You're listening to Voices of Your Village, this is episode 204. I got to hang out with author Lori Gottlieb of "Maybe You Should Talk To Someone." One of my favorite books that I read in 2019, and she shares in this episode about how to process emotions as an adult. What does this look like, to do the emotion processing work as an adult. How do we navigate that when we have kiddos around us too. This was such a fun conversation for me and I hope that you enjoy it, and also go snag her book! It is so good. In the new year we are going to be doing a free self-regulation challenge for adults. So how to regulate our nervous system as adults. Every day I'm going to drop a small video for you to watch that gives you a task to focus on that day to help build your skill set for self regulation. So that you can respond with intention and take care of your nervous system so you're not feeling exhausted and depleted every day. Keep an eye on our social media or on your email if you get our Thursday emails for how to sign up. Or head to seedandsew.org the first week of January to sign up for the challenge, January 10th to January 14th. Alright folks, let's dive in.
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.
Hey everyone, welcome to Voices of Your Village. Today, I'm here with Lori Gottlieb, the author of "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone". And I'm obsessed with this book. I read it, and immediately like passed it to my mothers in law who read it. Zach and I listen to it again on audio in the car every time we traveled, it was awesome and such a necessary conversation for us to be having. So I'm excited that I get to hang out with Lori today. Hey, Lori, how are you?
Hi. Good. Nice to be here.
I'm glad you're here. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about you and your background?
Sure. So I'm a psychotherapist, and I have a private practice, and I have a little bit of an unconventional background before I became a therapist. When I was first out of college, I worked in film and television, and then I went to medical school, and then I left medical school, and I became a journalist for a long time, and ultimately became a therapist. And I also write books. And my newest one, as you said, is "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone."
It's amazing, absolutely amazing. And it's been hanging out on the best sellers list, get it, sister.
We're 10 weeks in, yeah!
Awesome, well-deserved, well-deserved. One of my favorite characters in this book is, John, I'm sure he's probably a lot of people's favorite characters I'd imagine. And I like, went through as I was. I listen to part of it, and then I read part of it. We were traveling to Europe and start like, listened on my flight and things like that. And I just kept like screenshotting little parts and I was like ooh I want to go back and pull this quote. Oh, I want to go back. And I went back to, like, do it to prepare for this. And it was like so many screenshots, where I was like, oh, there's so much goodness in here. But one of my favorite things that came up in this was you were working with John, and you said, people often make mistake numbness for nothingness. And this is something so most of our listeners are parents and or teachers and caregivers. We're really looking at like tiny humans here, and we talk a lot about coping mechanisms versus strategies like a numbing versus sitting in it and processing. And there were so many times to this in the book that I really want to dive into.
Yeah, I love that. I love that idea that I think people think the opposite. They think that if they can and get rid of a feeling that then they can move on. But actually, when you try to push down your feelings, you just make them stronger, and they come out in other ways, especially with children. They're going to come out behaviorally. They're going to come out in, you know, a short-temperedness or a or a hyperactivity, or, you know, a change in sort of their general temperament, a change in their work at school, a change socially with their friends. So, you know, numbness is actually not the absence of feelings, but it's an overwhelming of feelings. It's being overwhelmed by too many feelings, and we then just shut down, and we say, I'm going to go numb. But the problem is that you don't resolve the thing that caused you to feel that feeling. And if you can just talk about that feeling and sit through that feeling, you will be able to figure out what to do with it. If you push it away, you can't do anything with it. And it is going to affect you, whether you acknowledge it or not.
And I think that the hard part with the tiny humans is, of course, we want to make it look like it's gone, right? Like we want to make the tantrum stop, or avoid it from happening in the first place.
Well I think it's so hard for us to see our kids suffer. You know, it's hard enough for us to sit with our more challenging feelings, right? But then to see your kid go through something and struggle, we have so much trouble with that. And what we don't realize is one of the best things we can do for them to help them struggle less in life is to help them learn how to deal with the range of their feelings and how to access their feelings and not be afraid of that. And how to say, look, this is what I'm experiencing right now. Now kids can't articulate it in that way, but you can, you can listen to them. I think so many times, when we talk about talking to our children, I'm a big proponent of listening to our children. We use way too many words with our kids. We need to really listen to them. That's I mean, by when people say, talk to your children, I mean, sit with your child and listen.
