Your wife and you agree that introducing BDSM and ethical non-monogamy into your marriage has brought you some of the happiest and closest times in your relationship. On the other side of the coin, this new level of communication and honesty has made her more vulnerable than ever to the anxiety and depression she’s suffered since childhood. Is there a way to get past the bad without giving up the good this lifestyle provides, or should you just go back to the way things were before? Welcome to Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Opening your marriage and indulging in BDSM fantasies have brought you and your wife closer than ever, but there’s a big downside: it sometimes triggers the anxiety and depression she’s experienced since childhood. Is this lifestyle worth the trouble, or should you consider this a failed experiment and go back to the way things were before?
- Growing up without much in the way of money or luxury, you can’t get past feeling guilty now that you have a well-paying job and can finally afford some of the nicer things you’ve missed out on — especially when so many of your peers are in debt. Do you deserve to feel guilty for having it good when others don’t?
- Your mother-in-law is a pathological liar. When she’s not telling blatant untruths, she’s omitting important details — like your father-in-law’s cancer. Worse, a lifetime spent with her seems to have rubbed off on your husband, who clearly has a problem with honesty. Is it possible to break this cycle and actually trust your family?
- You’ve decided to seek help for your addiction by going to rehab, but how do you break the news to your employers — at a job you find fulfilling and don’t want to lose — that you’ll need to be gone for six weeks? [Thanks to HR professional Joanna Tate and clinical psychologist and addiction specialist Dr. Rubin Khoddam for helping us with this one!]
- Your husband has never been emotionally available, and even warned you at the start of your relationship that he’d probably never be able to really open up to you. After a conversation with his sister, you discovered he was bullied as a teen by his alcoholic father to the point of self-harm that landed him in the hospital. Do you patiently wait for him to tell you this huge secret, or do you confront him and disclose that you know this piece of his puzzle?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- SimpliSafe: Learn more at simplisafe.com/jordan
- Apartments.com: Learn more at apartments.com
On The Commercial Break Podcast, Bryan and Hoadley take a break from reality and dive into absurdity each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Listen here or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts!
Miss our conversation with Danny Trejo, the instantly recognizable actor, producer, and restauranteur with a resume that includes crime, hard time, and battling his own addictions while helping troubled youth overcome theirs? Catch up with episode 398: Danny Trejo | Inmate #1 here!
On The Dr. Drew Podcast, board-certified internist and addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky takes listener calls and talks to experts on a variety of topics relating to health, relationships, sex, and drug addiction. Listen on PodcastOne or wherever you find fine podcasts!
Resources from This Episode:
- Peter Santenello | Inspecting Perspectives the Media Neglects | Jordan Harbinger
- Sam Harris | Rationally Confronting the Irrational | Jordan Harbinger
- Do You Owe Your Friends Honesty? | Jordan Harbinger
- Recycling | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Your Recycling Solution for Plastic Film Packaging | NexTrex
- What Is BDSM and What Are Its Benefits? | Verywell Mind
- What’s an Open Marriage? | Cosmopolitan
- Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy by Jessica Fern | Amazon
- How Louis Theroux Became a ‘Jiggle Jiggle’ Sensation at Age 52 | The New York Times
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Ramit Sethi | Amazon
- How Do I Cope with Someone Being a Pathological Liar? | Healthline
- Joanna Tate, MSHR, PHR | LinkedIn
- How to Talk to Your Employer About Going to Rehab and Keep Your Job | Rehabs.com
- What Is Addiction Care? | Government of the Netherlands
- Dr. Rubin Khoddam | COPE Psychological Center
- Rehabilitation in a Dutch Way: Learning to Take Responsibility for Yourself and for Others | AFEW
- ASMR Whispering Bully Negative Affirmations | Seafoam Kitten’s ASMR
- Xinjiang Police File Hack: Why China is Terrified | Laowhy86
699: Can An Open Marriage Be Anxiety-Free? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the live, laugh, love sign hanging over this cozy hearth of crackling life advice, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Written in some cringe, cottage cursive font, obviously.
[00:00:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. And like on wood.
[00:00:21] On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. And we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:46] If you're new to the show on Fridays, that's today, we give advice to you. We answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, performers. This week, we had YouTuber Peter Santenello on exploring subcultures. I love this guy. His videos are awesome. He explores different — recently American subcultures like Chicano culture. He goes to Detroit. He goes to all these sorts of forgotten places, or maybe underrepresented places. He's doing one on native American Cowboys. That's going to be super interesting — a really good creator. And we talk about selling out. We talk about doing the right thing when it comes to creating, as opposed to just making money doing whatever you can to grift other people, as well as the process behind it, the economics behind it, a really interesting episode. We also had Sam Harris from the vault on lying among other topics. Sam Harris is always somebody who's going to make you think. He's actually one of my favorite thinkers as well.
[00:01:41] I also write every so often on the blog, my latest post, why you owe your friends honesty. In this one, I talk about why people in your life deserve your candid feedback. Why being honest, even when it's uncomfortable, is actually a form of love and kindness and how honesty can transform your relationships. I also talk about the limits of candor when it's important to well, not be completely honest, which is something a lot of these radical honesty folks don't really acknowledge. This is a great read if you're trying to build more meaningful and authentic relationships at work, in your personal life with your family. You can find that article and all of our articles at jordanharbinger.com/article. So make sure you've had a look and listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:02:24] I just wanted to give you guys a heads up, be sure to follow us on Apple Podcasts. I know you're like, "I know how to use Apple." You have to click that plus button, that follow button, or you won't get the episode numbers. So I've had some emails and some DMs that are like, "Ah, you always say, go to episode 336 and check it out. And they're not numbered." They are numbered. But if you're not officially following which for some reason, some of you are not, even if you download every show, I don't really get why or how that's a thing. But if you don't follow it, then numbers don't show up. And then as soon as you do follow it and you refresh the feed, all the numbers show up. No idea why Apple does that. It doesn't make any sense. Looks like a bug to me. But there, you have it. So if you're like, "Where are the numbers? It's really frustrating." It's because you're not following the show. And some apps decided not to show the numbers at all. And I can't do anything about that because that's an app thing and people who code apps are not always uniform in what they do. And maybe it's time to switch from an app that doesn't, that's all I'm saying.
[00:03:18] By the way, a little PSA here, I've never been more thrilled to be wrong about something. We did our Skeptical Sunday episode on recycling, and we were told by some experts, "Hey, never throw plastic bags in recycling bin." And that is true. That is true. They are not very recyclable. They do get in the machines. They're bad for all the reasons we mentioned. However, almost every grocery store across the United States has a drop-off site in a supposedly highly visible area, out front. Some stores in rural areas that don't care about recycling, they might not have this, but 95 percent of all grocery stores give their recycled bags to a place called Trex. A company called Trex and Trex uses saw dust and recycled stretch film. And they make some kind of building product with it. And that is amazing. If you look up next Trex online, we can link to it in the show notes. The cost of recycled stretch film has gone up significantly because companies like Trex, they're in competition for it.
