Jan 29 • 32M

What happens when we don't feel held?

Anxiously seeking attachment & learning how to be more self-full with Jessica Baum, LMHC

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Carissa Potter
Each week, we invite thought leaders and experts in the fields of art, design and self-help, to talk about their areas of expertise, share a secret and share what is exciting for them.
Episode details

**Transcription of audio can be found at the end of this post**

This year, I’ve been curious about how holidays like Valentine’s may perpetuate co-dependence in our relationships. What are some ways that we could rewrite Valentine’s Day? I don’t have the answers, but I recently asked you all about it and so many of you wrote to me saying you would want it to be about: a) platonic love; or b) fostering self-love and self-worth. I am really into both.

I’m excited this week to be sharing with you my conversation with Jessica Baum on her book, Anxiously Attached. We talk about Attachment Theory, how we can heal our relationships by healing ourselves, and becoming self-full.

Thank you for reading BAD AT KEEPING SECRETS. This post is public so feel free to share it.


Jessica Baum is a licensed mental health counselor, relationship expert, and author of the book: Anxiously Attached: Becoming More Secure in Life & Love. When I say that Jessica Baum’s book is juicy…I just could not put it down.

Jessica and I both identify as “anxiously attached” (more on attachment theory here). If you’re not familiar with how being “anxiously attached” shows up in real life, here’s an example:

You text your partner. They don’t text back for hours, maybe days. You quickly go from “they must be busy at work” to “they are leaving me.” You feel it in your gut. Like the floor has dropped out from under you, like your whole world is turning upside down. You are spiraling and panicked. It’s hard to think about anything else.

In a physiological sense, when this happens, your fight-or-flight mechanism kicks into high gear. It is not just something that happens in the mind, it unfolds in real time in your body.

I have been there. I know exactly how this feels. Jessica’s brilliant book helps us move from shame around this experience to understanding and self-acceptance. In our interview, she explains that being anxiously attached does not occur out of nowhere. It is a state that comes from your relationship with your caregivers when you were a baby. But, it is not a state that has to determine how you are in all of your relationships, forever.

Jessica argues that once you awaken to this response in yourself, you can build a relationship with your internal state. You can hold it in the way that it needs to be held.

I loved this conversation and it spoke to something deep inside me. Please share it with someone who you think needs to hear it, too.

Thank you so much, Jessica, for making these ideas so accessible. xo, Carissa


00:00:03 Carissa 

Hey everybody, I am so excited to welcome Jessica Baum. Her new book Anxiously Attached is out for pre-order now. I had to like. So I was really excited to get an advance copy because I was so excited about this and when it came in the mail I just like, couldn't handle it and I really ate through it. 

00:00:26 Carissa 

It was. It's just really juicy. Could you give us a little bit of, so you are a relationship therapist, you're based in Florida. This is your first book, right? And you have kind of a background. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into this? 

00:00:43 Jessica 

Sure, I mean I personally got into it because I struggled with anxiety, depression. And quote un-quote “codependency” in my 20s and even in my 30s. And I originally wanted to help people with depression, but as I entered the field, I was finding myself actually helping codependency and treatment centers, believe it or not, and working with systems and then I became a certified Imago specialist which is really around relationships and the dynamics of how relationships get played out, our pacts, our unconscious pacts, our nervous systems and helping couples get back into connection. 

00:01:19 Jessica 

And so I built a very successful practice helping couples seeing this happen. I've experienced a lot of what's in my book in my personal life. And I just really wanted to get this information out to the everyday person in a way that was digestible, so that therapists weren't the only ones that knew this information. 

00:01:38 Jessica 

So I practiced writing a book and breaking it down so it was easy to understand, hopefully very easy to understand because they're complicated subject matters when you start talking about the nervous systems and how people dysregulate each other and get back into connection and co-regulation. 

00:01:57 Carissa 

So I recently tried to write about polyvagal theory and realized how complicated it is, can you kind of talk a little bit...maybe we should start there with like the intersections between attachment and attachment theory and our nervous system. 

