Episode 11: How to move beyond panic with Kenny Mammarella D’Cruz

by | Dec 12, 2019 | Podcast interview, Uncategorized | 0 comments

On this episode Nadia is joined is joined by personal development consultant, Kenny Mammarella D’Cruz.

“I was cripplingly shy as a child, as was my mother. When we moved from our comfortable life in Uganda, to a refugee camp and then to a very different life in working class West Wales, you can image that my shyness only got worse. Then as an adult, I was surrounded by Oxbridge types and even battled with corporate bullying. I had PTSD, body dysmorphia, was always the odd one out and was too fearful to move a muscle, let alone say anything. Now there’s no stopping me!

In my work, I help men (mainly) get real and up to date with who they are, make peace with their story so their story doesn’t run their lives, learn how to access different parts of them to meet the world more authentically, then live a purposeful, powerful, passionate, present and connected life.”


I found if I  could find something to stress about I would gain a false sense of control. I had to learn and realize that I’d never fixed anything through thinking through the issue, I’d only prodded at it. I had to take a deep breath and on the inhale, remind myself who I used to be and on the exhale, take part of what was in front of me.

Respond don’t react – responding is listening and saying something back in truth and connection

Everyone is made up of lots of parts. Talking about the child and adult inside. People are ruled by the child and pain inside because they parenting they needed wasn’t available. The authority to make them feel safe wasn’t there. It is worthwhile to get to know the shy child inside. If the child knows he is safe, then the adult can meet life and respond rather than sending a child to do an adult’s job.

Voice dialogue technique – one of the most efficient and profound tools to change people’s state.

Quotes from the Episode:

“There needs to be a person or people who don’t have any designs on how you should be or how they want you to turn out or their own issue with being abandoned.” [00:04:49]

“Survival and living are two totally different things.” [00:08:05]

“The importance of breath. I know noticed when I am stressing, thinking, fantasizing, worrying, I’m not breathing and when I’m not breathing, I’m in panic and I’m growing it.” [00:12:08]






“I have time traveled back to so many different aspects and areas of my life that I can’t wait to tell you about. And also the tools that I’ve used to get my life back. It’s been a huge journey and so much of what I do for a living now I guess is getting people in alignment with themselves in their life, in their work and showing the world who they are so they have a space that is true for them to contribute.

Once out the other side I would say it’s safe to go back to those places and to remember those places. The old story doesn’t own me anymore.

I spent a lot of time with my shyness and what type of traumas and dramas and thinking my way out of it. So much of that was second guessing or worrying or stressing, making up fears and fantasies that don’t even exist until I thought I need to work through my own story and set myself free.

I’m an ex refugee from Uganda; the secret service where after our family. We did refugee camps without my father and moved to a small town in Wales, where people had never seen people of colour before.

I had lots of mental health issues from post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s, and I used to pull my hair out; all sorts of nasties.

Luckily in my life I’ve had people around who love me, friends go friends, family, whatever, and I was able somehow to feel my way through things and come out the other end and I would say that’s what set me free. No thinking, no working out, no plotting and planning, no nothing like that. It was feeling through.

Now, in my work with clients, I encourage people to know their story and own and write their own stories rather than those stories owning them.


I was addicted and obsessed by the things that go on in my head. Second guessing what people might be thinking about me, how I might be judged, how to put it right, what might go wrong. realized that if I could find something to stress about or be sad or upset about, then I would gain a false sense of control. I would pretend that I’m controlling everything and nothing can harm me. Meanwhile, that’s obviously not true. That’s just fantasy and it kind of works to try and take some of the anxiety of and what I had to learn to do.

As soon as I felt lost in my head and overcome with fear, I guess, or trying to control, I would in that moment of realization, take a deep breath in and as I breathed in I thought thank you for reminding me who I used to be and as I breathe out, I would take parts with what’s in front of me, nothing more, nothing less, and it’s a gratitude because that protecting part that kept my mind busy was actually very, very useful in my earlier years.

If it wasn’t for this overthinking and paranoia, I might not have survived, but it comes to a stage where the protector can become the jailer because the protectors job to protecting part of everyone, it’s survival. Survival and living are two totally different things.


I would say part of my shy person and OCD and paranoia was a fear of intimacy and intimacy could be quite simply being seen, being in a conversation in this moment without thinking, do they think I’m boring? Do they think I’m judging them? You know? And it just goes on and on and intimacy is beyond all of this and simply connecting. And that’s why it’s, thank you for reminding me who I used to be because that behavior can be in the past. That creates a moment of possibility of magic, of presence in the present, in the moment. And in that moment in a breath, there is connection or they can be the potential of connection, even if it’s for a second.

