Done with Dieting Episode #18: Getting More Cooperation & Appreciation with Michelle Runnels

We women love taking care of others. It’s part of our DNA. 

But far too often, we do it so often that we lose sight of who we are as people, what we want, and even what we like to do. We know what everyone else likes, what they want, what their dreams and desires are. But when asked about our own, we seem to be at a loss.

Sometimes we take such good care of those folks that we live with, that they become dependent on us – which can feel good, until we need some help. And then, when we ask for the help, it doesn’t come.

It gets frustrating, and we become resentful. And then we find ourselves yelling about stupid stuff – which isn’t even the real problem.

So what is it?

In episode 18 of the Done with Dieting Podcast, my guest, Michelle Runnels, shares so much amazing knowledge and so many truth bombs that you’ll be laughing, nodding your head along, and saying ‘yeah, I do that.’ When it comes to how we ask for what we want in our relationships – our relationships with other women, our children and our partners.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join my six-month group coaching program! This group coaching program is going to be open for enrollment at the end of July for a limited time, so click here to get on the waitlist.

For even more resources on becoming healthier, get my free download: 8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do. If you do these 8 things on a consistent basis, you will be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right-size!

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What you’ll Learn from this Episode

  • How to communicate effectively in your household so that you get the help and support that you’re looking for.
  • Why we take on so much responsibility in our households and how to stop doing that.
  • How women are programmed to seek belonging and how that works for us, but also how it is working against us.

Listen to the Full Episode:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 18

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.

Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.

The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.

I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.

If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Hey there everyone!

I am so excited to introduce you to my guest today, Michelle Runnels. Now, Michelle is a coach who has been helping moms develop their parenting skills for years. And what her skill set has turned into, is helping women improve their relationships with their families by being able to understand what we truly want when we ask those around us for help. And then, of course, being able to articulate that to them.

Michelle is so insightful, she is super funny, and interviewing her was such an incredible delight because even though I don’t have children, everything that she was saying, I was able to see myself, and identify with, so many of the traits that she points out of how we’re wired as women.

So, whether you have children or not, I hope you listen to this episode. The awareness that I walked away with from this episode is so amazing – because we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. And now that I’m aware, I can actively start to seek out where I don’t get the results that I want in life, and change what I’m doing so that I can feel less stressed and feel like I’m not the only one that’s doing anything in my household, can you relate?

Now – I need to give you a heads up – there is some language in this episode – nothing that you haven’t heard before, but I do want to let you know so that in case you have youngsters around, you may want to put your earbuds in or wait until they’re not around. Okay? Okay.

So now, I’d like to introduce you to Michelle Runnels.

Elizabeth: Michelle welcome to the show, everyone welcome Michelle Runnels.

Michelle: Thank you. Hello, everybody.

Elizabeth: Michelle is amazing. And, I know that you are all going to love her by the end of this podcast. Actually, you’re probably gonna love her within the first five minutes. But that being said, Michelle, tell us what you do.

Elizabeth: What are some of the specific problems that these women come to you with? Can you give us an example?

Michelle: Sure. So, I get like, I’m gonna do kind of the extremes. So, I get the extreme of the parent, who comes to me saying, I don’t know who I am anymore. And, I know I’m supposed to do all these things for my kids. But I don’t know why and I don’t know how.

And then, I have the other extreme of the mom who comes to me and says, I know who I want to be, or I don’t know who I am, right? I have no idea. Normally it’s like, I don’t know who I am. But, and I want all of these things for my kids, and my family. In my home and that like they have exact ideas of what they want their life to look like.

So, with a good life, a perfect life, perfect kids, perfect marriage. And they don’t know how to do that. And they don’t know why other people aren’t cooperating.

Elizabeth: Oh, so interesting. So they’re like, I want to have this picture perfect view of my family and they’re not leading up to my expectations of them.

Michelle: Exactly. Like I said, one is like why does my husband keep nagging me? or my whatever partner keep nagging me about keeping the house clean. Why does that matter? I or I did fine. I went to, I didn’t go to an Ivy League, I did find.

Why does this all matter? Why is he wanting me to push my kids so hard? I don’t understand. Why is this a big deal? Or even just like feeling like a lesson because she doesn’t understand. That she doesn’t want, that she doesn’t value. That she can’t live up to these standards that other people are pushing. Why is everybody playing the violin? I don’t want to drive my kids around that much.

What’s the big deal with this? I feel like a loser. Mom, right? And then there’s the quote unquote, winner mom who’s like, I’m a winner, Mom, I know all the answers to everything. Why isn’t anybody agreeing? I know all the answers. Why can’t we keep our house clean? Why can’t we get here on time? Why can’t we afford to do all of the sports and all of the instruments and all of the activities and to take all of the trips? And why can’t we do that? Why isn’t everybody else on board?

Elizabeth: Got it! Got it! Okay. And so yeah, like, how do you work with those women? Like, let’s start with the I don’t know who I am mom.

Michelle: Okay. So, with the I don’t know who I am mom, a lot of times, not always. But a lot of times what’s happening in that moment, is that she is really good at relationships. She’s really good at remaining really present and being with people in the moment.

And then all of a sudden, that seems to her to be the priority is, how are my kids? How are they doing? I want to be with them. I want to sit with them. And then, there are all of these outside factors that she starts to interpret as saying that she’s doing things wrong. And whether that’s a partner, or whether that’s watching other people where their kids are scheduled into stuff or overscheduled, what we would call over scheduled, right?

They’re busy all the time. And she’s thinking, well, my whatever, like my son is 12. And he’s never been on a team because he didn’t want to and I didn’t force him, what have I done wrong? Have I done something wrong? He went to two games. And I said it was okay that he quit? Did I do something wrong? What did I do wrong? And then we’re able to kind of look at everything and parse things out so that she can consider what it is that might be a parenting challenge, right?

So, what it is that she’s doing fine, right? She’s happy with the fact that her family isn’t over scheduled. So, we filter out, for example, right? So, we filter out all of the other stuff. But maybe she feels that she’s not engaged enough in her community, because she’s not involved enough.

So, then we start to define what it is that she wants from other adult relationships and community membership. And, is it something she wants to do with her family with her kids? Or is it something she just wants for herself? And then we start looking at the reasons why maybe things aren’t happening that she’s attempted.

So, well. Why did your son drop out of soccer after the first three, you know, practices? Why did your daughter quit lacrosse after the first year? Like, why are these things happening? How, what did they say? What did you say? Why did you agree that it was all right?

And then, we start to figure out if it was, well, they were being bullied and teased. Or if it was, well, they just kept whining, and I didn’t want to hear it. And so, one is honoring the child. And the other is a parent, an adult who isn’t willing to draw boundaries and feel uncomfortable.

And so then, we go from her experience to also just like her parenting, and balancing out what makes her happy with the kind of responsibilities that we have to take as parents that might be uncomfortable, but really are in the end what we wish for, for our role as a parent and for our kids.

Elizabeth: Okay, yeah,

Michelle: So, that makes sense.

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely.

Elizabeth: And I think as you were talking, I was, I was actually surprised that that was how it was coming out. Because a lot of the clients who come to me also have the I don’t know who I am experience. But when we talk about what it is that they want, they have no idea what they want.

Michelle: Right.

Elizabeth: They spent so much of their adult life serving their kids serving their partner serving everyone else, that they don’t know what kind of music they like, or what kind of food they like, or movies. And when I asked them, what do you want? So many are at a loss for? I don’t know.

Michelle: Yeah, me too. And also, the sense of like, what do you want? I just want to be myself again.

Elizabeth: Yes.

Michelle: Yeah. Like, that’s what I hear. And so I work a lot with and I’m sure you do, too, this sense of, well, who are you now? Like, what about now? And I think that, and I want to hear what you have to say about this too, because it’s really interesting.

The whole conversation is this whole sense of losing ourselves in all of the way I put it in losing ourselves in the roles we play, trying to find joy. In little touchdowns we make along the way, you know, “Oh, I scored this friendship that should make me feel happy now” “Oh, I scored this accolade”, or in my terms of me with moms like “Oh, my child got onto this elite team? Well, I must be unconsciously it’s like, well, I that means I’m I’ve done something right and defining ourselves by all of these external, not just achievements, but also just external experiences.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And well, what I was gonna say is also defining our worthiness on our children’s and our partners achievements.

Michelle: Absolutely. And also, just like with you, I mean, I, I don’t know, but I’m assuming like, the scale, like, that’s exactly the same thing, like, “Oh, I must be a good person, because those numbers are lower”

Elizabeth: Right

Michelle: And so, it’s, we start to dissolve, because as women, we as like, as a human animal, the female in the animal, this animal. You know, as animals. One of the things that we do, we’re programmed to do is we’re programmed to fit in a group, we’re programmed to tribe, right?

And, but we also are really programmed to always judge who we are against other people. So, we look weak. And so, there’s a psychological term, and it’s like, either upward or downward comparisons.

So, what happens when we’re younger is that we’re just like, “Oh, I’m working, I’m off. I’m happy. I’m not alone.” I’m not, you know, like, all of these things are very black and white. And then, as we get older, and our roles start to get more complicated, we can be alone, but not alone.

We can be alone in a room of our house, and the rest of the people are in in the house making noise are not until we’re alone, but we’re not alone. And are we comfortable? Are we in solitude? Or are we lonely? Like there’s all of this confusion that comes from that complexity?

And with most men, right? This is the generic human man, that doesn’t affect him. His experience is very personal, right? Like his bat, the bounds of his experience are right around his body. But for us, it’s almost like energetically, we’re always balancing ourselves around who’s around us.

And so, when we are in groups, you can look at the female brain, and we are working, we are working interpersonal relationships, like they’re an equation all the time. And so when we’re talking to friends, we’re not just like, “Hey, what’s going on?” we’re thinking, okay, so I have had a horrible day. How do I sound like I haven’t? Oh, I’m really irritated with this person. How do I completely suppress my irritation, and then figure out a way to slowly eke it out so I don’t put her off, and I can get the apology I want without pissing her off.

And men don’t do that. They’re like, “Dude, that was really uncool, man”. I mean, always, don’t do that. To me again, man. Don’t do it. And women don’t do that. We’re rarely are we unless we’re with our sisters or something. Right? Rarely are we like, Hey, listen, that what you did last week, I haven’t talked to you for a whole week, I don’t return your texts. I just got to tell you, you. You’re a kind of a bit to me. And like, I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m over it. So here’s your chance to make it right. We don’t do that to each other.

