“Anna Pinkerton is a psychotherapist based in the UK who specializes in helping individuals and corporate groups overcome trauma, burnout, and breakdown.
This show starts out talking about the stresses of the traditional corporate workplace and how bad energy and dysfunctional communication can spread through an organization much like the pandemic virus. As we discuss how business leaders and executives can heal from trauma and improve corporate culture, Anna explains that these techniques and strategies are applicable to every other source of stress and trauma we face in life, especially healing from our own flawed subconscious programming.
This is where the show gets deep and meaningful for all of us, even if you aren’t dealing with workplace dysfunction. Anna drops the brilliant insight that before we can achieve any form of life transformation, we must first increase self-awareness and “train oneself to be curious without judgement.” It occurs to me that this is incredibly relevant to the pursuit of diet and fitness goals. We are so used to getting bombarded with information, advice, and rigid programming but we fail to recognize our blind spots that lead us to repeat the same flawed patterns that leave us frustrated, confused and falling short of our goals.
You will love many fresh insights and cool new vocabulary terms from Anna, such as the dreaded “inner brutality” – the negative self-talk and self-judgement that is so common that it’s become a normal and customary part of culture. You know, those seemingly trivial comments like, “I’m so stupid I lost my car keys,” all the way over to the deep-seated subconscious beliefs that you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve to be happy or successful, and so forth. Anna reports that 93% of her patients over the course of her 25 year practice have engaged in inner brutality, and adds that it’s very rare to find people who don’t engage in it, because it’s become so normalized. It’s only when people become conscious of this destructive behavior that they get to choose if they want to continue being “at the mercy of the wiring” or flip the switch. “I don’t think we are truly cognizant of the impact of [inner brutality] on life and how that’s really creating a sadness and distress for human beings.” Anna advises us all to turn the dial down on the inner brutality (‘till you can switch it off!) and the dial up on companionability, and to remember that, “We’re not born hating ourselves.”
Thanks for listening, and if you want to learn more, head over to Anna’s website, where you can take the 60-second quiz about burnout.
Brad’s guest talks about negative self-destructive thoughts. [01:37]
Look for reasons, rather than blame. [02:51]
There is a crisis of people feeling fried from working at home. [05:25]
Is this crisis a case of time management? [08:03]
These stressful dynamics might very well predate the pandemic. [10:46]
The counselor can evaluate the level of stress by noticing trauma beneath the skin or see how the muscles are held. [12:06]
The careful and tactful conversations with corporate leaders are when you can help them separate themselves as people away from the problem. [15:35]
The best way to deal with the stress in the workplace is to own your part of it. [19:49]
Has the hyperconnectivity and the boundaries of the workplace been broken down by technology? [24:10]
Sometime it is difficult to realize that certain triggers affect the dynamics of your life. [27:43]
The personal health and self-care piece is big, when you are dealing with stress in the workplace. [30:45]
You can’t deal with self-care concerns if you aren’t self-aware. [33:12]
It is almost normal in our society that people are cruel to themselves. [35:04]
Sometimes a person is not really an asshole, they are acting like one because they need something from you. [36:49]
It is said that 90 percent of our thoughts about ourselves in a day are negative. [38:47]
We need to learn not to waste time with Inner Brutality. Why waste time in interaction that doesn’t serve me well? [41:08]
How does one begin this process of rewiring? [43:18]
We tend to give ourselves over to something outside of us in an attempt to feel valuable. [47:24]
We don’t realize the impact on our life when we demean ourselves and talk in a derogatory manner towards ourselves. [50:01]
What can the listeners do to train their brains to change from Inner Brutality to compatibility compassion? [53:56]
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Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad (1m 37s): Hey listeners, get ready for a very interesting show with a British psychotherapist burnout and trauma recovery specialist named Anna Pinkerton. And she found me from all the way over, across the pond and wanting to talk about workplace burnout, which is her specialty working with corporations. I’m like, okay, sure. And that’s an interesting topic, but this show really progressed to get into some deep insights and getting to the bottom of something that she calls Inner Brutality. Brad (2m 10s): That is the negative self image, negative self destructive thoughts that we all Harbor witnessed. The insights that I provided from dr. Bruce Lipton’s book biology of belief that we’re operating 93 to 98% of the time from the subconscious and this flawed subconscious programming that we get in childhood manifest every single day in how we treat ourselves and how we think about the world and engage in self destructive patterns and dysfunctional relationships. So you are going to love this show and some of her insights that really provided a, a new perspective on topics that I’ve never heard, quite described really nicely, the starting point. Brad (2m 51s): And these are my excited notes that I took during this show. So this is what you’re going to get into the starting point. If you’re to achieve personal growth transformation is to separate yourself as a person away from the lessons that you’re trying to learn or the issues that you’re facing. So you’re looking for reasons rather than blame. And of course, this applies to the workplace environment. It also applies to relationships or personal, personal growth, personal work that you’re doing on yourself. As soon as there’s blame, there becomes shame and that’s when you shut down and you’re not self aware and you’re not able to progress and transform. Brad (3m 30s): So you have to work on self awareness, but for you even take a crack at lifestyle transformation and you can see, I was questioning her with how does someone sleep better and eat better. So they won’t be so burnt out at work and she’s backed us up a few steps. And once you get that self awareness, then you can observe without judgment as so many great spiritual leaders ask you to be the silent observer of your thoughts throughout the day. So the show progresses with more insights along these lines, and then she coughs up this wonderful term Inner Brutality. Brad (4m 4s): And in her 25 years of work as a therapist, she cites this stat that 92.7% of her clients represent some form of Inner Brutality, these negative self thoughts, and self-beliefs that are manifested in day to day life. And we paint some extreme examples, but