This Is Why You Feel LOST & UNHAPPY In Life! (Change Everything) | Gabor Matè | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "This Is Why You Feel LOST & UNHAPPY In Life! (Change Everything) | Gabor Matè".


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Intro (00:00)

We have to say that what is normal is also healthy and natural. And I'm saying that in this culture, the norm is neither healthy nor is it natural. In fact, the norm, I think, is making us sick. Gabor Maté, welcome back to the show. Nice to be back again. Thank you.

Understanding Parenting And Human Nature

The myth of normal (00:20)

Dude, so good to have you. As we were talking about before we started rolling, your book A is incredible. But B is very unnerving in the picture that it paints because it feels so accurate. It's a big book in terms of what it's taking on. So I want to start at the beginning. Explain to people when you say the myth of normal, what do you mean? And then after that, we'll get into what a toxic culture is. I mean, a number two things. We have this idea of what that what is normal is also healthy and natural. And I'm saying that in this culture, the norm is neither healthy nor is it natural. In fact, the norm, I think, is making us sick. Number one, number two, we talk about illnesses and of body and mind as abnormalities. I'm saying that illness in this society, given the conditions, is a normal response to an abnormal circumstance. So that's what I mean by the myth of normal. OK, so the obviously you go into great detail about this in the book. And I remember at one point, stopping and taking the note, like, wait a second, basically everything that we think of, like you're saying, is sort of a normal result of aging or, oh, this is, you know, just some people have this kind of response. And it is what it is. It's just natural. It's all coming back to trauma. And it's all coming back to childhood trauma and a specific idea that we'll get to in a minute. But I want to push a little bit on that idea. So what why is what we see in terms of things that we would categorize as mental health issues or overly stressed lives or all of the myriad things that we think of. Rheumatoid arthritis, one of the examples that you give. How is that an adaptive response? Well, the rumor that arthritis is not an adaptive response in itself. It's the outcome of an adaptive response. So when you talk to people and I've interviewed many or you look at the research literature on who gets removed of arthritis, it's people who are super conscientious. They have what's called high part on and the self-sufficiency. In other words, they don't know how to ask for help. They looked after the emotional needs of others rather than caring with their own. They tend to suppress their healthy anger and they really try to fit in and not make waves. And these people, that's an adaptation. This is how they adapted to their childhood. They grew up in families where they were not accepted, seen for their work. They might have been traumatized. The adaptation was to make themselves to suppress their authentic emotions and to try to fit in with other people's expectations and to meet other people's needs. That's the adaptation. But that adaptation puts tremendous stress on the person and that stress causes the illness. So those things that the illness is the outcome of an adaptation. OK, so let's talk about that adaptation. So I think a lot about the human mind as having directives. There are things that we have been hardwired to do over millions of years of evolution through even, you know, sort of the non-human part of our evolutionary tree up through where we are now. And so these directives get implanted and it seems like your thesis is largely about the way that as a child, we go, OK, this is what our environment is. I don't have a secure attachment style. Maybe my parents aren't paying attention to me. But what is the directive? Is the directive to get along? Is the directive to fit in? Like, what is the core directive that causes this to become pathological?

Parenting, Emotions & Immunity (04:08)

The core directive is twofold. One is we have to attach, we have to belong, we have to connect. But the other directive is that we have to do so while maintaining our own autonomy, our own authenticity. Outlaw means the self. So that means we have to be in touch with our gut feelings and our emotions. And to be true to them. And so what we need is relationships in which can be true to ourselves. That's the directive. Now, as soon as the directive changes, this is what we're wired for. For example, authenticity, being in touch with your gut feelings. Out there in the wild, there's a hunter-gatherer. How long do you survive if you're not in touch with your gut feelings? So that's an essential thing. But what if you grew up in a home where you honest emotions are not accepted by your parents? Let's say your parents have read Jordan Peters' book, "12 Rules for Life", where he actually says that an angry child should be made to sit by themselves till they come back to normal. Or that parents should be able to hit their kids in order to get them to comply. Now, if a child experiences healthy and normal anger over two-year-old, but the message he gets that if you're angry, you will not be accepted by us. In fact, you'll be excluded, you'll be given a time up, we won't even be with you. Until you come back to quote-unquote normal. Then the child will adaptively repress their anger so as to maintain every issue with their parents. So they give up their authenticity for the sake of the attachment. That giving up the attachment suppresses not just the emotions, but because the emotions are physiologically connected to immune system. In fact, they're part and parcel of the same apparatus. When you suppress your emotions, you're suppressing your immune system as well. Now, we're asking why are we seeing a rise of autoimmune disease in society, which we are and as globalization spreads, we're seeing more autoimmune disease around the world. It's because people are more and more having to suppress themselves to fit in with the false expectations of a society. So that's the link. I'm going to see if I can hold all this in my head because this is one of the most interesting core elements of the book. Is this collision between authenticity and attachment? Yes. Used an incredible analogy that really hit me hard. And that's you said, the lung is not the response to an expectation of oxygen. The lung is the expectation of oxygen. It is the manifestation of that. If there was no oxygen, we'd have no lungs. Our lungs evolved as an expectation for oxygen. Which makes total sense to me. And I'm paraphrasing here, but I think I'm pretty close. That the human is the expectation of attachment. Absolutely. So that we exist only in relation to having that attachment. Well, how long would a baby survive without attachment? It wouldn't. Yeah, so the infant is an expectation, but not just for physical attachment, but also for emotional attachment of a nurturing and unconditional kind. We're an expectation for that. We're, that's how you evolved as a species. The baby gorilla is an expectation to be loved, nurtured, held, and fed, and protected by the mother gorilla. Now, have you ever seen a mother gorilla who ignores their baby's cries? Can you even imagine one? Have you seen a mother cat that ignores the little infant kittens meow? Infant is an expectation for unconditional acceptance. We tell parents to ignore their baby's crying. We tell parents to separate from their kids if the kids behave in a way that they don't like. We tell parents to deny children's natural need to play out there in nature. So human beings are expected. We evolved, as you say, as hominins over the last couple of million years. And as a species, the human, you know, the homo sapiens, we evolved as expectations for certain conditions. The less a society meets those conditions, the more toxic it becomes to the developmental needs and therefore healthy growth of the human being.

Parents Did NOT Raise Children (08:33)

Okay. So let's walk through that. So what do you do? Because you talk about needing to set boundaries and you're, you mentioned, look, I'm a parent and at the end of the day, I do have to set boundaries. So how do we set a boundary without an all quote, I think it was Plato or Aristotle that said this, the only impossible job is raising children. One of the reasons that I did not have kids is because I, my sister and I were raised in the house, the same house, by the same parents and we reacted very differently to that. Well, first of all, you're not brought up in the same home by the same parents. That's interesting. Why do you say that? Because the parent that the child experiences is the parent, the way they show up for that particular child. Your parents did not show up the same way for a female child as for a male child, even if they tried to, they couldn't have, because their program culturally not to. Secondly, you were different ages. You came along at different stages of their parent relationship to one another or their self or their relationship to themselves. They did not have the same parents. You did not grow up in the same house. And number one, number two, you might have different sensibilities. That is for sure. One of you may be temporary, more or less sensitive than the other.

