Your family tree has a few branches that are a little more entwined than most — outside of old-world royalty and down-home banjo duelists. You happen to know a particularly dark secret about a troubled cousin’s parentage, but you’re wondering if telling him would be helpful or hurtful. What should you do? We’ll try to find answers to this and more here on 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:
- Would it be helpful or hurtful to disclose an incestuous family secret to the cousin it most affects?
- You’ve been deemed “unfit for duty” after attempting suicide. While you consider yourself lucky to be alive, you’re wondering how to get a new job — and maintain insurance to cover meds and the help you need — with this on your record.
- Your fiancée’s ongoing involvement with a “business” contact feels a lot like an emotional affair — something you endured in a past relationship and aren’t eager to repeat. How do you address this before trust in your betrothed has irrevocably eroded?
- How do you help your mother move on from the death of your father when she’s vehemently opposed to the idea of therapy? [This segment is sponsored by BetterHelp. Big thanks to Haesue Jo, Head of Clinical Operations at BetterHelp!]
- When traveling, what is the most tactful way to tell someone in a neighboring seat that their disgusting habits are unacceptable?
- 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 and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
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!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- US Bank: Apply at usbank.com/altitudego for 20,000 bonus points
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Miss our conversation with elite counterterrorism undercover agent Tamer Elnoury? Catch up with episode 572: Tamer Elnoury | Undercover with a Muslim FBI Agent here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Elie Honig | How the Rich Get Away with Crime | Jordan Harbinger
- Confronting the Incest Secret Long After the Fact — A Family Study of Multiple Victimization with Strategies for Intervention | Office of Justice Programs
- Deliverance | Prime Video
- Is There Any Truth to the Stereotype That Inbreeding Is Popular in the American South? | Quora
- The Distinctive ‘Habsburg Jaw’ Was Likely the Result of the Royal Family’s Inbreeding | Smithsonian Magazine
- Keeping It in the Family: Game of Thrones-Style | Geisinger
- Can Your Employer Fire You after You Attempt Suicide? | Costello & Mains, LLC
- What Are My Job Rights If I’m Suicidal? | Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm
- How Do Employers React When They Learn a Job Candidate Had Attempted Suicide or Is Currently Suicidal? | Quora
- Sleazy Dude’s Stealing Stepdaughter’s Nudes | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- What You Need to Know About Emotional Affairs | Verywell Mind
- How to Trust Again After You’ve Been Cheated On | Mindbodygreen
- Haesue Jo MA, LMFT, Head of Clinical Support | BetterHelp
- Better Help
- How to Understand Resistant Clients | Bradley University Online
- Single Drunk Female | Prime Video
- 67 of the Most Annoying Plane Passengers Ever | Bored Panda
- How to Deal With Difficult Co-Passengers on a Flight | Outlook Traveller
- As a Flight Attendant, How Do You Deal With Difficult or Demanding Passengers? | Quora
- Passenger Shaming | Instagram
844: Dropping the Bomb: His Sister’s His Mom | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to US Bank for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:09] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my Feedback Friday producer, my partner in Palaver, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:17] On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and 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.
[00:00:41] If you're new to the show, this is Friday. We give advice, we answer listener questions. Other times during 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 Elie Honig, prosecutor over in New York. We talk about why powerful people, especially rich and powerful people, get away with crime. Really interesting look at the justice system. Even if you're not a lawyer, I think you'll really dig it. And a lot of it has to do with the psychology of how things work in the justice system. Thought this was kind of a fascinating and unique conversation.
[00:01:13] As always, fun ones, doozies as well, of course. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:01:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. My family is a complete train wreck. It's the result of generations of severe abuse, which continue throughout my childhood. I'm the only person in my family to ever seek therapy, which I've been in on and off for nearly 20 years, healing from the trauma I experienced. This friction has pushed me to distance myself from most of my family members. I had to decide between my sanity and my family, and after I had my son. I prioritize my sanity. The only family members I've remained open to maintaining relationships with are those who were the victims of the abuse that I experienced. My brother, who hasn't talked to me since my mom faked a suicide attempt and blamed me in her suicide letter, my cousin and my Uncle Mark. Mark is only a few years older than me. We grew up very close and even lived together during my childhood. He's one of my favorite people in the world, and he's still deeply tormented by his upbringing. I recently found out what I always suspected that Mark is not my uncle. He's my cousin. My Aunt Victoria is his mom, and most likely my grandfather is his biological dad.
[00:02:32] Jordan Harbinger: That's the light version because this is really creepy and gross. Continue.
[00:02:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, this is incest and I have always known about the relationships between my mom, her sister, and their dad.
[00:02:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:02:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: I told you my family is messed up.
[00:02:46] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:02:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That is dark, man. So just to be clear, Gabe, her Aunt Victoria is Mark's mom—
[00:02:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:02:54] Jordan Harbinger: —which makes them cousins.
[00:02:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:02:56] Jordan Harbinger: And Victoria's dad is Mark's father.
[00:03:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right.
[00:03:00] Jordan Harbinger: It's not on the paper. It's not on the tree.
[00:03:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, it's not on the birth certificate.
[00:03:03] Jordan Harbinger: There's a dotted line going across other lines that you don't normally want in the family tree.
[00:03:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: So Mark's father is also his grandfather, if I'm tracking all this.
[00:03:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I shudder for real. And I'm not trying to be a dick about this. I mean, okay, look, I guess this means that our friend, here's grandfather is also her uncle, I think. This is getting confusing for me.
[00:03:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's so confusing. Okay. Yeah. This whole thing would break ancestry.com. So yeah.
[00:03:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe don't spit into the tube if it ever comes to that.
[00:03:30] Jordan Harbinger: For sure.
[00:03:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: So she goes on.
[00:03:32] Mark believes he doesn't have any living parents but he does, Victoria. I don't have a relationship with her mostly because she lives across the country in Arkansas and has incredibly problematic beliefs. When she found out that I knew the truth about Mark, she started bombarding me with DMs and voicemails. I blocked her on all platforms after she began threatening me not to tell Mark. So I'm now left with a decision to make. Keep this to myself or tell Mark the truth. I have a few reasons for telling him what I know if I've been suspicious about all of this for so long, chances are he's been too. He's 20 years younger than his, quote-unquote, "sister," who is really his mother, and this age gap was a running joke during my childhood. Mark has been suffering his whole adult life with alcohol addiction and mental health issues. I've always wanted to help him. And I wonder if finding out the truth could be a key to getting better. I don't have relationships with my abusive mother or aunt, so I don't really care if they're mad at me for telling one of the many family secrets. I think these secrets are incredibly harmful to everyone involved, and I'm not going to continue hiding the darkness for them. This has kept my family sick for too long, but I'm struggling to understand what's best for Mark. I'm not sure if it would be best for him to continue believing a lie that he's been told his whole life, or to find out the truth about his identity. To be clear, I will not tell Mark who his dad is, as this is speculation on my part, educated speculation, but still, I don't know it to be 100 percent true. What would you do? Would telling Mark what I know help him or cause him more harm? Signed, Highly Sore and Deeply Torn About this Dark Family Lore.
[00:05:12] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. What a family, Gabe. Man, what a tale. I'm a little speechless over here myself.
[00:05:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I think this is a first for Feedback Friday, isn't it? I don't know if we've talked about incest before.
[00:05:21] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know. You might be right. We've talked about a lot, but incest is kind of, it's the final Feedback Friday frontier. Man, it's taken a lot not to play the Deliverance banjo soundbite right now, but I also don't want to be a complete a-h*le about it.
[00:05:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, restrain yourself. Yeah.
[00:05:35] Jordan Harbinger: God, but when she said her aunt lives in Arkansas, my heart sank a little because I really didn't want to feed into the whole stereotype about the south. And it's like, yeah—
[00:05:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's unfortunate. It's unfortunate. I just, you know, I long for some big city incest.
[00:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:05:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just give me an incestuous family on the upper west side or something. Like let's break these stereotypes down.
[00:05:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly. Give me an inbred family that goes to the ballet and rides the F train work.
[00:06:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's got to be incest north of the Mason-Dixon line, right?
