Healing Intergenerational Trauma



00:00:00 Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village this is episode 194. This is one of my favorite episodes that exists on our podcast. I got to interview Dr. Lynyetta Willis, who has become a dear friend since this interview. And she collaborated with us to create a workshop thats included in our S.E.E.D. Certification program. She does a lot of work around self awareness and what's coming up from our childhood and is it something that we want to repeat or heal so we don't repeat it? This episode is full of awesome tangible tools for moving forward and what this looks like to heal intergenerational trauma. 


00:47:52 Alyssa

I want to put a disclaimer in here that in the episode I get jazzed and invite her to present at Mama's Getaway 2021 and well, Mama's Getaway 2021 is cancelled because of COVID so that's not happening. But stay tuned, Lynyetta and I have collaborated on a number of things and will continue to collaborate. She is incredible and I'm so psyched for ya'll to dive into this episode, so let's do just that, let's dive in.


00:01:23    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell. 


00:00:35    Alyssa

Hey everyone, welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today I'm hanging out with Lynyetta Willis. Dr. Lynyetta Willis, lest I leave that out. Hey, how are you sister? 


00:00:48    Dr. Willis

Doing well, how are you? So excited to be here! 


00:00:51    Alyssa

I'm so excited to have you. I gotta say, we get a lot of pitches for the podcast, right? We got a lot of people who reach out, and we get some, some rough pitches where I'm like, oh, you don't even know what we do. I, like you, clearly haven't Listened to an episode of the podcast. Your pitch came in. Not only did you guys like reference episodes and talk about that like clearly a listen, but then there's a link to see you present. And so and I was like, immediately messaged Erica who runs my inbox, and she books all of our podcast guests and was like, we need her. Now, I'm so jazzed to get to hang out with you. I actually don't usually do morning interviews, Mostly because I'm like have I talked enough like have I used my voice enough today? And I was like, well, I'll take her whenever, let's get her on! I'm so excited to have you here, tell folks a little bit about who you are and your background, kind of what brings you here. 


00:01:52    Dr. Willis

Yes. So I'm so excited to be here. I just had to say that again. So I'm a psychologist, and I'm a family coach And I, when I was well, really a, had a private practice for a number of years. And then I moved over to coaching just because of the flexibility and things like that. When I was in private practice, I had a number of specialties, I specialized in trauma and family work and couples and parenting and grief and all of these different things. And so when I came over to do coaching, I realized, you know, there were certain things I wanted to do that I wanted to really narrow down, you know who I help and who I see. And so I went with in, and I said, you know what is really important to me? Like what are things that really, that I really feel like I could speak on and help on, because it's reflective of my journey. And so at this phase, in my life, a lot of what I do is I work with a lot of smart, successful women in their families, and I helped them break free from what I call stable misery, which is that space within us where we are, things seem to be flowing along pretty well in most areas of Our Lives. A lot of the people that I work with are very confident and skilled in so many areas. But then they're like, I can. I had one client Say, I can run a Fortune 500 company, but I can't get my kid to listen, right? So there's this sense of like there's this disconnect between what they can do and who they are, and how they show up in the world and where they are in their family And that. And that Is really reflective of my journey. And really my journey starts back as most of our journeys do when I was very, very young, and the family that I grew up in, I have a great family. I want to say that a lot of times, when we talk about intergenerational trauma, I find that a lot of my clients are reluctant to do so, because they feel like they don't want to shame their family, and they don't want to reflect badly or poorly. And I always say, you know what? I have a great family I really do. It's just a lot of the tools that were used to raise me, were outdated and not helpful. And I'm in a point in my life where I realized that. And so I want to break cycles and build new legacies that I'll be proud to pass on to my kids. That doesn't mean that my family is bad, anything like that, And there were a lot of things that I experienced. So I was spanked and growing up, what I call the four horsemen mindset was used, which is pain, blame, shame and avoidance. Once all the things were used to keep kids in line in my family, you know. 


00:04:36    Alyssa

And I've never heard the four horsemen in that sense, because I've always heard of like Gottman's four horseman. And I like that like that cool noted, filed away for later. 


00:04:53    Dr. Willis

So, you know, I decided I'm like, these are so these Horsemen have to be retired. I cannot pass them on to my children, And they were other things too that influenced how I was showing up in the world Like I was molested when I was younger. And like I said, spanking was used. And I was in an abusive relationship, you know, in college. And all of these things came together in such a way that really led me to get to a point where I said, I have to evolve. I have to shift how I show up for myself in order to shift how I'm showing up for other people. And that's a lot of what I help people do. I help them to really shift help us showing up in their relationships, shift how they're showing up for themselves so that they can say, you know what? I'm going to stop this cycle, and I'm going to I'm going to shift it, and I'm going to build a legacy that feels really good to me, Something that I'm excited to pass on to my kids. 


00:05:55    Alyssa

So I think it's the know better Do better, right? 


00:05:58    Dr. Willis



00:05:59    Alyssa

And I say, like, I actually yesterday, I posted something about lying and like, why kids lie, and I shared it through my own story. And so I shared the story of myself as a 16 year old girl who had thrown a party at my house, And the my parents came home, and I had cleaned everything up, but put the Zima if you know, Zima, you know, like it's like Smirnoff Ice, but like 90 Smirnoff Ice and in my dresser, my mom like found in my dresser drawer. And she was like, where did this come from? Like what's going on? And I was like, "I dont know, no idea where that came from. I don't know how that got here." And just like straight-up was like committed to I just lied to her face, because I knew I'd get in trouble either way, Like there was no benefit to me telling her the truth if I told her the truth I was going to get in trouble. But all this to say, like I shared this and went on to say, like when were using a punishment reward system, that this is what we're going to wind up in, that if I'm going to be punished no matter what versus my mom saying, like, hey babe, what's going on? Why are you drinking at 16 anything you want, at which point, maybe I would have been like, oh, yeah, Mom, I was raped and have nobody to talk to. And like, this is what? Maybe I wouldn't have quite worded it that way at that moment. But like could have opened some doors had we talk about feelings instead of just punishing.


00:07:28    Dr. Willis



00:07:29    Alyssa

But I shared this and said in it over and over, this is not a dig to my mom. She's a phenomenal mom. And I wanted people to get that. But like I'm not here to shame my parents for what they did or didn't do. And I think that you're absolutely right that like so many folks there is this fear that when we talk about what we want to change that, there's this inherent shame of what our parents did. You know what I mean saying, I understand that fear, because even when I like shared, it was like, know that like my mom follows Seed and Sew on, social media, like there's a part of me that's like nervous. And I want to text her and be like Mom you did a great job! 


00:08:15    Dr. Willis

It's so true. When I wrote my about me story on my website, I remember I went home, and I was like, I wrote this, and I gave it to her. And then I like ran away like a five-year-old. I like threw the phone at her and literally walked out of the room, like "oh she's gonna be so mad at me!" 


00:08:37    Alyssa

Totally! And this fear like, I think that's another thing, Like, even if you weren't punished, I think the fear of hurting someone's feelings, right? This idea that like it's not okay for them to feel hard things. 


