Over the last few weeks, we’ve been hearing from some amazing therapists and experts in the field of inner work. We’ve heard about attachment styles, epigenetics, family roles, and more. And over this time I’ve been heavily pondering the question, Do we ever truly heal?
In this minisode, you’ll hear:
- My opinion on healing– in other words, what does that actually mean?
- The one question you need to ask yourself and bring that answer to your therapist
- The steps necessary to take before you begin your healing journey
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Dr. Gabor Maté
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 428.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insights to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to another minisode. I'm so glad that you're here. And thank you for listening to the show. And for those of you that have subscribed and left reviews, I appreciate all of you so much, and I hope you enjoy these minisodes, where I'm going to try to keep it 10 minutes or less. I want to talk today about healing. If you've been listening to the last few weeks of the show, you know that I've had some therapists on, some counselors, some experts in. Sort of the deeper healing modalities, we've learned about trauma work about attachment styles, epigenetics, and I still have more episodes that are coming. This particular theme of healing is probably going to have the most experts of all of the themes that I'm going to do for the rest of the year because partially because I'm so interested in it and there's just so many really smart people out there who have different things to talk about. But as these have been coming out, and as I've been interviewing all of these experts, the question for me kept popping up: do we ever truly heal? And then immediately the question after that, that I think, as a coach, and I think anybody would probably ask themselves this question is: what does that actually mean? And that's where I'm going to start.
I feel like one of the most important questions a therapist has ever asked me, when I come to deal with something specific, when I say something like, there's this, you know, this old ghost that keeps bothering me. There's this childhood wound that I have that I feel like, keeps coming up in my relationships. It is very important that I the client, and/or the therapist asked me, what do you want that to look like? What do you think, healing, how does that manifest in your day to day life? What do you want to do differently? What do you want to keep doing the same? Just what is it, what does it mean to you? So I think that's the one, the one and important question that you need to ask yourself before you venture into a specific healing journey, or that your therapist asks you.
And I want to back up for just a second and talk about, you know, if we're, if we're having the conversation around personal development in general, I feel like you can, you can kind of separate it into two categories. There's the tools that we heal on a kind of regular basis. You know, these are the things that people come to my retreats for, like the retreats that I have coming up this year in The Daring Way. I am going to teach the attendees a modality that is all around shame, resilience, so that when something happens in their life, that that you know, can bring them down into a shame spiral, where then we act… the ways that we don't want to act, we have tools, we have kind of a system, a methodology, if you will, to be able to walk through that with a little bit more grace with a little bit more intention. Definitely a lot more awareness.
So there's, there's that side of personal development where you're learning key things, you know, I used to teach this a lot around your inner critic, and you know how to be aware of it, how to spot it, how to be able to manage it, there's that. And then there's also the old stuff that as we grow up and get older and get into these more advanced years in our lives that have tended to stick around sometimes we don't know it's a wound until much later. Sometimes we've known for a long time there's very obvious childhood trauma, or something that happened as an adult that is that has hurt you deeply that you have carried around. So what I'm talking about is the latter. Is the things that happened to us. Either if it's like an acute thing that happened, or something that was long term that has caused us pain, caused a wound, that we end up behaving in ways that that aren't our favorite, that we don't, we're not really so proud of ourselves.
So for instance, let me give you a personal example, as someone who identifies as an anxious, has an have an anxious attachment style, I can pinpoint exactly where that comes from. I was very close to my dad growing up. And he was always there for me. And then right around puberty, when I started to change, when I went from a little girl to a young adult woman into a teenager, that's where things really started to shift. And my dad pretty much without leaving our family walked away from our relationship. And we became much, much, much, much more distant. And it felt like it was abrupt, but in retrospect, it was probably a slow process that happened over time. So I felt that wound, unconsciously at the time. So I turned two boys to be able to fill that need that I had that emotional support, that emotional closeness and connection that I had lost from my father. And then that began, my anxious attachment style, terrified of being abandoned. And then my parents got divorced when I was 18, I was blindsided by that didn't even know they were having problems. So then there was another abandonment thing.
And I think, like all of us, have had heartbreak and disappointments and that can aid to our attachment style. And I've had some experts over the last few weeks talk about attachment styles. So interesting. Go back and listen, if you haven't heard those yet. But, you know, continuing to talk about my personal example, I would show up in relationships, terrified that the person was going to leave me. Many times unconscious. So I would act in ways, you know, I was incredibly insecure. I was very jealous, especially in my in my former relationship. And then in my present relationship, I wasn't as insecure and jealous, but what I would do is anytime there was a problem, anytime there was a kink in our relationships, which happens to all of us, right? I would panic internally. My anxiety would go through the roof, I would future trip about oh, my god, he's leaving me, we're gonna split up, and I would have a visceral reaction. So it's an example of being triggered is what I'm explaining to you. And so what I wanted to get to the bottom of personally, how do I heal this? How do I move from an anxious attachment style to a secure attachment style? And there are ways to do that. It's been a lot of talk therapy, it's been some somatic work. So the question of do we ever truly heal? In my opinion, again, I am not a licensed therapist, I'm just someone who's had a lot of trauma, I had a lot of drama, as well, and many relationships and a lot, a lot of introspection and self-awareness and being able to look at patterns.
