Dr. Valerie Rein: Patriarchy Stress Disorder

In an enlightening episode (#17) of the Corporate Dropout Podcast, Alessia Citro engages in a profound conversation with Dr. Valerie Rein, a psychologist and expert on women’s mental health. Dr. Rein, who discovered Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) and authored the groundbreaking book Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Inner Barrier to Women’s Happiness and Fulfillment, shares invaluable insights into how historical and intergenerational trauma affects women today.

Dr. Valerie Rein, author of Patriarchy Stress Disorder, holds her book.
Dr. Valerie is a psychologist and women’s mental health expert who discovered Patriarchy Stress Disorder (or PSD for short).

Key Highlights:

  • Introduction to Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD): Dr. Rein introduces the concept of Patriarchy Stress Disorder, explaining it as the collective intergenerational trauma women inherit due to centuries of oppression and marginalization. This trauma manifests in various ways, impacting women’s health, careers, and personal lives.
  • Personal Transformation: Alessia shares her personal transformation after participating in Dr. Rein’s Thriving Circle coaching and healing program, highlighting the profound impact of understanding Patriarchy Stress Disorder on her life.
  • The Science of Intergenerational Trauma: Dr. Rein delves into the science behind intergenerational trauma, supported by epigenetic research. She illustrates this with the study of mice and cherry blossoms, showing how trauma responses can be inherited across generations.
  • Impact of Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) on Women Today: The discussion explores how Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) creates invisible barriers for women, limiting their potential and contributing to chronic stress, burnout, and various health issues.
  • Healing and Overcoming Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD): Dr. Rein emphasizes the importance of recognizing and healing Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) through mind-body-energy practices, creating safety, and building supportive communities. She shares insights into accessing one’s authentic wisdom and the role of trauma adaptations in shaping our lives.
  • Authentic Wisdom and Co-Creation: The concept of authentic wisdom is explored as a blend of intuition and spiritual guidance, crucial for navigating life’s challenges and aligning with one’s true desires.
  • Inheritance of Resilience and Gifts: The conversation also touches on the positive aspects of intergenerational inheritance, such as resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, highlighting the importance of acknowledging and nurturing these gifts.

Episode 17 is a must-listen for anyone interested in understanding the deep-seated challenges women face due to historical oppression and seeking pathways to healing and empowerment. Dr. Rein’s insights offer a beacon of hope and a call to action for women to reclaim their power and authenticity.

About Dr. Valerie Rein:

Dr. Valerie is a psychologist and women’s mental health expert who discovered Patriarchy Stress Disorder (or PSD for short).

She is host of The Dr. Valerie Show and her book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Inner Barrier to Women’s Happiness and Fulfillment is a #1 Amazon best seller.

Connect with Dr. Valerie at drvalerie.com.

Listen to the episode:

Full Transcript:

Alessia Citro: A salary is the drug they give you when they want you to forget about your dreams. Welcome to the Corporate Dropout Podcast. I’m your host, Alessia Citro. After a successful career in tech suffering from burnout, stress, and anxiety, I walked away from a multiple six-figure career to chase my passions and purpose as a coach and entrepreneur. This show is going to inspire, equip, and empower you to do the same. Let’s get it.

Hello, friends. Today I have the honor of interviewing Dr. Valerie Rein, a psychologist and women’s mental health expert who discovered Patriarchy Stress Disorder, or PSD for short. She is the host of the Dr. Valerie Podcast, and her book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Inner Barrier to Women’s Happiness and Fulfillment, is a number one Amazon bestseller. In my humble opinion, it should be required reading for every woman in the developed world, especially those who are working or high-achieving. Dr. Valerie, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Dr. Valerie Rein: Thank you so much for having me, Alessia, and for this beautiful welcome.

Alessia Citro: No, it’s my pleasure, truly. I’m honored. I have to tell you, and I think you already know this, but you personally have changed my life. Being part of your thriving circle coaching and healing program has been transformational. And reading your book prior to that, it was like 1000 light bulbs going off for me.

And it was like, oh, that’s why I’m like this, right? And funny story, I was reading it on vacation with my husband, and we would be sitting at the pool, and I’d be reading it, and every couple of minutes I’d be like, oh my God, oh my God. Wow. And Jeff was like, what are you reading over there? And other friends that have read it have said the same thing. So yeah, I just cannot even believe how many nuggets of wisdom are in that book. Everyone really does need to read it.

Dr. Valerie Rein: Thank you. And I’m so excited to get into those nuggets in today’s conversation.

Alessia Citro: Yes. Okay, so before we get into Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD), to kick things off, tell us a little bit about your background, and then we’ll dive right in.