00:08:50    Dr. Willis



00:08:50    Alyssa

And that's been so much of my work in therapy is man, I pushed every boundary that was ever set for me. And I still, as an adult like, have this feeling of I don't want to hurt my mom's feelings and want to make her sad, I don't mind making her mad, been doing that since I came out of the womb, but I don't want to make her sad right? Or disappointed. And so, so much of like, how I would show up in the world with her was around that. 


00:09:22    Dr. Willis

Yeah, Yeah, that's so true. That is so true. I love that, you know. And when we're able to separate like this is what happened. These, you know, this is what was done. This is what they knew this is what you know, when we separate that from this is how you’re bad like this is what you did, and therefore you’re bad, right? Like those two aren't together. I hope I pray that my children will one day say, you know what? Mom? You did that thing. And that didn't really fly very well. I'm gonna do that a little differently with mine. Thank you. Thank you! You know, I talk about this, you know, getting past intergenerational stuff as it's like a relay, it’s a relay race. It's not a marathon. We don't have to run this by ourselves. So I look at it as I'm going to run First part. I'm going to realize, like, oh, there's stuff that, there's a cycle that needs to be broken here. You know, that's the gun going. Well, then I start running with my baton. At some point I have to hand that baton off to my kid. And then they run, and then they hand that baton off to their kid, right? It's a race that we run together. I don't have to fix it All. I don't have to run all 26 Miles by myself, Right? I, I can be aware and change what I can pass the Baton on to my kids, with the hopes that their awareness will then lead them to change things that I did and grow and evolve even more. 


00:10:48    Alyssa

I love that so much. Such a perfect analogy. And I, like, I always think of car seats of like, I'm, I'm when I'm like, hey Mom we’re using a different car seat than the basket you put me in in the car. She's not like, oh, man, like I can't believe you're doing this differently. She's like, yeah, I mean, thank goodness, right? Thanks goodness this has evolved. But somehow, when it comes down to emotions and emotional development, when we do things differently, I think there is a different lens. There's this like shame, almost that we're looking back. I'm like, how do you let us cry? Or you spanked us, or whatever it was that now we're like, and we're going to tweak this that we look at it differently than we do car seats. And I wish that we could look at it all the same of like, now we learned something new, that it's not that they knew when they were like I'm just going to screw this up. You know what I mean? Yeah, I don't think that was the intention, 


00:11:52    Dr. Willis

Right? How badly can I get this wrong? 


00:11:55    Alyssa

Yeah. Oh man, No way. So let's break some things down here for folks. What is when you're talking about intergenerational trauma? What are you talking about? What does that mean to you? 


00:12:08    Dr. Willis

Yeah. So a lot of people, when they think of trauma and and the technical way of viewing trauma are, you know, we look at it as like physical abuse. So like that sense of abuse comes up in a lot of ways. But when I use that phrase, I widen that lends a little bit. All right? And it's those things that happen to us when we were kids that we deem unhelpful. The way that I like to look at it now is, I would say, when we're born we get a gift, and the gift is a tree, and I like to call it a family Legacy tree. And this tree bears two types of fruit, it bears legacy blessings and legacy burdens, right? And the legacy blessings are those things that we deem is helpful. And and the legacy burdens are those things that we deem is unhelpful as we grow as we get older. Now, something can start out as a burden and move into a blessing very easily. You know, it starts out as, Like a burden as a seed. So if somebody, let's say, grew up in a home where there was alcohol, you know, alcohol abuse, right? And then that's a burden, and then they grow up, and they realize, you know, I don't want to do this. I don't want to perpetuate this. And then they start an organization that helps ACOA's adult children of alcoholics or something, right? So that burden turned into a blessing in many ways. Right? So, really, when we grow and we have these inner generational cycles. What's happening is those burdens are staying burdens. Right? So those burdens and fruits that was unhelpful habits, those unhelpful patterns, those unhelpful things just keep getting passed down the seeds, keep getting replanted, and they grow on different trees, generation after generation after generation. And when we look back and we say, you know what? Like in my family addiction is a big thing thing in my family, even physical things like high blood pressure. Oh, my gosh, what? Like some people get millions of dollars passed down to them. We pass down high blood pressure in my family. It's a thing. I would rather the trust fund. But hey, whatever, you know, it's one of those things where now I've decided like this is going to stop with me. I don't care what genetic says. I am not passing this freaking blood pressure to my children. So, you know, I'm really big on diet and health and things like that. So really it's any of those things that get passed down from generation to generation that we find are not helpful to our overall development in our overall growth, and can actually hinder and hold us back in some really key ways that that we want to yeah, for moving forward or form evolving in a way that feels good to us. 


00:15:05    Alyssa

Yeah, that makes I love that analogy. Also, not receiving a trust fund, am receiving like the diabetes gene. So, yes, I hear you, babe. It makes so much sense. And it actually like for me is like, wow, that's so empowering, right? Because what it does, my response and I think that this is also may be part of who I am as a human. And why I am standing here at 30 as a rape survivor, who was treading water for years, is like just trying to stay afloat and then built a tool box. And now, like run a business that is designed to serve folks with tools to build emotional intelligence So that the kids, because I don't think sexual assaults going to stop overnight and I, that would be dreamy. I think that that's way harder to do than to give folks the tools for like, alright whatever comes your way it in life, you have some tools to navigate it, right? And so, like to like my story, I was like, I don't, I don't want my kids to have this right. And like started my therapy and early twenties. I was like, all right, got a lot of stuff to work through here. 


00:16:17    Dr. Willis

Let’s start stretching. 


00:16:20    Alyssa

That's right. Oh, man, I dont think I could stretch today, this body is sore! But for me it's empowering like I get to work through this stuff like, I think. It doesn't have to own me, right? 


00:16:39    Dr. Willis

Yes. Yes, that's so so true and realize the, and you're right, That is so empowering Like I can work through this. This is possible for me to move through this. And a lot of the work that I do with My clients is around. Like I always say, I'm the facilitator, right? I facilitate a process by which you get to where you want to be. By which you break free from stable misery by which you chip, you know, break the cycle and build a legacies that you want to break, because I can't. I can't give that to my clients. You know, I'd be great if I could, but I can't. It's really something that they choose to do an act of bravery. All right, so giving them the ability to like me, just facilitating that process while they say like, you know what, I want to do this differently. That's so empowering. It's much more empowering than me just giving them, you know, like here, do this. This, this, this right? It's a process that can start within and impact how they show up every day in their life. 


00:17:40    Alyssa

And I'm like, all right. So how do you figure out like where your trauma lives? Right? Or like what trauma you have, Because one of the things I think sometimes, you know, you open your mouth and your mom comes out like so I go. Wow. That one sounds familiar. You, you said something in It may have actually been the title of your talk. We relive what we don't reclaim. 


00:18:06    Dr. Willis



00:18:07    Alyssa

And I was like, oh my God, I love that. I love that so much. And and that, for me, was the like, oh, when you open your mouth and your mom comes out and you notice those things for sure. Like, oh, and sometimes my husband will just call me Margaret, which is my mom When I am acting like my mom and vice versa that goes both ways, And sometimes he'll just jump straight to my grandma. And I'm like, oh, that one's deep. That one. 


00:18:41    Dr. Willis

I did do that, didn't I? 


