This week I have a conversation about shit that matters with unqualified people to share with you. My bestie, Amy Green Smith, helps me unpack the emotional damage humiliation has caused me for so many years and let it be seen for what it is.
I had been told by a well-meaning friend that humiliation wasn’t something I should feel. After all, the things that happened to me (my ex-husband cheating on me) weren't my fault. Together Amy and I unpack the weight of humiliation, shame, and self-worth. By the end of this episode, I finally settled into the notion that healing is truly a one-day at a time journey.
How earth-shattering it is to actually feel seen.
If it is painful to you, it is valid.
My inner teenager is pissed.
We are all navigating trauma, personally and generationally.
Unpacking trauma is labor!
There is a tremendous weight of being the one in the family to carry the emotional load.
And finally, from Amy, “We all have our shit and we are never done doing the work. There is an element in grief in this knowledge. The work won’t be void of hardship. We can just engage it in a more powerful way.”
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Carrie’s humiliated https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-O-z5gELUY
Atlas of the Heart, Brené Brown
Brené Brown's 3-part podcast series: Atlas of the Heart: A Sisters Book Club, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Registration is open for Daring Way Retreat in September 2022
Episode 424: How We Heal Ourselves: Complex PTSD and Familial Roles with Elizabeth Kupferman
Episode 426: How We Heal Ourselves: Epigenetics and Attachment Styles with Sarah Peyton
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So to finally feel recognized for your experience, I'm hoping that this conversation and sharing this which is such an incredible act of vulnerability on your behalf, does help heal because my guess is that you're going to have a myriad of people who come out saying, oh my gosh, that's exactly how I felt too.
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 432.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insights to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Irwin, 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.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the show. I am feeling especially apprehensive about this particular episode, and I'ma tell you why. It is a conversation about Shit That Matters with Unqualified People. One of those episodes, for those of you who might be new to the show, I haven't done one in a little while. And these are basically conversations that I have with people in my real life that are my friends and we don't we're not coming at this from an expert angle. These are real conversations and we're kind of working through things in real time. And for this particular episode, I had kind of like a smack me in the face moment of self-awareness and usually when that happens, I immediately go to my best friend, Amy Smith, and talk it out with her. Amy also, you know, has been doing what I do for a very long time. And she's my best friend. She's, you know, the first person that I go to around issues such as this, and I decided that I was going to save it for the show. And as I'm walking into this conversation with her, I'm totally regretting it. I'm like, oh my god, I cannot believe it was like one of those vulnerability hangovers, you know where you think something is a great idea and you’re like, this feels way too exposed. So I wanted to caveat the episode with a few things that you need to know just so you better understand the episode.
So, again, Amy's my best friend, we just kind of jump into the conversation. There's not a real intro like I usually do. And please forgive the first, approximately three minutes because I am stalling. I'll just be honest. I was so nervous, and anxiety ridden about just dealing with it at all, not even just having the conversation publicly, but just having the conversation at all. Also, there's a book that we are referring to and when I really listened to the episode, we I say it very fast, and you might not be able to hear me the book we are referring to his Atlas of the Heart. It's Brené Browns newest book. Okay, that's what we're referring to. Also in the episode when I am talking about, quote, unquote, the things that happened to me, I am specifically referring to my divorce. So for those of you that are a little bit new to the show, in 2006, I was married previously. And as my husband and I were talking about and planning to conceive our first child, he had an affair with our neighbor, and got her pregnant and then we divorced right after that. I had been with him for many, many, many years. And I was very close to his family. It was a very traumatic experience and that's what I'm referring to when I am… Because I kind of just dive in and get really emotional.
And speaking of emotional after listening back to the episode, I can I can tell that I'm not sad about it. So I want to kind of preface that just so you know. I do break down and start crying and there's a lot of really awkward pauses that I wanted to I wanted to edit those out, but I'm like, no, let me just leave them because that's real conversations and how it works. And I am emotional about it and you'll find out why. So I just want everybody to know, I'm okay. I'm not particularly sad. It's just a very emotional topic. And I wanted to make that distinction, because this is one of those like emotional intelligence type types of things. where it was helpful for me to learn that about myself that, you know, naming what is actually going on, again, wasn't particularly sad, just sometimes we cry when we have a really vulnerable conversation with someone, when we are telling someone that we trust something that is especially difficult for us to say out loud. I hope that I'm being clear about that. I just wanted it to hopefully be helpful for some of you, as you might be able to relate to what I'm talking about, or even if you can just relate to breaking down and crying about something when you're not exactly sad about it but it's just a very emotional topic.
This episode is explicit. If you have any young listeners, there are some F bombs in there because it's a real conversation. And I was in a tent. Let me explain because Amy mentions it. So she and I are on video together but of course, this episode is only audio. I set up like a fort in my office because I share a wall with my son and he was home that day and I didn't want him to hear any of the conversation. So I moved my whole operation on the other side of my office, and then created like a sheet over me, partly for sound and mostly to feel like I was protected. Amy and I had a really good laugh about it. So she does mention that towards the end or maybe I mentioned it about how we're in a tent, or rather how I'm in a tent.
