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In Dr. Daniel Amen’s new book, “Your Brain is Always Listening”, he discusses how the different types of dragons from the past can breathe fire on your emotional brain, causing you to feel anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief. In this chapter, Dr. Amen and his wife Tana discuss the fascinating story that opens the book, which revolves around the brain health issues experienced by the son of a notorious drug kingpin, and why recognizing and taming dragons from the past was crucial for his healing.
For more info on Dr. Daniel Amen’s new book, “Your Brain is Always Listening”, visit https://yourbrainisalwayslistening.com/
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We are talking about my new book, “Your Brain is Always Listening. Tame the hidden dragons that control your happiness, habits, and hangups. And if you pre-order the book, you can go to yourbrainisalwayslistening.com. I have some great gifts for you, including a series of six hypnosis audios, an event with me March 17th only for those who pre-ordered the book, where I’ll answer your questions and spend a couple of hours with you. And, a free bottle of Happy Saffron normally a 49.95 value, that we’ll give you a coupon for a free bottle. You have to pay the shipping, but it’s just a supplement, I think is amazing. But you have-
… A testimony to read.
I have to read testimonial I want to read. This is by Future R-D-H Rach from United States. Favorite podcast. I’ve come to love Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen. They share a wealth of free knowledge in easy to listen to and to digest episodes. I love the sound of their voices, and I love their willingness to help me. Thank you, Rachel Miller. 20 years young, wow!
Yeah, she’s very young. That’s great. She’s got a huge headstart. If you Rachel, want to let us know which book you would prefer, we will send you a signed copy. Either. Daniel’s new book, “Your Brain is Always Listening” or “The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child”. I will sign that for you, and let us know. Go to brainwarrior’swaypodcast.com, leave a note for us, and we will send that out to you.
What we’re going to start now are the dragons from the past, and there are 13 of them. And for each dragon, we’re going to tell you their origin story, where how they came about, what triggers them, how they cause you to react, how to tame them. And then, we’ll also start talking a little bit about their upside, because many of these dragons have an upside. And then, in the book, I also give you meditations for them. For example, my dragon is the abandoned, invisible, and insignificant dragon. And the meditation is I am loved, I am unique, I am significant, I am seen. And then, list who you are seen by. I’m seen by you, which I love. And I am making a difference in the lives of, and then list who you are making a difference for.
So many women struggle with this one. And not just women, but so many women struggle with this insignificant dragon and young, young women or adolescents.
No question about it. Before we get into the dragons, I want to tell you a quick story. I opened the book with my interaction with Miley. But then, I tell a story of Jimmy who’s 39, who is the son of a notorious gang leader.
And one could argue that a gang leader gets their significance, gets a lot of significance, by being a gang leader.
Well, when you’re the son of one.
Right, it’s the opposite,
He was a high level business executive, who had just been released from a psychiatric hospital after he was suicidal. He had severe anxiety, panic attacks, dread because he had to give a presentation in public. And that had always triggered him. And he said, “If he had to describe the fear, it’s like you’re on death row, and the clock’s running out. The guard opens the door, and you must take the first step. That’s the kind of fear that runs through my bones.” That’s what he said.
He’s had this thing we call glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, since 12 when his grandmother made him give an impact statement for his father, right? Who’s in charge of the Mexican Mafia in LA, who is on trial at the Los Angeles County Superior Court for double murder. And he was infested with dragons and ants because you had the thought, “What if I cannot speak and end up killing my dad?”
So that’s where that started?
And the ants. And whenever you and I see somebody new, we’re always listening for the ants, the automatic negative thoughts.
And they stack. And then, they attack you. And Jimmy’s ants were, I can’t speak in public, so I’m going to lose my job. I’m going to be afraid of interviewing, so I won’t get a new job. I’m a loser. My wife will divorce me.
I’ll end up on the streets, so I should kill myself. And that’s-
So, he went from I can’t speaking to, I should kill myself.
I should kill myself.
Right. But it’s this process of negative thought patterns that drive suicide, that drive anxiety and depression, and the ants, the automatic negative thoughts, are fuel for the dragons.
It’s fascinating how, if you really unravel it, it starts with one negative thought. And then, it just starts to wind and breed and snowball.
And if you understood his life-
… Which he allows me to share, he had intense, persistent trauma. He had many of the dragons we are going to talk about. He watched his father deal drugs and beat up other people. At the age of eight, 12, SWAT officers stormed into his apartment. He was laying on his father’s chest on the couch, and all of a sudden the SWAT officers broke through the door with guns pointed at them. You should’ve heard the emotion. He told that to me. When he went to visit his dad at Folsom, in prison, his dad made him go up to other gang leaders, notorious gang leaders and introduce himself.
Oh my gosh!
It was something his father called testing is metal.
He witnessed drive by shootings. He was in car chases before the age of nine. He had been kidnapped twice by feuding family members
His mother kept his siblings.
Is he going to write a book? This would be a great book.
His mother kept his siblings, but sent him away to live with his grandparents.
And that’s what the origin of the abandoned, invisible, and insignificant dragon. And then, while he was living with his grandparents, his grandmother was raped by a rival gang member. And while they were raping the grandmother, one of the gang members asked Jimmy if he wanted to have sex with his grandmother.
It’s really crazy stuff. The ancestral dragon, which we’ll talk about both sides are loaded with anxiety, depression, drug abuse. And Jimmy had some bad habit dragons. He loved watching violent movies, boxing, and UFC fights. He loved watching execution videos and animal fights, because his arousal templates,-
… That thing that excites you and turns you on, was set when he was a child watching the violence around him.
It’s like me, my like for movies about justice. You call it revenge. I call it justice. That happens.
You’re listening to this podcast, you know that we also were thinking about brain influences. Jimmy played football. He was an all-conference linebacker, he had many head injuries, he boxed during high school. At the age of 15, he fell eight feet onto his head, was unconscious.
Lost his hearing. Had to relearn to walk. He used drugs and alcohol as a teenager and young adult to cope.
When we scanned him, he had an emotional trauma pattern in his brain, that’s not a big surprise, and showed damage to his left temporal lobe, which can often go-
A little like mine?
… With dark thoughts. A little bit like yours.
But his life was crazier than mine.
So with treatment, and it was intense for the first six months, but we were taming dragons, and he’s a worker. You got to do what we ask you to do. You can’t listen, and then just magic. It requires work.
It’s like praying. That’s like, praying, “God, please let there be no weeds. Please let there be no weeds in my garden.” But you don’t go out and pull the weeds. It makes no sense.
And I use medication for his left temporal lobe, supplements to repel his brain. His mood stabilized, his anxiety lessened, became a better husband, has been promoted at work. He lost 37lbs. Stronger, more energy, and he’s completely helped his family, which is, you can imagine, there’s been stress. Get well.
And I am grateful to have been able to work with him. You are not stuck with the brain you have, you can make it better. And you get better, like he did, in the four circles we always talk about. Biological, we went to balance his brain. Psychological, killing the ants, taming the dragons. Social, his relationships became better. And spiritual, he really does have a deep sense of meaning and purpose. And that’s how people get well.
When we come back, we’re going to talk about my primary dragon, the abandoned, invisible, and insignificant dragon. What’d you learn today? Did you learn anything important to you? Write it down, take a picture of it, post it on any of your social media sites. Go to brainwarrior’swaypodcast.com, leave us a comment, question, or review. And if we answered your question or read the review, we’ll enter you in to a drawing to win either “Your Brain is Always Listening” or “The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child”. And we’ll sign them for you. Stay with us.
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