Your brother is such an overall horrible, vicious, violent person that the cops could pick him up for murder and you’d confidently say, “I’m pretty sure you’ve got the right guy.” So the years he’s chosen to drop out of your life have been blissful. Unfortunately, he’s back causing havoc in your life and the only way you’ll ever have peace is to distance yourself from him completely. But how? We’ll try to find an answer 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 email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- We have an update on Gabe’s neighbor from episode 705.
- Your human carbuncle of a brother has made your life — and the life of everyone else in your family — hell for years, and you wish he’d just go away. What can you morally and legally do to make this happen?
- You have an ex who’s publically airing grievances that you cheated on her, abused her, and gaslit her — and none of it is true. How can you stop her from spreading these lies and reassure your friends and family who have heard them that they’re complete fabrications?
- You adopted your daughter, now age seven, three years ago after her birth mother committed a serious crime. Is it appropriate to tell your daughter the details when she asks? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Teal Mackintosh for helping us field this one!]
- You’ve always been on great terms with your brother, but you find his current choice of girlfriend lacking. In fact, you think she may be an actual psychopath and you don’t want him to bring her around anymore. Instead of being understanding about your concerns, he’s taken her side and treats you like the enemy. What can you do?
- It’s hard to feel like you’re part of a supportive team when you’re always the one willing to look like an idiot in front of your new manager to ask the questions everyone else only pretends to know. How can you ensure your manager doesn’t really think you’re an idiot?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- 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!
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Known to be the podcast enjoyed by people in the “business,” the International Spy Museum offers a new SpyCast each week featuring in-depth conversations from the world of global intelligence and espionage. Listen here or wherever you find fine podcasts!
Miss the show we did with Vince Beiser — author of The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization? Make sure to check out episode 97: Vince Beiser | Why Sand Is More Important Than You Think It Is!
Resources from This Episode:
- Dr. Ramani | How to Protect Yourself from a Narcissist Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Dr. Ramani | How to Protect Yourself from a Narcissist Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Gabe’s Front-Row Seat to Florid Psychosis | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Halloween | Prime Video
- My Violent Child (2014) | Youth On Screen
- American Psycho | Prime Video
- Home Security Systems | SimpliSafe
- How Do You Get a Restraining Order against a Family Member Who Constantly Harasses You? | Quora
- Philips Sonicare | Amazon
- Philips Genuine Sonicare Optimal Plaque Control Replacement Toothbrush Heads, HX9033/65 | Amazon
- How to Deal with an Ex Who Keeps Making False Accusations | Legal Beagle
- Is Marriage Impaired by Emotional Affairs? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Teal Mackintosh, Psy.D. | Pacific Anxiety Group
- James Fallon | How to Spot a Psychopath | Jordan Harbinger
- Thomas Erikson | How to Protect Yourself from Psychopaths | Jordan Harbinger
- Why Your Fear of Looking Stupid Is Making You Look Stupid | Time
- 10 Rules For Asking Dumb Questions Without Sounding Dumb | Idea Grove
- How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome | Deep Dive | The Jordan Harbinger Show
744: Heinous Bro Needs the Old Heave-Ho | 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, my sidekick in salvation, Gabriel Mizrahi. 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.
[00:00:38] If you are new to the show on Fridays, 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 to authors, thinkers to performers.
[00:00:51] This week, we had Dr. Ramani on narcissism, so freaking fascinating, you all. We went for — it was like a three-hour show. We left so much on the table. I love this woman. She is amazing. This was a two-parter, probably could have been three. So make sure you have a listen to everything that we created for you here if you're interested at all in narcissism and narcissists, really, really good.
[00:01:12] Today, we're doing something a little different. Since it's Halloween in a few days, we're taking some of the scariest/creepiest questions we've gotten in the Feedback Friday inbox, just recently. If we'd been collecting for the last, I don't know, several months, we'd have even more craziness, but this should be an interesting ride. Today's episode might be a little more intense than usual, but we'll try not to go full horror movie on you here.
[00:01:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well on that note, Jordan, before we dive into the questions, you're not going to believe what happened this week.
[00:01:40] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, did you get a new essential oils diffuser? Did you get a sandwich made entirely out of some type of exotic kale?
[00:01:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, actually, yes to the essential oils diffuser because I brushed against it as I was rushing out of the house and I broke it, so I had to buy a new one.
[00:01:53] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:01:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: So it's actually hilarious that you picked up on that.
[00:01:56] Jordan Harbinger: So you did get a new—
[00:01:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: I did get a new one.
[00:01:58] Jordan Harbinger: —diffuser.
[00:01:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I actually did.
[00:02:00] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, you did.
[00:02:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, sandwich. No, I have not been messing with any exotic kale, but no, listen.
[00:02:05] So last weekend around like 9:00 p.m. my neighbor, Sam, hears somebody in the courtyard of our apartment. And, you know, after everything that happened with Josh, my schizophrenic neighbor, we've all been a little bit on edge. So he hears the sound, he goes downstairs, it's really dark in the courtyard. He sees a guy. He seems to be like a homeless guy sitting at the communal table in the corner of the courtyard and Sam's like, "Hey man, you can't be here. You got to leave."
[00:02:32] Jordan Harbinger: Oh god, this isn't going where I think it's going.
[00:02:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. So the guy goes, he looks up and he says, "My friend died here. I'm visiting him. This is a cemetery."
[00:02:44] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:02:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: And the second he opened his mouth, Sam's like, "Oh sh*t—" Exactly. Sam's like, "Oh sh*t, it's Josh."
[00:02:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no, Josh is back.
[00:02:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:02:56] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So for anybody who doesn't know what the hell we're talking about right now, Gabe was basically, somewhat terrorized by a schizophrenic guy living next door to him for — was it six months earlier this year?
[00:03:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: It was about a little over six months.
[00:03:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We told the whole story on episode 705 if you want to check it out. Still getting emails about that, by the way, so wild. So last we heard Josh was out of the psych ward and living on the streets, right?
[00:03:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. And weirdly, this is so bizarre. About a month later, like after Josh left, Sam, the same neighbor I just told you about, he actually saw Josh outside of his office in the Palisades, which is like basically one town over from Santa Monica where I live.
[00:03:36] Jordan Harbinger: So this is just a total coincidence?
