“Women have been oppressed for thousands of years. Oppression is traumatic. Trauma is genetically transmitted. We are born with the trauma or the oppression encoded in our DNA, and trauma adaptations that signal to us to keep on dimming our light.” – Dr. Valerie Rein
On this week’s show, I’m joined by psychologist, women’s mental health expert, author, and business consultant, Dr. Valerie Rein, to discuss a concept she’s coined called, “Patriarchy Stress Disorder”.
Dr. Valerie Rein specializes in uncovering the hidden traumas that hold hostage people’s best work, relationships, and well-being. She effectively heals them with powerful mind-body mythology. She holds an EDM in psychological counseling from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
Dr. Valerie’s concept of “Patriarchy Stress Disorder” has revolutionized the way that I and many other women think about ourselves and the world so much so that I believe this episode is one of the most important episodes I have ever done.
If you’re someone who feels stunted in your growth and feels like despite having a good life, it’s still uncomfortable to be “seen” in your greatness and experience pleasure, you’ll understand why after listening to this episode.
THIS EPISODE IS FOR YOU IF YOU WANT TO LEARN:
- The invisible barrier to your happiness and fulfillment (that you share with all women) and how to break through it
- How Dr. Valerie helps women go from constantly thinking “what’s wrong with me?” filled with anxiety and depression, to stepping into their power and thinking “how good can it get?”
- What Patriarchy Stress Disorder (or PSD) is and how to heal from it
- The role of prison guards/inner mean girls have in our lives and how to make them our bodyguards instead
- What is taking up 90% of your time and energy, and what to do to reclaim that time
And so much more.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
→ Continue the conversation in my free online community
→ Get The 4-Day Accomplish Your Dreams Free Training
→ Dr. Valerie Rein on Facebook
→ Dr. Valerie Rein on Instagram
Episode 25: PATRIARCHY STRESS DISORDER
This is the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast with Lindsay Preston Episode 25, Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Welcome to the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast, the show for goal-getting, fear-facing women for kicking ass by creating change. I’m your host, Lindsay Preston. I’m a wife, mom of two, and a multi-certified life coach to women all over the world. I’ve lived through enough in life to know that easier doesn’t always equate to better. We can’t fear the fire, we must learn to become it. On this show, I’ll teach you how to do just that. Join me as I challenge you to become even more of the strong, resilient, and powerful woman you were meant to be. Let’s do this.
Hi there, Miss unstoppable. Thank you for tuning in to one of the most important episodes I think I have ever done on my history of podcasts. What I’m going to talk about today is mind-blowing. It has certainly blown my mind in the past few weeks as I’ve been introduced to this concept. Today, I’m going to interview Dr. Valerie Rein, and she’s going to talk to us about a term that she has coined called patriarchy stress disorder. This, again, has been revolutionary for me in so many ways that even just recording this intro, I’m at near tears because there’s just been a missing piece in my life with all the work that I’ve done.
Lately, I’ve just had this feeling of why am I still holding onto something? Why is there something that’s still holding me back? Even though I have a great life, and I feel good, and I know all the tools for success, and I’ve helped so many people, what is it? What is still there? It’s been this patriarchy stress disorder. It has revolutionized the way I am thinking about myself in the world. Let me give you a little background on our interview guest today, as I said, it’s Dr. Valerie Rein. She is a psychologist, women’s mental health expert, and business consultant who helps people achieve the best ROI by achieving the best mental health without therapy.
Dr. Valerie specializes in uncovering the hidden traumas that hold hostage people’s best work relationships, and wellbeing, and effectively heals them with a powerful mind-body mythology. She holds an EDM in psychological counseling from Columbia University, and a PhD from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Dr. Valerie Rein is incredible, my friend, so incredible. I am honored to have her on the show today. I talk about why I brought her on my story with this whole patriarchy stress disorder, and the magic of us even connecting together.
We cover so much in this interview. It’s almost an hour-long just with the interview. I had so many questions for her. She gave so much wisdom and goodness, and I must say her work aligns very closely to my work and what I do with my clients. It’s just ignited a fire in me to realize, at a deeper level, how much the work that I’m doing is great and amazing.
We briefly touch on that, and how talk therapy isn’t as effective, or things of just doing mind work, how we have to get our body involved. I do that with my clients in my becoming an unstoppable woman coaching process, and she does it with her clients.
