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Jan. 3, 2023

22: The Chemical Mark of Trauma w/ Dr. Galit Atlas

22: The Chemical Mark of Trauma w/ Dr. Galit Atlas

Trauma leaves a chemical mark on a persons genes that is passed down to the next generation according to today's guest Dr. Galit Atlas.  It's about family secrets and the secrets we keep from ourselves that also keep us from living to our full potential. 

Dr. Atlas is a psychoanalyst exploring the unconscious of her patients and shares how the emotional inheritance and the legacy of trauma is passed down from generation to generation in her book titled Emotional Inheritance:  A Therapist, Her Patients, and the Legacy of Trauma.

In this episode, we discuss how therapy is like detective work and it comes down to uncovering the gap between what people want to have and what they can toleration having.

She shares that the trauma healing process starts with the decision to search and to be curious.

            •          What do I not know about myself?

            •          What can I not emotionally handle?

            •          Why does the gap between what I want and what I can tolerate exist?

It is also important to treat defenses with respect and if you are not ready to do the healing work that is ok.  It is also acceptable to feel upset that we have to do the work of the past traumatized (our parents or our grandparents) because they were perhaps not strong enough.  

Dr. Atlas says if we are only aware of what we want to have (a relationship, a career, money etc.) but we're not fully aware of what it is that doesn't allow us to have what we want... that is more powerful than what we want".

The book, Emotional Inheritance is a must read but give yourself some recovery time and know it can be triggering.

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[00:00:00] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: This episode is an interview I did with Dr. Atlas, who wrote the book "Emotional Inheritance". The interview aired on a previous podcast I hosted, and that journey led me to start this podcast, jealousy Junkie. 

[00:00:18] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: "Emotional Inheritance" is such an amazing book, and Dr. Atlas is incredible, so I wanted to share this interview with you. I do want to say parts of this episode could be a little triggering for jealousy sufferers, so just be aware of that and if it gets too much, please just pause and come back or skip to a different part of the episode or skip the episode altogether.

[00:00:47] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: "Trauma leaves a chemical mark on a person's genes that's passed down to the next generation". That's a line from my guest today's book titled "Emotional Inheritance: A therapist, her patients, and the legacy of trauma". And what a book it is!

[00:01:10] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Welcome Dr. Atlas. 

[00:01:12] Dr. Galit Atlas: Thank you so much for inviting me today. 

[00:01:16] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: I got your book on a Thursday evening. I started reading it the following day. The following evening, which was a Friday, and I couldn't go to sleep. Like I didn't want to put it down. And then I finished it on Saturday. And I will tell you, I read a lot of books. You know, I have guests on if they have books, I read those. I do a lot of reading and research on my own for the podcast. This book was amazing. It really rattled me a bit. And to be honest, I had to have a little bit of recovery time, I feel like, after I read the book. It is amazing. I highly encourage people to read your book. So thank you so much. 

[00:02:04] Dr. Galit Atlas: Thank you. You know, it's very meaningful to me because of course I wrote this book for people and trying to help people. We'll talk a little bit about my background because that's what I do for a living. And one of the feedbacks that I get is similar to yours, that it's on one hand, an easy, fast read.

[00:02:27] Dr. Galit Atlas: And at the same time, a, you know, could be a, not so easy, right. Because you go deep into yourself, and we'll probably talk about that. Like, what do you find there, when do you find yourself and what do you do with that? 

[00:02:45] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yes. Just to give a little bit of information on the book. So you had some patients that were gracious enough to allow you to share their story. And you talk about how in your profession, it's a little bit like being a detective and putting the pieces together. So can you talk about what you do and how you came to write the book?

[00:03:11] Dr. Galit Atlas: So, I'm a psychoanalyst and I'm a professor at the postdoctoral program for psychotherapy and psychoanalysis at NYU New York university.

[00:03:22] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I do this work for almost 25 years and working with patients in a private practice in Manhattan and this is actually my fourth book. But only the first book for a general public. So my first three publications were books for clinicians, academic books that talk about theory and talk about techniques, psychoanalytic technique.

[00:03:50] Dr. Galit Atlas: And this is the first book I wrote that is really for everyone. And I asked my patients permission to use some of their material, and I write about my own background, about my own story is in the book as well. And what I tried to explore really is the idea that emotions and trauma can pass down from generation to generation and that all of us have what I call emotional inheritance.

