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My guest today is psychotherapist Jessica Baum. She has a new book out called “Anxiously Attached”. And we talk all about different attachment styles. So how we relate to people in relationships, whether it’s in an avoidance way, whether it’s in an anxious way, I’ve really come to the place in my life where I wholeheartedly believe we’re all wounded in this very specific way when we’re younger and part of our job is the schoolwork, the work of going, Oh, okay, these are things I have to work out and I have to identify here’s some of the practices in place that will help me and these are the types of people I might attract when I’m in this state.

And versus feeling like it’s our sentence or this happened to me when I was a kid. So now forever, I’m going to be with people that are either emotionally unavailable, just going to continue and perpetuate those cycles. And the book really is helpful, not only identifying your attachment style, but then some tools that you can use to move into the spaces and places that are healthiest and best for us. So I hope you enjoy my podcast and conversation with Jessica Baum.

Resources Mentioned:

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  • 00:01:19 – The Starting Point
  • 00:03:43 – Intergenerational Trauma
  • 00:08:12 – Positive Anger
  • 00:09:10 – Four Attachment Styles
  • 00:11:46 – Secure Attachment
  • 00:15:16 – Your Attachment Style
  • 00:17:22 – Finding a New Pattern
  • 00:21:09 – Imprinting
  • 00:22:33 – Avoiding Suffering
  • 00:29:11 – Attachment Vulnerability
  • 00:32:17 – Men v. Women
  • 00:36:07 – Attachment in Marriages
  • 00:42:08 – Social Media Fantasies
  • 00:43:47 – Being Self-Full
  • 00:49:45 – Best Practices
  • 00:51:47 – “Undoing” Anxiety

Show Transcript:

My guest today is psychotherapist Jessica Baum. She has a new book out called anxiously attached. And we talk all about different attachment styles. So how we relate to people in relationships, whether it’s in an avoidance way, whether it’s in an anxious way, I’ve really come to the place in my life where I wholeheartedly believe we’re all wounded in this very specific way when we’re younger and part of our job is the schoolwork, the work of going, Oh, okay, these are things I have to work out and I have to identify here’s some of the practices in place that will help me and these are the types of people I might attract when I’m in this state.

And versus feeling like it’s our sentence or this happened to me when I was a kid. So now forever, I’m going to be with people that are either emotionally unavailable, just going to continue and perpetuate those cycles. And the book really is helpful, not only identifying your attachment style, but then some tools that you can use to move into the spaces and places that are healthiest and best for us. So I hope you enjoy my podcast and conversation with Jessica Baum.

[00:01:19] Gabby Reece: Jessica Baum, welcome to the show. And thank you so much for joining me. I’m really excited to talk about, you have a book. “Anxiously Attached.” I found it so interesting because after reading the book, it’s like you, I’m reminded over and over that I feel like we really come into the world already with a bunch of things that we get to work on to be, to try to be like, that’s the classroom of life and in reading your book and talking about how early our attachment styles are developed.

I thought, Oh, this is such an interesting thing because I think most of us are walking around trying to work things out and maybe we’re also focused on the wrong things where this is an incredible starting point.

[00:02:01] Jessica Baum: Yeah. I think that a lot of us are unconscious or not really aware of why we’re suffering or why we’re repeating patterns or why we might be having struggles in our interpersonal or close relationships.

And often there are deep. embedded and early reasons as to why we’re struggling. So when we can start to really understand that it’s like a light bulb moment and we start getting out of the daily struggling and we start to understand the underpinnings of what’s causing us so much maybe distress or anguish or pain.

[00:02:33] Gabby Reece: Can you just share with us what field you’re in? Because I know that this book was written because of your own sort of journey. But maybe just share your background and then I want to talk about why you wrote this book.

[00:02:46] Jessica Baum: I’m a licensed mental health counselor. I have a private practice here in Palm Beach. I have a group practice. I have a coaching business. I specialize in trauma, addiction and couples. I’ve done a couple extra years in something called a Mago therapy. I work with codependency as well, which the word alone is interesting. And I’m a recovering codependent and I, I work on that.

And I don’t know what Psychotherapist doesn’t have a little codependency in them, but, my personal struggles in my life with my family of origin and then in my love life. And then through my experience with what works in my office and my training, I just started to see what works. And I started to notice a lot of patterns and I study interpersonal neurobiology.

So I really understand how we become who we are and why are all of our behaviors make sense. And I was seeing, deep healing, a lot of patterns, just a lot of things that I wish I had known at 20, 25, 30, 35 that would have helped me.

[00:03:43] Gabby Reece: Do you think, you always, we hear, okay, you, you inherit things, maybe 14 generations of whatever experience or trauma that the, the people prior to us that we’re genetically linked to, it’s, it, it makes me think that, in a way, as complicated as it is in certain ways, once you can start to identify it is, it’s not that it makes it so much more simple, but just so achievable to actually undo a lot of the things that I think a lot of us feel like we’re stuck in.

[00:04:14] Jessica Baum: Yeah, you’re talking about intergenerational trauma, which is really passed down nervous system to nervous system and right brain to right brain.

And it is very real. And there’s some epigenetic components to that. And. It’s not easy to heal. It is really hard to heal, but I think when we start to understand what it is and how we’ve absorbed it and take it on, it gives us context to what our, what we what we might want to do with it and how we can start to try to break some of these patterns and also some compassion around how our parents and our parents have survived because it’s really about survival mode being passed down.

Like I have a set aside on my dad’s side that are Holocaust survivors. So it’s looking at the epigenetics and the survival dances, or maybe you come from a home where both your parents are. Very codependent. And you never really learned how to develop a healthy sense of self. A lot of that is passed down through fear and survival.

And basically our parents teaching us what they know and what they know is usually based on how they survived and what they think is best, but it’s not always coming from a place of having us develop a felt sense of safety and trust in the world.

[00:05:26] Gabby Reece: The reason I bring that up is I think as a person who, as an adult looking at the way that I was raised, just having that understanding of the people before you, this idea of hey, they’ve done the best that they could and they weren’t good or bad people.

