Before we get rolling, I’d like to give another trigger warning for this episode. This one is quite visceral and, per the name, involves some violence and attempted harm between mother and child. Leslies story is about her struggle to survive and navigate a childhood with a psychotic dangerous paranoid schizophrenic mother who was convinced the communists were out to get them and thus they always had to sleep with one eye open and always live with constant paranoia. During our conversation, Leslies pulls us into what it was like to live with a mother who once tried to strangle her in her sleep because she thought it would help them to be safer. Leslie’s resilience is quite inspiring, and also she shares with us the dozens of tools she has used to cope with the traumatic childhood that rocked her body, including everything from celery juice, to botox for headaches, to a Vegas Nerve Vibrator. Leslie also goes into the power of writing and how it really helped her to both process and find meaning and healing from this entire experience. Leslie’s has a tremendous perspective for us and some great takeaways. For the full story, checkout her new memoir, “When I Was her Daughter” which came out in November of 2021.
Closing thoughts… This story is hard to fathom, but perhaps my biggest takeaway here is the resilience that the human body and mind are capable of. The fact that Leslie was able to physically survive and to go on to live a rather normal life, with a family and a career, its pretty remarkable. The scene where… Leslie’s Mom tries to run over her head…that image is hard to shake. Another thing that Leslie’s story opens up is just a conversation on mental health. 22 episodes in, I am finding the vast majority of my guests have stories that center around someone with some serious mental health issues, and/or addiction. We are facing a time in our world, especially in America right now, where Mental Health is a mainstream conversation, which I think is amazing. The taboos of discussing issues we may have as well as family members seem to be slowly fading away, which enables us to be more honest with ourselves and others and the the treatment, therapy, or medication that we need. The opposite would be for us to hide in the shame that these illnesses often lead to. I recently heard an interview with Brene Brown where she said the three ingredients for shame are secrecy, silence and judgment. By talking about these things, we automatically take out a key ingredient that shame needs to survive. Writing all this was incredibly healing for Leslie, and I hope that as listeners you also find not only resilience from her story but a willingness and be more honest with yourself and others about your own story. This interview only scratches the surface of the story, and I fully encourage you to check the book out yourself to get the rest of the story.
A book she mentioned:The Body Keeps the Score
Leslie’s Book: When I Was her Daughter
I have a few spots left in my executive coaching business, Treppendahl Consulting. www.robtreppendahl.com