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Get Past Your Past | Jason VanRuler #662

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On the Regular Version …

In this conversation, I’m joined by Jason Van Ruler as we discuss the importance of addressing past wounds and traumas in order to move forward in life and relationships.
We talk about the concept of scripts and how our past experiences shape the narratives we tell ourselves. 
Learn more about Jason here –


  • Addressing past wounds and traumas is essential for personal growth and healthy relationships.
  • Scripts, formed by past experiences, shape the way we perceive ourselves and others.

On the Xtended Version …

Jason and I dive into the work of Dr. Schnarch and his theory of traumatic mind mapping, which examines the deeper layers of trauma and the motivations behind it.

The conversation emphasizes the need to confront the dark side of ourselves and rewrite our narratives to chart a new course.

Enjoy the show!

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Corey Allan (00:02.306)

Jason, it's gonna be fun because anytime I get fellow clinicians, therapists on, you know, this is where I need Pam probably on the show with us because to keep us out of the clinical clouds, sometimes it's best to have a voice of my wife. It's like, oh no, no. I do too and I can get so lost because it's so pretty and beautiful up there. So, well Jason, thanks for joining me. Welcome to the show, man.

Jason VanRuler (00:20.144)

I love the clinical cloud. This is a great cloud.

Jason VanRuler (00:30.155)

Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I've been looking forward to this. This is great.

Corey Allan (00:33.57)

Right, so Jason, this is, you have the book, Get Past Your Past, which is a pretty straightforward, I know I have an idea what the book's gonna be about, just from the title alone, but I'm curious, how did this evolve and then what, it's something that I think is so prominent, because we all have a past, and most, my experience has been, we spend an inordinate amount of time,

distracting ourselves and avoiding our past. But you're coming at it completely differently, so walk me through it.

Jason VanRuler (01:07.339)

Yeah, well, absolutely. I mean, we all do have a past, and for a lot of us, we spend our time, like you said, just avoiding it or running from it, and then being super surprised when it impacts our present. And we were confused, and we're like, I wonder where that came from? And if we sit down and we look at it, what we find is a lot of our present day struggles parallel past wounds that we have and past problems. And so for me, just personally, had a lot of stuff in my past, had trauma and abuse.

and all the things you don't want to have. And so I've had to work through this and seeing the impact it's made on my life. And then clinically have just worked with lots of different types of clients and seen how much it changes their life to address their past. And I'm not a person that says, hey, we need to talk about your past for like the next 10 years or something. It's not what I'm looking to do, but what I'm looking to do is we have to be willing to look in those places of woundedness and where we were hurt.

and change our relationship with them and understand that differently so we can have the life we want. So that's really what was the catalyst for the book is just wanting to help clients. A lot of my clients said, Jason, you're a relationship guy. Like you talk to couples and businesses and all these places about relationships. Why a book about getting past your past? And I said, well, you know, like I hate to ruin it for you.

But a lot of your relationships are fueled by your experiences in the past. And so it's really tough to have a healthy relationship if you haven't made peace with that.

Corey Allan (02:30.519)


Corey Allan (02:34.826)

Absolutely. And so let's do a little clarification, because this is one of the things that I think that really does matter because of the way society has evolved as a whole, and our culture here in the West, for sure, has evolved. Because as clinicians, when we hear woundedness and trauma, it goes off in one way. But in other people, there's a general misconception, as my experience, of what is a wound, what is a trauma, on just clarifying. Because I think it's important for people

there's a distinction between them. Not that either of them need to be diminished, but I think there's a distinction. So how do you land in that framework?

Jason VanRuler (03:15.171)

Yeah, I think the woundedness, I would define that more as something that was painful for you, that either was painful because it actually was painful or you took away something very painful from that. So sometimes our perspective from an incident is actually far worse than what happened. And so we often, I would argue almost everyone is gonna have those times from their childhood.

Corey Allan (03:33.302)


Jason VanRuler (03:40.135)

where they look back on something and they see it in a way that paints a negative light and they take a negative message from that. So that to me is woundedness. Trauma, we get more into significant events, right? Life events. You can, you know, some people break it down into big T trauma, meaning like catastrophic life events, little T trauma, and there's research to support that. There's also research that says, I don't know if we should be splitting them up, but the gist of it is trauma is something significant.