We’re just a powerful connection together. We talk about things like the inner mean girl on this interview, which she talks about as prison guards. Just so good. If you’re a client of mine, I’m really glad you’re tuning into this. I think this interview will add a deeper layer to what we’ve done. If you haven’t worked with me, hopefully, this interview will wake you up to seeing maybe I need to do some deeper work either with me and, or Dr. Valerie. Dr. Valerie and I maybe even getting together and doing some work together here as her course comes out and me promoting it.
I really think her work just takes mine and adds another layer to it. I could go on and on about why I wanted this interview today, and why I wanted her. I’ll save it for your listening ears here in a bit as I interview Dr. Valerie Rein. Here she is. Dr. Valerie Rein, I am so excited and thrilled to have you on the show today. It is a huge honor for me that you are here. I didn’t tell you this when we just jumped on the phone here, but your work has been so timely for me. I have been doing my own personal development work, and my coach has kept asking me for weeks on end, “Lindsay, who are you still mad at?”
I had done so much work on my parents, and on things of my background. The thought that kept coming to my mind was, “I’m so mad at the patriarchy.” I thought I was crazy, and I thought I was so weird. I couldn’t even say it out loud to my coach to tell her that. When I saw your episode go live on Ali Brown’s show Glambition radio- it’s a show that I love, I love Ali- I immediately downloaded, started listening, and it was like a whole new world opened up for me. I felt like I could just bawl in the car. This is how I’ve been feeling, and I had no idea.
You’ve put it in words in such a beautiful way. Thank you so much for what you’re doing in the world. I just have to hear from your mouth, tell everybody about this term you’ve coined called patriarchy stress disorder or PSD for short, and what it’s all about.
Dr. Valerie Rein: Thank you for having me, Lindsay. I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for sharing the role PSD, discovering it has played in your life so far. Thank you everyone who is tuning in right now and sharing your time with us. I hope that this is going to be a very valuable conversation. How I discovered it? Started with my own journey of figuring out what is wrong with me. As most women I know, I’ve been on this journey since I became aware of myself as a human being in society, probably preschool-ish, early elementary. What’s wrong with me.
Later on, I developed anxiety, I developed depression, I started going to therapy. Therapy is wonderful. It gives you a lot of insight, but it was not resolving my anxiety or depression. Luckily, serendipitously, I stumbled into first, yoga, as my first experience of mind-body working together and experiencing a real shift in how I was feeling, so anxiety and depression started shifting a little bit. That led me to trauma resolution work, mind-body trauma resolution work. I didn’t think that I had any trauma. I was already a practicing psychotherapist, so I went to this training to get some tools to help my clients.
I was really surprised when this training changed my life completely. I released deep trauma. With this work, you don’t even need to know what trauma you’re releasing because it’s lodged in the body, and when it’s released, your life literally transforms. That actually began my entrepreneurial journey because that training led me to quitting a toxic job and discovering my power. I brought these tools into working with my clients. I mostly worked with women, and I saw the same life-changing results. I started wondering what trauma could we all have without realizing it?
Because we didn’t have life-threatening experiences. I didn’t, my clients didn’t. Research was coming out at that time showing that trauma is genetically transmitted from generation to generation. That was my light bulb moment, “Oh, women have been oppressed for thousands of years.” Oppression is traumatic. Trauma is genetically transmitted. We are born with the trauma or the oppression encoded in our DNA, and trauma adaptations that signal to us to keep on dimming our light because it has never been safe for a woman to be in her full power, her full expression.
I firmly see it as one of the core reasons why we have this pandemic of anxiety, depression, addiction, burnout, problems in relationships, that it could all be traced down to women dimming their own light based on that ancient inherited trauma.
Lindsay: Just that alone, it clicked so much for me to hear that because as I’m getting bigger in my career, every level, it’s like I have to process it. I get scared and I think, “When is this going to go away? I don’t understand. Why am I so fearful of being seen, and making money, and having it all in that sense? Isn’t this what I wanted?” Hearing you say that was, this just makes so much sense.
Dr. Rein: Thank you for sharing that, Lindsay because it leads me to making this point that a lot of women find liberating. Because we are now in a unique position, our generation finally has the opportunity to really, really have it all, really do whatever we want. The higher we go, the more we reach for our desires you would think we would be happier. Yes, there is a sense of accomplishment, but at the same time, there is also a sense of growing unease, and burnout, and other negative effects that I’d mentioned. Sometimes relationships take a toll, or there’s trouble finding love and creating that intimacy, or holding back from that next level, what they call the upper limit problem, or the imposter syndrome, or the inner critic.