Elizabeth: No, we do not like. And this is so awesome. Because I was just talking to a friend of mine about when my husband and I first started dating or first got married or something like that. We are talking about the differences between men and women. And he kind of broke it down for me that, you know, men pretty much think about two things food, sex, and probably, you know, sports. Right?

Michelle: Right.

Elizabeth: And unless it’s those things like women are sitting there thinking, like, what’s he thinking about? He’s probably thinking about his food, or he’s probably thinking about, like, work or something very basic. And we, we as women, I love the idea that you’re saying that women have these, like mathematical equations, like we’re looking in some scifi movie, right?

Where we’re trying to solve the universe, we’re totally in our heads. And we’re looking at these simple men who just, I mean, and again, men can be complex, but overall, men just do not have that same level of like, trying to figure everything out that women do. Yeah.

Michelle: Right. And like men, I totally believe you are that simple. But unfortunately, we’re simple too, in the sense that what we’re doing is incredibly stressful, but it’s really simple, in my opinion. Well, this is like what I base most of my coaching on is our default setting is to control what other people’s experience is of us. That’s it.

So, men are they’re having their own experience. And we’re here trying to control other people’s experience of us before we can comfortably create our own experience. Yeah. So, as we get older and our lives get more complicated, we’re trying to control like 4 million different people’s experience of us. And then, we never have time for our own control or design or attention to our own experience.

Elizabeth: Yes. And you know, what I love about this is it was just recently I was listening to a podcast, it was the talking body by Amy Porterfield. And it was in her episode about sex, and I’ll link to it in the show notes. But in that episode, it was the first time that I really realized that how we are brought up is to have men desire us, and we will go with the person who desires us, we never think about who we desire, right? We just don’t think about that at all. We’re like, well, I guess I’ll go with the person who will have me

Michelle: Yep. And the way I put it is, the way I put it is who like I like them, because they liked me, right? The fact they liked me makes them more desirable to me. And like in my head, and I know this is contrary to what people believe.

I don’t see it as the way that technically the way that we’re raised, I mean, text me pretty differently. Technically, we are raised like this, because we’re women teach women how to be women, but also women teach men how to be men, those are where the teachers are, right?

Women can guide men, and but unless you have a very like a father, who already has his sense of like, how he’s going to guide people from the heart, not from the action of what it means to be a man, or what it means to be a woman, really, women are the ones who teach from the inside out, we’re the ones who teach a lot of the whole idea of how you care for people emotionally, right.

And so, from my perspective, we are programmed with a thinking that’s like an appendix. We don’t need it anymore at all. I mean, people are like, “Oh, this is not like a weaker sex thing”. It’s like a, we have a programming that’s a primal programming that says, make sure you protect yourself, because you’re a woman. And we need you. Because without you, we can’t have more of the species.

So, women will use the most psycho emotional hostility in order to control each other, we won’t kick each other in the stomach, or punch each other in the face. It’s just we’re not programmed to go there.

First, we’re programmed to be mean, but not physically mean. We’re programmed to be hostile, but not physically hostile, and male hostility is safe for them, because part of their role isn’t to protect each other, it’s to get rid of the weak ones. So, the gene pool is really strong, and the race will survive.

So then, beating each other up is a programming as well, then doing so much risk taking behavior during adolescence is programming as well, like the ones who were who aren’t, you know, who are weaker. And I’m not talking about now, of course, that drugs and cars and all these ways that people kill themselves with has nothing to do with their ability or their DNA.

But like falling out of trees or, you know, losing a fight or falling off a cliff, or all of these ways that. You know, risk taking happened in men, and they the weak ones, quote, unquote, would not be procreating or not be attractive, because they were hurt or damaged, or buried or whatever.

And then, but the strong ones would be the ones who were there. And they were the ones who were commanding attention and commanding, and they were attractive. And they had all the resources and they were, you know, the heroes or whatever.

But then with women, we have a tendency to jockey for power, but we use relationships as a weapon. And we kind of do that that way. And I know, I’m totally digressing. But my point is that we protect ourselves so that we unconsciously so that we can carry babies. So the interesting thing about women, and then you get kind of getting into this need for understanding other people and needing to manage other people’s experience of them is not just culture.

It’s not how we’re raised. It really is how we are programmed to be women because we’re an animal, and protecting our bodies, is protecting the species, because we are the ones in the human race defined to create more humans. We’re the ones who create them.

And it takes a lot of women to populate a tribe, but you don’t need a lot of men to populate a tribe. So, when we are worrying about what other people are thinking of us, it’s not just about today’s idea of being like it really is a survival mechanism on a primal level that we’re experiencing.

When we feel we are not in community, when we feel that we are disconnected that we don’t have a place that we’re on the outside our experience of it isn’t just painful. It’s terrifying. It’s terror that we have been kicked out, what have I done to be left behind.

And, if we really sit with that feeling, it’s not just sadness, it really is this sense of like, Am I going to die now. And then if we have children, it’s like, I cannot be kicked away, I won’t have resources for them, and then they’ll die. And it’s like, really this sense of terror that we unconsciously experienced that motivates us to do or say anything just to be in other people’s faces. A lot of the time, not all of us. But many of us try to avoid ever being in that situation where we are on the outside.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And that’s so interesting, because connection, and belonging are two things that I am just learning so much more about in my adult years. Like when I started out in the business world, I was in corporate America, which was heavily male dominated. And I never grew up with a lot of girlfriends.

But ever since I left corporate America, I work with so many more women, and I love it. And it allows me like the connection that I’m building with these women are is totally different than what I had before. And I know that a lot of women are coming to me, and we’re able to build the connection, but they’re also feeling really disconnected from their partners and their children. Are you finding that same thing? And how do you what do you recommend that they do about that?

Michelle: That’s such a great question. First of all, yeah, yeah, it’s a huge problem. And the way I see it, is that when we feel disconnected from others, it’s because we’re disconnected from ourselves.

And I don’t mean that in like a woowoo way! I mean, I mean, that in the sense of what a lot of what I do in my coaching is I help people figure out what it is they want. Because I think a lot of times, women are very clear about what they don’t want, but they’re not clear about what they do want. And the clarity about what they don’t want is really about what they don’t want to feel what they don’t want.

They we rarely know what we want other people to physically do for us what we want, what we want to physically do, not what we want to feel, what do we want to do? What does that look like? What does it look like when your kids stop being, you know, having tantrums? It doesn’t just look like them not crying? It looks like other stuff to what does it look like when they stop leaving their dishes? around? Right?

Because a lot of times what we say is, you know, I don’t want to deal with the dishes anymore. Well, what is it that you want? And they think it’s as easy as like, well, they put their dishes in the dishwasher. But it’s not. It’s more than that. It’s bigger than that. It’s like, Can I give you an example?

Elizabeth: Yes, please.

Michelle: Oh, there’s a big difference between like, my kids leave their dishes everywhere. I can’t believe it. It’s so simple. It’s a damn plate, why can’t they just put that in the plate? I can’t believe they won’t do that for me, I just have asked and I’ve asked and I’ve asked, and I’ve asked for them, and I just can’t do it.

And then, they get mad when I remind them. And then I remind them and they said they’ll do it. And then they don’t do it. And then I wake up in the morning and there’s that got damn plate you know? And there’s a big difference between that and which is I totally relate, which is why I love coaching on that because I’m like this, this ledge I have been there.

Like, there’s so much humor in that, like when we can step outside of that. And it’s like, it’s a plate and I want to go like the shining on everybody in my house because of that fucking plate. And when we sit with that, it’s like, holy crap, it cannot be the plate. And the truth is, it’s not the plate.

The plate is like, it should literally be like cast in gold and put on our mantle. And it’s like the play, because it’s like a symbol of everything. And in that moment, really, and this is my experience when I was able to dissect everything that I was feeling because I could kind of like get a handle on this and create what I the basis of what I do for women. I was like, the point, the point, why the plate, what’s the point? What’s the meaning of the plate, it can’t just be the plate.

And finally, I realized that that plate being on the table in the morning, when I’m the first one up, I just want to come in and it’s my one moment of solitude. And I want to walk into the kitchen, and I want to and I want to make my coffee and I had this all started when I have teenagers right?

So, my oldest was 13. And my youngest was 10. And they were very independent. So it wasn’t about me needing to clean up these plastic plates for my three year old right. They could do it themselves and they weren’t doing it.

I realized that what the plate symbolized for me was people not caring about me. But the truth is, is I never asked them to show caring for me. I asked them to put their fucking plate in it and I never swore with my kids.

Just disclaimer, like I never ever cause we’re all women here to put their fucking plate in the dishwasher and my kids heard, please put your plate in the dishwasher and they’re like, okay, mom wants me to put my plate in the dishwasher.

That’s not important. I’ll deal with it later. But what I was saying without saying it was If you love me, you’ll put your plate in the dishwasher. And they didn’t know that. That’s what I was saying. Because I didn’t know that. That’s what I was saying.

So then, when I realized that that’s what was actually happening, I went into my daughter’s room when I was chill. I was it was, I realized it, like oh my gosh, okay, I need to get into a calm place. Because I didn’t want to bring that energy of anger and blame and irritation. So, I was calm.

And I went in, I sat on a bed, we started talking. And I said, Hey, I want to tell you something, I wake up in the morning, do you know I wake up in the morning? like an hour and a half before you do to go to school? And she was like, “Really?” I said, “Yeah, I do. I try to wake up like 5:45, maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll sleep till six and you get up at seven”.

And I just want to go into the kitchen and have my coffee and feed the dogs and like enjoy the morning a little bit and I make a list of everything I have to do. And I said I just enjoy some solitude. And if I’m really motivated, I’ll take a little walk. And if I’m really motivated, I’ll do a little meditation.

And I said, but just generally sometimes I just sit there. And if I’m, you know not listening to NPR or something, I’ll just be with myself for a second before my day starts. And she’s like, “Oh, that sounds nice.” And I said, “Yeah, it does.”

