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Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall for a real therapy session? The wait is over. In this series by Therapy Talks, licensed clinical therapist Joelle Rabow Maletis is joined by special guest Shelby Tessier. You all have VIP seats to sit in on Shelby’s therapy experience!
This is the 4th Episode in the series.
Check out the first three episodes here:
In the third episode we joined Shelby in understanding perfectionism and how it can lead to people pleasing habits that affect her relationship with food and her body. In episode 4 we dive deeper into people pleasing, and listen in as Joelle offers some techniques to combat Shelby's perfectionism.
We hope that by sharing Shelby's story, we can help others who are struggling with similar issues.
Joelle is a well-known author, keynote speaker, podcast host and psychotherapist. Joelle's expertise includes trauma, PTSD, eating disorders and military psychology. Her career highlights include being a guest speaker on authoring a Ted-Ed video on PTSD, ABC’s 60 Minutes: Beyond the Headlines, and several Outstanding Achievement Awards for Top Female Executive.
Joelle's passion is helping people find empowerment by discovering how to be their best (not perfect) successful self through authentic skills-based, self-discovery. As a psychotherapist, Joelle uses Solution Focused Therapy, Trauma Informed techniques like EMDR, Post Traumatic Growth, mindfulness, strategic inquiry as well as encouragement! Joelle's goal is to provide feedback and interaction that allows clients to grow through informed, healthy, and compassionate decisions.
Find out more about Joelle Maletis:
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Disclaimer: Therapy Talks does NOT provide medical services or professional counseling, and it is NOT a substitute for professional medical care.
[00:00:00] Even with our dog. I do it. I, I come home and I say to myself, okay, I have a boundary. I'm gonna come home and I'm going to eat something before I take the dog out. The dog's been home alone for 30 minutes. Okay. That's it. If I come home, dog's so excited to see me. What do we do? We go outside straight away.
[00:00:16] I don't even get to eat. And it's like, why can't I just, you know, do this for myself first and then we can take him out. I just wanna be like the best mom for him. Do you like that about yourself though? That you put people first and you care about people and, and you know, your, your dog, baby and right.
[00:00:37] Like, yeah. Do you actually, do you like that or do you not like that about yourself? No, I do like that. Okay. So is that something that you really wanna change? True. That's a very good point.
[00:01:00] Hi Shelby. How's it going? Good. How are you doing good. Thanks. Nice to see you this week. Nice to see you. Good. I wanted to check in with you about what was on your agenda to talk about today. I know we didn't get to some of the people pleasing stuff, and I think maybe setting boundaries that we had talked about, I think maybe in, in our first, first session, right?
[00:01:28] First, second session, we didn't get to that last week. So, um, I'm tracking if that's something that you wanted to talk about for today. Yeah. Yeah. I'm gonna talk about that today. And then also today I was just being a little bit frustrated or a little bit kind of like down, so maybe we can talk about that too.
[00:01:47] That sounds, that sounds great. Do you wanna just jump into where you're at right now? And we'll get to both of those things today. Yeah, let's do it. Um, so, uh, yeah, I was just feeling a little bit frustrated today. A little bit, like down on myself, I was, I'm a designer for work and I was making one of the graphics for the journal.
[00:02:07] And, um, I just like, it took me a little while to come up with a concept. And then I finally came up with a concept that I like. Um, but then I was having a hard time putting it, like my vision. Make making it happen. So I was just getting super frustrated and kind of getting down, like, again, kind of the talking self-talk about like, why can't I do this?
[00:02:28] Why can't I do this? And I kind of tried to take a step back and it took me a little while to figure it out. But I, I was kept saying to myself, you know, maybe you just haven't gotten it yet. Like you will get it. Um, soon. And literally after 10 minutes, I ended up getting it. So it's just, it's crazy to me that it's only like a 10 minute difference of me being inpatient to just waiting 10 minutes and then me figuring out the solution or it coming together.
[00:02:54] I think what I figured out this year is that I don't really do well when I don't see progress in myself. Um, so it could be design related sport related, anything. I just really get down to myself and have a hard time, like pushing forward if I'm not seeing any type of progress. Got it. Okay. And so when you say, like you noticed it lasted 10 minutes, do you feel like it was like a rollercoaster ride where you were like really frustrated and then not so frustrated and got really frustrated again?
[00:03:25] Or do you feel like you got really frustrated and then it sort of. Trended down toward you feeling better? No. Yeah, it was probably more like the roller coaster. It was kind of like, okay, I'm getting more and more frustrated, more and more frustrated. Okay. I need to take a break for this cuz this isn't I'm not doing so well.
[00:03:45] And then I took like, A few minutes. And then I came back and within 10 minutes I started to see progress. So then I started to feel better about it, but I was kind of getting down to myself like, oh, why can't you do this? Why can't you do this? You know, like, got it. So you, so do you feel like that's some of the perfectionist piece that was coming in.
[00:04:09] For you with, with, you know, you've used other examples of playing sports or, you know, wanting to get things right on the first, you know, the first try. So do you feel like it was perfectionism that was getting in your way? I feel like it's um, oh, I just had it. Um, oh, expectation. I feel like for some reason, I just expect it to always work out or I just expect that I should just always know what I'm doing.
[00:04:35] So I have to remind myself like, wait a sec, you don't know what you're doing, you know, all the time. And I asked my partner yesterday, I said, would you be able to do this without looking at it? And he goes, well, no, like I can't do that. And I, I thought to myself, oh, well, okay, well that makes sense that I can't do it either.
