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MMP168: A Convo with Jennifer Friedman, Physician & Therapist, on Women’s Health & other Hot Topics!

By December 28, 2021November 8th, 2023Highlight, Mastermind Parenting Podcast

In this episode, Jenny and I unpacked so much – you guys are going to absolutely love her as much as I do!

We discussed women’s health and tapping into our knowing, career shifts, finding the right fit therapist, gaslighting, boundaries, as well as seeing our own blindspots through group coaching and therapy and even more.

Jennifer Friedman is a Physician, Counselor, Writer, and Teacher. She has studied and taught different forms of healing and possesses a unique understanding of the mind-body connection. Her extensive educational and experiential learning along with her deep appreciation for Spirituality and Energy Healing bring her unique ability to speak to a myriad of topics in the area of healing and mental health.

She has a private practice, Jennifer Friedman Wellness, PLLC, where she runs Women’s Workshops and Therapeutic Groups, offers specialized Teaching Programs, and sees clients for Wellness Consultation and Counseling.

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Learn more information about Jennifer Friedman or her offerings.

Connect with Jennifer on Instagram: @jenniferfriedmanwellness

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My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 68. Hi guys. I have a great, great podcast for you guys today. I sat down with an old friend of mine. Her name is Jennifer Friedman, and she’s a physician and a therapist. And we talked about so many things you guys are going when I listen back, I didn’t even after the conversation, like it was one of those where I was just so like into her and she was so into me.

Like, I didn’t even know what we talked about. So when I listened back, which I rarely listened back to these things, I have someone else listen back to them just because when I talk so much, I’m sort of like over hearing myself, like I need a little break for myself. So I don’t really listen back to these things, but I did listen back to this conversation. And after I listened back to it, I was texting her and I was like, oh my God, this conversation so good. So good. And I took some key takeaways from her, but I just thought the conversation was so good. So some of the things we talked about is we talked about women’s health and tapping into our inner knowing.

(1m 27s):
So Jenny worked as a gynecologist for 20 years, and then she recently has had a career shift and she became a therapist. So now she’s working as a therapist. And, and so we talked about just like, you know, some of the things that she saw and like, I was just, I learned things from her. She talked about finding the right fit therapist. We talked about gaslighting. We really break down gaslighting if you’ve been hearing that term a lot, but you’re like, what exactly does that mean? I find that a lot of people don’t really know what it means. And then when it’s broken down and explained to you in a way that you can hear it quite often, we’re like, holy crap.

(2m 7s):
I think I was gas lit my whole life. I know I was so talking about gaslighting. We talk about boundaries. I tell a fun story about boundaries. And when, in, like, who taught me what boundaries actually mean and how, like I had no clue. I mean, I had no clue. I no clue what that term meant. We talk about how we can often see, this is one of the key takeaways for me from this conversation that Jenny, I love the way she points out, how you can be in your blind spot. And so often, you know, like there’s something about you that you just, it’s not even on your radar, it’s not even in your awareness.

(2m 50s):
And since all change begins with awareness, like, we’re obviously not going to change this thing about us because we’re not even aware of it. So it’s like in your blind spot, you can’t see it, but it’s something. But then all of a sudden, when you hear someone else talk about something that resonates and it resonates Lynn, all of a sudden you can see this thing that you never could see before. Anyway, I love the way she broke it down. So, yeah. So anyway, so I can’t wait for you guys to listen to this conversation. It’s so good. And just to tell you a little bit more about Jenny, her name is Jennifer Friedman officially. She’s a physician, a counselor writer, and a teacher.

(3m 31s):
She has studied and taught different forms of healing and possesses a unique understanding of the mind, body connection. That the cool thing about Jenny, let me just tell you guys like sh she’s she is trained for 20 years, worked in the field as a traditional Western medicine practitioner. She was a gynecologist. And now she’s like, yeah. And Hmm, I’m starting to like learn about spirituality and practice some things in my own life. I mean, can you imagine all I could think when I was talking to her is I, I sort of want you to be a doctor because I want a doctor like you anyway.

(4m 14s):
Okay. So I’m Her extensive educational and experiential learning. Along with her deep appreciation for Spirituality and Energy Healing, bring her unique ability to speak to a myriad of topics in the area of healing and mental health. That’s what she, you guys, that’s what she embodied in this conversation. She’s a private practice. Jennifer Friedman Wellness, where she runs Women S Workshops and Therapeutic Groups offers specialized Teaching Programs and sees clients for Wellness, Consultation, and Counseling. For more information, you can find her and we’ll put this in the show notes, Jennifer Friedman, Wellness dot com. And you can also find her on Instagram at Jennifer Friedman Wellness. So you guys enjoy this conversation and Jenny lives in Chicago, but she does a lot of, She has a lot of offerings that are virtual, kind of one of the silver linings of COVID is that I think now it’s catching on that.

(5m 5s):
Like you can learn from people and, and, and receive facilitation from people. They don’t even live in your city. Like it really opens us up to, I think be a little bit pickier in terms of who the right fit therapist is for us, because it’s like, the world is right here. You know, we can, you know, we don’t have to be in person. Look, it’s nice sometimes to be in person and you don’t have to be in person. So enjoy this episode. So full disclosure I have not had, have we had a conversation since college? No, I don’t think so. I don’t either.

