Jan. 9, 2023

Healing from Trauma with Dr. Mariel Buqué: Expert Insights and Strategies

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Mariel Buqué, a holistic psychologist & an intergenerational trauma expert. Join us as she shares her insights and strategies for healing from traumatic experiences and building resilience...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/healing-from-trauma-with-dr-mariel-buque-expert-insights-and-strategies/#show-notes

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In this episode, I speak with Dr. Mariel Buqué, a holistic psychologist & an intergenerational trauma expert. Join us as she shares her insights and strategies for healing from traumatic experiences and building resilience. Whether you're struggling with the aftermath of a specific event or chronic trauma, you'll come away with practical tools and a deeper understanding of the healing process. Tune in to transform your relationship with trauma and reclaim your wellbeing.

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Learn how to heal and overcome childhood trauma, narcissistic abuse, ptsd, cptsd, higher ACE scores, anxiety, depression, and mental health issues and illness. Learn tools that therapists, trauma coaches, mindset leaders, neuroscientists, and researchers use to help people heal and recover from mental health problems. Discover real and practical advice and guidance for how to understand and overcome childhood trauma, abuse, and narc abuse mental trauma. Heal your body and mind, stop limiting beliefs, end self-sabotage, and become the HERO of your own story. 

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Michael:Hey! What’s up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, Dr. Mariel Buqué. My friend, how are you? What is happening in your world?

Dr. Mariel: I'm doing great, thank you for asking. I am planning on what the slow season is gonna look like, planning a little slow down and taking some moments to be mindful in a more extended way, which I'm really looking forward to. How are you?

Michael: I love that. I'm doing well just back from the 5:00 AM flight out of New York City to Denver, spent time with my mentor yesterday and you know, so a little sleep deprived, but super excited, you know, I'm trying to change my state and my energy to make sure that we have a phenomenal conversation. So, I connected with you through your team after seeing you speak at Lewis Howes event Summit of Greatness a few months back. I had taken my little brother as he has stepped deeper into his personal development journey, it's a great honor for me to be able to share the people that I love, not only with him, but especially with the Unbroken Nation audience here. And you and I talk about very much the same things and trauma now more than ever, is a conversation that's at the forefront really in a lot of ways, in terms of behavior, in terms of somatic experiences, in terms of just our day-to-day human essence. And I'm curious, and I haven't heard anyone ask you this, so I want to ask you like, how did this become your route and why is it so important to you now? Probably more than ever that we start to have a deeper conversation about what healing trauma actually is.

Dr. Mariel: Such a good question. You know, the work itself routed me into trauma. I kept seeing almost the same narrative, just in a different person's life showing up over and over again. And when I started seeing so many commonalities, I kept thinking, well, we have to address the root. And what I mean by that is, you know, I especially started seeing the commonalities showing up when I was still in training. So, when I was in training, I trained at Columbia University and my doctorate and then the clinical training that I was able to procure was at Columbia Medical Center, and I was still an extern there, which means it's just a part of the psychological training. And I kept listening to what felt like the same story, but from client to client and kept feeling this urgency as such a, like a new clinician, this urgency to make it stop like these cycles aren't broken and what's going on like, we need to do something about this. And there were some people that were actually being seen for decades in this hospital and it happens in hospitals all over the nation. And I kept thinking like, why are people unwell decades later? Why is that happening? Why are they still suffering in very much the same ways that they were when they first came to us? And so, it really created this line of inquiry for me around what the root cause had been that had kept these people in this state of suffering for such extended periods of time. And I landed at trauma and I landed at generational trauma, meaning, you know, there were people in their families that had also gone through things in generations past and people hadn't resolved these things because they didn't have access or because they just didn't have the motivation to do some of the work, the healing work, and so all roads kept leading to trauma. So, I do believe that in many ways, his work found me and I just went along with it because that's what the people needed.

