Jan. 1, 2023

Handling Disappointment, Coping with CPTSD, and Healing from Trauma on the Think Unbroken Podcast

Today, we explore how to handle disappointment, cope with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), and heal from trauma with the help of a certified coaching professional...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/how-to-handle-disappointment-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-coach/#show-notes

Today, we explore how to handle disappointment, cope with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), and heal from trauma with the help of a certified coaching professional. Learn valuable strategies and techniques for managing difficult emotions and building resilience in the face of adversity. Whether you're dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event or simply trying to navigate life's challenges, this podcast episode has something for everyone. Tune in and discover the power of self-care and self-compassion in your journey towards healing and growth.

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I am Michael Anthony author, speaker, coach, mentor, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma. And as usual, you are listening to the Michael unbroken podcast. 

I was thinking about something as we start to head into this new year and that being this idea about disappointment and how we navigate that as trauma survivors. And more importantly, how we navigate that as human beings. You know, I think one of the huge mistakes that people make in their trauma healing journey or any personal growth journey is not recognizing that everyone faces disappointment. You know, even in my life right now, everything that I do, all the traveling, the books, the podcast, the speaking, the coaching, everything like I fell constantly. I think about it every single day how I’ve made mistakes, how somehow, I’ve not done that thing. How somehow it could be anything right. It can be from, did I not show up as hard as I could've in the workout? Did I not write well enough? Did I not whatever. There's always something, right? There's always something we can be disappointed in ourselves about the struggle that we face is changing the narrative from disappointment to understanding that those places and times in which we fell our opportunity is to learn. I don't know how else to put it. Those moments of failure. There are opportunities to learn one of the biggest problems that we face though. And I might just say that again and again, is that personal narrative that we have with our relationship with disappointment.

Look, we're used to it. We've leveraged the idea of the world. Always letting us down our family, our friends, our community, and then we tack it on to do it ourselves. So you're thinking well, great, I'm always disappointing myself. I'm always letting myself down. I'm always thinking about the, what if, what could have been, this or that. The truth about it is that disappointment will always be in our lives. I don't know that there's any person on planet earth that will reach 100% of their optimal potential. And I think about my life and I'm like at 3% of it, I don't know that you ever get to a hundred, but that doesn't mean you don't try. 

And the relationship that we have with this appointment has to shift. Because you have to give yourself the space to be willing to step onto the path and say, okay, I'm going to try this. I'm going to put more emphasis on my efforts. I'm going to show up for myself better today. I'm going to do the things on my, to do list. I'm going to be kind to myself, whatever that is. And yet we're faced with that narrative of enough. And that's what it is. There's such a correlation between our understanding of what is enough and our capacity, and then letting ourselves down. Now, I think there's levels of this also. On one hand you have, am I showing up for myself and truly doing the things that I said I was going to do? Or am I disappointed, because I have not done that. On the other side of it is, I'm disappointed in myself because of the expectations that other people around me have put on me. And now that is how I believe that I should exist in the world. Now these are obviously two totally different narratives, but both about disappointment. 

If you are in a place where you feel disappointed about your efforts, then you have to take a really hard, true and honest look at your life and understand where you are in your own way. So much of this journey is about understanding where you are at this moment to get to where you want to go. And if today, right now, you're stuck in this narrative of, I am disappointed in myself because I did not show up for myself, that is tied so deeply into our worth, our value and our self-esteem. And it's really easy to get that misconstrued with effort, right? Because there is a correlation between what you put in and what you get out, but there's also the mindset that you have the way you think about yourself, the way you feel about yourself in the world.

And the sad part of it, as many of us and I’ve mentioned this before, are ingrained with this software that says we're not good enough, smart enough, capable enough. And so we reach in towards these levels of perfectionism and saying to ourselves, I have to be great at everything, or I'm going to be disappointed when I'm not. Realistically, I don't know a single person who's great at everything. And I mean, I'm not, I'm certainly am not. And so I measure that, and I think about how I can just show up more, better, stronger, harder, more efficient, whatever that thing is and keep moving forward. That's the thing here. Can you keep moving forward? Can you keep showing up every single day and doing that? And you have to reframe your understanding of what disappointment means. If you take it and you spin it on its head and you go these moments in which I did not live up to my expectations as self-defined can be moments of learning. And I can measure that and look at it and go, okay, in this moment, I did not lead up, live up to my expectation of what I set for myself. Thus, I have fell. Now, disappointment can be an emotional response, right? But it also can kind of be that trigger that throws you further down that spiral, because you don't do it one time. And next thing you know, 10 days, 5 months, whatever has gone by, you're looking back on your life and you're going, man, I'm such a disappointment. 

