Often the way that we show up in life is a direct result of our family of origin and how we were raised. Listen, as I coach Felicity in how to overcome one of the ways she is showing up in her marriage because of what she learned in her family growing up.
Amanda: Welcome to episode six. Often the way that we show up in life is a direct result of our family of origin and how we were raised. Listen as I coach Felicity in how to overcome one of the ways she is showing up in her marriage because of what she learned in her family growing up.
Welcome to the podcast Felicity. What do you want help with today?
Felicity: So something that I have been wanting to really dive deeper in is the love that I have for myself, so that way I can truly pour that love into my spouse. That is just something that I really have had to explore a little bit more within myself, is just having that self-love for myself so that I can have that in my marriage.
Amanda: Okay. So tell me what your relationship with yourself looks like right now and why you think you need more love.
Felicity: As of right now, it’s been a work in progress. I mean, I have to admit that I am a lot better than I was a year ago for sure. As I have worked through this over the last year. But I know that there’s still areas and parts of me that still need work.
Something that I’ve discovered about myself for the past few months is that I avoid, and that is my coping mechanism when things don’t go my way, don’t go as planned or when I need to have a hot, sweaty conversation, that could be really hard for me to talk about with my husband, I avoid because I want to avoid conflict, and I know that that in retrospect is that I am basically self abandoning myself and that is not self-love.
Amanda: So you don’t want to self abandon anymore and you want to be able to have these hard conversations or you know, when things don’t go your way to be able to stop avoiding them.
So let’s think about the last time that you needed to maybe have a hard conversation with your spouse. Tell me about that.
Felicity: Let’s see. I think the last time is expressing my needs and wants for a particular thing. Especially when it comes to his family.
I have told my story that he puts his family first, like his mom and his sister first versus me and our kids. And so that is just a story that I’ve told myself in that situation. Before Christmas, I allowed myself to like, not be able to express what I needed and wanted when it came to his family. Looking back, I could have said, Hey, this is how I feel. I feel that you put your family’s needs first, then my needs and that for me has just been a really hard thing because it is a story that I’ve been telling myself, if that makes any sense.
Amanda: Mm-hmm. Okay. So you didn’t want to have this conversation with him and you avoided it. Why did you avoid it?
Felicity: Because of my mind it didn’t matter.
Amanda: What didn’t matter?
Felicity: Like what I had to say didn’t matter. Like what my thoughts and feelings over the situation. That it didn’t matter.
Amanda: But do they matter?
Felicity: They do, yeah. In hindsight, yes.
Amanda: Okay. But you said you don’t have these hard conversations to avoid conflicts.
So if you were to have these conversations with him, what would the conflict look like that you’re trying to avoid?
Felicity: Um, that I’m selfish and that I don’t put other people first.
Amanda: So you say, I need you to put me in front of your mom and your sister, and he says You’re selfish.
Felicity: I didn’t necessarily say that.
Amanda: Well, this is what is in your mind? Like this is the way you think the conversation would go if you were to have this conversation with him. That you say, I feel like you put your mom and your sister before me and the kids, and he would say you’re selfish. And then what?
Felicity: Um, in the past he has said things like that, like, I’m selfish and that all I care about is me. And so because of those past experiences, I do have avoidance of expressing how I feel because I’m afraid that what I have to say is going to essentially come back at me as saying that I’m selfish and that I put myself first and no one else’s feelings.
Amanda: Okay, so is what he’s saying true?
Amanda: Okay, so why don’t you say that?
Felicity: Because in the past, in his mind, it wasn’t true.
Amanda: It wasn’t true that you were selfish, but he’s saying it anyway?
Felicity: Well, I mean, in the past it was true for him that I was selfish. And so because of those past experiences I have told myself those stories around these kind of kind of things. The conversations that we have that, you know, that I’m selfish even though I know that I’m not but because of these past experiences with him, in my mind it’s like, Oh, well in the past you’ve said this about me before so now I essentially avoid it because it’s like in the past, I didn’t like what he had to say, so I avoid that.
Amanda: Right. Because you didn’t have enough self-love in those moments where he’s saying you’re selfish to say, I don’t think that’s true. So you just self betray instead.
Amanda: Okay. So it’s interesting what we do here because, have you heard the phrase you can only love others as much as you love yourself?