[00:06:03] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[00:06:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's got to be.
[00:06:04] Jordan Harbinger: In fact, the higher north you go, I think it gradually becomes the south again. Just like the extreme north of the US and Canada, probably a lot like the south. If you think like Michigan, New York.
[00:06:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:06:14] Jordan Harbinger: No, no, no. I'm talking about the Upper Peninsula, folks.
[00:06:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:06:17] Jordan Harbinger: You know who you are. Yellowknife represent.
[00:06:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Thanks for that, Jordan. I can't wait for all the emails we're going to get from people in Yellowknife and Maine and Saskatchewan just tearing us apart for that comment, but okay.
[00:06:29] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not throwing shade, I'm just being progressive here. Anyone anywhere is capable of keeping it in the family. Just I'm the open-minded one here. So northern territories in the house, definitely, in the house. Literally, specifically in the same house, but anyway. Look, sorry for the last, we're just being silly. This has nothing to do with you. We're just trying to add levity to a situation that is probably mostly devoid of levity entirely.
[00:06:56] So let's dig into this. First of all, it sounds like you've come a very long way in your life.
[00:07:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Definitely.
[00:07:03] Jordan Harbinger: You've done a lot of work on yourself. You've gone to therapy, you've distanced yourself from what sounds like quite an abusive and dysfunctional family. It's incredible. A lot of people don't make it that far and it's so hard to escape these cycles of trauma and it sounds like you've done that or you're in the process of doing that and giving yourself and your son the best possible shot at a very different life. So you should be really proud of yourself. You're also being very thoughtful about your uncle cousin. Sorry. It's kind of killing you not to tell Mark this huge piece of news, but you're taking the time to think about what it would mean for him. And I think that says a lot about you. Because I don't know, I'd probably be like, "Oh, I got it, Mark." I don't even know if I'd think about it. Just like pick up the phone and dump it right on somebody. But you're doing the right thing.
[00:07:44] So just to cut to the chase here, I personally am leaning toward telling Mark what you know because like you said, he probably already suspects that the story your family told him isn't true. He's suffering from addiction and mental health issues. I'm sure that stuff, the causes are many. It's not just going to be the story of his birth that's maybe doing this, but I have to imagine it's played some kind of role in his psychology, even if it's just growing up thinking that both of his parents are really old and also dead and that nobody loves him. You know, he has no relationship like that. I don't know, it's just uh—
[00:08:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: But Jordan, I just have to say that story they told him seems very flimsy.
[00:08:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's a little weird. Like they just told him his parents died and that was it. No further questions like, "How did grandma have me when she was 60 years old or whatever?" I don't know.
[00:08:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: But then, who does he think his parents are? If he was told that he's Victoria's brother his whole life, then he would believe that the grandfather was his father or that the grandmother was his mother and he had a different father, which would make Victoria maybe his half-sister. So maybe, I don't know, I'm just speculating here. Like did they say the grandma died? And that's how they told the story. Either way, this is a really hard story to believe. It just doesn't really stand up to scrutiny. So it's hard for me to believe that Mark is fully on board.
[00:08:54] Jordan Harbinger: Especially look, they've been joking about it their whole lives.
[00:08:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:08:57] Jordan Harbinger: I think Mark knows deep down that something just doesn't add up, which if that's what we're picking up from the letter and something doesn't add up this guy's whole life. So this is my point. Our friend here might not be turning his whole life upside down. She might just be confirming what he already knows is true and maybe he's just not telling other people because he's like, "Oh, they're going to reject me and they're going to yell at me," and it's like, "Oh my God, you knew." Maybe he'll be relieved. Somebody knows. As disturbing as this is, I have to think it's more validating to finally know the truth and to go through your whole life confused about who/where you came from.
[00:09:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I think it might be both, but I'm with you. It's probably a net good. At the same time though, I think you need to be realistic about what impact this news will have on Mark, as you pointed out, a lot of dysfunction in your family.
[00:09:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: And I'm sure Mark's struggles are about a lot more than just his lineage, so if you decide to tell him, I wouldn't pin all of your hopes for his getting better on finally knowing the truth because A, he has a lot to work through beyond who are my actual parents, and B, his getting better. That ultimately depends on what he does with this information. He could do a few different things and unfortunately, that part is mostly out of your control.
[00:10:02] Jordan Harbinger: Right, because that news could send him into a spiral. It could send him into a rage. It could send him into a lot of shame, and that might reinforce any addiction that he's got.
[00:10:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, who knows, it might be part of why he developed the addiction in the first place. It doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to know. I would just be realistic about what you hope to achieve by telling him. And when you do tell him, you know, I would really help him make sense of the revelation. Help him work through whatever it brings up. I mean, I'm sure his mind is going to be racing going back through his whole life like, "Oh, that moment makes sense now. Oh, that's why I always felt weird when so-and-so came around." I'm guessing there's a lot there for him to explore.
[00:10:35] Jordan Harbinger: You know, there's another good reason to tell Mark the truth, which is he should know who his parents are, if he ever wants to have his own kids.
[00:10:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ooh.
[00:10:42] Jordan Harbinger: Because there's a little—
[00:10:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Good point.
[00:10:44] Jordan Harbinger: —Punnett square and stuff. Remember those?
[00:10:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right. I do remember those that could get dicey.
[00:10:48] Jordan Harbinger: I don't exactly know how all that works, but I think if your grandfather is also your father, there's probably something potentially dangerous going on there. And if he doesn't know or if he's just pretending he doesn't know, that could become a huge problem if he ever has children of his own. They probably have to do additional screening or something along those lines.
[00:11:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just one more reason that keeping the secret from him is incredibly messed up.
[00:11:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, what are they going to just leave it to chance and let him find out the hard way? That's really sad.
[00:11:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, because of course, he could have his own kids and they're like, "Hey, there's something here that only happens when the father's side has this." And he'll be like, "What?" And then now you've got some sort of health issue and essentially damning evidence.
[00:11:29] A little aside here, my dental hygienist, one of the most interesting people ever. They have a son who has a liver issue and he had a liver transplant when he was younger and it's a rare genetic condition. And so the doctors at the hospital asked his wife if they were related. And it's funny because he has an accent that's from a completely different continent than she does. Even though they're both of African descent. Well, he's actually African, right, but she's like an African Caribbean or something like that. So it's like, are we related? She's got like a Caribbean accent. He's got an African accent. I mean, it's possible, but it's not too bloody likely.
[00:12:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not likely.
[00:12:09] Jordan Harbinger: But it's like a one in 10 million chance.
[00:12:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: But so what happened? Did they test or—?
[00:12:13] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I think this is a while. I mean, the kid's in college now, so he just had some liver issue as a result of.
[00:12:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: But he's fine?
[00:12:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, he's fine.
[00:12:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay.
[00:12:20] Jordan Harbinger: But it's just like these things are rare. So what I'm saying here is if Mark's kid has some issue and it's like, "Wow, we had one in gazillion chance of this happening except for if my grandfather's also my dad and my aunt is my mom." I mean, I don't know how this stuff works, but I feel like stuff like that comes out in the wash and then they've got to explain it and it's like, "So you wanted to keep a family secret and now my son's got, you know, webbed feet," or whatever. I don't know. It's not a great look. If they're being that careless, it's better to be open about this stuff for health concerns, but also this stuff's always going to come out. Do you want it to come out when you can kind of control the damage a little bit or not? So yeah, it's very dark, very selfish if the grandfather did this, which I also want to make clear, this is still, I think an if. He's probably keeping this secret to protect himself. And I'm not sure, is he not alive anymore, this grandfather?
[00:13:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Unclear.
[00:13:08] Jordan Harbinger: We don't know. Victoria, not quite sure what's going on there. Her panic about Mark finding out that she's his mom, it might be more complicated. I think grandpa must be dead because if Mark thinks he has no parents and he thinks he's Victoria's brother, that means grandpa's not around.
[00:13:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: No. But he didn't know that grandpa was his dad, so they said his parents were, they died, but his grandfather could still be alive easily.
[00:13:28] Jordan Harbinger: I see. God, this is so, so confusing.