Parenting and Repression (09:55)

So that means even if your parents could have been the same, which they couldn't have been, but even if they could have been the same to both of you, you would have experienced them differently. Okay. So knowing that level of complexity, how do you do this well? Like it seems, so my mother disciplined me both physically, so I was spanked. Well, this is a sort of drop-down. This and then you is one way to put it. Hit you is another way to put it. Yeah. So which that word doesn't ring weird to me, but I know, given your area of expertise that it does for you, and that's what I'm trying to figure out. So how do we set a boundary without the child feeling that there are conditions around the love? Because reading that in your book, and again, I don't have kids, and nobody needs to panic, but unconditional love to me at an intellectual level anyway doesn't seem to break just because you're told to sit on the stairs or be isolated. Well, you see the love that the child experiences. See, I don't know that you might have loved you, but the love that the child experiences is not what the parent feels. It's what the child gets from the parent. Now, if you're told that if you're angry, you need to be on your own, what message are you getting? You're getting the message that only in their certain emotions, only when certain emotions are present, are you acceptable to the parent? The child will not experience that as love. But that, so I will say this. This is purely anecdotal, and it's just me, and I don't want to get lost in that. Yeah. But I remember, even as a kid, I would say, that my mom, I sometimes get very angry at my mom, but I never doubt that she loves me. No. No, should you doubt that she loved you because she loved you, but that doesn't mean that you experienced the love is unconditional. You wouldn't even have an idea. You had nothing to compare to. That's the only love you'd ever known. So how do you set a boundary without breaking the sense of the emotion? Okay, well, so that's the question of who's setting the boundary. You see? Let's say a parent with... No, no, no, but here's what I mean. With children who are naturally, lovingly connected with their parents, how you set a boundary is you say, "Don't do that." With a parent that the child is not totally unconditionally connected, you have to use more and more force. So when you talk about setting boundaries, yes, you can't let a kid, "I live in Vancouver, British Columbia." It's not Alaska, but we get pretty cold there in the wintertime. A one-year-old doesn't get a choice about, "Do I get to go outside naked into the winter in Vancouver?" No choice. It's not a democracy. No, you don't go outside naked. But how do I do that? A child who's wanting to attach to the parent warmly will naturally follow the parents' advice. You see, your mother hit you. Aboriginal people, hunter-gatherer people, don't hit their kids. When the Caucasians or the Europeans, the Christians, arrived in North America, they were appalled at the parenting practices of the natives, because they didn't hit their kids. And yet those kids were far more confident and capable than the Caucasian kids. So that you can set boundaries through just love, through relationship, through example. It doesn't have to involve force, and so it does not have to include physical force. So that is one of the things that doesn't ring true to me. No, I haven't studied it, so who knows. So maybe this is just because I've grown up in the system, where it's sort of broken already from the jump. But is there anywhere where that experiment is being run today, where we could see that? Because kids seem impulsive, and their brains aren't developed, and they just seem like little messes that need things like, for instance, a kid that throws a tantrum, because you won't let them go outside into the snow. So why can't they throw a tantrum? They're expressing their anger. Let's say. What were you saying before, because I want to go back to it, just before you talked about the tantrum. Well, kids are impulsive. Here's the thing. Children want to belong to the parent, they want to connect to the parent. There's a natural range of attachment behaviors that the kid will go through under healthy circumstances. One of them, first of all, is they want to be physically near you. They want to be held by you. In fact, Aboriginal people carry their kids everywhere they go. That's what they do. Gorillas carry their kids everywhere they go, spontaneously. Number one. Number two, the child wants to emulate you, they want to be like you. That's a natural attachment drive. So if you show up as a loving, nurturing parent, or figure, the kid will naturally want to emulate you and copy you. Number three, the child will want to be good for you without any coercion whatsoever. And again, I'm telling you, hunter-gatherer groups have been studied extensively. Extensively for how they parent.

Modern Challenges of Attachment and Parenting (15:27)

And those even books are being written now about trying to learn the lessons that they teach about how to parent. Why? Because we've lost our parenting instincts. You are talking like an adult without parenting instincts. And that's not a criticism. I'm just saying that when you're tweeted like the way you're tweeted, some of these are always tweeted. I talked in the book about it. Look, let me just jump back a little bit. It's this is in the book. I'm two weeks old. I'm still in the hospital with my mother. And she writes her diary, my poor little son, my heart breaks for you. Because you've been crying for the last hour and a half to be fed. But I don't feed you because I promise to talk to that only feed you on schedule. Now what's happening to me? This woman loves me. My mother desperately loves me. I know that in so many ways. But she's not listening to her own parent or an instinct. Her heart is breaking, but she's letting me cry by myself. Because she promised some stupid doctor that she'd only feed me on schedule. What message am I getting? Am I getting the message that I'm being loved? Or is it too difficult I'm getting the message that my needs don't matter? And they don't care about how I feel. Which message am I getting? Yes, she totally loved me. But she wasn't listening to her own parenting instincts. And that is traumatic for the child. And it's confusing. Because she loves me. Yes, she doesn't even feed me when I'm hungry. Well, that's really confusing and it's traumatizing. And we're telling this to parents all the time in a society. As a physician, I used to tell parents to behave that way. I regret that, but I did. So what I'm talking about is a culture that has lost contact with the parenting instinct.

The tyranny of the infant. (17:32)

Or take the example of, do you remember Dr. Spock? Yeah, the Dr. Spock was the world's parenting expert for decades. And he talked about how you deal with kids. You put them to sleep, you put them to bed, and you walk out quietly, and you close the door, and you don't go back in. Because you don't give in to the tyranny of the infant. He said, "The tyranny of the infant. The infant has an attachment drive that says, 'I need to be held by my mere daddy.' The child is crying to express that attachment need. Because physically, that's how they can attach. They can't emotionally connect, as a one-month-old. They can connect if you hold them, if they see you, if they hear you. What message are you giving to the kid when you don't pick them up when they're crying? That their feelings don't matter, that they don't matter. That's the message you're giving. You may love them, but you're still giving them a very negative message. And so that you may know on some level that your parent loves you, because they feed you, they hug you, they whatever. But at the same time, these people that love you are deeply hurting you. That's traumatic. Aboriginal peoples don't do that kind of stuff in under normal circumstances. They just don't do it. Do they have a rite of passage moment? Let me do it again. Sorry. The spanking business? There's been studies recently published in the American American Medical Association's Pediatrics publication. The kids who have spent experience as much trauma as kids who are more severely abused. That's what the findings are in the long term. Certain throughout, but they should be. No, not at all. This topic is incredibly meaningful for anybody considering having kids, raising kids. And certainly even for me, somebody that doesn't have kids nor plan to have kids, it is the thesis of your book is so big and so powerful that what it does though is it, okay, so I've grown up in a culture, your hypothesis. I've grown up in a culture that is fundamentally sick, is stopping parent, many, many things. The book is way bigger than just parenting. We just happen to be on that right now. So it's created sort of parents that are detached from their parental instincts. That's right. And so they're constantly making these mistakes, but it feels normal. So I grew up in it too. The fish is the last one to recognize what water is. And so I can't even see that there could be another way of doing this. But because of that, when I look at this, I think once you're in the cycle, how do you break out of it? Because A, you can't be an infant forever, even gorillas. At some point, the child is distance from the parents. Needs to be either they break away themselves or they get pushed away. Or their parents may die. Also very possible. And in the cultures that I have unintentionally encountered rights of passage rituals because I'm interested in rights of passage, there's this moment. But I don't, so the one I'll talk to specifically because I remember it so vividly, is in the long walk to freedom, Nelson Mandela's book. He talks about how I think it was your 14th birthday. You're with the woman and your mother. And then you are ceremoniously removed from her physically. Like they come and grab you and take you away. At what age? I think it was 14. And they take you away and then there is this, they cover you in mud. And then you are, actually, I think before you get covered in mud, I'm getting the order wrong here. But anyway, they sit you down, butt naked in front of the whole tribe. They're very sharp rock. They cut your foreskin off and they make you yell a warrior prayer. And then they cover you in mud. And then another young woman comes in after some time, washes the mud off your body. I mean, it was this whole thing. And before reading your work, I was like, that's so rad. Like this rite of passage that's dope. You're taking the child away from the mother. Is that a necessary moment? Or is that all part of this like just sort of crazy detachment? From what we should be doing. So I think it's a mix of both. Let's just step back a little bit. Nature has a natural agenda for any human being. Like when you plant an acorn, what's nature's agenda for that acorn? Grow into a tree. Grow up to be an oak tree. So nature is the same agenda for human beings. To grow up to be independent, self-mastered, collective, connected beings. That's nature's agenda. This will evolve. But that means if you meet the right developmental conditions, that kid will go up to be an independent person. Not because you pushed them away, but because that's nature's agenda. Because the parents are going to die at some point or another. So at some point or another, that infant has to be an independent adult. That's nature's agenda.

