Breaking Free From Codependency & Perfectionism with Victoria Albina

While talk therapy is incredibly valuable, sometimes it’s not enough to just talk through our emotions and experiences.

Somatic therapy, on the other hand, focuses on the mind-body connection and helps us to process and release emotions that are stored in our bodies. This can be particularly helpful for people who have experienced trauma or struggle with anxiety or depression.

Today, we’re lucky enough to be joined by Maria Victoria Albina, a master certified somatic life coach, UCSF trained family nurse practitioner, and breathwork meditation guide. She’s a true expert in this field and has helped countless individuals reconnect with their bodies and minds in order to break free from codependency, perfectionism, and people pleasing and reclaim their joy.

What We Get Into:

✨What is epigenetics and how it helps

✨The definition of codependency and why it matters.

✨Balancing your nervous system and brain health and why this is so important. 

✨How somatic therapy brings us back into connection with our body so we can communicate with it and release what doesn’t serve us.

✨Why what you say to yourself throughout the day matters.

Victoria’s extensive experience and knowledge in this field make her the perfect guest to explore this topic with. Watch below to learn more:

María-Victoria Albina (she/her) is a Master Certified Somatic Life Coach, UCSF-trained Family Nurse Practitioner and Breathwork Meditation Guide with a passion for helping humans socialized as women realize that they are their own best healers by reconnecting with their bodies and minds, so they can break free from codependency, perfectionism and people-pleasing and reclaim their joy.

She is the host of the Feminist Wellness Podcast, holds a Masters degree in Public Health from Boston University School of Public Health and a BA in Latin American Studies from Oberlin College. Victoria has been working in health & wellness for over 20 years and lives on occupied Munsee Lenape territory in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Learn more about at her website, follow her on Instagram and check out her podcast!

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Christine Garvin 0:01
Hey, everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of hormonally speaking, we’ve got some really interesting topics on top for you today, including something that I personally love in terms of what I’ve experienced from a therapeutic standpoint, and that is somatic therapy. I think all forms of therapy are super valid. But in my personal experience, once I sort of got past the point of recognizing some things through talk therapy, I really needed to kind of go deeper. And we can talk about some of the y’s have that today with our guests, and there’s so many other good things that we’re diving into. So I’m super excited to speak with Maria Victoria Albina, who is a master certified somatic life coach, UCSF trained family nurse practitioner, and breathwork meditation guide with a passion for helping humans socialize as women realize that they are on there that they are their own best healers by reconnecting with their bodies and minds so that they can break free from codependency, perfectionism and people pleasing and reclaim their joy. She’s the host of the feminist wellness podcast. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Boston University, School of Public Health, and a BA in Latin American Studies from Oberlin College, Victoria has been working in health and wellness for over 20 years and lives on occupied Muncie law Knopf, a territory in New York’s Hudson Valley. Welcome.

Victoria Albina 1:26
Thank you so much for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

Christine Garvin 1:29
My goodness. I mean, that’s incredible amounts of training that you’ve had. As I was reading through your bio,

Victoria Albina 1:36
hardcore nerd, I’m a nerd nerd. Now. I’m bragging though.

Christine Garvin 1:39
Now 22% of graduates, when were you at Oberlin?

Victoria Albina 1:44
Oh, my gosh, the 90s. So 97 to 2001.

Christine Garvin 1:48
I bet we know some people that went there because I saw I was in school from 96 to 2000. And then I moved to San Francisco afterwards, and I met like a gazillion people that had gone over.

Victoria Albina 2:00
Yeah, we tend to graduate and move to Brooklyn or San Francisco. Yeah. One of the other one or the other. Yeah.

Christine Garvin 2:09
Yeah. And I haven’t heard about that a minute. But anyways, anyway, so let’s start off with talking about Cymatics. First, because I think that’s a thing that maybe is a little bit more of a buzz term these days, like more people have heard of it. But there’s so a lot of people when I bring it up that are like, what is what does that mean?

Victoria Albina 2:29
Yeah, what is it? And how will it help me? I feel like yeah, no. So absolutely. So two things. So first, what is it? And second, how does it help me? So the word Soma comes from the Greek means body. And so So Maddix is the study of the body, or rather, in the way we I’d like to work with it is a reclamation of the body as a whole, right as a whole entity, not just thinking the way we do in western medicine, in Western society, as it is now of the mind. And the body. And the body sort of split into these 1000s of parts, right? Because there’s, there’s a gynecologist, and a kidney doctor and a liver doctor, right? There’s a tummy doctor, there’s a brain doctor, we’ve we’ve, we’ve been split. Yeah. And so Cymatics helps us to come back into the wholeness of who we are. And then so it’s the practice and practice of using these modalities to reclaim to reclaim ourselves really to get anchored in ourselves again. And so the reason it’s helpful is because our bodies are incredibly wise, right, our bodies hold this profound wisdom. Yeah. And our bodies hold the stress, distress and trauma of our lifetimes and our ancestral lifetime. So my work is I always say it’s the place where the science in the womb meet. So you can think of that as epigenetics, or you can think of it as you know, energetically ancestral. I don’t care how you will, I think they’re both incredibly valid and important entryways. Yeah. And so So Maddix, allow us a portal, a pathway in to be in conversation with our body to grow from its wellness, and to release that within us, which doesn’t serve us by completing stress activation cycles from our past and our ancestral past. Hmm.

Christine Garvin 4:19
And I love you know, I mean, it’s the word epigenetics is very helpful, I think, for a lot of people to ground.

Victoria Albina 4:26
Sorry, that’s the thing again, do you mind repeating the question? Oh, sure. Yeah. All right.

