We should never expect our relationships to fully heal us from our deepest traumas. But we can work on ourselves towards healing. Jason Wrobel talks with Whitney Lauritsen about how he was triggered when he saw an unknown number text to his girlfriend at 3 am. Due to his deepest trauma of abandonment from his father, he was instantly afraid that she might be cheating on him. Join in the conversation as Jason and Whitney process healing, trauma, trust, and relationships. Why do humans cheat? Why do we expect relationships to heal us? Tune in!
Listen to the podcast here:
Are We Ever Fully Healed From Our Deepest Traumas?
How To Trust After You’ve Been Hurt And Triggered
I want to start by giving myself a little pat on the back before we get into our subject matter. I want to give myself one of these, “Good job, Jason.” I have been wanting to do something, which may on the surface if you are very minimal and like, “Why didn’t you get to this years ago?” If we are honest about it, the great majority of humans have at least 1, 10 or 20, God knows how many things were it’s like, “I wanted to do this,” and we just put things off. We as humans tend to procrastinate things.
I finally did something that I have been wanting to do. What I projected might be an assist for my mental health journey. One of the things that for my entire life even prior to my depression diagnosis that has always been a way to change my state is music. It’s not meditation, breathwork or watching cute cat videos although I do appreciate all the TikToks you send me and even if I procrastinate on watching them. There’s something about listening to your jams and songs that can for me at least be an instant state change.
I have been wanting to put together a playlist of the songs that make me the most joyful. The ones that you are like, “That’s my jam.” If I was a wrestler that would be my intro theme song. I would like, “Are you ready?” Those songs pump you up, get you happy and get you in that zone. I finally did it. I finally created this playlist called Happy Feels on Spotify. If anybody wants to keep this playlist, A) I’m proud of it because I feel like it is dynamite curation on my part but B) I have been listening to it each day while washing dishes and before bed. If I start to feel a little bit of anxiety, I will turn the playlist on. The power of music and the vibration of a song to lift you is incredible. It’s my favorite art form ever.
This list is 111 songs. It’s over seven hours of music. If you are taking a road trip, you can enjoy J-Wro’s Happy Feels Playlist on a nice chunk of your road trip. It’s many different decades of music in many genres but you will get a glimpse into my psyche through listening to this playlist. That’s the first thing. I want to be like, “I’ve finally got the playlist on after two years.” That is not the subject I want to bring up for this part of the show.
My girlfriend had left her phone next to my portion of the bed. I do my meditation right after I wake up. I don’t wait until the end of the day before the animals rush into the room and disrupt me. I have tried meditating with the animals in the bedroom, not possible. It’s like, “Dad.” During my meditation, my girlfriend’s phone was blowing up. I didn’t know it was on. I’m like, “Why is this phone blowing up?” I look at it to turn it on silent. I noticed that she had got these random texts from 3:15 AM from a number with no name on it. The interesting thing I noticed is where my mind went to. It’s fascinating how life gives us opportunities to look at situations or trauma that are unhealed for us.
For me at least, I have gone years thinking that I have completely healed certain traumas or situations in my life only to have some random moment come up and be like, “That’s not fully resolved for you.” My mind immediately went to some random 917 number texting my girlfriend at 3:30 AM, “Who is this?” My mind immediately went to, “She is cheating on me,” which is interesting because first of all she’s given me no inclination or reason to suspect anything like that throughout our relationship. This innocuous text my mind immediately went to, “Who is texting my girlfriend at 3:30 AM?” I’m like, “This is going to be so uncomfortable to bring up with her. How am I going to communicate this?”No amount of love has filled the trauma of me not feeling good enough. Click To Tweet
She wakes up and I was like, “I was meditating and your phone was blowing up. I went to turn on silent. I noticed that some random number texted you at 3:00 AM.” In this case, it’s not accusatory like, “Who’s texting you at 3:00 AM?” She opens her phone and she’s like, “It’s spam text about my stimulus check.” Someone is trying to scam her about a stimulus check. She showed it to me. I immediately felt a sense of relief.