Oh, I love it so much. They're communicating with us, right? And like the feelings are communication. And when we can listen to them, it's so powerful. We had a mom yesterday in our village. I just like called for stories of like ways they've put this stuff into action, and she shared this story that I thought was hugely powerful and I was reminded of it when I was going through the notes for your book, where her 11 year old was planning for this lemonade stand with his friend, and he was super pumped about it. And then his friend never showed up. And so he, came inside, and he was upset, and he was like, Mom, can I play Minecraft? And she was like, not right now, buddy. And he went into the bathroom, and he cried, and he came out and she validated his feeling she's like, are you really upset or disappointed because he, your friend didn't show up and validated that for him and he nodded through his tears, yes. And she asked him if he'd like, like a hug, and he shook his head no, and then immediately went to yes and sobbed in her arms. And when he pulled back, she was like, did you want to play Minecraft because you would then feel better? And he would said, yeah, she was like, you can play Minecraft when you're calm. So you can do an activity with your body. You could, we could run, you could climb a tree, and they gave him a bunch of coping strategies he could do. And when you're calm, you can play Minecraft, and I was like, oh my gosh, this is so powerful. Not only did he learn like ooh I was trying to numb that with Minecraft, but there's something else I can do to help process it instead. I think that's so huge.
Yeah. And, and, you know, she didn't try to kind of, you know, fix it for him. Like, let me call the mom and lets you know it's or, hey, let's go see, let's go to Disneyland, you know? You know, those kinds of things like, don't feel your sadness about this. It's like that happens, sometimes people disappoint us. And then what do we do when, when that happens? You know, it's like that chapter in "Maybe You Should Talk To Someone" called 'How kids deal with grief' where I to talk to my son about the fact that, you know, he's going to experience sadness around the fact that he's not going to see my boyfriend anymore. And you know, I can't take away his sadness, and I can't sugarcoat it. And so, you know, how do you just let him deal with it? And you can see the way that he deals with it, which is, you know, he was young at the time. So he was eight years old. And, you know, it kind of came out. His feelings came out kind of behaviorally at first. But the more I let him sit with it, the more he, he came to me for the hug, like you were saying in that story of the other mom.
Yeah, that's awesome. It's so hard to sit with, though for you as a parent, what does that journey looked like for? You like learning to sit with those feelings when it's your kid. And when you could numb it.
You know, it's funny, I think that the upside of being a therapist's kid is that nothing gets swept under the rug. But, you know, the downside is that they'll be totally screwed up anyway, because we screw up our kids and, you know, to varying degrees. But I think that the beauty is that, you know, I don't I don't try to take away his feelings or make him feel better. I try to try to help him make himself feel better, and I guide him. And I'm there for him, and he knows that he's not alone in it. And I think that's the main thing that we need when we're feeling a, when we're feeling anything, we want to share it. But I think when we're especially struggling with something, we want to know that we're not alone. And I think so many people, if they're told, oh, you know, if a parent kind of signals to the child, I'm uncomfortable with your sadness, or I want to take away your sadness. The child will then hide that, you know, they will not share that. And then they really do feel alone. And that's really dangerous. It's very dangerous to feel alone in a feeling like you are the only person who feels that, or you can't share it, or you can't talk about it. Feelings need air. And there's a difference. I want to say too between, you know, acknowledging that you feel a certain way and dwelling in it. So I think that some parents go overboard in the other direction like, tell me about your sadness. And, oh, you must feel this and they’re over validating, and they make it into this huge thing when it was really not a big deal for the kid. It was like, yeah, I was sad in, okay, let's move on. And we tend to then kind of you know, Wendy Mogul has this great phrase that I love interviewing them for their pain, right? You don't need to interview them for their pain. It's just it's a feeling it's neither too big nor too small, it's just there. And then move on.
Oh, I love that. I love that. And I see, I work with a lot of moms who are experiencing anxiety, and we see a lot of this. And we talked a lot about them not wanting to project this onto their kids, but inevitably projecting this onto their kids. And then being like, where do I go from here now? And I think, when we can self-regulate and have that self-awareness, then there is that pause we can take to say, ooh is this a giant deal? Could I pause and listen to my kid instead of talking them through this and making it a bigger deal that we get to pick that path. But man, it takes so much self-regulation.
