Amy Fiedler: Challenging Dysfunctional Mental Health Narratives and Getting Unstuck

Amy Fiedler


In this thought-provoking episode, Amy Fiedler, a renowned trauma support specialist and holistic life coach, shares her insights on the often complex interplay between mental health, societal narratives, and the influence of social media.

Amy dissects the impact of trauma, the pitfalls of self-labelling, and the emotional impact of being in a relationship with someone unwilling to change. She addresses the subtle (or not!) ways in which social media shapes our understanding of mental health issues and the risks of falling into the echo chambers of online communities.

This episode is more than just a discussion; it’s a journey through Amy’s transformative approach to mental wellness. She speaks candidly about her own experiences and the lessons learned, providing practical advice on how to navigate mental health challenges in today’s digitally-driven world.

Whether you’re grappling with mental health issues, interested in the broader societal impacts of digital narratives, or simply seeking a fresh perspective on self-growth and empowerment, this episode offers valuable insights and strategies to take back control of your narrative and embrace a healthier, more empowered self.

Tune in to embark on a journey towards understanding, healing, and growth.

Challenging mental health narratives

About the guest-

Amy Fiedler is a certified trauma professional, well versed in many holistic modalities, with 10+ years of professional experience and over 2000 clients + students. She specialises in providing individuals of all ages with integrative and sustainable mental and emotional support.

Amy’s work focuses on supporting, guiding + educating individuals to gain emotional + behavioural awareness + utilise healthy, supportive coping strategies to better their mental health, improve their relationships, regulate their nervous system, navigate life after trauma + enhance their quality of life!

Amy is also a trauma + abuse survivor with firsthand experience navigating post-traumatic growth which enhances her unique expertise in relational and emotional trauma healing.

Shownotes -

00:00:00 – Introduction

00:04:30 – Amy’s Journey

00:05:50 – How has doing this work changed Amy?

00:07:05 – Healthy vs unhealthy behaviour observed online

00:11:28 – Using social popularity to judge someone’s effectiveness

00:15:50 – Misperceptions around trauma

00:19:55 – Can you assess yourself for trauma?

00:22:00 – Social media, everyone’s echo chamber!

00:29:30 – Dangers of labels and breaking free from social narratives

00:34:50 – Brands built on personal suffering

00:40:10 – Using labels to excuse old behaviour patterns

00:42:30 – Self-accountability and personal growth

00:45:00 – Setting boundaries with yourself

00:50:30 – Dealing with people resistant to change

00:58:50 – What message would Amy eliminate vs promote on social media?

Resources + Guest Info

Krati: Thank you so much for doing this interview. I’ve been interacting with your content for, I think, a couple of years now and I’ve loved all of your, like, all the information you put out because I feel like you don’t mince words.

Something I feel is a real problem with people as they’re trying to build an audience. They don’t want to alienate anyone, so they often don’t say the things that need to be said. That is not a problem with your content. So I love that about your content and that’s why I’m so excited about this because if we need honesty around certain topics, mental health is definitely on the top of that list. So, so excited to have you here. Thank you so much for doing this interview.

Amy: My god, thank you for having me and for those kind words. I appreciate that so much.

Krati: Of course you’re amazing. And I think this episode is going to help my audience immensely.

I want to start, with this one question that I asked most of my guests, um, what brought you to this work and how it has changed your life?

Amy: Well, what brought me here was I struggled immensely when I was a kid and then into my teenage years with my own mental health. So, you know, I went to therapist after therapist and didn’t really have the most supportive home environment to be able to express my emotions. The type of therapy that I was going to wasn’t really super supportive either, so I ended up kind of exploring alternatives, solutions, alternative practitioners, and, and then I went into fashion and started working in fashion and realised that didn’t feel fulfilling for me. And when I really sat down to reflect on what I wanted to do with my life and what kind of career I wanted to have, something that was really Um, and I think that’s really important to me and that I valued highly was being able to help other people, especially help them in ways that I didn’t feel like I was getting help.

So that kind of landed me back into exploring different certifications and getting more schooling. And, you know, now I’m like 10 plus years into this, but it’s very personal for me.

Krati: of course. And how has doing this work changed you?

Amy: Oh man, that’s a really great question. I think, you know, what helps me through my own stuff is knowing that eventually it’s going to be able to extend out and help other people. So I think it’s changed me with respect to my self perception because it helps me stay motivated. It helps me stay grounded.

It helps me stay connected to growth because I know ultimately if I don’t give up and I keep going, it’s going to reach more people and then they’re going to have an easier time navigating the things that are ultimately, feeling like real big challenges for me, so it just it really kind of like lights the fire under my butt So to speak where a lot of people ask me How are you so motivated to keep growing and keep going and it’s really my work I don’t think if I was in this line of work, I would be so focused on personal growth and development

Krati: So, all of what you’re observing in the world right now, all of what you see on social media, there is like abundance of information available now. There is an abundance of resources. Do you think that all of that information is being used correctly? That mental health and how people are approaching it is happening in the right way?

What are, like, some of the healthiest behaviours that you’re observing right now? What are some of the most unhealthy behaviours you’re observing right now? Just, like, to give people a wake up call of sorts, you know?