Michael: That's really beautiful. Yeah, I get it. I mean, that's very much my experience. My background having an ACE score of 10, being a homeless drug addict at 12 years old, seeing really the worst of humanity and then me, I was having this interesting conversation with Dr. Gabor Maté, we were talking about disease and depression and stuffing it down and that's what I did for a very long time, which so many people do, it's almost normative, right? That escape, that dissociation until eventually it like rose up and it was like, hey dude, pay attention and that pay attention for me was like this series of about a thousand rock bottom moments which then of course has turned into a very different transformation and hoping, and seeing the amazing work that we can do as a human species and race when we come together to have the conversation about generational trauma. And I think that the more that we do, the more that we empower people to do what I'm gonna call the hardest thing that we do, and that's ask for help. And when I think about asking for help and I look at like my own journey, it almost felt like stepping off of a cliff, right? I'm like, well, shit, I guess I better do this cuz if I don't, nothing's gonna be different. And I started getting back into my body, like maybe even for the first time, right? When you talk about healing, and I know a huge aspect of your language is around the somatic experience. Why is it so important for us to get back into our body and how do we do that after trauma?

Dr. Mariel: Well, a large part of the reason why it's so important to get back into the body after you've had a traumatic experience, because trauma disconnects you from your body. Trauma makes you experience your body as feeling like it's on fire in a constant alarmed state, and it's a place that does no longer feels like home, it feels like the place you wanna escape. So, in order to help a person to feel more centered, more integrated, it's gonna be critical for there to be a body-based component to the healing journey, it has to be because the disconnection occurs when trauma happens. Reconnection needs to occur when healing happens.

Michael: And in that, is that reconnection? I mean, here's an interesting thought I've been having recently. Can you actually heal without the reconnection to the body? I feel like the answer is no, but I'm curious if that is true, why is that?

Dr. Mariel: That's such a critical question and I am sitting here thinking it's a very deep question too, and I wanna make sure to honor that. However, if you are in a constant state of not being connected to your body, you are in a form of dissociation. If you're dissociating, true healing isn't happening because you have to in yourself and befriending yourself and looking within yourself on a continuous basis to be able to feel steady, to be able to feel healed, to even do the healing itself. So, is a question that, like you said, the answer is no, that I stand by a note as well. However, I couldn't imagine anybody who believes themselves to be healed from the experiences of trauma and still not be in a friendly space with their body, that just means to me that there is one dimension of that person that has experienced healing, perhaps the mind. But the body is still a neglected state and the emotions typically what happens is that the emotions migrate, so the person experiences disease within the body, and that is a manifestation of the unhealed self in the body. So, they might have a mind that is now steady, but their body is showing symptoms.

Michael: When you're disassociated and you're having that experience, and you're doing the work, you're going to therapy, maybe you're listening to these podcasts, you have a coach, you're doing all things, but there's still that disconnect, and you're like, okay, cool this makes sense to me. I feel like I've done a lot of the work mentally, I feel it, but my body, I still feel million miles away. How can we start getting more integrated or even reintegrated into our body in this peaceful, loving, compassionate way? Like what does that actually look like in practicality standpoint?

Dr. Mariel: So, such a good question, it's very versatile. So, there are many things that people can do in order to bring themselves back into their bodies in a way that feels safe, and it can start with very small practices that can help you to recenter and on an ongoing basis, these practices can help you to reestablish a new way to be inside of your body and those practices are breathing, humming, rocking, being able to do progressive muscle relaxation, being able to do sound bath, meditations, walking meditations, sitting meditations, yoga, tai chi there are so many different variations that a person can lean to, right? Depending on what their preferences might be that are body-based practices that offer the body the release that it needs and desires in order for it to feel more steady. And that steadiness on an ongoing basis through multiple repetitions, many times through years of repetitions, can actually then start feeling like a safer place to be in. 