Well, I think also, right, it definitely does. And I think one of the things I'm trying to do in this book is to help people see their blind spots, you know, and especially as parents and I talked a lot about in the book. The kind of intergenerational transmission of things like anxiety, or, you know, the ways, you know, attachment kinds of things, the ways that we tend to want to maybe control certain things about our kids lives, or about our own lives. And you know, this reaction to our own parents that I think a lot of the times we say, here were the things that I liked about growing up. And here are the things I will do completely differently when I'm a parent. And then we do exactly the same thing. You know, we don't realize, it may look very different. It may look like we're doing the opposite, but because we've gone so far in the other direction, we're just doing a different version of the same thing.
Yeah, just swinging the pendulum.
Right? And so, you know, it's not, it's not, not, you know, intentional in that way. We don't want to do it that way. But I think what happens is we're not aware of it. And so one of the things you know that I think I try to do it through the stories in this book is to help people see themselves in other people's stories, because it's so much easier, I think, to say, oh yeah, I do that, or oh, I see a little bit of myself in that. Then for someone to directly say to you, you do that right? Because we get very defensive around that.
Of course I don’t.
Right, not me, that's not me. But then, if you see somebody else do it, you think that looks a little familiar to me.
Yeah, I think that's huge. Well, I think one thing that I really pulled out from this was that move from like the gradual, long lasting results versus the instant gratification. And even myself, like I bought an online course at one point. And I just recently was like, ooh, I bought that and actually never did any of the work, right? It was like, okay, bought it. Done, check. And I've been, I've used therapy. I'm like, I loved the crap out of talk therapy and invited, like my therapist to our wedding. She was like, I can't do that...
I was going to ask about that.
Absolutely love it! And at one point I was in therapy very early on in my therapy journey, and realized like, oh, I'm going every Wednesday as if I'm checking a box by going, but not doing any of the work in the other six days, right?
Yeah. So, you know, there's this great phrase that I love, which is "insight, is the booby prize of therapy" meaning you can have all the insight in the world. You can go every week and learn all these things about you. But if you don't make change out in the world, if you're not doing anything differently between sessions, then you're wasting your time. You know, in the book, I say that we like people, you know, I think therapy, it requires you to be both vulnerable and accountable. So we want you to, to really share the truth of who you are in the room, and not sort of the better version of yourself that I think a lot of people, there's a performative aspect at first when people come to therapy, but really to show the truth of who you are. And then and then we can understand more about what is and isn't working. And and I'd like to I want to emphasize the what is working, because we're also scanning for strengths. Right? So when somebody comes in, we're looking at not just what isn't working, but also, what are the things that are working so we can build on those. But I think, you know, a lot of people will say, oh, now, I understand why I do that with my child, and then they go home, and they do exactly the same thing that they've always done. They did nothing different. So what, you know, it doesn't really matter that you understand that you actually have to go outside of your comfort zone and do something different.
Well, I think that's the key, right? You have to step outside your comfort zone. And that sucks every time.
Yeah, but it's so rewarding.
Oh it's so rewarding.
All of a sudden, when you say there is, you know, I have choices that I don't have to, you know, kind of operate on autopilot. And I have choices. And I can make a choice in that moment that's different from the one that never works and always ends in, you know, tears and and stuff, you know, upsetness.
Totally, totally the one that hasn't worked up until this point. But I think one of these things is that, like we can't, it's not going to happen overnight. Right? Like I tell parents, we read to infants when they are babies, expecting them to read back to us like years down the road. But we do things from a social/emotional perspective often like, I mean, they know the rule, why are, why are they throwing this tantrum now at three, like we've done the same thing over and over. And I really think we need to stress the fact like this takes a while. And like we're here for long-term goals with the tiny humans and with us, right? Like with therapy, we're talking about that, how you were like finishing your program, and you were like, and we were realizing people were subscribing to this instant gratification as we were finishing this program to do like gradual, long-term work.
It was funny we were, we were I was doing my internship, and we were all sitting in the break room like, you know, in the two minutes we had between are incredibly hectic schedule. And we were talking about calculating the hours. How many we have left till we could get license and take our boards and all of that. And one of our supervisors walked by. And she said, the speed of light is outdated. Now, everybody operates with the speed of want. And I think that's really true that, you know. And I think we see that as parents too with our kids that, you know, we want everything to happen very quickly. And we don't necessarily understand that we're playing the long game.