[00:03:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Total coincidence. They just heard somebody banging the trash cans outside their window at their office and Sam goes outside and he's like, "Oh, I know that guy. I used to live next to that guy."
[00:03:46] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh, that is so weird. So what happened in the courtyard?
[00:03:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sam called the police, and the second Josh heard the police were on their way. He booked it and he was gone by the time they arrived. But then, this is even weirder, a few days ago, I get a video from Sam and his girlfriend, Veronica. These are my two neighbors. They were out playing bocci ball in the Palisades.
[00:04:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: And in the background of the video, they zoom in and there's Josh sitting on a park bench just watching them play bocci ball.
[00:04:14] Jordan Harbinger: Wait. Again? Hold on. I need to—
[00:04:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, again.
[00:04:16] Jordan Harbinger: I need to effuse the soundboard. That is really very bizarre.
[00:04:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I know. It's super weird. Like, I don't know how to explain it really.
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: I don't want to say he's definitely following them. That's—
[00:04:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, I asked the same question. I was like, "Does he really love you guys?" But I don't think so, he seemed totally out of it. I think it's just another weird coincidence. Ooh, and apparently when they were measuring the distance between the balls when they were playing, Josh walked up and offered them his shirt and he was like, "Here you can use the cuff to measure," but he didn't seem to recognize them at all. He didn't really understand who they were.
[00:04:48] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, it just makes me feel bad, of course, because you can just tell there's like a sweet kid underneath this.
[00:04:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm. Yeah, it's the same thing.
[00:04:55] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, it's the same thing as last night.
[00:04:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:04:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my goodness. They just can't shake this guy.
[00:04:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Apparently not. I just had to tell you the latest because it was just, ugh, man, this story will not end.
[00:05:04] Jordan Harbinger: It's so sad though, man. I guess if he's on the Palisades is a pretty nice place to be but still, it's tragic. And also the fact that he booked it when he heard the cops were on the way. That just shows he's been—
[00:05:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:05:15] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, he's afraid of the police. Maybe they aren't nice to him. I don't know. I can't help but think there's this really nice, sweet guy and he's just having such a rough go. Ugh, geez.
[00:05:25] As always, we got some fun ones. We got some spookies. As you already can see. I will be overusing the soundboard today because I can't resist.
[00:05:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Can't wait.
[00:05:34] Jordan Harbinger: Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:05:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. My 29-year-old brother is an awful hostile person. He's the kind of guy who, if I ever got a call from the police saying my brother was being investigated for murder, I'd probably say they have the right guy.
[00:05:49] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, that's cold.
[00:05:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:05:51] Jordan Harbinger: That really paints a picture.
[00:05:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure does.
[00:05:54] When we were kids, he'd steal my allowance, scare my friends, and even shoot frozen paintballs at me as I walked home from school.
[00:06:00] Jordan Harbinger: By the way, frozen paintballs, the reason they only hurt a little is because they're not hard, but when you freeze them, it just, it's like rocks.
[00:06:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh. I didn't even think about that though.
[00:06:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: So he's doing that so it hurts more.
[00:06:11] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. He's doing it so it hurts more instead of just exploding and getting you all painty.
[00:06:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Geez, okay.
[00:06:16] He got a lot worse around 17 when he started drinking and doing drugs. He'd pick fights with anyone and everyone. Pawn our dad's valuables for cash and get so drunk and violent that the neighbors would call the police to our house at least once a week.
[00:06:29] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:06:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Our dad finally threw him out of the house when he woke up in the middle of the night to find my brother trying to take cash from his wallet. He moved out of the state for about three blissful years, only to move back in with my dad and me when he landed an assault charge. Since he's been back, it's been hell. He's been fired from every job he is ever had. He collects disability income for an ailment, I don't believe is real. He mistreats his dog and the neighbors have called animal control on him several times. He picks fights with neighbors and scares their kids, and the community finally decided that my brother had to leave or my dad would be evicted. The final straw for me was when he put my toothbrush in the toilet and rubbed it in his poop before rinsing it off for me to use.
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I mean, the paintball thing, the abusing of the dog thing is psycho. This is—
[00:07:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: This is next level.
[00:07:20] Jordan Harbinger: This is next level, but it's also just very psycho. You only do that when you are really, really, really angry that somebody just exists.
[00:07:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, he's—
[00:07:28] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:07:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: —deranged.
[00:07:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Not a good dude.
[00:07:30] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:07:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Problematic.
[00:07:32] Later that day, he proudly told me what he did while I was at work. That same night, he got drunk and tried to intimidate me, so I crosschecked him with a baseball bat.
[00:07:41] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:07:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: He hasn't messed with me since I moved out two days later. Since then, my brother shuffles between homeless shelters, 10 communities, and shared rentals. Now, he lives with my mom and my 19-year-old stepsister in a tiny apartment, and she calls me several times a day frustrated with the whole situation. I don't know if my brother will ever be able to be independent in this world, but I can't help but feel that he's a threat to public safety if he doesn't get help soon. What should I do? Signed, Feeling Beleaguered As My Brother's Keeper.
[00:08:12] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. This is legit terrifying. Gabe, can you imagine having somebody like this as your sibling?
[00:08:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:08:19] Jordan Harbinger: Living in fear of him, being tormented by him, being manipulated by him, being embarrassed by him, but at the same time, you probably feel responsible for him. Ugh.
[00:08:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:28] Jordan Harbinger: This is really sad. Your brother is a real mess. There's so much going on here. I don't even know where to start. Clearly, some serious mental health stuff. Probably some real psychiatric issues, addiction, animal abuse on top of what sounds like a very difficult personality. And, ugh, I'm sorry that you and your family have been going through this. I really am. I feel sorry for him too because there's obviously something very wrong with him. He's been like this since he was a kid, and it sounds like he never got the help he needed back then when it probably would've done him the most good.
[00:09:03] Gabe, I saw this video on Reddit the other day. Kid is probably 10. He was bashing the mirrors of the neighbor's car. He took a golf club and smashed it. And all the comments are like, "This kid is a piece of crap," but a lot of the comments that were top-upvoted were, "This kid's being abused. Who is this kid? I'm a social worker." Every kid who acts like this, there's abuse that happened and nobody does anything about it. No kid just naturally acts like this. It's very, very, very rare for a kid to just come out of the womb like this. The odds are really low. Because even if you have the psychological predisposition, let's say violent, psychopathic behavior, the switch doesn't get flipped unless there's been a trigger. And often that trigger is abuse.