Dr. Valerie Rein: While my journey of writing the book probably started when I was a little girl, and my life was pretty much defined by the question, what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me?

I kept getting these messages that I am too much, I’m not enough, I laugh too loud. Don’t do that. People don’t like that. Okay?

Don’t be so smart. No one would want to marry you. Okay?

Go easy on dessert. You’ll get fat. Okay?

Why are you getting so skinny? You should eat something.

So I went on to study psychology to answer the question, what’s wrong with me? Once and for all. And fix it.

And after two graduate degrees, I was really living the life I had always dreamed of. I had a thriving private practice. I loved my work. I had a beautiful family, a lovely home, and one day I was on the phone with a client when I noticed I was smiling only with the right side of my face, and the left side of my face just hung in there, as did my left arm. And I ended up in the ER with these symptoms that mimicked symptoms of a stroke.

Thankfully, it turned out to be, quote-unquote, just stress. That was my official diagnosis, just stress. And that was very puzzling to me because I did not feel stressed. I felt exactly the same way I felt probably my entire life. My life was full. But if you had asked me, are you feeling unusually stressed? I would have said no. And that was a big wake-up call.

How come? I was carrying these amounts of stress in my body, in my system, without even realizing that, and then seeing that all around me, seeing this pandemic of burnout among high-achieving women, adrenals blowing out all sorts of health conditions, from autoimmune to chronic aches and pains and female organs being affected, just so much going on. Anxiety, depression, adult ADD, all these things rooted in stress got me on the path of really wanting to understand and unpack where this stress is coming from. Is there something that we’re missing?

Alessia Citro: Right. Well, I’ve heard you tell this story before about how you had these stroke-like symptoms, and I think you shared. You were so hard-driving at that point, you actually drove yourself to the ER.

Dr. Valerie Rein: I totally did.

Alessia Citro: I didn’t think anything of that either at the time. Right.

Dr. Valerie Rein: No. And after they issued me my diagnosis and they said I could go home, I looked at the clock and I realized that I could still make my evening client appointments. So I quickly changed out of the hospital gown, into my civilian clothes, and drove to the office and saw my evening clients as if nothing had ever happened. Pretty much my MO was, if I wasn’t dead, I was working.

Alessia Citro: Yes, I think a lot of women, especially listening to this, will be able to relate to that. So if people who are listening have never heard of patriarchy stress disorder and what that is, can you talk about it conceptually and about the conditions that led to its existence? You gave us a good hint with your own background, but I think that would be really helpful for our listeners.

Dr. Valerie Rein: What we’re talking about here is intergenerational trauma.

And to define that a little bit, we have now a growing body of evidence from the field of epigenetics that trauma is genetically transmitted. Women have been oppressed for thousands of years. We’re talking we had no control of our own destinies. We had no say, no sovereignty. We didn’t own our own bodies. We didn’t have parental rights. We could not love who we loved. We could not make our own money.

All that for many, many generations, that trauma is genetically transmitted. And what we actually are talking about here when we’re saying, okay, trauma is genetically transmitted, what does that actually mean?

What I mean by trauma is any experience that made us feel unsafe, unsafe in our fullest, authentic expression and led to creating trauma adaptations to keep us safe going forward. Those adaptations can be stories in our mind that are telling us why we shouldn’t be doing something that could trigger that trauma. Those could be expressions in our body. Those could be actions and choices behaviors, right?

So when we’re talking about patriarchy stress disorder, those trauma adaptations that we inherited from generations before are spelling out, don’t shine too brightly. You’ll be punished. You’ll be burnt at the stake. You’ll be locked up in an asylum. You’ll be ostracized. Don’t make money. Don’t be visible. Don’t be too smart, don’t be too sexy, right? You’ll suffer. You’ll be raped. You’ll be, I don’t know, chased out of the village with pitchforks.

It’s not even ancient history that we’re talking about. All these oppressions and prohibitions on women showing up in the world in our full power. They still persist. And a lot of changes that happened in our society in the past hundred years have granted women more rights. But it has been pretty recent, as recent as 1988. They passed the law allowing a woman to take out a business loan in her own name without a male co-signer. 1988. Not ancient history at all.

So basically how this situation plays out for us is, okay, so we have the nervous system that inherited these trauma adaptations. Don’t shine too brightly. Don’t make your own money. This is all unsafe, unsafe, unsafe. So when we do, because we do, we do speak our minds, we do shine, we do make our own money.