I also wanted to point out and I referenced my own personal example is I’m not inclined to call myself an idiot and curse out loud if I can’t remember where I put my keys. So I congratulate myself for that. Brad (4m 35s): But I also have to acknowledge that underneath the surface, are these self limiting beliefs and judgments and behavior patterns that I might not be aware of very well, because obviously they’re subconscious, but they’re affecting my day to day behaviors and a possible reason for being stuck in dysfunctional behavior patterns or non rewarding, a behavior patterns of beliefs that are just lurking beneath the surface. They’re not as overt as someone who’s cursing themselves all day long and calling themselves an idiot out loud or under their breath. Brad (5m 7s): So get ready because we are going to learn how to build companion ability to self. Here we go with Anna Pinkerton, learn more and take the burnout email@example.com. Welcome to the podcast. You just told me something very interesting. So I hit the record button and I’m kind of surprised to hear that you’re working with a kind of a crisis here of people feeling fried from the incredible pleasure of working at home, which I can’t imagine anything, but, but tell us what the circumstances are as we, as we talk here and MITs the, the pandemic and the quarantine, but you’re a workplace burnout expert and you’re, you’re very busy these days. Anna (5m 57s): I certainly am. And I don’t, I can’t remember the last time I was this busy, quite frankly, and I’m working, I’m working with individuals outside of compass. They might just found me maybe on LinkedIn or something, but a big tranche of my work is working inside companies where they know that there’s an issue, but they can’t quite put their finger on what it is. And I, it looks like for many, that’s just such a high anxiety because of, because of the pandemic, but also what these companies came into the pandemic already with. Anna (6m 34s): So a bit like if you’ve got an individual that already had some kind of adversity, stress or trauma, and then COVID 19 hit and you’re already under resourced. So, so this idea of like working from home and not having to do the commute anymore, and it’s been eclipsed by the fact that there’s this enormous thing that’s causing so much anxiety in people. And perhaps the natural inclination when somebody is really anxious is how could I put this on somebody else? Anna (7m 12s): Or how can I get that person to work harder in order to relieve myself of this anxiety? That that’s what we’re seeing a lot of is that it’s, it’s almost like a hot potato. Let’s, I’m really stressed. Can you hold it for a moment or, or create, or provide me something that will help stabilize my own anxiety, whether that be a reports and statistics, you know, it’s so intense. So it tends to these people are working at home with children at home, often as well, but the workload hasn’t lessened for lots of people it’s got worse. Anna (7m 53s): We know that that’s the biggest component that not the only thing, but the biggest component to burnout is workload. Brad (8m 3s): Yeah. I wonder if the workload is in many cases self-imposed or a function of poor time management or poor leadership, that’s dumping all this work on you because you know that there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of interviews and podcasts content about how, you know, if you don’t take a nap, your productivity for the rest of the afternoon, or if you aren’t taking care of yourself, or if you’re, you know, switching between too many different windows and multitasking all these things, lower productivity, which would equate to a higher workload, but it’s not, it’s, you know, it’s not literally a higher workload. Brad (8m 46s): It’s just, you’re not managing and not producing at your maximum capacity. Anna (8m 52s): Well, I suppose there’s that going to be that confidence of those two things. So you’ve got some of these own work ethic and that individual self care or lack of it coming to meet the reality of workload. And, you know, I’m not sure whether it would be poor leadership, but it’s certainly anxiety led leadership, trauma, traumatized leadership. So then you got a contaminant or a contagion, much like the virus that is so, so toxic. Anna (9m 27s): So overwhelming that the person that receives those orders or receives that trauma traumatized leadership can’t help, but kind of pack panic and pedal and mobilize to deal with it. So it’s not that they’re not managing their time. It’s that they can’t because the, because it’s just, it’s overwhelming a bit like when the pandemic hit, we more used to being able to talk about it, what the restrictions need, but, but what if the us hit it was so big. Anna (10m 1s): I don’t know if you felt it, but it was just like, how can something be so big that everything in life will be changed for a while? Like it was just, it keeps everything. And I think that that’s what’s happening. So it’s not that people are being shoddy with, with that management of it. It’s just that who would know that something so big would have come along. Yeah. So I don’t know. I just think, I think it has been some really interesting paradigms around contagion. Anna (10m 34s): You know, you’ve got this virus is highly contagious, incredibly dangerous, and then you’ve got this anxiety pandemic. Brad (10m 46s): So you’re saying in, in, in the workplace, these kinds of dynamics might even predate the, the big virus pandemic. In other words, they’re, they’re in the corporation just because they want to make their profit goals and the panic comes from within Anna (11m 9s): Well, for sure, for some, for sure how, what they came into the pandemic with historically, it’s definitely going to have an impact on how resourced they are to deal with now, or certainly to have dealt with the last three or four months. So that’s how I see it. I see it like you’re under resourced or you were already, you already have multiple external stresses and now you’re face this new stress. That’s so big. We don’t know how to handle it. And of course, we’ve got the, you know, that is now compounded by how long it’s gone on for. Anna (11m 44s): So the indicators of how we come through stresses, how acute the stress is and for how long it lasts. So you’ve got it kind of on both axes in this sense. So I think people also Brooklyn, you know, they’re started to, to, to bow under the weight of, of, of the time. Brad (12m 6s): And you’re working with the, typically with the organizations, leaders or leadership team. And so I guess when you come in there, how do you detect what the level of anxiety is? Or can you ask leading questions to search for areas where they might be struggling and in need of some adjustment or some counseling? Ooh, that’s a great question. I mean, I’ve got a trauma Raider and that’s my specialty. Brad (12m 36s): So I’m 27 years. And so I’ve done thousands of hours of this and I just can feel it. I get sense of it. You can see, you can see stress and trauma beneath the skin. You can see how the muscles are held, how somebody holds themselves. It’s when they’re really unwell, you can see it. And the other thing is, is that