(5m 44s):
So we have not had a conversation in multiple decades. And Jenny Friedman is someone that I knew in college and loved. You loved, loved, loved you. You were the grade ahead of me and I’m in a sea of sorority newness. You were like a little sense of normalcy for me. I, there was just something in my nervous system whenever you were around. Well, we took one random road trip together and that, you know, those random road trips or bond. Do you remember that random road trip? No. Where’d we go, it was like, it was like, it was to south Padre and, and it was like, it was like a, I mean, seriously, I think it was like a 48 hour vendor.

(6m 38s):
It was, but it was one of those experiences that like afterwards forevermore, whenever I saw you, there was just a sense of normalcy and my nervous system would relax. And I was just like, I think without even realizing it consciously, I was like, oh, I’m not alone. Here is somebody else that I just, I don’t know. I just felt like you were like me, even though we were apart. And I look, we may, I mean, I made wonderful friends in that sorority. You did too, but I just felt the whole time, like I was just not in the right situation for me. Like, you know, like there was just an inner knowing this is not my authentic self.

(7m 20s):
Like this doesn’t feel right. Something about this, this doesn’t feel right. Yeah. In, in the minutes leading up to this conversation, I was thinking about you. And I was thinking about just your essence back in college and I’ll state back to you. I of course adored you in college. And I was thinking about, about one aspect of you, which I think is what you’re, what you’re kind of getting at, which is that you, people were really drawn to you. People are really drawn to you. Yes. And you were, you were hilariously funny, but you, people were drawn to you.

(8m 2s):
And I think I wondered if the work that you’re doing now, it made me wonder a little bit, you know, you are a person who I think people follow people want to be in your circle in your atmosphere if you will. And I wonder if it has been a lot of learning for you on how to stay grounded when there’s a lot of attention around you. And so what, what made me happy to hear is that I, it sounds like I was maybe a person who you could feel grounded with back in the day. I love that. Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent. I mean, I don’t have a ton of vivid memories because I think now, now that you’re a therapist which we’ll get into, I think I was the dissociate.

(8m 53s):
Like I literally have blocked such giant chunks of my life and they come, it comes back to me. It’s interesting when like random memories come back to me, things come back to me and my dreams. I know it was a defense mechanism, but I really, sometimes I think back on those days and because I’ve had to do so much work in my adult life to sort of just feel better in my body, even when I didn’t know what you were going to say, like when you’re like people, I was like, oh gosh, what is it? W like, there’s a cringe factor of like, who was I back then? I don’t even know.

(9m 33s):
And I think it wasn’t even like, I’m like, was I just a poser? Was I a faker? Didn’t, you know, like, if there’s, it’s interesting because it does, it brings up a little bit of like, shame for me. Like, I don’t even, can I trust that self? Can I pass that, that Self? Yeah. Like, I don’t know who I was, because I know I was, I feel like I was so different from how I feel now. Right. You know, I mean, I was a checker out or I was a number. I was a chain smoker, so fun. I mean, now that’s, I joke about all the time where I was like, I had no clue that you could take deep inhales and long exhales to calm yourself down and it didn’t have to involve carcinogens, like who knew.

(10m 19s):
Right. Isn’t that hilarious? Crazy. Yeah. Crazy. So to answer your question, you know, I don’t, I it’s interesting I’m for, as I have wondered, am I an introvert? Who’s pretending to be an extrovert because in the last, probably five years or so, and it just keeps getting progressively more, I’m such a hermit. So when you’re like, has it been hard to get all this attention and stay grounded? I mean, honestly, I am, I, I hang out with no one, except for like my husband, my kids, and like two lifelong best friends and a lot of the hanging out isn’t even in real life, you know, my dogs like all day with those dogs, walking, the dogs, playing with the dogs.

(11m 15s):
And so, I don’t know if I think what’s keeping me grounded is maybe just a sense of, I put so much energy towards the work that I do, and I’m so passionate about it and I love it. And as far as my personal life goes, I, I, I just don’t do much socially at all. Yeah. Well, it sounds like you listened to yourself. Right. But if for you, it feels good to just have family time and to have a lone time and to have really close relationships, but not, you know, not thinking about quantity of relationships that’s honoring yourself.

(11m 59s):
Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s right. Like even sometimes phone calls, it’s just like, like as far as random phone calls, like my brother and my sister, they can call me randomly. And it’s always easy, delightful, you know, a great break in my day. But most of the time, even people that I love when the phone rings and it’s them, I’m kind of like, do I like, do I have the time? Right. I don’t know. It’s interesting that it’s my siblings, my siblings it’s effortless, but for everyone else it’s feels like it’s a little bit of an effort anyway. And that’s about me enough about me.

(12m 39s):
I wanted to, you know, I really wanted to talk to you because I don’t know much. All I know is that you are a doctor, you are a doctor and you’ve made a career change. And I’m really curious about that on many levels. And we’re, you know, why this ties into me, what I do in terms of supporting parents, especially parents who have what they think is a problem child or challenging child or strong-willed child, which I really think they’re, they’re my, those, those children are my favorites, because I think they are the change agents who’s left, who are like, forget it.

(13m 20s):
We’re not doing things like don’t shame me and punish me and belittle me and berate me and then make me have to go through the rest of my adulthood, undoing the damage. Like, no, I’m not putting up with that now. And so these strong-willed ones I think call us to more. Do you agree that yes. The canaries in the coal Mines, yes. The canaries in the coal mines, they’re like alert, alert. There is danger. We’re not working. Yeah. Paying attention where we’re not right. Attention. Absolutely. Or they’re saying the system that I’m in, the family that I’m in the system that I’m in is not, is not healthy. And they’re the ones who are going to act out That’s right.