[00:04:23] Dr. Galit Atlas: And part of our emotional journey is to try and look into what is it that we inherited emotionally. Who our parents are and what passed down to us that we live as if it belongs to us. 

[00:04:42] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And you have a bit of that yourself. You are originally from Israel, right? So tell us a little bit about your own inherited trauma.

[00:04:52] Dr. Galit Atlas: So, you know, in the book, I talk about the idea that research is a me-search. And that's something that I communicate with every student I have. That when they go and do their dissertations or their PhD dissertations or their master dissertations, it's like, when you go and research something, try to, to ask yourself, what is the me-search, what are you actually emotionally looking for?

[00:05:17] Dr. Galit Atlas: And for me, the book was a me-search, and every chapter was actually a me-search. Right. And I talk a little bit about my history. I was born in Israel. My parents immigrated; my father was born in Iran. My mother was born in Syria, and they were immigrated when they were children to Israel. And I talk a little bit about my own history, my parents' trauma and not just the trauma of immigration and racism, but also both my parents were very ill when they were young which is interesting, you know, I talk about it a little bit, not so much in the book, but for me, it was really interesting to learn about that and put it together and say like, huh, both of you had that. And they never noticed, they never put it together. Right. And I think part of and tell me if that was your experience reading the book also. There are things we know about ourselves, but we never put them together. Right. We never say... you experienced that I wonder if it's a coincidence that both of you almost died when you were children. What does that, what is the inheritance to the next generation?

[00:06:30] Dr. Galit Atlas: When you have parents who were very ill as children, and I think there is something, at least in my inheritance that I got was a little hypervigilance about the body. Really being afraid that something is going to not work and fall apart. And the physical is very, uh, is very present. And, uh, and my mother lost her brother when she was at 10 years old.

[00:07:02] Dr. Galit Atlas: And he drowned in the ocean. And I talk about that little bit and how that impacted our family and my family now. I'm a mother of three children and it's interesting to see how that legacy passed down of being afraid of drowning. And my kids did not necessarily know that history and now they do know it.

[00:07:26] Dr. Galit Atlas: But do you see, I think that what's interesting. And what's interesting for me, even as I teach clinicians, is that when we think about especially trauma and previous generations, trauma, many people say I don't have trauma in my history. I don't know. And then when you slow down and think about it, there is no family without trauma.

[00:07:52] Dr. Galit Atlas: And we even, when we think about loss, right, loss is something that is very, very traumatic. Yeah, children lose parents when they're young. And there is, there is a legacy of that too. And so I think that as we think about what trauma is, and we can talk about that right. About what kind of traumas, we're talking about and what we pass down from generation to generation. 

[00:08:22] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. And I'd like to talk about that and the differences of trauma, because, one of my thoughts was ,originally before I had time to sit with a book after I was done reading it, but you know...what, if somebody, especially in some broken homes where people don't know that history of their family, you know, there may be someone who is adopted and they don't know their birth family. Or they're just so disconnected they don't know some of those stories or the backstories of their grandparents or great-grandparents things like that? And so how does someone then... how are they able to connect those dots and do some of that healing? 

[00:09:06] Dr. Galit Atlas: That's a great question. You know, because in the book I talk about many kinds of inheritances, right?

[00:09:12] Dr. Galit Atlas: Some of them are surprisingly things we actually do know. And just never, as I said, put together and people like, oh, actually I, I knew that something or something we suspect and put together. Right. But the other part, and that is a big part of the book is really talking about things we don't know and secrets in the family and trauma, many traumas are kept as a secret.

[00:09:40] Dr. Galit Atlas: And what about these things that we don't know and how do we inherit those? Right. And in the book, I talk about the secrets of others and how, what haunts us are not only the dead. But in fact, the ghosts that are left to there by the secrets of others, all of those things, I call ghosts in the book.

[00:10:09] Dr. Galit Atlas: The ghosts is the unspeakable, everything that the unsaid and the unspeakable. Things that we could not talk about and secrets in the family secrets that our parents did not want us to know. And how does the secret live inside me? What way? How do we know? And the book really gives many, many examples, and stories of people that in some mysterious way, I would say, but it's not really mysterious. I explained, and we can talk about why it is not even mysterious, knew some pieces of the history. And I think part of it was also to be able to, to go towards it and an ask, which sounds very simple. Right? 