00:02:16 Jessica 

Yeah, I mean I can explain a little bit about attachment theory again. And so it's, attachment theory has been around for a really long time and it's at the root of many things. And so when we're born, we're not fully developed as babies, we're actually still, one energetic unit with our primary caregiver. 

00:02:34 Jessica 

And the way in which that caregiver attunes or mis-attunes or attends, and it doesn't have to be perfect, but that interaction that we have with them lays down the fundamental blueprint for our nervous system, and actually more of our organs, like the quality of our organs, reflect the quality of our earliest relationships on a cellular level. 

00:02:54 Jessica 

But for this conversation, our nervous system starts to respond. If I cry louder, I get my mom's attention. If I shut down, you know, if I shut down, that means I'm giving up on the fact that my primary caregiver is there. 

00:03:05 Jessica 

So in these many embedded patterns and ways in which we learn to get our needs met, we can develop four different types of styles of attachment, and they're embedded patterns, so it's complicated because I know we all like to label things. But they're “secure,” which has an inherent trust that I'm going to get my needs met even when it's not perfect. 

00:03:24 Jessica 

There's “anxious” that sometimes my needs get met, sometimes they don't. I turn up the volume. You know, I try to get close because I'm not sure if they're going to get met again, and sometimes my sense of self worth is a little bit less. I'll track the needs of my primary caregiver and later my partner. I'll know what they're thinking, what they're feeling. I become hyper vigilant of the outside world, very much codependent traits. 

00:03:47 Jessica 

Then there's “avoidant.” And that's a true avoidant. Because there's two different types, is someone's parent who wasn't as emotionally attuned. And they really did shut down and they kind of walk away thinking like an inherent distrust and relationship that I'm not going to get my needs met and I can do it on my own and self regulate and very independent people. 

00:04:09 Jessica 

They're different, and then there's “fearful avoidant” which you know also has an embedded pattern of both. That's how I can best explain it. There are a different type of avoidant person which is avoidant, but were smothered by their parents, so it's really more anxious. And so when someone gets really close to them, they need to retreat because it brings up too much anxiety in them. It's very different than someone who literally doesn't value relationships on the same level. Usually those people are workaholics and they just don't have the same need for connection as someone who's anxious who has a high, high need. And a drive to stay close and in connection with their partner. 

00:04:47 Carissa 

So how does this sort of tie into the nervous system? 

00:04:51 Jessica 

So when you're a baby you know and you cry out, you're signaling to your mom come, you know and your mom is attuning to you. We call this coregulation - it's a dance between two and she's tending to you and doesn't have to be perfect, but you start to learn “ohh she's going to get there even when she messes up. I'm going to get my needs met.” 

00:05:13 Jessica 

But if she doesn't and I have to cry out louder and louder, I shift into a sympathetic mode and that gets embedded where I have to turn up the volume louder and louder to get back into connection. 

00:05:24 Jessica 

And if you don't get your needs emotionally met at all, and they're not really attuned to you, maybe they're not picking up on the residency circuits, or the mirror neurons, the baby learns “I'm not really going to get my needs then I'm going to shut down and I'm not really excited when my primary caregiver is here or not because that emotional connection isn't there.” 

00:05:43 Jessica 

So our nervous system starts to understand these things and then when we become adults and we turn, we attach to our primary caregiver, our partner. The attachment is the same. The behaviors might change. But if you're anxious, you're going to turn up the volume, you're going to expand your energy. 

00:05:58 Jessica 

You're going to get louder, you might get angry because that's a normal response, because that's how you've learned to get your needs met. That's what your system actually knows. 

00:06:06 Jessica 

It might look different on how it comes out, but the system and the embedded patterns are actually from early and early earlier times, so we embed these patterns. And then we reattach and our partner is a lot like our primary caregiver in that we try to get needs met through them. 

00:06:23 Jessica 

And when they're not being met, our system will react in the same way as it did when we were very, very small, and so people can say, oh, you know, I've the perfect childhood, and I don't know why I'm responding when my partner shuts down or ghosts me. Or distances me. 

00:06:37 Jessica 

It's painful to be in disconnection and if you experienced enough of that when you were a child, the sensations as an adult are explosive inside your body and they're really, really scary, as they should be because that was literally life or death for you as a baby. 

