How does shame affect our parenting? What is shame, and what can we do about it?
Kyira Wackett is a therapist and coach who helps free people from shame to live instead of perform. She shares some of her journey and how shame shows up in her as a parent and partner.
Jason's couples therapy practice
Jason Polk 0:00
Kyria Wackett and I had a great conversation about shame and parenting. How does it affect us as parents? What is shame? And what can we do about it? Check out the answers in this podcast.
Jason Polk 0:56
Well, Kyira, thank you so much for taking the time. Calling in from Portland. I'm in Denver technology is really cool. Real quick, because I'm kind of in the weather. How's the weather out there? It is pretty awesome. Today, we've had a break in the rain. So anybody that's been to Portland, Seattle, this area, our winters are rain covered. So it's been super nice. Even though it's cold to get that we did have a Day this weekend with him. It was hail, snow, rain, sleet all within like an hour. And my daughter, my three year old loved it. So we went outside, we were collecting hail and cups to drink. It was tiny enough and it wasn't gonna hurt us in any way. So it was wonderful, but not today. It's nice, because it's a bright sun. There's no rain. These are a couple of days. So the good What about you? How's your weather? Yeah, you know, it's Denver. You know, sometimes people don't know that there were winters are kind of mild, um, at times sometimes can be really cold. But this winter, it's been pretty wintry. You know, it's been like, cold, snowy. So there's been snow on the ground for a while. But, you know, hey, I guess it's when you signed up for you live in Colorado.Tell us about what you do a little bit about who you work with. And we'll take it from there.
Yeah, so I am a licensed mental health therapist, I specialize in shame and anxiety, eating disorders and trauma, I would say the bulk of the people that I work with, really kind of fall under the spectrum or the scope of being human givers, people that have been doing it all managing it all holding it all for everyone around them. Likely, since they were young in some way, shape, or form. Oftentimes, there's there's may be some sort of trauma, although not all the people I work with have trauma involved. But I think for many of them, it's a sense of self that was developed in a young age that what they do, how they look, how they are able to take care of other people really defines them. And that really kind of gets compounded over time. And when they come see me, it might be you know, eating disorder related and stuff related to their body, so forth there. But it might also be being in relationships where they don't ever feel like they get their needs met, because they're so busy trying to anticipate the needs of everybody else, they don't create space for their needs. So it's really, I would say everyone's story is unique. And there's a lot of commonality in the experiences that we have. And and I aligned with a lot of the people I work with, and just being someone that it's really hard to see you as a person as being worthy and lovable instead of you as sort of a commodity or a performer or a doer in some way, shape or form.
Jason Polk 3:38
Yeah, I got it. And Kyira, you mentioned to a little bit about they had this role growing up. You know, again, hey, we're therapist, we like to talk about family of origin. So are there certain characteristics that you know, you know, people who are givers experience growing up? You could speak on that? Maybe maybe that?
Yeah, I mean, I think a lot about studying, I think a lot of us are kind of clinically trained with cognitive behavioral therapy at the forefront of what we learn what we talked about. And so I always kind of anchor back to the question to core beliefs and thinking about how so core beliefs are really a lot of times people are hearing this now kind of in mainstream media as limiting beliefs. But the idea is that when you're born, you are your brain, your body is trying to make sense of who you are, and how you fit into this giant worlds. And so it's happening from infancy onward. And so every data point, direct and indirect your body is using that to kind of make sense of Okay, so this is how you fit into this larger scheme. And the core belief is kind of basically that central most points are that tenant about how you see yourself and my guess is that it's somewhere around point 000 3% of the population gets a core belief of I'm worthy. I'm not
Unknown Speaker 5:00
because I'm here, because I'm human, just as I am, the rest of us sort of the accumulation of experiences lead us to believe that who we are is only worthy, only lovable only good enough, if fill in the blank. And so coming back to your question about many of the people that I work with, I think it's a lot of those experiences little big and everywhere in between where they're witnessing and experiencing the world, directly. And indirectly telling them these things, seeing that the kids in school, they get A's are treated with a very different response. And the kids that get C's and DS, the kids that come to school in brand new clothes are looked at differently than the kids that come to school and hand me downs or the, you know, 10 years ago, fashion, the kids that have black skin are treated differently than the kids that have white skin. So you start to see these kind of global systems of oppression and scaling. But then you also see it in the home. What happens when I act this way? What happens when I do these things? What are my values as a kid, what are my values as a sibling, my values as appear. And so all of those different experiences start to shape that and the people, for me that I see, it's, I would say, dozens 1000s of experiences that have said sort of this subtle, not usually direct, not this like kind of blunt intensity, although we know that that happens, there can be major traumas that do that. But it's oftentimes this, this accumulation of these tiny micro erosions of this sense of self. So breaking, it is that much harder, because it is a system that's built on decades of experience of feeling like Oh, but if you're just a little bit thinner, you're just a little bit faster. If you're just a little bit smarter, if you're just a little bit, you know, kinder or more polite, then you could be better, but you're not there yet. I got it. So in a way, what you're saying is that I give I help other people out, and therefore I have worked.