you tend to get a theme. So there’s, you know, the trauma has a themes about it. Anna (13m 2s): So if you’re talking to a leadership team and there’s several people saying the same thing, or they look the same, you get a sense that, okay, it’s like, it’s a bit like a detective work, really. Like how have you put this puzzle together? But it’s usually fairly obvious. And of course, in a way it’s self determining, because they’ve got me in as a trauma specialist to help them with the stuff that’s tricky to see and tricky to talk about usually. Anna (13m 33s): So I get to do those. But Brad (13m 38s): One thing that occurs to me is that if some company is game enough to hire you to come in and have that level of openness and, you know, self reflection, it seems that they might even be in the, in the healthier category from a company who thinks everything’s fine and, and bypasses, right. You know, right. Past the opportunity to, to bring in an expert. Anna (14m 3s): Yes. And at some level you’re right. I absolutely believe that. But trauma is so pervasive that they are some way there. But what I’m finding is that the people that are coming forward generally have a sense that there’s something pretty massive going down. So again, that makes me have so much respect for them to take that because they could easily just put it behind the blinkers some more and let it make its habit. Anna (14m 36s): And they’ve companies that come to somebody like me are saying, Oh, you know, this is tricky stuff. It’s really challenging, but we’re not going to turn away from it. And because it will week the habit, usually somewhat the, the, some of the problem has already got, got common into the dynamic already. And my job is to assess what that is. And then how do we kind of, how do we unpick it and then rebuild it in a way that’s strong, even when people are somewhat under resourced. Anna (15m 13s): So it is challenging it’s, but you’re right. You’re so right. You know, to, you know, for somebody to pick up the phone or send me an email, that’s a big deal. You knew they’d go, Oh, crikey. You know, it’s bad enough what we can see, but let load what we can’t see. So I’m very careful. I hope, I hope I’m tactful as to how I feed back what I finding for sure. Brad (15m 35s): Well, when that time comes and you’re, you’re very careful and tactful, it’s still going to be probably a difficult conversation. I’m wondering how, how that looks when you, you do your discovery work, your detective work, and then you have something to lay back on. I mean, I guess some suggestions too, about how to change the work, change the culture. What does that look like? Anna (15m 59s): Well, that looks like is I’m a big believer in when I’m working with an individual leader of an organization or a leading role with people is that I tend to help them separate themselves as people away from the problem. So, and that’s a really useful post-trauma treatment in any case. So I do that, but on a grand scale in an organization say, look, this is about the individual, this isn’t, this is somebody who is now traumatized in your organization. And they happen to behave in this way because this is how trauma plays out. Anna (16m 32s): So I give the feedback in a way that it doesn’t point thinker. It looks the reasons and not blame because as soon as you look up, as soon as blame is there, it’s shame. And then that’s the thing that gets in the way. So I say, look, it’s about reasons. So if we find the reasons for this, then we can start to unpick it and we build it in the way that you want it to be built for sustainability. And like you’re saying, for culture change for the future. So generally that’s how it’s received in a positive manner or in a way that can be palatable and therefore useful and of value for them in the future. Anna (17m 13s): Because you know, I’m going to leave the organization. I do the troubleshooting and I go, right, here’s what here’s, what’s going down. Here’s how we can fix it by, by. And that’s what you want. You want to create so much value that it makes a change forever for them. And it’s the same with an individual. You know, if you blame you, shame, nothing gets done. So that’s really how it, how it is. I just go, right. This is what, this is how trauma plays out. This is, this is what’s going on. And this is the process to that, you know, the better culture, the better understanding and to the actresses thing yourself. Brad (17m 51s): Yeah. That little story seems to apply to anything, whether it’s your, your individual, you’re an expert in PTSD. Also, you work in that realm and it just occurs to me, whether it’s a relationship, a family situation, or a giant corporation separating yourselves from suffering or yourselves as a person from the problem and staying away from, from blame. Because as soon as there’s blame, there’s shame. That’s great. Put it, put that to yourself, put that to your partnership, put that to your, your job. Anna (18m 22s): Exactly, exactly. And so in that sense, it’s not really that fancy it’s it’s, you know, it can be challenging, but it’s, but in that, if you just apply that same principle and, and, and I’ve applied that also right in my own knife. And because there’s nothing quite like being able to help somebody understand what’s happening to them and then be able to say to them, Oh, this isn’t about you as a person, right? Anna (18m 55s): This is about your wiring. This is about your trauma template. This has been wired in, so this isn’t about you, this lovely person over here, that’s not aching and suffering or angry and out of control. There’s this other person, this is the real you. And then there’s this defense because you got drama or you’ve got overwhelming stress. Okay. So people that generally don’t come to me and say, I’ve got, I’m traumatizing here. This is the truth. And it tend to say, I’m stressing on belief and my head’s going to blow off or something, you know? Anna (19m 30s): So yeah, that, that is a gift for people to go, Oh, it’s not me. All right. Okay. Because as soon as the person internalizes it about themselves, the job is way harder because you got to get through that first. That’s a different wall altogether. Brad (19m 49s): Right. And I think in the workplace, it’s sometimes pretty clear to make that separation. But at the same time, you know, my hypothetically, my, my boss is a, is a good person, but he’s a real asshole in the workplace. And so it makes for tough times, even though we play tennis on Sundays and have strawberries after. So when that’s the situation and we clearly have a separation from the great person away from the building, and then inside that dynamic, how do we, how do we sort of attack that angle if we already passed it on? Anna (20m 28s): Oh, I mean, that’s, that’s where the educative side comes in. That if you educate everybody about what trauma is and what it, isn’t how it plays out, then people get a sense of what they’re seeing. Cause it’s very easy in an organization. Like you said, even with a family or in a relationship or you’re, you’re the asshole. I’m right. I want to, I don’t know what’s going on with me. I, I see you behaving like that. That looks like misbehavior to