00:06:53 Jessica 

But your system is reacting that way in the here and now, because the same signaling is happening inside your body. 

00:07:01 Carissa 

There was an example you wrote about in the book about, I think it was an automatic thought that happened to you when your first husband didn't text you back. Can you talk a little bit about how your experience as a person with your first marriage, if that's not... I assume you're comfortable with it because you talk about it [in the book]. 

00:07:20 Jessica 

Yeah, yeah no, that's fine. I think it, I mean it still can happen to me to varying degrees. I just have awareness. I think the reason why I wrote the book is because my gut would fall through the floor like I felt like if enough time has passed, because he often broke up with me after that, but I could literally feel the disconnect in my body, the micro disconnection, and my gut would just, and normally my sensations come through my heart because we have two brains. We have a heart brain and we have a belly brain. And they store good things and they store painful memories in both these centers. 

00:07:51 Jessica 

And so my gut would fall through the floor and my world would get flipped upside down and I knew that there was a, an abandonment coming, a separation coming. 

00:08:00 Jessica 

And when I was writing the book, I was like I need to explain why this happens. This must happen to so many people on different levels, especially with technology these days. And how people are ghosting or not responding and how quickly you can go from “Well, they're probably just busy at work” to “Oh my God, my system is sensing danger.” And everybody's system is different. But fear is held in the in the belly and a lot of the stored emotions and connection is held in the heart so a lot of what comes up in these interactions is actually embedded trauma. 

00:08:35 Jessica 

I hate using that word, but our felt sense of the experience of disconnection and what it elicits inside our body sensationally so I really had to explain that like my gut would fall through the floor, I feel like I didn't have oxygen and I couldn't breathe and I didn't know at the time fully what this was about. I identified as anxious attachment, I identified as codependent, but I hadn't connected the science completely to it and I needed to connect it because that's what gave me compassion. “Oh my God, this is a sensational experience. This must have been something I experienced when I was very young and I need to get in touch with this, because it's not really lining up here right now.” 

00:09:17 Jessica 

And I think you know if you've experienced disconnection like that, then the connection can come back and it can feel even more heightened because now the “abandoner” quote unquote is healing it, so you can get stuck in these vicious cycles of just wanting to stay in connection and it feels like a roller coaster type of relationship. 

00:09:34 Carissa 

I think I relate to one of those people being like an ebb and flow. One minute I think that I had a totally healthy childhood. Whatever “healthy,” it's that term could encompass so many things, and then other times I think, “Oh I am, I'm very anxious but I don't remember.” These memories are sort of stored within different places in my body and not necessarily my consciousness. 

00:09:58 Carissa 

Can you talk maybe a little bit how memory lives in the body and how our core wounds affect us. 

00:10:05 Jessica 

Yeah, I mean that's such a great question because I don't think the average person understands it, but implicit memory is... we're not born with the fully developed hippocampus. And so when you think of memory, you think of “What can I recall?” But really, in the beginning I think it's first 18 months or so, we store memory as sensation. 

00:10:25 Jessica 

We don't store memory the way you think of storing memory, so we have these sensational memories that are living in our body, not in our head, and so they travel with us and they get cued every day as adults. 

00:10:41 Jessica 

And we're not even aware that this is a sensational felt experience that has been that has happened before, because it doesn't register like regular memory. 

00:10:50 Jessica 

So you know, as we get to learn, some people have regular memory, like when I do the work with them, they can remember reaching out for a parent and a parent not being there or a parent being disconnected. Some people just are like this is what it feels like in my body and I'm like that's an actual memory too that our body, the language of the body, is sensation, and memory is so much more than what we can recall in our brain. 

00:11:13 Jessica 

But what happens is when it happens in the here and now and even back then we come up with a story or a narrative. If we're really young, “I'm not good enough.” “I'm not lovable.” “I will be left.” The story and the thinking mind happens so much slower than the body. The body actually picks up cues a lot faster than the mind, and then the mind tries to make sense of it. So often what I see happen in relationships where people are getting in fights because their body is going crazy and there's all these feelings and sensations. And then they blame their partner, but the partner is really just stepping on a landmine that already exists or awakening a deeper part within them to be held, and there's a lot of blaming and projecting that can happen when you're unaware. “Wow. This is sensational. This is actually old.” 