[00:13:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: So weird.
[00:13:31] Jordan Harbinger: I'm like extra confused—
[00:13:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know
[00:13:32] Jordan Harbinger: —on this one.
[00:13:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: But you're right. And Victoria is an complicated figure in the story. She might be deeply ashamed about all of this if this is what happened. She might be afraid of her dad still. It's possible. She might be terrified of having to confront all of this with the whole family. The whole conversation might be re-traumatizing. So that could explain some of her response.
[00:13:52] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. And look, we don't know all the details, but it sounds like the grandfather is a real monster. This guy had sex with his own daughter, who knows how many times.
[00:14:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Probably.
[00:14:00] Jordan Harbinger: When she was like 20 years old? And that's when she had the kids. So who knows how long that had been going on before that?
[00:14:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh God, that's dark.
[00:14:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: I didn't think about that.
[00:14:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And I'm guessing he was at least twice her age.
[00:14:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: At least, yeah.
[00:14:12] Jordan Harbinger: So that's horrifying. Because theoretically, if you're raping your own daughter, are you not trying to not have a kid and stuff? So maybe this was like, so who knows, could have been going on for years. And I'm sure Victoria's carrying some really terrible wounds of her own, even though she seems a little bit like a loony tune right now, I feel for her. Her dad basically ruined her life. So when she started threatening our friend here, if she told Mark the truth, I'm sure that was hard to hear, but I also, I kind of get it to some degree. I understand where she's coming from.
[00:14:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I do too. It's a really fair point. You know, our friend here is saying, "These secrets are terrible, they're harmful. I'm not going to continue hiding the darkness anymore." But those secrets might also be sparing Victoria a lot of pain. They might be the only way that this family knows how to cope with the horror of what happened. It's not right, it's not healthy, but it might be understandable if it's serving a purpose. Also, Jordan, let's not forget that there seem to be other victims here, right? In her letter she said, she's always known about the relationships between my mom, her sister, and their dad. So I'm gathering that her mom was victimized by their father too.
[00:15:15] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Okay. So that actually got lost in the shuffle from me because it was right at the top of the letter. So her mom was abused by her father too.
[00:15:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Seems like it.
[00:15:24] Jordan Harbinger: There's a lot to keep track of here.
[00:15:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Too much incest to track. It's really confusing.
[00:15:28] Jordan Harbinger: It does make me feel a little bit sick actually. Not just because it's de facto gross in principle, but because of the trauma, this man is foisted on his family.
[00:15:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:15:37] Jordan Harbinger: Meanwhile, I'm all like, "Ooh, do I let Jaden watch extra cartoons or do I put him to bed at a responsible time?" And meanwhile, this dude's like raping his kids. It's so screwed up.
[00:15:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:15:47] Jordan Harbinger: I can't get to the point where somebody would even think about doing this. I just can't. It's like so sick.
[00:15:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, the impact of that is unimaginable, right? This is the mother, the woman who wrote in her mother is the one who faked a suicide attempt and then blamed her.
[00:16:02] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:16:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Everybody be suffering because of this guy.
[00:16:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Everyone's suffering because of this guy, and God knows what other things happen to them that they don't even talk about/know about anymore. So that just confirms for me that she was absolutely right to pull back from this family. There's so much pain and toxicity there. It would be different if they had been abused and they were like, "Look, we got to get through this as a family," but to then fake your suicide and be like, "It's her fault." It's like, "Okay, I don't have time for this. I got a kid and I can't be having him around your psycho craziness right now."
[00:16:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: But you know, this is really hard because I hear a lot of rage in her letter, a lot of distaste for her family. It makes perfect sense. She inherited a lot from this whole family. Her mother is unstable. She's lashing out at her. She's blaming her for a fake suicide. Her aunt is on the other side threatening her if she does right by her cousin and tells him the truth. It's all incredibly messed up. And to your point, These are all super traumatized people. They've all been victimized by this guy and they're all trying to cope with the pain in different ways. So it's also kind of like, do you empathize with them? You know, do you forgive them sort of to some degree? Or do you just have to pull back and cut them off? Because it's so dysfunctional and it's so dark that no normal person could possibly maintain a healthy relationship with them.
[00:17:17] Jordan Harbinger: That's the dance she has to do, I suppose. But I feel that she's a hundred percent right to fall on the old separate and draw strong boundaries side of things. Again, I think her son deserves that too. That's the main thing.
[00:17:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's true. Yeah. Because let's not forget that she says they abused her.
[00:17:30] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:17:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like this isn't just them being kind of nut.
[00:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:17:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: They harmed her.
[00:17:34] Jordan Harbinger: It's not just drama that she can be like, "Oh, grandma's a little kooky. We're leaving now." It's like it crosses that line by a mile. And to your point, Gabe, people don't abuse other people unless they are damaged also. And so it's like, I'd imagine she's constantly moving between these two positions, healthy judgment and rage and compassion and forgiveness. And like, you're not going to let your parents ever be alone with your kid because they were abused. So it's a whole thing like you can't even. There's not a, like a useful family relationship here, so such an intense and complicated situation. I'm reeling a little bit from all this.
[00:18:08] But to bring it back to Mark, if you do tell him, I would just be as supportive as possible. You can't just be dropping a huge bomb and peacing out. You guys are close. He probably trusts you quite a bit and you want this news to help him. You might want to help him process it, figure out what to do with it, while also allowing him to move through this in his own way. And like we said, you can't fix this overnight. He might continue to struggle for a while, but if you can frame this revelation as a piece of the puzzle that will help him heal, it might land the way that you hope. A good question to ask yourself would be, why do you think this revelation will be so helpful to him? And if you were Mark, what would you need to make the best use of it? If you answer those questions, I think you're going to know how to prepare for this conversation. In the meantime, keep taking care of you. Stay focused on your son. You're a very impressive person, very strong. We're sending you a big hug and wishing you and your cousin, uncle Mark, all the best and the optimal number of chromosomes.
[00:19:11] You know, what you will want to share with the whole family, Gabriel? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:19:21] This episode is sponsored in part by Excel University. Are you passionate about Excel? Of course, you are. If not, it's high time you consider diving into it. Excel is a potent tool, a must-have skillset for everyone, particularly if you're aiming to make a market in today's competitive job market. We use it all the time. I'd ever thought I would be using spreadsheets so much. It makes a lot of stuff super easy. Jen is really good at it. I am not so good at it. But here's a fun challenge. I'm certain. You could uncover something that will greatly streamline your workflow and save you a ton of time. Give the Excel University speed challenge a shot. It's totally free. It's fast, there's no excuses. All you have to do is sign up, watch some brief videos, not super long tutorial stuff, complete some hands-on exercises. By doing so, you'll learn about new Excel features that will enable you to work more efficiently and be more productive. Even if you think, "Oh, I don't need spreadsheets," I've found these things to be incredibly useful. Excel University is a remarkable course designed to help you master the ins and outs of Excel. It's a detailed online course. It encompasses everything from elementary to advanced features. You'll acquire skills to generate and format spreadsheets, manipulate formulas and functions, even construct macros, which is like the holy Grail of Excel, right? Learning is a lot of fun with this. There's gamifications even a story mode to make it even more fun. So if you dream like many of us do, of escalating your Excel skills to an expert level, this platform is tailored just for you. The challenge kicks off on Monday. Don't delay. Reserve your spot immediately. Again, it's free. Go to excel-university.com. That's E-X-C-E-L- university.com/jordan, to register for free, excel-university.com/jordan.
[00:20:52] This episode is brought to you in part by US Bank. Seems like there's a credit card for everything these days, right? Food cards, cards for travel, cards for rare stamp collecting For me, I don't know what I'm going to be spending money on from one minute to the next, but wouldn't you know it? US Bank has a card for people like me. Check out the US Bank Cash Plus Visa signature card. With this card, you get up to five percent cash back on two categories that you choose every quarter. The great thing is the earning doesn't stop there. Even after you choose your first two earning categories, you also earn two percent back on one everyday category. You choose each quarter like gas stations and EV charging stations or grocery stores or restaurants, and you still earn one percent on everything else. Apply today at usbank.com/cashpluscard. All that already sounds good, but this card just keeps earning with a $200 rewards bonus after spending a thousand dollars in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. If you like choosing how your card earns, apply at usbank.com/cashpluscard. Limited time offer. The creditor and issuer of this card is US Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. Some restrictions may apply.