[00:09:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah. It could be. Something happened to this guy.
[00:09:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, but look, in the end, you're right. This guy is clearly a threat and a nuisance to basically everybody he comes into contact with. And he probably can't be independent in this world without some kind of as. But at this point, given how severe he is, given your history and your position here, my take is I don't think there's anything you really can do, and I'm not sure you should.
[00:10:09] Your brother is on his own path. It's a highly destructive and very chaotic path. Even if you could help him, I don't know how you get through to somebody like this. It doesn't sound like he wants to get better. I guess you could argue that his mental health problems are so severe, he doesn't even know what he really wants. He's just constantly in chaos. It's awful, but still, he's an adult. He's acting in ways that are, I mean, I don't even know what to call it. This is abominable. He's threatening and abusive. He's gross. Fixing him is just not your responsibility. What is your responsibility, in my view, is protecting yourself and protecting your family.
[00:10:49] I'm very concerned about this guy living with your mom and sister in that tiny apartment, and if he ever got worse, I don't even want to go there, but we have to acknowledge the truth. Your brother is unpredictable. He's combative, he's frequently intoxicated. Who knows what he's capable of? And if he ever snapped, something truly bad could happen. I mean, he is in a house with two women, one who is young, which is why I think you guys need to decide as a family what your relationship with him is going to be. How much you guys are going to support him, how much contact you want to have with him, how you guys will respond when he acts out.
[00:11:26] If this were me, and I recognize other people feel differently, but here it is, I'm keeping this guy as far away from me as possible. He has done nothing to show that he's deserving of your help at all. Gabe, am I just being heartless here? I mean, the guy sounds like a POS.
[00:11:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, no, you're not being heartless. The second somebody's swirling my freaking Sonicare in the toilet, yeah, I'm out. You're dead to me. It's not going to happen.
[00:11:51] Jordan Harbinger: Look, we do know how you are about your Sonicare, you and your OCD oral hygiene. I mean, yes, I should floss and brush after every meal, but you are the only person I've ever met in real life who does this. And you're the reason those tiny single-use toothbrushes exist, those little wisp things. You're the target market.
[00:12:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, two in my backpack, one in the car, just in case.
[00:12:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: But seriously, this toilet toothbrush thing is a literal nightmare. I mean, the other stuff is horrendous, but you don't mess with someone's toothbrush, right? Like that's a red line.
[00:12:23] Jordan Harbinger: I know we're having a laugh, but that detail is truly horrifying.
[00:12:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, dude, that's psychopath sh*t. That's deranged. And then telling our friend here about it, the guy who wrote in, like he wanted him to know what he had done, that is like extra creepy.
[00:12:36] Jordan Harbinger: Ironically, the most considerate thing he did. "Hey, by the way, heads up." I want to say, hopefully, before he used it, but I have a feeling it was after, just to see the look on his face.
[00:12:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I have a feeling like it was after.
[00:12:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: He didn't really specify, but I'm guessing it — ugh, so gross. Time to order some replacement heads, bro. I don't know what to tell you. I'm a fan of the HX9033/65 with BrushSync technology, but that's your call. Plenty of options out there. Check Amazon.
[00:12:59] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, now you're starting to sound like the psychopath actually. Also, he might be a soft toothbrush guy, old school analog, the old Oral B, nothing wrong with that.
[00:13:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, I beg to differ. Electric stuff is definitely the way to go, but we do not have to get into that right now.
[00:13:13] Jordan Harbinger: You know, Gabe, this conversation, it's reminding me of the business card scene in American Psycho. Have you ever seen that?
[00:13:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, of course. That's a classic.
[00:13:22] Patrick Bateman: New card. What do you think? [American Psycho - Soundbite]
[00:13:27] Craig McDermott: Whoa. Very nice.
[00:13:29] David Van Patten: Good coloring.
[00:13:30] Patrick Bateman: That's bone. And the lettering is something called Silian Rail. [American Psycho - Soundbite]
[00:13:35] Jordan Harbinger: But I'm with you, Gabe.
[00:13:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is that a new Sonicare?
[00:13:38] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, is that BrushSync technology?
[00:13:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's high-quality plastic.
[00:13:43] Jordan Harbinger: You just don't come back from something like this.
[00:13:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:13:45] Jordan Harbinger: This would be a hard boundary for me, like get this dude out of my life. Certainly, away from my personal hygiene equipment.
[00:13:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:13:51] Jordan Harbinger: He's on his own. This is just not a safe or healthy relationship at all. But this is something you guys should ideally decide as a family. I'd get my mom, my dad, my stepsister together and talk this out. And if you guys can agree on your stance together. It'll be a lot easier to communicate that to your brother and present a united front. Help your mom and sister figure out if they want to continue living with him. I'm guessing they do not. Decide whether you guys need to take some extra precautions. Add some home security for the house, simplisafe.com/jordan. Maybe some extra locks or a security system for real. Take out a restraining order if you don't want him coming around. I know that sounds harsh, but I really do think you need a restraining order against somebody like this.
[00:14:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree. But I imagine that'll be a lot harder for your parents than it will be for you and maybe your stepsister. It's got to be just so hard, Jordan, to cut off your own child, even if they are a maniac.
[00:14:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: So it's possible that you and your family will have different opinions here on your brother, and that's something to be prepared for as well. If that happens, you know, if your mom says, "Ah, no, he's my son. I can't kick him out of the house. I can't close my door." But you and your dad are like, "We're not talking to him ever again," if that happens, then you guys will have to decide what your stance will be on your brother and how you're going to draw that boundary for yourself when everybody has different opinions.
[00:15:09] Jordan Harbinger: Good point. I really do hope they can arrive at a solution together. It'll be so much easier. Yes, I know it's hard to think about kicking your family member out to live on the street, but the reason he lives on the street is that he cannot function normally with other people.
[00:15:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:15:25] Jordan Harbinger: Because he's nuts.
[00:15:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:15:27] Jordan Harbinger: I just really don't see another option. And who knows? Maybe finding himself on the street again, cut off from his family, maybe that'll be the wake-up call he needs to start getting some help. Plenty of public resources are out there, and obviously, they're not always the best ones. I mean, just look at Josh's case.
