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Ashlynn Mitchell

By October 13, 2021No Comments

Episode 54

Ashlynn Mitchell

Betrayal Trauma Coach & Advocate

Trigger Warning: This discussion includes descriptions of suicide ideation that may be triggering to some. Listener discretion is advised.

This week’s episode is with Ashlynn Mitchell, who heard about Fight the New Drug years ago and has been a Fighter ever since. She and her former partner experienced how pornography can disrupt couple intimacy and relationship harmony. During this conversation, podcast host Garrett Jonsson talks with Ashlynn about her experience with betrayal trauma, what it means to “be the buffalo” by facing challenges head on, and the importance of self-care amidst hardships.

You can find Ashlynn on her website and listen to her podcast “This is Ashlynn” on Apple Podcasts.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Fight the New Drug Ad: How can pornography impact you, your loved ones, and the world around you? Discover the answer for yourself in our free three-part documentary series, Brain Heart World. In three thirty minute episodes, this docuseries dives into how pornography impacts individuals, relationships, and society. With witty narration, and colorful animation, this age-appropriate series shines a hopeful light on this heavy topic. In each episode you’ll hear from experts who share research on porn’s harms, as well as true stories from people who have been impacted personally by pornography. Stream the full series for free, or purchase an affordable screening license at brainheartworld.org

Garrett Jonsson: My name is Garrett Jonsson, and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming a podcast by Fight the New Drug. And in case you’re new here Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography. I raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

We want these conversations to be educational, uplifting, and hopeful. As we sit down with experts, influencers, activists, and people with personal accounts, we cover a wide variety of topics that may be triggering to some, you can refer to the episode notes for a specific trigger warning listener discretion is advised. Today’s episode is with Ashlynn Mitchell. Ashlynn heard about Fight the New Drug years ago and has been a Fighter ever since. Her and her former partner experienced firsthand, how pornography can disrupt couple intimacy and relationship harmony. During this conversation, we talk about what it means to “be the Buffalo,” betrayal trauma, and the importance of self care.

With that being said, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

As we start the conversation, Ashlynn, I think the first thing is going to be to let our audience know how awesome you are. And so the first question is, can you explain that?

Ashlynn Mitchell: [laughter] Can explain the awesome?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Can you explain your level of awesome? Yes.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Oh, man, I don’t feel awesome, but, um, I’m plugging away every single day and that’s all I can do. So yeah, I have been through lots of hard stuff, like lots of us have and just choose to find the resilience in me to keep moving forward and not let it define me, not let it label me and to show up as me.

Garrett Jonsson: One sentence that I think explains your level of awesomeness is the following. It’s that you’re an advocate for women who want to live a life full of adventure and freedom, and I stole that from your podcast description.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Thank you [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: And, um, as I was reading it, the three words that stuck out to me were advocate and adventure and freedom. And I think the word adventure is kind of the first word that I want to talk about. And one of your recent adventures was Iceland.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: Can you talk about how awesome and fun that was?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Oh, it was magical and we let it be magical. And we shared that it was magical because it really was, and it was planned by my friend because I was, I told her first that we were getting divorced and she saw me fall apart. She saw the worst parts, you know, the sadness in me. And so she said, you need something to look forward to and it needs to be awesome. So she picked Iceland and I don’t think any of us realized how meaningful it would be, but if you’ve been to Iceland, then you understand it is just full of adventure and just power. You know, the earth is completely changing the entire time that you’re there. So we got to go and see the live active volcano and land, you know, right next to it in a helicopter.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh really?!

Ashlynn Mitchell: It was so many conflicting emotions all at once. We were all just crying.

Garrett Jonsson: Could you see the lava?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Oh yeah, we were so close and you’ve seen that stuff on TV, but it is very different in person. I did not realize that we hiked on glaciers. We swam in glacier water.

Garrett Jonsson: Did you see in the ice water?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

I mean, we were wearing dry suits, but we went all the way under. It’s still freezing, but we did lots of Wim Hoff and jump in the cold and then lots of hot Springs.

