July 20, 2023

Maybe I'm Not the Problem: Kai Qiu @hicoachkai

Kai, a first-generation Chinese-Canadian and visionary Healing Transformation Coach, is the innovative mind behind Boundaries to Freedom, dedicated to empowering codependent adults on their journey towards emotional maturity.

In this warm and vulnerable conversation, Kai and I chat about the following topics:

  1. Growing up as a Chinese immigrant
  2. Boundaries, enmeshment, and codependency
  3. Taking time off to heal
  4. How to engage with old relationships in a new way
  5. When empowering clients becomes an ethical dilemma
  6. Finishing what you started

More about Kai…

As a digital nomad currently residing in Thailand, Kai harnesses his diverse medical, personal development, and spiritual expertise to create transformative experiences for those raised by emotionally immature parents. His approach, a harmonious blend of holistic and practical methodologies, aims to heal and transform the mind, body, emotions, and spirit.

An influential figure with over 500,000 followers across Instagram (@hicoachkai) and TikTok, Kai’s impact reaches far and wide, resonating with those seeking a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationships. He offers online coaching (both 1:1 and Support Group), engaging courses, and regularly hosts insightful virtual events focused on establishing healthy boundaries, healing, improving interpersonal dynamics, and emotional growth. Through his passion and dedication, Kai continues to be a beacon of light and guidance for individuals on their path to self-discovery, healing, and lasting change that ripples through future generations.

For more information, please visit



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Kristen Carder 0:07
Hey, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to a new bi weekly series on the I have ADHD podcast called, maybe I’m not the problem. This is a different type of podcast where I have deep conversations with therapists, psychologists, and trauma informed coaches about how our pasts, our upbringing, our parents, or teachers or traumas or narrative urgencies, all of that have impacted us and how maybe, just maybe we are not the problem. Now, this is not ADHD specific content. So if that’s what you’re looking for, just click on one of the over 200 episodes of The I have ADHD podcast and enjoy. You can expect this bi weekly series of maybe I’m not the problem to be a casual, long form and really vulnerable conversation with someone that I deeply respect. For detailed information about today’s guest, check out the episode show notes for their bio and links. And now let’s get started.

Kai Qiu 1:16
Hello, Kristen,

Kristen Carder 1:17
hey, yeah. I in like the most ironic and annoying ADHD fashion, totally forgot that I was coming in at nine today, I set an alarm. But when did I set the alarm for this morning? Why did I do that? So I set a reminder, I was like, don’t forget to go into work at nine. But I set the reminder for this morning. And last night when I was setting my alarm for this morning. I was like, I just set because my kids don’t have to get up today. They I have three kids and they have off. Normally I’m up early, helping them get out the door. But I was like, Oh, I don’t have to do that today. So I was like, Oh, Luxury I get to sleep in and then at 8am. I was like, Oh, I think I have an interview today. If

Kai Qiu 2:09
you have like, oh my gosh, I had something moment.

Kristen Carder 2:13
And I haven’t had that in a while. Like I’m pretty good with my schedule. And I’m pretty, you know, I’m like a mom and very typical, but like, it was like I was in 10th grade. And I forgot about the test that everyone else knew about and everyone else studied for and I was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t know. And then I was like Kristen, you’re fine. I like chocolate.

Kai Qiu 2:41
I’m not grading you here.

Kristen Carder 2:43
I know. Oh my gosh, thank God. Can you imagine? Oh my gosh, okay, I’m so thrilled to talk to you. Let me just tell you a little bit about how this will go. And then we can just chat, I am so thrilled to be starting this series. And I’m really glad that you agreed to be on the podcast, I’ve been following your work for at least six months, and you you’re speaking a language about emotionally immature parents, that is so important. And I’m just so looking forward to getting into your work and what you do. A little bit about my story I started coaching four years ago and being coached five years ago, and coaching changed my whole life. But when I started therapy, is when I kind of woke up to maybe I’m not the problem in all of my relationships, maybe I’m not the problem in every single area of my life, which was a really interesting and actually very difficult thing to wake up to. Because if I’m the problem, then I can control it, then I can I can fix me. If someone else is the problem, then I don’t have control over that. And I might have to confront them or I might have to confront that the relationship is not going to change. And so that’s been very, very, very

Kai Qiu 4:19
it’s been a reckoning,

Kristen Carder 4:21
I would say, and I know you’re a coach, and people ask me a lot like what’s the difference between coaching and therapy, and it’s such a interesting line. But what I like to say, in a nutshell is that coaching helps you to see where you are the problem. And therapy helps you to see where you’re not the problem. And we need both right it’s not just enough right to always know that you’re the one that’s the problem. And I think when I became a coach, I really use the coaching tools against myself to gaslight myself, to stay in relationships that were really unhealthy. Well, I’ll just into my thoughts, I’ll just change the way I feel I’ll just, I’ll just make sure that I am changing so that I can make this relationship work. So this series was born out of Wait a second, wait a second. Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe I’m not the problem in every single area of my life. And, you know, my, my podcast that I have ADHD podcast is all about helping ADHD ears take accountability, and really wake up to where they are the problem. And I think that’s so important because, you know, self awareness is something that we with ADHD struggle with so much, but we’re not always the problem. And so I would just love to hear this, I hope to be just like really casual, relational, conversational, and I would just love to hear kind of your story, if you don’t mind and feel free to share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. But I have heard the Cliff Notes a million times on your Instagram, you’re probably on Tik Tok. Right? Are you on tic tac at? Hi. Hi, Coach Kai. I love that. I was texting with my sister this morning. And I was like, I can’t talk. I forgot about an interview. And she was like, who you’re interviewing, and I did your handles like at Hi, Coach chi. Because we both follow you. For obvious reasons. And she was like, Oh my gosh, go like your handle is so great.

Kai Qiu 6:35

Kristen Carder 6:36
welcome to the podcast. And would you mind sharing a little bit? Or a lot, if you would like to about your own story?

Kai Qiu 6:46
Sure. Okay. I always love this question. Because it’s, you know, long story, but you know, every time you know, I can kind of tell it in a different way in a different setting. So I’m, I don’t know where to start. I’m 31. I am Chinese Canadian born and raised in a very small northern town called Whitehorse. It’s next to Alaska.

Kai Qiu 7:13

Kai Qiu 7:15
let’s try to weave this together. So where I am today, I occurred in the living in Thailand running my online coaching business. And I was born in 92, to a Chinese immigrant family, parents from southern China. Long story short, like that’s its own story. But my dad is the first in my family to emigrate from China to Canada, there’s really crazy wild, like family connection, business opportunity to kind of move to Canada with my uncle, and help him run a small kitchen in this motel, this this restaurant in a motel. So he took the leap of faith. And around the time, he kind of just started meeting my mom and we kind of went a couple of dates. I don’t know how he convinced her to like, emigrate with him, and like, marry him and move from like China, you know, their whole life was back in China, and they both barely, like graduated high school, to move across the world. And of all places like not like Toronto, and not Vancouver, but the small, tiny rural town of like, 20,000 people. So that’s, I was kind of born into, and that was special, like, literally, it’s called a lot of the midnight sun like bears and moose and Northern Lights and endless summers. So very grateful. And also just the timing of my birth, you know, I was born before phones became a second appendage. So very grateful for growing up and like ruggedness, like nature wildlife, but also had its own struggles being from a very small northern world town, like growing up, I was like the token you know, Chinese kid. And also family life was, you know, very chaotic, like immature parents, immature grandparents, and it was like very chaotic because like being just the first of an immigrant, big family to move. In the years we started immigrating aunts and uncles. So literally the house was always this like clown house. Like literally shuffling around rooms like one point. I like in the basement with my brother with my sister and two bunk beds and an open bed. One point I’m like sleeping on the floor and my uncle gets a single bed. So it was like always moving and shifting and that was a challenge.

Kristen Carder 9:35
That’s how it

Kai Qiu 9:36
was hard. Yeah. And there was like a cultural differences with my parents and generational just those and I think another added element that might fall I’m sure it’s somewhere with sometimes white families but um, we kind of live in this home with like grandparents on both sides. So is like a triple generational home. And, like my parents weren’t like they were having some of their own difficulties like fighting and relationship issues. But also my grandparents on my dad’s side had didn’t like my mom, essentially Long story short, like the in laws. My dad’s side didn’t like my mom and my grandma, my mom’s side. So literally, it was like bullying and like, just

Kristen Carder 10:24
like you are living together.

Kai Qiu 10:26
Yes, living together, wasn’t just my parents not getting along. But it was like, grandparents not getting along. So it was really tough growing up, because it really felt like, like me being the oldest, I had to be very resourceful, and just become a young adult, like a little adult, very, very quickly. Because like my dad, he worked at the restaurant, made all the money, but very emotionally unavailable. And he wasn’t really there to like, encourage us to teach us things, you know, that you wouldn’t want to bad figure to be around, check. And then Mom was just very overwhelmed. And also she has her own issues. So like, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, you know, really felt like walking on eggshells being inside the house. Yeah.

Kai Qiu 11:12

Kristen Carder 11:17
I really appreciate you sharing that. Because when you said at the beginning, like I’ve told this many times, but it comes out kind of in different ways in different settings. I resonate with that so much like, how much do I how much do I say, How much do I give? How much do I kind of reveal, but it’s so helpful to just hear kind of the context in which you were brought up in because we are not here? Like in a vacuum? Yeah, there’s so much influence that goes into making someone who they are. Yeah. At what point like in your childhood? Did you just feel like it was normal? Because I think that right, totally. And I resonate with that so much. Now looking back and processing memories, as an adults, you know, through a 42 year olds therapy coaching Lens, I’m like, Oh, my goodness, I cannot believe that happen. But at the time, I was like, This is just This is what every family does. This is what every this is what it’s like in every family.

Kai Qiu 12:30
Yeah. And there’s also this, like, no secret keeping, you know, it’s like, I don’t want to make my parents look bad. I don’t want to make my family look bad. And even if I do question is less like normal or abnormal? I can’t I shouldn’t tell anyone, I shouldn’t tell my friends about this. Or even a professional. I shouldn’t reveal this to anyone. It’s not, you know, no one’s place to to hear such a thing. Because I think, I don’t know, I think yeah, I knew it was like normalized. So growing up in it, it was I was that normality with it. By always, like, maybe it’s also being, you know, Chinese and kind of different from everyone in class. I always had this almost like envy. Like I had this storyline in my head, like, this sounds kind of bad. But when I was younger, I was like, I wish like, you know, I just had a normal white family. We could do monopolies on the weekend. My dad knows how to fish. So we can go fishing and camping all weekend long. I always had, you know, the white envy. My little, you know, Chinese, Chinese little kid brain, I thought, you know, it was it was normal being a Chinese family, whereas white families, they don’t deal

Kai Qiu 13:39
with this stuff.

