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Therapy Thursday With Jessica Baum: Codependency, Self Abandonment, & Addiction

July 16, 2021
All Points North Lodge

Laurie Watter:

Hi, it's Laurie Watter, director of family relations at All Points North Lodge coming to you from New Jersey once again, and I have a really exciting guest with us today. When I started in this industry, I actually started at Next Chapter, which was an all-male program in Florida. And Abe Antine was the clinical director of that program. He is still the clinical director of All Points North Lodge and Jessica Baum was somebody that I had worked with while we were at Next Chapter. She also continued to work with us when we moved out to Colorado and became All Points North Lodge. So hi, Jessica.

Jessica Baum:

Hi.

Laurie Watter:

I'm so happy to see you today.

Jessica Baum:

How are you doing?

Laurie Watter:

I'm doing well. How about you?

Jessica Baum:

Good. Hanging in there. Interesting world, but we're hanging in there.

Laurie Watter:

I know. I was actually following some of your posts earlier today and yeah, I'm right there with you. Something needs to change, but yeah. So, but I'm wearing my mask. I hate it, but I'm wearing it.

Jessica Baum:

I hate it too, but it's just seems like a little inconvenience in the whole grand scheme of things.

Laurie Watter:

It sure is. So I'm so happy to have you with me today. I was just saying how we met at Next Chapter and it was so, really so wonderful to be part of a really clinically sophisticated team where collaboration was so easy and it was really special and that was how I was introduced to this whole arena. And I know that you were working with us doing family work at Next Chapter, you continue to do family work with us at All Points North Lodge and I know that your world is exploding and I think your professional world and your personal world are just, they're so exciting.

Laurie Watter:

So the fact that I can have you with me for a little bit today is really exciting. So I would love to talk... There's so many things I'd love to talk about and I do want to talk about your book.

Jessica Baum:

Okay.

Laurie Watter:

Because yeah, if you can just share a little bit about what's going on.

Jessica Baum:

Yeah, sure. So, yeah, I started a manuscript as you know, because you are a personal friend, a little while ago. And the book has kind of become something for someone who has anxious attachment style. So, but a lot of people fit in that bracket in terms of anyone who has low self-esteem, trouble staying in connection, needing a lot of connection, struggles with anxiety in their relationships.

Jessica Baum:

And what it does is it kind of shares about attachment styles, but it also looks at your past relationships and current relationships and uses it as a way to kind of use a flashlight on where your core wounds are and where your work is. So even though the relationship might've been defined one way or another, we revisit and we kind of get what's underneath it, what the unconscious is underneath it.

Jessica Baum:

And the middle of the book is a lot of somatic work working around your core fears and your core wounds, and really learning how to attach to yourself in a healthy way and not abandon yourself for love and form this inner attachment. And then the last part of the book is how do you apply that in your current world? So how do you take this new knowledge, learn about your internal landscape a little more, make these internal connections and show up in a healthy way in all your relationships and redefine what romantic relationships might mean for you or what your expectations are and how to self-soothe and take care of yourself, ask you your needs, know what is maybe a primal little girl need that you need to tend to yourself or relationship, responsibility and need that needs to be met in the relationship?

Jessica Baum:

So it's a really fun book. It's young, it's hip, it talks about codependency and love addiction, but I talk about love bombing and ghosting, and basically everything that a modern woman faces, not just being in our modern world, but with everything that we've taken on and generationally as well as what's imprinted on us as a woman and how we should show up. And I kind of challenge all of that and really direct the person back into inner bonding, essentially to bond with what I call little me.

Jessica Baum:

So it's amazing. And it brings me a lot of joy working on it. I work really hard and I know when I work on the book, because I'm in the process of rewriting it right now, I just get energy and I just get joy and it's like fun. And it's such a nice project for me to have and I feel really good about it and it landed in the perfect spot with the perfect publishers and editor. And I'm just really happy that I followed this path, you know?

Laurie Watter:

Yeah. And it does well, even as you described the book, it seems to reflect your private practice and even ways in which you live your life. So, I know that you talk about codependency being a dysfunctional relationship with yourself and a lot of the work that I've seen you do when I've seen you work with families, it's so much about looking inward and coming terms with your past experiences and how they show up for you in your life today and how you can make adjustments to that, to live a more comfortable, satisfying life and to have more productive and comfortable relationships. I mean, do you see that as the book somewhat being born from the way in which you practice clinically?

Jessica Baum:

Absolutely. And a combination of, I think unlike other clinical books, I'm very vulnerable in the book, so I share a little bit about my personal joint. I share a lot about myself in it and I really am that way as a clinician too, not that I share inappropriately, but I'm really transparent and authentically myself. So I stay in the therapist role, but I share experiences when necessary so that my clients know that I'm human and I've experienced a lot of the same things.

Jessica Baum:

And I do that in my book and it's a collection of Pia Mellody and Harville Hendrix, so a different type of therapy that I have learned and practiced and what I've seen over the years and what I've seen work, and it's sending the same message or some of the same messages that I've been sending all along just to a broader audience. And then probably I'll be able to impact more people. So that was the intention behind the book, but it is, yeah, it's a combo of my life experiences, my training, what I'm seeing and my essence in the book.

