Though your name’s been officially cleared, a shadow of doubt about your true innocence looms over every interaction since being falsely accused of sexual assault. Now you’re wondering if this reputational bruise is ever going to heal, or if it’s just something you’ll have to live with — forever. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Your reputation’s been bruised since you were wrongly accused of sexual assault. Will it ever heal? [Thanks to attorney Corbin Payne for helping us answer this one!]
- Spending years under the spell of prosperity preaching, your family is envious of the success you’ve enjoyed from working hard and bitterly treats any good news you try to share as borderline blasphemous — though they won’t hesitate to call if they need money. Is your therapist right to suggest you cut off contact with them completely?
- How can you help your non-confrontational girlfriend set boundaries for her manipulative, abusive ex who still hangs out with her roommate in their apartment and inappropriately suggests she gives him a second chance?
- Should you keep your legal use of cannabis to cope with anxiety a secret from your mother when she visits from China — where it’s culturally rejected as a heavy, dangerous drug — or should you just be honest and hope she’s understanding?
- Convinced that electronics contribute significantly to the unhealthy aspects of your daily life, you’ve been successful at getting rid of excess devices, except one: your smartphone. How can you take this final, liberating step while remaining a citizen of the modern age?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
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On the Edge is a podcast that brings you along when award-winning BBC journalist Andrew Gold interviews celebrities and quirky outsiders — from a Mormon psychopath to a man who once had to eat his friends. Oh, and Jordan! Listen here or wherever you enjoy your podcasts!
Miss our episode with LeVar Burton, award-winning actor of Roots, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame? Catch up with episode 213: LeVar Burton | Storytelling the Enemies of Education Off here!
Like true crime tales? The Court Junkie podcast shines a light on the injustices of the judicial system by delving into court documents, attending trials, and interviewing those close to these trials to root out the whole truth. Check out the Court Junkie podcast on PodcastOne here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Maya Shankar | Adapting to a Slight Change of Plans | Jordan Harbinger
- Scott Galloway | Course Correcting an America Adrift | Jordan Harbinger
- Poem: Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris | The New York Times
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- The Dark Side Of #MeToo: What Happens When Men Are Falsely Accused | Forbes
- Brené Brown | Twitter
- The Prosperity Gospel, Explained: Why Joel Osteen Believes That Prayer Can Make You Rich | Vox
- The ‘Hard Yakka’ of Defining Australian English’s Many Quirks | The New York Times
- Wendy Behary | Disarming the Narcissist | Jordan Harbinger
- Parents Using Cannabis: The Last Taboo of Marijuana’s Golden Age? | The Washington Post
- Johann Hari | Why You Can’t Pay Attention—And What to Do About It | Jordan Harbinger
- Song Lyrics & Knowledge | Genius
- 7 Best Basic Dumb Phones 2022: Inexpensive Mobiles With Long Battery Lives | Student Beans Blog
735: Reputation’s Been Bruised Since Wrongly Accused | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the Triple Dip La Niña cooling down this dumpster fire of burning conundra, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:00:15] Jordan Harbinger: A Local California weather humor there for you.
[00:00:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, very timely.
[00:00:18] Jordan Harbinger: 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 on the show 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.
[00:00:44] If you're 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. This week we had Maya Shankar with a scientific perspective on navigating big changes and how to best do that. We talk about nudges and habits. She's just so great at articulating all of this. I really enjoyed this conversation. We also had one of my all-time favorite repeat guests on Scott Galloway. Always, always a favorite on everything from business, capitalism, education, thinking about the future. Always a wide range in conversation there with Scott Galloway. Love, love, love having that guy on the show. Check those episodes out if you have not had a chance to do so yet. Make sure you've had a look and a listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:01:31] Now, before we dive in today, I happen to stumble across a really cool poem by Danusha Laméris on the value of small kindnesses. I had to share it with you all. So here goes.
[00:01:40] I've been thinking about the way, when you walk down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs to let you buy. Or how strangers still say, "Bless you," when someone sneezes, a leftover from the Bubonic plague. "Don't die," we are saying. And sometimes, when you spill lemons from your grocery bag, someone else will help you pick them up.
[00:01:57] Mostly, we don't want to harm each other. We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder, and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
[00:02:14] We have so little of each other, now. So far from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange. What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these fleeting temples we make together when we say, "Here, have my seat," "Go ahead, you first," "I like your hat."
[00:02:29] Now, I love this poem. I thought it was a great little piece and an important reminder that the things that really matter in life, they're now incredibly small. We don't have to save the entire world or give someone a freaking kidney to make a difference. We can just be kind, we can be helpful, we can be gracious. Those little gestures, they add up, they matter, especially compliment people's hats. Basically, I think hat compliments will save the world. And I just wanted to kick us off with that reminder here today.
[00:02:57] All right, as always, we've got some fun ones and some doozies. And I can't wait to dive in.
[00:03:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, you got to milk that at this point.
[00:03:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, at this point, it's just, I'm pushing buttons that don't need to be pushed.
[00:03:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: We're stuck with it. Let's do it.
[00:03:11] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:03:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 25 years old. I'm from a South American country, and last year I was wrongly accused of sexual assault. Here's the story. I was at a party for my best friend's birthday and we drank. One of my other friends was flirting with a woman we met that night. Everything was normal until this girl suddenly kissed me too. Then, she started kissing us both. I was pretty drunk at that point, and in no condition to take this further. This girl then tried to make my friend drink some more liquor, but he refused and accidentally spilled some on her pants. She took off her pants and decided to remain like that. We then decided that the party was over and it was time to go to sleep. I made my way to a room that my best friend told me I could sleep in, but this girl and another friend of mine ended up coming in at some point. I was lying on the bed trying not to throw up when my best friend's girlfriend storms into the room in a rage, shouts at the girl, and then locks herself in the bathroom with a piece of broken glass and starts cutting herself. All I remember after that is my best friend asking me for help, then asking me and my other friend to leave the house. Hours later, the cops came to my house saying that I was accused of rape and that I was required to go to the police station. I was confused because I was sure that I didn't do anything wrong that night, but I cooperated because I thought it was the best way to clarify the situation. As I arrived at the station, I learned that my other friend was also accused of rape, that the girl claimed she didn't remember much of that night or how she got into that room, and that her friend told her she had found her naked. I was placed under arrest and the investigations went forward. I was sent to preventive detention as my country's laws require, but there was no evidence that we committed a crime and I managed to get out after two months.
[00:04:56] Jordan Harbinger: Hold up. Preventive detention? So that's like they put you in prison not to punish you, but to prevent you from committing another crime, maybe.
[00:05:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, exactly. And apparently, it can happen without securing a conviction in some countries.
[00:05:09] Jordan Harbinger: So this is wild to me. I've read that we do a form of this in the United States too, like with—
[00:05:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:05:14] Jordan Harbinger: —terrorism cases and even some—
[00:05:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:05:16] Jordan Harbinger: —juvenile cases. So I guess we're no better depending on how this is used.
