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What Brings Out Judgmental Tendencies in People?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In Dr. Daniel Amen’s new book ‘Your Brain is Always Listening’, he describes the dragons from the past that breathe fire on your emotional brain. One of Tana Amen’s primary dragons is the ‘Judgmental Dragon’, which can have surprising origins. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Amen and Tana dive into the details of these dragons, illustrating what typically causes them, what triggers them in a situation, and how to keep them under control.

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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 on our journey with the dragons. And now, today we are moving on to the judgmental dragon. Just FYI.

Daniel Amen, MD:

This is Tana’s primary dragon.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s not my primary, it’s just one of them. So anyways, before we get going, I am reading this review and it’s because I’m selfishly reading this one. This is from EMM3005 from the United Kingdom. It says, “Just listened to the first chapter of your new book, Tana. I have to purchase this. Very powerful. God really does use you to help others. You have helped me before to get healthy. I’ve let it all go. But now I’m getting back on track.” From Scotland.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Wow.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Isn’t that cool?

Daniel Amen, MD:

That’s really awesome. And the subject line is “God bless you both.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, love that. Thank you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You are our payment for doing this. And so we love when you leave us a comment, a question, or a review. Do it at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. Also, what have you learned? Write it down. Post it on any of your social media sites, hashtag brainwarriorswaypodcasts. Also take the dragon quiz at knowyourdragons.com and send it to all of your friends, because if you know what their dragons are, you’re just more likely to be helpful. We did it as an executive team and knowing other people’s dragons, it just helps you to be kinder to others so you can help tame their dragons, or you can make their dragon’s roar to life based on your behavior. And so just imagine your dragons. So you have a dragon thunder. A thunder is a herd of dragons. And I have my dragons. And so sometimes because you and I love each other passionately, deeply. But sometimes the dragons just get in the way of us having as much fun as we could have. So we don’t want that for you, but you have to know your issues.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you recognize it, it’s so much easier.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yeah. So today we’re going to talk about the judgmental dragon. And I quite frankly live with this dragon.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

He’ll often say it like I care or it’s a bad thing. But we always talk about a dark side and a light side, we’re going to have to talk about the light side of this one, because it can keep you out of trouble too.

Daniel Amen, MD:

There’s an upside to this dragon. We will talk about it. The origins of this dragon, so where does it come from? You grew up where you perceived a lack of fairness, where people played favorites, where people were inconsistent and how rules were applied when things were scary and you needed to begin to see things as black and white-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Black and white. Right and wrong.

Daniel Amen, MD:

It’s a protective mechanism. This dragon gets triggered whenever you feel injustice to yourself, or to other people.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. I have a huge thing about justice, fairness and justice.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I know one of our first fights or one of our first disagreements was you found out I had testified in death penalty cases for the bad people. And you were like, “How could you do that?”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh, no. One of the big fights we got into was when you were on Larry King.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Oh, god rest his soul.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I know. Yeah, poor Larry King. But you were on Larry King and you didn’t tell me, well, I figured it out. You were using me for carpool lane because you had to get there quickly. They called you last minute. He’s using me for carpool lane because he needed to get up there fast. And I didn’t think ahead of time, we didn’t talk about what he was doing. And on the way up there, he asked me to look something up for him. And I knew, I had just heard something on the news and I’m like, “Oh my God, you’re going to go on there and talk about this poor little girl who was gang raped. You’re going to talk about why those guys did it and give them some kind of…” And I lost my mind. He couldn’t even say a word all the way up there. I lost my mind.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And I was not going to do that. She projected that on to me.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m like, “You have daughters, you have granddaughters.”

Daniel Amen, MD:

And the judgemental dragon just beat me up. [crosstalk [00:05:35]

