One Broken Mom Hosted by Ameé Quiriconi

The Big Fear with Lindsay Gibson

July 10, 2021 Amee Quiriconi Season 4 Episode 10
One Broken Mom Hosted by Ameé Quiriconi
The Big Fear with Lindsay Gibson
Chapters
One Broken Mom Hosted by Ameé Quiriconi
The Big Fear with Lindsay Gibson
Jul 10, 2021 Season 4 Episode 10
Amee Quiriconi

Ever felt like you are too scared to do something? Or have you ever found yourself unable to enjoy success or good luck because you are expecting the other shoe to drop? You are experiencing a normal reaction to pushing yourself past your normal limits. And if you have experienced or grown up with trauma, or emotionally neglectful and immature parents, it's likely you have even fears of dying or a foreshortened future. 

This episode is another conversation with best-selling author and psychologist, Dr. Lindsay Gibson as she and Ameé talk about the Big Fear - the internal protection system to keep us from re-experiencing pain if we try to do something different or in alignment with our true selves. 

In this episode, you will hear:

  • How people who have CPTSD experience beliefs of a foreshortened future or dying early
  • The family systems and dynamics that are at the root of The Big Fear
  • Why death is central to our Big Fears
  • How the Big Fear is connected to self-sabotage
  • Techniques to help overcome the Big Fear


Resources
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents: Practical Tools to Establish Boundaries and Reclaim Your Emotional Autonomy


Self-Care for Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: Honor Your Emotions, Nurture Your Self, and Live with Confidence

Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Life's Purpose



Links to buy The Fearless Woman’s Guide to Starting a Business

Amazon (Audio, Print, Kindle Versions): https://amzn.to/3daO7nA

Barnes and Noble- https://bit.ly/FearlessWomansGuide

Bookshop- https://bit.ly/FearlessWomanBookshop

Visit https://www.ameequiriconi.com/ for more articles about self-help, healing from trauma, leadership, business, and more!

Show Notes Transcript

Ever felt like you are too scared to do something? Or have you ever found yourself unable to enjoy success or good luck because you are expecting the other shoe to drop? You are experiencing a normal reaction to pushing yourself past your normal limits. And if you have experienced or grown up with trauma, or emotionally neglectful and immature parents, it's likely you have even fears of dying or a foreshortened future. 

This episode is another conversation with best-selling author and psychologist, Dr. Lindsay Gibson as she and Ameé talk about the Big Fear - the internal protection system to keep us from re-experiencing pain if we try to do something different or in alignment with our true selves. 

In this episode, you will hear:

  • How people who have CPTSD experience beliefs of a foreshortened future or dying early
  • The family systems and dynamics that are at the root of The Big Fear
  • Why death is central to our Big Fears
  • How the Big Fear is connected to self-sabotage
  • Techniques to help overcome the Big Fear


Resources
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents: Practical Tools to Establish Boundaries and Reclaim Your Emotional Autonomy


Self-Care for Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: Honor Your Emotions, Nurture Your Self, and Live with Confidence

Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Life's Purpose



Links to buy The Fearless Woman’s Guide to Starting a Business

Amazon (Audio, Print, Kindle Versions): https://amzn.to/3daO7nA

Barnes and Noble- https://bit.ly/FearlessWomansGuide

Bookshop- https://bit.ly/FearlessWomanBookshop

Visit https://www.ameequiriconi.com/ for more articles about self-help, healing from trauma, leadership, business, and more!

Amee Quiriconi:

All right, everybody. Welcome back to today's episode, I'm going to start this with a true story. And I did share a bit about this in my 100th episode interview that I did with Lindsay, when we talked about her book last summer, who we were, who you were meant to be. That's not what we but her title is, who you were meant to be, which is a departure for anybody that's actually a Lindsey fan, because most of you know, Lindsay from her a series of books that she writes about adult children of emotionally immature parents. And so at the risk of this being a repeat for all you faithful listeners, and Lindsey fans out there, I'm just asking you to bear with me here for a minute. So first of all, back in 2017, I actually just clearly remember sitting on my couch after going through another relationship and another business starting to disappear, life was changing, I moved out my my partnership and relationship had ended. And I remember sitting on a couch and saying out loud to myself, I must just be cursed. And I flopped backwards on the couch. And I thought about all the times in my life up to that point that I had personally started something that was really cool. And amazing, I devoted myself to it, only to have another person sweep in, take it and leave me behind, not involved in the business anymore. Nothing financially out of it. And I just thought that my lot in life was that I was supposed to be the dreamer, and the person who came up with all these big ideas, but I was never intended to profit from any of them. And the evidence was clear, I'm sitting there, I'm broken. I'm in debt. So you know, what evidence do I have to tell me otherwise? Now, of course, that started me on this journey of saying, is that really true? Like, you know, am I really cursed? Like, does that really happen? And I asked myself the questions like, Well, why me like, I'm not a bad person. So why how would a person like me become cursed, you know, if there was some cosmic, you know, element going on behind it. And so that's started the self help journey that most of you are familiar with. Now, we're going to fast forward to January of 2020. Because within two months of me telling a friend that I was ready to write a business book, I had a bonafide book deal coming at me on about my 48th birthday. And this is literally been a dream of mine since forever, like since a little girl. I mean, I remember wanting to be a writer as early as five years old when I could actually start to write. Now, when I got the news, I screamed out loud in my office, I jumped up and down, I ran around in high fived, as many people as I could that night, I celebrated with mango Margarita is with my best friend. The reason is, is my publishers called mango publishing. So there's a reason for that. But then, within days, I mean, days, I was sick, and I was certain, I mean certain that I had cancer. And that the thought came to me that even if I finished the book, and it became an amazing bestseller, I was not going to live long enough to see any of that happen, I was not going to benefit from it again. And I felt that curse back on my shoulders. And I don't know why I started to become anxious, I became depressed. And then I started having all my specialists run all the bloodwork and because I do have an autoimmune disorder, so that and the drugs do have gnarly side effects. So this wasn't, you know, something that was out of range to consider. So they validated and they went ahead and did the test. But everything came back clear. And so then with the evidence that I was not, in fact dying of anything at that point, I knew that then there was something else I needed to look at and explore this from a different perspective. And then a funny thing happened. I began to remember my writing days back in middle school, and the multitude of stories and poems that I wrote. And the central figure in these stories was a young, successful girl who died at an early and tragic death, a girl to who was cursed and never got to see her dreams live to their complete fulfillment. And that's when I realized, and I looked at myself in the mirror and said, I had just cast myself in real life in this role that I had been writing about and ruminating on really, since I was, I was young. But I had thought at that time that it was just me who did weird stuff like this, because it was my stories and poems. So it must only be me. And tell I read Lindsay's book when she sent it to me last summer. And in it, she talks about this concept of the big fear and how common it actually is for people who have experienced trauma to really believe that if we ever become successful, we're going to pay for it dearly. And I think that that's one of the saddest things that many of us actually ever experience. So then this comes back to today, in which I'm reasonably certain still, that I'm not going to develop cancer all of a sudden, I still found a year later that in this leg of my journey of dreaming this big, audacious dream of mine, that other things do keep creeping in and intruding. And in my ears, I always come back to Lindsay's words, and I remind myself, hey, that's your big fear. You got this. And so I wanted Lindsay back on today to talk just about the big fear and how this can still be an undercurrent in our lives that pulls us back away from dreams that we really do want that we're really genuinely excited about, and how the big fear is not just a fear of loss or life threatening illness or someone's going to die in our life, like my story, but it it can actually be masked under the feelings of D motivation, procrastination or imposter syndrome. And why is this important? Well, I think it's obvious, especially when you think of people who are trying to figure out how to improve their lives personally and professionally, like an entrepreneurship, which is one of my other passions. And I'm always going to be the person who's going to ask us to consider for a moment, if underneath our challenges, there might be some unresolved or unseen traumas that could be the culprit behind our self sabotage. And so welcome back to the show. Lindsay.

Lindsay Gibson:

It's a pleasure to be here. Amee. Thank you for having me.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yeah, I just I mean, I can't say it enough. You again, I've told you this every time you're on, you're also one of the fan favorites. And like I was mentioning, before we started recording this episode, I just got an email from Australia from a listener in Australia. And so she's listening. Yes, I got your message. And I had a conversation with Lindsey about you. So you'll be hearing from me after this episode is done. But definitely everything that you talk about really seems to hit the like, you know, so many people. When they hear the episodes that we do, they read the books that you've written about emotionally immature parents, they just they're this this, this Aha, almost like when how everything makes so much sense now. And you know, and I think about, you know, the impact of this type of parent in our lives, and how common and prevalent it is for many people. You know, and how it you know, despite all of that, you know, it really seems unbelievable that when we have that type of an environment that we can literally grow up being afraid of getting what we want, like an inch, how is that even possible?

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah. Well, part of the Gosh, I you just said all so many thoughts. I hardly know where to start start. But But I do. I do want to say one thing from trauma research. That's really interesting. And this goes back to a book from a long time ago by I think her name is Dr. tared trr. But she wrote a book on prom, it was one of the early popular books on it. And she noted that survivors of trauma have this thing called the foreshortened future. Now, this is trauma, this is not my work. This is not, you know, the big fear. It's It is literally about a thing that happens with PTSD, that people who go through unresolved, go through trauma, and then it's unresolved, they have a view of the future, like they're not going to live very long, something terrible is going to happen. You know, just when you relax, that's when you're going to get hit with something again, and this foreshortened future, just just exactly what you're describing in your story, the foreshortened future convinces you that what happened in the past is going to be what happens next. So it's almost like you're turned around facing backwards, looking at your past. And thinking that you're turned around looking at your future, like this bad thing is coming. So I just want to throw that in there. Because that is such a, I think, a validating piece of research, to show that this is a human thing that we would have, you know, this feeling of doom or faded, notice that you know, something bad was going to happen. This is a human response to trauma in the past, okay. But it's also, success is like very deep stuff, as you know, from writing your book. And that's probably why you call it the fearless woman. Because in order to do your thing, you have to develop some fearlessness. But in order to get fearless when you've had some trauma, or you've not had an ideal background, like 99.9% of us, you have to work through it and know about it, you can't just suppress your way to health and success, you have to deal with it. So if you think about the big fear as something that occurs naturally, and is not something that is pathological, like, I'll tell a quick story about what happened with me with a big car. So I do my first book, and it's in the can, it's finished. It's at the publishers, right? And one night sitting on the couch with my husband, it. It hit me with this panic, and I was like, Oh my god, what am I doing? Like, am I crazy? Have I lost my mind? I can't believe I'm going to publish this book. This is nuts. Now, this was so irrational, right? Because it wasn't like I I had written an expose day on my family. It wasn't like I had done something that was going to get me sued. Nothing like that it was right from my subconscious. And my subconscious said, Hey, you are fully and freely expressing yourself, you are telling your truth and what you've learned, unapologetic light, full on. And to me from my background, that set off a part of me that said, Are you nuts? Do you know what's going to happen now, because I had had experiences with being with feeling like I was upsetting people if I was too outspoken, or you know, too full of myself or too big for my britches, or whatever you want to call it. So I didn't have positive associations with that kind of success. And now that the deed was done, so to speak, my poor little inner child went nuts with terror, about what this was going to do to my life. Now fortunately, my husband is a great guy, he called me down. You know, and, you know, within a couple of hours, I'm back in reality, but, but that is also a hallmark of what we call a flashback in PTSD, meaning that it's not like you remember Oh, yeah, I remember what I was made fun of, for expressing myself. It that's a conscious memory. But a flashback is when you get hit by the very same emotional experience that you had in the past. It's like it's happening right now. And so you had a flashback, I had a flashback, everybody can have a flashback, when they are doing something that is bigger than they ever thought they could manage. So I just want to make sure that it's out there that the big fear is normal. And it is something that is not only found in people who have some history of trauma in their past, but it is a part of the archetypal human experience. Like if, if you read any popular book or watch a movie, they're all about the hero's journey. That is, you know, the hero gets the call to go on the adventure.

