Ayla Inja β€” Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents, Emotional Abuse, Why Your Ego Is Not The Enemy, Suicide, Overcoming Trauma, and More – #33

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by Ellie Goode

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Ayla Inja - adult children of narcissistic parents

Adult children of narcissistic parents – listen up.

Have you ever been gaslighted by your parents?

Have you ever been guiltripped?

Verbally threatened?


You’re not alone.

Even though pathological narcissism (diagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is quite rare, everyone can possess narcissistic traits.

Especially your parents.

Childhood experiences have an immeasurable impact on your adult life.

Confusing elements of psychological trauma, narcissistic parenting, and emotional abuse can cast long shadows over your well-being.

Adult children of narcissistic parents often experience gaslighting, manipulation, guilt-tripping when they’re young.

Having a narcissistic parent often leaves you feeling confused, angry, and hurt.

Honestly – it’s a head fuck.

I know from experience.

In this episode, we journey through the complex interplay of our ego, defence mechanisms, and the reactions embedded in our nervous systems.

Ayla Inja is a researcher from the Douglas Mental Health Institute, and shares her strategies for overcoming the scars of the past.

Understanding Narcissistic Parenting

A narcissistic parent is often self-absorbed, seeking external validation and admiration. They may use their children as extensions of themselves.

The family dynamic in households with narcissistic parents can be suffocating, with the narcissistic parent demanding constant attention and admiration from their child.

Children often grow up feeling invisible or undervalued, leading to profound emotional wounds.

Emotional Abuse and Its Implications

Emotional abuse (which includes narcissistic behaving parents) can leave deep scars on a child’s psyche. Verbal insults, manipulation, gaslighting, and neglect can erode self-esteem and create a pervasive sense of unworthiness.

These experiences can shape your ego and defence mechanisms, leading you to adopt survival strategies such as fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses in your nervous system and physical body.

The Nervous System’s Role

Our nervous system acts as a bodyguard in the face of trauma.

It serves to protect us.

The fight response makes us confrontational (e.g. expressing boundaries), the flight response makes us avoidant (i.e. running away to safety), the freeze response leaves us paralyzed and numb (suicide, apathy etc.), and the fawn response makes us seek approval from others (people pleasers).

These automatic reactions are the nervous system’s way of protecting us.

BUT — if you don’t express these responses (because it’s not safe to in your family home) they can persist into adulthood and hinder your personal growth and well-being.

Adult children of narcissistic parents feel this deeply.

It’s usually not safe to express your emotions (because you might get smacked, yelled at, or sent to bed without dinner).

So instead, your nervous system holds all this survival stress in your body, to be released at a later date (i.e. when you’re an adult).

As Gabor Mate explains through his work, children prioritise connection with their parents or caregiver over their authenticity (i.e. expressing emotions).


Because your parents are responsible for your food, shelter, and clothing.

So in order to maintain a sense of stability and safety, you naturally adapt your behaviours to please your parents.

Because it keeps you safe.

The Healing Process

As you heal from emotional trauma, you often go through an awakening process.

Maybe you’re the golden child, receiving lavish praise from your parents.

Or maybe you’re sidelined and neglected because you’re not “good enough”.

Whatever the dynamic, it’s important to understand to break free from its grasp.

Exploring the Shadow Self

The concept of the shadow self involves recognizing and integrating the hidden aspects of your personality, often formed in response to trauma.

By acknowledging and working with your shadow self (or what you perceive as “negative” emotions, you can become more self-aware and start the journey toward healing.

The Correlation Between Childhood Trauma and Suicide

The cycle of depression and anxiety can be an agonizing consequence of childhood trauma.

Ayla Inja delves into the science behind how emotional stress can lead to suicidal thoughts in adulthood (and we talk about impulsive behaviours that are common in suicidality).

It’s crucial to recognize the connection between trauma and mental health struggles, as this awareness can be a lifeline for those in need.

Strategies for Preventing Depression and Anxiety

Ayla offers valuable strategies to prevent spiralling into depression and anxiety, such as mindfulness, therapy, and self-compassion.

By recognizing dysfunctional behaviours and thought patterns rooted in your past, you can regain control over your life and foster resilience.

But — this work is not for the faint of heart.

Self-awareness and self-reflection are pivotal in breaking free from the chains of your past (and for adult children of narcissistic parents).

The impact of narcissistic parenting and emotional abuse can be profound, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

By understanding the mechanisms at play in your nervous system, acknowledging the trauma, and taking steps toward healing, you can reclaim your life.

This enlightening conversation with Ayla Inja offers a beacon of hope, promising transformation and growth for those ready to embark on the journey of self-discovery and healing…

So hit the play button right now.

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Ellie McIntyre - sex money and rage podcast

Ellie Goode β€” Host of the Provocative “Sex, Money & Rage Podcast, Nervous System Junkie, and Plant Psychonaut πŸŒΏ

I created Sex, Money & Rage to talk about everything that’s taboo. BDSM. Plant medicine. Healthy Rage. Kink. Emotions. Boundaries. Money issues. Less thinking, more feeling. How to get into your body and silence your overactive mind.

Sex, Money & Rage provides straight-up, powerful nervous system tools to help you dominate life’s toughest moments.

All podcast episodes are located here.

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Ellie Goode: 0:04
Welcome to the Sex Money and Rage podcast.

Ayla Inja: 0:08
If you take accountability for your life right now, it helps you to not feel so not in control, and it helps you to feel less helpless in terms of the trajectory of your life and you get to choose how you want to end up in life. I truly believe that we all have the power within us to manifest the life that we want, and we are in control of our destiny. No one else, just you, and I think that’s why it’s so important to do the work and hold yourself accountable and also be aware, so that you can end up having the life that you want.

Ellie Goode: 0:42
Welcome back to Sex, money and Rage. I’m your host, ellie, and thank you for joining in to another episode. If you’re enjoying this show, please hit the subscribe or follow button and make sure notifications are ticked so that every time there’s a new episode it will pop up on your phone and you’ll just be like listen to me, which you should do. You should definitely listen. So if you’re wondering why there’s been a six week break between episodes, it’s because I was getting absolutely slammed and struggling to keep up. So good news is I’ve hired a podcast editor, which I was like why didn’t I do this sooner? So, anyway, super excited about that to be able to delegate all of that to someone else so that I can just focus on the interviews and everything. So huge, huge shout out to David, who is editing this episode and fixing all my little mistakes. Thank you for all your help. It is much appreciated. So today I had a really interesting chat with Ayla Inger, who is a research assistant over at Douglas Mental Health Institute in Quebec, canada. She does a lot of research around psychological trauma, and so we talked about, you know, narcissistic parents, emotional abuse in the home. We also talked about suicide, the nervous system, what happens when you go into fight or flight response, all of that really really interesting stuff that often doesn’t get talked about. So it was a really, really good episode. I think there’s so much value in this if you’re listening, and in addition to Ayla being a research assistant, she also runs a blog and you can check her workout, which is really interesting to read over at findingyourselfagaincom. So that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed this episode and, again, if you haven’t already, please hit the subscribe or follow button and let’s jump in. Welcome back to Sex Money and Rage. Today I am here with Ayla, and Ayla is a clinical researcher and we are going to have an interesting conversation today. So firstly, welcome, ayla. Thank you for coming on the podcast. Thank you for having me. I’m glad to be here. Yeah, awesome. And so I have actually found you randomly through a Google search when I was looking up spiritual faux pas, and your website was the first result and it was actually a really, really good article, which I’ll link to in the show notes for anyone interested. But yeah, I just thought there was some really good sort of quotes. I’ll just bring up a couple because they’re really cool. So you talked about your ego is not the enemy. It’s the subconscious part of you that serves to protect. Based on conditioning from previous life experiences. Growing up with an overly critical parent, your ego might perceive that, or any form of criticism as a threat. So your body goes into fight or flight, and then you might choose to react by attack. Sorry, choose to fight by attacking. Flight, which is withdrawing, freezing, which is dissociating, or fawn, which is people pleasing mode. So, yeah, what? We’ll sort of get into a bit about that in a little bit. But what inspired you to start your blog or your website?