Unknown Speaker 6:56
Right, right. And it gets tight. I mean, again, both you and I and the people, we work with them mainly in the US. But this happens in obviously a lot of other countries too. And I think we live in a system that sort of fixates on appearance, both in terms of our physical selves. And so we know that the diet and fitness industry is a $65 billion industry, but it's also appearance in terms of kind of thinking about our one sheet. So what are all of the bullet point lists that you can say about your success and accomplishments, I even see this now applying to speak at conferences being a part of different events where people basically it's like, well, if you don't have at least 5000 people on your email list, if you don't have at least x 1000s of number of people following you on social media, what you have to say isn't good enough yet. So it's all this sort of subtle dictating of your worth is dependent on external validation and a bullet point list that can prove that you have metrics of success that we can all agree upon. It can't just be the target person, that's not good enough. So that I think is the sort of the subtle messaging that we have.
Unknown Speaker 8:00
Yeah. And like you said, like in every shape, or form, we we did that. Right. Right. Right. Well, if you can share a little bit about, we mentioned before,
Unknown Speaker 8:13
before we hit record, that you are a parent, and you are in a relationship. So here's a very broad question. You ready?
Unknown Speaker 8:21
How's it? How's that going?
Unknown Speaker 8:25
Great. Y'all. Standard, like, fine. It's all fine. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 8:32
I mean, it is. So it's interesting the time that we're recording this. So we are in the process of we just put an offer in on the house. And the the housing market out in Portland is interesting to say the least. And so I just got the opportunity to draft a letter, we're going to be going up against a couple other people that put up an offer. And I was writing what they call a love letter to the seller, basically, yeah, yeah. Are we why why us? And in doing that I sat up last night, and I don't think anything has come out of me as quickly as this letter had. It was very cathartic or healing, very integrating. But what I was reflecting on was my daughter turns three next month, she was born two weeks before the pandemic. My husband is also an emergency medicine physician and I have mental health therapists. So the last few years have been interesting for us, you know, navigating it on the physical and the mental health side and be taxation on both systems and systems that were not designed well to handle the taxation that we have this intensity, the pressure, they're not functioning well, in the midst of becoming parents. And so But reflecting on that, and really thinking about what are we looking for what have we learned? I think the last few years have been such an interesting experience because I very much so I'm somebody I'm a survivor of complex childhood trauma.
Unknown Speaker 10:00
I live with some anxieties that are somewhat connected to PTSD. But a lot of them are really kind of generalized anxiety pieces. And I am on the shame, resilience journey, but struggle with it every day. And so when I became a parent, also my life changed. I'm going online for therapy and realizing that it's really hard to do like a trauma session, and then hear your baby crying in the next room, and then you break to go breastfeed and then come back, and then you're doing this. And then we had wildfires, we had ice storms. And so you just start to really integrate your life in a different way with what you do. And then this, this human that you are meeting and learning about for the first time who, you know, she doesn't, again, she's gonna be three, but she still doesn't quite understand the world she's not supposed to yet. So it's an interesting piece. And I would say, things are my biggest shift in the last three years is when people ask about parenting when people ask about life is I'm focused now, the process and the exploration rather than defining or scaling how well I'm doing at a given thing. And so, today, I feel great, because I'm living in this moment today. Everly has got this beautiful self that's emerging. The last few days, her emotions are very intense, and she's requiring so much love. And particularly she's seeking out for me. And that's challenging. It's also challenging. Well, we're buying a house and I have a lot of kind of scarcity, things around this that I'm working through, and we had some loss recently. So you're holding so much, and then you just you have to find a way to make your container work where I can't not take care of myself, that can't be a thing anymore. I can't push that to the backburner because the downside is too much. It's too hard for me, it's too it's not fair to her. So I have to figure out how to do that. And I've had to figure out then how do you integrate what she needs, what I need, what the world means, but also start to figure out where I'm acting from a place of shame. And I need to let that go. So it's a long answer to your question. Yeah. You know, but I think the ultimate piece really is I'm doing good. Like, it sounds silly. But it's this notion of, because of stop putting weight on, it's defined by how many tantrums we do or don't have, it's defined by how many meals I cook, it's defined by how clean the houses are, how much money my business is bringing in, or how much I'm doing X, Y, or Z, or how much progress this makes or whatever, because now it's really just Am I the person I want to be? And when I fall off that track, am I willing to put the work into figuring out how to still come back and be the person I want to be? And allow everything else to kind of flex within? Yeah, well carry on you you're speaking what comes to mind is like you are explaining the way I hear is a degree of freedom. And that is, can I just kind of let him and I'm kind of paraphrase a little bit. But can I let my natural joy of the moment come through without all that other garbage?