So true, it's so true. And that a huge part of this with our kiddos is that modeling, right? Like you said, but if you leave and you don't change the action, if we're not modeling that it is actually okay to have feelings, things if we just say, like, yeah, you can talk to me about anything. But then when they come and they cry you about something, we try to distract them from it or shut it down or fix it. We're not actually modeling that they can turn to us for all the things or anything, potentially.
Well that, it's so funny when I see couples when I see couples so many times. And this is, you know, let's say you have, like, a woman comes in, and she says, you know, to her husband, I really want you to share your feelings with me. I really want to know more about your inner life. And then one day, he starts telling her things, and he starts crying. And if you see the look of horror on her face, right? Where it's like, it's like she, she does not know what to do with that. She specifically spent months asking for this. She finally gets it, and she's so profoundly uncomfortable with the fact that her husband is sobbing. And it's so interesting, you know, how we think we are very comfortable, and we want somebody, we want to get closer to someone, whether that's our partner or our child. And then when they bring us these feelings, we get profoundly uncomfortable with them.
Yeah. Oh, I think it's so, so true. And so what do you do? Like what do you do with the woman who then gets profoundly uncomfortable with their sobbing husband? What does that look like?
Well, I think you you want to understand, sort of what that discomfort is about. And the same thing with the parent, you know, when you're using your head, you know, you can, like, you said, you know, you can talk to me about anything, and then your kid says something that you don't like, right? Or you don't agree with with, and you try to talk them out of there feeling. Yeah, that's the message that they're getting is a wait a minute. I can tell you anything that you agree with, but I can't tell you something that you don't want to hear. You know, if it wasn't, you know, like a kid who's maybe older, and they're able to articulate something about like, I'm really depressed, or you know, whatever it is. It's like you're just going through a hard time, but you're not really, you know, the way we try to kind of, we think we're trying to make them feel better, but really trying to make ourselves feel better. We're really trying to say, I can't tolerate the idea that my kid might be suffering from clinical depression. So I'm going to, you know, try to help my kids see the bright side and all the wonderful things that my child has in his or her life. Well, you're not listening to what your kid is telling you. And you're not helping, you're not doing it to make your kid feel better. You're actually doing it so that you can relieve your own feelings about the fact that this is hard to watch your kids struggle like this.
Yeah. And so uncomfortable and kids realize it so fast, like a my work and research has really been birth to five. And I would see even like preschoolers who wouldn't cry at drop off until their parent left and then would cry, because they know like it'll make my parent uncomfortable. If I cry at drop-off, I'll wait, and then their parent would leave. And then they would cry to in our arms because they knew it won't make us uncomfortable. Right? Like this is what we do for a living. And so like finding that, I guess figuring out what it looks like for you as a parent to take care of yourself so that you can show up really able to handle their feelings.
Yeah, you never want your kid to feel like your kid is responsible for your feelings, and so many times, and we don't mean to do that. I mean, I think, you know, the one caveat I want to mention here is that, you know, as parents are, we don't sit there and say, oh, here are the ways that we're going to, you know, do things that, that are going to make our children uncomfortable. You know we're very well meaning in our intent, but we don't realize the way that some of our behaviors land on our kids and the things that were communicating without words to our kids. When our kids see us get anxious about the fact that we're dropping them off, we're communicating, I'm going to be really anxious for the next three hours after I drop you off if you know, if you're unhappy. So please put on a big smile and walk in, and then I can have relaxed for the next three hours. And we're not saying any words to that effect, but it's all in our body language.
Totally, it's so huge, when you, as a mom look like, what is your goal for your son's emotional journey, or his relationship to feelings?
I think that one of the things that everybody wants is to love and be loved. I think ultimately that's what we're learning. That's sort of the lesson that we want to impart to our children. Everything else will flow from that. And so I want to model for him what it means to be loved, which is, you know, being able to be an independent person and also being able to connect. And those two things are so important. And then also what it's like to love, right? What does it mean to mean to be a loving person? What does it mean to love someone and also have boundaries? What does it mean to say, I really love you, or I really care about you say, in friendships, right? I really care about you. And at the same time, this feels like it's too much for me, and I'm going to to say, no.
