If you weren’t worried about pleasing other people, proving yourself, or staying in unhealthy relationships to maintain a sense of belonging, who would you be? For so many women in midlife, the trauma we’ve experienced shapes our sense of self and the decisions we make. But when you heal, as my guest this week explains, you free yourself from your trauma.
I’m joined by Coach Donna Jennings, a Certified Life Coach, Certified NLP Practitioner, and one of our coaches inside The Lit Clit Club. Donna is passionate about helping women come back to who they are and who they were born to be, and as you’ll hear in our conversation, a pivotal step in that is healing from trauma.
Tune in this week to hear Coach Donna and I discuss how to release, rebuild, and create the life you’ve always dreamed of. Discover how you can break free from the effects of trauma and rediscover your authentic self. Join us as we shed light on the power of healing, authenticity, and reclaiming your identity.
You are listening to The Midlife Sex Coach for Women™ Podcast episode 161.
Welcome to The Midlife Sex Coach for Women™ Podcast, the only show that combines a fun personality, medical knowledge, sexual counseling, and life coaching together. To create unique sex coaching that helps busy women awaken their libidos, address intimacy issues, and learn how to express their sexuality for the rest of their days. Here is your host, certified life coach and sexual counselor, Dr. Sonia Wright.
Hello, hello, hello, Diamonds, I am so excited to see you all. I am excited because I’m having a great conversation today with an amazing coach. We have been friends and coaches for five years. We certified together at The Life Coach School. Actually I was a coach before that as well, but in terms of our certification that was back in 2018. And we have been buddies since that time and we realized that we are really soulmate sisters.
So there’s so many ways and reasons why I love Coach Donna, Donna Jennings to be precise. And I’m going to have her introduce herself because she’s got so many different, amazing trainings and talents. And then we’re going to talk about something that’s really dear to her heart, that is her, what would you call it, your soul purpose?
Donna: Yeah, mission.
Sonia: Your mission.
Dona: Yeah, I would say so. Soul purpose, mission, absolutely. Thank you. So thank you, Dr. Sonia and it is so fun to be here. And yeah, I mean, I love talking with my bestie, and I love getting to have impact with you as well, so, thank you. And today we are here a little bit in a little bit different capacity. Usually we’re just kind of chatting or we’re doing a book club or something. But thank you for letting me share about what is on my heart and my mission and my interest.
Sonia: Please introduce yourself before, because I know once you get started, there’s going to be no stopping you.
Donna: Yes, okay, I was about to do that. And so I am Donna Jennings. I am a certified life coach and as Dr. Sonia mentioned, a coach certified through the Life Coach School. Additionally, after that I went on to become a master practitioner and master coach of NLP and timeline therapy and hypnosis. And then I’ve gone on to even really hone my skills further in studying something called the one belief away method and really just adding to what I call my toolbox.
Or since I am a physician assistant, have that background in medicine, you might call it my medical bag. But all the tools, any tools I can find to help achieve the results for my clients and help make an impact in the world. And for the last five years since getting certified through The Life Coach School and really even a couple of years before that when I became acquainted with life coaching, my life, I became a coach because of the impact of coaching.
And all along I have wanted to help women, really what I would call break through you, come back to who you are, you’re wonderfully wired, divinely designed. And I believe that when you are you, you make the best decisions for your life. I also believe that that is heavily impacted through our experiences largely as children and even sometimes, a lot of times before we have memories of events that might, we think, might shape our understanding. And that becomes the lens through which we see the world.
And so with all of my tools of coaching, I take clients kind of going back to what has impacted, if you will, their operating system, sort of like this computer, what’s making it run in the background. Because when there’s a glitch in that we know and then us non-techie people get really frustrated with that. And then I need to take this down to Best Buy or call my husband or whatever, and so that it can get running right so to speak. So it can be running efficiently. It can run as intended to do. So then you can achieve what you wanted to achieve.
And so helping women get back to who they are, who they were born to be. And so much of the time events that occurred impacted that, we made some decisions early on. And that has shaped how we’ve shown up in the world from then on, and often that is out of survival mode, if that makes sense.
Sonia: Yeah, that does make a lot of sense. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted you to come and talk about this. I should say that I work with Donna because I believe in her. She works for the Lit Clit Club. And so you can get coaching with Donna in the Lit Clit Club. But I actually personally coach with Donna as well. Because I think that it’s very important to sometimes go back if you have any early trauma or early things to have an understanding of how things are being impacted today.