[00:11:02] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Do you find that when people first come to you, they are coming to you for a different reason? Or they have this thing where that's what they think that they're struggling with. Right. And then it turns out to be something different?

[00:11:18] Dr. Galit Atlas: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because people come to therapy with what we therapists called, call presented problem. What is the present problem?

[00:11:27] Dr. Galit Atlas: People come with a symptom. They had a breakup, or they have an affair, I even example in the book, or they are struggling with nightmares or with depression or with anxiety, right. They don't come to explore their emotional inheritance necessarily. Right. They come with something that is happening in their lives or that they fear. And then that's the detective work, right? We go back, we go back, and we talk about many layers of experiences. Right? I want to know who the person is, what was their relationship with their parents? How did they grow up? Which means a lot about who they are. Right. How did you grow up? What kind of a child you've been?

[00:12:17] Dr. Galit Atlas: I always ask people. What was your first memory from child? And we go and explore all of these layers, one of them and the one that actually people talk about the least, I think that's why the book is so eye opening in that way that we don't only stay with who the patient is and what happened to them.

[00:12:43] Dr. Galit Atlas: We also look at what happened to their parents and grandparents and in what way those experiences live inside them, impact who they are. So, you know we add to the question of what happened to you and what kind of relationship you had with your parents is like the question who your parent is. Who are your parents? What happened to them? How did they grow up? 

[00:13:14] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. And I would tell you in my own healing, when I was working through my trauma, it was amazing the things that I learned, one, just because I started asking questions like, you know, like you said, it seems very simple, but I had to ask those questions and I finally started to ask those questions and then it really did start to connect some dots and relieved some of that anger behind it, or at least was an explanation or a, a backstory of why certain things happened and that really did start that healing process. 

[00:14:00] Dr. Galit Atlas: You know, I think this really right, because the healing process starts with a decision to search and the decision to search includes many layers, right?

[00:14:14] Dr. Galit Atlas: Some of them is a psychological ability to look at the truth. It's a very, it's a very difficult thing to know. Right? So the question why we don't ask is because it is very painful sometimes to know, and we don't always want to know. And you know, in the book I talk about secrets we keep from ourselves. 

[00:14:39] Dr. Galit Atlas: There is a reason why we keep secrets from ourselves and don't ask or don't investigate or don't think, or don't make connections. Right, there is that idea that part of the healing process is the ability to reflect and make connections. Connections between past and present between ideas and feelings between many parts of ourselves, right between people.

[00:15:06] Dr. Galit Atlas: The idea is that when we are able to make connections, we can start the healing process. And if you think about it, trauma actually shatters us. It breaks us and it creates fragmentation. So many trauma survivors actually have difficulty with making connections, which is understandable. Cause if you think about it right to connection could really cause pain. Understanding, knowing, feeling, right? 

[00:15:37] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah, and you talk about where it can be retraumatizing, even in a sense, and sort of that radioactivity of trauma. 

[00:15:48] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah. Yeah. You know, that's why I always treat defenses with a lot of respect because if we need to defend ourselves, we should be able to. And nobody should go to another person and say, you need to do this and this, or, well, you need to make connections, or you need to ask questions, right?

[00:16:09] Dr. Galit Atlas: We need to be ready to do the work. We need to be ready emotionally and strong enough. And I think that's part of that intergenerational thought that sometimes the traumatized generation cannot do the work. They just can't and it's painful for us that they can't, and it's terrible. And, and we, we have a lot of feelings about it. And we're right to have feelings about it. But then it leaves us to do the work. Right. And I know a lot of people are upset about that. Because we all want parents who could do the work. We all want parents who are healthy and are well and can take care of us. 

[00:17:01] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. And I hear often where people truly grieve not having those parents that are playing that parental role then makes it so much harder for them. And as you said, they have to be the ones to step up and say, okay, I have to figure this out because my parents didn't my grandparents didn't. So now it's on me and preparing themselves for doing the work.

