Getting Free from Shame ~ Interview with Dr. Rob Jackson

Getting Free from Shame:  the Biggest Lifestealer of All

Dr Robert Jackson, Founder and CEO of Back Talk Systems, Inc.
Dr Robert Jackson, Founder and CEO of Back Talk Systems, Inc.

Do you desire to see any of these take place in your life?

If so, keep reading as Dr. Rob Jackson, just experienced breakthrough in each of these valuable, life-giving areas, and he wants you to know about how it take place for you:

My body is healing.  

My relationships are thriving; especially my marriage.

My businesses are healthier and growing, and our bottom line profitability is increasing.

My spiritual life is opening up in a deeper way.


Interview with Dr. Rob Jackson:  Applewood Chiropractic Health Center for 33 years, as well asOwner and CEO of Backtalk Systems,


Rob is married to Martha Rust Jackson, a wonderful woman I met on an airplane!

I became her Seminary Mentor at Denver Seminary, and she has become a dear friend and ministry partner.

Tamara:  Thank you, Rob, for your willingness to do this interview.


Your insight as a professional and in your personal story regarding how shame can significantly impact our physical bodies is eye opening.

My hope is that through our interview, we will help people to establish a “shame-free zone” in their lives and bodies!

Tamara: Describe how your childhood was impacted by shame:

Rob:  My dad was a tough disciplinarian, because with three boys out on a farm there was no other choice. We raised poultry and livestock, which depend on the people who take care of them to survive. If I didn’t follow through with my role to take care of their food and watering needs they could suffer or die. If and when that happened my dad would discipline me and that would lead to me feeling “ashamed” of my failures.

By the time I reached high school, I began to overcome that and experienced a measure of success in sports.  Pride began to take over and live where shame had been dwelling .As a result I began to take pride in the wrong values and I made some poor personal choices in life that had a direct impact on my health and ultimately my future. Physical and athletic success compounded by pride led me to search for opportunities of immediate gratification, which then carried me down a very dark path.

Ultimately shame started taking over again. I began to feel like such a hypocrite that I developed a whole persona to protect myself. This burden of living with two identities almost crushed me. When a person is stuck In the middle of a situation like this where shame looms on every horizon, many times you just can’t or don’t see a way out. That’s what happened to me.

Tamara:  Rob, I know you had a pretty devastating event take place at age 17.  Do you feel comfortable sharing it with us?

I played high school varsity baseball at the time. We were playing a game and there was a base runner on second base when the batter hit the ball out into center field. As the first baseman it was my job to go to the pitcher’s mound and be the “cut-off” person for the throw coming in from center field. My catcher was in charge of telling me what to do with the cut-off throw, which was either to let the throw come through to home plate to try and stop the runner from scoring, cut-off the throw and then relay the throw home and attempt to catch the runner trying to score, or cut-off the throw and relay the ball to the second baseman if the hitter was trying to stretch his hit from a single into a double.

I heard my catcher tell me to “cut two, cut two, which meant that the original runner was already going to score at home safely, so I should cut-off the throw from the outfield coming in and relay to the second baseman where I had a chance to get the hitter out if the throw got there in time to tag him out.

The ball hit a rock when it landed in front of me and took a bad hop which means it bounced funny, hitting me in the chest instead of my glove, so when I was able to secure the ball I immediately looked at my second baseman who was poised, covering the base and waiting for my throw. It looked to me like I had an easy out as the hitter was slow and only about half way to the base at that moment.

I reared back and threw the ball as hard as I could to the second baseman and was astonished when the ball came back and hit me in the chest and fell to the ground in front of me. By the time I picked the ball up and looked up to see what had happened, the runner had made it to second base, but in front of me was the field umpire, laying on the ground on his back.

He had been squatting down looking at the outfield as the throw came in and started to stand up right when I threw the ball to the second baseman. He never made it into my line of sight and the ball hit him in the back of his head, caving in part of his skull.

The coaches and trainers all came running out to try and help him and were able to revive him with some smelling salts for a moment, but an ambulance came and took him away moments later and I was told the next day that he died from his injuries.

Needless to say, I was devastated!

The guilt and shame was immobilizing.

Resources didn’t exist to help with PTSD at that time, so I just pushed all my emotions inward.  My friends and teammates didn’t know what to say and it made them all uncomfortable too, so like most high school kids they started to tease me instead.  Everywhere I went, people made fun of me saying, “Cut ump” which meant for me to cut-off the throw and then throw the ball to or at the umpire. Needless to say, it wasn’t funny and only made things worse for me.

My family didn’t know how to deal with the awkwardness either, so we avoided it and just didn’t talk about it.

I found myself alone in the shame, and it began to wreak havoc in every area of my life, especially in my physical body.

One thing I’ve discovered in my journey is that many times shame comes as a result of things done to us, not always choices we’ve made.

Either way, the results can be just as devastating.

Tamara:  Tell me how the shame from your traumatic event affected your body.

Rob: By age 19, I was at the pinnacle of fitness.

 I was 6’6, 195 lbs of muscle, playing college basketball on scholarship, strong and athletic, and way too proud of it.  Then, all of the sudden--over the course of a year--I realized I was not as fast or strong as I had been.  I was chronically thirsty all the time, so I started drinking a ton of fluids, up to 6 gallons a day. I began to urinate every 15 minutes, lost weight, had horrible muscle cramps and became gaunt as I dropped down to 154 lbs. I began to look like a skeleton wearing skin.