And on my last podcast, I talked about how I’m taking a pause. And part of that work was the work that I did with Donna to understand that you really do need to be good to yourself, understand where the origins of this self-inflicted trauma, if you’re if you’re not being kind to yourself, where that started. And take a pause and find the ease and the peace.
And so I wanted all my Diamonds to be aware of the work that Donna does and how she kind of combines those things together to really just help you. It’s almost like a shade is being pulled from your eyes and you’re like, “Oh, so this is how I’m functioning now. And it’s been impacted by decisions that I might have made at five years of age or ten years of age or if I were in survival mode or whatever.” So, yes, definitely important. Can you talk a little bit more about this survival mode and like how these decisions may have come about?
Donna: Yeah. So when I first, so I got coaching, I Iearned how to become a coach and then I became certified in NLP. And in that I learned how to do a breakthrough which is kind of walking back, releasing the negative emotions, being able to kind of walk back to early events that had occurred without re-experiencing the event. But then taking the lessons from the event and being able to move forward. And there’s a phrase I use of learn or loop until you learn.
And a huge part of my approach, my understanding is how much we are driven by our unconscious mind, our unconscious mind. I mean you can research but maybe 5% of our brain is conscious and the rest is unconscious. My heart beating, I’m not making that happen. But then also that operating system that’s going on underneath, that’s created by a lot of unconscious influence, if you will. And because, as you said, you said, self-inflicted and it is. And yet I want to also be compassionate to anybody who might have gone like, “Wait a minute, I didn’t traumatize myself.” We didn’t.
But here’s how that unfolds. An event occurs and then we give that event meaning. We give that event meaning and then we make a decision about ourselves. And then we create a belief about how we’ll live from that. And so for a while what I did was breakthroughs and we would really just uncouple, if you will, from the effect of that trauma. One of the things that developed as a result of that was realizing, it’s sort of like even dragging and striving and working so hard and then suddenly you’re free from that, now, what do you do?
And that’s when I realized, wait, don’t just uncouple from the trauma drive, which is, I’ll explain that in a moment. Don’t just uncouple from the trauma drive, but then this is where dream life comes into play. Now, how do you build your life after that? Sort of like learning how to walk again, except that it’s really, it comes natural once you get into it.
And I heard someone once say and I thought this was really powerful. When you uncouple from trauma drive, you’re not learning how to live without trauma. You’re learning how to live with joy. When you get uncoupled from the trauma so that that’s not what your motivator is anymore, then you’re figuring out how do I live going forward, not just moving away from the pain of the past.
Sonia: Yeah. When you’re focused on the trauma, it’s almost like you’re in suspended animation. You can’t really fully function. So you’re saying, you uncouple from the trauma, you do your work, you process, you figure out and then you’re actually actively working to create the life that you want and to create the joy that you want. As opposed to just being like, “Now I’ve uncoupled from the trauma and so now I’ll just kind of be here, at least I’m not going to be experiencing the trauma again and again and again in my mind and what’s happening with that.” But you’re saying actively go towards the joy now.
Donna: Yeah. Because your identity, and I’ll get even more specific on that in just a second. Because I realize [inaudible] this conversation, we’re probably busting open tons of questions for your audience, which is actually great. I love cognitive dissonance and getting people to start conversation and thinking. But when our identity has been what has been rooted in the trauma or even stacks of trauma. And so suddenly when we are uncoupled from the effects of it, that is not the stress that’s driving us. And we’re not dragging that and trying to run from that, who am I?
How do I be? If I’m not a people pleaser and I’m not trying to prove myself anymore and I’m not living around in unhealthy relationships for meaning and love and belonging, and I’m not apologizing for having my own voice or silencing myself, then who am I? You begin to gradually, and this is where you kind of take those baby steps and realize, it’s okay. You start discovering it’s okay to want what you want. And to even just ask yourself those questions. What do I want?
And as you make decisions, you find yourself not so focused on proving yourself anymore, not so focused on making sure you are seen and heard. Because you stand in more of a conviction and a confidence and a certainty that you hear you. And if you want to be heard, you’ll just go be heard. And then a big one is there’s more of a fair playing field, a balanced playing field, if you will, about your needs and the needs of others. And so your needs begin to matter now and they might not be sacrificed on the altar of what everybody else needs first, my needs don’t matter, my wants don’t matter.