3, 2, 1 GO

There’s another one where I would avoid doing things and it might be speaking to someone or even just moving something. I’d be thinking I’d be crippled with fear or just overthinking and quite simply I learned to do three, two, one, go and that just cuts the thought out and go, might not be the answer or the right thing to say. It’s just making a noise. It’s saying hello or excuse me, or I wonder, or it might be getting up, it might be getting out of bed, it might be suddenly doing some exercise, having some water, but quite simply beyond the thought, which can be so crippling. It’s three, two, one go. I used to play games that the next time when I hear three cars, then blah, blah, blah. What kind of nonsense is that? Especially if I’m in the middle of the countryside and there are not going to be any cars!


I learnt to use a line… “You never believe what I just thought. I just had this mad fantasy that the reason you’re quiet right now is because either I didn’t phone yesterday or I’ve made a noise banging this dish or blah blah blah.” So whatever it is, whatever my nonsense is, rather than believing it and manipulating around it to put this fantasy fair right. It’s naming it as my fantasy and allowing feedback so I can actually take part in the world and find out what’s true and what’s not true. And that’s so harmless and so playful. And there’s not a lot to rehearse because it’s three, two, one say my fantasies. That may be your a little bit angry at me because whatever it is.

I invite people to even in board or it could be a wave, it could anything, but it is a gesture and you know, in my company and I consult for a few companies, people just gesture, people move, people do things. It’s a human space rather than a scared bullying space. And it’s up to us all to own this space and make it what it needs to be rather than second guess the rules and be a victim to these fantasies of these rules that no one actually said are rules.

And I find it’s often, especially for a shy person, if I made a gesture and it’s come to me, I’ve done my three to one and it’s like, as you might have noticed, I don’t generally talk about, but I’m going to take a risk with this and I’m not sure whether this is a good idea or a silly fantasy, but I really want to contribute more. I wonder about blah, blah, blah, blah. And at the end of it I’d say, what do you think? I’m open to feedback rather than leave it in the air and forced myself to be abandoned through shock because firstly they’re shocked I’m speaking. Secondly, the shock that I’ve said something that’s either really good or really stupid. And thirdly, they just are not used to responding to me. Especially, you know, for me, breaking the spell is naming what is, I don’t often speak.

I have an idea. I don’t know whether it’s a good, bad or ugly idea. Here goes and I’m open to feedback because most people don’t say I’m open to feedback. They argue. Most people I would say don’t come from mature adult. They come from unruly child, you know, most of my work or a lot of my works with men or I’m known for my work with men. And I would say one of the main differences between a boy and a man is a boy competes and makes a lot of noise and needs to prove himself. That’s very young, masculine, where a man includes the feminine, which means he can listen, he can respond, he can collaborate and there’s no needs to dominate. It’s sharing power and the best person for the job can take this bit and know when to pass the ball.

Hoping that it’s going to do some good. And you’ve given so much amazing advice Kenny. Really? I feel like we could talk for days and days, but I might have to get you back on another time so he can talk.

That would be great. Can I give one last one? Yes. Yes. So going back to the boy and the man, I believe that everyone is made up of lots of parts. You know, part of me was shy to come on this talk with you. Part of me was thinking, oh my God, am I going to cry if I talk about something very personal? Part of me can’t wait to, you know, share my tools. So we’re made of lots of different parts. We talked about the child in sides and we also talked about the adult inside. And a lot of people I know are ruled by their abandoned or in pain or whatever is his child because maybe the parenting they had or the protection or the safety that they needed wasn’t there even if it’s in an incident rather than all their lives. So my thing is, and so many people get into relationships, whether it’s professional or personal, looking for a mummy or a daddy or an authority to save them and make them safe.

So I would say it’s very worthwhile getting to know the shy, scared child and side and the man or the woman, the adult inside saying to the shy child, you know, and this might be in the heart, it might be in a breath in your head. It might even be writing with left-hand and right-hand, but saying quite simply, it’s okay, I’m here. Then the child isn’t sent to the battlefield of life where it doesn’t belong. And if the child knows that he’s safe, then the adults can meet life and respond rather than sending a child to do an adult job. Does that make sense or is that too complicated?

It could even be a misunderstanding or a dream, or it could be major trauma or could be witnessing trauma. You know, I remember in my school, much as we were the only family of colour, some of the other kids had terrible names that they were called, and a lot of the other kids, including myself, dreaded the day that it might turn on us. We became invisible.

There is a technique around this, it’s called voice dialogue and it was started by two therapists in the states I think in the 70s doctors, Helen Sidra stone. It’s one of the most efficient and profound tools that I use to change people’s state, so they come from who they really are and they have an experience of that and they let go of the other perspectives in parts that aren’t serving them anymore. It’s worth its weight in gold.”


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