It’s like the Deal sort of the engineering of their brain and this is how it worked out because I think a lot of us get stuck in the loop of taking it so personal oh, my mom did this or my dad did that. And even after understanding that a little more, even reading your book it’s also the grace of, I feel like it could be an easier place to work from when you’re just trying to heal yourself, because a lot of times, it hurts or you’re disappointed about things that your parents did or didn’t do versus realizing like, Oh they got handed a bunch of stuff too, and they did the best they could. And now I’m going to try to, make, do this better.

[00:06:22] Jessica Baum: Yeah. I think I spent many years being angry, particularly at my dad, and I think that anger There’s a space for anger but I think as you start to heal and you work with different parts of yourself, your wounded parts, like a little me, I refer, you start to realize that your parents have these parts too.

And you start to see more. And I think you shift out of anger at some point. I think there’s a space for anger and you shift out of anger and more into compassion and realize how, like where their wounds are and how limited they might’ve been. been in the areas that you needed. And it’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to have rage. It’s okay. But that shifts as you do the work, it’s like almost part of the process. But you don’t stay there because you start to understand that we’re all just trying to do the best we can. And, it is part of the process of. Healing. So I don’t want to take away the anger.

I can say it through my own healing. And I still am healing is that when you start to embody what you went through, there can be a place of like, why do people have babies are so tender? They’re and then you’re like, because they do. And we. We take on traumas and we do the best that we can.

And I think we just become, when you heal, you become so aware of how fragile and how important and how every interaction with your child impacts them. And that can put a lot of pressure on you. But when you become embodied, it’s wow, like we’re really sensitive beings. And as parents, sometimes we’re just trying to get through the day.

And so we can’t, it’s finding that balance of how do I show up for my kid and be sensitive to their inner world. And also Maybe I’m struggling too with whatever stresses are going on in my life. So both those things are happening simultaneously. We could talk more about rupture and repair and holding space for your children if you wanted to when it comes to trauma, but I think it’s a delicate balance of both.

[00:08:12] Gabby Reece: And I appreciate you, you have a whole part in your book about anger and the positive emotion that is anger. And I think it is important and maybe even more for females to elite a woman named Elise Loonan who wrote a really beautiful book, talked about how powerful and mobilizing anger can be.

So I, I definitely don’t want to gloss over and be like, don’t be angry because I agree with that. But I think anger for me personally It was like I chose anger over hurt, everybody’s so different, but it was the thing that kind of fortified me long enough to get to a better place to navigate doing some work.

So I, I do. I really appreciate in the book. You talk about hey, anger is okay. And there’s a really powerful place for it. I just think as you get older, there is something about when you can release a little bit from that anger. It makes certain healings easier. So maybe we can just start with the three attachment styles and break that down.

[00:09:10] Jessica Baum: Yeah, sure. There’s really four, but so secure is there’s a big bucket of secure people in the world. And I, and then there’s three insecure types, there’s anxious, avoided and fearful. And depending on how your early interactions were, and this is mostly nervous system to nervous system, you can become anxious, which is Hallmarked by an inconsistency. And normally the baby can leave their body and kind of check in with their parent and you become what the parent needs, which is why later you might fit more in the codependent category. And then the other end of this. Spectrum, a true avoidant shuts down and doesn’t get their emotional needs met.

So they give up on the primary caregiver and then fearful struggles with getting close or moving away. Sometimes there’s abuse there, but they really just struggle in relationship. All together. And I think I know we all have pockets of many and attachment styles or embedded patterns is a combination of two people’s patterns coming together.

So I might have a more anxious tendency, which I do. But if I partner with someone who’s really avoided, my anxious tendencies are going to be heightened. If I partner with someone who’s secure, Those should still show up, but they might not be as heightened, or I might have a better opportunity to work through them.

But I also feel like we can work through them in any relationship pretty much. But so you can fall into these categories and secure people can also have some symptoms or some of the behaviors come up to depending on who they partner with. But primarily my book, talks about anxious, which is that inconsistency, more codependent traits.

And I actually, I explore a lot about avoidance because anxious and avoidant tend to attract each other. And I talked a lot about why they attract each other and how you can heal in those relationships because they’re actually great portals for healing.

[00:11:01] Gabby Reece: Yeah. That’s something you, you really talk about because a lot of times I feel, maybe we think, okay, I’m going to try my best to go and heal myself and then maybe enter reopen to entering these ideas of relationships, but you really also talk about how we can, or there’s something so powerful about healing in, in our relationships and in community and using those. Those relationships and those reflections to help us heal it.

I’m curious when let’s say someone comes to see you and they’re in these patterns. Do you find, and it’s, I didn’t almost count secure. Cause I’m like, do you really do run into a lot of people that have a secure attachment style? It’s almost seems like a miracle.

[00:11:46] Jessica Baum: Yeah, they’re less likely to walk through my office.

You’re right. They have a much. They have a much easier time navigating life. It almost feels unfair, but they show up, but they sometimes show up with different issues and they could be partnered with someone who’s really anxious or really avoidant. And they can, that can still make them, want to come in for help.

[00:12:06] Gabby Reece: I wonder if, because sometimes the people I see that have, they have this emotional fluidity and acceptance of things. And at times it also feels that they’re more, I don’t want to say detached, but it’s like somehow that space that they’re able to have in their dynamics or their reactions also feels a little bit further away, so I’m, I don’t know if that makes sense where, it’s I’m always trying to figure out because I probably was I don’t want to say more avoidant, but probably as a, growing up certainly. But within this like reasonable imbalance, it’s like, how do I feel really passionate about everyone in my family and care so deeply, but then have the ability to stand way back and create space and acceptance of, especially when you have kids that are, young adults or teenagers, it’s okay.

This is the way it is. They’re either going to choose it or they won’t. How do you, when you have that, because it’s, it is a sweet spot, right? Like where you’re able to care and it matters, but then somehow you have enough distance. Cause that’s something at least for me personally, that I’m always trying to figure out.

[00:13:18] Jessica Baum: Yeah. There’s a little. sense of interdependency where my kids can really rely on me, but, or I, how do I say this? I think knowing what’s in and out of your control, and being available for them and having them foster security means that you were there as a touching stone, but you’re not like helicoptering.

And that you’re able to step back and realize that when they make mistakes or they make choices. That would upset you, but they’re actually part of the growth and the growth is that they make those choices and they mess up and then they come to you and they can process and repair and understand and learn.