00:11:59 Jessica 

My partner might be doing a behavior that hurts me, but the response in me is eliciting so much pain that this is a felt experience I experienced before and when we can get in touch with that, we can start to heal it and be with it in a different way and start to even be an observer and tend to it and hold it and not maybe even communicate to our partner differently when we start to understand that they're not actually the cause of it. 

00:12:24 Carissa 

Can you talk a little bit about the different terminology, I think in the book, and correct me if I'm wrong, you're not...it's not that you're not a big fan of using the term “trauma,” but you kind of have a couple suggestions for replacement terms that might be a better fit. 

00:12:41 Jessica 

Yeah, I mean so “trigger” for me has brought on a lot of shame and I'm doing this training now. We shift “trigger” to awakening and a lot of the language in there is awakening cause I think when you think “trigger” it's like, what do you think of? You think of a gun, you think of shame, you think “here I go again.” When you think of awakening, which is really the implicit, right, it’s really awakening these deep sensations in you, they're horrible and I get it. 

00:13:06 Jessica 

If you're listening to this, they're not fun but when you awaken to something, you can experience it differently just by shifting the language around it that now there's a holding that can happen, and that's actually in the amygdala. 

00:13:19 Jessica 

So if the awakening happens and it surfaces and we label it as a trigger and we get mad versus “wow, let me get curious. What's being awakened in my old brain? And let me tend to it differently or bring it to someone who can help me connect it to integrate it, you know, that's really what healing happens. 

00:13:39 Jessica 

Then we could start to speak about these things differently and have a new relationship to our internal experience, which is a lot of the book too. Is starting to learn how you adapt. And start to have new relationships and compassion for these awakened parts and to get out of the blame game. 

00:13:55 Jessica 

A little bit, and not saying that your behavior your partner's behavior is OK, but when you start to explain it from a place of this is what it's awakening inside of me, they're able to move in and be more compassionate and empathetic towards your internal experience versus you’re doing this to me. So I forgot what your question, but that was part of answering it. 

00:14:17 Carissa 

Oh no, it actually was great, “trigger,” explaining using the term awakening over trigger and trauma if that makes sense. 

00:14:24 Jessica 

Yeah, and I think trauma is a word that I think so many people have a problem with. When I'm talking about trauma, I'm talking developmental trauma so what happens to you at 2 or 4 might not feel like a tragic event, but in your body at that time, and you're very egocentric it feels like a traumatic event. 

00:14:45 Jessica 

You're missing school a lot of times, or having an alcoholic parent or these things that don't seem traumatic compared to someone getting raped or something like that, which is a very different type of trauma and actually easier to heal. 

00:15:01 Jessica 

But these things happening repeatedly over again have a big impact when you're small because you don't have a frame of reference and so they do very much impact you. And part of the work is acknowledging that it's not about blaming parents because our parents are locked in their own nervous system responses and likely doing the best they can but they likely impacted us and starting to notice “wow like this did really deeply impact me.” And “how can I reparent this?” “How can I be with this in a new way?” 

00:15:29 Jessica 

And that's another big part of shifting is use the internalization process of someone who's nurturing but a big piece of this is starting to start to look at your developmental process and realize I really was impacted by this and there's no one to blame. 

00:15:43 Jessica 

It's just starting to be with that more and allow that to surface. 

00:15:48 Carissa 

So can we take a little bit of a step with kind of thinking about our expectations in attachment and sort of fairy tales? I think in the book you, towards the beginning you talked a bit about sort of our conceptions of marriage being the ultimate goal of a relationship, and I thought that the way that you described the problem with our culture’s narrative around relationships was really fascinating. 

00:16:17 Jessica 

Yeah, definitely. I love that I could go so many different directions with that. And I thought marriage would bring me a sense of security too. And I think anxious people want commitment because they want that security. If you grew up in a home, and mine was a little like this, but there was a little bit of neglect or abandonment, and you watched Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or Twilight. 