The explanation is actually very simple; because we are venturing further and further outside the “safe area”, further and further into the territory that historically has been forbidden and punishable for women, oftentimes by torture and death, our nervous system, our subconscious, they carry that information. We don’t think that way. We don’t think, “Oh it’s unsafe for me to be a public speaker.” We don’t think that way, “It’s unsafe for me to make lots of money. It’s unsafe for me to be loved and adored. Our subconscious [chuckless] knows that and so the higher up we go, the more it gets activated.
We need to understand it, we need to heal it, we need to realize there’s nothing wrong with us. Medication and wine are not the only ways to handle that. [chuckles] There is a deep invitation for healing, not only for ourselves, although that’s wonderful, but the ripple effects go into our families, into our relationships, and every woman basically we come in contact with and affect, and future generations.
Lindsay: Let’s talk about trauma and the patriarchy, and how those two have come together. I know for me when I hear you speak about these things, and I just think, “Oh, in my body it just makes so much sense,” but then my mind goes, “Where does that come together? What does she mean by trauma? What does she mean by the patriarchy?” Can you give us more information there?
Dr. Rein: Yes, absolutely. Trauma has been defined early on in the psychological field as a life-threatening event. Then it started to heal, started evolving and understanding that, wait a minute, how about adverse childhood experiences? Are they traumatic? Hell, yes, they’re traumatic.
Then people started talking about the big T trauma, capital T trauma, which includes life-threatening events, and lowercase t trauma which includes other events in our lives. For the sake of simplicity, and based on my 20-years of experience in the field and my own journey as a human, I define trauma as any experience that made you feel unsafe physically or emotionally, and led to develop trauma adaptations to keep you safe going forward.
What I mean by trauma adaptations falls into three categories; thoughts, expressions in the body, health expressions, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping or high-energy, low-energy, adrenal fatigue, different stuff that shows up in the body; weight, unwanted weight gain or weight loss, and inactions that we take or don’t take to keep ourselves safe.
Basically, we all have traumatic experiences in our past. If you’re human, you have trauma. Who can say, “I’ve never felt unsafe in my entire life physically or emotionally”? Just receiving, denigrating comments can leave scars.
For a woman, it’s just such a daily experience oftentimes growing up and into our adulthood. These are paper cuts. These are not knife stabs, but it’s possible to bleed out from 1,000 paper cuts. Each paper cut in itself creates trauma adaptations no matter how minor they are, and they’re all on the spectrum. It really depends on how we have integrated that experience, how we make sense of it internally, and how it recorded in our subconscious, and our biology, and our nervous system. How we know that we have trauma is that we know that we have trauma defenses.
The inner critic is a trauma defense. The imposter syndrome is a trauma defense. All these thoughts that are holding us back, the stories that we tell ourselves, these are trauma defenses. Also holding ourselves back from doing what we want to do, it doesn’t make sense. Basically, things that don’t make sense, they make perfect sense as trauma defenses because look at the end result. It’s keeping you “safe” in the patriarchal world, where, again, it’s never been safe for a woman to be visible, powerful, successful, never been an option, fully expressed, sexually, intellectually in her work in the world.
Does that come together?
Lindsay: Oh, absolutely. I love some of the examples you gave in the book about what you define as this t trauma. You gave an example of a client. I forget her name. She had this beautiful moment at school one day, but her mom had depression. She came home, and she was so excited to tell her mom. She realized her mom was having a bad day, and she stuffed it inside. Then her body reacted to that, and maybe some thoughts came from that of, “It’s not safe to express my joy. I have to keep it in. It’s not safe to be seen,” all of those thoughts.
I could so relate to all of that. When you mentioned too, of one trauma response is this inner critic, I just want to tell my audience, this is who we call the inner mean girl. Dr. Valerie, in her book, she calls it the prison guards. Tell us why you came up with the term prison guards for this persona inside?
Dr. Rein: I use a metaphor of the invisible inner prison for trauma to describe trauma because it’s such a visceral experience when we have a goal, we have a dream. It’s so clear, and we have everything we need to reach it. We need intellectually know very well that I am capable, I can do it, but it’s like running into the invisible wall when we start moving toward it. Following that metaphor, I started defining or naming the trauma adaptations as prison guards because that’s how they function. They keep us in the prison cell, those what you call inner mean girl.