Amanda: Do you think that’s true?
Felicity: Yes, because the way I look at it is we don’t love ourselves then we essentially can’t love. I mean, we can, but I don’t want to say it’s a false love, but I feel like it’s just like when they say to put your own oxygen mask on first.
Amanda: Yeah. We have to take care of ourself. I think we can love others, but we can’t love them as well as when we can love ourselves first.
Felicity: To me, I feel like if we don’t love ourselves, it’s a false sense of love for others.
Amanda: Like a lot of times we’re people pleasing, we’re self betraying, we’re doing all in the name of loving others, but we’re not actually loving ourselves in that process.
Amanda: And so I love that you say like, I want to love myself more so that I can pour more into that, pour more of that love into my spouse, because I think when you can love yourself, then you are going to be able to love others better.
It’s not that you can’t love them, like I’m sure you love your spouse, but you’re going to be able to love them better when you love yourself first.
So Brené Brown talks about, in her book Atlas of the Heart, she talks about the near and far enemies and how we don’t want to be selfish like our spouse says, right? And we know what that looks like. And so, in the attempt to really love them, we end up self betraying, which is the near enemy. So the far enemy of loving others is selfishness. Like we can see that one, we know what it looks like, but the near enemy, which often looks like love, but actually undermines it, is self betrayal. And this is a Buddhist concept that Brené talks about.
I think what you’re saying is when you’ve avoided having these hard conversations or avoided doing these things, you are self betraying, but you really want to just love him deeply and love yourself at the same time. And the way to go about this is to develop a better relationship with yourself by talking to yourself by talking to yourself well, but treating yourself well. Not self abandoning, not self betraying. Learning to trust yourself and respect yourself, and loving others with boundaries. Boundary love is the best way to love others. Does that make sense?
Amanda: So in what ways, besides not saying what you want to say in avoiding conflicts, what other ways do you self betray?
Felicity: I suppress my feelings that I have, my thoughts and feelings.
Amanda: What does that mean?
Felicity: It means I just hold onto them until I essentially allow myself to explode. Like I just hold onto them. Like I don’t really like to allow myself…
Amanda: So you resist your emotions?
Amanda: So when we have an emotion, we avoid, we buffer, we watch TV or you know, scroll social media or whatever to avoid feeling certain things. We react to those emotions. So I think of this most acutely with anger. When we’re yelling and screaming, that’s reacting most likely to the fear or the hurt or something that we’re feeling. We resist, which is like, push it down, don’t want to feel it. And it’s not the same as buffering or avoiding, but it’s like, Nope, just not going to feel this.
And it’s like holding a beach ball underwater until eventually you explode. I think it was Carl Young that said, what we resist persists so that emotion will just persist and grow bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until you explode by resisting it. Or we learn how to process our emotions correctly, which is one of the things that we learn in the Membership, right?
Amanda: So you avoid, you resist. What else do you do?
Felicity: I resent.
Amanda: Okay, tell me what that means.
Felicity: I get mad at my spouse when he is not home. Like I was like, why can’t you do this? Why can’t you do that? And I just start resenting and then I then allow myself to essentially carry it over into the bedroom and into that resentment and he’ll say, are you mad at me? And I’d be like, no, I’m not mad at you.
Amanda: So maybe denying your feelings altogether.
Amanda: Because I would say resentfulness doesn’t feel great in ourselves, but I don’t necessarily know that that’s not loving yourself. I think that’s just more, not loving your spouse.
Felicity: But in a way I could probably be resenting myself too, because I am not expressing how I really feel and I’m lying to myself.
Amanda: Okay, so lying to yourself.
Felicity: Yeah. That I’m fine, that everything is fine.
Amanda: Are you lying to yourself or are you lying just to him?
Felicity: I think I’m processing through this. There’s probably some underlying lying to myself too and not being honest with myself.
Amanda: Okay, so it sounds like in order to love yourself more, you need to actually allow yourself to feel and allow yourself to say what needs to be said. And by not doing so, then you’re in this act of self betrayal quite often. Does that sound right?
Amanda: Okay. So why do you think you do these things?
Felicity: I know it stems from my childhood for sure, in the way that both my parents acted and reacted as a child. So I know that that’s part of it.