00:16:38 Jessica 

I even talk about Twilight. 

00:16:39 Jessica 

A way to escape the pain in the moment is actually to project that your needs will get met one day by some person. Someone is going to sweep in and meet all your needs. And your relationship can meet a lot of your needs, but this actual projection to the fairy tale is actually a protection that happens when we're really small. It's actually a gift at the time. 

00:17:03 Jessica 

The problem is when we get older, especially if you're anxiously attached, you can be more prone to love bombing or when someone comes in and does promise you the fairy tale very much feels like the answer to your subconscious prayers. 

00:17:17 Jessica 

And so you can feel like this person is going to meet all your needs and maybe they do in the beginning because the honeymoon phase is wonderful and releases a lot of neurochemicals. 

00:17:28 Jessica 

But if you didn't feel special enough when you were young, those chemicals are going to feel extra potent when you're an adult, and so you're more vulnerable to be like this is my everything, and it sets up an unrealistic expectation because relationship goes through phases and relationships are going to bring up your core wounds, which I help you identify in the book and that conscious relationships are about realizing that these things come up because they're here for us to heal, hopefully together. 

00:18:00 Jessica 

And become more aware of it and rupture and repair, which happens as a baby is that I can have conflict in these core wounds can come up and we can work through it successfully and get back into connection. 

00:18:10 Jessica 

Not that we don't have conflict. Not that we don't have rupture. Not that we don't have times of despair that very much happens in every marriage and you know our work will show up because the deeper we fall in love with someone, the deeper the wounds will be touched and most likely activated. 

00:18:29 Jessica 

And when you do the work and you get more conscious, if you can, and then you have a partner that's willing the other side of, that is, they work through all of it and you have a conscious relationship that is not a fantasy anymore, it's a reality of the whole person, the good, the wounding, everything, and you start to work through these crises, which will can feel like crisises in the moment. 

00:18:53 Jessica 

In a way that becomes safer. So you reexperience them and your partner becomes part of your inner resource. But they're not your savior, and I think that's what our culture gets wrong is like if you get married and you see it on Instagram and you think that these people are having wonderful, wonderful relationships and they have no glitches. 

00:19:13 Jessica 

And I'm a relationship therapist and a human and I'm here to say that's just simply not the case. Marriages are hard work. Your core wounds will show up. Your patterns will show up. All of that is OK, and all of that can be healed, but most relationships evolve. You know they, they evolve in this format, and I think we live in such a transactional culture that, like the second that things get hard, people can jump ship and start the honeymoon phase all over again, thinking that there was something wrong when the relationship would really only...their woundings started to show up and their protection started to show up and they didn't work through the conscious harder parts to get to the other side. 

And so it's sad because so many people don't know this and they just think that there's something wrong with the relationship when actually there isn't anything wrong with your relationship. 

00:20:03 Jessica 

It's just asking you to get conscious of what's showing up in the here and now. 

00:20:08 Carissa 

Jessica, so there are two. We're like running out of time, but I want to make sure that I touch on. I really wanted to talk to you a little bit about the sort of spiritual aspects of your book and for those of you, well, I mean for me, language is really important and I often don't use it correctly, but could you define what you mean by when I use the term “spirituality,” what that brings up in you. 

00:20:38 Jessica 

That brings up so much, so I use spirituality in the book and I back it up with neuroscience so I do both. So if you're inclined to spirituality, this is my thoughts around it. And here's the neuroscience. 

00:20:51 Jessica 

As humans, we're biologically wired to warm connection, and as you do the work you internalize nurturing people. So you take experiences of warmth and care and you bring them into your internal world and you expand your ability to access more and more people in a loving way you can kind of...It's all felt experience, but I think anxious people feel alone in the world. 

00:21:19 Jessica 

And loneliness happens to be one of their core wounds. Or “I'm going to be neglected or abandoned.” 

00:21:25 Jessica 

And as you internalize more and more healthy people, you start to realize how not alone you are and how interconnected you are and how many people actually are going through something similar and or able to offer deep space and love and compassion for you when you reach out. 