It’s interesting to me though that this has brought up a lot of residues of past trauma of being cheated on. I want to dig into this subject and I don’t believe we have ever even scratched the surface on here, which is infidelity and cheating. Maybe we have mentioned it in some of our relationship episodes glazing over it but we have never gone deep into this subject. It’s an interesting thing because one person who has an interesting framework around infidelity, fidelity, cheating, monogamy and open relationships is Esther Perel. She got huge a few years ago with this amazing TED Talk and got these fantastic books out. I have read two of her book and watched her TED Talks.
She got into the psychology of why people cheat and the internal dissatisfaction that leads people to cheat. One thing I want to unpack because I feel like this has a lot of dimensions in this conversation is, moreover whether or not we are “wired” as humans to be monogamous. If there’s one creature in nature we share the majority of our DNA with it’s the bonobos. The bonobos are not a monogamous culture of chimps or great apes. They are poly. They express their sexuality freely and with bonobo culture, they will engage in conflict resolution through mutual masturbation. In the bonobo group, if there’s a conflict with the monkeys, they will pleasure each other to resolve the conflict instead of fighting, which is advanced.
First of all, can we give some props to the bonobos? If humans did that like, “Screw you, Jimmy. Let me jerk you off.” “Let’s do it. Let’s jerk each other off.” The world would be a much better place if instead of bombing, fighting and killing each other, we would finger each other and jerk each other off. I want to put that out there. The world would be a happier place. Infidelity is such an interesting subject. It’s something that I need to look at within myself because it’s something that’s happened a few times throughout my relationships and partnerships. I clearly still have a trigger in there that I need to look at. The question is why?
In my current relationship, there has been nothing that’s caused me to distrust my partner or any red flag around that area but I still have fears around being lied to, misled, cheated on and having my trust broken. It takes a lot for me to put my trust in a person and take those walls down. I want to unpack this idea of infidelity, the psychodynamics and the emotions behind it because it’s such a complicated subject. I want to start with this bonobo jump-off point in Esther Perel’s work. Do you believe that we as humans are wired one particular way in terms of monogamy or polyamory? Do you feel like it’s a learned behavior? What’s your perspective on that part of human sexuality and commitment?
I don’t have a strong perspective or opinion on this at the moment. I am fascinated by it and I have reflected on this. If I fall anywhere on the spectrum, it would be in the monogamy zone with a little leaning towards being open to multiple partners. Not just personally but meaning what I have observed in others. I saw a TikTok video of someone pointing out Khloe Kardashian’s relationship with Tristan who she had her daughter with and how they have been in this cycle I think in a surface-level understanding of their dynamics because I don’t pay super close attention. They have dated a bunch and he’s cheated on her over again. There has been this pattern of it.
This video was using a meme on TikTok of like, “Tristan, you want to be in a relationship with Khloe, right? That means that you can’t cheat anymore.” He’s like, “Never mind. I’m not interested.” I remember reflecting on that thing. I’m wondering if there is a part of him that feels that way. I started thinking, “It’s interesting how some people want to be in a relationship but they still want to have other partners.” Part of me thinks, “There’s nothing wrong with that.” It’s the idea of dishonesty, deceit, not being in alignment, crossing boundaries and disrespect.
First of all, let’s try our best not to judge other people’s relationships. In terms of the Kardashian’s, people love to speculate based on their behavior but what if on some level Khloe Kardashian was okay with that but she wasn’t saying it so nobody knew? They just assumed that she wasn’t okay with it. Let’s say Khloe is fine with him having other partners. What if the media is sensationalizing it? There are a lot of these projections of what our ethics and comfort levels are on to other people when the truth is people live their lives in different ways than us and might not mind the things that bother us. They might not get triggered by the things that trigger you, for example, Jason.
That thought process of why is it mutually exclusive in terms of if somebody loves someone and wants to be with them and have them be their partner but also has the desire to be with other people? Do they have that desire because it’s something at their core? Going back to your question of this idea, “Can humans be monogamous? Are we meant to be monogamous?” It’s a nature versus nurture conversation. My feeling is more nurture. As a society, we found benefit in monogamy or the majority, masses, conventional approach in Western culture too. I don’t know enough about other cultures but in the US and other countries that operate like us, it’s put into our head from religious perspectives, security perspectives and financial benefits. If you break down all the reasons that people might get married, have children all of these ideas and our conditioning.