[00:15:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:15:42] Jordan Harbinger: But they are out there. Although candidly, I just, I don't have high hopes for him really engaging with those opportunities, given what you've shared. And I'm so sorry that you guys are in this position. I really am. But the bottom line is it's not your job to take care of your brother. It's not even your parents' job at this point. You guys deserve to live a normal, peaceful life with sanitized toothbrushes and unrifled-through wallets, end of story.
[00:16:10] So send any good thoughts and, hey, if you end up ordering a new toothbrush or some Sonicare replacement heads, go ahead and use our Amazon affiliate link. Helps keep the lights on around here.
[00:16:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Electric, please, for the love of God. You guys deserve that too, you and your dentist actually.
[00:16:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And a pack of wisps.
[00:16:24] You know who won't contaminate your toothbrush with fecal matter, Gabriel? The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:16:32] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online therapy. Are you going through a difficult problem in life? You are not alone. We all go through challenges. It can be the death of a loved one, dissatisfaction at work, divorce, job loss, relationship conflicts, basically any of life's challenges. If you've thought about seeking a therapist but you haven't taken the plunge, maybe a little inertia there. I get it. Take this as a sign to try it out. Seeing a therapist can help you become a better problem solver. That's been a huge benefit for me. It makes it easier to cope with life's stresses. No matter how big or small, you get a handle on the action you need to take. You're not just ruminating all the time. Better Help is a great option. It's all virtual. It's more affordable than in-person therapy. No driving around, no parking. It's helped Jen a lot. I know she looks forward to our weekly sessions. All you have to do is fill out a quick questionnaire, which you can do right from your phone. Better Help will match you with the therapist qualified for what you are looking for. It's not just random. Here's who's not busy right now. Better Help even as group therapy for just about any issue that you're dealing with and Better Help has options for teens and couples as well.
[00:17:30] Jen Harbinger: When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit betterhelp.com/jordan today to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:17:41] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by HVMN. You may have heard buzz about ketone supplements and how they can boost your workouts by helping your body use fatty acids for fuel. But do they work? Well, I was skeptical at first until I actually tried it. I've been taking HVMN's Ketone-IQ supplement before my morning workouts. Now, I'm a believer. A shot of this Ketone-IQ, it's energy but also focus. It's not jittery. It's not like an overdose of caffeine or coffee. You find yourself in the zone. It also limits your appetite sort of before, during, after. I have to warn you though, this taste is revolting. They know it. There's no getting around it. I actually like that they don't even try to hide the taste with sweeteners and stuff. They've just given up on making it taste good. I'm not trying to scare you away from trying it. I just want you to be prepared for that. Better endurance, no slow down towards the end. No crash. If you're working out hard or training for something, definitely give Ketone-IQ a try. And I'm curious. Write in and tell me what you think.
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[00:18:45] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us going. All the discounts and URLs and product codes, whatever you need, they're all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for the sponsors using the search box on the website as well. Please consider supporting those who support the show.
[00:19:04] And now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:19:08] All right, next up.
[00:19:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. A little over two years ago, I ended my four-year-long relationship with my high school sweetheart due to her manipulative habits, lack of support for me pursuing my degree, and refusal to get treated for her diagnosed bipolar disorder.
[00:19:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:19:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Needless to say, it was a rough break. I didn't block her at first because I wanted to make sure we both had all of our belongings from each other's places. After two days of nonstop calls and texts, I ended up blocking her and then deactivating my social media altogether. Over the next year, I focused heavily on myself. I engaged in hobbies, traveled, got a well-paying job in my field, and met my wonderful current girlfriend. I felt good about myself and decided to reactivate my social. I DM'ed a few of my old high school friends to rekindle some friendships, but all my DMs were met with nos or being ghosted. Eventually, one of my old high school friends replied with, "Not after what you did to her during the breakup." I was confused, to say the least, and inquired about what she was talking about. Turns out my ex had been telling old high school friends and even some of my family members that I had cheated on, her gaslit her, and even abused her, all of which is false. I went to her social media profiles and she's still posting publicly about how I was abusive and how I cheated on her. How can I get my ex to stop posting about me on social media and how should I approach this with my old friends to prove that I didn't do the things that she claimed? Signed, Setting the Record Straight Without Having to Prate, Take the Bait, or Create More Hate.
[00:20:47] Jordan Harbinger: Oh boy, this is a tough one. Yeah, very scary, but in a totally different way from question one.
[00:20:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:20:55] Jordan Harbinger: First of all, everything you're describing confirms that you were a hundred percent right to break up with this person. She sounds like a real liability. Here you are off social media, pursuing your goals, living your best life. And meanwhile, she's over here tweeting nonstop for two years about how you hit her and you lied to her and all this awful stuff, and you have no idea. So of course, all of this is circulating among their friends without any input from you, and that is so unsettling.
[00:21:22] Gabe, this woman is obviously very injured by this break up and she's deriving some weird satisfaction from bashing him online, or she's milking this story about being abused for sympathy or attention, which is also just kind of pathetic and sad.
[00:21:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is sad, but also making false accusations, becoming fixated on someone or something, and maybe having a hard time differentiating reality from fiction, all of those could also be symptoms, potentially of the bipolar disorder.
[00:21:51] Jordan Harbinger: True. This could just be the mania, running wild — talking to a bunch of people, constantly posting on social media, creating this whole alternative narrative that does fit with some cases. So how do you get her to stop? Well, that's tricky. I'm very wary about engaging with anyone like this. My advice when you're dealing with a maniac is usually just to stay away. Do not engage. Do not give them oxygen. But on the other hand, it's also really hard to just sit back and let somebody drag you online when you've done nothing wrong.
[00:22:24] So you have a few options. Option one, you ignore her, and hopefully, she just gets bored and moves on. Although, look, it's been two years and she hasn't stopped. If this was two weeks after the breakup, I'd be like, okay, maybe give it a little bit of time. It doesn't sound like this is necessarily going to work. And even if she did stop, the old posts are still up. She had two years to cause a lot of damage. This is a problem. Option two is you go on the record and you fight back. Maybe you post something of your own on social and you offer a very measured response so that your friends can see that there's another side here.