[00:04:50] You know, I've never done it before. So kind of putting into that per someone else's perspective. Mm-hmm . But yeah, I think it's just expectation whenever I have an expectation that I should be able to do something and I'm not able to do it. Like right now I get frustrated. Got it. Okay. So that should, or woulda, could a negative thinking.
[00:05:13] That's that internal monologue. Yeah. And then feeling like I'm not good enough. And not good enough. Okay. So we had talked about that should woulda coulda in the very beginning. And one of the suggestions, um, I had made was okay. Can you try and identify whose voice that is? Or what age do you feel like in those moments?
[00:05:37] So do you have sort of a sense of. Was it really present for you where you were like, okay, this is my current self. Or did you feel like you were a teenager maybe at school and not, not doing something? Well, not gonna lie. That that's one that I haven't really truly practiced, but , I can say right now, I feel like I, I have no idea whose voice it is because I mean, you know, it sounds like mine cuz it's in my own head.
[00:06:06] Right. So I, I'm not sure. Okay. So, I mean, it sounds like the, the thought stopping though, and that, that thought stopping and redirect works really well for you. You know, and so I think to, to kind of, if you were interested in trying to process it a little bit more and understand it more, then asking the why questions remember is not helpful in the moment, but it's definitely helpful if you're going to journal after and try and do some processing work.
[00:06:38] And so really kind of like how well did I feel in that moment? Like, did I feel like I was a kid where I'm just supposed to under, like, I'm supposed to know how to do this thing and I don't. And so I feel less than or incompetent. Right. Um, which, which may or may not resonate. So I appreciate your, like, you know, like, Hey, I didn't practice this skill.
[00:06:59] There's a lot of skills to practice. And so, you know, not, everyone's gonna you're you're gonna remember or will hit the mark. So. Okay. Okay, perfect. I was trying to tell myself though, remembering my value. Did we talk about this? About how I value learning? Mm-hmm so I'm like, okay. It's okay. You're learning, you know, you're at least, at least if anything, you're learning and you will make progress.
[00:07:23] Cuz I was listening to the YouTube live yesterday and Barb was talking about how you should say, um, you know, I'm not getting this dot da dot yet. So that's what I tried practicing today. I was like, you might, you're not getting your right now, but you will get it eventually, you know? Exactly. And so keeping that, that reframe for you that's um, I wanna say authentic right where it's like, okay.
[00:07:45] Instead of saying, oh, I've got it. It's gonna be good. We call that, you know, the practicing as if, right. Like as if you've got it, um, sometimes is really difficult so that I like that the way that Barb set that up for you. Right. And, and saying, okay, I'm not getting it now. I will get it. So be careful of, but anytime we say that word, but it means that we negate what we just said, you know?
[00:08:11] Oh, I'm sorry. But. Well then, are you, sorry? You're not sorry. Right, right. So right. So being really mindful of, and, and, and the semantics are important because that's what helps you move your emotional self. Right? The feeling part into the congruency with the thinking part. So I'm not getting it now and I will get it right.
[00:08:34] Like I'm not getting it now. And if I practice it, you know, or if I keep trying eventually I'll, I'll get there. Okay. Okay. I notice I, yeah, that that's helpful. Thank you. I notice I, um, my facial expressions, when I'm frustrated a lot, I'll immediately just like tense my eyebrows and like look so angry, you know, and I can feel it in my face.
[00:08:58] So I try to tell myself, like, whoa, like relax your, your brow, your eyebrows, relax your face. Cuz I've just like, hold so much tension there. Yeah. And so that progressive, um, what, you know what we say, progressive relaxation, just noticing, you know, where you are in your body, in those moments is super helpful.
[00:09:18] So yeah. You know, relax your eyebrows, smile. Right? You can kind of roll your shoulders, roll your head. I think we had talked about like shaking, you know, when, when you know like that, that I always joke about the Taylor, so song, but that concept, um, That helps us get that, that stuck energy moving. So all of those things that you're doing is really good.
[00:09:43] And the goal, remember isn't to never experience it, it's to say, okay, it took me 10 minutes to reset, which is actually a really short amount of time. So you get like 10 gold stars because that, that reset button can take hours or days for. For some people or depending on what the, the thing or the trigger is, it can take a long time.
[00:10:04] So your goal is just to reset quicker, right? So you're like, okay, cool. Took me 10 minutes. You know, I'm gonna try and do that. And reset a little bit faster, right? Getting up, walking away, change of scenery. So all those skills that we had talked about last week, right? Getting a drink of, of water, washing your face.
[00:10:24] Um, those, you know, distraction techniques are really helpful in these kinds of moments because it helps you push that reset button. Right. Without, without getting into that. Oh, you, this should've would've could, right? Oh, you shouldn't be frustrated. Oh, you should totally get this at your, it keeps you out of that thinking.
[00:10:45] Okay. Okay. Like, yeah. Um, yeah. So thank you for that. Um, then the other thing last week was, um, so I find I'm pretty good with the flow and I don't care that much what I, what I do for like activities. But, um, sometimes I do wanna decide, right. So I have a really hard time saying what I would like in the moment and being like, Hey, I would like to go do this instead of that.
[00:11:14] Or if I'm not feeling well, I'm. No, actually, I just need to take time for myself today and I need to relax. I have a hard time doing that. And an example of this was, um, me and my partner went on a trip last weekend and, um, we were trying to kind of plan out our day cuz it ended up raining. So it was change of plans.
