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You should be mad!

Posted by healthyhabi | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-19-2016


*This is a preview segment from my upcoming book “Tales from the Trance”. In light of the ridiculous and infuriating FIFA scandal about the female soccer players who won the world cup making 25% of their male counterparts I felt sharing this one early was important.

The names and identifying details have been changed.



I often work with couples on similar yet separate issues. Usually it’s the wife who comes in first for some problem, and after she discovers that therapeutic hypnosis is both effective and not some kind of voodoo, the husband comes in regarding the situation from his viewpoint.

This case was no exception. I had seen Pia a week earlier for confidence and stress-related issues, and a week later, her husband Sadar came in for his own difficulties with anxiety. Pia and Sadar were both programmers who had met at college. Though both Indian, Pia had been born in this country, whereas her husband had grown up in India and had only been in the United States for about ten years.

I asked Sadar to explain what he thought was causing his anxiety, and I got an unusual answer. “Frankly, I can’t seem to get past the resentment I have towards my employer and my bosses. You see, my wife and I started at the company on the same day, went to the same college, got the same degree, and have the same job, but I make more money than she does…a lot more. She gets what I think you in this country call ‘lady bucks.’” Under other circumstances, I would have laughed at his reference to a very funny, yet sadly true, segment done on the “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” show on HBO the week earlier, where John Oliver referred to the 76 cents that women get for every dollar a man gets, as “Lady Bucks.” However, Sadar was not smiling, and it isn’t funny when it’s happening for real, right in front of you.

“Out of curiosity,” I asked him, “how much of a difference are we talking about here? The equivalent of a new car? Is it actually 76% of what you make?”

He replied, “I don’t think about it in terms of a car because that’s not what we would buy. More like a year of college at UCSD [around $26,000]. That’s how much my family is being robbed by our employer, and I am mad. Don’t get me wrong…our children will go to college, even if that means my wife and I have to work four jobs each, but it really isn’t fair, and I am having a hard time not being resentful.”


I had heard this same story told many times by very angry women in relation to their male coworkers, but I had never actually heard a man complain about it. Certainly, I had never encountered a man who saw the bigger picture of his whole family being cheated by this injustice. Sadar went on, “You in this country talk about freedom and fairness and justice, but yet you allow this kind of practice to happen in almost every company in every part of the country, and I don’t see anyone protesting it. People aren’t marching in the streets over this issue. Why is that?”

I found this question difficult to answer, and it bothered me for many reasons, the greatest of which was that Sadar was pointing out an unfortunate truth. “Sadar, I hate to say this, but as women, we have become used to it, to some extent. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t make us angry, and that we won’t complain about it when it is right in our face, but no one wants to take on that kind of ongoing fight. Also, the truth is, it usually doesn’t go well for those who do fight it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protest, but that is one reason we don’t.”

Sadar told me that my answer was the reason he and his wife, who actually had a pretty good legal case against their company, had decided not to battle them. “They could easily come up with some reason why she doesn’t make as much as me, and our lawyer said it would be a really hard case to prove.”

During our hypnotherapy session, we did some work on anxiety and letting go of anger. Sadar was smiling and seemed to be feeling better when he left my office.

Now, though, I was angry! Sadar’s story had triggered my frustration with every employer I’d had where I knew I was being robbed of that 25% as well as promotions I deserved, but which had been given to my male counterparts instead. Then, of course, my anger surfaced about an obscene phone call I had received earlier that day, during which I asked a prospective client when he would like to come in, and he told me what he would like to come in. At the time, I had laughed it off, but now I wondered if, as people on this planet, we were laughing off too many things. Why weren’t more women upset about this disparity in equal pay for equal work? Why should a family with two incomes lose nearly 25% of one provider’s salary? And why weren’t more men upset about this as well? In our supposedly progressive country, why should this happen even once at a company, with no consequences?

Oddly enough, two weeks later I got an email from Sadar about a different and interesting side effect of making less money. It turned out that after I had seen him, the company had a big layoff. No one could figure out how they decided who stayed and who was laid off, but it looked like the accounting department had just gone down the employee list, taken a look at the salaries, and gotten rid of the highest-paid personnel. Thus, Sadar was let go, and Pia kept her job. To be fair, it could be argued that Sadar’s resentful attitude had factored into their choice. Fortunately for Sadar, he was able to get a better job for a higher salary at a neighboring company.

As a result of my work with Pia and Sadar, I had to ask myself why Sadar, a first generation American male, had actually been more upset about unequal treatment of women than I had been. It brought to mind how women in general are socialized not to make waves. Also, I realized how easy it is to ignore something just because you see it all the time, even if that thing is immoral and harmful. As a result, I raised my rates the very next week—not by a lot, mind you, but I certainly didn’t want to be the one denying myself a fair salary. I didn’t get one single complaint, which made me think I should’ve done it much sooner!


The Cluster of Fears

Posted by healthyhabi | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-05-2016

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Usually when I work with a client on fears, we focus on one or two at a time. A client who is afraid of spiders usually doesn’t have other non-bug related fears to look at. The client who is afraid of flying typically isn’t afraid of heights as well. Usually these fears are the result of either a single traumatic event or having taken on someone else’s fear (such as a parent). But,  every once in a while I see a client who is afraid of a large amount of seemingly unrelated things—heights, flying, escalators, driving on the freeway, hospitals, tight places, etc. All of these at the same time typically aren’t about a single traumatic event that can be pointed to and healed.

At first glance, these fears may not seem related at all, but if you look deeper, you can see that the root fear is a loss of control. For example, if you are driving around the city and let’s say you blow a tire, you can easily pull over and deal with it. That is much more difficult at 70 miles per hour on the freeway, and it can feel like being out of control. The same can be said for flying. Once you get on that plane, there is no pulling over if you get uncomfortable and no bailing out.To make it worse, you can’t even use the bathroom unless they say it is ok.

For most people these things are a part of life that we have grown accustomed to dealing with, so to some extent, it’s not a big deal. If you are someone who suffered at times in your early life when control was taken away and you were violated, the loss of control in these situations can trigger negative feelings about these activities.

It’s been my professional experience that people who have what I call “a cluster of fears” were often the victims of long-term sexual violation, like being molested as a child over a period of years. Usually when these people come into my office, they have already been in therapy for quite some time. This is good because much of the work will have already been done. Yet, the damage left behind in the form of unhealed fears needs to be addressed.


This makes it both harder and easier to work on. Harder because we have to look for a deeper, more painful injury that the client may or may not want to talk about. Easier because instead of looking for one or two events causing one main problem, we are looking for an event or events causing lots of problems in many areas of the person’s life. When you find those initial triggering events and clear the emotional charge, the person’s whole life can change for the better seemingly overnight. There is still work to be done, but the crippling symptoms (the fears) diminish; the person can begin to live more fully.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a cluster of fears, don’t wait to get help. On the other side of the pain you may temporarily experience while looking at those unpleasant memories is a peace and transformation beyond explanation available to you.

Love yourself enough to do the work of healing the deeper wounds. You are so very important to the world and so very worth healing.


Jill Thomas CCHT
Healthy Habits Hypnosis