[00:22:57] But if you do this though, my strong advice to you is to not make it a long rant. Don't get emotional, don't play the victim. You need to come across as the sane person in this situation. And here's the thing, it's very hard for the person who's acting crazy to be the sane person. So it's going to be hard for her to be like, "No, I'm going to be normal and measured." It's like now you've been kooky for two years. So when you do this, you would just want to share the facts, provide some context, keep it brief, and move on.
[00:23:26] There's a third option here which is you reach out to your ex directly. And you say something like, "Look, I've read all the things you've been posting about me. I'm very disturbed by the things you're saying. I know you know that they're not true, and I'm asking you to stop and I'm asking you to delete your posts." Now, who knows if she'll listen. She might not. But it's possible she's been doing this because she knows you're not on social media and confronting her will suddenly make her think twice. And I do think it's fair to give her one shot at doing the right thing before you respond publicly.
[00:23:59] Now, your last option, and I'm sort of leaning towards this one, but you know, maybe I'm biased here because of my legal background, hire a lawyer to contact her with some kind of letter. Maybe it's a cease and desist for defamation. And respectfully, ask her to stop posting about you because then you're not reaching out to her. It's your attorney. It's going to cost a little bit of money, probably not too much money. It might just grab her attention and make her think twice about slandering you online. You have a tort here, right? You have a cause of action. And possibly, depending on how far it goes, we could be talking criminal stuff.
[00:24:32] And by the way, if you confront her over the phone or in person, I would record everything. Now, check your local wiretapping laws and all that first. Make sure it's legal for you to record the conversation. But hey, that's for law enforcement and for stuff that you might admit in court. There's nothing wrong with you recording your end usually, in many cases, again, caveat, et cetera, et cetera. But if you talk to her and she goes, "Oh yeah, well, you broke up with me, and yeah, screw you. I'm ruining your life, a-hole." Now, you have a confession that's on tape and you can, if it's been all above board and legal to record where you are, you can use that in court. You can also show your friends who will now know that it's BS and has been BS all along. Three, look, you might even possibly make that public depending again on what your lawyer says about that. Certain people, especially unstable ones, they love to incriminate themselves.
[00:25:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, they sure do. I think that's solid advice, Jordan. I would be wary of engaging with her because like why open that door again? Yeah. After the way she acted. But you're right. Maybe she needs to be confronted and maybe confronting her gives this guy an opportunity to get the evidence that he needs.
[00:25:36] As far as how to approach this with your old friends, that one might be a little bit easier. I would start by sharing your story with them. And like Jordan just said, I would do it in a way that's as levelheaded as possible so they can hear how different your grasp of this situation is from hers. And obviously, part of your agenda here is to set the record straight, but I wouldn't spend 45 minutes rehashing everything getting worked up. I would just sum everything up in a few minutes. Focus on the facts, which are basically that she has an untreated disorder, she's upset about the breakup, she's making up stories about you. So that way it doesn't sound like you're overexplaining or unnecessarily stirring the pot.
[00:26:14] But I would also say something about what these false accusations are doing to you. You know, the impact that they've had on your relationships and your reputation and your state of mind. You might want to say something like, "So-and-so's accusations are really unsettling. And they're putting me in the awful position of having to defend myself against things that I absolutely didn't do with my friends and my family. It's terrible. I don't like being in this position." If someone told me that I would have a hard time not believing them or at least questioning what I thought was true.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yep. Same. When one party is screaming, "He hit me and he gaslit me and he cheated on me," for two freaking years. And the other party is like, "Uh, I'm just catching up on all this and none of this happened. I'm totally confused and weirded out." I think any reasonable person is going to go, "Oh, okay, so this person is kind of nuts and he got the hell out and we only heard one side of the story."
[00:27:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:27:08] Jordan Harbinger: There are other interpretations, I suppose, but that's kind of where I would go with it.
[00:27:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, and if any of these friends refuse to listen to him, then I think he just has to accept that some people will not come around for whatever reason, and that's their choice. Those people probably wouldn't be great friends to him anyway if they're not even willing to consider his side of the story or another point of view.
[00:27:27] Jordan Harbinger: Agreed. But also, if he wins over one or two of them, they may talk to the others and the truth is going to start to spread. I mean, if most people, they're like, "I don't want to hear anything, this guy's drama." But then a couple of people are like, "Yeah, I'm open to an alternative narrative because I never really liked her. She seemed a little off," and you're like, "Here's a tape where she admits this is all a fabrication to ruin my life because she's upset," and they're like, "Oh." It's like, "Hey, I know Angela and Tom won't talk to me anymore. I liked them. Would you mind sharing a little bit about what you heard here?" It might be like, "Yeah. Yeah. I'll send them a text right now. You totally got railroaded, bro."
[00:28:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:28:00] Jordan Harbinger: That makes more sense. And I'm so sorry this is happening to you, man. I know how scary it must be, but the silver lining is that she sounds like a pretty unreliable narrator, and there's no evidence that you did any of the things that she claims because it didn't happen. So as upsetting as this is, don't let a sad and troubled person stop you from moving forward. You're doing all the right things. You're focusing on yourself. You're building a great life. You're starting this great new relationship. That is what really matters. So just do some basic damage control, set the record straight, and move on. And thank your lucky stars, you got out of this relationship when you did because imagine what might have happened if you'd actually stuck around, and good luck.
[00:28:42] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision that you are wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. What to do if your husband keeps getting overly involved with various women? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:29:10] All right, next up.
[00:29:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I've had my seven-year-old daughter for over three years now because her mother committed a pretty serious crime, injuring a minor, someone my daughter actually knows, resulting in major brain trauma.
[00:29:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:29:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: I have full custody of my daughter now, and we live over 10 hours away from her mom, so she only sees her on FaceTime. She asks me questions about her mom, but I'm not exactly sure how to handle them. I tell her she's with me full time because of something that her mom did. But I haven't gone into more detail because I don't want to turn her against her mother. But she isn't the type of person who would tell my daughter the truth about what happened. She had an evaluation done with a therapist and they reported back to the court that she was being deceitful.
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:29:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: This might have been because she didn't want to get in more trouble, but it's worth noting that she didn't take the kid she injured straight to the hospital after the incident. She waited multiple hours and the doctors at the hospital said that if any more time had passed, he would've been dead. So how do I handle this question and at what age do you think it would be appropriate to tell my daughter the full story of what happened? Signed, The Puzzled Pops.