Ayla Inja: 3:40
So I think you pretty much summed up everything that I talked about in general on my blog. So I started this blog, which I’m aiming hopefully to turn into a book. So I touch upon these topics because I became a certified, informed trauma-informed practitioner so that I can psych educate people on the pitfalls or detriments of developmental trauma or having a chaotic or non-traditional childhood upbringing. So I think, coinciding with the theme of your podcast, I find the concept of trauma is not only an enigma to many, but actually very, very taboo. It’s also not often discussed in the context of family dynamics or childhood upbringing. So I think it’s important to raise awareness regarding these things and, you know, just start a conversation amongst our generation and the media about what developmental trauma is versus what event trauma is, which is what we usually see in the media, which leads to what we know as PTSD and you know it’s a word that’s thrown around a lot in the media. You know you hear a lot of people talking about trauma and gaslighting and things like that, and it’s just. I think it’s just important to set the record straight about what it really means and how it impacts you.

Ellie Goode: 5:05
Amazing, amazing. I totally agree because I think you know I’ve talked to people and they’re like oh, I’m not traumatized, and I think there’s, I think, quite a big misunderstanding of like what is trauma and how it can impact people. So I guess, sort of you mentioned, you can have event-based trauma versus developmental trauma. What, first of all, I guess, maybe what would you describe trauma as being, and then maybe we can talk about the two different types of event and developmental.

Ayla Inja: 5:32
Trauma in general is a is an event that disrupts our nervous system and causes an array of different symptoms. So within the realm of trauma we try to differentiate between the two. So we have event trauma, which is usually a single, one-off event, which usually occurs in adulthood because we can attribute our own meaning to it. So that could be like sexual assault, you know, going to war, things like that and it causes a. It causes a dysregulation on our nervous system which causes what we know as PTSD. So you get recurrent flashbacks, emotional dysregulation. The difference between this type of trauma and developmental trauma is developmental trauma is usually small, recurrent instances that happen between the child and the caregiver growing up, and it’s usually before we have an awareness of that. Something negative or bad is happening to us and it registers in pretty much every single part of our of our body. You know our nervous system, our, our limbic system, our hypothalamus, our emotional and it impacts the holistic overview of our upbringing and this usually causes something called complex PTSD. And even though both complex PTSD and PTSD involve symptoms of psychological and behavioral stress, responses like flashbacks and hypervigilance, the difference is that people would see PTSD. They traditionally have symptoms such as chronic and extensive issues with like identity issues. You know having a problem with forming a sense of self, emotional regulation, having an issue with forming healthy relationships. So this is kind of how we differentiate the two and with regards to developmental trauma, we also separate that into another two stems. We have something called separation trauma. Separation trauma, which is basically when you have emotional abuse from your caregiver, and then we also have neglect trauma, which is basically when you don’t get the the love and appreciation and validation that you need from your caregiver.

Ellie Goode: 7:50
Okay, perfect, perfect. So I guess I guess an example would be sort of you mentioned neglect, so that could be the parent not being around, like not physically present. It could be not not taking an interest in the child, or what was that, the one you mentioned?

Ayla Inja: 8:06
Sorry, besides neglect, Separation trauma, which is emotional abuse. Yeah, so, under the realm of emotional abuse, I would say it’s sort of like like being being forced into doing things you don’t want to, being criticized constantly. Basically, having a helicopter parent you know and having conditional love, I say, would also go underneath that, where you feel like you need to perform or deliver on a certain aspect in order to receive love from your caregiver, which really causes a lot of turmoil, emotional turmoil in the child’s brain because they never feel like they’re good enough.

Ellie Goode: 8:39
And I mentioned two things like like guilt, tripping or manipulation as well, from the parent to the child. And I think it’s tricky because, like most people have probably experienced manipulation from a parent or a friend or a boss or a colleague, but it’s very difficult, in a way, to pin down because it’s it’s mental and it’s emotional. It’s not something super tangible that you can clearly say oh, this is happening. You just feel like you know something’s off. Or you just feel like you said, really, you know, like this hypercritical parent, and to really then categorize it as this is actually a form of emotional abuse, I think, like for a lot of people, they wouldn’t maybe realize that it is abuse and it’s just, yeah, I think, like you said, bringing awareness to that for people so that they have that understanding of what’s going on.

Ayla Inja: 9:31
Yeah, and like developmental trauma, is so subtle that, and pervasive that it’s become virtually invisible to the naked eye. And this is something that I like to stress upon in my blog when I write about these things, because I talk a lot about how relational and developmental trauma leads to very non-traditional forms of you know PTSD symptoms. So it manifests, in a way, in terms of self-destructive tendencies or self-sabotaging tendencies, which and they could also be high functioning as well. So to the average person, you may look like you’re doing fine, but you do very small things that are actually detrimental to you and the relationships around you. So this is why it’s very, very hard to pinpoint. It’s also very hard to acknowledge within yourself that you did go or you did grow up in a narcissistic household, because no one wants to like wake up and turn around and be like yeah, my parents sucked, you know. So it’s really, really hard to talk about and I think it’s important to just shed light on that and raise awareness and, you know, let people know that it’s okay, you’re not the only one that went through something like that.

Ellie Goode: 10:44
Yeah, absolutely. And I think having a narcissistic or manipulative or emotionally abusive parent and trying to talk to them about it or bring that into the light and say you know, this is my experience, it’s then just going to pretty much blow up in your face because you know these tactics of manipulation and gaslighting and you know turning it around on the child is just going to happen again inevitably. So I think you’re like education, like you said, and resources are really important.

Ayla Inja: 11:13
Definitely yeah, and you know it’s very hard to bring up, not only to your parents but to the people around you, because you have, you know, a lot of people don’t understand what a narcissistic family dynamic is exactly and especially with the older generation, they have normalized so much so being in that way, that, and that’s the reason why it gets passed down very frequently. You know, I mean there’s obviously a rise, especially with Gen Z. There’s a rise of conscious parenting and you know people are starting to understand that there’s a certain way to parent and there’s a certain way to talk to a kid and there’s a certain way to enforce autonomy upon your child. But obviously this was not accepted back in the day and I think the reason why a lot of us had parents like that is because we tend to learn from those that came before us and so it gets passed down in an environmental way and a genetic way. You know, intergenerational trauma is so common there’s not much that we can do about it. I think the important thing is just to become aware of it and make sure that you at least break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and enforce those conscious parenting practices.