What is our instinctual default (22:53)

We don't have to make that happen. That happens spontaneously so long as the conditions are right. Now if you plant that acorn into drag around with no irrigation and no sunlight, it ain't going to be an oak tree. Not because the acorn doesn't have that capacity, but because the conditions weren't right. Same with human beings. So I'm saying. What is up my friend Tom Bill you here.

What is your level of personal discipline The number might surprise you. (23:14)

And I have a big question to ask you. How would you rate your level of personal discipline on a scale of one to 10? If your answer is anything less than a 10? I've got something cool for you. And let me tell you right now, discipline, by its very nature means compelling yourself to do difficult things that are stressful. Boring, which is what kills most people, are possibly scary or even painful. Now here is the thing. Achieving huge goals and stretching to reach your potential requires you to do those challenging stressful things. And to stick with them even when it gets boring and it will get boring. Building your levels of personal discipline is not easy, but let me tell you it pays off. In fact, I will tell you you're never going to achieve anything meaningful unless you develop discipline. All right.

Impact Theory University guide to learn how to increase your personal discipline. (23:54)

I've just released a class from Impact Theory University called How to Build Ironclad Discipline that teaches you the process of building yourself up in this area so that you can push yourself to do the hard things that greatness is going to require of you. Right. Click the link on the screen, register for this class right now, and let's get to work. I will see you inside this workshop from Impact Theory University. Until then my friends, be legendary. Peace out. If the conditions are right, that independence will happen anyway. Now, it's true. So, scientists have developed rituals of passage. So, there's a Jewish bar mitzvah ceremony which happens at age 13. You know, there's a vision request that Indigenous people will leave. But those ritual rites of passages or those passages of rites of passage rituals are conducted by adults to welcome the child into the adult community. In the original environments, which is small band hunter groups, there wasn't circumcision. In fact, I quote an expert on Aboriginal Indigenous or hunter-gatherer groups, Dr. Dorna Sianarves of Notre Dame University, who says that circumcision wasn't the part of that kind of practice. So, that circumcision came along later with more settled tribes and agriculture and so on. So, once you get away from the hunter-gatherer, merely you, we're getting more and more or less sound less natural. So, what Mandela is describing then is a combination of a healthy rite of passage of re-recognizing your adult who knows we're honoring you, welcoming you to the community of adults. But there was also an element of barbarism in it. We're deliberately hurting a child for which there's no reason whatsoever, whether it's a male child or it's a female child.

Could humans be inherently good? (25:48)

And we know to what degree female children in some areas of the world are hurt by the rituals of circumcision, the male children are hurt as well, not to the same degree as the females. But those are already post hunter-gatherer additions. So, yes, rite of passage, beautiful, why is it necessary to hurt somebody? It's not. >> Hiding in there, and I'm so curious, I'm so glad that I get to ask you directly, hiding in there sounds like to me a vision of humanity that is just loving and wonderful and that our natural state is we would grow into the oak tree. That isn't my same base assumption, but you very much have an expertise that I lack. So, does your worldview require that belief about humans to be not purely good, but certainly default good? >> No, nobody's default good. We've always had problems with humans because we're flawed beings, you know. But it's a question again of what develops under what conditions, you know. And the more our needs are met, the more, for example, in this society, the belief very much is that we're competitive, aggressive, even hostile, selfish creatures. That's not how human-ally developed. We could never have developed this, that's the way we were. We could only have developed if they were nurturing and communal support and connection. And so, if you look at all kinds of cultures that are so-called primitive, so-called primitive, giving and receiving and connection are values. And people gain wealth by giving, not by gathering and taking from others. So wealth is defined as a set of social connections rather than a set of physical possessions. In Canada, in the North West, Pacific North West, they used to have the potlatch. And the potlatch, do you know what the potlatch is? >> Yeah. >> Yeah. So it's an event where people gather and they give gifts, which is how they gather wealth of connections. That's a very different sense of wealth than gathering everything onto myself by taking it away from everybody else. One of the first things that the colonialists did is they forbade their rituals and the spiritual ways of the Indigenous people, including the potlatch, because it threatened the colonialist, acquisitive ethic. So we went against thousands of years of tradition in order to force people into a cultural mindset that suited the purpose of colonialism. That's what happened. >> Okay. So going back to the idea of it doesn't require humans to be perfect. We're an imperfect creature. So if we are imperfect, and do you agree with, I think it was Solzhenitsyn who said that the evil run through or the line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man, which rings true to me.

The line between good and evil runs through every man. (29:17)

Does that ring true to you? >> I would say that the potential for both runs through every person. Hitler was a human being. I say this in the book. Jesus was a human being. At least, let's agree that in his earthly manifestation, whether you're a Christian, he was a human being. Even Jesus was tempted, wasn't he? He's in the desert and is tempted by power and ego and acquisition. The Buddha, in the Buddha story, he's tempted by lust and by greed and by aggression and egotism. So yes, the potential for that kind of egotistical self-regard, which turns out to be evil, that is ultimate expression, that strain is in us. So is the strain for compassion, like the Buddha, infinite life like Jesus, humility like Moses. That's all with theness as well. The question is, which conditions promote which in his development? The Buddhist talks about seeds, of which seeds in our minds are planted and which you get watered and which don't. So yes, I agree that the potentials are there, and in an embryo everything is there, but the question is what gets nourished and what gets suppressed? And I'm saying that in his society, it's the worst of us that gets nourished and the best of us that gets suppressed. So let's define those. I would assume that loving attachment, unconditionally loving attachment, certainly towards your children, that's part of the best of us. What are some other attributes of the best and then we'll move on to some of the worst? So let's talk about children and now let's talk about people in general. So children's needs are unconditional loving acceptance from everyone or just their parents. Well, their parents, well ideally from the community, but certainly their nurturing caregivers, whoever they are, and their mentor me wasn't just a parent by the way. We never meant to be parented in nuclear families. Okay, that's a modern thing. So unconditional loving acceptance, rest from having to work to make their relationship work. Say that again? Rest from having to work to make their relationship work. In other words, the child should not have to be mold themselves into anything to make their relationship work with their parents. They shouldn't have to work. They shouldn't have to be good, nice, pretty to make their relationship work. They shouldn't have to take care of the parents' emotional needs to make their relationship work. Like people that have to work to make their parents' emotional needs end up in deep trouble as adults, very often physically ill. You go into tremendous detail in the book about that. So children should be able to allow to feel all their emotions and I mentioned play before. Those are the needs of the child. As human beings more generally, we need a sense of connection, a sense of meaning, a sense of belonging, a sense of transcendence so that there's something, we're part of something greater than just our legal, go-wek concerns.

Human needs (32:33)

These are all the needs of human beings. To the extent that they're met, we thrive. To the extent that they're not met, we shrivel. And there's lots of shriveled people in positions of great power in this society. No doubt. Okay, so what are the, as we're creating this soil that we're going to nurture things in, how do things start to go awry and how do we begin to prep the soil for something better? Well, we've covered that to some degree.

