Creating Shame-Free Spaces with Dr. Lee Cordell
Welcome to Devotional Anarchy, a podcast about intimacy, attachment, sexuality, spirituality, self expression and other relational themes from a trauma responsive somatic energetic lens, and with a queer polyamorous twist, of course. I’m Isha Vela, trauma psychologist somatic intimacy Alchemist shadow doula love anarchist, intuitive channel and sovereignty coach. You’re here because you understand that integrating intimacy wounds build safety and trust within your body. And that safety and trust is what allows you to fully own and direct your erotic and creative lifeforce in your relationships and purposeful work. My intention is for the conversations and tools shared in this podcast, to light a fire in your heart and under your magical ass while supporting you on your kinky human journey to owning all of yourself. Hi, Lee, welcome to the podcast.
Unknown Speaker 0:53
Hi, thank you so much for having me.
So for the listeners, Lee, Dr. Lee Cordell is an expert, anti shame coach and CEO and founder of the Institute for trauma and psychological safety. Lee uses her 15 plus years of experience in healthcare, psychology and education to help her professional and entrepreneurial clients release shame and prioritize pleasure as a path to trusting themselves and to Colin, what they desire. And the mission, right, the overall mission is to empower people in the development of safe, healthy and shame free personal and professional relationships. I love that. So yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about where do we begin? Why do you want to be gay?
Unknown Speaker 1:43
It’s like, you think shame and people are like, they’re like,
Unknown Speaker 1:48
like, if a lot, right? Yes, yes. Yeah. Like it’s like clunk, shame. Yeah. What
do we do with this huge thing?
Unknown Speaker 1:59
what? What interested you in working with shame specifically?
Unknown Speaker 2:05
Oh, no one has ever asked me this question, which is, now that you’re asking me this. I’m like, Why is no one ever asked me this question? Do I know the answer to this? Um, you know, so, what happened for me was, I was, like, so many women out there, right, I experienced a life that was very filled with shame. And it was like, the water I was swimming in. Right. Like it was the milieu in which I was just burst and programmed and all the things yes. And didn’t know that. Right. I just knew there were parts of myself that I really didn’t like, like that. I’ve tried to cut off and hide and, and pretend weren’t there and like, make myself into the good girl and you know, become the, the the nurse doctor and like, do all the things. Right, right. And, oh, goodness, probably about like, two, three years ago, I I realized I was really enjoying through all of the things I was doing professionally. You know, I was in network marketing. I was working as a professor, I was working at the bedside as a clinician, I was doing all these things. And I realized that I really loved coaching people, but I didn’t like coaching people in the normal way that people coach people, right? Like, I liked cheerleading people, but I really loved when people would like, tell me the things when I could get people to tell me the things that they wouldn’t tell anybody else, right? Yes. And I loved being like, great. Cool, like, that’s all you got awesome. I loved providing that space for people and and as in this was kind of I recognize this more in hindsight, right. But I noticed that that was the common theme that was going through everything I was doing and what I also noticed that that time is that was the one thing I wasn’t really doing for myself, right? Is I was providing this space where people could be like, deep and dark and twisty and like literally, I would have people come in and and to the hospital and I couldn’t get them to tell me things that the doctors like they didn’t tell me that and I’m like I know telling you that Yeah, but I didn’t have there were like those parts of myself that I just I really didn’t feel comfortable showing to anyone else and I was actually going through a program by Carolyn Elliot was called wealth and and she talked a lot about existential kink and like like getting off on your Yeah, and I was like, hold on a second. Hold on a second. And I realized I like been kind of getting off on like, helping other people get off on their shame but like I wasn’t getting off on my own shame. Oh, it’s fine for me to give that permission slips to everybody else, but like not myself, right? Yeah. So as I started doing that work, um, which is Did that work, that body of work itself is a little problematic, but like the the core fundamental piece of that work for me, the part that I took out of it that was good was, you know, I really get to stop shaming myself, I get to start giving myself a lot of permission slips. And then also by me giving myself that permission slip, I can like take this mission even bigger, right? Yeah. If I’m not experiencing any shame, then it’s a lot easier to tell other people to or like give permission slips to other people to not experience shame.
Yeah, just by your vibe.
Unknown Speaker 5:32
Yeah, right. And so, um, I yeah, it just and plus I had a background in neuro bio Psych. So I really was interested in how the brain and the body, the mind, the soul, like all talks to each other, and how they influenced one another. And so when I started doing this anti shame work, I was like, Oh, my gosh, this ties, so much of that together, like why we do the things we do as humans is, is shame is a, an evolutionary process. It’s, it’s nothing we use to create communities, right. And so shame is actually not always I don’t want to like it’s not always bad. It’s just the way that we’ve learned to use it as a society is bad. And so as I started, like, just diving in more, and you know, doing my typical nerdy nursing, reading about all of this, I was like, Oh my gosh, like this is, this is what this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Like this is what I’m supposed to be doing is just like blowing the lid off of shame, both for myself and really, like experiencing that deep level of healing and acceptance, and then turning around and like, helping other people do the same thing.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s amazing. And, and you said, Well, there’s so many places I want to go. I remember when I had a previous conversation with you on your podcast, you talked about the different types of shame, and I want to bring those in. Because it’s really important for us to like, begin to break it down. Right to begin to really see like, how this routes into different areas of our life.