Ellie Goode: 12:30
Absolutely, and so you sort of we’ve sort of touched on narcissism. I know that it’s getting more traction and more awareness around it, but what would you sort of describe narcissism as for someone who doesn’t have a good grasp on it? Or gaslighting or some of these techniques? Yeah, what would it look like?

Ayla Inja: 12:47
So it’s actually a very, very, very hard concept to explain, because you have narcissistic personality disorder, which is a well-defined disorder within the DSM, and there are certain criteria that fit underneath that, and then you have narcissism on a dimension. So I believe, at least to a certain extent, that we all display narcissistic traits one way or another, and it’s on a dimension. So some of us are display more traits, some of us display less traits, and I will be the first to admit that. I think that because of my chaotic upbringing and some of the things that I went through, I actually also displayed narcissistic trait In that sense I would discard people. I would use, maybe, relationships or people to fill a void. I needed a constant source of supply, whether that came from drugs or sex or validation or external validation or even achievements. I think that that kind of encompasses narcissistic behaviors in general and the way that people might display those traits. When it comes to family in general, I think a narcissistic family is one where the needs of the parents are the focus and the children are expected to bend over backwards to meet those needs. So usually parents who adopt a narcissistic dynamic, they tend to view their children as an extension of themselves, rather than viewing the child as an individual, autonomous being. And then they use those methods that I described before, so of conditional love, of gaslighting, of reinforcement or even punishment, to try and mold the child into however they see fit. And this causes the child to feel like they have to portray their authentic self just to gain the love and approval and connection that they need from their caregiver, when in reality we should be getting unconditional love from our caregivers anyway. And obviously this manifests later on in adulthood as becoming a people pleasing, you know, person that constantly needs love and validation from other people and you start to betray your own self just to gain that from other people.

Ellie Goode: 15:03
Absolutely. Yeah, I definitely can relate and thank you for sharing your experience as well. I think, as you were talking, it sort of seems like ultimately it’s coming back to safety, a sense of safety in the nervous system, and if the parent is threatening that in the child, the child’s going to act in a way to try and keep themselves safe, like you said, even if that means abandoning the authentic self, which is really unfortunate. So it’s interesting how you sort of mentioned in your blog about the fight or flight and the freeze and withdrawing, and I think these are all tools or reactions we have in our system, our nervous system, to keep us safe when we’re a child and then as we grow up as well.

Ayla Inja: 15:44
That’s true, yeah, so I touched upon a little bit about the concept of the ego, and the ego is essentially just our identity, right? It’s our sense of self. It’s that subconscious part of you that we formed in childhood in order to protect us. So it allows us to determine who we are, what our values are, how we want to progress forward in life. The thing is is that your ego serves to protect you, but not always in the most functional of ways, and so there is a there is a line that can get crossed when your ego starts to operate in a dysfunctional way. So, as I mentioned in my blog I spoke about, if you grew up with an overly critical parent, your ego will perceive any form of criticism that you receive in your adult life as, even if it’s constructive, as a threat, and so that when that happens and you and your body is hyper vigilant to any form of threat, you go into flight or fight mode. So you either you can either react by, you know, fighting, so that’s becoming attacking towards another person or situation. Flight, which is withdrawing and dissociating. Freezing, which is, you know, dissociating completely from your identity, and fawning, which is people pleasing, so it’s those people that have a lack of boundaries and are constantly trying to make the other person happy, just to you know, walk on actuals and just to maintain the peace, even if that means dishonoring your own needs and your own body.

Ellie Goode: 17:16
Yeah, and so I guess then a question I would have is for people listening as well. For myself is yep, this resonates. You know, put my hand up like cool, I’m in this category. So then what? What’s the I guess, the process forward. So I guess first step would be awareness and and saying you know, yes, I had narcissistic parents or I went through emotional abuse. What do I do about it? What do I do about it? How do I work through this?

Ayla Inja: 17:40
I think I kind of created my own system for what I determine as the awakening process. So I’ll describe a little bit about my story. So I grew up and what I like to say is a non traditional or chaotic household Sorry, mom and dad, if you’re listening, but it was it was known to be very chaotic and very disruptive in some way, and I was a child of divorce, which was very difficult, but not only that. My dad was thrown into, you know, the world of single parenthood and he had to raise daughters on his own and also deal with his own, had to battle with his own demons of going through a divorce and dealing with the shit that life throws at you. And I think my dad, knowing that he did the best that he could. He still made his fair share of mistakes in terms of what he expected and the way he wanted us to overachieve constantly. And I was I talk about this on my blog as well. I think I was the golden child, and so I grew up feeling like I needed to be perfect, I needed to people please, I needed to over extend myself in order to receive love or affection from the people, that people around me, and because of the Golden Child Syndrome that I grew up with. I. I was a victim to the blame game, in the sense that I believe that I could never be wrong and everyone else around me was always wrong, and I will always point the finger at other people, because I was so afraid of tapping into my shadow self, which essentially is the dark parts, or the dark repressed parts of ourself that we don’t like to acknowledge Because I didn’t want to deal with it, and that happens to a lot of us. And it was one thing to become aware of it, which I, which I name as like the oh moment, which is kind of like. I kind of had this revelation one day where I woke up and I said, if I continue down this path, I’m going to end up alone, Because I would just, as I said before, I would like to discard people. I would, I would, you know, I would use people for personal gain or to fill a void, which were a lot of marquee traits. But then I started to tap into the concept of, you know, the spiritual world and shadow self and whatnot, and this is also where I noticed that, or what I like to call is the spiritual path. This is where I noticed that I was doing something called spiritual bypassing. So that’s essentially where you use spirituality as a crutch to to avoid dealing with the darker parts of yourself. This is where I kind of described like yoga and meditating and journal prompting and all of that as a way to try and feel like you’re making progression in in the world of spirituality, but it’s not really any form of real deep, raw inner work that you’re doing, because it’s all on a superficial level. And then eventually you start to realize that those things only make you feel good momentarily, but they don’t really doesn’t really stop you from still becoming triggered or still reacting in a in a negative way. Then, after a while, when you realize that those things don’t work and you start to actually look upon the deeper, darker parts of yourself and acknowledge that you are not perfect and acknowledge that you know, you have this old shit moment of like wow, I’m, I’m maybe really not a good person. And it’s during this phase that I think you start to transition from reacting to responding and you get this kind of you know revelation that being rightful or validated is not really the priority and you actually begin to value interpersonal harmony with other people instead. And that’s when you start to realize that love is all encompassing and it’s within you and it’s within all people, and you start to you start to see that good and bad are not true things but rather socially constructed labels that keep us in this constant state of anxiety and depression. And I think it’s important not only for people to become aware of their past, but also really do the work and discover, not what is wrong with you, necessarily, but what are the dysfunctional or negative traits that you’re displaying or the dysfunctional behaviors that you’re displaying. And so I talk a lot about, or I try to advise people a lot, to use journaling in a very proactive way to reflect upon the moments where you probably didn’t feel your best or didn’t do your best, or you felt guilty in some way, or you did something disruptive that maybe made you feel horrible the next day. And in a case in my situation, I think it was that I would, you know, I would go out drinking or I would hyper sexualize myself in order to feel good. And even though I felt good in the moment, I would always wake up the next day feeling horrible. And I started to journal on those instances and as time went by and I would look back on it, I would see, I would see the trajectory or the patterns that I was, I was, you know, creating or following and I think it really, really helped me to just ground myself and stop doing those behaviors.