[00:04:13] So it's great because that actually means that these bags are going to get used. They can be recycled, they just have to be recycled in a very specific way. Thanks to show binger, Elena Lepley for the tip on this one. Again, I'm very happy to be wrong. I hope you're not just trashing all your plastic bags. I hope you didn't just throw hundreds of them away after our recycling bit thinking, "Oh man, I guess I can never do anything with these." You can get rid of them. You can turn them into something new and that's wonderful. So go to your local grocery store, Target, whatever it is and ask where you can recycle plastic bags and, hopefully, they'll end up in somebody's lovely home or as somebody's lovely home actually.
[00:04:48] All right, Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:04:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my wife and I have been married for seven and a half years together for nearly 10. We've always had a great relationship based on trust and communication and have always enjoyed an amazing sex life. We also dabbled in opening our relationship and some light BDSM before we were married, but ended up deciding that it wasn't for us. My wife has depression and anxiety from childhood trauma and went through an abusive former marriage. So she recently started seeking real help for those issues. Her therapist encouraged her to open up to me about those matters in a way she never has. And it came out that she wanted to go all in with me on BDSM and some ethical nonmonogamy. Over the next few months, we began a 24/7 dominance submissive arrangement, engaged in some moderate impact and bondage play—
[00:05:39] Movie Clip: Bend over [whip sound].
[00:05:42] Jordan Harbinger: Heh.
[00:05:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: —and opened our relationship to include the possibility of other sexual partners. It's brought us some of the happiest and closest times in our relationship and in her life by her description. The problem is this new level of communication and honesty has made her much more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. For example, if I talk to a woman too much over text, she sees it as ignoring her. And the whole thing goes off the deep end. Or if one of us misunderstands the other about an emotional concern, she reacts like it's the end of our relationship. She will then have an anxious or depressive response to the problem. And we have to work together for sometimes weeks before the matter is finally resolved. All of this has brought the possibility of great happiness, but also the danger of great pain. I really don't want to give up this lifestyle because of the amazing good, but I also feel that it might be a worthy sacrifice to protect our marriage overall. What should I do? Signed, Sighing Audibly at the Novelty of This Ethical nonmonogamy.
[00:06:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm. Interesting question, for sure. Before we dive in, I just want to say we are not ethical nonmonogamy experts by any means. I'm a married guy with two kids who barely leaves the house. Gabe is a single guy who also barely leaves the house.
[00:06:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah. I'm just ethically non-monogamous with my work, you know, juggling multiple projects over here but like, they all know about each other, so it's cool. It's fine.
[00:07:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You're in an open relationship with your career. I do have some thoughts on this. First of all, on the question — I have no idea about your career. That's a big black box. So first of all, everything your wife is struggling with right now, it's very common with non-monogamous relationships, but it's especially common with people who already wrestle with depression and anxiety who have childhood trauma who have experienced abuse. Your wife is bringing a lot to your relationship before you even factor in the possibility of you guys sleeping with other people.
[00:07:34] As you know, non-monogamous relationships can be very intense. They can bring up all kinds of feelings, namely jealousy, of course. But according to tons of experts, they can also exacerbate existing mental health issues. So if your wife is prone to depression and anxiety already, if she grew up in a difficult home where she was, I don't know, made to feel unloved or where her emotional needs were ignored or where she was hurt in some way, you can imagine how knowing your husband is sleeping with other people could tap into those very old wounds. You could be casually texting another woman and suddenly she's spiraling. You could misunderstand her about something relatively minor, and she could feel completely abandoned and want to jump ship.
[00:08:19] The fact that she's responding so intensely to these relatively small misunderstandings that tells me that there's a lot of raw stuff going on beneath the surface for your wife. And this arrangement you guys have as fun and fulfilling as it might be sometimes, it's also activating something very painful and complex, maybe even more complex than your wife realizes. I think you need to recognize that this relationship model, A, it seems to be coming at a real cost and, B, it will require a lot of maintenance on both of your parts to function well. At a certain point, you and your wife will have to decide if her depression and anxiety and crises are worth the fun of seeing other people. Maybe they are. That's for you to decide.
[00:09:03] But frankly, this does not sound fun at all. It sounds to me like the price you pay for seeing other people is hurting your wife or watching your wife hurt herself. And you spent all this time trying to resolve things only for her to get hurt all over again. When you misunderstand something she said, or you're texting a woman, you met on the Feeld app or whatever — go ahead and look it up — and then the cycle just keeps repeating. But if you do decide to continue this arrangement, you guys are going to need a lot of support, a ton of communication, and a well-functioning relationship.
[00:09:35] I am glad to hear that your wife is in therapy. It sounds like she has a lot to talk about, and I hope that that's helping, but I think you all need to be in couples therapy. In addition to that, the communication piece, it seems to be especially challenging for you guys. And communication is probably the most important thing in a non-monogamous relationship. Without it, you guys are probably going to keep missing and misunderstanding each other. And if you're going to embark on these little side quests, you could really use a space to work through all of the conflicts that come up, the way you take care of each other when somebody gets hurt, all of that. Without those skills, I'm getting the sense that an open relationship will just be a never-ending series of injuries that will make both of you kind of miserable and eventually spell the end of the relationship potentially.
[00:10:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: It could, yeah, potentially. I do too. Just from a cost-benefit perspective, the cost seems very high here. I might be biased, but it would be hard for me to enjoy an open relationship if my partner were constantly being hurt.
[00:10:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Seriously, like every time you take out your phone, she spins out, like, "Who are you texting? You want to leave me now?" And it's like, "I'm just checking to see if the leather face mask and matching ball gag arrive from Amazon, babe," you know? No, thank you. I'm all set on that kind of drama—
[00:10:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:10:50] Jordan Harbinger: —in my life.
[00:10:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. So, yeah, I'm with you. And if you stick with this arrangement, I think you guys need to find a way to keep meeting each other's emotional needs while you explore with other people if that's possible. I think your wife needs to know that even if there are other women in the mix, you are still available to her, you still love her. Maybe most importantly, you're still prioritizing her. A lot of ethical nonmonogamy experts talk about how important that validation is. That and having clear rules, these are like two of the biggest things. That could really help with the jealousy and with the fear of abandonment.
[00:11:26] But to Jordan's point, if that fear of abandonment already exists, if your wife is already prone to depression and anxiety, it's possible that she will always have that response. And that's where she needs to figure out how to process her own feelings and get clear on whether she's really equipped to be a part of this arrangement.
[00:11:43] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. I'm getting the sense that this is primarily her work to do since she's the one who's struggling more with it, but it's definitely something they can and should figure out together.
[00:11:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: I also wonder if maybe she's more vulnerable right now because she's in therapy, right? If she's finally exploring all of this really difficult stuff that she's been through in her life, she might be especially raw right now, which is actually a good thing. It means that she's doing the work and she's delving into this difficult territory. But that might be a tricky time to also decide to open up your relationship when you probably want to feel stable and secure as you process all of this very intense stuff.
[00:12:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Good point. You know, there's a lot of moving parts to this marriage already.
[00:12:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:12:22] Jordan Harbinger: And on that note, I'm trying to — you know, look, you can also say baggage, but moving parts is a little more fair, I suppose. On that note, I want to point you to an interesting book we found while we were doing some research. It's called Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Nonmonogamy. We obviously haven't had a chance to read it ourselves. I don't have a need for it, but it sounds like it would be a great read for you guys right about now. We'll link to that in the show notes.