Amee Quiriconi:

And it's like literally on my shelf next to me. Yes, exactly. That's Yeah. I love it.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, every every screenwriter knows that book. Okay, I think this is the this is the archetypal story of human endeavor. So they get the call, they start out on the quest, you know, it might be Jason going for the Golden Fleece, or you know, the movie character going for the girl. But right after they take up arms, so to speak, and start the quest, they're going to go battle the dragon, right? who shows up, but the threshold guardians, and the threshold guardians are these forces. And we know from our psychology here, that these are psychological forces. But in the story, they show up as forces that are stepping in to stop us from going on to fighting the dragon. And they're going to push us back and keep pushing us back until we learn to fight through them. And then a way, that's a really good thing, because the threshold guardians, keep us from going forward to battle the dragon before we're ready. So we have to get as you know, mythology, but we have to get a little roughed up at the outset, to see if you know, a we're serious about doing it, and be to give us some practice and going against adversity. So that is the oldest human story there is. And that's the big fear in the form of a threshold guardian. So that's why I say, you know, it can be a sign of your past trauma, but it is definitely a sign of you being human.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yeah, that and I love the way you you listen to theology, because, like, literally, that book is sitting there next to your book right here within like, and I have bookshelves all around me, but that's These are my primary books next to me there. You know, and I think what's interesting, you know, you sharing your story of like, once the book was actually out, like, you know, I didn't just freak out once, like, I have freaked out multiple times, you know, during the whole the whole process, you know, I had a, I have that fear still like I go through cycles of it, you know, oh my god, what if so, and so reads it and they, you know, and they, you know, I some of it, I've equated it back to having gone through abuse, right, like there's this and I did a talk and a about domestic abuse in a trauma informed perspective of healing. And you know, and one of the things that, you know, it said it very at the very beginning, I said, you know, it's very scary to talk about our experiences, because one of the things that always comes into my mind is the abuser getting upset. And then me being re abused again, because I am speaking my truth, and I am trying to share information. And, and I know that several points during while the book has been out, and it's been reviewed, and it's now published, I mean, it's like, I've gone through these cycles, I've had these panic attacks of, okay, but what of these people get really upset with it. And I mean, like, heart stopping fear, you know, you go going into like a, you know, you talk about panic attack like a freakout mode for a moment, and then having to reregulate myself back down of like, you know, talking myself off the cliff of, you know, you're not going to get sued. I mean, you know, that that's not really going to happen there. And so that's part of what this whole thing is, like, you know, the fear comes out in so many different ways. And it hits us at different points in time, you know, and I didn't expect any of it like, you know, here I write a book, literally the fearless Woman's Guide, and on telling you about how the last year has been fraught with danger, you know, in my mind's eye with all of that. It's so you see, it's a human experience. However, with the with the trauma effect of it, you know, what were some of the things that you've seen where trauma is related to why we have this fear, I know, in the book, you actually share some really good stories for people. So if they're reading your book, they get to hear other people's experiences. And so what have you seen were some of those ideas that getting this dream means we're going to pay for it? Right?

Lindsay Gibson:

Well, one thing to keep in mind is that if you came from a family, where you had emotionally immature parents, there's a particular family dynamic that goes on, which is that the parents are the most important people in the world. But that's, that's a basic assumption on the part of emotionally mature people is that everything should revolve around them. Because inside, they're about three or four years old. And so the family system dynamic is that everything is supposed to be revolving around the parent. And if you sort of say, well, gee, today, I'm going to revolve around my fantasies, and my writing and my expression, and my daydreams, and whatever, and I'm going to hang out there, that isn't really okay with a parent that needs to have your undivided respect and attention all the time in order to stabilize themselves and their own self esteem. So you're bucking, a fam, an authoritarian family system, when you turn your attention to your inner world. So that's, that's one thing that's important to keep in mind. That in that family with that kind of parent, it isn't an equal opportunity kind of family where everybody's gifts are celebrated, and children are supported and listened to and seen, it is mostly about a cycle at a psychological level, it is mostly about that parent getting their needs met. Okay? The other thing that can happen is the what we call in psychology, the one trial learning. And what one trial learning means is that if you want to train, you know, little mouse to avoid a part of the maze. And so he only learns to not go down that road and go down the other, you can train him by putting food down the one you want him to go down, he learns always to turn left for food. But if you want to do it quickly, you can just give him a really bad shock when he turns right. Okay, that's called one trial learning that mouse never forgets to not turn right. All right, no repetition required. Right. Yeah,

Amee Quiriconi:

I call that like putting your hand on a hot stove was.