[00:05:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:05:20] Jordan Harbinger: It just seems very authoritarian to me.
[00:05:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, it's pretty disturbing, especially in cases like this.
[00:05:25] So he continues.
[00:05:27] Eventually, a judge ruled that there was no reason to believe we weren't innocent and demanded that the case be closed and that our criminal records be erased. It was a relief. Since then, however, I've been struggling to build myself again. As a result of this accusation, I lost my job in a field I like, remained low profile, and lost touch with a lot of friends. I've shared this story with some friends I trust, and so far they believe me, but I'm afraid that this undermines their trust in me, and I'm afraid that other people who learn about the case will label me as an abuser, compromising my reputation and my job prospect. I'm even afraid that this could compromise the possibility of a long-term romantic relationship because I'll want to share this episode of my life with a future partner, and I fear that this will somehow change how they see me. How would you approach this rebuilding phase? How can I do damage control here? And how do I prevent this awful chapter from getting in the way of improving my life? Signed, Bruised, and Confused After Being Wrongfully Accused.
[00:06:28] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. This is a dark story, man. I can't believe you've been through all this. I can only imagine how terrifying and stressful all of this must have been. You have been through the wringer here, truly. And I'm very sorry this happened to you. What a nightmare.
[00:06:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's hard to even imagine what those two months in prison must have been like. I'm sorry he attended this party in the first place. It sounds like a freaking disaster.
[00:06:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding. People getting sh*t-faced, this intoxicated girl trying to get it on with people who just aren't there for that at all. This best friend's girlfriend cutting herself in the bathroom. I'm JFC, people.
[00:07:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's like the worst episode of Euphoria ever.
[00:07:04] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Damn. Look, these South Americans really know how to party, not my scene.
[00:07:10] Randy Jackson: It's going to be a no for me, dawg. [Soundbite]
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: So, look, we ran your story by Corbin Payne, defense attorney and friend of the show. Good thing I had the soundboard handy. And Corbin confirmed that what you've been through it is a traumatizing event. It is a life-defining event, so much that I had to use two sound samples to lighten the mood in the answer here. We obviously can't speak to your country specifically. But Corbin did say that it's extremely difficult to get a judge to issue a finding of innocent or not guilty all over the world. The fact that an investigation and a judicial inquiry cleared you. That is a big deal. In fact, Corbin wanted to commend you for fighting so hard and so well in his experience. Most people in your shoes, they just cave. They plead guilty for leniency and to put something like this behind them, right? You didn't do that and you endured a two-month prison sentence as a result. In Corbin's words, that took guts. In fact, Gabriel, didn't we a few months ago answer a question from somebody who didn't do something at all according to them and they pled guilty just to like—?
[00:08:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:08:16] Jordan Harbinger: —let it go and it ended up destroying—
[00:08:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:08:18] Jordan Harbinger: They're still digging out of it and it's been years.
[00:08:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. We've actually heard from a few people who have done that and they're just like, "I have to cut my losses and take this—"
[00:08:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: "—and just move on with my life." But yeah, that's a whole other hell. This guy's in a different one but it's impressive. I mean, considering that he's wrongfully accused—
[00:08:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: —it's incredible that it turned out this way.
[00:08:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But look, I know that might not feel like a victory to you right now. I know this whole experience has left a real mark on you, and it's hard to know how to talk about it, whether to talk about it, how people will respond.
[00:08:47] So here's the thing. This whole story is obviously incredibly painful for you. I get the sense that it carries a lot of shame. That shame is making you want to withdraw from people and opportunities because they might put you in touch with the shame even more profoundly. But if you want to move on from this chapter, you're going to have to unpack that shame and find a new lens on what you've been through.
[00:09:09] So first of all, you need to figure out what it is about this event that makes you feel this way, even though you didn't do anything wrong. Is it getting caught up in the criminal justice system? Is it having associated with these questionable folks in the first place? Is it the discomfort of defending yourself in a situation where some people might assume the worst about you? But I keep coming back to the fact that your case was tossed out. This judge saw no reason to believe you weren't innocent. Your record was expunged. From where I'm sitting, you're a decent guy with a captivating story to tell. I would argue a very important story to tell about being falsely accused and in prison.
[00:09:46] Now, you view this whole chapter as a black mark, and I completely appreciate why you feel that way. But when I hear your story, I see it as a story about a guy who had something extraordinary and unjust happen to him, and who survived. Not just survived, but had his day in court and won. And now who's in a position to tell a friend, a partner, an employer, whoever it is, "Boy, do I have a story for you?" And then to share the fact of what happened to you and to be able to say, "This was a total nightmare. And to be honest, I'm still pretty horrified and ashamed about this, but this is what happened to me. This is what I went through and this is what I've learned as a result." That is a very different relationship to this story from the one that you're carrying around.
[00:10:28] And I think you need to make that shift if you're going to build your life back up.
[00:10:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree completely because he's trying to bury the shame, but what he needs to do is own it, right? To make it part of the story so he can use it to bring him closer to other people, not to pull away.
[00:10:42] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. I feel like that's a Brené Brown thing or something, right? If he can do that, I actually think he'll find that people will react very differently to this story than what he imagines. They're going to empathize with him for what he's been through, rather than picking up on his embarrassment and sort of feeling indifferent or uncomfortable, or judgmental.
[00:11:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. And that's actually what's so meaningful about his story, right? That he did nothing wrong and yet the system pursued him and punished him for a little while and left him with this residual-like ugh feeling, right?
[00:11:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: That he's carrying around. Like imagine you go through this and you tell this story to people, and you help them understand what it's like to be an innocent person in prison. How preventive detention works? How even having a judge say, "Hey, this didn't happen. You're free to go"? How even that's not enough to make you feel okay in the world. And now, you're walking around worrying that other people are going to assume that you are a rapist when you're just not. I mean, that is a compelling story. If I heard that, and obviously, if I believe that the person telling me this story was being a hundred percent truthful, my heart would go out to that person. I would be on that person's side.
[00:11:53] Jordan Harbinger: Same here. So would I. That's why he needs to learn how to acknowledge all of these feelings he has and integrate them into this story so he can share it in the right way. Because the worst case scenario, he's imagining, like this fear he has of a future partner rejecting him when he tells them about all this, that's because he's still hiding. He's stuck in the shame. He hasn't found out what happens when you really open up to people about something difficult when you let them identify with you because you're being honest, you're being vulnerable.
[00:12:26] If he can learn to do that — and it might take some time, but I know he can get there — then I think he'll start to change his feelings about all this and he'll find that other people's feelings are very different as well.
[00:12:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, not to be cheesy here, but telling his story in that way, that is actually quite healing.
[00:12:43] Jordan Harbinger: Again, Brené Brown strikes again. I know that's kind of woo-woo, but that's literally what this is. That's why people go to support groups and programs because the act of telling your story in a truthful way that changes your relationship with it. And it invites other people's empathy, kindness, perspective, and that helps too. That's literally the definition of healing.