Amy: Yeah, no, I love that. Um, I think, you know, first of all, I think, again, that’s another really great question that nobody has ever asked me before. But I think what’s really important to recognise is that Practitioners, therapists, coaches, you know, anyone who is really kind of supporting people through their own mental health, they’re humans too.

And if they are not actively growing in their own personal life, that does translate into their work. It doesn’t matter what qualifications they have. If there’s an MD after their name, you know, if they’re a licensed therapist of some sort or a psychotherapist. They’re still human, and their limitations will show through, and I think people don’t realise that.

So they blindly go into following people based off of a title or a label, and then they just take whatever is being given to them as the truth and the only way. And I think part of the problem on social media these days is a lot of people struggle with discernment. So they don’t have that understanding that everybody’s a human and regardless of their schooling or their qualification, myself included, if I was not actively willing to grow in my own life, those limitations would come out in the work that I’m doing. And if that practitioner or that therapist is not vocal about where those, those limitations are, right, like what their scope of work is, then what happens is they try to help people that they can’t really be helped, uh, be helping because it’s outside of their, you know, their area of expertise.

And a lot of people fall into that trap. So that’s something that’s really unhealthy that I see is that people struggle with the discernment. They blindly follow anyone who has like a title or a label or a very large following. You know, they look at the numbers. They look at those things to gauge this person’s good, this person’s not good, and those are not good gauges.

What is healthy is when you see people providing more nuance in the work, in the content that they’re providing on social media. So they’re not just using this like victim marketing tactic where it’s this like all or nothing type of mentality. You know, it’s. It’s, you have to do this or else this will happen, right?

This extreme way of teaching, that’s super unhealthy. When you have somebody who’s healthy and presenting the information in a very supportive manner, it’s always going to provide nuance. And as you’ve mentioned, that tends to translate in my work. I, I will get straight to the point. I will give it to you straight without.

Mincing my words, but I’m going to provide you context or a real life example so you understand that it’s not all this or all that. There is this gray area and that usually shows up in conversations about like boundary setting or you know, toxic relationships, narcissism, things like that. People immediately jump to, I don’t like how I’m being treated.

They must be bad. They must be this. Narcissistic person. There is middle ground here. You know, you have to have boundaries. You have to have communication. Like there’s so much more to it. So, I mean, I think that’s the best answer I can give to that question is, is that, you know, you need to, you need to look for the nuance , not that extreme eye-catching kind of information.

Krati: Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate that. That’s very helpful. But what do you think is the reason for all this, this addiction to social popularity for using that as a benchmark of judging people when you are actually the person that you are interacting with or the content that you’re interacting with? It doesn’t quite need for that to be a gauge, like for example, if I’m looking at a fashion stylist, I would be okay with, oh, this person has a million followers, they must know what they’re doing because it means a million people like how she looks, which would make sense in that context because she’s a fashion stylist, it has to appeal to people and But, uh, when it comes to anybody else, like most other fields, why is social popularity such a huge gauge?

Because I don’t think it has anything to do with the quality of their work. I think it has to do with how our minds work now.

Amy: We like a gauge.

Krati: Yeah.

Amy: it’s that simple, right? We lean on judgment very heavily as human beings, and I think we like to see a tangible, external gauge, uh, it’s just like you take it back to elementary school or high school when we get graded, right, on things. And it’s like, did we really need that? Did we really need to know I got an A or an A plus or a B minus? You know, did that really help me learn the information? No, it gauged where I was at in comparison to where you wanted me to be. In comparison to the entire class or a standard that somebody predetermined for me. And I think that’s what’s going on, is that we’ve just been conditioned over time to look at these external factors as a way to determine or judge, this person is smart, this person is not.

This person is popular, this person is not. When truthfully, as you’ve commented. The numbers really only matter in certain industries. And, you know, when it comes to like a business, sure, is it nice to have more eyes on your business and eyes on your content? Absolutely. But content creators or influencers, Those numbers are necessary for them to get brand deals in order to make money.

And so when you mix a business into the same environment as like content creators and influencers, we all function differently. We all really have different metrics that we operate by, but our audiences don’t look at that. They just look at, Oh, a lot of people like you. I guess I should like you too.

Cause there’s that whole fear of missing out.

Krati: So what worries me these days is like, we all have a certain approach to our mental health. Like my approach is very relaxed. I never catastrophise. I always approach things with a lot of humour and i’ve noticed that when I would recommend that approach to some of my clients, they wouldn’t appreciate it because people have found this love for catastrophising like I am traumatised, like that is such an accessible word for everyone, that it’s so easy to go there, but for someone like me, I would, I would be very, very careful with using, because, you know, words have such a deep impact on your self perception, on how you approach the world, so trauma is such a heavy word, and yet people are just throwing it around, like it’s, you know, no big deal, so words are so easy, like labels, people have, and in fact, I read in one of your posts, and I loved it, you said, Uh, proudly labelling yourself people pleaser, control freak.

I was like, so true, so true. I mean, there was this one extreme, there was a time when people would feel ashamed of saying something like I am struggling with my mental health because I would instantly create this image of them. And now people are way too comfortable with it. So I, I, I want to bring home the gravity of the labels that they’re using.