00:18:47    Alyssa

But I think like, some of them are easy to recognize where you're like, okay, like that is a pattern that I'm starting to recognize. And I don't want to carry that one on. Or sometimes I'm like, yeah, she crushed that. I want to make sure you carry that one on. And but so how do you, how do you find the ones that for me we’re like, kind of hidden? Where all of a sudden I'm in therapy, and I'm like, it's always those therapy sessions where you go in and you're like, yeah, I think I'm good today. And I'm like, I'm not good today, sobbing. Because she can dig up this stuff thats been living there. But I think for so many of us, even in my lying post yesterday, so many people commented "I grew up in a lying situation like that too. And I didn't realize until now that I had been lying because I didn't feel safe to tell the truth or whatever. And now I'm noticing that my 7 8 9 12 year old is lying to me to. And now I want to know like, what do I do from here? Right? So I think sometimes it's not as obvious. 


00:19:58    Dr. Willis



00:19:58    Alyssa

You know, I mean, it's so true. And I created a framework. It's called the past personal evolution framework and PATHS is an acronym PATHS. And it really ties in well with this, because a lot of times, what we, what we say, is okay, you know, you're yelling. So that means you're triggered, and you need to figure out what that's about, and then stop, Right? And sometimes that's true. But there are so many other ways, Like you said, they're hidden. There's so many other places that these things can hide within us. So the reason why I created the paths that actually I really love to study different spiritual paths and things like that. And what I realized was spirituality, regardless of what one thinks about it. It's something that a lot of people use to help them transform evolve. So what I did was, I really look deep in, said, what is it? What's the, you take away all the stuff, and what is it specifically that it's helping people, you know, evolve and transform in these things? And that's when the paths model came up and path stands for the P stands for perspective. A stands for awareness. T stands for Tools, H stands for healing and S stands for self empowerment. And so all of these things can really be used to help us not only uncover where our stuff, quote-unquote lives, But also how to deal with it. So P stands for perspective. So that's around our story's the story's we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves. So getting clear on where am I, what I call stuck in story. All right. So if I have a story that, you know, my kids manipulative, "my kid's a manipulative little brat" is what one of my clients told me, you know, it's like, okay, where does that story comes from? So we can look at it from that perspective? Like, what are the beliefs that I have? What are the stories that I carry that really aren't really serving me very well, Right? So, you could. You can uncover them there. The other thing in the awareness is it a lot of times, especially trauma lives in our body, you know. So I'm also a rape survivor. And, you know, there were so many times, especially early in my relationship with my husband, And I were dating where he would reach out to touch me, and my body would like, do something different. I'm like, you know, I cringe, right, or I pull away, you know, and my brain. I'm like, no, it's fine. He's safe, You know what's going on? And my body's like, nope. And I also, sometimes it's how we respond like physiologically, our stations that we have the feelings that we come up. So also tapping into when my kid does this thing. What sensation does that bring up in you? What feeling does that bring up with me? You know? Am I using an atom bomb to handle something that really requires a laser beam? You know, that's a really good indicator of like, oh, okay, maybe something's into that awareness. Also in this is another thing that's really cool. But I realized if you really focus on it, looking being aware of how our children are responding. Because sometimes we don't realize So if you're not realizing if it's if it's hidden and you're not realizing what's going on, the awareness isn't there. But you realize, like, my kid is cringing, or literally tiptoeing around me, or avoiding me, or lying all the time? You know, maybe that's a good, because our children are great mirrors, great mirrors for better for worse. They're great mirrors, so what are they mirroring back to? I had this really good quick story, or my husband years ago, My son's 11 now he was probably about five, and they they have this weird head butting thing it was very, very strange, and they weren't really connecting. And it was painful as mom to watch. And I would try to tell my husband. But yeah, you probably guess how that worked out. Well, 


00:24:21    Alyssa

Let me tell you from my therapist perspective, what could go differently here? 


00:24:25    Dr. Willis

Right? He's like Blah, blah, blah. We're much better at that now. Now, he's like, okay, maybe you do know something, you know, therapy's not my hobby, right? I actually went to school for many years for this. But okay, much more accepting. But at the time he wouldn't. So I said, I'm going to step back in am allow my child to be the mirror. I'm going to allow my child to mirror to him, which was really hard. But I did. And then one day we were sitting in the living room, and my son comes in. He says, night, Mommy, I love you. And I say, good night, baby. And he went to walk back. And my husband said, good night. Joseph And my son turned and looked at him, turn back and kept walking. And my husband was like Joseph good night. And he turned he looked at him, and then he kept walking, and it wasn't like a ew like you talking to me? It was literally like I'm sorry. Did you say something? No? Okay. And in that moment, everything shifted for him because Joseph in that moment mirrored back to him. And and Patrick was aware enough at that moment to see like, oh, that's not good. Something is bad, right? So also, seeing how other people respond to us is a really good way to find out those hidden things. And of course, the T stands for tools. So what tools do we find ourselves using are we yelling? Are we spanking? Are you know, what are we doing that, and what is that indicative of? Did our mom yell a lot? You know, are we boundryless? You know, we talk a lot about out the yelling and the spanking, but sometimes it's like we have no boundaries. Our kids just run all over us literally, sometimes, you know, and we're like, wait. What? Where did that come from? You know, a lot of times, the parents I work with you, You were raised with the four horsemen. They swing the pendulum all the way to the other side. 


00:26:18    Alyssa

We talk about this all the time all the time. They're like, this is the thing I see the most of in our work is this pendulum swing of like, well, I'm not going to do it that way. So I'm going to come way over here. Like, could we find? Can we find that middle space? 


00:26:32    Alyssa

Yes, Absolutely. You don't have no, they do not need to eat ice cream at 4:00 in the morning. 


00:26:40    Alyssa

Yeah, they want, Yeah, totally at your expense, right? Because yes, teaching them in life. Then Yes, like babe, They're going to leave your house in the world's not going to revolve around them. And that's hard reality. 


00:26:53    Dr. Willis

It's going to be a hard reality. And then you got to be helicoptering around them, trying to pick up and clean up all their, all the messes, Because now they don't know how to handle it. They're like my teacher said, No, she will not give me a B instead of an F Mom come fix this. You know? 


00:27:09    Alyssa

Yeah, Yeah, our goal should not be that they don't feel hard things. 


00:27:15    Dr. Willis

Exactly, exactly. So realizing, like, what are the tools that I'm using? And are they helpful? Are they unhelpful? I don't like to say, good or bad, because I'm yeah, and that period are they helpful? And then, of course, H, which is healing? What needs to be healed, right? And sometimes we don't always realize that. What is what? What needs to be healed like sexual assault, Things like that can impact how we parent, but they absolutely can. So just healing our stuff going into therapy, working with a coach whomever and and getting some stuff uncovered and healed can help us to real can actually help us to be better parents and to see what's coming up for us, how our stuff is leaking on it. Sometimes it just siphons the energy. Like, if I'm constantly trying to deal with my stuff and manage my stuff, all my energy that that's energy I can't give towards my kids energy. I can't give two words because I'm so busy trying to manage my stuff. 


