Jahmaal Marshall: Trauma Responses on Autopilot Lead to Burnout

59m | May 19, 2024

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“Are you an introvert or just into hurt?” asks Jahmaal Marshall, certified counselor and founder of Listen Then Speak LLC and the podcast of the same name. Many of us develop behavior and personae, he explains, around a need to protect ourselves from rejection, and we carry these into our personal and professional adult lives. Growing up with a severely addicted father, Jahmaal became as he calls it, “the classic chameleon,” overachieving in school and later at work, fulfilling everyone’s needs in an effort not to cause problems. Today on FRIED, he and Cait talk about the connection between childhood trauma and burnout, the resentment that can build up in us when we feel like we are giving with no reciprocation and the resentment we can experience from others when we set boundaries for ourselves. 

When we give with the expectation of receiving in return, we may think we’re being generous when actually we are assuming others’ needs, or acting from our own neediness. We can also close ourselves off to the many unexpected ways in which people can show their gratitude. 

Join today’s discussion to find out what happened when Jahmaal drew a line in the sand at work, and the important lesson he learned. 


  • “I just wanted someone to say, ‘You’ve done well.’ Not that my mom didn’t do those things, but it’s something about when a dad speaks into his son’s life and calls the man out of him. I didn’t have that as a little boy. So, I went through most of my professional life basically searching for that.” (5:09 | Jahmaal Marshall)
  • “My excellence, my quote-unquote high performance, was just a trauma response of a fear of rejection. I did not want to be rejected. So, it’s not that I didn’t know how to say no, I refused. Let’s key in on that word: I refused to say no, because I wanted to protect myself.” (8:09 | Jahmaal Marshall) 
  • “That expectation we have and that desire to give and receive, we’ve even been taught that—I’m a Christian— we’ve been taught that in faith-based spaces, if you give you’ll receive. That’s not always the case. It actually already puts you in the place of a false motive of life is like a genie in a bottle that I can just rub. And if I rub it like this, something’s going to pop out, and this is going to be my return on the investment I made.” (17:10 | Jahmaal Marshall)
  • “Are you an introvert or are you just into hurt? Do you have hurt and pain that is not processed that is causing you to turtle your way through life to play it safe. There are people who are actually introverts, but you have a lot of people who are extroverts masquerading as an introvert to protect themselves from pain that has not been processed.” (29:02 | Jahmaal Marshall) 


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Fried. The Burnout Podcast