me. So I’m going to, I’m going to blame you. Anna (20m 58s): I’m going to throw this hot potato like you, whereas I’m more right. So that’s the natural inclination in groups until you’re really self aware that you own it. And then all you go to somebody and go, you just seem like yourself what’s going on. Right. We don’t tend to do that. But if you educate everybody around what they’re likely to see in terms of what trauma is, then they’re talking the same language in a way. They’re like, Oh, okay. So you’re overwhelmed, you’re full. I’m not really an asshole. Anna (21m 29s): So what can we do what we need to tweak to help you? So again, it’s, it’s it kind of, it all works together. It’s like that fairgrounds, right? That it’s moving, all the parts are moving and they don’t bang into each other, but they get to understand, okay, this is how it works. Brad (21m 46s): That would seem to be difficult at times with people in leadership positions. Because a part of that, part of that track as you rise through the ranks is you’re going to get a, a personality type who’s, you know, driven, you know, terribly competitive and all these dynamics that sometimes counter the ability to be self reflective and open to feedback and things like that. Especially from people that they’re managing, for example. Anna (22m 18s): Oh yeah, yeah. But they’re the people that burn out, right. So they have, the, everybody has a limit. They just don’t believe they have. Yeah. So, but what do you do for people like this is that, that you, you appeal to their intellect to help them start interpreting, using their intellect, to interpret what’s going on in the body. And one of the things in that leadership, people in leadership need to understand is that they affect people, that people do what they see and what they feel, not what you say. Anna (22m 56s): So again, it’s, that comes down to that contagion as somebody who is driven and perhaps distraught with their level of drive. And they’re in disarray that affects the people next to them and next to them. And so it can have two ways of impacting. One is an insidious rippling out, which sounds quite gentle, but it’s kind of sinister, but you’ve also got leaders that are in disarray that have massive brutal impacts on people. Anna (23m 29s): Like, like you said, you know, somebody will always, I won’t also need to know actually the he’s in disarray. He doesn’t mean to be an asshole, but he doesn’t know how to manage this overwhelm. So it’s going to come out as some brutality. And then you’ve got the big, quite nasty impacts where you have a spot in the office and then you withdraw from it. So you, so it’s kind of slow poisoning of people. And then you all, you’ve got this kind of brutality. Anna (24m 1s): And in fact, the brutality in a way is easier to see, but then people could go off. You’re just an ass. So, yeah. Brad (24m 10s): So you’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’m curious whether in recent years with hyper-connectivity and the boundaries of the workplace being kind of broken down by technology is burnout and the related things getting worse. Anna (24m 29s): Cool. I couldn’t tell you the stats on that, but I can tell you anecdotally, what people are saying to me that have properly broken down a little bit on the verge, that the, the technology has taken people to a different type of trauma trigger. I’ve actually worked with people that are triggered just by opening their laptop or see an email on their phones. So there are some people that are so overwhelmed that I’m like, take that off of your phone. Anna (24m 60s): I’ll come on, let’s do a live session whilst you open your laptop so that I can try to help with desensitizing the, seeing the email. So in that sense, your traumatization is right in your living room, right. Or in your bedroom, if you’ve opened just emails there. Brad (25m 20s): Oh, that sounds heavy. Dr. Anne, I’ve never, I’ve never quite encountered someone at that level who gets a stress response, opening their laptop, or you’re talking about a physical manifestation of these, these, these burnout tendencies, because the, the job is so stressful that picking up and reaching for something boom. You’re in you’re in fight or flight. Anna (25m 40s): Absolutely. Absolutely. You’ve nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. So sometimes it will deepen from there as well. That’ll just even be the thought of vaping in it. Right. So, so, and that’s what trauma does. It ha it changes the thinking. And initially it may have just been a fleeting thought in some biz mind’s eye where they go, Oh, I’ve got those emails I haven’t attended to yet. Or how man, how many have I got to attend to? And then it starts to become attached to anxiety, breathlessness, panic. Anna (26m 17s): So it looks for some people, I know this sounds extreme, but it actually isn’t because this is what happens to people in burnout right down the whole system is sensitized to what maybe has contributed to the break in the first place. So if it’s the workplace, or sometimes it’s even a particular person within the workplace or the building, that’s the thing that becomes the trigger. So I’ve actually worked with people that have got the buildings, the trigger, so, okay. Anna (26m 47s): Right. Well, we can work around that. Like lots of people are in any case at the moment they’re working from home or is there a different pace you can go to work that helps reduce that kind of Brad (26m 58s): At different entrance, like this celebrity going through the, the alley and then into the back door instead of a front door. Yeah. Anna (27m 6s): Yeah, because really what w w what you have to do in, in, in burnout, which is a trauma type of trauma in the treatment that as you try to reduce down the level of agitation, so that on the sensitization, so that the person starts over time to feel that they’re mastering it, and they become in control of it rather than it being in control of them. So that’s really what you’re doing in terms of post trauma, is that you’re trying to dial the, turn, the dial down bit by bit. Anna (27m 40s): So the system’s not in trauma. Brad (27m 43s): Yeah. And these extreme examples of someone driving up and seeing the building and freaking out, I think we can, we can relate. We can understand what that’s like, but I’m also concerned about when you have this subclinical reaction. And I know I’ve had that in my own life where I didn’t even realize that, you know, the, the dynamics of my, my job workplace, whatever was going on was bringing me down. I still walked around with a smile on my face and, you know, the self-awareness, wasn’t quite there until I, you know, some something struck me where I could sit down in a park and reflect for 10 minutes that, Hey, maybe I wasn’t even in the right job or something like that. Brad (28m 25s): And I, I mean that, part’s probably a whole nother challenge in your career. If you come, come and meet with someone who’s shaking, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re scared to go work with the trauma specialist, dr. Anna, that’s one thing. But those people that are kind of marching along and might even fill out a questionnaire and say, you