#111 Uncovering Intergenerational Trauma

Today's Guest: Fabienne Slama

Today, I interview Fabienne Slama, a Renaissance woman and an inspirational figure who has overcome tremendous challenges to become a beacon of light for others. Her journey began with a deep intergenerational trauma stemming from her family’s North African background. Her great-grandmother’s forced marriage at a young age set the stage for a lineage of women who struggled to find their voice and worth.


Despite these obstacles, Fabienne’s innate curiosity and thirst for knowledge propelled her forward. As a child, she excelled academically but faced difficulties fitting in due to skipping grades and constantly being the new kid in school. However, she learned to adapt and navigate these challenges, developing a sense of resilience and self-awareness along the way.


In her adulthood, Fabienne’s life took an unexpected turn when she experienced a devastating divorce that left her emotionally shattered and financially destitute. Determined to rebuild her life, she delved into the power of the subconscious mind, discovering the transformative potential within. In a remarkable turnaround, she emerged from the darkness within three months, embarking on a journey of personal growth and empowerment.


Today, Fabienne Slama, also known as Fab, is a renowned hypnotist, author, and founder of FabYoulicious. Her mission is to awaken high-potential women and empaths, helping them overcome self-doubt and societal conditioning to unleash their true power. Through her work, she empowers women to break free from the belief that they are not enough and guides them on a transformative journey to become unstoppable forces of light in their homes, workplaces, and the world.


Fabienne’s story is one of resilience, courage, and unwavering determination. From her early struggles as a young girl to her triumphant rise as a motivational leader, she exemplifies the power of personal transformation and the capacity for individuals to create positive change in their lives and communities.




Fabienne Slama is a multi-faceted individual who has experienced various transformations throughout her life. Starting her journey as a biochemist for the French Atomic Energy Commission, she later ventured into the world of sculpting, creating powerful and evocative pieces in bronze and concrete. However, a difficult divorce left her devastated and penniless, pushing her to the brink of despair.


In the face of adversity, Fabienne discovered the power of the subconscious mind, propelling her to bounce back and reclaim her life. Today, as a renowned hypnotist and author, she is on a mission to empower high-potential women and empaths, helping them overcome self-doubt and move from being stuck to unstoppable. With her program, FabYoulicious, she guides individuals to unleash their inner light and share their unique gifts with the world, fostering a web of connection and transforming lives in the process.

Watch the episode:

Connect with Fabienne Slama

Transcript of Interview

Transcript of Interview


Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast


Podcast Host Dr. Doreen Downing


Free Guide to Fearless Speaking Doreen7steps.com


Episode #111 Fabienne Slama



“Uncovering Intergenerational Trauma”  

(00:36) Doreen Downing 

Hi, I am Dr. Doreen Downing, and I’m host of the Find Your Voice Change Your Life Podcast. Having been a psychologist for way over 40 years, I am always fascinated with human behavior and how people get to be who they are. And today I have a beautiful new friend that I’d like to introduce you to.

Fabienne Slama. Is that how you say your last name? 


(01:03) Fabienne Slama

Yes, that’s correct. 


(01:05) Doreen Downing

Good. And because she’s a new friend, I didn’t know how to pronounce her last name but thank you. I’m going to be reading her bio in just a moment, but first I just want to communicate that I am already having little shivers on my body because I do know some of her story.


And not only is it about her own journey to be more of the beautiful woman she is today, helping others find who they’re meant to be. FabYoulicious is the name of her program. But she also has some information and some ways of linking intergenerational trauma and I am hoping we’ll get to uncover some of that and hear from her about that today too.


Right, Fabienne?


(01:51) Fabienne Slama

I look forward to following your guidance and I know the universe will take us to the right place. So very excited to be here today. 


(02:02) Doreen Downing

Oh, wonderful. Let me read the bio you sent me. Dr. Fabienne Slama, A.K.A. Fab is a Renaissance woman. She started her professional life as a biochemist for the French Atomic Energy Commission.