00:28:17    Alyssa



00:28:17    Dr. Willis

And then the S is self-empowerment. So where, where can I use more power in my life? Where do I feel disempowered? You know, where am I living in stable misery? Where is it? Where are those places Where these patterns in these habits keep continuing? Right? So it's stable, but I'm miserable. I'm unhappy. I'm unfulfilled right? Like so where, where can I empower myself more? Where do I feel disempowered? And what can I do about that? So those are just some key spaces are stories, awareness, the tools we're using what needs to be healed. And we were, we feel disempowered. Those are just key places where these things can live. 


00:28:58    Alyssa

I'm obsessed with this. And I want it everywhere. Did you make this up? 


00:29:03    Dr. Willis

I did. 


00:29:04    Alyssa

You're incredible. 


00:29:06    Dr. Willis

Thank you. Alyssa.


00:29:09    Alyssa

I mean it. I want it everywhere. Okay. So how does this look? We got a lot of questions when I put this out to our village about like, okay, but X, y&z, My mom, my partner, whomever is not doing this work. And so, like, how, how do you respond to that, My friend? Yeah, I love that question. I just had a conversation about this this weekend, So, good, good. They're not doing their work. Okay, I'm being a little silly on that. So what I like to call my tribe, I call us revolutionaries, and that's being for relationship evolutionaries, right? And the only way I truly believe I and and some people might disagree. But I love to say, personal growth is a myth. We can only grow in relationships, right? We can only grow in relationships. So it's one of those things where what happens is our relationships. They give us things to bump up against. And we can take the bump and say, oh, my God. Okay, you're just running over me. I have no control and sort of live in that victim space. Or we can say, I'm going to make a choice to show up differently. I'm going to make a choice to strengthen my muscles so that I can do something different. You can't change, I mean I know everybody says this, but it's true, you can't change what other people do. You can only change what you do. So when my husband was acting weird with my son, I tried to change him, didn't work right? So I said, what can I do? Now I know my husband 


00:30:47    Dr. Willis 

loves my son. I know he would die million times over for him. So there wasn't a question of that, but I made a choice to back up. I made a choice to say, I'm going to allow Joseph to tell him, to tell his father what he needs to say to him through his actions and things like that, Right? So if your husband's not doing the work, if your mother-in-law is not doing the work, Keep doing your work, keep doing your work, keep choosing, saying, how in this moment can I empower myself? What is one step that I can take to empower myself in this moment? And in this situation? And the other thing that will happen, the more that you do that is, people start to see, and they start to shift based on what you're doing. So now, once Patrick had that moment now, he will tell you, if you we were home, Id pull him in here. He would say, I am a completely different parent because of watching you, but we had to get over that hump of me trying to be a therapist and telling him like, if you do this and that and the research says, lah lah lah, right, I had to let him come to that on his own. And now he's like, what should we do? You know? And I'm more able to trust him now, right? I'm no longer trying to throw myself in the gap to try to protect their relationship right? And I tell Mike, what do you think we should do here? You know? So it's one of those things where just do you do you and stay committed to being the best you you can and trust the process trust that they'll get where they need to get. Now, if you think that your mother-in-law is like gonna, you know, you drop the kids off, and she's gonna be drunk. And like burn the house, No, not. Don't put your kids in physical danger, you know, right? Be Mama Bear, be Papa Bear, of course. And when, when, when possible, allow the process to play out, do what you can to be empowered to feel empowered and drop nuggets, where you can model where you can, and I dont mean to infantilize. But it's like with our kids, You can always tell them things you have to kind of model it. And over and over and eventually, they pick it up, you know, same thing with them, keep modeling, keep showing and for Patrick, the other thing that it was, was he saw how close I was with the kids. He saw how close I was, and he wanted that, right? So just, I didn't have to say a word, I didn't have to say a word. Okay? So keep doing you keep moving forward, don't stop and trust the process. 


00:33:29    Alyssa

And it takes time. I'm like, I'd imagined like he didn't see it right away, because you wouldn't see the fruits of that labor right away, right? Like that's going to take time. And it's it's real hard to watch it happen. The other relationship happen, you know, and to. I think part of a lot of my work is shutting up and I it's so hard to do. You know, like a man is so hard. 


00:33:54    Dr. Willis 

It is! Like where's the duct tape! 


00:33:58    Alyssa

I shared, even in my stories last night, like my I was tired, and I had a long day, and my body was starting there for working out with first time, and I was hungry, And my husband came home, and we had gotten a package from Amazon and open it up whatever. And I left the package sitting on the table, and then just came and crashed and was doing more work on the couch. And he came in. He's like, hey babe, can you just do me a favor. And just like next time, break this down and throw it over by the recycling. And everything inside of me wanted to tell him about all the annoying things that he does in and just like so defensive. And instead I was like, whoops! like, but it is taking a long time for me to do the instead. So also giving yourself grace of this takes time and and consistency. And I think the possibly the hardest thing for me in doing any of this work is accepting that my relationships would change, even though what I wanted was for my relationships to change. Right? Like I wanted different patterns than we had or I wanted certain boundaries that didn't exist before. And when you start to put them up, other people will have a response or reaction to that. 


00:35:10    Dr. Willis 



00:35:12    Alyssa

And that's hard. It's hard to be like, Oh, I'm gonna hold space for them to be uncomfortable with this new boundary, because it's new for them to, 


00:35:23    Dr. Willis 

Yeah, It's so true. And you, because families and relationship their system, you know. And when you and now, naturally, what a system does is it tries to stay stable and invalids where it is, right? So when you try to change it, it's naturally going to want to pull back to the status quo. Even if the status quo is stable misery, I totally it's miserable where it is. Misery Is sometimes familiar is better than you know, different, or What we don't understand, right? So, yeah, people are going to like, you're not in line, get back in line. I say this. And then you agree, you enter into a codependent cycle with me. And if you don't, then I shame you, You walk away, You cry. You know how this goes? Tell you again. 


00:36:22    Alyssa

And even within ourselves, right, Like when I've tried to change patterns and habits and narratives within myself, There Is that resistance, because my body is like no babe. We have a system keep yelling. And I have to be like, look, I hear you. I hear you fear trying to make sure that I stay in line, and I'm going to choose to do something different this time, and it's uncomfortable for a while. 


00:36:48    Dr. Willis 

Yes, It's very uncomfortable And will question ourselves like this, right? Should I be doing this? Maybe this is wrong, and that's where community, like the community that you have is really, really important being able to say like, hey, there's this thing. And I know I should be, but I'm thinking, maybe I shouldn't, and, you know, and having your sisters and brothers around you to say no stay the course, you're doing great. Keep going? Yeah. So being able to have that support is really important, as we're stepping out and breaking cycles, because they're familiar and we can get lost. Yeah, Which way? Which way? Which way is North where The star? 


00:37:27    Alyssa

Absolutely. And I just feel so connected to so much of what you're saying there, I co-created the collaborative emotion processing method like a how-to guide for building emotional intelligence, and we researched it across the US. And but it comes collaborative emotion processing, right? This idea that we don't process emotions by ourselves, that it is in collaboration that we do that because we're going to respond to other people. We're going to co regulate or dysregulate with somebody. And like all of that has to be taken into consideration. When we're talking about this emotional growth.