Michael: Yeah, and the safer place makes a lot of sense to me. I remember one time I was doing a sound bath meditation on an island in Thailand, and it was like, this is such a weird thing that's happening in my life, but I'd made this decision to myself when I was 26. I said, no matter what, I'm gonna figure this out. I don't care what links of the earth I have to go to, the amount of money I have to invest, I'm ending generational trauma. I'm ending this. I'm removing this curse, this thing that has impeded my family from progress and perfection forever, this thing that kept me stuck as a child, this thing that even, even though in my twenties what looked like I was on top of the world, I secretly wasn't 350 pounds, smoking two packs a day, drinking myself to sleep, completely unhealed. And so, I'm in this moment of this beautiful sound bath while it's a full moon, no less, right? Because I'm just like, fuck it. Let's do all the woo-woo things, not knowing what will and will not work. And I remember distinctly laying there in that moment and being like, this is what it's actually like to feel peace. And I'll speak from firsthand perspective, healing my own personal trauma, going through assessing my body as this physical thing while kind of trying to integrate it was what felt like at times an insurmountable battle because of the fear of peace. And one of the conversations I often have with my clients is thinking about the way we assess this idea of chaos. I don't know if you'll agree with this, but from my perspective, many trauma survivors, we thrive in chaos, it's what we know, it's everything we experience and thriving in peace can be terrifying. And so, in this integration process, what I felt like, I was like having this back-and-forth battle with myself, like constantly I was like, just be precedent my body's like, no, I don't want to be in this until suddenly I realized like, oh wait, you're allowed to be safe in your own body. But so many people don't feel that.  because of the abuse, because of the trauma, because of the suffering. How can they get to a space of safety in their body without rejecting it?

Dr. Mariel:  Well, I mean, you're speaking to something that is very common among trauma survivors, which is the experience of feeling like chaos is the familiar and you can thrive in the familiar, right? Because you're a pro at it, you've built mastery around chaos, and so it makes more sense to lean to the chaos and be good at it than lean into the unknown and fall into an abyss of, you don't know what's waiting for you on the other side of that. Right. And us as humans, we don't deal with the unknowns very well and so if you are confronted with what's familiar but chaotic versus what is unfamiliar and safe, you're gonna go with what is familiar because you don't have the experience of fear behind it. However, a lot of what trauma work is, is working through that fear, it's also befriending a different identity, an identity that is no longer connected to chaos, an identity that no longer centers chaos and personality even that is no longer connected to just things always beingin an uproar.

So, for anybody who is walking that journey, it's gonna be really important for them to really disengage chaos from their identity. And that's a really hard thing to do, which is why a lot of people go back, which is why there's so much relapse when it comes to anything dealing with trauma, right? Whether it's addictions, whether its people going back into just toxicity or going back into destructive behaviors, any of that is gonna be more of what people tend to do whenever they're confronted with this insurmountable fear and they don't know what to do with that, when they don't have the actual practices of what to do with that. Typically, what I tend to do with folks whenever I'm working with them from a trauma lens is that I start working with the body and I start working with the body, different practices that they can initiate in their day-to-day lives, to actually engage in just a little bit of safety, and then debrief as to how they experience that sense of safety or peace or even sometimes it's not even as much as safety and peace, ‘cus quite frankly, those are extremes for trauma survivors like some people don't experience that right away. What they may experience is neutrality, nothing, right? There's nothing there. I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's peace. I just know there's no chaos, there's just nothing. And even that is something that we can work to process so that they can then start familiarizing themselves with a nothing and start applying value to nothing so, there being nothing. Right. And so, for me, within a holistic lens, it's always a two-step process, it's about inviting in some element of what can feel different and perhaps more regulating, and then processing how it has been for a person to experience that regulatory relaxation, neutrality-based experience and then take it from there.