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[00:22:08] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:22:11] Okay, what's next?
[00:22:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys. I've been working with a government agency for six years and made my way up to supervisor. The job wasn't necessarily what I wanted from life, but the benefits were great and the pay was decent. I've always had mental health issues, but this last year has been rough and culminated with a suicide attempt two months ago. I received help and I'm working on long-term treatment, but due to the suicide attempt, my job has deemed me unfit for duty. This means that they'll try to find me a job for 60 days, and if they can't, they will let me go. It's been two weeks since I've learned this and I've been applying for new jobs, but I'm not sure what my next path is. I'm 32. I never graduated from college, and I'm not sure what I want to do when I grow up. My dad is being supportive. I will be moving in with him and he said I should do what will make me happy, but I don't know where to start. Also, I'm worried about making sure I have health insurance for my prescriptions and therapy. I'm applying for jobs, and I know I can do something basic to bring some money in, but is that the right thing to do? Where should I start? Signed, Stuck in Doubt About My Life Route After Nearly Peacing Out.
[00:23:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man. I am very sorry to hear you've had a rough year and that you got to a point where suicide seemed like the best option. I can only imagine how far down you got to feel to do that. So my heart really does ache for you, and I can hear how dark this chapter has been. Even from your brief letter, I get the sense that you're actually a very strong person. You're a very focused person. You are being remarkably calm and resourceful, and it's super impressive. I think a lot of times that people go through these things, they feel like it's a weakness, and I don't. I'm glad you've reached out to us. I'm happy to get to talk to you.
[00:23:57] So obviously, I am thrilled that you're in therapy. We recommend that all the time. It sounds like your treatment is working. That's great news. You probably know that's what I would've encouraged you to do if you had written to ask me what to do. So I think that's really smart. You're doing whatever you can to make sure you can continue getting this support. I'd say that's priority number one right now, even more than finding a job that is a perfect fit for you. But to zoom out here even more, I do think you need to take some pressure off of figuring out what the right career path is immediately and keep focusing on you.
[00:24:28] You're very fortunate to have a dad who's supportive. I'm assuming that takes some of the financial pressure off. You know, someone's paying the bills. You don't have to panic about that stuff. I'm not saying you should take advantage of his kindness or where you're welcome or whatever, but this stage, it might last a little while. You might need some time to go inward to appreciate what you've been through, to wander into the wilderness, so to speak, and work through some of the feelings and experiences that go back a very long time. Things that you might have even been avoiding or didn't even know were there while you were on your old path. My feeling is that that's the most important work you could be doing right now. Your career is obviously, it's important too, and I totally appreciate the urgency you feel. I'm not saying you can't do both. If you can, by all means, don't hold yourself back from good opportunities. You can recover and search for jobs, and obviously, you might need to get a job in the meantime that isn't the perfect fit just to take care of yourself, which is totally fair.
[00:25:21] But I really do believe that your big career question will be informed by your inner life, your mental health. It can be so hard to get excited about work when you're struggling. I know that feeling firsthand, man, you're just, everything's going right, but you're, something's not so you just can't stop thinking about it. You need to get in touch with what matters to you, what lights you up. You need to find out which environments and fields support you the way that you want. So, I'd work on those primarily and trust that these other big questions, they'll fall into place.
[00:25:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm. I could not agree more, Jordan. And on a practical level, it can be pretty tough to reach out to new people and shine in job interviews if somewhere in the back of your mind you're going, "Ugh, I don't know. I don't know if I feel quite right. I don't know if I'm ready for this. I'm still feeling kind of hopeless and I'm anxious, or I'm afraid," whatever it is. That's all stuff you want to work through in therapy. And I'm not saying you need to take, you know, six years to do that until you can find your path. It could be six months or nine months, it might be three months. There's no one timeline. But I think Jordan's right. Be a little patient with yourself here.
[00:26:25] Two months ago, two months ago, you tried to end your life. That is a very heavy thing. The thoughts and the experiences that led you to that point, I'm sure they're very complex and I have no doubt that they're shaping your experience of the world. So you got some healing to do. It takes time, but that deserves your attention right now. In fact, the urgency that you feel to figure out your path right away, I don't know. It's interesting. I wonder if that might itself be a way of coping with the situation you find yourself in.
[00:26:55] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. You mean like she might be trying to fast forward here a little bit.
[00:27:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I wonder, I think so, maybe. I love her commitment. I love her productivity. It's beautiful. Let's just appreciate to go from a suicide attempt to hustling for a job because you need to take care of yourself, really speaks to some of her amazing qualities. But yes, that might also be a way to skip over this very important stage in her recovery where a lot of her job right now is to bear some difficult feelings, including this anxiety about all of the uncertainty.
[00:27:25] And maybe a little bit of shame about stepping off of a well-defined path and moving back in with Dad and having to go, "Okay, wow. Like my job right now is just to take care of myself, get better, make sure I'm okay, and admit that I need support while I do that." I could see how that would be very difficult to bear, and I totally understand the impulse to just, you know, "Can we get this thing moving again? Can I get onto a path so I don't have to be in this stage and I don't have to feel like this person, let's get this over with." But at this moment, so soon after the suicide attempt, I think she could only benefit by slowing down a little bit and going deeper into her treatment.
[00:28:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think that's well said. That's so fascinating. And at first, I was like, damn, this woman is resilient. She doesn't waste any time. And that's definitely true.
[00:28:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: She is, right?
[00:28:10] Jordan Harbinger: But sometimes moving quickly and being so strong, sometimes those are precisely the qualities that make it harder to get better. And I know that sounds like a weird paradox, but look, you wake up in a year, two years, 10 years, you got a great job. Your career is rocking, and your life looks pretty solid. But you have all these other, well, same problems you had before, except they're worse because you didn't really deal with them.
[00:28:31] So I hope that gives you a new lens here. I'm really happy you're alive. I mean that sincerely, of course. The fact that you're engaging with therapy, with life, with your career, that you're writing into us for advice, that's an excellent sign and you're just doing so much right. So just give yourself permission to really go all the way. Trust that the best way of taking care of your career long term is taking care of yourself right now. And we're sending you a big hug. We're wishing you all the best. Look, you got this. You're already doing so great. You'll be fine. Keep it up.
[00:29:00] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your emails concise. Use descriptive subject lines if you're wrestling with something, life, love, work. What to do if your girlfriend's stepdad stole her nudes? And no, that's not the premise of some cringey erotica Gabe pulled off of Reddit. It's an actual question we took last week. 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.
[00:29:26] Okay, next up.
[00:29:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm in my early 40s and my fiancée is in her late 30s. She's a very intelligent and thoughtful woman who has overcome a lot of adversity to accomplish a lot in her life. She has two professional degrees and is now working on her first love, which is writing a book. Last year she went back to school on the West Coast while I stayed on the East Coast. During that period, we struggled and ended up breaking up for nine or 10 months. She dropped out of school and traveled for a while. We kept in touch while she was away, which helped rebuild our bond, which led to us getting back together and getting engaged. When she got back home, she was texting on her phone more than usual, always shielding her screen, which she never did before going away. I noticed a man's name. Let's call him Frank but didn't say anything. A week later, while my fiancée was in the shower, her phone was face up and ringing. It was Frank. I asked her who he was. She flipped out on me telling me that I'm acting weird because it's a guy. She said she met Frank while she was on the West Coast, that he had a girlfriend and kids that I need to chill out and that he was going to help her with her book sales. Two weeks later, she was crying saying that she thinks Frank is a con and that she's worried he's going to try and sue her to take her book sales. I was supportive and walked her through why that wouldn't happen. Three weeks after that, she told me that she might have overreacted and that they were going to work together after all. I didn't think it was a good idea, but I said I would support her decision if she felt that he could really help. The next month and a half, they were on the phone all the time, at all hours. I would catch bits of their conversations and it sounded less like business and more like bonding, like therapy sessions for him. Or like fights between siblings or chaotic couples. This triggered a lot in me. In college, I had a girlfriend who had a new friend arrive out of the blue, and she eventually cheated on me with him. I worked through these feelings by listening to talks and seeking out advice from two close friends, but it's still hard for me to silence that voice in my head. Eventually, my fiancée and Frank ended up having a huge falling out, which led to them not working together. Three weeks later, my fiancée was chatting on the phone. I asked her who she was chatting with. She didn't answer.