[00:13:03] And on that note, Corbin mentioned a few other resources you might want to check out. First off, support groups for people who have been wrongfully accused of crimes, or for people who've been through the criminal legal system. This would be a great place to process this whole chapter in a group setting. Another good option working with advocacy groups for wrongly accused people. Now, Corbin said that these are less therapeutic in nature, as you might imagine, but they could give you more chances to tell your story and to use your experience to help other people who might be in similar situations. That's another way you can find new meaning in it.
[00:13:38] And the last thing Corbin mentioned, and I'm kind of relieved, it's not just me and Gabe recommending at this time — therapy. In Corbin's opinion what you've been through, it's the sort of thing that can just destroy someone's mental health, being wrongfully accused, imprisoned, no way around it. It's traumatic and it's really helpful to explore that with a professional. Also talking this out with somebody would also be a huge part of reframing this experience for yourself. So start owning this story in a real way. I know how daunting that is, but I really do believe that's the biggest obstacle to rebuilding your life right now.
[00:14:14] And until you make that shift, until you decide to say, "This is what happened to me. This is how it made me feel, this is how it's still making me feel, and I'm freaked out that people are going to assume things about me that aren't true, but I'm choosing to talk about it." Until you approach it that way, this event will continue to isolate you, but when you own it and you share it, I promise you it'll do the opposite. It'll help you process your feelings around all this.
[00:14:40] So good luck, man. Again, very sorry for what you've been through, but I know this chapter will help you grow if you engage with it the right way. We're wishing you the best and sending you good thoughts.
[00:14:51] Gabriel, you know who likes to get turnt and take their pants off at parties in a consensual way? The amazing sponsors that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:01] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. A lot of people think, "Ah, I don't need a therapist. I've got friends. I can talk to them for free. We're cool." Your friends, they don't want to hear about all your problems. Plus, they're likely not licensed professionals who are trained to help, and if they are, you should be paying them.
[00:15:18] Jen Harbinger: Yeah, I used to think that too. I'm close to my family. I get advice from them. But after finally trying out Better Help, I realized just how different it is talking to someone who's knowledgeable and handling a multitude of situations. My therapist has gone over cognitive distortions with me, as well as skills for coping with anxiety. She's given me mindfulness exercises and so much more. It's a lot like talking to a wise, non-judgmental grandma and it's so convenient. I love being able to do phone sessions on my own time. I also love the option of being able to switch therapists at any time with no additional charge. So 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.
[00:16:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by TextExpander. I love this software. There are just a few productivity tools I can't live without. TextExpander is definitely one of them. I found out about it and I reached out to them to see if they'd sponsor the show because I just wanted to share this with you guys. It saved me and my team literal hours each month of just typing the same things over and over. It's basically keyboard shortcuts on steroids on a whole nother level. You're probably thinking, "I can copy and paste. I've got keyboard shortcuts built into my OS, whatever." TextExpander is way more powerful than that. Create custom message templates where you can fill in a name or a date or a dropdown or different message options depending on what you need to send. I use it all the time, but it is especially handy if you need to send out mass messages that are customized, like responding to LinkedIn or social media or other business stuff. TextExpander is really smart. It'll actually suggest snippets you should be creating based on things you type over and over again. It can even send you weekly or monthly reports on how many hours it saved you or your team members so you can make sure they're using it well. And a listener wrote in and shared how she implemented it in her team and how thrilled her boss actually was. So why don't you try TextExpander for free and tell me how much time it's saving you as well?
[00:17:10] Jen Harbinger: When you're ready to sign up, get 20 percent off your first year at textexpander.com/jordan. Go to textexpander.com/jordan to learn more about TextExpander.
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[00:17:39] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:17:42] All right. What's next?
[00:17:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Good day, good day, G and J.
[00:17:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, nice.
[00:17:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: I have a 37-year-old Australian, currently working as chief of staff for a tech billionaire. I had a very turbulent childhood and grew up with a very religious mother who claims she hears the voice of God.
[00:17:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm. Okay.
[00:17:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was raised in a prominent, charismatic Christian megachurch and was subjected to years of prosperity preaching.
[00:18:05] Jordan Harbinger: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay, so just to pause here. In case anyone doesn't know, prosperity gospel or prosperity theology, this is a religious belief that financial blessing and physical well-being are the will of God in that you can increase your wealth through faith, positive speech, and notably donations to the church, that sort of thing. And not that I'm lumping all these guys together, even though I probably could, but the creepy pastors on TV that have private jets that say they don't want to fly with demons, those guys are often in these types of churches. Guess where the jet money comes from?
[00:18:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's right. Fairly controversial. Some people say it's exploitative, but also a lot of people swear by these churches also.
[00:18:45] So anyway, the letter goes on.
[00:18:47] During my early 30s in debt, financially abused by my family and under the delusion perpetuated by prosperity preaching, I lost my faith and had to start my life all over again. I started repaying my debts, going to therapy and working intentionally, and even went back to do my MBA to give me a leg up in my career. I am now an atheist.
[00:19:09] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:19:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Since then, I've noticed that my mother and my older sibling, who's unemployed and still lives with her, are showing signs of envy and putting me down whenever they can. They tell me they love me, but that I'm the one who's defective. One time my mother got angry when I refused to thank God/Jesus/Holy Spirit for my successes. And that she no longer wants to hear any of my good news, but when they need something like money or access to my network for something, I'm the first person they call. I started to limit my contact with them to exert boundaries, but this breaks my heart. My therapist even suggested that I cut off contact with them completely. I know this dynamic is messed up, but I still feel so conflicted. How do I deal with my family being envious of me when I work so hard? Should I still try to be the dutiful daughter or should I just keep to myself? Signed, Into Hard Yakka But Still Getting Chuck Under.
[00:20:03] Jordan Harbinger: All right. You're going to have to explain that sign-off to me.
[00:20:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Actually, I have to give credit to the listener for that one. She came up with it. So hard yakka apparently means hard work in Yagara, which is an indigenous dialect in Australia, and apparently, now this is also common slang in Australia. I had to Google that.
[00:20:20] Jordan Harbinger: Very cool. All right, so hard yakka. I like that. I think answering this question is also going to be hard yakka because there is a lot going on in here.
[00:20:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh yeah. How do you say doozy in Yagara? That's what I want to know.
[00:20:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we got to find out. And if anyone speaks Yagara out there, and I'm sure there are tons of you, let us know how you say doozy because we can finally appease that guy who wrote in begging me to stop using that word.
[00:20:42] Anyway. I'm really sorry that you've been struggling with your family. I can only imagine how difficult this childhood must have been. But the huge upside here is that it sounds like you've done a ton of work on yourself. You've built what sounds like a remarkable life. You obviously have a lot of drive and integrity, and you now have a much clearer stance on your family. I understand the conflict you still feel, but let's just acknowledge this is all excellent news.