Corey Allan (03:40.503)


Corey Allan (04:04.098)


Jason VanRuler (04:07.775)

Right. So that's a significant life event that you experience. So woundedness is probably applicable to almost everyone, if not everyone. And trauma would not be for everyone, but would lead to more significant things.

Corey Allan (04:08.075)


Corey Allan (04:20.034)

Perfect, and so your work goes with both, but if we go more global, we kind of start with the woundingness, right? Okay.

Jason VanRuler (04:27.487)

Mm-hmm. Yeah, because the woundedness leads to messages we tell ourselves about ourselves and others that we then live

Corey Allan (04:35.39)

And I love the framework of scripts. Right? Right. Every single one of us has voices going on in our head and it's not schizophrenia, but it is one of those things that, why do I tell myself that? Or where do I hear that message from? Or script? You know, what's up with that script? Why is it that we're supposed to do it that way? And all those things. And so what you're describing, I like because you're describing...

Jason VanRuler (04:38.539)

We have them. We have them all the time.

Corey Allan (05:01.662)

wounds help frame that script in ways maybe we don't even recognize as we think we've evolved past it.

Jason VanRuler (05:09.431)

Absolutely. And it is really, for me, very interesting when working with a client and they're talking about a wound of the past and they literally will say the script and that they live by today. And they'll have that aha moment of saying, well, when this happened, here's what I told myself about myself and I feel this way all the time now. And they put those two together and they go, oh, I wonder where that's from.

Corey Allan (05:29.226)


Jason VanRuler (05:31.019)

Yeah, so when I was a kid, I felt like I was never enough because of these reasons. And now it's so weird as an adult, no matter how much I do, I feel like I'm never enough. And you start to put together like that has an origin story. Like that's not just something that came about yesterday. Like that is that is deeply rooted in who you are.

Corey Allan (05:49.066)

Right. And so what are the ways that, uh, as far as your experience in training and approach go, how do we face this better? Because again, there's a reason why I don't want to. So how do I find the courage to do that?

Jason VanRuler (06:05.911)

Yeah, well, nobody really wants to do something that's going to be painful. And I think we all look at this as being painful. And yes, it is at times painful. I think oftentimes less than people might imagine. But but I think initially what we're trying to talk people into doing is to looking at a wounded spot or a difficult place they've been. And then what I would help them do is change the relationship with it. Right. And so we're not here to paint a magical, wonderful picture where.

You just do the opposite of whatever you've told yourself. But what I try to help clients do is to really have a different perspective about that event. And so for instance, if someone, a parent said you're never enough, and you were told that throughout your childhood, that may have been true the way they saw it. Right. So that parent may definitely have thought that fine, but what is, what is also true? Right. So what also might be true is the parent was deeply wounded or the parent had heard that or, um,

They were very stressed. So what I'm trying to help the person do is get additional objectivity and perspective about the event and update what they're telling themselves with something more accurate.

Corey Allan (07:13.074)

Okay, and so that means first step almost becomes they have to get true about what the event really was because don't we have a tendency, at least my experience is to skew what really was I don't want to see what really was.

Jason VanRuler (07:24.271)

No, not at all. That's why that's why we can always rely on witness testimonies, right? Because we always remember things just as they are always

Corey Allan (07:32.642)

Absolutely, the brain is infallible like that. Absolutely not, no. Well, then I must be broken, put me in that category. Uh, no. And if you're not aware, Pam would be jumping in going, sarcasm, this is all sarcasm right here.

Jason VanRuler (07:36.075)

Mine is. I mean, if yours isn't, I'm sorry, but mine is completely accurate all the time. You're the only one, trust me. Yeah.

Jason VanRuler (07:49.719)

This is all sarcasm. Yes. We are not. We are not the best historians. Not at all.

Corey Allan (07:55.194)

Oh no, but I think the thing that is interesting to me about this and the training I've been doing on the trauma work with Dr. Snarsh for the last six years of his life was, he frames it as when we have these wounds and these traumas, the brain wants to make the Disneyland version of it because that makes it a little more palatable to live with.

And that also then means though, I'm not accurate about my story and what really went down, which will then just wreak more havoc as I'm living now.