Christine Garvin 4:31
So I was just saying that, you know, I think epigenetics is a great word, to sort of get that scientific side of things and for people that need that, but I think it’s such a interesting thing that we are scientifically seeing, literally through our genes, you know, things are being passed down, right. Literally, you know, I existed in my grandmother’s belly when she was pregnant with my mom, right? And so there’s this definitive like, you can almost touch it way that we understand that a the impact the stress that my grandmother went through, you know, at that point can affect me because of that connection. Right? And so it’s it’s very, not you’d like you were saying you’re the connection of the woowoo. And this sort of scientific, but it really starting to ground it in a different way now that I think people can maybe understand a little bit more Sure. And I love the the term or whatever you want to call it, the issues are in your tissues. Powerful. Yeah, yeah. And, and, you know, I think it’s still hard maybe for some people to wrap their brains around the fact that these things get stored in our tissues. So can you talk a little bit more about maybe the processing, and, you know, fulfilling sort of the process of trauma, that kind of thing, in case, you know, it gets stuck along the way? Yeah. So

Victoria Albina 6:01
I’d like if you don’t mind first to speak to the issues are in the tissues and help unpack that a little bit for those, like you said, who are like, What on earth are you talking about? Is there sad in my kneecaps, like,

Christine Garvin 6:13
this is getting garbage?

Victoria Albina 6:16
So when we say that, you know, energies experiences stay in the body, and the issues are in the tissues? What we mean are two things, we mean tension and posture patterns, right? In addition to things like mitochondrial changes, the mitochondria being the powerhouse of the cell. I feel like that’s the one thing everyone remembers from eighth grade biology. You know what I mean? It’s,

Christine Garvin 6:37
I think, right now, it’s set up on social media. Yeah,

Victoria Albina 6:41
it is, yeah, my favorite organelle. Really, really into the Golgi apparatus, too. But that’s a whole other conversation, I’ll come back for that one. So cool, cool. So it’s about tension patterns, and postures. And so it’s really about the shape the animal takes in response to the world. So as our nervous system is moving, moving through life, and moving through day to day interactions, our own tasks and interactions with others, our body shows us, the emotional state that’s within us, that we may be masking as a protective mechanism. And so one of the first places I tell folks to look in order to map their nervous systems and to begin to understand what’s going on is their posture. This can get really problematic and ableist. So I just want to say very clearly, there’s no like, right posture. There’s I’m not saying a straight spine is the best thing. If you’re scoliosis, or you’re in a way, like, right, your body is perfect. Yeah. Or baseline is what we’re starting from right as your range of physiologic capacity is the most perfect range for you, as a mammal. Done. So. But looking at your posture as you move through the day. Where are your shoulders in relationship to your ears, right? Is your spine rounded? In a way it wasn’t before your mother in law cop? Right, right. Sorry. It’s the like, how does the body shift and change in a protective stance in a defensive stance, or in a meeting, the world will arms wide open? I’m open hearted, I’m here, kind of way. And so the issues in the tissues is not just posture, it’s that tension. And so it’s the body will constrict in response to life that makes that’s that makes sense. Right? So, yeah, so where are you holding on? What happens in your life that leads your shoulders to clench your jaw, clench your hands to cleanse your digestion to cleanse your belly to clench your thought, you know, like, where is your body showing you? I am not at ease. I am not in comfort here, right? And discomfort is not a problem. But it’s it’s a guidepost. Right, it’s a way our body, it’s a little flag on the play to say, Hey, there, are you in presence? Are you breathing? Are you here? Or are you in the past or the future, which is where stress, distress and trauma takes us? Now, I keep saying stress, distress and trauma, because it’s incredibly important. I was at a meditation retreat in the city in New York this weekend. And, like five different times people use the word triggered to talk about being mildly annoyed. Right, right. And I And it’s, I think it gets really problematic that we’re, we’re using this very serious language, sort of like I’m all the time and it’s like, Ah, it’s so stress, distress and trauma. Not everything in life is trauma, right? Mm hmm. And we don’t need to make the experiences of life we don’t need to raise them to the level of trauma in order for them to be valid for us to want and need support for them to have impacted us right. Everything doesn’t have to be the worst to have really sucked.

Christine Garvin 10:04
I think that’s really important. I just kind of want to vital underline that right there, right? Because I do think there has become this thing. And I think it’s very valid that a lot of people didn’t understand that they had trauma before. Right. Right. Of course we all have trauma on some level for life is inherently right. Dramatic, you know, right. But it that it doesn’t have to be that huge thing in order to have an impact on you. And for it to be valid, you know, and you don’t have to narrow your attention. Right, right. Exactly. Right. One of the things I tell my clients sometimes, you know, when we’re sort of looking, because I’m, I’m not a trained therapist, I’m not doing all of that. But I know that I understand that these things are impactful in their hormones. Right. And so we dive into that. And, you know, one of the things I’ll say is that, you know, even as a child, like, there may have been something, you know, not a big T trauma, right, which big T trauma is more like you have been, you know, maybe

Victoria Albina 11:07
you actually pause you there. Yeah, I don’t believe in big and little T trial. Interesting. Okay. Right. Yeah. Cuz I think that sets up a hierarchy that is part and parcel of this really problematic suffering Olympics, that makes us believe we need some big T trauma, right? Or our suffering doesn’t matter. Right. How it’s not valid. Right? Right. Right. And we can step back and remember traumas, not what happened, right? How your nervous system responded to what happened, right? Two soldiers can be in the same foxhole. And one comes back, shell shocked, right, which is the old term for PTSD see PTSD. And one comes back, I’m totally fine. And like, goes back to Detroit and works in the factory and as a bunch of kids and like, it’s fine. Yeah, right. Yeah, two twins can grow up. And the twin studies are friggin amazing around Yes. can grow up in the literal, same household and one has PTSD from it. And the other is like, I don’t know, man, I’m, I’m cool. Yeah, like, it sucks. But I’m I’m all right. Right. Right. So just just wanted to share my opinion. Absolutely. Yeah. T little T works for you. Cool, cool.