Amanda: Okay. What’s the other part of it?
Felicity: Um, I think that a lot of it just stems from how I was raised and brought up and in my family dynamic environment.
Amanda: Okay. So the reason why you’re self betraying is because of the patterns that you’ve learned in your home of origin, your family of origin?
Amanda: Okay. So what have you tried alread to stop doing this?
Felicity: Oh gosh. I’ve done so much work. I’ve done coaching with you, which has definitely helped a lot, especially in our relationship. I do breath work. I’ve done therapy.
Amanda: What kind of therapy have you done?
Felicity: EDMR therapy. I’ve done just traditional talk therapy.
Felicity: Currently I’m doing therapy. She’s a counselor and a coach, so she does a mix of different things to help me to essentially take what I think and move it forward versus just talking about it. So that’s been really helpful as well. I do tapping, journaling, meditations.
So I think a lot of those modalities, just being able to get into myself.
Amanda: So I think one of the things that might be really helpful for this particular thing, because so much of your self betrayal stems from the patterns that you learned in your childhood, would be to do some inner child work. Have you done that much?
Amanda: Okay. Tell me what you’ve done.
Felicity: EDMR therapy is a big thing. I have been doing some, because I’m a coach myself, so I’ve been doing some trauma-informed classes that have helped me to realize how I can validate myself and validate my inner child. And just seeing myself as that little child. So I definitely have been doing a lot more of that inner child work as well.
Amanda: Okay. So what I think we should do here is for you to embody that inner child and speak to your parents and tell them how you feel about not being able to express your thoughts and your emotions to them and in their home. How do you feel about that?
They’re never going to hear this.
Felicity: Right, right, right. Well, the reason why I hesitate is because I come from a narcissistic stepdad, and so trying to explain to him how I think in my feelings, it’s…
Amanda: Right, but you’re not actually going to say this to him. This is you just being able to express this to him and he’s not going to say anything back. He’s just going to listen because he’s not actually here.
Felicity: Right. But I guess in, that’s where I could…
Amanda: I know there’s the disconnect because you’re like, he is narcissistic and he would not respond to this, and he would try to tell me how I’m wrong and he’s right.
Amanda: But what we want to do is actually picture him as the father you always wanted.
Amanda: Not who he actually is, but the father who is open to hearing this feedback.
Amanda: And will that would give you a response back that is kind and loving and compassionate and I think, you know sometimes, especially when we’re doing some of this inner child work, instead of picturing our own parents, maybe picturing our Divine Parents. And be able to speak to Them and maybe hear back what you want Them to say to you, not your actual parents. How do you feel about that?
Felicity: Um, yeah, I think I could do that.
Amanda: Okay. Are you in a place where you could sit on a bed or a floor or something and put some pillows in front of you?
Felicity: Uh, yes.
Amanda: Okay, so you can keep the computer kind of close just so we can keep hearing you. But what I want you to do is like sit on the floor on a pillow, or if that’s more comfortable for yourself, and then put a pillow for your mother and put a pillow for your father in front of you.
Amanda: Okay. And I want you to actually first turn to one or the other and tell us who you’re going to talk to. So like, turn your body, turn everything, and I want you first to talk to them and tell them everything that you’re angry about.
Felicity: Okay. So I’m going to first talk to my dad.
Amanda: Okay. And just picture him on that pillow and just talk to him.
Felicity: If it’s easier, can I close my eyes too?
Amanda: Yes. Close your eyes. Yes.
Felicity: Okay. I just wanted to let you know how angry I am with how I have been treated in the past. How my feelings weren’t validated and how I felt emotionally unsafe and unsupported throughout my life. I trusted you to help me through, to understand me as a person and I look back every time you have mentioned why isn’t our relationship like it used to be. It’s because I’ve lost trust in you and I feel unsafe when I’m around you
Because of that, it has made me feel unsafe with myself. That it’s not okay for me to express how I truly feel in my life and I feel unsupported in all that I do. I people please because I’ve always felt like I needed to do what you wanted me to do, to love me. Looking back at that, I know that is not true, that I didn’t need to do that to be loved. I needed to be loved just for who I was, not because of my accomplishments or what I did to be the perfect child that you always wanted me to be.
Amanda: How does that feel?