Ellie Goode: 23:16
Essentially, yeah, awesome, Awesome. So you have, like the, the, the, so much good stuff that you said in there, but sort of it was like you know, you have this oh shit moment, like okay, a fucked up kind of thing, and then you know you sort of shift from that reacting to responding and then seeing that, yeah, good and bad, it just labels as just a story and really reflecting on it and it sounds almost like you know, really just taking responsibility for, for how you feel, how you act and and so on. And, like you said, you know you mentioned spiritual bypassing, which I think is a really big point, a really big thing that a lot of people do, and also I’m not aware of just the impact of it. Like, I mean, I’ve done it for sure, I know tons of people who have done it and maybe it’s just part of the process, but I think it’s like bringing awareness to that of of you know, like a lot of these things like journaling, meditation, you know, like you said, yoga, even these things, like you said, scratch the surface maybe or help in the moment, but to really get into that deep work and really go into the shadows and the darkest parts of ourselves and bring light and bring love and really bring self acceptance. You know, I think, like you said, takes a lot of you know, whether it’s journaling and really reflecting, whether it’s, for me, a big part of it was doing somatic therapy and plant medicine and exploring, you know, these different parts of ourselves that we’ve, you know, locked away or shunned or disconnected from because we’re a ashamed of them, and really bringing everything kind of back into alignment, which is, yeah, it’s really cool. I really like the process.

Ayla Inja: 24:54
Yeah, I think you actually summarized it perfectly. And that’s not to say that those things are not important, because I think they are and they do work and they do help momentarily to help you or at least, at least you know, thrust you into the process. I just think it’s important to not become dependent on those things Because when that happens, then you start to, you know, neglect the deeper, more important work that you need to be doing. You know, I mean, I think healing is an integrative process and you need to incorporate all of those things. I just think it’s important to acknowledge or realize that there is a lot more that needs to be scratched beyond the surface. But it’s difficult and I know that it’s very difficult for people to turn around and point the finger back at themselves and say you know I’m, I’m kind of a shitty person and I kind of need to work on myself. It’s, it’s, I mean, your ego will. It’s very hard for your ego to allow you to do that right, because it’s protecting you and wants you to have a stable sense of identity, wants you to feel good about yourself. But I think part of doing the work is to just, you know, quiet your ego. There’s no way to actually erase your ego, but it’s just to quiet down your ego, especially in moments where you’re feeling triggered. And I think I think the word trigger is a very interesting concept because it’s something that in our generation today we use a lot the word triggered. So I think I think it’s important to just acknowledge that it’s in those moments that, when you do get triggered, you move from reacting to responding, as you said, and you just become more in tune with your, you know authentic self, your values, you know responding to the situation rather than reacting to whatever your identity thinks it should be or whatever the situation thinks it should be, and just becoming a more calm and clear headed and grounded person.

Ellie Goode: 26:55
And I think doing shadow work and reconnecting with your inner child really, really helps with Absolutely, and I love what you mentioned as well about, like you know, we, all you know tend to look outside of ourselves for, like, the problem and the threat, which I think makes sense from an like, a biological standpoint, because you know, when animals are in the wild, like, you’re focused externally, like where is the threat? You know how do I protect myself, how do I escape. And so I think it’s natural that all of us do, you know, look to an external, you know, thing for a threat, and sometimes it is an external threat. That’s, I guess that’s the tricky thing is, you know you can have external threats, but then a lot of it you come to realize is just inside of us. You know it’s just internal work, it’s learning to release the stuff that we couldn’t release when we were children because it wasn’t safe for us to feel these big emotions. And so it’s, like you said, with the triggers, you know, getting pushed and prodded by life in these awesome ways. It’s like it allows this stuff to come up and gives it a voice. And until, like, until we give it a voice, I find and express it in a healthy way, like with whatever darkness, that is, whether it’s shame or guilt or sadness or grief or any of it or all of it, you know, then it’s like it just stays stuck in us and it just drains our life force, energy, you know, and and you know, to bring back to that, I guess, the nervous system. You know it takes a lot of energy for your nervous system to hold these emotions inside the body and can disrupt, you know, eating and appetite and all of these internal biological processes. So it’s, it’s, I find like I’m super passionate and interested about the like, the emotional, and then the impact that that has on the body and the mind, and bringing, you know, bringing both into alignment and and, like you said, quieting down the mind and the ego and just giving space for it all.

Ayla Inja: 28:51
Yeah, yeah, you’re absolutely right that it does. Trauma really does impact the nervous system, specifically the sympathetic nervous system. So what that does is it stimulates the production of the adrenal hormones. So that’s what causes the fight and flight, the hyper vigilance, the hyperactivity that need to constantly be on the go, which could manifest in many different ways, and also cortisol as well, which is the stress hormone, which is very impactful on our bodies. I think, yeah, I think, you’re absolutely right in the sense that it does impact us on a very, very, very comprehensive, systemic way. You know, trauma has a relational, physiological, biochemical, a psych, like a psychological and a behavioral component, so really impacts us in every single way. And, yeah, so I do think it’s important to shed light on that Definitely.

Ellie Goode: 29:46
Yeah for sure, I totally agree. So I guess, for people who don’t totally identify as being traumatized and struggle to, maybe they’re putting the blame on themselves instead of, say, putting the blame on their parents or pointing the finger at us. Maybe they’re pointing it inwards and saying like I’m a piece of shit, I’m worthless. Ra, ra, ra. Would you like, would this process, do you think, help those people as well? Like, is it helpful to sort of? I guess it all just comes back to the awareness of what you’re doing to begin with, and then you can sort of build a map from there.

Ayla Inja: 30:21
So it’s actually interesting that you bring that up, because it’s not to say that all of us have endured what we would deem as trauma, but all of us, as children, are like a blank canvas right. We all come into the world extremely pure and then we are impacted by the experiences that we go through, whether you want to deem that as traumatic or not. But you didn’t come into this world thinking I’m a piece of shit. You know, you, something happened for you to develop that, what we call in the psychological realm a core belief about yourself, whether that’s being worthless or unlovable or, you know, not worthy of good people and good relationships, and that impacts your internal working model of the world, to basically how you view the world and how people, how you think people view you, how you react to the world, etc. And so forth. And so something must have happened for you to view yourself that way, whether that’s coming from, you know, a bad relationship, your, your caregivers, your, your peers at school. It could have been anything, even a teacher, even a nanny, it could have been literally anything, but something had to have happened, and I even have a blog titled, but nothing really happened, because I hear this a lot through people that I’ve spoken to, through the stories that I hear about their upbringing. They always tell me but that’s not trauma. I wasn’t traumatized, which I think again goes back to how we as a society or within the media classify or, you know, define trauma. But in general, I do believe that if you do have dysfunctional patterns in terms of behavior or a dysfunctional way of thinking, whether that’s about other people or about yourself something has to have happened, and I think it’s important to shed to yourself, to become aware of what that moment, or several moments, were which caused you to become that way. The thing is is I want to stress that it’s not enough to just become aware of your shitty upbringing or something bad that has happened to you, because a lot of people do that and a lot of people can acknowledge that they went through something negative, but then they resort to playing the victim and not taking accountability for what they went through, which is why it’s also important for me to stress upon the fact that you need to take accountability for your own life. It doesn’t matter what has happened to you, it doesn’t matter what someone did to you, it doesn’t matter you know what kind of upbringing you had. What matters is how you do or how you change your life with the resources that you have now, and it’s kind of I mean, it’s kind of a win-win on both ends, because if you take accountability for you know your life right now, it helps you to not feel so like not in control and it helps you to feel less helpless in terms of you know the trajectory of your life and you get to choose how you want to end up in life. I truly believe that we all have the power within us to you know, manifest the life that we want, and we are in control of our destiny. No one else, just you, and I think it’s that’s why it’s so important to do the work, you know and hold yourself accountable and also be aware, so that you can end up having the life that you want.