[00:12:45] So talk to each other, seek out the support you need, and figure out if this arrangement is really serving your needs and your best interests right now. This arrangement could work but when it works well, it's usually because both partners know that they're the priority for each other. They've done a ton of work on themselves. They communicate exceptionally well. If you can't do that, then seeing other people is going to be tricky at best. And that might mean that it's worth giving this up in order to save your marriage.
[00:13:15] I don't think that's a failure on your part. I think that's just you guys being honest with each other about what you need the most right now. So don't beat yourselves up about this. Just do what needs to get done and we're wishing you the best of luck.
[00:13:29] Speaking of great deals on spunky things and ball gags, how about we hear from the amazing sponsors that support this show? We'll be right back.
[00:13:38] This episode is sponsored in part by The Commercial Break Podcast. Do you ever feel like you just want to take a break from hearing about all the crazy news? Then check out The Commercial Break. It's a real-life commercial break from all the serious things we're dealing with lately. Long-time friends, Bryan and Krissy, get in the studio and look at some of the absurd trends and topics they find on the Internet. It's raw and unfiltered. It reminds me a little bit of when my friends and I, well, used to get together to goof off for a few hours. The topics they cover are funny, absurd, and off the wall — like pickup artists, sound familiar. People who date ghosts, self-appointed gurus, strange ASMR videos, monster hunters. If it's out there, they're going to find it and have fun with it. The Commercial Break is consistently ranked in Apple's top 100 comedy podcasts. Full episodes and daily clips are available on the YouTube channel at youtube.com/thecommercialbreak. Or you can visit tcbodcast.com for more info. That's T-C-B-podcast.com. So when you have a chance, take a listen to our new paid friends on the commercial break anywhere you like to listen to your podcasts or visit tcbpodcast.com.
[00:14:35] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help online therapy. Are you going through a difficult time or a major transition in your life? Then you should definitely try seeing a therapist. I've gotten emails from listeners — that's you, guys — saying they were making excuses and held off in finding a therapist, and then they signed up for Better Help and wish they'd joined sooner. All you have to do is answer a few questions. You get paired up with a licensed professional therapist in under 48 hours. Therapy might feel daunting and you might not click with the first therapist that is normal, that some human stuff. With Better Help, you can find another therapist with no additional charge. They match you up really quick as well. And there's not a whole bunch of waiting or anything like that. It's super convenient, by the way, having the secure chat and video sessions right on your computer or your phone in the app. You don't have to drive. You don't have to park. It's just a low investment, people. It's a low investment to get a great return on your sanity. Many of you have also told me that Better Help has changed your life, helped you stick with therapy for a long time, or at the very least, you're going to feel better having expressed yourself vented a little bit to somebody who's not going to try and, you know, throw it right back in your face or tell you that it's your fault. You know who you are. Plus it's more affordable than in-person therapy. I call that a win.
[00:15:40] Jen Harbinger: And our listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:15:48] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. To learn more and get links to all the discounts you heard, we put them all in one place. The new page is searchable, it should work great from your phone, jordanharbinger.com/deals. Of course, you can also search for any sponsor using the search box right there on the website at jordanharbinger.com as well. So please consider supporting those who support us.
[00:16:12] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:16:16] All right, what's next?
[00:16:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I come from a modest family with two immigrant parents who worked tirelessly to give my siblings and me a better life. We weren't blessed with a whole lot of money, but my parents did their best to get us nice things, even if they were a little worn down sometimes. Fast forward to today, I'm a working professional in my mid-20s, and I've always been very frugal due to how I was raised. As a result, I hardly ever spend money on myself. I've recently landed a fantastic new job using the tools I've learned from your show and Six-Minute Networking, by the way. This job comes with a huge increase in salary, making more than I ever thought possible this early in my career. I decided to treat myself as a reward for landing the gig and bought myself a brand new computer and gaming setup but I've been feeling a lot of guilt about it. It's the most I've ever spent on something like this. And while I can afford it, I still feel really bad about it. On top of that, a lot of my friends are students or early in their careers. And when they talk about their financial troubles, I feel so much shame that I can hardly even look them in the eyes. What should I do about this? Signed, My Money Don't Jiggle, Jiggle, It Scolds.
[00:17:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm, nice. Well, I appreciate you writing in about this, because I think everyone to some degree has a complicated relationship with money, whether they value it too much or too little, whether they think they deserve it or they just locked into it. Money is it's charged, no pun intended. And our feelings about it are informed by our culture, our needs, our childhood, especially our childhood.
[00:17:47] So if you grew up in a modest family with two immigrant parents who worked their butts off to give you a better, yeah, it makes sense that you'd feel uneasy about spending a ton of money on anything. The guilt you feel, that's probably a reflection of the ideas you inherited around money and whether it's, quote-unquote, "okay" to do better than your parents did, or to spend your money in a different way from how your parents would.
[00:18:11] So my first thought is this, if you want to resolve the guilt, I would look at what is going on underneath the guilt. So for example, the new computer and gaming rig you bought, I would ask yourself, what about that purchase makes you feel bad? Is it because you were taught that spending money on fun stuff is frivolous and reckless? And if so, was this purchase actually frivolous and reckless. Is it that you feel uneasy, having things that other people don't have, especially your family? Maybe there's an ethical component to this. Like, people shouldn't have nice things like this, or people should hang onto as much of their money as they can. And I feel morally bad or wrong for doing it a different way. Like you can have a great job and be successful, but somebody else, maybe your mom and dad or your friends, they'll take a hit, like some kind of emotional zero-sum game.
[00:19:00] What I'm getting at is this thing we call guilt, it doesn't just arise in a vacuum. It's supported by a bunch of beliefs and feelings that create the guilt. So I would look at all of those pieces and see if the assumptions you have, for example, that there's something inherently wrong with treating yourself to something fun or that your friends are going to suffer if you do well, or that your mom and dad were a hundred percent right about being frugal in every respect. I mean, look at each of those and see if they're actually true. Or maybe a better way to put it is, see if those ideas are serving you well if you actually agree with them.
[00:19:36] At the same time, I would encourage you to find a balance between your parents' values and your own values because I think you guys are both right. You just have different needs. Your parents had to work really hard to raise you guys. They had to be super careful. Those were their goals. Those were their needs. And that's amazing. That's something to honor and be very grateful for. But if their sacrifices helped you land this amazing new job, you might not have to live the way they did. You might be able to enjoy your money more and your life more, or spend it on different things. And that is okay. But it doesn't mean that you should blow all of your money either, of course. So I would find a way to balance these two approaches to money in a way that works for you. You can buy yourself a new computer and you can sock away X percent of your paycheck every month. You can go on a nice trip and you can make sure you're building up a down payment for a house or whatever. If you can combine your parents' discipline with your appreciation, I really do think you can enjoy your money without feeling so conflicted about it.
[00:20:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: I like that advice a lot, Jordan. I also think it's very interesting that his guilt crops up in the context of his relationships, like with those friends, he mentioned who are still young and struggling with money. It sounds to me like he feels more than just guilt. It sounds like he feels shame. Like, "I am bad for having this money." And that goes back to the values that you mentioned a moment ago when his parents raised him to be so frugal, they might have also implied that there's something a little bit wrong with spending money, even if they didn't say that explicitly, it was just sort of part of the household. And you can see why that would be. It makes perfect sense. But also I appreciate that he's being so sensitive to other people's situations. It would be just as bad. It would actually be a lot worse if he were like, "You know, lunch is on me guys. And then, I'm going to the apple store to drop six G's on a new setup. And then I'm going to Europe for six months. Peace." Then you're just a dick, right?