Our nervous system constantly finds itself in chronic overdrive because it keeps on looking for danger, scanning for danger. And here we have chronic stress. We have this chronic stress that we are not even aware of because it feels normal. Stress feels normal, and it’s not. And it’s burning us out. It’s putting a cap on what we can do in the world. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Alessia Citro: The 1988 business loan statistic, I had shared that with a couple of people. I had them guess what year women were able in this country to take out a business loan without a co-signer. And people were guessing like 1930s, 1920s. It’s really shocking. So I think a lot of the people listening to this, they might be the first generation in their family who is working and having success. So this is all very fresh and needs to be healed for sure.

I wanted you to share a little bit about something I heard you say in another interview about the mice and the cherry blossoms. And I found this so impactful. I’ve probably told 100 different people about it, at least at this point. Can you tell our listeners about this study?

Dr. Valerie Rein: Yes, it’s a fascinating study that shows how trauma is transmitted between the generations. In this study, researchers introduced the smell of cherry blossoms to mice while simultaneously zapping their feet with mild electric shocks. These mice were then bred, and their children and their grandchildren, when exposed to the smell of cherry blossoms, showed a strong fear and anxiety reaction.

Now, the children and grandchildren of these originally traumatized mice never experienced electric shocks around cherry blossoms. However, their bodies knew to stay away, that they were dangerous. That association was set. And that pretty much illustrates how Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is playing out for women. Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is women fearing the smell of cherry blossoms, which is everything that we deeply authentically desire that patriarchy always had as punishable and prohibited for women.

Alessia Citro: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Even just hearing you say it again, it’s like, what’s your cherry blossom? What is it that’s in your past that you aren’t even aware of? That’s driving the bus.

So I have a theory I want to run by you. So this theory is that Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is more prominent in women who are immigrants or whose parents or grandparents were immigrants. And I know I’m really painting with a very broad brush with what I’m about to say, but as a child of an immigrant, typically people who are immigrants or kids of immigrants, they have these insanely high expectations, both from their parents and from themselves. They have a really strong work ethic.

Do you think that there’s any merit to this theory? I’m curious if you’ve seen a pattern of people either clinically or within the thriving circle that are suffering more because of recent immigration or their own.

Dr. Valerie Rein: I love that you’re bringing this up. There are so many intersections of intergenerational traumas.

Intergenerational trauma of racism, for example, creates a major intersection for women of color where it has not been a safe experience for them across these two domains, cross race and across gender, for children of immigrants, there is a lot while we’re presuming right.

There is a lot of hardship that was also experienced by their parents, their grandparents. And if those experiences were traumatic, many of them have been traumatic, they were also passed along with those trauma adaptations.

Now, is it more challenging? In many ways? Yeah, it could be more challenging.

And I also want to paint a picture of the gifts of trauma or those hardships or intergenerational transmission of gifts.

Let me put it this way. I’m also thinking about my family history. I grew up in Russia. My grandparents lived through World War II in Russia, where they experienced just very, very, very dire conditions of famine and, of course, mortal danger. My grandfather was a pilot during World War II. Right. It’s a lot. And what I also inherited from them is that resilience and that ability to move from one place to another, to create my new home, to create my own safety, to reach for resources, to create community. I inherited it from them. When we talk about intergenerational transmission, the more we heal traumas that we received from the previous generations, the more we unpack the gifts that we received as well.

Alessia Citro: That’s so beautiful. Yeah. It’s not all doom and gloom, right? Of all the trauma, there’s good things, too, that we inherit. And that was actually going to be one of my questions for you, is do we inherit those gifts and those good things, too? Just out of curiosity, now that you’ve worked with thousands of women, do you notice that some gifts tend to be transmitted more than others? Like, what are some of the most prominent things that you’re seeing people carry on from their ancestors?

Dr. Valerie Rein: I think tip of the iceberg. We see traumas before we see the gifts.

I’m speaking from my experience, right? I’m not speaking from the place of this is the truth, this is how it is. But in my experience, or perhaps the nature of the work that attracts women to our community, they know that there is this bigness inside of them. They know that there is more to their lives. They’re yearning for that fuller expression of their gifts in the world, the fuller experience of their happiness, fulfillment, connection, intimacy, vulnerability.

And they’re very frustrated because they keep running into those invisible in the walls. And those invisible in the walls are constructed of intergenerational traumas. And as we begin to heal them and the healing journey, as you know, has the elements of creating a lot of safety around this. And we create safety through mind-body-energy tools that we practice.

So we actually rewire our nervous system, and we create safety through the community of women who are all on this journey together. And it’s very healing. So the more we heal through these conditions, safety unpacking those traumas, rewiring the nervous system, the more the gifts become available as well.