(14m 4s):
That’s right. And they, and they feel things more deeply and they’re intuitive. And quite often, you know, we’re shooting the messenger and instead of receiving the messenger and learning how to listen. And, and so what happens is, is that parents come in and they, you know, they say usually 30, 30 days in they’re like, shoot. I thought it was my kid. I think it’s me. Yeah. And then I’m having this very interesting. Just something I’ve noticed is very, you know, when people start to get to a better place in their household, I start to notice all of the women dreaming about what they really want to be when they grow up, like all of a sudden, like, and so I, I thought, you know, you here, you are like that, you know, I’m sure your Jewish mother, your Jewish parents were very proud there.

(15m 2s):
Their daughter became a doctor. You did all the things, you had the resume. And you’re like, oh, you went to school for gazillionaires went through freaking hell and back, I’m sure with your residency. And then you’re like, oh, and I think that chapter is, I want to close that chapter and start a new one. So, so yeah. So tell me a little bit about like what drew you into medicine and what, and what made you, you know, go into this phase of your life and make a shift. Yes. Feel free to cut me off or to, or to step in with questions because it’s a bit of a long story.

(15m 44s):
So I, in college was interested in psychology towards the end of college. I was applying for PhD programs in psychology, and I took a, my senior year. I took a neuro-psychology class. So it was the, you know, how the nervous system, how the brain impacts our psychology. And it was lights on, for me, it was the most fascinating thing I’ve ever learned. I remember being just completely turned on and I started to have this itch that it should started back when I was about seven years old because I had a major surgery at age seven.

(16m 25s):
And at that point I that’s when the seeds started in terms of being interested in medicine and interested in what’s going on with the human body, but it reignited in this class. And I, I began to think, okay, maybe I want to go a different route. Maybe I want to go into neurology. And I start in basically long story short. I ended up quickly doing pre-med and went to medical school. And I quickly in medical school became interested in women’s health and, and obstetrics and gynecology loved the various aspects of it, but also loved taking care of women and loved being part of women’s lives.

(17m 8s):
So I practiced OB GYN and I practiced mostly gynecology. I stopped doing obstetrics kind of early on, and I practiced gynecology for almost 20 years. And now I’m going to back up for a moment in about the last, let’s see how old were my children and probably the last 12, 13 years or so. I have become more and more interested in spirituality in deeper understandings of healing and had sought out various teachers and various means of educating myself around healing and around just spirituality, energy healing, meditation.

(17m 56s):
And that became a really exciting hobby. Let’s call it on the side of working full-time as a gynecologist and right around, I dunno, probably five years ago, I started to get this edge that the one missing piece I had been doing a ton of counseling. As you can imagine, as a gynecologist, I would sit with my patients. They would tell me about their lives. I would talk to them deeply about it. I would have fantasies around getting various women together in our group to talk about what they’re going through. And I had decided it’s time to think about making a switch and to do more counseling and to see patients as more of a whole to start to see how what’s going on with them from a health perspective, ties together with their mental health ties together with their soul or spirit or whatever you want to name it.

(18m 55s):
And how can we as healers provide a more holistic view of what may be going on. So I knew that I had one area that I needed to learn about, which is the mental health area. So I ended up going to school and I got a master’s in arts of arts in counseling. I did that program for two years at a great place. The family Institute, which is part of Northwestern here in Chicago and finish that did really did, was purist around seeing a lot of different kinds of clients as a therapist. And now my work more reflects all of who I am.

(19m 37s):
So I see people, I see individuals for some, For more typical types of counseling, but I see a lot of people for consultations when they’re having physical or mental health issues, or even spiritual issues that they feel like are not being addressed fully by certain providers they’ll come for a consultation. And then I do a lot of women’s group work. And in the women’s groups, we talk about a lot of the cornerstones of healing. And how do we get in there and help, as you said, especially women who may have figured out some things around how to navigate parenting, how to navigate things behaviorally in their lives.

(20m 23s):
Now it’s, how do I impact myself, my community? How do I live with purpose? How do I help create change? What’s my role in terms of activism. So we do a lot of really deep work looking at various things that, you know, I think impact all of our lives, but certainly at least in my experience really impact women. So, and so That’s, well, it’s, you know, I, I want to unpack a few things, so, okay. So when you went into gynecology and I mean, that doesn’t surprise me because I think that’s what I found. So grounding about you.

(21m 4s):
Like, you just have a nurturing way about you, but like, but like a cool nurturing way. Not like, you know, when it’s not, you were never like, I’m so sweet. I’m going to give you cavities. But it was just like, I, your essence was just a good person who also could make light of things and have fun and you’re just easy to be around. So there’s a, there’s a that’s to me, true feminine leadership is that it’s like, there’s the bad-ass tough, like ass kicking part that you’re not, you’re not a doormat. You’re not going to be, you know, you’re not going to be fucked with. And so you always had like this bad-ass side of you, but you also laughed easily and you were easy to be around.