It’s challenging when something like that has gotten into our heads to think outside of that. I will go on a quick little tangent. I watched the HBO docuseries on Heaven’s Gate, the cult that had the mass suicide. It must be accurate because this documentary just came out. It was the largest mass suicide in US history and 38 people all died. They chose to end their lives together based on their belief system. It was interesting watching that show because first of all, I didn’t know that much about it. It was many years ago when this all happened. They were all celibate to the point where some of the men got castrated. Not all of them.
What’s interesting is it’s a fascinating story, especially if you don’t know that much about Heaven’s Gate. It’s on HBO four-part series. It’s about four hours long. First of all, the “leader” was gay. Second of all, he wanted the group to be gender-neutral. All the women got their hair cut short so they all looked alike to the point where when they were discovered dead, the initial observation that they thought everybody was male because all the women looked gender-neutral. It’s also interesting that gender-neutral is assumed to be male in their eyes because the woman had short haircuts but they are all trying to not let gender be a thing, which I thought was fascinating.
They also were celibate similar to monks, people that choose to be devoted and focused. They didn’t want to get off the intentions of their mission and all of the things that they believed in so they didn’t engage in sexual activity. Part of how they controlled it, the leader, in particular, they were trying to manipulate their bodies so they didn’t have the urges. The reason I bring that up is not just about their sexuality and the preferences choices is that one of the big points from that docuseries was how much that groupthink can impact your brain. Throughout the series, they had interviews with people that had left the cult and survived the mass suicide. Some of these people were in that group for 15 to 20 years.
To this day, they still struggle. Their brains are split where they had the willpower to leave the cult but they still feel shame and guilt, wonder sometimes, should they have participated in the suicide. They still have all these lingering old emotions. One of them, if I interpreted it correctly, struggles to speak because of the trauma he experienced in the cult. From what I understood of it, he lost his voice because he felt so much shame. He is still struggling to speak because of the trauma he went through. I’m bringing that up because all these people were adults, few are teenagers like eighteen and most of them were fully developed adults. They’ve got into this cult and some of them chose to end their life. Their brains were so influenced by each other as adults.If you go through life, take risks, and put yourself out there, you will be hurt. Click To Tweet
It’s fascinating when we look at this nature versus nurture perspective of things like celibacy, monogamy and whatever choices people are making, if you can be that influenced as an adult, imagine how influenced you could be in your entire life, you have been told these things about sex, cheating, monogamy and being attracted to the opposite sex. All of these ideas that we have about our bodies, desires and how it’s so ingrained in us makes it complicated because what if deep down you feel some natural draw to something or you have an urge to do something that’s outside of it? Your brain becomes so conflicted that perhaps you make choices that hurt other people or you. All of these compounding experiences and frustrations people have revealed themselves in our relationships, especially when it comes to sexual desire.
What comes up for me is what is the actual purpose of marriage in the modern world? If you track the history and the convention of marriage, there is certainly the religious component of a union. I’m speaking from a religious context. When I say this, I’m not endorsing this as the soul union but a man and a woman coming together making children in the eyes and endorsed by God. If you think about the traditional wedding vows, they are religious. When you think about the amount of spirituality, religion and God, that’s infused with traditional wedding vows. One side of it is the religious overtones of the union of man and woman to procreate and spread their seed on the Earth.
The other side of it is being part of the state and capitalism in the sense that marriage was a convention in union with religious pressures to create more wealth, power and asset holding between people in certain classes. If you’ve got married and you were part of the ruling class, “We’ve got 500 acres, 35 donkeys and got gold coins. Over here, we’ve got weapons and castles.” The consolidation of power was a massive driving force behind the convention and the institution of marriage.
All that being said, there is probably a potential looking at the historical record, the possibility of using monogamy to control the reproductive rights of women. There’s that part of it too like, “You are only going to be with this one man and have his children.” I’m talking about European Anglo-Saxon cultures. If you look at other indigenous cultures, it’s different. Many of them in their spiritual tradition instead of God as a male figure, God was in female form.