Laurie Watter:

Right. Which I think just seeps through your pores because I think you are very transparent and you're so easy to talk to and I know that we've joked about other things, but even in our, just in our personal conversations, just reminding me not to absorb other people's anxiety and there's just these little messages that come through that I take to heart and I incorporate into who I am.

Laurie Watter:

And yeah, I love that about you. I mean, I feel like transparency is such a gift in our world and being honest and truthful with other people and with yourself. So I've seen the growth and change in you. You look so happy.

Jessica Baum:

I am happy.

Laurie Watter:

Yeah. And-

Jessica Baum:

And I'm in a relationship now that I'm happy to, and I write about that, but I think it's important to know that even if you've come through a hard time, you're still good. It's still going to show up in your world. You're just, as you do the work, you're just going to have new insight and awareness around it. I talk about Instagram and Disney and all these Twilight and all this things that we see what our relationships should look like, and I'm like, "But that's not reality."

Jessica Baum:

And most people, they stay stuck in this concept of what love should look like. And I'm like, "Love is hard and that's okay." And as long as you have awareness, it's about becoming conscious around what is coming up in your relationship.

Laurie Watter:

Right. And being able to talk through that and work through that because yeah, I mean, that is our truth. It's not going to go away.

Jessica Baum:

Right.

Laurie Watter:

It's part of what keeps us growing, which is-

Jessica Baum:

Yes. It will show up in every relationship. One way or another your stuff will always pop up.

Laurie Watter:

And it does. It does, and it gets so... Actually, there's a part of it that I think it's fun to even to see it and acknowledge it, just, and I felt like I lived this world where we just didn't really talk about that. Maybe acknowledge it, but just move on. And I feel like now actually being able to acknowledge it and work through it and just accept what is is just a more peaceful way to live. But I also love your, and I believe you, have you patented Self-full?

Jessica Baum:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I have. And that did get born from, I worked a lot with codependency as you know, people coming into my office and I was trying to teach healthy self care and I kept saying, "You got to be more selfish," and selfish isn't the right word. I don't want people to lose their empathy. I don't want people to be manipulative. I don't want people to be self-centered.

Jessica Baum:

So I came up with the word self-full, because I want people to fill themselves up first and then give from there. But it's a lot more complicated in that, in terms of internal boundaries and understanding your internal boundary system and working with your little me parts and your higher consciousness parts to take care of yourself in a more full way, a way of giving and not running on complete depletion or in survival mode.

Jessica Baum:

But when you look at codependency and so the selfless person, or the person that self abandons, sometimes they become an addict, but sometimes they attract people who are more selfish and it's not that anyone is wrong. I said that we track the missing parts of ourselves.

Jessica Baum:

So it's about moving more into a more full state and showing up more for yourself and perhaps showing up differently with that person or attracting someone who is in a more full state themselves. So someone that's not always looking to receive, and doesn't always put themselves first, but there should be an exchange and you can't get there and shift your mindset and you start to learn, move past the fear and the guilt of caregiving and what it means to be in a relationship and learn to have a healthier relationship with yourself and then that will transpire in all your relationships and especially, I feel like your romantic relationships are the ones that trip us up the most. The most dopamine and hormones and all the perfect cocktail comes into those relationships and they're the easiest to get lost in. And so I had to come up with this term and really some theory around helping women.

Jessica Baum:

I made the book for women, but men suffer from this too. And it was just so that I could talk about specific topics that relate just to women, but helping people move and stir, move away from that codependency and more into a healthier place and let go of guilt or shame or whatever feelings come up. When we really do honestly take care of ourselves, honor our needs first, speak our mind, step into our power. So that's kind of how the word got...

Jessica Baum:

I had clients come to me. I mean, I had some really smart clients. One went to Harvard. "You need to trademark that word." Then I had a client, actually, it was a client from Next Chapter that I continued to work. She was like, "I was self-full this weekend. I shut the door. I got a babysitter. I read in the bathtub," and I'm like, "Hmm," And I just, I kept hearing it over, it was like the universe was telling me.

Jessica Baum:

Other people were like, "That's so great. I'm starting to use it." And then someone else told me to trademark it. So I was like, "All right, I'm getting the feedback that I need. There's something here. There's something with using this word and a lot more to it, but using this word that is getting through to people in a healthier way.

Laurie Watter:

Yeah, no, it's, it's great. And I'm glad that you've trademarked it because it's, yeah, it is pretty unique. And I think it's, well, I just I like that it's self-full rather than selfish. And a lot of times when we're doing our own work you're reminded to be selfish, but really self-full feels so much kinder to ourselves. It's hard to be selfish.