And lastly, there is a particular clip that I'm going to link to in the show notes. If any of you are like me, what's helpful to me, as I process emotions, it's helpful for me when I see TV, or movies, or maybe even a play, although I don't see live theater all that often, were something that I'm feeling is acted out by the actors. And I don't know what it is, I don't know if it's like kind of separating myself and seeing it and, and being able to see their emotions, obviously, you know it these are great actors and it helps me to be able to feel seen, and the emotions, as well as process the emotion itself. So there's a particular scene, you guys know I'm a fairly…I would say I am a huge fan, but I'm a fan of the Sex in the City series and there is a scene from the first Sex in the City movie, where Carrie is very upset with Mr. Big as she had many times. And for those of you that aren't familiar with the show, basically they have a long relationship that is dramatic and they get married, and he gets cold feet and decides to leave her at the altar and then he changes his mind and they meet right at that moment where he's trying to apologize to her for standing her up and leaving her at the altar and she's very upset with him. It's a very short clip. I can't watch it without crying even just like thinking about it makes my throat clench up. And it's the particular things that she says to him in that moment that just got me in a good way. Because again, it helps me. It helps me understand everything. And that particular clip is pertinent to this episode, because I always sort of wondered why that clip gutted me so much. And you'll hear why. Alright, I think that's about it. for setting up this show.
Last thing, we have decided to have one retreat, one daring way retreat this year, and it is going to be in September. It is going to be a non-recovery focused retreat in Asheville, North Carolina and that is over at AndreaOwen.com/retreat. Stay tuned, because I'm going to do an open house like an open Q&A over here within the next couple of months. If you're interested in going and you're not quite sure yet, you might want to talk to me and have some questions, you will be able to do that. So stay tuned for that. And I guess without further ado, here is the conversation about Shit That Matters with Unqualified People, between me and my best friend, Amy Smith.
I don't know how I'm feeling. I think I'm just like questioning my entire existence. Yeah, no, I'm being dramatic.
Isn't that like existentialism?
I think so. I'm experiencing a minute. And well, and to be fair, to give a little bit of context for you and the people. I like to batch interviews for the podcast, and I have interviewed three experts. So this is my fourth call. And I've interviewed three experts on trauma and different modalities of trauma therapy. They were all therapists, so it was all these really deep conversations. So that's always good. Just a little bit.
Oh, you mean today like today you've had back-to-back. Okay? This is where my head wet I went, oh, you've discussed emotions and this book with three other PhDs or therapists. And now you just want a life coach's perspective.
No, I just want like an average Jane.
Yeah. Just let's have some the layman's perspective. No.
No. We talked about, I interviewed Elizabeth Kupferman. She's a therapist, and she talks a lot about like, complex PTSD and like the four trauma responses, the fight, flight, freeze or fawn. And then I talked to a really interesting woman, Sarah Payton, who talks a lot about epigenetics. And then and like, ancestral healing. And then Britt Frank, who's always amazing. She has a book coming out. So she has a lot of different experts. And now you. Whatever works to help us all heal right?
Right. Yeah, I feel like there was there was a, a lot of years where I was like, why the fuck was I born in this family? Until, until I realize like, oh, to learn how to speak up for yourself, and then teach everybody that too. You know? I know you and I both talked about that about feeling othered in your family.
Okay, so why don't we… I know that I have given you like, no context…
I have no idea what we're talking about, at all. But I'm good like that.
Okay. And it's, it's, it's funny, because like, when this happened, we had like a moment had like an existential crisis moment, like, I don't know, week and a half ago. And then I messaged you right away and was like, hey, can we talk about this on the pod? So I didn't even immediately tell you what was going on, which I usually do. Right. And so okay, that's I think that's where I'll start is…
So it was in the car. And you and I both have The Atlas of the Heart book. Yes. Did you have you listened to the Unlocking…because I know you were saying that you were catching up on
Brené’s podcast, Unlocking Us episodes where it was like a three part series where her and her sisters were they were interviewing her. Okay. So I was listening to that in the car with Sidney, my daughter was in the backseat. And there I am happily rolling along. And granted, at this point, I had only gotten through the first chapter of the book. I think through chapter one, and I was listening to it, and I'm going to share my screen to play an excerpt of the podcast. And PS. I was frantically researching, like, is this legal to play someone else's podcast on my show? I found out it is. Yeah, as long as it's for…you can't… Anyway, the long and short of it as long as you're doing it in the context of how we're doing it. So we are going to talk about it, and you can do it like for journalism purposes, or you know, critiquing and commentary and things like that. Here we go. So I'm going to play like, a minute of it and then tell you why this was just like, holy shit, like I felt, I felt like Earth move under my feet, and how to turn it off. Okay.