In some indigenous cultures, some women were open to procreating with whomever they choose. There wasn’t this rigid structure of, “You will only procreate with this man to make sure that the consolidation of power, wealth and the bloodline keeps going.” If you think about marriage, it is about keeping power, money and control in a specific bloodline. The historical reference of marriage in the Eastern European Anglo-Saxon cultures, indigenous cultures notwithstanding.
All that being said, what is the purpose of marriage in the modern-day? I joke sometimes with my girlfriend, “We should get married because those tax breaks are killer.” It’s half-true. I don’t know that many people question what you pointed out with the programming and the nurture versus nature part of this. Many people even question what they even want in life. “I want a storybook wedding, a husband and three babies. I want the white picket fence.” Why? It’s because you have been told that’s what you are supposed to want or do you actually want it?
I have no research to back this up and I’m not even sure if research is available about this but I would think a large majority of the human population never even stops to question why they want these things and what their purpose them even are. Is it an emotional and psychological security? “I have this person. I’m going to be with them for the rest of my life. I never have to date again. I never have to go through all that BS trying to meet someone and tell my story 55 more times. I’ve got my person.”
Maybe part of it is emotional security. “I’ve got my person. I can relax and settle down now. I never have to be out there dating.” Maybe the other part of it is there’s a deeply reptilian part of us that does have a lust for power. If we marry a rich person, a person who’s got status or fame, “I will automatically be associated with the status, wealth, fame and power that person has accrued.” That still happens. We can see many examples of that.
I personally feel that I was under the illusion when I was younger of wanting to have a life partner for that emotional security. They will never leave me. I will have this person in my corner. I can count on them. There will be my everything. As I’ve gone on through many relationships in my life, I have realized that I don’t necessarily feel more or less emotionally secure when I’m in a partnership because everyone is free to change their minds whenever they want. A person can say, “This isn’t working for me.” I have been in many wonderful relationships and many wonderful relationships have ended.
Marriage is not a guarantee it’s going to last forever because the reality is it won’t last forever. You may be married until you die but at some point, either you or your partner will die and you will have to let go of that person. To me, it’s an illusion of emotional security and safety in a relationship in that sense. It doesn’t mean you can’t feel safe with someone but this idea that you will be with them forever and it will be this end-all-be-all, I don’t believe that’s true.
That being said, this idea of being cheated on to take it around to the other part is a different layer. The question becomes, “How much can we trust another human being?” That’s an important question. “How much trust do we place in another human being?” For me, if I’m honest about it probably because of the traumas that I’m still clearly needing to work through as evidenced by what happened that one morning. This is hard to admit. There’s a part of me that doesn’t 100% trust anyone. I know that there’s a part of me that tries to protect me from pain and from more trauma, which I know is not possible because if you go through life, open your heart, take risks and put yourself out there you will be hurt. It’s an inevitability of life to be in a relationship, be disappointed, let down and have our hearts broken. I don’t think there’s any avoiding that.
There’s still a part of me that gets to a place where I’m like, “I don’t know if I’m going to extend that much trust to you.” I need to work on my trust issues. It’s not that I like to keep people completely at arm’s length but when they get to a certain point of closeness then I’m like, “I don’t know if I’m going to let you in there.” I have let you in 90% but the last 10% that tiny door in that room in my heart, I don’t know if I’m going to let you in there. It brings up a good question of, “How do we fully trust after we have been hurt?” I trust to a degree but I know for me, there’s a level that I hold back.Let go of the idea that a relationship will heal you. Click To Tweet
I do too in a lot of ways. I have trust issues. I realized that a few years ago and it’s something that I’m trying to work on more actively. In fact, trust is my word of the year for 2021 because I wanted to be more mindful of it. To be honest, at the end of June 2021, I don’t know how much progress I have made towards being more trusting. I’m just more aware of it and that’s one of the first steps. I don’t think you are alone. Intimacy challenges show up in a lot of different ways. Part of the beauty of relationships are they reveal those things to us.
We have had our friend Jason Green on the show twice. He has the top two episodes of the show so far about attachment styles. That is super fascinating when you look at different attachments, how we attract the opposite of us and how challenging it can be to find secure people. That’s such a journey. Most of this that you are describing can be worked on, and then there’s going to be a big chunk that won’t change that much or is just part of who we are. That’s okay, too.