know, six out of 10 for everything, everything’s fine. It’s okay. It’s just fine. But underneath the surface, there’s a lot of accumulated stress and trauma. I wonder how you crack that shell. Anna (28m 56s): I want to try to help people with is obviously if I, if I see an individual or they’ve come to me for support, then that they’re already at that stage of awareness. They’re like, wow, my life is on the edge. And I don’t recognize myself. You know, that that’s, they’ve already got there. If I’m working in an organization, sometimes I come across those people who have changes in thinking that they didn’t think were related to overwhelm. So that’s really helpful. So I can kind of presume that as a talking specialist, I presume that one of the things that might happen is that you start to have this gut dread of every day, or I might say, and that people go, Oh yeah, I’ve had that for like three months now, or some of these joy you go. Anna (29m 42s): So that’s one of the initial emotions too, that gets locked off when you’re overwhelmed with stress is that there is little joy in things, even family. And I, I state that in my, in the burnout awareness quiz, because that wakes people up when they have no joy about being around their own family, they’re just like, they feel really altered. Then they feel very different. And so that if you could get those, when they’re glimpses or just fleeting thoughts, you’re like, Oh right. Anna (30m 15s): Something’s out of kilter here. Am I working too hard? Am I doing what nourishes me? Am I looking after myself? Do I like myself? Is the stuff I need to attend to. If you get those, if you get it thought stage you’re, you’re, you’re lucky in a way, right? This is what prevention education is all about. We don’t want people to have to break down for us to take notice and look after them. That’s too expensive. It’s so many ways. Brad (30m 45s): Oh gosh. I can imagine. Yeah. It seems like the personal health and self care piece is pretty huge. And I’m wondering how that element comes in into your practice when you’re working with the, the person with the asshole boss that doesn’t sleep enough or exercise and eat bad food. Anna (31m 5s): Yeah. Well, I tell them, first of all, I tell them not to give themselves a hard time about that. Cause it probably give themselves a good metaphorical kicking already, usually. So, so the way that I approach that is you need to be able to be self aware so that you can self care. Cause quite frankly, by the time I see people that are somewhat breaking down is that they don’t care and they can’t. So when, if I was to say to somebody that’s already kind of on their knees and they have no energy, they’ve got, their resources are gone. Anna (31m 36s): They’re traumatized. I tell them to go and book a massage. They look at me as if I’m a nutcase. And they’re like, where am I going to fit that in? Or, or I actually can’t do it now. So self care has to be way before this, when we get to somebody that’s breaking, we go, right. Let’s learn. Let’s learn about you, help them be self aware so that they can actually care enough about themselves to eat well, to exercise some more pay attention to that sleep. Yeah. Anna (32m 6s): Because otherwise what we’re asking people, this go, can you go and look after yourself, even though I know you can’t, you’re asking them to do something they can’t do, which only compounds how useless they feel. Brad (32m 18s): Wow. I’ve never quite heard it put like that. That’s very interesting. And we’re usually shoving material down people’s throats with podcasts, episodes, or books, and don’t need this and this. But before you crack the pages of the book, or even even begin to examine all the, all the things that are wrong with your life. Yeah. We’ve just got to increase self-awareness Anna (32m 43s): Exactly. Because sometimes parts of the constellation of issues that break somebody down in first place is that they weren’t aware. So it’s not their fault because obviously if you’re not aware, you’re not aware, but to help somebody to discover all the different elements of themselves, some that they’ll like, and some that they weren’t, and that they start to build a more companionable relationship with themselves. They’ll never break down in the future. Right. Anna (33m 12s): Because they won’t have, they won’t expect that of themselves. They weren’t have to live at their bandwidth consistently. So I’m really careful about self care techniques before awareness. If somebody’s self away, don’t need to tell them about a self care technique. They know, right. So it’s a bit like going to bed before you’ve done the rest of the alphabet. If you go self care on me, you’re missing out the elements that makes self care techniques useful, palatable valuable. Anna (33m 52s): Does that make sense? Brad (33m 53s): Sure. I’m I’m wondering like, what are the most common blind spots when someone is there with missing that self awareness, that’s leading to poor self care and so forth. Yeah. Anna (34m 7s): You had a wish you’d never off. You’re going to wish you never asked that question. But my new book is about in a brutality, in a brutality to itself. And so the Brad (34m 21s): Inner Brutality by Dr. Anna Pinkerton, Oh, she doesn’t have a title. Anna (34m 25s): I’m not a doctor. I’m a psychotherapist. I’m not a doctor. Brad (34m 28s): Call that in, in the U S someone, you know, someone who’s super expert. Anna (34m 33s): That’s very nice of you. That’s right. I might borrow that. The biggest thing. And I did some research, some kind of anecdotal research and my own diaries last year, 92.7% of anybody that walked through the door to do work with me in the last few years had high levels of brutality, which means they harangue themselves. They break themselves. They demean themselves in thought and action and diminish themselves. Anna (35m 4s): And what I noticed about this was that these people easily fell out with themselves and easily felt that they let themselves down. So it meant that in a way that inside themselves, they have divorced. They are not together. They’re not integrated. They’re not compatible brutal, cruel to themselves. They call themselves the asshole, the idiot, the whatever, you know, and that it’s so pervasive in our society that it’s so big. Anna (35m 35s): Like the pandemic, you almost can’t see it. And we’ve assimilated it as normal that this is the absolute key to so much illness to be on it. That that’s what the, that’s the work that I do with people. We look at what the Inner Brutality is saying and how you, then we wired the brain to build a companionable relationship itself. And then you’ll never break down because, Brad (36m 1s): Because you’ll see these warnings coming, whoops. Anna (36m 5s): They wouldn’t even be there because you’re so companionable that you do what is right for you most of the time, obviously with normal life challenges. Yeah. Right. So in the, in the same way that I was saying that you don’t need to teach somebody self care. If they’re companionable to self, they’ll just go, Oh, I’ll have the salad. I won’t have the bucket of chicken chips. Why is that? Oh, because I, I, I liked myself or I love myself, even if I