And a deeper layer of that is if I do this for other people, then eventually they’ll do this for me. They’ll look out for me and I’ll be taken care of that way. That doesn’t really play out that way. When we end up eventually, and if enough time, noticing, wait a minute, I don’t get my needs met. I’m frustrated and tired of being taken advantage of. I’m not getting the raise I deserve, the promotion, the recognition, because you also haven’t expected it and haven’t asked for it.
Sonia: And you’re also looking for it from somebody else. So if you’re sitting there and you want your emotional needs met by someone else but you’re not even saying what you need to that person anyway. But you keep doing the people pleasing thing and trying to get them to a point that they shower you with the attention or emotional solve that you need to feel better as opposed to realizing that really it needs to come from yourself and you’re the only one that can heal.
And I think there’s something about midlife where we kind of make a decision. So I know that you work a lot with midlife women. So talk a little bit more about that and actually tell us specifically what your, what we call your area of focus is, it is dream life but there’s some other things as well, right?
Donna: Yeah. And so exactly, so that’s part of what I do. I take individuals through a process of releasing and then rebuilding, if you will, or creating that dream life. But that’s a great point, Sonia, is that I was kind of poking at it, wanting to help people and serving people. And it has all just come together this year to fully understand what I want and who I want that for and absolutely why this shows up in midlife so much. We’re going through a huge transition where we have been laying out our lives and giving it up for other people.
And we’re going through this transition of, we’re about to move away from that. For a lot of women in midlife, their kids are growing up and so they’re looking at an empty nest. And as they look at that empty nest, they look at who am I. And so that’s why there’s a big question of identity in midlife. Who am I and what am I doing?
And I love Brené Brown, I saw a reel of hers and she talks about midlife being this unraveling. And it’s not really a crisis, it’s an unraveling but it’s basically life kind of putting hands on your shoulders and saying, I’m not kidding around, you’re halfway to dead, it’s time to go. She has some other words for that and I love how she says that.
Soia: Halfway to dead, oh, my goodness.
Donna: And so it’s time for you to get on with living your life. And so I think for me, for people and actually, when it landed for me, it hit me like I had been punched in the gut and that’s how I knew. I literally was in a hotel room processing and thinking through this and creating. And when what I’m about to tell you landed for me, it hit me like a gut punch and I just leaned over my window sill and was looking out the window. And then it was a little bit like the breath had been knocked out of me.
And it was this soul connection. I’m like, “Yes, God, I hear you now.” And yes, this is it because it’s deeply personal and I have some skin in the game and I understand the journey. I just didn’t see it coming. But I also believe that now that I see it coming, I understand why maybe it took a while because it is personal. And that is that the women that I coach are women in midlife who are fatherless daughters.
So all of the things we’ve talked about where individuals, where an event occurs and then they spend their life basically responding and surviving from that type of an event and particularly the loss of a father or the father never having been there. And maybe they never knew their dad or maybe they’re aware of him, but they didn’t grow up in the home with him necessarily. And that leaves a void and as a result we put in coping mechanisms.
And that to a huge degree are just compensating for the void and they’re seeking what we’ve lost from a place of vulnerability rather than a place of strength and a place of certainty of who we are. And because of that we compromise who we are. And what I mean by that is we might look for love and belonging and things like that in relationships that aren’t mature enough to appreciate us or to provide for us in that way. And so yeah, so women in midlife who are fatherless daughters and who are ready now to move into their life as opposed to away from their pain.
Sonia: And there’s so much in terms of saying fatherless. So I think that you’re right. There’s so many levels of fatherlessness. There could be, you don’t even know who your biological father is. You don’t even really necessarily have a name or you could have a name. You could have an identity, a belief or an understanding of that person. Maybe they abandoned you at birth or maybe you just never grew up with them. Maybe they lived in another state. Maybe they lived in the same house with you but it was many abandonments, every day kind of thing, right?
Donna: Exactly, yes.
Sonia: Where you’re in that place where you don’t exactly know what that relationship is like. And so you have an idealistic concept of what you think it should be instead of reality, which is your father is a human being and some things will be great and some things may not be great and they’re doing their best kind of concept.
But instead, since you didn’t have that experience you might be in this place where you have this idealistic or you go and look and see what society says it should be. And then you try and recreate that or you have concepts as to why you were not necessarily good enough to get that. But it’s all from this idealistic concept of what it should be.