Lindsay Gibson:

So so you know, good for our brains for being able to do that to us. So here's an example of kind of one trial learning. So there was this. There was this little boy who used to ride around with his dad to work sites. His father was in construction. And and I have permission for all these stories. By the way, they're not they're not confidential, but they are disguised. So he would ride around with his dad to the work sites and construction. And he just felt, you know, like so excited to be with his dad. He was dad called him his little helper and you know, and he was just flying high and this little five year old Right. So they one day they pull up to a construction site, and the men are out there working and his dad is his boss, and no boy leans out the window, and he says something cheeky to one of the men who's working. You know, it's, it's a meant to be playful and clever. But you know, it's kind of a, you wouldn't expect that a child would address an adult in that way. So he's looking at the car window, right, his dad is on the other side in the truck, and his dad reaches out and pops him on the head really hard. Like, you know, don't talk that way. And this kid, one trial learning is like, oh, when I get full of myself, and I feel this exuberance, of self expression coming up, and I got this great idea for this joke that I'm gonna share with this worker, like, don't do that. And he called it the dark hand of God, he his big fear was, was always associated with he said, You know, I just feel like if I, if I do this, if I go for this, you know, it's going to the dark end of God's gonna get me. And we got back to that story. And it was like, Wow, there really was a dark hand of God that got him. His one trial learning. So we, our bodies are made to teach us about what is dangerous. And it doesn't matter whether it's something that's going to eat us or something that's going to shock us or surprise us, doesn't matter. The brain just learns. Like, don't go there. Don't do that. It's like, Okay, got

Amee Quiriconi:

it.

Lindsay Gibson:

Don't do that. But, like, the stories that you and I were telling, so we go along, we're doing fine, we're competent, we're doing our thing, we're pursuing our dreams, we're, we're fine.

Amee Quiriconi:

We're going to therapy.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, go to therapy, whatever. And then you get, you get to this point where it's about to happen, you know, I'm about to make the cheeky remark to the workman, when I'm full of myself, that's what publishing book probably meant to me. And all of a sudden, it's like, boom, I'm going to get smacked. But this time, it's going to be a cosmic smack, you know, like, something really big and bad. Because that in adult life, that's what you know, a pop on the head would translate to, for an adult.

Amee Quiriconi:

Mm hmm. When I'm listening to you, and you're sharing, like stories of other people, and you're, you know, kind of explaining it, and I've said this before, on these other interviews, you know, I don't know how often people understand how much this physically affects me, like I, you know, I don't show it I, you know, sometimes I break down, but very rarely, but when you were talking about the, the, when you get full of yourself, there's a like a response to that, and my chest instantly tightened up, because that is making sense with then aligning with some of the experiences, you know, that I had, which was, as a student and an athlete publicly, where the I could get praises from the, from the world at large, either the school was giving me an award, or I was printed in the newspaper, or I was standing on a podium getting a, a, you know, an award, or metal, or whatever it was, that was all safe. Like, those were safe places for me and my achievements to be acknowledged. at home. I remember the words, you think you're hot shit, don't you? And when that comes from a caregiver, you know, in a month, that's at one time, like, that's that one trial, right there that, that that triggered me right there. Because that's the memory that then comes up when the book goes out there is I actually think about, like those words, it's still end up coming in my head, like, Who do you think you are? What makes you think you can do this? You know, and so then my reinforcement, I'm sharing this just for the sake of other people that may be kind of like trying to, you know, synthesize this in your own head. If I get the external validation, then I know I'm safe. But I'm still fearful of the individual person who's going to come at me and tell me that I have no right to do this or that I'm arrogant for doing this or thinking this or believing this or, you know, whatever it actually would it is. And so that's where I find myself like slowing down sometimes, like, I want to publish an article. And I'll spend weeks trying to write an article because I'm so concerned about writing it in a way that no one is going to tell me what right do I have, which is, you know, kind of a little bit why I feel proud for today with this guy that got onto my Facebook that I blocked that you and I talked about before the interview. He was like, What right? Do you have giving advice to people when you don't have a psychology degree? I mean, those voices are out there. But then they're even more traumatizing to somebody who has this big fear playing script, you know, in our heads all the time of what we've got to talk ourselves into. We do have a right you know, To say something or to beat something or to, you know, to be cheeky, if

Lindsay Gibson:

we want to, I guess, right? Absolutely. You know, I think another helpful way to think about working with the big fear is to think about it in terms of like, we all have these parts of our personality that the idea that our personality is this monolithic, one person thing is really not a useful way to conceptualize ourselves, it's much more accurate to say that we have these different parts of our personality and the end, they live in us like those little Russian nesting dolls. And sometimes the little one speaks, and then sometimes the bigger one speaks, but they're subsumed under our regular personality, and the big fear. And it's, um, it's attendant panic attacks and self sabotage and all the things that go along with that, that part of the personality is what Richard Schwartz and internal family systems theory calls the protector, or the manager, and that protector part of the personality exists. So that you'll never get popped in the head again, you'll never be asked about being hot shit, again, you'll never set yourself up for that kind of vulnerability again, right? Um, so if you realize that, that symptom of the big fear is coming from a part of the personality, that is really a child, okay. I mean, this this conclusion was formed in childhood wasn't informed, you know, after we had, you know, graduated from high school, or whatever, you know, it, it came when we were children. And that part of the personality just wants to keep us safe. And we don't understand its operating system. We just say, Oh, you know, I wish these fears would go away. They're so irrational, they're stupid, whatever. But you know, as we've just demonstrated, when you work it back, and you begin to understand where it comes from. It gives us some empathy and compassion for that protector part of us that, you know, yes, it causes trouble. Yes, it causes problems. Yes, it gives us panic attacks. Yes, it warns us away from the very thing we want. It's big. But it's trying to like a frightened child, it's trying to keep us safe. On the basis of what it knows, because it's frozen in time, it's whatever that age was, when the one trial learning occurred, or when the trauma occurred. That's all it knows it exists in a little vacuum. And sometimes what we have to do is we have to think about that protector part as an adapted child just doing the best it could with really difficult circumstances. And if we give it compassion, and say, Thank you, you know, thank you for trying to help us, thank you for trying to keep me away from ever experiencing that, again, way to go appreciate it. If we do that, then it's willing to listen to us when we begin to say, or negotiate with it. Listen, if you let me publish my book, and I do it carefully, and I don't say anything, you know, too extreme or inflammatory, whatever. And I'm careful about that. Would you be willing to let me take this next step on my path of growth, and we'll do an experiment, you know, I'll be careful. And, and you'll get to see if it really is safe or not, you know, and if it isn't safe, I'll come right back to you. Then after you do it after you publish the book, after you express yourself, whatever the feared thing was, and nothing bad happens, because most of the time that's true. You go back to the protector part. And you say, look, did you notice that nothing bad happened? We publish the book, we made a website, we became an entrepreneur, we started our business, did you notice that nothing bad has happened. And that's important to do. You know, a because it's friendly and compassionate. No, it's a good way to treat ourselves. But it also is so important to do that because that protector part does not live in present time. It's not tracking you to see that, oh, hey, that's amazing, nothing bad happened. It's not interested in learning, it's interested in one thing, and that's to protect you from that terrible thing that it fears. So you have to kind of go back in and point it out. So it can begin to learn because it's not interested in learning. And once you do that, like, you know, you say, look, we didn't get sued. Look, you know, you got another great response after you had this troll happen, you know, we begin to point out that kind of real world learning to the protector, it starts to shift and it starts to be willing to let us do more things that previously we would have found too scary,

Amee Quiriconi:

huh? Yeah, I actually, I wrote something similar to that several months ago, when I had one of my panic attacks and had to talk myself off of the cliff, and I reached out to resources, you know, for evidence and, and what I was what I made peace with, with that inner that inner protector. And I learned this from you. So I'm not taking credit for it was the, the fear of hurting somebody else's feelings, like I just, you know, my, my, who I am, is I just, I don't like hurting other people. And I don't know how I mean, I, you know, I don't have time to sit down and figure out all the times I actually hurt somebody. But obviously, I've been led to believe that I could, and, and, and was capable of doing it, or whatever it is, I don't know what it is. But it is the greatest fear of not wanting to hurt. And I think maybe it's probably, you know, again, this isn't a therapy session for me. But if I think about witnessing a mother struggling and being the hero child to try to solve, and cure their pains, and not wanting to see it, like I know that my or, you know, being around abuse, you know, physical abuse and stuff like that, maybe it all comes into there. But I knew that when one of the panic attacks happened, because I just didn't want anybody's feelings to be hurt. I then had a conversation with myself through words, I like typed out so that my head, my eyes could read back to me what I wanted to say to this inner child, which is I get it, I understand. And that's, that's important. So if I promise to you, this is the promise I made to my inner child, if I promise to you that I will take my time to be careful. And I will be thoughtful, and that my heart is in the right place to not hurt anybody. Even if we accidentally do it, will you trust me that my intention is to never do that. And I wrote that out for myself. And then I ended up publishing it as a medium article out there just to kind of put it out into the the atmosphere, you know, for in case I never, you know, I need to read it or somebody else needs to read it. But it helped a lot. To do that, to have that conversation. And I know one strategy, I shared this with an inner on an interview that I did for another show was I learned and decided to have that conversation every morning in the mirror by looking myself in the eyes. And speaking to that, that protector child and inside of me. And for a while it was very hard to look into my own eyes, it felt awkward and uncomfortable to stare back into my own face. And to tell myself, it's okay that you feel that way. I totally understand why you'd be afraid of this and why this seems really scary. But I got you, this is how we're going to do it. And if it does get a little frightening a little bit later. That's okay, too, you know, and it took days and days and days of having a one on one conversation with myself looking in the eyes not looking away, not thinking in my head as I walked around the house, but actually like in my own face, to get to that. And now it's become a part of my daily rituals to have this ongoing conversation with whatever's going to crop up today. And some days like this morning, I just looked at myself and I said, I love you, you're killing it. Good job. You know, I don't always just talk about hard stuff. But it's sometimes I have to remember like, I don't have a spouse. I don't you know, my kids are encouraging. But you know, my little person inside of me still needs a mom every day just like my kids do every day to let her know that someone loves her. You know, and just get on with the day and I feel like that has helped so much as I'm pushing down and out on this really big dream like literally my my childhood dream happening right now. Like that extra effort of talking back to that person and calming that person is like it is so important that you can't autopilot that or just forget it and assume that it all just takes care of itself on its own. It's active.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, that is the most beautiful summary of what I wish everybody would try to do. You know whether you do it with the writing, whether you do it with the mirror, but you you were being like you said you were being a good mom, a good mentor, a good a good dad, a good supporter to yourself in a very conscious and directed way. And when we do that we are actually changing our minds and our brains, you know to move off of that. fear based survival trauma brain and bringing an integration of our thinking brain with the scared part of our brain, which is, when you make those connections, things start to calm down, they become modulated. And I love your example of the mirror, I mean, gee, we could do a whole conversation on mirroring. But literally, there are mirror neurons, you know, in our minds, and, and we, in voluntarily will copy what we see with other people. And we get into this resonance. And that's one of the things that works really well in psychotherapy, because the client ends up mirroring the therapists compassion and interest in seeing them and all of that, that's all going in through the mirroring process. So the fact that you were literally mirroring yourself, that works just as well for the brain, as if someone else that you loved was telling you the same thing. The good part, though, is that you know, exactly what you need to hear. So you're always going to be dead on in the mirror.