And in terms of what gifts are more prominent, what I see as probably our greatest gifts is being able to be authentic. And that, of course, is unique to everyone, right? How your authenticity wants to unfold and play in the world and in our authenticity are all these threads from our ancestors. Everything that we carry, they make who we are. So the more we’re able to clean those up from traumas, meaning those adaptations are not authentic.

Adaptations obscure our authenticity. For example, you may be very talented actor, let’s say, but you have stage fright. Stage fright is not authentic. It’s a trauma adaptation around public speaking, right? And a lot of people suffer through them. Your talent is your authentic expression. So the more we heal trauma, the more we reclaim those authentic gifts.

Alessia Citro: I love that. Going back to one of the initial things you said with that is the tip of the iceberg. Is typically first the trauma and then unpacking the gifts from that. What advice do you have for people who want to dive into the ancestral past? What type of things should they be looking for? As a secondary question, if someone, for whatever reason, doesn’t have the ability to do that, do you feel like they’re put at a bit of a disadvantage to healing this?

Dr. Valerie Rein: And you mean they don’t have the ability to do that?

Alessia Citro: Meaning maybe their ancestors have all been deceased. I’ll give you an example. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I got really into ancestry.com. It was something about me carrying on the family line too. I wanted to know more about it. Well, my mom’s side of the family, they’ve all been in America since the early 1800s.

My dad, though, immigrated from Sicily, and they’re not exactly known for their record keeping. And so I couldn’t really find anything out about that side of the family. And my grandparents are long gone, or people, let’s say someone who’s adopted and they don’t have any access to who their biological parents were. Do people like that, who maybe aren’t able to tap into the full picture, at a disadvantage for this at all?

Dr. Valerie Rein: It’s a beautiful question, and I feel that we unfold our authenticity regardless of whether or not we actually know our family history and where we’re coming from. I’m sure there are threads in my authentic expression. They probably go deeper. And I have that intuitive sense that they go a lot deeper in terms of generations and generations before. I have no idea about that. But I do have that intuitive feeling that I’m drawing from the power of my ancestors from before, the known part of my history, if that makes sense. So the exploration, the discovery happens all in your own world.

And what I mean by that is we work with sensations in your body. We work with the energy, we work in that intuitive space. And that’s the journey of reclamation, of authenticity, of who you truly are. So although it’s beautiful to be able to know and tell your family stories, but I don’t like to think of it as a disadvantage if one doesn’t have access to that because these stories live in you.

I like to say that the body, your body is the most accurate history book on the planet because all stories can be retold, they can be twisted, they have parts missing and they filter through people’s memories and perceptions. But your body doesn’t lie and the body doesn’t forget. So the body will tell you so many stories about who you are that the mind could never right. So we just go to the source. We go to the body.

Alessia Citro: I love that. I think that that gives a lot of hope too, for people like me, who really don’t have much insight at all into a whole side of the family. But it is interesting going back to the authenticity piece, and I think that intuition, I found out when I was visiting my grandma in Iowa, my grandpa passed in December, and we were just sharing memories about him and talking about him.

And I came to find out that he was very entrepreneurial, the way that he went about farming and how he continued to level up from one thing that he could sell to the next to the next, to increase the margins, make more money. And he ended up passing away, I have no idea, because they’re very humble, but definitely a seven-figure net worth. Right. So when I found that out, I was like, I always knew I had entrepreneurship in my blood. I figured it was just from my dad, but I come to find out it was from Grandpa, too. So that was pretty cool. So I think a lot of that is definitely intuitive.

Dr. Valerie Rein: Yeah. And you always knew that even before you knew that story, you could feel entrepreneurship in your blood. And the story was a beautiful confirmation.

Alessia Citro: It really was. Yeah. I got emotional about it. I’m like, so many dots are connecting for me. This is amazing.

Dr. Valerie Rein: So I just want to say, trust your intuitive knowing. You may or may not ever get a confirmation of what you’re knowing from stories, but trust that you know who you are. And the more we get to meet those trauma adaptations and dissolve them or make them well, we talk about evolving them, actually, in this work, so that they are no longer shielding our true authentic selves from us and from the world, the more we are in that state of knowing who we truly are. So trust that this is a perfect.

Alessia Citro: Segue into one of the questions that I wanted to ask you, which is that being in your program, one of the best things I’ve learned is connecting to my authentic wisdom and embodying her and interacting with her. It’s made a lot of things fall into place for me the last few months. Can you tell us about our authentic wisdom and how you can access it? You have a beautiful meditation, which I would love if you took us through, although, in the interest of time, we probably can’t. But I would love for you to share more about the authentic wisdom, because this is such a key takeaway from your coaching.