[00:30:21] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, good question. First of all, I'm really sorry that this happened. This is so incredibly sad. And of course, every time I hear about anything happening to a child, I just imagine it happened to my own kids. It puts you in the very difficult position of parenting alone and having to decide how to tell your daughter about her mom at such a young age. That is not easy. I have to say though, it sounds like you're handling this exceptionally well. You're being thoughtful about your daughter's experience. You're being conscientious of your ex. You don't want to ruin their relationship. You sound like a solid dad.
[00:30:56] We wanted to run this all by an actual expert, so we reached out to Dr. Teal Mackintosh, child clinical psychologist. And the first thing that Dr. Mackintosh said was there's no clear-cut right way to go about this. In fact, her view is that your parental instincts are just as useful if not more useful than specific clinical recommendations. After all, you know your daughter best. So as you decide how much to share with her, Dr. Mackintosh's insight was to focus more on your daughter's developmental level and personality rather than on her age. A lot of this depends on what she wants to know, what her relationship with her mom is like, how mature and curious and perceptive she is.
[00:31:40] For example, does she have the capacity to balance loving her mom with recognizing that her mom did something harmful? Is she capable of that kind of nuance, that contradiction? If she is, then you might be able to fill her in a little bit more, and if not, then you might want to wait another year or two or three until she's ready to process that information and still have a loving relationship with her mom. So I wouldn't lie to your daughter about what happened, but you can decide how much detail to share with her.
[00:32:14] I have to say, it sounds like you've done quite a good job at that so far. It's not an easy line to walk, but you're being very thoughtful about what she needs to know and when. Now, if your daughter seems satisfied with just knowing that her mom has done something bad, then it's probably okay to just leave it at that for now. But if she's like, "Wait, I don't understand. You're not telling me what happened. I'm confused." Then you might want to consider telling her that the mom physically hurt somebody else. And again, you might not need to go into every detail of what happened. Maybe you give her the broad outlines of the story and then see if she comes back with more questions. And Dr. Mackintosh's opinion, some seven-year-olds can handle that kind of information, and others, they can't. Again, you're probably the best judge of that.
[00:33:02] Now, if you do decide to tell her what her mom did, Dr. Mackintosh said it'll be important to reassure her that her mom will not hurt her too. That's got to make your daughter feel safe. You might want to say something along the lines of, "Mom made a mistake, but she won't make that mistake with you." Now, of course, I would only say that if you truly believe that your daughter would be safe with her mom. If you don't think that she would be safe with her, then I would stay away from that particular promise. And that said, I definitely think you're doing the right thing by not trashing her mom here, especially if you want your daughter to have a relationship with her.
[00:33:38] The other insight that Dr. Mackintosh had was it's also important to tell her mom what you're sharing with your daughter so that you're both on the same page. If you're on speaking terms with your ex, then you should probably have a conversation with her about what you guys want to tell your daughter before sharing anything with her. In Dr. Mackintosh's experience, your daughter, being caught in the middle of conflicting stories from her parents, that could actually be more harmful than telling her very little about what happened.
[00:34:07] So that's how we would approach this. It's a situation that doesn't have one clear answer, but these are some guiding principles, and for what it's worth, Dr. Mackintosh said that you probably know more than you're giving yourself credit for. This is a tough situation, but you seem to be handling it really. So listen to your daughter, get a handle on her capacity for understanding this situation, and follow her lead. And if you do that, I think you'll handle this as well as you can. So we're sending you and your daughter good thoughts.
[00:34:35] Gabe, you know who won't make a tasteless joke about children with brain injuries as their sick idea of an ad pivot? The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:34:47] This episode is sponsored in part by Progressive insurance. Let's face it, sometimes multitasking can be overwhelming. Like when your favorite podcast is playing, the person next to you is talking, and your car fan is blasting, all while you're trying to find the perfect parking spot. But then again, sometimes multitasking is easy, like quoting with Progressive insurance. They do the hard work of comparing rates so you can find a great rate that works for you, even if it's not with them. Give their comparison tool a try. You might just find getting the rate and coverage you deserve is easy. All you need to do is visit Progressive's website, get a quote with all the coverage you want, like comprehensive collision coverage, personal injury protection. Then you'll see Progressive's direct rate. And their tool will provide options from other companies all lined up and ready to compare. So it's simple to choose the rate and coverages you like. Press play on comparing auto rates, quote at progressive.com to join the over 27 million drivers who trust Progressive.
[00:35:36] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. Comparison rates not available in all states or situations. Prices vary based on how you buy.
[00:35:43] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by SpyCast. SpyCast is the weekly podcast real-life spies tune into. If you listen to the show, you're probably on the lookout for thought-provoking content, insider insights. On SpyCast, International Spy Museum's historian and curator, Dr. Andrew Hammond, debriefs high-level intelligence chiefs, defectors, mole hunters, cyber warriors, covert operators, and experts from around the world, drawing out secrets and stories and delving into tradecraft and technology. If you enjoyed my interview with Jack Barsky, a KGB Spy that defected, that's episode 285 and 286 of The Jordan Harbinger Show, one of my favorites, you may want to check out SpyCast's interview of a Russian intelligence officer who defected to the West. That's their episode 550. If you liked my interview with DEA agents that took down Pablo Escobar, that's our episode 453, you'll want to check out their episode 535 on SpyCast, which is on El Chapo, the Sinaloa Cartel and Intelligence. There are many episodes that feature CIA directors or heads of counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and so much more. Look out for SpyCast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen, or just go to thecyberwire.com.
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[00:37:09] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:37:13] All right, what's next?
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabriel. The first time I met my brother's girlfriend, I saw behaviors that I was very uncomfortable with — extreme extroversion, yelling, inappropriate jokes, flattering, pieing, and a hypersexualized appearance. I could see my brother flinching and frowning throughout the night, but he continued to date her and brought her to our weekly family dinners. I tried to give her a chance thinking that she was just nervous or shallow or just had bad manners. But having interacted with her a bunch, I now believe she probably exists on this psychopath spectrum and I want nothing to do with her.