And you know, I nag you about your plate all the time. And I could feel her energy shifting. And I was like, it’s not the point. And you’re like what, and I was like when I go into the kitchen. And I’ve worked to kind of like settle everything the night before. And I realized that you left the place that you told me put in the washer before you finished working and studying.

Because you know, teenagers sometimes stay up later than we do. And it’s still there in the morning, that plate is screaming at me. It’s something I have to do. It’s something that makes the kitchen a mess. And it symbolizes for me the fact that I have got it just I know that you don’t feel this way.

But it to me, it just means everything is my responsibility. But it doesn’t matter what I put on that plate for you to eat so that you can be nourished so that you can go about your day that I’ve still got to also take care of that place that you promised me, you would put in the dishwasher.

So, it’s not you and your character and all of these things that I think you think I think like you’re a bad person or your ears. It’s just that the plate. I just when I see that plate, it breaks my sense of peace. It Like it takes away an experience for me. I’m trying to have in the morning, like “oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” I was like, “I know you don’t intend to hurt me, to you. It’s just a place. But to me, it’s the entire way my day starts.”

So, if you could just make an effort to just put that plate away. It would be huge for me. And then even when my daughter forgot to put the plate away, she knew when she forgot it was bigger than just fucking plate. I would say to her. I know you are busy last night and you’re up late doing homework, but you forgot to “I’m so sorry, Mom, I’m so sorry. I won’t forget again.” It became that because I wasn’t talking to her about a failing. I was talking to her about her relate our relationship.

And, I was calling on all her best qualities. And I wasn’t blaming her. I was just letting her know, the effect that really had on me not the effect that my I wasn’t me. Let me back up a little bit. So, the my point is, is that I didn’t make that plate mean her character. I made that plate mean, my experience.

Elizabeth: Yeah, that is so amazing and beautiful. Because I think that with the women who are listening to this right now, their families love them, their families would do anything for them. They want them to be happy, right? And yet, what’s crazy is that these women feel like they have to do everything. And when they finally invite their kids and their partner in to help them do stuff. I hear it time and time again that either they’re doing it wrong, or they don’t do it or they’re not getting the support that they need. And because they think it’s about the freaking plate.

Michelle: Exactly, exactly.

Elizabeth: Yeah,

Michelle: Exactly. They think it’s the plate. They think that their kids aren’t putting the plates in the dishwasher. The truth is, is that we’ve made that plate urgent and important because we want something we want to experience something and when the plate is there, we can’t have that experience.

And our kids are like that’s an urgent that’s not important. It’s a plate. We have 50 of them. Just choose another one. Why can’t you just put it in the dishwasher? It’s not that big a deal. Exactly. And then We look petty, they think we’re petty, and they think we’re dramatic. And they think we don’t like them, and they think we don’t appreciate them.

And then, you continue to use the plate, right? When the plates on the table, anyone could have done a million different things. But because that plate unconsciously with us carry so much emotional weight, there’s a story associated with that. Or everyone could have been completely cooperative and lovely and kind and gentle and generous. But then there’s that plate and everything else just gets completely erased, because the negative all the negative emotions that come forward, they will always blood, and they’ll always negate any positive emotion we have.

Elizabeth: Yeah, well, and I forget, I think I was just reading something this morning about when we aren’t receiving when we are in giving energy, and we’re unable to receive when people do something for us, like you just said, like, everything else can be perfect. But when we can’t receive their love or receive what it is that they’re doing for us, we will still zero in on that one thing that they did wrong.

Michelle: Yes. And the way that I describe it is this, that when we are asking for something, and it’s not given in the spirit that we want.

Elizabeth: Yes!!!

Michelle: In that spirit, the joyful, joyous, like fricking, like busy spirit that we want, we can’t recognize when the thing gets done. We just react to the spirit that it was done in. So, when we asked our kids to put the plate away, if they grumble and groan will the plate didn’t get put away, even though it’s in the goddamn dishwasher.

Now why? Why are you complaining? It’s not like thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. That meant so much that you put that plate away, I can feel at peace now. No, it’s like, why do you want to have to complain, I can’t believe it. It’s just the plate you’ve been on.

I’ve been waiting for three hours for you to put it away. And here you put it away. And you have not changed one bit. Nothing has changed. Nothing zero zip, nada, nada. And I see this with my clients for divorce, where they they’re in a they’re in a relationship, and the relationship ends.

And they’re like, thank God, he’s out of my life. But every time they come together their marriage is reactivated it hasn’t changed anything. Because, their the way their experience of what they want that relationship to be. It’s not about the action. It’s not even about the proximity. It’s about a desire to control that person and who they are when they’re with you. And how you feel about them is their responsibility, but your feelings about them their job, and it’s unconscious. And I have I get it because I was there. I mean, I was totally there.

Elizabeth: Yeah, no, you just said something that reminded me of a conversation that we had about a month ago, where we were talking about women doing stuff and how women and men are so different in how we approach the tasks that women are just like, “Okay, I need to do this, I’m gonna get it done. I’m not gonna complain, I’m just gonna do it.”

And when we ask our partners to help, so like, for example, every other night, my husband and I change who washes dishes, and even though I cook most of the time, and so when I cook, I will try to wash dishes as I go. And when there are an excess number of dishes, he freaking complains all the freaking time.

And it’s like, just wash the dishes like, “come on you ate!” And what you enlightened me for and this has completely changed my experience is that men? I don’t remember how you said it. But men just like to complain where women are rather stoic. Is that the up?

Michelle: Yeah, well, we scream on the inside.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Michelle: Oh my god, that was such a fun conversation we had. So, in this involves our kids too. So, when we this is what I this is women become different females become different around 13 when adolescence hit, and then we have this huge growth thing. And then around 25, or 28, adolescence technically completely ends because our prefrontal cortex is online.

So, the front of our brain, the logic, all of that stuff is online. And then we kind of become a different person because we have this great skill of being able to look at the world. All humans do at that point, in multiple dimensions, and everything isn’t black and white anymore.

It’s there all of these areas of gray. So around 25 or 28 weeks most a lot of women start to do this. And then for women who either end up in marriages where they have partnerships or living with other people, so they’re trying to create harmony, or of course families and all of that all of those enterprises All relationships get kind of complicated.

And a lot of times we default into being the main one who creates the home environment, and sometimes even our social community. So that’s just the foundation. But what we were talking about was that we have a tendency to do things we don’t want to do stuff we hate, and we’re screaming on the inside.

And we think everyone else knows we’re doing stuff we don’t want to do. But because we’re only screaming from on the inside, everyone thinks we want to do the laundry, we want to wash the dishes.

Look, there is mom doing it. And again, the plate, right? Well, mom put my plate away. She wants to it doesn’t matter. I don’t, I don’t want to do it. But she wants to do it. Why? Well, she did it. If she did it, she must want to do it. So, I’ll just let her do it.

And so, our kids are complaining. And our partners are complaining. And here we are, we’re from our point of view, we’re like, so you want me to do things I don’t want to do and you went throughout their whining, when I asked you just to do your own crap, your own plate, your own shoes, fold the damn blanket, you just use like, you can’t do that. I’m doing everything for everybody. And I don’t want to do, I can’t even hang up my own laundry, and you can’t look. And so, we start to feel like we’re servants, we are servants to these people like we have been literally pushed down.

And we’re like the shoe polishers of the family. And everyone else gets to live like loyalty. And here we are like, Would you like another slice like all the time. And the truth is that we aren’t complaining. So, they don’t know we don’t want to do it. We don’t say anything. Because what happens is when we complain, we don’t complain about doing the dishes or doing the cooking, we complain about them.

Elizabeth: Oh, Brilliant!! Yes! I didn’t see that coming.

Michelle: We don’t say the dishes are the problem. I want you to do the dishes, I don’t want to do the dishes, we say you’re the fucking problem. And you’re making me miserable. Because you are forcing me to do all this stuff to do and you should know, I don’t want to do it.

And meanwhile, there we are, like listening to the radio, or have listening to a podcast or talking to our friends while we’re making the sukiyaki or whatever. And they’re like having a blast. And meanwhile, we’re like, oh, I want to take a walk. Or I just want to put my feet up my day or my desk. I hate over there. I hate you. I hate you all. I just want to leave when can I believe what they call Child Protective Services. If I just laughed and disappeared for a week. And then like to cook loving, it’s your favorite.

And then we turn around and we treat everybody like crap. And they’re like, What’s her problem? And meanwhile, we’re like, didn’t you know, don’t you know, I’m suffering in here. But we don’t we don’t say anything, because we’re so entrenched in the role, and the shooting and shooting and shooting all over ourselves.

So, we can’t even see that we have an opportunity to ask other people what to do. But this is another thing we talked about is the big trick is let them complain. Because when we are screaming on the inside, excuse me, and we tell us ask other people to help and they’re like, Nah, we’re like, Well, of course, they don’t want to do it.

But the truth is, is like the complaint is part of the crappy part of the job. Like, we’re the ones not being honest. They’re being honest. They’re like, I don’t wanna get off the couch. I don’t want to put my shoes away right now. I don’t want to clear the plate right now. Can I rest? Can I stop? Can I do something else?

And our answer to that usually is you’re a bad like, and I’m just talking about are under the subtext, right? You’re a bad person, because you don’t want to do it. So I’ll do it because you’re a bad person and you don’t want to do it. That’s what they hear. But what we’re saying is you’re complaining is stressing me out. I’d rather just keep suffering than listen to you make me feel like I’m making you unhappy.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Michelle: Does that make sense?

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s something that I work a lot with my clients on is being able to sit in negative emotion. Because when we can accept negative emotion in ourselves, and you actually put a different spin on it, but I love it.

That when we can accept feeling negative emotion in ourselves, we are more likely to be able to accept negative emotion in other people. And so, where other people are complaining where other people around us are complaining, what you were saying was, you’re complaining is stressing me out, and I don’t want to feel stressed out.

So therefore, I’m just going to do it and when we can allow their complaints To not stress us out, and just accept that this is part of the human experience that when we can allow them to feel negative emotion and not bail them out, right, not rescue them, then they’re complaining doesn’t mean anything, and we get to do whatever it is that we want.

Michelle: Exactly. And I would take it one step further. They’re complaining doesn’t mean anything about us.

Elizabeth: Right?