Well and you mentioned boundaries at one point in the book about I think it was about John where you were talking about. Oh yeah, it was about his therapist we were like, I'm not sure why he left his previous therapist. It's either that she didn't hold him accountable, or that she, yeah, that she like didn't call him on his BS and didn't hold him accountable for it, was the one and you likened that too, when we don't hold kids accountable, right? And like as parents. And I think that's huge, that, like, if we, you're going to set a boundary and you're not going to hold it, setting boundaries and holding them is a huge part of us feeling safe, right? That like then kiddos know, Oh, you are going to keep me safe.
Right. I think that what kids really want from their parents as predictability. And if you say, here's the rule, right? Here are my expectations. And then, and here's what happens if you don't meet those expectations, here's what happens, right, here is the, the consequence for that. And also the why of it, right? So here's why. Here's why we have this, this expectation in our household. Here's why our family values this, behaving in this way. And here's what's going to happen if you don't, right? And they know that in advance, telling them in the heat of the moment is not helpful at all, but they know that in advance. And then, you know, then they understand, oh that my parent, I can trust my parent because my parent said, this was going to happen. And this is actually did happen, right? But they don't feel safe if they don't have boundaries. I like to say that, you know, our kids want an aquarium. So as opposed to like a fishbowl which feels too constraining, or the ocean, which just feels like they’re lost, its this vast place, where they don't feel safe at all. They're going to drown. But if you give them an aquarium, which is enough space, but also some healthy boundaries, they're going to feel extremely safe.
Oh, I love that analogy. That's awesome. And I like the little caveat that, like when they're having a hard feeling, is not the for like law enforcement or delivery of justice, right like they're in their amygdala. This is not the time.
Well it's not the time to kind of try to engage with the logical part of them. So it's not the time to say, you know, well, let me explain to you this thing. It's like, not then, like the main thing then, is to kind of help them to regulate and to get back on the planet. And once they're back on the planet, you know, in a calmer moment, you can talk about hey, you know, we had a really hard moment there. You know, here's what it happened.
Yeah, I love that. I think that comes back to the like listening versus talking in the moment. One other thing Wendell is your therapist in this book. I also love love love that you highlight your therapy journey in this. And I also loved Wendell. But at one point, he said, your feelings don't have to mesh with what you think they should be, that like the feelings hold clues, and that we don't need to judge them. We just need to notice them. And I, that's so darn hard to do, especially when we are grooming. And even now, I do a lot of work with schools like K through 6 I'm seeing like behavior charts where it's like red, yellow, green. And like red are, the feelings we're not supposed to be expressing right. The anger, the whatever. And I think we're continuing to like, label good and bad feelings and continuing to drive home this like, know, there is judgment around them then, we're not just noticing them we're like, I'm not supposed to have this feeling.
I'm so glad you I brought that up because we tend to place feelings in a category. These are acceptable feelings. These are positive feelings. These are negative feelings, but all feelings are positive in the sense that are kind of like our GPS. They tell us what we want. And if we listen to our feelings, if you're feeling angry, what is that telling you? What is what is not working? What's underneath that anger? Is it sadness? Is it anxiety, right? Is, is it hurt what? You know? What's happening? What is the anger about to something feel unfair? What can you do about that situation? How do you understand that situation? So, you know, it's healthy to feel anger when something happens to you that would make anybody angry. That's good. If you don't feel anger in that moment, then something's not right. You know, if you're feeling sad about something, it tells you, oh, this thing happened at school today, and I feel sad about that. So it tells you what you want. I want to have a better relationship with that friend, or I don't want to be friends with that person, actually, anywhere that person makes me feel sad. That's information that's helpful. If you're feeling anxiety that's helpful. It tells you, oh, you know, I actually need help in math. You know, I need to go to my teacher and ask for an explanation, instead of pretending that I understand something that I don't you know, what is, what are the feelings about? So they really tell us what we want, even feelings that we consider negative like envy, right? Like when we feel envy, I always say to people, follow your envy, it tells you what you want. If you're envious of someone or something that says, oh, I want that in my life. So instead of thinking about I don't have that, think about how can I get that? How can I get something like that in my own life? And that will lead to positive change. But if you ignore it, you'll just sit there and, you know, sit there and feel bad about yourself.