After moving to the US, she became a sculptor, creating sensuous and strong women in bronze and concrete. In 2012, a divorce left her penniless and so heartbroken that she contemplated taking her life. Discovering the power of the subconscious, she bounced back in three months, and three years later she had published four books and was at the head of her six-figure company.

FabYoulicious. Today as a hypnotist, her mission is simple: wake up high-potential women and empaths from the big lie that they are not enough and help them move from stuck to unstoppable so they can share their light at home, at work, and into the world. 


I love all three, their light at home, at work, and into the world, especially into the world, and I feel like that’s our platform today for you to step into, Fabienne, is to share your light here out into these airwaves. 


(03:30) Fabienne Slama

I’m so excited to be here on this path with you because that’s what we need today. We need to shine the light into the world more and more. That’s the only way we are going to make this planet a better place, and we all need that at this moment.


(03:49) Doreen Downing

When I met you, that’s exactly how I felt about you, and that’s why I was excited that you accepted my invitation to come and share yourself, your light, on this Zoom call. Here we are, however many people, maybe 30 or so, and there you are in your little square shining your light and I know that you’re amazing.


(04:11) Fabienne Slama

It’s so exciting and at the same time, I’m like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m doing it. People don’t realize I present myself as Fab. And Fab and FabYoulicious and all this shiny energy. And sometimes they’re like, oh, it’s easy for you. No. I’m extremely shy, and it has not been easy to be comfortable shining my light, except that at this point I know there’s no other choice.


And by me shining my light, I know, my message might impact someone who will turn their light on and it will be this web of connection. We can create all over the planet and really change the message of who we are and what we want to do into this world. 


(05:10) Doreen Downing

I love the vision that you’ve just presented, and it’s magical, mystical, and shimmering. Shining, shimmering, splendid as one of the characters in Aladdin sang a song, shining, shimmering, splendid. But let me go back because we are dropped into this world as shining, shimmering, splendid beings, and something usually happens. Either from the past that we’re bringing in, I guess genetically, or in some ways intergenerationally.


So tell us, you’ve got this wonderful accent where you were born, you grew up, and anything early history, because I do know that there are some challenges as a young girl. So start there. 


(06:02) Fabienne Slama

There’s so many. So originally I come from France, that’s the accent you hear. And actually, my family’s not even from France, my family’s from North Africa, Tunisia. And my journey, I would say started five generations ago when my great-grandmother was invited at age 14 to a wedding.


They told her to get dressed in beautiful dresses because today is a wonderful day. You’re coming to a wedding. Except she didn’t know it was her own wedding. And she was married to a man who was 60 years old. The little girl was 14, married to a 60-year-old man. She didn’t have a voice. She didn’t have a choice except that she worked pretty hard to find a place for herself, and I really find she is in some way my inspiration because yes, she was put in an environment that was very difficult, but she created a place as much as possible for herself.


And from this marriage was born a man who didn’t know his role, who married a woman who didn’t know her role, and there was this couple who ended up having daughters after daughters. And daughter number six was my mother. And when my mother was born, they look at her and said, oh, another little piece of shit.

And they turn around and say, does somebody want her? There was a couple, aunt and uncle, who didn’t have kids, and they said, you want her, take her. So my mother grew up with this fear of being seen as a girl, fear of voicing a thought even as a newborn, as a girl, because she knew that it might be taken against her and she grew up fighting for her life and grew up that way. 


So times go and I am here. I am born into the world in totally different circumstances with a father and a mother who loved me, and at the same time with all this message being present in my genetics, not knowing what it was, and that feeling that something was off.


Because something we forget: kids believe what you tell them. My mom, for me, until the age of 12, my mom was an only child and she had 12 sisters. I didn’t know the truth, but I believed her. I believe it was possible. So when you have those messages that are put in your psyche and that are incongruent, you grow up with them and you don’t know what to do with them, and you go into life as a kid hoping for the best.


(09:47) Doreen Downing

Naturally, you come into this world, as a kid, just like we all do, bright-eyed and eager, and then that’s your mother, the mother has a history and a very long history that like you say, intergenerationally has choked a woman and has made her less than a man, but just even less than anything. No value. And so for you, as a young girl then, what was your experience? 