Michelle: So, they them complaining doesn’t mean that we’re asking too much. It doesn’t mean that we’re asking the wrong way. It doesn’t mean that we’re failing, it doesn’t mean that we’re doing any of that, like, scooping the dog poop in the backyard is a sucky fucking job.

But nobody wants to do it. Nobody, not a single person, you pay them money, they still don’t want to do it. So, when they complain about it, why are we the ones scooping the poop done? The only reason is because we’re saying, when you complain, it means I’m making you unhappy.

I don’t want to be the person who’s making you unhappy. you’re complaining is telling me I’m a bad human. I don’t want to feel bad. Fine. I will stop your complaining by stopping the request, as opposed to saying, okay, you’re complaining, I’m gonna give you the dignity of your experience and go scoop the poop complain all you want, think all you want, if you want to tell me I’m bad, because I’m asking you to, and nobody wants to do I’m just using that as an extreme risk of being Johnson force. But I’m good with that. And then we focus on the action.

And we’re like, thank you for scooping the use cooked all through like 40 pounds of poop. You scoop. You’re the best I ever. And that’s the worst job. And thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We agree the job sucks. And thank you, I’m okay with you hating it. And thank you. I’m okay with you complaining and thank you. I’m okay with you thinking whatever thoughts, you want to think about me because I asked you to do it. And thank you for doing it.

But instead, we carry all of this required experience. And we require them to react a certain way. Or we judge their character, and we judge our character. Everybody should be happy. Like we literally want them to be like, “Thanks, Mom. I love the dog great idea. I love the grass. I love the dog. I love you. I’m gonna scoop that poop” Right?

And we say done it yesterday. Sorry about that. It’s like, “what? planet? What? Not gonna happen.” And it’s nobody’s fault that no one’s excited about it. It’s just that life has difficult parts to it. And some things we want to do. And they’re difficult, right?

Like college applications suck all around, we’re not going to be like, well, that stresses me out. I don’t want it. No, it’s like, I want to the outcome is I want to do this. If it thinks and I want to, and I know that I want to be involved.

But then there are other things where it’s like, do I have to clean the whole living room tonight? Because nobody cleaned it? And the answer to that is do I want to see it cleaned tomorrow morning? Yes. is everyone asleep? Yes. Okay, am I going to leave it messy and see it tomorrow? Or am I going to clean it for myself? You know what, I’m going to clean it for myself. And then I’m going to address these issues later. And then those are the parenting issues. But in that moment, it’s about our happiness.

Elizabeth: Well, and I love what you said about thank you for doing, you know, scooping the poop. Because I was just talking to another client recently, and we were talking about this. And she was like, well, but whenever they do something, they want a freaking gold star. I don’t get a gold star. Why should I be giving them the gold star, and that is resentful. She’s like, I shouldn’t have to thank them for doing the bare minimum.

Michelle: But this is the thing she doesn’t get a gold star because she doesn’t ask for one because she’s the beast of burden. She’s like a this is a woman. This is women’s work and women’s works.

And here I am being the woman being the mother being the wife, and why can’t they just be the child and be the spouse and be all of this? They don’t say why can’t they be what they’re supposed to be, like, I’m being what I’m supposed to be.

But the truth is, is if we’re like, I hate 99% of what I have to do in this house, but I’m doing it and I want you to hate doing these things, but get them done and we’ll all like we’ll go on a hike later today and celebrate that we’ve done it or go for a swim or do whatever, you know, buy ourselves an Oculus at the end of the year, whatever.

But we don’t do that. Like we don’t admit this. It’s like this is what’s so funny is women really struggle to admit that they hate doing things that they hate doing like women. It’s so funny because I don’t know but that’s the mystery. That’s the next mystery I want to solve.

Why? like I know that it has to do with our programming but I really like want to go to like an evolutionary psychologist and ask them like why but I feel that I’m that like PTA like who really likes being a member of the fucking PTA seriously who likes that? Who likes setting up Fall Festival? who likes making brownies like for doesn’t work. Some people like to bake, and they’re into it, I get it.

But like all of it, everything, you know, I’m a member of a charitable organization. And like, seriously, it’s a mother daughter charitable organization. And I love certain aspects of it, because we do a lot of volunteering. But then there are certain aspects of it that I’m seriously like, Who likes it, who likes it, and then you meet people, and they seriously like it.

And it’s like, okay, so like, 3% of the people here, really do enjoy this part of it. And if we just were able to say, okay, who likes baking, okay, so we’re going to call you guys, and we need the cookies, who likes like organizing, okay, we’re gonna call you guys, and just really allowing women to feel like, there’s a limited amount of stuff you’ll be asked to do.

And then we’re going to call you to do that, I think that we’d all be willing to volunteer. But instead, it ends up being like the women who feel like they’re obligated, do all the work. And then the women who are like, “Oh, my God, I know what’s going to happen, I’m going to get sucked in, they do none of the work.” And so it’s either in or out, instead of this collaborative, great balance thing where we know what we want to do. And we know we don’t want to do and we know what we’re good at what we’re not good at. Instead, we just try to be everything for everybody all the time, or nothing for nobody all the time.

Elizabeth: Well, and what I keep hearing you go in and out of throughout this whole conversation is how much women fear the judgment of others, which we all know, isn’t the judgment of others. It’s the judgment that we have about ourselves about what we should be as women, as mothers, as friends, as Daughters of all of it, that if we don’t do these things that we think are expected of us, then we are going to be a bad mother or a bad wife or a bad, you know, partner, whatever. Yeah. And that just keeps us doing the same things over and over and over again. And if I admit that I don’t actually like that, then what does that mean?

Michelle: Right. And I so, this is something that I push the boundaries of this a little bit, because I just think women are so incredibly powerful. Like, I really believe we have superpowers, and that we oftentimes use our superpowers to our own detriment.

So, I believe that we try to change the way people feel about us because we want to control other people’s experience. So, it’s not that other people necessarily want something from us. It’s that we want them to be see us a certain way. So, we use all of our intuitive powers about relationships and how to smile, how to say yes, how to say no, how to respond to a text, all of these things, how to write an email, how many times to say you’re sorry, how many times when to say you’ve got to go like little nuances like that we do we drop, drop, drop. In order to frankly manipulate other people to experience us a certain way, so that we know who we are to that other person.

So. we can check that off our list and say, okay, they think I’m this unsafe, she thinks I care about PTA, good. I’m safe with the PTA crowd, in that role as the mom and my kid’s school, I’m safe. She thinks I care. She doesn’t know that I said yes to the brownies. And I’m already trying to think of how I’m going to get out how I’m going to figure out a way to say I can’t do it. Oops, sorry.

Because I said yes, to control her opinion of me. But I don’t want to make the brownies. And you know what, I kind of already decided it’s not gonna happen, you know, like, little things like that, right? Like, “Oh, sure. Let’s have lunch sometime”. Well, that’s not going to happen. I don’t want to talk to her, boring, she’s boring. She’s mean, she’s, you know, whatever it is, right?

So, we and I know this is kind of like cracking open the female secret, but it’s true. And so, if we could stop doing that, we would if we were to really look at these things, we would see that what’s really happening is that women give other women 15 out, is there any way that you could maybe I know you’re so busy, but we really need your help.

Is there any way that if you have time, you could just make like two dozen brownies for the thing and I just you know, we don’t hear all of that. All we hear is you are you enter you out. Are you with me or against me? brownies, brownies. And we’re like of course I’ll make brownies I’m in I’m with you don’t hate me.

And then, we walk away and we’re like, “What a bitch!” Why does she always ask me meanwhile she like literally just gave you three out and the other day with my client. I literally practice what she’s going to do in a few months when it is over.

Team mom is over and she’s no she’s gonna get approached again. And how she can say and I’m trying to remember what she figured out but to say, I really loved what I did this year. It was so fun working with you was so great, but I can’t, I’ve got so many other things on my plate.

And I can’t do this again, and then stopping, because what we tend to do is we give them an opening where we’re like telling them what to do to fix the problem that they have. So no, I can’t, I’m sure you can find another person.

And you know what that is? That’s coaching. That’s still being the mom, right? Like I talked about still being in relationship with your ex, like, you’re still being the Teen Mom, you’re still being the room mom, when you keep trying to fix offer? And it’s like, well, no, I don’t think I can find somebody else. And then you’re stuck, then you’re stuck. And you’re like, are like, “Oh, great! so I’m either going to be a bitch and leave them in alert, or I’m going to say yes, again”.

So, we just say I can’t in a loving way, this was awesome. I’ve got so many other things on my plate, I can’t, period. And we don’t try to solve what we think is a problem anymore. We’re done. That’s the end chapter closed.

Full Episode Transcript With your Host

Elizabeth Sherman

You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 18

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.

Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.

The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.

I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.

If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Hey there everyone!

I am so excited to introduce you to my guest today, Michelle Runnels. Now, Michelle is a coach who has been helping moms develop their parenting skills for years. And what her skill set has turned into, is helping women improve their relationships with their families by being able to understand what we truly want when we ask those around us for help. And then, of course, being able to articulate that to them.

Michelle is so insightful, she is super funny, and interviewing her was such an incredible delight because even though I don’t have children, everything that she was saying, I was able to see myself, and identify with, so many of the traits that she points out of how we’re wired as women.

So, whether you have children or not, I hope you listen to this episode. The awareness that I walked away with from this episode is so amazing – because we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. And now that I’m aware, I can actively start to seek out where I don’t get the results that I want in life, and change what I’m doing so that I can feel less stressed and feel like I’m not the only one that’s doing anything in my household, can you relate?

Now – I need to give you a heads up – there is some language in this episode – nothing that you haven’t heard before, but I do want to let you know so that in case you have youngsters around, you may want to put your earbuds in or wait until they’re not around. Okay? Okay.

So now, I’d like to introduce you to Michelle Runnels.

Elizabeth: Michelle welcome to the show, everyone welcome Michelle Runnels.

Michelle: Thank you. Hello, everybody.

Elizabeth: Michelle is amazing. And, I know that you are all going to love her by the end of this podcast. Actually, you’re probably gonna love her within the first five minutes. But that being said, Michelle, tell us what you do.

Elizabeth: What are some of the specific problems that these women come to you with? Can you give us an example?