Michael: When somebody's in this space and they're contemplating, I think about contemplation a lot, right? Can we just at least plant the seed first? Right? What you said, just the little small fractions and pigments of peace like, can you just see possibility? What I tend to notice in in my own self early on in the journey, we're talking 10, 12 years ago, it was like I would look at this version of possibility over here of the person that I could be versus the person that I was, and it was like, one step forward and 10,000 steps backwards for the first four years. People always ask me, wow, you've done so much, you've changed the world, you've blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, yo, 26 to 30 was a nightmare because I was integrating a new concept, a new idea, new familiarity is about possibility.

People often hesitate to even take that first step. Terror is the word I would use ‘cuz like I remember to have these moments like, just like lying in bed, trapped in this idea, like it is not my fault of the things that happen, but like it is my fault that my life is a disaster in this given moment because of the decisions I was making based on all the lack of information and education I had. Right? Choosing in moments knowing that the thing I was doing, like eating fucking McDonald 20 times a week was probably not in my best interest. And then I started questioning like, but what if it was 19 times a week? What if it was five? What if it was one? What if I could maybe just take an incremental step towards this notion of an idea of a person that I thought I could be? And to some extent, honestly, it felt like it was this parlay between, for lack of a better way to phrase, forcing that reality while healing the old reality. Right. And stepping into what was new and what was next with the parameter of safety, having mentorship and coaches and ultimately multiple modalities of therapy. When people feel ultimately just completely stuck, completely trapped, and there's a potential for one step just being that thing that could make the difference, and if they don't take it, how can they find the strength within themselves to do it, to show up for themselves, especially in the times where inherently it feels like this is the thing I should be doing?

Dr. Mariel: Well, I think you're talking about, well, in essence, you are describing a bit of the harm reduction model, which is to take incremental steps in the direction of the life that you desire, which means that you're gonna have to take incremental steps towards reducing the practices and behaviors that are keeping you from the life that you desire. And so, that means that if you understand that there is a life that you've envisioned that you wish for yourself and there is one small thing that you can do, try doing that. And I think the thing that we miss out on is checking back in so taking then a step back and saying, how was that for me? What happened in that moment when I decided to only eat those 19 meals rather than 20 McDonald's meals? What does that mean for me? What does that mean for who I believe I am? And that is a question about self-worth because for anyone who's undergone trauma, self-worth is usually fractured or punctured or wounded, and people like a lessened version of themselves. So, what does it mean to give something back to yourself? What does it mean to treat yourself just a little bit better this week with that one less meal? And really digesting that, that is enough, because that is already a lot to have to take in, a lot, to have to process, a lot to have to step back and contemplate on. And I think that typically what people wanna do is that they want immediate results so, they make these big jumps and big leaps and they do all these fancy things to try and find the healing and they have like five different coaches that help with five different things to help them become this way better person and it's beautiful that people are might be motivated to really do the work. However, when we find incremental points and we just take a moment to reflect on those points and really digest where we are in the journey, that can be so much more monumental in the healing process and especially in sustaining healing for the long term. Then really jumping full force into all this stuff that really sometimes doesn't even allow you a moment to process and think about what's happening within you.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, I'll speak from firsthand experience and go, yep. I had so many times, especially in the beginning of this part of it was and I think a lot of people run into this I was like, oh, I've identified that I have trauma, right? It's really hard for me to miss, but it's stuffed, that's so down. I was like, no, I'm fine. I'm fine. You know, the house that's burning and the cats outside, it says, I'm fine that was my whole twenties. And so, when I figured that out and identified it, I was like, oh shit, I will just do literally everything and so that's what I did and I attacked it in that manner and I realized about a year and a half into it, going at that speed, I was like, there's no space for integration of any of this. I didn't have that word then, but it was like, I'm not really doing anything with all this shit I'm learning. And so, I was like, okay. pause, take a step back, slow it down because hypervigilance is such a huge part of this journey and the space in which you are hyper independent. And I was like, if I just keep doing all the things all the time, eventually there will be change, which is true in essence but it was also like there were always the missing pieces of the puzzle of the pause. And when I got deeper into doing movement with my physical body, especially yoga, that's where I felt like all the information was like starting to reap its benefit because I'd be on this mat just in the silence of the breath hot yoga, especially just dripping in sweat and being like, oh, I'm alive, this is what it's supposed to feel like and to not fight it. When people are in this and they're like, okay, here's this idealist picture of the life that I want to have, how do they cross that chasm of the fear of actually becoming that person? ‘Cause it's one thing I think to take those incremental steps to give the space for integration, but then still have that narrative that has been effectively, I enmeshed and groomed into you, not enough, you don't matter, you'll never be success. Like all that negative self-talk that still kind of permeates and sits there. And then you are faced with this really kinda yes or no like am I going to go into my life or am I not on my terms? And so how do you face the fear of actually being that person you believe that you can be when you've had these traumatic experiences that really kind of tell you otherwise?