Unknown Speaker 7:13
Yeah, yeah. I so I think you can look at shame in a couple of different ways, right? We can look at shame in. So we can look at how shame is placed on us. And then we can look at how when shame is inside of us how we then act, right? Yes, yes. So shame is placed on us from a lot of different places, right? So shame is basically saying, if you think about shame, being a tool for conformism, right. So whatever the morals, the values, the ideas, the ideals of the society, are we use shame to get people to mold themselves to that, right. Yes, yes. Which is why younger generations oftentimes look at older generations and go Why are you guys embarrassed about this? Like, you know, when older generations see younger generations, like my grandmother, when she sees me when she used to see me not wearing pantyhose, like would almost faint, right? Yes. Yes. That was a shameful act to her if she had not worn pantyhose, that would have been, she would have been, like, cast out, right. She, she would have been had, you know, and that’s just a tiny example. Right? But we take that to gender and, and orient sexual orientation, and we take that to, to race and ethnicity and to all of the places, right, all of the the identities that we hold, and every identity that we hold, based on current society has a way that is okay to show up in a way that’s not okay to show up.
Unknown Speaker 8:47
Hmm. Yeah, so.
Unknown Speaker 8:52
So shame is very individualized, but it’s also very collective from a societal standpoint. Yeah. Right. Historically based and collective. Yes. It’s very historically based in collective and there are individuals who don’t experience shame, the same way that a lot of the collective does because they were raised differently or because yes, yes. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s the cool, like, not that I Yeah, that’s the cool part. Again, nerd here. The cool part about shame is like, you can we can make generalizations about how we would expect that people would internalize shame, and every single human has a different experience. And so some people internalize shame differently than others. Yeah, even siblings, right. It’s you have different personalities. So when we look at how we externalize the results of shame, there’s four different ways that we typically do this. So the first way that people, if they’re feeling shame about something, they are going to either it’s going to affect how they outwardly treat others. And it’s gonna affect how they inwardly treat themselves.
Okay. Okay, say more about that.
Unknown Speaker 10:06
Yeah. So if I so shame can affect how I externally or outwardly connect with others, either by having me cut myself off from other people, right? I’m not worthy of connecting. I’m not good enough to be in this relationship, like, I’m going to actually avoid connection with other humans, because if they get to know me, they’re going to see my shame. And my shame is very, very bad. And they’re going to abandon me rejects me, leave me, make fun of me, hurt me, whatever.
And it’s like, it’s not even that conscious. Sometimes it’s like, no, if I don’t, like, I don’t want people to get close to me, because if they do, they will know I’m bad. Yeah, it’s like, you know, there may not even be awareness that it’s shame, but it’s like they will see and know that I am bad at my core.
Unknown Speaker 10:54
Unknown Speaker 10:55
It’s the if they only knew, right, yeah, it’s the, it’s the and this is actually where a lot of impostor syndrome comes from, is, um, you know, yeah, I know that. It looks like I’ve got everything together on the outside. I’ve got all these degrees. I’ve got all these accolades. I’ve got all this experience, but like if they only knew, right, right. So there’s that piece. The other way we externalize is we fight, right? We, if if somebody says something that maybe is even meant neutrally or positively to us, like, oh, wow, like you. You really, like crushed it up there, right? Yeah. If I have a shame about being visible, if I have shame about, you know, shining too brightly, because that was something that I was made to feel shame about. I might either pull away like we just talked about, or I might actually lash out at this person, right. I might be like, What do you mean by that? And then there’s no dude, like just the compliment not there’ll be
a suspiciousness there. There’ll be a suspiciousness of like, What do you mean by that? Because the person is already feeling some sort of way about it. And they can’t receive the accolade as it is. It’s kind of like there’s an ulterior motive in there. There’s something Yeah, it’s not quite landing. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 12:13
Yes. It’s and both of these are states of hyper vigilance. Right? Like where we are. Our nervous system is like, very attuned to,
Unknown Speaker 12:22
can I get hurt here? Yeah, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 12:25
Yeah, shame is painful. That’s the other thing about shame is shame hurts. Like, if you think of a moment that you’ve been deep right now, if it feels safe for you, like, think of a moment where you have been deeply embarrassed. Hush, like felt ashamed for who you were right? Because shame is about who we are. Guilt is about what we’ve done. Shame is about who we are. Yes. You think of that even right now I can feel my stomach start contracting. Cheeks want to, I want to, I want to blush. I want to like my and when you feel that feeling underneath, when when that feeling gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s really a feeling of like, I feel like I’m gonna die. I feel like I’m literally gonna die.
Yes, yes. Which is why we go through all legs to avoid feeling it.
Unknown Speaker 13:11
Exactly. Which is why I’m gonna fight you off, right? Because if I think you’re even trying to shame me, I’m gonna be like Backup Buddy. Or I’m just not going to interact with you at all because I’m not going to do the things that I think might bring about shame because that it feels so awful. It’s a feeling that we all want to avoid because think about like, we’re mammals. Yeah, mammals are we are made to be pack animals we are made to to connect and like thrive and survive based on being in relationship with other humans. Yeah, if I feel like I’m not accepted by the other humans, that that is death in 10,000 years ago, that would have been death.
Exactly. There’s that evolutionary piece that feels like that’s what we feel we feel that awesome. That deep sense of ostracism and separateness and you know, by default death, yeah, you’re right.
Unknown Speaker 14:06
Yeah. Yeah, it when I learned when I had somebody say that to me, like, it feels like you’re dying. I was like, well, and then I really felt into it. I’m like, oh, no, actually, it really not that I know what dying feels like. But from an emotional standpoint, yes, it feels like a psychological death.
Like a withering, like it just crumbling and just collapsing into a puddle.