Dr. Valerie Rein: Yeah. Thank you so much. And speaking of meditations, they are accessible on the website, some meditations that go with the book. Perfect. Yeah. Dr. Valerie.com book is where they can be downloaded and enjoyed, and you can download the first chapter of the book there as well. And the book is coming out on audio, so for those who are interested, definitely. Yeah. So you can join the mailing list right there, dr. Valerie.com book. And then you’ll get notice when it’s available, and I’ll be sure to include.

Alessia Citro: That in show notes, too.

Dr. Valerie Rein: Thank you so much. So authentic wisdom, what we mean by that is it’s similar to your intuition, but it’s kind of a combination of your intuition and that spiritual guidance, whatever that means to you, your destiny, God, angels, whatever makes sense in your system of worldview. And why we call this your authentic wisdom is because it is aware not only of your spiritual agenda, but also of your humanness. Let’s say the spiritual agenda may be like, oh, you have so much to learn. You know what would be great? If you get cancer, because it will be such a great learning adventure. You learn so much, but the human part is like, no, thank you. No, that is not what I want. Right?

Alessia Citro: Yeah. Hard pass.

Dr. Valerie Rein: No, thanks. I’ll pass. So the authentic wisdom is that beautiful intersection of what you’re up to as a spiritual being and what you’re up to as a human being, because you really want to be in that sweet spot of kind of negotiating your path to whatever degree is possible, right? We’re not always in control of things happening, but I do believe there is a certain degree of co-creation that happens. And the more we’re attuned to our authentic wisdom, the more we can have that input into, okay, this is what I desire. What is aligned? What is my guidance on that? So that your humanness and your spiritual path, they work together.

Alessia Citro: This also sounds to me like it plays in with the Law of Attraction and being in touch with your desires and authentically aligned so that those things can come to pass that you want. Would you agree with that?

Dr. Valerie Rein: Yeah, it’s interesting. Recently I’ve gotten into listening to materials on the Law of Attraction, and I listen with different ears now that I’m doing this deep embodied work and trauma healing. And I can see where trauma adaptations or not being aware of the traumas that we carry into generational traumas, personal traumas, they actually create.

They’re like Teflon, those trauma adaptations. They’re like Teflon to abundance or whatever we’re desiring to attract, because even if consciously, we’re very much like, yes, sign me up. Our subconscious goes, no, it’s not safe. We’re not going to go there. And the subconscious always drives the bus. And that’s something that we know from neuroscience, actually. They found that our actions are decided in our subconscious, our actions are decided in our subconscious, which is truly and literally mind-blowing, because it turns out our conscious mind is the last one on the bus. And here we are trying to change our thoughts so that we change our reality.

But if the subconscious has a different agenda, and the subconscious is always looking out for our survival, right? And if there are all these traumas getting triggered, and if there’s that subconscious perception that perhaps making a lot of money is not safe, or attracting a partner in your life who can really see you deeply who you can connect with intimately. That’s unsafe. Right. Based on past experiences and intergenerational trauma, it’s not going to happen.

Alessia Citro: Self-sabotage.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Yeah. And that self sabotage is actually serving that protective function because the subconscious goes, it’s not safe. That’s why we’re not letting that happen. So it’s just a lot easier, in my experience, to be aware of where those internal prohibitions are playing out, how those trauma adaptations are showing up. Whether it’s in the voice, the inner critic, whether it’s something in the expressions of the body, whether it’s in the energy, whether it’s in their actions and choices, so that we can look under the hood and we can see, oh, that’s why. That’s why this is happening, because it’s keeping me safe from X, Y and Z. And then we can work with it.

We can create safety around that so that we can truly align with our desires, where they can feel safe. And when our desires feel safe, then boom, they can come in, we can have them.

Alessia Citro:
I wasn’t planning on asking you this, but I’m so curious now. So I think part of what drives behavior, too, is identity, right?

Dr. Valerie Rein:

Alessia Citro:
On a deep level, maybe not even the conscious level. So if you agree with that, how do you feel like changing your identity and healing the trauma really play together so that you can truly pursue the how good can it get?

Dr. Valerie Rein:
I think about this a lot, Alessia. Identity a lot for your next book, maybe for those deep divers like you and I. So the way I see identity is really a collection of trauma adaptations. It’s not a sexy kind of way of looking at it, but in my experience, really, our identity is constructed out of everything that we have inherited and we have self created to keep ourselves safe and functional in the world. And the more we heal and we strip out those adaptive things, the more our identity actually becomes very open and fluid. We can truly be whoever we want to be.