Jason VanRuler (08:30.127)

Absolutely, because the brain hates dissonance, right? The brain hates having that discrepancy between how we see it and what happened. And so if it has to choose a version, it'll choose the version where we gloss over some things because that makes sense to us. And that's an easier story to buy into than the alternative, which might be more accurate.

Corey Allan (08:50.658)

So then let's help some people here. How do we recognize the stuff that I'm glossing over? What are my cues that this thing, there's something underneath it?

Jason VanRuler (09:02.563)

Yeah, so oftentimes where we need to look is often captured in the struggles we continuously have. So where are the places in your life where you frequently feel stuck, you feel overwhelmed, or you feel inadequate? Because those are often connected to some of those things we need to look at. So part of the process, and with the book what I talk about is, we don't need to sit down and analyze every second of your past. That's actually not the important thing, but there are oftentimes, I would say, a key three to five events.

Corey Allan (09:23.307)


Jason VanRuler (09:29.975)

that really make up a lot of what you tell yourself. And those are the ones we need to look at. And those are often reflected in our stock places today.

Corey Allan (09:37.998)

Okay, and so I recognize this and then I can probably trace that back and so you're kind of describing there's incredible benefit to head back into my past and at least account for it and then ask questions, be curious on is this an accurate depiction of what went down or could there have been more?

Jason VanRuler (09:56.935)

Absolutely. And do I need to update that? You know, if maybe that was accurate, you know, maybe you really did fail then. But is that something we should generalize today? I often tell the story. I was in oral interp in high school and just loved it. I was having a difficult time everywhere else, but for whatever reason, I loved it. And I made it all the way to the state finals. And I was doing the Iliad and the Odyssey because, you know, why wouldn't you go with a book like that at oral interp?

And so I took the stage at the final and the auditorium is full and I lock my knees because I'm nervous. And anybody who does public speaking knows, probably shouldn't lock your knees. And so right at the time that I'm kinda exclaiming, the biggest, highest part of the piece, I pass out and I fall off the stage. Everyone is both scared and laughing at the same time and I'm not a quitter. So I get up and I attempt to get back on the stage.

Corey Allan (10:31.593)

Uh oh.

Corey Allan (10:48.512)


Jason VanRuler (10:53.071)

And I'm told, hey, Jason, you're probably good. Probably when you passed out, fell off the stage, we're gonna call it a day, okay? And so I took that situation and I generalized that to me and I should just never speak in front of people again. And I just held onto that for 20 years because of that one time. Now, was it true that time really didn't go well? Absolutely, there's a video somewhere to prove it. It did not go well. Is that always true about me?

Corey Allan (11:09.716)


Jason VanRuler (11:20.723)

No, it's actually something I love. I feel like I can make an impact. And so I had to change the narrative about that experience to have a better present.

Corey Allan (11:26.434)


Right, and I think this is the power of it, because what you're describing too, that jumps out to me is, did that event go poorly? Well, maybe on a whole, you could say it did because of the end, but that moment is all that was poor. The up to it? Probably not.

Jason VanRuler (11:41.923)


Jason VanRuler (11:45.099)

Yeah, because you made it there. And so that's the part two where you were talking about, we kind of remember what we want to remember, and say, I remember the moment. I don't remember the lead up of, well, yeah, like you're at the state tournament or whatever. Like there was some good in that. But we remember that one moment, and then we use that as a script for the rest of our life.

Corey Allan (11:46.623)


Corey Allan (11:51.608)


Corey Allan (11:59.511)


Corey Allan (12:04.01)

Yeah. And I'm listening to a book by the poker player, Annie Duke, uh, called thinking in bets. And she uses the terminology called resulting. If you're familiar with this, that when, when you base your decision on the result to determine if the decision was right, rather than that's the backwards way, because your decision could be right, but other circumstances happen. It made the result, not what you hope, but the decision was still right. Yeah. And so I think there's a good framework here of realizing.

Jason VanRuler (12:09.773)


Jason VanRuler (12:22.595)


Jason VanRuler (12:29.112)

I love that.

Corey Allan (12:34.034)

I did a lot of good things. The result didn't go the way I hoped it did. But it doesn't mean I wasn't in a good spot and doing great up until that point.