Felicity: It felt kind of written. Literally what I just said obviously was not pre-rehearsed, it just came out freely and how I really felt.
Amanda: Yeah. Okay. Do you want to do the same thing with your mom?
Felicity: To be completely honest with you, I feel like I’m in a good place with my mom.
Amanda: Okay. That’s fine. So let’s just stick with your dad for a minute, okay? Okay. Now I want you to close your eyes and I want you to say to yourself everything that you wish he would say.
Felicity: I just want you to know that you are safe and that I love you unconditionally no matter what. All I ever wanted you to do was to do your best and to be yourself, and that I support you in whatever it is that you desire to be, do, or have in your life.
I am here for you at any moment if you need to talk, but for now I just want you to know that no matter what, I love you and I support you and I desire for you to feel safe.
Amanda: How did that feel?
Felicity: It almost feels like it’s okay to let go of those past thoughts, these stories that I’ve had about myself and about my parents.
Amanda: Why wouldn’t it be okay to let those go?
Felicity: Well, because they’re my parents and they love them, and I’ve trusted them, and I’ve wanted nothing more than to be loved and accepted by them. And just going through this exercise, it made me realize that I can accept them for where they’re at right now. They may not have been the parent that I needed them to be, but they are the parents that they needed to be for me to learn and grow from.
Amanda: And I think it’s really important to remember that the way that they parented you, had nothing to do with you. It’s not a reflection of your lovability, it’s a reflection of their own trauma and their ability to love you. Like your lovability is a hundred percent. Their ability to love you is dependent on who they are and their humanness, and you get to decide how you want to love you based on who you are and not on how they treated you and how they parented you and how they loved you. That your thoughts and your feelings are valid and that you can create your own safety in expressing them by treating yourself well and taking care of yourself and knowing that you matter, and it is very freeing.
It’s very freeing to be able to have this new perspective and being able to say these things out loud, and also hearing these things out loud and imagining that it’s actually coming from them. Our brain is able to interpret things just through imagination. Like if you can think about it well and create that experience, your brain interprets it as it actually happening. It doesn’t really realize that it’s just pretend.
Okay. So that’s why it feels so good to be able to say them out loud because your brain’s like, oh, this is actually happening. Okay. So when you are feeling that you know the tendency to self betray or that your feelings and your thoughts aren’t valid, I want you to kind of redo this exercise and do it as many times as you need to do it. Or listen to this podcast again and hear it again, so that you can reaffirm to yourself over and over that your thoughts and your feelings are valid and not let that past programming from your childhood and your family of origin creep back in because it will because it’s been happening for a long time.
This isn’t just like a one and done process, but now that you’ve done it, now you know how to do it and you can remember and do it again and again and again. As much as you need to.
This is what we call reparenting. We’re reparenting ourselves in the way that we need most. Okay?
So you’re parenting that inner child so that she can feel safe and loved and heard, and know that it’s okay to think and feel however she needs to think and feel and express that. Yeah?
Amanda: Okay. So as we conclude, do you just want to, maybe just for your own benefit, and I think for our audience as well, just kind of recap what you are taking from this coaching session, and moving forward.
Felicity: I think the biggest takeaway that I had was just a reminder for me to tap back into that inner child within myself because it is so easy for us to get day-to-day lives in the chaos of the day and not realize why we’re really thinking the way that we do. And just being able to take a moment throughout the day, whether it’s in the morning or at night before bed, to just check in with ourselves, see where our inner child is, and just being able to reflect on that.
So I think that it was just a good reminder for me to get back into myself and that inner child to make sure that my inner child is doing okay.
Amanda: Yeah. Great. Thank you so much for being with me today, Felicity.
Felicity: Yes, of course.
Amanda: Okay, so I hope you found that episode helpful. I really love inner child work, and I think it can be so powerful in situations like this where that family of origin and the way that we think has got a really firm grasp on what’s going on and influencing the way that we’re showing up now.
So if this is something that you want to do and you feel like you could use some inner child work, I want to invite you to come into my Embrace you Elite Society. Where we are able to work on a lot of the things that you’re hearing on this podcast and where you can get some individual coaching to work on these inner child parts and these other parts of ourselves that need some integrating.
So thanks so much for joining me today, and we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.