Unlocking Us Podcast Clip 13:22
We still talk about the primary difference between shame and humiliation being the construct of deserving. So if I'm a teacher, and I shame a student, and that student self-talk is, God, I didn't deserve that. That’s the meanest, rotten, terrible teacher. I didn't deserve it. We used to say all the time that humiliation is less dangerous than shame because as a caregiver, it's very likely that we'll hear about it, because they're not internalizing it like they would shame. If they process that a shame, because she called me stupid, I am stupid. She's calling me stupid, I am stupid. The problem is, if we look on 147, this is based on the research we define humiliation as the intensely painful feeling that we've been unjustly degraded, ridiculed, or put down, and that our identity has been demeaned or devalued. And it's similar to shame because we feel somehow flawed when we're in that emotion. But again, we were humiliated. We don't believe we deserved it and the new research this is coming from Linda Hartling, who's the director of a global transdisciplinary group called Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. They call themselves the Nurtures of Dignity. Hartley and her colleagues describe humiliation as ‘unjustified mistreatment that violates one's dignity and diminishes one's sense of self-worth as a human being’. So a collection of studies has really challenged my thinking about how detrimental and dangerous humiliation is so…
Woof. What did you pick up from that, and I'll tell you why this like knocked me over.
Thanks to her work, you know, we've talked a lot about the difference between shame and guilt of I am wrong versus I've done something wrong. And I think this newer research, at least what I'm hearing from her is, the shame is, I deserved it when I'm wrong, and I deserve to be humiliated, or I deserve to be shamed. Versus humiliation where you're experiencing that sensation of ridicule or embarrassment, you know, tenfold. But you feel as though you didn't deserve it. Like, why if I Yeah, it's unjustified why's this here?
So as it relates to, as I really curious to hear, because I can think about all of the kind of the bevy of different circumstances that you've had in your life that have been infused with shame or humiliation, largely humiliation, I would think. So I would think having, and this is really what Brené talks about a lot with this book is having the language to define what you're feeling and what's happening for you. And that sometimes when we categorize something, or have a label, or have the language it, sometimes it's a relief, but sometimes it fucking knocks us on our ass to both. Tt sounds like that happened to you. Alright, so don't leave me hanging, I'm dying.
Okay, well, and then she went on… just for context for people listening, like she went on to talk about. And, you know, it's from the Unlocking Us, we'll put the link in the show notes, episode two of three, when, when her sisters Barrett and Ashley interviewed her. She goes on to talk about a study that they did in the early 2000s and by they, it's this, Linda Hartling and some colleagues. They studied some, some school shooters, like in the late 1900s, it sounds so weird to say in the late 90s, which is true, late 1900s. Turn of the century. The turn of the century. But I'm assuming, I don't know for sure, but I'm assuming those were all boys and young men that they studied in, it wasn't that big of a cohort of them. But they were talking about how that kind of profound humiliation is also closely related to suicide and homicide. It's just violence. And granted, these boys and young men were also bullied, which I didn't quite have that experience. And the thing that… I had to back up the podcast, like 30 seconds or 45 seconds to have her read that again and then I turn to page 147 of Atlas of the Heart, and it's actually on the top of 148 If you have the print version, where it's this other scientists definition of it, and it says ‘unjustified mistreatment that violates one's dignity and diminishes…diminishes one sense of self-worth as a human being’, and I think I've never heard it explained like that. And I've never felt… I've never felt like anyone could describe it exactly how I was feeling it. Like when, and I think anybody who's listening who has not just had infidelity be a part of their life. But everybody knows about it. And I think for my personal experience the amount of people like the amount of friends that we had, and like the huge family and there were so many people that we were connected to, and like we both were born and raised in that town, and like everybody knew, I mean, it's not totally true, but like so many people knew who we were, and we'd been together for so long, and it was just so fucking humiliating. And I told one person that it was one of our friends. Um, it was early on and I was like, I'm just I'm so humiliated about this whole thing and she was like, you don't need to be humiliated. He's the one that fucked up and she made me wrong for it. And of course, she meant well, but I never told anybody again for the longest time that I felt humiliated.
I was just angry and still angry. And I think that like it just knocked me over because a couple of things because again, like I said, I've never had anyone describe it that way. So perfectly. The words so perfectly how I felt and Brené, who is someone I admire so much, clearly, say that, essentially, they were, I mean, I don't know, she said that they were wrong about it, but they just didn't look into it enough. And that she said, you know, like, I've changed my mind about how damaging humiliation can be. That was like half of what made me feel so validated. Because I felt like…
Yeah, it is.
And, you know, and she had went…way back way back when I was in training, and we were learning about the differences between embarrassment, guilt, shame and humiliation. I remember, you know, learning about humiliation, and it's like, the same the way that they described, it's like the same physical sensations of shame. It's going to feel exactly the same, the only difference is deserving. And I was like, okay, and then it wasn't really talked about, at all. Like, the focus is shame, the focus is guilt and humiliation and embarrassment really aren't that big of a deal.