[00:21:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree.
[00:21:08] Jordan Harbinger: So first of all, your mom, and to a lesser extent, your sibling, they're obviously problematic people. I'm not saying they're bad people necessarily. But they are acting in ways that are clearly unfair. They're putting you down. They're calling you defective. Your mom's saying she doesn't want to hear any of your good news and then hitting you up when she needs something. That is just objectively gross and hurtful.
[00:21:31] Is that what they teach at Prosperity Gospel, Gabe? Hate thy daughter for doing better than thou did. Yet, hold out thy hand when thou can't cover the mortgage. It's literally one of the freaking commandments, not to envy, but okay, let's ignore all that.
[00:21:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, man. Not cool at all. And I'm sure that makes her feel awful. It's like you want to tell your mom to eff off when she's being hurtful and using you kind of, but then you feel terrible for not paying for a new transmission or putting in a call to get her a doctor's appointment or whatever it is she needs.
[00:21:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's a really tough place to be.
[00:22:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's no wonder she feels so conflicted. And I'm sure we are just hearing the tip of the iceberg here. Nobody lists everything.
[00:22:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:22:07] Jordan Harbinger: How do you deal with your family being envious of you when you work so hard? Well, I think it starts by recognizing that this is their very sad, very limited response to your success and to the fact that you've carved out an identity that is very different from theirs, which I would imagine is quite threatening to them.
[00:22:26] Envy is a complicated emotion. It's made up of so many other things, but one of those things is the desire to tear down the person who has the thing that you want. Almost is a way to even the emotional scales, that is why it's so destructive. So when your mom and sibling behave this way, they're really revealing a ton about their psychology, their vulnerabilities, their insecurities, their judgments, their need to diminish you in order to make themselves feel better. And none of that ultimately has to do with you.
[00:22:59] So when they put you down or they call you defective, you might just want to tell yourself, "Okay, this is the envy talking, this is the programming. This is them not having any idea how to be happy for my success because my success is actually so threatening to them." This is advice that you would give your kid when they're in elementary school, "They're just jealous of you." But here, you know, it's the case, right? And I think that'll give you some emotional cover when they put you down. Just seeing this behavior for what it is, taking a big step back internally — and just miss me with that bullsh*t.
[00:23:31] And also by the way, also choosing to have some compassion for them in these moments. Because if they were more evolved, if they could resolve their conflicts around your success, they wouldn't try to tell you down like this.
[00:23:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree. Sort of forgive them for they know not what they do.
[00:23:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Exactly. And how, By the way, are we ending up on this episode or this answer at least better Christians than these freaking people? I've never set foot to church. I might spontaneously combust and I don't want to tempt faith.
[00:24:00] So to answer your last question, should I still try to be the dutiful daughter or should I just keep to myself? Well, there might be good reasons to cut off contact completely. Your therapist recommended this, and if things ever really get bad, hey, that might be the right move. Your therapist, first of all, obviously has a lot more context than we do. They know a lot more about this, so if they're strongly recommending it, eh, consider it. But I'll say this, I think it's interesting that these seem to be the only two options for you. You either play the dutiful daughter who caters to moms ever you need, even when she's hurtful. Or you pull back and you keep to yourself.
[00:24:37] What I'm also hearing from your letter is that these boundaries are really hard for you. Like you said, starting to limit your contact with them. It breaks your heart, and I get it. You're a kind person. You're dealing with some difficult personalities, and cutting off your family doesn't come naturally to anyone. But I'm guessing that also speaks to this complex relationship with your mom, with the idea of standing up to her or denying her what she wants, even if what she wants is patently manipulative is somehow unthinkable. Of course, these are exactly the kinds of relationships that require boundaries the most, but I also know how hard that is, especially after decades of these patterns.
[00:25:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree completely. I do think that middle ground is very tough for her. So, our suggestion is you might want to explore the space between being the dutiful daughter and being the aloof daughter, and you can do that by using some more subtle boundaries that allow you to occupy maybe a safer space with them when you interact.
[00:25:33] So for example, when your mom starts laying into you, you know when she asks you for something that isn't fair, like gets mad at you for not thanking Holy Spirit for your MBA, whatever it is, maybe you say something like, "Okay, I hear that you're not happy with my choices, noted, but I don't feel right sitting here while you criticize me. So I'm going to go now and we can talk later when you want to have a different conversation." And if she hits you up a week later for a favor, you could say something like, "Listen, I'm really sorry you're struggling right now, mom. I know that's hard. To be honest, I'm still pretty hurt by what you said to me the other day, so I don't know if I can make an introduction for you right now, but I'm confident that you can figure this out in your own. Let me know what happens. We'll see where we are in a couple of weeks, whatever it is." That kind of boundary is a way to say, "I'm not cutting you off completely. I'm not escalating this conflict. I'm just being honest about how you made me feel. I'm telling you what it's like when I'm on the receiving end of this stuff, and I'm asking you to step up and take care of yourself."
[00:26:31] That's a tougher boundary for sure, but you're still keeping the line of communication open, right? You're still being respectful and you're making room for her experience and your experience. So those are a couple of ways you can be involved with someone problematic without compromising yourself or losing your identity, or taking on your family stuff as your own. And those lines create a healthy middle ground where you don't have to play the dutiful daughter to keep your mom happy or cut her off entirely in order to feel okay and feel safe. You can still have a functional relationship with her, but it's a boundary relationship and that's what keeps you protected, even if that's not the solution that you ultimately land on with your family.
[00:27:11] And by the way, it's worth mentioning that boundaries can evolve over time. They should evolve over time. So you can try it one way and if it doesn't work, maybe you draw a harder line, or if they start to learn and behave better, maybe you can ease up a little bit. That's part of the process. But even if this is not the place you land on with them, I do think that would be a really good exercise for you.
[00:27:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Solid advice, Gabe. I think that in-between place is very difficult for her and for good reason. This was not a family with healthy boundaries where they could have different values or goals or opinions and still be close.
[00:27:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:27:43] Jordan Harbinger: She's creating those boundaries later in life.
[00:27:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:46] Jordan Harbinger: And that's really intense and it can bring up a lot of feeling. Obviously, it's essential. I would also remember that your family's response to you in a messed up way, it is a huge validation that you're on the right track. You've separated from this questionable organization, you've taken ownership of your responsibilities. You've invested in your mental health and your career, and you've landed this great job. I mean, you are objectively killing it. So if your mom who's caught up in this damaging ideology and your sibling who's still living in your mom's freaking basement at 46 or whatever, if they're not totally thrilled with you, okay, I think that's actually a good sign as painful as it might be sometimes.
[00:28:23] So, keep up the great work. I do hope you find a more peaceful relationship with your family, and we're praying for you. No, I'm kidding. We're rooting for you in a very secular way. Praying is one of those things that might also light me on fire.
[00:28:36] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. That makes our job a whole lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. What to do if you discover your spouse carrying on with other people behind your back? 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.