I love that so much, I also again, I think it starts so much younger than we often imagine it starts, and that we're labeling these things as well for kiddos, right, that we're modeling what's good or bad to feel. And and the the one of the stories that came up yesterday was a little girl that's three and a little girl that's four the girl that was three was throwing a tantrum, because her dress she wanted to wear was dirty. And the four-year-old kid turned to her and was like, oh, you really wanted to wear your pink dress. And it's in the laundry that's so disappointing. I was like, yes, this is it man at four, but what that four-year-old knew was like, it's okay to feel disappointment right? Like that was at the basis of her being able to articulate.
And what a parent might misguidedly do in that situation is to say, oh, but it's not a big deal. It's not a big deal. It's a we can wash it. It's not a big deal, but they don't realize that in that moment, she wants to wear it right now. And she's disappointed and that four-year-old empathized with her and all she wanted was to be understood in that moment, not we're going to wash it, and you're overreacting, and it's not a big deal. But just, yeah, kind of sucks.
Yeah, she just wanted to be seen. Yeah. And it's so annoying as an adult to when people try to fix my problems, and I just want to feel them.
Yeah, well, also, I think minimizing them. So, you know, the adult version of that problem with the dirty dress, right is, you know, sometimes we get upset over things that seem insignificant to other people, but to us it, that really bugged us. And all we want in that moment is going to say, yeah, I can see why you're upset about that and that's it. And then it helps us, it relieves a lot of that feeling of just, you know, I need I need to give this some air somehow.
Totally, and you don't have to agree with why somebody's feeling it right? Like you don't, when we're empathizing with a kid about the dress. It doesn't have to be that we think it's also a big deal that she can't wear the dress like it's okay if you don't feel that if you know what disappointment feels like, you can empathize with disappointment.
And also the we're not saying it's a big deal like we're not saying to her, you know? Yeah, it's a huge deal. We're just saying, like, yeah, you know, that, that sucks. I know you wanted to wear that. Yeah, done again. Difference between acknowledging and dwelling.
Yeah, no, I love it. One of the things that was brought up recently was the I want to have patience for my kids emotions, and I don't feel like I have that patience, and I'd love to hear you speak to this. Yeah, it was in one of our mom's groups. They were like, I want to have the patients for my kids emotions. I feel like my parents didn't have these emotions for me. And now I feel like I don't have them for my kid.
A large part of having impatience with our kids has to do with impatience with ourselves that when our kids, you know, are doing something that triggers us, we need to understand that we're having a bigger reaction because of something that we're bringing to the table. And in those moments, a huge dose of self-compassion is so helpful that we are so unkind to ourselves. We start to start, we start spinning in those moments, right? Like, what do I do? I want to handle this better. Am I a bad person? Because I just really am like, I just went from zero to 60 in terms of how angry I feel with my child right now. And I'm going to lose it, but I'm not going to lose it. But oh my God. And we're just this whole dialogue is happening, as opposed to take some breaths, right? Yeah. And be kind to yourself. Don't judge how you're feeling. Your kid is being annoying right now. Like that's you're having a normal reaction, your kids, it's trying right when your kid is like that, and maybe it's been, maybe it's 6:00 at night, and it's been a long day, and it's the witching hour. And this is the last thing that you have the patience for, because you've already used your patience quotient earlier in the day. So, you know, just to have compassion and kind of realize that you're doing a good job, and you're having a normal reaction, and you don't have to to act on that reaction, you know, in the way then that you fantasize about acting up, if you can just sometimes doing nothing like when you really, when you really feel like I'm, I feel like a little out of control right now, just do nothing. Take some breaths, do nothing. Hey, you know, you can take a break from your kid. You can say, you know what? Let's go. Let's go, sit on the couch right now. And let's go read a book or lets, you know, if you're, if you're not feeling like doing that, you know, let's go like, watch a TV show, or, you know, people hate screen time. But I'm telling you like, watching a like a nice little show together. There's nothing wrong with that that's not numbing the feelings. It's regulating both of you. You know, let's do a puzzle together. Let's do this. We do, let's go take a walk. Let's go outside.
And there have also been times I was thinking about this time where this little girl, slapped me across the face, because our magnetile tower, fell down. And so naturally, I got slapped across the face, and in that moment, like the only nice, like fine thing that I could say was, I'm going to go to the bathroom, and I'll be right back, right? And like I shared this in a group in one of the moms was like, that's okay, you can just walk away from her. And I was like, I needed to, when I would return to that. Then I came back, like ready to respond and emotion coach her and support her. In that moment, I couldn't be the best thing for her like me stepping away was the best thing for her.