Ellie Goode: 33:52
Absolutely. I think, yeah, I totally agree. And especially like I think, yeah, like there’s a it’s a fine balance of, yeah, like you said, processing what you went through but not becoming a victim. And you know, poor me and woe is me. And I totally agree about what you said about you know, being a victim makes you feel out of control. You know, because this thing’s happening to me, I can’t control it, like this person’s doing this, and so it’s very much I’m out of control and this person’s in control. It’s a very disempowering place to be. So I think that’s a really cool point and to really, you know, like you said, have that accountability for yourself and taking that responsibility of you know I can’t change what happened to me, but I can change how I respond and how I, how I react and where I go from here. And I think like that’s a much more empowering way to look at it and, like you said, you feel in control, you can take actions, you can take steps to, like you said, go after what you want and and yeah, I totally agree with that it’s cool.

Ayla Inja: 34:52
Yeah, I think it’s actually a very good summary of it. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s just acknowledging that you are in control of your life, and I mean, sometimes it can be hard, but if you do the work you can end up on top at the end, for sure, for sure.

Ellie Goode: 35:08
And so I guess this might be segue a little bit into like, because you are a clinical researcher, what is, what is some of that? I guess the science or the, the research that you’ve come across, that you’re like, wow, this is incredible, that if you have anything that you can share, that kind of helps people, yeah, understand.

Ayla Inja: 35:26
So so yeah, I’m currently a researcher at the Douglas hospital here, based in Montreal, and I work at the suicide epidemiology lab. So we investigate the social, environmental and genetic biomarkers that leads to the trajectory of suicide, and one of those happens to be childhood maltreatment. And you know there was a project that I was working on recently so we haven’t really published the results yet, but I thought we were. We were working on a project where we were looking at how childhood maltreatment actually leads to, you know, certain mediating factors, which I’ll go into, but then also leads to more suicidal thoughts and behaviors later in adulthood. And some of those mediating factors are, as I spoke about, the dysfunctional behaviors. So, because trauma dysregulates your nervous system and it causes you to become not only hypervigilant but also hyperactive, it impacts that part of the brain, you know, the frontal lobe, where it tells you to just calm the fuck down, and because of that you end up becoming impulsive and you end up doing, you know, a lot of things that are maybe not harmful to you in the moment but could be harmful later. So I would say that’s like doing a lot of drugs or partying or becoming hypersexual, and those are kind of gateway mechanisms that would lead us into depression and anxiety and then suicidality, maybe later. But it’s those mediating factors that are extremely important because we want to try and focus on prevention and because parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. It’s very hard for us to target parenting and you know your parent is going to say or do something that might fuck you up later. But it’s those mediating factors and preventing you from doing those dysfunctional things and dysfunctional behaviors, and trying to control the stress or the effect that the stress has on your body, in order to not lead you into becoming, you know, an impulsive person and reinforcing the cycle of depression and anxiety in your body, which could lead to suicide.

Ellie Goode: 37:40
Do you find that, like in the beginning, like it starts with depression or anxiety and kind of snowballs into suicide or what’s sort of the journey that someone can sort of slide into suicide? Do you find?

Ayla Inja: 37:53
So I think there’s a lot of trajectories for suicide, so I think it’s hard to just pinpoint one, but it doesn’t necessarily have to start with depression and anxiety, but I think it’s just, in general, certain it’s, it’s, it’s certain behaviors that could, you know, lead you into you know, I don’t want to say cause, but could lead you into developing depression or anxiety. And most of the time not always, but most of the time those would display suicidal tendencies or have suicidal thoughts and behaviors are bathing with some form of depression or anxiety. And I think it’s kind of bi-directional. I think it’s like a, it’s a cycle of reinforcement. You know, if you are, if you are bathing with dark thoughts or negative thoughts, you will tend to act out those thoughts in dysfunctional ways, and then those dysfunctional behaviors are going to reinforce your anxiety and depression even more. So it’s kind of like a negative loop, and so that’s why I think it’s important to focus on, you know, the dysfunctional behaviors and target those, rather than just, you know, maybe going to therapy not to discredit CBT at all or therapy at all but it’s important to target those dysfunctional behaviors rather than just going to therapy and, you know, talking about your depression and your anxiety, or even taking medication to like, such as serotonin. We uptake inhibitors to try and pause the depression, but I just think it’s really, really important to you know, shed light on the fact that the way that you respond to the world and the way that you act within the world and the way that you do certain things is a reinforcer of the negative thoughts that you have in your head. So I just think it’s important to raise awareness regarding that.

Ellie Goode: 39:45
Absolutely. And so I guess, when you say sort of the behaviors around, sort of suicide and how that can like, by targeting those you can sort of help prevent or reduce suicide. What would be some of the, I guess, behavioral tendencies that you would expect to see in someone with that is suicidal, I guess.

Ayla Inja: 40:07
A lot of the time, within the research that we have of suicide, that is linked to impulsivity. It’s funny because trauma is actually linked to an increase in impulsivity because it disrupts that neural circuitry that you have where you make more rational decisions. So I guess that’s mainly the big thing that I would say, because, even if it’s on accident, impulsivity can lead to a lot of things. If you’re an impulsive person and you don’t really think much before you act, you could be the type of person that would drink a lot and then you get into the car and you get behind the wheel and then you accidentally end up killing yourself or someone else. And then even that, if you drink a lot and you are already bathing with your own inner demons and depression and alcohol in general kind of lowers your inhibition, so you’re more likely to do stupid things when that happens. And so I think yeah, I think, to answer your question I think impulsivity is probably one of the biggest things that we would see in patients who have suicidality, which is linked to trauma. So I think it’s an interesting loop as well.

Ellie Goode: 41:25
It’s interesting, yeah, that it’s all connected. Yeah, I mean it makes a lot of sense, especially what you mentioned about the trauma causing you to be in that sympathetic state in your nervous system to be more hyperactive, hypervigilant and then therefore more impulsive. And so it’s almost like by dealing with the trauma and dealing with that root issue or that root cause, it seems like it would help fix those behaviors, because you’re targeting that impulsivity at the source.

Ayla Inja: 41:56
Yeah, Definitely, yeah, definitely, and I mean yeah also not just the hyperactivity, but, as you just mentioned, the point of hypervigilance, I think is also important, because I think being hypervigilant in general will will cause you to have maybe more emotionally negative thoughts, which could increase your depression and your anxiety. You know, and that’s also something that they target in cognitive behavioral therapy because you tend to be more aware of the negative things that are happening around you. And when you are more hypervigilant to the negative things that are happening around you or threats, as we like to call it you’re more likely to misinterpret that information, which could reinforce sadness and depression inside of you. You know, I mean, it could be something as simple and I was a victim. I was like a victim to this as well, but I, you know, if my friends had a dinner and did not invite me, my automatic thought was you know, they don’t like me, I’m not lovable, I’m not worthy of anything, and that would cause me to react in a negative way towards my friends, which would then push them away, reinforcing the thought that, okay, my friends don’t like me, without realizing that it could have just been any other reason that you know, they could have been full. It could have been full, they could have been just busy or they forgot to text me. You know like human reasons as to why and we just we tend to forget and we just become. You know it’s like constant loop of like negativity in your head and you know the thoughts build up and then you become impulsive and you become hyperactive and you do things that are disruptive or, you know, dysfunctional and yeah, I think it’s. It’s really a negative loop, but it’s, I mean, it’s workable on definitely.