Amee Quiriconi:

Right, right. Well, you know, this person that I was talking to, she said she had tried it, you know, herself, and she said, it was very hard to do. And I was like, Well, yeah, I mean, imagine whenever we sit down with somebody, and someone looks us right in the eye, you know, like on a date, and there's this intimacy, that's, that's starting to be shared through that idi contact and how we with other people find we can't hold, we can't hold gazes for very long, especially if there is this fear of connecting with somebody because of again, the big fear, whether it's personally or professionally, right, like, if we feel like there's, the shoe is gonna drop, if a connection is made, we look away how unsettling that is. And so it's, you know, to me, it was like, I was surprised at how hard it was to look myself in the eye and hold my gaze with myself. And then now it's, it's easier, but she felt and experienced the same thing too. And they feel like it's, it's because of the fact that it's like what with anybody that we're looking eye to eye, you know, and that it can be really hard if we're, if we have a some closure and some safety protection inside of us of not feeling safe connecting, you know, with other people at some level.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, one thing I will mention in there, so people don't feel too bad about their inability to do that is that we often look off when we're thinking, it's really hard to hold eye contact and think at the same time. Because we want to look off as a way of ordering our thoughts. There's, there's a whole thing in neuro linguistic programming, about being able to tell what people are thinking about or what they're that they, you know, imaging, are they thinking about something with words by where they move their eyes to. But the thing is, as you've probably noticed, with raising your kids, that when you know, in your heart, a truth that you want to convey to that child, you will look them in the eye and tell them, okay, and it's and you don't have that urge to look away, because you're not trying to think of something you already know in your heart what the message needs to be. And you can directly go in with them and do it like that. So when you were looking in the mirror, part of what was happening was that as your message to yourself got clear, and was coming from a deeper and deeper place inside you. It was easier to hold eye contact because you knew the truth that you wanted to convey. And then we get all of the peace and our eye contact follows that.

Amee Quiriconi:

That's awesome. Well, I I'm glad again over the course of time picking up a few really smart things to do from people like you. So. Um, so, you know, we talk about self sabotage that, you know, so we feel the feelings and maybe we don't connect it to fear. Right. Like, I think that that's sometimes the the challenge that the the big fear sometimes can be obvious, let me go back to this question. Because some of the big fear things that we experienced is like, we're going to die, someone else is going to die, you know, comets going to strike the earth, just random things. But our trauma doesn't have to be related to death for us to have those feelings or those fears. Right. The Why is the extreme like, why is the big fear the obvious big fear such an extreme? You know, like I said, like, I'm going to die of cancer, I'm cursed. I'm going to die. You know, why would the brain Poulos into something like that or, you know, go into that direction of taking that extreme measure because it's really trying that hard to stop us from something that it feels so strange that we want it and at the same time, have a brain working. And I know you talked about the protector there. But I'm just wondering, like, that seems such an extreme measure for us to think that, you know, someone's gonna die around us like instantly or we're going to be the one that perishes if we don't have death is our trauma, you know, or one of our traumas.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, yeah. It's most of us have not died before. Right. So I, I really love that question. Because it goes back to the idea that, in our subconscious mind, our subconscious mind is think about it the subconscious as being like a cartoonist that can only communicate in images, it doesn't use words, or very few words anyway. So if it wants to get something across to us, it will pick something from life or nature, or everyday life. And it'll use an image to convey meaning, like, people who have nightmares that they're walking down the street naked, okay, well, we understand that imagery as meaning the person feels exposed or embarrassed or ashamed of something or is fearful of that, okay. But for the subconscious brain, we don't have anything, literally that says, ashamed or exposed or vulnerable. That's a concept that belongs in our front part of our conscious brain. So all it can do is draw a cartoon of that concept. Okay? So when we're going through something like a major life transformation, or you are beginning to realize your dream, for instance, all the unconscious has to connote that is that the old way is dying, and the new way is beginning. All right. And so the symbolism in nature for transformation is death. Okay, so when you have dreams about dying, or fears about dying, or issues of life and death, you know, like, I'm running from a bear, and the bear is about to get me and I wake up and I'm in a sweat. Okay? Well, it's not that I'm afraid of a bear. Okay, there no bears in my neighborhood. But it's as if I was running from a bear, because I'm so afraid that this bad thing is going to happen. Okay. So the subconscious uses these extreme images. Because it's like a cartoonist, it has to pick an image that conveys the intensity of the feeling. And we do have to keep in mind that for a child, when a parent gets angry at them, or a parent puts them down, or a parent treats them in a way that says, you know, you're not worth anything. Or, you know, I don't want to listen to you just, you know, get out of my sight for the kid. That is one step away from annihilation.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yeah. And we forget this,

Lindsay Gibson:

we forget this as adults, because we think, Oh, well, you know, the kids will be rational, they know that mommy was just mad, and, you know, she's not going to, you know, get rid of us forever, she's not going to abandon me. But the child emotionally in that moment where the parent is literally withdrawing from them, or worse, even abusing them, all the child knows is that in that present moment, this might be it, you know, my parent might leave me or my parent might kill me. And we forget that that's how kids think, because they're back in that subconscious world to Okay, and they feel it. And we forget that that feeling of fear can be like we're facing annihilation. And we have to remember that so that we don't, you know, sort of talk to ourselves badly by by mocking the fear and saying, well, this is ridiculous. No, it's not ridiculous. It's actually what you felt as a little kid. So we have to keep in mind that the archetypal symbolism of transformation and major growth is death.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yeah, or

Lindsay Gibson:

threat to life.