Christine Garvin 12:13
Well, it’s, it’s more I think, when I go into sort of discussing the little T trauma of, you know, maybe your mom told, you know, when you were five in a way that was, you know, for your safety, or, like, I can’t afford to buy you this. So I’m saying No, sure. But as a child, you weren’t able to process that correctly. So you may have seen that No, as a I, you know, is a personal thing, like I did something wrong, I did something bad. And to understand that, that Ken can set up be part of setting up patterns. And that’s, you know, because a lot of times I think, at least in my experience with some of my clients, they’ll be like, I had a great childhood, like, nothing bad happened. That was wrong, you know, and I was like, well, there can be these little things. Sure, that lay out into the patterning later in life. And that that’s just, that’s just as valid, you know, because nobody’s life is really right. Nobody’s absolutely Nobody’s life is perfect. You know, yeah, yeah. So yeah, that’s, but I totally get what you’re saying. of the hierarchy and the the Olympics and all of that around it totally. When so much of the time just again, no, I’m not a therapist. I’m not all trained in this, but it’s just like, giving some serious love to whatever happened to you. Yeah,

Victoria Albina 13:33
yeah. And to the parts of us that that remain energetically, in that time and place. So one of the absolutely amazing, incredible gifts and of stress, distress and trauma is is the splitting that happens. So part of us stays in that moment. And that’s when we bring in internal family systems work, which is the work of Deke Schwartz, PhD, which is about looking at the parts within us. And recognizing that yes, we are an integrated whole, as whole adults. And within us, there are parts of our psyche, that that stayed in, in different moments throughout life. So there are parts that are joyful and gleeful and like little inner children that that love having a really good time and encourage us to be playful encouraged us to have fun. They want to they want to go to the playground, right? Like I do CrossFit in large part because my inner children love it. Like if the

Christine Garvin 14:36
heavy things. Yeah, like, you don’t even just have an inner child. You’re like we I have multiple children.

Victoria Albina 14:42
Oh, yeah, absolutely. There are so many of them, which is so beautiful. Yeah. I never understood the concept of the inner child. Yeah, there’s a whole family within me, which is so beautiful. Yeah. And so what happens when we get activated in Stress distress or trauma, post facto, is that trauma response takes us back to another time and place. Right. And so it zooms us back. And we lose presence. Right, we lose our connection with now, which is why quite frankly, presence is the answer to

Christine Garvin 15:18
pretty much everything. Yeah. So I have two kinds of questions that came in on that. Yeah, I want to circle back in a minute to the ancestral part so that people can kind of understand that a little bit more deeply. But I guess, you know, as you’ve been talking, I’ve been thinking a little bit about, you know, every day we serve here, horrible things going on in the world, right. So it’s like, if you are of an empathetic nature, which I think a lot of people are on some level, you know, it’s easy to maybe get drawn into all of the things that are happening in the world that are out of our control, right. And of course, can maybe, you know, just bring us back to things that have happened in our life or worries about the future, kind of like you were you’re talking about. So how, how do you tell people to kind of work with that?

Victoria Albina 16:10
Yeah, so what you’re describing is empathy, without boundaries, right without energetic boundaries. So my passion is in supporting human socialized as women to overcome codependent perfectionist and people pleasing habits, where I look at that sort of constellation of experiences and call it emotional outsourcing. So my definition of codependency emotional outsourcing is chronically and habitually sourcing our sense of worth, validation, and safety from everyone and everything outside of ourselves, instead of from within us. And so we cannot feel safe or worthy of love, care, the air we breathe, unless someone else is saying, You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re valuable. I gotcha. Right. We have lost connection with self in order to be able to say that. And so from that understanding of that mindset, right, that codependent way of thinking that that mindset of putting everyone else first everyone else matters more than us. Everyone, everything is way more important than our opinion, our health or our everything. Yeah. Oh, sorry. I’m gonna pause. I lost the thread what we’re

Christine Garvin 17:35
just talking about how you know what’s going on in the world,

Victoria Albina 17:39
essentially. Yeah, perfect. Embodied boundaries. Pause for your editor. Yeah. So from that viewpoint on the world, we have really porous boundaries. Because we don’t believe a number one, we’re worthy of boundaries. Being number two, we, most of us come from an emotional outsourcing blueprint, like that’s our family of origin. And their family of origin. And there’s and there’s and there’s and there’s and there’s soda on that ancestral tip. And so we didn’t see boundaries modeled, right, we saw our parents, our family members doing things they didn’t want to do. And then complaining, being resentful being pissed off grumbling around the house, you know, cooking, I mean, pots and pans, right? The whole, that whole cute circus of I don’t take care of myself, and how an fu for asking me to do something. But I didn’t say say that. Yeah, say no. Yeah.

Christine Garvin 18:34
What fu for? Yeah, yeah. The passive aggressiveness. Yeah.

Victoria Albina 18:38
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Passive aggressive, resentful. The cute cycle.

Christine Garvin 18:43
It’s super, super cute. Right? It

Victoria Albina 18:45
feels great for everyone. Yeah,

Christine Garvin 18:46

Victoria Albina 18:49
So when that is our norm, when that’s our mindset, our way of thinking, and our bodies in our posture, intention patterns are primed to give ourselves away, because in childhood, that’s what was coded as safe. Right? I give myself my time, my labor, my energy, I give it away, I give it away. And then those people will protect me from death and doom, the lions that are invariably coming to eat the village, because of course they are. Right. And how could you set a boundary? Right, because you’re telling someone No, and you’re entirely dependent on others, for your sense of wellness?