[00:11:33] And I really wanted to go to the art museum and I know he's not a huge fan of that cuz I, I like doing artsy things and I like doing sport activity. So I like having both, but he's just more on the sports, which is fine, but I like doing both. Um, and I'm very variety based. So I like doing a lot of things throughout the day, not just one anyway.
[00:11:51] So, um, yeah, I said to him, well, maybe we can go to the indoor climbing gym and then we can go to the art museum. And he was a little bit like hesitant on that. I don't think he like knew how long we were gonna be in the museum. Maybe he thought it was gonna be like hours and hours and hours. So, I guess I could have reassured him that maybe it would only be like an hour or two, but anyway, um, so yeah, he was a little bit hesitant and I ended up saying, okay, whatever, let's just do whatever you want then.
[00:12:17] And I, I do that. I was gonna say, I always do that, but I know I'm not supposed to say always, but anyway, I often do that. I'll just be like, okay, whatever, I don't care. Like, whatever you want kind of is that like passive aggressive? It can be. I mean, you know, I think it's, I think. Yes, it can be past aggressive.
[00:12:37] However, having said that it can also be like that defense mechanism, right. Because remember for you, that comes back to that core belief where you feel like anything that is not performing well, like where, if you don't agree, if you don't go with the flow, right. If you're not kind of these qualities or characteristics that.
[00:13:02] Sort of put onto him or projected onto to him or the relationship. Right. Then it means you kind of go to this place of, okay, well then I'm, um, not worthy and he's gonna leave me. Right. And so you had talked about the climbing experience, right? And so I think a lot of it it's the same kind of mechanism.
[00:13:21] So it's like, well, if I wanna do something he doesn't wanna do. Then, and I don't change my mind or I'm not flexible about it then. Well, he'll just leave me. Yeah, no, actually. Yeah. That's exactly how I feel. Okay. Interesting. So it's that, it's that it's that same core belief, which is gonna come up. In a bunch of different scenarios.
[00:13:45] And so there's a couple different parts to this. So one is working with that core belief. Well, is that really true? I mean, if you said, you know, honey, it's really, you know, it's really important to me, so knows how I use I statements instead of you, that finger pointing, right. Is that you statement? So, you know, honey, it's really important to me that, um, I get to share something I love.
[00:14:08] I love with you and I'd really love. Go to the art museum. Can we make time to do that? Right? Which isn't defensive. Like that's not saying you never take me that, you know what I mean? Like where you're putting him on the defensive, you know, it's just saying, I, I would really like this, this is important to me.
[00:14:25] Can we please make time for that? The pro and it sounds so simple, right? Like, oh, just do this thing. And it all works out. The problem is, is it makes us feel vulnerable, right? And it also makes us, um, feel like that if he says, no, I don't want to go right. Then there's this level of. Of, um, rejection. Mm mm-hmm that?
[00:14:54] I don't know if that resonates for you or not. Oh yeah. Rejection's scary for sure. And not that he's ever rejected me, but, um, well, another thing was, he actually said, no, we can go. And I, and I was, I was happy that I was able to express this part cuz in the past I wouldn't have been able to. But I told him, like, I'm feeling anxious because even though you said like, we're gonna go to the museum because we're not doing what you wanna do, I'm having a really hard time letting go of that.
[00:15:23] Yeah. And he was like super reassuring and said, you know, no, I'm okay to do like what we both want today. And we can. We, we have the full day. Right. And I was still like, no, I'm having a hard time. We need to go do what you need, what like you wanna do. And he, and he was like, no, it's okay. Like take some deep breaths and we're, we're gonna do both, but I had such a hard time letting it go because I just wanted to please him.
[00:15:47] Yeah. So what, so the rejection piece you were afraid of. So what else do you think you were feeling in those moments where. You're like, I wanna go to the art museum and he is like me, I'm just, I'm making up a story. I'm sure that's not what he said, but I'm making a man. Okay. And they're like, nevermind.
[00:16:07] Forget it. Um, and so that's when you started to feel that discomfort, right? Huh? Okay. So then where did it go from there? Like, did you come up with sort of this narrative in your head? Yeah, well, I didn't want him to be bored and I didn't want him, like, I just wanted to please him and like, do what he wanted to do.
[00:16:29] And, um, I, yeah, and down the line, like you're saying, I think at the end full end of it, it was like, well, if I don't do what you wanna do, like you're gonna leave me, which is like, not true, but , that's my story in my head makes up. Right? Yeah. So the it's your, you know, it's your, your brain kind of lending.
[00:16:49] Voice and feeling right into, I mean, uh, voice and thought into what you're feeling is what I'm trying to say. So you're like feeling anxious and maybe a little bit rejected. Maybe some of that abandonment stuff is coming up. And so you lend sort of this thought right. Or, or story to make sense of how you feel.
[00:17:11] Oh, okay. So that's what it's trying to do. That's what my brain's trying to do is make sense of how it's feeling. So it just starts making up stories. Yeah. So that our brains love stories. Our brain loves story and it's, it's when we feel things that we don't have. Any specific, um, data point for, right?
[00:17:32] Like for example, if you said, okay, well, there was this one time we went to the museum and he, we got in the car and again, I'm making this story up and right, just for an example. Right. And we get into the car and he's like, I never ever wanna do that with you again, you would have a data point to say, well, now if I ask him, To go to the museum with me, he's never gonna wanna go because he had such a terrible time and there would be some truth around that.
[00:17:57] Right. But you don't actually have any data it's oh, interesting. He's not really into art. I know he is probably not super, you know, super excited to go. I really wanna go. So you're already starting off with this projection of the story. Mm, my brain's filling in the pieces. totally. So then he's like, yeah.