Number one, I want to start talk about trauma specifically and how it’s showing up, but what I want to bring it back to is like how social media is really interfering with the correct approach to mental health, but let’s start with the trauma. I hope I have not confused you with my questions.

Amy: No, no. You haven’t. I’m following along just fine. Um, so, so trauma, I mean, the interesting thing about trauma, I think, is that there’s so many misperceptions about what it is and, and how it’s defined. And I even have clients, and clearly I’m a trauma support specialist, I have clients that are very resistant to using that word.

When, when I use it in terms of like their upbringing or an event that occurred in their life based on what I’m hearing. And so we work around that. We go, okay, we’re not going to label it that. We will just address. What is underneath all of it, but trauma is not the actual event. And I think that’s what a lot of people seemingly confused as they think that, oh, trauma has to be like this big, big horrible event.

Right. And we think of things like war or, you know, like a shooting, like something really, really, really, really traumatic. But the truth is, is that trauma is your response. to the event that occurred. So if I struggle to cope, if it, if it distresses me to the degree that I cannot manage my emotions, regulate myself, feel severely unsafe, then I can be traumatized.

And that trauma could come from something as, as grandiose as a war or as, as small as a breakup in my personal life.

And that’s why trauma is so interesting, at least to me, I’m fascinated by it because you and I could go through the same exact event at the same exact time, and one of us could walk away feeling traumatized by it, and the other one could walk away having coped with it very effectively.

And it’s, and it really, that then. It trickles back to what are your coping tools, how, what was modeled to you growing up? What were you equipped with to be able to bounce back from conflict or adversity or certain situations? What tools were shown and taught to you? And a lot of us didn’t have that given to us or shown to us.

At a young age and we then learned how to adapt to those situations and sometimes those survival strategies that we adapted in those environments don’t translate out into COVID Adult like, you know, relationships or interactions or events. So that’s what trauma is on a very basic level is your reaction to the event and, and the event is usually distressful.

And if you struggle to cope with that event, you then walk away with trauma and trauma really doesn’t just impact your mind. So it’s not just this thing that you’re like, now I’m. screwed up up here and I’m going to think differently about everything, it impacts your nervous system. And therefore, you walk away and let’s say a week later, you encounter something that feels similar to that traumatic event.

You then get activated and feel like you’re reliving that event that just occurred. And so that’s where trauma gets a little tricky because you have trauma triggers that come out of those traumatic events that feel confusingly similar to the event itself. And so, in my line of work, that’s my expertise, is working with people long after that trauma occurred to navigate their growth post traumatically.

Krati: Okay. Is there a way for people to assess themselves for being traumatised, like for assess their responses for how healthy or unhealthy they are? Is there a way to do that?

Amy: I mean, that’s where it gets a little tricky, right? Because that’s like Googling a symptom.

Krati: sure. Of course.

Amy: And because everything kind of like It meshes together at a certain point, right? If I listed out symptoms or somebody on the internet listed out symptoms and said, if you check off five of these boxes, you probably have trauma.

You can do that for sure. I would say, if I’m talking to somebody on a very basic level, I would say, if you have a lot of heightened reaction. And you struggle to calm down, like you cannot cope, you cannot regulate, you need external support 24×7 to really calm you down no matter what it is. It’s very likely that your nervous system is dysregulated from a past traumatic event and we should probably take a look at that.

And that’s how simple I would keep it because The symptoms cross over in so many different directions, and it could be anything from like, we could talk about hypervigilance, we could talk about anxiety, and obviously we know anxiety could mean anything, but it also can feel like anxiety when your nervous system is activated and you’re in a fight or flight response.

Krati: yeah. I love that. I think there is like this general, because of social media and how it’s, it’s set up, it’s set up to sort of confirm what you already believe. That’s the algorithm, right? If you are following one kind of content, you’re going to get more of the same, which In fact, very dangerous, not something people are aware of.

And then there are, there is the fact that there are so many communities available now. So we find it very, it’s too easy to confirm your existing beliefs and not have them challenged as they should be, which is how growth happens. Like that’s the fundamental tenet. Um, but so, okay. We understand you gave us a good, good helpful definition of trauma.

We understand the how we may be missing the cues for it And I love that you brought up your coping strategies like it comes back to how you’re coping and how you’re responding which I love Now this is where I I feel like there’s this a disconnect here. We may assess Ourselves in a way where we identify.

Okay, I think I should talk to a therapist because I don’t think I’m doing so well in this area of of my life versus I am a highly sensitive person. All of this behavior is out from this point forward. And this is how now I must approach life. And then you diving into social media and finding confirmatory evidence.

So those are the two things that I worry about the most. And I see this a lot with my friends, with my clients. Um, and then there’s my approach and people like me who, who are very like chilled out and they’re like, okay, you know what, nothing’s that big a deal, everything is solvable and we’ll solve it as and when we encounter it.

Like, not blowing things out of proportion. Taking all of that on board, understanding that this is how people respond. Um, I would love to get your advice around self labeling. Like you said, you know, don’t Google your symptoms. You gotta talk to someone who actually knows what they’re doing. So, like self labeling.

How does trauma play into that? Because there are people who find a lot of comfort from these communities and almost don’t realise that there is a degree of manipulation there. Maybe they’re doing it to themselves and maybe the people who run these communities are doing it to them. I would love to get your comments on that.