Donna: Yeah. And what did we do? And that’s what we do as kids in a very simple way. I’ll sum it up very simply. But as children, when something like that occurs we wonder, what did we do? What did I do to make them leave? And that becomes, so first of all, you have to make a decision, I must have done something or I must have not been good enough. Anyway, I must have done something to make them leave. That’s a decision that you might make and not even be aware of it really.
And then you live out limiting beliefs from there. So for example, I must have done something to make him leave. And so you then live out a limiting belief of I have to be good enough for people to want to be in my life or for people to stay. I have to earn love and trust or any variation of that. And that’s just what our little brains do to try to create some certainty and security in our world. And this is my story. You’re absolutely right that there are so many faces of fatherlessness.
Mine personally is I never knew my father. I have a name that my mother gave me. I’m still not sure what I am aware of, my grandmother shared a story once that I guess she was in the house. I was a baby maybe. I think I was a baby, I think she said I was a baby. And he was there, looking out the window, saying, “Why won’t you marry me?” And my mother said and again, all of this is according to my grandmother, “I married one drunk and I won’t make that mistake again.”
And he went on to, my mother knew that he went on to marry somebody else. And so I often thought I probably have brothers and sisters out there maybe because this was in the area that I grew up in. And he married in the area, in the general area in that same state. I often wonder, I’d look through the phone book at his phone number.
And so this speaks into I grew up with a single mom and three kids and we struggled and it was incredibly stressful on her. which creates this domino and generational effect of the generation of daughters, the generation of fatherless daughters, a generation of fatherless daughters. Then is more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier and has a higher risk of being a teen mom, also has a higher risk of being a single mother even later. And that carries its own set of stresses. This is certainly not an indictment on single moms, not at all.
Sonia: Not at all, because they’re pretty amazing, yeah.
Donna: Single moms are amazing. Single moms are incredibly amazing [crosstalk], right?
Sonia: Yeah, and I definitely want to ask you about the sexual intimacy side of things. So I heard that they may start having sex early and I’m not judging one way or another. But I want to know, in this moment in time we might be in our 30s, 40s, 50s, beyond, and we are engaging in sexual intimacy. Would it be something where we wouldn’t necessarily have our voice? How would that impact [crosstalk] now?
Donna: Yeah. Think about what happens if you’re still proving yourself, still not certain of who you are, still not comfortable asking for what you want. And we only talked about the example earlier in a career. And now we’re talking in the bedroom. We have a likelihood of being very independent, not needing other people, avoiding conflict. And there’s a risk of being disconnected. So we might go through the motions of sexual intimacy and still have a disconnect. Kind of I’m really feeling it and being connected to individuals because we have an intimacy issue, and intimacy with ourselves.
And so therefore an issue making a connection with our partner, make deeper connection with our partner. And that’s going to translate into intimate experience. Are you there just to give them what they want? If we think that in other areas of our life, we are there for what everybody else needs then is that our attitude, unwittingly, our attitude in the bedroom? What does my partner need me to be? How do I need to show up? Yes, I enjoy this but is the underlying belief there that I’m here for them? So then my needs don’t matter as much. I don’t ask for what I want.
And you and I both understand the majority of women, and this is for heteronormative partners, the majority of women do not have an orgasm with penetrative sex. So you need clitoral stimulation. If you haven’t investigated that to even think that that pleasure is available to you, this is just the way it is. Then you haven’t even done the research so that you can even have a conversation with your partner to, “Hey, let’s bring in some clitoral stimulation.”
These women may just be like, “Well, I’m broken, something’s wrong with me.” And they hold that in silence, don’t talk about it, don’t reach out. Don’t think that there’s anything better for them and this is just my life. Feel free.
Sonia: Yeah. So I’m just thinking that it is about valuing yourself and honestly, there’s a lot of women that don’t necessarily have a father figure in their life at one point. And they do honor themselves so I’m not saying across the board this is what happens. And there’s a lot of times when you have parents in your life and they may have been there or they may not have been there.
But I’m just thinking and extrapolating and getting to this place where we may have had events in our past that led us to believe that we were not valuable for some reason or another. And then we show up in the bedroom from a place of not valuing ourselves. And if we’re not valuing ourselves, the odds are we’re putting the focus on somebody else and somebody else’s pleasure. And not necessarily coming to this place where it’s equal pleasure, right to equal pleasure, that type of thing.