Unknown Speaker 14:32
And and so this is why it is so fascinating to me now watching other humans, especially like over the last few years. Our society has started using shame a lot more to try to. And I don’t even want to say that we’re necessarily using it more, but it’s easier to see it’s easier to spread, right? We have social media. I cannot even count the amount of times I’ve been in comment threads Read people saying to other people, you should be ashamed of yourself for saying that thinking that doing that, right. Oftentimes political conversation.
That’s right. That’s right. Yes. Yes.
Unknown Speaker 15:11
So we are using shame to try to get people to, to consider just consider script back to what we think the norms are. Yeah. Except the problem is, is that we’re in a society where multiple different norms and values have developed. And so it’s like, there’s actually like, like, we’ve almost gone back to a little bit of tribalism and some of these places of if you can’t see things, the way I see things, then you’re out.
Unknown Speaker 15:41
yes. Thank you for naming that. I really feel that too. And I’ve been feeling a lot of like, just a sense of distress around the polarization. Yes.
Unknown Speaker 15:55
So I, I distressed I activated a lot of people, the last political season, because I was having conversations where I wasn’t ascribing to a tribe. Yeah, yeah. And I was having these like, bigger conversations above going, can we look at what we’re doing? Yeah. And people who were very engrossed in that tribal mentality, really? Not happy campers with me? Yeah. Right. And that itself felt very hard. Like, for me, there was a lot of like, do I feel shame here, right. And so one of the other ways that we internalize shame is, is we will start to like place rules and restrictions on ourself to try to, like conform to the norms, right? So my old self before I had, like, really rid myself of a lot of the shame. There was this little piece of me that’s like, oh, my gosh, like, people are unfriending me. My parents are like, Oh, my, we can’t believe that you think this way? Like, I had a client that was like, Yeah, I can’t be your client anymore. Because we have different political values. And I was like, Well, this is really interesting. And it was this, it was almost a little bit of an ego death. It was me, like that piece of me that felt really shamed. got, like, had to die off. I had to be like, okay, am I going to police myself back in? Am I going to stop speaking my mind? Am I going to not have this conversation? I’m going to pretend that I believe something when I’m with one group and then pretend to believe something else when I’m with another? Or am I willing to actually let this piece of me that feels shame around this?
Unknown Speaker 17:44
Like, go? Am I going to let that go? Yeah. Right. Am I going to accept myself? At the expense of being not accepted by others? Yeah. Yeah. And it was so hard. What was
that like for you? Can you describe sort of what you experienced in your body?
Unknown Speaker 18:05
Yeah, it was, it was really. I mean, I did, there was a little bit it actually kind of felt like I was dying a little bit, there was okay, I’m going to take the post down, right, there was the internal, I’m going to police myself, I’m going to take the post down. I’m gonna go apologize to all of these people for saying what I said. And luckily, I had I had done the work enough to know like, No, this is actually what you think. And you’re, you’re speaking for a group of people that you know, exist. Right? Because what was happening on the back end, and the thing that helped me keep going was I was getting all of these private messages. Okay, okay. I was getting all of these private messages of people saying, oh, my gosh, thank you for saying the thing. I don’t feel safe saying the thing. Um, and so it was that helps to be like, Okay, actually, there’s this whole other community of people that feels like they’re on the outskirts, it feels like they can’t speak that feels like they can’t have a conversation because these two polar opposites are so entrenched, that if that no one outside of their circles is accepted. And so there are a lot of people in this middle section just kind of swimming around going well, like, where do we get to fit? Yeah. And so by kind of naming that going, you know, there’s not just two camps here. Right, right. There’s not just two camps here. And actually, y’all think a lot of the same things. And you’re just not realizing you’re thinking a lot of the same things. Yeah. By saying that there was this whole group that kind of came out from the Shamy shadows and was like, Oh, my gosh, hi, like, nice to meet you. Thank you so much.
Unknown Speaker 19:44
And so it made me realize that, you know, this is what shame does. It silences
us? Yes, yes. I love what you said about I’m sort of writing notes to myself, the rules and the Restrict shins on yourself that that hit home for me. Right the ways that we silenced ourselves the way that we then
Unknown Speaker 20:06
hide. Right? We just Yeah, yeah, we don’t
show up. We don’t show up in our fullest self.
Unknown Speaker 20:14
Unknown Speaker 20:16
the thing was, too is I the the experience I had here around
Unknown Speaker 20:24
Unknown Speaker 20:26
claiming that I and really outing myself and saying like, Hey, I don’t fall in the camp you think I do? Yeah, right. Yeah. That experience politically and ideologically. Over over there. I was able to do that, because I had already started doing that in other places, right. Like, that was the terrifying one. That was the one like, were all of the things that felt like if they happened, I would die happened, right? Yeah, yeah. I’m losing finance. Like, I don’t want to say financial stability, we were fine. But like losing income, because they disagreed with my beliefs like that. That to me was like, wow, okay, this actually happens, right? Um, but I had already kind of started doing this around my body. Right. Like, I had started, I had taken a non diet stance about a year ago, and, and was putting pictures on my body on the internet and being like, this is the before and after picture you get and it isn’t what you think it is gonna be. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Um, I had already started doing this around health care, and saying, hey, you know, I’m in the system. And I don’t think what we’re doing is actually healthy. Yeah. So I had already kind of started having these conversations, where I was saying the things that before I felt like if I said them, I would get cut out, ostracized, I would die. And had already found some freedom and some, a lot of self acceptance around that. And that’s what allowed me to have like, the even bigger. Yeah, the bigger one, the big one.
