Though Leviss did not join season 11 because she knew she "wouldn't be welcomed," she's still examining how her life is entwined with the cast — especially her "trauma bonding" partner Tom Sandoval
“My purpose for doing that isn't to just be in the drama necessarily...,” she explained. “I want to create a healthier environment for people watching reality TV. I want to be a part of creating ethical reality TV. And I think a part of that is educating people who are watching these shows about what we're actually consuming.”
She continued, “I have created something and I have a vision and so you know, I'm taking action as a coach in educating and this is obviously a challenge for me in so many different ways, and I'm not stuck on outcomes. I'm doing my part and I'm learning to let go and whatever happens happens, and there's such freedom in that.”
On Monday's podcast, the former Bravo star told guest Susan Zinn, a clinical counselor and trauma specialist, that she felt that she was no longer supported by the group following the revelation of her secret intimate relationship with Sandoval.
“I don't want to say mob mentality, but it's definitely like we're here to voice our opinions on what you did and bring that to the forefront,” she said of the group’s behavior after the scandal broke. “And so when you're at it alone, it just seems like you're not going to survive.”
“And that's part of the reason why I didn't go back, because I knew that I wouldn't be welcomed back and it would put me in that position of feeling fight, flight or freeze, having that extreme response and then once again only having Tom as the person that I could confide in,” she explained.
“I could just see how bad of a situation that would be for me, especially as I'm trying to put my mental health first and have some sort of stability and sanity in my life now,” she concluded.
Zinn then discussed the possibility of “trauma bonding” in situations similar to Leviss and Sandoval. The former pageant queen noted, “It gets so confusing because it was like I couldn't even think for myself" while the affair was happening.
“I didn't know what I needed and what I wanted, and it felt so foggy,” she recalled. “And as I was doing my trauma therapy and, like, distancing myself and following these boundaries that I was enforcing for myself, I could see more clearly, I could literally feel this fog dissipating and, like, finally being able to think for myself.”
She added, “I don't take it lightly, like the situations that the show really puts people in — like, it is not an easy place to be.”
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Vanderpump Rules airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.
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