Jessica Baum:

Well selfish is a negative. I mean, and it really is a negative. I'm not asking my clients to be selfish. I'm asking them to check in, fill in, fill for themselves, take care of themselves and still give, but selfish people, and that's just a developmental coping mechanism. That's how they've learned to survive in the world, but they only particularly think about themselves. And sometimes there's a manipulative quality to it. There's an egocentricness to it. So they stay in themselves all the time.

Jessica Baum:

Selfish people leave their energy all the time. They self abandon themselves. So the truth is you want to stay in yourself, take care of yourself and still be kind and compassionate when it's coming from the right place. A lot of co-dependents, they give from the wrong place, it's fear or insecurity, or they need to feel validation by giving and it ends up building resentment down the road and they're not really taking care of themselves essentially, and forming the relationships they deserve.

Laurie Watter:

Right. So I don't know whether we mentioned that you do have a private practice in Palm Beach.

Jessica Baum:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Watter:

And I know that Florida is exploding right now with COVID and I am confident that you are taking care of yourself.

Jessica Baum:

I am. I'm home right now. I am going into my office today with a mask on. It's been hard because I treat a lot of couples too. So if a couple is really struggling, I'll put a mask on and social distance. My office is pretty big, but all the clients that can see me from home and do this, it's been beautiful. It's been awesome. And it's actually like a space I wanted to move more into because I feel like we're moving into that world.

Jessica Baum:

But I also think that sometimes more experiential work it's hard to get around it. So I've been putting my mask on and being really mindful and checking in with people. People are wanting it. And so it's been four or five sessions here or there have I have been going in and just trying to be careful. And yeah it's a really challenging because we're such a mixed state and some of my clients don't take it as seriously, but it's my job to be responsible always, and kind of take those steps.

Laurie Watter:

Right. And, well, two things that I wanted to make sure. I want to make sure that people know how they can contact you if you want to share that information. And I also want to know if there's a title of the book that we're excited to see come out, or if you're not ready to share that.

Jessica Baum:

No, I can share that. It's Anxiously Attached: Ending Love Addiction by Becoming Self-Full is the working title and it's due to hit print in the winter of 2021 or January 2022, so I'm in the process of rewriting some of the chapters and then I'll pass it off to Penguin, which I'm so happy about. And I love the editor and she's edited some books that I just love, so then they'll have about a year with it. So they'll re-edit it with me and come up with a book launch plan. So I'm looking at though the winter of 2021. It's a long process, but I used to, I was like, "I'm ready." And now I'm like, "No. I need to cultivate this. Everything is in the right timing. And so now I'm really relaxed in the process and I have very much a plan.

Jessica Baum:

So it's a really great place to be. I was a little dark for a while, not knowing where this was going to land and just trying to follow my heart. The book talks a lot about connecting your cognitive world, your old brain to your body. And I kind of pinpoint the heart at the heart center and tapping down into your heart center as a way of connecting to the present in the here and now and clearing space so that you can become more self-full and have more of an energetic experience.

Jessica Baum:

And as you know, when we work with trauma, that experience in itself is different for every single individual. So I'm kind of trying to guide people, but also be cautious and give them some agency around where they take it, what to expect, because everyone's going to have a different experience when they go inward. It's not always easy at first. It's actually quite scary and hard for a lot of people, depending on how much they've done it and how much trauma is stored in our body and how disconnected they've had to be in order to survive.

Laurie Watter:

Right. Yeah. And oftentimes people do need a lot of support around that.

Jessica Baum:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I kind of have a grounding exercise, but I also have call-in extra support. I have put all these safety there so people know that it can, it can activate a lot. I mean, just deep breathing can activate anxiety. So every reader is different so I'm trying to like navigate that a little right now and it's been interesting.

Laurie Watter:

I'm really looking forward to it. I know you said that if you got signed with Penguin, you were going to be dancing on the table.

Jessica Baum:

Yeah. Well, I put Penguin on my vision board, which just sounds so egotistical. And the truth is I got to a place where I surrendered and I was like, "Just let me land in the best space that intentionally puts my book in the most reader's hands." That's been my attention, but there were seven penguins on my vision board. And then when my agent went out, Penguin responded, but they were the best on the phone with me because I don't know. It just felt, it felt the most aligned. So I'm trying... So yes, I'm excited to be with them and I know that that is where I am supposed to be. So that's an awesome feeling.

Laurie Watter:

It is.

Jessica Baum:

Yeah. Yeah.

Laurie Watter:

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today.

Jessica Baum:

No problem.

Laurie Watter:

I really do adore you. I've just gotten so much joy from watching your journey and seeing you grow and seeing you so happy.

Jessica Baum:

Thank you. And I do appreciate your friendship so much. I see so much heart that you put into... Anytime I work with a family that I know you're connected with, I'm like, "Oh, they're going to get that extra support. They're going to get that kind, nurturing voice," and it's hard in this field because we run out of steam and I just know you give 158%. So I'm always like, "Wow, I have that little angel on this team with this family that I'm so grateful for." So you're a real asset to any family that you help guide through this process.

Laurie Watter:

Thank you. Thanks. I appreciate that. Stay safe.

Jessica Baum:

Thank you.

Take care.

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