(10:20) Fabienne Slama

My experience as a young girl was, how kids are born, they’re born with feeling, I like it, I don’t like it. So the first two feelings I like it, I don’t like it, but very quickly, the third feeling that is put into a kid that comes naturally into a kid is curiosity.


And I’m blessed to be extremely curious. So I came into the world like, okay, let’s see what happened. I don’t know, I don’t understand. I don’t know what is the truth, what is not the truth, but I’m curious. So curiosity brought me to this point where I wanted to learn about everything. I wanted to learn about life, I wanted to discover the world, and I wanted all of it. And I learned if everybody will put something in front of me, I will learn. Except when I was five years old, somebody said, oh, who is this girl who is learning everything? She’s five years old, but she knows how to read, how to write, how to make additions, subtraction, and multiplication. Oh, that’s strange for a five-year-old. 


Why don’t we study her and push her? So they took me from pre-K. They made me skip one grade into kindergarten as a five-year-old. Okay. After a week there, they were like, oh, she does pretty well, let’s push her to first grade. 


(11:58) Doreen Downing

Oh my goodness. 


(11:59) Fabienne Slama

So here I was as a five-year-old, put in a totally different universe where yes, I was smart enough, but emotionally, and energetically, all the other kids were different. And I remember, they were running so fast and I couldn’t run as fast as them, and I was like, oh my gosh, I’m totally broken, I’m less, I’m bad. And it was not the case. It was just that I was not mature enough to do all the things. 


So that was probably one of the first times in my life where I was like being smart, talking up, and showing what you know is dangerous. So I shut it down. On top of that, my parents moved every year. So each time I was arriving in, at the beginning of the school year, I was entering a new classroom. New kids are like, hi, I’m Fabienne, and you know how it is to be the new kid in the classroom. 


(13:14) Doreen Downing

Yes, it can be uncomfortable and people could be teasing you and that’s the newcomer syndrome for sure.


(13:21) Fabienne Slama

Yes, the newcomer. So it was like, okay, I can come with this beautiful smile and if they like me, God, but if they don’t like me, they will let me know. So very quickly it was like, okay, show yourself, but don’t show yourself too much. And if you show yourself, don’t show the most vulnerable part of you.


(13:45) Doreen Downing

And if you did show the most vulnerable part of you, what then? 


(13:50) Fabienne Slama

I was teased, I was put down. As I grew up, the more the year will go by, the more the age difference was difficult because when you are six and eight, yes, it’s different. But when you are a 12-year-old with 14 year old, you are a kid in a world of about-to-become-young-adults. And their desire for life is not the same. And if you show up, they have all this desire of exploration and being cool. And I was still a baby. I was still immature. I arrived at college, I was 16, moving to college on my own, living on my own as a 16 year old, and not knowing how to relate as a teenager with those adults.


So it was interesting, it was exhilarating in some way, but it was frightening. So I was always on this dance of being visible, being invisible, being visible, being invisible, and really being very cautious about what I will share and what I will not share. Because I never know what will be used to my advantage and what will be turned against me.


(15:37) Doreen Downing

Already in just listening to you Fabienne, I get how self-aware you are and that you have integrated a lot already in terms of self-knowledge and being able to listen to yourself, understand yourself, and so it seems that kind of quality that you have with curiosity in the beginning, but like a gentle curiosity about yourself and I’m not hearing being down on yourself or hard on yourself. It’s more fascination with your history, and I feel fascinated. 


(16:18) Fabienne Slama

Yes. The name Fabienne comes from the word fava bean. And that’s something I discovered by total chance as I was looking for it. People say, oh, Fabienne, you come from where and find out it was about the fava bean. And for me, the fava bean is this plant like any bean that grows and finds a wall. And say, what direction can I take now until there’s a next wall and you find another direction? And I think that’s the way I’ve been growing all my life. And over the years, each time there was a wall, It’s been what’s next.