[00:21:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Slaps the credit card down on the table.
[00:21:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. That's a black, by the way.
[00:21:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: But there's a difference between being thoughtful and attuned to your friends and being so embarrassed by your success that you can't even look them in the eye. I mean, that's—
[00:21:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:21:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: That tells me that there's something else going on here. So what I'm curious about is, when exactly does your sensitivity to other people tip over into shame? Why does it feel like you can't do well without maybe possibly hurting somebody else? Your friends, maybe your parents, whoever it is. That's what you need to figure out. Again, getting to the roots of this thing.
[00:21:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right. But, you know, Gabe, this stuff can be really hard to shake.
[00:22:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:22:03] Jordan Harbinger: It's possible that he'll always feel some degree of guilt or shame around money given the way that he grew up. In fact, I have a little bit of this too. I think one of the best things I've done for myself is, make sure I'm saving enough for retirement by automatically socking money away each month. And then the rest of the cash is mine as I see fit now I end up saving more just because it makes me feel better or investing it into the business. But automating, this was good for me because then it's like, okay, at least I'm not being irresponsible if I buy something because it's already automatically going towards retirement. So whenever I want to make any sort of medium or big purchase, I still have to wrap my head around it and be like, "Oh my god, the hotel is so expensive," but I'm not thinking, "What if I then lose the business? And then I have to retire and I can't survive. And I eat dog food out of a container," you know, it's like, I don't have to go down that path.
[00:22:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:22:51] Jordan Harbinger: Ramit Sethi teaches this stuff. And it's really helpful if you've got money guilt. He's got a podcast and a book called I Will teach You to Be Rich. We'll link to that in the show notes.
[00:22:59] But listen, you should be really proud of yourself for putting in the work to land this great job that is incredible. Your parents sacrificed a lot to allow you to get to this point, but it's not like success just dropped in your lap. You earned it, man. You are earning it. And maybe remembering that from time to time will help you put the guilt into perspective. And besides, the new Call of Duty is the sh*t. So you definitely made the right purchase on the gaming rig. Good luck.
[00:23:26] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. That makes our job a lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff— life love, work. What to do if you caught your spouse cheating but they won't let you move on with your life? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:23:51] And by the way, you don't have to think of those creative names. That's Gabriel doing that. Some people have DM'ed me saying, "I want to write in, but I can't think of a good name." Don't worry. We will handle that part.
[00:24:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: We got you.
[00:24:02] Jordan Harbinger: I'm just imagining some poor sap who's got this burning question that his life is waiting, like hinging on it. And he's like, "I just can't get one that rhymes."
[00:24:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I just can't come up with a good pun. How am I going to find out how to get out of prison?
[00:24:13] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah, they're just sort of in purgatory waiting three years until the perfect name hits them. Gabriel's going to make that up.
[00:24:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I will say though I really love when you guys pitch your own, even if we don't end up using them, because it just like — I don't know. It just warms my heart when I see everybody try to get in on the sign-off name train. It's great.
[00:24:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we're into it, but don't let it stop you from—
[00:24:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:24:31] Jordan Harbinger: —writing in, in the first place.
[00:24:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: We're here. We got you.
[00:24:33] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Next step.
[00:24:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi Jordan and Gabe. My mother-in-law of eight years is a pathological liar. Whether she's lying about how much she actually spends shopping, the cancer diagnosis that she hid even when we confronted her, the house that she's renovating with her sons but has never told her husband about, or the fact that she's dislocated her shoulder twice because of her other son's dog. It is exhausting. She continuously tells me what an honest and well-liked person she is. But in reality, all our family does is compare her lives when we meet to figure out the truth. The latest development is that my father-in-law has cancer and she's keeping that news from my husband and me. My own father was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was a teenager. So I'm well versed in the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. But if I even try and tell my husband that his mom isn't telling us the truth, he gets furious, saying that my father's experience is not the same as his dad's. My husband has an interesting relationship with the truth as well. For example, whenever he's unable to commit to someone's request for help, he lies as to why. When he himself was very sick a few years ago, he kept that from his mother as well. He hid his smoking from me for years by saying he was around other smokers at work. And when we came home one year from visiting his family, he asked me to pay for half the expenses we incurred, which I would've been fine with if his mother hadn't told me before we left that she had covered all of our expenses as a gift to us. On top of all of that, my husband will now ask me to lie about something arbitrary from time to time, which I refuse to do. For example, asking me to call a mechanic for a quote, and saying that it's me who wants it or asking me not to mention that home his mother is renovating to his dad. The list goes on and on. It is exhausting. How do I stop this cycle and encourage my mother-in-law to share the important stuff with us? Signed, A Dutiful Daughter-In-Law Disenchanted With this Deceit.
[00:26:24] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. This is a whole new type of mother-in-law, hey, Gabe.
[00:26:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, new mother-in-law just dropped.
[00:26:31] Jordan Harbinger: Seriously, what a family?
[00:26:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:26:33] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting timing on this question too since we just talked about lying with Sam Harris, this week. It sounds like lying, whether it's big stuff or small stuff. It's just kind of part of the family way. It's just how we do things, right, Gabe? There's got to be, there's got to be some interesting reasons that this woman's mother-in-law hides so much, but the reality is all these lies are actually only hurting them. I mean, okay, she doesn't want her husband to freak out that her son's dog keeps injuring her. Maybe there's some valid reason for that, but not telling your own son that his mother has cancer. Then, years later hiding the fact that his father has cancer. That is deeply messed up.
[00:27:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:27:13] Jordan Harbinger: That is tragic.
[00:27:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is.
[00:27:14] Jordan Harbinger: This woman is depriving her son of meaningful time with his father while he's still alive. She's depriving her husband of the love and support that he needs. She's creating all these fissures in the family around, who knows what? This whole thing is just incredibly sad and also weird. But the thing that really jumps out at me is how this pattern of lying is carrying over into the son's life. Because here's her husband repeating the exact same pattern, hiding his serious illness from his family, hiding his smoking, lying about why he can't help certain people. And then co-opting his wife into those just petty lies, like with a mechanic and the property renovation. My sense is that this family is profoundly avoidant, deeply afraid of difficult conversations. Probably very concerned with managing people's feelings and perceptions.
[00:28:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:28:04] Jordan Harbinger: And these lies, these lies are a way to control situations to maintain the illusion of perfection, of invulnerability, and also just to achieve their self-interested goals. I also think there's some narcissism baked into this too, especially when she said that her mother-in-law keeps banging on like, "What? I'm such an honest and well-liked person." "Okay. Yeah. Deborah, everyone knows you're super open and everything going on in your life is so great. Everyone loves you." It's just so transparently self-serving. It's almost kind of hilarious.
[00:28:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:28:35] Jordan Harbinger: Like, "Oh, we're so great. Everyone just likes us. We never lie about anything. By the way, I paid for your honeymoon." Like what are you talking about?"