The low point for me was when my team was playing in a New Year’s tournament down in Texas and I was stuck in the hospital back home in Colorado trying to figure out what was wrong. I actually saw my teammates on Television at the Cotton Bowl game, Instead of being with them,  I was all alone in a hospital bed, getting tests which eventually revealed that I had developed Type 1 Sugar Diabetes.

My parents couldn’t be present with me because the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were their busiest time of year. When you raise poultry, most of your income comes through your customers buying turkeys for their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Our family worked 22 hours a day during the holidays trying to get everything done to make a living.

In my solitude, I had a lot of time for self-reflection, but because I didn’t understand, identify or talk about the shame I was experiencing, it created a greater opportunity for these negative emotions to create a “vise-grip” over the health of my entire body

Tamara: Tell me more about the effects of diabetes on the medical side:

Rob:  Back in the 70’s diabetic management was not very advanced. Once diabetes takes over nothing good happens!

One of the primary symptoms is that it breaks down muscle tissue.  I went from a lean 195 lbs of muscle, down to a scrawny 154 lbs in a matter of 45 days.  Diabetic nerve pain sensations increased, creating painful extremities.  My kidneys started malfunctioning spilling protein into my urine instead of being able to use it to make new muscle tissue, and I developed neuropathy in my feet.

The most common side effect of diabetes over time is a lot of permanent damage to every tissue, organ and system in your body and ultimately leads to a premature death.

Tamara:  Describe how shame affected your relationship with your first wife and daughters.

Rob: Since I went into my first marriage as a doctor with the knowledge of what happens to most diabetics, I worked extra hard to try and provide everything that I could, as soon as I could, so in case something might happen to me my family would be well cared for.

I had 4 jobs with 4 different companies that I had started and I was working all the time and was never home. I basically abandoned them while trying to provide for them at the same time. This just led to a disaster in my first marriage and that ended in divorce in 2003.

Tamara:  Tell me what changed when you married Martha:

Rob: Right away when I met Martha I began to feel safe for the first time in years and as a result of the defense mechanisms that I had developed over years, my internal challenges related to hypocrisy began to rise up again.

Martha is a woman who is serious about the power of prayer and through her efforts I began to feel convicted, God was poking at my heart, urging me to trust him.  He began to “peel back the layers of the onion” in my emotions and eventually it all came to a head.

I knew that you had helped Martha get free from chronic migraines in ways that as her physician I was unable to do and that your and her prayers for healing were powerful.  Martha and I talked about it together and decided to approach you and asked if you would pray for me.

When I told you the story of killing the umpire and the devastating choices I made following his death, I actually experienced what James 5:14-16 describes:

“Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”

Even though we connected over skype, my confession to you where I brought my sins to the light, followed by your grace towards me and your prayers for healing, broke the power of shame over me.  

I began to realize that I had suffered for 38 years with diabetes, but to even a greater extent, the disease of shame.

Shame was the entry point which opened the door for diabetes to take hold of my body, which then made my daily life a challenge, impacted all my relationships and made my professional practice exhausting.

Tamara:  I love your story of confession because I see that you are now living whole and healed as James describes.  Can you tell us more about your life today?

Rob:  I would love to!

My body is healing.  I no longer need nearly as much insulin as before. I look and feel younger, stronger, more intense and passionate.

My relationships are thriving; especially my marriage.

My businesses are healthier and growing, and our bottom line profitability is increasing.

My spiritual life is opening up in a deeper way:  I am more centered and on track.  My desire is to come alongside emotionally injured or wounded men and women and support them in their journey to be more Christ-like, which of course, means to live in the “shame-free zone!”

Tamara:  I am thrilled to hear that breaking out of shame and into the “shame-free zone” has not just affected one area of your life, but all of them.  It’s compelling. We all want to live with healthier bodies, more fulfilling relationships and thriving vocations and businesses.  I applaud your courage in taking the step!

One more question, “What do you want to say to everyone in your closing thoughts?”

Rob:  In my experience, people have different responses to shame.

The first response is from the people who really want to get better.  They are willing to take the risks to discover what needs to be exposed to the light so they can be set free.

Another group just likes to sit in their stuff, and don’t want to change.  Some people are basically flat out exhausted and they are hurting so bad that their bodies are getting sicker and sicker. They know things need to change, but they don’t know how or where to turn.

I am here to say, “There is help available.

FinalSOOS ebook
FinalSOOS ebook

Tamara’s resource, ‘Spun out on Shame? Reclaim Your Sanity’ is a great first step in getting clear about what’s happened in your life and how you can be healed.  

Her blog is also a great resource, as well as the Reclaim Identity Retreats she leads.

Check Facebook for Reclaim Identity for updates and inspiriing daily quotes.

You may even consider approaching her to set up an appointment to do some “shame-clearing” in your life like I did. That was one of the smartest and best things I have ever done. Consider it for yourself and your loved ones if you have a chance to take advantage of what she and her team have to offer. (leave a comment on

I also write a weekly blog that provides a free “practice or  business” tip of the week. If you have an interest you can find out more on my website at and sign up to follow my blog from there.