Connections Between Emotions, Diseases And Boundaries

Ancestry from birth (33:15)

So these will begin to awry when we lose contact with our pending instance. And we'll, and we... Is it just that? Like, is this, would you, speaking from experience, the book is very broad, but if you were going to really like, bring it down, is this largely an echo of a parenting system that has become dysfunctional? It's a society that's become humanly dysfunctional that transmits its expectations through the parents. And that actually begins before birth. Because already the most stressed and troubled the parents are, that has a physiological impact on the child's brain development. So I'm just talking pure science here. So mothers who are stressed and depressed, their infants in the womb are already getting those messages, hormonally, and through nerve conduction and so on, so that you can actually monitor the heart rates of mothers who are stressed and those heart rates will be different than the heart rates of infants whose mothers are not stressed. In the book you talk about the, the crazy ice storm ends up showing up in the epigenetic markers of kids. If you don't mind walk us through that, it's pretty crazy. Well, it's only that in the laboratory that they have shown that the more you stress parent animals, the more troubled and stressed the kids will be. So in Quebec there was an ice storm some years ago and the parents underwent, the mothers underwent great stress. And you know, there was really cold, there was no heating, a lot of stuff wasn't working. Those mothers who experienced that stress, their children were shown to have more troubles later on, behaviorally and learning wise and in any other ways as well. So again, the stresses of the parent translate into the physiology of the child. There's a study that I quoted in the book about, they looked at marriages that were stressed and you could, there's two ways you could tell how stressed the marriage was, one is you could ask the parents and think they would talk about it. The other way is you could measure the urinary stress hormone levels of their children. Wow. And the parental conflict was reflected in elevated stress hormone levels in the urine of the children. Now elevated stress hormone levels in the urine means that the immune system itself is under assault. And that has an implication for health later on. We know for example that the most stressed parents are the greater risk of asthma for their children and that the degree of stress on the parents is correlated with the amount of medication the kid will need for their asthma. Amongst other studies, lots of such studies. So in other words, there's a correlation between the emotional environment that we grew up in and our physiology. Yeah, I mean, that's really the core thrust of the book is, hey, all these things that you think are maybe just old age or bad diet, they're actually related to trauma or even disease. In fact, one of the ones you talk about that was the most eye opening was ALS, which I would think of as a genetic disease, bummer, horrible role of the dice, but walk people through the the there is a predictable personality trait of people with ALS that I was like, well, so first of all, there's nothing genetic about ALS. Nobody's ever shown. I mean, there might be some rare examples of ALS genetically into us, but those would be a tiny, infinitely small minority.

ALS"The Disease of Nice"... (37:02)

So genes don't have much to do with most chronic illnesses. There are some illnesses that are genetic. There's one that runs in my family. My mother and my aunt had it, muscular dystrophy. Gradually, they became weaker and weaker. Already, when I was a child, my mother couldn't lift her arm up. And in the end, she was not at mobile at all. And so if you get that gene, you're going to get the disease. But those diseases are very, very rare, about one in 10,000. Most chronic illnesses have very little or no genetic basis to it. So, for example, there's a breast cancer gene, but out of 100 women with breast cancer, only seven will have the gene. And out of 100 women with the gene, not all of them will get the cancer. So in many cases, even if these genes are implicated, it's the interaction of genes and environment. Now in ALS, it's, you know, the the ALS personality, which I noticed in palliative care, when I was a part of care physician, also in the literature, are people that repress their healthy anger, are emotionally very rigid, and they don't ask for help from anybody. And usually that's based on childhood trauma. And Lou Gehrig was like that. You define trauma in you, you go to very careful links in the book to make sure that people understand trauma isn't always getting hit with a bat or being sexually abused. Like, there's a range that can be wildly impactful. Well, let's take Lou Gehrig after whom the name, the disease is named in North America. His father was an alcoholic, and Lou Gehrig was one of his very nice guys that took care of his mother emotionally. He had to. That's what happens in the home of an alcoholic, very often the child becomes the caregiver. Now he was such a nice guy that, you know, the record that he set for consecutive games played, that stood for so many, many, many decades, why did he set that record? Because even if he was sick, he would play, because he's too dutiful to his teammates to take himself out of a game. Is that a healthy thing or not? It's not healthy. On the other hand, when there was a young rookie on the Yankees who got sick and he couldn't play, and the manager was very upset with this kid. Gex says, "What are you talking about? He's sick. He can't play. Took the rookie to his own home, relived with his mother. His mother put the kid to bed, the rookie, nursed him, and Lou Gehrig slept on the couch." So that kind of self-sacrificing, self-negating, emotional repressed, really nice person is the person which is typical of the LS personality. And there's been a whole lot of studies on that that show that, you know, these are the people that get ALS. It's just that the doctors don't make the link between that personality pattern and the LS. They just think, "Swallowing your anger is direct." Yes, sorry. Swallowing your healthy anger is directly causative to ALS. I think it's a major contributor. You never see it. You never see it. You never see the healthy anger in anybody with ALS. And you always see this hyperconciant, just hyper-autonomous self-sufficiency that, "No, I don't need any help." No. And when you talk to neurologists, which has been done in studies, they always describe their patients as extraordinary nice. ALS patients are extraordinary nice. Why they're so nice? Because they repressed their healthy aggression. Because the neurologists don't make the link between that and the disease. I'm saying that that plays a major role, because that repression of emotions, again, the emotions are not separable from our physiology. The nervous system and the immune system and hormonal apparatus and the God and the heart, they're all one system. When something happens in one area, something happens in the other area as well. Look, the analogy in the book is this. Think of a person with a big beach ball, trying to push a beach ball under the water. That takes a lot of effort. Now, have you ever been angry? Of course. Okay. Now, when you're angry, it's not just an emotional state in your head.

Can you imagine how much energy it would take to suppress anger? (41:54)

It's a whole body as, no, how much energy would it take to suppress that energy, to suppress that anger? Can you imagine? So that you don't even feel it? But not feeling your anger was an adaptation to your childhood, where the anger wasn't permitted. So that emotional physiological effort of repressing anger takes a toll on the nervous system and on the immune system. It's a major role in disease. I'm saying, yeah, it plays a major contribution. Yeah, this is where the book really starts to get into some fascinating territory. As you go through all these different diseases and you start talking about, okay, repressing anger, you go into the, God, is it the natural killer T cells and being suppressed, because you're putting so much energy away from your immune system, your immune system can't keep up. And so there's all kinds of things like cancer that are afflicted. There was one thing where you said like back in the 1800s or early 1900s, there was a doctor that was like, oh, whenever you see somebody with heart disease, they have this type of personality. And you even talk about in the book, the type C, you said it's not a personality type, but that there are traits that people with type C have that end up being sort of pro disease personality traits. What are some of those traits? Well, before I answer that, let me go back to something. Let's talk about healthy anger for a minute, if you could. Okay. Then I'll just straight these traits. Okay. What is healthy anger? Why are we given healthy anger? So there's a system in our brain for anger. Not just for us. Mammals. What is the therefore? Is there to protect our boundaries? Some of it are in visual space, physically or in the case of human beings emotionally, used to say, no, stay out. That's the role of healthy anger. Now you're fresh. If you're repressed out of healthy anger, what would happen to you to me in life? People would be just trespassing all over me all the time, because I had no boundaries. So healthy anger is a boundary defense. Is that clear? Okay. Healthy anger is a boundary defense. It just seems like one of its uses, I'll be honest. I don't know that I'd say it's its only use, but I don't know how the anger that's its only use. That's his major use just boundary protection. That's his major. That's why it came along. Animals have it. You're in my space. How far are you extending that to loved ones? So now if you encroach upon a loved one. Well, if you loved one, intrude your space emotionally. No, I mean, if somebody else is intruding on my loved one. Oh, yeah, that too. Yeah. Oh, yeah. You are your loved ones, anything you cherish. Absolutely. For sure. So that's healthy anger. So the role of anger is to set a boundary between what's nourishing, you know, to let in the lot of healthy anger is to keep up what's dangerous and unwelcome, right? What's the role of the emotional system in general? Is to let in what's healthy and nurturing and to keep up with dangerous and unwelcome? Is that fair enough? Seems good. What's the role of the immune system? Same. Exactly. It's the same. The role of the immune system is to keep up with dangerous and toxic, allowing what's nourishing and healthy. The immune system and then and the emotional system are not separate systems. They're part and parcel of the same apparatus. They're unified. When you suppress the emotions, you're also suppressing the immune system. When you said when you when you. Tom Bill, you hear announcing my new espanol episodes on YouTube and podcast. We are committed to spreading the impact theory message of empowerment at scale to as many people and our growing global community as possible. So we've taken some of our best IT episodes with some amazing guests and dubbed them into Spanish language. Tell your friends and family, start watching Tom Bill you and espanol. Muchas gracias. Be legendary. When you don't know how to defend your emotional boundaries, that also weakens your immune boundaries physiologically.