[00:17:32] Dr. Galit Atlas: I know, and I understand the resentment, right? Because it's like we all want parents who could take care of us. And be good enough parents and be, and be strong enough and right. So I understand it's, it's hard to know that they will never be able to do that. And as you said before, I think we have to grieve that and being angry as part of the grieving process.

[00:18:03] Dr. Galit Atlas: We have to grieve that our parents are limited because if we don't grieve that and don't accept that our parents are limited, we will never be able to accept ourselves. Because we're limited too right. And then we will always hate ourselves because we are not perfect. 

[00:18:23] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yes. I, a hundred percent agree with that. I think it's something that you have to accept that, I'm not going to do this perfect either and neither did my parents and their reasons for that, as you mentioned, you know, things being passed down and passed down and passed down. So a hundred percent. 

[00:18:44] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. Yeah. I wanted to dive into one of the particular stories. One of the things that I focus on, and I help people with is overcoming jealousy in relationships. It's sort of a specialty of mine and I certainly have a lot of experience with. Um, so one of the stories really stood out to me and that is the life and death in love affairs. You know, Eve being the patient, she's having an affair on her husband.

[00:19:15] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And one thing that it says that I thought was really interesting is... people have affairs to get out of relationships, but also to stay in relationships. And I think that's a little bit difficult for people maybe to process that. So can you talk about that a little bit more? 

[00:19:35] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah. Yeah. This is a good question. You know, because, because topic of affairs is such a complicated one, right? It's complicated for therapists too. And I talk about that a little bit... how does it feel to sit in the room with somebody who is having an affair. It's much more difficult, then sitting with somebody who was cheated on and betrayed. Cause then you can just be with them and only support them. Right. But what if the person that you're sitting with is having an affair and how do you sit with that? With really trying to understand what is going on there, because that is the only way to help. Right. And what I'm talking about in that chapter is really that dialectic tension between life and death, between destruction, and creation.

[00:20:33] Dr. Galit Atlas: So what you mentioned is really, yeah, many people have affairs because they hate their partners, or they want to leave them or they want to revenge right? All of these destructive parts that try to destroy a relationship. Some people have affairs because they try to maintain the relationship.

[00:21:01] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I know it sounds paradoxical, right. But to some degree, for some people, when they are in a relationship, they cannot get what they want and if they wouldn't get it somewhere else, they will have to end a relationship. Right. That doesn't mean that we justify the affair. Right? It's it doesn't justify hurting other people.

[00:21:26] Dr. Galit Atlas: But what it helps us with is understanding what the person is dissociating. Because the person is really connected to what they get from the affair. Right. That's what they are after.

[00:21:40] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: They're trying to fill that void?

[00:21:42] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah. Or, you know, sometimes affairs are not even about the relationship.

[00:21:46] Dr. Galit Atlas: They try to fill a void in themselves. They try...sometimes it's about the relationship. Sometimes it's about other things. But there is some denial and dissociation around the destructive piece. The fact is that no matter how much you get something from an affair, it's like cancer underneath.

[00:22:05] Dr. Galit Atlas: It eats your relationship. And at the end, it destroys it, right? Even if you stay married, I mean, people are staying married in destroyed relationships. Destroyed doesn't mean that you're going to get divorced. It means that your relationship is you're going to have secrets in your relationships. You're going to have lies in your relationships. You're going to start being apart from each other because there is something that is not fully true. And the sad thing is that many times that's not the motivation. That's not the motivation. The wish is really to balance something. 

[00:22:42] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So whatever they feel like maybe they're missing within themselves or, you know, part of them, they may go seek to have someone fulfill that because it's not happening in the relationship or they're trying to solve that for themselves?

[00:23:00] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah. I mean, one example I gave, for example, is the feeling that, um, in some relationships actually good relationships, good marriages are based on a lot of care and parental care towards each other. And that parental care empties the relationship from aggression and from sexuality. And so many of these couples are not sexual and in some way, not only the men, even the women and that chapter, it's a woman. They'd go out to do something outside of the relationship that feels more aggressive and more, you know, has, has more passion in it.

[00:23:48] Dr. Galit Atlas: Not just in a positive way also, like they want to protect their partners from the aggression. Did you do it somewhere else? And they come back to a very so to speak, loving, caring relationships. Right. But you see that what it does is that it empties that relationship, right. Because when you have an affair, it is by definition, not caring. Right? So it destroys even the care in the relationship. 