[00:18:21] Okay. And again, I'm just making something up. I don't know how he responded. Right. But, but again, you know, he's like, yeah. Okay. That's fine. You're like, oh, he wasn't super excited. Oh, he's not like, oh honey, of course I like he's. Right, right. Cause he's not, he's not responding in the way that makes sense to you.
[00:18:44] You. Oh, well, he's telling me he wants to go, but he really doesn't and he's gonna have a terrible time and then it's gonna be all my fault and then he is gonna leave me soon. Right. Yeah. Does that feel like that kind of makes sense or? Yeah, definitely. So I need to like make a better new story, right? Yeah.
[00:19:05] So it's so, so. um, we call it like, you can basically find the evidence right. Or test the story. And so it's like, you're like, Hey, I'd really like to go to the art museum. And he is like, yeah. Okay. Instead of being like, that sounds great, Shelby right. You know, he's like, yeah. Okay. and you get that hit of, oh, he doesn't wanna go, oh, this is going to be bad.
[00:19:31] Oh, right. Oh, forget it. Nevermind. You can check, check the evidence by saying, you know, I just use honey, cuz it's an easy word for me to access. Right. Whatever you, whatever his full name, whatever you call it. Right. Um, but you know, you know, honey, I heard, I heard you say yeah. And I don't know if that's what you, what you mean.
[00:19:58] Okay. You know, is it okay? Are you okay if we go for, you know, two or three hours, would that be acceptable? And if he's like, yes, then that then you really working on, okay. Take a deep breath and doing that thought stopping right. Stop. He said, yes. Right. Because it sounds like he would tell you no, if he didn't wanna go, it doesn't sound like he does stuff just to appease you.
[00:20:23] Right? Yeah. So if he's like, you know, Shelby, I'm really not at for today, then, you know, he'd give you a legitimate reason. Okay. Right. It sounds like you have good communication with each other. Yeah. So really just checking, like, okay. Well, I, I I'm feeling, I'm feeling uneasy with the answer. Is this true or not true?
[00:20:47] Okay. Okay. So asking for clarification, basically. Yeah. So I, so I can get, uh, more facts and not make them up in my mind. Exactly. Not fill in the, the, the blanks and, yeah. Okay. And, and using the ice statement. So notice how I keep, like a lot of times I will, I I'm I'm somatic or body based. Right. I feel everything.
[00:21:08] And so a lot of times. I put my hand on my, my heart or on my chest. It helps me kind of ground myself. And it's like, I'm feeling this way. I recognize that that may not be your experience. Right. So it, instead of, well, you sounded like you didn't sound like you were really excited to go. And so now that's making me feel like that now you're off to an argument, right?
[00:21:33] Correct. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Perfect. So using those I statements to really get control of this is what my reality is. And I'm checking in to see what your reality. Okay. Okay. Got it. Thank you. Yeah. I think another thing I have a hard time with too is just, um, like, like we communicate really well. Um, but anytime we're even like a little bit off for, for anything, like even a little discussion, I just get in.
[00:22:02] Like anxiety about it, cuz I need to just feel like perfect all the time, you know, with, with everything. And um, so one of the things I do too is I find, I have a hard time going to him physically when I'm like feeling this way, like say I really need a hug or something. I, I, I don't know how to ask for it.
[00:22:20] And I just kind of like run away and expect him to follow me. Like I'll just like go to the room and if he doesn't come see me within like five minutes, I come out. I'm like, why didn't you come see me? And he's like, oh, like I just thought you wanted some space. And I was like, no, like no, that's not what I wanted.
[00:22:37] so he's like, oh, why? Don't like, then when, when we're good, he's like, why don't you start coming to me more? And I was like, I don't know. I just feel like I can't, I have a hard time with like being physical when I'm upset. Mm-hmm but I want you to like chase me kind of when we're I'm upset. Yeah. You want him?
[00:22:53] Yeah. You want him to read your mind, right? yeah, basically. Yeah. So, so having the conversation when you're upset is really hard is what I hear you saying. Right. It's hard to ask him. So that might be a good, like, Hey, when you're, you know, out for a walk or, um, after a game or something, when you, you know, you're not at home and you have each other's undivided attention to say, you know, I really struggle with that.
[00:23:22] And what would be helpful is. You know, when you notice I'm disengaging, what I'd really like is for you to check on me and, and ask if I need a hug. I don't know how that feels to you. Okay. So you have to kind of fine tune the language that makes sense for you that, and so you have the conversation when you're not feeling triggered that way.
[00:23:45] He knows what to do. So you're just kind of giving him here, here's the script, right? Or here's, you know, here's the rules that would be helpful for me. So then he knows, he's like, oh, okay. Shelby has, is having a hard time. And she just, you know, left the room and went into the bedroom. I should probably go and check with her and see if she wants a hug or what she needs from me.
[00:24:04] Okay. Why, why? I wonder though why I have a hard time, like me going to him or asking what I need, you know, or me being like giving him a hug. Do you know what I mean? Like, I don't know why it's a great question. So a lot of that has to do with, with the trauma in, in your background and that that's a trauma response.
[00:24:28] And so remember your. Your whole, body's gonna start to shut, shut down and move into that fight flight freeze. And so the first thing you're gonna do is start to kind of wall yourself in to keep yourself safe. And even though it's not, like you said, you know, so much of it, isn't conscious logical or rational, right.
