Healing From Childhood Trauma and Becoming Self Aware, Confident Adults with Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Perry on the On Purpose Podcast with Jay Shetty

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Key Takeaways

  • Trauma doesn’t need to be huge – it can be the result of daily neglect
  • Children ages 0-2 years who are surrounded by chaos and dysfunction will have altered brain development
  • “People often ask the wrong question when dealing with children with behavioral issues, they ask, ‘what’s wrong with you’, instead of, ‘what happened to you.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • Patterns of stress activation in which kids have no control for a prolonged time such as domestic violence can lead to physiological changes and mental health problems later
  • Quality time doesn’t erase the need for quantity time with kids
  • What happened to you as a child affects your worldview
  • The road to healing starts with being honest about your past
  • Once you have acknowledged the pain and where it came from, take that pain and use it
  • “Tell yourself, this is what it is because holding onto pain causes more pain than accepting it” – Oprah Winfrey

Key Takeaways

Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) is a talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history, and is co-author of What Happened to You.

Dr. Bruce Perry is a psychiatrist, senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine and is co-author of What Happened to You.

The Commonly Misunderstood Concept about Trauma

  • Trauma doesn’t need to be huge – it can be the result of daily neglect
  • The most important years for children’s development are ages 0-6: “You are who you’re going to be by (age) 6, that personality is set.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • People often behave based on how they’re loved

Children and Trauma

  • Children ages 0-2 months who are surrounded by chaos and dysfunction will have altered brain development
  • The synapses in their brains form differently and result in behavioral and health problems because the child didn’t get what he or she needed
  • “The younger the children, the more influence you have on who they become but what their brain becomes”- Oprah Winfrey

Asking the Wrong Questions

  • “People always ask the wrong question when dealing with children with behavioral issues, they ask, ‘what’s wrong with you’, instead of, ‘what happened to you.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • Reframing the question removes the judgmental side of it
  • The things that happen in our lives shape the systems in our brain and influence how we think and behave,” – Dr. Bruce Perry
  • “If you come into success and fame and you don’t have a grounded centered self you will be controlled by the outside, not the inside. You lose control of your life” – Oprah Winfrey

 The Connection between Childhood Experience and Adulthood

  • As a child, Oprah was whipped for breaking a plate or spilling a glass of water – the long-term impact of that turned her into a life-long people pleaser
  • The lesson she learned: do whatever people ask, so they will like you, so you will please them and they won’t be angry. This made her susceptible to sexual abuse
  • As she got older, Oprah felt that every confrontation would end “with a whipping” and the slightest bit of confrontation made her anxious
  • “When we normalize something (beatings), we don’t recognize the trauma in it” – Jay Shetty

The Stress Response System that leads to Trauma

  • Some studies suggest 50% of children in the US have had at least one episode of trauma
  • Most people think of trauma as PTSD – researchers found that smaller traumas also change the brain
  • Patterns of stress activation in which kids have no control for a prolonged time such as domestic violence can lead to physiological changes and mental health problems later
  • Trauma can include the implications of being a minority in a prejudicial society
  • Neglect is as toxic as trauma

How To Express love For Your Child

  • If you want to develop and form a loving relationship with a child, you need lots of tiny doses of attentive, responsive, and nurturing interactions with them
  • Quality time doesn’t erase the need for quantity time with kids
  • “Love is meeting a child’s fundamental needs early on” – Dr. Bruce Perry
  • “Anybody’s who’s ever been hit as a child, feels humiliation” – it says to a child you are worthless – Oprah Winfrey
  • Oprah loved school because teachers gave her a sense of self-worth that she didn’t get at home

To Heal, Create Rhythm and Balance

  • Start with understanding that if you haven’t been loved, you can’t love
  • First, love yourself by giving yourself time – regularly
  • Create the rhythm of movement – it makes you feel better – go for a walk!
  • In the heat of an argument, calm yourself first, then you will be able to calm the other person – then you can aim for a reason
  • If you’re both yelling, neurologically you can’t hear each other

Processing Pain and Anger

  • What happened to you as a child affects your worldview
  • “What you’re saying in front of your youngest child, can cause lifelong issues”- Oprah Winfrey
  • The timing of adversity affects the trauma- early trauma is more long-lasting than trauma later on

Post Traumatic Wisdom

  • To repair yourself, discover where the “loss” occurred, where you were developmentally
  • Most therapeutic change occurs outside of therapy – with friends/relatives/coaches/teachers
  • Relational density is essential for processing pain and anger
  • If you have a lot of connections, they form a therapeutic web that can help you through a healing process
  • Post-traumatic wisdom – you can learn and grow with these experiences, and as you learn to deal with and process anger, use the pain as fuel going forward

The Difference between Coping and Healing

  • The road to healing starts with being honest about your past
  • “So many of the people I see suffering, are in denial about their past or they create a façade” – Oprah
  • Be truthful about your past – own it! – and use it for leverage for growth
  • “Everything that happened to you can also be a strength builder if you allow it” – Oprah Winfrey
  • Once you have acknowledged the pain and where it came from, take that pain and use it
  • Step up and out of your history
  • Coping is like treading water
  • Learn how to cope, then get refreshed and reconnect to people who can heal you, then the healing process can begin
  • “Accept this moment for what it is. Do not spend your energy resisting what it is” – Oprah Winfrey
  • Remember that you won’t be in this difficult moment forever – life constantly changes
  • “Tell yourself, this is what it is -holding on causes more pain, that accepting” – Oprah Winfrey
On Purpose with Jay Shetty : , , , , ,
Notes By EWerbitsky

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