Kristen Carder 13:40
Right? Right. As if it’s like, only Chinese families have emotionally immature parents, or only Chinese children are walking on eggshells, you know, like, I think we do look outside of ourselves to whoever it might be, I’d be like, I want to, I want my family to look like their family. I want my parents to be like them. Why can’t my life be? And I still do that? Like, I look at someone’s life and like, wow.

Kristen Carder 14:10
Like, I really have to make it all and not to like, no, no, no. Yeah, that probably adds so many layers to it. So at what point? Did you kind of I like to ask this question like, what point did you realize I’m not the problem here?

Kai Qiu 14:35
Ah, it’s interesting, because there was a point where I realized I’m not the problem, but it was at the same time I realized what I was what I kept doing, like playing those old family roles. I was actually part of the problem. So for me, it was actually kind of recent, I think I was actually not that recent, well, maybe five, six years ago. I was like in medical school and part Love my program, I would get to fly home like across the country where I was going to medical school to do like a two week rotation in a very small rural northern town. So it was another Christmas went home. And my parents like it’s almost like clockwork, like every three years, they have a fight like, you know, I don’t want to Yeah, I don’t want to share too much about why the fight, or they’re just relationship issues like just keeps repeating itself like never resolved check. So another thing happened, another big fight. And I would say this time, it was the worst one yet. Because like when I was younger, my grandparents or other family members in the House, they will be the ones that break up. My mom and my dad’s fighting. So once my grandparents either passed away, or they moved out, me being the oldest, I stepped up in The Guardian role to kind of protect my brother and sister, and also to protect like my mom if it got pretty scary or violent. So it’s another really bad fight. And it was the most broken. I’ve seen my mom. So at one point, I was just like, hugging her and holding her. And like also kind of physically restraining her and literally, it just felt like I had a limp body. Like, I’m hugging a limp body. And she was like, you know, almost hysterical with her just like, you know, the fighting and the yelling and going on for days. And I was holding her like, the her one freehand. Like it was like a broken robot or one freehand. She was grabbing the door and just slamming it against the wall because my dad was on the other side. Yeah. So there was that fight. And once again, my role was the Peacekeeper, the spokesperson. So what happens is my dad avoids avoids, avoids. And then my mom kind of like really, you know, no one’s like the pure victim in this fighting. Yeah, yeah, they both have their own stuff that they need to deal with. But yeah, that’s kind of the same patterns, data Mona aides, she gets even more and more aggressive and angry. And they really it gets pretty aggressive and even violent sometimes. So once again, you know, I heard my Mom’s Demand, you know, go tell dad to change this to stop smoking to do that, do this, or I’m going to leave home threats. So I was like, okay, Mom, I’ll do that. So, the next day, I you know, I went over to the restaurant once it was closing down, and I kind of like sat my dad down and like, talked to him and I was like 25 and this is the very first time in my life that me and my dad we actually sat down like manna man and like had a conversation. And it was kind of in this lens of me kind of confronting him what he did was wrong. Why it’s not okay almost kind of lecturing him. Like if I can go back in time. It would have happened way differently. It would have been less lecturing and shaming but I didn’t know any better Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I had this conversation with him and and and you know, he was like mature I got my point across and I thought something clicked on him. And then you know, I plan with him the next morning me you Mom we’re out breakfast. We’re gonna sit down and just talk this out. And little little Kai love like we did it. We saved everything we fixed it lobbies years we did it a little high.

Kai Qiu 18:34
And you guess how the morning went? Well,

Kristen Carder 18:41
all I know is it was a shit show.

Kai Qiu 18:44
It was bad. Like it was bad and I was so convinced this time that he was gonna go well yeah. So they it was just like they just picked up where they left off like yelling and screaming and like swearing and name calling and digging up all these past things and shooting each other with it. So I literally you know, the next day I had to fly out to go back to school. And once again like clockwork, you know, my mom calls me she kind of tells me you know what’s going on tell dad this. Tell dad this. So I something in me was starting to wake up. But I still like I said, Okay, Mom, I’ll do it. I hung up. But this time was different. Because in the past, I would not even question it. And I felt that’s my job. This is my problems is how I can fix it up at this time. I called a friend. So literally, it was like, you know, like, what is it? Who Wants to Be a Millionaire you know, I

Kristen Carder 19:43
friend i

Kai Qiu 19:45
This time I called a friend. So I called my friend. She’s a great friend. She’s like 10 years wiser than I am similar family dynamics. So I in this was the first outsider. I told about the fighting and what’s been going on and like my resentment and frustration, and it was scary, because, you know, part of it, you know, it’s like, you’re always like, scared, you know, are they going to judge you? Like, are they going to turn away from you? Or are they gonna receive you? So she received me. And I still remember like, literally her voice on the phone. She was like, Hi. Like, you’ve been playing this role for so many years. And nothing’s ever gotten fixed. Like, this is a problem that your parents, they have to figure out how to talk it through, or how to make some serious choices for themselves. So when she said that kind of like, you do not have to keep choosing to do this. I didn’t realize I had a choice.

Kristen Carder 20:56
Yeah. Oh, my goodness.

Kai Qiu 21:01
I called my mom, I broke the script. I did not call my dad. I called my mom. And like, I kind of let her know, like, I’ve been feeling hurt. This really hurts me. And I’m not doing this anymore.

Kristen Carder 21:15
Just that day, that same day,

Kai Qiu 21:17
literally, without three years of therapy first.

Kai Qiu 21:21
Oh, actually, I was going through therapy.

Kristen Carder 21:25
Okay, okay, so you were in it. I was

Kai Qiu 21:27
already in therapy. Yeah. So I think that, by far that’s really helped already open up and share perspectives, but she was just a friend like I really needed her good friends. Like, just tell me straight up. Yeah, just truth, like a good friend, you know, letting me know that I don’t have to mess.

Kristen Carder 21:51
what’s so fascinating. There’s so many fascinating parts about this to be 25 years old, and not realize that you have a choice. Think is such a big point to be made here. Because I was 38 when I realized that I, I had a choice. I was much older than you. And I, I think for the listener, like to realize that if you are someone who does not really feel like an autonomous, an autonomous person, yeah. Who has agency and choice in your relationships.

Kai Qiu 22:39
That’s a problem. Yes. And I always like to tell my clients where I remind them that, you know, we were once truly like victims and survivors. But right now, you know, we’re not survivors anymore. But we need to catch ourselves and we kind of go into Survivor Mode, I joke to my clients, it’s like, paint, I tried to add some fish way to hell, when the door like seriously, there’s a door, like, stop trying to like, you know, add some fish weigh some plans, you know, worry about the Nats. When you’re like, tolerating and sitting and how, you know, you can like try to make some bigger changes, rather than just putting up posters, or literally, there’s a door maybe consider, like, stepping out. And

Kristen Carder 23:27
that blows my mind. I love that metaphor, because I think that’s where we start isn’t it with like, the curtains and the plants and like adding things to make it look better. And like, let’s try to make, let’s try to make all of this work. And I think, you know, you brought up like your inner child, and I think that we are really trying so hard. That inner child is trying so hard to to just keep every thing the way that it’s quote unquote, supposed to be. And I know that, okay, I don’t know, I’m gonna assume that there is a lot of like grooming involved in cultural grooming, and like all of that, too. Like, this is the way it’s supposed to be. And this is the role that you play and like, here is your role in this family dynamic. Right? So for you to go against that, in one day. Just decide like, No, I’m all done with that. That is so brave. It’s just so courageous. I’m, I don’t know you well enough to say I’m proud of you. But just like as a human to human like, Wow, that’s incredible.

Kai Qiu 24:42
Yes, yes. And for me, yes. It was that, you know, one day that big change, but it’s been like, you know, it was probably years of resentment. Yeah, like so much resentment and like, you know, I’m forgiving myself. But like, you know, me maybe five years ago, like when I was 25, like, just hearing my mom’s voice on the phone, like just a split second of her voice and a phone call starting off. Just like, Ah, I didn’t know where it comes from. Yeah, and of course, I, you know, being you know, a sensitive Empath, whatever. And also, like, let’s call it internal iser, you know, afterwards, I would beat myself up, like, I’d be so judgmental, so harsh on myself, my reactions and losing my cool. Just so much, you know, so much of that, you know, just the resentment. And, you know, I know that didn’t feel good for me, but it’s so so frustrating because it’s like, it just felt like you get stuck there. Like, those patterns get normalized to with those, you know, unsatisfying interactions with your parents. And, you know, we kind of also tolerate like, we also kind of tolerate each other’s like, attitudes and passive aggressiveness, and you know,

Kristen Carder 26:01
yeah, I do no pressure.

Kristen Carder 26:05
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Kai Qiu 27:48
such a good teacher is as oh my gosh,

Kristen Carder 27:52
it’s like an alarm bell. Like, Warning. Warning. Something is happening here. Right. So what are your thoughts on it?

Kai Qiu 28:01
Yeah, so I’m like a book nerd. Even though I’m like remote working for like, since June. I literally I have like my my books at my traveling book library. Oh, so why didn’t one book that I couldn’t take with me. It’s like Brene Browns newest book, Alice of the heart. So it’s in storage. And it’s beautiful. Weight of it. I’m a sucker for covers. So literally, the book cover. So gorgeous. And so I’ve learned so much about resentment through that book. Because I at first thought, resentment, it’s like, you know, it’s an angry emotion. And it’s just like, you know, anger is signaling something, you know, you don’t like it, you’re being controlled, maybe or disrespected. But then in Brene Brown’s book, she’s so beautifully describes that. No, like our resentments actually part of the Envy family, like you’re actually envious of other people that don’t have to deal with what you have to deal with. And my own twist, is that, like, I’m, you know, I believe in like, you know, timelines, and like, you know, quantum stuff. Another way they think of the resentment, it’s almost an envy have a version of you, that would not tolerate that would not like, just accept what’s happening without saying something. So it’s envy of other people that don’t have to deal with it. But also, I believe, it’s the envy of another version of you that you know, you know, you are capable in any one split second to shift it, but you’re not doing it. And that can be even a bit of

Kai Qiu 29:37
Yeah, like that.