So I think it comes down to a lot of like learning of what is or what is not in your control and that some of these roller coaster hiccups. Parts of navigating these relationships and hardships are actually part of the growth that needs to happen in the relationship. And what’s most important is that when.

Parents are there to be the safe stone for the child to come back and talk about the mistakes or take ownership or learn from these experiences that we’re not trying to control. We do the best we can to help them navigate the world, but we hope that they mess up and we hope that they make mistakes and we hope that they come to safe people to talk about what’s going on inside of them and how they can learn from their experiences.

[00:14:37] Gabby Reece:  yeah, It’s just that in itself is a dance. Yes. It’s like you graduate to one thing and then you realize now you have six new things that you get to work on and try to be better at. And that’s always the interesting human kind of experience. So you have these four attachment styles.

Let’s say someone is waking up to, this seems to be a pattern. What’s a starting point? What is the first thing someone can do to even explore? One, what’s their attachment style? And two, Just what would be, the best practices to, to try to heal or improve or minimize the negative impacts of that.

[00:15:16] Jessica Baum: I do have an attachment style quiz, which I’m happy to give you. I think that, identifying maybe where you land on the spectrum and what you’re attracted to identifying patterns in your life, reading books like mine, but there are several other really great books out there, too. I think attachment styles are, they’re just starting.

They should be out there, but they’re just starting to become pretty well known in the, I hope so starting to identify those things and then, what is wounded in relationship. can only be healed in relationship. And I’m not saying it has to be a therapist or a coach. I’m saying we build a secure base when we start to have secure relationships.

Through people we can be vulnerable with and trust and start to navigate and share what’s going on inside. So part of the healing is building a sense of security through more secure relationships.

[00:16:11] Gabby Reece: If you’re a fall in the insecure bracket, do you, do you think it’s, certainly cause it’s a different Side when we’re in a friendship versus a romantic relationship, if you have attachment style issues from something with your parents or something like that, do you think it’s even as powerful if you work on that in friendships? Versus does it usually show up so differently in a romantic dynamic?

[00:16:36] Jessica Baum: It can show up in any dynamic that is close to you. It could show up with your boss. It could show up with a deep friendship and you can show up differently in each one of these relationships, depending on, your mom could be more anxious and that’s how you could. Be reacting to a girlfriend and your boss could be more avoidant and maybe that’s picking up things that you remind you of your father, not to be stereotypical, but, it shows up in anybody who’s close to you and important to you might touch some earlier aspect within you.

And if you’re not in a relationship, absolutely. You can work on these things because they’re still going to be. Close relationships to you and we need relationships. Connection is a biological imperative. Like we need connection with each other and the deeper the connection, the more likely the deeper the wounds might surface.

[00:17:22] Gabby Reece: And you talk about in your book, cause I think a lot of people, everyone now is an expert. They all, they, young kids have all the, a little way more sophisticated vernacular like, Oh, it triggered me. I have a, trauma, like microaggression I feel that part has made it that everyone thinks they really have a sense of What’s going on, but you really break it down and even talk about our autonomic nervous system and people really understanding that this is. It’s imprinted in us, it’s, you can’t necessarily just recognize it and then it’s going to be different. It’s that. So how do we go from these patterns that are in our brains and in our nervous systems and slowly redirect them into a new pattern?

I think for a lot of people you think how, how does that happen?

[00:18:11] Jessica Baum: Yeah you’re talking a lot about neuroplasticity. You’re talking about healing. So I’d like to say if you’re getting triggered, you’re getting awakened, right? So something’s getting activated inside of you. You’re absolutely right.

I talk about it. Our automatic nervous system is automatic. So fight flight freeze phone is going to happen pretty fast. And that’s a state of protection. And I think the more healing you do, and I’ll talk a little bit about that. The more you build neuroplasticity, the more you build what we call space.

Okay. Around your reactivity and on good days, you might be able to use a new neuropathway and so you want to bring what was activated inside of you to someone you trust and hopefully in time connect that to the original root wound and hold the original pain or the original experience and re experience it with a nervous system that can hold space for it and over time your moving this trauma from your body because there’s a lot stored in the body and in the nervous system and you’re moving them into a shared space and you’re integrating it in the brain.

So essentially that’s what happens when we start healings. We start to become aware, but it is a long process and it’s a process that needs to be held and witnessed and seen. The wound is early. Sometimes we don’t have memory in the traditional sense of the way people think is memory. So when we’re having an extreme reaction in our body, that actually is a memory.

That’s our nervous system saying something’s not safe right now. And that is the memory itself. You don’t even need to Link it back to when I was three or when I was five, ironically, the more healing I did, the more I became aware and could access earlier memories, but before, like four, we’re only storing sensation.

So all the sensations, if you’re listening, all the sensations that are happening in your body usually have memory attached. That is the memory. And we’re not taught to think of memory that way.

[00:20:04] Gabby Reece: There’s something interesting to when you get to observe yourself. I’m sure you hear this all the time and you personally had the experience.

I feel like as I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with exploring certain things, instead of just Going down and reacting and feeling it. Sometimes it becomes really interesting when you can have the feeling and then observe the feeling and be like, oh, there it is versus having to attach to it.

And I think that happens when you’re talking about these memories that your body feels, but that you don’t have intellectually. It’s Oh, that’s an interesting feeling. I wonder why that’s showing up in this situation. I think it’s so interesting because you share that people can start experiencing these memories.

And I put that in quotes in utero, like you could be in your mother’s stomach. In your case, your mom went, was going through a lot of challenges, divorce, and some other of our own things. And these things got imprinted on you. And you don’t remember.

[00:21:09] Jessica Baum: No, so you could be listening and you could have a mom who was there for your every need, but she was anxious and so her nervous system was what we called never in ventral.

So she, these things get imprinted on you and they’re not even intentional. And yet what you’re sharing, or I think what you’re trying to say is like when you can become an observer. And I think. Part of healing and becoming more conscious is that when we can be in the suffering or in the uncomfortability with another person that can help us walk through it, we develop the ability to have space around it and the more and more space that we have around it, the more we can shift out of being in the experience as the person that’s happening to this experience is happening.