[00:37:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:37:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I've always been on great terms with my brother, so I called him and I told him that I'm very uncomfortable with some of the things that she says and does. I pointed out that when she's around, she boxes him in so that no one else can interact with him, that she isolates and controls him. Finally, I asked him not to bring her over anymore. Instead of trying to understand where I was coming from, he blew up, accused me of being selfish, and said he loved her. Now, he won't speak to me. I've written letters, emails, and texts, and left him messages. No reply. I'm confused about where this venom is coming from and it's hard for me to sit back and watch him get chewed up, spit out, and isolated by this woman. Is there anything more I can do? Signed, A Sis Facing an Abyss Over My Brother's Tryst with this Troubling Miss.
[00:38:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes. This is hard to watch. This woman definitely sounds like a piece of work. Gabe, I have such a vivid image of her in my mind based on this email.
[00:38:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, same.
[00:38:52] Jordan Harbinger: Misty with her micro miniskirt and loud ass voice piercing the room, draping herself across her brother's lap the first time she comes over to their parents' house, just marking her territory.
[00:39:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. Dropping F-bombs in front of his mom while she simultaneously compliments the casserole.
[00:39:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's the old interloper one-two punch. If Jayden brought this girl home in 20 years, I'd be like, "Jayden, sit down. We're going to have a talk. I know the rollercoaster you're on is probably a lot of fun right now, but I ain't about to have Misty as a daughter-in-law. Sorry."
[00:39:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, no, not going to happen.
[00:39:22] Jordan Harbinger: No. But anyway, before we get into all this, it's worth mentioning that the term psychopath gets thrown around a bit these days. Is Misty actually a psychopath clinically speaking? Eh, hard to say. The brother from question one. I mean, that dude sounds a lot closer to his psychopath or somebody with like—
[00:39:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:38] Jordan Harbinger: —personality disorder.
[00:39:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Who knows?
[00:39:40] Jordan Harbinger: The behaviors you're describing here might constitute a few of the criteria for psychopathy, but this woman could also just be incredibly brash, ingratiating controlling, and maybe those are symptoms of some kind of disorder or diagnosis. But whatever words we use, it's pretty clear, she's kind of a nightmare. She's isolating your brother physically and emotionally from you and your family and yeah, that is worrisome.
[00:40:07] Now, the way your brother responded when you told him that, that also says a lot. He obviously likes this girl or he likes the way he feels when he's with her and he's very protective of her. But he also might know that their dynamic is problematic and having you shine a light on it so clearly. Maybe that was just too threatening. Maybe it was a little embarrassing. So he shut the conversation down. Probably a combination of all of the above. But at the end of the day, if Misty is isolating him and controlling him, and he won't engage with you when you bring it up, then on some level he wants to be isolated and controlled. I can't imagine that this relationship is very fulfilling, but that doesn't mean the relationship isn't fulfilling some kind of function for him.
[00:40:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:40:50] Jordan Harbinger: And who knows what that is but finding out might be your way back into contact with your brother.
[00:40:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. I agree completely. So my advice would be to keep the line of communication open with your brother. He's not answering you right now. Fine, that's his decision. But I would stay in touch with him. You know, maybe you drop him a text every two, three weeks and you say, "Hey bro, I know you're a little mad at me. I didn't mean to upset you. I love you. I'm here whenever you want to talk," something like that. Or when you run into him at your family dinners, maybe you give him a hug. You ask him how he's doing. Signal to him that you are not pulling away.
[00:41:26] That way when things go sideways with Misty, and I'm sure they will at some point, like Jordan said, people like this are a rollercoaster. He won't feel a ton of friction around reaching out to you, and that's what you want. You want him to reach out to you when they get into a fight or he is having doubts about the relationship, or he just wakes up one day and he realizes that he hasn't really talked to his family in three months and he misses you guys. And then you can ask him how he's feeling and how the relationship is going. And if he shares a little bit, keep asking him questions, get him talking. Hopefully, he'll start to say things that you can use to help him see the situation more clearly.
[00:42:01] So for example, if he's like, "Uh, I don't know, I feel like she wants me all to herself. She gets kind of mad when I talk to you guys a lot." I would ask him why that is, you know, "How do you feel about that? Is this the kind of relationship you want to be in?' Or if he says, "Sometimes I really love her, sometimes she drives me up the wall." Ask him why things get so intense, what those feelings are trying to tell him. Ask him maybe how he and Misty deal with problems when they come up. And while you do all of that, I would reassure him that you are not trying to make him do anything. You're not asking him to break up with her to make you happy. You just want him to be in the best possible relationship, right? A relationship that's peaceful and healthy and loving.
[00:42:44] That way he can't turn around and accuse you of being selfish again or just dismiss your concerns out of hand because you just happen not to like her. In other words, have a conversation and it might be several conversations that slowly lead him to the right conclusion.
[00:42:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I'm pretty sure he'll only end things with Misty when he realizes how problematic all of this really is.
[00:43:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:43:06] Jordan Harbinger: Being told what to do, especially by you, that doesn't work with your brother. And to be fair, he has to have the freedom to make his own mistakes and learn his own lessons. Unfortunately, that might mean you have to ride this out for a while. It might be a few weeks, it might be a few months. It might be longer. I really hope not. But all the more reason to keep the door open with your brother and I'm sorry that he reacted this way. That's really hard, especially from a brother you had a great relationship with. But I think you know that that says way more about him than it does about you. He's going through his own process here and as much as that sucks, you kind of have to let him.
[00:43:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, you kind of got to let him go through it. Unless something really terrible happens, or you have some indication that something more sinister is going on, then you would have more license to intervene. Like, I don't know, if you find out that she's taken his phone or she's abusing him in some way, or she's putting him at risk like, uh, I don't know, charging up his credit cards or draining his bank account or something like that, then yeah, maybe you guys should have a family intervention and try to get him to see what's going. But if Misty just kind of sucks as a person, then yeah, you're going to have to ride this out until he comes to his senses, unfortunately.
[00:44:19] Jordan Harbinger: It's kind of ambiguous just how problematic this woman is. The most concerning thing is her dominating him and boxing people out. Isolating somebody from their family, it's never a good sign.
[00:44:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:44:29] Jordan Harbinger: It's actually very common in domestic abuse situations, of course. But is Misty actually abusing her brother or is it heading in that direction? It's all unclear. It doesn't sound like it, but you just never know what's going on behind the scenes or what somebody's capable of.
[00:44:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. That detail, eh, it's not encouraging, but it might not be dire.