If you don't know how to defend your own emotional boundaries your physical boundaries go next (46:26)

It's that simple. Or if you repress the anger, that anger doesn't go away, it doesn't evaporate into the heavens, it turns against you in the form of depression or self-loading and so on. In the same way the immune system turns against you and now you have autoimmune disease. And so the traits that were identified with chronic illness, most chronic illness like cancers or immune disease are emotional self-suppression, inability to experience healthy anger, desire to please others, to fit in, to be acceptable, to be nice, to be ignoring of your own needs. These are the traits that are over and over again identified in other literature, whether with multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis or with cancer. There's a not, there's a not the real person. These are adaptive traits in response to the child and environment, but they take a heavy toll or take another so-called illness. And by the way, the case I'm making is that what we call illness is actually response to life. So take depression. This so-called biological disease of the brain. What does it mean to depress something?

Depression: pushing down your emotions (47:41)

Try to push it down. To push it down. What's it pushed on in depression? Well, I can tell you I've been depressed. What gets pushed in depression is your natural emotions. Everything is flat and nothing matters, nothing has any meaning. And that starts with people pushing them down. That's what the word means. It means to push it down. It starts in childhood with people having to push down their emotions. Why do they have to push down emotions to fit in with other people's expectations? So, and I don't know the literature on this at all. So they're oftentimes then the depression will just sort of creep in slowly. I always assumed it was tied to something being stuck in a bad relationship, a death in the family, loss of a job, that there would be some sort of triggering event. Well, okay, fair enough. If you're in a bad relationship, the healthy response is not depression, but to deal with the challenges in the relationship, either by working them out or by leaving the relationship. Depression isn't a necessary outcome. The response to the death of a closed one, of a closed one, is not depression. It's grief. Grief is the healthy response. We have a system in our brain for grief, by the way. So grief becomes depression when you're not allowing yourself to grieve. But you don't know how to grieve properly. Yeah. And you don't know how to grieve properly because your emotions were suppressed as a child. And so, yeah, we have these healthy systems, but their activity gets deformed through our natural expectations. Okay, so to stay with depression for a minute, so you're pushing all this stuff down. It starts in early childhood. You're trying to fit in. You want unconditional love. You're not getting it. So you have this directive for attachment. And so you begin to, oh, I see what I can do. If I don't yell, scream, if I'm not expressing frustration, if I'm the caretaker or whatever that situation demands, then all as well. So now I've learned this adaptive response to suppress my emotions. And over time, it begins to numb me, I would assume. I have not been depressed. So you're beginning to be numbed, but now something gets, starts to be very extreme. And you, what I have heard depression explained as is just like, the skies are permanently gray. You will never see joy again. And so what is breaking in that, that like the beach ball analogy I like, right, I'm pushing something under the water. But if I stop pushing, it will pop back up. And so if that thing or my emotions is when you're treating depression, let's say non pharmacologically, is it the release of the pressure on those emotions to let them finally come up? Yeah. So the, so the, the difference between the pushing the beach ball down is that I'm doing it consciously and deliberately. But the repression of emotions that a child engages in is not conscious is not deliberate. It's an automatic response, it's unconscious. Therefore, the child can't just that go like that. And then as you say, it numbs and becomes overall depression. Now, the, by the way, I'm not against from our classical treatment. I've taken antidepressants. They have helped me. So I'm not here to advocate against them.

Healing depression by reconnecting to yourself (51:18)

I could talk about their misuse, but in principle, sometimes they're helpful and occasionally they're life saving. And much of the time, they're over prescribed for way too long. And we're not dealing with the real issues because the pharmacology deals with the symptom, but it doesn't deal with the underlying problem. So yes, the healing of depression, and I talk, you know, the last, the final part and the longest part of the book really is on the healing, is you have to reconnect to yourself so you can feel your emotions. That's the treatment of depression. Talk to me about reconnecting. How do you reconnect? What is that process? Well, first of all, you recognize that you're disconnected. And you notice how that disconnect shows up, you know, in so many years of your life. And you're on the job or in the, in your personal relationships, for example, or in your relationship to yourself. So you have to become aware. And this is where I talk about disease, whether it's physical or so-called mental as teacher. Not that I recommend the illness is a way of learning to anybody. It's not my preferred. But if it happens, but if it happens, it can actually teach you. And you can ask yourself, what have you been pushing down? And what are the stories? Why do I push it down? Oh, I pushed on emotions because I've learned, I have the belief that if I'm angry, I'm a bad person. What is that way, too? Is a person experiences anger really a bad person? I learned that if I push down my needs, then people will love me. Though I really, do I really want to be loved at the expense of disconnecting from myself? As a child, I had no choice because I had to be loved or connected with otherwise I wouldn't have survived. Is it still like that? So basically it's a gradual- Isn't it though? Sorry? Isn't it like, isn't it? In fact, this is my overarching question and somebody that has helped so many people through therapy, you probably have the answer or an insight. But as we become adults, you don't have other than your parents, should you be lucky enough that they're still alive. But man, outside world, people do want you to act a certain way. And if you don't, they're not going to be around you. Like, I'll just be honest, if somebody's thrown a tantrum as an adult, I don't have time for that. But an adult doesn't throw a tantrum. Are you sure? Yeah. Like I have seen adults throw what I'm talking about. I know you haven't. You've seen adult, you have children and adult bodies just throw tantrums. Interesting. Okay, go on. So the adult who throws a tantrum, he's a traumatized child who has not developed self-regulation. I'm not talking about repression of self but regulation. So for example- Help me differentiate. So for example, I throw up at the airline counter and they've overbooked the airplane. Okay? My health response is disappointment and some degree of anger. I'd say, "This is not right that you did this. I want you to redress it. You do something about it, please." It's when we get to Antrum. Yelling at the poor clerk behind the counter who had nothing to do with creating the problem, who's just trying to do her job and trying to help me as best she can, that's not a mature adult. That's a child whose mid-fog the cortex of self-regulation has gone offline and his emotional circuits have taken over. Believe me, I've been an adult child very often in my life because my wife could tell me, tell you. So that's not an adult. Okay, so then the process there goes back to connect to yourself, figure out why you're repressing this. Yeah. Let go of those things that are keeping it down, find a way to be able to regulate yourself so that they're sort of contextually sensical so that we're not in unhealthy anger territory.

Role Of Trauma In Personal And Societal Issues

What is trauma (55:25)

Okay, interesting. So trauma is an imprint that makes you react to the present like you're still a child, essentially. I mean, that's a very narrow definition of trauma. That's one of his essential aspects. And that the important thing that you said earlier is it's automatic. It's automatic. It's unwield, it's automatic. And it's, and actually, when you look at the brain scans of deeply traumatized people, the prefrontal cortex is totally asleep and the emotional circuits, you know, they're the primitive emotional responses are active. This is why so much of the jail population or traumatized people, that's what ended up in jail. But instead of dealing with their trauma and helping them develop, which they could, under the right circumstances, become adult people self regulated, the jails just make it worse by the way they torment people and the way they traumatize people even further. So when I talk about a trauma enforced society, informed society, what if we actually understood trauma? What if we just actually understood it? You have huge implications for medical school, for medical health delivery. What if when you went to the doctor with your depression, the wench is told, you got this biological disease of the brain, here's a pill. But they actually said, what happened to you as a child? One of the people I quote in the book is the great pediatrician psychiatrist, no scientist, Bruce Barry, we just wrote a book with Oprah, the title of which is called What Happened To You. Not what's wrong with you, what happened to you? What if we asked that question? So that would change medical treatment completely. What if in the prison system or in the legal system, we didn't just say, what did you do? But what happened to you that made you do it? Now that wouldn't mean that we allow or encourage antisocial behavior, but it would mean that we would actually want to rehabilitate people and to help them become who they could be. You know, that's a very different legal concept. What if in education, it was kids' developmental needs that were put paramount rather than their performance? It's interesting, how would you do that functionally?