Kai Qiu 29:41
It can turn to yourself, but you can be mad, and you could be even like, you know, angry at yourself for not choosing.

Kristen Carder 29:54
I resonate with that so deeply. I’ve never heard it put that way but But I resonate with it, because I remember certain moments being like, why can I speak up for myself in every other relationship? Except for this one? Why can I run a very successful business and to help so many people and not help myself in this area? Why can I hold boundaries without drama in every relationship in my life, except for this one, and I would be mad at me? Like, why is this version of me showing up here? Why isn’t that like badass business owner showing up here? Why isn’t like, like, I have three boys, two teenagers and a nine year old. So like, and I am very, like, warm and nurturing, and like, whatever, but also very, like, boundaried and strong and like, why isn’t that firm, loving mother showing up? In the relationship with my parents? Why is it always this like, child version of me?

Kristen Carder 31:09
That can’t.

Kristen Carder 31:12
She’s just like, okay, whatever. And on the inside, she’s like, I hate this. But, you know, it’s I just saw I resonate with that so deeply, where it’s like, you’re envious. Because you’re, you’re wanting that version, like all of us are like, a beautiful version somewhere. Like, why isn’t that archetype of me showing up here in this relationship? Where I need her most? You know, like, Come on, girl.

Kai Qiu 31:40
Yeah, I trucks, my clients, because you know, the first part of my program, it’s very much like in our work. I always joke to my clients, and sometimes you’ll feel so much better, like, oh my god, Kylie, I think I just like I’m enlightened. So I joke to them and say, well, just see how much you’ve grown. Let me know the next time you go stay with your parents, or the next time you see your parents or talk with them. Let’s see. See how because you know, even shocking

Kristen Carder 32:07
how how fast you snap back into that role.

Kai Qiu 32:11
Like, I visited my parents, my family, this past summer, and so good, like, you know, because I, you know, I always test myself, every time I see them. You know, once or twice a year, I get a good gauge of just how much I’ve grown and maybe forgave them. And he’ll this Trump amazing if anything at 1.0 My God, like, I was having a hot pot lunch with my mom, my dad, my brother, his girlfriend, and me. And I could just like across the table, just see how much my mom and my dad was bothering my brother, just the small things, you know, like mom was like, you know, giving him all the food, but she was like, busy washing dishes and she wasn’t sitting still. And one poem eyebrow loss is causing mom just like sit down and just eat. Like, why do we why are we here, you’re not freaking eat at the table. I was like, just laughing because I was like, Ha, I’m like a Jedi. I’m enjoying my food without, you know, going into their dynamics. But then the next day, I was in a call. My mom does this thing where she shows up unannounced. And now she literally just yeah, she bangs on the door. It’s like Chi Chi Chi. I brought all you all this food. So she goes, and I gotta you know whether she shows her love. So she’s unloading all this stuff from our car, like, you know, all these fruits and you know, Oh, you are not staying with them. They’re not staying with my brother down the street. And so she she just drove by to give me some motherly love, you know, so bless her 1000 a call and one thing that triggered me, she does this thing where she she kind of teaches me you know how to use the microwave and like, Oh, here’s some rice especially don’t eat it cold. Like make sure when you heat it up, like use a spoon and break it up, heat it for one minute and she’s kind of goes on this monologue. And that’s where I lost my cool. And I kind of snapped I was like, Mom, like, I’m gonna call it just go I got this Domo.

Kristen Carder 34:12
So then, how did you feel about yourself after snapping?

Kai Qiu 34:18
guilt comes in. But yeah,

Kai Qiu 34:21
not not not as much shame because I had a lot of shame, where it’s like it wasn’t productive, where in the past, I would just ruminate and beat myself up for days and not really making any productive changes. So the guilt came on strong. And then you know, I was able to sit with it, meditate through it, and to learn from it. And then to be honest, it was couple of days later, I had a call with my coach and she’s not even like so she’s a coach. She’s through Brendon Burchard. So like a high performance, productivity coach, but somehow by the end of our time working together, it revolved More about helping me with my relationships. So I complained, I told her what happened. And I explained to her, you know, play by play what happened and I reacted, I got triggered. And she’s she was like, maybe in her 60s, really amazing woman, and she also was a mom. So she was like, Hi. Like, why do you tolerate this? Like, out of curiosity? Have you ever just brought it up with your mom? Like, out of curiosity? Like mom, like, I got this, like, Why do you always have to remind me how use the microwave. So I think that was such a helped me, you know, it’s so obvious now that I say it out loud and hearing it from my coach. But when you’re caught up in it, it’s not obvious.

Kristen Carder 35:45
This is why we all need coaches, because, or therapists or both, because when we’re in the weeds, or the woods, I don’t know, woods or weeds either way, like when you’re in the middle of it, full of weeds. It’s just, there’s a lot of forage, like a lot of foliage everywhere.

Kristen Carder 36:05
You cannot see it. Okay,

Kristen Carder 36:08
no matter how high performing you are, no matter how good of a coach you are, no matter how like amazing you are at helping others and seeing it for them. When you’re in your own situations. You need that friend, to speak truth, you need that coach to just ask a simple question that you would have asked your own client. Yeah, right. You’re like, I know this question. But I can’t use it on myself. It’s not the same.

Kai Qiu 36:35
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So coaches, Coach

Kristen Carder 36:39
100%. So what was it like for your parents? Do you think? If you don’t mind me asking, um, when their son started to say, Hey, I like it. I like this, but I don’t like this, or I’m happy to do this. But I’m not going to be doing this. What? What was that experience like for you? And maybe for them?

Kai Qiu 37:05
Yeah. So like that, that phone call? I told you about five, six years ago, that was me unknowingly setting one of the biggest, like life changing boundaries of my life. Like To be honest, I didn’t really start studying and learning about boundaries until, like, three years ago. I saw you interview Nidra. So yeah, literally need your mental people. Like, yeah, to your book, like so often. Same. So annoyingly, I set a boundary with my mom, I didn’t want to, you know, be that middle person anymore. I didn’t want to like, you know, talk between them, and they need to fix that problem themselves. And I was surprised because my mom, like, I took it well, I thought like, you know, there might be guilt tripping and I push back. I think maybe she like, maybe, maybe maybe my hurt, kind of maybe got across to her, something shifted. So she received that well. And I think in the past years, it’s just been like that dance, where what’s really helped I think a lot of it’s just the internal healing and the internal emotional shift, and just maybe knowing clearer like where I end and where my parents begin understanding more about a mesh Minh and codependency and then kind of going through like more healing work from this other book, you know, adult children, of emotionally immature parents, where I kind of really stopped wanting or needing things from my parents that right now today, they’re not really capable of giving it to me, which is like the empathy or like the emotional sensitivity. Yeah. But still, it’s a work in progress. Because I would say right now, with my parents, it feels most respectful and healthy. At the same time.

Kai Qiu 38:58
I feel like

Kai Qiu 39:00
I want to be closer with them in terms of like physical proximity, because in some ways, like the way that my life is built right now, I’m remote working Thailand, across the world. So that kind of adds in this buffer zone, for sure that I am in the place now. I don’t know. I think it’s just like life and life. Maybe like, my uncle recently got diagnosed with aggressive like stage four prostate cancer. Wow. So that kind of puts things in perspective and my cousin who I grew up with, I’ve been talking to him a bit about you know, him you know, what’s going on is like dad, you know, maybe passing away who knows how much longer and how he shared this beautiful post on social media, where he kind of wrote like, you know, like, we just kind of remember the fighting the pointless arguments. So him and his dad you know, they would get in all these you know, arguments and fighting you know, growing up Even today, but you know, my uncle, like my dad are not very emotionally mature, they lacked the communication skills, but like, especially in Chinese family, like food is so symbolic of love and care. So after every fight every argument, like my uncle would bring into his room, like, get my cousin a fruit plate, like almost as a symbol of like, sorry, let’s move on. So he shared this beautiful post that like, now knowing that God knows how much longer my dad has, I don’t remember, I don’t think about those fights anymore. Now I just remember, I just remember the fruit plates.

Kristen Carder 40:41
That is beautiful.

Kai Qiu 40:43
So even like, for me, I’ve been actually just randomly, like, just getting tearful. It’s not as much anger and resentment, and like blame towards my parents anymore. And it’s like moments of like, sadness, I think it’s a mixture of sadness for myself, my own childhood or what was missing, but also sadness for my parents. For like, the pain and the fighting and the suffering they went through. And I remember now more of like, just like the daily like the daily things they do for you. Like one thing like my dad did, like almost every night was like, after every night after he finishes at the restaurant, so 10:11pm I was a very light sleeper. Also, I struggle with a lot of anxiety. So literally, it takes me an hour to fall asleep. So every night like I could hear, I can hear the car coming in here, I’m open door, and the way that the hallway is set up, it’s like my my doors first. And then like my brother, and my sister. So he would always come to my door first. And I you know, I always turn around because they didn’t want to break the moment. And I was just also very uncomfortable. So always turn around, pretend I’m sleeping. always hear my dad open the door, just standing there for maybe a minute just like watching me sleep. And then he’ll close my door and go see my brother and my sister. And when I was younger, right? Like, I don’t know, I think that was nice. By you know, it was always what’s missing or what my dad can’t do for me. And I never think about, like, that’s him stretching his emotional muscle because for him. So uncomfortable, so uncomfortable with intimacy and touch and hugging. So now, I’m better, more understanding of my parents and being like, maybe like a better son, reading them halfway, but at the same time, practicing my boundaries. Like, my dad makes a comment about my long hair. I look like a homeless person. I laugh and I laugh in his face. I love my hair.

Kristen Carder 42:50
Right here, by the way.

Kai Qiu 42:54
That’s okay. Because I’m not going to cut my hair just because my family

Kristen Carder 42:57
is missing out. Right? I so resonate with that grief. Yeah, the grief of like what could be and the grief of like, I think for many of us who are kind of on this road, of course, resentment and anger is there. But underneath most of that, I believe is grief. Yeah, it is heavy. Yeah. So heavy, that that grief of like grieving what you didn’t have. And I think you mentioned that, like, the experience that you had as a child, and what you did and did not experience like, it’s a lot and then grieving even now like the dynamics and like just knowing it could be so much better. Like it doesn’t have to be this hard. It’s so I just when I was really in it, like a year ago, for several months, just in so much grief, I felt like I was carrying around like 100 pound weight would just be like pressing on my sternum and chest area just so heavy. And I would you know, you kind of like muster up what you need to, to muster for the day. And I would just like do my thing for the day and then I would get into bed at night and it would just press on. I could just feel it like physical pain. It was just It’s intense that grief and I don’t know about Chinese culture. I’d be interested to hear this but like, most white people do not know how to grieve. We don’t know I don’t know, I’ve never grieved before truly and I had moments in my life where grief would have been appropriate but because my parents didn’t know how to grieve. They didn’t teach me to grieve, which is you know, of course or how can they teach me something that they don’t know. And so in the moments even where grief would have been appropriate, that wasn’t really tolerated, it was just like, let’s just move on. And so in this season, you know, last year where I was really kind of opening up and allowing myself to grieve, it was, like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

Kai Qiu 45:30

Kai Qiu 45:32
Culturally, I’m not sure if it’s much better, but I’ll use my own family dynamics. It was not something that was shown by my parents or taught or supported. And I think this really came through like I was. So growing up. My parents were to the restaurant. So my grandma on my mom’s side, or my dad’s side, she was kind of my main caregiver. And my grandma, like, I know, she loved me, but she she can be pretty harsh. Just really harsh with like, for instance, I remember like when she would wash her hair, she rarely scrubbed. She rarely scrubbed ourselves. Oh, like she’s, you know, she’s Yeah, she’s a grandma. Yeah, grandma. But um, she got stomach cancer, really suddenly, and she passed away when I was 10 years old. And it was, it was really devastating. Because I know my parents are trying to protect us were young. So they didn’t really tell us. They didn’t tell us that grandma’s sick and grandma’s like Doc. So literally no preparation, nothing. And I remember I was in grade four, actually remember my younger years better by the grades, because that’s how important school was. And it was a second home. So grade for my teacher was Mrs. Taylor. And we were at, it was called the we’re at the Art Center. So we were were celebrating this poet called Robert Frost. And we were like, We’re broken in the classes and we’re all gonna go onstage. We’re all kind of dressed up in like, whatever fashion they were wearing. And we’re about to I should I should ask her what was the poem, but we’re about to recite a Robert Frost poem. And literally, like, I was freaking freaking out. And I was very nervous, anxious kid, you know, trauma. So I was literally like, freaking out before going on stage. And literally minutes before going on stage. My teacher pulls me aside, and she delivers me this news that

Kai Qiu 47:31
my grandma died. And literally,

Kai Qiu 47:35
like, I’m still grieving. Literally, I’ve just been opening up that grieving, you know, now, literally, I was like emotionless, like literally was just like robot like, nothing, nothing really computed. I kind of just numbed it out. And I remember my teacher, she was more like, upset for me than I was I should do anything. Like, you can go home, you don’t go on stage, like whatever you need. I’m here for you. We can get you a ride home, anything that you need. And I was like, No, I’m okay. Like, I’m ready.

Kai Qiu 48:04
I got Let’s go. And you went on stage.

Kai Qiu 48:06
I went on stage. And then, like, days later, weeks later at the funeral, still, you know, I couldn’t really cry. And it was really when I looked around the room and I saw my dad kind of crying and I saw my little brother crying. That’s really when just a brief moment, like the floodgates opened, and then it just been locked up. Like that was like No 21 years ago. And it was really just about five years ago, when I briefly dropped out of medical school. And I was in I was in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I was next to this creek. And I might have been taking some sort of fun guy looking like thing. And I really like remember my grandma and I really felt like almost her energy there. Maybe it was like by the creek doing my underwear. I for whatever reason that kind of like brought me with my grandma. And I just spent the afternoon by the creek just like grieving and like just buying her loss. And still today like just a couple of weeks ago I was in the spiritual Island thought of breathwork and stuff and once again like the the grieving like came out there I never like I never ugly frowned, like I never ugly frown like so hard. Like shaking and breathing and sweating and like you know like crying. I really think we need to grieve and really frown so slow down so then our smiles can be actually more more real and natural once we’re done that really like oh,

Kristen Carder 49:54
I had never thought about ugly frowning ever in my life, but now it’s tucked away.

Kai Qiu 50:00
by yourself next time you’re crying and stuff really like yourself like makeup really? Like really it was like this, it was like

Kristen Carder 50:12
I never knew I had so good. It’s so good. Oh my word. It’s

Kristen Carder 50:22
It’s shocking how much our bodies store. Yeah, the idea that we can just move on is so adorable. And cute. You know that it’s like, it’s fine, I’m over it. There’s no such thing. And it’s wild. Once you begin that journey of kind of opening up and letting those wounds surface it really, I mean, it’s so cliche, but it’s like, the onion, the onion metaphor, you know, where it’s just like, it really is just like layers and layers that start to peel. And it’s shocking the things that come up for me that I like, I don’t remember a whole lot of my childhood. Because trauma, and my therapist is like, that’s God’s grace, you know, that you don’t just remember everything like right away and like, have all of those memories to reckon with, but they kind of like happened slowly. And so being able to remember something and feel the pain and know what to do with the pain now, I think is so beautiful, and such like a redeeming quality of the human spirit, rather than you know, as a child and an adolescent, and even a young adult, I just would dissociate. I didn’t know I wasn’t like, It wasn’t intentional, but it was very much a dissociated process. It was just like, that’s fine, whatever. And I would just block it out, which, you know, circling back to not remembering much, you know, but it’s so fascinating now like welcoming that grief and welcoming, you know, what, like, what was little chi going through at age 10? In grade four, with Robert Frost, and like, just those, those moments that you remember? And, and what could have been in the grief experience, you know, and honoring that now? It’s so beautiful. It’s so beautiful. Yeah.

Kai Qiu 52:32
Like, even though like family wise, and maybe culturally, you know, crying grieving is a work in progress. But growing up, like, you know, we did have, like, I don’t think my parents are religious, per se, but I think they are like, in the realms of like, Chinese folklore. So even like, growing up watching TV shows and stuff, there was like, you know, Heaven and like, you know, like, you know, next lives. So we do have this, you know, we do have a shrine for my grandparents, like, back in my dad’s home, my parents house. So that’s a very, you know, beautiful, you know, symbolic, you know, that, you know, they’re still around, you get to start watching over us. And we still, you know, from special occasions, but birthdays, you know, we always have those moments of kind of connecting, connecting.

Kristen Carder 53:23
That’s beautiful. That’s really beautiful. So, at what point did you start helping people like, what, what was the transition for you? Where you felt like, Okay, I have made so many changes, and it feels so amazing. And now I want to be able to help other people what, what was that like for you?

Kai Qiu 53:47
I think when I first worked with my coach, like, this was like a friend of a friend. And she had her own life coaching business, and I think this was back in maybe 2017 or 2016. We worked online is back in Skype, you know, Skype days. So I think that planted such a big seed.

Kristen Carder 54:09
I mean, rip Skype,

Kristen Carder 54:10
you know, like, really missed out I feel bad. I could say no, this is a tangent, but like, Oh, of course, guys, they were like

Kai Qiu 54:20
What do they do wrong? Come on, uh, no way. Oh my

Kristen Carder 54:25
gosh. All right. I’m so sorry. I was so distracted by that because I just feel bad like they were the innovators and now like nobody we just they’re like a joke now I’m so sorry.

Kai Qiu 54:36
I hopefully this will actually who knows? Because this might happen with like, Google where like, thing with integration. It’s gonna make Google become the next guy. You heard here first.

Kristen Carder 54:52
Clip, you heard it here

Kai Qiu 54:54
came a stock. This became like an investment punch.

Kristen Carder 54:59
I promise See you? I promise you will never be.

Kai Qiu 55:04
Oh, I forgot we’re talking about okay, I’m

Kristen Carder 55:06
so sorry. That was my fault. Hold on, let’s back it up. I’m working with your first coach in 2016 2017.

Kai Qiu 55:13
Yeah, so I was going through medical school bad. And I was like, so certain back then, and medicine was everything. So it was more so just a personal development and learning about values and stop. And that really planted a seed that holy, like, she’s helping people, I paid her quite a bit of money, and she gets to do it over her computer. Yes, sweet. So then, you know, fast forward going through medical school. And it was really my, I had a breakdown in 20, in 2017, and my third year medical school, that really changed everything. So in medical school, the first two years, it’s like, manageable, it’s like not a classroom stuff, tasks and studying and some, like, you know, practice situations and some doctor patient interaction. But then third year, like you literally just got dropped in the hospital system. And you’re like working pretty much full time not getting paid. And then you have to study write exams of all the medical school stresses. So I thought, it would be a smart strategy to pick the schedule where I get to do the rotation that I knew I was going to dread and ate the most first. And that was surgery. So I thought it’d be very wise to just get over two months of surgery. And then the rest of the school year, I’m laughing, right? Like, literally that first week in surgery, like, destroyed me. Like, physically, mentally, I wasn’t sleeping well. And I had this shame pattern. Whenever I’m not doing well at school, I really neglect myself, I really get mean with myself. And I really stopped doing the things that takes care of myself. So no more meditation, no more yoga, drinking a lot of coffee. And I was I like to binge eat rice chips. So a lot of them wasn’t eating well, just eating a lot of rice chips. And then I had a very terrible case of the Sunday blues, where I just had a breakdown. And I just like, I never, I never had a breakdown like that. So literally, it was after three hours of going down this rabbit hole like googling bankruptcy, Googling like medical student forums and like dropping out. And literally not finding like not not finding anything helpful. But even if I found something helpful in that mind state, I wasn’t I wasn’t well. So literally, it felt like I just like went flatlined. And like something in my body, like walked me to the door, like I closed down my textbooks, close my laptop, and I just walked myself to the door. And I just started walking. And I did three laps. The first lap, I had to really check in to see if I was suicidal. Because I’ve never felt so low and just so bad about myself and things aren’t going well. And I put so much of my identity was school and becoming a doctor. And it was really not going well to the point where I was working with a therapist then. And my anxiety and the trauma, whether I was really getting triggered in the hospital. I had this, like I had this belief, and it was such a strong belief. I believe that I had a memory problem. That’s why I don’t remember my childhood and using this belief. That’s why I can’t be a doctor. So I literally had this perfect storm that I put myself in. So that I you know, I walked around the first block and thankfully it didn’t have any suicidal thoughts or ideations. It was kind of beautiful. Because once I kind of got to that scary part of like, contemplating, do I want to not? I decided, nope, I don’t want to I don’t want to kill myself, I don’t want to end things. And I swear to God, like these two, like, like to a new voice like came online. And I was like talking to myself. And I asked myself these two powerful questions. The first one, it was some self talk like chi, this is the worst it’s ever been no matter what, we’re never going to let ourselves get to this point. So what do we need to do to start taking care of ourselves? And that was so beautiful, because that question was such a powerful, like, just a self care, self value question. And that question helped me open up to the possibility of maybe taking a break from school, maybe even dropping out because actually nothing is more important than my life. And I didn’t have that before having this breakdown. I before this breakdown, it was like becoming a doctor. That’s more important than my life. And then the second question is It’s what do I want to do in this life? Like, not what my parents expected me, not what my medical student friends expect to me. Not what like my family expects of me, not what I think they expected me. But what do I really want? And really, that transpired into me taking six months off couple months later.

Kai Qiu 1:00:22
And it was like, in the moment,

Kai Qiu 1:00:27
it wasn’t like making this choice. But looking back at it now, I would say I was very courageous. But at the moment, during that struggle, it wasn’t it didn’t feel like our courage actually felt like a shame and survival and like to be honest, like a piece of crap. Yeah, I’m taking a break and dropping out. And I didn’t tell anyone, and that’s what shame does, she makes you feel like it’s just you, you should keep this a secret. So that I finally confess to like my ad friends in medical school with Facebook group. So I literally made this big post like months in confessing that I’m not doing well. I’m actually taking a break. I’m I don’t know if I’m coming back. And can you guess what was the overall response of my friends?

Kristen Carder 1:01:14
I really want it to be positive and warm and kind and supportive. I really hope it was. It was

Kai Qiu 1:01:23
very supportive and warm. And it was so beautiful, because they commented, but then like so many of them individually, like privately messaged me. And they almost like, confessed that they weren’t doing well, like medical school wasn’t what they were thinking it was, like, they’ve been kind of pretending that they love everything. Because there’s this this like, hot sort of spiral Lester in it. But like, it can be a pretty toxic clencher. And there’s this like veil that everyone is like happy everyone is so lucky to be a doctor. Everything is so exciting to learn and to do all this stuff. But yes, that’s true. But there’s also so much of it that like no, we’re like lying. It’s like some of it’s like inhumane, like the work schedules and like, you know, the demands like it’s put on us. Yeah. So by the end of that school year, six other classmates actually took a leave of absence as well.

Kai Qiu 1:02:22
So I

Kai Qiu 1:02:23
kind of shown the way. So it was kind of funny. So I took a leave of absence. But literally my game plan was to drive across the country. So literally, it’s like four and a half hour time difference from where I went to medical school, on an island. And we went to Goshen to where my parents live next to Alaska. So my goal was to like salary thing, and then drive across the country. Once I got to my parents basement, call the medical school and be like, Hey, I’m sorry, you pick the wrong person, right? I’m sorry for wasting your time. I can’t do this. Yeah. So that was our plan. And then you know, taking time off, and like just taking a full break from school like, whoa, like, my mindset changed. And I kinda went on this two month road trip with just myself living out of my car, going through the USA, like going to as many parks as I could. So my one of my first childhood dreams was to become a doctor. And, you know, I’m not saying it was just all my parents and conditioning, but a big part. Like, I think a big part of that was because of parental family. Sure, sure. Expectations. But another, like maybe a more truer, like my own childhood dream that I had, was to like, go camping and like visit parks. So I kinda had this two months soul journey, like just me living on a metal hatchback. Nature therapy, I went to like a 10 day meditation retreat, meditating, you know, on my own, and I might have maybe not smuggled seven tabs of not illegal substances.

Kristen Carder 1:04:12
For sure, now, absolutely not. So great. If you are loving this podcast, would you take a moment and share it with a friend? There are so many people in the world who need to know that they are not the problem. And I know that there are a lot of people in your life who would benefit from hearing these conversations with therapists and coaches about how to establish a healthy sense of self and create better relationships. So take a moment and share this episode with someone that you respect. It’ll be like a beautiful free gift from you to them. And if you’d like to share it to your socials, make sure to tag me at I have ADHD podcast and maybe even today’s guest so that we can both say thank you to you and give you a virtual hug. All right, back to the show. Can we just take a sidebar and you tell us about the parks that you went to? Where did you go?

Kai Qiu 1:05:08
Yeah, so I started with Acadia, kind of on the eastern side. And then I went to another New England Park. And I kind of went through the mid Midwest. So I think I went to Badlands. Some other ones there. And I went as far south as Colorado. So, Colorado Park, and I finished with like Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

Kristen Carder 1:05:38
I saw a post on Instagram. But I think it was a quote from somebody very smart. And, you know, as we get all of our therapy on Instagram, and it said something like, if you weren’t nurtured as a child, or if you had like, emotionally unavailable parents, being in nature is very nurturing.

Kristen Carder 1:06:08
And I have found that to be so true for myself, that nature is such a nurturer. And it soothes my soul in ways that I never experienced as a child.

Kai Qiu 1:06:24
Yeah, throw in a hammock, you know, throw in a hammock in there, and you’re set, you know, womb reset. Yeah. And it was like that. So initially, when I started this road trip, I was just gonna drive straight across Canada, saving money and time. But then like, you know, once I was on that break, like my old self was coming back, like my traveling adventurism itself, that was coming online. So then I had this crazy road trip. And initially, you know, it was just like, couchsurfing staying with friends and family. And it wasn’t so much like living on my car as a home. But it was like, you know, a month into the year, maybe a couple of weeks into the trip. I was seeing my car now, as a home and it wasn’t just as vehicle. And I remember, I was like traveling across New York State and one day, like a nine hour drive. So I don’t advise listeners to do this. But maybe if you do, don’t blame it on me if anything bad happens, I would turn on cruise control, and I would cross my legs. Why? And I would meditate with the eyes open, eyes open, eyes, open, eyes, open, eyes open, either open, okay? So I would be kind of meditating, as I’m driving through these, you know, beautiful highways and stuff. I think it was like six hours in driving. I had this moment where like, I swear to God, it felt like my vision became even clearer. And I had this like, warm kind of feeling like coming from all directions. And it was a moment where I just felt like, safe. And it was the moment of realization that I’m home. Like, this is my home. And we’re sure, yeah, you’re here, but specifically also in the car to kind of say, like, I don’t have to worry, I don’t have to like, you know, nervous system. And I’ll be on guard. Yeah.

Kai Qiu 1:08:19
I’m okay, now.

Kristen Carder 1:08:22
That’s beautiful. And is that when you transition to staying in your car, because it felt safe. And like, Ha, that

Kai Qiu 1:08:29
was a big transition. Because before that, like, every day, I would like I would roll up my little mattress and I kind of move things around. But after that, I just left my bed out in the back. So I really, like I can’t count the portion of my car. And I think that was kind of me maybe like coming, like more into being of course, that’s like an ebb and flow. It’s like, you know that one moment now I’m sure ever. I’m safe. I’m comfortable.

Kristen Carder 1:08:56
Oh, it’s only it’s only

Kai Qiu 1:08:58
been like, almost like once you kind of feel it. It’s almost like you have a well, I don’t have a targets the right word. But it’s like you have a sense of safety now. And you kind of know, like when it’s missing. And you kind of know when you’re like, there.

Kristen Carder 1:09:14
That’s such a good point. Because if you don’t have that point of reference, ever. Yeah. How do you even know that it’s a thing? How do you know what safety is? I remember, oh, gosh, so embarrassing. I remember getting so annoyed with people when they talked about emotional safety. Right? Like, oh, this person isn’t safe. I would just be I would legit roll my eyes and just be like, What are you even like, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Yeah. And, you know, I have so much compassion for that version of me because she just didn’t even know what safety was. I had to like I have so much guard up all of the time and was never able to just relax into being safe. That yeah, like safety was never something that I had explored. And so when people would talk about I be like, that is so dumb. And now it’s like the primary thing I talked to my

Kai Qiu 1:10:23
foreign yes or no

Kristen Carder 1:10:28
1,000,000% Because my body tells me, my body knows when it’s safe, and when it’s not safe, and I do everything within my power to make sure I’m cultivating that for myself, and also making sure that I am a safe person. For my kids. I’m a safe person for my husband. I am a safe person for the people around me. Because when you don’t know that safety is a thing. You’re often a very unsafe person. And I know that I was very unsafe. Oh my gosh,

Kai Qiu 1:10:58
yes. My roommate jokes and her. What is the adjective that she had for me? Is that chi, you are reckless? Yeah, I have a reckless streak to me. Unsafe, you know, cuz that’s my norm. And even like, even you know, it’s, it can be like an addiction, where it’s like, you’re right. It’s like the boredom like the calmness, the no drama. It’s like, Oh, you like I don’t want this. But now it’s like, now can learn to love this. Like power dynamic, like, just safety. And like, you know, no drama and honesty? No second guessing. No, like misunderstandings. This is great.

Kristen Carder 1:11:43
Yeah, it’s so fascinating how our nervous systems get so comfortable with. Is it danger? Is that the right word? I don’t know if danger is the right word. How would you describe it? With being unsafe? I guess that that is then because it’s familiar. What we go looking for we look for it in our jobs we look for in people in relationships and romantic partners. We’re looking for that. Like, will my nervous system be in its familiar place?

Kai Qiu 1:12:14
Yeah, yeah, totally.

Kristen Carder 1:12:17
And then you rewire it and then you have to be like, okay, none of the people in my life are saying, Oh, shoot.

Kai Qiu 1:12:25
Oh, I know. And that just brings up to be honest, that’s still something. I’m figuring out like myself, personally, but also as a coach helping my clients. Because even though I worked in the realms of like relationship and healing, it’s very much like, I work with the individual client. So I’ve been coming up with like, my own maybe like, ethical dilemmas where it’s like, when I help this individual, and they change, they might start to wake up that certain people right now in their life, they don’t necessarily maybe want to continue what’s going on, or maybe actually don’t want a relationship. So it’s so tough because like, you know, being Chinese were like, family is so much of a unit, where it’s like, we’ll wait at all costs to like, do whatever it takes to not break up, like connection in the family, where I think there’s that added element, where it’s like, you’re changing, you’re healing and you’re waking up, but those around you kind of are not, yeah, but but by what I always encourage my clients is like, do the inner work, but then you need to continue the inner work with outer work. And it’s always with their closest people that you already have here today, for you to work in. And it doesn’t have to be so black and white, where you just cut them out, or you know, you set a very rigid boundary and you go no contact, I always encourage my clients were like, practice this yourself. And it’s through boundary setting firm communication. You know, confronting your family, you can almost rock the boat and maybe rocket into a healthier place where maybe no other person in their life could have such an influence on them. I always have to remind my clients, you know, you can’t change them, you’re not responsible for changing them. But if you did choose to possibly heal yourself reparent yourself. AB you might be willing to approach your old relationship with your parents in a new way. And maybe help your parents like, repair them. But at the same time, you know, even if you have emotionally immature parents, we have so much to learn. Like I have so much to learn from my mom and my dad. And it’s not like you know, okay, I saved myself now I’m gonna go save my mom and my dad. No, I just repeating repeating Your old problems, but in a different energy like in a inspiring encouraging like boundary self love way we can through our empathetic, respectful, calm communication, really rock the boat yeah in a way that they might start to self reflect, they might start to maybe like engage in some of these conversations more productively with you

Kristen Carder 1:15:27
my brain is like firing 7000 miles a minute right now.

Kai Qiu 1:15:34
Like it’s so interesting because like I get all these like paradoxical stories of my clients and their parents like changing, like throughout our time working together like one, like one like one. One client story I’ll always remember is this client I work with like late 30s Lawyer badass in Vancouver. So kind of like, you know, she has that persona as her life’s like so compartmentalize like her life as a lawyer so setup. But then as a friend romance with her mom, like night and day, the one of her biggest breakthroughs, so she had so much shame, so much guilt, so much obligation, and her and her mom are so enmeshed. Like even though she has her own apartment, she told me that her apartment doesn’t feel like her own home. And it’s her mom’s house that feels like more of her house. She was stuck going to our mom’s house for dinner five days a week, non negotiable. And she couldn’t travel because it worried her mom on the weekends. So she didn’t travel. And she wouldn’t really socialize because her mom hates her drinking. So she would either lie that she went out drinking, or she just didn’t and had very limited social interactions. So I helped her doing a lot of inner work, the healing work and just helping her like, just realize that what guilt feels like, like she had no idea what guilt and what shame felt like, yeah, and whenever her mom gave her the silent treatment, it would destroy her. Like it’ll ruin her for days and weeks. And she said like literally give up everything. Apologize, bend over backwards. So her mom stops solid treating her. So this was her birthday before she graduated from my program. So she went out drinking like she would had a great time. And she went over to her mom’s house just a little bit late. So before she even opened her mom’s apartment door, she knew her mom’s going to be silent, treating her you know, upset cold shoulder, so of course it opens the door. Hey, Mom, how’s it going? Are you ready for lunch? I’m hungry. No response, you know, her mom’s like, behind, you know, sink back turned, ignoring her. So my client felt the guilt come out, you know, felt the shame come out. But she didn’t you know, now she didn’t let it you know, make her go back in old ways. So calmly she came on. I’m just gonna go in the other room. Let me know when you’re ready to eat. I am getting pretty hungry. So she held her ground. And she was polite. You know, she was respectful. And she went to the other room. So can you guess all long until something happened?

Kristen Carder 1:18:14
I would say ours

Kai Qiu 1:18:17
just are two out no, just over two. But the cool thing was, of course, my client was feeling a bit nervous, anxious and guilty. But overall, she was having a good time, you know, on our phone tick tock on ever checking her birthday messages. So just over two hours later, she hears us like sheepish knock. The door opens. Hey, Susie, are you ready for lunch yet? I’m actually kind of getting hungry too. So even though her mom didn’t apologize, yeah, was a new behavior. Her mom to break the silent treatment and to like, you know, open the door

Kristen Carder 1:19:02
for and instead of the child’s fawning, right, the trauma response when we are stonewalled, or we’re given the silent treatment, we’re usually going to find I’m so sorry, I love you so much. What can I do to make it up to you? Instead of that she holds an adult boundary which is like, let me know when you’re ready. And instead of her moving toward the mom, the mom moved toward her, which is so much more appropriate. Yeah,

Kai Qiu 1:19:35
it sometimes washed you know, like, this is not a trivial moment. It’s like actually a very big moment for both of them. Where it’s almost like, just the way that she told me the story. It really felt like, you know, with her mom, like approaching the door and you know, kind of through her parents like kind of feeling sorry. It’s almost like, you know, she got out of her reactive state. Yeah, and you know, it’s Like her own, maybe like, inner child is kind of coming through as well like her mom’s. And I get these stories all the time with my clients where it’s like, yes, we can’t change people. But when we really change ourselves, and we’re talking differently, you know, people feel differently around us. And it’s with the people I’ve known as the longest. Yeah, we can really like inspire, encourage, yeah, change to happen.

Kristen Carder 1:20:31
With one caveat, I would like to add, which is, I think that when you make changes, and you invite people into a new version of relationship with you, and they continually refuse to enter into that new version of relationship, then you start doing a deep dive on narcissism. And you, you just go to Dr. Romney’s YouTube channel, right from this podcast, you just head right over there. And I’ve reached out to her, I’m hoping to interview her as well. But I think that that, that invitation, I think as we become more healthy, we begin to invite the people in our lives, right? And we invite them in, we say, Hey, there’s this new version of me. And of course, we’re not using these words. But I’m changing, I’m evolving. There’s this new version of me, would you like to be in relationship with me? Do you want to, like pursue this with me, because this is the new version of me. And a healthy enough person, a mature enough person, they don’t have to be mature or healthy, just mature enough, healthy enough will say, Well, I don’t like it. But okay. Right. Right. Because, like, they don’t have to like it, of course, like we are the ones changing. And so I have so much compassion. And I’m sure you will, I’m not sure but I assume that you feel the same way for the people in your clients lives, like you have compassion, because you know, your client is changing. You know, they’re the ones flipping the script, they’re the ones making things quote, unquote, difficult, right? And their relationships. Because what is easy is to follow the same pattern, what is easy is to play the same role that we’ve always played. And when you’re helping someone to wake up from the delusion, really is what it is, right? We have to wake up from the delusion of like, Oh, I thought this was the way it was supposed to be. I thought I was the problem, or I thought like this other thing was a problem. But it turns out, that’s not true. When you wake up from that delusion, and you start seeing things clearly. You start to change relationships, and then the people around you’re like, What the hell? What are you doing? Right? This is not the way it’s always been. This is not the way that we agreed when we first what even when it’s a parent child relationship, there’s an agreement there. I’m like, ranting.

Kai Qiu 1:23:08
I feel you I feel a synergy. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 1:23:10
there is an agreement between a parent and a child and the parent sets up the agreement that says, hey, this is the way this relationship is gonna go. And of course, as the child, you’re like, cool, I will parent you, I will prioritize you, I will make sure that your emotions are cared for. And I will do that myself. And as you begin to change those agreements, whether you’re in your 20s, or your 30s, or 40s, or your 50s, the parent or whoever it is that you’re in relationship with, can either say, Well, I don’t like it, but I’m willing, fine. Okay, and, you know, wait two hours and deal with their own stuff, and then come sheepishly knocking on the door. Or they can say, No, this is not the agreement we made. And I refuse to enter into a new version of relationship with me and so there are those people or parents, and I hope it’s rare. I hope it is so rare, but occasionally it is like, I refuse to meet the new version of you. I refuse to to interact with the new version of you, I refuse to engage with you the way that you’re asking me to. And I think that that is when the break often happens is when not without trying, you know, you’re like, hey, this is the new version. Do you want to can we do it? Can we tweak it can and it’s it’s again, it’s like adding the plants and the Fung Shui like all of the things to the relationship? Can we just do it this way? Do you mind if we did it today? And and you try so hard to get that person to kind of meet you where you are and they are just continually like, nope. Yeah, that’s when it’s like, okay, maybe. Maybe I take the door.

Kai Qiu 1:24:55
Yeah. And also kind of like what you said with you are being the one that always felt like the problem? Or who’s responsible for changing? Like, that’s also a you’re trying to grow it up. So it’s not to like give out, give up that part completely. But also to know when I’ve tried enough. And when is it that? I think it was I learned from Nidre? Where it’s like, you decide how long are you willing to tolerate the growing pains? Is it going to be three months? Six months, one year? Is it going to be like, Okay, three months of no improvements, I’ll wait one year, if I can see some tangible improvements, but Right, that’s at the end of the day, you know, boundaries is like an invitation, it’s protective. But if they choose not to meet you there, then they’re also choosing not to be in a relationship with you, or at least not to the degree, like to what it was, or maybe it’s no contact. Yeah. But the cool thing is, it’s like, you know, people do change and down the road, you know, it could be a new conversation, or, or sometimes it’s like, That’s it,

Kristen Carder 1:26:03
you know, yeah. I can totally

Kristen Carder 1:26:09
hear in your voice, that ethical dilemma of like, how do I support someone in their growth and change, and still help them to prioritize important relationships and hold true to who I am. And the culture that I come from, which really is like family being connected, that it just must be so nuanced for you?

Kai Qiu 1:26:38
Oh, yeah. And like, for me, it’s like, it’s also I watched a lot of movies, like, I’m very inspired by Walt Disney and his business and whatnot, and just as like, wonderful creations of Disney. But like, Have you watched in conto? Oh, my

Kristen Carder 1:26:56

Kai Qiu 1:26:57
I started gosh, like I have that plague in my head, or where it’s like, oh, that’s like, whatever such important pieces to each other, and family to really help and heal together. And at the same time, it’s like, ah, but also sometimes when you do have to choose yourself, like, it’s really to find that balance of like, independence versus more of a collective culture. Yeah, I think for me, like I’ve been, I learned a lot of stuff through the lens of more like, you know, American culture. And I’ve been trying to, like, figure out, like, the nuances of like, a family orientated culture, but also how, like, a collective culture, like being Chinese, we’re family is everything, how that can be a veil to hide, like, problems in the family. And I think one huge problem, this is like with all not not just Chinese families, but so prevalent in Chinese families, is like the investment in codependency in a family, where it’s like, Yes, I get the positive side of, you know, making decisions, that’s the best for the entire family. But then you add in the enmeshment, where there’s like, emotional abuse, if someone feels differently, or wants something different. So I’m still, you know, my own personal life, like figuring out my own, like, unique,

Kai Qiu 1:28:33
you know? What

Kristen Carder 1:28:38
words would you use to describe enmeshment? I haven’t talked a lot about that on the podcasts. And I think that would be really interesting, just to hear your perspective on that, like, what is in measurement mean to you?

Kai Qiu 1:28:53
So much, man, like codependency it’s lack, or poor, inconsistent boundaries. Whereas enmeshment it’s almost like you lose yourself and the other person, and it’s almost like, you know, I grew up in the 90s. So it’s almost like those teen coming of age movies. You make like a name, you make up a name that’s symbolic for both of you. And you spend all your time together, you think the same thing, you dress the same, you don’t poop together, you shower together, you you literally feed each other. So you become this like, blob and you lose yourself. Like, whereas like I get it, it’s trying to like, you know, get that connection, but it’s almost like immature, whereas like, I almost see it now. Where we cannot we’re born. You know, when we’re babies. We’re codependent like codependency is not a bad word. You actually went through a codependency phase with our main caregiver, and that’s usually our mom. But we, some of us didn’t grow out of it. So we’re kind of They’ll, as adults stuck in that codependency energy. But really, we need to go from codependent to independent. But independency is not the end of your growth because then you want to go to interdependent. So attachment is no independence. And it’s not really true interdependence is just like, it’s just long. As

Kristen Carder 1:30:22
you said earlier, you started to wake up to where you ended, and your parents began, I think, or your mom, I can’t remember if you were using them, like collectively or just your mom. And, and I think that’s the such a beautiful description of what it means to kind of interrupt that enmeshment cycle, which is like, I am a whole person and my whoever you’re talking about in the relationship, but like, let’s say in this case, my mom is a whole independent person. What I think and say and do is not about her anymore. And that is such a foreign concept, like I am still working on pulling myself apart from a mesh meant even though my life looks very boundaried my soul, I feel like is still working on the becoming a mesh. I don’t know if that’s a word, I just made it up. Right? It’s my soul. That’s a mess. enmeshed. It’s not even my life anymore. But I just I’m still finding myself like thinking about and worrying about and feeling responsible for and like all of that. And logically, I can look at that and say, That’s a measurement. It’s not healthy, I can coach myself out of it. I can work with my therapist on that. But truly, it’s like, it’s in my core, to be

Kai Qiu 1:31:56
sure now that you’re a mom as well with three boys that are some of them are teenagers. Yeah, I love that. When you know, where do I end, where they begin, you know, where to give them responsibility is not to make their own choices, let them suffer their own consequences, like, oh, no, I want to protect my babies.

Kristen Carder 1:32:17
It’s so fascinating that you bring that up, because I find it so much easier with my kids. Interesting. And I do with my parents, which I mean, hey, I married a, like, healthy enough person. Yeah. Which is just so lovely. And so to be able to be partnered with someone who is healthy enough, has really helped me to establish emotional boundaries for my kiddos, especially in the last three years. And my son, just I think I said this on the podcast before, but just a couple of weeks ago, my 12 year old, he’s almost 13. In a week, he will be 13. And he said to me, I am so glad that you started going to therapy, because I get to have my emotions now. And I get to express myself now.

Kristen Carder 1:33:09
I know. Wow. I know.

Kristen Carder 1:33:13
So I feel like I’ve learned I’m learning that with my kids. And I’m really putting that into practice with my kids. And my soul is what’s the word compliant, almost like it’s like, okay, but it’s not very compliant in the relationship with my parents, it wants to continue the pattern that’s been for, I think I interrupted the pattern at like, 38 years old. So for 38 years, there’s this pattern of what it’s been. And I’m still finding myself trying to like snip those ties to make sure that it’s healthy.

Kai Qiu 1:33:52
Yeah, and that’s a, that’s a tricky thing with a measurement too. It’s like, you have to be the same if one person tries to break, like, get their own independence, have their own life, or their own thoughts, then rejection will happen. Like they’ll like, they’ll reject you, and they’ll whatever, whatever reactions it takes to make you come back into that investment. And that’s really where, like, it’s just more so recently, I’ve been cracking into this new can of worms of teaching and when I go on lives, like really sharing the stuff, it’s emotional abuse, yeah. And how like, pervasive and how prevalent it is, like you’re, you’re too sensitive, you know, I thought that was just like, Okay, that wasn’t nice to say or that was just maybe emotional boundary violation. And that could be in the, you know, on the realms of emotional abuse, to being dismissed and validated being called, you know, oh my gosh, like, get over it. wasn’t that bad. You’re so sensitive. I can’t talk with anything about you without you getting dramatic. And that’s emotional abuse. It’s not as obvious as like, you know, physical abuse or sexual abuse. But that right hurts. And it’s really sad because it’s like, I hear it all the time in public. I hear all the time, like, you know, adults saying to each other, but what hurts me the most is like literally seeing like parents, but they’re like four year old. And it’s like, oh, like, I know, it’s not my place. But it’s like, oh, last time I saw something like that happen. And like I was really close to stepping in. And it’s like, that’s another ethical dilemma. It’s like, it’s like, oh, it’s like, I know, this is just one snapshot. But I bet if they’re doing this in public, there’s a good chance that it might even be worse behind closed doors. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 1:35:43
I’m so glad that you brought up the term emotional abuse, because I think that just now and 2023, collectively, our eyes are being opened to it. And it’s so beautiful finally that like the lights are, like, there’s just certain beautiful voices out there in the world, you’re as being one of them that are like flipping on the light switches of like, No, this is this is not okay. This is not the way that you treat people. And I had the opportunity to interview Katie McKenna and Helen Villars. They host a podcast called Insight, which is all about exposing narcissism. And they, they I forget who said it, but one of them said the cornerstone of all abuse is emotional abuse. Well, you’re never going to have any other, you know, the more obvious forms of abuse which we now collectively as a society say physical abuse is not okay. Sexual abuse is not okay. We are just starting to, to wake up to Oh, emotional abuse isn’t cool like this. First of all, emotional abuse is a thing. I don’t think we realized it was a thing. This was just parenting. This is just how we get people to be compliant. This is just how we interact and

Kai Qiu 1:37:07
you better stop crying, and five for Oh my gosh.

Kristen Carder 1:37:11
And this is why my son says, I’m so glad you started going to therapy, because that is how I parented and I even Oh, Kai, I got a Facebook memory.

Kai Qiu 1:37:25
Oh, okay.

Kristen Carder 1:37:26
Which are sometimes so delightful. And sometimes, like, I, there’s no one I have less in common with than the person writing my Facebook posts 10 years ago.

Kristen Carder 1:37:40
I think there isn’t

Kai Qiu 1:37:43
just us memory. I’m so curious.

Kristen Carder 1:37:45
There’s this. And this was only like, 2016. So this was right before my coaching therapy journey. I was making a joke. I thought it was so cute and funny about how my kid was crying over his cleats, his soccer cleats. And I was like, something to the effect of I wish I had screenshotted it because now they disappear. Like I don’t know where it is. I can’t go find it. I have to wait another year, then. With it again. Okay, anyway. Something like, you know, I can’t believe you’re crying over a clique, get over it. And then I joke like, not me talking to my seven year old and I am mortified thinking, this is how I treated my kid. You’re caught, you’re crying over a cleat get over it. And that’s the kind of mama I was. And that’s how, of course, how I was parented and how my parents were parented. And it is a generational problem. It is not, it didn’t start with me. I pray that it ends with me. Right, but it certainly didn’t start with me. But to see how much I used to use that emotional abuse of like, what are you doing? This is so ridiculous. Why would you ever cry about something so stupid, really, because I couldn’t hold space for my own emotions, because I had never had somebody hold space for them. And now inflicting that on my kids. It’s like, it is shocking to just see how the cycle will never be broken. Yeah, unless someone stands up and says like, Okay, this isn’t cool anymore. Like we’re not going to do this anymore.

Kai Qiu 1:39:30
Yeah, and just sort of you like with your own energy, it really highlighted you know, like it’s very you know, it’s very common with first realize these patterns to go a little bit judgmental. Yeah, harsh on ourselves, but you gotta, you know, also add in the forgiveness and the acceptance piece, or we will just be stuck or you know, will be kind of stuck in these patterns. And another interesting thing too, it’s like, I’m not a parent yet, but I do plan to be a parent one day We can sometimes also over compromise, like not just reenact what might have been exposed to us, or the way that we saw our parents behave. But sometimes we can over compromise. And that can also be boundary violations or children. Or it’s like, you know, a great example would be like, you know, maybe you had parents are too hands off, or they were too unavailable. But then you become maybe too available as a mom a little bit too, and mash a little bit like, you know, to involve overly involved their life and their decisions. And they’re their friends. Yeah, because I can go the other way. Other way.

Kristen Carder 1:40:41
Yeah. And I think my husband and I are kind of working through that as well. Because I often get triggered when I watch him parent, just with my own stuff. It has nothing to do with what he’s doing. Right. And so, like, I felt criticized as a child, so anytime I perceive that he might be criticizing. Yeah, I started to get like, I want to get involved. And he’s like, I’m, like, I am parenting. Like, I’m literally saying, like, you can do this, but you can’t do that. And I am like, my inner child is raging on the inside. And so we have had, I mean, just in the last couple of months, like really hard, but beautiful conversations about like, Okay, I see that my inner child is being triggered by his parenting. And it’s not really about his parenting. When I look at it logically on paper, I’m like, it’s like, he’s a great dad. And he’s doing a great job. But it’s because I’m being triggered. And so I want to protect my kid from the criticizing parent. Which my husband is like the most gentle, warm, kind, steady, even keeled person.

Kristen Carder 1:41:56
I like.

Kristen Carder 1:41:59
It’s incredible. And yet, trauma. And yet, inner child, and yeah, it still comes up. And I still I’m like, I gotta go protect my kid. And he’s like, I like what do you? It’s just fascinating. It’s fascinating.

Kai Qiu 1:42:16
How are you as your husband worked out a strategy that maybe he could help you with? Whatever he notices you might be triggered, or in the reaction around the criticizing? So right

Kristen Carder 1:42:28
now, the strategy is that I need to remove myself and work on my own, like, calming, soothing the inner child, because that is actually the problem. It’s, it’s my Yeah, I think it’s so interesting, because like, This podcast is like, maybe I’m not the problem. But like, sometimes we are the problem.

Kai Qiu 1:42:52
Yeah, sometimes we are. We’re not. We’re not completely, always all.

Kristen Carder 1:42:58
Exactly. Which is why like, I need to be able to soothe myself, so that I don’t try to control other people’s behavior to get the soothing and that is a measurement, right. And that is how I was taught to find soothing is let me control other people. So that I can be soothed. So instead, I need to have the self awareness, and I’m working on it. I’ve just like removing myself going, going through the soothing process, and then entering back in with maybe I have feedback. And that’s fine. I can give feedback. But I’m gonna give it from a soothed and grounded place, not from a raging inner child place.

Kai Qiu 1:43:43
So why so much for have you?

Kristen Carder 1:43:45
Oh, I mean, this is like, we’re in the middle of it, right? We’re like learning and growing. It’s just, it’s fascinating when you’re trying to change patterns and cycles. And you don’t even realize that you’re doing it. And then all of a sudden, you’re like, Oh, it’s just that thing, again, that I’ve always done. Since I was four, you know, it’s like, oh, there it is, again.

Kai Qiu 1:44:07
And it’s so beautiful. When you’re in such a relationship where you can like, yeah, vulnerably bring this up. Because like, I had a silly issue. I was like, still living with my sister this past summer. And she she has ADHD. And there’s a thing whenever we go biking, I always lead the way and I bike pretty fast. And she would always asked me for directions. Hey, Kai, where are we going? Are you sure we got to turn left. The trigger something immediate trigger made us a masculine wound. I like being questioned what we’re doing in life or not having direction. And I remember like, I got reactive, I would be like, Oh, I’ll go this way. One time. I pretend I didn’t hear her. So then a couple of days later, we’re like having dinner Canadian Thanksgiving. She’s a dancer. So she was getting very excited about dancing and I had a low energy That night. So I kind of waited a bit too long to stop the conversation because I knew I should have stopped it minutes ago, because I was just listening. So I kind of dropped, I abruptly abruptly ended the conversation. I hit guardian, like, sorry, I’m kind of tired to be talking about something else. Like, I’d love hearing about your talking about dancing, but just not right now. Not tonight. So she was initially taken aback when she got over it. But then later that night, I guess me initiating that boundary, she was open to kind of confront me about the whole biking thing. So she was like, Hi. Like, I don’t know, something’s going on. But I’ve been feeling like, maybe you’re upset with me or something whenever we go biking. And I was so glad that she initiated it, because I had like, I had no shame, really. But I was just actually very happy that she called me out. And we can talk about it now. So I confess, I’m like, Yes, Corinne, I do not know what’s going on. Like, I’ve been very aware, I’ve been reacting, I should have said sorry, earlier. I don’t know what’s going on. So then we’re able to talk a little bit. And then from that conversation, I got to hear a missing piece from her. So she was like, hi, like, I only asked you like, where we’re going and stuff. I don’t trust you. But like, I don’t have data and you bike so fast. So if I ever lose you, I literally do not know how to find you. So hearing that piece, like it helps me so much. So of course the next day, the next time, I initially got triggered, but having that conversation, having that missing piece from her because we had a vulnerable conversation. So fast. Did that anger, that resentment dissolve? And I can calmly tell my sister. Yeah, we’re turning left next block. Ah,

Kristen Carder 1:46:52
it’s so beautiful. And I love that you said that you were still initially triggered?

Kai Qiu 1:46:59
Yeah, yeah.

Kristen Carder 1:47:02
I think that we expect that, like, we have the conversation, and then the trigger won’t be there anymore. I won’t, I won’t be activated. Because like, no, no, you’re gonna have the conversation and you’re gonna get that missing piece. And your body will still do what your body does. Yeah, because that’s what your body does. And that’s normal. It’s okay. It’s going to happen. But then you can sue that with that information. Right? She’s just she’s feeling insecure. She’s feeling like maybe a little unsafe and wants to know what the next steps are. And I can easily give that to her.

Kai Qiu 1:47:36
And then you have more ability to respond rather than like React. Yeah. Not only do I have this new awareness, I have more consciousness in that moment. So I don’t like relapse into like yellow Yeah, my sister, ignoring her bike even faster.

Kristen Carder 1:47:56
That’s awesome. No judgement, I don’t

Kai Qiu 1:48:00
know, like, when we kind of talked about the very beginning with like trauma. It’s always these like present day event that opens up something big. But it’s with these trivial moments of healing, it can be like, it’s big healing. It seems like a very stupid, stupid, trivial thing of biking and reacting. But if you can work with your person, and you almost like talked about and can release and heal these little trivial interactions, it’s like big healings happening. You know, it’s never that big thing that breaks up a relationship. It’s these kind of daily, little things that stacks on each other. And then something bigger happens, or one day, it’s like, you know, that last straw, you know, breaks the camel’s back, you know?

Kristen Carder 1:48:50
Mine 100% Tell me about your practice and about how you help clients. Just tell me all the things we want to hear. We want to hear it. We want to hire you want to do it. Tell me. How do you work with clients?

Kai Qiu 1:49:08
Yeah, so I’m a healing transformation coach of all my clients kind of come organically right now. Mostly through tic tock Instagram, the past month, my Facebook reels is kind of taken off, we might enter you to shorts pretty soon, but mostly organically through Tiktok and Instagram. And as a healing transformation coach, I take my clients through my butterfly method. And it’s kind of like a six transformation process that I’ve created from my own 10 year healing journey, but also working with therapists and coaches and studying, I created my butterfly method. So I do offer one on one coaching or a support group style coaching. And either way, you go through my butterfly method where it’s kind of six steps, where the first step it’s about learning the basics about boundaries. And beginning tuning into your authentic self. And then the second transformation, it’s mindfulness and self love practices, a lot of My Teachings and influences like Buddhism, so quite a lot of tools. It’s like meditation tools, visualization tools, and also kind of mainstream pop psychology like gratitude, journaling. And then the third transformation. This is really where I take my clients through the emotional work. So really learning how to use rain, and this other method called surf dive made, to really become more emotionally intelligent, resilient, and have the tools and the skills to regulate their emotions. And then the fourth transformation, I take them through, I help them focusing on inner child healing work, and some NLP toxic shame release. There’s so much that you know, I think of the three the three seeds of our suffering, it’s like toxic shame, trauma, fear. And that could just be different names for different things, but so much of it is the core there. So I take them through that healing part. And then I take them through

Kai Qiu 1:51:16

Kai Qiu 1:51:18
emotionally immature parents, so they can have more understanding and more compassion with their parents and other immature adults, but also have the framework and the structure and the scripts on how to approach these old relationships in a new way. So with boundaries, you know, sharing expectations, standards and confronting each other, and then the last transformation, before they graduate. They become a confident, calm, respectful, empathetic communicator. The communication kind of comes last because without the knowledge without the emotional management without healing, some of those childhood wounds, communication goes out the window. So check no matter no matter how many scripts, no matter how many posts that you read a meat dress. Exactly, exactly. Word for word. Exactly what the issue is not that we don’t have the scripts. Yeah. aside, it’s the body language. It’s like the hidden things underneath, where it can really make the difference between do they listen to us talk, do they like and are they more likely to respect or saying, or have we triggered them? Because we’re like yelling? While we’re like name calling? Or being like too apologetic? You know, being too passive? Yeah. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 1:52:47
Beautiful. How long does that usually take with your clients?

Kai Qiu 1:52:51
It’s a five month, five month journey. But I am signing like advanced coaching program right now. It just focuses on deep inner child healing, but it’s a five process.

Kristen Carder 1:53:02
Yeah, yeah. It’s a it’s

Kristen Carder 1:53:03
like a lot of transformation to go through. Yeah,

Kai Qiu 1:53:08
there’s a lot because in some ways, I kind of just meandered through these steps myself in the last 10 years, of course, or half of my healing. I hired help. But the first part was so like, hyper independent, like when we talked about self, you know, it’s not Why waste money and time with other people. I don’t trust other people. therapists can help me a coach can help me because I’m so broke. Good. I’m so different than everyone else.

Kristen Carder 1:53:36
Speaking my former self language. Oh, my gosh, I love it. Can you just quickly circle back to did you ever go back to medical school, we never wrapped up that story, go

Kai Qiu 1:53:52
back. And I finished what I started. So it was kind of Groundhog Day. So when I went back, I got dropped a grade. And I had to redo because I already made it through six semesters. So I had to redo I had to redo that year. But it was so cool. Because I had to go through the same rotations. And I had to work with some of the same people. But literally, I felt like I was a different person. Like, and I got to like, see, and I was more gentle with myself. I was like, I didn’t have that belief that have a memory problem anymore. I had less impostor syndrome. Of course, it was still there. Yeah. But I felt like I had a different viewpoint. I felt like, you know, I was bigger than it was before. I was just in it. And I just didn’t know I was in it, like the imposter syndrome and like the shaming and the criticism and the doubts. So I did finish and I graduated in the pandemic. And yeah, and I decided fully decided to give myself one year off in the pandemic, and that year off, it became this and I never looked back.

Kristen Carder 1:54:55
I love it.

Kristen Carder 1:54:57
Congratulations. Truly,

Kristen Carder 1:55:02
thank you. That’s really

Kristen Carder 1:55:04
beautiful. It has been so much fun. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation, even though I forgot about it this morning. But I have been looking forward to this conversation you are in the first round of people that I wanted to chat with, I just knew there was so much depth. I was so so looking forward to hearing just more of your story and how you help people. And I really, really appreciate you being here with me truly.

Kai Qiu 1:55:32
Likewise, and I’m so grateful that you know, your system reached out to me, and then my assistant sent me the email right away. Like I’ve been saying no to a lot of podcasts. So when I when I saw yours and what you stand for and your work. And also I remember seeing your name floating around my social media world that I had to you know, I had to spend this time with you today.

Kristen Carder 1:56:03
Thanks for listening to maybe I’m not the problem, a biweekly series of the I have ADHD podcast. For more information about today’s guest, check out the episode shownotes where you can find their bio links and all the fun things. Make sure to like subscribe and add this podcast to your feed and then tune in every Tuesday for new episodes of The I have ADHD podcast. And I’ll be back here with you in two weeks for the next episode of maybe I’m not the problem.

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