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I’m like, they need to be, those guys need to have this done to them and that done to them.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So how does the judgmental dragon cause one to react?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Like that.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Condescending, critical, moralizing, telling others what they should and should not think or do. The whole ride up from Orange County to Los Angeles. If I was king, if I was governor-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I was queen.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I was the ruler.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. So here’s the only problem. The only problem is for me, in my 30s, I actually had this idea that people should listen to me and maybe they would. The wisdom of age, you realize I’m not queen of the universe. People are not going to listen to me. So mostly I mutter to myself now. Well, maybe not to myself, but I know no one’s going to listen.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So during the pandemic, judgmental dragon’s seemed to breathe fire over the entire world, costing people to [inaudible [00:06:38] judge others for their actions, wearing a mask, not wearing a mask. Then after these judgmental dragons that are let loose, the death of George Floyd caused them to run even more wild. Many people unfairly judged all police officers based on the actions of a few. Others made blanket judgments about protesters, blaming all of them for the rioting, looting and mayhem that took place even though most protested peacefully. The upside. What’s the upside to this dragon? This dragon can help you feel in control. So often from not feeling in control.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, it’s a rigidity. I know for me, it’s a rigidity to try to create rules that keep people safe. I’m a big fan of rules.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And clarify your values and goals. Just what you just said. It also wants to right wrongs. I think that’s a big deal for you-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Huge.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And protect those who are victims. It can guide your actions and help you make pro-social choices. Like anger, judgment can be good if it’s directed positively for present day reasons.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

There’s also a form of judgment that we think of that’s a little different, which is discernment. You want that kind of judgment. You want discernment. Being able to discern because it’ll keep you safe. Is this right or wrong? Is this good or bad? Is this going to hurt me or my family? Discernment is really important. So you don’t want to lose that.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So strategies to heal this dragon. Ask a few questions when you feel judgmental. Is this problem now, or am I trying to fix something that was wrong in the past? Do you have all the facts or are you making assumptions about others that you do not know are true? Forgiveness is huge. And there’s a process from Dr. Worthington that we often talk about called REACH for Forgiveness, where you recall what happens. You empathize with the other person. And that’s the hard thing for many judgmental dragons to do. You altruistically, that’s the A, give the gift of forgiveness because you often say, when you hold onto a hurt, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. And so-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, it’s damaging you more than it’s damaging them.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Commit to it, that’s the C. And the H is hold on to it.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And then let’s just be clear. There are some things that are really hard to see from another person’s perspective, but if you can’t do it for them, do it for yourself. And just because you forgive someone does not mean they get out of consequences, does not mean that you need to have close proximity to them, does not mean that you don’t draw boundaries. It doesn’t even mean you need to see that person. It just means you let the anger go for your own benefit.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So what movies does this dragon like?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Probably ones I like.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Let’s see. Tell me if you like any of these movies. Rambo?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yes.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Taken?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Love it.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Law Abiding Citizen?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Of course.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Gran Torino?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh my God, one of my all time favorites.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Dirty Harry?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Love him.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Payback?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I don’t know what that is.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Kill Bill.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

No, not really. The other ones, yes.

Daniel Amen, MD:

They love vengeance.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I call it justice. You call it vengeance, tomato, tomato.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Be curious, not furious. It’s something we say a lot. Behavior’s way more complicated than most people think. Judge behaviors, not people. And get out of your bubble. If you’re quick to judge others, it may be due to unfamiliarity with others outside of your immediate social circle and-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, if it’s social judgment, we’re talking a different thing. Things that, well, yes and no. They’re connected. But creating black and white rules to keep yourself and your family safe and things you do because you grew up in a toxic environment that can reach into social issues. But be clear, is this something I’m doing because I’m immediately, I feel immediately in danger or is this something that is an old… I know I grew up in a family, not a family, but my stepfather was very racist. And so for me, that’s actually, for me, that’s toxic. I grew up knowing in my younger adulthood, that was a toxic thing. But ask yourself, is this because of my past? Is this something that is my own thought? Or is this something that’s because of how I was raised? They’re not, they don’t have to be connected.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The affirmations to say and meditate on every day. I’m going to post these on your mirror. I trade judgment for understanding. I release judgment so I can feel free. I treat people in pain with compassion, not more pain. I am a role model for what I want to see in the world. I foster peace in this situation so there will be more peace in the world.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well, I was going to say I reject it, but I actually liked those. Those were good. So there you have it.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So [inaudible [00:12:22], write it down, post it on, take a picture of it, post it on any of your social media sites. You can hashtag brainwarriorswaypodcast or I’d dearly love you to share yourbrainisalways listening.com so people can pre-order the book-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s a great book.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And get some great free books. We want you to know your dragons, tame them, and then share this information with those you care about. We don’t want your life to end up like the finale of Game of Thrones where the dragon murdered a million people. We don’t want that. Tame your dragons. Stay with us.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you’re enjoying The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode. And while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re interested in coming to Amen Clinics, use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.