Dr. Mariel: Well, you have to confront that voice and you have to confront the originator of that voice. More often than not, that voice is just a replica of somebody who's told you those things, and those statements have become internalized and they've become a part of you, they're now the narrative that you live by and abide by, but it wasn't, that message shouldn't come from you. A baby isn't born into this world telling itself you're not enough, a baby grows into a child that hears that message either explicitly or hears it by way of how people are treating them and learns it by way of how people are treating them, especially parents, and then internalizes that not enoughness, and that becomes the internal narrative that inner critic. So, in many ways, the person now adult with that inner narrative has to not only contest the language that the inner critic is using, but also has to contest where it came from. Somebody told you in some way or another that you weren't enough. Who told you that? Were they right in saying that about you? Can you speak to that person or to that voice now and tell them what you desire to tell them about what they made you believe about yourself? And it starts there, which is why work around trauma always has to include some work around that inner narrative the inner critic and all of the voices that have been now internalized that keep a person feeling so low. Sometimes people feel like they deserve their trauma because they feel so low about themselves. Sometimes they feel like they don't deserve any better, which is where self-sabotage comes into play and people start seeing good things happening in their lives and they start sabotaging it because they don't believe that they deserve those good things to happen. Now, all so many things happen as a result of that inner critic and that inner narrative. So, a large part of what needs to happen is contesting the inner critic and contesting even if you can't speak to the person themselves, but contesting them by imagining them saying that to you yet again and contesting them in your mind or in therapy even.

Michael: When you say that, the words that come to mind for me are stand up for yourself. Right? Show up for yourself. Be willing to stand fast in your truth, and to some extent let go like, just let go of that, it's not yours to carry. Like, I think about this all the time when I'm coaching my clients and like I feel stuck. I'm like, if I gave you a backpack of bricks, you had to take it everywhere with you like, how long are you gonna carry this? And so much of that are the false narratives that we have, about our enoughness like, yo, you wanna carry this heavy ass bag with you everywhere you go. Or do you wanna sit it down? And that fear of sitting it down means that you have to step into a new identity. And I think a big part of stepping into that new identity has to be done when you are in control of your nervous system, but I think that because we're so dissociated, because we're constantly in that sympathetic nervous system, because really, I mean, between the phones and social media and all the chaos of the world we live in right now, I feel like getting regulated is incredibly difficult. And so it's like how do you parlay becoming regulated, stepping into a new identity, facing the fear, doing the work, healing all of these things and, and doing it in this small, incremental way that creates and promotes growth. And you talk about this idea about training and controlling your nervous system, how do you do that in today, like in the chaos of the world, even though we're trying to move away from chaos, you can't, it's here, it's like everywhere, every time you open your eyes. So how do you start to control your emotions? Your nervous system? Your physical body, when you are always in a space to be heightened?