Where does that come from? Is that about you? Or is that about the other people? Is that something dad said when you were four? Is that something that your teacher said when you were 17? Is that what your boss said the other day? Disappointment is always going to be there. There's no way to escape it. It is just fact, but how do you understand it? Can I look at it and go? Hmm, all right. I didn't show up for myself here. Thus, I'm not going to actually beat myself up about this because there's no space. Why am I going to beat myself up about this when the whole world already is beating me up about everything else, right? Then you sit with it and you measure it, and you ask yourself a very difficult question. And that question is, why did I not show up for myself in this moment? Stress, anxiety, depression. You don't know how to start. You don't know what to do. You don't feel like it tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Is it procrastination? There's so many different reasons why we don't show up in that moment. But you have to get brutally honest with yourself and lay that out on the table and say, this is why I didn't go to the gym. This is why I didn't go to work on time. This is why I didn't eat well tonight. And if you can sit with it and understand that the baseline of it may be tied into something like anxiety or depression or narratives engrained in you from your youth. Then what you can do is sit with that for a moment and start to create a framework into what's next, see, measure it. It becomes a point of data. You go, okay, I didn't go to the gym this morning because I slept in and then I didn't have enough time, because I would have been late to work. 

All right. Game plan. How do you get up to go to gym without putting yourself in a position where you're going to be late for work? Well, let's break it down and people talk about the gym option all the time. And it's just easy. So I’ll go there. But like, let's think about this goal. What is the goal? What is it that I want to accomplish in my life? I want to go to the gym three times a week. Easy, lay out your clothes the night before, put it in your phone. You need to have a calendar laying out your entire day. Start to finish when it comes to the things that you want to move towards, because without direction, you'll just be spinning. I Have talked about this many times. Now you got your clothes laid out. You got your alarm set. Now comes the place of accountability. When that alarm goes off, you have to force yourself to get up. You have to force yourself to make your life your life. Otherwise you're going to be living on other people's terms. 

And when you live on other people's terms, you live on other people's time. That's something you have to take into consideration. And so your alarm goes off. What do you do? I don't know about you, but at one point in my life, this definitely wasn't you, because as my experience, I was 24, 25 years old, 350 pounds lying in bed, eating chocolate cake at 11 o'clock in the morning, watching the CrossFit games, knowing, knowing that the gym was in the building across the street from my apartment.  Why didn't I go? Mindset. The way I felt about myself, my self-esteem, the way I feel about the world, the way the world had kind of buried itself on me. In hindsight, I can look back on that and I can understand that and go, this is the reason why in the moment though, what I had to end up doing to start to create the change in the narrative and really that snowball effect to what was next. So I had to start forcing myself to go to the gym. 

Think about this. Sometimes the way that we create a narrative change in our life. And honestly, most of the time is through action. What am I willing to do to have the life that I want to have and moving forward and being progressive and staying the course when it gets hard. Cause you know, it will get hard and in those moments of failure, right? Which isn't a bad thing. I really wish we could step away from this idea that failing is bad because felling means you tried. I would rather fail than to not know, to not have that data point. 

And so in those moments of failure, instead of leveraging this place of disappointment where you're like, ah, I let myself down again. I don't feel good about who I am, blah, blah, blah, whatever that narrative is, you look at it from an unbiased perspective and you go, Oh, okay, I recognize that the reason I didn't go to the gym today is because I did not set my alarm, easy. I didn't go to the gym today because I woke up and I was anxious or depressed and I didn't want to do it. Okay, fair. I didn't go to the gym today because even though I walked to the car and I got in it, I just couldn't bring myself to go. Now the gym is an easy scenario. This could be literally anything. It could be writing that blog, going to that job interview, going to therapy, anything, name it. This is process of the same across the board. Disappointment is disappointment because it means somewhere in there, we had a failure or a moment of failure or not living up to expectation, right? Piece of cake, we got that nailed down. 