And simultaneously, I have another, like an observer of the experience. And when that happens, then I might have options as to how I respond. Respond to this experience and so our unconscious or implicit drives or memories aren’t controlling all of our behavior anymore. We start to see, okay, it’s activating this and now I can hold it more or maybe someone can help me hold it.

Sometimes that’s needed. And when that’s done, I don’t have to. Eat a cookie, smoke a cigarette, yell at my boyfriend, do all these impulsive things to try to regulate or adjust to all of this awfulness is going inside of me. Slowly over time, we develop the capacity to have the space to have more choices to hopefully make healthier choices in our life.

[00:22:33] Gabby Reece: It’s not and it’s not really about moving forward, right? Because there’s a lot of people and I can relate to this probably more where it’s oh, I’m just going to build my way out of it. I’m going to build a different life. I’m going to do these things. I’m going to hammer through and you touched on it earlier about going back and moving.

The feelings or the traumas or the patterns you have to actually get in there and move and move them to different places. You can’t just build a huge skyscraper over them and be like, yes, I’ve worked through my whole life because I think a lot of people, they can make that mistake too.

[00:23:09] Jessica Baum: Yeah, we all do whatever we can to avoid suffering and Rightfully consciously or unconsciously, who the hell wants to go through their stuff, right? It’s only when we’re surrounded by the right people, and we’re in safe environments with the right support that maybe we can even touch our suffering.

So we might have to build a fortress, we might have to use substances, we might have to work till we’re, I was a workaholic we might have to do all these things unconsciously, we don’t have the safety. In our lives to slow down and actually start to be with what’s going on in our body. And there’s absolutely no judgment there, but.

We’re likely to repeat patterns and experiences in our world that really are existing inside our body, even when we’re trying to avoid them. So the irony and that is the more you can get courageous and get some help and get into a safe environment and start to get in touch with what’s going on inside your body.

And really go through it, the less likely in the long run you’ll be recreating the same trauma or the same patterns in your life. You stand a chance of breaking some of those patterns. You will break those patterns because healing is, we are designed to heal. Very much

[00:24:19] Gabby Reece: I do feel like we stated earlier that in a way coming into the world, we’re meant to be banged up somehow, for some reason, whether we inherit it or we experience it, and that part of the incredible part of the journey is going, okay, what are the ways that I can heal myself. And that’s, when people, instead of pushing it away, being like, Oh, wow, this is one of the reasons that I’m here is this exciting, unique adventure of mine on how I can, heal myself to the best of my ability. And I think once, because for me, as somebody who really got into performance as an overcompensation or hyper vigilance it made it so much easier when I thought, oh, no, this is your unique lesson and your unique journey. I think it makes it.

[00:25:12] Jessica Baum: Yeah. And I’m laughing a little cause before, the listeners were talking about the school of life and yeah, it’s hard. And I think that it is when you think of, okay what did I, what lessons am I learning from this relationship or what am I getting from here and healing is feeling and healing means we have to feel things that maybe we don’t want to, but I can’t stress this enough.

If we have safe people and safe environments to heal or feel, it does get better on the other side. And that, yeah, your life, your experiences are a hundred percent unique and your healing and the pathway in which you take to get to personal healing. You have inherent wisdom. If you’re listening inside of you, that if you are curious, we’ll call you to the next healing thing or what you need to do to get the sense of security or the safety in your life to start to address the underlying issues.

Because I can tell you there were years of my life that I knew deep down. There was some stuff I hadn’t faced and I just couldn’t. And I couldn’t face it until I was ready to face it. And so there’s a little bit of knowing, I think, and then there’s a lot of support that is needed. And that, yeah it’s hard because I think a little bit of, life humbles us and it’s constantly teaching us like, lessons and the lessons can be challenging.

But if we’re not learning, we’re not evolving. If we’re not evolving, we’re not experiencing joy and the hardships make all the other things worth it and give us such a deeper sense of meaning when we can look at it that way that you just shared.

[00:26:44] Gabby Reece: The ass kicker for me is when I, especially when I read your book and it’s you know it, but then when it’s written so clearly, depending on your attachment style and your kind of antenna and signal, you’re going to attract, if I always think that of course you’re going to attract them.

Not the worst case scenario for you, but the reflection of just where you’re wherever you’re at. And I know that there isn’t one attachment style. I would imagine secure is maybe the easiest to navigate from, but fearful, anxious avoidant. Is there 1 that seems people can take the quiz?

Does 1 show up as More challenging, more to, to work your way out of? Is it just case by case? What is it like when somebody takes the quiz and they say, oh, I am this type of, I attach this way. Anxious, maybe fearful. That seems avoidance, seems like it’s lonely, and you’d be isolated and, your adult children will have a lot of issues with you, but I wonder if fearful and anxious is the hardest on the person.

[00:27:47] Jessica Baum: I think that no avoidance, pretty tough. because they’re less likely to get help. So they’re really great at being independent. So they’re less likely to get the help. Disorganized, fearful is definitely the most painful. It’s and I’ve had pockets of it. I don’t we have pockets of these things and it’s a feeling like I can’t run towards the person I love.

Because they’re not available or they’re not there. And I can’t run away because I’m scared of abandonment or whatever. And you’re stuck in your body. So imagine being an infant, whether you’re being sexually abused, or you’re scared of your primary caregiver, you’re stuck in the state of not being able to go towards or away.

So that’s a very hard place avoidant People, more and more of them are coming in for help, which is amazing. But they are so good at functioning on their own that they’re less likely to come in for help. And they certainly don’t want to come in when their anxious partner is you need therapy.

And then anxious people, they want to come in for help, but typically they want the people around them to change too. But anxious people with more anxious tendencies. I say that, I wrote the book, but they’re most likely to try and go and get help for themselves. They really are by nature.

Their adaptive strategy is to reach out for help, even when they don’t need help, they’re comfortable with saying, I need help. So they’re more likely to go out and get some more help.

[00:29:11] Gabby Reece: Yeah. So if someone has had these kinds of experiences and they know that this is where they’re at, is it about finding.

Because I think a lot of people don’t know the starting point because there’s plenty of people out there who talk or they’re therapists, but I think. It’s really happens early, when you go in and see someone and talk to them for help. I think the confidence that this person can help you sooner, meaning you feel it intuitively in the first meeting or two will really dictate if the person continues to get help.