Those stories that we tell ourselves, or sometimes it’s the physical expressions like the body. The body doesn’t express our fullest ease and joy, and our actions as well. They live in our subconscious. An interesting thing that I discovered while working on the book is that neuroscience actually has shown again and again that our actions are decided in our subconscious. I’m going to say it again. Our actions are decided in our subconscious.
The conscious mind catches up later after the fact to rationalize it. Changing thoughts is not going to get you out of prison because the prison guards have already had their say, and whatever the conscious mind, whatever stories we create, they’re all just rationalizations.
Lindsay: You say it so well in the book. You say, “We high achieving women keep pushing until we break, until we’re stopped dead in our tracks by crises in our health, work, and relationships. Only when we’re up against the wall do we finally see the prison we’re in.” So true, it’s so true. You mentioned there that we can’t just change the thoughts. Tell us more what we do need to do to escape this prison.
Dr. Rein: It is a journey, and it’s a very doable journey. I am on this journey. My clients and students, we’re all living proof that the jailbreak is possible. [chuckles] The journey is not a one-time jailbreak, it’s layers. With each layer of trauma that we uncover and heal, we receive the benefits of being able to express ourselves more, be able to take in the good of life more, create abundance, create love, be bolder, be visible, and it’s layer-by-layer that we reveal that capacity. We become more in full color or become more powerful, more beautiful.
More of who we truly authentically are. The process I describe in the book and using my work has five stages. It goes from Stage 1, waking up in prison. We’re actually doing this right now together. When we take a look at everything that’s been holding us back, and we’ve been thinking about as, “What’s wrong with me?” and realize that there’s nothing wrong with you, that this is trauma that we’ve inherited. There is also personal traumatic experiences in the mix. There is collective, there is individual, all sorts of trauma. Even soul trauma.
I don’t write about it in the book, but it does come up when I work with clients. From that point of discovery, the immediate result is relief. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not broken. That there is a journey that I’m going on to jailbreak.” The second stage is meeting the prison guards in the mind, in the body, and actions, and really getting to know them. What they look like, what they sound like, how they behave. We’re not going to take them down. We’re not going to get rid of them because these are expressions of our biology. They’re trying to keep us safe.
What we do instead, we create a deep feeling of embodied safety. As we move toward our dreams, we use mind, body, spirit healing methods that are grounded in neuroscience, that are grounded in ancient practices that are now validated by science. We evolve. That’s what happens in Stage 3; we evolve our prison guards to be our bodyguards so they can keep us safe on the journey, not inside the prison cell. In the fourth step, we’re now well-equipped to dig the tunnel to freedom. Digging the tunnel involves deeper layers of trauma. It’s more hands-on work.
You can work with us, you can work with a practitioner. I provide recommendations for that in the book, on the website, drvalerie.com. [chuckles] The final stage is savoring freedom. Once we’re out of jail, you would think, “Oh, I’m done. I’ve reached my dreams.” Interestingly, that’s where the work actually begins. The work that, when in prison, you don’t even know what that’s going to look like. When you emerge, you’re like, “Oh my goodness. What is going on?” There are no more rules basically. There are no more patterns that you’re following.
You are there to create your life designed by your desires consciously creating your life. What we encounter there is what I call pleasure police. When we start driving over the speed limit of our mothers, grandmothers, and sisters, and the patriarchy, the pleasure police tries to stop us, slow us down. That happens in all areas; money, love, self-expression, business. If we don’t know what’s going on, again, we’re going to be like, “Oh, it’s the upper limit problem. I’m just going to push through that.” It’s not going to be effective because what we actually need to do, we need to increase our physical energetic capacity to bring in more good.
Trauma shrinks us. If you think of any painful experience in your life, notice how your body reacts. It just goes, [onomatopoeia]. It just pulls in, it just closes up. We have a long history of that. The channels through which the goodness runs abundance juice, self-expression, they have withered. They have shrunk down, and we need to expand them. We need to help them release that junk that has been clogging them, again unprocessed emotions including happiness as you’ve brought up, Lindsay. Including joy that was never reflected back to us, that is also clogging those channels.