(21m 51s):
And there was something that just felt safe. Hmm. Thank you. Thank you. I, I do think I have been careful around, I didn’t have words for it, but I always have been careful around watching my nervous system and like worked towards speaking my truth at a younger age. And I think that feels safe in relationship. Right. Right. Like, like you spoke up, you weren’t just a, you weren’t just a yes woman, but you also were kind about feedback.

(22m 32s):
I always felt like there was, there was honesty and there was kindness. And so I’m sure your patients, when they’re used to traditional medicine, they go in, and now all of a sudden they have this gynecologist that actually wants to sit with them, wants to hear their story, wants to know what’s really going on and about their lives. Like, were you finding it that you just were, were wanting to hold up and really learn about your patients and know more about them? Like, what was it that was your favorite thing about the job? So, yes, I did love hearing all about my patients and their lives, but I loved tying together.

(23m 18s):
You know what, to me, it felt impossible. If somebody came in, let’s say with bleeding, it felt impossible to T to not understand what’s happening for them in their relationships emotionally, where they are in their lives. To me had a great deal to do with the symptom of bleeding. I had to understand the hormones. I had to understand the immunology, but I also had to understand that like the bigger picture of what they were going through of how it was affecting them. And one thing I actually, I saw a client earlier today, and one thing that I said to them, which I still feel is really true. I learned very early in my career that people have their own answers, even when it comes to medicine, even when it’s physical, the patients that would say to me, I’m really worried about this.

(24m 9s):
I think something’s wrong. Something was wrong that people really know themselves. And as physicians, as mental health providers, just as healers in general, you have to listen deeply and you have to respect that each person has a better sensibility around what may be going on for them. They may not have the education. So you may have to help them with how do you, how do you do the diagnostics? How do you get a better understanding? What are the options for treatment, but they know they’re themselves. And so you have to listen deeply. So I think that was what I learned really early is it was really powerful to listen deeply.

(24m 50s):
I could find things that weren’t obviously associated. And so that really interest me and interested me, excited me and got me looking at other areas. Okay. So that puts my brain into a w go with me with this for a sec. So a theme that’s been coming up for many of the moms that I work with, including myself, is this pattern of being gaslit in our lives by, by men that are, you know, a part of our family or somebody who really impacts us, who helped to condition us.

(25m 31s):
And so when, and so I think that a lot of people have heard this term being gaslit, but you don’t always know exactly what that means. And it’s like, it’s where you’re treated. Like you’re a crazy person. Like you’re the, just the crazy woman, or you’re just so dramatic or you’re too sensitive, basically. We’re conditioned not to do what you just said. Right? So we’re conditioned not to listen to our body, not to tap into our inner knowing because we think Gaslight and told that we’re just being too sensitive or too much or overdramatic, or we’re making things up in our head.

(26m 11s):
It’s not the truth. We’re crazy makers. And so when you’ve been gasoline in your life, you’re not going to think you, you’re not going to trust yourself. You’re, it’s like, you’ve been conditioned not to trust yourself. Right. So, so as far as like, I know there’s something going on with my body, here’s been, these are the signs. And now all of a sudden, they come into you and you’re a safe container to, you know, and you validate them and say, no, you knew you, you knew, and you help them tap into their inner knowing. And so I guess what’s your, what’s your advice?

(26m 52s):
Because I don’t think, I think you were the rare unicorn. I know there are other amazing doctors. In fact, I have a lot of doctor moms come and work with me. Right. So I know that you’re not alone. There is a category of amazing doctors who, who help women and truly are the good guys, but for the majority of people who are going to old school doctors and, you know, or they don’t feel like they’re being taken seriously by the medical professionals, what would you say to them? Like, how do they advocate for themselves if they don’t feel like they have options to go to a doctor like you?

(27m 34s):
Yeah, no, I think that’s such a great question. And I would say first, it’s really important to validate. So when there’s gas lighting, right, when there is the experience that you’d begin to trust somebody else’s truth over your own it, and, and oftentimes it, and then you feel wrong. Crazy. All of these really uncomfortable feelings, it is important to just validate that it is a form, not consciously, oftentimes it’s not deliberate on the behalf of the gas lighter. Oftentimes it’s a form of brainwashing.

(28m 17s):
And so one thing to really validate is you’re not weak being, get, we all can very easily be Gaslight, be put in that position. It is, there’s not a person who’s immune to it. So our brains are, that’s just how we function. If we’re told something enough times and we’re told, this is the truth, this is the truth. This is the truth. We will believe it, and we will stop believing ourselves. And it’s just how we learn. And, and it’s a survival mechanism. It’s smart. It’s just smart. It’s just an intelligent thing to do to begin to trust what you’re hearing. And so first is being really compassionate with yourself that if you are in a situation where this is going on for you, that it’s natural, that you would be not believing yourself, not trusting yourself and having these negative feelings about that.

(29m 13s):
And I know that it may seem obvious, but a lot of times people want to like bypass that and go right into how do I learn how to listen into myself more deeply without first being really compassionate with themselves around that, how inevitable this is and how it was a natural thing. But now that they know they can keep their eye on it. So the first step is keeping your eye on it. And I feel like as we talk about this, we’re talking in a lot of ways too, about what happens. This is a much larger topic, but what happens with certain groups? Let’s say, when, you know, for example, we know that certain marginalized groups get worse care in medical systems, they have to, they ha they can’t necessarily change that when they walk in, if they have brown skin or black skin, they may be getting worse care.