[00:24:48] And, and you know, you're not afraid of him. And so it, it's an automatic learned response. And so you're you do that when you find that you, you move into these places where you're triggered, you're gonna automatically respond the way that you used to. And so some of it is, is the more we're talking about it, the more conscious you're making the process, the easier it is to change the way you respond to.
[00:25:14] So, does that make sense? Yeah. Is that my flight? Is that what I'm doing in that moment? If I'm leaving the room, is that mm-hmm okay. Yeah, so it could be, it could be flight and it could be a little bit of, of the freeze response because when you say, okay, I'm starting to, like, I notice I'm starting to shut down.
[00:25:35] Right? Like, I, it's hard for me to articulate what I need or I'm afraid to articulate what I need. Um, That's that, that you're, you're, you're withdrawing or that flight. And then the freeze is you're getting completely stuck in it. And so when you're starting to spin in your thoughts, some of that is being stuck.
[00:25:55] And so, yeah, so both of those things are happening and, and that's the way that your, your mind, your body, your emotional self, your, you know, Is starting to protect itself. And so those are the pieces where that you and I have been working on of. I remember I talked about a dimmer switch, right? Where we wanna just start to bring it down a little bit, cuz you don't wanna get rid of those things.
[00:26:17] You just don't want them being, you know, on and, and hyper aware all the time. Right? So that's where the physical piece comes into play where, um, You don't necessarily wanna ask for that physical reassurance or hug, but you also don't wanna give it either. And so that's that protection mechanism that's happening.
[00:26:38] Oh, interesting. Like I'm, I'm scared to like, let him in my circle at that moment. Mm-hmm okay. Okay. Yeah, because, because you, your PA that's that data point we talked about, right? So your past data point is I'm not safe. Mmm. So when that's your past data point, even when you have people that are safe, where you actually want that comfort, or you want a hug, or you wanna give a hug, it's still going back to that original, those original data points from earlier, you know, your earlier experiences where you're like, I'm not safe.
[00:27:18] Got it. So part of what we're doing is we're trying to rewrite some of those data points. So you can say, okay, wait a minute. That's not true. I am safe. You know, I still may not wanna hug. Right. Not, but I, I, I am also safe, right. Or I actually would like a hug, even though I'm feeling vulnerable or, um, triggered or exposed or whatever emotion is coming up for you in those moments.
[00:27:48] Okay. Yeah, I like it. Thank you. yeah. Yeah. So those are those that that's, that's more of a, a trauma based response. And so remember when you're in it, you're using the thought stopping and the, how do I need to redirect and. What do I need to do next? And when you're not in that process, if you want to journal about it, those are those why questions of, of being able to do some journaling about, okay.
[00:28:21] What, what about the situation and why did I feel that way about it? Okay. Um, and so you could do some journaling around, around that without retraumatizing or retriggering yourself. Okay, that makes sense. So when you're in, when you're in the experience and you're starting to journal, there's that, that potential of, of having those feelings grow and, and sort of be retriggering when you're out of the experience and you're reflecting back, you have more control.
[00:28:51] And so the control gives you a safety mechanism where it doesn't throw you back into the experience. Does that make sense? Yeah. And I think often I'll, I'll be like, oh, I just wanna know why, like, why am I feeling this way right now? But then, because my emotions are so heightened, like you're saying it just kind of like makes them more heightened.
[00:29:09] So. And it's gonna keep that, that false story, that narrative, what, you know, what we would say, narrative, right. Going in your head, cuz you're looking for meaning. So you're just gonna gravitate to whatever makes sense. So you'll start filling in the blanks. Oh my God. I've done that. I like I've done that where if I have, so if I wake up in the morning and I have something in my mind, I'll I'll see it every.
[00:29:33] I'll be like, oh, this is proof of that. This is proof of that. Yep. That this, and then on a regular day where I didn't wake up like that, I wouldn't think anything of it. Yeah. And, and so that's, what's happening is you're trying to make, and, and it makes sense, right. That that's what the human brain does is we try to make meaning out of feelings and experiences and even nonverbal experiences like how we physically feel, we make meaning out of it.
[00:30:00] And so if we don't have any. Data to support it. We make, we, it's not like we make stuff up. I don't mean it that way, but we fill in the blanks to make meaning okay. Out of it. Yeah. So that's, so that's part of what's happening. So for you, the trick is to stop it from happening first and then make meaning out of it later.
[00:30:23] Okay. Okay, perfect. Yeah. Um, yeah, I feel like usually I have a, a ton of stuff to say , but because, um, I've seen you a few days ago, I feel like nothing major has happened. I'm happy. We got to talk about those two things. Yeah, no, this is, this is good. I know we had talked a little bit about, um, last week you were saying, you know, you wanted to kind of talk about the people pleasing.
[00:30:50] Um, and so I think there's a lot. There's a lot there. We sort of touched on it a little bit. Um, I think it's all interconnected. So if you can go back to those, if then statements, right. If he doesn't wanna go to the, the museum, then what does that mean? Say about me, right. And, and that may help you kind of get to.
[00:31:15] Where you're where you're kind of struggling at, at some of these points. When you say it's really hard for me to ask for what I want. And so start with little things. So start with, and, and I know this sounds so silly. Start with. A movie, a TV show dinner, like, are you one where it's like, what do you want for dinner?
[00:31:37] You're like, I don't care. yeah, literally. And, but, and with movies too, I'm so bad at picking movies. Literally I, yesterday I picked a movie and it was not good all the time. So now I'm just like, please, can you pick the movie? yeah, I am. I am that kind of person. Yeah. So start with the easier things, right.