I remember when you were when you were on the internet doing the doing the Body Challenge. I remember like watch seeing like, oh my gosh, she’s doing it.
Unknown Speaker 22:08
Yeah. My husband when he saw my, one of my branding photos for my business where I’m literally I hired a boudoir photographer to do business branding photos, and he was like, Okay. He’s like, also, your dad’s gonna see this. I’m like, well, he’s he saw it. 30 years ago. It’s fine. Like, whatever, right? It looks a little different. But it’s fine. Like, this is my body. Right? Like, and me feeling liberated in my body. It’s not just about me. But again, it’s a permission slip for other humans to feel liberated as well.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I believe that wholeheartedly. Yes. And what what has been your experience around? Like, being a multiracial woman? Sexual shame, body shame.
Unknown Speaker 23:04
Yeah, Mmm hmm. It’s,
Unknown Speaker 23:11
I think it’s really fascinating because I was actually having this conversation with my husband the other day talking about
Unknown Speaker 23:18
it’s very, it’s a little I don’t know how to say it.
Unknown Speaker 23:25
It’s a little I feel a little disjointed sometimes, right? There’s these three, three predominant cultures that ancestrally came together to create me as a human. And they’re very different. Yeah, right. They’re saying they’re the same in so many ways, but they’re also very different. And one, the indigenous piece the Cherokee piece is one that I is even it’s very new to me. It’s one that’s newly discovered. Yeah, I we shared this on the podcast on my episode, we were your episode when you were on my podcast. My great uncle just recently told us he said, Yeah, your great, great, great, great grandmother was Turkey. And I’m like, wait, wipe. He said, Oh, yeah, she their whole family lineage claimed to be black instead of Cherokees so that they didn’t have to go on the Trail of Tears. They picked slavery instead. And I was like, what? Yeah, right. Okay, genocide, slavery, I guess slavery is better. Right. But like, still, those are your choices. So for me, there’s been culturally there’s a lot of different messages about my body and about sex and about the things. Yes. And the fascinating pieces is that they all were restrictive.
Just in different ways,
Unknown Speaker 24:45
just in different ways. Right. The one was modesty. We have to be modest. Yeah. And that that wasn’t just sexual that was just in general but especially from a sexual perspective, which was fascinating when I learned more about my family history, because I learned why modesty was esteemed is such a value because there was a lot of shame tied up around some immodest things that had happened. That are not my stories that are not my stories to share. But yeah.
Unknown Speaker 25:18
But that wasn’t learned that like a
Unknown Speaker 25:22
was made, it was a correction that was made. And when I learned that I was like, Uh, huh. Okay, this makes sense. Yeah. Makes sense. Why modesty feel safe now. Right. Yeah. And on the other side, it was really, it was almost the same. I mean, thinking about it now. same, but different. Right. Again, there was a correction that was made. And it was, hey, the immodest things that have happened in the past were unsafe, and so modesty. Restriction really, like doing things in a certain way, the proper way. Marriage, you know, religion, things like that. That is how you stay safe. Yeah. So I fully, you know, coming into this more liberated place, from a sexual standpoint, I really have a lot of compassion for my people that came before me and why I learned what I did from them, because I understand that it really was a hey, we’re teaching you this. And this wasn’t a conscious choice. Right. But subconsciously, we’re teaching you this, because this is how you stay safe in the body that you’re in.
Unknown Speaker 26:42
Yeah, yeah. It wasn’t a
Unknown Speaker 26:46
we think you’re bad. It was a society thinks what you’re doing is bad. And you’re going to get hurt if you show up this way.
Yeah. And, and I love how you make that distinction. And in our bodies, our bodies don’t make that distinction.
Unknown Speaker 27:00
Know, my body. I know, I know, my body was just like, Okay, we’re bad. Got it. Right. Yeah, exactly. It wasn’t, it wasn’t a, as an as a nearly 35 year old, I can make that distinction now. Right, I can understand what was happening, but as a teenager that, you know, started exploring sexually and then got the the ramifications of that were not pleasant. From a shame standpoint, you know, that really, that there was no distinction in my body of like, oh, there, this is happening to protect you. Yeah, it was a no, like, You’re bad. This is bad.
Exactly. This cannot happen. Boom, right? This
Unknown Speaker 27:42
cannot happen. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 27:45
Unknown Speaker 27:49
the last few years have been just like I said, they’ve been really, really interesting for me, because there is a lot of embodiment practice that’s had to happen, right? Being in a sexual situation and having to like and noticing that, like, there’s a part of my body that’s numb, or there’s a part of my body that’s really tense and frozen up or like, I can’t get out of my mind,
Unknown Speaker 28:13
my brain. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 28:15
And very grateful for now having the practices to notice that you become aware and be like, Okay, you’re, you’re safe, you’re safe. This is safe. This is allowed. This is allowed to be enjoyable. You like, all of this is okay. Yeah. And being able to do that. And there’s even times where I’ve had to pause and be like, Hold on, please. My brain is saying some things. I need to give it a moment to say the things and then tell it that we’re safe. And it’s okay. And then we can come back. And luckily I’ve you know, the situation I’ve been in it’s with people or someone who’s very like, absolutely great. Do what you need. Can you share
an example for the listeners of just like, yeah, how it came up and how you moved yourself the process?
Unknown Speaker 29:02
Yeah, so just an example. It’d be like, with my husband, right. And he and I have been together for 17 years. This isn’t this isn’t a new relationship by any state. Standard, right? We have three kids and this isn’t a new thing. But I’ve been having a particularly like activating day, right? Some business stuff had come up, like some other things have come up. And I was laying in bed and you know, we were just fooling around and I at one moment, he was touching me and I was like, I could feel my entire abdomen just like tense up, right? And before, what I learned is you’re married muscle through, right. Like you’re married. This is like you’re in a relationship with Him. This is how it’s supposed to go muscle through.