So I guess this is a difficult question to answer, but I’m going to what is the best case scenario of someone finally gets to the place where they go? Hey, listen. I need to get help. And they take a questionnaire or take the quiz. What can they do from there? Because that’s in that moment too, where I feel like someone’s really vulnerable and they’re sticking their neck out there and there’s a real chance and real opportunity.

[00:30:08] Jessica Baum: Yeah. And there’s a lot of coaches and therapists that I don’t think they’re like problem solvers and they’re not going into the body. So it’s hard. I’m going to be honest with my therapist. I didn’t let her in for a couple of months. I remember when I was doing my work, but she was such a great referral that I trusted the referral and I just kept showing up and I kept slowing down.

And now, like, when I see her, I just cry. I’m like, all my stuff comes out and my psyche and my body has learned to trust that she’s safe. And that took a really long time. But I’d say if you’re looking for someone you want and you have identified attachment issues and a lot of sensations and pain in your body.

And you want to make great change. A coach or a therapist that has a somatic background, so a background in body work, a background in understanding trauma in the body of someone who’s really connecting you to your body or starting to help you gently connect to your body, someone that you feel safe with.

Our referral is always really good and it’s, there’s a little bit of a spiritual piece to it. Like sometimes we have a telly or an intuition that says, okay, I feel safe enough with this person, but you don’t want someone who’s going to fix you or placate you or just tell you what to do. Or, like you want to be careful of people who are just trying to make you feel better because the whole point is actually, we want to be in those icky feelings together. Oh, it’s not about avoiding them. It’s about let’s lean into them and finally feel them together. And sometimes that takes time to get to with someone, but you don’t want a therapist or a coach that just tells you what you want to hear, or it tells you the other person is wrong, or isn’t really challenging you in any way.

And third, the last thing I would say is someone who’s pretty well versed in attachment theory. It’s, There’s a lot of therapists out there, but the ones that really understand attachment theory, I have therapists and coach that work for me all trained in this, but there’s so many and just making sure that they have the right background and that intuitively it feels right.

And they’re not trying to fix you. They’re trying to hold space with you and help you connect to deeper roots. So those are the important things and that they’re warm and receptive and of course, nonjudgmental.

[00:32:17] Gabby Reece: Thank you for that. I just think it’s a really important reminder for people when they are willing to be that vulnerable that they’re at least having some cues because it can flip you upside down, especially when you’re looking for help.

You don’t know which way is up and it’s like just having a few ideas of Oh, I’m looking for this. And this I think is so helpful. Men and women typically, I know everyone it’s all, it’s very different. Do you see differences though in the way that they express these things?

Is there a tendency for men to be more avoidant when they have, when they’re dealing with their own pain or is it just based on the individual?

[00:32:52] Jessica Baum: Attachment is really based on. The individual and how they were raised, but our culture has imprinted men in a particular way to be more avoidant in the sense that even if they’re anxious, they’re less likely to express their emotions as openly because they’ve been taught early on that men don’t express their emotions.

So there’s been a cultural in. Like cultural imprint on them that they should behave and that being vulnerable is not great. And so they have a harder time and I, I don’t know the statistics. They might be more males that are avoidant for sure. But I think that has a lot to do with our culture and what is expected of a man versus what is expected of a women, of a woman’s just.

So much more allowed to express her moment emotions. So it’s so unfortunate because men suffer so much. I wrote my book and it’s. With purple hearts on it and a lot of women buy it and I’m sure more women have bought it than men, but so many men have come to me. So grateful that they finally have some understanding.

And I almost wish I had marketed it to both. They’re less likely to go and buy the book, but like they equally, if not more need the permission to feel and work through some of these issues. Yeah, I went off on a tangent. No, yeah.

[00:34:11] Gabby Reece: You should have done, you should, you could add a different, a black, cover it with, skulls and be like, and just attachment.

No, it’s true. I think that’s really important. I, I’ve been married for 26 years. I’ve been with my husband for 28 years. And the interesting thing being with someone like him is he had a. I met, I can see it in him. He has a, he had a very loving mother. It doesn’t mean perfect.

It doesn’t mean things, radical things weren’t happening, but there was something in their relationship that he probably felt seen and heard and loved. And it’s interesting how you can see how in this very kind of. Masculine male, the capacity for love and tenderness and all of these things because of that, because he didn’t really have a dad.

And so just in that dynamic he got so much in it. It is really, and then it gets perpetuated, right? We have three daughters, so he has these opportunities again and again to express that and practice that. It’s, you go, oh man, you had a good mom.

[00:35:13] Jessica Baum: So beautiful. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah.

[00:35:16] Gabby Reece: It. It’s really when they always go look at how they feel about their mother I, it’s an interesting thing. You don’t want to overdo it because people can certainly heal and recover, but there’s something when people get that maybe upfront easily for whatever reason that you can see they navigate things. It seems certain things are easier for them.

[00:35:36] Jessica Baum: Absolutely. And seeing how your partner relates to their primary caregivers can tell you a lot. Yeah. Yeah. Around, their upbringing and whatnot, and a nicely nurturing, attuned mom is going to produce a, someone who’s capable of giving that nurturing and love as well, as opposed to, moms who can be enmeshed and helicoptery or, there’s so many different variables.

And again, nothing to blame here. Everyone is just surviving, but it sounds like your husband got a lot of great. Great needs, Matt.

[00:36:07] Gabby Reece: You talk about the mistake in, what’s supposed to happen in marriage because we do, right? We have these certain drivers. We’re dry. We’re, we’re here. It’s driving us to find someone maybe to beat and not for everybody, but I’m saying biologically there does. It seemed to be a driver to be with somebody and possibly procreate it is a biological thing, but you mentioned this and I, I feel like it’s important that you, it’s what’s the mistake that we think our belief of Oh, if I do that’s going to happen.

[00:36:39] Jessica Baum: I think with anxious attachment, In particular, and sometimes we can talk a little bit about narcissism too, but with anxious attachment, there’s the abandonment wound. So the mistake is that I’m going to get married and that’s going to solve my abandonment wound, or I’m never going to be alone again. And that might be unconsciously happening.