Garrett Jonsson: I’ve been to Iceland, my wife and I went to Iceland. It’s the only place in Europe that we’ve ever gone. And we slept in a van and like a little tiny van. Like I could barely fit in the back.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Really?

Garrett Jonsson: And we just, uh, we’re mainly on like the Southern side of Iceland is that where you guys…?

Ashlynn Mitchell: We did the full island and we still missed a lot. Um, we were there 10 days.

Garrett Jonsson: And it’s almost like a European country that’s overlooked sometimes where it’s like, I want to go to Italy. I want to go to all these places in Europe. But I think Iceland, man, it’s just, uh, like going back to that word adventure, it’s a country full of potential adventure.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes. And you don’t have to be active. I had a lot of people reaching out saying, “Okay, do I have to be in shape to go there?” And I’m like, “No, you can still go and sit in the hot Springs. And it’s still adventure because they’re everywhere. You can go hike on a glacier. And it’s not that difficult, but it’s exciting.” And it was a very different trip because we had so much intention behind it.

Garrett Jonsson: So it was like a girls trip with intentionality.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes. So it was called a divorce trip. But the friend who planned it, Jordan, she’s happily married, but she just, she knew. And that’s what was beautiful to me is she, she showed empathy without saying, “Hey, I know what it feels like.” She could see, I see my friend in pain and I want to be there for her. And that’s something that she could do.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That’s neat friends, man. They are… it’s important.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Oh yeah. That support. And we don’t even live she’s in New York city. So we would just talk over Marco Polo.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That’s cool. Speaking of friendship, going back to your podcast episode, two’s about friendship.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah. That was with Jordan. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I knew that. I listened to that episode as I prepared for the conversation today, the first episode I listened to was Be The Buffalo.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: And one of the biggest takeaway from that, if I had to break it down into one sentence and I still the sentence from you again, the sentences, same storm, but two different stories.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: Can you talk to that a little bit?

Ashlynn Mitchell: So imagine a storm coming over a mountain and cows. When they see a storm, they run away from it. They turn and run. The cows are slow. And so the storm catches up with them and instead of them running away from the storm, it just stays with them so much longer because they’re slow. Whereas when a Buffalo sees the storm coming, it faces it and it runs into the storm. And because it is running into the storm and the storm is going the other way, their pain is shortened. And so they’re still experiencing the discomfort of the storm, but it’s quicker. And so the whole idea is, yes, it’s the same storm, but it’s how we choose to face our storms. And it’s not that you even have to run into it and charge it. I think it’s really just face it.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I think it reminds me of a term called like a psychology 101 term that’s learned helplessness. And I think the cow is they run away from the storm. They’re experiencing a little bit of like helplessness where the storm is going to hit them. Like you said, that’s, it’s inevitable.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: But I think as you’re talking about the difference, it’s about perception. It’s about facing it instead of feeling helpless.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

And I liked that and I think the Buffalo, they see the hope they see that there’s light after the storm that they’re facing.

Garrett Jonsson: So are you, do you consider yourself to be the buffalo or to be the cow?

Ashlynn Mitchell: I have been both. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

Ashlynn Mitchell: I’m currently the Buffalo. I have, I feel like I’ve been the Buffalo for probably the last eight years, but before that, for sure, I was stuck. I felt helpless and I kind of just ignored the storm that was all around me and never went away, but I just pretended and pushed it down.

Garrett Jonsson: When I rode my bike across the United States, I rode through Kansas and then I wrote into Colorado. So I went from the Plains of Kansas into the Rockies. And I think that’s one of the places you can really observe the difference between cattle and buffalo is right in that area because cattle are on the Plains and then the Buffalo in the mountains. So if I imagine and put myself in that position, I imagine that there’s this moment between the stimuli, like the cow or Buffalo, seeing the storm, the stimuli, and then the response. And in that moment, there’s a, it can be a short moment where you have this decision to make. And you said that you have been the Buffalo for the past eight years, but before that you were experiencing more of the reaction that the cow would give.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Oh yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: My question is, can you talk about that moment between the stimuli and the response? Because I think some of our listeners could benefit from your perspective on this, because it’s possible that some of them right now are in that moment where they have experienced a stimuli, a stimuli. Um, and since we’re talking to you and you’ve talked, I think we’ll get into it more, but often you talk about betrayal trauma.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: So let’s kind of focus in on that stimuli, experiencing betrayal trauma, and then the moment of response that moment between those two things. What advice do you have for someone who has experienced betrayal trauma and is in that moment currently? Like, “How am I going to respond?”