Right, And I think, you know, and I think parents don't allow themselves that that they don't allow themselves. They think, well, I'm going to I'm going to set a precedent here if I don't immediately react to this. But no, you're actually you're setting a different precedent, which is a much better one, which is that, you know, some, you seem to be, you know, in this heightened emotional state, and I'm going to show you what it's like. I'm in a heightened emotional state too, and I'm going to show you how I'm going to deal with it, which is I'm going to take a little break for a minute here so that I can deescalate. You're not going to use those words with them, but they're seeing that they're seeing, like, wow, Mommy's really like wound up right now, or Daddy's really wound up right now. So look what they did. They like went they took the, you know, walked away for a minute. They kind of compose themselves, they, you know, got some water, they, you know, whatever they did, they went to the bathroom, and then they came back. And then they said, hey, you know what? That really upset me, and here let me tell you why? Right? And then they're able to calmly talk to me about it.
Right. Well, I came back to her, and then I was in a place where, like, I knew this tiny human benefits from physical touch, and after she slapped me across the face in that moment, I knew I couldn't give her a hug without like our mirror neurons just escalating. And I was, for sure producing cortisol. And so when I could be come back in a more regulated place, then I came in and I could give her a hug, and she could melt into my arms, we could talk about her disappointment of the Magnatiles. And then when she was calm, we could talk about the slapping me across the face.
And that's going to be something that stays with her. That she saw your compassion, and she will, because of your compassion, she's not going to want to slap again. Right? It's when people react with ironically, kind of the same over reaction. Then they're just it's like what they're seeing, reflected back to them is exactly what they did is the equivalent of the slap in the face. Don't you dare do that! Right? They're seeing the equivalent of that, and they're not seeing another way, but you gave her another way, and you didn't condone her behavior. You held her accountable for it. You talk to her about it, and you showed her another way.
Yeah. Yeah, It's huge. How do you take care of yourself to avoid like empathy fatigue in your work? And like, I guess, then coming home to a kid.
Yeah. You know, we have consultation groups that we meet with weekly to talk about our cases. I think a lot of people don't realize that. I think they think that therapists work alone in a room with somebody, and they don't get to talk about their experience. But we do. We have our own therapist, which you see in the book. I follow the stories of four patients, and then I'm the fifth patient, and you see me with my therapist. But you also see me in the book talking to my consultation group about my cases. Partly we get feedback about, you know, maybe where we're stuck, or we want some ideas about what we can do differently. But also, we want to talk about our emotional experience of what it's like when we're dealing with something particularly challenging with a patient. So, you know, we do have outlets for it. And I think it's very different, by the way, when, you know, working with patients and coming home and seeing your child, it's a completely different relationship. You know, you're, you're not, you're much more relaxed, I think, in a different way around your child, in terms of you know how you react and what's going on. Its leisure time, you're not. You're not doing what you're doing when you're in the room with a patient, which is extremely intense work and very focused.
Right. And so intentional. Awesome. Where can people find this book? Where can people connect with you and follow this journey? I think that we need to start a book club. I'm not lying. I love this book and want to keep talking about it with our village as people dive into it. So where can people find it and connect with you?
Yeah. Well, my website is Lorigottlieb.com. And there actually is a book club discussion guide that you can download on the website. And I'm also on Twitter at LoriGottlieb1. I'm learning how to use Instagram at LoriGottlieb_author, and I'm also on Facebook and we're developing the TV series of the book. And so maybe in about a year, the people will be able to watch that as well.
That's awesome. I didn't know that was happening. That's so fun.
Yeah, we're developing it with Eva Longoria, actually.
Very cool. Nice and side note the audible version like I love the person that read it, that like, I don't know what that's called.
Yeah Brittany Presley. She's amazing. I was so glad that she was able to do it. Her narration is fantastic.
So good. Yeah. And so go ahead and go out and get it guys, you can get it. I'm sure it like your local library if you can't afford to snag it on Amazon or wherever people get books, but it's so, so worth it. Thank you. So much, Lori for joining us.
Oh, thank you. It was a pleasure.
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