00:21:45 Jessica 

And so I think the spirituality is realizing the universe helps you grow, and some of these hard situations are for growth. 

00:21:56 Jessica 

But the universe also provides you, usually with messages and tools, and hopefully people if you're open to it, because a big part of this is letting in the right support. You can't heal alone, but letting in the right people to help you. 

00:22:12 Jessica 

Because if you didn't...if you internalize, for example. I love my mother. Bless her heart. She was the best thing ever but she was going through postpartum depression and a lot of anxiety. And so I internalized an anxious mom and a pretty absent dad. 

00:22:27 Jessica 

So I needed to reinternalize some people who are really safe for me, and I need to experience that on the external world and realize that I can pull that into my internal world as a resource which is very hard to explain. And it's that you're reparenting or you're repositioning new people into your psyche that can help be a resource for you. 

00:22:51 Jessica 

And for me, that is spiritual. And I, oh God, I've been through so many hard chapters in my life and I've struggled and currently going through hard chapters. I think you can trust that A) growth is always there even when you don't want it, and B) the person you least expect it or there are more people around you that want to support you and help you. 

00:23:14 Jessica 

If you raise your hand. And you reach out to the right support that will help you move through these things, that you're absolutely not alone. 

00:23:21 Jessica 

And quantum physics even proves that we're all interconnected. So call it spirituality meets science. It's coming more and more to our awareness that we are so interconnected we're connected to the earth. We're connected to each other. We're connected to each other's nervous systems and the more you can trust that and lean on that, the more I think you make decisions that more are more in alignment for your highest good and the more you can let go and get out of the ego state that you're all alone because you're truly not alone. 

00:23:52 Jessica 

We are truly all in this together. We're just not aware of it. We feel separate in the moment and so part of the work is to tap into that sensation. And I can tell you through my own experience at the times when I have been regressed and felt really alone, I imagined my therapist on the corner of my bed. I imagined all the friends who really do care about me and being able to access that at the same time when I was feeling really alone and sad about a partner or something. 

00:24:25 Jessica 

Being able to have that dual access, “but there are all these people who do love me and do care” is an expansion to realize that you don't have to be in that lonely state all along and that is actually part of the spiritual or transformational growth to building new plasticity, but also awareness in those regressed moments. 

00:24:47 Carissa 

Can you just really, briefly, before I ask my final couple of questions just to, when you say plasticity. We didn't talk at all about neuroplasticity, which I think is a really exciting sort of development that I don't know when I first came into contact with the word neuroplasticity, but, can you talk a little bit about...Can you just define it and talk about how it relates to our capacity for change in growth? 

00:25:14 Jessica 

Yeah, well for a lot of people, for many, long time we always thought that you know you were set in one way and your brain is developed at a certain age and that's just simply not the case. 

00:25:24 Jessica 

We have a lot of science saying that our brain is malleable and we can change and if the environment around us changes then we can build new neural pathways and so a lot of the book is about that. I can kind of, I want to like, so if I if I'm sitting in a house and my neighbor is across the street and there's snow on the ground and I walked to their house every day, I'm building a neural pathway and if that neural pathway is anxiety and that's how I know how to get there, that's the pathway I'm going to choose is the pathway of least resistance. 

00:25:56 Jessica 

It's been a well worn path in my brain, but as you start to do the work and you expand what we call a window of tolerance and you start to be with these parts and these sensations more, you start to build new paths to the same house. There are actually harder paths in the snow, which is why we have to repeat them. 

00:26:13 Jessica 

And on a really bad day if I'm in a rush and really freaked out, I'll take the familiar path. But as you do the work, you're building new pathways in your brain. And you will start to pick the other pathways to that house because you'll have more options. And you won't be as reactive. And so the brain starts to change and the brain we now know can change at any moment. 

00:26:36 Jessica 

So if you didn't have self regulation, you don't have self regulation, you can get that through healthy co-regulation. If you are really reactive, when you do the work you will build space in your internal world to have the capacity to have different reactions when these sensations come up and as you start to see, well, OK, last three times I reacted badly, but on the 4th time I was able to pause and breathe because that actually can trick your brain back into safety. 