Jason VanRuler (12:39.34)

Absolutely. And this is

Jason VanRuler (12:44.567)

Absolutely. And the thing too is, I mean, we're talking about our own past, but we also, if we're married or in long term relationship, we begin to have a relational past. And so then these concepts begin to apply to that relationship too, where we will say, well, I really tried when I bought my spouse this gift and they didn't like it. And so therefore I should never try again. And we start to do the same thing, which is why this isn't so much as one thing that you should do one time.

Corey Allan (12:58.123)


Jason VanRuler (13:12.84)

as much as a thing to just be aware of, because we do it in relationships too.

Corey Allan (13:17.559)

Right. Oh, man, now you're meddling because this is what immediately came to my mind here, Jason, is I think of the script that I brought in based on the way I'm raised by a mom who shows love by gift giving, at least when I was my formative years, for sure. And so come time for gifts in my marriage.

I would get what my mom enjoyed, which was teddy bears. Well, my wife does not like teddy bears, never really has to my understanding and recollection. No, and so it took me five Valentine's to really have that sink in that she does not like these bears that I was giving her, thinking I was all loving and romantic and how endearing that would be. And she's like, yeah, this doesn't speak to me.

Jason VanRuler (13:48.9)

Not a teddy bear fan.

Jason VanRuler (14:05.739)

Yeah, because that's not how she lives, right? But that's your framework. And so you're, I mean, even in that, like, you're just trying to do the right thing by doing what you know.

Corey Allan (14:07.902)

Absolutely, it's not at all.

Corey Allan (14:14.318)

Mm-hmm. Right. And that's what makes the most sense, but then it's recognizing, I think, one of the cues of seeing how my past is wreaking havoc now is looking at my relationship now, both with myself and those others that are around me, because there'll be great replications of, well, hold on.

Why did I just mindlessly do that rather than be a student of who I'm with? Right? We have a history now with sex and marriage radio of saying the phrase of, I need to have a relationship with the spouse I have, not the one I wish I had. That's all script language too.

Jason VanRuler (14:50.799)

Absolutely, absolutely. And so if we're not careful and we don't look at these things, it's hard to be connected to others because we're not in the present moment and we're not actually being accurate and objective about what we're trying to do and who we're doing that with. And so we end up kind of having a false relationship with ourselves and others because it's on inaccurate information.

Corey Allan (15:11.222)

Right, and okay, and so this is where then the courage and the resiliency of people come into play, I'm guessing I can say for you, of my willingness to really confront what has gone down in my life, what my relationship to it is, and I think that's a key distinction that you made, because I can't change the thing, but I can change my relationship to and with the thing, and then that allows me to bring a different part of me that's more whole forward.

Jason VanRuler (15:18.764)


Jason VanRuler (15:36.021)


Jason VanRuler (15:41.087)

Absolutely. And the challenge is there's work on either side. There's work to change for sure. Definitely. But there's also work to defend your position. That costs you something, too. And so that's, I think, sometimes where we trick ourselves into thinking, like, one doesn't require work and the other does. No, no, they both do. It just looks different. One is about regret and one is about discomfort. And we just have to choose.

Corey Allan (15:44.45)


Corey Allan (15:51.95)

Fair point.

Corey Allan (16:05.41)

Perfect. Okay, so Jason, I love this and I'm thinking we need to go a little deeper when we transition here in just a second, but how can people find more about you and pick up your book and follow along?

Jason VanRuler (16:18.155)

Yeah, absolutely. So I've got the book, Get Past Your Past. You can find that on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all the big places. And there's an audio version too that I read. So if you're hearing me today and you're like, man, I just love Jason's voice. I wish I could listen to him for a couple hours. Don't worry. You can. You can, you can totally do that. And about that, I also do daily relationship tips on Instagram. My Instagram is Jason.vanruller and you can see me there.

Corey Allan (16:33.09)

Have you got a deal for them? Yes.

Corey Allan (16:45.03)

Perfect. Well Jason, thank you so much for the work and how it is so impactful to people. It's always great to find people that are out there for others and that definitely is you. So thank you, man.

Jason VanRuler (16:57.591)

Hey, I appreciate the conversation. Appreciate you having me on.