Yes, it’s not pleasant to be stuck. It’s not pleasant to be hurt. There’s a moment when you literally bang into the wall and it’s heartbreaking. But when you can transform this block into, okay, I’m blocked, I am crying. Now, what’s next? That’s where I think for me, I would say that has been my biggest wisdom and what helped me in any adventure in my life, any challenge in my life that has allowed me to bounce back.


(17:50) Doreen Downing

Yes, I like that analogy and the visual that you just did for people who are just listening, you put your hands out and you actually did a wall and your hand hit the wall and then it slid up, and that is the growth that you’ve been able to do, it was natural. 


So I’m going to take a quick break because I know that there’s a story about hitting a wall that I would like you to share. So we’ll be right back.


We’re back today and I have already been so inspired and thrilled by the way that Fabienne has talked about herself, her life, and her history, all the way intergenerationally.


Going back to a grandmother at 14 years old who was married to a 60-year-old man, my goodness. And then the history where Fabienne comes from in Europe, I guess it was France and but she did move to the United States somewhere along the line. And I know she’s been married and there is a story, I guess not such a happy story. But there is a story about your divorce. 


(19:05) Fabienne Slama

Absolutely. So yes, you read my bio and all the journey that I took to get there. So my journey started 12 years ago when at the time I had been married for 20 years. And one day, I received a call from my husband who was on a business trip.


And he told me, Fab, I’m so sorry, but I’m not happy and I want us to get divorced. In three days, I’m coming back from my business trip and I’m packing my stuff and I’m leaving you. It was heartbreaking. In some way, I thought I didn’t know about it, but at the same time, I realized I had been sick for the previous few months.


So probably my body knew about it before I knew about it. And I literally hit a wall because we were married for 20 years and our relationship was not perfect, but whose relationship is perfect? I was justifying it and I was finding a lot of excuses to not see the unhappiness that was going on.


And when he called me, it was so heartbreaking that I was like, I have to stop this pain. I don’t know what to do, I don’t have a job because I had left my job as a biochemist behind me. I don’t have the money to support myself. I have two teenagers and I don’t know how to raise them, and he was the love of my life in my mind.


So I was like, oh, what am I going to do? And I remember it was so hard that I would wake up in the middle of the night, and smell the fear on my clothes. And it was so painful that I wanted the pain to stop. So I went through the cabinets in the house, the medicine cabinet, and I found 40 Vicodins. I had a problem with my back in the previous year, and I found 40 Vicodins.


I Googled, what you can do to yourself with 40 Vicodins. And honestly, you need only 20 to hurt yourself. 


(21:28) Doreen Downing

But it sounds like you counted them. 


(21:31) Fabienne Slama

I counted them. I Googled, I’m a scientist, I’m a little bit of woo woo, but I’m a scientist. It’s okay, let’s find the solution to the problem.


And I sat through the whole night with those pills in my hand, considering swallowing them and crying. And it was not about my kids, it was not about anything. It was just, I want to stop the pain. Until at some point when I was too tired of crying, I heard this voice in my head saying, Fab, if you swallow those pills, you know how it’s going to end.


Don’t you want to know the end of the story? And I told you, I’m curious, so yes, this voice that told me, don’t you want to know the end of the story was what triggered me. And I was like, yes, I want to know. So I went into the bathroom and I tossed the pills right away because I knew that was this instant, this magical instant that I had to take advantage of.


And I tossed the pills into the toilet and I flushed them. And then I look at myself in the mirror. I say, okay, what do you want, girl? Now you told me to listen to the end of the story. What is the story that you want? And I went from there. So to find a story I needed to find a way to bounce back on my feet to stop crying.


I reached out for help. I found a hypnotherapist and once I decided to bounce back, as I said and you read in the bio, it took me three months to bounce back. 


(23:28) Doreen Downing

That’s not very long. Let me tell you.


(23:30) Fabienne Slama

That’s not that very long, no. But it was this time before, of healing and when I’m ready. I was working on myself day and night. I wrote a whole book during those three months. And I reached out for help and I did all these things and when I say three months, two months back on my feet, it was to take care of the first layer.