And so I have carried that for years as a trained Daring Way facilitator. Like, just also feeling like, trying to push it away, and just be like, it wasn't that big of a deal. I get it, you are making this more than it needs to be. And there was something that was telling me that it wasn't, and I'm like, what the fuck is this? Like, it just wouldn't go away. And I, if Sydney wouldn't have been in the car with me, I would have pulled over and broken down. But I didn't want her to like have to take care of me. Anyway, I just I think that that level of validation, and being seen was something I don't think I've ever experienced before Goulet. Like, I really don't think I have.
So I don't think they know you we call each other Goulet, out a little levity there. Long story, but it's an SNL reference. Um, so you might hear a slip, it's very hard for me to call her Andrea. So a couple of things. First off, the amount, that how earth shattering it is to actually feel seen is, especially you and I've been having conversations how there's no shortage of people around us who aren't capable of that. They either aren't the ears that can hear us, they're not the eyes that can see us they're not, they don't have the energy that can hold where we're at. So to finally feel recognized for your experience, I think is huge. And I and I also think I'm hoping that this conversation and sharing this, which is such an incredible act of vulnerability on your behalf, does help heal. Because my guess is that you're going to have myriad of people who come out saying, oh my gosh, that's exactly how I felt too.
And there's a couple things that I think are worth underlining here. The first is, her statement around diminishes sense of self. To diminish self, it's like, I don't know what a good metaphor is. Like a statue that keeps getting kind of chipped away, chipped away until it's no longer recognizable and the amount of trying to find the pieces that can help you build that statue back up again, and everyone around you is going what cracks, what are you talking about? What cracks? What pieces? What are you talking about?
And the other thing that I wanted to mention, too, is and I've had multiple conversations about this, that maybe even you and I have, that we never ever fucking root for our own trauma. We never do. We never want to say I was abused. We never want to say this was an extremely emotional issue to surmount. Or I was wrong. Or I, even for myself that this has been the first year at age 42, that I have been able to claim that I'm a survivor of religious abuse. Because we don't want it to be that we want to say we want it to be like we want to say it's not that big of a deal. We want to say, oh, I got through it or I'm surviving. And we want to do the comparative suffering thing that Brené talks about, like so many people have it worse. And so we belittle our experiences, and then that is compounded by other people in our life like the friend that you had, who tells you how you're feeling is wrong and if it is painful to you, it is valid. Period.
Yeah. And I think compounded. It was not that long later that I had to do some continuing ed that I've been telling you about. And I'm, I'm super interested in, in Dr. Gabor Ma Tei’s work, and he talks a lot about trauma, he talks about addiction to a lot. But you know, his philosophy and what he says over and over again, is your trauma is not about what happened to you, it's about what happened to your body. It's about how you try to cope now. It's about how you're trying to relieve that pain, if you're doing it through behaviors that don't serve you like knots, when he talks about addiction. And that was helpful for me, because, you know, I kept, I kept thinking to myself, my self-talk and some people, like if I talk about it on social media, I always get those comments, super rude comments, like, why are you still talking about it if it happened 15 years ago? And sometimes I wonder that myself. I'm like, why is this still a thing for me? Why does this still matter? And it's not that he matters, and it's not that the marriage still matters. It's because of what happened inside of my body when that all occurred.
And I think I like your metaphor about the statue and like, I see it more as it just all happened so fast too that it felt like I was just completely erased. Right? That it just like got the rug pulled out from under me and my therapist was talking about, you know, disillusionment, how damaging that can be how we think things are a certain way. And you know, we trust people and think things are going we have this idea of our reality and then when we find out it actually was not that at all. It was something else. It's traumatizing.
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Brené goes on in that episode to talk about, and they she talks about it in Atlas of the Heart, and that same chapter about the studies that they did about, you know, those boys and young men and how the humiliation coupled with bullying is overwhelmingly results in violence. And I My immediate thought when I heard that was like, I turned that on myself.
Well, I think that's, that's the difference of like, that's what's available for women, is you get to have self-loathing. For men, you get to take that out externally. Because, you know, that's, I mean, obviously, that's a generalized statement.