A lot of work actually happens in that fifth stage, and I call it shifting from the game of how-much-can-I-bear, the game of survival, to the game of thriving, or how-good-can-it-get? That game of how-good-can-it-get is truly never-ending. I myself discover new layers doing this same work day in and day out. [chuckles] In my free time, I work with clients [chuckles] and then give talks, but my full-time occupation pretty much is my own liberation, layer-by-layer, more and more.
Lindsay: I can so relate to this waking-up process of these five steps of realizing you’re in prison. That was me just a few years ago, getting to know those prison guards or as I said, we call them inner mean girls. Then turning them into bodyguards, and the tunnel the freedom. Now you’re right, I am just experiencing this pleasure police constantly. It is a question of, how good can it get? Then the pleasure police come in and say, “I don’t know,” and they’re always questioning, always holding you back. The way you have just put this together, Valerie, is incredible.
It’s incredible. I just feel like I’m your biggest fan.
Dr. Rein: Thank you, Lindsay.
Lindsay: I do want to stay and talk about something you’ve mentioned earlier, and you’ve mentioned a couple of times. I know about it, but somebody listening may not, and that’s intergenerational trauma. I would love for you to share the cherry blossom story with us.
Dr. Rein: Thank you for asking. This experiment is so elegant, and it really illustrates how generational trauma is passed down, and illustrates PSD. The researchers introduced the smell of cherry blossoms to mice while zapping their feet with mild electric shocks. Later, after this experience, the mice were bred, and their children, and their children’s children, their grandchildren, when exposed to the smell of cherry blossoms, showed a strong fear and anxiety reaction. Let that sink in for a moment. The mice didn’t tell their children, “There is that thing called cherry blossoms. Your feet will be zapped when you smell it.”
For all we know, mice don’t use storytelling. The neuroscientist actually took a look inside the brains of mice, and they discovered that mice– It’s complicated, and I’m not going to go into the details. Basically, they have discovered that this experience was indeed genetically transmitted, and PSD is us, is women fearing the smell of cherry blossoms. What is cherry blossoms for us? It’s everything we desire. It’s everything that we desire that our mothers, and grandmothers, and great-grandmothers could not have. In fact, if they even thought of reaching for it, if they had even dared, that that was a punishable thing.
I was shocked to discover– That was after I wrote the book, I was talking to somebody. Lots of great conversations are happening now because women are resonating with the book, and they’re sharing. This woman was sharing that someone she knows had this experience in this lifetime, that his mother was locked up in asylum by his dad, that was 1950s or early ’60s in the US because his dad had a girlfriend, had a mistress. He just wanted the mother out of the way. This man carries this horrible trauma because his mother first disappeared, and then came back in a wheelchair drooling. She was a perfectly fine woman, who, her only offense was that she was in the way of her husband having an affair. That was in the 1950s, early ’60s in the US, not effing ancient history. That disempowerment runs so deep, and the crimes against women have been so profound, and so painful; us not owning our bodies, not owning money, not having access to gainful employment, working for free, always working for free. Now we’re wondering, “Oh, how come I have money blocks? Is there something I need to fix in myself?” No, you don’t need fixing.
You are perfect, and there is trauma that we all carry. I carry it, you carry it, everyone listening. [laughs] It’s not something that makes us broken. It’s something that we have inherited. It’s just a part of history, and we have the golden opportunity now to heal. We have access not only to opportunity in the outer world to play big, which is awesome, and we have access to these tools for deeper healing that our mothers and grandmothers did not have.
Lindsay: Again, just makes so much sense to me. The past year or so, my husband has been been on this genealogy kick. He would sit down and show me my lineage, especially we’d look at the women. I just kept getting this feeling, and I would start to hear their stories. I would think, why do I feel so connected to these stories and how they were treated? I don’t understand because I’ve never met these people, and yet, I knew a little bit about intergenerational trauma. I thought maybe that was it, but then hearing it again with PSD is like this is It.
This is what has been passed down to me. Two, like you said, the history has not been that ancient. As I’ve been doing my own history discovery of just listening to silly things like Dolly Parton’s podcast recently. There was a whole episode about what she was listening to as a little girl about women being killed when they were pregnant when they shouldn’t be, and all these other things that happened in the ’50s and ’60s with unwed mothers, and all that, just from a sexual perspective, it was like, holy moly, this is in my absolute DNA because that was my mother’s time when she was born.
I hope everyone listening is feeling that too because, to me, it’s just very earth-shattering to take all that in.