[00:28:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: The Deborah, Doth I protest too much.
[00:28:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yes, exactly. But then when she mentions that time that her husband asked her to pay for half the trip to visit his family. That's when this whole petty lying thing became something else. Because that is straight-up gross. Your husband isn't just lying to the mechanic or some annoying neighbor who needs a favor. He's literally trying to squeeze money out of you, his wife, for something he didn't even pay for. And that says a lot. That's actually worrisome.
[00:29:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is kind of worrisome, but hold on, I'm a little confused. Did he lie to get some more money out of his wife or did his mother lie and she actually didn't cover their travel expenses? It's kind of unclear.
[00:29:18] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Good point. So it sounds to me like he lied to get money out of the wife as like a fake reimbursement, even though it was already paid for, but now I'm starting to get—
[00:29:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:29:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Now we start to get why all the lying is exhausting.
[00:29:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's confusing. Yeah.
[00:29:30] Jordan Harbinger: I can't even keep their BS straight and it's been like five minutes and it's a typed email.
[00:29:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:29:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I get why you want to stop this cycle. Now, we don't even know what's going on. the problem is this pattern is very old. It's deeply ingrained, and I'm not sure if you, as the daughter-in-law here, can really change your mother-in-law. Even if you did address this head-on with Debbie — not her real name, folks — something tells me that she's going to get defensive. It'll probably be pretty threatening for her to even consider that her lies are hurting the family. How could that happen? This is a woman clinging to her lies. And if you try to take that away from her, you would be taking away a huge piece of the architecture that props up her personality. You're welcome to try. I would just be realistic about the results here that you expect. My take, I think you're going to have more luck closer to home with your husband because that's your family, that's your business. And honestly, your husband is the piece of this story that I'm actually most concerned about.
[00:30:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, same here, because his lies directly affect you. They're determining your quality of life, your relationships, your mental health. So if I were you, I would definitely worry less about your mother-in-law, more about your husband. And if you can help your husband become friendlier with the truth, he might be able to help his mother-in-law eventually do that too. But again, probably something he can handle better than you can. And the way to do that is to try to really talk to him about all of this. I would sit down with your husband and tell him what you're seeing with his family, the avoidance, the lying, the controlling information, you know, how you see that showing up in him, like with his illness, with the smoking, when he makes things up to avoid doing things for people. I would actually ask him why he feels the need to do that. And try to do that with as little judgment as possible. Just invite him to talk, try to understand what's going on underneath the impulse to lie rather than to just confront a situation head-on.
[00:31:22] And then I would tell him what it's like to be around. Those lies to be on the other side of those lies and how it feels to be lied to. You know, what it's like when he asks you to lie on his behalf. He might not fully understand the position that he's putting you in there because he grew up with this kind of policy of lying in his family. It might not even seem like a big deal to him. He could be so desensitized to the lies that he doesn't even realize how toxic and exhausting they really are. And part of that is helping him see how the line is hurting him, especially with his father. That's probably a whole conversation in and of itself helping your husband come to terms with the fact that it sounds like his father is actually really sick, no matter what his mother says, exploring why that's so difficult for him to wrap his head around.
[00:32:05] Jordan, that detail, I'm still struggling to wrap my head around it. It just says so much about the effect of a family like this, right?
[00:32:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:32:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: This mother probably shielded him from just so much information growing up. He can't even tolerate the idea that his father is sick and that is wild. It's really sad. And maybe that's another reason that this family lies to sort of protect one another. Of course, they're not really protecting one another at all. They're making it even harder to process difficult events, which again, super sad.
[00:32:34] Anyway, you might also want to bring up that family trip to the whole reimbursement thing and not to be petty or to rehash old stuff, but just like, "Hey, do you remember when you asked me to do that? I just want to understand, like, why did you ask me to reimburse you when your mom gifted us the trip? I mean, we're married. Why would you lie to get some more money out of me? I'm confused. Help me understand." So there's a lot for you guys to talk about, but the most important thing you can do is work with your husband to understand the roots of the impulse to lie.
[00:33:02] To Jordan's point, all of this deception is clearly serving some kind of function. For your husband, it might be a fear of conflict, maybe a need to avoid being the bad guy. I'm guessing he has some real anxiety about confronting the difficult facts of life. I also think there's something going on for him around money, potentially. Assuming that Jordan's interpretation of that whole thing was correct. Asking you to cough up half the expenses for that trip, lying to the mechanic about a quote, those both seem connected to me somehow. It's possible that he has some paranoia about, you know, how people are going to like get one over on him or that he's maybe going to end up without money or something like that. Those are very primitive fears. And if your husband is going to get better at this, he's going to have to dig into all of that.
[00:33:44] Jordan Harbinger: Agree. A hundred percent, Gabe. This problem might have begun with his mother, but it is showing up in her son and his marriage to this woman. And that's the domain that she can control. She might have to accept that her mother-in-law lives in her own reality. I just don't see Deborah changing anytime soon, but she doesn't have to settle for that ethos in her own family. On top of being manipulative and creepy, it's just freaking exhausting. Like we tried to get it straight earlier in the question. We couldn't even do it. Imagine your whole life just has this layer of that around it. It's, ugh, no, thank you.
[00:34:17] So I hope you get through to your husband. This is going to be a hard transformation for him. You're asking him to reconsider and rewrite decades of stuff by opening up about this, but it's essential and it's going to be a huge load off for everybody involved once you finally get through this. So good luck we're wishing you and your husband all the best.
[00:34:37] By the way, we don't have any more sponsors for this episode so there's no ad break. Nah, that's a lie. Just pulling a Deborah. We'll be right back.
[00:34:46] This episode is sponsored in part by SimpliSafe. Safety first, especially when it comes to your home and the people in it, we use SimpliSafe, which is an advanced whole home security system and we love it for so many reasons. It's easy to set up. It's got built-in Wi-Fi and cellular in case your Wi-Fi goes down. Or they cut the phone lines, like you always think they're going to do from the movies. There's a backup battery in case the power goes out. Or if they cut the power, like you also think they're going to do from the movies. It's also got a ton of gadgets, like glass-break sensor, panic button, motion sensor, key fob, smoke detector, temperature sensor, water sensor, HD indoor and wireless outdoor camera, and more. So basically, unless like the FSB from Russia is trying to get in your house, you're probably good with SimpliSafe. It's comfortable knowing that SimpliSafe's professional monitoring has our back 24/7 ready to dispatch police or first responders in an emergency when we're on vacation, when we're sleeping at home at night. Monitoring plans are affordable at a dollar a day with no long-term contract, no hidden fees. SimpliSafe has been named the Best Home Security of 2022 by US News and World Report, third year in a row, I might add.
[00:35:49] Jen Harbinger: You can customize the perfect system for your home in just a few minutes at simplisafe.com/jordan. Go today and claim a free indoor security camera plus 20 percent off with interactive monitoring. Again, that's simplisafe.com/jordan.
[00:36:03] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by apartments.com. Pets can wiggle their way into the center of your life. They command your heart and your snacks. And at some point you find yourself making decisions that revolve around them, like looking for a pet-friendly place. apartments.com has helped millions of renters find their perfect place to live and has the most pet-friendly listings on the Internet. So you can find a rental with roll-worthy carpet for getting tummy rubs, a place near a park for walks, or that perfectly sunlit window sill for cozy afternoon naps. There might even be a room or two in there for you, pet-person. Visit apartments.com, the place to find a pet-friendly place.