Ellie Goode: 43:37
Yeah, it’s interesting to like, just even like that coming back to like as a hyper vigilance of even if the threat isn’t real, you know, even if it’s just a perceived threat that is real, then like it can have the same impact in the nervous system. Like you said, if we don’t have all the information or we don’t know, you know why something’s happening, then it can be like oh, this is a threat, this is a threat, this is a threat and, like you said, like it becomes a learned response and it just, you know, like keeps cycling through. I think that’s it’s really important point to make. And then I guess my question would be then does that mean and this is something I’ve been finding in myself, but I’d love to ask you, being that you’re a researcher, would it then, if this, all of this stuff, is linked to the sympathetic nervous system, would it then make sense to try and put yourself into a parasympathetic state as much as possible? Or how, what would you sort of? How do you come down out of that hyper vigilance and hyperactivity?

Ayla Inja: 44:37
Sympathetic and like the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are not mutually exclusive, so like it’s not that if one is turned on, the other is turned off, but in terms of being less hyperactive and less hyper vigilant, yes, it’s definitely extremely important to do those things, and I think that kind of goes back to monitoring and modifying your behavior and your thoughts. So this is why it’s important to, as I said before, maybe journal upon those things, because then you become more aware of your behaviors, Because if you’re just constantly doing things and living on autopilot, you’re never going to reflect upon some of the things that you do that might be dysfunctional towards your emotional health or your mental health. And so if you, you know, if you kind of just if you just become more aware or you monitor your behaviors or your negative thoughts by doing that, you will naturally modify your behavior because you’ll be able to pinpoint when and where it is that you are acting in a dysfunctional way or in a way that doesn’t serve you.

Ellie Goode: 45:38
Yeah, sorry, my cat’s just popped up on the screen. Yeah, no, I think that that’s a really important point too, and, and I love that idea of just keeping track in, in, in, like whether it’s a spreadsheet, whether it’s a journal, like when this happens, I react in this way, or, and, and, like you said, not only seeing a pattern, but, like you said, once you see, oh, this is what happens, then you can naturally course correct, which I think is really cool, definitely. Yeah, yeah, awesome, awesome, and so. So, as a researcher, will you sort of continue into the suicide, sort of like specialization, or do you sort of your next move, I guess, or what’s your passion in that sense?

Ayla Inja: 46:25
No. So right now, you know. So I’m a psych student on the way to becoming a licensed professional psychologist fingers crossed, and so I also just love research in general, because I really do think that it contributes to like the field of knowledge that we have, but it also allows us to, you know, think of the treatment towards, you know, the things that we, the disorders that we have or the dysfunctional symptoms that we display. But my passion actually lies in childhood and developmental trauma and how that leads to dysfunctional outcomes in adulthood. So obviously one of the outcomes is suicide, but it’s, it’s not the only outcome, and I think there’s a lot more important outcomes that we should be focusing on, which is why I stress so much and talk so much about dysfunctional behaviors. It’s around us everywhere. It’s in our everyday life, the way that we act and the way we move, and a lot of the times we don’t realize that some of our behaviors are not serving us to the highest extent that they should be. And those dysfunctional behaviors that I talk about, they I kind of like to categorize them in two ways, because you know, you could have. You could have like a little girl that grows up with a narcissistic parent or a narcissistic father and as she grows up, what she will try to do is she will try to seek out experiences that mimicked her childhood relationship with her father to try and subconsciously fix that relationship. So that’s why she’d be more attracted to narcissistic men or get into abusive relationships. But then you could also have and the other, the other side of the spectrum, where the person would actually become a void and and try and avoid situations that they had in their childhood, leading them to become a loner or become isolated or, you know, not be able to form real relationships with people. I just think that talking about dysfunctional behaviors, or shedding light on them, because they are so pervasive and invisible to the eye and because they seem so high functioning, I think it’s important to shed light on those, because sometimes you do not realize that what you’re doing is actually causing you a lot more interterminal than you think and it’s also reinforcing a lot more negative trajectories in your life. You know, because one bad relationship could lead to I don’t know drinking, it could lead to drug use, it could lead to hypersexuality, and then you could, you know, get into another relationship and that person could be very good to you and very healthy, but you would have adopted negative, negative like behaviors from your abusive relationship, and so it’s like a constant cycle of just bad, bad, bad, like one after the other. And so that’s why I think it’s important to just realize, you know, some behaviors are really really not serving you at all.

Ellie Goode: 49:25
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point to make too, about just the subconsciously recreating these experiences so that we can learn. I mean, I have definitely done that, you know, like with different family members. I’ve then gone on and recreated romantic relationships just and then being like, oh, this is actually really similar to my upbringing, and then realizing, yeah, like this is my own, I’ve recreated this as a way to learn and teach myself a lesson, which is actually like really cool when you think about it, but at the time it’s not so fun. But yeah, and I think, like you said, like I think you can get caught in that trap of just you know, this is who I am, like I, I like bad guys or I like this, or blah, blah, blah, and and it can almost it sounds like become an identity. You know we identify with this, and then you know we’re like, oh, but this is just who I am, and it’s like well, is it? Is it really? You know you can change this, you know you can change your identity, you can change the things that you know, the relationships that you go after and seek after. So I think, yeah, I think it’s, it’s really cool, like, like you say, comes back to that, that reflecting and that kind of almost having like this zooming out and and having this birds eye kind of perspective of what am I doing and where am I going to be if I keep going on this path, as I am, sort of what you mentioned before. I had. I had a similar moment in a relationship where I was like, if I stay here, like this is just going to be my life for the next five, ten years and I’m like I don’t want that for myself. So it’s like you know you can stay or you can go into the unknown and figure it out. So yeah, but you know, like I think it’s, it’s scary for a lot of people, for all of us to, you know, take that step back and go. And I guess that comes back to what we’re talking about with responsibility and accountability of you know, seeing, seeing the role that we play in our own life and how, like you said, how our childhood and our parents really influence and affect that. Yeah, definitely.