00:38:02    Dr. Willis 

I love that!


00:38:05    Alyssa

I love you! I just wanna hang out. How do you now, you're, you know, deep in this, and you shared in that in the talk that I saw from you, that so much of this work you started to do when you were already a parent, right, That you were like, oh, shoot, got to rewrite these patterns. And a lot of the folks in our village were in that same space where they're like ooh now I'm seeing all these patterns that I don't want to repeat. But man, it's hard in the day-to-day, just like living with a toddler or multiple children, or whatever, and working or not, or just living is really hard and busy. And so where do you find the time? How do you build this in to do the work? When you're, you might already be feeling like you're on a hamster wheel you know?


00:38:57    Dr. Willis 

I love that because a couple things, one: so those of us who are relationship revolutionaries, you do want to evolve our relationships past what we know. We have a slight slight disadvantage in that. So Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden, when Dan Siegel was doing a lot of trauma work, they created this concept called the window of tolerance, Okay. And the Window of Tolerance. When we're in the window, It's where we're moving along like when challenges face us, We're like, bring it on right? Like we have the emotional and the psychological and the spiritual and the physical resources to be able to handle what's coming out at us something happens that's frustrating, or that throws us off. We can sometimes get out be knocked out of the window, right? And when we were knocked out of the window, we can feel anxious hyper-vigilant shut down angry. You know, all of these different things or angry isn't necessarily being out of the window, but we can react to her anger in ways That don't feel good at all or helpful, right? Or overreact, Let's say, Um, so those of us who haven't really been taught, or who have been conditioned to respond in certain ways, just from, you know, being raised in certain environments are window of tolerance, maybe smaller, right? So it doesn't take much to knock us out of that window or what I like to call. We find ourselves more often, living on the ledge like to go on the ledge or really frustrated. And so the key is always, how do I get back in the window? How do I get myself back in window? How do I get my self regulated? How do I get myself there? And it's not always easy, something, You know, you see these things, God help us, We write these books, and we're like, breathe and feel like, yay, that's great until it's not. 


00:41:01    Alyssa

And that's the last thing on my mind. 


00:41:04    Dr. Willis 

Exactly. I'm not breathing. So this is why this is another great thing about the paths model that I mentioned earlier, because gives us different ways to intervene, depending on your just your personality. So for me, I have really trained myself to ask questions like, okay, what story am I telling myself right now? That's a big one for me. So whenever I notice like that, I'm getting agitated or whatever. Whoa, first place I go to is what's the story in my head, you know, and the story in my head, 9 times out of 10. It Is usually something that's not helpful. Hmm. So what I would suggest people do is and you can go, I'll give the website. It's healingstablemisery.com. But there's like this. I've outlined this in some okay, a free download. But what you can do is you can walk yourself through the paths model. So you can say, okay, My child is really agitating me right now about to blow up. Uh, wait, what story am I telling myself right now? Okay, Well, the story in my head is my child's a minute Is manipulative, right? My child's doing this on purpose, or trying to make me angry comments. You're trying to make me angry. Yeah, because I like getting whacked with belts and shoes. That's exactly what I thought this morning when I woke up. But you know, so what story am I telling myself? And when I tell myself this story, how do I feel right? What do I become aware of? Who? Well, I noticed that my, You just do this on a sheet of paper. This doesn't even have to be. I was a take one thing. Yeah. Let me back up. Start with one thing, One thing, It doesn't have to be everything, just one thing. So let's say that you are triggered when your child, or you get angry or you start yelling when your child, I don't know, dumps water all over the floor or bath time. Yeah, Hey. So you can write P, What story am I telling myself? Crap? I have to clean this up. My kid doesn't care. They don't take my feelings into consideration. They're doing it on purpose. Yada yada yada. All these things. And when you tell yourself that story, how do you feel? Well, I feel tight. Feel tense in my body. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm annoyed all these things. Okay, So when you tell yourself that story and you feel those things, what do you tend to do? Well, I yell. I shut down. I say, mean things, you know, to my kid that I probably shouldn't say Say, okay, So when you're telling yourself a story, you're feeling this way, you're using these tools. What are you aware of that needs to be healed within you? Now, that question could mean like, I need to heal some deep dark trauma thing, you know, from the past. But it could also be something like it means I need a break. It means that at bath time, Maybe I need to move bath time up an hour, when I have more energy and don't do it it, you know, at this point, because I just don't have it in me anymore, Right? So it could mean I need a break. It could mean that maybe if I have a partner, maybe they need to handle bath time, you know, different things like that. So it's really just about what needs to be healed like in the past, But also what needs to be healed within me Like I'm tired, I'm hungry. I mean, whatever. And then for the self-empowerment, what's one step that you can take to move you closer to Joy? One just one step in that moment, you know? And like I said, maybe you move back time up an hour, or you to, you know, whatever you need to do to help like, what's one step? Because that empowerment step is really important, because it's not going to shift. It helps to shift these other things. Now, with all of that said, in the moment, it would be great if you had a little piece of paper with PATHS written down. And then you can just fill that in, that'd be awesome. 


00:45:08    Alyssa

The one you always bring to bath time!


00:45:12    Dr. Willis 

It doesn't wet at all!


00:45:15    Alyssa

Because you're so regulated and have everything All together enough to ahead of bath time to be like I'm gonna need this paper. 


00:45:25    Dr. Willis 

The beautiful thing about this model is you can take it apart. So like I said, breathing doesn't work for everyone, right? So breathing might be a great tool. But maybe for you, maybe it's I need to shift like if I shift my story in the moment that's gonna help me right? If I become aware of my body sensations and realize like, oh, okay, I just need to like, sit down and I need to stretch or do a downward dog, or something like that in the moment. Or maybe if you're yelling, maybe I need to switch the tools I'm using, right? Maybe at bath time, maybe that needs to think whisper time. Where we just whisper. Now, It's really funny when you whisper, instead of yelling what ends up happening is you just speak in your normal voice. It's really funny how that happens you know.


00:46:26    Dr. Willis 

Or maybe you need to hop into therapy or get a coach for put together a self-care plan. I always say to people kind of gawk at self care. Like, yeah, I'm like, self-care is family care. If you're not doing self-care, you're not caring for your family. So don't give me that stuff about I don't have time, because my I'd know you want to care for your kid. You care for yourself. Bottom line people. 


00:46:47    Alyssa

Here for it babe, Actually, in our, in the CEP method. There's five components and one is adult-child interactions. The other four are about us. And one of the four is self-care. 


00:46:56    Dr. Willis 

Yes, that's so important!


00:46:58    Alyssa

Like you cannot. You can have the perfect script. You could sit in the coffee shop, talking to your friend. All right, I'm ready to go. I got this. And then if you're not taking care of yourself, when you get home, you're not eating when you're hungry, you're not taking a minute away When you need it like whatever that is for you. 


00:47:16    Dr. Willis 

Yeah, not gonna happen. 