Creating a school system that's trauma informed (58:08)

What would school look like? Well, I talk about it a bit, like schools in Finland, there's much more play, there's much more freedom, and they have a bunch better results than we do. So that in other words, we honor it. What are the right results to look at? A child who's curious, who wants to learn, who's engaged, who's respectful of others, who is confident, that would be the right results. Then you don't have to worry about stuff acknowledged on their throats. Why? Because they want to learn. They want to learn. So you don't have to punish them, you don't have to reward them, you just present them with the opportunities to learn, and they will. That's a natural human attribute. Be killed in a society. And how much of that, like, and again, I am so aware that I come at the interpretation of your solutions as somebody in the thick of the broken thing. I used to teach adults, so very different than teaching 12 year olds or whatever. But there is a certain amount of like, "Hey, I need everybody to stop talking and pay attention." So how do you create the system where we want a totally different outcome? So we're not going to be judging just based on your math. We're going to be looking at inquisitiveness. We're going to be looking at how much that you want to learn, but you're dealing with large groups, people in all different kinds of positions. The punchline of your book is like, "Hey, we're going to have to overhaul a lot of this." I mean, you go very specifically into the ways in which the culture is toxic. You have to read the book to get into it. But in a nutshell, it's basically, "This is a ground up restart." There is a fundamental flaw we've already talked about, this basic, basic first building block of how you actually, in fact, we haven't. Because in the book you talk about, even before you get pregnant, the things that can create trauma in fetus and it's carried on.

Breaking generational trauma (01:00:12)

And look, I will tell you, dear audience, that he talks about the science and there really is, from what I've seen, quite a bit of science that can show, I think it was up to five generations, you could see an epigenetic marker of trauma in even the father who's carrying that across the sperm into the fertilized egg. It has an impact on how the DNA is wrapped and expressed. It's insane and that it goes for five generations. That's madness and you begin to realize how easy it is to perpetuate this sort of wheel of trauma. So knowing that, there's probably two things we should talk about because right now if mothers are paying attention, they're freaking out about all the mistakes that they made that have now traumatized their children. And so you go into blame in the book. I think that's important to touch on. And then- Yeah, going to the importance of not blaming. Exactly, exactly. So I want you to speak to the role of blame here. And then how do we begin to heal, stroke, build a society that isn't sick? Well, the good news is that I wrote this book with my eldest son. And believe me, I've had a lot of guilt as a parent. I've felt a lot of guilt for the way that I stressed and passed on my own trauma to my children, which I did. Not because I wanted to, I loved them. As I always said, I would have thrown myself into a fire for them. But there's a problem. They never needed me to throw myself into a fire. They just needed me to be at home, self-regulated, knowing how to take care of myself and being, knowing how to tune with their needs. Now that is a traumatized survivor of the genocide in Europe. And there's a work called "Like Doctor" and as an anxious husband in a conflictual marriage, I wasn't able to do. And that we did hurt my kids. I say that at this point, not with guilt, just to say that's what happened. I know I did my best. That just happened to me my best. But anyway, what I'm saying is that I wrote this book with my son. And even the writing was a process of working out our issues. So the first thing, though, is that these issues can always be worked out, that the patterns can be reversed. We don't get, stay stuck in them. So that's the good news. As far as blame is concerned, as you say, trauma is passed on multigenerationally. You know, the Bible says that the sins of the fathers will be visited on to the third and fourth generations. They're not talking about the sins of the fathers. They're talking about the traumas of the parents. We're passed on to the future generations. It's true. But if that's true, if I passed on my trauma to my kids, did I cause my own trauma as a child? Why would anybody be blamed? Who you end up blaming? Adam and Eve? You end up blaming some ape living in a tree. Who was my ancestor at some point? I mean, blame doesn't make any sense. It's also cruel and totally unhelpful. So there's no blame. In fact, it's it's a word. It's not about blaming. It's about understanding. But once we understand, now we can start to do things differently. That's the whole point. It's not about blaming. So we have to break the cycle. Self-awareness. Get in touch with ourselves. Now let's zoom out a little bit. So we know what to do on an individual basis. We have to stop the repression, let the emotions come up, mature into the adult that has the ability to self-regulate that could be there for the next generation to raise a child in a healthier way. Correct. At a societal level, how do we begin to think about this? And what are some highlights of like the things that you're like, yo, this is really broken and causing a lot of problems. Is it the health care system? Is it the education system? Like where do you think sort of the real big ones are? Well, the health care system and educational system, in any given society, the dominant institutions, where we reflect the interest of the dominant groups in any society. So who are the dominant groups in this society? Here's what we know. I know I'm talking to somebody who's made a lot of money. Don't take this personally. But the dominant groups in this society are getting wealthier and wealthier and wealthier, and the rest of society is getting more and more uncertain and insecure. That's an untenable situation. Because when you look at what stresses people are loss of control, uncertainty, conflict, and lack of information, which are precisely the conditions that most people are increasingly living with. There's less security, there's less sense of a positive future, there's more sense of loss of control, there's more sense that I'm a little voice, I don't matter. Even during COVID, when a lot of people lost a lot of money and under terrific economic stress, the top stratum of billionaires gained immensely. Well, that's a stressful situation for a lot of people. That stress translates into physiological illness. That's just how it works. That's the first point. Uncertainty loss of control, conflict, lack of information.

The current problems in our society that stem from trauma (01:06:05)

That's a given condition of globalized capitalism. Because you never know when somebody a zillion miles away is going to make a decision that's going to change your life completely over which you have no control whatsoever. That's a designation, well, that's a recipe for stress. Number two, you look at well, there's a chapter on socio-opitheater strategy. Now, you look at corporations, major corporations who make decisions to deliberately concoct products that'll get people hooked and addicted. I'm talking about the food companies. This has been documented that they actually plan scientifically which combination of salt, sugar and fat are going to get people addicted, which are going to excite the addictive circuits in the brain. No doubt. They're by killing millions of people. The tobacco companies, they have to talk about them at all, about what they've done. The companies that have for decades hired phony scientists to deny climate change, thereby creating conditions of ill health and the engineering life itself. And these are respectable, well-to-do pillars of society and philanthropists on massive scale. The pharmaceutical companies, the pharmaceutical companies who sell opiates knowing... Now, I'm not against opiates, by the way. As a palliative care doctor, I love the opiates, not for myself, but for the patients I was looking after. Thank God. But to sell those products and telling doctors that they're not addictive when you know that they are, tens and hundreds of thousands of people are dying of opiate overdoses. But that's sociopathy by any definition. And these are the people at the top. Still an echo of childhood trauma, or do you think there's something else to play? Well, it's a company. I think the people who do it, they're the really disconnected from themselves. They really are disconnected from themselves. And they're acting like they're traumas in some ways. But it's also the nature of this system. These are the people that this system raises to high levels of power and rewards. Then there's the political system. Now, I'm not talking about political policy here for a moment, but in the book, in the chapter on trauma and politics, we looked at two opposing candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now, Trump is one of the world's trauma experts, Bessel Vanderkal, except to me, is a poster boy for trauma, the grandiosity, the denial of reality, the genuine inability to tell a reality from lies, the aggressiveness. Trump said once that the world is a horrible place, it's a doggy dog. Even your friends want your wife, they want your money, they want your house. And this is your friends. Now, he wasn't making it up. That sense of the world being a horrible place reflected his childhood under a tyrant of a father who demeaned his kids horribly, and a mother who didn't protect them, and one of his brothers drank himself to that. And as we know, his niece wrote a book, who knows the family really well, and the trauma that Trump endured, and how it manifests in his adult life. Now, I'm not criticizing the guy, I'm not blaming him, I'm not even talking about specific policies, I'm talking about his personality. Now, that's Trump. Okay, who was he running against? So, let me tell you the story. You probably read it, but let me tell it to you and give me your opinion. A four-year-old girl runs into the house to his mother. She's upset because neighbors are building, neighbors children are bullying her, and the mother says, "There's no room for cards in his house." Now, you get out there and deal with it. What's the message to that child? At four years old... Yeah. Yeah. At four years old, how would that be read that you're on your own kid? Yeah, you're it's suck it up, and don't be vulnerable in this house. That story was told at Hillary Clinton's nomination celebration at the Democratic Convention in 2016, and it was told as an example of wonderful parenting. That same election campaign, when Hillary developed pneumonia, what did she do with it? Do you remember? Nothing, right? She didn't tell anybody. She collapsed in the street. She sucked it up, and she put up, of course, with the philandering of her husband all those years, blaming herself for not meeting his needs. Typical trauma response. What I'm saying is, that the American public had the choice of being too traumatized people. They chose the more traumatized one. The more traumatized? Yeah. That's the one they chose. There are all kinds of reasons for that. Again, I'm not talking about policy, foreign or domestic. I'm talking about personalities here. These are the people that we elevate to public, high public level, and they carry their traumas with them. Inevitably, those traumas show up in their politics. Society, healing, making things better. I know that you consider yourself hopeful, as do I. I am worried. We were talking about this before we started recording. My audience is going to get tired of hearing me say this, but there is a Chinese curse proverb. You live in interesting times. Correct. I would say right about now. It's a very interesting time. I think you've even said that there's going to be a period of deep unpleasantness. But that long term, you're optimistic. Walk me through one is, why are you optimistic? I am too, but I'm just curious what drives your optimism.