Amy: Well, here’s the tricky part about all of that, and, and I think, I think it comes down to the fact that you have to recognise that people are going to do it regardless. It’s just like people are going to Google their symptoms regardless of how many doctors or, you know, professionals say, don’t do that.

You know? Even I do it sometimes because I’m like, I need a quick answer, right?

So, I think, I think there’s no real way, if I’m being really honest, I think there’s no real way to monitor that or, or educate people away from doing that because there’s always going to be a crowd that does that, right? But I think the people that need this and, and are open to, to recognizing like maybe that’s not super productive and maybe there’s a way in which you can kind of.

Self check and self assess and make the right decisions and not end up, you know, following the wrong person who’s really just projecting their own stuff onto their page, but masking it as helping you. Because they’re always going to exist too. So, the people that need to hear this, that are open to hearing this, what they need to recognize is that The discernment, I don’t think, comes necessarily directly from the information you’re getting.

It comes from the way the information is being communicated. And I know that sounds similar, but it’s different. The way you discern what you need to listen to and what you shouldn’t listen to and who you should follow and who you shouldn’t follow is… Does this resonate with me? And I know that can be tricky because, you know, someone could be in a mindset where everything just feels validating and reassuring and then they stay in that victim mindset.

But does this resonate with me? Do I like being spoken with this way? And are they providing me options and not just this dead set, like, it has to be this? Because I said so. And…

So when you, when I hear you say or ask the question about, or make the comment about, you know, there are communities online that like don’t have the best of intentions, right?

Like, and in my professional experience, a lot of those, and this is no shade in this direction, but a lot of them tend to be around that like abusive relationship, narcissistic type of relationship, like that community of people. I’ve had a lot of clients come to me after following accounts like that and start working with me and then say to me, I’m so grateful I started working with you because you gave me options.

And when I was following those, it was like, all I was hearing was my only option is. They’re a narcissist. I have to cut them out of my life.

And like you said, they’re in an echo chamber when they’re in that community or they’re following that hashtag, you know, they, that’s all they’re hearing. And then it’s that confirmation bias, right?

Like they go in the comments and there’s everybody and their brother going, yeah, that happened with my mom, that happened with my boyfriend, that happened with this person. And you’re getting that constant reassurance over and over and over and over. I think what we need to start doing is educating people on how to connect to their own values first and foremost, regardless of where they’re at with their mental health.

Because if you can connect to, this is what I believe I want, this is what I like to feel, this is how I perceive situations, this is how I like to be spoken with, this is the tone of voice. Like, a lot of people will say to me, You know, I have people that don’t like me that say, you know, I don’t like that you, um, talk slow.

I don’t know, something like that, right? And then I have people that are like, I love how somehow it’s always conveyed through when you speak, whether it’s on my podcast or in an interview, you always sound empathetic and you, you really sound like you genuinely care about what you’re talking about or who you’re talking about.

And that’s true, right? But they’re able to identify they like that because they’re connected to that value in themselves. They obviously value compassion, they value empathy. So I don’t know if I’m answering the question,

but ultimately I think the fix is not let’s monitor. Right? And, and kind of pluck out all of these people that are falling into these online traps where they’re in an echo chamber and it’s just over and over and over like self validating them.

I think the more we can talk about, Hey, let’s connect you to some foundational skills here. Like what do you actually value? Because I, when I was younger, ended up. with therapists that weren’t that great, weren’t that supportive. I’ve, you know, been misled by other practitioners before who really fed into my codependency at the time and things like that.

Like, I’ve gone the unhealthy route when it came to professionals as well. And that was not even from social media. That was like pulling out a, uh, Uh, phone book. Trying to find somebody to help me. So I think that’s what we need to do is provide more education on like foundational skills versus trying to monitor the online world because there’s always going to be people that pop up that are, you know, shouting their stuff that’s not really helpful.

Krati: Here’s the thing, people are very quick to diagnose mental health issues. They wouldn’t do that if they were having like neurological incidents, like if I’m blacking out or I am randomly falling to the ground, I would go to a neurosurgeon.

I wouldn’t just declare that, oh great, I’ve got a brain tumor now. So I wouldn’t do that, but people find it so easy to say things like, uh, yeah, she’s OCD. Oh yeah, she’s a total narcissist. Oh no, I have bipolar. I’m like, what? No, who are you? And you know, anytime I would see advice like that pop up on my feed or in a conversation, I would be like, okay, did you come up with this yourself?

Did somebody tell you? Where is this coming from? I’m so wary of like anyone diagnosing themselves. But talk to me about how absolute a label has to be like, if you do see yourself as an empath or you do see, like, I, I was told I’m a highly sensitive person and that resonated with me so much because it made sense, the, the, um, sensory sensitivity that I had and all of that, it was so helpful, but then you start running with that label and you start letting that label shape your life for you.

When I stopped doing that because it was hurting me was it was getting in the way of my productivity. I was able to create a very different life looking at that life. You would not think I’m a honey sensitive person. I do have sensitivity to so many things, but I don’t play into that. So how absolute our labels, any label, even if one is assigned by a professional to you.