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

Well, and do we know what betrayal trauma is? A lot of us have never even heard. I’d never heard it when I was the cow and, and really just trying to numb, I really took on everything. So “This must be my fault that my former partner is choosing these things.”, “It must be my fault that I’m angry and acting this way.” And I didn’t understand why I was showing up the way I was, but I, I did choose to be really angry and name call and bring up the past in closed doors.

Garrett Jonsson: Do you think it was a subconscious decision?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes, because the crazy thing is we are not taught to act this way and yet how many of us show up this way? Most, all of us. And we all show up in this pain and we will yell and scream and do things that are not us and leave the room and go, “What did I just do? This is not me.” So I feel like that being in that response, I was not choosing to be me and I didn’t even realize it. I just was confused and didn’t know why I was showing up the way I was. So when for me, the first step was actually my former husband, he saw an ad and realized, “Okay, maybe I actually have a problem here.” You know, he was using pornography’s, you know, regularly, since he was seven, but it wasn’t on the daily. So he’s like, “It’s not an addiction. It’s not a huge problem.” but it was absolutely affecting his life and mine. And so when he started to kind of look into things, I started to learn and educate myself. We asked for help. So for us, I think it started with just a little bit of education to realize we could name something that we were feeling and that we did have a problem, both of us, that would have a lot of different feelings wrapped around it and a lot of wounds and that we needed to ask for help. And so that’s what we did. We didn’t just try to do it on our own. Um, I think facing the storm doesn’t mean “I’m going to just do it all by myself.” I’ve never done anything by myself being the Buffalo. I haven’t, I’ve used so many different resources and, um, yeah, you guys have been one of them, uh, having resources and the documentary to show my kids and help them make better choices. All of these things.

Garrett Jonsson: I think that that’s one of the common responses that we as humans want to, uh, go with is that white knuckle, like “Let’s white knuckle it, and let’s take this on by ourselves because we need to be independent.” You know, “We have to do this ourselves. We have to be strong.” What benefits did you see from seeking help?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Um, well, so the white knuckling to me, for me and for my former partner was shame. We were just so ashamed that this was actually our marriage, that this is how we were showing up as individuals. We felt very alone and because we weren’t talking to anyone, you know, it was just her own little secret. It felt so heavy and lonely and that helplessness. Right?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And so I think, um, choosing to step into that and to say, “Okay, I’m going to ask for help. We’re going to face these things.” um, was so scary, but we started to recognize how much shame we’d been living in. I actually had my therapist at the time. She said, “You really need to take a shame resilience course. And it’s based off Brene Brown’s material.” And I said, “I don’t need a shame resilience course. I’m super confident. I’ve had success in all my businesses. I’m good.” And she said, “Just sign up for the course.” She knew she could see right through me. And I got in there and week one, I just fell apart like, “Okay, my whole life I’ve been living in shame.” And I didn’t, I didn’t know how to name it, but I was showing up that way by protecting someone who was hurting me and not saying, “Hey, I need help. I’m important. I’m worthy. And even if he had chosen to do nothing, I’m worthy of healing. My heart.”

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

I think it’s cool that you talked to that lack of self-awareness for a moment with your, was it your therapist where you’re like, “No, I’m good. I got this.”