Michelle: Sure. So, I get like, I’m gonna do kind of the extremes. So, I get the extreme of the parent, who comes to me saying, I don’t know who I am anymore. And, I know I’m supposed to do all these things for my kids. But I don’t know why and I don’t know how.

And then, I have the other extreme of the mom who comes to me and says, I know who I want to be, or I don’t know who I am, right? I have no idea. Normally it’s like, I don’t know who I am. But, and I want all of these things for my kids, and my family. In my home and that like they have exact ideas of what they want their life to look like.

So, with a good life, a perfect life, perfect kids, perfect marriage. And they don’t know how to do that. And they don’t know why other people aren’t cooperating.

Elizabeth: Oh, so interesting. So they’re like, I want to have this picture perfect view of my family and they’re not leading up to my expectations of them.

Michelle: Exactly. Like I said, one is like why does my husband keep nagging me? or my whatever partner keep nagging me about keeping the house clean. Why does that matter? I or I did fine. I went to, I didn’t go to an Ivy League, I did find.

Why does this all matter? Why is he wanting me to push my kids so hard? I don’t understand. Why is this a big deal? Or even just like feeling like a lesson because she doesn’t understand. That she doesn’t want, that she doesn’t value. That she can’t live up to these standards that other people are pushing. Why is everybody playing the violin? I don’t want to drive my kids around that much.

What’s the big deal with this? I feel like a loser. Mom, right? And then there’s the quote unquote, winner mom who’s like, I’m a winner, Mom, I know all the answers to everything. Why isn’t anybody agreeing? I know all the answers. Why can’t we keep our house clean? Why can’t we get here on time? Why can’t we afford to do all of the sports and all of the instruments and all of the activities and to take all of the trips? And why can’t we do that? Why isn’t everybody else on board?

Elizabeth: Got it! Got it! Okay. And so yeah, like, how do you work with those women? Like, let’s start with the I don’t know who I am mom.

Michelle: Okay. So, with the I don’t know who I am mom, a lot of times, not always. But a lot of times what’s happening in that moment, is that she is really good at relationships. She’s really good at remaining really present and being with people in the moment.

And then all of a sudden, that seems to her to be the priority is, how are my kids? How are they doing? I want to be with them. I want to sit with them. And then, there are all of these outside factors that she starts to interpret as saying that she’s doing things wrong. And whether that’s a partner, or whether that’s watching other people where their kids are scheduled into stuff or overscheduled, what we would call over scheduled, right?

They’re busy all the time. And she’s thinking, well, my whatever, like my son is 12. And he’s never been on a team because he didn’t want to and I didn’t force him, what have I done wrong? Have I done something wrong? He went to two games. And I said it was okay that he quit? Did I do something wrong? What did I do wrong? And then we’re able to kind of look at everything and parse things out so that she can consider what it is that might be a parenting challenge, right?

So, what it is that she’s doing fine, right? She’s happy with the fact that her family isn’t over scheduled. So, we filter out, for example, right? So, we filter out all of the other stuff. But maybe she feels that she’s not engaged enough in her community, because she’s not involved enough.

So, then we start to define what it is that she wants from other adult relationships and community membership. And, is it something she wants to do with her family with her kids? Or is it something she just wants for herself? And then we start looking at the reasons why maybe things aren’t happening that she’s attempted.

So, well. Why did your son drop out of soccer after the first three, you know, practices? Why did your daughter quit lacrosse after the first year? Like, why are these things happening? How, what did they say? What did you say? Why did you agree that it was all right?

And then, we start to figure out if it was, well, they were being bullied and teased. Or if it was, well, they just kept whining, and I didn’t want to hear it. And so, one is honoring the child. And the other is a parent, an adult who isn’t willing to draw boundaries and feel uncomfortable.

And so then, we go from her experience to also just like her parenting, and balancing out what makes her happy with the kind of responsibilities that we have to take as parents that might be uncomfortable, but really are in the end what we wish for, for our role as a parent and for our kids.

Elizabeth: Okay, yeah,

Michelle: So, that makes sense.

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely.

Elizabeth: And I think as you were talking, I was, I was actually surprised that that was how it was coming out. Because a lot of the clients who come to me also have the I don’t know who I am experience. But when we talk about what it is that they want, they have no idea what they want.

Michelle: Right.

Elizabeth: They spent so much of their adult life serving their kids serving their partner serving everyone else, that they don’t know what kind of music they like, or what kind of food they like, or movies. And when I asked them, what do you want? So many are at a loss for? I don’t know.

Michelle: Yeah, me too. And also, the sense of like, what do you want? I just want to be myself again.

Elizabeth: Yes.

Michelle: Yeah. Like, that’s what I hear. And so I work a lot with and I’m sure you do, too, this sense of, well, who are you now? Like, what about now? And I think that, and I want to hear what you have to say about this too, because it’s really interesting.

The whole conversation is this whole sense of losing ourselves in all of the way I put it in losing ourselves in the roles we play, trying to find joy. In little touchdowns we make along the way, you know, “Oh, I scored this friendship that should make me feel happy now” “Oh, I scored this accolade”, or in my terms of me with moms like “Oh, my child got onto this elite team? Well, I must be unconsciously it’s like, well, I that means I’m I’ve done something right and defining ourselves by all of these external, not just achievements, but also just external experiences.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And well, what I was gonna say is also defining our worthiness on our children’s and our partners achievements.

Michelle: Absolutely. And also, just like with you, I mean, I, I don’t know, but I’m assuming like, the scale, like, that’s exactly the same thing, like, “Oh, I must be a good person, because those numbers are lower”

Elizabeth: Right

Michelle: And so, it’s, we start to dissolve, because as women, we as like, as a human animal, the female in the animal, this animal. You know, as animals. One of the things that we do, we’re programmed to do is we’re programmed to fit in a group, we’re programmed to tribe, right?

And, but we also are really programmed to always judge who we are against other people. So, we look weak. And so, there’s a psychological term, and it’s like, either upward or downward comparisons.

So, what happens when we’re younger is that we’re just like, “Oh, I’m working, I’m off. I’m happy. I’m not alone.” I’m not, you know, like, all of these things are very black and white. And then, as we get older, and our roles start to get more complicated, we can be alone, but not alone.

We can be alone in a room of our house, and the rest of the people are in in the house making noise are not until we’re alone, but we’re not alone. And are we comfortable? Are we in solitude? Or are we lonely? Like there’s all of this confusion that comes from that complexity?

And with most men, right? This is the generic human man, that doesn’t affect him. His experience is very personal, right? Like his bat, the bounds of his experience are right around his body. But for us, it’s almost like energetically, we’re always balancing ourselves around who’s around us.

And so, when we are in groups, you can look at the female brain, and we are working, we are working interpersonal relationships, like they’re an equation all the time. And so when we’re talking to friends, we’re not just like, “Hey, what’s going on?” we’re thinking, okay, so I have had a horrible day. How do I sound like I haven’t? Oh, I’m really irritated with this person. How do I completely suppress my irritation, and then figure out a way to slowly eke it out so I don’t put her off, and I can get the apology I want without pissing her off.

And men don’t do that. They’re like, “Dude, that was really uncool, man”. I mean, always, don’t do that. To me again, man. Don’t do it. And women don’t do that. We’re rarely are we unless we’re with our sisters or something. Right? Rarely are we like, Hey, listen, that what you did last week, I haven’t talked to you for a whole week, I don’t return your texts. I just got to tell you, you. You’re a kind of a bit to me. And like, I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m over it. So here’s your chance to make it right. We don’t do that to each other.

Elizabeth: No, we do not like. And this is so awesome. Because I was just talking to a friend of mine about when my husband and I first started dating or first got married or something like that. We are talking about the differences between men and women. And he kind of broke it down for me that, you know, men pretty much think about two things food, sex, and probably, you know, sports. Right?

Michelle: Right.

Elizabeth: And unless it’s those things like women are sitting there thinking, like, what’s he thinking about? He’s probably thinking about his food, or he’s probably thinking about, like, work or something very basic. And we, we as women, I love the idea that you’re saying that women have these, like mathematical equations, like we’re looking in some scifi movie, right?

Where we’re trying to solve the universe, we’re totally in our heads. And we’re looking at these simple men who just, I mean, and again, men can be complex, but overall, men just do not have that same level of like, trying to figure everything out that women do. Yeah.

Michelle: Right. And like men, I totally believe you are that simple. But unfortunately, we’re simple too, in the sense that what we’re doing is incredibly stressful, but it’s really simple, in my opinion. Well, this is like what I base most of my coaching on is our default setting is to control what other people’s experience is of us. That’s it.

So, men are they’re having their own experience. And we’re here trying to control other people’s experience of us before we can comfortably create our own experience. Yeah. So, as we get older and our lives get more complicated, we’re trying to control like 4 million different people’s experience of us. And then, we never have time for our own control or design or attention to our own experience.

Elizabeth: Yes. And you know, what I love about this is it was just recently I was listening to a podcast, it was the talking body by Amy Porterfield. And it was in her episode about sex, and I’ll link to it in the show notes. But in that episode, it was the first time that I really realized that how we are brought up is to have men desire us, and we will go with the person who desires us, we never think about who we desire, right? We just don’t think about that at all. We’re like, well, I guess I’ll go with the person who will have me

Michelle: Yep. And the way I put it is, the way I put it is who like I like them, because they liked me, right? The fact they liked me makes them more desirable to me. And like in my head, and I know this is contrary to what people believe.

I don’t see it as the way that technically the way that we’re raised, I mean, text me pretty differently. Technically, we are raised like this, because we’re women teach women how to be women, but also women teach men how to be men, those are where the teachers are, right?

Women can guide men, and but unless you have a very like a father, who already has his sense of like, how he’s going to guide people from the heart, not from the action of what it means to be a man, or what it means to be a woman, really, women are the ones who teach from the inside out, we’re the ones who teach a lot of the whole idea of how you care for people emotionally, right.

And so, from my perspective, we are programmed with a thinking that’s like an appendix. We don’t need it anymore at all. I mean, people are like, “Oh, this is not like a weaker sex thing”. It’s like a, we have a programming that’s a primal programming that says, make sure you protect yourself, because you’re a woman. And we need you. Because without you, we can’t have more of the species.

So, women will use the most psycho emotional hostility in order to control each other, we won’t kick each other in the stomach, or punch each other in the face. It’s just we’re not programmed to go there.