Not in a way of fake it till you make it pretend, but we can truly show up and play in any way. We’re called to play. Like that old identity of, oh, like, poor little me, or girls like me, don’t blah, blah, blah, fill in the blanks, right? Or where I come from, we don’t blah, blah, blah. So all of this doesn’t hold us back anymore. We can show up, we can play differently, we can play bigger. And it’s not so much the fight of, oh, let me just work on my mindset endlessly so I can think differently and show up differently. Yeah, so you can put on any costume and play in any kind of way, and it’s much easier. Much easier. Does that answer your question about identity?

Alessia Citro:
It does. And I’m even thinking about how this applies in my own life. Well, I haven’t recorded it yet, although by the time this episode drops, it will have been released. But it’s an episode about releasing your past so you can embrace your future. And one of the things that held me back from doing this, I’ve wanted to have a podcast for a while, and I wanted to be a coach. I always thought that I would be doing something like that, but I didn’t because when I was younger, I definitely had these moments of being caddy or being labeled kind of at a young age as like, bossy and a bitch. And so it’s like, well, how could I help anyone if I’m a bitch, right?

But then you unpeel it and you look at the onion and all the layers, and it’s like, well, no, I’m actually not. I’m a kind person. I’m a generous person. I have my flaws, like we all do. But it’s like this societal programming and conditioning where I was too much. And so that’s this label, I get exactly right. So being aware of that and peeling it back, it’s like, no, I don’t want to have that story anymore and I’m going to rewrite it. So here I am doing that.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
I love that. And you can serve and you are serving so many by showing up and showing, okay, this was the label and this is why that label was created and how right, by the society telling me, like, I’m being too much and this is what I’m doing, this is how I’m reclaiming. And basically the society was reflecting to you that you are an entrepreneur, a creator, that you are big and you’re here to do big things. And it was trying to keep you small. It was trying to lock you into this identity of a bitch, bossy, whatever, all these things that are considered negative. But the truth was and is exactly the opposite. It is your light that was scaring them.

Alessia Citro:
Oh, I love that. That’s so profound. I mean, I think there’s so many people listening to this that can relate. I forget who it was too, but it was someone in our thriving circle cohort that was saying how she’s always tried to not take up any space, right? And so many women, we do that purposefully, to just stay off the radar and remain safe. But it’s like, well, it’s safe now, and I want to take up space. I want to make an impact. My biggest fear is being insignificant. I want to touch other people’s lives and create that ripple. And I think there’s a lot of people that do and they just feel held back because of Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD).

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Yeah. And it just tears my heart to pieces, like, seeing the world of unrealized female genius and this is the biggest motivation behind my work, is to help women see their own genius, reclaim it, and feel safe bringing it out into the world, feel internally safe. And as we start to do that in. Those initial phases, especially having that safe community around you, is so essential, I find, so that we can practice showing up in our Fuller and Fuller shine, fuller and Fuller authenticity. And we know we can trust those people not to step on us, not to shut us down, not to say, what are you doing? Why are you doing it? Your life is good enough. Right, right.

Alessia Citro:
Well, and then do you agree, to you, that that creates a positive feedback loop where you’re going to grow the confidence and be able to show up authentically more and more and more?

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Yeah, for sure. We all grew up in a fun house, in a way, where we got reflections not of our wholeness, not of our authentic wholeness, but we got distorted and partial reflections that sometimes were very unattractive, like, oh, you’re a bitch, you’re bossy. Like, who wants to be that? Right. And so on this healing journey, we have the opportunity to reclaim our authenticity and get the reflections that are accurate, the reflections of our wholeness. Oh, you’re so expansive. You are a creator. You’re bringing this big light into the world, and we welcome that. We love that. We want more of that. We can’t get enough of that.

Alessia Citro:
Well, and I love that you have this mission, too, because for so long, the world has been dominated by male energy, and we need a balance. It shouldn’t be more feminine either, but I feel like you’re really helping to usher that balance into the world. So thank you for that.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
My pleasure.

Alessia Citro:
I have a question that I think is rather thought provoking. So I had my daughter before I read your book and found out about your program. Once I’m healed, if I go on to have another child, is that cycle more easily broken for the second born, but not my first?

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Oh, love that question. You’ll see profound changes in your daughter as you get deeper and deeper on this journey, as have I. As have all thrivers who are parents. They see profound changes in their kids. So it’s definitely not, quote-unquote, too late if you already have your kids. Absolutely rewrite the trajectory of their journeys. When I got into this work, before I got into this work, my daughter was in kindergarten, and she started preschool very early. She was like one when I went back to work and she started preschool.