[00:31:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:31:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: The feeling in my stomach told me it was frank, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions. I figured she didn't hear me, so I left it alone. Two days after that, she was on the phone again, and this time I made sure she heard me when I asked who it was. She casually replied that it was Frank and asked if that was a problem. My reply was, "Yes it is. This is a person who has been sh*tty to you. Unreliable. And when I first asked you about him, you gaslit me. I don't understand why you're insisting on working with somebody who you told me has a boatload of negative traits. Now, you're being cagey. Last time you told me you guys were working together. This time it feels sneaky." Her reply was that he has bigger networks that can be tapped into, but she didn't reply to the other things I said. That was the last time we talked about it. It's been a week. Now, I feel like my trust in my fiancée is eroding. She's smart and she knows how to pull levers. She once said that an ex called her manipulative, which I can see she thinks in chess, whereas most people think in checkers. How do I address this feeling? How do I deal with what seems like an emotional affair? Do I need to go to therapy? Signed, A Little Shook About the Possible Crook Keeping My Girl on the Hook for This Ill-Fated Book.
[00:33:00] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Well, this is a problem. It certainly does sound like there's some Frankie Panky going on over there.
[00:33:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:33:06] Jordan Harbinger: I've been holding onto that for at least five minutes.
[00:33:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Actually angry at myself for not thinking of that for the sign-off.
[00:33:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm surprised that I'm the one that came up with that instead of you.
[00:33:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Very nice.
[00:33:15] Jordan Harbinger: So this is actually a few problems and the one that you're worried about most, the nature of your fiancée's relationship with Frank. It's almost like the least of the crap that's going on here.
[00:33:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agreed.
[00:33:25] Jordan Harbinger: I can understand why this is so hurtful and confusing for you. Your fiancée's putting you in a very difficult spot and there's a lot going on here. So, let's take in. First of all, no, I don't think you're crazy. I think you're absolutely right to listen to your gut here. There's nothing wrong with your fiancée having a relationship with another guy. Fine. There's nothing inherently wrong with her getting close to somebody. She's working on a book with. These projects, they have a way of bringing people very close together. There's a certain intimacy that develops between collaborators and that can lead to some occasional conflict and confusion. Emotions can run high. Although I will say that Frank is not her writing partner or her editor, as far as I understand. It sounds like he's more on the marketing business side. She's trying to help her sell the book, pump up sales, so I'm just, I'm a little confused about why their conversations are so intense and all-consuming.
[00:34:14] You know, if Gabriel and I got into it, which we've actually don't usually do, if we got into it because we were thinking about a Feedback Friday, answer or question, that's one thing, but when it's like, your job is to sell this and my job is to write it, it's like, where's the beef?
[00:34:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: What are you arguing about?
[00:34:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, where's the friction here?
[00:34:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Something's not adding up.
[00:34:29] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Something is not adding up. I got email marketers, we don't spend hours on the phone. They don't even like me and I don't know, Gabe, I just get the sense, I'm not really kidding about that. I'm pretty sure they don't like me. But I just get the sense that Frank is taking her for a ride or just totally mismanaging this relationship in some way. But hey, who knows? Maybe they're really engaging with the process together. Let's put that aside for now. What is definitely a problem in my view, is your fiancée's secrecy around Frank. She feels he's this crappy, unreliable person, but she keeps working with him because he's making our promises. Like I've got networks you can tap into, which by the way, like who hasn't heard that a million times at this point? They fight consistently like siblings or a couple. She's tolerating this chaotic up-and-down thing. She's not being very respectful to you in all of this. Not being very thoughtful about what her relationship with Frank brings up for you, that's a problem. And that said, I don't know if your fiancée would cheat on you with Frank or if she has already, although there certainly do seem to be some blurred lines in their relationship. And like you said, this might be an emotional affair of sorts, that's already dicey. But where this gets more complicated is that there are two of you in this relationship, and as with any dynamic, your stuff is interacting with her stuff. So this thing that you shared about having a girlfriend in college who cheated on you, that's very interesting here. And I can hear that there's a wound there that's getting reactivated, that scabs scar, whatever's getting picked on. And that makes sense. And I'm sure your fiancée is picking up on that anxiety and that fear, even if she's frankly not being very, pardon the pun, being very kind about it at all.
[00:36:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting. So I think what you're getting at is that there's maybe a world where she's being cagey about Frank, not because there's actually something going on, but because she's trying to spare him.
[00:36:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Because it feels easier to her. Maybe even a weird way, it's fairer to her to sort of shield you from the Frank of it all, because she can see how much it distresses you and because she might be too ill-equipped or afraid of working through that openly with you which is weird for somebody who supposedly thinks in chess, but that doesn't mean she's good at facing her actual feelings and other people's feelings.
[00:36:40] Now, let me be clear. I'm not saying that what she's doing is the right thing to do. It's not, I'm not blaming you for this either, but what I'm saying is it does take two to tango, and I get the sense that there's a lot of unspoken stuff that passes between you guys. Like that day you asked her who she was talking to, and she just pretended not to hear you. And then, you sort of agreed to let it go until your anger built up even more and you couldn't ignore it, and you pressed the issue and then she exploded, which by the way, good on you for doing that because you asserted yourself appropriately. And that's important.
[00:37:10] But this does make me wonder about this pattern. This pattern of dating women who cheat on you or keep you at arm's length or don't openly communicate with you. At least not always, and I don't want to speculate here, but there's obviously a parallel here. You are going to have to figure out what the deal is there and yeah, absolutely. I think that would be a wonderful thing to explore in therapy. Maybe you struggle to confront your partners about their real feelings when things get difficult. Maybe you stick around in relationships that aren't entirely fair or healthy, longer than you should.
[00:37:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, yeah. It's also possible that he might choose partners who don't communicate well or who have messy relationships with other people, or maybe have a tendency to, yeah, to manipulate him a little bit.
[00:37:54] Jordan Harbinger: Totally. All possibilities. These templates are very strong. Or look, maybe this is all a coincidence and you just happen to date two people who got involved with other guys and you didn't necessarily create that situation or have a hand in it. But how you're responding to these situations, the wound that's been activated by both of them, that's your piece of this. And again, I'm not saying that's what's definitely happening. I'm not trying to diagnose you, I'm just fascinated by these patterns and I want to give you a few things to consider.
[00:38:23] So back to Frank and your fiancée, something's obviously not working. You guys need to talk and what you need to talk about, in my view, is what her relationship with Frank is really about. What are they doing? What is their goal together? Whether Frank is even the right person to be helping her, why does her opinion of him keep changing like the wind? What's all this conflict about? That whole thing is odd to me.
[00:38:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's odd to me too. And I think really what they need to talk about is why is she hiding, why is she hiding so much of this relationship? Why is she kind of avoiding these conversations? Is it really to protect you or is it because there actually is something going on?
[00:39:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. And you guys need to talk about how you guys communicate, which to me is really the crux of this whole problem. Because if everything was on the table, we wouldn't be here right now.
[00:39:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: And you know, when he has this conversation with her, I think he needs to make it safe for her to be honest with him, you know, which means being willing to hear some potentially difficult stuff. If she does have feelings for Frank, it would be really good for you to know that now, as painful as that would be, or if she struggles with your response to certain things, that would be really good feedback for you. But you got to invite her to be candid. And you have to be willing to bear that stuff. My strong feeling, just to be very blunt, is that you guys really need to hash this out before you get married.
[00:39:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh, definitely, definitely, before you get married, please.