Unknown Speaker 12:55
Yeah, and not getting lost. And I mean, this was happening for there was a few months stretch where life was tricky. And again, everyone that has had children in their lives. Jerry Seinfeld did this on a podcast recently, he talks about having kids. And what he learned is that it's like leasing a car, he's like, every six months, you get a new version of them, because they're changing all the time. And so you don't like this version, wait for the next one, you like this version be okay, that you might not like the next one. And really allowing sort of this, you know, in his way, this very kind of dry humor of it, but it's so true. And one of the things that I got lost in when I first became her parent, and again, my world shut down, I didn't leave the house for like six months other than walks, because Jordan had to go to the emergency department every day, we didn't know how to be safe, other than to limit my exposure, because he couldn't not go to the hospital, you know, and so we, I, everything got smaller, but also the internal stories get louder when we're not careful. And so I had to really sort through a lot of that and, and my shame, like anybody else's is very sneaky. So shame is basically the fear of not being good enough, not belonging not being worthy. And so it pops up every time you're not performing. It pops up every time. You're not living into those ideas of your core beliefs. And so a few months ago, I was getting really bad with Everly where I wouldn't maybe be quote unquote, gentle in my parenting all the time where I wouldn't have I wouldn't go the exact way I wanted or like I'm a therapist, how come I can't walk her through this process? Why is this a thing like why can't we just use the booger sucker when she's sick? Like, why can't her walk her through the fear? Why can't we do that? And you know, all those thoughts and the pressures and I would end most days, cataloging all the ways that I was letting her down. All the ways that people would judge me. I was doing it at school, that she'd have a hard day at school, maybe she wasn't sharing as well and then I'd come home and I'd be like, how am I failing her and so it became about me. That's what shame does shame centers your experience on you. It's a very ego centered way of existing it's not ego and
Unknown Speaker 15:00
The sense of I'm amazing, it's ego in the sense of the whole world connects to me and how I'm feeling. That is the thing when you say, freedom that I'm learning, and I'm sure I will have other iterations where I don't. But where I'm learning right now, I have to release myself of that, at the end of the day, she's going to do things, sometimes that suck. That's what it means to be, she's gonna push the kid, because she's frustrated, and she's not going to know what to do. And we can talk about that. But I can't boil down her worth or value based on one experience, or one thing that veers outside of an expectation I have to let allow humanity to exist. And so the freedom I'm finding is to realize, man, we're going to screw it up every day. And the best thing I can do is to admit that I don't know what I'm doing. Because what I'm doing is constantly in response to what I'm learning. So I can't be so proud to think I have the answers. And part of that, then is releasing yourself from saying, I need to learn that I will be okay if everybody else thinks I'm getting it wrong, too. And that's the really hard part. Yeah, sure. For sure. Yeah, that's super easy. So it's kind of like one of those easier said than done. Right? But I don't know if you're familiar with the I know, you shared your definition of shame. I've really got into pmld over the years. Are you familiar with her stuff? Very, very little. So I'd love to hear what what you take from it. Yeah, well, she talks about shame, and basically what you're talking about, but they talk about the idea of appropriate self esteem. And she calls it being one down or in toxic shame. And Terry real adapted some of her work, and it's the contempt is going inward, right? It's I'm an idiot, I'm no good, I stink. But they also say the opposite effect on the opposite end, that is grandiosity. And that is being one up and using your no good use. And you know, it's kind of what you were saying it's a little bit of ego. But based on their definition, this is the content may go in inward or outward, I think for I'm just going to do a plug for one of one of our sometimes people, I think oblivious males, at least I found in my practice, they can kind of have that one up dynamic, which is just the opposite end of the shame based on P is work. But it's kind of like, oh, no, like, I'm fine. You're the one that's doing everything wrong.
Unknown Speaker 17:35
Anyway, that was my little mini tangent, I was just wanting to know if you're familiar with with her work, or, well, what I love about so I talk a lot about up and down parison. And I think what you're describing is very similar to that. So I'm excited to dive into more of what she does to learn about kind of her approach. And I think that's a big thing of so the Sonya, Renee Taylor, and her book, The radical self love book that she wrote, she talks about ladder systems and systems of oppression. And I think a lot about that, and how we're in a culture that says basically, again, everything about your worth, and value is dictated by how you compare to someone else. And we do this as parents, we do this as partners, we do this, as you know, students, therapists, like, well, at least not as bad as this person. Or on the flip side, we say, well, I, you know, they have so they're doing it so much better than me, I could never get that I'll look at somebody like Brene Brown and be like, well, I could never do what she's doing. I could never have that. Or I'll when you're a new parents and you go, I'm getting this all wrong. And when you find someone else where you go, well, we say don't do that. Please don't give my kid that. And then you suddenly feel better. And what we do is we strip away the complexity of the human down to these. There's one scaled point that says, This is how I equate based on you. And this one thing here I'm running a very poor experimental design and drawing a conclusion that I am now 100% sold on. And it sounds like that's what you're describing both sides. You're right. They're both defenses of shame. Both it's I'm only safe if I'm up here, but not really because as soon as I say I'm up here, I mean, I'm going to be afraid that I'm gonna lose it the whole time. So the only way to stay up here I think about this from Wisconsin originally, we used to play a game called King of the Hill in the winter, when we'd have these huge snow piles. The point of it was to get to the top of the snow pile when nobody else overthrows you. And it's a terribly dangerous game. I don't know why teachers let us play it.