[00:31:59] Um, You know where to, even if, if you like to go, um, out and, and get a tea or coffee on the weekend, right. Or, um, start with you pick the place, right? Just, just little things that, that start helping you with the comfort level of picking things. And then if it doesn't go, well, my guess is the two of you'll have a good laugh about it.
[00:32:24] Not necessarily a big argument. So I think what you're fearing is. We're gonna have an argument. He's gonna be upset. I'm going to disappoint him and then he'll leave me cuz remember it all goes back to this. If I do something. At that's wrong in any way because of the perfectionism he's gonna leave. So when, when he doesn't give you that response and he's like, that was a terrible movie show, but you're like, I know, I know I can never pick good ones.
[00:32:54] Right. It becomes more of this, this inside joke than, than it is like, oh, it's because I'm not perfect. okay. Okay. I, I actually think decision making in general, I have a very hard time with, and I was actually saying that we really need to make a decision making journal because I feel you would help me so much.
[00:33:13] I just, I, I have a really hard time if I, if I'm thinking about it and I, I contemplate it for so long, like this is with anything I'm so scared to make the wrong decision. Again, I'm gonna learn if I make the wrong one or the right one, probably more if I make the wrong one, but I'm so afraid of making the wrong decision.
[00:33:35] Yeah, no, I, I, I can, I can resonate so much. In fact, I, I think I was telling you, I have stickies all over my office and one of 'em is like this big one that I've had since grad school that says perfectly imper. Um, and it's just, you know, it it's sometimes that has to be my go-to. And so really working with that, that narrative for yourself of, um, I'm not learning if I'm not making mistakes.
[00:34:04] Right. And so the only way to learn and to grow as a human is, is to make mistakes. And so really, um, working with that. So I joke, and, and again, In therapy in grad school. And then now I do this with my clients. I say, I give myself three mistakes a day and I know that sounds so silly. I make way more than three mistakes a day, but I'm like, okay, I've got three.
[00:34:30] I can make three. And then, um, It kind of plays into my perfectionism a little bit and I almost give myself permission. It's like, okay, I can, I can still, you know, work on not being perfect. Um, even though I've made a couple of mistakes and so figuring out what that looks like for you and for me, the mantra is can I look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and said, okay, it doesn't matter how bad I screwed up today.
[00:34:57] I did my best. And if I did my best. Am I, what else can I do other than tomorrow's a new day and I'll try it again. And I can, I can go, I can hang my hat on that. Right? Like I can go to sleep with on, on that note. That's really different. If I look at myself in the mirror and it's like, eh, I really actually did not do my best for whatever reason.
[00:35:20] Like, all right, then what do I need to do tomorrow? Well, maybe I need to apologize or maybe I need to. Revisit this one thing maybe I need to ask for clarification, cuz I actually, and not perfect, but best. Okay. Right. Like did, did I, did I do my best and, and it's this good enough model? Not good enough. Who cares, but was it good enough?
[00:35:43] Like, I, I worked really hard. I tried really hard. I still didn't necessarily understand. Maybe I made some mistakes. Um, and am I proud of my effort? Okay. Okay. That's I like that because I find that I do like almost alwa well, often I'm try not to use always. I often will, um, try my best, you know, and like you're saying, I mean, what more can I do?
[00:36:09] And. I'm learning throughout the process. And I mean, I feel like it'd probably be pretty boring if it was always perfect. Right. And TA's been saying the school lately. He said, if it wasn't easy, it'd be hard. No, if it wasn't hard, it'd be easy. And like anyone would be able to do it. So it wouldn't feel fulfilling.
[00:36:30] Right. It's like more fulfilling because it's difficult or because you were challenged. Yeah. And then you'd be bored because you, you know, Meh, right. Um, I'm a big fan of going to, um, the, uh, whatever, whatever store sells, very inexpensive eyeliner pencils and getting a whole bunch of them and writing notes to yourself on your bathroom mirror, because you're Al like you look at your, in the mirror to brush your teeth and get ready.
[00:36:59] In the morning and you look at it at night, right? Yeah. And there's that subconscious or subliminal messaging. And so write some of these things to yourself. Like it's okay to make mistakes, perfectly imperfect, um, you know, try your best, not, not be perfect. Write, write some notes to yourself, uh, or lipstick or whatever, you know, on your bathroom mirror.
[00:37:22] Or your bedroom mirror and it, I know it sounds silly, but it helps because it's right there and you're like, oh, okay. Right. You know, there's the cue. I need to learn how to rewrite the behavior. Some of it is habitual, which you had talked about before in the beginning, you had set in one of our earlier sessions, you said, you know, I think I do things out of habit.
[00:37:42] Not because I actually believe it. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So part of this is you're rewriting the habit. Okay. Yeah. And, and see, you know, see if that transfers over to, um, situations with Tate. Right. You know what I mean? Like pick an, pick a place in your life where it's easier to implement making decisions and choices.
[00:38:10] And then see if you can translate that over into the relationship. Okay. Actually, one thing I just thought of with, uh, our dog, even with our dog, I do it. I, I come home and I say to myself, okay, I have a boundary. I'm gonna come home and I'm going to eat something before I take the dog out. The dog's been home alone for 30 minutes.
[00:38:29] Okay. That's it. If I come home, dog's so excited to see me. What do we do? We go outside straight away. I don't even get to eat. And it's like, why can't I just, you know, do this for myself first. And then we can take him out. I just wanna be like the best mom for him. You know what I mean? Yeah. So, I mean, so here's the thing is.
