 25 year, you know, married for 25 years gone through this abuse cycle, the intimacy, the like joy, the hot damn sex. Amazing. Like it's really going through it has incredible rewards.

Andrea 46:07
Yeah. Well, I think that's a beautiful note to end on. Unless there's I always want to ask my guests like, is there anything you want to circle back to or, or just say in order to feel complete in this conversation?

Andrea J. Lee 46:19
Thank you, I love that. I think all I would say is just like the seed of an idea. You know, if you're going through something like this, whether it's on the abused side or on the abusiveness side, you know, every hour of greater peace every day, every single day you can go without being abusive, you know, is one unit of peace that did not exist before and it is worth it.

Andrea 46:51
Thank you for sharing so vulnerably and we'll put the link to the blog in the show notes and your other website is AndreaJLee.com. And I think that they can get to your, your other blog from that site. Correct? Okay. I just thank everyone for being here and for listening. And remember everyone, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place.

Bye, everybody.

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