Dr. Rein: Yes, it is so chilling. For our listeners, if you’re feeling activated, and when we bring up a lot, just take a moment to feel your feet on the floor, feel the support of the furniture, feel your breath moving through your body, and look around you. Take in through your eyes, take in the safety of your environment, that nothing is physically threatening you right now. It’s the message to your hindbrain, I know that your prefrontal cortex, your executive brain knows theoretically that you’re safe, but it is our hindbrain that creates that safety, or needs that safety reassurance.
Take in the environment, listen for sounds. Listen, and smell, and touch, use all your senses. Taste, if that’s available [laughs] to you, and just take a moment to settle in the safety of the present moment. I actually have a tool on my website that you can use that can help you restore that safety. If you go to drvalerie.com/repower, it’s a little audio that can help you whenever you’re feeling triggered, or even when you’re not feeling triggered, to keep on cultivating that feeling of embodied safety. That’s a practice that I constantly use and share with all my clients and students when we begin working together.
What you were sharing, Lindsay, about the experiences that we’ve inherited, they don’t even have to be terribly traumatic, t trauma. A friend of mine remembers growing up as a little girl just seeing her parent’s dynamic. Her mom didn’t work, so her dad was the provider. Her dad would play this little game with mother. He would give her the money, her allowance for the week, give her the money, and then tease her, “No, no, not so fast,” and pull it back. It was like a weekly occurrence that she witnessed. It may seem like this innocent joke, but it was so deeply wounding for her mother and for her.
Just think of the message of “I can do however I please. I can give you money, I cannot give your money. You’re completely at my mercy.”
Lindsay: I hope everyone listening just takes it in. I told Valerie before we started, she’s preaching to the choir with me, and I know the power of all this. I’ve started to open the eyes of my clients with all this, of how these little things that you blow off later, the logical mind says, “Oh, it wasn’t that big of a deal,” but in your body, and in the back part of your mind, that unconscious or subconscious, it is there, and it is making choices for you, whether you like it or not.
Dr. Rein: Yes, the body remembers everything, even the things that we don’t even consciously know. The deeper I go into this work, so many things come up. I recently remembered, my body remembered as I was doing this work, my experience in utero [laughs] when I was in my mother’s belly, and experiencing physically, her anxiety and her fear, and how I was already born with this knowing of the world as an unsafe place based on what my mother was feeling. It came in so clearly through my body, that embodied memory. Obviously, I don’t have a conscious memory of being in my mother’s belly.
That’s the magic of this work; we don’t know what layer of trauma is going to show up. It’s not like I remembered it, but I was able to experience and release it. That is when the magic happens because then all of a sudden, the world is not an unsafe place anymore, layer by layer.
Lindsay: Let’s talk about that for a minute because you mentioned that in your book about how trauma blocks abundance because I can hear so many women listening to this and saying, “Okay, I know that the trauma is there, but I do not have the time, nor the energy to go in and do this work.” Share with them what they’re really missing out on by not doing it.
Dr. Rein: It’s a great question. On the back cover of my book, I say “You’ll discover what takes up 90% of your time and energy.” I was just giving a presentation at a Mastermind for successful women. That’s the one that women were attracted to. Everybody wants to know because everybody wants to have more time and energy. I’m going to tell you because I told you the background already, that it’s prison guards. 90% of your time and energy right now, is consumed by the prison. Fighting the prison guards. Don’t take my word for it, just track it.
How much time do you spend fighting your own thoughts or the physical expressions? “Oh, I have this interview coming up, and I got sick, so I need to reschedule.” “Oh, I have anxiety, so I need to take care of that.” “Oh, I’m depressed I can’t get out of bed,” or whatever is coming up. In terms of action, I need to write this important email, but all of a sudden, I just need to check Facebook for business, and then 3 hours later, and 50 tabs open, the email didn’t get written. Then a week later, it’s too late. That’s where the time and energy goes; prison guards. Hello.
When we engage in trauma healing work, we actually reclaim the time. The ROI is mind-blowing. We reclaim the time we reclaim the energy and things become possible that are just not currently possible, which is also a huge and surprise thing. Lindsay, I have synchronicity in my life now like I’ve never experienced before. Sometimes I feel like, “Oh, my dreams just keep bleeding into my [laughs] reality.” Just circumstances aligning perfectly; the right people coming into my life to support my work so easy. I don’t struggle anymore. I’m also in a mind-blowingly amazing relationship that I never thought would be possible for me.