Unknown Speaker 29:48
Yeah. And we
Unknown Speaker 29:52
he has been so supportive in the work that I’ve been doing that I felt safe enough to be like, I don’t want to muscle through here. I want Take the two minutes and risk him feeling a little bit upset risk him, you know, ostracizing me or whatever, knowing that’s not going to happen. But there’s a part of me, that goes, Oh, but what if it does? Right? Right, right. And so I just, I literally like, put my, I think I put my hand on his head and I was like, stop. Just for a second. I was like, You’re you are doing nothing wrong. And I need a minute to get my body on board. And so it really was and just having him be like, Okay. And having him be accepting was enough to have my body go like, okay. All right.
Unknown Speaker 30:38
Unknown Speaker 30:42
what I want to also say about this is that was a conversation that was like, I don’t know, 17 years in the making, right? That was a conversation that just a few short years ago, I would not have had. But doing the work that we I had done to learn how to communicate my own needs, how to tell when I was safe, how to tell when the other person felt safe to be able to say those things like that was what allowed that situation to unfold. And one of the things I talk about my clients a lot with, especially with sexual shame, right, the sexual shame is its own special form of shame. Can we talk? Right, sexual shame is its own special form of shame, because actually sexual shame and financial shame are the two big shame, shame. situations. Yeah, that people I see the most shame around. Because of the two things that we don’t talk about.
Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Like the most taboo? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 31:41
yeah. Politics used to be not so much anymore. So like sex and money. Yeah. Those are the things we don’t talk about those of their parents. Right. Right. You know, we don’t have the conversations we have are like, hush hush back room things. Mm hmm. And, and so I’m, like, sexual shame. When I talk to my clients about this. I say, Look, we don’t have the conversation about shame. About Sex in the bedroom. Right? Yeah. We have a conversation about sex and how we want things to go and how we want to be feel seen and feel heard and the things that we might end up doing, like my we had had a conversation of like, where I’d said, hey, if I ever feel uncomfortable, I’m going to start I’m going to begin stopping you. Yeah. So that I can make sure I’m fully on board every single time. And he was like, obviously, I want that.
Right. Yeah. And yeah, and think about like I can, I can remember times where I didn’t stop a partner. Because if I did, right, then all of these stories would come up. And all the stories had some some version of making myself wrong. Like, oh, like, why isn’t this okay with you? Or like, why? And that sort of this harsh questioning of myself and like, yeah, that that that centered around? Yeah, doubting, doubting that I could give myself that permission. Mm hmm.
Unknown Speaker 33:13
Yeah. And, and the other hard part about sexual shame is that there’s almost always at two or more people involved, right? Yeah. Yeah. So other forms of shame. Yeah, they’re all about connection and how we’re going to be perceived about people. But sexual shame is a special kind of shame, because you are intimately involved with another individual who’s bringing their own shame to the table as well. And this isn’t like a casual interaction we’re having. This is a intimate interaction where sex in being in a sexual interaction with somebody is the most vulnerable, we can really get. Yeah, especially as women.
Unknown Speaker 33:55
Unknown Speaker 33:57
So there’s an extreme amount of vulnerability, because and this is a generalization, but for most women, who are in heteronormative relationships with men, if that man wanted to, he could do what he wanted to by force right. Now, again, generalization. But um, so from an evolutionary perspective, for women, this is one of the most vulnerable times like our bodies remember that? Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. If you’re with a partner that’s stronger than you and you’re not you you are you are theoretically in control. And at some point, you could lose that control.
Unknown Speaker 34:40
Yeah, right. So it
Unknown Speaker 34:44
yes, I’m with my husband. Yes, it feels safe. Yes, he is a very safe human. And my body remember situations that it’s been in with humans that weren’t safe.
Unknown Speaker 34:58
Unknown Speaker 34:59
you I’m having that conversation outside of the bedroom with my husband saying when this happens, it’s not about you was really important. Yeah. So that he could have his feelings about it. Right? Yeah can work through his own thing. Because what I don’t want it what what we fear is when we say stop that other. One of the things that came up was, Oh, he’s going to think I don’t want to be with him. He’s going to think he’s done something wrong. He’s going to like this is going to fracture.
Unknown Speaker 35:31
Yeah. Our intimate connection? Yeah.
Yeah, I’m just, as you say that I’m feeling like, you know, we’re, we feel our sense, we feel our own shame. We feel our sense of wrongness and bringing it up, because we don’t want to shame the other person either. Right. So this, like, you talked about that interactional piece around shame, like each person bringing their their shame story into the sexual interaction. And here’s how it’s sort of playing out.
Unknown Speaker 36:03
Yeah. Yeah. And that, you know, this directly ties to the polyamory piece we aren’t. And I have clients who are, yeah. And they’re like, it was so fascinating to me that I thought bringing another human into the mix was gonna make this easier. And I’m like, oh, yeah, no, like, we could have had a whole conversation about that. But it goes to what you said, is everyone’s bringing in their own, their everyone’s bringing in their own backpack of shame. Yeah, yeah. And we’re all at different levels of unpacking the backpack, right. Some of us have like, little tiny knapsacks with like, one piece of shame in them at this point. And then others of us are like, here’s my three piece luggage, like, I’m not that either human or not that either one of those humans is better than the other. Right? It’s just knowing, right? Knowing that that is what’s happening is really helpful. So when people do things like snap at snap at neutral statements, or suddenly start avoiding, right, you’re, we meet them, and they’re very regimented and restricted about how they do things. Right. Yeah. When when we start to see this, we go,
Unknown Speaker 37:19
oh, what’s in your backpack?