Amy: That’s a subjective question, to be honest with you, because the truth is, is it depends on what you believe when it comes to mental health. And I’m someone who’s obviously, I’m not a licensed therapist. My qualifications are in trauma support and holistic life  coaching. I’m more of an alternative kind of girl, so I stay away from labels.

The line in the sand here is that the label is helpful to the degree that it validates how you’re feeling. But if you’re going to identify as the label or as I have recently posted that you commented on, uh, if you’re going to identify too much with your pain and you’re going to proudly boast, well, I’m a people pleaser or I’m an empath or I’m a control freak or whatever it is.

Now, you’re doing yourself a disservice because what you’re doing is you are keeping yourself stuck in the behavior pattern. This is my belief system, in the behavior pattern that you adapted in an environment that was not healthy, but you needed that behavior to get your needs met. Now, mainstream mental health professionals or conventional therapists, as I like to say, would look at labels very differently, right?

And they kind of go by their diagnostic books and, and things like that. And I don’t poo poo that, like I, that works for certain people, but my way also works for certain people. So I think it comes down to number one, what you believe. But number two, if. Either way you, you go at a certain point, like the label is not your identity.

You’re keeping yourself sick if you’re going to walk, it goes the same for physical health. You know, if you’re going to walk around and say, like, and this is where when I say I’m speaking to sometimes survivors of trauma, right? Or survivors of abuse. So I’m using a label to identify.

I have to also discern how often I use that label because I don’t need people who are like, I’m a trauma survivor, I’m a trauma survivor. Okay, well now we’re living in our trauma all over again. We get it. You survived the trauma, moved past it, and now we’re trying. To heal right and grow so I I I think that it’s only helpful when it’s validating Because as you said it make it makes how you’re feeling make sense. Right? It puts a label to it.

But when people start to weaponize the language or, you know, misuse, like, the therapy talk, which is, like, a lot of people online these days, like, tend to throw it around so very easily and not actually have the knowledge as to what they’re even talking about. It becomes problematic.

Krati: yeah. And I think that it’s like the industries today, even like almost every industry is built around what you’ve suffered. Brands are built around it. Uh, I get podcast requests, uh, with people asking me to talk about my story, my story, my story, my story over and I’m like, stop, just stop, because at some point, repeating that over and over again.

Like depression is not that big a deal, but when you tell, I mean, it is a big deal. Sorry. I said that I can’t believe I said that but in the sense that I know so many people who’ve had depression and they’ve, they’ve done great things while they were depressed. And they, some of them were getting help, some of them were not even getting help.

Eventually they, you know, because life, sometimes this doesn’t allow that. You have to be very aware of the fact that there are people who come from all walks of life. And sometimes it’s just not an option for you to even stop and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. So that’s a reality that a lot of people forget.

And, you know, when I was asked to keep repeating that story. That story started to feel heavier than it did as I was living through it. Like, it didn’t feel that heavy while I was living through that period of my life. It started to, like, impact me. I’m like, I’m more than this, these few years of my life.

Amy: No, I agree. I honestly though, I agree and I’m on the same page there because the truth is, is that like I will turn down podcast interviews that when they express what they want to bring me on to talk about, when they just say, I just want Amy to tell her story.

Nope. Mm mm. No. Like, I have so many more interesting things to talk about than retelling this.

I put it in a book. You could go buy the book. Like, I, I’ve talked about it enough. It doesn’t need to be talked about again. And I, and I think, but that’s a sign of healing, right, is that I don’t need to relive this all the time. I’ve said it. Once, twice, three times, whatever it is. And now I’m on to better things and more interesting things and I’m not living in the past.

I’m trying to move forward and live in the present and grow. And when you have that mindset, you’re not living as a victim. And I think that’s what you’re noticing and that’s what you’re pointing out is that there are a lot of people, and I, and I mentioned it earlier. When you subscribe or you fall for this like victim marketing, which is every industry we all work off of, we all do, but there’s this slight and, and I, I’ve been taking this like marketing class for myself so I can kind of like up my own skillset here, but they talk about this and they say there’s this very clear line between victim marketing and marketing where.

You’re helping people to self qualify, right? So right now, like I, I’m, I’ve been talking about a course that I have out and to help people self qualify, I’m talking about the issue that they might be struggling with. So I’m defining it, I’m explaining it. How will it feel? I put a label on it, but that’s where it ends.

The goal is to move them through it, right? So here’s the information, self identify, self qualify, so you know that this actually is going to support you. But when you’re a victim and you’re looking into or falling for victim marketing, What happens is they’re not feeding you empowerment. They’re not giving you a growth strategy.

You know, they’re giving you Hey, like let’s wallow in your misery together Let’s all join hands and talk about how Suffer like how much we’ve suffered and how horrible it is and then we’re gonna just stay there. There’s no Actual plan to move through it. That’s not You know, something that I like to, to read or be around, but a lot of people do because why?

It’s validating.

Krati: Yeah. Also, I think, like, there is… Even though all of this work is dedicated to moving away from suffering, there is a general love for suffering that everyone has. Like this, some, some big ass CEO who’s got like a string of achievements to his credit suddenly goes on an interview and now he’s talking about his childhood.