Unknown Speaker 19:29
But it's that idea of as soon as you're at the top, you're all you're doing is defending to stay at the top because your worth now is defined by you being there, or you're at the bottom and you assume I'm never going to get to the top. So my only role is to then make myself in service of the people up there. Or the third route, which is I can never be a part of this. No matter what I do. I'm going to take myself out of this right away. I'm not even going to play the game I'm going to it's the person that makes the joke about their body before we can so that they can have the power to walk away first to make the
Unknown Speaker 20:00
themselves feel called out first. And so I think, yeah, what you're describing feels like it hits on that and this sort of power of social comparison as a driving force for how our ego really works. Yeah, for sure. She says, I like what we're doing comparison, you're either one up or one down exactly what you were saying. But I'm curious if you can speak a little bit more about, you know, I know you have, you know, mentioned it, but circle back to talk about shame, and rule of parenting.
Unknown Speaker 20:29
You mentioned that, like, I know, you've already shared, you know, a couple examples, but it seems like there's some more there if you can speak on that. Yeah. I mean, so again, there's this idea of shame as an experience, shame is an emotion. It is a specific subset of fear. And so it is this thing that kicks up every time that your fear brain says there's a threat to belonging, there's a threat to your worth to your value as a person. And we know this, we talk about it. But it's interesting. We talk about it from such a removed, I think space where, you know, everybody says Parenting is hard. And yet the conversations we're having about how hard it is feel like they are. It's not like the sort of anti group, but we're still not saying anything meaningful. We're all kind of bonding and these things of, yeah, this part's hard. This part is here, but we're not really going to talk about how hard we feel, or the emotion that comes under it when I feel it. Like I can complain all day long about what it's like to have your kid have a temper tantrum and you feel embarrassed and you don't know what to do. But am I talking to you about how I lay awake at night worried that the people in the restaurant think that I'm a terrible mom, because of how it responded to the tantrum or that I should have been able to see that better by talking about the fact that when I you know, I had a client a couple weeks ago, who was talking about the shame that she felt because she had committed and Portland's pretty big on this, a lot of cities are a lot of communities are, again, go back to the health and diet industry. We're sort of taught particularly I think women and non binary folks that but women specifically in the messaging that we got growing up was if you're a parent, the messaging is just different than somebody that was raised as like a cisgender male or raised more with a male input. And so the role was, you know, your job is to make sure it's all organic snacks, and everything has to be natural and homemade. You have to make sure now it's the Montessori style. So the books have to be rotated every two weeks, you have to make sure you only have a certain number of toys out when you're doing this as your kids get older. It's what's the different balance in the education? Are you the reason that they're having such a problem on social media? You did this, what's the messaging you did? So this, there's so many inputs about ways that we could screw it up, that we're constantly hyper vigilant for all the ways we're gonna let them down. And so this client of mine, it was again, I make all their snacks I do all these they everything is homemade, everything's healthy. I'm not gonna give him processed foods. And then a myriad of painful things were happening in their life and they had to buy their kids and go Gurt because they didn't have the capacity to make the yogurt that week for school. And And as somebody that makes my own yogurt, I can tell you, it's annoying to do I love the way it tastes. And I'm addicted to doing it now. Yeah, but man Are there times that that is hard to do. And if I had to pack her lunches to go to school like that all day long, that's a lot of work. And so she ended up buying a case a Gilbert's and was sending him to school every day as part of the lunch and just had so much shame. And the shame comes from, what is the message the world now has about me, because what we know is that at our core, we think we're garbage. We do think that we are unworthy, we are performing in a way to protect anybody else from seeing it. So the shame comes up every time we do something that feels like we've exposed ourselves. And now the world's gonna know when I yelled at Everly one morning because she was having a tantrum about and you could even tell it was performative. It wasn't even a real one. Like it wasn't the kind where she couldn't control it. It was I want mom to put my shoes on and mom's not doing it and I'm gonna refuse dad's help, which is just annoying when you're already late. And we're all trying to help and I wasn't the kindness I didn't take the time to explain it. I didn't think it was fair to make all of us late all the time. Because you know, Mom's got to be the one to do it all. And I would say I was like yelling adjacent like I was to me, I screamed at her and I shouldn't be a parent ever again. And someone should call CPS because my brain is very extreme. But it was really just a Everly This is enough. We're getting ready and we're going to school death putting your shoes on lets go. And the shame came in right there. Did Jordan just see something? Am I no longer the parent that is safe? Am I no longer kind? Am I no longer loving and the way I want to be? Then it exposes something else? What if she doesn't feel safe around me anymore? What is that going to be like? Your job was to do this your job was to correct the experiences you had growing up and you failed. So it's these very subtle ways but the way I think about it, if we had to say it simply is it's the moment you
Unknown Speaker 25:00
Feel like you allowed a crack in your performance are peeking through of the curtain. And now others are going to know now the threat went from completely in your head to it's real, and someone could see it and the judgment is there. And once they see that, it's only a matter of time before everything else comes apart too. Well, and then feel free to greet us because I'm doing like an oversimplification. Yeah, with a fixed be a fixed to kind of like that when when you call like thought belief or whatever you want to call it, is it? I'm a human, and I'm imperfect
Unknown Speaker 25:37