First, we’re programmed to be mean, but not physically mean. We’re programmed to be hostile, but not physically hostile, and male hostility is safe for them, because part of their role isn’t to protect each other, it’s to get rid of the weak ones. So, the gene pool is really strong, and the race will survive.

So then, beating each other up is a programming as well, then doing so much risk taking behavior during adolescence is programming as well, like the ones who were who aren’t, you know, who are weaker. And I’m not talking about now, of course, that drugs and cars and all these ways that people kill themselves with has nothing to do with their ability or their DNA.

But like falling out of trees or, you know, losing a fight or falling off a cliff, or all of these ways that. You know, risk taking happened in men, and they the weak ones, quote, unquote, would not be procreating or not be attractive, because they were hurt or damaged, or buried or whatever.

And then, but the strong ones would be the ones who were there. And they were the ones who were commanding attention and commanding, and they were attractive. And they had all the resources and they were, you know, the heroes or whatever.

But then with women, we have a tendency to jockey for power, but we use relationships as a weapon. And we kind of do that that way. And I know, I’m totally digressing. But my point is that we protect ourselves so that we unconsciously so that we can carry babies. So the interesting thing about women, and then you get kind of getting into this need for understanding other people and needing to manage other people’s experience of them is not just culture.

It’s not how we’re raised. It really is how we are programmed to be women because we’re an animal, and protecting our bodies, is protecting the species, because we are the ones in the human race defined to create more humans. We’re the ones who create them.

And it takes a lot of women to populate a tribe, but you don’t need a lot of men to populate a tribe. So, when we are worrying about what other people are thinking of us, it’s not just about today’s idea of being like it really is a survival mechanism on a primal level that we’re experiencing.

When we feel we are not in community, when we feel that we are disconnected that we don’t have a place that we’re on the outside our experience of it isn’t just painful. It’s terrifying. It’s terror that we have been kicked out, what have I done to be left behind.

And, if we really sit with that feeling, it’s not just sadness, it really is this sense of like, Am I going to die now. And then if we have children, it’s like, I cannot be kicked away, I won’t have resources for them, and then they’ll die. And it’s like, really this sense of terror that we unconsciously experienced that motivates us to do or say anything just to be in other people’s faces. A lot of the time, not all of us. But many of us try to avoid ever being in that situation where we are on the outside.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And that’s so interesting, because connection, and belonging are two things that I am just learning so much more about in my adult years. Like when I started out in the business world, I was in corporate America, which was heavily male dominated. And I never grew up with a lot of girlfriends.

But ever since I left corporate America, I work with so many more women, and I love it. And it allows me like the connection that I’m building with these women are is totally different than what I had before. And I know that a lot of women are coming to me, and we’re able to build the connection, but they’re also feeling really disconnected from their partners and their children. Are you finding that same thing? And how do you what do you recommend that they do about that?

Michelle: That’s such a great question. First of all, yeah, yeah, it’s a huge problem. And the way I see it, is that when we feel disconnected from others, it’s because we’re disconnected from ourselves.

And I don’t mean that in like a woowoo way! I mean, I mean, that in the sense of what a lot of what I do in my coaching is I help people figure out what it is they want. Because I think a lot of times, women are very clear about what they don’t want, but they’re not clear about what they do want. And the clarity about what they don’t want is really about what they don’t want to feel what they don’t want.

They we rarely know what we want other people to physically do for us what we want, what we want to physically do, not what we want to feel, what do we want to do? What does that look like? What does it look like when your kids stop being, you know, having tantrums? It doesn’t just look like them not crying? It looks like other stuff to what does it look like when they stop leaving their dishes? around? Right?

Because a lot of times what we say is, you know, I don’t want to deal with the dishes anymore. Well, what is it that you want? And they think it’s as easy as like, well, they put their dishes in the dishwasher. But it’s not. It’s more than that. It’s bigger than that. It’s like, Can I give you an example?

Elizabeth: Yes, please.

Michelle: Oh, there’s a big difference between like, my kids leave their dishes everywhere. I can’t believe it. It’s so simple. It’s a damn plate, why can’t they just put that in the plate? I can’t believe they won’t do that for me, I just have asked and I’ve asked and I’ve asked, and I’ve asked for them, and I just can’t do it.

And then, they get mad when I remind them. And then I remind them and they said they’ll do it. And then they don’t do it. And then I wake up in the morning and there’s that got damn plate you know? And there’s a big difference between that and which is I totally relate, which is why I love coaching on that because I’m like this, this ledge I have been there.

Like, there’s so much humor in that, like when we can step outside of that. And it’s like, it’s a plate and I want to go like the shining on everybody in my house because of that fucking plate. And when we sit with that, it’s like, holy crap, it cannot be the plate. And the truth is, it’s not the plate.

The plate is like, it should literally be like cast in gold and put on our mantle. And it’s like the play, because it’s like a symbol of everything. And in that moment, really, and this is my experience when I was able to dissect everything that I was feeling because I could kind of like get a handle on this and create what I the basis of what I do for women. I was like, the point, the point, why the plate, what’s the point? What’s the meaning of the plate, it can’t just be the plate.

And finally, I realized that that plate being on the table in the morning, when I’m the first one up, I just want to come in and it’s my one moment of solitude. And I want to walk into the kitchen, and I want to and I want to make my coffee and I had this all started when I have teenagers right?

So, my oldest was 13. And my youngest was 10. And they were very independent. So it wasn’t about me needing to clean up these plastic plates for my three year old right. They could do it themselves and they weren’t doing it.

I realized that what the plate symbolized for me was people not caring about me. But the truth is, is I never asked them to show caring for me. I asked them to put their fucking plate in it and I never swore with my kids.

Just disclaimer, like I never ever cause we’re all women here to put their fucking plate in the dishwasher and my kids heard, please put your plate in the dishwasher and they’re like, okay, mom wants me to put my plate in the dishwasher.

That’s not important. I’ll deal with it later. But what I was saying without saying it was If you love me, you’ll put your plate in the dishwasher. And they didn’t know that. That’s what I was saying. Because I didn’t know that. That’s what I was saying.

So then, when I realized that that’s what was actually happening, I went into my daughter’s room when I was chill. I was it was, I realized it, like oh my gosh, okay, I need to get into a calm place. Because I didn’t want to bring that energy of anger and blame and irritation. So, I was calm.

And I went in, I sat on a bed, we started talking. And I said, Hey, I want to tell you something, I wake up in the morning, do you know I wake up in the morning? like an hour and a half before you do to go to school? And she was like, “Really?” I said, “Yeah, I do. I try to wake up like 5:45, maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll sleep till six and you get up at seven”.

And I just want to go into the kitchen and have my coffee and feed the dogs and like enjoy the morning a little bit and I make a list of everything I have to do. And I said I just enjoy some solitude. And if I’m really motivated, I’ll take a little walk. And if I’m really motivated, I’ll do a little meditation.

And I said, but just generally sometimes I just sit there. And if I’m, you know not listening to NPR or something, I’ll just be with myself for a second before my day starts. And she’s like, “Oh, that sounds nice.” And I said, “Yeah, it does.”

And you know, I nag you about your plate all the time. And I could feel her energy shifting. And I was like, it’s not the point. And you’re like what, and I was like when I go into the kitchen. And I’ve worked to kind of like settle everything the night before. And I realized that you left the place that you told me put in the washer before you finished working and studying.

Because you know, teenagers sometimes stay up later than we do. And it’s still there in the morning, that plate is screaming at me. It’s something I have to do. It’s something that makes the kitchen a mess. And it symbolizes for me the fact that I have got it just I know that you don’t feel this way.

But it to me, it just means everything is my responsibility. But it doesn’t matter what I put on that plate for you to eat so that you can be nourished so that you can go about your day that I’ve still got to also take care of that place that you promised me, you would put in the dishwasher.

So, it’s not you and your character and all of these things that I think you think I think like you’re a bad person or your ears. It’s just that the plate. I just when I see that plate, it breaks my sense of peace. It Like it takes away an experience for me. I’m trying to have in the morning, like “oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” I was like, “I know you don’t intend to hurt me, to you. It’s just a place. But to me, it’s the entire way my day starts.”

So, if you could just make an effort to just put that plate away. It would be huge for me. And then even when my daughter forgot to put the plate away, she knew when she forgot it was bigger than just fucking plate. I would say to her. I know you are busy last night and you’re up late doing homework, but you forgot to “I’m so sorry, Mom, I’m so sorry. I won’t forget again.” It became that because I wasn’t talking to her about a failing. I was talking to her about her relate our relationship.

And, I was calling on all her best qualities. And I wasn’t blaming her. I was just letting her know, the effect that really had on me not the effect that my I wasn’t me. Let me back up a little bit. So, the my point is, is that I didn’t make that plate mean her character. I made that plate mean, my experience.

Elizabeth: Yeah, that is so amazing and beautiful. Because I think that with the women who are listening to this right now, their families love them, their families would do anything for them. They want them to be happy, right? And yet, what’s crazy is that these women feel like they have to do everything. And when they finally invite their kids and their partner in to help them do stuff. I hear it time and time again that either they’re doing it wrong, or they don’t do it or they’re not getting the support that they need. And because they think it’s about the freaking plate.

Michelle: Exactly, exactly.

Elizabeth: Yeah,

Michelle: Exactly. They think it’s the plate. They think that their kids aren’t putting the plates in the dishwasher. The truth is, is that we’ve made that plate urgent and important because we want something we want to experience something and when the plate is there, we can’t have that experience.

And our kids are like that’s an urgent that’s not important. It’s a plate. We have 50 of them. Just choose another one. Why can’t you just put it in the dishwasher? It’s not that big a deal. Exactly. And then We look petty, they think we’re petty, and they think we’re dramatic. And they think we don’t like them, and they think we don’t appreciate them.

And then, you continue to use the plate, right? When the plates on the table, anyone could have done a million different things. But because that plate unconsciously with us carry so much emotional weight, there’s a story associated with that. Or everyone could have been completely cooperative and lovely and kind and gentle and generous. But then there’s that plate and everything else just gets completely erased, because the negative all the negative emotions that come forward, they will always blood, and they’ll always negate any positive emotion we have.