[00:29:03] All right, what's next?
[00:29:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I just started seeing this girl who checks all of my boxes, but her most recent ex-boyfriend was very manipulative as well as emotionally and occasionally physically abusive. Unfortunately, this guy is an old friend of one of my girls' roommates.
[00:29:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:29:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: She wants to be amicable with this guy because he often comes around the house to spend time with the roommate, so she's continued to text with him. Apparently, he's admitted that he was abusive and he's in therapy, but he spins that to make himself out to be the good guy. He texts her with things like, "It's sad that I'm trying for a second chance and you won't give it to me," and "Me trying to fix myself isn't enough for you."
[00:29:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:29:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: She told him that if he continues this behavior, he won't be allowed in the house, to which he responded, "Oh, so your happiness is more important than your room." She's used the word platonic several times when she responds, but he just gets more and more manipulative. My girlfriend has said that she's afraid of what he'll do in person if he's willing to go this far over text. She's afraid that he might force her or manipulate her into getting back together with him. Those are her words, and she's afraid that if I met her house when this guy comes over, he might start a fight. My girl is not confrontational and is very much the mom of her friend group. She often takes it upon herself when one of her friends is hurting or needs support. She also refers to their house as a safe space for all of her roommates. She's aware that taking responsibility for the happiness of others makes her vulnerable to this guy's manipulation, and she's in therapy for that as well as for her past trauma. I've told her that I believe it's appropriate to ask her roommate not to bring this guy into their safe space, but she doesn't want to ask because it would put her own needs above her roommates. What do you guys think I should do and what can I do to help her move through this? Signed, Embrangled in This Dangerous Triangle.
[00:30:54] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, boy. Okay. Well, this is all kinds of messed up.
[00:30:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:58] Jordan Harbinger: So look, this whole situation is fairly complicated, but I think the answer is quite simple, and I'm going to be very direct with you. First of all, your girlfriend's ex is bad news. This guy is clearly quite dangerous. That is obvious. He's abusive. He's manipulative. He's a freaking creep.
[00:31:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:31:16] Jordan Harbinger: And he's got to stay. The fact that your girlfriend isn't able to draw a firm boundary with him, that's a huge part of the problem, and that clearly speaks to her own stuff. Oh, she's the mom of the friend group. She puts other people's needs above her own, is what it sounds like. And it sounds like she also has some very strong people-pleasing tendencies.
[00:31:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:31:36] Jordan Harbinger: Look, she sounds very sweet, but this is a problem and I'm glad to hear that she's in therapy for that. I hope that that's helping, but I think she might need your help in realizing that at this point, she is helping create this situation by continuing to text with this maniac. This is not just being amicable, that's participating/enabling his manipulation. It's compromising herself. This is all potentially very dangerous.
[00:32:04] But the other thing I'm not thrilled about here is your girl's roommate. She presumably knows that her friend, this guy, was abusive and was manipulative, right? And she's still friends with him and she still lets him come over to their apartment even though he's harassing her roommate. I'm just baffled by that.
[00:32:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Me too.
[00:32:22] Jordan Harbinger: This roommate is either incredibly naive, flat-out dumb, or she's just as problematic as the ex, period. But in my view, this is also largely your girlfriend's responsibility. She could put a stop to all of this, or at least make it way harder for her X to mess with her if she would just cut him off and told her roommate, Hey, that guy can't come over to where I live. Anymore. Okay. If you want to hang out with your friend, you got to do it somewhere else, but she won't, despite the fact that she works so hard to make their apartment a safe space, I cannot help but feel on some level she's almost colluding with him here.
[00:32:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree completely. She's definitely not helping the situation and she can and should be drawing a stronger boundary with this guy, speaking of strong boundaries with difficult people from the last question. But there is another possibility here, which is I think she might be terrified of this guy.
[00:33:13] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, fair. Fair.
[00:33:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because this dude is terrifying, right?
[00:33:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like instead of protecting herself, which might escalate things, she's trying to placate him and that's leaving the door open to more abuse or manipulation. But given her history, he did say that she's always taking care of people. She has trauma. It's not clear if that trauma is the trauma from this relationship or perhaps earlier experiences in her life that have primed her for a relationship like this. This whole thing she's doing might in fact be a trauma response.
[00:33:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:33:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: And as we know from the show and from all the stories in our culture for the last few years, victims of abuse often behave in ways that do seem counterintuitive, including sometimes staying in touch with their abusers for—
[00:33:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: —a variety of reasons, right? Like, sometimes it's a way to cope with what happened. Sometimes it's a way to control the relationship after the fact when the relationship is uncontrollable. Sometimes it's a way to even kind of rewrite the narrative of what happened. Like, "Oh, we're friends now, we text. It's all good." And it's like, "No, it's not all good. There's this whole history that you're sort of trying to reframe by being friendly now." The psychology of this is fascinating and it's pretty messy, and I think it could be playing a role here.
[00:34:22] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, I do hear you. So maybe it's a little simplistic to say that this is her fault. If her response to this guy is informed by the trauma that she's been through. But still, this isn't healthy. This isn't responsible. She's not making things better by texting with this guy. It's so ironic that it's a safe space, but then she's not safe there.
[00:34:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's not safe. She's not safe at all right now.
[00:34:43] Jordan Harbinger: Her boyfriend's not safe there.
[00:34:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is the big irony of this question. Although I think, again, that probably speaks to how badly she needs to do this for other people.
[00:34:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:34:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: But she can't do it for herself, and that's why she needs to take a closer look at why she's responding to him in this way. But the bit that worries me, even more, is when he said that she's afraid that he might force her or manipulate her into getting back together with him. That's even more puzzling.
[00:35:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. When I heard that I was like, "What are you talking? How does that happen?"
[00:35:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know.
[00:35:12] Jordan Harbinger: He just walks in, they start talking and suddenly she's dating him again and she's like, "What happened? I don't understand." What is she talking about? Sorry, I'm getting a little worked up here, but everyone in this story is so frustrating.
[00:35:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: I get it. I'm frustrated too. But, again, we might be talking about someone who feels very out of control and who might not have the strongest sense of self, unfortunately. She's afraid to upset her ex. She's afraid to ask her friend, her roommate, to stand up for her.
[00:35:37] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: She defaults to other people's needs, to other people's interests. That's making her vulnerable to this guy, and it's putting her boyfriend, the guy who wrote in, in a potentially dangerous situation as well.
[00:35:47] Jordan Harbinger: Well, that's another thing that freaking grinds my gears here. His girlfriend literally said, hey, if he's at the apartment and the ex comes over, he might start a fight. So she's also failing to do right by him. So everybody in this story is getting treated poorly except for the abuser.
[00:36:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, exactly right. And that's not an accident. Guys like this, obviously, target people like her.
[00:36:09] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: It sounds to me, based on what he's shared, that she's kind of a textbook victim for a guy like this, just from the sound of it. Again, a very sweet person trying to do her best has a big. But contributing to an incredibly dysfunctional dynamic.