[00:24:21] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. I thought what was interesting about her story and in a lot of the other stories as we talked about, you're kind of putting these pieces together and at some point, realizing, okay. her mom I think got sick or passed away when she was 12 and she started having an affair when her daughter was 12. And so that trauma inheritance is pulled in to her story. 

[00:24:49] Dr. Galit Atlas: This chapter is really about how sexuality is recruited in order to keep one alive, right? The liveliness of sexuality. So when her daughter turns 12 and that is a crucial time in her history, the fear, there is more anxiety about death.

[00:25:11] Dr. Galit Atlas: And, and we know, I mean, therapists know, there are a lot of affairs. There are a lot of needs to be more sexual related to trauma and to loss. And. I'm sure that even your listeners know that to some degree. I mean when somebody loses someone close to them, there is more a sexual arousal somehow and a need to be close to other people emotionally, but also sexually.

[00:25:46] Dr. Galit Atlas: So there is that factor too that is related to trauma and the dysregulation of trauma and the need to regulate the mind and the body through sexuality. So that chapter also really connects sexuality and trauma and how Eve is really trying to survive, to keep herself alive, right, to get somewhere.

[00:26:10] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I think a lot of it is, is with a lot of anxiety, right? And I think this chapter, I'm not going to tell the end of it, but we see the process of awareness. I mean, what we're talking about and what my hope is, even in the book, is that when you read it, not only that you recognize yourself, even if you didn't have affairs or if you didn't have the exact experience, but you could actually understand yourself and reflect on your own life.

[00:26:39] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I think that is what Eve and the people in the chapters like Eva, the other characters or patients do, right. They sit with me and try to be aware and reflect... what is happening to me and why. 

[00:26:52] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And I think that's what's so great about this book is it is story after story like that, where it connects at the end and you realize how it's all intertwined and how those things are affecting what they're doing in the present day. And each story is like that in the book; it's amazing.

[00:27:14] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: You also say that therapy, as the narrative unfolds, is the gap between what people want to have and what they can tolerate. What do you mean by that? 

[00:27:26] Dr. Galit Atlas: This quote is really something that speaks to what we consciously know about ourselves and what we do not know about ourselves.

[00:27:40] Dr. Galit Atlas: And we all have those two parts. And people come to therapy and they say, I really, really want a relationship, or I want to have a career, or I want to have all of these things that people want. And the gap between what they want and what they can actually tolerate. And in the book, I give a lot of examples of why that gap exists. 

[00:28:11] Dr. Galit Atlas: For example, to fall in love with another person and have a relationship, not just fall in love for a second and then fall out of love. Right. Which we know that some people are trapped in that pattern. And then you ask yourself...so how come you always fall in love and then you're not interested in that person.

[00:28:32] Dr. Galit Atlas: What is it that you can not tolerate about being in a relationship? And what you find is, is different from one person to another, of course, but for example, you could find a really deep, unconscious loyalty to their parents. And the wish to not betray the parents and the wish to not have another family or leave the original family, especially if the original families experiences very, very special.

[00:29:04] Dr. Galit Atlas: And people find solutions to that, right? If they're in a relationship, but they're in a relationship with somebody who is not fully available, or, and of course we can talk about vulnerabilities and the fear of all these gaps that I described in the book between everything we really want for ourselves, but actually emotionally cannot handle because it's too much for us for.

[00:29:29] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I think part of our exploration is... what is it that we can actually not handle? What is it that is too much to tolerate or to have. 

[00:29:41] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So if somebody finds themselves in a situation where they're saying, gosh, I really want a relationship. I want to get married. I want to have a family. You know, I want to have this close relationship, but they just can't seem to make that happen. It may be something where they need to look at like, well, what is it that I am unable to tolerate in a relationship.

[00:30:04] Dr. Galit Atlas: That's where it starts. Right? That's the clue. The military] is a gap between what you want and what you have, and it's consistent, right?

[00:30:13] Dr. Galit Atlas: There is a gap. You always want to have a career and somehow it never happens. Right. That is a flag for us. Okay. There is something there that I do not know about myself. I don't know why. Right there is we always, right. We're always conflicted about everything in life, but if we are aware only of what we want, but we're not fully aware of what it is that doesn't allow us to have what we want that is as powerful and many times, even much more powerful than what we want. And that is actually what controls our life. 

