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Ep. 4: The Penitent and the Priest Enactment [Ask Freudina]


How to Make the Right Confessions

We all do bad stuff sometimes. The interesting thing is that we often feel a desire to confess that bad stuff to some sort of priest-like figure. Whatever your religious background, we’ve all turned to a friend, parent, or sibling to confess our crimes in the hope that we’ll feel less guilty after doing so. This need to unburden ourselves of our insecurities can greatly impact the dynamic of certain relationships, sometimes quite negatively.

This week we take calls from some interesting people, each with a unique and complex situation relating to the enactment of the priest and penitent role. Our first caller is seeking advice on how to help her boyfriend deal with his personal insecurities, without realizing the underlying narcissism at play.

Another caller has had an unromantic awakening and fallen out of love with his housemate-slash-girlfriend, and has taken to searching for a miracle in the form of a pain-free exit option. 

We also speak with a gay man who, despite the morality clauses surrounding red blood cells, wants to donate blood, and considers the idea of lying his way into a good deed. 

As complex as each of these issues is, the need for validation is a common thread. 

Now, just like the priest in that mysterious confession cupboard, we are ready to turn “water” (the need to be validated and turn away from “sin”) into “wine” (a foundation for future growth in our relationships and self-love).

Tune in and gain insight on…

  • How to deal with insecurities and self-esteem issues
  • Why we cling to negativity and trauma
  • How to set boundaries in our interactions with other people
  • How we develop our sense of responsibility, to ourselves and others
  • When to break unfair rules

We all tend to seek validation in moments of low self-esteem, often by “confessing our sins” to another person. Listen to the podcast and get ready to swap poor self-esteem and punishment for a new, healthy relationship dynamic. Amen to that!


Freudina’s Brain Hacks

Ask Freudina Podcast

Curious about the more technical terms? Dive into this week’s Shrink Think Bonus Episode!

Here, we take a step back and discuss the more theoretical terms and ideas surrounding our main episode. We talk about how to resolve shame and insecurity by taking a deeper dive into the enactments we covered with our callers. This ties all our insights together into one neat conversation, so don’t miss it!

A Quote to Remember

“Being overly punitive with yourself is simply not helpful. Self-flagellation just doesn’t work, but having the right moral tone of not feeling okay with it and striving to do better is what we are all striving to do.” – Dr. Alison Feit

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About the Author



I am a Harvard and Yale trained psychologist who has worked with clients around the world to help them find well-being, mentored executives and entrepreneurs, mediated business disputes, and done lots of writing and teaching.

Here are a few things you should know about the way I work…

  • I believe in reducing pain as quickly as possible! Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, are simply terrible to live with and my first goal is to help you find immediate relief.
  • -I believe symptoms also convey important information about each person’s innermost desires, pains, and histories. Through understanding your hidden conflicts, internal struggles clear up and symptoms resolve.
  • As you may have noticed, I take serious problems seriously - but I always make room to inject humor into a situation. (Good thing I went into psychology - otherwise I’d probably still be trying to make it in improv theater!)