Christine Garvin 19:25
Mm hmm.

Victoria Albina 19:27
So telling someone No, I mean, Christine, that sounds pretty dumb. Right? Right. So we don’t say no, energetically or verbally. Right? Right? So then you’re listening to the news and world of horrors comes in, and you’re porous. So that’s that’s a part of emotional outsourcing. Is this this porous energetic field? Where what ever wants to come? Come on in? Because you’ve never said no to it? Yeah, right. ate. Yeah. And so how to work with it is is to begin to ask yourself does this serve me? Right I, I stopped listening to the news like it early pandemic, like my whole life I always listen to like the BBC and AlJazeera and NPR. Right. And early in the pandemic living in New York City, which is like, that’s the epicenter. Yeah. Right. That was I could see more trucks from my roof deck. I mean, it was like, super on cute. Yeah. I just was like, I have to turn this off. Yeah. Not because I want to be uninformed, right. But because I, you know, here’s, here’s something, a promise I made to myself maybe 567 years ago, which is that I will no longer allow things outside of me to dysregulate me. alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, Bad News Bears. Right. Like, I stay on top of the news as like a conscious decision, I ground my nervous system. I come into ventral vagal the safe and social part of the nervous system. I check the headlines dive deeper when I want to

Christine Garvin 21:04
write I think I’m going to stop right there. Because this is really important for PTS to understand. Right? That because it was, especially with social media, and bombardment can be constant, right. And we’re not protected in any form or fashion. Usually, you know, and we’re scrolling often, it’s sort of the most it not inopportune times, but you know, nighttime when maybe our our defenses are more down or first thing in the morning, you know, and so I love that you said, when you go into looking at news, you’re very much like ground ground yourself. Essentially, it was one way. Yeah,

Victoria Albina 21:43
yeah. And I really strengthen those energetic boundaries around me. Not to not empathize. But to be to be, I don’t want to say in control, but what is it to be intentional, right to set the volume. And for listeners a little older than me and Christine, I am turning a knob in the air not clipping a little but my friend’s cousin was like, 15, how do you like how do you show you’re turning the volume down? And he went like this and clicked his thumb? And oh, that’s

Christine Garvin 22:13
hilarious. I would not know.

Victoria Albina 22:17
Kids these days, clicking the buttons. It was very cute. Yeah, I get to decide what the volume is. Yeah. Right. Coming through into my body. Yeah. Early in the pandemic. I was. So like many of us. So chronically overwhelmed by the fear and the worry and you know, the hugest, the hugest, but they’re the incidence of of mortality and morbidity, just like 1015 blocks away from me, in a predominantly Latina, and I’m from Argentina. And I’m white, and I’m very privileged. So, you know, my, my relations, you know, 1520 blocks away, we’re dying and ridiculous numbers. People of color, have been dying of COVID outstanding rates, which makes perfect sense in this country and our health care system yet. Oh my god. Wait, why are we in the health care system? Yeah. Wait, what? So I just couldn’t help but think of all the willows at the food pantry, I volunteered. And I just would solve all day. And I was like, Girl, I let myself do it for a few days. And then was like, You need a dedicated time. Hmm, I created a ritual I created a process for grounding my nervous system. I would ring a bell. Think about it. I’m a my eyes out if I needed to. Yeah, ring a bell like some incense, right, like and closed circle. And I think that we can use that kind of ritual. Yeah, anytime, anyplace.

Christine Garvin 23:45
I kind of love that. I know. Yeah, I want to just put a point on because, you know, just to connect this all the hormones, you know, when it comes down to it, our hormones want need safety and security to work properly, right for because of the brain, ovarian connection. It is the you know, as soon as something feels unsafe, the brain processes it that way. It’s going to essentially kind of down regulate of sex hormone production, right? Yeah, adrenal hormones, right. And your is going to upregulate your, you know, stress hormones and downregulates. Yeah, sex hormones. And so this is what I tell my clients all the time, and people that are listening, it’s like, safety. And security is very important for the process to you know, work has evolved to work. And so when we are under this constant stress, it’s not going to be able to work right. You know, you’re you can take all the supplements in the world, you can eat all the right foods, et cetera, et cetera. And so, I really love what you just said about the ritualistic aspect because if you do think about how humans evolved in most cultures over time, there were rituals, of course

Victoria Albina 24:59
You know, I’d say it all. Yeah, yeah. I mean, the kilts the right. Like, it doesn’t matter where you go plan it. It was.

Christine Garvin 25:07
Yeah, it was part of who we all were. I think, you know, I mean, just like I go to so many of the things that humans have been doing forever, when we’re talking about health stuff, like, I need sleep, you know, you need sunlight. These are the foundation tools that you can’t get away from. But yeah, I think that that is there’s so many people that are kind of hungry for ritual at this point. And it’s, this is a different way of even. I mean, I get that some people understand using ritual for you know, particularly I mean, even funerals, things like that are technically ritual. Right. But

Victoria Albina 25:44
that, to me, the surgery has a ritual, right? Surgery has a ritual, right. So if I was doing a vasectomy or putting an IUD in Yeah, I have a I have a checklist. Right. Right. Right, which is in its way, its own ritual, right? Like to put an IUD and I check all of my tools, and make sure they’re all sterile, and make sure I have size six sterile gloves, right. And I walk through the procedure in my head. Right, like, yeah, ritual is everywhere. Yeah. And we just get to name it as such. Right. Right. Like self care is everywhere. You don’t need to buy the fancy. I mean, girl, I love the font fancy eyemask.