[00:36:36] Thanks again for listening and for supporting those who support this show. Remember, all the deals and discount codes at jordanharbinger.com/deals. And you can search for any sponsor using the search box on the website as well. Please consider supporting those who support this show.
[00:36:50] All right. Back to Feedback Friday.
[00:36:54] All right, what's next?
[00:36:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabriel. I'm a 20-year-old guy living in the Netherlands. And I study physiotherapy work in a physiotherapy practice as a trainer, and also put in some time at a bookstore on the side. My work is very meaningful to me. The thing is I've been struggling with addiction for the last two years. I'm high functioning. I work out almost daily. I have two jobs and school isn't suffering as a result, but mentally, this is breaking me down so bad that I've decided to go to rehab soon to completely cut drugs out of my life. My question is, how should I tell my employers that I'll be gone for six weeks? I get along with both of them, but still, I don't know where to start? Signed, Coming Clean About Getting Clean Without Causing a Scene.
[00:37:39] Jordan Harbinger: This is a great question. So first of all, I am so glad to hear that you're seeking help for your addiction. That's great news, man. I'm really proud that you've made a decision to get clean and cut this stuff out of your life. Good for you, especially so early in your life. You know, a lot of people wait until everything is ruined and relationships are irreparably destroyed and careers and stuff. Meanwhile, he's like still a kid and he's like, "Okay, let me get this sh*t handled." I know this is the start of an incredible new chapter.
[00:38:06] That said, I know going to rehab can be tricky with employers. We wanted to run your situation by an expert. So we reached out to Joanna Tate, a certified HR professional and friend of the show. And Joanna's take was since you have a pretty good relationship with your employers, they might be very supportive of you going to rehab. And if they're already aware that you have a substance-abuse issue, I know it can be hard to keep an addiction a hundred percent secret. They might not be entirely surprised to hear that you need some time off. Now, Joanna wasn't sure about the leave of absence laws or company policies in the Netherlands, but she did say that it's very likely your employers have a policy in place that would allow you to take time off for what is literally a medical condition. In fact, Joanna did a quick Google search and found that the Netherlands appears to be way ahead of the United States in that department. Surprise, surprise. We did one too. We found the same. Europe probably has a lot of better privacy laws and medical leave laws and employee rights and things like that, just generally across the board.
[00:39:05] So Joanna's approach, and this is based on her experience again, in the United States is to go to the HR representatives at your companies, or maybe just your bosses. If these companies are really small and speak to them privately, and just basically say, "Hey, I'd like to apply for a medical leave." Now, if you're super tight with your bosses, if you trust them, maybe you tell 'em what you're going through, why you want to get treatment. That you want to come back in a couple of months sober, healthy, ready to work. And you're asking for their support. But if you don't want to go into more detail, you can absolutely keep it vague and just say, "I'll be needing some medical treatment and may need to be off work for a period of time. What can I do to file procedures for that? I want to make sure that I take time off based on company policy and come back in good standing," something like that.
[00:39:52] The HR rep would then give you a form to give to your doctor and give back. The form will tell your employers and the disability insurance provider, possibly the government in your case, that there's a serious medical condition and explain how long you need to be away from work. According to Joanna, all of this medical information must be kept confidential, according to federal law. Again, this is the United States, but I'm assuming the same is true in the Netherlands. And that's about it. It can really be as straightforward as that. It sounds like you have a lot of goodwill, a lot of legal protection and cultural support on your side. So I'm guessing this conversation is going to go pretty well.
[00:40:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think he's going to be okay too. Yeah, everything is working in his favor, but we also wanted to make sure that you are set up well to get the most out of treatment. So we reached out to Dr. Rubin Khoddam, a clinical psychologist, specializing in addiction and trauma, also friend of the show. Dr. Khoddam's view is that rehab is obviously super important, but aftercare is arguably more important. He said that people go into rehab and it can be intense. There are lots of groups and therapy and activities and community, and then you come out and it can kind of feel like a therapy detox. It can almost feel like a withdrawal.
[00:41:03] So his advice is to work closely with your case manager at rehab to set up a strong aftercare plan. That includes some kind of outpatient program, whether that's an intensive outpatient program or individual therapy or some combination of the two. Without that Dr. Khoddam said that rehab can be like driving a hundred miles an hour and then just slamming on the brakes. You want a smooth transition back into regular life. As he put it, you don't want to have so much treatment that you're not living your life and you don't want too little treatment to the point that you can't use all of these new skills that you're developing to live your life effectively.
[00:41:40] The last thing Dr. Khoddam said, and I thought this was a really, really great insight is to consider if maybe the busyness of your life — you know, all these jobs, you have three different jobs. You're working in three different places. Your work is very meaningful to you — to see if maybe that is also impacting your addiction. This might not be the case for you, but sometimes having too much to do, that can be a form of emotional avoidance or running. Dr. Khoddam said that he would be curious to know what slowing down would look like and what that would mean for you. Obviously, sometimes we work a ton because, you know, we have good financial reasons for that, but sometimes we work a ton because we just don't want to deal with other parts of our life. And obviously, sometimes it's both.
[00:42:19] Either way, rehab will be a great place to explore all of that and to get to know yourself better. Also to get a better understanding of the relationship between your lifestyle and your career and this addiction.
[00:42:30] Jordan Harbinger: That is a great insight. He sounds like a hard-working guy. His work is meaningful to him, but Dr. Khoddam is making a great point. Work can be a form of avoidance. I've definitely experienced that myself. Sometimes it's even addiction in and of itself. Another great thing to unpack in rehab, for sure. So yeah, talk to your employers, get the support you need, especially therapy. That'll be a huge piece of your recovery and your life going forward if you want to stay sane. And good luck, man. We're rooting for you.
[00:42:56] Again, good for him like 20 years old, realizing this is a problem and not just a fun time, that takes a lot of self-awareness.
[00:43:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:43:03] Jordan Harbinger: And look at it this way. If you're afraid to go and ask for help, your drug problem is almost certainly going to get worse and ruin your life at some point, if you don't handle it, but going to rehab, even if everyone finds out and there's a black stain on your career, you're 20. So it doesn't even matter. Like, it just doesn't even matter in the scheme of things, right? So this is a pretty easy choice, even if right now it might seem awkward or potentially embarrassing, neither of which it should actually be.
[00:43:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: The costs are even lower for him. Yeah.
[00:43:30] Jordan Harbinger: For sure, yeah. All right, next up.