Ashlynn Mitchell: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: We kind of want to, yeah. We going back to that white knuckle or take it on ourselves as we, it’s challenging to have that self-awareness to be able to see that.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Well, and we want to present ourselves, like we got this, I’m doing great. Look at me. And it’s part, maybe part ego in me, but I’m not doing it consciously. I’m just trying to protect myself and other people’s opinions.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And so to let that go was really scary, but it was also freeing to name it.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I love that. You, as you talk to the difference between the cattle and the Buffalo, you talk about how you used to respond in that way. And now you’re responding in this way and it’s been eight years, you said?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: What do those eight years represent? Is it a lot of work?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes. [laughter]

And it is it’s every day it’s choosing. And so sometimes I can say that and people feel helpless, hopeless. Like “This is really going to be the rest of my life?” but it’s not hard once you can’t, you know, this, once you learn how to start taking care of yourself, how to really put your own needs before, you know, instead of putting them last, you start to realize that it’s not as hard as it sounds in the beginning. Yes. I feel like the first eight months for us was like heavy duty, “We are putting all our efforts into healing.” And after that, it’s been just a curious and open heart and, and choosing to self reflect instead of immediately react and, you know, project our feelings on other people. And we still make mistakes, but yeah, choosing every day to say, “Hey, I’m gonna face my storm of today.” And it might be really small and it might be big.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. It reminds me of cleaning a wound. Like you said, the eight month period is a little bit different for everyone.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. But that first eight month period is uncomfortable and yeah, healing.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah, it was uncomfortable. And I was a little bit still resentful. Like “I’m here because of you.”, you know? And I didn’t want to take any responsibility for how I was showing up. Um, but I got the validation that I need and the support, and then could move on and say, “Okay, let’s just live my life.” And the truth is, um, we got divorced, you know, Coby, my former partner chose to, um, leave in January and I don’t regret, and neither does he, the last eight years. And so we did work our storms together and recovery work together and we don’t regret it because we really were doing it for our own healing. And so now separate, we can still do the same thing.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, I am all about being loyal to the absent and your former partner is not here with us, but I did want to ask you a question and you can talk to it as much as you want to, or not at all, if you want to. And the question is regarding a quote from the Gottman’s, I’m sure you’ve heard it. Maybe you don’t have it memorized, but I do. Cause I read it a lot. And the quote is that they say “We are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses, a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.” And so the question that I want to pose to you and at the same time, be loyal to the absence since your former partner is not here, is, did porn consumption disrupt the intimacy and relationship harmony, um, yeah. Between you and your former partner?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Absolutely.

Garrett Jonsson: I think that, I do want to say to that, I’m not trying to blame it all on pornography consumption. Right?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: We’re not doing that. I’m just saying it was that one of the things and…

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah, it was one of the things and, and he can say the same thing. It’s never just one thing. Right?

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And he learned to cope in that way at a very young age. And it wasn’t really talked about in his household and when we got married, we thought, “Hey, it’s going to go away.” And it just didn’t. And so, uh, it created some fractures in our marriage with trust. Um, with me feeling safe with me feeling chosen and some of that, the child not feeling chosen and not feeling enough, those are wounds that I did bring into the marriage that I didn’t realize, like I had those in my youth. And then I found someone who really nailed that in the coffin for me.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And, um, he actually has very similar wounds that we both came in and found that familiar, familiar feeling with each other. And so he, yeah, he worked so hard to find sobriety for himself and it did disrupt in other ways, uh, emotional affair, physical affairs. And he’s been able to, I think he just celebrated his on July 12th. I text him congrats on another year. Um, I don’t even know how many years we don’t keep track, but eight, nine, I don’t know.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s awesome. Well, I’m speaking about storms that you’ve had to face in your life. You mentioned that one of the most recent ones was your divorce and I’ve never been through that. And if I try to put myself in your shoes, I feel like I would have a challenge not experiencing bitterness and resentment.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: And so I’m wondering, and I think that again, talking about value, I think that this is a valuable conversation for our listeners. Are you still in that space? Can you, can you talk to that? Like, are you still experiencing some bitterness and resentment? Or how did you get past that?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Oh man, I have worked so hard to get to feel as good as I feel, and I of course have bad days, but I have been through a lot of grief so I can own that. I’m really good at grieving. It is a learned skill that I did not have eight years ago. And so when I learned how to start grieving, you know, betrayal and how to start grieving loss of family members, um, job loss, house, like so many different ways we can lose, right? And we have to grieve that. And so when we started this year, we were at our highest high things were never better. And so when divorce came into the picture, I went to my lowest low, and I had that suicidal ideation. It scared the crap out of me because I’ve never been there, never, ever. And I think it was just, I was at a, such a high that it, I fell so much further than had I been prepared and I saw it coming.

