Break Free From Shame With Actor/TV Host Terry Crews

Terry Crews

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews authors, experts, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Terry Crews

Terry Crews is an NFL player turned actor and TV host. He has appeared on shows like "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." He’s also hosted shows like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and "America’s Got Talent."

He’s the author of a new book called "Tough." In it, he shares stories from his childhood, his experiences in the NFL, and how his idea of real toughness has evolved over the years. 

Why Terry Is Mentally Strong

Terry had a rough childhood. He grew up witnessing domestic violence. He learned that being tough meant acting like he didn’t have feelings and showing that he was strong enough to beat people up. Being in the NFL reinforced some of these ideas.

Over time, however, he recognized that it takes a lot more strength to talk about feelings than it does to hide them. And he became aware of how much shame he carried around due to his addiction to pornography.

Terry created positive changes in his life. He sought treatment, began talking about his feelings, and worked on healing himself and his marriage. Now, he’s sharing his journey toward developing real mental strength

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • How Terry’s beliefs about toughness have changed over the years
  • Why Terry relied on extrinsic rewards in the past and how he developed intrinsic motivation
  • The event that made him decide to get help for himself
  • How Terry developed an addiction to pornography and how he kept it hidden from most people
  • What Terry has learned about shame and the antidote to shame
  • Why he’s sharing his story with other people
  • Why he came forward about being sexually assaulted
  • The best piece of advice he ever received
  • How Terry stopped being a people-pleaser
  • What he learned about himself in therapy

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

When people experience shame, they often view their behavior as a moral weakness. Consequently, they treat themselves harshly and struggle to create positive change.

Like many people, Terry felt as though he were living a double life. He had a secret addiction to pornography and he worried that no one would accept him if the issue came to light. The more he suffered in silence, the worse his addiction became.

Shame and addiction often go hand-in-hand. Fortunately, there are things you can do to break free from shame and improve your mental health. 

Quotes From Terry

Terry Crews

I had to redefine what toughness meant, what it was. And previously in my life for almost my first 40 years on earth, toughness was what you just described. It was a battle to get up the earliest, to work the longest, to do the most work. And then I wore myself out.

— Terry Crews
  • "This is the thing about being self-righteous–anyone can be self-righteous, which blew my mind. You could be Black and self-righteous. You can be gay and self-righteous. You could be poor, you could be rich. You could be any ethnicity, any place. You could be male or female. But that self-righteousness, it allows you to do the most heinous, evil things to other people because you feel correct."
  • "Anytime I hear the word ‘should,’ I know shame is involved."
  • "I had to tell exactly how bad it was for me so that you could see how far it was that I traveled. If the book started out good and ended up great, I don't think it really would've helped anyone."

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you.

For media or public speaking inquiries, contact Amy here.

Links and Resources

Follow Terry on Instagram: @TerryCrews

Buy Terry’s Book: Tough: My Journey to True Power

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By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.