00:47:17    Alyssa

I think the thing with breathing, because I'm here for whatever breathing and moving cortisol throughout your body, and re accessing your prefrontal cortex here for it. I think the thing is, so we have, we're here for five and the CEP method. We have five phases of emotion processing within the adult-child interactions. And number four is coping 4 out of 5. And so that's where we would be breathing is in phase 4 right? There's one through three. We're not ready to breathe yet. Yeah, like you got it. First acknowledge that you're feeling this right? I think so often, that's where like my work started, was noticing before I was blowing like, ooh, I started to notice what a rush of cortisol felt like when I was at like a four or five, rather than an eight and nine or ten, right? And like that power of just like in my question that I started with for myself was, how does your chest feel? Because that's where, like my chest will start to get tight first. That's the first thing that happens in my body when I have a rush of cortisol, whether I am angry or embarrassed or whatever, my chest gets tight first. And so I can move on to like, what story am I telling myself later? But for me, my trigger was like, how's your chest feel Is that would let me know? 


00:48:41    Dr. Willis 

I love that because that nails It like it doesn't work for everybody like everybody doesn't need to start with the breathing or the story, or the sometimes It's just that sensation. And I noticed. So this sensation leads me to ask the question, but funny enough, I'm more aware of what story am I telling myself, right? And thank you. That's the first thing that gets. And I'm like, oh, what story am I telling myself, Right? So I love that asking yourself. How does my chest feel? What feeling is coming up for me? What am I doing right? Now? I'm yelling again. 


00:49:21    Alyssa

How loud is my voice? 


00:49:23    Dr. Willis 

Yeah, I'm hungry. Whatever. Pick one of them, Any one of them to start with. What is your? What's going to be that baseline period in that baseline question for you? And the thing I love about questions, it's very strategic using questions, because you cannot ask yourself a question without kicking your frontal lobe like your frontal lobe. If I asked you what time, like I used to work with a lot of clients who were just so secretive, and we would go through a session. And I would say, hey, what time is it, babe? You know, like what time is it, You know, And they might not even have a watch on, you know, but it's like, if you ask a question, you automatically have to come into the present, You automatically asks that frontal lobe. So coming up with a key question, You can ask yourself to sort of bring yourself back and give yourself that moment to be aware. So crucial. 


00:50:17    Alyssa

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And we started to see it with kids to when we were doing the research on the method. We had one little boy who I've talked about him a bunch, but he was deemed like aggressive. Always the kid in class who was hitting somebody, he would do it multiple times a day, and he had an automatic, just like physical response, and, you know, some kids will dissociate some kids will hold back. He was like fight in the fight flight or freeze he's here to fight. And so what we started to do with him was when we would start to see him like face would get tight and shoulders to go up to his ears. We would just identify those things. Oh man I see your shoulders going up to and your hands are so tight. And then he started a couple months in saying, like, my hands are so tight, and my shoulders are going up to my ears and we're like, yes, this is it, man, like he's starting to notice those triggers before, which then can lead him to making a different choice. But when it builds, he's not going to be like after the fact he could tell you that he wasn't supposed to hit what he could do differently, etcetera. But if we didn't help him with those triggers ahead of time and this is what I get from so many folks from parents and teachers that are like, well, they know they're not supposed to do this. Great. There are so many things I know I'm not supposed to do. But in the moment there's just a reaction. And I have to work to build a different response to that initial trigger, which for you was like the trigger was the physiological response. And the question of what story am I telling myself? And for me, the physiological response starts. And my question is, how does your chest feel? And it's starting to build that awareness of like, oh, I'm dysregulated is really what we're telling ourselves. My body's dysregulated right now. Yes. And we can't do we cant make a different choice. You don't get to self regulate or choose a different action afterwards, respond instead of react unless we have the awareness first. 


00:52:14    Dr. Willis 

Now, awareness is key. It's crucial. It's absolutely crucial. And that's really where it starts becoming aware, another model I created is called the elemental living model. And what I, what it does is I realized that wherever you live on the planet earth, like the elements act the same, air is air, water is water, fire fire, you know, all this other stuff. And so what I did was I paired the four elements with different reactions that we tend to have, and different strategies that we can use. So for instance, the example that I often give is, you know, if our kids throwing a tantrum, you know, or like in the aisle four or five in the grocery store, like kicking and screaming, earth air, fire water, which element would you say that child is in? Throwing a tantrum in the grocery store? Earth? Air? Fire water? I'm going to say, I guess air?


00:53:14    Dr. Willis 

No, so they're angry, they're kicking, they're screaming. They're...


00:53:18    Alyssa

Oh fire! Yes. Alyssa, Come on. I was like, this feels I actually, this is the kind of players you're talking about spirituality earlier. And my therapist, like, anytime she mentions the word spirituality. And like, I'm checked out, I'm done. This isn't for me. And she's like, my spiritual self is like the hardest one. My analytical mind wants to come in every time. And so when you were like earth, air, fire water automatically, I like disassociated because I was like, this isn't for me. But now, when you like, lead me through them like, yeah, Okay, I can do. I get it 


00:53:57    Dr. Willis 

That's so funny! So they're in fire. So if you have a parent who is not aware, Which element do you think they would likely bring to that child in that moment? 


00:54:17    Alyssa

I would say, probably also fire. 


00:54:19    Dr. Willis 

Yeah. But if you think about it intuitively, you got it. If you think about it intuitively, if you have fire, what do you need? 


00:54:29    Alyssa



00:54:30    Dr. Willis 

Water, right? And the water is the flow and the compassion, and, you know, and all those different things. So I bring that up to say, we have different ways, our brain works differently. So by the time you read this great blog post that tells you the 15 things you need to do to regulate yourself and your child in the moment. Yeah, The problem is when your child's an aisle 5 kicking and screaming, You're so all that your frontal lobe becomes fort knox, because that part of your brain shuts down your fight flight freeze and your amygdala Is lighting up. You don't have access to that anymore. All right. So it takes different ways Like that is an example of like how to use symbolism and how to use, like through learning theory. We know that if you don't know something very well, and you pair it with something you know very well, like how the elements work, You're more likely to retrieve it. Okay. 


00:55:24    Alyssa

So apparently, I don't know how the elements work, but. I feel like you've been like following me around, and we've been hanging out for years, because this is something I literally use in one of my workshops Is this analogy, I show a video like a baby laughing and how delicious that is and what it does to your insides and how then like everyone like starts laughing in the audience, like whatever. And then I we talked about how if you're on aisle four, I always say, aisle four, you chose five so that's funny! And, and your kids throwing a tantrum inside, you are doing the same thing. 


00:56:08    Dr. Willis 



00:56:10    Alyssa

I feel like you and I are like sisters from another. Yeah, it's truly mirror neurons, but we think of it when it things are delicious, right? When you're like, I had somebody tell me the other day. So I just love weddings. And I was like, of course, you do. You love love. And there's like, good feelings and everyone's jazzed, and there's a lot of oxytocin flowing at a wedding. And nobody's like, you know what? I love funerals like, because there isn't oxytocin flowing right? Like it's sad. People are crying. And so inside your body isn't having a party. 