[00:38:51] do you like that about yourself though? That you put people first and you care about people and, and you know, your, your dog, baby, and aunt, right? Like, yeah. Do you actually, do you like that or do you not like that about yourself? No, I do like that. Okay. So is that something that you really wanna change?
[00:39:13] True. That's a very good point. So maybe it's just like, okay, I need to the night before have a couple snacks that I can just grab with me when I take, you know, take the dog out. Right? Yeah. Um, or a new habit. I give the dog a treat and I have a treat and then we go out well, that's a good one. I like that.
[00:39:37] okay. Wow. That's yeah. I don't know why that made me kind of emotional there. When you said that. Which part, the part where you said you like that, like yourself when you're like that. Yeah. Cause all the time you tell me how much you just, you know, you really have a hard time liking yourself. Yeah. But I lo and I like that.
[00:39:56] It's so weird cuz it's like, I, I love who I am and I love my life, but I always have that thing in the back of my mind where it's like, well, I could be better. Mm-hmm yeah. And the food thing remember for you, food is triggering as well. Right. And so, um, that's, that's part of this. So, you know, finding ways for you to have a different relationship with food is really important.
[00:40:23] So like I said, you know, dog gets a treat, you have a snack, and then you go out. So creating a new routine. Okay. Yeah. And I'm actually, I'm not feeling like crazy good today. And I I'm wondering, now that you've mentioned that is yesterday and today I ate quite a bit of snacks. Um, not the ones that make me feel the best.
[00:40:43] So I'm wondering if that's a little bit why my mood is lower today. Yeah. Pro could, could very well be. It's also, um, our frustration tolerance goes down as well with, you know, cuz all of those hormones. Happen in our gut. So we have a harder time dealing with, um, adversity and stress, right. When, um, we don't feel good.
[00:41:11] And so for you, we know that that's food related. Yeah. A lot of times. And I find when I'm feeling like low or frustrated, I get so irritable and like impatient. So I don't know if you have any tips on that, but today and yesterday, just everything was bugging me. Just like little noises, like people talking to me, I just was like, don't talk to me.
[00:41:33] I just wanna be alone. So what, yeah. So what makes you feel in those moments? What makes you feel better? Maybe not even emotionally better, but physically better or more comfortable in your body? Um, a nap. Okay. What else? Gimme the list. Um, doing something that I enjoy, um, like an activity or designing something or going for a walk, reading a book.
[00:42:08] Okay. Um, making like a good snack or dinner. Okay. Like I like cooking, um, yeah. Playing with the dog. Yeah. Well, like, sorry, when I said walk, I was me and the dog walking yeah, yeah. Um, or having, yeah. So, um, pick, pick one of those things. In those moments when you're like, okay, nothing's working, I'm super irritable.
[00:42:37] Right. I just like wanna be left alone. Um, distraction techniques and change of environment will help. Okay. But it's like, like everyone feels irritable sometimes. Right? Totally. Yeah. Okay. So, so just for, you know, noticing that, that. Maybe part of your perfection narrative is you're not supposed to ever be irritable, frustrated, or angry, right?
[00:43:05] Yeah. So, so is, is this a, um, some people, this is. Gender related. And so they'll say like good girls or good boys don't get angry. Um, I don't know if that's like an early childhood message for you as far as, um, feelings and emotions go that may not, not resonate. Um, I don't think so, but it's like, I don't know.
[00:43:31] I have a hard time remembering that far back. Um, but yeah, I don't, I don't, I don't think that was the case for me. OK. Um, , I don't know where it comes from. Yeah. So that sounds like, so maybe more of that perfectionism piece. Yeah. Well, it's just like, not super fun. I know to be around someone who's like irritated, you know, but trying to remind myself that it's like natural and normal and just in, in emotion, it doesn't have to be like a bad emotion.
[00:44:02] Um, and just maybe asking, Hey, like I just need some space today or. I just need an hour to do something fun. Yeah. Ex oh, yeah. And, um, that's what, you know, there's, there's a ton of, we've talked about this before ton of apps that have progressive relaxation or mindfulness meditation, even a two minute thing like that, where get up some yoga, some stretching, um, you know, getting some, some ice water just.
[00:44:34] Those little changes that are physical in nature, help kind of bring you back into your body in a way where you're not activated with the irritation. Okay. And so those little, those little tricks that we've talked about with the resetting, um, help, and, and then, you know, just maybe that's a day where you put your noise, canceling headphones on and you get in the zone and.
[00:45:00] And you've got an hour or two where you're just, you know, listening to your favorite P playlist podcast, you know, wave sounds, whatever it is. Right. And, and start starting to get yourself to relax a little bit. In, in the, and getting more into that working zone might help with some of the irritation. Okay.
[00:45:22] Like I also think it's hormonal for me. Could you notice it's like certain times of the month that I feel this way, you know, so I think that definitely has something to do with it. So I think it, maybe if I could, I, I wanna maybe start, I just thought of this tracking, you know, to see if it's like a common theme throughout the month.
[00:45:40] So then I can kind of prep myself a little bit better. Yeah. So they have, you can, you can create your own scale in your journal or even in, um, like a Google or Excel spreadsheet and just do, um, I think zero to 10 is too much, but just, you can either put little emoji icons or do zero to five, zero. Like I feel terrible.
[00:46:04] Five, I feel amazing. Or zero. Feel anxious, five, I feel anxious. And so you, you could track it yourself, but there's lots of apps, free apps that are, um, mood trackers. And so you can, and they're really good. So you can use any one of those. Um, there's also, um, I think they're designing one for men as well, but right now that there are some.