(30m 5s):
Right. Okay. And they need to have their eye on that deeply. And that’s what I mean by having your eye on, okay, this is, there is a system that may try to convince me that I don’t know what’s happening in my own self, in my own body. And I need to know that and keep my eye on it. And then I think it’s really important to listen in to yourself. So for example, if you’re with a caregiver, whether it’s a therapist, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a doctor, notice how it feels to you. If it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t mean that this person might not be a good doctor or healthcare provider or healer, or what have you for somebody else, but that’s not the right person for you.

(30m 57s):
And let that just be so, and then it may take some courage and coaching to find your voice and to really be able to speak to your needs. Sometimes that means having somebody else come with you to advocate in certain circumstances. But I think while also there’s a lot of messaging that, for example, I see this all the time in the world of therapy, that it’s really the, if a person doesn’t like their therapist, they should stick with it. That it’s really there. They need to give it a lot of, give it a try and that maybe it’s on them if they don’t like therapy. And I’m, I don’t think that’s the case.

(31m 38s):
I think finding good fits is really important. And knowing that you’re not necessarily saying that this is not a qualified therapist or this person’s not good for other people, but that something doesn’t feel great. It’s learning how to really be true to yourself. How, how things feel to you. Well, and, and the compassionate part, I think is so important because if you feel like, gosh, I never thought that that was gaslighting, but the, you know, my dad said to me all the time, stop being so sensitive. And I love the part that you said. It doesn’t mean that that person didn’t like, I don’t know exactly how you said it, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t love you.

(32m 20s):
And it doesn’t mean that they were intentionally trying to manipulate you, or they weren’t intentionally trying to do anything. They were just probably doing the best that they knew how to do. And their agenda. A lot of times it’s like a parent who is telling you to be so much, you know, it’s because maybe they experienced hardships when they were kids for being so much. And so they just want to keep you safe. And so they’re trying, you know, I know a lot of parents who have kids that are, you know, not stick skinny, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll say things that seem that are so damaging, but their intention is actually loving.

(33m 5s):
Their intention is actually, I was the chubby kid. Nobody’s saying this, but I was the chubby kid and I was bullied for it. And I was, and I felt bad about myself. And I want more for you. So now I’m going to monitor every bite of food that goes into your mouth and make you feel guilty because you want to eat ice, whatever. And so the gas lighter, or the person who’s doing the damage quite often, they actually are coming from a loving place. So seeing that, and then still knowing that you are worthy of, of finding that self compassion and finding the right therapist and the right resources to help you heal from that damage because it was damaging.

(33m 47s):
Absolutely. Exactly. That’s that’s so well said, Randy, because, you know, I think doing the work of doing healing work, where you’re just letting go of all the stuff that holds you back and being more yourself, which to me is the essence of healing requires some real truth around how it was like how it was for you to navigate how it was for you to hear those words. Right. And you sharing what maybe your dad said, it’s probably revealing that your dad would get scared, right?

(34m 32s):
He didn’t want to touch those feelings. So he doesn’t certainly doesn’t want a child to have those feelings cause he doesn’t want to touch them. Right. So often it has nothing to do with you, but it, but people then stop there. They don’t want to, they think it’s going to erode their ability to be compassionate with their parent. Right. If they think it’s going to leave them out with their parents, but really it makes you closer because you heal that part of yourself and then you can see your parent is so human. Right. It’s so true. And if you have a parent that’s not open to the things that you’re now going through and experiencing and healing from it’s okay. Like you can do the healing work and they don’t even have to know about it.

(35m 15s):
Like you don’t have to have a big conference. That’s what I’ve learned is you don’t have to have a big confrontation. Right? Like it’s like, this is, this is your work to do. And you deserve to heal from what was done. Yeah. Right. They don’t have much to do with it actually. Right. Right. I, you know, it’s funny. I just ran into this therapist that I had about three sessions with probably 15 years ago. I didn’t even recognize her. I ran into her at the nail salon. I’m getting my toes done. I’m so excited to go. And really I’m excited to go in and get the foot massage. So I’m so excited. And all of a sudden she, she recognizes me and she sees me and I, and, and I’m taken aback.

(35m 55s):
And so then we, you know, I had to talk for like 10 minutes before I closed my eyes and was like, okay, I’m out. But it reminded me of 15 years ago when I went to see her, I saw her three times and I said to her, I said, you know, you were the first person to teach me about boundaries. And she goes, do you know? I remember that. Wow. And, and I said, you use this word and it, and I didn’t. And she said, it sounds like you’ve got some boundary issues. And I said, what does that mean? I literally didn’t. I said, now I have a four week program within my membership community called boundaries.

(36m 35s):
But I, I, and I tell people that all the time I’m like, listen guys, most of us have no freaking clue what a boundary even is. Like, I thought it was normal that my dad, my dad wanted a key to my house to come over at seven o’clock in the morning and, and, and see his grandchildren before school, like seven o’clock in the morning. I had three kids to get ready, get up, get ready, get to school. And, and, and really, he wanted to see them, but really, it was like another mouth for me to feed. Like, it wasn’t a helpful, like, I would hear the key in the door and my stomach would drop. Right, right. And it was like, oh your daddy.

(37m 15s):
So like, he’s like, so in love with your children, he wants to come over and see his grandchildren, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, my stomach’s dropping because it just added to my stress. But I didn’t know that I was allowed to say no more ki, no worry, no more coming over first thing in the morning. So this lady taught me all the way without, without needing much of a reason. Right? No, I just don’t like it. Right. Why? I don’t like it when I hear that key. Yeah. I don’t like it when I hear that too much. I don’t like, I don’t like people coming into my house that I’m not expecting.