So she was spending a lot of time being socialized in our society. So I was seeing those effects early on that she was starting to get uncomfortable around her body. She was getting uncomfortable around she didn’t feel she was as smart as other kids. I’m like, oh, my God, it’s happening so early on. It’s crazy. And as I was getting deep into my own reclamation, so was she. And so now she loves her body. She really owns herself. She loves her input. She has such a solid, nonconditional self-esteem, which I’m very proud of as a parent.

Alessia Citro:
Well, and how old is she now? She’s a teenager.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Correct. She is going to be eleven this fall.

Alessia Citro:
She saw that age is really amazing.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Unconditional self esteem and self love and appreciation and ditto for others is something that to me, this is like my greatest accomplishment for this lifetime.

Alessia Citro:
Yeah, I think it’s interesting, too. As you were saying how she loves her body. I didn’t love my body until I became pregnant because it was at that moment that it went from, like, one thing I’ve heard talked about in our cohort is like, striving for that patriarchy, perfect body, right? Like the one that we see on Swimsuit Illustrated, the swimsuit cover and all that, right. Or Sports Illustrated. Did I say swimsuit illustrated.

Anyway, it’s Monday as we’re recording, so forgive me. In any event, when I became pregnant, it was like, oh, now I have this feminine energy as I’m growing this child. And it suddenly was like, my body is not just to look a certain way. It’s to grow, to birth, to nurture this other life. And it’s like, wow, I need to start treating it with the respect it deserves. Yeah, that was a really beautiful experience, but I’m so impressed that your daughter already feels that way at a young age. What a beautiful gift.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Me too. And we see it with so many thrivers who are telling us how their kids are redefining regardless of the kids ages. Like, they’re redefining how they’re showing up in the world. They’re much more in their sovereignty, they are much happier, they’re much more connected with themselves, and the parents are having a different experience with them. Mom guilt is melting away, which is another one of my proud accomplishments. If we can create that in our community, how countercultural is that? How f you to patriarchy is that like, no more mom guilt. Thank you very much. We know what we’re doing, and we.

Alessia Citro:
Definitely helped me get rid of that, too.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
It’s all great. When we get results, like, next level business breakthroughs, we have a lot of those finding out deeper who you are and taking your relationship to the next level. These are all great. I love them all. But really, like, nearest and dearest to my heart are results. Like a woman looking in the mirror and she may be in her 40s, maybe in her 50s, her 30s or 20s, whatever, right. But seeing her own beauty unconditionally for the first time in her life, like, I live for that. And passing that along to our kids and spreading that all around us, reclaiming that unconditional self love from the clutches of patriarchy, that’s selling us a lot of shit on the basis of, do this, wear this, take this, and you’ll maybe be acceptable. Right?

Alessia Citro:
One thing you just said too reminded me. So I live in Orange County, California. I pretty much, for the most part grew up here. I spent my whole life here, except for four years in Chicago and the first six months of my life in Iowa. I have noticed the trends have changed. Before, it used to be, like, overly done breast implants, so everyone knew that you had gotten them done, and it used to be facelifts and all I’m noticing now it’s much more natural. People are embracing, aging gracefully, which I think is also part of this, because people don’t feel the need anymore to uphold these unrealistic and, quite frankly, ridiculous expectations. Does that give you a lot of hope?

Dr. Valerie Rein:
I’m so heartened to see that it’s changing, and it’s a courageous act individually. I’m so glad that there are some shifts happening in the overculture, little by little, but it’s still a courageous act for every woman to reclaim that in herself and see her own unconditional beauty and fully experience her unconditional beauty, regardless of the number on the scale or the number on you in your biological years or whatever. Right. But really feel unconditionally beautiful, unconditionally worthy, unconditionally lovable.

Alessia Citro:
That’s what this journey I find really expedites for us, and I can attest to that too. It’s definitely like working with you has helped me so much in that regard.

Alessia Citro:
So, Dr. Valerie, I have to confess something to you. So I heard about your book from my business coach that I was working with at the time, and when I first heard the title, I was kind of turned off. And I think a lot of people hear the word patriarchy, and they think about, like, burning bras, which, honestly, I would be fine with because I really hate wearing them.

Or they hear patriarchy, and they think that that means hating men. So where I’m going with this, I am married to the most incredible, loving, strong, supportive man, and he has helped me level up in every way. So I’m curious, what role do you think that strong men play in this? Helping women that they love heal from Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) or women that they work with, potentially? Because I feel like strong men are a critical piece to this.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Yes. I’m so glad you brought this up. So when I say patriarchy, I don’t mean men. I mean a system of oppression that messed up people across the gentle spectrum, traumatized men as well, really deeply by shoving them into the pigeonhole of, you got to be aggressive, you got to be strong, but not feeling. You cannot be nurturing. And so I’m happy to hear that your man is the kind of partner that supports your authenticity, and it’s beautiful. I happen to be married to a man like that too.