Yeah. And, for me, it's been helpful to connect the dots. And this is the conversation I've been having with, with, you know, the experts on my show about labels. You know, like, how much do they really matter? You know, is it dangerous, if we spend so much time trying to find the label that fits the best, then there's, you know, over identification, and we can spend way too much time doing that, and like kind of picking apart all of our neuroses. And what I find helpful is connecting the dots as to what happened. Not just what happened, but how I interpreted it, because that's really the most important part more important than what happened. And then the behaviors that I used to soothe myself. And you know, that happened in 2006. And then I got into the relationship with the fake cancer guy in early ‘07. And then and then I got pregnant with Colton. So I wasn't drinking but I was still very much love addicted. And then I met Jason and you know, after Colton was born, really my drinking picked up. Like I remember… this must have been before we met like I was at a woman's house that I went to coach training with and she had like a sleepover with me and Courtney was there and, and a handful of other women that were in our, in our cohort for coach training. And the woman who was hosting she was actually sober and she had a bottle of wine that she had used to cook with. And she was like doing the dishes and she called over her shoulders, she's like, does anybody want this, I'm just gonna I'm gonna throw it out and nobody else was in the room and then it sat there on the counter and I remember sneaking into the kitchen when nobody was looking and chugging that bottle. Probably, I forgot about it until like it came up in my Facebook memories from, it must have been ‘08 that this happened cuz I wasn't pregnant with Sidney yet but Colton was still a baby. And that was like one of the handful of things that happened where I was like, maybe this isn't healthy maybe I need to look at that but it took me a minute to look at that.
But that was you know the start of just doing whatever I could to you know, push it down. I was very early in my in my own personal development journey but I remember feeling so fucking pissed about the whole thing and just and still… And like this is this is my next frontier. Peace be with the next therapist that I hire because I've got some anger to get out. And you know, a lot of it is like my, my inner teenager is fucking pissed. Very pissed about some things that happened and then just making my stomach hurt.
Well, yeah, it's so it's so interesting to me that correlation between the emotional self and the physical self and so it doesn't surprise me at all that it would manifest as stomach-ache. You know, something physical. And I've been grappling with this a little bit too lately because I have been feeling an extreme amount of anger. I've labeled it rage and I think I might be using that inaccurately now that I'm reading this lovely body Meachum all about emotions. No, this is Atlas. I just took the cover off so it wasn't… Making it gross. And I think you and I both have interviewed Dr. Valerie Rein about patriarchy stress disorder. And one of the things that really stood out to me is that not only are we navigating our own trauma and our own rage or anger about things that we've actually experienced, but we're also doing that generationally. So All of our, all of our ancestors who… that wasn't an option. I mean, even emotional acuity or intelligence wasn't even an option. That wasn't a thing.
And, and I was just watching a show with Mr. Smith, and he was my husband. And he was it is so great because he's become quite the feminist. And he, he'll just say, like, I cannot believe there was no choices for women back then. And this we're talking about, like gladiator time period. And, and I'm like, literally, this is the best time. This is the best time. Like, it's always, the present moment is the most advanced like there's not at least in the United States. Yeah, right. Right. That's true. That's true. That's definitely worth a caveat.
The reason why I bring that up is I think that it's such an common thing for us to go, what's wrong with me? Why can't I get over this? What are my issues? And we forget to recognize the weight of what we are actually grappling with. Not only is it a collective trauma that we're in the middle of that we've been going through for a couple of years as a society, but we're also undoing centuries and generations of trauma of women who did not have the language, or the freedom to actually have this or the priority to have this type of a conversation. I say that to hopefully inspire you all listening to be really generous with yourself that… and I really believe that these younger generations, you know, starting probably with some of the younger millennials, Z generation, alpha. I think they're really going to start changing that narrative around getting support being in your fields, you know, being emo, allowing yourself to, to actually have a vernacular around that. That wasn't. That wasn't a thing for us. But I also recognize and I think this might be something you can speak to, of just being fucking sick of doing the work.
Oh, you're talking about like, the labor like the actual labor like around the house type, like domestic duties?
No, I'm talking about the labor of unpacking trauma. Of doing your own work to recognize what this stuff really is and how everything in us and also in our society tells us just sweep it under the rug. Don't look there.
I don't know about you. And I think I don't know if it's just because I am I'm much more quick to access anger. But for anybody listening who might feel this way, I get angry that I was more or less chosen. Especially feeling like the only one in my family. And like how I get a little bit self-righteously angry. And this is what I told you the other day, and I said, I'm, I'm tired of feeling like I was born a seeker in a family that does not seek or have, like, any desire to do that. And like, you know, I've heard people say, and some people are joking about it, like, the universe puts you in families where those people are your teachers and where you have the biggest lessons to learn. And I'm like, fuck you. I don't want it. I don't want to be the one. It's all… looking out. I feel and this isn't every day. But I have moments where I'm like, it seems so much easier to just be not interested and not know what you're missing. Do you know what mean? Like to be okay, and I can't it's kind of like a grass is greener over there type of thing. And, and again, these moments are few and far between.