(37m 57s):
Like that’s not okay with me. Yeah. It can be okay with somebody else. It’s just not okay with me. It’s just not okay with me. So she teaches me what a boundary is. And so I said to her, and then on the second session, she said, why don’t you have your mom come in with you? And I had my mom, I said to my mom, me and my, my mom, I was just like, she knew we didn’t really talk about things, but I, she knew I was annoyed a lot. And, and so I invited her to come into this therapist office with me. And really that was my olive branch to say, like, I want to on this relationship, I don’t want to be annoyed with you all the time.

(38m 38s):
Like, you know, like my mom, my mom just passed away this last summer Randi. I’m So sorry. Thank you. Thank you. And she really was such a nice lady, such a genteel lady, such a, you know, she would do anything in the world for her be very generous and we weren’t that close. And so she, I knew she wanted to be closer to me. So I, so I said to her, you know, so I invited her into this therapist office and that was my olive branch. And afterwards I got a call from my dad, absolutely braiding me that I ambushed my mother.

(39m 18s):
So inviting her into a therapist office was ambushing her. So let me tell you something. I never crossed that line again. Like I never had a deep, real conversation about my feelings with her again, that shut that down. And I think, you know, I think the interesting thing is, is that towards the end of her life, especially we did have, you know, on, in a way that she was too, she was capable of having, we did have a nice relationship. I wasn’t annoyed with her any more. I was able to show up and help take care of her. And, and even my dad who has done, you know, the gas lighting, like I love my dad.

(40m 3s):
I know who he is, but I’m not going to have deep conversations about these things with my dad. Like he, like, that’s not where he is. And so I guess my point to the listeners is I want you guys to know that like all of us have a story. And, and, and I think so often when people start to take this path of healing and being, having the courage to look back and actually see what those patterns are, I think so often we get scared that it means that like, we’re going to have to end all of our relationships with our family. And I want you guys to know, like, you can do this work and not end the relationships in your family. They can keep growing to.

(40m 43s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think for a lot of people, even when they don’t slash can’t slash won’t have conversations with their family members, the relationships still get oftentimes stronger. Yeah. Because they’re able to accept where their family member may be, right. Where their parent may be, how they may be operating. They don’t view it as about themselves in a new way. I think once you heal something, you no longer take that experience.

(41m 25s):
Personally, if you about, let’s say a parent who picks on you and you sort of heal those inner layers, suddenly it doesn’t even feel like picking. It just feels like, you know, my parents, a little nutty, like, right. So I mean a hundred Percent, right. My parent like loves to pick a lot, but right. Not pick on me. Right. It’s not this internal injury. So it can be really powerful to, to step off, which I love, it sounds to me like your work, you do all of this sort of systems, work of helping people in how to actually parent and it frees them up to begin to look at themselves as deeply.

(42m 7s):
That’s really big. Yeah. That’s exactly what happens. I think it’s sort of a, it’s like a reparenting process of yourself and, and it starts to feel safe to, to look back. And I also want to say, I just want to emphasize that part that you said about, you know, if your body says that this therapist or this coach, or this provider that you have, you know, you’re going to, to hold space and to help you heal, doesn’t feel like the right fit. I have had so many people tell me, oh, I tried therapy that I never saw. I never got any results. And I always say like, it just wasn’t the right fit.

(42m 50s):
Like keep looking for the right therapist and ask people, ask people that they, you know, ask people that you identify with that have had, you know, nowadays it’s so awesome because it’s not stigmatized anymore. It’s almost like who, if you, if you’re woke, you’re in therapy or you’ve gone to therapy or you’re open to it, like, I feel like that the days of the stigma are gone. Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing. And I think for a lot of people, I do a lot of consultations where I’ll, I’ll, I’ll ultimately speak to some of what may be beneficial for somebody. And there’s also a lot of different kinds of healers, right?

(43m 32s):
For people who have found talk therapy to be uncomfortable and maybe like insurmountably uncomfortable, I will recommend that they think about doing various forms of bodywork or various kinds of energy healing. Can you talk because I’m very open to the bodywork and, and I recommend that to people quite often, too. Like I love EFT tapping. That’s been very helpful in my own life, but I’ve also been, I’ve been listening. I’ve been learning a little bit, actually. I shouldn’t admit this because it’s kind of embarrassing, but, but on season 17, my daughter, Avery and I, Avery and I been Grey’s anatomy from this is impressive.

(44m 20s):
Let me just tell you, okay. August of 2020 until now August, How many seasons? 18 freaking That’s. Okay. And I’m obsessed with Grey’s anatomy because it really is the story of Meredith grey Repairenting herself and healing from, and it’s interesting when, when you watch it in that condensed of a time, you really see it just so it unfolds. And so the last few seasons, you know, now they’ve been on for so long, it’s just like a show for social justice. And, and so, so anyway, but I keep talking about Meredith, like she’s a real person.