Never ever, and that took a lot of work in the fifth stage [laughs] of how good can it get to even allow it to take it in that amount of intimacy, and adoration, and support in every area that is very anti-patriarchal, to embody that worthiness. Yes, I am worthy of everything, and that’s a tall order for us. You said how trauma is Teflon to abundance, I sometimes say. It’s very simple, trauma creates defenses to keep us safe. They make us a closed system, we’re closed. We’re close to input and output. We don’t express ourselves as brightly, we don’t shine as brightly because we’re closed. We can’t take in what life has to offer us; these amazing relationships, lots of money, lots of opportunity. We can’t because, prison guards, because we’re closed. As we heal, we begin to become more and more open.
Then we’re in the flow. It’s as simple as that. It’s not changing your thinking, I just want to emphasize that. It can get you going a little bit, but it will not be sustainable because basically if you fool a prison guard, fool your inner critic prison guard, but then something else will come up, something will come up in the body. So many successful women suffer from adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances. They can’t sleep, they can’t relax without a glass of wine or a pill. There’s trouble in relationships, can’t get the sexual satisfaction. These are all prison guards, these are all symptoms of trauma.
Just let that sink in, and then make a choice, make a conscious choice, know that healing is available to you now, the knowledge is available to you. You can choose to ignore it and say, “Not me.” [chuckles] Then just look at the evidence. In my life, it has been very compelling, and in the life of women I know. When we start to give healing a chance, the evidence of what healing creates in our life is just overwhelming. I hear from women every day, how, “This book has changed my life or this work. I’ve attracted the most amazing relationship into my life.”
These are women who were already successful and thought that their lives were good. Then reading the book, they realized, “Oh, I am living in survival and not thriving. How can I shift into thriving?” They engaged in this healing that opened up a whole new level of ease and income in their business, and parenting, and health, and fitness. Women are releasing weight without trying. It’s just the domino effect of how-good-can-it-get.
Lindsay: I completely agree. I’ve experienced this in my own life, and I feel like some people look at me like, I’m crazy because I say, “Life just flows. Things just happen.” Even with this interview, Dr. Valerie, I was listening to you on Glambition radio, as I mentioned, Ali Brown’s podcast. I found you on Instagram, just followed you. Then I continued to go about my errands for the day. I just sat there, and I thought, “I’ve got to get this woman on my show. Would she come? How could I pitch it?” All this stuff. Later, I opened up my Instagram, and you had already responded, and said, “I would love to come on your show.”
I thought, “How magical, I don’t even have to pitch to her. This is perfect.” I was on cloud nine because again, it was the magic of the universe, but I wouldn’t have created that, had I not done this kind of work. Same on your end, you didn’t even have to try because I already knew you, I already knew that I wanted you to come. Oh, it’s just beautiful.
Dr. Rein: Thank you for sharing that.
Lindsay: I could hear you talk all day, but I know we only have a little bit of time left, so I have two more things that I want to bring up real quick. The first is, and I found this so fascinating when you mentioned it in your book and on Ali’s interview, that women after the 2016 election and during the Brett Kavanaugh case, you saw a big shift happened. I felt this too, and I kept wondering, “Why am I so impacted, especially by the Brett Kavanaugh stuff?” I haven’t been sexually abused in any way, and I just kept thinking, “What is this?” Can you explain what you’ve seen?
Dr. Rein: During 2016 elections, I was still working in New York as a therapist. I was running my practice, and I saw a lot of women. It didn’t matter how the woman voted or if she voted, the shift was palpable. It’s like the light has gone out of women. Not all of them were aware that they were being impacted by this, but there was an increase in anxiety, decrease in self-esteem. There was a lot of, like a lack of ease in themselves. Brett Kavanaugh brought up so much. Thank you for sharing that you were impacted, even not having the history of sexual violation.
We’re all interconnected. This is a collective experience that we share because if you identify as a woman, you are a part of a greater collective. Any time you turn on the news and you hear violations perpetrated against women anywhere in the world, you’re impacted, even if you don’t consciously think about it. The fact that in Saudi Arabia, women couldn’t vote till 2012, I believe, and couldn’t drive until 2018- if I’m off by a few months, please forgive me- but these are the numbers that are very recent, that have stuck in my brain- we are impacted by that.