[00:39:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, this isn't going to get better, right? This is going to get worse if you guys don't work through it. Also, this is your second go-around as a couple. You broke up once before you got back together. Now things are rocky again. I don't know. There's a history here of struggling to stay connected, and I don't just mean by geography, like by distance I mean emotionally when things get a little hard and I just would not get married until you guys really understand why that's happening.
[00:40:10] Jordan Harbinger: Absolutely. And if you need help doing that, I would definitely recommend couples therapy. I think it's really important. So this is our take. I don't know if this is the end of the road, but for me, it would be enough to hit pause certainly on the wedding plans. I don't mean to alarm you, I just want you to be clear-eyed about this and set yourself up for the best possible marriage. There are so many moving pieces here. There's you, there's her, there's Frank, there's this book if it exists, there's this engagement, there's your histories. It's a lot, but from where I'm sitting, the solution to all of this boils down to being honest, being fair, being clear with yourselves and with each other. So lean into this, start talking, get on the same page, and we're wishing you all the best.
[00:40:52] You know what's a great use of those imaginary book royalties, Gabriel? The awesome products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:41:03] This episode is sponsored in part by SimpliSafe. As we bid farewell to the winter chill, we're swiftly approaching vacation season when adventure beckons and suitcases come out of the closet. But before you get caught up planning your escape, remember to secure your home with SimpliSafe home security. With SimpliSafe, you're not just installing a security system, you're subscribing to a promise of tranquility. This home security solution ensures that even in your absence, your home remains under the watchful eye of trained professionals ready to spring into action with their Fast-Protect technology, which I assume involves sniper rifles and stuff. We're taking both kids on a three-week trip to Taiwan and we feel so much peace of mind having SimpliSafe's state-of-the-art system set up to guard our home against a multitude of dangers. For the most obvious like break-ins and burglaries to the less visible but equally harmful like fires and water damage. Honestly, I'd probably rather get robbed than have the place flood if we're going to go ahead and compare. In the face of such threats, the system does not only triggers alerts, but also ensures that the necessary assistance is dispatched properly. Imagine the peace of mind you'd enjoy knowing that while you're soaking up the sun on a beach or trekking through a mountain trail, a team of professionals is vigilantly protecting your sanctuary. With SimpliSafe your vacation truly becomes a time for relaxation, free from worry about the security of your home. Also, Jen set the system up herself. It's really simple. I was going to blow my stack doing it probably, but it turned out to be really easy. Or you can also hire a professional if you're lazy like me.
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[00:42:36] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by European Wax Center. Don't wait for spring break to get away. Book your smooth escape with the wax experts at European Wax Center. As the temperature rises and the layers come off, your skin takes center stage and it deserves nothing but the best. European Wax Center has truly set the bar high when it comes to delivering exceptional waxing services for everybody. When you step into a European Wax Center, you're under the care of the best in the business. Their certified wax specialists are well-versed in their craft and meticulously trained. What truly sets European Wax Center apart is their signature comfort wax. This unique formulation is a proprietary blend with beeswax sourced from Europe, I guess we don't have bees here, infused with additional skin-soothing ingredients. This combination allows for easy and efficient hair removal, rendering the experience virtually pain-free. Jen and I are regulars. Do you want to know what I have waxed? No, I bet you do. European Wax Center understands that everyone has unique grooming preferences and needs. Whether you wish to concentrate on enhancing your brows, maintaining your shoulders, tidying your nose or back, European Wax Center's experts are ready to help. They also personalize consultations to guide you through the process. With European Wax Center, you're not just getting a service, you're signing up for a tailor-made high-quality grooming experience.
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[00:43:50] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by apartments.com. apartments.com has helped millions of renters find their perfect places, and the beauty is they're all different. None of us are the same, so why should our homes be the same? Someone might want hardwood floors. Somebody else might say carpet all the way. That's kind of a questionable call but to each their own. Somebody might want a doorman. Others might say, I can open the freaking door myself. But apartments.com has all the right tools to help you find a place that's uniquely perfect for you. Sort through and filter listings by amenities, and make sure you never miss out with their instant alert option. With more than one million available units for rent, you are sure to find the place that's right for you. So whether you're looking for a place with a basement, a yard, a pool, or everything in between, apartments.com has got you covered. Visit apartments.com, the place to find a place.
[00:44:36] If you like this episode of Feedback Friday and found our advice valuable, I invite you to do what other smart and considerate listeners do, which is take a moment and support our amazing sponsors. All of the links, deals, and discount codes, ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor on any episode of the show using the AI chatbot on the website as well. Thank you so much for supporting those who support the show.
[00:44:58] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:45:02] This next segment is sponsored by Better Help. Big thanks to Haesue Jo, head of Clinical operations at Better Help.
[00:45:07] All right, Gabe, take it away.
[00:45:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. A year and a half ago, my dad passed away from cancer. We found out he had it a week later. He was in hospice, and a week after that he was dead. His death obviously hit us all really hard as he was the leader of our family. I know it's been especially hard on my mom, but she's not the type to show or talk about it. That's not really how our family rolls. Since then, my siblings and I try to get together more often and do more family things with her. My mom enjoys spending time with my brother and sister's kids, and my aunts have also been spending more time with her. We all genuinely have fun together. Even my mom, I think, although we all miss my dad very much. Over the holidays, a few months ago, we got together for our traditional family Christmas candy-making day, which is a fun ritual where we have a drink and laugh and have a good time. During the party, my mom asked me to go get something from her room. I walked in and it looked exactly as it did when my dad was alive. Everything is in the exact same place as if he were still living there. I really want my mom to move on with her life, and I know my dad would too. She's very stubborn and she absolutely will not see a therapist. If someone suggests it, she'll resist it. I saw a therapist for a few months after all of this happened. I actually used Better Help with your code, but I haven't found a good opportunity to bring that up as a way of getting my mom to try it. What can I do to help my mom process my dad's death and move forward with her life? Signed, Helping a Bereaved Mom Grieve at Two X the Speed.
[00:46:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. This must have been a huge loss for you all and super intense. It happened so quickly. This is a major life transition to go through and I'm sure it's been uniquely difficult for your mom, especially since she's not the "let me open up and unburden myself" type from the sound of it. I got to say though, it's really touching how much you care about her. She's lucky to have you looking out for her. You all seem like a close-knit family, a loving family, which is awesome. We wanted to consult with an expert on your question. So we spoke with Haesue Jo, licensed marriage and family therapist and head of clinical operations at Better Help, the world's largest online therapy service. You've heard of them. They sponsor the show, and the first thing Haesue said was, it's hard for us to know exactly how your mom is feeling these days, what she's really going through, because grief, it's such a personal process, right? It's unique. It's mysterious. It's cyclical. As Haesue put it to us, there's no one timeline that says you must move through this milestone of grief by this time, everyone processes loss differently.
[00:47:46] So while I love that you want to help your mom move forward with her life, you might have to slow down here a little bit. And remember that your grief might look very different from your mom's grief. Your timeline might be very different from her timeline. Haesue pointed out that your grief as a daughter that might be different from your mom's grief as a decades-long spouse, both are very intense, very meaningful, but they are different. So you're not wrong for wanting her to move forward, but the fact is she just might not be ready to do that, or she might not need to do that, or she is doing that in her own way internally, and you just don't know. The bedroom might only be telling you part of the story.
[00:48:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. I think that's a really good point. Now, I imagine that that's a little hard to make peace with because you don't have a good grasp of what your mom wants or needs. If she could talk more, you would have a better sense of where she is in the grief process, and you might take some comfort in knowing that even if she's not moving on, she's at least working through it in some way. And you would be able to go, "Oh, okay. Mom's keeping the bedroom exactly as it was because she doesn't want to lose her connection to dad," or whatever her reasoning might be, and you could just let her do her thing. But Haesue highlighted something important here too, which is if your mom doesn't want to talk openly, if she doesn't want to go to therapy, then you can't force her to, and maybe that's the deeper theme of your letter, just accepting your mom for the very guarded, very internal sort of mysterious person she is in many ways, which let's just acknowledge that can be super frustrating. And I'm sure it makes you feel like you're on the outside of your mom's experience, which when you care about somebody as much as you care about her, that's a really tough place to be. But it might just be where you are, at least for now, while your mom moves through this chapter. The only way she knows how.
