172 – Effects of trauma, how narratives in shaping our worldview, & accepting uncomfortable emotions

Esther Perel is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author who is an expert on modern relationships. In this episode, Esther describes how being a child of parents who narrowly survived the Holocaust shaped and influenced her perspectives and ultimately led to her to a career in therapy. She discusses how the generational differences in parenting, among other things, led to the rise of individualism with a focus on happiness and self-esteem to the detriment of our relationships and sense of community. Ultimately, the conversation focuses on the value of our relationships with others for one’s sense of wellbeing, ability to deal with past trauma, resilience, and even our lifespan. She uses real world case studies to emphasize the therapeutic value of creating healthy relationships with others and oneself, explaining how our relationships with others can be a mirror into our own maladaptive behaviors. Esther explains how our self-narratives, which are often shaped by past trauma, may negatively impact our relationships with others and our emotional health, and emphasizes the value in trying to change them when warranted.

We discuss:
00:00:00 – Intro
00:00:10 – Esther’s background, adventures in hitchhiking, and how she ended up in the US
00:07:35 – The lasting effects of the Holocaust on Esther’s parents
00:17:21 – Grappling with a dark past and feeling alive again after trauma
00:24:28 – How Esther came to understand her parents in a new light
00:32:19 – Why Esther chose therapy as her career
00:43:57 – Using the concept of sexuality to understand society, culture, and people
00:53:46 – The significance of sexual revolutions, and the similarities of medical advancements and advancements in psychotherapy
01:03:18 – The impact of the rise of individualism and the focus on happiness and self-esteem
01:17:13 – Generational differences in parenting and changing role of fathers [1:09:15];
01:28:07 – How our narratives affect our sense of wellbeing and relationships with others, and the challenge of changing them
01:43:20 – Generational effects of past trauma, and how relationships to others can be a mirror into your maladaptive behavior
01:54:25 – The role of willpower in one’s ability change their behavior and improve their relationships
01:58:44 – How your relationships impact longevity and the importance of being capable of sitting in uncomfortable emotions
02:06:28 – Esther’s definition of resilience and the dangers of believing everything you think or feel
02:15:13 – Questions about the human condition that Esther wants to explore

Show notes page: https://peterattiamd.com/estherperel/


The Peter Attia Drive is a weekly, ultra-deep-dive podcast focusing on maximizing health, longevity, critical thinking…and a few other things. With over 30 million episodes downloaded, it features topics including fasting, ketosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, mental health, and much more.

Peter is a physician focusing on the applied science of longevity. His practice deals extensively with nutritional interventions, exercise physiology, sleep physiology, emotional and mental health, and pharmacology to increase lifespan (delay the onset of chronic disease), while simultaneously improving healthspan (quality of life).

Learn more: https://peterattiamd.com
Subscribe to receive exclusive subscriber-only content: https://peterattiamd.com/subscribe
Sign up to receive Peter’s email newsletter: https://peterattiamd.com/newsletter

Connect with Peter on:
Facebook: http://bit.ly/PeterAttiaMDFB
Twitter: http://bit.ly/PeterAttiaMDTW
Instagram: http://bit.ly/PeterAttiaMDIG

Subscribe to The Drive:
Apple Podcast: http://bit.ly/TheDriveApplePodcasts
Overcast: http://bit.ly/TheDriveOvercast
Spotify: http://bit.ly/TheDriveSpotify
Google Podcasts: http://bit.ly/TheDriveGoogle


Due to the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, BRIO has dedicated 100% of their operations to importing critically needed respirator masks. Featuring a 3D comfort design, these KN95 masks provide filtration against particulate pollution, gases, as well as bacteria, viruses, and most odors. It’s made with comfortable stretch fabric and has convenient earloops for a tight fit. These masks are perfect for everyday wear. Order your 5-Pack now!

  • 3D Comfort mask design
  • Convenient earloop design
  • Comfortable stretch fabric for tight fit
  • Easy to put on & remove

Note: These masks are not FDA approved nor are they N95. These masks are tested to meet the standards for Chinese KN-95. Tests confirmed almost 90% of particulate pollution, bacteria and viruses were successfully filtered when the mask was used. 20x more effective than cloth masks.


  • Color: white
  • Materials: 3-layer melt-blown non-woven PPE
  • Product dimensions: 1″H x 8″L x 5″W
  • 3D Comfort design
  • KN95 PRC Standard (Similar to NIOSH N95)
  • CE 0194
  • FFP2 – EN149 Filtration Level