didn’t like everything about myself. Brad (36m 33s): Right. I won’t set myself up for a dysfunctional codependent relationship with my asshole boss. Cause I won’t be that person that, you know, take, take steps down that path and then it becomes, then it becomes trouble. Hello. Anna (36m 49s): Yeah. What you might do is you might go, Oh, look, he’s acting like an asshole. He’s not an asshole, but he’s acting like it. And I’m going to decide, I don’t want to be around that. I’m going to look after myself and I’m going to walk away. Brad (37m 3s): Yeah. And in my experience, the, the, the, the person who comes off a strong armed in the workplace, mostly needs validation and is looking for whatever it is, ego stroking and things like that, where they will be the best version of themselves, rather than the worst version. If you don’t counter them with more, more ammunition, you just kinda, you know, bring out the best in everybody by seeing what they need the most. Anna (37m 31s): Yeah. I mean, that is a reality. I think it’s unfortunate. And I think it’s misunderstood. Actually. That’s incredibly transparent behavior, right? It’s very transparent behavior to somebody who’s flipping out around the office and being cross all the time. They’re showing their vulnerability really, but it’s not good for the person that’s on the end of that because bullish behavior is bullish behavior and it hurts people. It breaks people down eventually, but, and it is quite, I think it’s quite interesting that that comes across as having a big ego, but actually they don’t, they have a very fragile ego, like, so somebody has got a nice big ego. Anna (38m 12s): It doesn’t need to do that because they look after themselves Brad (38m 15s): Credit to other people, things like that. Anna (38m 17s): Exactly, exactly. So they, they, you know, those people with a big, solid, robust ego that, that is looking after itself and will look after others will promote others. We’ll go, you’re doing great. But the, the, the foolish person, the Polish boss can’t do that. They can’t do it for themselves yet. Full circle back to the Inner Brutality. Yeah. Once they can do it for themselves, they will never demean or diminish another person didn’t need to. Brad (38m 47s): She reminds me of the insights from dr. Bruce Lipton’s book, biology of belief, where he references good science, that we’re 93 to 98% of the time operating from flawed subconscious programming. And these thoughts that are running through our head are 80% of them are identical to yesterday’s thoughts. There’s tens of thousands of thoughts that we form every single day. And then 80% of those identical thoughts are negative or 90% are negative. The numbers are staggering that we’re just running this tape day after day after day, which is, you know, preponderance of negative. Brad (39m 24s): I love that term Inner Brutality. So that’s the thing that we all have to wake up to. It’s it’s like a pandemic. Anna (39m 32s): It really is. It’s way, way bigger. It’s it’s so, so that’s why I was saying it’s so big. You can’t only see it. You think it’s normal. We think it’s normal for somebody to swear and berate themselves, call themselves an idiot, like a hundred times a day. You’re worthless. You have no value yours. You’re this you’re that. And it isn’t necessarily just about negativity. It’s about, that’s what the operating system is running and nobody’s doing it on purpose. Anna (40m 2s): Right. We’re out of control of what we can’t know if it’s subconscious, it can’t be isn’t it this fall. But I think we have to become aware, be prepared to be aware. So then you gain some controllers, your operating system, right? I didn’t, I didn’t want to have an operating system that was telling me I was having my value. So I had to be, Oh, okay. I’ve got to become cognizant of what the wiring is saying, what it’s running. Brad (40m 36s): Right. Very well said. I think that’s nice to distinguish it that way from the, the extreme examples that we’ve tossed out. Like this is how flagellating talk, where I’m such an idiot here. I’m such an idiot there. And I, I would say, I never say that to myself. I’m, I’m too smiley. And I’m, I’m I’m okay. And on all these different levels, but underneath the surface of that, I’m doing things that I’m not even aware of, that, that negative bias, and then have to wake up to it later where it’s like, why did I do that? Brad (41m 8s): Why did I waste all that time in that interaction that didn’t serve me and all those different examples that are kind of underneath that extreme manifestation of, of Inner Brutality. And that part’s really interesting. Cause I think, you know, if it’s subconscious, it’s not on our minds, we’re busy, we’re super busy and slammed with an email inbox. We don’t have that time to on whether we’re, you know, deficient in self care or self awareness. Anna (41m 38s): Right? Absolutely. And that’s why you know that again, it’s reasons and not blame, isn’t it? Because people, the whole point of being a Sonic being conscious is that you can’t, you’re not conscious of it, but what you can see as a, as a clinician from my point of view is you can see and hear the brutality. And you can often in the way that somebody talks and conveys their story, their experience, you get, you get a sense. Anna (42m 9s): So I, I, I’m quite a visual person inside here and I can say, Oh, I can see the constellation of this brutality, how it holds somebody down or how it’s now wreaking havoc with them. And, and then what you do is you go, right. This is how the brutality is playing out. And this is the same in teams, by the way, this is absolutely the center to why teams are having issues. Because one person has an extremely high level of Inner Brutality projected out onto somebody else. Anna (42m 43s): That person has the, in the brutality. They think it’s them. I’m not managing him very well. And so nobody’s really talking about the wiring, of course, who does, except people like me, you don’t, if you, again, take the people away from it and say, Oh, this is what this is. This is what one person’s worrying is doing to another person. And it’s creating an absolute nightmare and this organization, Oh, okay. Anna (43m 13s): Let’s look at it as though it’s watering it. And that’s really why I’m at then. Brad (43m 18s): And how does one begin that process of rewiring? Anna (43m 24s): And it’s about making a decision. I’ll call it the vow, taking the vow towards self, where you, you, you become committed and utterly dedicated to building a companionable relationship yourself. So more than compassion, compassion is passive compatibility is, is active and dynamic. So I can have compassion to somebody on the other side of the world and go, Oh, I’m really sorry. They go through that. And that’s passive. Anna (43m 54s): I can’t be a companion to them. So compatibility to self is really active where you’d get alongside yourself and you’re encouraging and supportive and you do not demean diminish yourself. You do not swear on yourself. What you do is you go, Oh, that’s interesting that I did that. I wonder why it’s such a thing. So you become inquisitive and curious around what you do and feel rather than