Zoomers level, I think it's the like, I think the goal is to come back to the notion of, I mean, for me, I spent a lot of time talking about the why to really get ourselves to think about the systems that are driving that thinking. And so why do I and part of this is sorting out sort of the antidote to shame based living as values driven living in my professional experience and approach. And so there are certain things we could just use health as an example, I think, and again, being an eating disorder therapist, my whole focus is on all foods fit, how do we find balance? How do we nurture our body in different ways. And it's tricky than when you talk to somebody that has maybe had negative experiences with food, or they're afraid to eat certain foods, or they have maybe over exercise, and now we're talking about how to move forward. There's nothing wrong with defining health and a healthy lifestyle for you, and what that looks like for you. There's nothing wrong with not eating chocolate cake for three meals a day, or being mindful about when you have the chocolate cake or making a commitment to wanting to move your body. The problem lies in the intention that's driving it. And when it's shame, it's for external validation. So if you do it, you're so afraid you're gonna lose it. And if you don't do it, you're garbage. That's the whole emphasis of New Year's resolution is it's all based on perfecting or taking to the next level of performance. If instead, it's these are values to me, these are things that are really important to me, and I want to continue to live this way. I don't, I don't want to eat out five nights a week, I want to be intentional about cooking my dinner. Great. But when you don't do it, you don't immediately lose your whole sense of self over it might say, oh, yeah, this week, I was alright, you know what, a few more times when I thought let's check in with that. And so there's more flexibility, there's more grace, and I think so I think it's even deeper than I'm human. I'm imperfect, because I think imperfect is almost like I'm gonna resolve to the fact I can never be perfect. I think it's just stopping on. I'm human. And realizing that humanity, our existence is a constant ebbing and flowing. And so what it looks like to be unbalanced changes based on the contextual norms of our life in a given day in a given season and a given year, and really kind of leaning into that. And so an example I think about just kind of as a parent is we have a value about TV. I do I lead trainings for other therapists on the impact of social media, on teens on young adults, I'm very aware of what is happening there, the driving force of shame, and sort of the emotional loss and why it sort of leads into the addiction and the patterns of addiction. I'm also not an idiot, social media technology is not going anywhere. And we know that there are ways to make this system work for us. Well, since Everly was born, we've limited it to 30 minutes a day, or 30 minutes a week of TV. That's it. She gets 30 minutes it was one show was usually it was the length of Sesame Street or a show called Stillwater, which is sort of a Buddhist base show on Apple TV. It's wonderful. If you haven't checked it out and have it I'm writing it down right now. Oh, yes, yes, they had. It started with a book series. And we got the books. And then they made a show on Apple TV. And it's about this panda and teaching mindfulness and how to feel your emotions.
Unknown Speaker 28:56
Yeah, as she's getting older, and now she's interested in movies, it's become like 45 minutes, because we split up frozen into two weeks or something like that. But we've been very mind that. And then obviously, we're in a pandemic. So her connection with most people is over the phone. So we've had to really think about these things. We've been so great about it. And we've had the privilege to be able to and that's something I want to acknowledge because there's a lot of people that use it for different reasons. But then what happens again, so that's a value, I stand by it, but my shame takes my values and twists it to a perfection expectation. So then there was a week she got crew, and it sucked the night it all sort of came. That's scary. Oh man.
Unknown Speaker 29:39
And I didn't think she could get it. Because I was like she's not in daycare. We don't leave. We don't go anywhere. And then you realize like, germs are everywhere. Yeah. And I again, I had the privilege of I'm married to an emergency medicine physician, so I could call him I got what I needed right away. I didn't have to go through the fear. I mean, what other families have to go through is significantly worse than what I
Unknown Speaker 30:00
I had to and it was hard for me. So just trying to empathize with how intense it could be for someone else. And while I'm trying to navigate this, and waiting for the steroids to kick in, and like being with her, she watched, like four full episodes of Sesame Street on the couch where we had popsicles that were 100%, sugar and processed food. Like that was the only thing that we could do. Now, you and I, as parents, we can easily say, that makes total sense. That is totally great. That is the flexibility of a boundary and a value. My shame, took three weeks to get over the fact that I, I shouldn't have done I should have been able to handle that differently. That wasn't okay, did I use that as an excuse? What norms did I set for her? And then the shame of I took her to the grocery store with me, did I give her this. So you just you start to find all the ways where I mean, similar to anxiety, you're just stuck in the past or perseverating on the future. And I think that is, again, coming back to what you were saying, the goal being I'm human, and my experience right now, I can choose to live in line with those values, but I can't control the circumstances. And I can't control the norms of the system I live in, I can control my response to them. And when I lose myself and feeling like I'm a terrible mom, because I didn't do this or because I should have been able to prevent this. Not only what am I saying about myself? And how am I not giving myself grace? But how am I now becoming a part of the system that's perpetuating one up and one down for someone else? Because someone else listening to this is gonna go oh, my gosh, I let my kid watch 30 minutes a day. Am I a bad parent? Now? She feels bad and only doing 30 minutes a week? What does that say about me? It doesn't say anything about you. It says what works for your family is different than when works for me, that shame is only going to want to hear it in here. Because that's the way you get stuck playing the game rather than living your life.
Unknown Speaker 31:57
What is it a thought as you were going on? It seems that marketing and I could be wrong. plays on our shame.
