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Ep. 82: Inner Brutality or its counterpart Kind & Companionability with Anna Pinkerton

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Introduction: Anna Pinkerton is a trauma specialist, therapeutic Coach and founder of My Kinda Life Methodology. She is a leading expert in stress awareness, chronic stress and trauma. She is a clinician, with 28 years’ experience working with Leaders, athletes, organisations and people in the public eye. Anna is an author of two books; The first is called My Kinda Life in Leadership: Live & Lead with Kindness for better relationship, be respected, create impact. The second book is called Smile Again: Your recovery from Burnout, breakdown and overwhelming stress. 


Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the pervasiveness of Inner Brutality, a phenomenon or entity that we have lived as a property of us rather than a narrative we have built to survive. Anna shares how we can employ a Methodology to shift our relationship to self and expand our emotional palette for a fuller and more content life. 


Points made over the episode

  • The red thread that weaves throughout this podcast is the idea that we can take back the power of the Inner Bully and expand our emotional competence to live through life’s experiences good and bad with greater kindness and companionability to self and others. 
  • Anna experienced Trauma 11 years ago. Initially she succumbed to her inner bully and found it difficult to forgive herself for choosing an ill-suited partner. 
  • She then saw the experience as a privilege to understand how as humans we can be so out of control of our own neurological system. 
  • It took Anna 3/4 years to recover and in that time she fashioned an alternative methodology called “My Kinda Life” 
  • She describes the ways the inner bully works and how it creates a personal cul-de-sac. 
  • The methodology surfaced from Anna’s personal analysis and questioning to wonder what an alternative could be to the ferocious and pernicious inner bullying. 
  • The idea of Kindness to self and companionability to self-emerged.
  • Kindness was the generic term for compassion and caring that Anna chose. She also wanted something more dynamic than compassion can be and chose the word companionability.
  •  Inner Brutality can best be described as the words used by self to stay stuck in a self-imposed prison or cul-de-sac. A person who refuses to allow themselves to move through their emotions and move on. 
  • The conversations in the minds eye include statements like; you are an idiot, useless person, stupid and much more profane language than can be repeated here. 
  • We have assimilated this kind of inner talking as normal and not as a thing and Anna wanted to surface this practice as a thing, a thing we do not have to live with. 
  • The power source of the Inner Bully is the pain of an emotional experience that has been aligned with lack of safety, so it is thwarted. 
  • We are primed now to show inner strength, to be resilient and that brings with it its own pressure. We tend to demonise certain emotions such as anger, grief and jealousy. Simply put we have aligned pain with being bad. 
  • To expand and accept all of these emotions for their purpose to help us feel as humans means that we get to move through life. 
  • Two reasons in particular help Leaders she the veracity of Anna’s work.  1. There is a sense that something is happening internally that is scuppering someone’s success and 2. On paper someone might have achieved considerable success but they feel empty. 
  • Inner Brutality is so pervasive that people can see themselves reflected in the two reasons above. 
  • Why employ this methodology on Teams is a question that gets answered by way of the loss in understanding, communication and energy consumed by team members who have different emotional palettes and ways of narrating. Conflict often ensues. 
  • Inner Brutality is conveyed and projected onto others. 
  • If every member of a team can take responsibility for dialling down their inner bully and increasing their emotional palette things get easier on teams, conflict melts, communication is easier and the energy made available can be used for productive purposes. 
  • Inner Brutality sits on a spectrum between being very loud and domineering to a whisperer. 
  • Imposter Syndrome, Self-Saboteur, Perfectionism are all manifestations of the Inner Bully at work. 
  • Start by seeing the Inner Bully as an entity and build a relationship with it, it arrived for a very purposeful reason and in all likelihood has out grown its usefulness. 
  • Kindness does not have to be seen as paradoxical to Leadership. Kindness means empathy, means communicating in way that other can understand etc..
  • Selling Kindness is often made simpler by selling unkindness.
  • The Methodology is exquisitely simple but intoxicatingly difficult because it is being levelled against a complex system that is a human. 
  • Anna’s methodology comprises 8 steps: 
  • Step One: Visualising -The Companionable life. 

Can you envisage a time when you will not brutalise you? Find out how it hurts you, how it hinders you and how the inner bully affects you. Can you imagine the fluidity of acknowledging if you have done something, feeling the pain of that and moving on to do differently next time. 

  • Step Two: Your Inner Brutality-how it reveals itself and how it controls your reality. Your inner brutality is pushing you from behind saying come on hurry up be better be faster be something you are not. The Companionable way comes along side you and says “Hey, I do not feel fully ok with me now, but I am going to re-learn how to be” 
  • Step Three: Recognise the power source of the Inner Brutality-The decisions made about yourself based upon your experiences. It is rarely someone’s experience alone that causes long term suffering but a value judgement against self. Ask what are the value judgements made against self that are true and false?  
  • Step Four: Being fully human with a full emotional palette. 
  • 10 Main emotions: Fear, Love, Happiness, Sadness, Envy, Pride, Disgust, Surprise, Grief & Anger. 
  • Step Five: Determine your own objections to lifelong companionability- look inside of you, look without judgement. What does your head struggle to accept about living in a kind and companionable manner with self? Look for reasons not blame. 
  • Step Six: The Vow-vowing to yourself from this day forward- you will struggle to make lasting change unless you make a decision to do so. 
  • Step Seven: Your companionable alternative to Inner Brutality of Thought. Your brain has it favourite put down. It is habituated and like any habit it takes commitment until companionability is wired in and brutality is wired out. 
  • Step Eight: Installing your Vow and living companionably forever. 
  • 30% more energy is available to a person by working through the methodology. 
  • We are born with 10 globally accepted emotions. Our familial system and societal norms washes many out. We are left with a reduced palette. 
  • We are born to feel and move through our experiences in life. Our inner brutality thwarts this natural phenomena. We create objections that the Inner Brutality convinces us are necessary. It convinces us that by suffering and hurting we are taking responsibility but this only keeps us stuck, in a cul-de-sac
  • The Vow is underpinned by the foundational work of Anna’s methodology. 
  • A companionable alternative looks like someone who appreciates that they have a full emotional palette, gives space and time to process emotions, uses companionable words like “what a shame you did that and you do not feel proud of what you have done” allowing the pain of that realisation and moving on. 
  • Anna is a testament that the methodology works. We have to be able to overcome the stigma of looking after self. Remember Kindness and Companionability is contagious just as Inner Brutality is -you chose for a better leadership 

Resources shared 

  • My Kinda Life In Leadership- Anna Pinkerton 
  • Smile Again : Your recovery from burnout, breakdown & overwhelming stress-Anna Pinkerton 

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