00:27:04 Jessica 

And I was able to be more resourced and I picked a different path that was less harmful for me and potentially my partner. A lightbulb moment goes off that there are there are other ways in which to deal with these feelings and sensations when they come up, and so that's the developmental process of building new pathways that weren't there before and it is work. That's why they call it “earned security.” 

00:27:28 Jessica 

But it's pretty cool when you're in it because you start to, not every day is an easy day, but you start to realize wow, I have more options now. 

00:27:35 Jessica 

There's more space. There's more awareness, there's more holding and I'm not quite as reactive. 

00:27:42 Carissa 

It also offers a sense of hope and possibility that I take a lot of comfort in and kind of going back to the sort of how you define spirituality as a trust that growth is always available if we need it. 

00:27:58 Carissa 

So I know, we're almost out of time, but I really want you to talk about your concept of “self-full.” 

00:28:06 Jessica 

Yeah, so self full is actually, so I talk about three states, a selfless state, a self-full state, and a selfish state. And many years ago I was working with codependency and I kept telling my clients you got to learn how to be selfish. 

00:28:20 Jessica 

And they would look at me and then, like I can't deal with that word. And I was like this word isn't going to work. And the truth is selfish, not really what I was going for and there's a pendulum and so we can like in our defense mechanisms, we can lead to a default. 

00:28:37 Jessica 

So selfless is a person who self abandons, who's slightly more codependent and who knows the needs of others, who will have poor boundaries because they don't want to disappoint others or the fear of asking for their needs. 

00:28:51 Jessica 

A selfish person is very aware of their own needs, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

00:28:55 Jessica 

But it's also survival state, both selfless and selfish, are sympathetic states. 

00:29:02 Jessica 

Self-Full is expanding what we call eventual state of connection and ability to stay in more receiving and giving and there's a fluidity to that and so we shift out of these states constantly and in our romantic partnerships and other partnerships. Wherever we place high importance, we can shift into our default, which might be selfless, right? 

00:29:26 Jessica 

But as we start to do the work and start to challenge some of this, we become more in the self-full state. We can actually become aware of my nervous system is activated or I'm in a selfless state, I'm giving and giving and giving. I'm exhausted, I am running on fear right now. I need to shift into a self-full place or you know, I keep partnering with someone who's selfish, quote unquote, but they're also in a survival place. 

00:29:51 Jessica 

Or I'm being selfish right now because I'm scared and I'm only thinking about myself. 

00:29:56 Jessica 

None of this is wrong. 

00:29:58 Jessica 

There are states of being, but in the book it's about expanding the self-full state, getting back into homeostasis or regulation faster and starting to realize that I have a sense of safety in my body, more and more and more and when I'm not safe, I feel it and I can get back with these tools into a sense of safety and connection, more and more and more, so we might slip in and out, but again, the neuroplasticity and the work is about expanding our ability to be in that state or the ability to get back to that state faster. 

00:30:35 Carissa 

Well, Jessica, thank you so much for coming on and talking with me about Anxiously Attached, which you can pre-order all the links in the newsletter today. But I just wanted to say this book really weaves, it's really timely, and it really weaves in all these sort of like cultural concepts that I feel in the air and just puts them all in one spot. And makes them really accessible. 

00:30:56 Carissa 

And I also think already like it's again creating this space between this sort of initial sort of, I guess awakening and my response time, and I can feel it. And it's really exciting. So thank you so much for doing this and for coming on. And for also the amount of work and care and sort of personal story that you share in here is, it's just, it's a beautiful book, thank you. 

00:31:22 Jessica 

Thank you so much and I just got chills. 

00:31:25 Jessica 

I can tell that it really deeply resonates with you and thank you for having me and helping me get this message out and I appreciate you. I hope we stay connected and I love your artwork.  

00:31:36 Jessica 

It's so impactful and so needed too. We all have our way of getting through to people and you've touched me as well. 

00:31:45 Carissa 

Thank you, take care and I'm excited to see what you come up with next. And best of luck with your launch of everything. 

00:31:51 Jessica 

Thank you, bye.