Christine Garvin 26:25
I need to sleep. Oh, no. Yeah, you’re talking about like, like, Oh, yeah. Now, I need a governance league. But yeah,

Victoria Albina 26:34
but we don’t need to. Right. No. And I think that’s part of the problem, right? Because we have gotten so extracted from the commons. And we have lost contact with our matriarchs and with with collectivist ritual, and so folks think that it’s something beyond them, right? Absolutely.

Christine Garvin 26:55
There’s like this big thing you have to right, right,

Victoria Albina 26:57
right, that someone else has to tell you how to do. So. One of the things so the the way, folks who work with me is in a six month program called anchored, which is all about all of this, we use thought work. So Maddix breathwork, all the science, all the secret coming together and anchored. And one of the things we do I think it’s week seven, is work with ritual. And so really looking at where his ritual already in your life, and what does it look like for you to build your own ritual to begin your day to end your day to begin your meal, and your meal? So you talked about the adrenals, the mind body access the vagus nerve and nutrition, which is the building block of hormones, right? You cannot digest your food or your supplements if your nervous system is not in what’s called ventral vagal, which is the safe part of the nervous system. And that makes sense because he let me ask you a question. If you were being chased by a lion, would you want your body to stop running and digest a fistful of supplements or a cheeseburger?

Christine Garvin 27:57
Right? Exactly. It’s

Victoria Albina 27:58
right away is was that a no? Right?

Christine Garvin 28:02
I was like, if he could do both at the same time, but it can

Victoria Albina 28:06
be one or the other kids. I’m so yep.

Christine Garvin 28:08
Yep. And that and that connects back to, you know, what I tell my clients all the time to, you know, whether or not you want to get pregnant is not the question to be asked. Right? Are our body is the whole cycle menstrual cycle is set to do that, you know, I mean, certainly, it’s a very, very valid question, if you want to get pregnant or not. We’re putting that aside, but we our body wants to feel that safety all the time to be oh, do that. Right. I know. That was not making a lot of sense. But I didn’t

Victoria Albina 28:41
know where you going. Yeah, you’re like what’s happening? Oh, it’s estrogen is vital for bone development. Right. So like many other What’s the number one, right? What’s the number one killer of little old lady’s right pneumonia? How does she get pneumonia, she falls and breaks a hip and then cannot move after after hip surgery and gets pneumonia and dies. Right? And that’s a crappy way to die. Right? You know what I mean? Yeah,

Christine Garvin 29:06
a very preventable way to you know, yeah,

Victoria Albina 29:10
totally. And so how do we do everything in our power to prevent that, right? We, we embody safety and I really mean it right? We learn to map our nervous system, learn to ground our nervous system, calm our nervous system, heal our nervous system using Cymatics and thought work. And through that process of balance, our estrogen progesterone, which then right, so estrogen becomes testosterone in the periphery. And so we need testosterone for both for muscles, right? We need that for balance. We need balanced estrogen, so we don’t get osteopenia and osteoporosis. Right So and,

Christine Garvin 29:50
and brain health.

Victoria Albina 29:52
Come on now. Yeah. So balancing your nervous system, really regulating your nervous system and under are standing yourself and how to relate to yourself through your Soma, not just as a brain, but really as, as a body, not just someone with here’s a Susan McConnell quote, I love that one. And she has internal somatic internal family systems work. She says the and I’m gonna paraphrase here, but sort of the goal of Cymatics, or the process of some a gift of Cymatics is it helps us to know and believe that it’s not that we have a body, it’s that we are our bodies. And that seems so basic until you have done it. Right. Right. And once you are actually living in your body, everything’s different.

Christine Garvin 30:46
Absolutely. 100% Yeah, you know, I mean, it’s similar to me in a way that, you know, we understand that we need food to survive. But a lot of us don’t think about food, what is in the food, the nutrients are in the food actually make up our organs and our tissues and everything, you know, and you can, it’s the same thing of sort of embodiment of that, you know, embodiment of breaking down the food, the digestion, all of these things. And, and I mean, like you said, this is, this is actually why I focus so much on the nervous system, and your cortisol, your stress hormone, in my practice, first and foremost, because everybody wants to jump to estrogen and progesterone, which are hugely important, but you can’t regulate those without regulating your

Victoria Albina 31:36
adrenals. Essentially, right. If your cortisol awakening curve is flat, right? Yep. What? Come on? Yeah, yeah.

Christine Garvin 31:44
And for those who don’t know what that is, that’s basically find out first thing, yeah, right. First thing in the morning, how is your cortisol? Is it going up in the sort of the the way that we need it to go up? Right, and then gently start to come down? Throughout the day? Unfortunately, yeah, one of the tests that I run, I don’t know if you know, the Dutch test. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, you know, I’ve talked about the Dutch a lot on the podcast. And that’s one way of measuring your car and also just measuring your cortisol throughout the day, which, yeah, if you don’t have that pump of cortisol rising in the morning, you’re gonna be struggling. And that’s gonna throw off your entire circadian rhythm to you know, which is part of the brain rhythm. Yeah.

Victoria Albina 32:31
Right. So So what are the stories you’re telling about yourself throughout the day, that are hijacking your nervous system? What is your mindset? Because when it’s codependent when it is around emotional outsourcing, you’re your own harshest critic. That inner Gremlin is like snacking on pizza all night long. You know what I mean? It is like full claws out against you. That story says I don’t want to, but I’m going to because I’m supposed to. Because taking care of me as selfish, right? You see where these stories lead us? Yeah, right. We choked on our healthy anger. Yeah, right. We took down our healthy sadness, we took down our healthy joy, right? We numb out all of our emotions, or have explosive emotions, right tends to be a dysregulated state of emotional outsourcing in which our our emotions, our mood, and our nervous systems are living in extremes. And from those extremes, yeah, our hormones and our adrenal chemicals. Those hormones are jacked. Yeah, right. Our reproductive and adrenal hormones. Yeah, I mean, don’t even come on like the pancreas and diabetes. Right. Right. And then what’s Alzheimer’s diabetes type three. I mean, like, thank you. Right, like, that’s go down the line? Yeah. Yeah. Like, ever is ailing us. Yeah. And if you circle it back to mindset, nervous system, mindset, nervous system, and the answer to both is your present ematic presence embodied presence and safety?