So I’m going to be rescued in some way. And that’s imprinted through neglect and then kind of Cinderella stories on the TV. And I’m definitely one who fell in that category of, Like, I would love to someone come in and take away my pain, right? And that’s an adaptive strategy to survive. There is nothing wrong with that.

Having the fantasy that someone is going to come into your life and take away your pain is what we need to believe. And until we’re really ready to deal with that, no one’s going to take away your pain. You’re actually needing to hold it with people who can help you heal it. So that’s a fantasy that’s needed.

And when you break that, it is truly painful. And for narcissism or anyone with. It’s like I’m going to have someone come in my life and make me feel special or make me feel different or make me feel unique. And then when that person doesn’t make them feel special or unique they tend to fall from that fantasy as well.

So there are these fantasies that we can hook into when it comes to marriage or finding a partner that partner is going to make us feel complete or whole. And in the beginning stages of love. You actually feel complete and euphoric and blissful. So you think, okay, I found my solution. And then part of the nature of all relationships is to unfold and our wounds come up and we can see where we’re projecting and we can hopefully learn from.

Those relationships and not fall into the idealism or the perfectionism that we had in our head and possibly deal with the pain underneath it all. Yeah,

[00:38:28] Gabby Reece: It’s interesting that whole, white horse rescue deal. I didn’t really read those books to my girls. And my husband and I joke why don’t you go complete yourself and I’ll go complete myself because those even the ads for Valentine’s Day, you complete me.

It’s oh, you guys like this is. This is a recipe like, for disaster, but not only that now, like for example, all the wedding, the show of the wedding, right? These young people getting married and the amount of theater that goes into the actual, the dress and then it’s on Instagram and all the stuff.

And I’m like, Oh, you guys have no idea. Like this expectation, like this thing that you’re building. And then the next day here we are. I find it so interesting. You know what I mean? Like the hoopla around it.

[00:39:15] Jessica Baum: Yeah. I think I thought that I would get married and everything that you reached another chief Chapter of your life and everything is great. And if you’re listening, you do reach another chapter of your life and marriage can be wonderful, but your patterns continue, your wounds are still there if they were there before you got married, they’ll probably be worse when you’re married because you’re still going to need you’re not committed and you really need to work through it.

So it’s not a destination. And yet I think. As a woman who grew up in America, all I wanted to do was be married. And I think that’s such a detriment to like people having these goals rather than understanding like the actual work that is involved in relationship and how there are stages of a relationship and how hard relationships can be to stick it out and how much self reflection you need and how conflict is normal and how that bliss Goes away and you wake up one day and you’re like, Oh my God, this is my partner. This is life, so everybody’s different, but yeah, we’re definitely set up for disillusionment and disappointment. If we aren’t taught how to have rupture and repair and be reasonable about our relationships.

[00:40:25] Gabby Reece: I’m just wondering if you’re seeing it now with this sort of next generation, let’s say maybe 35 and under where social media has become a part of dating, baby reveals, these incredible destinational weddings, everyone’s in the same color, it’s all harmonized.

I’m wondering, If you’re seeing a new set of things that people have to navigate, because weirdly they think that those stories that those other people are telling on Instagram or Facebook or wherever are somehow it’s real. I just I’m so fascinated by it.

[00:41:02] Jessica Baum: Yeah, absolutely. I think not just weddings, everything you see the perfect girl, the perfect guy on Instagram and you watch their perfect life and They’re out on a yacht and they’re getting married in Capri. And, you think, Oh my God, let me like compare myself to this person who’s not even sharing any vulnerability or any reality of how their life might be hard. And you know what? No one has to share the vulnerability of how hard life is on Instagram, but I think the perception that life is this one way, because people want to show the good lets many people say, okay the hardships or the harder parts aren’t shared.

Therefore, when I experienced them myself, there must be something wrong with me and it’s very glamorized and it’s. It’s hard. Yeah. And I also think the dating world is hard because it’s become more transactional and there’s just, there are actually more options out there which become so much easier to discount any option that might be in front of you.

So it’s not an easier world out there. It’s a different world in some ways. Some things are easier and in other ways, other things are much harder.

[00:42:08] Gabby Reece: Yeah. Do you have practices with people where you say, Hey, temporarily lay off or just some kind of filter or buffer between them and this other narrative that their electronic world is Telling them because that world, maybe for someone like me, it’s not as real because I didn’t grow up with it in my hands. But for a lot of young adults that it’s all blend, it becomes so blended.

[00:42:35] Jessica Baum: Yeah. I’ve had to have clients stop following people or. Check in, what is this person bringing up inside of you? Like, how is this adding value? What do you believe about this person? Do you actually see the reality of this person? And we’ve all done it with celebrities and things like that. We project this perfect ideal onto them. Meanwhile, we all know that celebrities do suffer too in their own way. So I think it’s like that black and white thing.

It’s we’re not seeing it all. And how can we teach? This younger generation to see the truth and kind of filter through or to see through the filters, so to speak, and be realistic with themselves and self accepting that these snapshots are certainly not the full shot of what’s going on.

[00:43:19] Gabby Reece: I just, I can’t, this is an ongoing interest of mine, especially I do have two, two of my daughters are. Not even on social media. They’re, they are young adults and my, but my teenager is locked, locked and loaded for sure. And I’m always like, I can see the, the impact on her.

So you, you talk about being self full. I really appreciated this idea. Maybe we could just talk about what that means.

[00:43:47] Jessica Baum: Sure. I talk about three states. They’re states. You don’t stay in a self full state. But they’re selfless, so there’s a self abandoned state, which a lot of people who struggle with codependency are definitely anxious to touch.

Our adaptive strategy is to self sacrifice or disconnect from our body and know the temperature of the room. This is a sympathetic, activated state. So we’re in fear, we tend to go towards or self sacrifice or disconnect. Then I talk about selfish, which a lot of narcissism or even avoidance get labeled selfish.

That’s also a state born of fear. Where we disconnect and we run away or we focus just on self and we’re not in connection. Self full is where I feel safe enough and you feel safe enough. We’re in this place of connection and expansion and I get my needs met and you get your needs met. And it’s basically what we call a ventral state in the scientific terms.

So as we’re starting to heal, we can start to see when am I activated? Do I shift into a selfless state of overgiving or overcompromising or can I, when I’m in a selfful place, how can I speak up for myself or trust that my needs are going to get met? Or when do I shift into a selfish place, which we all do in order to protect myself?