Ayla Inja: 51:26
I do want to point out, though, that I think it is extremely, extremely, extremely hard to get to that point where you realize, or you acknowledge that you are reenacting childhood to womb those yours. You know, and it’s and I talk a lot about, you know, narcissistic relationships, even romantic ones, because I I was in two abusive relationships, and when you’re in it, it’s really, really hard to get out of it. You know, I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of a trauma bond. Yeah, so it’s, it’s something that’s really, really hard, and I try to encourage the people that I talk to with regards to this that you know you should be compassionate, you should be compassionate towards yourself and acknowledge that these relationships that you are seeking out Not only are they coming as a as a consequence of your childhood upbringing because you’re seeking those experiences out again but also the concept of physiological addiction to, to the ups and downs. If you grew up in a chaotic childhood, you become addicted to having an intermittent, intermittent cycle of good and bad, and so it’s really hard for you to put yourself in stable and consistent and healthy relationships or stable, consistent and healthy situations, whether that’s a job, or friendships or or romantic love. It’s really hard to get out of those, not only because on a psychological and emotional level, you kind of want to create that situation again, but because on a physiological level, you’re addicted to that feeling. So I think it’s important to acknowledge that, the same way you would treat a drug addiction and and you know, you wouldn’t blame the drug, the drug addict, for the way that they are, you should also show compassion towards yourself. If you are this kind of person that is constantly putting yourself in situations like that, just acknowledge that you are. You are on a genetic level on, on a biological level, on a physiological level, unable to function without it, and so I think it’s really important to you know, do the work on yourself, but also be very slow and compassionate towards yourself as well.

Ellie Goode: 53:46
I think that’s a really good point as well. Interesting, I didn’t know about the physiological element, but that makes a lot of sense that you can be physiologically addicted to, yeah, like a situation or a person and, and just like you said, having that compassion is really important. Otherwise, I think it would just exacerbate the situation and keep you stuck. But it’s almost like our upbringing is normal to us. You know it’s, it’s a comfort zone of, of, of a sense, and so, like we mentioned before, yeah, like it’s, it’s hard to identify and go this is abusive or because this is my normal, you know this is my, what I’m used to, and then you kind of look for things that can affirm that or situations, like you said, that align with that comfort zone. So I think it’s a really good point to that it’s important to go slow and have compassion and kindness for yourself, and also that it can be really, really difficult to get to that point of making a change. So I think, yeah, kudos to everyone who does.

Ayla Inja: 54:50
Yeah, I think so too. Yeah, and to add on to your point about confirming that you have that kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier about having, you know, core beliefs of like being unlovable and being unworthy, I acknowledge that those destructive, destructive or sorry destructive behaviors and like dysfunctional behaviors that you have adopted are there as a result of your ego trying to protect you. So in the moment it seems self serving, but on a long scale, on a long term scale, it’s not. And so you know, for me, I remember instances where if I felt rejected in any way because it was so important to me to overextend and overachieve, if I felt rejected in any way, whether that came from a romantic partner or from a job rejection or whatever it may be, it would bring up like core wounds or core beliefs that I inhabited through childhood of being, you know, not good enough. And in order to like confirm that belief within myself, I would go out into the world and act in a way to reaffirm that belief that I had of myself. So not feeling good enough, so, or not feeling like worthy of real love, so that would maybe be going out and, you know, getting shit face and not feeling good about myself the next day, or going out and, you know, acting in a hyper sexual way and then regretting it the next day. So you’re kind of just, you’re trying to, you’re trying to like, re confirm that belief that you have of yourself, because it feels better to not have this cognitive dissonance where you’re thinking one thing but you know thinking another thing, and sometimes it feels better to just act in the way that you think but it’s actually, on a long term scale, very detrimental towards you. So it’s just important to acknowledge, you know, if you do ever feel triggered, or you do feel, you know, rejected, or you feel like a negative, icky feeling, try and tap into why you’re feeling that way and what kind of feelings about yourself. Is it judging up for you? Are you feeling maybe unlovable? Are you feeling worthless? And doing that might help minimize the impact of the behavior that follows or it might actually help the behavior that follows completely. So you might actually not go out into the world and act in a dysfunctional way if you can just acknowledge like, okay, right now, you know I got rejected from this job and it’s making me feel like I’m not good enough and it’s making me feel like I’m not worthy of good things. But I’m just going to let the thought pass. I’m going to, like you know, ride the wave and just let the thought pass and I think doing that helps you stay grounded and, you know, it also allows you to just not become so hyperactive and so impulsive.

Ellie Goode: 57:33
Going back to impulsivity, yeah, totally, totally, I think. I think that’s a really cool process to really slow down and noticing what’s going on in my mind, what’s going on in my body. And, you know, because a lot of these things, a lot of these situations and triggers can put us, you know, stir up this stuff and we’re like, ah, you know, into that, you know hyperactivity state and so to really just kind of almost just slowed out and be like I’m not, not going to act, but I’m just going to pause, you know, and and feel like, where do I feel this emotion in my body? Or, you know, is this thought true? Or what is this saying about me? And, like you said, what is this bringing up? And can I, can I just allow it to come up, can I just observe it and not get sucked into it and think it’s the end of the world?

Ayla Inja: 58:24
And as challenging as that can be at times, from personal experience, yeah, it’s actually very, very, very hard to do, but it’s it’s that it’s actually. What you described right now is actually one of the principles of dbt, which is a type of therapy that is beneficial for those who have borderline personality disorders or any form of cluster B in general. It’s more about this we call radical acceptance, so you’re never not going to feel negative, you know, you’re never not going to feel sad or angry or emotional. In a way, it’s important to accept that you’re having this emotion without labeling it or judging the emotion and not reacting in the moment and on the spot. And just, you know, I, I like to see emotions, as you know, fleeting, and you know they come and go throughout the day, but it’s when we ruminate on those emotions and we like, really think about them and we label them and we judge them, and that’s what causes us to go out into the world and and react rather than, as you said, respond and slow down, and, you know, just acknowledge and let it pass. So, yeah, definitely, I think you know, slowing down and calming your mind and becoming aware of what you’re feeling and becoming more in tune with your body really helps, which is where I think meditation and yoga do fall into helping, because they definitely do allow you to become more in tune with yourself and your emotions. So that definitely does help beyond the inner work and the shadow work that you need to be doing as well.

Ellie Goode: 1:00:07
Yeah, it’s really cool. It’s something like I mean, I know I used to think there were good emotions and bad emotions or negative emotions, and you know we need to. I need to just avoid feeling shame and guilt and fear. Fear has been a big one, actually, and it was interesting. I was, I was drinking San Pedro at a ceremony here in Peru and I had just all this fear coming up and I was like I just don’t want to feel this. I just feel absolutely terrified, really, really intense fear in my body and you know, my mind is just like running rampant with all these what, if, what if this happens, what if this happens, you know, and it was like I wanted to get rid of it, you know, just push it away. But then at some point I realized, you know, fear has a purpose that keeps us safe. You know, because if there’s danger, if there’s someone that’s in an alleyway that’s going to attack us, if there’s a car and we’re going to walk across the road, you know we need that fear in our system to jolt us, to be like like, pay attention, you need to run away or you need to do something. So it’s almost like it helped me realize like emotions just signal to us that something’s happening or that something needs to happen. You know whether it’s anger and I need to enforce a boundary, or you know fear I need to run away. Or you know get myself to safety. Or you know, whatever it is, it’s, it’s like helped me to see my emotions as being these signposts and just you know, rather than all these are good and these are bad and I need to be happy all the time and joyful all the time is like never going to happen. You know and and can be also a form of spiritual bypassing, of just being happy all the time and ignoring all those feelings. And so for me, like the real magic has come in when I’m like, oh, like these emotions, they’re all just different flavors, you know, they’re all. They all have a purpose and they don’t always feel comfortable, but like you know they, there’s a purpose and giving space for all of them to just come through, yeah, I think that’s actually a very beautiful way to put it.