[00:36:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. So the best advice we can offer is you really need to help your girlfriend see what's happening here, and explore some concrete ways to get this guy out of her life, and that might take some time. I think your girlfriend is going to struggle to understand why she's playing along with this guy, why she's elevating her roommate's needs above her own, how she even got involved with this guy in the first place, and it'll take some time for her to learn how to stand up to him, which I'm sure is pretty daunting, but she doesn't have to do that alone. Her roommate has a huge role to play here, and you can help her do that too.
[00:36:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: And if the roommate won't reconsider her relationship with this dude, or at least agree to only see him outside the house. Like that's not a crazy—
[00:37:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: —thing to ask for. Like, meet up—
[00:37:08] Jordan Harbinger: Go to Starbucks, for God's sake.
[00:37:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I was going to say Lepanto to the end, not the freaking safe space.
[00:37:13] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know what I mean?
[00:37:14] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks.
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Let's make it a French place. Yeah. I'm just trying to spice it up a little bit. Then I think your girlfriend needs to consider finding a new place to live if she won't do that because — I don't know how to say it. It's insane.
[00:37:25] Jordan Harbinger: It's insane. Yeah.
[00:37:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: It doesn't make any sense. Yeah.
[00:37:27] Jordan Harbinger: Honestly, Gabe, I'm a little bit worried. This guy is a real piece of work, not the writer, the ex. I mean, he's relentless, he's obsessive, he's physically dangerous, potentially. You guys shouldn't be anywhere near a POS like this, and that's what makes this so urgent.
[00:37:42] So I hope this helps. Thanks for letting us be a little bit more blunt than we usually are. Sometimes a situation like this calls for it. Protect your girlfriend, protect yourself, and for the love of God, get this guy out of her life. Or if she refuses to cut ties and/or this guy escalates his behavior, I know this is hard, but consider getting yourself out of her life. At least until this situation can get under control. Take care and good luck.
[00:38:06] And now some products and services you can put in your safe space, even if it's prêt à manger or whatever the hell he's saying or you're talking about. We'll be right back.
[00:38:17] 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, your car fan is blasting, all while you are trying to find the perfect parking spot. But then again, sometimes multitasking is easy, like quoting with progressive insurance. They'll 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 to get a quote with all the coverages you want, like comprehensive and collision coverage or 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.
[00:39:08] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. Comparison rates not available in all states or situations. Prices vary based on how you buy.
[00:39:15] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by On the Edge podcast. I'm a fan of On the Edge with Andrew Gold. It's run by, as you might guess, my friend Andrew Gold. Although I'm in no place to criticize podcasts that include the name of the host and the title, my friend Andrew's a BBC journalist, and he interviews some of the world's most extreme and controversial people. So he'll go from asking a female Mormon psychopath, how she'd feel if he died in front of her in one episode. And the answer was shocking, but not shocking. Or talking to a man who was in a plane crash and actually had to eat his friends to survive, which is, yeah, sorry if you were eating lunch during this ad. I recommend our listeners check out Andrew Gold's conversations with Amanda Knox about what really happened the night of her roommate's murder and neuroscience, Dr.James Cantor about the moment he realized he was a psychopath. If you'd love to be a fly on the wall inside of some of the darkest minds around, Andrew Gold has you covered. I really enjoy this show. I think you will as well check out On the Edge with Andrew Gold on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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[00:40:28] And now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:40:32] All right, next up.
[00:40:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. My parents separated when I was young and neither parent technically wanted custody. In the end, my dad got custody but then sent me to live with my grandparents in Canada while he stayed in China with his girlfriends and my mom remained overseas for work.
[00:40:48] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:40:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: My grandma was extremely toxic. Every time I stepped out of line, for example, by talking on the phone with friends or not doing the dishes right away, she reminded me, "That's why your parents didn't want you."
[00:41:01] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:41:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: When I started putting on makeup, she would say, I'm trying to make a living with my looks, and might as well be a prostitute.
[00:41:08] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's terrible.
[00:41:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: When I tried to tell my mom these things, she would tell me that I need to work on my temper and be more mature. Needless to say, I grew up with a lot of bottled-up anger and resentment and fell into long cycles of depression and anxiety. I'm now in my early 30s and I've bought a house, have a good career, and I'm engaged to an amazing guy. Over the past five years, I've also rebuilt a super healthy relationship with my mom. We're very close and we talk every day, and she's finally decided to come visit me and stay with me for a month. A few years ago, I started therapy and was recommended to try cannabis to manage my anxiety. It worked well for me and it's legal here. I would love to tell my mom about it so I don't have to vape or use edibles in secret but Chinese culture has a very different view of cannabis. They consider it a heavy narcotic, like ecstasy and cocaine. So how do I go about telling her? Or is it better to just keep it a secret? Signed, Puff Puff Pass or Avoid This Morass.
[00:42:11] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Okay. I got to say, Gabe, I find this letter fascinating because here she is, she's sharing all of this incredibly traumatic stuff. Her dad shipping her off to Canada when she was a kid, her mom living overseas for work, her grandmother tormenting her in all these ways. And by the way, an aside here, I just want to say, absolutely, so pissed off that people treat their kids and grandkids this way. I would never even dream. I love my kids so much. I would never dream of treating them like this.
[00:42:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:42:39] Jordan Harbinger: And it just makes me angry that people get raised by a-h*les like this. It just, ma, it just makes me angry that this happens. Your mother not listening when she told her how bad it was, That's also pretty awful. Putting the responsibility to cope on her, especially as a kid.
[00:42:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:42:54] Jordan Harbinger: And then her question turns out to be, "So now that my mom and I are cool, do I tell her about my weed gummies?" Like, what? What? Let's back up the truck.
[00:43:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:43:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right?
[00:43:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:43:02] Jordan Harbinger: Come on.
[00:43:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, tell me about it. That surprised me too. She could have just said, "Help my old school mom is coming into town. Do I tell her about my vape pen?" But she chose to tell us about her pretty intense and extraordinary life. And I got to think that was for a reason.
[00:43:15] Jordan Harbinger: Well, this childhood obviously affected her very deeply, right? And she has come a long way since then. She has a great career. She's got a house. She's got an amazing fiance. She's rebuilt her relationship with her mom, which is phenomenal. That's great. But I am sure that there are still some very real wounds here, and I get the sense that she's still trying to make sense of those.
[00:43:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, that's the reason she smokes weed, right?
[00:43:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: To manage her anxiety, which was at least partly created by what she's been through in her life. So when she says, "Do I tell my mom about my cannabis use?" I wonder if what she's really asking us is, "Do I dare tell my mom that I need cannabis to deal with what she put me through.? Like, do I finally have that conversation?"
[00:43:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Because if she's going to tell her mom that she uses cannabis, she's probably going to have to explain, "Hey, it's not a drug. This is medicine. It helps me deal with anxiety, which by the way is your fault," right?