Christine Garvin 34:05
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve talked a little bit about codependency obviously in the package of what’s going on in the world. But let’s talk more about codependency so the people that I feel like a lot of people have probably heard about codependency right, they don’t know how that may or may not be showing up in their life.

Victoria Albina 34:25
Yeah, so like I’ve been saying, it’s really thinking that your opinion doesn’t matter. In this core way or right. So that’s the core issue, right is it’s all about self worth, and believing that you’re somehow not as worthy of love as others. Your opinion isn’t as valuable your wants your needs. And so that can manifest I find in one of two extremes in the murder, the Savior the saint the, or in the fixer, right in the fixer. The No at all the always opinion. Right, which like, I have been both in my lifetime I have definitely yeah. Right where I’m like, I have to write, I have learned to ask consent before giving my opinion. But I mean, in my 20s and particularly in my 20s and early 30s, someone would be like with a bellyache. And I’d be like, let me tell you, my pro bio, we just jump in as well. They actually wanted my, it was m&s, but it was, you know, doing the best thing and you’re 20 with codependent thinking in my 20s Right, you know, so Right.

Christine Garvin 35:38
And I think this is a really important thing for you to be talking about. Because that’s kind of where I wanted to go more deeply into it is because I think a lot of times people think codependency like, oh, in my romantic relationship, I lean on this person too much. Right. That’s kind of the the maybe the viewpoint of codependency so I’m glad that you’re expanding on what it can look like for B

Victoria Albina 36:01
Yeah, so yeah. Okay, so then let’s do that. So the old school story of what codependency is, it’s a series of defects in your character. You’re kind of perma fucked. If you are a codependent. It’s your identity. It’s who you are. It’s and you have to be constantly vigilant, because it’s who you are. And it is who you are because you’re in relationship to an alcoholic, or someone who uses substances. Now, again, for those of you listening, who were like, damn, I thought she would have used people first language. I’m talking about the old definition. I don’t say alcoholics in my life, except when I’m talking about this. So that’s the old definition. Right? And so I didn’t get help care support for my own codependent mindset, because that’s not me. I wasn’t like dating alcoholic. I don’t get it. I must not be codependent. That’s just not me. And so that kept me from, from really stepping out of it and stepping into my full power in my 20s. Because I was like, Nah, yeah, sure I do all of those things. I have all of those thoughts, but like that, no, that’s no. So I think that’s why it’s really this redefinition. And reframing is so incredibly potent, powerful needed, as well as bringing in a really feminist lens. So the way I think about it is again, this chronic and habitual mindset and, and postural relationship to the world. Right? And for me, it has nothing to do. You know, of course, if you start talking to folks who are emotional outsource sorcerers who have a codependent mindset, they may be in relationship to or may have grown up with folks who use substances in a way that’s problematic. But also not because they were also all living in relationship to the patriarchy. Right. We’re living in relationship to a settler colonialism and late stage capitalism, systems that demand that humans writ large, but particularly those socialized as women and assigned female at birth, that we put ourselves last, that we take care of everyone and everything ahead of us or we’re wrong, we’re bad, we’re selfish and that’s a terrible thing. So I we are inculcated, we are taught and trained to think this way, most of us from birth. And so then add into that a family system were these ways of behaving of believing of acting of thinking of feeling are the norm. And that’s what sets us up for it. Right. And so, I really talk about codependent thinking at work with your best friends. Sure, in your romantic relationship with strangers on the street. We got I used to do this thing because I wanted validation so badly. I would when I was walking around New York, I would like almost with not almost I would like hope that someone’s backpack would be open or someone would drop something or someone would need directions because then I could matter I could step in and I could give guidance and I could excuse me your backpack so but you know what I mean? Like I wanted to step in and feel needed Yeah. Because it was through feeling needed that I felt valuable. Yeah, right. And I think you know, in business that becomes when I am creating and producing like content when I’m doing when I write

Christine Garvin 39:32
Yeah, absolutely. And even practitioners I was thinking about to write Yeah, how and I’ve had to battle this myself like taking on too much of your client stuff. Because you know, you’re taking it on as like I have to heal you or

Victoria Albina 39:48
fail could heal anyone right? calls themselves a healer. Exactly. The same way. Like check yourself. Check yourself right and not know Oh, it’s so little red light. Yeah, it really is for me. So yeah. And I also remember, you know, I had a private practice doing functional medicine in Manhattan for many years and somewhat in that practice, but really when I was primary care if a patient wasn’t quote, unquote, compliance, early on, right, like early on in my FQHC days, the one wasn’t, quote, unquote, compliant, I would take it personally, I would get upset. I would demonize them. And that was, that’s the ethos of medicine. Right? Like, dare they? Yeah. And that’s because our egos were getting involved and our 100% Get involved in we take it personally from this CO dependent relationship that we put on everyone and everything in our lives. Right, that keeps us out of presence out of being here, being now being being real with what is including our own feelings. Right, so back to the Doom scrolling, that sort of. I mean, everyone Doom scrolls, not everyone who Doom scrolls, is an emotional outsourcer. But you know, it is buffering against our feelings is a really common thing that we do from emotional outsourcing. Because we don’t know how to sit with our feelings. We don’t know how to be present with ourselves. Because we’ve never done it. We weren’t shown how to it was never safe for us. So we don’t do it. Yeah, we do everything possible to avoid including trying to fix other people’s lives. Having every opinion having no opinion, making rash decisions, making no decisions, right? Yes. Living in those extremes in the nervous system.