[00:30:56] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And it could be that, oh, maybe that isn't the thing that I want after I do that self-discovery and figure out, oh, well, I, I can see what's underneath this gap. You know why I'm not, I'm not achieving these things and it could be something completely life-changing. 

[00:31:15] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yes, it could be life-changing right. Because you could find that you don't actually want what you think you want. You could find that you're very, very, very afraid of what you think you want. And then you ask right. Then you go deeper, and you say, why am I so afraid and then the answer could be very different from each person.

[00:31:37] Dr. Galit Atlas: One, one path and not the, obviously not the only is really looking at our inheritance. Like, why am I so afraid of being in a relationship? For example, let's look at my family history. Let's look at what was communicated with me. Let's look at it again. It could be so, so many things and people are so unique in the way that.

[00:32:02] Dr. Galit Atlas: Right, the way they experienced life and what they inherit and who they are. And so there are many answers to that, but I think the questions are usually the same questions, right? What am I missing in what I know about myself? 

[00:32:17] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So looking at those gaps between what we want and what we, what we're not at getting?

[00:32:22] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yes.

[00:32:24] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: You say also that you're very interested in people's names. What's so interesting about people's names. I actually made a connection, and I don't know if I just was like, oh, well maybe it's this, this, this in my own life with my own name, but why is that so interesting to you?

[00:32:41] Dr. Galit Atlas: So I'm going to give you the answer and if you feel comfortable, Maybe you can share something about your name. And that would be a good example because I think one of the first thing I ask and that started with me being in family therapy years ago, I started as a child and family therapist. And at the beginning, I used to see when I saw children before I met the child, I met the parents. 

[00:33:05] Dr. Galit Atlas: And then I used to ask the parents like many questions, intake we call it, about the child and the development and what the problem is, why the child is sent to therapy. And one of the questions I used to ask was, so tell me who chose your child's name and tell me something about the name and it was amazing. The information you get from parents about the child's name, that there is not always, if you see both parents, you won't get only one story, right?

[00:33:38] Dr. Galit Atlas: They might even not be in agreement about what really happened then, but who named the child, but you learn so much about the family, even from the disagreement. Who has more power in the family? Who, who, what is the story behind the name? What's the meaning of it? What were the hopes that are in the name?

[00:33:57] Dr. Galit Atlas: Right? Sometimes they name it after somebody today admired. What were the feelings about having that baby? What is the wish? Right. And you see like what the name represents or not, not just who gave you the name and who chose it, but also, what's the meaningful to parents and how they, how they chose that name.

[00:34:23] Dr. Galit Atlas: Right, right. What it meant to them in hopes about who the baby's going to be. Do you feel comfortable telling? 

[00:34:32] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Oh, sure. Yeah. And it was just, as you talked about before, I was like, Hmm, I never really made the connection or saw that it was similar with me and my own child. So my mom named me Shanenn and it's spelled different. It's not spelled regular Shannon, it has an E in it. And so from what I understand, this was a popular male DJ in the sixties or seventies, somewhere around that timeframe. And when you started talking about people's names and the story behind them, I have so many memories of my mom constantly listening to music, and I feel like it was that music, because everything was so difficult and it was so hard and she was really struggling, when she listened to the music, she was happy like that made her happy. It made her, maybe escape a little bit of the stuff that was going on. And so there's a particular song that I remember her playing over and over and over again.

[00:35:43] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And in January, my son texted me right after the Superbowl and my son sent me a text and said, mom, this song always makes me think of you. And it was Mary J Blige playing at the super bowl. And he said, you always played that song over and over. That was in January, I didn't think much about it.

[00:36:03] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And when I read your book, I thought oh, that's just kind of bizarre, I'm tied to her through music he's... you know, I think a lot of people, you know, certain things will make them think of a time in their life, or it makes them think of a particular person. But I just thought that that was interesting with the name and how it came to be.

[00:36:21] Dr. Galit Atlas: And so you see that, tell me if that's true, but it does sound like giving you a name that is related to music, and there is so much hope in. Right. There is a way for you to be like something positive and something that is so comforting and right. And that, you know, in the book I give a few examples of people's names like that named after somebody who died.