Amee Quiriconi:

That's fascinating. I, you know, it makes a lot of makes a lot of sense. I'm glad I asked that question. Because, you know, I do like, you know, my PTSD stems from an abandonment fear and I mean, again, the memory that that you know, once I made peace with that and understood that, like what happened in everything that happens there after from that moment on, that's kind of where all the the tapestry started to really fill in for me in my life. And understanding everything there. And it was it was this risk of, of, you know, was being left and then living in an environment where the children were routinely sent away or left away, or I mean, you know, they ended in kids and getting rid of them off and on was a daily was a regular occurrence for me growing up, whether it was me my, you know, multitude of my brothers, whatever it was. And so for that to manifest itself, you know, and I, you know, and I know that, like, you know, kids abstract level of thinking is very different than the adults and I and I have talked with adults about that as well, like you, you have to not view your history from your viewpoint, because you have all the experience in the world and you have all the adult cognition that you have now, but you didn't have it then. And if it terrorized you then it terrorized you like, you know, that's, that's interesting that that's why the death routine keeps replaying itself back, because I know that after that experience, I then had nightmares for years, about death and dying over and over and over again, like I was traumatized by that moment. And it never got, you know, resolved or understood. And I had other issues and episodes, but it was always going to be about death. And that was where my fixation, like never left until, you know, many years later, is that I think about hypochondria, you know, I had those ups and downs of like, every time something happens, I was certain I was gonna die from something never as extreme as what happened with the book, but it wasn't, you know, like that big fear popped up many times in my life that, you know, oh my god, this is it. I'm never gonna live to see any of that. Man.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, and that, it's important to note that, you know, with the exception of some people with near death experiences, none of us have died yet. Okay, not yet. So we don't know what it's like to die, we none of us, you know, with the exception of those people have had that experience. So we don't really know what to be afraid of. But probably every one of us has had some kind of abandonment experience or some experience that terrorized us as a child, just because children are so little, and they're so vulnerable, and they're so Oh, gosh, it's um, they're they're just are so vulnerable to so many things. So they have had the experience of feeling like they were being separated from their caretaker. And that feeling we can remember and we can experience and that feels like the annihilation of the self. You know, it's like Hello, death. That's the closest approximation to that experience of death that we probably any of us probably ever have. But that sense of annihilation is absolutely, people will do all kinds of things not to feel that and you know, they will shrink their lives, they will shrink their dreams, they'll give up on their dreams, they'll avoid their dreams, because they don't want to feel that horrible feeling. And one of the things that sometimes we end up having to do in therapy, is we have to turn around and face that, that annihilation feeling. And it can be faced, it can be experienced, if you understand with your adult mind, that this is a childhood experience that you're going back to, and then it can become a feeling that we have inside us, instead of it being like the end of the world that were caught up in that feeling. So it's, um, but it's, it's important to realize that we most of us have had that kind of terror experience just by virtue of being a little children on this earth.

Amee Quiriconi:

Mm hmm. That's a I mean, and that's a great way of really kind of bringing the entire context of this conversation together. You know, of, of knowing that if we have that experience and have gone through something like that, how it could how it's manifesting in its way, from a from a positive place, right, it wants to protect us the big fear is the is the specter of protection. And like I said, I you know, I talked about making peace with our past, making peace with that part of ourselves that is the compassionate protector over you know, looking over ourselves and wanting us to just never experience that awfulness all over again and then how it will how it may come out without it having the direct feelings of death like I've had panic attacks, but it also may be what's underneath why we know we want to do something but we can't seem to get the energy to do it. We talk ourselves out of taking the next step we invalidate our abilities to do it like all those self sabotaging self limiting beliefs are the are the the kind of the mechanics of implementing the big fear And letting the big fear keep working at us. And I think that that to me, like in entrepreneurship and just in life that that's the connection I wanted to make for people here. Because we tend to beat ourselves up for, you know, you know, procrastinating or not feeling motivated. And then and I've been through that, that game back and forth of like, I want it bad enough, Well, apparently, you don't want it bad enough. Because if you did, you'd be trying harder, or you'd find the tool or, you know, whatever other things that we do. And I just want for a moment for people to sit and simmer with the idea of like, let's just get down a little bit deeper there. You know, let's talk about this as maybe this is at the at the heart of all of it first. And then once we go through that, then we can talk about what's going to work for us in order for us to, you know, to have that conversation of overcoming that fear on a day to day basis, or a weekly basis, or however often it actually, you know, takes for us. And your book is fantastic for that, in fact, I wanted to point out is, as we start to wrap up here, you know, you have an exercise in this chapter on the big fear called the attitude inventory, which is really a way to be able to scale yourself and how much the big fear actually plays out in your life. Right?

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, and yes, I think it's very useful. I wanted to mention, too, that those things that you brought up, like procrastination, or what's the

Amee Quiriconi:

motivation?