But I just I wonder what that's like, because I feel like even though I entered that I didn't enter this work until I was in like my earlyish mid 30s. I've always been interested in it but been made fun of for it. I think I told you like I bought Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, like right in the early or mid 90s, and my then boyfriend made fun of me about it. And just wanted something bigger and like wanted to like help people and volunteered and stuff and was made fun of for it. And I also now look back at my childhood and think of things that happened that were really big moments like he had a family friend that passed away and like watching my parents navigate that but you know, a family member passed away watching my one of my parents navigate that. A funeral, watching them navigate that. And I have distinct memories of that. And not just remembering but remembering how I felt. And remembering that I was so hungry for just connection and like can we talk about this. Even though it scares me and I'm not sure what this is, can you just put your arms around me and like can we move through this together? As a family and so I can like feel safe and I never got that. And I think that, you know, I developed coping mechanisms as I got older to just to survive. And they have been difficult and challenging to knock down. And I drank too, you know, and I was codependent and I was a love addict and had an eating disorder, all in an effort to find relief from that pain. And it worked until it didn't. And then when it all fell down, I think it was like a year or two into my sobriety where I was like, holy shit, the amount of work I have to do, will never end.
Right. It's almost like the pain of the addiction becomes more painful than the stuff you have to work through. And that's sort of the, the line of the tipping point. Yeah, that's the line, you tow, for the longest time, like, can I keep this coping mechanism under control enough. But that's not typically how addiction works, you know?
Come people stay in that place for a long time, my heart goes out to them, that's rough.
I don't feel I don't have that same response of being angry about being the one in the family. I feel grateful. I feel fuckin grateful. I feel it's such a lightworker bullshit thing to say. But I feel like I am so grateful to be walking in the light and to choose the light instead of the dark. And, and I, you know, I've had some really amazing conversations with people in my family. But I think one of the big differences that I'm noticing just in this conversation is there was a lot of safety in my family. There was a lot of emotional safety in my family. And although I still feel like a lot of the dogma in the religious abuse is what I'm grappling with now, and the trauma that I'm grappling with, now, I don't, I really can separate how abusive that rhetoric is, and then the intention and the hearts of where my parents were at. And I feel like they genuinely really, truly thought.. that everything was with so much love. I think a lot of the stuff of purity culture, and you know, just the whole idea that you need saving, and all of that, I think is incredibly detrimental to someone's well-being. But I never, I never was shamed for expressing my emotions. That is still, even though I do have, you know, a litany of issues that I'm working through. That is one of the things that I'm super, super grateful for, with my parents and my dad in particular, because I think that's pretty much unheard of, especially for Gen Xers raised by boomers, you know, it's not, it's not something we're taught.
It’s unusual. Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. I think that this book is, is so incredible, just, and I've, you know, I've been reading her work for since ‘09, and always find something useful in all of them. But I'll tell you what, like, I can't even put into words how validating it felt to have her… And you know, and it's like, kudos to her for, like, continuing to do the research on these… I mean, Brené is famous enough where she could be like, alright, you know, like, I'm done. But that's not how science works. You know, and we're seeing this now, with the science within immunology and virology in the pandemic and, and people scientists learn more things, and they change their mind and things change. And I mean, even the science is different when I went to college and the mid 2000s, to get my degree in exercise physiology, like a lot of the research is showing similar things, but a lot of it's different. And so I'm grateful to her and her team for continuing to look at the research.
It's going to be really interesting what happens as the decades go by. I wonder, I mean, these are the things I think about as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep with my middle-aged insomnia and my existential crisis. I wonder if what we're experiencing now, and I can only speak for culturally and socially here in the US, this sort of rumbling, if you will, and discomfort and real fighting that we're seeing within people, I wonder if this is the result of generations and generations and generations of trauma, coming up like a volcano. You know? What is it? Old Yeller? No Old Faithful.
Old. Old Yeller is a dog? Oh, oh my gosh. Yeah, of course it is. I absolutely think that's what this is. And I also think we've compounded it with technology, which is quite menacing, because we have vehicles for violence that we didn't have before. Right? So if we're talking about how humiliation, this idea of I'm being made wrong, and I don't deserve it, which pretty much everybody is kind of feeling an element of that, some degree of that. And so let me take this to social media. Now we have access to weaponry that we did not have access to in the past. So there's all of these additional elevated ways in which not only are we able to be violent, but we're also able to express it in a way.
So the idea of like the way that that has catapulted just in the last handful of years, where we can take out that aggression, our stances, our thoughts, our opinions, in a multitude of different places. And by and large, not really have a huge amount of repercussion there, because we're not actually engaging face to face and seeing the results of what we're saying to people, right? And so all of that stuff really scares me.
But I also think that there's ways in which, especially technology has given us the opportunity to connect together in fact, I definitely credit TikToc as being one of the biggest influences for me, in the religious deconstruction movement. There's movements that are happening around fat phobia, or ableism, or racism, or all of these different things that have also been a dormant message or slow to sort of a slow burn of getting out there. So I think it's, I see pluses and minuses of it, like where I'm, I get excited for some of the younger generations that they're just not going to tolerate bullshit. And then I see some other sides of that that are, like doubling down on some really archaic antiquated notions about how we should behave. In fact, there was… have you read the portion in Atlas about cognitive dissonance?
No, maybe I have, but I don't remember.