Dr. Mariel: It in part is about even transitioning the language that we use around emotions, so we're not in essence controlling them what we're doing is that we're getting to know them better, we are being curious and inquisitive about our emotions and what they're trying to tell us, because when we're trying to control them, what typically tends to happen is that we instead start suppressing them. So, when we get curious about what our emotions are trying to tell us, that's when we start understanding ourselves better that's the self-knowledge that comes up. Oh, this is, I feel this way. I feel like I'm worried about, you know, the possibility that my mother could her diabetes could get worse. Right? That's why I respond this way to whenever she eats something and I get really frazzled and then I yell and I'm worried. I'm so deeply worried I don't wanna lose her. Right? That's what's happening in the background. And so instead of telling yourself, stop being so anxious, don't worry so much, what can you do to stop being so worried? Take this, you know, or do this, whether it's an actual practice or medication or whatever it is. Those things typically are band-aids. What we need to instead start doing is start understanding like what's behind the worry, why the anxiety? What's it telling you? What's there? What's the message? What's the fear? It's getting to know it, it's getting really curious about it, it's going into the layers of it, it's all of those things. Now, granted of course, like we can do things right now to actually, you know, help the nervous system to regulate itself with more frequency and if you know my work, you know that I'm all about that and I constantly help people to do that through day-to-day accessible practices that can be done and you can be really helpful, genuinely helpful, and we need to do these like breathing and rocking and all kinds of things that can be so regulatory to our nervous system and can help us manage the ways that we carry emotions in a way that can help instill pride in us rather than make us feel shame. So, I'm all about that, however, I'm also about curiosity when it comes to our emotions, which is probably why I'm a psychologist because I am very curious about emotions and I want people to be curious about them as well.

Michael: I am very curious about them also, and that's why I've been so studious in my own personal journey over the years. I mean, I've literally put myself into continuing education courses with PhDs as a civilian, right? Because I'm like, I wanna learn this, but I hate math, so I don't wanna go to college. And so, the thing that I've dove deep into over the years is, being able to, first and foremost for myself, like how do you name this without bringing, with it shame and guilt and judgment, and then instead just being like, yo, I'm a human having this thing called a human experience, and it's okay to be pissed off and happy in the same second, and to let go of all these preconceived notions of this ideal of who you should be and instead just simply being who you are. And I think so many people get stuck in, and I was here too, like if I wasn't angry, pissed off, Michael, then I'm just like dissociated gone ghost introvert ‘cause I'm the massive introvert version of me, right? And it was like, wait, you can kind of, all the things, it's ying and yang, you can be happy and sad and joyful and hurt, it's because it exists within you. And I don't know if this is true and I'm curious of your thoughts of this, but this dawned on me once. I thought to myself in a moment of anger the really, probably one of the first time I actually understood anger after a session of men's therapy seven, eight years ago like I really got deep into it. Someone said, you don't know how to be angry and I was like, yeah, I do, I'll punch a hole in this role right now. And they, no, no, no, no. You don't know how to be angry. And I thought to myself, Hmm, interesting. I also dunno how to be happy. I dunno how to be sad and I don't know how to be joyful. And it what dawned on me this one particular evening in my journal, deep into like this dump, I was like, oh, can you feel any emotions if you can't feel all emotion? So, I'm curious if you think that's true, it may not be. I have no idea. It's just a thought I had.

Dr. Mariel: There's so many depths to your mind. You're very psychologically minded and it's a beautiful thing I mean, I love talking to people that are. Many ways in which we have failed children in our society and one of the most prominent ways that I believe that we're seeing even more so now is that we just haven't baked into the curriculum of school or community or wherever children are involved. We haven't baked into it, the understanding of emotions and what has happened is that we then become adults that don't really know very much about our emotions. When therapists actually tell people, Hey, seems like you're sad, it seems like a very, very generic intervention, like something basic agreed say like, duh, I'm sad, come on. Right? However, you wouldn't believe how many times, I could not count in just me being one singular psychologist and the people that I've worked with, how many times I have had to reiterate an emotion for a person because they've had such trouble identifying what emotion they're experiencing. We don't have a vast language around emotions. We don't have a vast understanding of what our emotions look like collectively and individually, and it makes it so that people are just going about life in a very autopilot way when it comes to their emotions and not taking a step back and saying, I'm worried, I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm in grief right now. We don't have that baked into the culture, that stepping back and acknowledging what's going on with us.