[00:46:32] Um, applications for women that will track mood and your cycle. And so you can kind of see a little bit how, how that fluctuates if that comes into play for you. Yeah, definitely. And then part of it is just knowing like, like looking at the calendar and you're like, oh, it's this day. And it's, I'm, I'm at this point in, you know, my hormonal response.
[00:46:56] So I know it's gonna be a, like, I just know I'm going to be more, more anxious. So I know I'm gonna be a little bit more on edge. And so maybe this is an extra good self care day. Right, right. Maybe I build in a little bit more self care on this day, cuz I, I know kind of, it's gonna be a rough day for me.
[00:47:15] Okay. Okay. Yeah, these are all, these are all good things. Yeah. I'm excited. Thank you. Yeah, you're welcome. I mean, and part of it is just your self-awareness and really being, you know, you, you've spent a lot of time in this last year, really working on developing your sense of self and your self awareness.
[00:47:39] Right. And so those are, those are all wins. Work on that reframe with the perfectionism, right? Is you're working toward your best self, not your perfect self. Okay. So you've spent a lot of time trying to fine tune some of these skills for, to create your best self. Okay. Sorry. I feel like my mood is so, so much lower today.
[00:48:03] I don't. Yeah. I just, I feel really like a little bit lower. I don't know why , you know, that that's, that's the thing about, about therapy, right? Is you just show up with wherever you're at that day and, and, you know, we meet you where you're at and talk about what's on your mind, even when you're like, eh, I don't have anything to talk about.
[00:48:23] I think we've been talking for almost an hour. Um, , you know, and so, so I, that, that's like, it's all part of the therapeutic process and I think it's all part of the, the growth process, um, and healing process, where sometimes we have a lot and we have a lot of energy and we wanna do the work and other times where like, we feel really great and we're like, everything's great.
[00:48:49] I have nothing to talk about. And other times it's just like, I feel. . And so, you know, I think this is a really good, um, way for you to articulate how you're feeling, which you like you did awesome. Or just now you're like, Hey, my mood is really low. I noticed that I'm having a harder time today. Like that's a really good way to assert yourself and say what your needs are.
[00:49:14] Okay. Okay. Thank you. you're welcome. And now I can take the next step and maybe take an hour to make something, some yummy food and maybe that'll help me reset. Perfect. Yeah, take, take, you know, the doggy for a walk or, um, yeah, whatever you need a shower, a run, um, all of the above an. You know, uh, I think I'm, I've been noticing, like when I, the days that I've been doing, um, more like physical activity, I find like I've been having more energy and I think it's like something I didn't wanna admit to myself because I, I'm not the type of person who likes like working out.
[00:49:53] I, I wouldn't go to the gym or anything. I, but I really enjoy like activities in sports. And I've noticed that it gives me more energy. Like even if I'm feeling tired and I end up going, I find, I, I feel more energetic afterwards. Um, obviously like I need a balance, cuz I think sometimes like all weekend I did stuff and then I was pretty tired yesterday.
[00:50:13] Um, but yeah, so maybe I need to go do something physical today. Even stretching might help. Yeah. I mean, think people have this misconception of like, if I'm not going at the, to the gym and not doing like these really hard workouts, it doesn't count anything. Moving your body. Yoga stretches, progressive relaxation, getting out and taking, taking the dog for an extra walk.
[00:50:36] Um, just. Again, putting your podcast on your favorite music and just going out for a walk, um, driving somewhere in the fresh air. I always joke and say, you know, even, you know, vacuuming and folding laundry, cuz it's all physical, like just moving your body counts. It doesn't have to be this like preconceived notion of exercising going to the gym.
[00:51:00] So if you notice that movement really is a good reset for you. You know, taking an extra long walk counts, you know, like I said, just, just getting out and moving your body, um, is super helpful and it, and it's so much easier for people to access than I've gotta try and get to the gym five days a week, which is great for some people and it's not reasonable or great for others, so.
[00:51:24] Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So exercise exercise is any physical movement. It's not going to the gym. Okay. Perfect. . Sounds good. Yeah. Thank you. You're welcome. Do you feel like we kind of got through, um, some of the things you wanted to, to talk about or just sort of recap and then address some of the things we didn't get to last week?
[00:51:49] Yeah, no, I feel like we've gotten through everything that I wanna talk about from the start. So that's all appreciate it. Of course. Good. Good. Well, you're doing really great work. Remember, um, therapy work is exhausting physically and emotionally it is. And preparing to come into therapy is physically and emotionally exhausting.
[00:52:11] And so that could be some of the lower mood where, um, it's hard work to do therapy. And so, you know, I always joke and say 10 gold stars, but 10 gold stars for showing up, even when you're like, eh, I don't know if I feel like it, or I dunno what to talk about. Like, That's so, so normal and it's so much part of the process and, um, just allowing that to be totally okay.
[00:52:37] And giving yourself credit for like doing it anyway is really important. So Bravo for that. And I look forward to talking with you next week. Thank you. Yeah. I never really seen it as like emotionally exhausting. So, because I always like look forward to it, but you're right. I guess some days you're just not feeling it and some days you are and that's okay.
[00:52:58] It AB absolutely is. Okay. Yeah, absolutely. And like I said, that that's part of the process. That's why we, you know, it's what we call process based and, and you're working through things and so, um, totally, totally normal. For, for, especially people watching who haven't, um, experienced therapy before, like totally normal experience.
[00:53:21] So, yeah. Great job, Shelby. Thank you. Thanks for all your help. Of course, my pleasure. And I'll see you next week. Okay. Thank you.