It's so interesting. She references another book, o this was not necessarily Brené’s specific research. But there's other books that chronicled a doomsday cult, and this gentleman, and I would have to look up his name, and we can throw that in later if we need to, but he predicted that, okay, the people who are super invested in this message, when that doomsday comes, that date comes, I think it was December 21, in the 50s, somewhere in the 50s. When that date comes and the rapture doesn't happen, the people who are highly highly invested in this will actually double down once they've received the information that you are wrong. They can't hold that, in their mind those two competing thoughts of I'm wrong, and I believe this thing, so how the fuck can I make sense of that? And he said, they will double down. The people who are less invested in this cult, we'll use that as a sign of like, okay, here we've been given literal proof that this isn't going to happen and then they'll, they'll leave the cult.
So and, and at the time, that sort of fatidic prophecy was kind of unheard of in the research, right, it was unheard of that once presented with the information that people would actually deny it kind of like results of an election. And, and he was absolutely right, because those people then said, oh, we've been spared. God has actually decided to spare us because we've been so faithful. That's sort of the way in which we start to go, I cannot possibly be wrong, so let me double down on all of this stuff. And she uses references to of like, smoking when you know, that you shouldn't be smoking, but then you also still want to smoke and how you're holding those two things so you have to make it make sense. Make it make sense. Yeah. So it's like, well, I do this because I don't want to pick up another bad habit or I don't want to gain weight, or I don't you know, whatever other bullshit. I agree with you. I think it's, I think I even told you, I think this is the most important book of our generation. One of them.
Yeah. And when I think about things that have happened in our culture, whether it was before I was born or, or that I've seen lately, the pendulum seems to swing like completely the other direction before it evens out. And my hope is that it evens out soon. I get a little nervous about, you know, the future for my children and things like that. But I'm, I'm happy that… and when I say swinging the other way, I think, I think there is a lot of over identification happening. I think that, you know, people spend a lot of time… it's, it's a tricky balance. A lot of time trying to label themselves and just defending their poor behavior by saying like, well, I'm this and well I have anxiety disorder. And it's like, yes, that's, that's true. And, you know, what are you going to do about it now? But, um, one of the other points I wanted to make is, if people have you listened to the show for a while, first of all, thank you.
And second of all, I've talked about all the different therapists I have. And, you know, starting with Christine, who was my first therapist, and I saw her on and off for probably 20 years. And then I've had a couple therapists here and there that I didn't see for very long that that weren't that helpful. But I had an EMDR therapist, and she was, it was pretty helpful. And then, you know, I worked with Jessica Clark on the sex stuff and worked with healing my trauma therapist from last year. And I think, I think the thing I want to say is one of the mistakes that I have made, I don't know if I've ever articulated this before, but I realized this, when… I can't remember who asked me, I don't know if it was Helen, I think it was when I went to the ADHD specialist. And she said, I'm sure Helen asked me this too, and she said, what do you want to have happen? Right? Like, what do you and we do this in coaching. We say like, how do you want to be different? Like part of it is expectation management, right? We want to know, like, alright, do you have expectations that are just completely unrealistic? Or is that something that you maybe need to see a therapist for something else. And I was like, oh, I want to be cured. Like, I want to be totally better. I want a fucking exorcism. Can you can you serve that up, because I will give you all my money, if you can get this trauma out of my motherfucking body, like, I am ready to not have it anymore. And I that's one of the expectations I think that I had to check for myself.
And the conclusion that I've come to is that all the therapists that I've seen, have helped me like steppingstones like, as like a kind of board of directors that have helped me get to this place. And I don't think it's any accident that when we are ready to hear something that we truly hear it. And I think that that's why, you know, that message hit me so hard when on Brené’s podcast when she was talking about it with Barrett and Ashley and some of the experts that I've had on my show have pointed me into directions that were so incredibly helpful. And my point is, at this stage, I think I've finally settled and I've always known this, like on a like a surface level. But I think I finally settled into this truly is like a one day at a time, one layer of the onion of being healed at a time and I will continue to have people in my life who are you know, holding up a mirror to me and the parts about myself that I don't particularly love. They are challenging me in ways that I have to really show up and either execute some boundaries or learn to have hard but important conversations. There's gonna be people that hurt me, and people that I hurt. And, and it's just, it's an ongoing process. And you know, we never arrive.
It also helps me to never put people on pedestals. I've never really been that type of person. I think I read somewhere that Enneagram eights, don't do that. But what I tend to do is I feel like people, there are certain people who have parts of their life really well put together. Like I know they're human and I know they're like, not just one dimensional, but I'm I sometimes make up I'm like, well, they've got their career on lockdown, or their relationships are just like not flawed at any anything. And that's not true.
No, it's not. It's not at all. But again, it's you know we don't go around sharing our pain. Typically we share exactly that. That.
No, I mean, who sits in a tent and calls her best friend and records it.