And what does that feel like? So it’s understanding your nervous system. And that was my way of helping people start to understand where their nervous system goes in an adaptive place to survive. And again, the survival is about staying in connection because we’ll do just about anything to stay in connection or staying safe, whatever we’ve learned to stay safe, whether it’s to shut down, run away, run towards, is that interesting?

[00:45:27] Gabby Reece: Like to one person is for them, it’s running away and for another, it’s like running towards it’s so interesting how it is so different for all of us. And you share you lay it on your book and I really encourage people to, to read it is, Hey, understand what are your non negotiables and even getting into no, like no is one of my favorite words.

It really is because it’s so liberating, especially if you don’t try to explain yourself. Hey, can you do that? Can you make this? Can you do this? Oh, yeah. No, I can’t. I think once we get comfortable with those types of things that you’re talking about your non negotiables and your nose, it makes a lot of things.

[00:46:08] Jessica Baum: Absolutely. It’s just no can be really hard if you have abandonment issues or people pleasing or those and you fear the risk of disconnection or disappointment or any of those things. So learning how to say no is more of an internal process of being with what might come up for you if you disappoint or if you let down someone you love.

And so it can be a very scary process. That you want to work through and if you weren’t allowed to have healthy boundaries as a child and allowed to say no and yes, and have some flexibility there saying no is hard, but you’re absolutely right. Once you learn, you can say no more. It can be very liberating, especially for those who’ve been saying yes for their whole life.

So there can be a pendulum and working through, what do I really need an internal boundary work, which I do. Some work around, I have courses around it, but like checking in with your body, really learning where your guests know and maybe are, and like starting to navigate from that place is it’s a skill to learn how to really honor what’s in alignment with you versus what your friend or your partner wants.

And and it’s not to say you shouldn’t compromise and do things that you don’t feel like doing once in a while. It’s about being fluid and flexible in the system, in the. Coupleship or the family system. Yeah,

[00:47:25] Gabby Reece: I think that’s really important. As a, you’re doing things all the time that you don’t want, I won’t say you want to, but it’s not going, it doesn’t feel like it’s going against you.

There’s a real difference. I can’t help but be fascinated that also based on our attachment style and some of our own kind of yeah. Signals, antennas that we end up attracting, I don’t want to say the worst person for us, but just generally the things that kind of could potentially keep us in those patterns.

I always I’m always, in awe of our ability to do that.

[00:47:58] Jessica Baum: I actually think that’s a really great. Thing. It’s like when we don’t heal, we go towards what’s familiar and in a Mago and in couples counseling, we’ll say, because we’re trying to heal. But often we’re not healing.

We’re just recreating. And yeah, we attract people who can recreate sometimes the original wound so that we can get conscious. And the more conscious we can get and the more healing we get the allure to what’s familiar changes. And we start to attract something that possibly is a little bit different and might feel different, which when something feels different or feel safe, it could feel boring.

It just feels different. We don’t identify it as love or exciting or anything like that. So it is common that we can create patterns and attract people that. Recreate similar wounding because the wound lives inside of us and sometimes it’s going to get replayed because it lives in us, not in the other person.

[00:48:55] Gabby Reece: And I think the gift of the new uncharted waters, even though it’s uncomfortable and you even share Hey, you have to even maybe learn new ways to love and be loved. But there within lies. Such a powerful gift. This new if we get that chance, and sometimes a new way to love feels totally different and not as intoxicating and not as exciting and just different.

[00:49:22] Jessica Baum: So it’s a trade off of those rollercoaster relationships versus what. Steady, consistent, heartfelt love might feel like, and sometimes we have to feel that in our friendships with our therapists or our coaches, we have to start to feel into an embodied sense of that kind of support in order to then cultivate it or manifest it If you want to say in our love life.

[00:49:45] Gabby Reece: That leads me to I, I am so interested in all things. I always say I put, I try to play the long game. I feel I try to be a long game player. I try to make decisions and use words and choices now for something that builds towards the whole story. And from your point of view, let’s say someone is considering having children and they know they have things That they would like to begin to work on in, in the long game in your mind is it, Hey taking a quiz, but because it’s also your partner, by the way, right?

I always joke that my, my husband’s a bit of a daredevil and my middle daughter was, went through a pretty radical phase and I was like, Oh, I should have considered who I was like procreating with, cause you think, oh, and then you were like, oh no, those traits, those things get passed on.

If you had a magic wand, would, what would you invite people if, they were thinking long term just best practices?

[00:50:46] Jessica Baum: I think having a relatively secure relationship where you can work through something rupture and repair and have a deepening bond where you’re not always in crisis with your partner is going to be a really great indicators if you’re going to pass on this anxiety and crisis to your child.

So having a relatively calm partner, cause remember you’re with that person for the long game once you procreate. So being aware of that, you know of who you choose. You wanna feel a sense of safety for a while. It takes a coup a couple years to really work through your attachment to know it takes 18 months to even really get attached to a person.

So it takes a while to know how the attachment patterns are gonna show up. And can you and your partner work together as a team? Can you have fight and conflict? Do you have intimacy? Not, I don’t mean sex, but can you. Do you see into yourself? Are you self reflective? Are you going to be able to be a good team because raising another human being is, it’s a lot of work.

[00:51:47] Gabby Reece: Yeah, no I can speak from my youngest daughter actually, when I was pregnant with her at about five months, we had a pretty intense situation in my house that. Lasted a little bit and it’s interesting because there’s times naturally, I feel like parenting and guilt weirdly, I don’t know what they’re, they feel in lockstep with each other sometimes.

I think sometimes she’ll behave a certain way and I’m thinking, Oh, that’s because of that thing I went through when I was pregnant with you. That I’ve derailed your nervous system because you say, Hey, listen, in, in utero stuff’s happening, what the mom’s going through. Or early childhood, like maybe we were younger and then we learn and we improve in your mind.

What are the steps? Is it a conversation with the. With the kid when it’s the right time, is it, how do we as parents, because we are learning maybe help them undo some of that stuff that we, inadvertently put on them.

[00:52:48] Jessica Baum: Sure. I have to, two ways to answer this question.