Christine Garvin 41:41
Oh, I’m so so true. It’s I can see so much of my life. You’re describing here, you, oh, my God, I’ve taken years to work through. And I think this is so important for people to really get so they don’t have to wait years and years and years and years just to get out of that cycle. So let me ask you how you started to get out of the cycle in your personal experience?

Victoria Albina 42:06
Yeah, I mean, the first thing was really coming to terms with it. And really recognizing that this actually was how I was moving through the world. And though the term codependent never resonated, I don’t never, I can’t imagine it ever will. But all the mean between us signs and symptoms, right. But But codependency is not a disease. So in my opinion, it’s a widely held opinion that it is, but all the experiences are the things that are part and parcel of that way of living and thinking and being RN were my, my lived experience. Right? And so from there, because you know, I’m trained in epidemiology, I’m a nerds nerd. I love patterns. So starting to really map and track when and where I was leaving myself. Zero to 10. How easily Am I leaving myself? Where do I go when I leave myself usually people pleasing, right? Usually appeasing from the fawn reaction, the nervous system, usually trying to make someone else happy, or like me, or care about me trying to manage aka manipulate someone else’s feelings, because someone else having feelings was not safe in my childhood. And so I know, don’t have feelings, right? Let me feed you let me take care of you let me do anything I can to keep you happy with me, and not having the complexity of human feelings, because I don’t know what’s going to happen here. Right? So I’m not going to have them either. Right, which keeps us in that frozen state within our nervous system from which we don’t have access to the full range of human emotions, and keep doing everything possible to keep others from having their right and we don’t realize that oh my god, I’m trying to keep my people from having emotions, right when I overcook over gift over function over over over. But that’s that’s the core of what we’re doing. I’m scared that you might have a feeling and I don’t know how to handle it. And I’m sure you don’t know how to handle it cuz. Right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So really coming to understand that coming to see it, really learning how to map it. And then doing the two things we can do with our nervous system which are to calm it, and to heal it. They are equally important skills, they’re equally important things to do. And we do them in different moments, these different moments call for it. And again, one is not superlative, to more better than the other. Calming our nervous system is the slow inhale. long slow out. Right is your whoosah moment is right, a moment of meditation. or breathing or calming to come back to ventral vagal by calming the nervous system now that does not heal the nervous system, it doesn’t reset the nervous system, you know, my training is in somatic experiencing and sensorimotor psychotherapy as a coach. You’re not doing long term healing, but you are showing your nervous system in your body that you aren’t capable of calming it and I think that’s a beautiful thing and more important, it’s keeping you from freaking out at Grand Central or lax or where your kids school or you know, it’s keeping you from doing something you might need to apologize for later so I do it the way we heal the nervous system is by allowing completion of the stress activation cycle right. And we’re Do you want me to dive into that? No work? Yeah. Short on time. Yeah, just white people. I episode about it if

Christine Garvin 45:49
Yeah, for sure. We’ve talked about a little bit on the podcast but I got a great hearing that you know, the different sort of processes and options for people so yeah, dive into that.

Victoria Albina 45:58
Yeah. Right on so the the two seconds of what is the stress activation cycle is you are a baby, and you’re in your little crib, and the cat jumps in with you scares the crap out of you because like, wow, that cat. You cry. You’re grown up, calms your nervous system that just went into sympathetic activation adrenaline, eventually, cortisol skin calms down. Right goes back to ventral vagal grownup is here, safety is here. I’m okay. When scary happens. I’m safe. Right? I was unsafe. But no, I’m saying that’s what your nervous system learns about you and the world. That’s what leads to and create safe, safe attachment secure attachment. Is that cycle? Right? fright. Attunement, right? Attunement. When we are not attuned to the nervous system continues to go into more and more adrenaline, right, which is sympathetic activation, fight or flight. So from right, we go to flight. Oh god, I gotta get out of here. Get me away from this cat. But you’re like eight months old, you can barely rollover. There’s no flight for you. So more adrenaline leads you into rage. That is the next step. Rage prepares you for fight. Right? So you try to push the cat you would punch if you knew how and aren’t eight months old. And your body’s being flooded with even more adrenaline your heart is beating fast, your little palms are getting sweaty. You’re you’re starting to panic, because the cat sitting on you and you don’t understand cat and no one’s coming. The body is starting to realize it’s been a minute it’s been two, no one is coming. So then from that rage and that fight and your body has put out all the adrenaline it can despair sets in. I was oh well I am in this alone. And that is horrifying for a mammal particularly a small one. And so the body says disassociate from despair Do not be here. Right? And it takes the psyche and and in a way splits from the body. In that state for my nerds out there. In that original. The fright fight flight Broca’s area is turned off. We’re flooded with endogenous cannabinoids. And then once we go into flight into a freeze rather, when your body’s like, Yeah, this is really scary. This is terrible. Don’t actually be present for this because this cat might be a lion and we just don’t know it and you’re about to get snagged. And I’m really sorry, I want you to not be present. You go into freeze. And that’s all the adrenaline starts. Acetylcholine is the predominant hormone there are neurotransmitter rather and be shut down. You go into dorsal, which is the frozen part of the nervous system, where endogenous opioids are the jam, because your body is down regulating your pain response. When down regulates pain, it down regulates emotions, and mood. And so you not only get numb to pain, you get numb to presence to yourself. You can’t feel your emotions when you’re in freeze by absolutely move on design. Right? Because you’re about to be a snack and frankly, that would be stupid, right? And creation is much larger than I am. So you’re off. You’re emotionally shut down. And we’ve all experienced like touches of this, where you’re talking to someone and you’re stumped. There’s an underlying stressor or the conversation stressful and then wait. Wait, Christine, what was that? Wait, what? Oh, sorry. I just wanted to dorsal freeze just a little just spritz, right? Nothing to worry about, but just to touch. So from that dorsal freeze, a lot of folks get stuck. Right? The nervous system gets sort of stuck there. But there’s still adrenaline in us. And until we can, completing the stress activation cycle is allowing that adrenaline or the dorsal freeze, to come all the way out of our body. And so the way to do that the way we do that in somatic experiencing the work of Dr. Peter Levine, is to go back in time to that moment when the cat jumped on you. And to complete the movement, the verbalization, whatever it was, you wanted to do, in that moment, allow your body to complete that activity as a way to let your body know it’s safe to to not release more energy, adrenaline, but release the adrenaline from your body, right? That it’s been holding sort of captive within you. In case that threat keeps going. So too, with dorsal, it’s safe to come out of dorsal and come back into presence, and complete that stress activation cycle. So that’s the work that heals the nervous system, and expands our window of capacity to be with ourselves and have more flexible nervous systems instead of rigid nervous systems.