Ayla Inja: 1:02:06
And you know, seeing your emotions as signposts signposts that something is happening. You know they signal to you that you know someone made you sad or someone. You’re feeling scared right now and you need to maybe pay attention more to your surroundings. And you know it’s just acknowledging that you are human and there will be bad moments, but allowing it to pass and holding space for yourself. I think that’s basically the root of being grounded in general. I think it’s important to just, you know, acknowledge that you’re not perfect and life sucks sometimes and it’s going to throw a lot of shit at you, but you know we are super resilient as human beings. And also, going back to the concept of you know emotion service in one way, they could also not serve us at other times. But I think that applies to everything. You know, whether that’s your ego or your behaviors or your reactions to things, it’s all on a spectrum, it’s all on a dimension. So there are some things that you can do that might hurt you and then there are some things that you could do that would be good for you. And it’s having or recognizing the balance between both and never going to the extreme of two things. It’s not to say that if you go through a breakup you can’t go out drinking with your girlfriends for one night of having fun. But it’s when it becomes too extreme or, you know, becomes a repetitive pattern where you’re constantly covering up pain with distraction. That’s when it becomes dysfunctional. You know, I think to categorize dysfunctional behaviors or self sabotaging behaviors is when it becomes a constant pattern and when it becomes like to an extreme that it becomes uncontrollable. That’s when I would say it becomes dysfunctional, because you know you can. You can fuck around here and there and you can do bad things for you if they feel good in the moment, from time to time. But it’s being able to ground yourself and come back to yourself and be like okay, I did something bad yesterday, I didn’t feel good about it, let’s move on, let’s deal with this in a healthy way. So it’s being able to make the distinction between you know, when it’s too much.

Ellie Goode: 1:04:17
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Like that, you know it doesn’t just you don’t go from zero, zero to 100 straight away. You know you might, like you said, go out drinking one night and then maybe two nights the next week and three nights, and then all of a sudden you, you know you’re drinking every night at home on your own, and so it’s, I think, for me, like it helps me to realize, you know, one, we’re all susceptible to this, no one’s immune, you know. And two, it’s not, like it’s it can happen slowly over time and build, and then all of a sudden it’s like, oh, I have this coping mechanism. I need to probably address that, you know. So it’s, yeah, I think that’s a really important point of yeah, like when these patterns, when these kind of addictive things, become like a distraction you mentioned it yeah, it can just just learning to be aware of that and you know, like I mean, we’ve all, we’ve all done it. So also, yeah, just just having, I guess, compassion for ourselves, you know, when we do do those things and, like you said, going, okay, yeah, I did that, let’s, let’s bring it back and let’s do something healthy today, and and having that balance, and I think that that’s just part of being human, you know, and it’s sort of like you said before, of going into that shadow work and going into that darkness and but also bringing light. You know, you don’t always want to be in the darkness and always want to be in those heavy emotions and then not always distracting yourself. So it’s it’s this kind of dance or this balance of trying to, you know, integrate it all and and feel all the different things kind of in tandem, which is a balancing act for sure.

Ayla Inja: 1:05:49
Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean even just the way you’re saying it, like it sounds like it’s a lot. But you know, being human is is so complex and it’s, it’s a lot, you know, even just you know, waking up every single day and having to do the dishes can be a lot for some people. And yeah, on top of that, having to deal with shadow work and working on your inner child and all of that, it I understand that it can seem a lot of people and I can understand. That’s the reason why, you know, we just put our hands up and we don’t want to do anything about it, because we just don’t want to have to deal with it. We just want to go through life. You know, fucking around and doing the things that we do but this is what I talk about leads you into living a life on autopilot. You never really feel like you’re in the driver’s seat of your own life because you’re just constantly going with the motions and you’re just reacting to whatever life throws at you. And I think this is the first and foremost reason why it’s so important to do the work on yourself, not just because it will help you, you know, see better at night and because you’ll you’ll drink lesser, because you become less, you know, sexual or hyper sexual, but also because it gives you full and total control of your life and who you are and who you want to be. You know and you can. You can literally construct your life as if it was a Barbie dream house, into anything that you want. But that can only happen if you are integrated as a whole person. And this is what I talk about a lot, and the purpose of my psycho education, or the purpose of my blog, is this concept of wholeness. You know you don’t have to do, you know you don’t have to become more spiritual. You don’t have to become, you know, more calm or or more grounded or cooler or more chill. It’s not about that at all. It’s just about integrating the good and bad parts of yourself, becoming more whole, so that you can, you know, live a life of authenticity and you can just live your life according to your true human design and follow the path that makes you feel most alive and most in harmony with yourself and with other people, because there’s nothing better than giving love and receiving love, and I believe that’s why we were put on this side. You can only do that if you fully, truly, love yourself for the shadows, the shadow dark parts of yourself and the good light parts of yourself.

Ellie Goode: 1:08:11
Absolutely. I think, yeah, that’s a really cool point as well, and the more that you know we can love ourselves, you know and practice that daily, the more we can then apply that to everyone in our lives. You know and approach other people with kindness and compassion, and I think too, like you make a really good point about you know being whole and accepting all the parts, and I think a lot of people don’t want to deal with trauma. I get that like I totally understand and I know it is work and it’s not something that’s going to be super easy. Maybe for some people it is, but it’s like I think I just realized one day you know you either deal with it head on, deal with this stuff head on, and you know, deal with this stuff and face it. You know, work with it, learn how to accept all these parts and then, like you said, create the life you want, or else, if you don’t deal with it, like it’s gonna affect every decision you make in every part of your life anyway. So it’s like you may as well just deal with it. That’s my opinion anyway.

Ayla Inja: 1:09:10
Yeah, I think that’s like the best summary that you could say. It’s like you know, just rip the band-aid off and just deal with it, because if you don’t, you know it’s going to cause a lot of turmoil for you and a lot of issues for you. So you might as well just get it over with Exactly.

Ellie Goode: 1:09:27
Exactly Awesome. Well, this has been an amazing chat. Yeah, I really appreciate it. So, for people who want to learn more or connect with you and read about your work and all of that, where can they find out more?

Ayla Inja: 1:09:41
My website for my blog is called findingyourselfagaincom and I am working on a book, so I will plug the promo for that on my Instagram. A la injah, so a y, l, a, I n, j and yeah, that’s basically. That’s it.

Ellie Goode: 1:10:00
Awesome, awesome. And what is the? What’s the?

Ayla Inja: 1:10:02
book about. So basically the same concepts that we covered today and also what my blog talks about. I just hope to go more in detail and more in depth regarding, you know, childhood trauma and the complexities of it, and I also hope to have a personal spin on it. So I’m actually conducting my own case study research. So I’m interviewing individuals anonymously regarding their stories and things that they’ve gone through and seeing their worldview and how they define their own trauma, because I feel like it will. It will at least allow people to relate to those stories and maybe trigger them into this or catapult them into their own healing.

Ellie Goode: 1:10:46
That’s cool. I like that. I think, yeah, the power of just people’s stories and storytelling is, yeah, really really cool and effective, so that sounds awesome, definitely. Yeah, yeah, cool, well, thank you so much Thank you for having me.

Ayla Inja: 1:10:59
It was great to talk to you.

Ellie Goode: 1:11:02
And that’s a wrap. Thank you so much for listening to Sex, money and Rage. If you haven’t already, please hit the subscribe or follow button, make sure notifications are ticked and I will see you next time.

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