critical, which just closes you down again, Brad (44m 25s): The observer of your thoughts and your actions, the silent observer, Anna (44m 29s): As they say, it’s what I call It. It’s like, you look at itself with wide angle lens, be prepared to see what’s inside, but put the compatibility in first. Because if you don’t like what you find inside here, you’re going to fall out with yourself. So you’ve got to go, okay. I might, I might not be keen on that, but because I’m practicing compatibility to self I’m prepared to say, do I want to live with that or not? And once you’re more self aware, you get to choose, you know, you get to choose. Anna (45m 3s): Whereas if you’re, if it’s not conscious to you, you’re at the mercy of the wiring completely, does that make sense? Brad (45m 10s): Right. Well, I imagine there’s a blank piece of paper and all of a sudden it’s getting filled in with all these insights that we finally are taking the time and making that commitment to self, to, to put them down there. I mean, is that actually how your process might go including written exercises? Or I guess if you’re, if you’re working one on one with the client they’re, they’re, they’re unloading some, some, some storage off of the hard drive. Anna (45m 37s): Exactly. That’s exactly it. And then I do use that, you know, I do use visuals. I do use pictures. I’m an art therapist for start. So I tend to, and that’s how I see it. So it’s a, it’s about, and one of them is really simple. Just put a circle on a, on a blank sheet. What do you want in your inner circle? And what do you want to move from the outside? So you could do that in terms of your wiring. Do I, do I always want to be kindly to others? Yes, I do. Anna (46m 7s): I’ll have that in my inner circle then do I want to stop shouting at people? And it depends what you want. You know, you get to choose, you can’t choose if you’re not self aware, but the compatibility has to be there as your guide. If you like the thing that sustains you and helps you navigate that self-awareness journey. Because if you go in with the brutality and you start looking at what’s inside, you’re going to fall out with yourself, or you’re going to feel like you’ve let yourself down. Anna (46m 45s): And those are the two things that we’re trying to go away from. fo that we will always make mistakes. But if we meet the mistake with a compatibility, we just go, okay. I did feel so good about that. How am I going to do differently next time, move through it? Or is it within a brutality? What we do is go, I made a mistake. I can’t forgive myself. I’m going to feel guilty for the rest of my life. I’m going to stick and you carry that for life. And then everything becomes heavy. Brad (47m 17s): You carry that into anything you do. Anna (47m 19s): Absolutely. That becomes part of your, yeah. Brad (47m 24s): So even that simple exercise of drawing the circle and then the stuff outside of the circle, and I guess you’re gonna, I mean, everything’s in their circle when you start. And so then you’re going to make a distinction and the stuff outside of the circle is patterns that you identify or traits or whatever it is. I spend late nights answering email and getting frustrated. And I do that all the time. So I’m going to put that outside of the circle and say that I’m going to flip the lid closed as soon as I feel stressed when I’m catching up on email or things like that, I suppose? Anna (48m 0s): Yeah. And I, and there’s a really, there’s a deeper, there’s a deep, what’s the word formula that’s going with that you see because a lot of people think that their value is based on what they do. So if, if so, they may inadvertently open the laptop at 10 30 at night, let’s say, because they think they’re a more valuable human being if they do that. So the compatibility to self means that you have value. Anna (48m 32s): What you’re sat on the sofa, staring forward, doing nothing, or whether you’re running a multimillion pound charity, you have to be value, a valuable human being, no matter what, it can’t be contingent on anything. It can’t be based on anything. Otherwise you’ve given your value over to something outside of you. And then you’ve not, you’re not doing the, not doing the job of looking after yourself. That makes sense. Brad (48m 60s): Oh, it makes sense to about 99.5% of us, I don’t know about over on your side of the pond, but I think that’s the story of modern life. And we’re all trying to extricate from that with varying levels of success and continued, you know, daily growth and getting up again and trying, trying to, you know, build that, that inner self respect so that we can, we can release attachment to the outcome of what we’re doing. And it’s, it’s pretty difficult. Cause the world’s teed up to, to measure and judge us, huh? Anna (49m 31s): Well, we can’t do it. We’ve got enough brutality there because Inner Brutality is either there or you’re either your own worst enemy or you’re your own best friend. And there isn’t a meat there isn’t a middle ground there. I mean, this is challenging work, right. Brad (49m 49s): What percentage of your, your people that you’ve engaged with are Is what percentage of your, your people that you’ve engaged with are starting with that, that Inner Brutality? Anna (-): 92.7 percent Brad (-): Right. Right. Anna (50m 1s): So, and actually to be honest with you, it’s very rare that you’ll find a human being without it because it’s, it’s so normalized that people have fallen out with us, particularly in the UK. Although, you know, it’s a big thing to demean oneself and to talk in a derogatory manner towards oneself. And, and I don’t think we truly are cognizant of the impact that on life and how that is really creating sadness and distress for the human being. Anna (50m 38s): We just, it’s just so big. But I, I that’s what my challenge is is to write a book and a manual so I can train people in this methodology because it works. And, you know, somebody could come to me with a trauma imposter syndrome, poor self esteem, self sabotage, and doing the company ability, work deals with all of it, all of it. Brad (51m 6s): Sure. They’re going to leverage everything. Anna (51m 10s): So, so that’s for me now, this is like over thousands of hours of work it’s coming to let me put the work and my energy into what’s really going to help. What, what, what, where this really was where the core work is. And it is about turn the dial down on the brutality and to live till you can switch it off and then turn the dial up on the compatibility. So that, that becomes the new normal, because we’re born like that. Anna (51m 43s): In fact, we’re not born hating ourselves. Right? Brad (51m 47s): Right. Yeah. We get programmed from ages zero to seven, according to dr. Lipton and others in that research. And whenever we first get criticized for doing something that didn’t work out and then we start to internalize everything and then pretty soon we’ve formed these rigid beliefs. And they’re very hard to extricate from Anna (52m 6s): Absolutely. But they’re not impossible. And that’s the key that it’s difficult. But once it’s done, once you’ve done the rewiring, the brain goes, Oh, I’ll give up on that shitty old default