Unknown Speaker 32:06
Oh, for sure, for sure.
Unknown Speaker 32:09
Anyway, you gotta you gotta like, you know, touch those, like pain points. Right? But
Unknown Speaker 32:17
yeah, it's brilliant, because it's getting to sell whatever you want to sell. But it's Yeah. And keeping us hooked. So that idea of Yeah. Right. Yeah, for sure. Um, there was a couple couple thoughts.
Unknown Speaker 32:32
Well, I want to come back to the mic to give her to, you know, because I do see this a lot in my practice, that people I work with one partner, and I'll, you know, be kind of stereotypical here. It's usually the female partner, and in the given role, and we refer to the fault parent.
Unknown Speaker 32:52
I know they're different, so many different ways to go about this. But kind of more on a basic level, like it kind of like a tip level or advice. Do you have some? Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing that, and I can say this professionally, but also personally, biggest problem, I think, is that we start to, we kind of create the self fulfilling prophecies. And so I'm going to speak as a fellow giver as a fellow, I have to do it all this is my worth and my value, I am simultaneously resentful that other people aren't doing what I'm doing, or not helping out more or not taking something on, well, creating systems that give them no opportunity to be a part of it. Because this is also my role. This is my values. So don't mess with it. Because this is where I get myself worse. So what happens is, I'm and I'm not now saying that I'm the only one at fault, it's it's a two party system, or multiple party system, depending on your relationship dynamics, where you're figuring this out. But one of the things I think is important, in any shame recovery is to I don't know if you ever do control wheels with your clients, but I really I never learned about him in grad school. I didn't learn about it until years later. But it's the idea of basically drawing a circle on a sheet of paper, and you write what's in your control in the circle and what's not in your control outside of the circle. Well, I have to really be able to admit, what I can control, and then how I am maybe controlling it in ways or how I'm trying to control other things in a way that's keeping me stuck in these systems. So when I'm, you know, pissed that Jordan's never the one that schedules, the work on the car, he's never the one that schedules the doctor appointments. He's not the one that does X, Y, and Z. He has no idea when she needs her next refill on her fluoride or whatever happens. But I am also not giving that information to him. Or if I give it to him or say, oh, I need your help. And then I just do it anyways, that isn't creating an opportunity. And I think the thing that is a struggle for a lot of us is again, most of us didn't come into this relationship with our partners. And then this develops our way of being has been a relationship sort of calm
Unknown Speaker 35:00
For how we've engaged in relationships in the past two, we've likely been a giver in different relationships in different settings.
Unknown Speaker 35:06
To change that, you have to be willing to sit in the distress of the growth and change process. So, you know, I'll schedule us I'll have a month, scheduled out. I know when she's got childcare when we're doing stuff as a family and making sure Jordan has enough time to do his stuff. Major, I have downtime, they get one on one time, when are we doing this thing, what's happening here, and I'm really good at that. I'm really good at project management. But then I'll say something to the effect of, well, you don't ever plan anything with Everly. And he's like, that's really challenging when my schedule is made for me, and so I want to be able to do that. But it's really tricky for me, and I could be doing more, there are parts that are on me. And it's hard, because I feel like when I come into the system, it feels like I'm more of an inconvenience to the system than I am a help to you. And so, again, what I have to be okay with isn't saying, Okay, so maybe I'm not going to schedule for the next month. And I'm going to let things not have a plan. And I have to learn to tolerate my distress when things don't have a plan. Or sometimes saying, okay, if I'm going to ask for help with dinner, and he's on a stretch of overnights and his option for dinner is he's going to pick up pizza on the way home. That's his right to decide what we're going to do. And we can again, come back to a value if there are value things. But one of the things I think, is that of really recognizing how to create space and deal with the distress. The second thing, I think, is then, and for me, there's some radical acceptance about having to navigate between what what's the life we want to create, and what are our roles collectively to do that. So again, one of the things we talked about, I was raised by a single mom and a single Grandma, I was supposed to be able to I was supposed to make the most money, I was supposed to be able to walk away at any point, I am the independent one, I'm the one in the position of power to not experience what they did in different ways. And now my husband makes more money than I do. And I am in many ways, sort of dependent on that income to be able to function. And that was really hard for me. And so then there's sort of this reaction around, I don't want to default, I don't want to be this person, I don't want to be the person just because I'm home that you assume I'm going to be the person and we see this all the time, don't assume the wife is gonna, you know, or the primary stay at home parent don't assume that they're going to be the one that cleans and does that you still live there too. But some of the conversations we have to have, too is what is the life we're trying to create? And what does that look like for all of us in terms of all three resources, time, money and energy. And there are going to be things sometimes that given the value of how I want to live my life, sometimes the time and energy I need to be willing to give to create that is going to look different from what Jordan can give. So there's some radical acceptance to so it's kind of both sides, it's navigating, what do you want? What do you need? What's the role you're playing? And how if you're going to change it, do you have a conversation with your partner, and then allow the space to exist, what the change is happening, because that's going to be hard, there's going to be rough points. And then the opposite side being, I am always going to be the person that's going to do more in the house, I'm always going to have more I create I made it intentional to create a job where I could be more present for my kid, I now need to practice some radical acceptance around. This doesn't mean I'm selling out. This doesn't mean he doesn't care, he doesn't want to help. It does mean that I have to work through some shame of biases and norms that I've internalized to decide if I want this life, I could send her to daycare longer, I could do more things I could not be around, I could make that meal prep kits, I could do all these other things. But if I don't want to do that, and that's not the life I want, I have to learn to sometimes grieve that there are things that look different than maybe I want. So I know it's a really long answer to your question. But I think for people to think about where do we need to grieve and accept. And then where do we need to have conversations with our partner and then create flexibility and kind of go into it as the idea of, we're learning together and this is going to be hard for both sides, all sides, whatever. And I need to be okay, giving that up. And then learning to deal with the shame, I'm going to feel of saying So then what's my value, and really starting to trust, the idea that my value is not because I can make all the food or keep the clean house my value is who I am as a person.