Gabor trying to heal his trauma and in the process healing his ADHD (01:13:19)

Then how do we make sure we end up on the optimistic side? Well, look, first of all, to speak personally, they imprint on me of being an infant under conditions of genocide and war, and under conditions of a mother who was really stressed and terrorized in grief struck because her parents were killed in Auschwitz. And then who gives me up to a total stranger when I'm a year old to save my life. I remember that story. Yeah. Was that this is a bad world that I'm on my own, that nothing's ever going to work out for me. And so even when I was successful as a physician and even as a writer and so on, my innate belief was I'm basically screwed. I don't feel that way anymore. So do you remember when that changed? Like I'm trying to figure out when that changed. So what was the work that you were doing? Because we have the thumbnail sketch, we understand we have to stop repressing our emotions, let them get reattached ourselves. But like, if it were that easy, then everybody be cured at the end of this podcast, which of course they won't be. It's not that easy. So in the work that you were doing and yourself, were there a string of breakthroughs? There was a string of breakthroughs. It wasn't like one big epiphany. It was gradual work over time. Do you remember any of the key moments? A lot of it happened in my relationship. I married to somebody who, my first job, to say that, you know, my problem is that my wife understands me, you know, and she does all too well. But she loved me anyway. So, and wanting to be in that relationship, I had to grow up. Because at a certain point, she wasn't going to live with a child anymore. So we grew together. I would say that was the basic ground of my development. But getting therapy, learning to know my own patterns and where they came from and learning to get some agency over them was very important for me. What I observed as a physician, as a clinician, as a healer, was huge fonts of information for me in learning what... Because you start to understand the patterns of human behavior? Yeah, I start to understand human beings. Sometimes I took anti-depressants that helped temporarily. By lifting the cloud, lifting the clouds, I could feel more clearly. In fact, you know, again, I'm not an advocate for the massive and I think parentiously overdone use of medications. But I can tell you that the first time I took anti-depressant, after a few days, I said, "You mean people can feel like this normally?" So when that cloud is lifted, I could see a bit more clearly now, a lot more clearly, actually. Coming to terms with my ADHD and understanding the patterns. Not as an inherited disease, but as an adaptive response, really helped as well. Interesting. So wait, I'm not surprised. So everything comes back to trauma. So how is ADHD an adaptive response to a situation? Okay. So picture me, okay, as I was at the first year of my life.

ADHD (01:16:44)

My father is in forced labor. My mother doesn't know if he's dead or alive. Her parents are killed in Auschwitz when I'm five months of age. She has to wear the yellow badge as a Jew under the Nazis. That painting of that is going to be in the book. She's terrorized. She doesn't know if she's going to survive. If I'm going to survive, how am I feeling? I can only imagine. Well, give me a few words. I'm afraid. Yeah. Lost. There's a pediatrician that saw me and said he's never seen such fear in anybody's eyes and in my own eyes. Lost, right? All that. Hopeless, stressed. Okay. Very. How do I cope with that? You push it down. I dissociate. I tune out. What is it ADD all about? Tuning out. Really? Never thought of it like that. Well, ADD, the major trait of ADD is tuning out. That kind of absent-mindedness and unwilled tuning out. As an infant, what else could I do? Could I escape? Could I change the situation? I tune out. When am I tuning out? When my brain is developing, the tuning gets programmed into my brain. Why are we seeing more and more kids with ADHD these days? Because parents are so stressed and sensitive kids pick up on that stress. They don't know what to do with it. They tune out as small children when their brains are developing. It's not a genetic disease. It's an adaptive response. The problem with adaptive responses is they help you at the time, but later on they become problems. And it was adaptive at one point, male adaptive at another point. Again, the problem is that they're not conscious adaptations. I mean, look, if it was raining in California, but it was always good in Los Angeles. But let's go back to Canada. I'm up in the north of Canada. It's freezing. It's 50 below, whatever that even means. How do I adapt? I put on warm clothing. That helps me survive. But what if I still wore that warm clothing in the wintertime when it's really hot? That same adaptation would not kill me. The problem with these childhood adaptations, now with the cold clothing, I could take it off. I was not cold anymore. I can take up the warm clothing. These childhood psychological adaptations, they're not conscious. They're not will. They're not deliberate. They're automatic. They're under the level of awareness. Therefore, I can't just drop them. In fact, they even associate my survival with them. So I'm very reluctant to give them up. So something has to happen to wake me up. This isn't working anymore. This is where a diagnosis like ADHD or depression comes in. This is where illness comes in. It can be a wake-up call. Again, I don't recommend it. Or a relationship or a bad divorce. All of a sudden you realize, I met somebody who didn't understand me. Why did I stay with them so long? Because my parents never understood me. So I expect not to be understood. But it doesn't work for me anymore. So next time I marry, I'm going to marry somebody who is a bit more mature. And I'm more mature now. So what I'm saying is that these adaptations, they show up as problems later on in life. And then we can learn from them. And in the case of my marriage, we learn together. I'm curious. In a marriage, so parents should offer their kids unconditional love. Should a spouse offer their other half unconditional love?

Transition From Childhood To Adulthood And Sustainable Growth

Childhood Dependencies vs Adult Dependencies (01:20:36)