It’s important what you said about letting go of this idea that a relationship is going to heal you or make you feel better. That was a great realization for me. I don’t know when that happened to be honest. I did start to see shifts. I see shifts within myself and every relationship that I have been in. I’m grateful for it. That idea seems a little scary when you think that there’s no guarantee of, A) Security long-term because people change and B) That idea around, “Find your person get married and you will be happy.”
The older I have grown without having ever been married, I have looked at it from all these different viewpoints. I often think, “I’m glad I haven’t been married yet.” First of all, looking back on the man that I could have married, it looked like it was possibly going in that direction. I feel like that couldn’t have lasted. One, in particular, the first official girlfriend-boyfriend, solid, more emotionally mature relationship I had was the closest I’ve got in my head to marrying someone. After we broke up, he wrote me this vulnerable letter saying how much he screwed up and felt it was his fault the relationship ended. He should have married me.
I reflect on that sometimes and how different of a person I felt I was back then. This was years ago when I was in college and a few years afterward. I can’t imagine like, “Would I be happy? Would I even be who I am now?” You never know. Let’s say that if I married him, I still would have turned out to be who I am and where I’m in my life now. I’m not sure that that relationship would be that satisfying and if I would choose to leave that relationship or stay in it. That’s something I’m super fascinated with about relationships in general but especially marriage because it seems like there’s this idea I have had in my head at least that getting divorced is such a big deal, bigger than breaking up.
Technically, there’s a legal difference. It’s a little bit more complex in terms of the steps you have to take. Whereas breaking up is easier. It’s like, “We are done. I’m moving out or whatever you are going to do.” Versus with marriage, you have the law involved. From my perspective, I can see why some people choose not to get married even when they remain in long-term partnerships because either, A) They want that option to easily leave or B) It’s like, “Why do we need to get the law involved? If we are satisfied in this relationship, aside from some financial benefits, why would we get married? I’m a little bit more at that stage.
I like the idea of having a wedding but you could do it as a celebration. There are still elements of marriage and children that appeal to me. I’m also open to the fact that my mind can change and I’m not settled in one way or another. It’s drastically different. Part of the reason I bring this up is not just as a reflection of my previous relationships but also watching my friends go through marriage has been fascinating. I feel like we have touched upon this before.
In terms of cheating too, I have had people close to me in my life who have been cheated on or have participated in cheating, whether they are in a dynamic or somebody who’s in a relationship, I have observed a lot of these fascinating things. It’s interesting to see how my brain has evolved too because I’m at a point where I feel more fluid with it all, as I observed in the past, I would be so opinionated, “I can’t believe you cheated on this person. I can’t believe that person cheated on you. How could you stay in a relationship with them?” I have had so many judgments about some of my friends who have stayed in marriages when they seem miserable.
Without sharing any personal details, one of my friends is going through a lot of wavering between should she stay or go. I noticed through listening to her how much I have shifted whereas I recognized, “It’s nothing to do with me. My opinion is not going to change her.” I would prefer not to influence her unless she wants my opinion. I’m at a place where I deeply want what’s best for her and I accept that in and of itself is a fluid process. It is truly complicated.
A lot of us want that black and white light, “This is right. This is wrong. This is good. This is bad. He cheated. He’s a bad person. I’m the victim. I’m going to leave.” From what I have observed within myself and others it’s not that easy. Some people will truly forgive somebody and some people may never forgive them but they stay in the relationship anyway because they are hoping that they can or they think that they have on some level. The word cheating is icky because everybody has their own reasons for choosing to have another partner. Maybe it is unfaithful, crossing the boundary or at the risk of hurting someone but it’s so nuanced. That’s an important thing to mention.
I’m not as usual in this gray area where it is a relative experience. If we take away this black and white judgment of, “This is right versus this is wrong,” that removes this heaviness of shame and acknowledges us for being messy human beings who are going through life every single moment with changes. The world is changing, other people are changing and we are changing. We are constantly changing and that’s okay. That’s where I stand on all this.