Unknown Speaker 39:25
Yeah, no, that's, that's that's great stuff. You know, I really did. I really, really liked the idea of radical acceptance, you know, the idea that, you know, the stress is going to come up and we're gonna have to deal with it.
Unknown Speaker 39:38
I know that was probably not the best definition of it. But you mentioned care a lot about you know, values, you know, even you know, personal values. I know you mentioned value based. Yeah, and, you know, I want to throw out like a case example myself. Okay, I'm trying Well, let me back up. I have struggled with addictions most of my life.
Unknown Speaker 40:00
All right, I'm sober now. I realized that food, something that really creeps in, especially sugar, and I'm like, Okay, no, no sugar. And then I will have a cookie, boom, you know, that kind of endorphins get fired. And I'm like, whatever, I had one cookie, forget it, and I might have 10 cookies.
Unknown Speaker 40:22
And then I beat myself up. And then you know, I'm really working on it. I don't know, this is kind of the idea that values based, I'm really working on, hey, you know what, you had a couple of cookies, you don't have to have 10. Right? You don't have to start saying that you failed, your worthless to give you motivation to say screw it. Now I know addiction and stuff is a whole separate thing. I know you're bursting.
Unknown Speaker 40:47
If you have any thoughts, advice, things like that. I mean, I think it's interesting, because So as someone that's in recovery from an eating disorder, I grew up my mom is in recovery from substance use disorders. And we talk about this kind of stuff all the time. And also, obviously, in the therapy room and working with people there. I mean, so much of this is, I think shame is the root of the wiring system. Like I know, there's actual neurological wiring and functioning and things like that, too. But I mean, the basis of what you're describing is a system of feedback loops, all perpetuating shame. And so then again, it's either I, it's all black and white, all or nothing thinking, and that's how shame works, you cannot do this ever, if you do this, you're a failure. So you have one cookie, I mean, that's how my recovery went for the first four years of trying to get in recovery. Today is the day, I'm going to eat normal, I'm not going to restrict and not going to engage in these behaviors, then you'd wake up and you're like, Screw it, today's date. And I'll try again tomorrow. And that's kind of how it is because it's this notion of it has to look a specific way. It's how New Year's resolutions work. I mean, all of it is wired in the same thing. And so I think, for us, in general, it's this notion of, I mean, I'm sure you know, this from the therapy side, but I think for all of us personally, it's that mindful pause, you know, from a dialectical behavioral thinking of like, when something happens and our brain reacts, it's not allowing the thought and the feeling to dictate the behavior of a creating space before the reaction. So then when I mean, I still get those thoughts sometimes, especially if I'm by myself, you know, there's, we have cookies, I could eat a bunch if I wanted to, and I could be fine. And all those thoughts will pop back up. And then you have to pause. And what I've learned to do is I'll play it through to the end. And so I will think about, okay, well, if I did that, I probably do so okay, but I also know that I wouldn't really be experiencing the taste anymore. I'm just eating them to eat them. And while I'm eating them, I'm feeling shame. I'm starting to think about all my old eating disorder thoughts are going to come back I'm going to start to say really mean things about myself, I stopped enjoying them. But now I'm in a state of self loathing as I'm eating them. That starts to feel super crappy, but I keep going. And then I reached the end of the plate, and then I feel kind of sick, but also like, I need to balance it with other food. Okay, so what about that, and then you keep going, and then I go, okay, and then I go to sleep, and I don't feel super great. Alright, so what happens the next morning? Well, I wake up, and now I'm thinking about how I should compensate for what I did. Now, I can't have any more cookies, or we have to get it out of the house, or I got to work out more today. Well, now my workout becomes about the action I did and not about my value, and you just start to see it in that way. And it's a skill. I don't think a lot of us can do that right away. And the thing that feeds addictions is sort of the impulsivity and reactivity. But that I think, is the thing with whether it's shame and parenting. Now I do that when something happens with me and I react, and I'll pause and I'll go, Okay, well, if I start to take the invitation, for my shame, to say, You're a terrible parent, let's walk through the rest of the day. Well, the rest of the day is going to become about me trying to overcompensate for what I think I just did, instead of me being the parent that she needs to be, which is one that when I make a mistake, admit it on it, move on. And then when I don't make a mistake, and sometimes things just don't look the way that you know, Instagram paints them to be be okay with that, too. And so I think going back to your cookie example, it's saying, Why do I want this cookie? Sometimes it might just be because it looks good. And it sounds great. But also thinking about, you know, I truly believe in some people in the eating disorder role, don't think this, but I truly believe all foods fit. We're thinking about our mind, our body, our soul, when we're nourishing ourselves. And sometimes that's food related. When I think about food is I think about how do I engage with food from a place of neutrality, and enjoy the experience of whatever's in front of me. Sometimes I'm gonna like a cookie more than a salad. Sometimes I'm gonna like a salad way more than a cookie. So how do I just appreciate what I have in front of me. And for me, it's creating the experience to immerse myself in it so it doesn't become about what it is. I love treats now. I think they're fantastic. I'm always going to want them How do I create an experience around it where it's not just a subtle space for shame to come in through them?