Donna: Orgasm equality, baby.
Sonia: But it shows up in so many different aspects of our lives. So how do you, not specifically about sexual intimacy, but yes, you can address this, but when you’re dealing with women that have had this issue of having had experience of being a fatherless daughter. How do you start to heal that, be it in the bedroom or outside the bedroom or however they show up in this world? How do you start to heal this? How would they start with this work?
Donna: Thank you. So we go to that in the four step process that I work with, that we have what we call the awakening experience. And then that upgrades everything around that primary event and the belief around that. And basically kind of the programming, the operating, the way you operate as a result of that. And instead of chasing all of the effects of it, we go back to the root cause.
And when we heal the root cause, and I can’t stress enough, we do not relive it. There’s no need to relive, ever relive in my opinion and in my experience, there’s no need to ever relive the trauma. And we don’t relive the trauma. But we go back to the root cause and we release that and then, because who would you be without it? More genuinely you.
Sonia: That’s true, yes.
Donna: And then because then it’s sort of just like she blossoms without that being a smothering covering, so to speak, holding you back from being you, keeping you from that part of you being seen. And so as we deal with the root cause and the emotions related to that and the identity related to that, we release and then upgrade, if you will, simply put and then reinforce that. And then we go into every part, we go into these multiple areas of your life. And we start with the six main areas of your life. And we start where you want to start about beginning to create what you want.
And when we go through that process that has her choosing and identifying values and worth and then creating tangible milestones. And as that occurs, she speaks up for herself in order to achieve these goals. And she will naturally speak up for herself, assert herself, stand in her identity. And it’s a little bit like we heal the root cause and then it’s like we shine the light on this beautiful bud and it’s like the sun warming it. That just causes it to open and bloom, that dream life process.
And it’s an arena where she has some structure to then begin to get her legs, her legs, if you will, not sea legs but her legs and then walk out her life as she wants to. And I believe again, we’re wonderfully wired. We’re divinely designed. And so you get, it’s not selfish. It’s getting back to the intention and the purpose for you when you came and getting away from things that have knocked you off course. Some people think, what will happen, will I just suddenly change my whole life? You won’t, you’ll simply be more of the best of you.
Sonia: I love that.
Donna: You’ll simply be more of the best of you.
Sonia: Yeah. And you’ll be kind to yourself. You’ve taught me to be kind to myself. When I need a pause, to take a pause and that is okay. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to bring you on this podcast so people can get a sense of the work that you do and that it’s okay to be kind to yourself and to give yourself what it is that you need. And if you need to go back and work on trauma in some way, obviously we definitely advocate going to a therapist and working with a therapist.
But sometimes it is helpful to have a coach and you said NLP. Can you just quickly say what NLP stands for just in case some people have an understanding.
Donna: Sure. Thank you. So NLP is neuro linguistic programming and in a nutshell it really is just a collection of great practices and strategies and tools for excellence. It’s driven kind of by how you’re wired. So neurologically that’s where we live. We live and we respond and react and create from a neurological level. And that neurological level is unconscious and that’s wiring, if you will. And that wiring has been impacted by our early experiences.
So how we see the world is wired, if you will, we see the world through specific lenses based on our interpretation of our experiences. And so again that neurologically, I just think one of the easy metaphors for that is wiring and then we could upgrade our wiring.
Sonia: So like if we have wiring from the 1960s, it definitely has a risk that our house is going to catch on fire. So it’s time to upgrade the wiring. I’m going to stop the podcast here, because we’re going to have part two. And I want you to talk to us more about how to create, how to upgrade that wiring and how to create the dream life. But in the meantime, where can people find you if they’re looking for you?
Donna: Thank you. And so again my focus is healing and wholeness for fatherless daughters. So my website is simply donnajenningscoaching.com and that’s Jennings with a J. And on there we could schedule a discovery call and have a conversation, what’s your goal, what’s your desire, what do you want to do? I generally work with clients for this process. This is a beautiful, beautiful process designed to be as simple and painless and easy for the client. And so we’re going to want to work together for at a minimum of 12 weeks to begin making that headway, so yeah.
Sonia: Cool. Alright, so we’ll make sure that we have the notes in the show notes, so the links in the show notes so that you can connect. And next week we’re going to be talking about how to create that dream life. Thank you so much, Diamonds. Thank you for being here, Donna. And we will talk to you soon. Thank you.
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