Elizabeth: Yeah, well, and I forget, I think I was just reading something this morning about when we aren’t receiving when we are in giving energy, and we’re unable to receive when people do something for us, like you just said, like, everything else can be perfect. But when we can’t receive their love or receive what it is that they’re doing for us, we will still zero in on that one thing that they did wrong.

Michelle: Yes. And the way that I describe it is this, that when we are asking for something, and it’s not given in the spirit that we want.

Elizabeth: Yes!!!

Michelle: In that spirit, the joyful, joyous, like fricking, like busy spirit that we want, we can’t recognize when the thing gets done. We just react to the spirit that it was done in. So, when we asked our kids to put the plate away, if they grumble and groan will the plate didn’t get put away, even though it’s in the goddamn dishwasher.

Now why? Why are you complaining? It’s not like thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. That meant so much that you put that plate away, I can feel at peace now. No, it’s like, why do you want to have to complain, I can’t believe it. It’s just the plate you’ve been on.

I’ve been waiting for three hours for you to put it away. And here you put it away. And you have not changed one bit. Nothing has changed. Nothing zero zip, nada, nada. And I see this with my clients for divorce, where they they’re in a they’re in a relationship, and the relationship ends.

And they’re like, thank God, he’s out of my life. But every time they come together their marriage is reactivated it hasn’t changed anything. Because, their the way their experience of what they want that relationship to be. It’s not about the action. It’s not even about the proximity. It’s about a desire to control that person and who they are when they’re with you. And how you feel about them is their responsibility, but your feelings about them their job, and it’s unconscious. And I have I get it because I was there. I mean, I was totally there.

Elizabeth: Yeah, no, you just said something that reminded me of a conversation that we had about a month ago, where we were talking about women doing stuff and how women and men are so different in how we approach the tasks that women are just like, “Okay, I need to do this, I’m gonna get it done. I’m not gonna complain, I’m just gonna do it.”

And when we ask our partners to help, so like, for example, every other night, my husband and I change who washes dishes, and even though I cook most of the time, and so when I cook, I will try to wash dishes as I go. And when there are an excess number of dishes, he freaking complains all the freaking time.

And it’s like, just wash the dishes like, “come on you ate!” And what you enlightened me for and this has completely changed my experience is that men? I don’t remember how you said it. But men just like to complain where women are rather stoic. Is that the up?

Michelle: Yeah, well, we scream on the inside.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Michelle: Oh my god, that was such a fun conversation we had. So, in this involves our kids too. So, when we this is what I this is women become different females become different around 13 when adolescence hit, and then we have this huge growth thing. And then around 25, or 28, adolescence technically completely ends because our prefrontal cortex is online.

So, the front of our brain, the logic, all of that stuff is online. And then we kind of become a different person because we have this great skill of being able to look at the world. All humans do at that point, in multiple dimensions, and everything isn’t black and white anymore.

It’s there all of these areas of gray. So around 25 or 28 weeks most a lot of women start to do this. And then for women who either end up in marriages where they have partnerships or living with other people, so they’re trying to create harmony, or of course families and all of that all of those enterprises All relationships get kind of complicated.

And a lot of times we default into being the main one who creates the home environment, and sometimes even our social community. So that’s just the foundation. But what we were talking about was that we have a tendency to do things we don’t want to do stuff we hate, and we’re screaming on the inside.

And we think everyone else knows we’re doing stuff we don’t want to do. But because we’re only screaming from on the inside, everyone thinks we want to do the laundry, we want to wash the dishes.

Look, there is mom doing it. And again, the plate, right? Well, mom put my plate away. She wants to it doesn’t matter. I don’t, I don’t want to do it. But she wants to do it. Why? Well, she did it. If she did it, she must want to do it. So, I’ll just let her do it.

And so, our kids are complaining. And our partners are complaining. And here we are, we’re from our point of view, we’re like, so you want me to do things I don’t want to do and you went throughout their whining, when I asked you just to do your own crap, your own plate, your own shoes, fold the damn blanket, you just use like, you can’t do that. I’m doing everything for everybody. And I don’t want to do, I can’t even hang up my own laundry, and you can’t look. And so, we start to feel like we’re servants, we are servants to these people like we have been literally pushed down.

And we’re like the shoe polishers of the family. And everyone else gets to live like loyalty. And here we are like, Would you like another slice like all the time. And the truth is that we aren’t complaining. So, they don’t know we don’t want to do it. We don’t say anything. Because what happens is when we complain, we don’t complain about doing the dishes or doing the cooking, we complain about them.

Elizabeth: Oh, Brilliant!! Yes! I didn’t see that coming.

Michelle: We don’t say the dishes are the problem. I want you to do the dishes, I don’t want to do the dishes, we say you’re the fucking problem. And you’re making me miserable. Because you are forcing me to do all this stuff to do and you should know, I don’t want to do it.

And meanwhile, there we are, like listening to the radio, or have listening to a podcast or talking to our friends while we’re making the sukiyaki or whatever. And they’re like having a blast. And meanwhile, we’re like, oh, I want to take a walk. Or I just want to put my feet up my day or my desk. I hate over there. I hate you. I hate you all. I just want to leave when can I believe what they call Child Protective Services. If I just laughed and disappeared for a week. And then like to cook loving, it’s your favorite.

And then we turn around and we treat everybody like crap. And they’re like, What’s her problem? And meanwhile, we’re like, didn’t you know, don’t you know, I’m suffering in here. But we don’t we don’t say anything, because we’re so entrenched in the role, and the shooting and shooting and shooting all over ourselves.

So, we can’t even see that we have an opportunity to ask other people what to do. But this is another thing we talked about is the big trick is let them complain. Because when we are screaming on the inside, excuse me, and we tell us ask other people to help and they’re like, Nah, we’re like, Well, of course, they don’t want to do it.

But the truth is, is like the complaint is part of the crappy part of the job. Like, we’re the ones not being honest. They’re being honest. They’re like, I don’t wanna get off the couch. I don’t want to put my shoes away right now. I don’t want to clear the plate right now. Can I rest? Can I stop? Can I do something else?

And our answer to that usually is you’re a bad like, and I’m just talking about are under the subtext, right? You’re a bad person, because you don’t want to do it. So I’ll do it because you’re a bad person and you don’t want to do it. That’s what they hear. But what we’re saying is you’re complaining is stressing me out. I’d rather just keep suffering than listen to you make me feel like I’m making you unhappy.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Michelle: Does that make sense?

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s something that I work a lot with my clients on is being able to sit in negative emotion. Because when we can accept negative emotion in ourselves, and you actually put a different spin on it, but I love it.

That when we can accept feeling negative emotion in ourselves, we are more likely to be able to accept negative emotion in other people. And so, where other people are complaining where other people around us are complaining, what you were saying was, you’re complaining is stressing me out, and I don’t want to feel stressed out.

So therefore, I’m just going to do it and when we can allow their complaints To not stress us out, and just accept that this is part of the human experience that when we can allow them to feel negative emotion and not bail them out, right, not rescue them, then they’re complaining doesn’t mean anything, and we get to do whatever it is that we want.

Michelle: Exactly. And I would take it one step further. They’re complaining doesn’t mean anything about us.

Elizabeth: Right?

Michelle: So, they them complaining doesn’t mean that we’re asking too much. It doesn’t mean that we’re asking the wrong way. It doesn’t mean that we’re failing, it doesn’t mean that we’re doing any of that, like, scooping the dog poop in the backyard is a sucky fucking job.

But nobody wants to do it. Nobody, not a single person, you pay them money, they still don’t want to do it. So, when they complain about it, why are we the ones scooping the poop done? The only reason is because we’re saying, when you complain, it means I’m making you unhappy.

I don’t want to be the person who’s making you unhappy. you’re complaining is telling me I’m a bad human. I don’t want to feel bad. Fine. I will stop your complaining by stopping the request, as opposed to saying, okay, you’re complaining, I’m gonna give you the dignity of your experience and go scoop the poop complain all you want, think all you want, if you want to tell me I’m bad, because I’m asking you to, and nobody wants to do I’m just using that as an extreme risk of being Johnson force. But I’m good with that. And then we focus on the action.

And we’re like, thank you for scooping the use cooked all through like 40 pounds of poop. You scoop. You’re the best I ever. And that’s the worst job. And thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We agree the job sucks. And thank you, I’m okay with you hating it. And thank you. I’m okay with you complaining and thank you. I’m okay with you thinking whatever thoughts, you want to think about me because I asked you to do it. And thank you for doing it.

But instead, we carry all of this required experience. And we require them to react a certain way. Or we judge their character, and we judge our character. Everybody should be happy. Like we literally want them to be like, “Thanks, Mom. I love the dog great idea. I love the grass. I love the dog. I love you. I’m gonna scoop that poop” Right?

And we say done it yesterday. Sorry about that. It’s like, “what? planet? What? Not gonna happen.” And it’s nobody’s fault that no one’s excited about it. It’s just that life has difficult parts to it. And some things we want to do. And they’re difficult, right?

Like college applications suck all around, we’re not going to be like, well, that stresses me out. I don’t want it. No, it’s like, I want to the outcome is I want to do this. If it thinks and I want to, and I know that I want to be involved.

But then there are other things where it’s like, do I have to clean the whole living room tonight? Because nobody cleaned it? And the answer to that is do I want to see it cleaned tomorrow morning? Yes. is everyone asleep? Yes. Okay, am I going to leave it messy and see it tomorrow? Or am I going to clean it for myself? You know what, I’m going to clean it for myself. And then I’m going to address these issues later. And then those are the parenting issues. But in that moment, it’s about our happiness.

Elizabeth: Well, and I love what you said about thank you for doing, you know, scooping the poop. Because I was just talking to another client recently, and we were talking about this. And she was like, well, but whenever they do something, they want a freaking gold star. I don’t get a gold star. Why should I be giving them the gold star, and that is resentful. She’s like, I shouldn’t have to thank them for doing the bare minimum.

Michelle: But this is the thing she doesn’t get a gold star because she doesn’t ask for one because she’s the beast of burden. She’s like a this is a woman. This is women’s work and women’s works.

And here I am being the woman being the mother being the wife, and why can’t they just be the child and be the spouse and be all of this? They don’t say why can’t they be what they’re supposed to be, like, I’m being what I’m supposed to be.