The idea of somebody that I love, care about, having a relationship with someone else feels scary and painful but that’s my response to them. What can we do to address it? Why did that person choose to do that? Maybe I can start thereby understanding, “Why do I feel hurt by it? What do we do now that it’s happened?” The great point that you made about the security side of it. I wish that I had been raised with that mentality of, “Just because you get married does not mean that you are safe and you will be happy or satisfied.” Can you imagine what life would be like growing up understanding that? That could have radically shifted a lot of my early relationships.
I can only speak for myself but I also would bet some people can relate to what I’m about to say in the sense that the emotional or mental nourishment we did not receive as children from our parents, we seek in our adult romantic relationships. I felt abandoned by my father. Probably the core wound of my life is abandonment and not good enough. If I can get into a romantic relationship with the illusion, “She won’t abandon me. I’ve got abandoned by my father but this person won’t abandon me because she loves me. I will be safe. I will be immune to abandonment and will overly attach and project the things I didn’t receive from my parents onto this person and expect she will provide them because she says she loves me.”We are messy human beings who are going through life with changes. Click To Tweet
I get upset, furious and resentful when she doesn’t give me the things I want because I’ve gone into a romantic relationship being a needy person who hasn’t yet found out how to give those reassurances to myself. I project those on the other person thinking they ought to give them to me. “If you don’t give them to me we are done.” One probable reason why people either cheat or leave relationships is they are not “getting what they want.” It may be tied to what they didn’t receive or be nourished by in their childhood. That has been true for me.
The other side of it too, is I have been in relationships where I have been cheated on and I have done the cheating. I have been on both sides of infidelity. If I look at a thread through in the times that I have engaged in infidelity in a monogamous relationship, which has been three times throughout my life. It was because number one, I had not learned the skills to communicate my needs and desires in a clear, unambiguous and emotionally anchored way. That was one of them. I didn’t know how to communicate it. I felt like the times that I did want to communicate, I was stifled by fear because I thought, “If I do communicate this need, desire or boundary they are going to leave me,” AKA fear of abandonment.
It’s because I was afraid of being abandoned, I didn’t communicate my truth or work on the tools to be able to express my truth because I was terrified they would abandon me. For my own illusion of emotional security, “I want to keep my partner but I don’t feel emotionally, sexually or physically nourished by this person so I’m going to go get that nourishment elsewhere where I feel it’s more plentiful. I will make sure that I’m inoculating myself against abandonment by staying in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill me.” I don’t think I have ever expressed that verbally before.
It’s because of my terror of being abandoned, cheating or being infidelity, I would get my needs met by another person while still maintaining the need to not be abandoned. Now that I have come to that realization as I have gone through life experience, I have started to learn and practice the tools of, “That didn’t feel good. I’m feeling like I would like you to touch me more. I feel nourished by touch. I feel like we are not physically as affectionate as I would like.” I didn’t have the language for that in my 20s and early 30s. Now I have more of the language, courage and the way to express that to a partner, which feels good.
If I’m looking back at the times that I strayed and I had either another person or two people in some instances, I thought that the purpose of a relationship was to have that other person meet those needs for me. A) That’s tremendously unfair to put that pressure on another person and B) I don’t think that that’s a healthy container to have a relationship. The reality is we are on our individual journeys with our traumas, fears, desires, hopes, loves, screw-ups and successes, the entire kaleidoscope of the human experience, which is why we do this show.
That being said, how could we ever expect another person to fulfill those needs for us? “I need to have you provide emotional security for me. I need you to somehow make me feel good enough.” I say this from personal experience. No amount of love I have ever received in my life has filled the trauma of me not feeling good enough. A person says, “I love you. You are amazing. You are incredible. I adore you. You are a gift in my life,” but if I haven’t healed that trauma in myself, there’s no amount of love that another person is going to give me. That’s one reason why I have ping pong in certain years of relationship to relationship with no break in between. It was the idea, “You will give me what I want. She didn’t but you will. She didn’t either. This other person will,” and realizing that the premise of why I was entering a relationship was setting myself up for failure because I expected all of that to be provided by that other person.