Unknown Speaker 45:00
mindlessness and doing it. And I think that again, coming back to intention, coming back to values I love I've always petrified of having substance use problems based on my family. So every time sort of preemptive boundaries around drinking a beer or having, you know, a glass of wine, I'm always intentional about why do I want to do that? What is the role it serves for me? Would I be okay? If I didn't have it? How would I feel if somebody commented on it? How does all this sit with me so I can make sure it's a part of the life that I want. As I'm saying this, the one thing I do want to say to people is, as you think about those in your shame journey, that's exhausting doing this work and like it starts to become normal over time. I don't do it with my eating disorder stuff anymore. You know, you talked about being sober from substances. There, it's probably a lot easier for you now to work through the thought when it comes to go to bed. Think about it. Yeah, there you go. So you don't eat a cookie. I don't, I'm not immediately trying to figure out how many calories are in it. And if it was okay, and like thinking that my body changed, or my worth is independent of it, sometimes I still want to binge on the cookies. That's human nature. But it's not hard like that anymore. The shame around parenting still pretty hard. She's only three. And this is new for me. But if I keep working at it, and say, Gosh, I really wish I could just drop her off at school, and not spend the next 45 minutes thinking that the teacher interacted me within interacted with me in a way that now she doesn't like me, and she hates me and my kid, all she did was say hi, but I'm stuck there. But if I can work through it and challenge it, the next time, it might only be 30 minutes, the next time, it might just be 10 minutes, the next time I might be able to say her life does not revolve around me, I'm not that important in her life. And that's a good thing. Why don't I not react until I have the data to react. And so then it starts to just kind of take shape that way. And I think for us as partners to the more we dismiss sort of the stories, we're telling ourselves that has no backing other than shame, the easier it is to start trusting people are going to tell you when they think something we're actually really good at letting people know when they screw up. That's like a trait in humans. Let them tell you before you've created the story that says, you know, they think these things. Yeah, yeah, that's great. Well, Carrie, I know we're coming up on time here. Any other thoughts that you would like to share that maybe we didn't have time to talk about? Also, say someone wanted to, hey, here, I really want to go on, you know, the shame journey. Who's gonna say shameless, we don't want that. But living with less shame, journey with you. How could someone start that? With you? Yeah, yeah, I think, you know, the biggest thing that I would say, to kind of wrap up our discussion is really just the idea, I call them, I have a program that I do with people, it's a five Phase program to kind of work through shame and the stories we tell ourselves and the pain we have. And one of the things I use in there something called shame games. So it's the idea when you're going to do something kind of real time and of course, how shame going to try and take you away from it. And so using that same idea here, I think, shame is going to try to come into every listener, at some point to compare to me to compare to you to compare to somebody else to think about how they should be better, they should have it figured out or the Okay, well, now, if I just do this, everything is going to be fine, which is again, shame coming up and making it all black or white. And so I think for anybody listening to this, give yourself permission to hear it, and to just process it in whatever way that is for you. And then to realize that shame is never going to be out of your life. It's a lifelong process. So we're not solving anything, we're not fixing it, you shouldn't have known more than you do now, or whatever the case is, it's just allowing the iterative process of saying, Oh, maybe I can name that as shame. Now I'm going to find curiosity to learn about it rather than judge myself for how I reacted to it. And then the second part of your question, I the best way to get connected with me is my website, you can sign up for my email list there. I don't do anything on social media other than YouTube, where I post weekly videos. So if people want to kind of stay in the know on what I'm doing or connect to, they can send me a direct email, join my email lists, check out what I have kind of a one stop shop for people, and I welcome any email. So just reaching out and saying, Hey, I really loved this. I'd love to talk more, whatever that looks like for people. And we can put that in the show notes for sure. Yeah, we'll do. We'll do. Karen, thank you so much for your time. This has been great. You have I don't know the right words to say like, I just feel like there's there's so much in there. You know, like so much good stuff.
Unknown Speaker 49:39
There your experience. Yeah, no, thank you your experience, your knowledge.
Unknown Speaker 49:45
You know, really cool and obviously really, really pertinent stuff. You know, because as you mentioned, we all have shame. So, thank you so much for your time and thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it.
Unknown Speaker 50:05
Hey, if you liked this, I would love for you to give us a review and share this with your friends and family members who could benefit from this information. Thank you so much for listening
Transcribed by https://otter.ai