One of the most interesting interventions that I've found in just my journey, and I've actually utilized this for myself, especially when it came to public speaking, has been acknowledging an emotion outwardly, like explicitly saying it, and that actually create an experience where the emotion almost kind loses its potency like I remember I was speaking at my graduation and when I spoke, I said to the crowd, I'm a little nervous up here, there's a lot of people. And that just stating it, humanizing myself, humanizing the experience of an emotion that felt very appropriate to have in that moment. However, I felt that the emotion was creeping in, in a way that could have debilitated me enough to not allow me to speak in the ways that I wanted that created a disempowerment of the emotion and an empowerment of me, and that's something that's an intervention that people can do on any given day, but just calling out the emotion and that already gives you an opportunity to feel more empowered above the emotion itself and to call it out and name it and humanize yourself. But we don't have that baked into the culture, we don't have that practice in the culture itself. Although I think a little bit more in this like one to two years post pandemic now, I feel like there's a little bit more of the language just floating through society which I'm really liking, but we need the actual practice and the understanding of what happens in the brain when you call it out.

Michael: Yeah, I agree. And I think one of the things too is to empower people to understand the truth that there are no wrong emotions. People get so caught up in it, they're like, I felt so bad cuz I'm nervous. I'm like, me too. It's fine.

Dr. Mariel: Yeah. So, what you're doing in that moment is that you're helping them to not internalize shame around their own emotion, which is yet again, another thing that when we don't have enough conversations, especially with children around the fact that their emotions are simply ways that they feel because they are human and they are responses to circumstances and situations and their messengers. When we don't have those conversations, children start internalizing the emotion as, I must be bad, oh, and then they start being apologetic about their emotions, and then they grow up to be adults that say the word sorry a lot.

Michael: I had a conversation with someone very close to me recently. I was like, if you tell me, sorry, one more time, I'm gonna freak out on you because it was like everything. And I was like, you don't have to apologize for being you. And I think that is, I think people ask me all the time on podcasts, they're like, what does it mean for you to be healed? And I'm like, it's when you are you, unapologetically because you choose to be. And that's the thing, going back to this notion, this truth, foundationally probably one of the, if not the most fundamental truths about what I would call trauma in society is that children are taught to move away from their emotion especially if you grow up in a traumatic household, you cry, I'll give you something to cry about. Right. My household that experiences parlayed with, of course, being a boy in the eighties playing sports, we don't have time to get into that shit. And then like all the things compounded by media and technology and movie and films and everything that tell you, you should be happy all the time. And then every single time a commercial comes on, it's like, take this drug so your life doesn't suck. And it's like, wait a second, hold on, maybe it's okay to be depressed in moments or anxious in moments and sad in moments and all of these other things. Let's stay on adults here for a second ‘cause I think this'll be really helpful for some people. If they've come from the background of lack, which let's call it probably most people in terms of emotion, and now here they are, they're adults, whatever that means for them, wherever they are in their life and they're listening to this and they're like, yeah, man, my mom told me not to cry and to woman up, or to man up or to be the big boy, or like, whatever it is, and I've been removed from my emotions for so long today. How do I reconcile that relationship with myself around emotions?

Dr. Mariel: You show up for yourself and you show up for yourself differently than your parents show up for you when you were a kid. It's a part of the journey of what they now call reparenting which in essence has a couple different names internally in psychology but colloquially reparenting means that you look into yourself, into your childhood, into where there was lack. You identify the ways that you could do, in essence, the exact opposite, and you give yourself that, and it is a very powerful technique, and part of the reason why is because that part of you is still waiting, it's still there yearning to be seen and to be acknowledged, and to be loved differently. And when we're able to offer ourselves that we can find some reconciliation, we can find some healing of those parts that were left wounded from the past. So, it's a lot of that, and I wouldn't offer specifics because it's so individual. People have such different kinds of wounds when it comes to what they experienced growing up that was left as a lack. So, I guess recommendation, if you may, or what I would want a person to do for themselves in the reparenting journey would be for them to just sit with themselves and just reflect and think, what do I need right now? What did I need then? And then literally go ahead and do that. It's simple, but incredibly powerful.