My paradigm now is, “How can I work on my pain, fears and trauma, become a more whole person then bring more of that wholeness into a relationship?” Not completely healed because one of the things I have worked on over the years with my therapist was the pain of feeling like I had to be perfectly and fully healed before I would get into a relationship because I didn’t want to bring my “baggage.” We’ve all got baggage, pain, trauma and things we are working on. It doesn’t mean we can never be in a relationship. We would be alone our entire lives.
The key is, for me at least at this point to be working on those things, myself actively and be with a person who is also working on herself. The fact of like, “We are both imperfect humans and had pain but we are working on it. We are trying to love ourselves and give ourselves what we perceive we need. I’m not needy and trying to get those things from you.” In some ways, the context I’m talking about that I engaged in for years was transactional. “If you don’t give me what I want, I’m going to dispose of you and go to a person that will.” It’s very transactional.
How did you work through that conversation with Laura? Did she get defensive? Did she respond differently? Did you share the things that you have shared on the show? Have you not fully processed it enough to share? If so, do you plan to talk about this further with her?
Number one, I didn’t process it fully enough. One of my styles of emotional processing is I need to sit with things to marinate in them before I have the language to accurately communicate them. Number two, she had to go to work semi-early so I felt like there wasn’t a window to sit down and have that conversation. Number three, I do intend on telling her. She’s aware of my history of being cheated on and I don’t know that she is aware of that. Until that happened, I wasn’t even aware that that was a trigger that still existed. It was like, “That’s still a trigger, interesting. I get to look at that.”
I do want to bring it up with her because it’s nothing I feel afraid to communicate. When I get triggered like that, I like to sit with it and sort through it before I bring it to my loved one and discuss it. I’m going to sit down and tell her like, “That text that came through at 3:30 AM, I want to tell you about something interesting that came up for me.” It is interesting. I’m not judging myself for having that trigger. It’s fascinating that we can work, whether that’s through therapy, somatic experiencing, psychedelics, breathwork, meditation or whatever our form of personal healing is. I have had this happen where I’m like, “I’m done with that.” That trigger doesn’t exist anymore and that trauma is healed. “I’m going to treat myself to a slice of cake. I’m done with that. Hallelujah.”
Years later, something will happen seemingly innocuous that goes, “You are not fully done.” I have to laugh at that. In the past, I’ve got so frustrated by it like, “I spent years on this. What do you mean it’s coming back up?” With what happened, I’ve got to laugh a little bit. It’s like, “Tricky you. You are still in there hanging out in my amygdala.” It’s like, “He’s still afraid of being cheated on. You thought you were done.” I have to laugh. It brings up a real serious question, “Are we ever fully healed from our deepest traumas?” In the wellness field we are in, there is this framework from certain people of like, “Reprogram and rewire your brain. Let go of all your trauma and finally be free with my $12,000 program in Bali.” What do you think?
I doubt it. It feels like kind of a simple answer. I would venture to say no.
You saved me $12,000 on a trip to Bali. Thank you. This is the part where, “Jason is being judgmental again.” I don’t care. There are a lot of people out there putting a dangerous framework out into the universe via the coaching, high-performance, wellbeing community that frames their work as a way to completely heal yourself from your wounds and your trauma. In many cases, that’s irresponsible to position work that way. My opinion is to position something as, “You will be free of this thing forever with my program, formula, drink, injection and cult.” There are a lot of deep manipulation that happens in the wellness community around this subject. It’s dangerous and screwed up.It’s irresponsible for a company to advertise their program as a permanent solution to your problem. Click To Tweet
Some people are healers, clinicians, in the medical field, spirituality field and healing arts that are the real deal. There are an equal, if not higher, amount of charlatans out there who are positioning their things as the end-all-be-all. “You’ve just got to give me money and come to this exotic foreign country. We will work on it for a week and you will be completely free of it.” This is my own lens on it. Having done therapy for nearly a decade, a lot of psychedelic medicine and painful trauma work on me. I feel like I have made a ton of progress but there’s still residue and remnants there.