Like before, like till a few years ago, I feel like this wasn’t, this would not have happened. Like CEOs used to be so private about their lives. Uh, or at least there was this general, like, category of people. Not everyone’s talking about it. Like, suddenly they’re talking about their childhood, all of the…

And, of course, there’s going to be struggle. You are, if you’re a CEO of a 45 year company, even if you never slept on the street, you have struggled to get there. You couldn’t possibly have made it to that particular mountaintop. Just, you know, strolled to that destination, just happily parked there, but suddenly now this person’s work and this person is now legit.

Because of the suffering. Like, this is so strange. Why are people doing this? And, and, I think that’s also one of the reasons why if you have a difficult breakup or if you have a difficult partner, they’re a narcissist. You’re now dealing with a freaking narcissist. Look at all your suffering. And if you have, like, had a, an, a car crash and if you haven’t immediately found it comfortable enough to get in a car, now you are traumatized and you may never get into a car now.

It’s like, relax, like that is usually my approach which gets me into trouble because people are like, you’re not understanding the gravity of the situation. I’m like, you’re not understanding the gravity of the labels you’re using. Come on.

Amy: Yeah, I mean, the labels do get out of hand, I think, for a lot of people. And like I said, there is this like fine line between it being beneficial to use the label and then it falling into the category of like, this is not productive. This is not helpful. It’s not even validating anymore. Now you’re using it to explain.

Excuse yourself. And I think that also is the problem that you’re probably seeing is that people lean on the label to excuse themselves from not growing. To excuse themselves from staying stuck and, and I witness it all the time, not just professionally, but privately in my life. Like I’ll talk to people and I’ll hear them go, well.

I read online that I have X, Y, and Z and I’m like, Oh yeah, tell me more. And then they’re like, well, that’s why I do. And it’s like, okay, that label is helpful in identifying that that’s why you do what you do. Just like knowing you’re a highly sensitive person is helpful in knowing, Oh, that’s why I feel this way.

And that’s why I function this way. But beyond that, it’s really not helpful. It’s the same with the, I have this towards attachment theory. A lot of people suddenly got on the bandwagon of being like, I’m an anxious avoidant.

You know, and you’re just like, chill. Okay.

Like, okay, you’re just explaining again behavior patterns and we’ve just come up with an extra label to put on that.

So let’s deconstruct it because I find that to be way more helpful than just labeling myself. Disorganized, you know, I have a disorganized attachment style. What does that get me? It gets me to go down the rabbit hole of reading 500 books about disorganized attachment style. It’s like We could have this conversation about astrology as well.

You know, I’m a Scorpio. So now I, you know, let me use that to excuse this, this, this, this, this, right? And then let me go and find a hundred memes on Instagram that I can relate to and feel validated by. It’s not, It’s just keeping me in a validated state. It’s not helping me actually grow or improve anything.

Krati: Yeah, and this is where I would love to talk about self accountability Because I think that that is a perfect antidote to me at least it has been in my life where you’re like, okay Let’s make room for the pain that I’m feeling but also I don’t want to stay in this place. It’s so unpleasant here. So what can you, what advice can you share around self accountability boundaries with self?

Amy: Yeah. People don’t like it.

Krati: Yeah, I know that.

Amy: Yeah, people, people push back a lot.  I mean, a lot of my, as you know, a lot of my, if not all, my content, all of my posts have that factor

Krati: That’s why I love you.

Amy: It’s really, really necessary to achieve growth and when you refuse to take that accountability, you know, and regardless, I, and I’m speaking as somebody who has gone through a lot, you know, I’ve been in bad relationships that were abusive.

I’ve, I’ve been there before, but I’ve gone through that because of. What I was, you know, familiarised with from a young age and the behavior patterns that I adapt, all of that stuff got me to that point. And so even though that’s not my fault, that’s still my responsibility. And people hate that. They hate it.

They go, yeah, but it wasn’t my fault. I know, but now it’s your responsibility. Like, you know, it wasn’t your fault you caught a cold or you got the flu, you know, when you were a kid and went to school. Um, is it, is it that other person’s responsibility to heal you though and take you to the doctor? Or is it your own?

Cause it’s your body, like it’s your responsibility and they just don’t want that. And and so they’re very resistant and then they don’t grow and then they become the person that you want to call a narcissist because they deflect and project and really get difficult and push back on you. But the truth is, is that you cannot grow.

Unless you have that piece of the puzzle.

Krati: Yeah, that’s so true. That’s so true. How can we set better boundaries? Because I feel like initially my thought was this is, this is helping people because there is this like abundance of information on social media, but now it’s like you’ve attached yourself to perhaps a community, you’ve become part of this forum.

Where everyone’s talking about all of these issues and like for example where depression comes in anytime somebody says I am in depression There is this general shift in how they’re treated where they’re like coddled and they’re you know They’re fragile now when in fact, you know, you you can be depressed, but there is all of this resilience within you that you can tap into But I think this is what people struggle with.

How do you set boundaries with yourself? How do you? Because, as you said, like validation is important. It’s important to validate what you’re feeling. But can those two go hand in hand where you’re validating, but at the same time, you’re demanding of yourself to, to be disciplined, to show up, to create like productive results in life.