(45m 2s):
And, and in season 17, they, they talked about COVID and what it really looked like in the hospitals. And I say, you know, Meredith almost died of COVID and Scott, my husband, he’s like, she’s not a real person. You’ve got to stop. Oh, that’s fantastic. They, they covered some trauma healing with Owen, for anybody that watched Grey’s anatomy, they covered something called N E T. Have you heard of that? And it was very interesting because he went in and they did muscle testing and it was a, on the show, the character on the show was he went to a psychiatrist who was very into using a somatic, you know, as somatic healing modality, which is basically just including the body.

(45m 55s):
Right. And, and so own was a skeptic. He’s a VA you know, not a Vietnam. He was, you know, in the war and he was in Afghanistan and he’s like this, you know, tough guy. And he’s like, I’m not into any of that. Woo, woo. Ridiculousness. And so the guy’s like, no, I’m a, I’m a psychiatrist. I’ve got all the, you know, traditional letters. Oh. And I do this other thing. And he had Owen put out his arm and he did some muscle testing and it was like, it was very cool. And so then one of my moms recently told me that she took her daughter to a therapist that was practicing any tea. So I was wondering, I don’t know much about it, but I thought it was very cool the way they depicted in the show.

(46m 39s):
No, I’ll have to look into that. I don’t, it’s not my, you know, when it comes to the areas of healing that are kind of outside my domain, our body, any type of body healing and that, of course like various specialized pieces of therapy and, and then nutrition, nutrition, something that I think is really important, but I, I really tend to send people elsewhere because it’s not something I’ve studied. So I haven’t heard of any tea, but it sounds interesting that the body work that I’ll oftentimes send clients for is myofascial release with shiatsu massage and as well craniosacral therapy.

(47m 26s):
So those modalities tend be really potent at getting to sort of deeper bodily areas of stuck emotions and Trauma. I believe in it a hundred percent. I mean, I have my son on the podcast recently and he’s got a needle phobia and we know exactly where it came from. I guess he had a blood draw for some surgery. He’s going to get his tonsils out when he was five. And he w he was saying on camera, he’s like, he’s like, even like the, the line, there’s a line, there’s a spot on my arm. Like even talking about it makes my stomach cringe.

(48m 7s):
And he has no memory of the blood draw or the, that whole experience. And I said, how can anyone not believe in the mind-body connection? Because it’s like the exact spot. And he goes, and when I have to get my blood drawn and I, you know, he goes, I have this whole way. And I tell the people I’m really scared. I hate shots and blood, you know, so, you know, I’m really scared. And he goes, but if I tell them, just please, if you could go above this line, he goes, if they go above the line, it’s like, okay. But it’s just this one spot that I even thinking about. It just makes me cringe. Wow. Right. Right. And it’s not like he can put a story or a memory to it, but it’s, It’s there, it’s there.

(48m 52s):
It’s in him, it’s in his body. Right. Like, I mean, yeah. That’s why I think more, more sort of Western traditionally trained professionals like yourself who are open to some of these Eastern ways of thinking. I really think this is, this is the way this is the path towards healing. That’s awesome. Absolutely. I think just, I think collaboration in general is such an important for any type of feeling profession is so important because not one way of thinking or type of physician or healer can possibly target everything that is going on with a person that may be contributing to their either disease or their obstacle to wellness, Such a it’s it’s, you know, it’s amazing because I will tell you most, I mean, most doctors that I talk to it’s because I guess, you know, you go to school for so long and then that whole process of residency, it’s almost like, I mean, the brainwashing of the Western approach, has it been measured?

(50m 17s):
Is it actual science? I think it can be hard for a lot of doctors to be as open-minded as you, are you disagree? I Think you’re right. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to me. It, it doesn’t, it’s not very logical to me. I think as quite frankly, I think when people have been trained in evidence-based medicine and understand science, it would lend itself. To me, it only makes sense to lend itself to more openness, to other healing modalities and other information, even if it’s studied differently, I would, I would imagine that people would then have that much more sparked curiosity around other healing modalities.

(51m 7s):
So it’s a PR it’s a prizes me when there’s clothes, when there’s closed-mindedness, and maybe some of it comes as a reaction. There are people who are very anti Western medicine. And I think it may be a reaction to that a bit, because, you know, from my perspective, I think let’s utilize everything at while resources that are at our fingertips that are, that would possibly help somebody let’s use everything. I wouldn’t want somebody to, for example, like forego chemotherapy to be looking into other healing modalities. But I think to be doing things, to gather in unison and to have providers collaborating is really hard, Future.

(51m 51s):
Exactly. I mean, I say that all the time, like, trust me, I live five minutes from MD Anderson. If God forbid I get cancer, like that’s my first stop. And I will also be doing, I would be doing other, you know, other things to compliment it. I, yeah, it’s, it’s a collaborative approach. A hundred percent. And, you know, I guess what I want to really impart on women is so often I hear from moms like, oh, I can’t afford, you know, oh, or don’t have the time. I don’t why, you know, therapy’s expensive or I don’t have the time.

(52m 32s):
Or, and I always say like, if this was for your child, if your child needs a freaking reading tutor, do you find the time and the money, like, if this is and understanding like, this is your mental and physical wellness, you, this is you putting on, you know, the overused cliche, the oxygen mask. I mean, it is. It’s like, and, and, and I just think because so many women don’t feel worthy of, of making sure that they are as whole and feeling as fully alive as it possibly can be that they, that, that they just like put themselves on the back burner.