And so the crazy thing is in that day, that was horrible for me. My former partner came and just was with me and he could still be there. I mean, he’s still my best friend. We’ve been together 22 years. So you can’t just immediately fall out of love. And he kept me there, kept me safe and reminded me, “Your brain is just not in the right place right now. And this isn’t going to last forever.” I woke up the next day and I called the doctor and said, “I had suicidal ideation yesterday. I need help.” And of course, doctors right now are out months because everyone’s feeling so many feelings and COVID kind of screwed up all those appointments and things.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And so they actually did get me in that week because it was more of a life or death. I need help. And I did get on some medication and, um, have, has, I’ve been able to slowly lower the dose as I felt better, but I go to therapy regularly.

I do, what’s called accelerated resolution therapy. And I do that because it is traumatic. It is a lot of grief to process and I’m able to process on my own. So I don’t necessarily want to go to talk therapy right now, but the reprocessing, these wounds has really helped me find safety and moving forward in that uncertainty. And it’s so scary. Um, I, when all this happened, I was so hurt and so rejected and all those old narratives from the betrayal trauma that I’d worked through, “I’m not enough.”, “I don’t feel chosen.” They all came back and how can they not?

Garrett Jonsson: And amplified, probably?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah. I mean, I think anyone who’s been through divorce knows that feeling, and it’s not that my former partner felt great. He was hurting too. So these two hurt people and we have this other podcast that we were doing as a couple with a therapist and to just let that go. And it was a lot of pressure on us to, you know, people are saying, “What’s going on?”, “Where is your partner?”, Um, “Are you guys getting divorced?” And I’m in so much pain and trying to be boundaried and still try to run my business and saying, just like, how am I supposed to answer that? If I answer it truthfully, how, what do they say to that? It’s not a great question. So,…

Garrett Jonsson: And you’re not even sure what the truth is right at that moment. Right? You’re still trying to figure stuff out.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah. So, uh, in the beginning I would say I wanted, I mean, I wrote a post of like, this is how we’re going to announce that we are uncoupling and divorce. And it w it was a little bit more angry and blaming on him, because he chose this. And when we, when I was able to really sit in it and work through my feelings, we did read a book that I would highly recommend called The Conscious Uncoupling. And it’s just, uh, the best approach you can take for your kid’s sake. And really when we zoomed out, of course we’re hurt, but our kids are in so much pain. And so when we were able to do that, I shifted and I, it wasn’t like overnight that I could say, “Hey, I don’t have resentments. I’m not hurt.” but it was months of saying, “Okay, I think I’m ready.”

So January is when he asked for the divorce. We announced it in may, which is still really soon, but I felt prepared. I’d done so much work. I even did therapy and reprocessing on sharing and being able to with light withstand the backlash, the hurt, the betrayal that many of our audience felt that we didn’t last. Um, so yeah, we’re in a very different place. Now. I don’t look at it as failure. I chalk that up to my shame, real resilience class. I don’t feel shame about what happened. It was hurtful for both of us, but I also have found new parts of me. I didn’t even know I had.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing all that, by the way, it’s difficult to share our low moments. One of the examples, I guess, something that I can use as a metaphor is when we’re talking about discomfort, is that I enjoy getting in ice baths. And we talked about how you jumped into like a polar bear plunge into the ice waters in Iceland.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and that discomfort that you can feel in the cold waters. And the thing that I want to relate here is that when I jump in ice bath, I’ve actually taken a thermometer and like tested the waters, see how, how cold it is. And sometimes it’s in the winter and there’s like a layer of ice. So I have to get a hammer and like break through the ice cause it’s outside.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And so it’s like 38 degrees or so is the, the temperature of the water.