00:56:44    Dr. Willis 

Mmm, It's so true. It's so true, and being able to recognize that and recognize when we feel, I love that too, Because it's also important to recognize when we feel good, Right? Like we talk about recognizing like, you know, when we're triggered and all this other kind of stuff, but it's also important to know what good feels like, what does good feel like within me? How do I know? You know what that did? Because then you can get there, right? You know what joy feels like if you know what compassion feels like if you know what peace feels like if you know what cam feels like in you, then you can get yourself there, Right? And so all of that is so good, like knowing what it feels like when the oxytocin is flowing. And when it's not, you know, all that is so important. All of that fits like in that beautiful awareness globe. And it's funny, because even the researchers say that like so, Self-awareness is so important. It is so important. It's the key to everything when we talk about parenting, which is why self care is important, because you're not going to be, you're forgetting for a love shut down If you, we're not on that way. I mean, you can like if a Lions trying to eat you, you know, but you could. So you're going to be aware of like the dangers and  the frustration. But when you want to be aware on a bigger global scale, you've got to be able to combat this. You have to have those times where you're just like,,,ahh. 


00:58:11    Alyssa

Yeah, I think self-awareness is the most overlooked. I think this is why people are like, oh, gratitude practice shmatattitude practice like whatever. And I'm like no pause pause and be aware of what brought you Joy today, or what's around you that's feeding your soul today, because it's so easy. At the end of the day, I can tell you all the garbage that happened. I can tell you who drove me nuts. I literally I did in bed last night. So I sat next to Zach in bed. And like, just download it all the garbage and then was, he emphasized and listened. He was like, you know, or anything else, anything else you need to let go of? Yeah. And then he was like rad. He's like, what was positive that happened today After he like led me through and held space for me to feel the hard stuff how they get such a rad way to end. It's like, yeah, and also let's pay attention, but it's it, I think, like all that, to say that we talk about emotional intelligence. And we talk about regulation, I think quite a bit now, at least like in the respectful parenting community in parenting and general classrooms. We're talking about how to help kids feel calm, Etc. But we leave out self-awareness over and over and over and over.


00:59:27    Dr. Willis 

Yeah, It's so true. It's so true. I had a client. It was like, we do belly breathing and all this kind of stuff. And I think that he's just talking about her, said, I think he should be better able to regulate and so her son's five, and she's like he should be able to regulate himself now. And I was like, um, how? How are you doing with those skill? We just bust out laughing? Oh, me? We're not talking about me! 


00:59:52    Alyssa

Let's go back to the five year old, can we talk about that? But the awareness piece, it's another component when we're talking about intergenerational trauma and the relationships and you're doing this work and now you're going to be entering into a different relationship with say your mother or your father or your sister, your brother, Whomever that you're like aw I want to make changes in my life, and that will inevitably change how you show up in relationship with others, that the awareness then of how people are responding to you. And not necessarily that that's a bad thing that you want to change again, or go back to, but just awareness of like, oh yeah, when I set that boundary, it's really dysregulating for them. 


01:00:39    Dr. Willis 

Yeah, Yeah.


01:00:42    Alyssa

They feel uncomfortable, you know, and just being able to build that awareness again, not that you're going to say, like, okay, I don't want them to be uncomfortable. So I'm going to go do something else, but just the awareness so that then, when they're calling 18 times. So they're sending rude text or their whatever you're like, Oh, they're so dysregulated, because I showed up differently. 


01:01:00    Dr. Willis 

Yes. Yes, you have that like sir metacognitive you, you know, you have that ability to say, this isn't about me. This isn't about me. 


01:01:08    Dr. Willis

This is about the process. And the fact that I'm shifting in that doesn't feel good to them. All right, which again, can go back to what we talked about at the beginning around decreasing the feeling like we're reverse shaming our family, or going to you know, we're saying that they're bad and all of that kind of stuff, because you might get that you might get they might go to that level like, oh, you're bringing out the big guns right? Like you think I'm bad and horrible. And blah blah. You know, I mean, so realizing, like, Like, okay, This is your tantrum on aisle 4 Okay, Okay, I get it. Ha ha ha. We're getting water it will be fine. 


01:01:49    Alyssa

Yeah, it's, but it's so hard in that moment for me when I'm like starting to set new boundaries with folks that are really for me when they have that reaction. It dysregulates me too, right? Because we dysregulated the whole system as you were saying earlier. And now my body is like, ooh just go back to what's cozy, like we can fix this. And for me, it's all awareness is the key to not going back and do that, because I had to be like, oh right Lyss, like this is what we're expecting to have happened here like this is, and it's okay for you to feel uncomfortable. It won't feel this way forever. 


01:02:25    Dr. Willis

It's so true, I remember and and that that applies so well to kids too, because they're going to be a lot of parents are going to be like, alright, I'm gonna do this differently. I'm gonna set these boundaries. I'm gonna hold these boundaries, and thqe kid starts crying. Okay I'm sorry, I'm not.... You know, I literally, I'm not kidding. I got kicked out of a Facebook group once, because I told the Mom, it's okay if your kid cries a little, it's okay, like it's not going to destroy them. They're not gonna. And then I was told that I told this Mom that she should just allow her child to cry, you know, and ignore the child, and I'm like what? 


01:03:03    Alyssa

And welcome to the pendulum swing. 


01:03:10    Dr. Willis

My child will sit there and cry, and I'm like...


01:03:13    Alyssa

Yeah, it's okay if they cry. Yeah. 


01:03:16    Dr. Willis

Yeah, it's okay. It's okay. But if we keep coming out like, okay, when you cry, Mommy's going to rush out and just hold you for 48 hours straight like then yeah, I would cry too if I wanted to be held like if I realized all I have to do. So, I press this button, and you do this thing. I'm going to keep pressing the button. 


01:03:38    Alyssa

Totally, because it feels uncomfortable to feel uncomfortable. 


01:03:40    Dr. Willis



01:03:40    Alyssa

And, and, and what we're also telling that kid is I can't handle your hard feelings. So I'm just going to make them stop. We do a lot. We do some sleep work as well, sleep consulting and sleep support, again from this place of self-care, we cannot show up and be emotionally regulated if we're all sleep deprived. And so all developmentally appropriate of like what to expect at different ages and stages, which is part of our work. And people are like, I want my five-week-old to sleep 12 hours. And we're like, good luck babe. You're gonna. It's gonna be a while, or never, 12 hours isn't the norm. But so some of its like supporting folks with just was developmentally appropriate. But a lot of it is we were very upfront that I don't practice "cry it out". We won't leave your kid to cry with no tools, and we do not practice and No Cry sleep solution. We are going to be in the middle, where your kids probably going to cry, because we're going to do something new and different that they aren't expecting. And we're going to support them with tools to navigate the hard feelings. 


01:04:38    Dr. Willis



01:04:40    Alyssa

But it's so just, people are like, no, they're supposed to either like, not cry at all, or I can't handle going in to support them through their cries. And so could we just leave them? 


01:05:11    Dr. Willis

One of the things I wanted to say too that when you when you said, like it's teaching them, I can't handle your big emotions. It's also teaching them. And neither can you. 


01:05:19    Alyssa



01:05:20    Dr. Willis

You can't handle your big emotions. So I'm going to protect you from them. Now, A lot of what I do, funny enough, is helping adults feel okay with their feelings, because we're told on so many levels especially growing up like I remember how many times I heard "stop crying before I give you something to cry about."