That signals to our collective nervous system that we’re hooked into. By virtue of that, to our individual subconscious, that we are not worthy. We’re not worthy. A woman is not worthy of being a president, a woman cannot be a president. A woman can be sexually assaulted and the perpetrator will not be brought to justice. Basically, perpetrators have free reign, and women have no rights. That’s the message that we get. Then our nervous systems, again, go into overdrive, manifests in depression, anxiety, addiction, holding back, hiding when we need to be shining, just not feeling quite happy, quite expressed, quite fulfilled. That is why.
Lindsay: Wow, that’s incredible, because again, it was those moments of, what is wrong with me. I don’t understand why I’m feeling this. You’ve just brought it all together so well. The last thing I want to ask you, is you mentioned this several times in the book, the idea that there’s nothing more dangerous to a patriarchal status quo than a woman who’s in touch with her desires. Tell us more why that’s such a threat?
Dr. Rein: [chuckles] It is such a threat. It’s such a threat that even now if I ask you to get in touch with your desire, my bet is that you’re not going to be able to get in touch with your desire fully. It may show up a little bit, but not the fullness of what you desire to be, to express, to experience in the world because even that is protected by prison guards. I have a practice that goes with the book, supplemental materials, it’s a meditation on your desire. That’s also on my website. No, in the book, supplemental materials. Why desire is [chuckles] so disruptive?
It’s because it’s authentic, and it is our power. For millennia, women have been sustaining or just allowing patriarchy to exist by complying with what has been demanded of us. In all fairness, it’s not like we had– I’m not going to go into that making argument if we had a choice or if we didn’t have a choice. The fact of the matter is that we have been in compliance with what patriarchy demanded from us. When we snap out of that compliance, it first starts with questioning, where am I complying with the status quo? Where am I not using my own desire as my North Star?
Not the desire, not what I think I should want dressed up as desire, or my family should want, or the society wants from me right now, but my authentic desire because that disrupts the status quo. We cannot have our own desires under the current status quo internally and externally because it requires recognizing. Having what we desire requires recognizing our worth, our true power, our true beauty that is never conditional. [chuckles] Patriarchy pretty much revolves on making everything conditional for women, making women feel like shit, and selling stuff to us that we don’t need based on shame, right?
Dr. Rein: You don’t look good, you’re too old, you’re too fat. Oh, you’re single? Something is wrong with you. There’s always that. For us to have what we desire, we need to very consciously rebel against buying into the status quo internally, thinking that way, that something is wrong with us and get in touch with the desire that will be our North Star.
Lindsay: Yes, so true. I even think about when you were saying we’re too fat, we’re too this. Even if we have too much money, we must be a bitch, is one that I hear all the time. It’s like, oh my God, we can’t win.
Dr. Rein: It runs deep. What it also does to us as a collective, because it’s the tactic of divide and conquer, if you have shame, you’re going to have trouble connecting with another woman because you’re going to judge yourself, judge her. We’re going to have trouble connecting. If we are disconnected from our true power and each other, then patriarchy stands.
Lindsay: Because we won’t change the norm, right? We won’t have the power to.
Dr. Rein: Yes, exactly. We have so much power outside buying into these lies.
Lindsay: Thank you so much, Dr. Valerie, for being on here today. Where can everybody go and find you, and find the book? I hope everyone goes out and buys this book because it’s incredible.
Dr. Rein: Thank you so much, Lindsay. drvalerie.com. That’s D-R-V-A-L-E-R-I-E.com is where you can check out the book, or download the first chapter for free to check it out. If you already know you want the whole book, that page will also take you to the Amazon page where you can get it. On my website, there are also free resources that I mentioned. The repower tool and the meditation on desire. I also have a podcast where I talk to women leaders about this particular topic and we unpack it further. Check that out too on my website, Her Success Radio.
You can always just send me a message. I’m on social, on Instagram, and Facebook, @drvalerierein, and email, [email protected]. I’m saying that because sometimes people get intimidated and think, “Oh my gosh, she must be so busy.” I do have a lot going on, but I love hearing from women about how they’re resonating, how they’re being impacted, what questions they have. We’re always developing and putting out there new tools. These are based on what I’m hearing from you, so don’t be shy. Please reach out. Let’s pierce through that status quo thinking that I’m not worthy of [chuckles] being heard from.
You are. I welcome hearing from you.
Lindsay: Thank you again so much, Dr. Valerie, for your time today, and for all these amazing resources. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your message in the world.
Dr. Rein: Thank you so much, Lindsay. Thank you our listeners for tuning in.
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