Well, you know, there's that great quote about you know, comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reel. And, and we do have those moments, I think of transparency, where we say, hey, I'm going through something tough. But I could also see somebody, like on the outside looking in and b=eing like, oh my gosh, she is so successful, she's verified on Instagram. She has three books that have been in all these different languages, she does all these speaking gigs, you know, she's got this successful podcast, right? And we forget that, that we're so multifaceted. And there's so many things that we're going through. And everybody has shit.
In fact, it was recently that I sort of had this epiphany. I don't know why this was an epiphany. But I've been working through some of this stuff around purity culture, and I was like, I don't know, one woman in my life who has a thriving, no issues, sex life. Not fucking one. But who the fuck talks about that? Like, nobody's like, hey, yo, I have trouble with orgasm, or, hey, I've got some shit happening, you know, or my partner's addicted to porn, or blah, blah. Like, nobody, nobody really talks about some of those, those things that we're, we're I'm packing kind of behind the scenes. But we're all we all have our shit, right? We all have our shit.
And we're never fucking done. That's one of the things that's been really helpful for me and listening to Brené. And just really sobering for me is that she constantly references her therapist, and I'm like, okay, if our Lady Brené still sees a therapist, our Lady of love and light. B-Money. If B-Money still sees it, then, and I've said this so many times with my classes and students and I do think that there's almost and this might be even for you, too. There's an element of grief in that. Like when you feel like, I just need to find the right answer. It's going to be the right program, it's going to be the right book I read, it's going to be the right therapist, and then I will be healed, I will be fixed.
I will be relieved of this pain.
Forever, and it will be tidy, and it won't ever surface again, it won't ever get triggered by new trauma. And then we have people like you and I who will tell them like, listen, it's not that you are going to be void of pain, it's going to be that you engage with pain in a different more powerful way. You're not going to be void of hardship, we're going to engage with hardship in a more powerful way. And that concept of you never actually arrive, warrants grieving. Because our society is like, tidy it up, right? You need fast food, we need fast remedies we need give me a pill that I can be fine. But you know, we don't like the idea that this is something that that is a lifelong process.
Yeah, yeah. And for a little while, there I was, I was looking for that too. And it was it, it comes and goes, I think, well, how accepting I am of that. Like, I understand it, but I push back on it sometimes. One of the another reason I encourage people to go listen to that three part series is they reference, they're being pretty private about it, I have a feeling something is going on with one of their parents as far as like, you know, like aging, or like either putting them in a home or they're sick or something like that. And I appreciate because they had I think it was the second or was it maybe the third episode of the three they had people write in with their questions and one of the people said, do you still find yourself… the question more or less was when you all get together, like as a family, you know, Brené and her sisters, and they also have a brother, and I'm assuming you know, her, her mom and dad, their mom and dad. Do you find yourself falling into the roles you had when you were kids like when you all live together and kind of like all of your coping mechanisms go out the window. And they all immediately said yes. Yeah. And I was like, thank god, because my family does that too.
I think we naturally kind of revert back to whatever those roles were. And it's helpful for me to hear, to hear her talk about that, too. I think there's also this notion that once you know the tool, or once you've learned the thing about yourself, that you're magically going to make all the right solutions and choices going forward. That you know, for myself, that I am… I beat myself up the most when I don't speak up for myself in the way that I teach. Because that's my main focus in my work is communication. So that's what I have to really check myself with of like, no, you're still learning how to put all of these things into play, and yes, I've gotten a shit ton better, but it doesn't mean that I'm done learning in that arena at all. It keeps me honest though, that's for fuck sure. Like, I hold myself to a higher standard and there's been times I've shared with you where I've gone I cannot have this career where I talk about speaking up and then not do it and then let, be complicit to something that I don't agree with. But God damn, it's fucking exhausting. Sometimes. It's just so fucking exhausting to do the work.
Mm hmm. So hopefully this is encouraging.
I am done talking. So go out there and do the tough shit. Good luck with life. It's never done. I hope you enjoy.
Oh, it's my favorite like encouraging statement. Good luck with life.
Good luck with life. Are we done?
Okay, I'm just gonna end. Thanks. You're such a good friend.
Likewise. Okay, bye.
Hi there, swing back by to say one more thing. You know, I'm always giving advice over here on the show and on social media. And a couple of those things is that I'm always telling you to ask for what you want, be clear about it, and also ask for help. So I am taking a dose of my own medicine. And I'm going to do that right now. It would be the absolute best and mean the world to me. If you reviewed and subscribed to this show, make some noise podcast on whatever podcast platform of your choice. And even more importantly, it would matter so much if you shared this show. Sharing the show is one of the few ways the podcast can grow. And that also gives more women an opportunity to make some noise in their lives. You can do that by taking a screenshot when you're listening on your phone and sharing it in your Instagram or Facebook stories. If you're on Instagram, you can tag me @HeyAndreaOwen and I try my best to always reshare those and give you a quick thank you DM and also you can tell your friends and family about it. Tell them what you learned. Tell them a really awesome guest that you found on the show that you started following. Whatever it is I appreciate you so much you're sharing about this show