And I jumped in there and my first response is to get out.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And I can relate it to suicide ideation a little bit because in the moment my biological urge was get out of the water. Cause it’s too cold and you have to intentionally stay in there. You have to deliberately be like, no, I’m staying in. I’m not, I’m going to ignore that biological urge to get out. I’m just going to sit in the discomfort. And I just want to say, I admire you for being strong enough to talk about that discomfort and even stronger to sit in the discomfort.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

It was hard. And I asked for help in that moment, it was, took a lot from me to even text him and say, “I need help.” because it’s exactly what you’re saying. Everything inside of me was saying, “This is the better option. This will make everyone’s life easier.” But in my rational mind, I’m thinking, “No, I’ve never thought that.”

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ashlynn Mitchell: In fact, my youngest brother did take his own life. And so I have very strong feelings about suicide. And so that’s why I think it shocked me that I was there.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow.

I think that that can be, I think that not only can we learn from this analogy in this way, but also if we’re talking about following or like denying a biological urge or how sometimes a biological urge can actually be detrimental. It’s like we can relate it to turning to pornography. And this doesn’t have so much to do with you because from what I understand, you’ve never been a person who has turned to pornography on a personal level.

Ashlynn Mitchell: I have not.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Other vices [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: But I think, yeah, that’s like the biological urge says, “Yeah, turn to pornography.” or do this or that. And again, going back, our biological urges, sometimes there are unhealthy responses, like unhealthy signals.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: Like we don’t have to follow them.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah. And it takes some skill to say, “Okay, now what? If I can’t do that, I don’t want to do those things. What do I replace it with?” You’re a great example of that. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: So are you. There was a lot of things that you just said that I’m like, “Man, this is very valuable and this is very valuable.” One of the questions I have was you used the word “reprocessing wounds”. Can you talk to that a little bit?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah. So it’s, uh, the type of therapy that I choose to do is taking a belief or trauma that I’ve had. And a lot of them are from my youth, but they’re amplified right now as an adult and, and saying, “Hey, I don’t want to feel this way anymore.” Um, especially if you know, I see my partner, I feel this specific feeling of “I’m not chosen.” I want to feel different about that and not have a physical response. And so I will go through the th the therapist will walk me through kind of a script where I’m in my brain, uh, reprocessing that I am chosen. I always have been and I really have fallen even. And it sounds so weird, but I fallen in love with me more than I ever have.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s cool.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And I know that a lot of it has been this reprocessing and so that I don’t see it in this negative way. It just was something that was part of our story and that hurt. But then I’ve been able to move through and really feel and cry it out, have all the hard feelings, um, send all the regretful texts that I did. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

Ashlynn Mitchell: Um, and to just really say, “Okay, we’re doing this.” I want to, the best advice I took from this experience is, I want to show up as a graceful woman and not a wounded child. I want to look back at myself in five years and not be filled with regret.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s a good stance to have. I like that. So reprocessing, it reminds me of EMDR.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: Cause that’s one of the words in EMDR, the acronym is reprocessing, right?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: And so it kind of just sounds like you’re just the, you’re perceiving the issue or you’re perceiving the trauma in a different way and it’s similar to EMDR, but just in a different method, I guess. Yeah.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah. So EMDR, you’re speaking it out loud. And so for me, I’ve done EMDR and it was fabulous, but if you are more like me, I might be very open and talkative, but I’m also not when it comes to things that are really hard to talk about.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. We all have that internal monologue.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes. And so it’s already scary to be in an office with a therapist. And so with ART, you don’t have to share a thing.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh, cool.

Ashlynn Mitchell: It’s all in your brain. And you can just say, “Okay, I’m like, I’m ready to move on.” I’m not. So I share sometimes and I don’t share.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow.