[00:44:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:44:09] Jordan Harbinger: No, but it helps her cope with the legacy of this incredibly painful childhood.
[00:44:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. And so what I'm now wondering is, is that the real reason she wants to tell her mom about the weed, not just to avoid having to keep it a secret and, you know, take a few hits in the bedroom, but to finally broach the topic of what happened to her.
[00:44:27] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Like the cannabis Chad is this Trojan horse for this much bigger conversation about her past. You know, "Why are you doing drugs?" "Well, mom, why do you think I might need drugs?"
[00:44:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:44:35] Jordan Harbinger: "Let's sit down on the couch and hash that one out."
[00:44:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: It might be. And again, I wouldn't say that if she hadn't included all of these details that weren't, you know, quote-unquote, "necessary" for the story, but they are necessary. These are obviously very formative experiences. It would make perfect sense if she wants to finally hash this out with her mom after all these years, especially now that she has her back in her life.
[00:44:56] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I think you're onto something here because this relationship with her mom — I mean, I'm thrilled to hear that they're close again and they talk every day and she's coming to stay for a month. That's going to be great, touching, probably a lot of fun. But given that her mom played a role in her being shipped off and mistreated. Maybe she had good reasons for that, she had to make money. I'm sure it's complicated but still I'm not surprised at all that the woman writing in still feels a lot of sadness and anger toward her mom that's unresolved. She said that she grew up with anger and resentment and depression and anxiety, but clearly those feelings are still present now because of course they are.
[00:45:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. She can be thrilled to have her mom back in her life and also kind of furious at her for abandoning her.
[00:45:40] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Excited to have her come and stay for a month and also hurt and kind of pissed off and ready to talk about it.
[00:45:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:45:46] Jordan Harbinger: So my advice is this. Take some time to think about what you're really trying to tell mom. Are you just trying to tell her that you use cannabis to cope with the anxiety and you need her to be okay with it? Or are you actually trying to help your mom appreciate the depth of the wounds of the childhood that she, unfortunately, helped create?
[00:46:05] Obviously, Gabe and I have strong feelings that it's both, but we're not trying to tell you how to feel. That's for you to figure out. But before you bust out that vape pen in the living room after dinner, whatever, I would get in touch with all the stuff you want to bring to her, how you want to have that conversation and what you're looking to get out of it.
[00:46:24] For example, do you want her to recognize the pain you've been through? Do you just need to talk it out with her so you can understand why she let you go? Do you want her to apologize? This is a really intense conversation to have, and I'm going to be honest, it's a really doubly intense conversation to have with an Asian family who might not be down for that at all or, slash, have any experience with that at. I'm sure it's going to be quite difficult for both of you to relive it and for her to realize the depth of what happened to you as a child. I mean, remember, your mom was raised by grandma. That stuff didn't start with you. Your mom was probably also treated that way.
[00:47:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:47:01] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, it sounds to me like that's a very important conversation to have, especially if you guys are close again. Because it's almost like, can you guys really be close if you don't talk about it?
[00:47:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, yeah. That's a good point. I, Yeah, I'm with you. I think she's tired of hiding. She doesn't want to hide the cannabis, and she might not want to hide her true feelings anymore, and that's actually a really promising impulse that she wants to be more open here, more authentic with mom, especially given how she was treated as a kid, right? Her openness was not received well in the past, and she was largely neglected by the people who were supposed to be looking out for her. That takes a lot of courage to just speak up and say, "I want to talk about this." So actually, I really applaud her for that.
[00:47:41] Jordan Harbinger: I do too. Like I said, she's obviously come such a long. So I hope this conversation with your mom, whatever it looks like, is another step on that journey. And I hope this time she can really hear you. And hey, if she struggles to open up, maybe you give her a little hit of that vape. Maybe she pops a little gummy. See what happens. Mom might need to get a little toasty herself.
[00:48:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: What are the odds of that happening, do you think?
[00:48:05] Jordan Harbinger: Close to zero, but you never know. Enjoy your time — I'm going to out my dad here, I told him about CBD gummies and I gave him CBD and he's like, "I like these." And then I gave him a weed gummy and he was like, "Oh, this one didn't work." And I was like, "Hmm." So he kept upping the dose and now he's like, "These are great."
[00:48:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh.
[00:48:18] Jordan Harbinger: My dad is 78 years old.
[00:48:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Boom.
[00:48:20] Jordan Harbinger: And he would never touch this stuff at—
[00:48:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:48:23] Jordan Harbinger: —age and he's like, "Oh, these are great. My knees don't even hurt." I'm like, "Take it easy, dad."
[00:48:27] Anyway, enjoy your time together with your mom. We're sending you both good thoughts.
[00:48:30] Gabe, good job reading between the lines on this one. Because at first, I was like, "Oh, an easy one. Yeah, it's none of your absentee mom's business. She can shove it, hide the vape pen, whatever." This is a whole can of worms that probably needs to get settled before the real healing can begin.
[00:48:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:48:45] Jordan Harbinger: THC induced or not?
[00:48:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah. She's carrying a lot around and I'm not surprised that she wants to get into it a little bit. And the weed is just the tip of the iceberg.
[00:48:54] Jordan Harbinger: Indeed.
[00:48:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Tip of the joint there.
[00:48:56] Jordan Harbinger: Tip of the J.
[00:48:57] All right. Next up.
[00:48:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, for the past year and a half or so, I've been slowly becoming more and more convinced that electronics are contributing significantly to the unsatisfactory and downright unhealthy aspects of my daily life. I often find myself instinctually reaching for my phone at a red light just to refresh my inbox or check a web forum I frequent. I can't walk to the bathroom without taking my phone with me to check. I even began to notice myself waiting impatiently for my amazing wife to finish talking so I can go back to my game or my video or my forum. I love my wife to death and I value her immensely. Catching myself feeling that way makes me feel deeply disgusted with myself. So with the help of your episode with Johann Hari, I've been slowly removing devices for my life. I sold my desktop and TV and kept my smartphone and laptop, which has been very liberating. I don't have any social media. I deleted all the leisure apps from my phone, and I now leave my laptop at work. The problem is I can't seem to take the final step — giving up my smartphone. I feel like as long as the ability to cave and reinstall those apps exists, I'll never truly be free. I know I could use a flip phone and not miss anything meaningful. I just can't get myself to make the decision. How do I get myself to take this last step? Should I even do so? Signed, Wean from these Screens to Stay in the Scene or Cling to the Dings that Fling Me Out of the Ring.
[00:50:23] Jordan Harbinger: All right, Gabe, you're obviously back on your Eminem-ish. You had to flex on us, didn't you, Gabe?
[00:50:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Eh, I got to end strong, Jordan. You know how it is.
[00:50:30] Jordan Harbinger: Sign off so strong. We should be sponsored by genius.com or something.
[00:50:35] Anyway, do you ever go on there just to look out, like what are you talking about and the answers?