[00:43:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi Jordan and Gabe. I've been with my husband for four years and at the beginning of our relationship, he told me that he wouldn't be able to open up to me. This caught me off guard, but I said, "Okay. Thinking it was just because we didn't know each other very well yet." As time passed though, he never shared himself emotionally with me while I've shared all of the parts of myself that he genuinely wants to know about. Sometimes he says, he'll open up to me one day, but other times he changes the subject. He's a master deflector. He's very intelligent and tries very hard to convince me that this is just how he is that he can't or doesn't know how to talk. Even though he communicates very well at work and is capable of using his words. Recently, while visiting his parents, I vented to my sister-in-law about all of this. And she told me that while my husband was in high school, he was severely bullied by his dad for his physicality, not meeting his expectations, and a lot of other stuff. Apparently, it got so bad that it drove my husband to the point of self-harm. She didn't know the details because their family never, ever speaks about this. But she said that it involved a trip to the hospital, which immediately made me sad. That night, I told my husband, I love him several times, but now a few days later I've grown angry at him for keeping so much of his life, a secret. It makes me feel like I'm incapable of carrying this thing for him or that I'm untrustworthy. I've been in a deep funk and he's picked up on it. I haven't told him what I learned, but I have told him that I don't like his father and that he's damaged all of his sons emotionally. He admitted his dad isn't a great person and that he's an alcoholic, but adamantly denies that he's toxic or responsible for the damage he's caused in their family. It's like, he's trying to protect him so is not to disappoint him again or something like that. Now, I don't know how to broach this. I'm afraid of his response. And the last thing I want is for my husband to shut down even more. I've told him he should seek therapy over the years because he's very hard on himself. He even says negative affirmations out loud to himself daily, but he outright refuses the idea of talking to somebody. Do I patiently wait for my husband to tell me this huge secret or do I confront him and let him know that I know this piece of his puzzle? Signed, Trying to Abide This Life on The Outside.
[00:45:45] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, I see what you did here, Gabe. You kicked us off with a marriage that was too open. And now you're wrapping us up with a marriage, that's not open enough, very clever.
[00:45:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Symmetry, bruh.
[00:45:53] Jordan Harbinger: Well, this is a sad story, you know, negative affirmations, I'm not sure there is such thing as that. I think they just call that beating yourself up and negative self-talk.
[00:46:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's a tough detail. Yeah.
[00:46:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's a tough detail. Exactly. Your husband's father obviously did a real number on him. As a father, I just can't imagine doing this to my son, but I also wasn't raised with a dad that did that to me.
[00:46:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:46:13] Jordan Harbinger: So that's probably why it makes no sense to me. I'm sure it makes sense to dads who were raised that way to also treat your kids like crap and hope that, that makes them better people. I can't follow the logic, but I guess I sort of can. Your husband was clearly abused as a child. He was driven by pretty serious self-harm. He was deprived of this space to process his feelings. And now he's internalized all this anger. He's tearing himself down and he either doesn't realize how bad his father is or he's in denial about it. Both of which are common with the children of abused parents. It can be very painful, even as an adult, to acknowledge just how damaging they were. And to make all of this harder, he won't talk to you or a therapist about it. So yeah, this is tough.
[00:46:57] The first thing I want to share is that your husband's reluctance to talk about all this, I think it's primarily a reflection of him and not of you. He grew up in a family that wasn't emotionally safe. He was tormented for who he was. He probably never had a secure relationship with his parents or anyone else at a young age. Nobody talked about things openly. So of course your husband struggles to open up. For you, it's just, you know, "Tell me about your childhood. Tell me about how you're feeling. Let me help you." But for him, that conversation is probably terrifying. Because it means being vulnerable and vulnerability equals weakness and danger to him.
[00:47:34] So when you ask your husband to open up to you, you're asking him to overcome decades of trauma and conditioning to take a chance that probably feels fatally risky, which let's acknowledge, that's heartbreaking. Now that doesn't mean it's not difficult or hurtful for you. It is. I get that. I just think it's important to recognize that your husband isn't trying to do this to you. He's trying to protect himself. You are collateral damage. So what can you do about it? Well, that's tricky because your husband doesn't want to go near this stuff, obviously. And it's not clear to me that he fully appreciates what a toll, all of this is taking on you and on your marriage because you're walking on eggshells around him too. You're afraid to hurt him or provoke him. And you don't want him to shut down even further.
[00:48:22] So if you're going to make inroads here, I think you're going to have to help your husband see how this lack of intimacy is affecting him and you and your relationship. And I would do that before asking him to open up more. Instead, I would just tell him what it's like to be married to somebody who doesn't want to share these parts of himself. Resist the urge to blame him or get mad at him. In fact, you might even want to say, "I know how hard this is for you. And I get it. I really do. But I'm your wife. I'm your friend. I want to be there for you. And when you don't talk about how you're feeling, it makes me feel like we're just not as close as I thought. And it makes me feel like you don't think I can be there for you or you don't trust me. And that's why I've been down lately. Do you see what I mean?" Maybe you can help him appreciate the position he's putting you in here.
[00:49:13] You might also want to help him see that the way he's been dealing, it's not great for him either. Maybe you can say that you see him berating himself, you see him isolating himself and you're concerned. Ask him how he feels these days, what his day-to-day experience is. If he pulls back the curtain a little bit, even if he's just like, "I don't know. I have a lot on my mind. I'm kind of tired." Even that's something to work with. Draw him out, ask him why he's tired. Ask him what's going on. Keep asking him questions, listen carefully, validate his feelings. And as much as you can, try to get at what's happening beneath the surface here. If you can do that, you might be able to slowly get your husband to start opening up. But it'll probably take some time because this isn't something he'll be able to do tomorrow. You just have to be that safe person for him to talk to. And it could take weeks or even months to build that trust even though you are already married.
[00:50:08] Gabe, what's your take on this big secret he's got? Should she just wait for him to tell her about the self-harm stuff or should she tell him that she already knows?
[00:50:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ooh yeah. That is a tough one. You know, my gut is telling me that she should hold back for the moment on that and try to engage with him exactly the way you just described. Because if she earns his trust and he decides to open up one day about the self-harm, that would be a huge breakthrough in their relationship. And it would probably mean a lot more for him to volunteer that information on his own. But if she tries to talk to him for like six months, nine months, there's no progress. Then I might consider bringing it up. But ah, I'm torn because it's such a delicate thing. She has to come across as supportive and loving and not as like nosy and overbearing. "And I talk to your sister-in-law and she told me that this terrible thing that happened to you. And now I'm going to tell you what I know." It's just very sensitive. The timing has to be right.
[00:50:59] Now, look, if you guys start talking in a real way, he starts to open up. He might go, you know, "Wow, this is really nice. I didn't realize how hard this has been for you. I'm sorry about that. Let me work on this." And if he sees that he can open up to you and nothing terrible happens, maybe you can convince him to do that with a therapist, which would be a game changer. That would be my goal, but it's also possible that you try to talk to your husband and he's just like, "Look, I am not interested in talking about this stuff. I'm sorry. You're upset, but this is my stuff. This is my life. And that's that. I don't want to talk about this anymore." And if that's his response, then at a certain point, you are going to have to respect that. And then the question becomes what level of intimacy can you accept with your husband? Can you live with this feeling of being on the outside, of not being able to get deep with him? And that's your work to do.
[00:51:48] And if you could do that work with a therapist of your own, I bet that would be really helpful because I know that your husband is the one who's struggling here. But he is also taking a toll on you and there's sort of a decision for you to make down the line if nothing ever changes.
[00:52:00] Jordan Harbinger: Took the words right out of my mouth, Gabe. I get the sense that a lot of energy in this marriage is being directed toward her husband.
[00:52:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:52:08] Jordan Harbinger: Even if he doesn't seem to want her help.