Ashlynn Mitchell: And that’s really freeing. And air was developed by a therapist who did EMDR and just saw like, okay, we can do this even better.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. That’s cool. Um, as I’m hearing you talk, I’m, he I’m hearing like the different layers of grief.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And we talked a little bit about the moment between stimuli and our response, the moment when your former partner told you that he wanted a divorce and then your response. And I remember following you on social media, and I remember you leaving town for a little bit of time and taking a moment to respond, kinda, I’m sure you had some initial response, but really gathering your thoughts and figuring things out. Was that good for you to have that little getaway?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes.

And I know everyone can’t do that. And it was definitely a privilege of mine to have my former partners just say, “Okay, go.” And I just got a hotel room that they delivered my breakfast and my dinner and lunch. And I got back to my roots of, I just want to be alone and I want to hike. And I took a journal and I would just go hike and be alone in they’ll red rock. And you know, it was February. So it wasn’t super warm, but warm enough and just cry. And I listened to that book, The Conscious Uncoupling and would journal out my thoughts. So I find, I found a lot of clarity there. That’s part of the shift for me. When I started to say, “I can do better.” Right now I’m in so much pain and hurt, but I don’t have to, you know, lash out and share that I can, I can process through this and make it through and be that graceful woman that I want to be. I feel like I lived my life, letting life happen to me. And then I would blame. And I would say, it’s their fault. And I feel this way because of them. But now I live my life saying I get to choose. And I’m showing life that how I want to live.

Garrett Jonsson: It kind of goes back to the freedom, right? The description in your podcast, the freedom, the opposite of freedom, I guess the antonym could be confined?

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yeah.

And you do when you’re in that place of life has happening to me. You feel controlled and it’s chaotic. And so, you know, I would do things to gain control back. You know, “I’m going to clean my house crazy and I’m going to work, you know, over time so that I have some control over my life.”, um, controlling what my husband was doing and really it’s the opposite that brings us freedom, not those things. And so to really say, “Hey, this is on, this is your choice and you get to choose. And this is my choice over here. And I get to choose, and I don’t want to be your mom.”

Garrett Jonsson: Right. It reminds me of like that the two circles that have a little bit of overlap and it’s knowing what you can control, what others are in control of and what you can influence. There’s that little bit of overlap where we can influence certain things. But mainly the big portion is just what we got, we have control over.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Yes. So it was more like, “Okay, so I’m not going to control, but Hey, let’s have some spoken agreements. Let’s talk about it. Instead of ignoring this elephant, that’s deeply affecting us.” So that’s, that’s what we learned to do.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s awesome.

Well, Ashlynn, we, we just want to say thanks because we find value in you and your life lessons, and we appreciate you showing up day in and day out. I want to leave you with the opportunity to have the last word. If there’s something on your heart that you want to share with our audience, or maybe something we haven’t discussed that you think would be valuable?

Ashlynn Mitchell: I’m just going to reiterate to face that storm, whatever it is in your life and to be the Buffalo. And even though it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be hard either way, whether you run away or push it down, numb it out, face it. It’s not going to be as hard. There are so many resources to ask for help in whatever arena you’re in. Ask her help.

Garrett Jonsson: Thanks again for, for being here for showing up. And thank you for sitting down with us today.

Ashlynn Mitchell: Thank you.

Fight the New Drug Ad: Regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, political persuasions, or any other diversifying factor, porn can impact anyone. If you’ve recognized the harmful effects of pornography in your life, or recognized the harms pornography can cause in society, we welcome you to become a Fighter. As Fighters we strive to be bold, understanding, open-minded, and accepting. If you’re ready to become an official Fighter, we invite you to join the movement at ftnd.org/fighter. That’s ftnd.org/fighter. Join us in our fight for love by becoming a Fighter today.

Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug.

Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest and the conversation we had, you can check out the links included with this episode.

Again, big thanks to you for listening to this conversation. As you go about your day, we invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots, and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.

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