01:05:40    Alyssa



01:05:41    Dr. Willis

That told me that my crying was bad, like I it was, it was, it was invalid. 


01:05:47    Alyssa

Or "You're Okay." 


01:05:49    Dr. Willis

Yeah, "What's wrong with you?"


01:05:50    Alyssa

"You're fine."


01:05:51    Dr. Willis

"Buck it up buttercup."


01:05:52    Alyssa

Exactly. "You don't need to be crying about this. This is not a big deal." 


01:05:57    Dr. Willis

Yes. Yes. I mean, it goes. It goes both ways. And being able to like you can handle your big feelings, like my daughter. I remember when she was, I would talk about breathing breaks, breathing breaks, breathing breaks, so then one day she was probably about four and all of a sudden her brother did something, or we did I don't remember. And she goes, "I'm frustrated, and I'm going to take a breathing break!" 


01:06:31    Alyssa

What I want people to hear there was she was four you'd been laying this groundwork for a while, and she was four I've started I have been sharing people. People DM us like their wins, right? Like these things like this happened, and it feels like such a like monumental. We've been working on this now I haven't. And I just started. I created a highlight so that people can see like those wins, and what those wins look like, that it's not always like this big thing where kid walks in, and they're like, I know that I'm feeling angry, and I'm really calm when I talk about it and let, but it's been yelling. I'm frustrated, and I need to take a breathing break or we had a little girl the other day, her mom sent us a picture of her and said that she was at her aunt's house, And Mom had like gone to do something, and she's sitting in the corner and just got her hands like on her face. And she's, you can tell in her face that she looks bummed, and her Aunt was like, did you want to come do a puzzle or whatever? And she was like, no, I miss my mom, and I'm disappointed that she left. I just need to take some space and read a book, and then I'll be ready to play. And I and she was like no I'm not going to distract myself out of this and come do a puzzle right now. I'm not ready. 


01:07:43    Dr. Willis



01:07:44    Alyssa

I'm going to take some space and read a book by myself, and then I'll be ready in a little bit to play. But what she had learned was it's okay for you to feel disappointed. It's okay for you to feel sad. You don't have to rush it away. We had another little girl who was yelling, "no calm mama" when she would offer coping strategies. And her mom is like, I've gone through all the steps. And I was like, yeah, she's not. She's still feeling. And so you can let her know that when she's ready to feel calm, here are some choices are here's where you'll be if she needs support. But right now, she's just feeling, and she needs time to feel. And we get to say, yeah, babe, you can have that. It's okay for you to feel. 


01:08:22    Dr. Willis

Yes. Yes, I love that. I remember one time my, my, my daughter, She was really like, oh, my God, talk about fire. It was craziest fire moments we ever had, and I was just with her and I was empathizing, and I filled my cup that day. I still remember I was feeling good. I had the resources. I was in the window of tolerance, right? And so I was able to be there with her. And at the end, she goes, I just can't stop crying. And it was one of those things where it was like, awww, you know, she realized like I, there's something going on like I can't stop this like I want to. 


01:09:07    Alyssa

I'm too dysregulated. 


01:09:08    Dr. Willis

Yes. And she's like, what's happening to my body, she's like I just cant stop this! I'm like, I've been there. I know that feeling! We're bonding! 


01:09:20    Alyssa

And buckle up, babe it'll happen every time you watch Grey's Anatomy, or This Is Us. So hold on. This ain't going away. No, that's so awesome. It's so awesome when we can hold that space and you're so right. So much of this is that if we can't hold that space for ourselves to feel hard things it's almost impossible to do for a child. And it really is. So it's really getting cozy with those hard feelings for ourselves first. Okay, I feel like I could just move into your house and hang out with you all the time. 


01:09:51    Dr. Willis

I know, we've got to have like online coffee dates. 


01:09:55    Alyssa

Yeah, seriously, but it for the sake of time for our folks I, what do you want to leave people with? If it, when they're walking away from this? We just threw so much stuff at them. What do you want to leave folks with? And then where can they connect with you? 


01:10:11    Dr. Willis

You know, one thing I want to say is that this process of transforming who we are, you know, and being relationship evolutionaries, It's really it's not a race. It's not even a solo race, you know, it's a relay right? Like, don't think you have to do the whole 26 miles alone, form Community. Get with people you trust, and also realize that you're only going to go so far, and then you're going to pass that baton your kids, And they're going to pass the baton to their kids, right? So you don't have to do this perfectly. The other thing is to realize that this is a when you break cycles and build legacies, it's an act of courage. It's an act of courage, and it's courageous, because not everybody's going to agree with it. Not everybody's going to like it. It's not always going to feel good. It's not always gonna go right, but stay the course, maybe even form a vision of why you're doing this so that you can constantly return to your why. Constantly return to your why when things get crazy. And in terms of resources, please go to healingstablemisery.com download the Paths Sheet that I have up there, it gives specific tips on things that you can do for each of those pieces. The PATHS and then find which one's right for you and just use one. Just one. You don't even have to, don't try to do the whole thing if you don't want to. If you're an overachiever like me, you will. But if you're not, you don't have to. Okay, just choose one and focus on it a week. Maybe it's asking yourself like, what am I feeling in my chest right now? What story am I telling myself? You know, or I'm gonna notice like what tool am I using right now Is this helpful, or whatever It is, just choose one, use it for a week and and then reflect on what happened, reflect on how that changed. And then the last thing I want to say is realizing this is not when we're talking about changing from generation to generation it. It's not about perfection, right? Celebrate the progress, celebrate the progress. Like, if you make one little move, celebrate that, because if you focus on being perfect all the time, you're just going to depress yourself, and you're going to stay in stable misery longer than you need to. 


01:12:24    Alyssa

I love you so much, literally, like my Instagram bio right now says, progress is greater than perfection. 


01:12:32    Dr. Willis

Are you serious?


01:12:32    Alyssa

I swear to God!  


01:12:36    Dr. Willis

I love it. 


01:12:38    Alyssa

So yeah, with this is this is so great. And we, I host a mama's getaway weekend every year. And it's like this delicious kind of retreat style weekend, but for, it's a conference for moms, if you will, where we get to dive into this work and what it looks like and how to build it in ourselves and our kids and all that jazz. But next year, 2021 I would like you to be one of our guest speakers. 


01:13:01    Dr. Willis

I would be honored too! 


01:13:05    Alyssa

We need you on our stage, babe. 


01:13:06    Dr. Willis

I'm there.


01:13:08    Alyssa

Awesome. Well, until Mama's Getaway 2021, Where can people connect with you? 


01:13:13    Dr. Willis

Yes, Yes. So you can go and download the thing at healingstablemisery.com. Also, my official website is dr.lwillis.com, So D-R-L as in ladybug-willis.com, and you can find out more about me there! 


01:13:29    Alyssa

Perfect and will link all those on the blog post. So if folks want to just go click the link, they'll all be linked there. 


01:13:35    Dr. Willis



01:13:36    Alyssa

Thanks so much, babe. 


01:13:37    Dr. Willis

Thank you. Alyssa. 


01:13:41    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at voicesofyourvillage.com. Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at seed.and.sew. Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag seed.and.sew to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans. 



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