Yes, but it shows up differently. So unconditional love doesn't mean that I have to put up with it. It doesn't mean that in the case of my wife, when I'm throwing a tantrum, the healthy response on her part is to say, if you're going to be like that, I don't want to be in the same room with you. But if you keep doing it, I don't want to be in the same house with you. So what changes between childhood and adulthood? Because in childhood, you don't do that. The dependency, the dependency, that the child depends on the parent for very life itself and for healthy development. My wife is not responsible for my healthy development. She's not my mother anymore. As a matter of fact, the reason women get so much water, immune disease is they suppress themselves to take care of their stresses that their men very often. Yeah, you tell a story. I think it's in the book. I've heard so many interviews as well. Sometimes I get confused when I was in the book of a woman who's diagnosed with breast cancer and her husband, whose first wife had also died of breast cancer. Her first thought was, Oh my God, I hope I don't get so sick that I can't take care of her. Yeah, it's in the book. She's the one that diagnosed with breast cancer. She's going to have to chemotherapy or radiation or surgery or whatever. And her first thought is, how will I look after my husband's emotional needs? Well, that's culturally ingrained in women. That's why they think it's just cultural or is it also an echo of the need to be nurturing to the child? It's true that the nurturing instinct in women is much more developed than in men. Partly because they have more of the hormone oxytocin, which is a nurturing hormone. But partly because it's their cultural role. And if you take men who look after children, they become really good mothers. So it's a question of what role people put in. Anyway, yeah, so you know, I forgot what we were talking about. Right before that last saying you were explaining the difference between the dependencies of child. Yeah, my wife is not responsible to help me go into a healthy adult. That's not her job. Her job is to be responsible for the health and growth of our children. If she suppresses her needs and puts all her energy in taking care of the women have a decision to make in our society, my wife did really in a sense. I'm going to look after the little babies. I'm going to look after the big baby. And the energy they put into looking after the big baby is taken away from the little babies and children suffer as a result. So my wife is not responsible for my maturation and my healthy growth. She has the right to expect that I'm going to show up as an adult. When you're supposed to offer unconditional love and you're not getting what you need from your significant other, how do you have people play that out? Is there a point at which they say, look, I just I can offer you unconditional love. I need to separate from this or. You can say, I love you. I really want the best for you, but I can't be with this. I can't be with it. It's toxic for me. It's bad for our children. At some point. That's the reason why we're going to say it. So in that way, are you saying that we should have unconditional love for everybody? Even though that means we'll maintain boundaries, we'll have different kinds of relationships. It depends on the individual love. And again, it depends on the age of the person and the needs of that person. So having love for a person doesn't mean that you're going to put up with everything that they do. But how you, even with children, as we said earlier, we have to draw our boundaries. But the question is, how do we draw boundaries? And in what spirit and what intention? That's interesting. That's so complicated and makes me despair because it's so hard. But I think you're right. The spirit in which you make the intention. So for instance, my wife and I, I would never have said that I love her unconditionally, just because that doesn't feel true in that I have specifically given her conditions and said, if you were unfaithful to me, that would be the end of the marriage. That would be end of my marriage too. For sure. But the spirit in which I make that is not meant to be a threat or anything like that, it's just clarity. What you're actually saying is, honey, my relationship with you is so important that I can't bear to share that with somebody else on that intimate basis. Because my capacity to be intimate with you would really suffer if I had to wonder whether you're choosing somebody else instead of me. That's a personally normal, healthy student to make to an adult partner. It's an expression of love, actually. Help me understand that. How is that an expression of love? Because you really want her. You're helping them be successful. You really want that person in your life. You're saying, I really want you in my life fully. And there's no room for that in that. You can have all kinds of friends and I hope you're independent in your life that's not all bonded with my own. I want you to have your own activities and find your own meaning and have your own friends and have your own activities. But in terms of intimate relationships, I can't handle sharing that with somebody else. That's an expression of love. There's so much depth and nuance to the human mind, to the human experience. Do you at all worry that we as a society will not be that, here's my thesis.

Intention (01:26:54)

We didn't intentionally get it right a thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago. It was just that was the nature of what we had access to. That's right. And to sort of co-opt Chris Rock statement, "Your only as faithful is your options," which I totally disagree with. But culturally, when you take it on mass, it does feel like a lot of the sickness things are us solving these minor annoyances that end up snowballing into becoming deep problems. At first, it's just like, "Hey, we want to be able to control the food supplies so we don't starve to death." Amazing. Then it's like, "Well, we can already do that. Now I want to make sure that the food that I'm storing tastes good." And it's like, "Whoa, well, if I can do that, then I want to be able to sell it. And if I want to sell it, I want to sell more of it. Now that I want to sell more of it, I want to make sure that it tastes really good and gets into that addictive quality that you're talking about." And look, not everybody does it. Obviously, from a food perspective, that was the whole reason that my partners and I got into food in the first place was we wanted to make junk food good for you. So using things that-- So I explain that. How do you mean junk food good for you? So it's good for you. It's not junk food. Well, so to your point, this depends on how we define junk food. So I'll define the way that we looked at it is. Things that you grew up as craving, wanting, whether it was chips, so we made protein chips. Now the great thing about protein chips is they naturally kill your hunger. So you're only going to eat so many of them and then they stop being food. So doing things like that. But anyway, I don't want to get lost in that. So I worry that this isn't a bell that can't be unrunged. Well, let's go back to what we were talking about intention. Your intention wasn't purely to make a profit.

Scaling a Growth Mindset to a Mass Audience (01:28:32)

Your intention was also to serve people while making a profit. That's a very different intention than my only purpose is to make a lot of money, no matter what cost. No matter how many people get sick, how many people develop diabetes, become obese, become addicted to stuff that's terrible for them. That's the actual intention of many of the major corporations. Now that wasn't your intention. So I'm talking about intention. How do we scale that? That's my punchline. How do we scale it? What do you mean by that? So I really, I could have retired and never worked again. But I really want to help people like get to, I wouldn't use your language. The word I always use is a growth mindset. I want people to have a growth mindset. But I think secretly we sort of have a very similar aim, which is we want people to thrive. We just happen to be each attacking a different part of the problem. So that's the intention. The intention is that people should thrive. Now how do we scale that? How do we get everything? You know what, I'm not a business person. What do you mean by scale? Oh, sorry. I don't mean it from a business perspective. On a massive level. Yeah. So if we have a sick society, which I'm with you or a sick culture, I'm with you, how do we get a culture? Like, I mean, we're recording this as there is a war going on on the borders of Europe. So it does make me feel like there's just a nature to humans and it repeats. I think we're going to have to challenge who is in control for one thing. At some point, we're going to have to challenge that on some level. This is not a book about we do touch upon politics and the trauma that's manifested in politics. I hope the answer isn't politics. I hope the answer is. But this book is not a political manifesto. I agreed. But I think people have to start thinking about what I'm talking about on a large scale rather than just how do I make my life better, how do I make society better. In other words, how can we think with the mutual need as our intention and our commonality as intention rather than just my personal grandisement? I think that ship is going to have to happen for survival. Number one, in terms of what you say about wars and so on, well, in any war, if you examine them closely, including this one, they're always conflicting interests and power interests and so on. I don't think I'd want to get into the politics of this war and what I think about it. But it's not just an expression of human nature. It's an expression of political systems clashing with each other for very selfish reasons. That's what I see happening. And I see that in just about every war.


Is it in our nature to be aggressive and cruel? Certainly our potential to be that way. But here's what I see. Yesterday, I was talking to a US veteran, a Navy SEAL, who came back as many do with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. And through a psychedelic experience, actually, he turned it around. He was losing his marriage. He was throwing coffee pots through the window. He was terrifying his children. His wife no longer recognized him. And then he had this experience and he rediscovered his true nature, which was loving and nurturing and so on. And now he's that way towards the world. He would never go back and do the things again that he did then. So even during COVID, you say human nature. Well, in the book I make this point, the Alfie Corn, who's an educator and a writer, he says, "When somebody be a selfishly, we say, 'What does this human nature?'" How about when somebody behaves generously? We never say, "Oh, that's just human nature." But it is. And so, at least in the early days of COVID, the more stressed we got, and the more overwhelmed we got by the crisis, the more the divisions and the rancor showed up in so many, on both sides. But what did we see in the beginning? We saw a lot of people cooperating, collaborating, being kind to each other, being communal, celebrating the healthcare workers, supporting one another. That's in our potential as well. So why should we settle for the worst versions of ourselves? And I say, "That's us." It isn't. Actually, most people want peace. They don't want war. People usually have to be manipulated into war, which they are very often. So, what's our nature? That's why I'm optimistic. I think it's in us. I love it. I have to get you on an airplane, so I have to let you go. The book was amazing, man. Where can people connect with you? Where can they get the book?


Well, the book is published and is published in September the 13th, and it's going to be available everywhere. I hope people will favor their local bookstores and pick up the book. But it's obviously going to be available online as well. In terms of... I have a website,, pretty much everything I'm up to. I'm also all over YouTube, not that I'm all over YouTube, but people have published... You got an amazing presence. You're into you with me last year.



Lots of hits and lots of other interviews are available on YouTube, so I'm easy to find these days. Yes, you are. Boys and girls, I fear that trauma may be the hidden influence on the world, and there are few people that elucidate it more clearly and what to do more clearly than this man. I hope you will read the book, and I hope that you will engage with him online. You will be richly rewarded. As I know, many of you, I'm sure, and according to the good doctor, all of us have experienced trauma in some way or another, and to be blind to it will be to your own detriment. So check it out. You definitely will not regret it. And speaking of things you won't regret. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Peace. There's an animal part of our nature, which is we completely take appearances for reality. That's sort of the source of our problems and our misery, to be honest with in life. So the front that people present, the way they look, the way they talked with.

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