Exactly, that we can sort of bring it into the conversation. And sometimes we’re not even aware that it’s shame that’s driving this whole behavior? Right, we’ll justify it. We’ll we’ll externalize it through judgment of other people. Right? Shame is often externalized that way,
Unknown Speaker 37:42
oh, one of the huge places I see it, I know. And myself, and a lot of the people I interact with is in parenting, right? Oh, I know. So I have the hardest I might. And she and I have actually had very honest conversations around this. And she, I’m really big on consent with my kids being as open as I am, like, I’m going to talk about them, they’re going to give me consent. So she’s consented to me having this I just want to say that. But my nearly 12 year old like she is we’ve had a conversation of how why she is the hardest one for me to personally parent. And it’s because she’s so like me when I was younger. And my inclination is to parent, the me out of her.
Unknown Speaker 38:32
Unknown Speaker 38:34
I’m like, and it’s because there’s this little inner wounded child inside of me going if you show up that way, you’re gonna get hurt. So just let’s say when unfortunately, I’m a much bigger adult talking to a not fully reasonable, rational, logical person at this point.
Unknown Speaker 38:52
And I end up actually shaming her.
Unknown Speaker 38:58
When in reality, I’m trying to prevent her from feeling shame. Yes. Oh, so messy. It’s so messy, right?
Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, yes. And I want to share just like backing up what you just said. My oldest son, I had an interaction. She’s 10. And she was like getting dressed. And she wanted to leave the house wearing something that I was like, Whoa, girl. And I just surprised myself by like, wanting to just crack down and be like, hell no, you’re not leaving the house like that. And I was trying to like, Oh, let me see how I can explain this. But it really was coming from that place of like, I don’t want you to get hurt. Like really, I don’t want you to get hurt. And I was it was coming out of shame. And I was like, oh like and try to figure out like how do I do this without shaming her and I did my best but I still think I shamed her and We had a conversation about it afterwards, but it was so challenging.
Unknown Speaker 40:04
It’s so hard. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 40:06
It’s so hard. I. So my oldest is she’s just messy. She’s an she’s messy. She is an artist to her core, all of her clothes have paint marks on them. Or Sharpie, like she’s always drawing on her body. We had to get her body markers. So like, I was like, Stop putting. I was like, maybe not the Sharpies, but like here, right? Yeah, yeah. She is the most creative little thing I’ve ever seen. And I’m so immensely like, just proud and also surprised that that human came out of me, right. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 40:44
And I was taught to keep things nice. Neat. Yeah, right.
Unknown Speaker 40:53
And so when I see her doing things that are messy, my internal warning system just goes right off. I’m like, right. Yeah. And so I’m parenting her from a place that like, I don’t even agree with. She’s not technically even doing anything wrong. And so luckily, I have this very wonderful man who is also messy, right? Yeah. Who is like, helps me see, okay. You’re actually not You’re not having a problem with a mess. You’re having a problem with what the mess represents, right? Yes. And so we’ve come up with some really great rules now like she her room is a mess. It’s a total mess. And there’s actually she’s the another reason I love this kid. And also, she just completely like, enrages me is because again, we’re the same human. She brought me studies, studies, articles on how people with ADHD and people with artistic creative brains actually can find things easier in Messy rooms. And she’s like, Mom, I’m going to be more like less likely to lose things if you let me keep my room messy. And I’m like, over here, just like literally. All the not speechless, right. My husband’s looking at her and looking at me and looking at her. And he’s got this big smile on his face. Yeah, great. This is great. He’s like, you’re literally the same person. But I realized, like, you know, this is part of the shame work, too, is and I’m so glad that I get to do this, that I got to do this work before my kids got to the teenage phase. Yeah, because I’m very open and honest with her. If I feel like I’ve shamed her, I come back. And I’m like, that didn’t feel good, did it? And she’s like, Nope, I’m like, great. So let’s actually have a conscious conversation, like, where you get to participate in making choices. And this is a completely different type of parenting than I experienced, right. But we can’t parent our kids the same way. We can’t parent our kids the same way as we were parented, especially if shame was used, because it doesn’t work.
Unknown Speaker 43:02
Yeah, yeah. And you know, what it was what I was gonna say about the situation with my daughter that I that I miss telling the first time was, you know, she was innocently gonna walk out, she was she thought she looked great. She was so proud of herself. Right, she was feeling herself. And I was wanting to crack down on that. And I think that is what a lot of us a lot of women in particular, have experienced around our bodies where we’re like, we’re feeling ourselves, we’re feeling like, yummy, or even just beautiful or powerful. And because someone wants to protect us from getting hurt, and stepping out with that energy into the world, and having, you know, the wrong kinds of attention on us, it gets cracked down. And nobody ever says it’s because of all of these other things that I’m trying to protect you. It’s not you. Yeah. And so that that is a way that our sexual innocence is cracked down on and we’re like, this radiance that we naturally have gets made, like gets tempered gets
Unknown Speaker 44:12
Unknown Speaker 44:16
I wonder what it would look like if we change that conversation because I even saw so I saw Sandra Bullock actually have this conversation. I don’t remember what show she was on. But she was talking about she’s her son that she adopted as black. Yes, she was talking about how when he was wearing a hoodie. She was saying you can’t wear that out like this because of society. And actually, the really interesting conversation that was happening in the comments was by a lot of other black people saying, but What message are we teaching our kids with that like I get that we’re trying to protect them but also we’re teaching them that the world is a very scary place and there is truth to that, but how much perpetuation occurs By us continuing to teach it was this very, very fascinating conversation and I don’t I, I can’t even pretend to tell you where I fall in there like I don’t. I was watching all sides going like yes. But also yes and yes, right. And I wonder if we had a different kind of conversation, I wonder if we had a conversation where we taught our children to recognize what actual threat looked like, Mm hmm. Right. And again, this is just purely my music. I don’t know that this is the right answer. I don’t know there is a right answer. But if we started having a conversation around, like, look, I want you to be safe. And you get to make conscious choices about how you go out into the world. And you also, I want you to be aware, and alert,
Unknown Speaker 45:49
without also being afraid.