And for a lot of our thrivers, they also bring their partners into this work because there’s a lot for men to also heal and reclaim in themselves, like their ability to be feeling, expressing the full spectrum of their emotions. That leads to deeper intimacy, connection in bed and in parenting and whatever you’re doing together. Right. And it’s a beautiful thing. So it’s not about women versus men. It’s about let’s come together to understand how we have all been impacted by this traumatic system that we’ve had for thousands of years.

So it didn’t start with us, how we’ve been impacted by this system, intergenerationally to what messages we all received from the culture and from our parents and grandparents, et cetera, and where it’s not authentic and where we stand to heal and what does our authentic relationship look like. And that’s a beautiful exploration. My partner, Jeffrey and I, as you know, are very much on this journey discovering deeper and deeper layers of our own conditioning every step of the way, and healing so that we can have an even more ecstatic partnership.

Alessia Citro:
I love the call out, too, that it’s not just women affected by this. It’s really everyone at some level, right? Yeah. So thank you for saying that. So we’re almost at time, and I didn’t tell you that we were going to do this, but I would love if we ended with the repower exercise. Would you be open to taking us through that?

Dr. Valerie Rein:

Alessia Citro:
And if you’re listening to this while you’re driving, come back to this. Keep listening, but revisit once you can fully participate.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Great. I love the disclaimer. Yes. Repower is a simple tool that can help you interrupt the trauma, hijack in some cases and will help. It speaks to your hind brain when you’re triggered your prefrontal cortex where kind of rational thought lives, is offline. But the hindbrain, where the fight, flight freeze response originates, drives the bus. So this simple practice can help you actually reconnect to your prefrontal cortex and create that safety. Right. And this practice speaks to the centers that only understand the language of the experience to create that safety. So very simply, whether you’re standing or walking or running, lying down, just feel where your body is in contact with the earth and feel the sensations of that connection.

You don’t need to close your eyes, by the way. Keep your eyes open. Just feel the sensations of gravity pulling you and what that feels like in your body. Feel the sensations of your breathing. You don’t need to change your breath in any way. Just feel the sensations of the breath flowing in, the breath flowing out. Nice. And then take your five senses on the tour of the environment. Slowly look around. Or if that kind of feels like too much, I don’t want to look at the mess in my room. Just look at something that gives you that sense of either curiosity or pleasure. Just look at the colors, the shapes.

Also listen. Listen to the sounds. Listen to the pauses, the silence. Engage your senses of smell and taste. And finally, touch. Touch your own skin to skin. You can gently caress your face. You can caress your arms, whatever areas of your body are calling out to that gentle touch. As extra points, you’re getting a release of Oxytocin through this, so keep on petting yourself into a sense of safety, connection, creativity, well being.

And if you’d like me to walk you through this practice again and again, you can download it at drvalerie.com/book. It’s one of those foundational practices that we return to again and again to help ground and over time, rewire our nervous system.

Alessia Citro:
Thank you for that. I feel so relaxed right now. Definitely feeling the oxytocin.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Great job.

Alessia Citro:
Why we don’t do video? Because I was definitely petting my face, and we don’t need to put that online. Well, Dr. Valerie, thank you so much for coming on the show today. This is just such important work, such an important message. Can you share where people can find you and connect with you?

Dr. Valerie Rein:
Yeah, and I’ll share something better. I mean, connecting with me is fine, but what’s even better is connecting with our community. And a couple of times a year, we have a fabulous event, our legendary Thriving Experience. The Thriving Experience is where you can learn more and register. It’s free to attend and literally tell everyone about it. It’s for women from all over the world, and together, we can actually explore and experience, like, all of those barriers that have been holding us back that we’ve attributed to something being wrong with us.

We can bust some myths, and we can actually experience the shifts from survival to thriving. We’ll be doing practices together. I mean, women experience life changing things just from attending that three day experience. So thethrivingexperience.com, I hope you come and join us. And yeah, you can also find me on Instagram at Dr. Valerie Rain. I love DMs, things like that, but there is nothing better in my book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder, than being in community with other women on this journey. So I hope to see you at the Thriving Experience.

Alessia Citro:
Yeah, I’ll be there too. That sounds wonderful. And by the way, you’re bringing it full circle with the DMs. That’s how we got connected. I posted a photo of your book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder, and we began talking, and now here we are. So thanks for being accessible to those who help. That’s amazing.

Dr. Valerie Rein:
One of my pleasures in life. Thank you.

Alessia Citro:
Well, thank you so much for coming on today.

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