But the truth is, is if we’re like, I hate 99% of what I have to do in this house, but I’m doing it and I want you to hate doing these things, but get them done and we’ll all like we’ll go on a hike later today and celebrate that we’ve done it or go for a swim or do whatever, you know, buy ourselves an Oculus at the end of the year, whatever.

But we don’t do that. Like we don’t admit this. It’s like this is what’s so funny is women really struggle to admit that they hate doing things that they hate doing like women. It’s so funny because I don’t know but that’s the mystery. That’s the next mystery I want to solve.

Why? like I know that it has to do with our programming but I really like want to go to like an evolutionary psychologist and ask them like why but I feel that I’m that like PTA like who really likes being a member of the fucking PTA seriously who likes that? Who likes setting up Fall Festival? who likes making brownies like for doesn’t work. Some people like to bake, and they’re into it, I get it.

But like all of it, everything, you know, I’m a member of a charitable organization. And like, seriously, it’s a mother daughter charitable organization. And I love certain aspects of it, because we do a lot of volunteering. But then there are certain aspects of it that I’m seriously like, Who likes it, who likes it, and then you meet people, and they seriously like it.

And it’s like, okay, so like, 3% of the people here, really do enjoy this part of it. And if we just were able to say, okay, who likes baking, okay, so we’re going to call you guys, and we need the cookies, who likes like organizing, okay, we’re gonna call you guys, and just really allowing women to feel like, there’s a limited amount of stuff you’ll be asked to do.

And then we’re going to call you to do that, I think that we’d all be willing to volunteer. But instead, it ends up being like the women who feel like they’re obligated, do all the work. And then the women who are like, “Oh, my God, I know what’s going to happen, I’m going to get sucked in, they do none of the work.” And so it’s either in or out, instead of this collaborative, great balance thing where we know what we want to do. And we know we don’t want to do and we know what we’re good at what we’re not good at. Instead, we just try to be everything for everybody all the time, or nothing for nobody all the time.

Elizabeth: Well, and what I keep hearing you go in and out of throughout this whole conversation is how much women fear the judgment of others, which we all know, isn’t the judgment of others. It’s the judgment that we have about ourselves about what we should be as women, as mothers, as friends, as Daughters of all of it, that if we don’t do these things that we think are expected of us, then we are going to be a bad mother or a bad wife or a bad, you know, partner, whatever. Yeah. And that just keeps us doing the same things over and over and over again. And if I admit that I don’t actually like that, then what does that mean?

Michelle: Right. And I so, this is something that I push the boundaries of this a little bit, because I just think women are so incredibly powerful. Like, I really believe we have superpowers, and that we oftentimes use our superpowers to our own detriment.

So, I believe that we try to change the way people feel about us because we want to control other people’s experience. So, it’s not that other people necessarily want something from us. It’s that we want them to be see us a certain way. So, we use all of our intuitive powers about relationships and how to smile, how to say yes, how to say no, how to respond to a text, all of these things, how to write an email, how many times to say you’re sorry, how many times when to say you’ve got to go like little nuances like that we do we drop, drop, drop. In order to frankly manipulate other people to experience us a certain way, so that we know who we are to that other person.

So. we can check that off our list and say, okay, they think I’m this unsafe, she thinks I care about PTA, good. I’m safe with the PTA crowd, in that role as the mom and my kid’s school, I’m safe. She thinks I care. She doesn’t know that I said yes to the brownies. And I’m already trying to think of how I’m going to get out how I’m going to figure out a way to say I can’t do it. Oops, sorry.

Because I said yes, to control her opinion of me. But I don’t want to make the brownies. And you know what, I kind of already decided it’s not gonna happen, you know, like, little things like that, right? Like, “Oh, sure. Let’s have lunch sometime”. Well, that’s not going to happen. I don’t want to talk to her, boring, she’s boring. She’s mean, she’s, you know, whatever it is, right?

So, we and I know this is kind of like cracking open the female secret, but it’s true. And so, if we could stop doing that, we would if we were to really look at these things, we would see that what’s really happening is that women give other women 15 out, is there any way that you could maybe I know you’re so busy, but we really need your help.

Is there any way that if you have time, you could just make like two dozen brownies for the thing and I just you know, we don’t hear all of that. All we hear is you are you enter you out. Are you with me or against me? brownies, brownies. And we’re like of course I’ll make brownies I’m in I’m with you don’t hate me.

And then, we walk away and we’re like, “What a bitch!” Why does she always ask me meanwhile she like literally just gave you three out and the other day with my client. I literally practice what she’s going to do in a few months when it is over.

Team mom is over and she’s no she’s gonna get approached again. And how she can say and I’m trying to remember what she figured out but to say, I really loved what I did this year. It was so fun working with you was so great, but I can’t, I’ve got so many other things on my plate.

And I can’t do this again, and then stopping, because what we tend to do is we give them an opening where we’re like telling them what to do to fix the problem that they have. So no, I can’t, I’m sure you can find another person.

And you know what that is? That’s coaching. That’s still being the mom, right? Like I talked about still being in relationship with your ex, like, you’re still being the Teen Mom, you’re still being the room mom, when you keep trying to fix offer? And it’s like, well, no, I don’t think I can find somebody else. And then you’re stuck, then you’re stuck. And you’re like, are like, “Oh, great! so I’m either going to be a bitch and leave them in alert, or I’m going to say yes, again”.

So, we just say I can’t in a loving way, this was awesome. I’ve got so many other things on my plate, I can’t, period. And we don’t try to solve what we think is a problem anymore. We’re done. That’s the end chapter closed.

Elizabeth: Right? Because so often, then we also think that we have to come up with an excuse of I can’t because I have these other commitments, or I can’t because of this, which is a total lie, right? We’re gonna find they’re going to find out that we’re lying.

Michelle: Exactly. And we lie because we want to control their opinion of us. We don’t want them to be left with she said, No, they we want them to be left with “Oh, you know, in my case, like, oh, Michelle, so overbook”. She would if she could, she can’t? It’s not just a no she won’t. Right. It’s that she’s “Oh, poor burden, Michelle.”

Me? Well, we don’t know what they’re thinking. They’re on to the next person. Yeah, they’re thinking about themselves. So, I’m just gonna use this as analogy. One of the most interesting thing, I have ever learned is this gift giving. We work so hard, not just women, but people in general work so hard to give thoughtful gifts to people.

But what people really want is what they want what they asked for. So when we give someone what they asked for, they’re happier than when we give somebody a gift full of thoughtfulness.

Remember that trip, we took to Chicago, and you had so much fun. This is a candle from that store where we had the coffee, “Oh, thank you so much”. But I asked you for those black pants in a size eight, you know, from this one store? Why didn’t you get those from me?

So, in the moment where they’re saying, “Can you volunteer?” They’re not asking for all the reasons why you can’t volunteer. They’re just they just want to get to know so they can get along and keep going figure out who’s going to be the volunteer, it’s not really about you. It’s about them getting their needs met somewhere, somehow.

So, if you can’t be the one to give them the black pants, then they want to find the person who’s going to give them those black pants, because you can’t say well, I have I can’t give you the black pants. But here’s a candle. They’re like, keep a damn candle I have on. I don’t want to have to lug that around. Well, I applied someone who got those damn pants I want. I like the queen of analogies that I think I lose evils of dies, because I’ve just like how do we get from parenting to candles and pants?

Elizabeth: I’m laughing silently. The listeners have no idea that I have been cracking up at Michelle this entire time. This is awesome. Okay, so you are doing a webinar coming up? Yeah,

Michelle: I am. I’m doing a webinar,

Elizabeth: What’s it’s about? Tell me.

Michelle: So, what it’s called is three steps to getting more cooperation. And finally feeling appreciated. So, a lot of it is yeah, a lot of is like what we’ve just talked about. But I’m going to go through step by step.

So that is kind of the strategy of how to do that. How to try to move into that mindset. Yeah, I’m excited. Because I think that a lot of times, and we’ve talked about this before, it’s like a lot of times we just feel invisible. And all we really need is to feel appreciated. And that could solve so many of our problems of feeling burdened.

Because a lot of times all we want is to feel like other people see what we do. And at the same time, all of these cooperation things we’re talking about, I’m going to guide women through to really understand like step by step, how they can start to think in a way where they can start to feel like to see the amount of cooperation that is really happening in their home and in their lives.

Elizabeth: Yeah, brilliant. Okay. Okay, great. Yeah. And when is that?

Michelle: It is going to be May 25 at five o’clock, pacific time, Seven-Central, Eight-East Coast.

Elizabeth: Awesome! Great. All right. And Michelle, where can people connect with you? Because I know that they are just loving you as much as I do. So how can they get more of your brilliance and wisdom?

Michelle: Oh, you’re so sweet. You can be get me at my website which is w w w dot Michelle Runnels dot com and Runnels is R U N N E L S. And you can also find me on my Facebook page, which is still just a disclaimer. It’s still named as my old, old, old old business, which was when I was niching down to just focus on mothers with tween teen and college aged daughters.

So, but everything I put on that page now Duma name soon is, is for parents with both with, you know, any sex child. And that is on Facebook, my Facebook page is parenting hyphen, daughters. And I do a ton of live videos and offer a ton of content for life coaching moms, and also just parenting tips and information and I do a team Tip Tuesday every Tuesday live.

Elizabeth: Awesome! Great. Yeah. So, any parting thoughts for folks who are listening in?

Michelle: Um, yeah, I would say, if I were to leave your women, whether they have children or not with one, one thought it’s this. What do you want? Not? What do you not want? Like, really start identifying what it is you want. And what you want.

When you articulate that thought it can’t be I want them not to, or I want to not to, it’s got to be I want and then the rest of the sentences gotta be positive and really drill down and start to know, like, what do you want to feel? What do you want to experience? Because people who love you want you to be happy? Yeah.

Elizabeth: Awesome. Well, thanks for having thanks for coming on the show. Michelle and we will talk to you all later. Bye bye.

Michelle: Bye.

Hey, thanks for listening.

If the show resonates with you and you have a friend, mother, sister or anyone else who you think would benefit, I’d love for you to share the podcast with them.

You can leave me a rating and review in Apple podcasts which helps me create an amazing experience for you. And it helps other women who are done with dieting and want to get off the diet roller coaster to find it as well.

See you next week.


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