Christine Garvin 51:21
Mm hmm. Yeah, that was beautifully put. And I’ve never even realized that you go into flight first. Yep. And then yeah, you know, that was really great that you kind of broke that down. Good. I’m glad. Yeah. So really quickly, you know, I guess I you know, probably some people wonder, well, how do you figure out those moments in your life where something stressful happened, and I did not complete the process, you know, in in somatic, oh,

Victoria Albina 51:51
I you work with someone who does somatic experiencing. So this is guided work. This is we can do a lot of this on our own, but we need to learn the basics, by having someone hold our little paw, right and support us and guide us. Because it can be you know, your nervous system is the super use women. Right? You’re at home with your own nervous system all day. And so it’s really helpful to have someone to guide you to show you to ask you important guiding questions. Remember, as humans, we are meaning making machines. And so your brain is likely to ascribe meaning to things that might not mean what you think they mean. And so that’s why having a therapist or coach like myself, who’s really well trained in these modalities is absolutely vital. And it’s the cornerstone of the work we do in anchored is yes, working with our mindsets, because mindset is a huge part of this. But coming back to the soma back to the body back to the body. I think it’s the only way to overcome codependent thinking. Yeah, right. Out of people pleasing is is holistically if we want it to be sustainable, which is, which is my goal is for my clients not to need me, you know, right. Right. Yeah.

Christine Garvin 53:01
Yeah. And I think that those are the two areas that are maybe from a hormonal standpoint or over your most right, is that is that that healing aspect, right of going back and healing and processing all the way through? And then mindset. I think a lot of times people will jump just to mindset, right? Because it’s a thing right now, and then you can jump over in a way. Right. But it doesn’t, in my opinion, in my experience does not work.

Victoria Albina 53:30
Before you finish that. Yeah.

Christine Garvin 53:33
Yeah, like seeing that firsthand. A lot. Yes. Yeah.

Victoria Albina 53:37
Huge. It’s vital. And yeah, if the soma is not on board with the body is not on board. We can’t. We can’t change. Affirmations are gonna get you there. Yeah, thanks for just summing that up. Yeah. Yeah, they’re not an affirmations that are study after study in the positive psychology realm that shows affirmations are super cute. They’re dope. They’re important, but ya know, they’re not. They are neither the end all nor the be all. So yeah.

Christine Garvin 54:05
So tell people you’ve mentioned the program that you do. Yeah. Tell people a little bit more about that and how to contact you.

Victoria Albina 54:12
Yeah, so anchored is a six month container for humans socialized as women who are really sick of living in the old tired ways, who are detached from their bodies, living from the neck up, who want their relationships with themselves in the world to be so much more better. Anchored is the program for you. It’s a beautiful, intimate container. It’s a small group experience where you get lots of time with me, and lots of time with the other folks in the program because healing is not an individual sport, right. It is a community led practice. And so we need each other. We need each other deeply for our own healing. You can learn more about that at Victoria You can Yeah, it’s a really it’s a darn good time.

Christine Garvin 54:58
And I you know, especially I’d say for anybody that’s maybe has been interested in somatic, you know, therapy and that kind of thing. And that struggled to find maybe a good somatic therapist, you know, this is a perfect opportunity to kind of dive in with someone that is obviously very knowledgeable. Thank you. Thank

Victoria Albina 55:18
you. And I will just add the caveat that if your body’s saying you need somatic therapy, like if you are dysregulated, if you are triggered where you can’t get out of bed, right, then coaching is not the first stop for you, my beloved, right? I’m a nurse practitioner above all right. So safety first. If you cannot get out of bed, if you are having to assert ideation in a serious way, therapy first. Coaching second, right? Yeah, yeah.

Christine Garvin 55:50
Are there any social media? Oh, my God,

Victoria Albina 55:53
there are so many. Okay. Me on the ground. I give good Graham at Victoria Albina. Wellness. And I have a special treat for your people. Oh, exciting. So it is a suite of meditations and nervous system orienting exercises. And you can have it for free, just because you’re wonderful. And you deserve it. So if you go to Victoria speaking, huh, yay. Oh, I get

this right. And my show is called feminist wellness. It’s for humans of all genders, who want to live a full and exciting, passionate life. And you can find that literally all of the places so all of the going to all of the places.

Christine Garvin 56:42
Yeah, man, what an amazing conversation. Thank you for sharing all of your expertise and really breaking things down for everyone listening. So appreciate the work that you do. Oh

Victoria Albina 56:53
my goodness. This was such a blast. It was so much fun. And thank you for having me.

Christine Garvin 56:59
Absolutely. Okay, you guys. I will see you next time.

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