So now what do you do? You take those data points. You take this understanding that you've just created about the experience that you've had, and you reverse engineer it, meaning that you go, okay, if my goal is this, but then this thing happened, what do I have to do to mitigate the risk of it happening again? Now there is a conversation to be had about forcing yourself into action, into a change of narrative, into having and creating the life that you want to have.

Often, one of the biggest reasons that we let ourselves down and we fill this feeling of disappointment is because we didn't show up to begin with. Now that is much different than failure, right? Not showing up to start. That is not the same as failing. I would much rather fail than to never show up to the game.

And so now ask yourself, are you showing up? Are you doing the thing that you've said you're going to do? And if you're on the course and you're going and you have momentum, momentum is one of the most important things in this entire journey. It's about continuing to go and go and go. And in that moment in which momentum stops and you're stuck, and you fall back, and you look at it and go, oh no, I didn't show up today. Even though I did it for 37 days in a row on day 38, it's not a breakdown of the entire system, right? Because we progress, we hit these plateaus. And when you're at it, then at that moment, that becomes the new baseline. So now you have the understanding of, I just made it 37 days to here doing the thing that I said that I was going to do. Amazing, that's so good. Perfect. But day 38, didn't make it something happened. Life didn't feel like it, whatever, whatever that narrative is, right. That is not a moment to employ disappointment upon yourself. But instead a moment to sit and go, what happened? How do I take data from this moment and figure out what it was that happened so that tomorrow or even that day, right? I think people go tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, but man, you know this as well as I do, tomorrow's not promised you could die right now. I could die before I finished saying this. And so, because I understand that, how do I implement the change right now in this moment to move forward? That's the art of momentum through pushing ourselves. Can you get to this place where even though you've had this moment of breakdown down, you go, okay, I understand what happened. I'm going to go do it anyway. 

And so day 38, you sit with it. Maybe you needed to rest. That's a conversation that we had too. Am I going too hard? How am I done too much? Am I stretched too thin? Do I need a break or am I just not feeling it? So I'm not going to do it. If you want to step into what's next in your life, you have to force yourself to do things even in the times that you don't feel like doing it. Because I Like to be honest with you. If we only did things, when we felt like doing them, we'd probably never do anything. I know I would never do anything.  And I think about that moment back there being 350 pounds, watching CrossFit games and then thinking about my life of like doing CrossFit in multiple different countries and having this really nice physique for a while, and then COVID happening. And now getting back into the routine and looking at these as data points and going, okay, I'm not disappointed in myself, but what I have to do here is understand what has happened. Create a game plan and roadmap, and then accountability. The world's going to beat you up all day, every day, no matter what. From your hair color to the size you are to your gender, to everything in between. You already know this. I'm not telling you anything that you don't know. So why, why the hell are you going to beat yourself up? That's the easy thing to step into and people will go, well, I don't have self-esteem and I don't have self-belief and I don't have boundaries or anything like that. Okay, fine, you don't right now, not in this moment. And so how do you do that? You create them. You have to create your life and you're either going to do it on your time or you're going to do it on someone else's. 

And I think the worst thing that you can do is not move forward, take a data point of failure and enjoy it and go, wow, I actually tried this, take a data point of failure and then measure, am I being a perfectionist? Am I looking to try to do something that is not possible, not feasible, right? Take a data point of failure and look at, am I just doing too much? I need to give myself space. I need to give myself grace and leniency. There's so much information of what happens, but to beat yourself up because you think that you have to do something for the purpose of fulfilling someone else's desires is the number one way that you will fail in a way that will then turn into this self-sabotage and to this depression, this despair, whatever that thing may be. And so I want you to think about that as you move forward. Disappointment is everywhere, but what you do with it is going to dictate the way that you move forward in life. 

So I hope that was super helpful for you guys. As usual, thank you so much for stopping by. Please subscribe, like, comment, share with a friend. Until next time my friends be unbroken. I'll see you.

Until next time my friend…

Be Unbroken,


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Michael Unbroken


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