Amy: Yeah, I mean they can. They can coexist, but you have to want them to coexist. And I think to, to, to answer the question like how do you get somebody to want them is a very difficult

thing because the person just has to have that openness and willingness. So in other words, and I’ve said this a million times over, they have to be sick

of their own shit. They have to. They have to be tired of their own suffering. They have to, you know, like right now I’m like pregnant, right? And so there are behaviors that I notice that I have done or tolerated of myself. And then I got pregnant and the more pregnant I got, the less tolerant I got because the more exhausted I got.

And I was like, Oh, this is actually like good. This is like helping me because, because I probably wouldn’t have gotten here. Like, I just had a high tolerance level for certain things based on what I’ve been through, but now I’m physically exhausted and I cannot do it anymore to myself. And I’m like, growth, this is good.

I’ll learn from this. But a lot of people don’t, A, have those eyes on themselves, right? So they don’t slow down. They don’t self reflect. They make no space to do that. It’s absurd to me as somebody who is constantly running it through a filter of self reflection. Like every conversation, like I’ll get off this podcast interview and I, it will run through that filter of self reflection.

But there are people that don’t do that and they don’t do that because They are more comfortable living as a victim. They’re more comfortable not taking accountability. They’re resistant to it. That’s the only modeling they’ve had from their caregivers. And so they just don’t feel a need. They feel they’re owed something.

You ever, you ever met people that are like, well, I’ve been through so much, like it’s just, it’s everybody else’s fault and they owe me.

At the end of the day, they have to get tired of their own bullshit. And this is where this line of work, you have to have a level of patience that far exceeds the average person. And you have to just internally know the gauge of when. To wait for that person to get to that point who’s working with you and when to push them a little and nudge them in that direction.

And if somebody asked me to teach that to them, I’d be like, can’t, I don’t know. It’s from experience, you, you just, you feel it out and you know this person is clearly resistant based on what they’re saying and doing and they are not ready, so I’m just gonna. Hang tight here, repeat myself a dozen times until they get to that.

And I have a lot of that with clients sometimes and I never can say, leave him or leave her, that, then you’re doing what I’m telling you to do and you’re not doing it based on your own decision. And then, you know, at a certain point, they’ve experienced enough where they have that aha moment.

And that could be a month, that could be a week, that could be six months, that could be two years. That’s not up to me. That’s up to them and how tolerant they are of their own stuff and other people’s stuff. And once they get to that point where they’re intolerant of it, then they will take that accountability.

And then they will take that next step to grow. Yeah.

Krati: yeah, I get it, I get it. One of the things that I usually recommend people do is, like, run an assessment on where they were five years. back and where they’re now. If there’s nothing’s changed, then you got to be concerned about that.

Because that’s one of the reasons why rock bottoms are such awesome things, because then it’s just, you’ve got nowhere else to go. Now you have to sit with it, sit in it, and then, you know, choose how you’re gonna move forward.

Amy: That’s very logical of you. That’s a very pragmatic approach. That, hey, let’s, let’s look at the last five years of your life. Did it budge? No? Okay, maybe change something.

Krati: I’m not a very socially popular person. I’ll just say that now.

But if someone is in a relationship with someone who’s a lot of entitlement, someone who is very like comfortable with their own bullshits, what advice would you give them? Because I, I, this is like, I have such ongoing concern for people like that because that is not an easy relationship to navigate and sometimes that relationship is with a blood relative, like with your sibling or with a parent.

You can’t exactly. Like, I’m from India, so you can’t exactly leave them. Here, I think, in India, saying that is very valid. You can’t leave them. So, if you see someone, like, repeating the same behaviour over and over again, how would you, if you want to have a conversation with them, where you want to wake them up to this bullshit pattern they’re repeating, to, you know, the victim, like, this victim narrative they’ve got on a loop.

How would you talk to them? Would you talk to them?

Amy: I always talk to them, um, but I will bring it to their attention probably one time and see how they respond to it. And usually somebody who is kind of open to growth and kind of open to hearing that will take a second and go, huh, let me think about that. Or they might react to you and then they might return to you later and appreciate you for pointing it out to them.

But somebody who’s resistant to growth, somebody who doesn’t want those blind spots, so to speak, pointed out to them, is going to attack back, is going to reject what you’ve pointed out. Um, probably blame you for it. So there’s going to be a level of deflection, projection, attack, blame coming in your direction because now you’re the enemy, right?

Based on where they’re at, you pointed out a flaw, you pointed out a weak spot, it probably triggered them to some degree and now they have to push back because they feel vulnerable. They feel seen and there’s no openness. So, and they have to self protect, and they have to self preserve, and that’s what presents in those ways that people then label all the things that we hate them labeling, right?

Like, oh, he’s a narcissist because, why? Because he’s got a wound, he’s got a vulnerability, he’s got a weak spot. He’s resistant to. That’s not to undermine. I have dated people that are clinically diagnosed as a narcissist, so I’m not, I’m not lacking experience or knowledge navigating a relationship with them.

But the truth is, is that at the root of all of their behavior patterns is somebody who is deeply hurt. from some point in their life and really, really committed to protecting that pain and not moving through it. And when they show up that way, however they show up in their resistance, if I’ve pointed it out once and I get resistance, I go, okay, that’s on you.