I wonder if even the term healer is a fair word in terms of what happens because it depends on your definition of healing. Although it also depends because our body can heal but we can still have scars and have things triggered and flamed. I have been having some bizarre pain in my back, shoulder, scapula and lats area. I have no idea how it’s happening and why it keeps happening. I feel like I need to go see a specialist around it. What my brain goes to is that I had some injury or misalignment that has happened over time. I can make it feel better but then it keeps coming back until I address the deeper issue. Even when I address the deep issue, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again.
Our body is working interestingly and that sends in our brains, too. This idea that you will be fixed, if that’s your definition of healing, I believe that to be a bit dangerous because you will be chasing after it your whole life hoping that one day, “If you do this thing.” That’s why a lot of people feel misled because somebody through their marketing promises them something or they have it in their head that it’s a promise. It’s a guarantee, “If you go to this therapist, if you take this pill, if you take this course, if you go to this retreat,” whatever you are trying.
An episode that we did with you was about your ayahuasca journey. I’m curious now looking back because I don’t remember exactly what you said but did you go into ayahuasca thinking it was going to heal everything and solve some issues? When you came out the other side, how you felt then versus how you feel now, are you looking back and thinking, “That didn’t do much. That was great. It did heal me and I didn’t recognize it at the time.”
To be honest, I went in with little expectations of what would happen because of the wide spectrum of experiences I had heard from friends and acquaintances on ayahuasca. None of them sounded the same. It was a psycho-spiritual roulette I was playing and I knew that going in. There was a reinforcement of deep lessons through that experience and there were some deeper understandings and realizations that I had but it was not a magic pill. It was not a panacea that was like, “You are never going to be depressed, anxious, fear abandonment or any of those things again.” It polished the lens on some of those subjects in a certain way but it didn’t take away those conditions.
I am trying some new things. I have been micro-dosing on psilocybin. I have noticed that my anxiety has drastically reduced since I started doing that, which has been beautiful. Does that mean my anxiety will never come back? Knowing my life, it will probably come back but it’s drastically reduced, which is beautiful to say. The willingness to be open to radical new experiments in life is the foundation. For me at least, if I go into a relationship, a healing modality, a psychedelic experience thinking, “This will be the thing, I will finally be free.” That hasn’t been the case for me. It certainly allowed me to go deeper into certain layers and look at, love, understand those and allow me to work on my trauma and my wounds differently and take different approaches.
The idea you are saying of this magic pill, panacea, a fountain of youth and magic key, I’m not saying it’s not true for other people. For some people, maybe a specific kind of ceremony, therapy, the modality has “healed” them and they truly believe that. The danger comes in so many captions on social media where it’s like, “I did this thing. I finally feel liberated and free for the first time in my life. Finally, I have let go of all this stuff.” That may be true for you. Sometimes that language is positioned in, “If you do this thing too you will feel what I feel,” which we know is bullcrap. You know it’s not true. It’s true for you but that doesn’t mean it’s true for everybody, too.
Let’s get real, what works for another person does not guarantee it’s going to work for another. We have talked about this in terms of entrepreneurship, wealth creation, career-building and relationships. Now we are talking about in terms of trauma, infidelity and healing our relationships. We have to be radically persistent and determined to try as many things as possible. If there’s a foundation of healing or wellbeing, we have to be willing to try as many new things as possible. What works for you is not going to work for me. What works for me is not going to work for Sally, Jim, Joe, Bobby and Sue.
My pain, fear and trauma around infidelity and abandonment are not that it’s not relatable. It is relatable. I have talked to many people about it and they are like, “I can relate.” The nuance of what may help me with my neurology, heart and trust issues is going to be a different puzzle, concoction or brew than another person. This idea of a one size fits all approach to addressing our pain and trauma, it’s an individual journey. We have to be persistent, determined and relentless in figuring out what the puzzle looks like for us because it is not going to be the same.
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- Jason’s Happy Feels Playlist
- Esther Perel TED Talk – Rethinking Infidelity: A Talk For Anyone Who Has Ever Loved
- Heaven’s Gate HBO Series
- Attachment Styles and the World of Dating with Jason Green – Previous episode
- Intimacy, Relationships, and Attachment Styles with Jason Green Episodes – Previous episode
- Jason Wrobel’s Ayahuasca Journey Part Two: Finding Healing in Unconditional Love – Previous Episode
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