[00:44:47] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. So it's tough, but I hope your brother comes around and I hope this woman either learns to act right or more likely just gets gone. And once the dust settles, I hope your brother takes the time to figure out what drew him to somebody like this so it doesn't happen again. Good luck. We're sending you and your brother good thoughts. And Misty, not so much.
[00:45:07] All right. What's next?
[00:45:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm in my second month at a new job with a pretty young team. We have a great experience manager and all of my peers have about the same experience level that I do, which is minimal. Sometimes the manager gives us a task and he uses jargon I'm not familiar with, or he doesn't realize we need more instruction before we take on a new task. I'm okay with looking like the dumb one occasionally and asking the seemingly obvious question. But my teammates never take their turn, so it's just me looking like the novice all the time. I know I'm not the only one who doesn't know what's going on because I'll see them take notes or they'll ask a follow-up question during the explanation. But it's hard to build the kind of relationship with my peers where I can ask them to pitch in because we're fully remote, so it's hard to get a read on their personalities. Now, I'm starting to worry that my manager will think I'm an idiot. Is this something I should even worry about? Or should I just keep asking questions? Signed, Terrified of Clarifying, But Dying to Shine Even When It's Mortifying.
[00:46:12] Jordan Harbinger: This is a really great question. Interesting that you chose this one for the scary episode, Gabe, but I thought we'd end up with more of a "squirrel in the mailbox" kind of situation.
[00:46:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, we had a lot of heavy ones, so I wanted to balance it out, but also looking dumb is scary in a lot of ways, right? Especially at work.
[00:46:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, good point. Fear can come from so many places. This is definitely high on a lot of people's lists, so let's dig into it.
[00:46:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:46:34] Jordan Harbinger: My take here is pretty simple. I actually love that you're willing to look dumb in order to do your job well, because the truth is the person who's willing to look dumb, they're often the smartest person in the room. And I'm not just saying that to be like a contrarian here. If there's something you don't understand, then you asking the dumb question is actually the responsible thing to do. And any manager worth their salt, they know that. They'd rather people ask questions. They'd rather people ask for clarification in the moment than pretend they know what's going on, and then just make mistakes down the line, that had to be corrected. That's what a lot of people tend to do because they're so afraid of looking dumb. It's like, "I don't want to look dumb." So they just look incompetent instead. I don't know.
[00:47:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:47:13] Jordan Harbinger: So I actually have a hunch. You don't look as dumb as you. What's more likely is that you look pretty damn confident because you're the one who's willing to admit when you don't understand something. That's not being an idiot, that's being secure enough to say, "Hang on, I'm not getting this. Can we just take a second to clarify?" And the irony is if you're confused, chances are other people are too, your colleagues. Like you said, you see them taking notes and asking follow-up questions, so clearly, everyone's in the same boat. You're just the only one with the guts to admit it, which also means that your colleagues probably love you. When they think about you, they're not thinking, "Oh, she's the dumb one." They're thinking, "Thank god for her. She's the one who's always falling on the sword and asking the questions that I'm too afraid to ask."
[00:47:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. I could not agree more. And as for getting your colleagues to ask the dumb questions sometimes to do their fair share, I know that's tough when you're remote, but look, you're only two months into this job. You're still getting to know these people. Over time, I do think you'll build enough of a relationship to say, "Hey guys, you know how like we're all confused when Bobby gives us directions? I'm happy to be the fall guy, but it would be awesome if you guys spoke up when you're confused too. So he doesn't think I'm the only idiot on the team, you know? Ha-ha-ha." something like that.
[00:48:26] Jordan Harbinger: You know what she needs to do? She needs to plan a Zoom happy hour after work and just chill with these people, or book a few one-on-one Zooms with the ones who seem cool and get to know them a little more and just sort of break the remote work syndrome. Then they'll be simpatico and they can talk about Bobby and the team and how things are going, and then it'll be super easy to say, "Hey, can you just speak up when you're confused?" Or they might even start speaking up automatically because then they'll be a real team. Because I have a feeling right now nobody wants to look dumb in front of anybody else because they don't know each other that well, and she's the only one who's got the guts to do this. And so this problem might kind of solve itself once they get a little bit more on the same page.
[00:49:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:49:03] Jordan Harbinger: They're not just going to be looking to the new person to be the fall guy or gal.
[00:49:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. My only other thought is yes, I would be willing to keep asking questions at work because when you're new to a company in a lot of ways, your job is to be dumb, so to speak, except you're not dumb, you're just learning. And it's absolutely appropriate for you to speak up when you don't understand something. Being willing to look a little bit silly as you learn, that's just the price of admission, and it's a gift because people who embrace their ignorance, people who are willing to fail publicly or just look like, you know, "Oh, I don't really know what I'm doing. Let me get up to speed," they tend to level up a lot faster and they deal with much less imposter syndrome. Whereas the people, maybe like your colleagues who pretend to know what they're doing because it's so threatening to ask for help, they tend to struggle a lot more with imposterism. And then, of course, they spend all of this time and this energy managing their appearances instead of actually growing and trying to get better. And that just makes the imposterism worse.
[00:50:03] So my take is, yeah, keep asking the dumb questions if it's appropriate because it's often the smartest and most responsible thing you can do.
[00:50:10] Jordan Harbinger: Well said Gabe. That's the crux of resolving imposter syndrome right there and it's just a way less stressful way to move through life.
[00:50:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure.
[00:50:18] Jordan Harbinger: So yeah, I love your attitude. You're modeling a great quality for your colleagues and I hope they follow your lead. Keep up the great work and when you are the boss one day, try to encourage your employees to be honest with you too, because there's no reason to be afraid of looking a little dumb sometimes. The thing you should be afraid of is pretending you know everything when you actually don't.
[00:50:39] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out my two episodes with Dr. Ramani if you haven't yet, it's a two-parter. We could've gone for three. Really fascinating stuff on narcissism.
[00:50:52] Want to know how I managed to book all these great people for the show? I've got a great network. It's not a humble brag. It's been years in the making. I use certain strategies, software, systems, tiny habits. I'm teaching you all of those same things for free in our Six-Minute Networking course. It's over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I want to teach you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. Build relationships before you need them. It takes a few minutes a day. It's not a big time commitment. It's the type of habit that you really ignore at your own peril. Again, it's all free, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:51:24] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, and discounts are all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:51:44] 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, and I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[00:52:02] Dr. Mackintosh'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.
[00:52:16] And hey, remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that 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.
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