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah. avoiding these kinds of things that that we all are air to, that those are like garden variety, daily defenses, they keep us from experiencing the big fear. Okay, because if I'm avoiding writing, I'm not putting anything out there that I have to panic over. Okay. So those are defenses, but they serve to keep us from experiencing that breakthrough of the big fear. So that means a couple of things. It means that we should have compassion for ourselves for the procrastinating and whatever else we're doing, because it's based on an even deeper fear. Okay, so it's, again, trying to protect us. And also that when we get the big fear, we gotta be excited. Because the big fear means that you're that close. I love that. Thank

Amee Quiriconi:

you for saying that. Oh, yeah, I push through someplace where I'm terrified now.

Lindsay Gibson:

Yes, exactly. You push through your protective defenses, and you actually got something done, you actually created something in the world. And now there's the breakthrough of the big fear. But that can only happen when you've really done the thing that is so important to your own self actualization. So get excited, you know, when the big fear happens, because it's like the signature symptom of growth.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yeah, no, I love that that is perfect. So reframe right, like reframing and, you know, situation, but you're, you know, yeah, you're absolutely right. Like, if you're experienced, that means you've done something, right, you've really upset the scales and you've pushed on and you know, you are putting yourself out there, not the opposite of what we think, which is the warning to move back, it means keep pushing forward,

Lindsay Gibson:

you know, doesn't mean it does mean keep pushing forward, and it will get better. Because the more you push forward, the more you recognize what it is, the more you talk to yourself and write to yourself, the more that part calms down, so it does get better.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yeah. And I think that, you know, kind of is like a, you know, the statement here, you know, when we look at people that are successful, I'll err, quote that around there. Because how we define success is the multitude of ways whether it's financial freedom, you know, time families, not families, you know, whatever it actually is, you know, we feel like there are fewer people that are successful, because really, like you said, the human experiences is to not push past those things. And so it doesn't seem like it's attainable to all of us, I go back to my current belief, like, the cursed belief is the big fear. But getting over that means that you then do get to the other side, you know, like, on the other, you know, you cross that threshold, you know, you win that you fight the dragons, you cross the threshold, and, and that, it's, um, you know, it's commendable if you're starting to feel those feelings, because you're probably doing what a lot of people struggle with being able to do to begin with never getting them to the place of where they think they're going to die because they've done something good, you know? Absolutely. Awesome. Well, before we go, you have another book coming out. I This episode will be airing in the summer of 2021. But by September, your third book related to adult children of emotionally mature children is coming out you want to talk about that really quickly, so people know what to start pre ordering for.

Lindsay Gibson:

Fewer Yeah, this is the third book in the series on adult children of emotionally immature parents. And this one is called self care for adult children and will be available in September. And this one is a little bit of a departure from the other ones, because this is a series of their thought thought pieces, really, they are about how to take care of yourself emotionally, how to deal with difficult relationships, and then how to deal with adversity. But they're in the form of little thought pieces that you can, you know, read in two or three minutes. And so to me, they're sort of snacking. It's like eating popcorn, easy to read on the beach, easy to read before you go to bed with just a thought, to give you something to try to improve yourself care and to reorient yourself to the kind of life that you really want to make for yourself. So that's it's a compendium of Gosh, I think there are over 70 little articles, and those are organized in the way I just explained. But it was fun. They were fun to write over the past 20 years. And this is just bringing those all together in an organized way. Cool. Well, I'm

Amee Quiriconi:

sure that it'll be another success, just like the other books there. So that's, that's pretty exciting to have that back out. And it'll be on my bookshelf with all the other of the other ones that I have. Well, this has been fantastic. It always is. And so I really do appreciate that, you know, is there anything else that you want to talk about or send, you know, to send the listeners home with when it comes to, you know, the the big fear, you know, I highly recommend the book. So for everybody that is listening to this, and if you haven't got it already, then please do get it because it is because in that chapter Lindsay does go through a map of growth, you know, the process that takes, you know, in in shows, you know, how to push through those which I think are invaluable in personal development, as well as professional development. But before we wrap up is, you know, is there anything else that you'd want to add?

Lindsay Gibson:

Yeah, I just, I just want to reiterate that, that we all get the big fear. We all get overexcited we get we get worried we get. feeling threatened, we break down on the side of the road on the way to our dream, we burst into tears, we feel despair, you know, this is the human adventure, okay. But if you know where you're headed, and where you're going, and you there's a map of growth in my book that shows you the steps, and you're aware of where you are in the process, and you keep taking the next step, you will be able to get to the point where self actualization does not feel like a threat to anybody. It just feels like you. And that's what we want to work toward with our understanding of what the big fear is, and what it isn't. It is a warning system set up by a child part of us that is still scared. It is not a prediction of the future. Remember the the foreshortened future of trauma survivors, and we keep it in perspective, and we work with ourselves so that this does not have to stop us. Mm hmm.

Amee Quiriconi:

Yes, excellent. As much as ESP would be fascinating, no, we don't seem to have it. Well, thank you so much, again, for your time. I know, this is just I mean, I adore you. I've said that many, many times. And I always appreciate you taking all of this to be able to talk with me and for everybody else to that's actually listening to this. So you're such a treasure to everybody. And like I said, you know, you've brought in an enlightened view of our lives to so many people out there and help so many people. And so it's just it's always an honor to be able to have you here and to talk with you like this. So thank you so much, Lindsay.

Lindsay Gibson:

Oh, it's been my pleasure. Um, and also, I want to say that I am so thrilled to get to be on your program, because it's always it's always so easy. It's you have this ability to bring out the natural knowledge of the people that you're talking to. So when my husband asked me today, are you nervous about the interview is like, Oh, no, it's amazing. We're gonna have a great time. And that's true. Cool.

Amee Quiriconi:

Thank you.