position of brutality. Then this is way better. But you’ve got to convince the brain to let it go. So it tips over. I’ll be compatible forever. That means I’m quiet inside. That means I live with him. That means I live with contentment in a way that I never have. So when you go that you’ve got to convince the brain yet it’s tricky. Anna (52m 36s): It’s a wrestling match for awhile. Brad (52m 39s): And how do you facilitate that exercise? Anna (52m 43s): You have patients. So what I do is I help people understand what the circuitry is saying. Again, it’s not you. This was programmed in, this is the program that’s running. Does it suit you? Yes, no. No. Okay. Right. It doesn’t suit you anymore. Right? It doesn’t serve you at all. You check out how it does serve. If so, and then you, and then you go, right? What doesn’t, what, what needs rewiring here? And then you just over time in conversation with the person, you, you look at what the core beliefs are. Anna (53m 18s): Are they true? Do they make sense? Did they serve? You change the core belief and then the brains really, you can change these things that seem totally immovable. And so you’re teaching the brain that actually you thought this plasticity, right? You can move it. You can mold it. Say, this is why I sometimes say to people it’s not mindset. This is not mindset. It’s jelly. It’s very wiggly wobbling. You have to persevere to change the look of it. Anna (53m 49s): Change to make it go okay. It’s prepared to give it out for the better. Brad (53m 56s): So for the listeners there, some takeaway exercise, we can implement a, I imagine spending a few minutes every day with a journal and looking at the facts versus the beliefs or something where we can build on it, build some momentum to, to do this, this progress from Inner Brutality toward compatibility compassion. The ability is, did you make that? Anna (54m 21s): No, it’s the true word, but I can say I’ve had lots and lots of practice saying it. So, but I do think for the book, I’m going to have to find something that is a little bit easier to, Brad (54m 32s): Oh no, I like it. I assumed you’ve made it up. And I thought that was pure genius. So we’re just going to go with that. Anna (54m 39s): Why not compatibility to self? Yeah. I, for me, I think one of the most useful things is to train oneself, to notice and be curious with out judgment, which is really hard. So that’s why I’m using the word train too, to kind of really learn the curiosity of, Oh gosh, what is it interesting? I swear at myself or I feel about this part of my life or this part of my personality or temperament. I feel actually really bad about myself. Anna (55m 11s): Like that curiosity is really, really helpful because it’s more of a floaty I’m prepared to have a look. So it doesn’t scare the brain. Cause if you go too hard on it, the brain is going to go, Oh, I bloody love my old phone. I love my brutality. I love it. Right. Brain loves what it knows and it will keep going. Cause it loving, loves what it knows. So be curious and you kind of trick the brain then get all. Yeah. So can I noticed that? I swear at myself when I drop something in the kitchen, all we’ve done is dropped something in the kitchen and we all do that. Anna (55m 48s): So why am I demeaning myself, calling myself names about a simple little accident. So, you know, you could do that all through your days, you know, or just do it for half an hour and go, Oh gosh, I do. I do diminish myself. I make myself very small inside and very vulnerable. And I’m really mean in the way I talk. Yeah. If you say, start getting them a sense of what that constellation of words are, maybe the atmosphere within, right? Brad (56m 24s): Every time we’re in the conference room at a meeting and someone interrupts me, I go, I get fired up inside and I’m furious. Oh gee, I wonder where that comes from. And maybe it’s my past programming or something that I can look at rather than just see who interrupted me today. Anna (56m 43s): Exactly. And, and being able to zoom in on what the distress is that that causes and what’s that attached to. Cause it will always be attached to something. And again, without judgment you go, Oh, that’s really interesting because when I was eight years old, that happened, boom, that’s all you need to know. It’s there for a reason. Right? It’s just that the reasons and the program is way out of date now. And that’s why it’s causing suffering. Now it’s just out of date. Anna (57m 14s): And so that’s why the compatibility training’s so important because the distress in the human being and the brutality just gets worse and worse. Realize it because partly because the brain just loves it because it loves its habits. But also because it gets more and more out of date, like you said, if it was programmed, it programmed in by the age of seven or eight, but you’ll now like 58 is way out of date. Brad (57m 44s): When an adult acts like a child, especially in the workplace, it’s like, come on, this is ridiculous. It’s so it’s so obvious. Yeah. Anna (57m 52s): Whereas I say to them, it’s a shame that you feel that way, what can we do to help? So you meet them where they’re at. You go, okay, that must be really hard for you to keep acting like an ass, because you’re not getting back what you want. Really. Brad (58m 7s): Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I could see how, if this was that this technology was injected into a team environment, you could have incredible transformation. Anna (58m 19s): Indeed. Absolutely. I mean, if companies and organizations would educate themselves around Inner Brutality and how that becomes out of brutality. Cause that’s, that’s what happens. All brutality is made within, but the exact opposite is also true. So people that are companionable to themselves are kindly and compassionate and companionable to others because they do not need to demean another human being to make themselves feel better. Right. Brad (58m 49s): Sure. Right. Love it, Anna. What a great message. I’m really inspired. And I think we can, we can go to your website and take a quiz. You mentioned. Anna (59m 0s): Yeah. I’m on my website, which is just an, a pinkerton.com. That’s a resources page. It’s got, it’s got the burnout prevention quiz, which is the really early warning signs in terms of changing and thinking. That’s, you know, that’s really helpful in terms of things that you might not think are and helping you head towards. Now, there’s an infographic on there as well, which tells you that. It’s about how it manifested physically as well. Anna (59m 30s): There’s all kinds of bits and bobs in there. Brad (59m 33s): Okay. We’re going to go visit Anna pinkerton.com. Thank you so much for spending time with us. Great to show enough of the Inner Brutality, people. Let’s progress toward companion, companion ability with self. Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. And we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, I know it’s a hassle. Brad (1h 0m 3s): You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews, and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars. And it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to thanks for doing it.