I’m going to adjust my expectations of you or my communication with you. Maybe I’m going to discern the topics we talk about from now on or how I spend my time with you or I’m going to limit my time with you. But that’s the gray area that everybody skips. They immediately go, they won’t grow on out. They won’t grow. I, I guess I got to block them. I guess I got to end it. I guess. That’s very extreme and reactive to somebody who is resisting growth. The truth is, is there’s a million in betweens before you get to the point, typically, of cutting someone off.

Krati: Yeah, yeah, not in India they won’t. In India they just, oh man, I’ve met families, I’ve spoken to mothers in, in my capacity as a coach, in my capacity as a friend, and they’re just, oh god, they’ve been living it for so long, and now I have to ask you, bringing it like full circle, um, can that be traumatising, being in a relationship like that?

Amy: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. I think also, like, at a certain point, like, you can be in relationship to anyone even if they’re extremely difficult. But at a certain point, you’re going to start to feel resentment or anger for what you’re putting up with. And I’m sure you’ve probably encountered a lot of that in India, is that.

You know, I, I have clients from all different walks of life, all over the world, different cultures, different backgrounds, and you know, they share similar things with me about their culture and what is expected of them and how things operate. And I say to them the same thing every time. You’re still an individual with a choice as to how you function in that environment.

And if you choose to function alongside the cultural norms and what is expected of you, because you have to, because maybe you live under the same roof, you don’t have the means to go elsewhere, whatever it is. There are ways to function in that environment that might seem like it’s a very unhealthy environment.

There are ways to function in a way where you can self preserve and self protect and still be healthy or as healthy as you can get given that environment. Because at the end of the day, we can’t, we can’t neglect the fact that the environment plays a big role in our mental health.

Krati: that’s so true. Yeah. And to, and speaking to the person that’s resisting change, could they be, uh, like, reliving certain traumas? Could that ever be the reasons for why there is such a wall of resistance?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you, again, remove all the labels and you just look at the behaviour, somebody who’s really resistant, probably, and I’m thinking I have people in my own personal life that I’m thinking of as I talk about this, you know, they have unresolved trauma or abuse from a very young age, that they have functioned.

You know, in spite of, they’ve functioned and people have been tolerant of, and they’ve gotten so far in their life, and usually I see this with a lot of older people, like older generations, people in their 60s, 70s, 80s. are stuck in these cycles and I’ll be talking to a client who’s like their child, like their adult child who’s in like their 30s or 40s and they go, why is my mom this way?

Or why is my dad this way? This is so unhealthy. I, I, how do I have a relationship with them? And I go, you can’t expect them at this point to change because for them to change. They’re going to have to digest the fact that the minute they get honest with themselves and say, okay, yeah, I need to do something different, they’ve just opened up decades of unresolved stuff that they have pushed aside to function in this unhealthy way.

So now they’re going to have to move through all of those emotions. from decades ago, and that can be so overwhelming it can shut them down to the idea completely. And that’s sad, but true.

Krati: Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that so much. Because I, I think it gives me more tolerance for when I’m dealing with Because yeah, I think we need that. I love that we’ve issued a warning about social media, self labeling, and we’ve talked about trauma, and we’ve talked about the victim narrative that we may be spinning for our own benefit.

I know I don’t have much time with you, so let me now ask you this one question. If you somehow had, um, You were, you know, running all of social media and you could eliminate any kind of content. What would be one piece of advice, mental health advice that you would wipe off of internet and one that you would promote so it shows up on everyone’s feed?

Amy: Ooh, that’s a big question. What would I wipe off of social media? I would, I mean, the narcissist one really gets to me. The, it’s just the, it’s the mislabeling. It’s the assumption that everyone who upsets you, everyone who’s a little difficult falls under that label. So I would probably wipe that one out completely because I see it far too often.

People cutting off relationships with good people because they did one thing. that rubbed them the wrong way or, or triggered them and, and they don’t realize how common triggers are in, in relationships. Like you’re going to get triggered by the people you’re in relationship with. It’s how you manage what comes up for you that determines the health of the relationship.

So yeah, I would wipe that one off completely, but what one would I keep? Like what one would

Krati: That you would promote to the extent where it shows up on everyone’s feed, at least for like a little while.

Amy: I would promote teaching, I mean, I don’t, I’m kind of like expanding on your thing here, but, but I would, I would promote teaching like fundamentals instead of focusing so heavily on diagnosing and labeling. So, I would teach instead of You might have anxiety or you might be depressed or you might have OCD.

I would teach people some core foundational skills that they probably didn’t get from a young age. You know, anything from connecting to yourself and, and your own voice and feeling into your own emotions and being able to self validate and self advocate versus. Here! Let’s just educate you on all of these labels so you can pick one and put yourself in that box and then Walk around and self identify as it and then find your tribe of people who all identify as people pleasers And now you’ve just got a big group of friends that are a bunch of people pleasers and you’re all unhealthy together Like that’s just not helping anybody.

So yeah, I would I would really focus heavily on teaching those those key foundational stuff skills, the boundary setting, the communication, like educating people that conflict is necessary in relationships, but there is a difference between healthy conflict and unhealthy conflict. And again, it comes down to the two individuals who are having the conflict and how they’re moving through it.

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