[00:49:35] Jordan Harbinger: Really fair point. But all that said, Haesue wondered whether your mom really isn't moving forward with her life in her own way, because sure, she might have been keeping the bedroom exactly how it was because she's stuck in her grief and clinging to the past. But she might also have kept it that way because cleaning it out, it's a really big project. It's daunting. Or because she just likes the room the way it is, or because she's been channeling her energy into other things, like spending time with you all. So Haesue's question was, aside from the bedroom, what else are you observing in your mom's behavior or her mood or general outlook that makes you think she's unable to move on? Are there other signs that she's stuck in her life?
[00:50:14] For example, if she works, how's she doing in her job? If she doesn't work, how does she spend her time? Is she able to participate in life? Is she taking care of herself? Is she eating okay? Is she sleeping decently? Is she getting outside? She moving around? If she isn't, then you might be right that she's a little stuck, but if she is, then your mom might be doing okay. All things considered. She's able to spend time with her family. She's participating in these fun rituals. It's not like she's locking herself in the bedroom and curling up with your dad's favorite sweater, refusing to come out. That would paint a very different picture. And hey, maybe it's a mixed bag. Maybe she participates really well and is open to changing her life in some areas. And in other ways, she withdraws and wants to keep things the same. I think that's probably normal for a person who lost their spouse fairly recently. But wherever your mom is in the process, I 100 percent agree with you that she'd benefit from opening up to somebody.
[00:51:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. So do I. So Haesue had some great ideas about how to approach her and maybe get around the resistance a little bit. The one big opening Haesue sees here is that your mom really enjoys spending time with her family. There's probably a lot of safety with you all, a lot of trust. So maybe she can learn to open up in that setting. So Haesue brought up the idea of sharing stories about your dad when you all get together, maybe you talk about what it's been like since he passed. Maybe you go first and then your siblings, and then maybe you invite your mom to share something. You know, show her that it's cathartic to open up about dad, that it's safe to share your feelings and then invite her to do the same. She might not agree to get on the couch, but she might do some version of that on her own couch.
[00:51:52] Another idea Haesue shared. When you and your mom are hanging out alone, you could open up about the last year and a half. Maybe when you're doing the dishes or you're running errands or whatever, you tell her, "You know, Mom, this is how I've been feeling about Dad since he died. These are the things that have been really difficult for me. This is how I've been working through it." And I wouldn't put her on the spot too much. You know, I wouldn't say, "Okay, I told you how I'm feeling now. It's your turn, Mom. You know, go." But just by opening up, you might give her permission to dip her toe in the water, show her that nothing bad is going to happen if she's a little more vulnerable. Haesue said, your best bet might be to model for her what it looks like to open up and just make some space for her to talk if that's what she wants to do.
[00:52:33] Jordan Harbinger: Another idea, Haesue had, you could suggest spruiking up your mom's bedroom together. You know, like, "Hey Mom, I know you haven't changed your room since Dad passed away. I'm sure it's a big thing to think about. Would you like some help? Maybe we can go through his things, decide what you want to keep, maybe start to make it feel more like your room." If she's like, absolutely not, I'm not ready for that. I like my room the way it is. Then you know she's not ready and you should probably back off. But if she's like, "Well, maybe I guess I should go through the room. I've just been putting it off." That might actually be a great opportunity for you to help her. And maybe going through the room together would be a special experience for both of you. And the great thing is it won't require a ton of talking. You'd be speaking your mom's language a little more, which is doing, and maybe that would be the most helpful thing for your mom.
[00:53:20] As for the therapy piece, I do like your approach, telling her how therapy has been so helpful, subtly communicating to her that it's worthwhile. That is smart. But ultimately this is up to her. There's a world where she never sees someone. And her process never looks the way that you want it to, and you'll just have to make peace with that. But that's why it's even more important that you continue to surround her with a ton of love, engage her, make some room for her to open up in whatever way she can. And while you take care of your mom, Haesue also encourages you to keep taking care of yourself because as she pointed out, while your concerned for your mom is really touching, you are grieving too. And maybe some of your grief gets conflated with her grief, and it can be just hard to know whose grief you're actually processing. Just something to keep an eye on.
[00:54:06] Again, I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to your dad, but it does sound like you're doing really well. I'm really proud of you for seeking out support, and I love that you're there for your mom. So we're sending you all a big hug and wishing you and your mom all the best.
[00:54:20] This segment was sponsored by Better Help. Big thanks again to Haesue Jo, head of Clinical Operations at Better Help. Go to betterhelp.com/jordan to help support the show and get started. Haesue Jo'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. Haesue's feedback is in response to a written question and therefore there are likely other unknown considerations. Given the limited context, any personal opinions about a writer's life choices, as well as any action-oriented advice comes solely from the show. Also, just because you might hear something on the show that sounds similar to what you're experiencing, be aware of self-diagnosis. Diagnosis is not required to find relief, and you'll want to find a qualified professional to assess and explore diagnoses if that's important to you.
[00:55:04] See guys, Feedback Friday is so fun. Even Better Helps' lawyers had fun with it.
[00:55:08] All right, onward. Next up.
[00:55:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, guys. I was flying home from Phoenix back to North Carolina recently, and the guy next to me on the plane was truly disgusting. He had an oversized shirt in his lap and he kept lifting it, blowing his nose in it and returning it to his lap.
[00:55:25] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God. That is so disgusting.
[00:55:28] Soundbite: Come on, man.
[00:55:29] Jordan Harbinger: That is so gross, man.
[00:55:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wait, so hold on. Is he wearing the shirt or is this another shirt that he's carrying around?
[00:55:37] Jordan Harbinger: I actually had that same question, like is it the shirt that he's wearing that goes down so far that it clumps up in his lap and he can use it as a Kleenex?
[00:55:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:55:44] Jordan Harbinger: Or does he just have another shirt that he got for free and it doesn't fit? So he is like, "Let me use this as a Kleenex on the airplane in public and it, ugh.
[00:55:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think that's what it is. She said he had an oversized shirt in his lap, so I think it's like another, okay, well, so basically he's walking around with a giant handkerchief.
[00:56:01] Jordan Harbinger: It's so disgusting. Yeah. So he just has a Triple X champion T-shirt with a bunch of snot slowly drying on it. Okay. I guess that's better than doing it into the shirt he's wearing, but you're still just a vector for all kinds of disgusting stuff.
[00:56:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, it's so gross. Yeah. You can't stuff that thing in a Dixie cup until the flight attendant comes by. Can you?
[00:56:18] Jordan Harbinger: No, I just, I have such a clear visual of this from our friend here's perspective. Just try to catch up on season two of Single Drunk Female and just clock in this crusty t-shirt from the corner of your eye, making damn sure it doesn't touch the armrest or any part of her for the duration of the entire flight. So like 80 percent of your focus is just making sure you don't get booger elbow. So gross.
[00:56:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: So disgusting. Okay, so she goes on.
[00:56:42] I'm unsure if he was sick or had allergies, but I'm confused how people can be so gross post-pandemic.
[00:56:49] Jordan Harbinger: Seriously.
[00:56:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Seriously.
[00:56:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I love how people have just reverted back to their old ways now, even worse, somehow. Maybe I'm a germophobe, but have we learned nothing from the last three years? Just basic hygiene, please. That's it.
[00:57:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: My usual method of muttering under my breath. Things like you're grody or sanitation, man. Don't do anything to help the situation. What is the most tactful way to tell someone that they are disgusting?
[00:57:15] That's such a good question.
[00:57:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: What is the most tactful way to tell somebody that they're disgusting? Signed, A Seatmate With Her Mouth Agape at these Straight-Up Primates.
[00:57:25] Jordan Harbinger: First of all, close your mouth on the plane. You never know what's going to fly in there from that oversized Metallica t-shirt or whatever.
[00:57:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: You can't afford to be shocked really on an airplane anymore.
[00:57:33] Jordan Harbinger: No. It really grinds my gears though. We can file this letter under the humanity is doomed category that was freaking primates is right. Although using that term for this guy is almost an insult to apes who only throw their own feces under certain conditions.