I think the answer is complicated. I think, and, and also backing up again, healing, and pain, and wounds are incredibly subjective, incredibly subjective. So I think again, it comes back to that that question of what does that mean to you? Like, what are A) what are your behaviors that you do in your relationships or at work, or as a parent that you see are not that healthy, that you in a loving way want to change? And like, what is the end result? What do you what do you actually want that to look like? So there's that I'm getting I'm getting to, I'm getting to my opinion on the answer. I already told you. It's complicated. Okay, so there's that.
And I also think it's incredibly helpful to do these specific things when we either come to the realization that we have this wound, or when we come to the realization and the sort of, you know, this end game of what we want things to look like. I have fought tooth and nail, I have fought tooth and nail in therapy, I have fought myself that certain things were not that big of a deal. I kept trying to convince myself like, it's not that big of a deal. I have forgiven that person. I'm over it. I'm not hurt by that. But the manifestation of that wound kept coming up and kept coming up, so finally, after all these years, it was it was actually several years ago, I had really accepted the fact that there was a handful of things I needed to do before I could even start the healing. And that is that I had to accept and acknowledge those wounded parts. I had a lot of have shame and negative self-talk and anger towards my former self for accepting the type of behavior that that I had accepted, for getting the wounds in the first place, I felt like it was my fault. If I had only left that relationship, if I had only been stronger I wouldn't have let that affect me so much. I would think that like about my 13-year-old self. So accepting and acknowledging that the wound was there. And I think this is like, such a big part of it, is having immense amounts of compassion for that part of myself.
Many experts say that you have to love those parts of you first, and I think that can feel like such a stretch for so many people. I want to tell you try to have compassion first. It's on the path to love. But if you think about the parts of you that are wounded, whether it happened when you were a child, or a young adult, or if it happened last week. One of the things that I love that I heard from Dr. Gabor Maté, you've heard me mentioned him many times here on the podcast, I take a lot away from his work is that he says that had had we had the tools and the ability to behave and think differently when the trauma happened, or when the difficult time happened, we would have behaved differently, we would have thought differently, we would have made different decisions. We didn't have the ability, for whatever reasons. The reasons could be multitudes. It doesn't really matter at the moment, when you're when you're in that place of accepting and acknowledging and having compassion for yourself, you would have done it, you would have done differently if you could. And I had a really hard time accepting that. Because a lot of my wounding happened when I was an adult. And I would think to myself, I ignored my intuition. I, I knew better. And I didn't, I didn't do better. I made the wrong choice.
I was a stupid girl. That's what I kept telling myself over and over again, my throat actually tightens up. When I say that word, I was a stupid girl. Because that's what I thought over and over and over again. And I knew that that's what people were thinking about me, I had actually heard people say that about me. People that I cared about said that about me. So for me to have compassion for that time in my life, was incredibly difficult. And took a lot of conversations with my therapist, it was a street fight with my ego and eventually, the compassion one, which I'm incredibly grateful for, and it's not something that was like a one and done. Like who glad I got that checked off. It's still something I have to check myself around. And you know, I have to have conversations with my friends, I have conversations with my therapist, etc. So again, you first have to accept, acknowledge and have compassion for those wounded parts. And hopefully, you can love those parts of yourself that in itself can be a long journey.
Okay, and I've gone over my allotted time. So I'm going to wrap it up and say this, you know, then you get into maintenance. And I also think that that is something that you need to recognize maybe with each category of your wounds, and see what that what that looks like. I don't, I don't know about other people. But I look back on all of my wounds, and feel like a lot of them, a lot of them are healed a lot from what they used to be. And it's going to take another podcast for me to like talk to you about what that what that actually looks like, but there's always scar tissue, there's always scars, there's always some kind of residual stuff and it's typically not a lot, it typically does not affect my day to day life. But I think that's the case for most people, we're not going to be you know, and I'll just give you a quick example of what it looks like. And this is often the result of things like EMDR you can still think about what happened. You can still remember, you can maybe even like still tell this story, and it still stings a little still hurts a little. You might have a little bit of embarrassment when you tell it based on the look on someone's face or whatever. But it doesn't hit you like a gut punch. It doesn't, you don't have that physical, visceral reaction as you used to. And if you do, that's okay. There's still work to do. There's absolutely still work to do. And the good news is, is like now you know. Now you know what it is that you need to work on that you can bring to your therapist and say, okay, here's what I want this to look like as far as how I feel about it, how I think about it, etc. And then your therapists can do some expectation management with you. Because I know when I showed up to my therapist, I was like, I want this to be gone. I want it to be with a light switch like this to me. I want an exorcism. Get it out, get it out. And that wasn't, that wasn't totally feasible. So we had conversations around that.
Alright, I thank you so much for listening today. I really hope that you enjoy these minisodes. I'm going to have to say like, I'm going to keep between 10 and 15 minutes. Okay, that's what we're going to do now. I also wanted to remind you that registration for the retreats, multiple retreats, go grab all the info at AndreaOwen.com/retreat. That is for the kind of generic daring way retreat that I'm going to host in May. I'm also doing a recovery one for people in recovery that is going to be in September. That is it. AndreaOwen.com/recovery-retreat.
Thank you so much for joining me again. You know how grateful I am that you are here and that you choose to spend your time with me and remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.