What one if you’re pregnant or looking to get pregnant, eliminating some stress in your life, trying to make your life as stressless as possible so that you’re not carrying around a ton of stress. And of course, that’s not always possible. And then. Trauma. Trauma isn’t necessarily what happens to us as much as how it’s received.

So we go through little traumatic events all day long, believe it or not, like things that happen to us at school. And if we come home and we have parents who can validate us, see us, hold our anger, hold our experience, say it makes sense that you feel this way, they don’t become embedded. So we can. Get to such a healthier place when we share and that sharing is received and we’re being seen, heard, not being told that we were wrong for the way we feel.

Then that trauma doesn’t get stuffed and packed into the body. So that’s the best way I can say we can support our kids. A lot of developmental trauma or things that kind of get, Okay. Lodged in their long term are things that happen repeatedly that are never attended to well enough so that they get suppressed I always tell people, don’t be afraid to apologize to your kids Like they could be three years old And if you say hey, we’re gonna we’re gonna go to the park after we do this and something comes up You don’t get there.

[00:54:09] Gabby Reece: It seems like a small thing But just being somebody that’s safe enough to be like I blew it. I’m sorry I think it’s It gets, and it’s an easier practice. It’s, oh my gosh, I think as a parent, sometimes when we have to apologize I was going through something with one of my teenagers the other day and she was like, it’s over there.

And I go, no, I think it’s over here. We were going somewhere. And she was right. I was wrong. And so I learned this quickly because of marriage when she was kept going and and I told you when I said, I’m just going to say one thing You’re right. And she was like, Oh, it’s so boring when you do that because she likes also the banter, but I’m just encouraging parents.

Don’t be afraid. It’s okay. It’s very hard to do. I find myself being like, Oh my God, I have to say that there I’m wrong and I’m sorry, but that there’s something. And I, again, I learned that being in a long relationship in the end, they’re going to trust you more. They’re going to respect you more. You’re going to be safer.

And you get better at it. It is practice, but you do get better. Just be like, I blew it, absolutely.

[00:55:09] Jessica Baum: Taking ownership of where your humanness is allows your kids to one day take ownership of where their humanness is.

[00:55:17] Gabby Reece: That’s right, being the example. Jessica Baum, can you just remind people? “Anxiously Attached” is the book, but just all the places that people can find you and if they want to learn more or investigate into taking the quiz and just anything that you’re doing.

[00:55:32] Jessica Baum: Yeah, I’m gonna have to send you the quiz, but maybe you can link it “Anxiously Attached: Becoming More Secure in Life and Love” is just about anywhere. It’s like in 11 countries. It’s on Amazon. It’s a really great place to start. I have an Instagram. L. M. H. C. I have a relationship Institute of Palm beach is my local practice here in Florida. And then my international coaching business is called be self full. com. So you can find me, but literally if you put Jessica Baum author in, you’re going to get a slew of a lot of different places to find me online.

And yeah, I hope to connect with any listener that really resonates with what we shared today.

[00:56:12] Gabby Reece: Because I always forget something. If there was something that I forgot that feels really important to you, an invitation to people. Cause I, I feel like a lot of people, we all are navigating versions of this. If you had a invitation that you wanted to make to the listeners before we go,

[00:56:31] Jessica Baum: no, just any behavior or anything you’re going through probably makes. Perfect sense to be easy on yourself or human beings, like Gabby said in the school of life and we’re all learning and it takes a courageous person to say, Hey, I want to look deeper into my internal world.

And yeah, that’s it. I think you did a great job asking so many questions, so I feel good about that.

[00:56:53] Gabby Reece: Wait, I’m going to share one thing with you really quickly because it just came to my mind. I have a stepdaughter and when she was three years old, I was, we were all in the shower, my husband and her and I, and she looked like her mother in the shower.

And I I was jealous. And I got out of the shower and my husband who’s very attuned was like, what’s up with you? And I’m like, I am a disgusting person. And he’s what do you mean? And I go, I’m jealous of an innocent three year old child, cause she reminded me. And then I was jealous wife, blah, blah, blah.

And he goes, Seems pretty normal. And I and I want to say, that for, to remind people that we have things in us and we feel things. And if we can also be with somebody that we can reveal that with, and then they are like, yeah, okay. It really can be part of to your point about the healing. It makes everything a lot easier.

So no, nothing inside of us is that bad. And I think most of us feel like it is. And I think once we get in the practice of sharing with someone like you or someone who’s qualified And reveal ourselves. We realize it’s okay. It’s all part of it. It’s all okay.

[00:58:02] Jessica Baum: Absolutely. And I think the safety of being able to share those things is not many people, not everybody has that.

And so finding safe people that you can share and that takes time. And it’s so great that you feel safe enough with your husband to share those things and that he reacts in that way.

[00:58:19] Gabby Reece: What a beautiful gift. But I, that was the first. Real, one of the first people that I’ve had that. So I just want to encourage people, whether you said like a girlfriend or a guy friend or whoever, that there are people there that are like, Hey, I love you.

And that, yeah, it seems like a normal thing. So Jessica Baum, thank you for your time, for your insights and for writing this book. Books are never easy. It’s a huge accomplishment and we appreciate it. Thank you. ​

About Jessica Baum, LMHC, CAP

Jessica Baum is the owner and founder of Relationship Institute of Palm Beach. She has an undergraduate degree from Fordham University, and holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling from South University. As a certified substance abuse specialist, her focus is chemical abuse, co-dependency, and anxiety. Jessica is also a certified Imago Therapist. Using the Imago approach, Jessica helps treat family systems and couples issues with an extensive knowledge on relationships. Jessica also uses this approach in family programs she runs for treatment centers. She also has extensive training in psychodrama and experiential therapy. She is also skilled in cognitive therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. She is trained in EMDR therapy and Post Induction Therapy and has done a copious amount of work with trauma.

Jessica’s own personal core belief is centered around the importance of connection. Connection and understanding of ourselves, as well as how that relates to how we connect in the world. She believes that the crux of most personal struggles can be attributed to a lack of true understanding and personal connection. It is that disconnect in the world which ultimately leads to pain. Jessica founded Relationship Institute of Palm Beach on the premise to help heal, foster happiness, and restore hope in the individuals and families she works with.