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Sep 4, 2023

360: The Story of Indrani

“Why can’t I get close to my
daughter who I love so much?”

Today, we present Part 2 of the awe-inspiring work that David and Jill did with Indrani in the Tuesday group at Stanford. Indrani was a mother with a heart-breaking but all-too-common story of a conflict with her daughter. Sometimes, we love someone tremendously, but every time we try to get close, they seem to push us away. The story should ring true and be helpful to so many people, as nearly everyone runs into conflicts at times with our family members, including our parents, siblings and children.

And, as usual, the solution often involves attending to your “inner” dialogue, which is the conversation you’re having with yourself about the conflict, and the “outer” dialogue, which is what happens when you try to get close to the person you love.

And today’s session illustrates not one, but two forms of enlightenment. The changes in the inner dialogue involves challenging and crushing the negative messages you’ve been giving yourself about h problem with the person you love so much. You can see Indrani’s Daily Mood Log if you click HERE. As you can see, she’s been telling herself that her daughter has shut her out of her life, and that she’ll die alone/ That’s incredibly sad! And she’s also telling herself that all of her friends have wonderful relationships with their daughters “and I don’t” and she’s blaming herself for the problem: “I deserve this treatment,” and “nothing I do pleases her.”

You can also see the intensity of Indrani’s negative feelings, including sadness, anxiety, inadequacy, loneliness, embarrassment, discouragement, irritation, and more.

You can also see a typical exchange with her daughter if you look at her Relationship Journal (RJ). As you may know, the whole theme of my interpersonal model in TEAM-CBT is that we create our own interpersonal reality at every moment of every day. In other words, we unknowingly create and cause the exact relationship problems that we complain about, but just don’t realize this, so we think there’s something wrong with the other person.

But how can this be? If you look at Step 2 of Indrani’s RJ, her response to her daughter seems innocent enough! But stayed tuned, because Indrani makes a shocking and mind-blowing discovery during the session, and that discovery requires the exceedingly painful “death” of the “self.” But this “Great Death” is instantly followed by a “Great Rebirth.!”

At the end of the session, a Tuesday group members named Keren, said this to Indrani: “You wowed me!” One of the men, Ed, could barely speak because he was sobbing. You may also be sobbing for joy when you listen to this heart-warming story.

In part 1, today’s podcast, you’ll hear the initial T = Testing and E = Empathy. In part 2, in next week’s podcast, you’ll hear the M = Methods, including Jill and David’s incredible work with Indrani on her R and her rather sudden discovery, in Step 4, of exactly how and why she’d been driving her daughter away—and how to stop doing that and begin to communicate in a way with a far greater chance of enhancing closeness and love.

The Jill and David turn to Imani’s Daily Mood Log so she can smash her distorted negative thoughts with the Externalization of Voices, and several role reversals illustrating the integration of Self-Defense, the Acceptance Paradox, and the CAT (Counter-Attack Technique.)

You can see Imani’s initial and final Brief Mood Surveys plus her Evaluation of Therapy Session,

We are extremely grateful to Indrani for giving us this very intimate glimpse into her inner life in a way that will illuminate and inspire every person with the good fortune to listen to Indrani’s amazing Journey this evening!

PS I emailed Indrani this morning to see how she's doing, and recevied this wonderful reply:

I’m still feeling great…very light and hopeful. I’ve listened to the audio. I sound goofy at times but loved re-living the moment when the truth dawned on me and how I felt immediately afterwards. My daughter Soni ( like the Japanese electronic company :) is coming on Thursday. I would’ve been filled with intense anticipatory anxiety but now I can’t wait to give her a big hug and use what I’ve learnt to connect with her.

I’m looking forward to watching the video with Soni.

Thank you so much Dr. Burns and Jill!

Thanks for listening!

Rhonda, Jill, and David