(53m 16s):
And, and look, I’m not above using a few fear tactics. Like I had a very close friend who hadn’t gone to the gynecologist in five years, who was the most amazing mom and her. She was, you know, had plans every Saturday night was on everyone’s party list and everyone loved her and she, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she died at 47. And what, by the time they found the cancer in her, she was septic, you know? And so, yeah, sorry, everyone. But like, if it takes a little fear to make you realize how worthy you are to go and get the support that’s going to help you feel better in your body and healthier all around, like, like, okay.

(54m 4s):
Yeah. Think about my friend. Yeah, absolutely. And I would say, you know, to the financial piece, of course there are obstacles oftentimes financially to seeking out resources and to getting medical care and mental health care. And there are a lot of resources that are under utilized. And so it’s, you know, it sounds like you’re seeing it oftentimes as an excuse and, and I think it’s really important and, and maybe people need to take baby steps too. Right. Like, I think I learned a lot on my own personal healing journey by reading. Right. And that requires going to the library or going to the local bookstore and digging into some books on healing, soulfulness, the, you know, human spirit.

(54m 57s):
And that’s a way in, Well, yeah. And for those, for people who aren’t readers, let me tell you something, everyone has this crazy computer at their fingertips at all times. I mean, you can go on YouTube or you can download podcasts like these. And I mean, turn your car into a classroom, you know, start learning during the in-between moments, because there are a lot of resources out there. Sometimes you just have to be kind of crafty and find and know that you deserve to find them and spend the time and fill your ears with things that are going to help you to become even healthier.

(55m 40s):
Okay. So, so tell me, tell everyone, how are you working with people and a little bit more about how they can find you what I’m doing? Yeah. So I split my time. Most of my time is spent in my private practice, which is called Jennifer Friedman Wellness, not, not terribly creative. And I do women’s groups, women’s workshops. I do teaching, I do speaking engagements. I do individual work as well, but right now it’s by waitlist closed. Cause it’s so booked. So that’s sort of on the back-burner for now.

(56m 23s):
I do I write so they can also find me. I’ve got on my website, my writing, and also I write for publications on medium, which is a website different to different publications. So you can find me on medium or you can find me on my website, Jennifer Friedman, Wellness dot com. I do. I do post a bit on Instagram. And then I also work at a group practice called skylight counseling center. I do, I supervise at counsel at skyline counseling center and I have a small handful of therapy clients. There that’s the basics for right now.

(57m 3s):
Okay. Good teaching and other stuff. But right now that’s what I’m concentrating on. You know, I think the group dynamic, I mean, that’s the thing that, I’ve, it’s amazing what happens within a group and just people realizing, like, I think women are lonely and, and just to like sit next to other people and realize you’re not alone and other people are going through, you know, even if it doesn’t look the exact same, they’re going through hard things too. And there’s just something magical that happens in that group healing. I could not agree more. And I, and I think other people may, this may be, I may be highlighting something that’s unique to me.

(57m 47s):
For me, it can be really hard. My blind spots are blind spots. I can, sometimes I can not see something in myself like stubbornly and other people may be a little bit more loose around it. I’m a little rigid around it, but I can’t see, I can’t see. But when somebody else, when I’m in a group of women or a group of people and somebody else is describing their story, their experience, I suddenly can see myself in it. It opened something up. I can not look away from it. I’m like, oh, let’s see. That’s exactly what I do. Right. And that to me group is such a great place personally, for me to see myself in others, to also have that connection in that sharing.

(58m 35s):
But I have had more healing and group experiences and faster healing. And so for me to facilitate and be a provider of that for women has been such a gift. I it’s my favorite part of my work. I would say, although I love all of my work workload. I really enjoy my workshops where women connect and see themselves in others. Yeah. That’s such a good point. Why is that? Why, how come when we’re in our blind spot? You know, it’s too difficult to see some of the, the things we’re worried about the most are the things we feel the most shame about the, then when you hear somebody else say it you’re like me too. Yeah, Exactly.

(59m 16s):
Why Is that? What part of the brain does that? I know. I mean, it’s, you know, that’s such a good question. What is the neurologic reason for it? I mean, I think it’s, you know, probably a defense mechanism and, you know, a defense of sort of sublimating or pushing aside certain things about ourselves that we don’t want to see. And young in terms they call that shadow work. It’s like the pieces that we don’t want to look at, but for me, you know, I’m, I’m, I have a stubborn constitution, so I’m good at it. I’m my defenses are thick. I’m stubborn. Right. All of the things that I’m not proud to admit, but I’ll admit right here.

(59m 58s):
And, and so, but to see it in another person, it’s like, it’s, it’s disarming. Something is like, there’s something settles down in me when somebody else says I’m this way. And I can go, yeah, I see it too. It’s like, it’s like a part of me stops protecting myself from seeing it So interesting. It’s on. And I think because what does, Bernay brown says, shame can only survive where they’re secrecy. So I asked the psych, once somebody speaks that shame source out loud and it’s sort of safe because it’s not about you. You’re like, oh yeah, that’s me too.

(1h 0m 39s):
It’s like something just this, like the shame just sort of dissolves a little Bit. Absolutely. Yeah. Cool. Okay. This is so much fun. Thanks for coming on. I loved talking with you. I love this conversation. I had no way to possibly anticipate all of the places that we went. So maybe though, So far, this is great. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household.

(1h 1m 20s):
I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if he needs some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you. And as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s mastermind, underscore parenting. And you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching. And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better.

(1h 2m 4s):
And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you liked this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.

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Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein