Jan. 3, 2022

E167: Your Identity is Keeping You Stuck | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Coach

In today’s episode, I am very excited to be back with you in the first episode of 2022. First, I have so much gratitude for all of you; who listen to the podcast, who joined me on Instagram, who are on TikTok, all the social media, the newsletters...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e167-your-identity-is-keeping-you-stuck-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-coach/#show-notes

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In today’s episode, I am very excited to be back with you in the first episode of 2022.

First, I have so much gratitude for all of you; who listen to the podcast, who joined me on Instagram, who are on TikTok, all the social media, the newsletters and your message on the app, and all of those things. I appreciate you greatly in 2021!

I'm really excited to take some time and, as we head into 2022, share some of those lessons and experiences that I had because I believe wholeheartedly that they will help some people. It will be a reminder for others and that's very exciting to me.

Today, you have to understand that your dreams, ambitions, goals, everything you want, happiness, joy, love, greatness, and wealth, if you want all those things, doesn't matter what it is. It's on the backside of the actions that you take, on the decisions that you make, on the choices that you follow through on, and the only way that you're going to be able to do that is you're going to have to sit in this and acknowledge that fear is present. And you have to be willing to face that fear because on the backside of that is everything that you want and when you understand the experience of, how fear plays this role in your life.

Are you willing to face your fear?

Do you want to achieve your goals this year, 2022?

How does this tie into hitting goals and creating the life you want to have?

Take some time to listen because I promise you that everything will be different if you do!

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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. I am very excited to be back here with you with another episode of the podcast and our first episode of 2022.

I want to start this with first and foremost, just saying, thank you. I have so much gratitude for all of you, who listen to the podcast, who joined me on Instagram, who are on TikTok, Instagram, you know, the whole nine, all the social medias, the newsletters and you message on the app and all of those things like, I appreciate you greatly in 2021 was this really interesting year for me and so many different assets and so many different facets because I learned so much about myself and I learned so much about being a coach and being someone who teaches about trauma and being someone, who is an advocate in this space and really I learned an incredible amount about just who I am as a human being and so I'm really excited to take some time and as we head into 2022 share some of those lessons and experiences that I had because I believe wholeheartedly that they will help some people and for others, it will be a reminder and that's very exciting to me.

You know, I think about the trajectory of my life, I think about the trajectory of the last year of looking at some of the big goals that I accomplished. And so I want to talk to you about this in a way that I think is practical because there are so many people who say, you know, go write your goals and go do the things and that works to an extent, but then there's the other part about it that I don't think we talked about enough and that's the actual belief. Like you have to vehemently and unapologetically believe that you are capable of having the life that you want to have.

And I know that's incredibly difficult, especially when you look at the experiences that we've had throughout the course of our life. For many of us as Childhood Trauma Survivor is one of the most difficult things that we do is we do things for us, like, think about this, one of the most difficult things that some of us do, and I will include myself in this is like to go to the doctor, to go to the dentist, to take care of your physical body, and take care of your mind. And that's because when you really rewind, the experiences that we have the one thing that I know to be true, probably more so than anything about life is that we are the sum total of all of our experiences leading up to this moment. And so, what that means, is that every single thing that's ever happened in our life, that makes us who we are. And so as we are children, as we were growing up, we have this thing called agency, that's the ability to make choices, right? And that is often taken from us and replaced with pain suffering, silently and violence and that comes from this place where it's a continuation of generational trauma, all the people before us, that's how their parents treated them and so on and so forth.

And so what happens is you're in this position as a child where not only can you not be seen but you can't be heard either and that becomes really dangerous and detrimental because on a long enough time line you adopt that and it becomes a safety mechanism and becomes a defensive mechanism because the only way you feel safe in the world is through silence through not showing up for yourself, through not taking care of yourself, through not being the person that you're capable of being.

I've been looking into and studying identity, a lot recently because the thing that I'm trying to understand and make meaning of is, what it is that happens in our life that creates who we are? And one of the things about identity that I think is incredibly difficult as it's the thing that we hold onto the most, right? I am or I am not; this or that and that could be about worthiness or happiness, or love or admiration, joy or success or wealth, or all of the things that you have, we either go – I am this or I am not that.

But the problem that I've come to find and discover not only in my own personal journey, but in the research, that I've done is looking at this idea of identity being so tied into the beliefs that we have around who it is, that we are in our childhood.

And so, if you grow up in a situation, where everyone says, you're not worthy, not good enough, you're not strong enough, you're not capable enough, well in reality that's going to become who you are because you adapt it, right? And you find that when you push back against those narratives, as a child, there's typically some type of ramification, right?

If you think about this, these experiences that you've had as a child, when you're like – I want to do this, I want to tap into that, I want to have this experience and you want to use your voice, you want to use your agency, there's some kind of pain, there's some kind of suffering on the backside of it. And so what happens is you slowly, because it becomes autonomic, right?

Think about this, your brain has one purpose, and one purpose alone and its survival that's the only thing that it's there for and so your brain learns to adapt, right? I think Tom Bilyeu, you do a great job of summarizing this, he says; “humans are the ultimate adaptation machine.”I agree with that entirely except sometimes we adapt to the wrong thing and that wrong thing could be those defensive mechanisms that are in place to keep us safe while simultaneously, we don't understand that those defensive mechanisms that are there to keep us safe also can put us in handcuffs.

So as a child, one of the things that happens is we put ourselves in this situation where we learn from autonomic standpoint to not show up for ourselves, to not have agency, to not be this ideal of who it is that who we are, in every single time that we step into a little bit more there's some pain along with that, right?

So, you're like – I want to color the moon purple or I want to wear these clothes or I want to have this food to eat and there's something negative on the backside of it, right? And so the more negative that happens in the more that you have those experiences where you're not able to step into who you are. The more you start to turn off and eventually be turned off, is ultimately what you become and when I was 23, 24, 25 years old, I was looking at my life through the scope of I'm only ever doing things that other people want me to do because they want me to do them because I'm terrified of saying no, I'm terrified of showing up for myself, I'm terrified of being the odd man out. I mean, I look at that and I go, I would literally even do shit that for some people as seems asinine, but for me, it was a big deal because I was sacrificing who I was. Perfect example and no shade, I promise it's just who I am like I do not like country music at all not even remotely close like there's nothing about it I enjoy. And yet I distinctly remember going to like country music concerts with friends and getting trashed because that's what they wanted to do. And I felt like if I said, no, I would get ostracized, right? And so now reflecting on that, well over a decade later, I look at so many of those experiences and you're probably ask yourself; well, how does this tie into hitting goals and creating the life that you want to have? Because this is everything guys like, really, if you hear what I'm telling you right now your fucking life will be different, I swear to God it will.

Here's how this works, so we spend our whole life going through and living within the confines and the constructs of what other people have determined it is that we should be, i.e., children should be seen and not heard and then on a long enough time line, that becomes reality. And so now you're living this truth that actually isn't your truth it's a false narrative, instilled in you from other people before you, that you carry and you hold onto because it actually equals safety.

When you actually understand this like, I really want you to hear what I'm saying. Turning yourself off, not stepping into your power, not creating the life that you want to have that is safety, playing the victim is safety, not doing the things that you know, you need to do is safety, why? Here's why this hear me, right? Fucking now in a sort of guide your life will change.

Here is why because every single time that we try to move into our intuition, and the part of us that feels like truth, that fear has equaled pain, right? The feared in an equal failure and cannot equal failure and failure is pain, yes, of course, but growing up and having that instilled in us, that every time we reach for who we want to be there suffering, you learn to turn that off, why? Because the human brain has one fucking function to help you survive and so, the moment you move out of survival and into thriving, or living life on your terms, you have to cross this threshold.

And this is the truth, this is the difference for everyone watching and listening right now wherever you are in the world, you fucking pay attention to what I'm going to say to you right now your life will be different. Not saying it's going to be better because I don't know what that means for you, but it will be different. “The threshold between where you are right now and where you want to go and the life that you want to have is you have to face your fear.”

Now, understand this; FEAR is a part of the human experience based on survival, you need to know when you're walking through the woods, whether or not that's a fucking snake or a stick, this is really important, right? Because that survival, that's how we've been able to live for Millennia.

Now in real life today in 2022, first day of the year as you're thinking about what's next? Some of you, I know this because I coach, some of you who are listening right now have written down your goals and you're waiting till Monday and you're waiting till Thursday, and you're waiting till next week. And I promise you every single goal that you have written down, every dream that you have everything that you believe, not only this year, but your future can be, is not going to happen if you do not take action today.

Now, the hard part about taking action as a trauma survivor is the window and that threshold of facing fear. And the reality is, the truth of this is that you must face the fear.

Now, here's what you have to understand about the biological response that we're having in the experience of that, when the stimulus of fear presents itself no matter what it is, right? That could be leaving a job, moving quitting a job, starting a business, having a podcast going, live on the internet, asking someone out on a date, showing up to the gym for the first time, I don't care what it is, it doesn't matter. The same biological response happens in your brain, where your amygdala and hippocampus start to go a little haywire and suddenly you're in fight or flight mode.

Think about this for a second, how many times in your life have you been like – I am going to do this thing, you drive your fucking car to the place, you park, you put that, you turn the fucking car off the door is right there and you don't get out because of the fear because of the ramifications because you are projecting a catastrophic event based on historical data.

The reason people get stuck is because you have data to support when you do this thing that you're going to do, there might be pain like understand that you've done these things in your past, right? The human brain is adaptation it's meant to learn and grow and so, when you are learning and growing in real-time, your brain looks at the stimulus that's in front of you. And says, when I attempt to do this, that is scary, okay, check, but I have this experience of knowing when I do scary things, something painful happens.

Now, that could be shame, it could be embarrassment, it could be guilt, it could be physical punishment, could be being ostracized, it could be any of the things that happen in the experience of overcoming fear. Now, in that, what you have to remind yourself of in, real-time and this is where it's tricky but if you understand this, you're going to fucking win all day, I promise. You're having a biological response, that's it. You're having a chemical release happen in your brain and in my experience, there's a couple of ways to combat this. And I think the most important thing that you can do in combating this is to bring awareness and acknowledgement to it.

I'll sit here in these situations. Perfect example right now real-time in this moment. I go, alright. I feel a sense of fear, as I'm about to do this thing, what is actually going to happen? What is the environment that I'm stepping into? Am I actually in physical danger? Am I actually going to die? Is someone going to hurt me? Is something so catastrophic going to happen, then I'm going to have end of life event? No, I'm just going live on the internet, okay. So how do you combat that?

What you have to understand is that your dreams, your ambitions, your goals, everything that you want, happiness, joy, love, greatness, you want wealth if you want all those things, doesn't matter what it is.

It's on the backside of the actions that you take, on the decisions that you make, on the choices that you follow through on and the only way that you're going to be able to do that is you're going to have to sit in this and acknowledge that fear is present. And you have to be willing to face that fear because on the backside of that is everything that you want and when you understand the experience of, how fear plays this role in your life; of all the terrible things that have ever happened, to lead you to this place where you sit here and you go, I can't. You just pause for a moment and you recognize that the fear that you have is simply based on historical data and with that information you remind yourself that your brain is literally just telling you that I need to survive thus, I can't face this fear. And so, when you get into your intuition, into your gut, into your body, not your brain. I think, Tony Robbins, says, it better than anyone, if you're in your head, you're dead.It's so true, because this thing is really about survival, that's the only thing, your brain is for, your body, your heart, your spirit, your soul, your gut like – that is the thing that is about pushing you and catapulting you through into what is next in your life.

And so you want that thing, right? But you're still hesitant, you still feel resonance about it, you still feel like, man, this is really scary. Yes, good, acknowledge it, but look at the environment and remind yourself that you're probably not going to die. You're actually, in fact, what's incredible?

The best thing about facing your fear. The best thing about doing what terrifies you, the very best thing about that is you are going to learn something and that is not the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that you die, generally speaking it's probably pretty unlikely that you're going to die by doing 99.9% of the things that you want to do in your life, right?

And when you understand that and when you bury that into your head and you go, okay, the thing that I'm actually going to do is not going to kill me, but my brain thinks it is because of all the historical data that I have around fear and being myself because my identity has been taken away by people that have told me I'm not allowed to be myself than when you're in that place in your reminding yourself in real-time, that is the truth of the reality of the human experience that you are having the most incredible thing ever is going to happen.

You're going to step into that fear.

You're going to step into that dream.

You're going to step into that goal, that ambition, that love, that life, that happiness, that pursuit, whatever it is.

And in that, when you're willing to give yourself a little bit of space and grace, you're going to recognize that failure and this is going to be really interesting for many people to hear is inevitable. You are going to fail as much as I know that you are going to be a successful, you are going to fail.

Go look at anyone who's been massively successful in their life, they have fail time, and time, and time, and time again. In the success part of that, comes on the backside of the lessons that you learn in the process of moving towards who it is that you are then so if your body your gut says, I have to do this; I have to move into being this person and you do it every single day on a, long enough time line eventually that becomes who you are.

I tell people all the time that the Michael here, right now, in real-time with you today is a realization of an idea of the person I thought I could be.

I thought I could be strong and brave, and courageous, and empathetic, and kind, and loving and honest, smart, and fit, and healthy, and have abundance and all those things, I thought it for a long time but it wasn't until I started taking action towards those things, did they start to become a reality? Because you can't secret yourself into success in life. You can't Disney moment yourself in the success in life, that shit is not gonna happen.

There's never going to be a moment in your life, where you sit down on the couch, you fucking close your eyes and meditate and then you have everything that you want, that's not reality. Like I wish it was like I swear to God if it were I'd be on a yacht in fucking Ibiza right now but that's not how the world works. Can I be on a yacht in Ibiza? Yeah, sure. On a long enough timeline, if I do the right things, that move me towards my goals absolutely.

But every single dream, every single goal, every single thing that you want, it starts with action, it starts with the choice of being willing to face the fear of understanding that the hardest thing that trauma survivors do is create their identity.

The hardest thing you will ever do is decide who you are, to make choices about who you are, to move towards who you are, because the only thing you've ever been told is that you're not, you're not good enough, you're not strong enough, you're not capable enough. Let me tell you this, you are but you're going to have to get out of your own fucking way and you're going to have to stop making excuses and you're going to have to stop blaming other people. And I'm not saying that other people don't play a role in the chaos of our life that be fucking ridiculous because they do but the truth is because it's so fucking hard people stopped before they even take the first step.

But let me promise you, I swear to you as much as I know that the sun will rise tomorrow, you are going to die with regret, if you do not move towards that thing, that drives you that you want, that you need, that you desire, that is inside of you right now where you're like, I can't fucking sleep at night because the only thing I can think about is I want this. And you're keeping that from yourself like, do you know how insane that is to keep yourself from your own dreams? And here's what's interesting going back to where we started this, the reason that we do that is because our agency is stripped from us as children, and when our agency is stripped from us our children, we seek identity and we don't know how to have about identity, we don't know how to be us until we start doing the things that are within our gut, in our heart and our bucking body and our mind that says, this is who I think I am. And if you move towards the side of this is who I think I am then what starts to happen is you start to take shape.

I think about this a lot, last year, 2021, I accomplish things that I never dreamed possible, 15, 20 years ago, in fact, I accomplished one goal that I had that took me seven years. I spoke on stages in front of 10,000 people. I travel the country and the world, I've released another book on my podcast is now Think Unbroken podcast is amazing because of you guys who are listening right now. Think Unbroken podcast is now in the top 1% of all podcasts on planet Earth. I've been able to do all the things, my body has healthier, my finances are better, my mental health is better, I've coached hundreds of people this year, well, the last year 2021, but all of that started with this, can I just move towards the idea of who it is that I think that I am a little bit every single day? And be willing to learn lessons along the way and be willing to understand that I'm going to make mistakes along the way and be willing to have grace and patience because I'm going to fall back and I'm going to do the thing I said I'd never do again. And I'm going to hurt people's feelings, and I'm going to hurt my own feelings and I'm going to make mistakes. You see, nobody is perfect, you're not perfect either and you're waiting for perfection, you're waiting for this idea that when the timing is right and the stars are fucking aligned and I have all the money in the bank, then I can try to be me.

If you keep doing that, if you keep waiting because you're so scared I promise you on your deathbed, you're going to have regret and you're going to have a life unlived, and you're going to reflect on all these moments like, literally right now, one of you listening to this or watching this right now, knows that there is a thing that you need to fucking do that will change your life forever and I promise you, when you do that thing, it will change your life forever, that is the key. You want to build yourself? You want to build who you are? You want to discover the truth about your experience, your identity who it is that you are? Don't wait for tomorrow, don't wait till Monday, don't wait for six months from now, do it today. And it's going to be fucking painful, right? A lot of these choices and decisions that we have to make to shape who we are, to build our identity, to discover ourselves are going to be hard. You're going to have to do the thing that's keeping you awake at night, that you are so scared of that you've been paralyzed for the last year, 12 years, 30 years and when you do that, your life will be different.

And in that difference, you're going to discover at a deeper level than you ever have who you are and your goals, dreams, ambitions and the things that you want, the desires that you have will start to take shape.

You'll see them a little bit closer and a little bit more clear every single day and you'll move towards them with patience and gratitude and empathy for self and for other people. And one of the things that will happen, if you're really paying attention, is that you're going to gain more skills because the goals and the dreams and the ambitions that you have, they're going to require a certain set of skills. And those skills are going to give you so much fucking confidence like I'm telling you right now, if I could rewind you in my life to the first time I stepped on a stage. I was doing stand-up comedy, that's how I cut my teeth in public speaking because I thought to myself faced my fear, right? And so many people are terrified of public speaking, so this is what five years ago, six years ago, almost I walk into a comedy club and I'm just like, I put my name on the list shaking, I can't think straight like, I'm totally all over the place and I just pause and I thought what is the worst thing that's really going to happen here? Nobody is going to laugh and they'll learn something about myself and I went up there and I did it and I face that fear, the same thing has happened so many times in my life and these are the things that give you the ability to shape who you are because in those experiences of stepping towards your intuition, this part, inside of you, that helps you build your reality. You're waiting for other people to tell you what to do because that's been our experience as trauma survivors.