[00:57:51] Gabe, I feel like all airlines should have a, "did you pack your own bags and are you carrying a massive mucus canvas with you" question.
[00:57:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's a fair question.
[00:57:59] Jordan Harbinger: If you are, you got to get on a special flight. Just group all these gross neck beardy people together like a red eye, but just for super gross people that have no hygiene.
[00:58:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, interesting. Like what would you call a green nose?
[00:58:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, green nose. Exactly.
[00:58:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just get them on the green nose.
[00:58:13] Jordan Harbinger: All the damn barbarians on one plane, new rule.
[00:58:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:15] Jordan Harbinger: It's not like there aren't napkins on planes. Just bring a napkin or you know, if you're sick or you have allergies, bring some freaking Kleenex. You're an adult. There's a box in every airplane bathroom since 1978 or something. This is not rocket science. So look, here's how I deal with people like this. There is the passive-aggressive approach, which isn't always ideal, but it can work sometimes, you know, you just be like, gross, under your breath. Hope they pick up the cue. Like, oh yeah, I'm in public. But the kinder way to go, which I usually do, is, "Do you need a tissue so you don't have to use that shirt?" And almost make a little joke out of it, you know, you're kind of offering something, but really it's a call out.
[00:58:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ooh, that's classy. I like that approach.
[00:58:54] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you. You're calling out the problem, but you're burying it in the solution and you just, you know, hopefully, they take the hint.
[00:59:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It'd be hilarious though if you said that and the guy was like, "Nah, I'm good. I got this T-shirt."
[00:59:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I got this Triple XL Bieber shirt. Yeah, you know, you're really dealing with a real psychopath at that point, and you just got to escalate a little. Maybe you go, "Look, I'm worried that's just going to spread germs everywhere. Let me grab you a tissue." And I've actually said stuff like that before. Just force the issue. And you say it a little loudly, maybe you make eye contact with the flight attendant. People in the area know something's up.
[00:59:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, so you can low-key, shame them a little bit.
[00:59:30] Jordan Harbinger: Low-key, shame them. But also, again, that way a flight attendant or a waiter, or the old lady behind you, or whoever it is, might also pick up on this and get a dang tissue.
[00:59:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: I see.
[00:59:39] Jordan Harbinger: And then problem may be solved.
[00:59:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nice. Okay. I got to be honest, I'm still too afraid to call people out like that, but I clearly need to work on this because it's happening in my own life way too often, and I am sick of it.
[00:59:51] Jordan Harbinger: It does take practice. This doesn't help. If the person's really a pig and just gives zero sh*ts about other people though, then you kind of just have to deal with it. Or you can report it to somebody, but then what? You know, what's a flight attendant going to do? Like, sir, please use a Kleenex.
[01:00:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's just so awkward. I hate that the normal people in these situations have to feel so uncomfortable and the primate doesn't think about it at all. I'm still working up to telling somebody that they need to put in earbuds if they're going to watch videos in public, which by the way, happened to me again this week at the cafe, and it drove me crazy.
[01:00:18] Jordan Harbinger: I think that one might even be harder because that's like your personal preference as opposed to being just plainly disgusting according to everybody who has three brain cells or more.
[01:00:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: But to be fair, not my personal preference. I think that's everybody's personal preference.
[01:00:32] Jordan Harbinger: What? You're not interested in a 17-minute full-volume video of that person's grandkids screaming at a barbecue. I mean, I guess I understand.
[01:00:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not my favorite soundtrack. No, it was the same guy I told you about last time. It's like he's a repeat offender and he always chooses the table right next to me at this cafe, which is maddening. I almost had an aneurysm, but maybe I need to take your approach and just be like, "Hey bud, do you need some AirPods so you don't ruin my day?
[01:00:58] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:00:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe bury it in the solution.
[01:01:00] Jordan Harbinger: Well, what you could do is get an old earwax-crusted pair of wired headphones and just give it to him. And he may use those because he doesn't care about anything probably also.
[01:01:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, just give them away.
[01:01:11] Jordan Harbinger: Here you go. Here you go. Yeah. And if he doesn't want to use them, you can be like, "You could always turn the volume down." I don't know.
[01:01:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's true.
[01:01:17] Jordan Harbinger: Look, I get why that makes you feel like a dick. Whereas telling someone on an airplane that they should blow their nose with an actual Kleenex instead of a cable knit sweater. It's a lot easier.
[01:01:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a lot easier.
[01:01:27] Jordan Harbinger: It's a public health thing, man. Basic decency.
[01:01:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh. The world we live in, I just, I can't, can't with these people.
[01:01:35] Jordan Harbinger: This is our country now. We can't even figure out Kleenex. And these people are supposed to pick the president. Don't even get me started. Weird way to end Feedback Friday. Sorry about that.
[01:01:43] But look, if you ever find yourself on a flight like this again, maybe bring a few of our sponsors' products with you. Honestly, you could — remember Taser?
[01:01:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Shameless, shameless capitalist.
[01:01:53] Jordan Harbinger: I'm thinking more like Taser. Not like a Kleenex brand. Honestly, you could get most of them to deal with a dude like this. We got sheets, we got underwear, we got personal grooming packages.
[01:02:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh.
[01:02:03] Jordan Harbinger: Many things you could blow your nose in and or just get tased and go to sleep.
[01:02:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, we have, look, we have financial products. Those could come in handy somehow.
[01:02:10] Jordan Harbinger: That's right.
[01:02:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know how.
[01:02:11] Jordan Harbinger: Clean up your seatmate's face with a Charles Schwab bank account. 4.5 percent interest in your first 10 booger deposits. You know what'll stop you from stabbing your seatmate with a disposable straw, Gabriel?
[01:02:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maximizing your returns with TurboTax.
[01:02:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:02:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: We'll be right back.
[01:02:28] Jordan Harbinger: Get that refund and spend it on a jet charter.
[01:02:31] Hope you all, hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everyone who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out the episode we did this week with Elie Honig if you haven't done so yet.
[01:02:42] If you want to know how I managed to book all these amazing folks for the show, it's about systems, software, tiny habits. I use them every single day. Our Six-Minute Networking course is something I'm sharing with you for free. I don't need your credit card. It's not one of those tricky things. It's over there on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. Build relationships before you need them. Maintain them in a real sort of low-key, non-schmoozy, non-gross way. Again, free jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:03:10] Show notes for the firstname.lastname@example.org. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discounts, and ways to support the show are all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also ask our AI chatbot about anything, any question, any answer from Feedback Friday, any interview, any promo code jordanharbinger.com/ai. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[01:03:40] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogerty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we've rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. 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.
[01:04:11] You are about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic terrorist.
[01:04:18] Tamer Elnoury: I live with and grew up with the religion of Islam. After 9/11, and knowing full well that this was not the religion that was being portrayed, it kind of broke me a little bit inside.
[01:04:30] I was in law enforcement. I spoke Arabic. I'm a Muslim, and my knee-jerk reaction was to simply help working undercover. It definitely is an adrenaline rush unlike anything I could describe. Putting your arm around someone telling them that you're their best friend, getting them to believe you.
[01:04:47] But what attracted me a great deal to this case, or what blew my mind about this case was the fact that he was arguably one of the smartest, most brilliant men I've ever been in front. This guy was on the precipice of curing infectious diseases. The sh*t that he talked about in his work was science fiction. How could someone so smart, so brilliant, such a gift to humanity turn into a f*cking killer, an absolute disgusting piece of garbage overnight? He was the epitome of evil.
[01:05:21] So we're going up to his apartment and it was right next to ground zero, and he put his arm around me and looked up to where the towers were, and he said, "Tamer, this town needs another 9/11 and we're going to give it to them." I've heard him say so much horrible things for so long that you think at that moment in time, I could have just accepted it and gone up and did my job, but I couldn't. I imagined killing him right there in there. I imagined stabbing him in the eye with a pen I had in my pocket and leaving him for dead.
[01:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more from Tamer Elmoury about what drew him to the exciting and dangerous life of undercover law enforcement work, check out episode 572 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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