[00:52:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:52:10] Jordan Harbinger: And she gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. I mean, yes, he has a lot to unpack and resolve, but there's so much happening for her too. So I do hope you get the support you need, and I hope your husband gets to a place where he's ready to talk. And we're rooting for you guys. I mean, this is not easy. This story is — it's sad. You know, it's sad because it's like, who knows what his dad went through? He took it out on him. Now, it's affecting the marriage. Who knows if there's kids in this that are starting to get — there's weird stuff happen around that they got to later on — I mean, it's amazing how one person can get damaged in a family. And it just trickles down on everybody else, whether they want it or not. It's just, uh, it's kind of horrifying.
[00:52:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is. But I want to believe in the possibility of change.
[00:52:53] Jordan Harbinger: For sure. Yeah.
[00:52:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I get the sense that this guy is like, I have an image of him as a very zipped-up guy, and I think he's probably trying so hard to keep all of this on the inside. He's beating himself up. He's like yelling mean stuff at himself in the mirror every morning. It's just heartbreaking.
[00:53:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:53:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I also think that when you're in that position, deep down, even if you're not really in touch with it, you want to unburden yourself so badly. You want to talk to somebody who can be there for you. That wish is in every single one of us. So it's obviously in her husband. The question is can she help him get to the point where he is willing to acknowledge that, and I really want to believe that he can.
[00:53:26] Jordan Harbinger: Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everyone who listened. Thank you so much. And don't forget to check out the episodes we had with Peter Santenello and Sam Harris if you haven't yet.
[00:53:35] Want to know how I managed to book all of these amazing folks for the show? It's all about software, systems, and tiny habits that I do every single day in just a few. Our Six Minute Networking course is free over there on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig that well before you get thirsty, build those relationships before you need them. Again, it's free and it's stuff I wish I knew 20 years ago. It's been absolutely crucial in my business and personal life, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:54:03] Also by way of promo, Laowhy86, I got to give him a shout-out for this video he did on the Xinjiang police file hack. So you all are probably aware there's a genocide essentially going on in Western China with the Uyghur population. No surprise to most of you. We're going to be doing a show on this with somebody who's an activist for that. No surprise, the Communist Party over there is trying to get rid of people that have a religion aren't necessarily thrilled to be part of Mainland China, have a different language and culture, et cetera. Well, the trolls are out in force, right? They're saying it's never happening. There's no proof, even though there's tons of photographic evidence. Well, well, well, there's been a major police file hack and leak. And it shows training directives on how the guards are supposed to operate in the camp. It's got photos, it's got maps, it's got procedures. It shows you the warning shots they're supposed to take. And then after that, they're supposed to shoot to kill. It shows what the camps are for. It shows the locations of some of these things. There's over 10,000 documents. They've been authenticated by a ton of different parties. There's reports on them from various news outlets, from BBC to Deutsche Welle, and other news outlets here in the United States.
[00:55:08] I'm going to link to the video in the show notes. It's called Xinjiang Police File Hack: Why China is Terrified. He does a breakdown of the whole hack, the whole leak, and what it means. And if you are paying attention to the news at all about this Uyghur genocide, this is kind of a must-watch because it does give you a lot of ammo, especially if you are hearing from trolls online and what you might call the 50 Cent Army of Chinese nationalists, or just, you know, troll bots saying it's all fake. This will show you plenty of proof that it is absolutely not fake and is absolutely real and is absolutely one of the most horrific human rights atrocities that's going on right now in the world today. That's being covered up by the Communist Party. And again, remember when we talk about China and bad things that the Communist Party does, it's not the Chinese people. It is the Chinese Communist Party because the biggest victims of the Chinese Communist Party are not even the Uyghurs. They are the people of China, period. The whole country is being victimized by this government. So anyway, that's just a little something to watch. I wouldn't say it's light fair, but it certainly is interesting. And again, you can find that linked in the show notes, or you can just search for Laowhy86 Xinjiang Police File Hack: Why China is Terrified and it'll pop right up there on the YouTube.
[00:56:16] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes, advertisers at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. I always enjoy talking with you there as well. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:56:37] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Dr. Khoddam's input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance. Basically, he's the doctor, but not your doctor.
[00:57:09] Remember, we rise by lifting others, so share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:57:26] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into here's a preview of my conversation with Danny Trejo, an ex-con turned icon featured in over 350 films and TV shows. You've seen him everywhere in Machete, Breaking Bad, Desperado, and much, much more. He's never been through acting school which doesn't matter when you're a legend/icon. Before becoming such a prolific star, Danny Trejo was a drug-addicted criminal hooked on heroin at age 12, who spent more than a decade in and out of prisons. Here's a quick preview.
[00:57:59] Danny Trejo: Once you start doing robberies and you're using heroin, the robberies become addictive. You don't know whether you're doing robberies to support your drug habit or doing drugs to support your robbery habit.
[00:58:13] Jordan Harbinger: I read you robbed a store with a hand grenade.
[00:58:15] Danny Trejo: This was later on. This was like, we did a robbery. We ended up with this hand grenade. So I tried it and it was very simple. You know, when you hold a hand grenade and you got your hand on the pin and you ask somebody for some money, they think twice.
[00:58:29] Prison, there's only two kinds of people in prison. They're predators and their prey. That's it. And you got to decide every damn morning, what are you going to be? And I know a lot of people that decide, "I'm prey. I don't care because I'm tired." I know a lot of people that took an elevator off the fifth year. There's no elevator. I know a lot of people that cut their wrists. I've seen guys with all the muscles in the world, get stabbed by a short Mexican in tennis shoes with a big knife, you know, fighting. I don't fight you. That's prison.
[00:59:01] Prison has a taste. Put one of those fake pennies, the lead one in your mouth and keep it there. That's the taste of pressure. That's the taste of anxiety. That's the taste of fear. That's the taste of everything. You feel it, you know, that's what you walk around with. And when you finally lose that taste, you've decided whether you're going to be predator or prey. That's the only way you can lose it.
[00:59:28] Jordan Harbinger: For more, including how Danny Trejo walked onto a Hollywood movie set as a drug counselor and left as a bonafide actor and how Danny Trejo has managed sobriety for over 50 years and continues to help others maintain theirs, check out episode 398 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:59:47] Dr. Drew Pinsky: Hey Dr. Drew here, and I invite you to hang out with me on The Dr. Drew Podcast. I have the great pleasure of interviewing extraordinary people. I learn something every pod, and I'm sure you will too. Hang with me. I get the pleasure of speaking to folks like Ryan Holiday. You guys know him. It turned out I had a little bit to do with how he got involved in stoicism. We get deep into stoicism. Gleb Tsipursky And I talk about distortions, cognitive distortions, and how they are affecting all of us today, particularly these days. Robert Green, of course, who's Ryan Holiday's friend and his amazing insights. Sean Carroll will talk about the basics of physics in a way that everyone can understand it. And it's not just me nerding out with my colleagues and professional friends, we talked about world peace. I got to really know him during the podcast. He's an extraordinary guy. As well as comedian Brian Simpson, he was once homeless at a certain time, now a brilliant comedian with a lot to offer. We cover the gamut. Hang out with me on The Dr. Drew Podcast. We get into it all and trust me, it will expand your understanding. It will improve your life, and you'll be glad you hung out with us.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.