 Let me be clear to the people who are listening in this interview. These layers, it’s been over 10 years and there are still layers. So it’s a journey, but it’s never as painful as it was at the beginning, and it’s so important to accept all those layers, and each time you go through another layer, you’re learning something and you’re growing and I keep on growing. 


I go and I hit a wall and yes, I slide and I go in this next direction. So I know your podcast is about finding your voice, and at the beginning when I was talking, it was very tentative and I was trying to be perfect and do it right, the good student, that was a part of me. And at some point, I realized that if I was trying to be perfect, it will not and never happen. So I went a little bit sideways and said, okay, let’s do it. And then somebody told me, oh, but you have a French accent, people will not understand. Okay, that’s a goal.


And then it’s do I want to see this wall or do I want to go around? You know what, the people who want to understand me will understand me, so here we go. And my mom was always on stage and I don’t want to be like my mother. Oh, another wall, or if I’m seen as a woman, I’m going to be crushed or criticized, another wall. That’s a thing, those will exist. Those limitations exist and each time even coming into this interview with you Doreen, even though we connected so well, I was like, can I go through this other wall? But there’s no other choice. Maybe it’s going to be perfect, maybe not, but it will happen. And that’s the way I see unstoppable.


You talk a little bit earlier about taking people from stuck to unstoppable. Unstoppable is not perfect. 


(26:19) Doreen Downing

You keep on growing and your message is clear today, especially what you just said about the layers and the learning and the growth. We’re almost out of time, so I want to make sure that people really get, I think that people can already get your bright energy and what you offer in terms of your attitude towards challenges that you believe that any challenge somebody could come at and learn from and become what they’re more of, what they’re meant to be. So before we go, I just really want to give people a chance to hear more about the current work that you do and where to find you.


(27:02) Fabienne Slama

The current work that I do is taking people from stuck to unstoppable, and there are few where I do it, I do it one-on-one, I do it through a group, and I have a retreat coming up in October in south of France where that is all based on becoming limitless. And the way we do this work is a little bit about healing the past, but mostly coming from the future point of view and seeing what is possible.

The way to contact me, I want to give the most possible, the most I can to people who are listening to this podcast today. And I thought it was hard, I have written a book called Stuck to Unstoppable, the 13th Step to Connect with Yourself and Shine Your Light. And I would like to offer them the possibility of downloading the ebook so they can read it and learn about those.


(28:03) Doreen Downing

Oh, thank you. We’ll for sure put that in the show notes. 


(28:07) Fabienne Slama

Yes. And it is about transformation, it’s about being gentle with yourself, grow and learn, and go to the next level. And when you reach the next layer, there might be another wall, so what? Once you have the tools, you can grow again and again, and every time you go to this next level where it’s easier or it’s differently challenging, but it can be fun actually. FabYoulicious is about fun and delicious. I really believe that life should be fun and joyful.


(28:56) Doreen Downing

So it is fabulous and delicious. Is that how the two words come together? 


(29:01) Fabienne Slama



(29:01) Doreen Downing

Oh, I just found that out.


(29:04) Fabienne Slama

Fabulous and delicious and at the same time, it takes my name. If I’m Fab then so are you and life is supposed to be delicious and fun and joyful. Nobody has time to be miserable. Nobody, and certainly not me, and I don’t want that for any of my clients. I love when people have the tools to take care, to address what’s going on within them, and when they finally learn that they can do it over and over again, and it’s not bad.


It’s not, I’m failing because I’m going to another challenge. It’s, I’m going through another challenge, it’s another layer. What am I going to learn from this layer? 


(29:54) Doreen Downing

That’s really a good place to stop then is with that question to have, Hey, listeners, what are you learning today from Fab? And what can you take from what you’ve just heard?


And do you have challenges out there that are part of your own growing process? So thank you so much for being here. 


(30:18) Fabienne Slama

It’s my pleasure to be here and thank you, Doreen, for really allowing all of us to share our message.


(30:26) Doreen Downing

And share your light.


(30:27) Fabienne Slama

And share our light. Absolutely.

Also listen on…

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.