We have to put ourselves in the back seat for safety until you understand this. You're not a child anymore. It's your time. If you want this, it's yours. It's right here, it's like sitting here, it's on this fucking plate right here in front of you. Everything that you want every dream, every hope, every ambition, every goal, everything that you've ever thought you deserve to have, it's right here and it's waiting for you, but it's not going to magically be given to you because there are things that you're going to have to have to do to get there. You're going to have to face fears, you're going to have to give something up, right? And some of that thing, the biggest thing in my life and my experience the biggest thing I've ever had to give up is my identity of the victim, of it's everybody else's fault, of it's my mom's fault, community's fault, my dad's fault, teachers fault, Obama's fault is everybody's fault. I did give up the victim identity to step into the hero identity.

My hero identity for me is very simple and for you, you can have this too and it just simply starts and I'm saying, simple because it is that simple.

It starts with looking at and taking inventory of your life, in the things that you want, stepping to the edge of the diving board, that's fear. And looking down into the pool it's right here, all your dreams, all your goals, all the things that you want. In closing your eyes, holding your breath and jumping in because if you want to be the hero of your own story, it starts with taking action.

 My friends, I'm super excited about 2022. I'm super excited because I'm like fuck man, there's so much to do, there's so many things that are going to happen. I don't know what they are yet, but I have these goals, I have this idea about the life that I want to have as I move into the next phase of my life. So I move into this year as a hold on to what's coming.

And what's so incredible about right now that I want to share with you is just the massive amount of gratitude I have for you, for listening to the Think Unbroken podcast, for reading the books, for going and doing the app for so many of you that I've gotten the coach over the years, like it's incredible and you know for me I'm always learning.

One of the biggest goals that I have and this might be a little far-fetched, I don't know yet, we'll see what happens, is to get another 20 certifications and trauma-informed Education this year putting me at over 50 in five years.

So I'm really excited, want to go a hard-on education this year because the more I learn, the more I can give you, and that's what drives me, that's what fuels me.

That said, the podcast is such a big part of my life and I have so much appreciation for you listening and I goal it, read the reviews all the time, so thank you for leaving the reviews that literally means the world to me and the podcast is supported by you the way we keep this thing running as you guys coming and taking the programs and reading the books and doing the courses and things like that; that's how we take care of this show.

And so if you go right now to book.thinkunbroken.com, you can get a copy of my book Think Unbroken Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma. Of course, I'll put that in the show notes for you or if you're on my Instagram, you can click the link in my bio. Just go to book.thinkunbroken.com. Also, you can just go to thinkunbrokenpodcast.com has the same information and of course, please if you have thoughts, if you have questions, if you're like, I would love you to talk about this topic or do this thing, please share that with me means the world to me because I want to give you the thing that you need to help empower you to continue this journey.

And I know a lot of times, people, listen to this and they hear me and they go, man, it's incredible that you've been able to do all these things Michael, it's unreal, like you've been able to build this life after so much trauma after being homeless, after being abused, after being a drug addict at 12 years old.

Guy’s Let me promise you this, you can do this to everything that you want you can have, I swear to you. It's right here for you. That's why I create this podcast. That's why I write the Books. That's why speak on these stages. That's why I do this thing because I'm not an anomaly, I don't know anything that you don't know, I promise you. I don't even have a high school diploma, they just gave me that shit. But the one thing that I do know though, is you have the ability to be Unbroken.

And so with that, my friends again, if you go to bookthinkunbroken.com, you can get a copy of Think Unbroken and if you have questions about anything that I do, my DM’s are always open, my emails always open, I respond to everybody like it takes hours and hours every single day, but that's why I'm here because I want to empower, this community of trauma survivors to be the hero of their own story.

You guys have so much fucking potential, it's right here, waiting for you.

And so, let's do it. Let's go! It's 2022.

No excuses. Stop blaming the world.

Stop playing the victim. Start being the fucking hero of your story because I promise you, I promise you if you do everything will be different.

So, thank you, my friend, thank you for being here.

Thank you for listening.

Please like subscribe, comment, share.

Tell a friend.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

­-I'll see you.



Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.