[00:36:52] Dr. Galit Atlas: So a patient, his father, his mother named him after her father. And this, and he, he, he was assigned a role from him from birth. He became his mother's caretaker. The name was already a signifier for that, but the name did not make him the caretaker. The name was our way to recognize that that's what the mother needed.

[00:37:22] Dr. Galit Atlas: She needed her father back and she assigned that role to that baby who became her caretaker. Yeah. And it was, it was, or a mother that gave a child a name because the father didn't want that child. And so she named the child, something that, that is like, is like in another language is mine because the child was only hers.

[00:37:44] Dr. Galit Atlas: Right. And of course, even people that say my name has no significance. Right. That's significant. Right. It depends on, I don't know. We didn't know so we heard somebody call somebody on the street and we decided yeah that sounds good. Right? Like that also means something, right?

[00:38:03] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. I just, I thought that, that was very interesting. So, um, I have in conversations, heard people saying that they're having a difficult time, like finding a therapist or being able to schedule or finding one that they connect with. And so they may go a couple of times and then they kind of give up or they'll try to find another therapist.

[00:38:28] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And then that sets them back a little bit. Is there anything while someone is waiting? Um, so maybe they can't get in for a month or a month and now. Is there anything that if somebody really is struggling or they have even just questions, like, gosh, I'm, I keep feeling this way and it keeps showing up for me.

[00:38:49] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Is there anything they can start to do on their own to dig into some of this stuff until they see a therapist? 

[00:38:57] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah, that's a good question. And you know, I know there is such a problem these days because there was a real mental health crisis and there still is. It's really hard to find a therapist. And it's also really hard to connect with and find the right match.

[00:39:12] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I always tell people, you know, go once, twice. If it doesn't work, you would know that it's like dating, right? You don't need to push it. Some people are not for you and go out and find another therapist you don't have to stay with because the match is so important. It's so right. It's like, it's really like, it's harder than finding a boyfriend because it's really hard.

[00:39:40] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah, I think that is one advice that I want to give people that just find a right match. Find somebody you like find, find somebody that you feel comfortable when I'm here. It doesn't mean that you have to feel happy in sessions, right? I mean, sessions are filled with pain, but you do have to feel comfortable with the person you're with.

[00:40:03] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I think reading books that make you start thinking and start asking yourself, what is it that I'm looking for even before you start therapy is, is, is meaningful, right? Because there is something about asking ourselves, what, what do I need, what do I want, what do I hope for? What am I looking for? All right.

[00:40:30] Dr. Galit Atlas: All these questions. I think before we find answers, we have to find questions. Let's start with the questions, 

[00:40:38] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Get curious, ask questions. 

[00:40:40] Dr. Galit Atlas: Yeah. Ask yourself what, what am I looking for? Who am I? What happened to me like right. And I think there are a lot of fantastic books that people can start reading. You know, another thing that if people look for therapy and especially if people look for psychoanalytic therapy in psychoanalysis and cannot find therapists, you can or do not have the budget for that.

[00:41:05] Dr. Galit Atlas: You could always find some psychoanalytic Institute around you and, and those institutes usually, or universities even provide a low fee therapy with candidates at the Institute. And I have to say, I think that younger therapists are, can be, they are amazing very often. They're very invested in their patients and they're very present.

[00:41:34] Dr. Galit Atlas: And I, I feel like, and many of the people I supervise in psychonautic institutes are just wonderful. 

[00:41:43] Dr. Galit Atlas: Well, thank you so much for talking about this book, sharing these stories with us I really, I just wanted to say thank you for the book. It was amazing. 

[00:41:56] Dr. Galit Atlas: Thank you so much. And thank you for inviting me. I loved our conversation.

If you'd like to work with me directly, head over to jealousy junkie.com and schedule your free clarity call to see how I can help. Until next time, take care and remember, you're not alone.

Dr. Galit AtlasProfile Photo

Dr. Galit Atlas

Psychoanalyst / Author

Dr. Atlas is a psychoanalyst exploring the unconscious of her patients and shares how the emotional inheritance and the legacy of trauma is passed down from generation to generation in her book titled "Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, and the Legacy of Trauma"