Unknown Speaker 45:52
Because when we teach our kids to be afraid, this is actually a really dangerous thing to do. It’s dangerous to teach people to be afraid. Because if you are taught to fear something, the way you act in response to that thing, is not going to be reasonable. irrational.
Unknown Speaker 46:10
Right. Right. And so, in terms of shame, you know, I
Unknown Speaker 46:20
I know that the answer isn’t to you know, crack down and say like, Absolutely not. Which by the way, I don’t know I’ve had this number. I’ve shared this places I used to walk. Our bedrooms are upstairs. We have this like grand scary staircase that like led right next to the kitchen, I would walk down the steps my father would look me up, look me down, go yes or no. And then I know if I had to go back up the steps, right. I’m not blaming my father. I know what he was trying to do. Yeah. I know, based on his experience, and his in our past, why that was happening. There’s zero. There’s zero, anything negative directed at him. And that’s still caused internalized shame.
Course were like punishing, punishing vulva owners for a patriarchal problem.
Unknown Speaker 47:09
Exactly. We’re punishing these little black boys who just want to wear a hoodie outside. Yes, yes. Because because it is a scary place, and big, bad people are gonna get you in. So it’s like, and this is honestly why. You know, at the institute, we’re doing work on, we really want to help individuals really shame and learn how to be more trauma informed toward towards themselves more than Yeah, yeah. Which is a huge part of shame work is learning that there’s nothing wrong with you. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of what you feel is because of what happened to you, not what who you are, right. Yeah. But a bigger part of our work is actually we’re from a systemic standpoint of how do we change these systems? Yeah. How do we start to have different conversations collectively, so that we don’t have to have the you can’t wear a hoodie outside conversation?
Yes, exactly. Exactly.
Unknown Speaker 48:08
I love that. I love that I am at a loss for words right now. There’s just so many things popping off. How do you? How do you get people to? Because shame is such a. So hard to feel sometimes. How do you make people aware? Or how do you move people through shame?
Unknown Speaker 48:40
I think the biggest thing was shame. Is the exercise we did at the beginning, right? Where I was, like, think of a time you’re embarrassed. If anyone listened to that and didn’t have a moment pop up, please find my email in the comments and message me and prove me wrong. Because everyone’s like I was six, right? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 12 Yeah, standing in the kitchen. Right. Like, you know, you that memory is burned into your brain. It’s in your body. Yeah. So that is where I start with people isn’t I’m like, okay, and I want you to think about like, if that is a 10 out of 10. What are some of the eight of the 10s? What are some of the six out of 10s Like, and as we start to do that, and they start to like be able to feel that more. They start interacting with their world on a daily basis. And they’re like, oh, there’s a two out of 10 little bit of shame. They’re like, Oh, I just watched their grocery store and my kid was yelling and the woman gave me a like aside, I’ve Yep, three out of 10 right there.
Got it. Just attuning to the sensation, giving it a space putting it on a scale and having them observing.
Unknown Speaker 49:46
Yeah, like starting to do that. And it’s and it’s fascinating. People are like, I never realized I never realized how many situations. Thank you. I feel that it right. So the awareness is is huge and it’s a body based awareness, so much of what we do. We’re so cute as humans, like we try to make it all about our brain and about our thinking. And I’m like, No, like we are mammals. We are. We are walking meat sacks with a prefrontal cortex. That is what we are like we are we are not as evolved as we think. Yeah, no much is feeling. And so if you can start feeling your body again, your body’s gonna give you so many answers to what’s going on. Right? Yeah, exactly. Um, and I honestly don’t remember the first part of your question was that was yeah, it
was just like, how do you Yeah, how do you move people through the process?
Unknown Speaker 50:37
Yeah. So. So the, the moving through the acceptance piece my, my clients actually, they’re like, it is so weird, because I will tell you the like, deepest, darkest, awful thing, and you’re like, great. And they’re like, that’s it? I’m like, yeah. Awesome. What else you got? Right? Yeah. So there’s the attunement piece. And this is one of the things we teach in our certification is like, how to attune to someone else. And attunement is where you give somebody undivided attention and unconditional acceptance. Yes, yes. Right. So acceptance is different than approval. Say how telling me? Yeah, so you telling me that you receive significantly hurt somebody? Right? Yeah. Yeah, I can accept. Yes, that happened. I hear you. I see you. I witnessed you without saying, and that was a good thing or a bad thing to do. Yeah, right. Yeah. So I’m accepting. Yep, that happened. Yep. That’s how you feel. Yep. That’s what you’re thinking. Yep. Those are the signs your body’s sending sending you without placing judgment in one way or the other all? Got it?