Michael: Where's the balance in that? And what I mean by that is where is the space in which you go? I am actually giving myself what I need, versus maybe course correcting obtusely in which you're like only always giving yourself what you think you need? If that even exists.

Dr. Mariel: Well, it's a question I haven't been asked, so I am thinking about it and I'm like, huh, that's interesting. You know, more often than not the wound has been left there for so many decades and there's such a lack that has been just waiting that more often than not, people aren't giving themselves enough. So, it's a little bit less of what, of the questions that I'm used to because typically people give themselves less of what they need, not too much of it, and quite frankly, if a person is overindulging in the reparenting process, I guess one might say really, eventually they're gonna feel like, okay, I'm settled. I feel fine and hopefully what they'll do thereafter is just transition into living their life in the present, that's the hope, right? It's don't always reparent and don't always live in the past or trying to recoup whatever was left there or wasn't given. The hope is that you will instead transition into a mindful present experience where you can live in your joy because the wounds that were left have been already reconciled, and you can feel as though your life can move forward, so that's the hope. So, if someone is overindulging it would actually, in my own curious mind as a psychologist, make me really curious about what we're missing. If there's an overindulgence in the healing, if you've got like the 10 coaches and you know, you're doing like so many things and you're reparenting like every second of the day, I am gonna start leaning in the direction of what are we numbing? What is it that we're not really attending to here ‘cause I'm curious now? And so that's where my head would be heading. But I would also want to transition a person in the direction of just finally living in their present and really enjoying the life that they have left.

Michael: Yeah, I agree with that. And I have found myself with my clients and even myself being like, guess what? You don't get to do coaching this week. You need to just exist. And that can be so terrifying because that's the space in which you're like, wait a second, I'm gonna put my toes in the water. Wait, this thing is life. Okay? Am I safe? Yes, I'm safe. The environment's supporting me. Okay, cool. No one's trying to attack me right now. Yes. Okay. Oh, I'm alive and I found that to be this really beautiful and powerful space. Yeah, I agree with you. I've never asked anybody that question, it just came to mind and I would have to say yes, I totally agree. My friend, it's been an amazing conversation, before I ask you my last question, can you please tell everyone where they can find you?

Dr. Mariel: Yes, absolutely. The best place to find me is on my website is drmarielbuque.com, and there you can find everything that I'm up to.

Michael: And you have an amazing thing that you do on Instagram and other social media platforms with tea if you can tell people about that.

Dr. Mariel: Yeah, absolutely. I invite people to tea in therapy across the platforms that I'm a part of, YouTube, sometimes Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and what that is an invitation to about 60 seconds of a therapy session, a simulated therapy session where I talk about one topic. And in that topic, I almost act as if we're having therapy together and offer at least one mental health tip that people can take home with them for that tea therapy session, which some people, you know, they try and incorporate it into their week and that's pretty neat too.

Michael: Yeah, it's a beautiful tool. I love that you do that. So that's why I wanted to make sure to highlight it. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Dr. Mariel: To be unbroken means to be willing to allow yourself to be with some compassion for when you fall back into old patterns, allowing yourself to be human in that way and really giving yourself some gentle space to be in whatever form you can show up in today.

Michael: Love it. Brilliantly said. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

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My friends, Be Unbroken.

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Dr. Mariel BuquéProfile Photo

Dr. Mariel Buqué


I'm a holistic psychologist & an intergenerational trauma expert. I’m here to help you heal from emotional wounds and transition into a liberated version of yourself.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


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