[00:50:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh yeah, dude.
[00:50:40] Jordan Harbinger: All the time.
[00:50:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love that sh*t. I probably check in on genius.com like once a day. It's great.
[00:50:44] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:50:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love lyrics. Do you like song lyrics? Are you a song lyrics guy?
[00:50:47] Jordan Harbinger: I am sometimes because I'm like, wait, what does that mean? And when I was a kid I would ask my friends what song lyrics they love meant, and they never knew.
[00:50:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:55] Jordan Harbinger: And I'd be like, "How do you love this? You have never thought to yourself, 'Gee, what is he talking about?'" I find that kind of weird.
[00:51:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:51:00] Jordan Harbinger: So I always want to know what everything is and if I don't understand what they're saying, I have to look it up.
[00:51:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same.
[00:51:06] Jordan Harbinger: I have to look up.
[00:51:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same.
[00:51:07] Jordan Harbinger: It's English, I got to understand it. What are you talking about?
[00:51:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love that. Yeah.
[00:51:10] Jordan Harbinger: And if you're making up new words, I want to know what those words mean.
[00:51:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. You can't fully appreciate like a Future song if you don't know what he is talking about.
[00:51:16] Jordan Harbinger: True that.
[00:51:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like I'm, what is Fetty Wap talking about? Let me go to genius.com. Although I say Fetty Wap, it's usually Taylor Swift. I'm just going to keep it real, but it's anybody really.
[00:51:24] Jordan Harbinger: Well, also, if you're going to sing along, how are you singing? You don't even know what the words are. What are you talking about? How are you—? Your showers are boring if you're doing that. You're one of those guys that's like, "Yeah, nah, nah—" How do you not look up that part? Come on.
[00:51:36] Anyway, this is a great email. I really appreciate you sharing this with us. Honestly, I think that you are describing most people in the modern world today, including me. While I was listening to your letter, I was thinking, "Yeah, yeah, I do that. I do that. I've been there, had that same thought." You are not alone in this at all. And you're right, this dependency on our technology, it is a little scary. It's useful and inspiring and powerful for sure, but it's also alienating us from people. It's feeding us constant data and stimulation that we don't truly need. It's often a huge waste of time. It's depriving us of the space we need to have meaningful thoughts, original thoughts, and I was concerned before, but my episode with Johann Hari. That was episode 707, by the way. I highly recommend giving that a listen, it's popular. That really did confirm that our world is going through a massive crisis of focus. So do you ditch your iPhone and get yourself a Motorola Razr? What was the T-Mobile one from back in the day that had the slide thing that every kid wanted? You remember that?
[00:52:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, is it the Sidekick?
[00:52:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, the T-Mobile Sidekick.
[00:52:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, the Sidekick might be too smart for them.
[00:52:39] Jordan Harbinger: It's too smart. It had a keyboard. That was the thing.
[00:52:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: He has to go Nokia.
[00:52:43] Jordan Harbinger: It was a kid Blackberry.
[00:52:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:52:45] Jordan Harbinger: All right, so maybe you don't get a Razr. That's a personal decision. That was a dope phone though. Maybe having a dumb phone will make you happier and more focused, more present. And if so, hey, go for it, man. Or at least give it a shot for two or three weeks and see if it helps. I'm almost certain that it will — that's one charge of a Motorola Razr battery, by the way, two or three weeks. I'm almost certain that it will help, but you have to decide whether the trade-off is worth it for you.
[00:53:10] But the more important thing, in my view, is to become a lot more intentional and aware of how we are using this technology. That was my really big takeaway from the Johann Hari interview, because these devices, all this content, all this constant noise, they're not stealing our time and attention, or I should say, they're not only stealing our time and attention, they're also stealing our presence in our agency.
[00:53:33] Our phone vibrates, and instead of staying in the conversation and then checking it later, we instantly reach to grab it. I know you've done this. You've reached for your pocket, and it's not even in the pocket, phantom vibration. That freaks me out. We get to a red light instead of taking in the world around us, doing some productive daydreaming, looking at pedestrians, sending a text to somebody we haven't seen in a while, whatever it is. We reach for our phones. You're refreshing Twitter, your email inbox, yuck. And that happens without us even thinking about it.
[00:54:00] That's what's really disturbing, how these devices control us, and we do not control them. But the more powerful the tech gets, the more awareness we have to bring to how we use it. And honestly, I feel like a freaking hypocrite for saying this, because I am just as hooked on this stuff as you are. I love Reddit. I mostly enjoy Twitter. I stay on top of all my mentions and DMs, mostly show fans' stuff. That's how I rationalize it. I'm listening to audiobooks. I'm going down Wikipedia rabbit holes, occasionally. I can't really avoid all that. It is part of my job and I enjoy it — and hell, I am updating the OS on my phone. As I answer this question, I'm looking at it on the corner of my eye. Freaking, almost done.
[00:54:39] But I do make an effort to put some boundaries around this stuff. When I'm playing with my kid, my phone is across the room. I don't have my Apple watch dinging and blinging. When I'm working out, I'm not refreshing any social media. That's precious time for me. I don't look at my phone. I'm trying to be with my family, to be with myself, to engage with thoughts that aren't informed by what strangers on the Internet are telling me to think about, or better yet to not think at all. Step outside the matrix for a little bit. I don't know, stare off in the distance at a bird or whatnot.
[00:55:08] So that's my take. Yes, choose better technology if your current technology is making you miserable. Why not? But that's no substitute for cultivating the awareness we need to survive in this world of objectively insane distraction. Yes, the technology makes it harder, but it's our relationship with the technology that's the real culprit. And we are much more in control of that than we think. And ultimately, this is just conditioning, right? We're like lab rats. If you spend a day or two without your phone, you'd already be rewriting this programming. You'd already be more intentional. I'd try experimenting with that before you buy a flip phone from 2002 on eBay that charges using a freaking serial port or whatever. There's a way to keep a foot in this world without getting lost in this world, and that's what we all need to work on if we're going to make it through this era without losing our dang minds.
[00:56:01] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much for that. Don't forget to check out our episodes with Dr. Maya Shankar on navigating big changes, and of course, one of our favorites, Scott Galloway.
[00:56:13] Want to know how I managed to book all these great folks for the show? It's always about the network. Look, it's great for your business. It's even better for your personal life. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. It's our Six-Minute Networking course over there on the Thinkific platform, all for free, jordanharbinger.com/course. Takes a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. jordanharbinger.com/course is where you can.
[00:56:37] Show notes are at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Most importantly, advertisers, deals, and discounts, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who make this show possible. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Gabe is on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:56:59] 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, those are our own. And I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Corbin Payne. 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 this show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:57:38] Jillian Jalali: Hi everyone. This is Jillian with Court Junkie. Court Junkie is a true crime podcast that covers court cases and criminal trials using audio clips and interviews with people close to the cases. Court Junkie is available on Apple Podcasts and podcastone.com.
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