Unknown Speaker 51:47
Got it. Okay. So
Unknown Speaker 51:51
it is when you can do that for another human. And you can really do it, right? Because I will tell you, I have had some people tell me some things, right? And I’m like, Okay, give me a minute. Give me a second. I’m gonna take us like I say this, I look at them dead in the eyes. And I say, I am going to take a moment. And I’m going to like, feel that.
Unknown Speaker 52:15
And they’re like, Okay.
Unknown Speaker 52:18
And then I do and I’m like, great. Okay, thank you for that. So, seeing and hearing you in this, so tell me more, right? When I can feel confident in my animal body, right when I can get when I can stay grounded and regulated in my body. And when I get out of that, take a moment acknowledge it and be like, let me get regulated again.
Right, there’s the animal body piece. And then there’s also the the unconditional acceptance, which is the heart piece.
Unknown Speaker 52:50
It is it is so yeah, so this is so it’s I we just don’t realize how much our bodies talk to one another Waller. Yeah, doing whatever distracting. So the what’s interesting is, is people have been talking about mask wearing, right? And they’re like, I can’t, they’re like, oh, masks are so awful. Because we’re not going to be able to understand or feel or be able to under like, we can’t see smiles or frowns. And while that is true, it does have an effect. Do you know how much you can tell from someone’s eyes and their eyebrows? Yeah, right? Yeah, what you can tell from seeing their neck and their chin. There are like, I can’t even remember how many but there’s like over 100 like micro cues that you can get from somebody from their collarbones up. Yeah. So if we can, if you can learn how to control those, how to relax those, it’s really relaxation, if you can learn how to relax those while you’re listening to somebody telling you some really hard things. That creates safety for that other human. Yeah. And from there, and this is why people are like, Oh, video, like, I can’t connect with them. Like you can absolutely connect with your clients over video. You just need them from the shoulders up. You don’t even have to see their whole body. So the if you can learn how to regulate and grounded in in your own body in that way. And hold space for somebody. You could say all the wrong things. Yeah. Yeah. And their body would still be like, Yeah, this is still a safe human.
Yeah, yeah. And you would have to ground in that safety for them to for you to then be able to communicate that energetically. Right, like the way that we write feel each other
Unknown Speaker 54:50
like yeah, yes. And so this is this is actually I wrote a post about this today. I said, you know, being a leader, being a manager being a parent being a Being anyone who leads anyone is very, very hard. And the way that we teach people how to lead is we like Teach them the words we teach them nonviolent communication, we teach them body posture, right? Like make sure that you’re mirroring them. Make sure you’re relaxed. We don’t have I never took a single course. Until very recently, about you like from your collarbones up.
Exactly. Yeah. My whole doctoral training never talked about really the nervous system and how to calibrate in order to communicate safety so that people can bring their shame stories and have them dissolve in the presence of unconditional acceptance. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 55:40
Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s a really cool thing to see. Because most of the time people come up to come to me, they’ve got their barriers up, right? They’re like, Oh, no, if you’re safe, I think you’re safe. But like, I don’t know, right? Yeah. Yeah, there are times where I have shown up and I have not been in that kind, caring, compassionate, universal acceptance space, like I’m hungry, I’m tired. I’m whatever.
Unknown Speaker 56:01
Yeah. And the cool
Unknown Speaker 56:05
part is, though, is that as you start to do this work more and more, as you start to learn your own body more and more, you catch the cues, and you’re like, oh, wait, I’m not regulated at
Unknown Speaker 56:14
all. Let me fix that. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 56:18
And then you like can snap yourself out of situations where you’re like, Oh, that’s not the way I wanted to show up towards that human. And also, you can really manip I use the word manipulate I, a lot of people say that has a negative connotation, but that’s all we’re doing. Yeah. All we’re doing is manipulating each other. So you can really manipulate conversations and situations in such better, more mutually beneficial directions. When you can catch yourself in that dysregulated state that almost always shame has triggered.
Yeah, yeah, we can manage ourselves, right? We can manage ourselves and shift our energy, which is a form of manipulation, but it is sort of the the positive end of like, Oh, I’m feeling this, I can move the energy down into my legs, or I can write I can ground into my seat. We can we can manage ourselves, we can move things around.
Unknown Speaker 57:14
Unknown Speaker 57:16
It’s, it’s been so fascinating. Yeah. So fascinating. To just like, watch the difference. Yeah,
exactly. Thank you so much. This is such a rich conversation, we really, it got broad, it got specific, we opened it up again, and we got intense. And I love it. This is so wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. I want the listeners to know how they can contact you how they can know more about the work that you do.
Unknown Speaker 57:46
Sure. So we just launched our official website, which is very exciting labor of love, right? It’s the Institute for trauma.com. You can find our free Facebook group on there becoming trauma informed. We have our teacher training and our trauma informed psychologically safe certification information on there. And there’s a little box if you want to connect with me personally, you can just fill out and it’ll go straight to my email and I can we can connect.
Wonderful and you also you can you also have like a Instagram?
Unknown Speaker 58:20
Yes. It’s becoming trauma informed is the Instagram and then yeah, the Facebook group is becoming trauma informed. It’s it’s becoming trauma informed, creating safer, shame free spaces. There’s another group we realize that also it was called Becoming trauma informed, but look for the one with the Institute on it. And you’ll
Unknown Speaker 58:44
thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having me. It was my pleasure. Okay.
Thank you for listening to today’s episode. Remember to hit the subscribe button to get notified of new episodes dropping on the new and full moons of each month. And if you haven’t already, leave us a five star review on iTunes to make sure that everyone who needs this transmission receives it. Until the next episode I’m sending you fierce, fierce love