As you have a higher libido than your partner, it seems as though it should feel like a blessing when he makes sexual advances on you in the middle of the night when his sexsomnia (“a rare sleep disorder in which a person engages in sexual activity during their sleep”) takes over. But this is problematic for two reasons: A) It briefly triggers your PTSD from being sexually assaulted in your sleep years ago, and B) When your PTSD subsides, you feel guilty for engaging in sex with a partner who can’t give consent in the moment (though he has told you on multiple occasions after the fact that he’s fine with it). How can you handle this in a healthy way? We’ll try to find answers to this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Waking to your sexsomniac partner’s nocturnal advances triggers PTSD from earlier abuse, and makes you feel guilty for engaging in sex with someone who can’t consent in the moment. What’s the healthiest way to deal with this?
- Is it worth initiating a conversation about how post-Roe reproductive rights fit in with company policy when interviewing for a job in a state that has regressive anti-choice laws on the books? [Thanks to executive coach Michelle Tillis Lederman for helping us with this one!]
- After numerous relapses in your struggle with addiction, you feel like your latest effort to rehabilitate may finally be sticking. But how can you convince your ex that you’re ready to take on the responsibility of raising your kids together?
- Is there a special IRS gifting loophole that allows participants of a pyramid scheme to sign a waiver so they won’t be legally liable when things inevitably go south? And if so, why would you consider signing such a thing? [Thanks to attorney Bill Onofry and accountant Jeffrey Shurtleff for helping us answer this one!]
- Are you morally obligated to tell someone their mother once slept with their fiancé? And if you do spill the beans, how do you do it without revealing yourself as the source?
- 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.
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Miss the two-part conversation we had with Gift of Fear author and security legend Gavin de Becker? Catch up beginning with episode 329: Gavin de Becker | The Gift of Fear Part One here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Neil deGrasse Tyson | Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization | Jordan Harbinger
- Maria Konnikova | The Confidence Game | Jordan Harbinger
- What Is Sexsomnia? | Sleepstation
- Wayne’s World | Prime Video
- Abortion Laws by State | Center for Reproductive Rights
- Michelle Tillis Lederman | Website
- Connected Leadership by Michelle Tillis Lederman | LinkedIn
- The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact by Michelle Tillis Lederman | Amazon
- Michelle Tillis Lederman | Why Relationships Are Our Greatest Assets | Jordan Harbinger
- Helping a Guy Whose Wife’s an Escort on the Sly | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Fentanyl | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- 13 Secrets to Rebuilding Trust with Loved Ones Now That You’re Sober and Ready | Northpoint Seattle
- When Your Women’s Empowerment Group is Actually a Pyramid Scheme | Priceonomics
- Gift Tax | Internal Revenue Service
- Social Clubs – Requirements for Exemption – Inurement Prohibited | Internal Revenue Service
- Abusive Tax Shelters and Transactions | Internal Revenue Service
- How to Avoid Scams | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Save Yourself and Loved Ones from Scams | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Rescue Your Loved One from an MLM Scam | Feedback Friday
- William A. (“Bill”) Onofry | Walsh & Onofry
- Jeffrey Shurtleff | Yorktown Main Tax & Accounting
- Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel | Amazon Music
- The Graduate | Prime Video
- When Your Employee Defrauds the Government | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
729: Sexsomnia Guilt-Free After PTSD? | 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 gluten-free tortilla, holding this breakfast burrito of life advice together, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:14] But you know, if it's the gluten-free ones, they fall apart. That's the problem.
[00:00:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not as bad as the spinach ones. The spinach wraps are the worst.
[00:00:20] Jordan Harbinger: That's a problem with this analogy. Or is it just more accurate? Depends on the show, really.
[00:00:24] 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.
[00:00:48] 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, authors, thinkers, performers. This week, we had Neil deGrasse Tyson. I asked a lot of, what I thought were, well, let's be honest, they're probably kind of in-name questions about space and astronomy, but I don't care. It's my show. I do what I want. No, but this guy is so fascinating, just a great communicator, great science communicator, fun. We also covered how many pints have Ben & Jerry's you can eat before you die. That was insightful. You might find yourself using that, just saying. We also talked to my friend Maria Konnikova. This is one from the vault. She dives into the minds of conmen, scam artists, what makes them tick, and how we can defend ourselves always. She is absolutely brilliant, as you would expect. And that episode is worth re-airing, so definitely have a listen to those two if you haven't checked them out yet.
[00:01:42] Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:01:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 27-year-old woman in a committed, long-term relationship with my caring, patient boyfriend. We've been together for almost eight years, and I fully intend to spend the rest of my life with this man. Over the last two years, however, I've been confronting my history with sexual abuse. I've always struggled with my relationship to sex. I have an extremely high libido that often causes tension or creates unattainable expectations for my partner, and I've been doing a lot of introspection to understand why my desire is so overpowering. My therapist says it's common to have mismatched libidos in a relationship and that desire fluctuates, but I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy when my boyfriend respectfully turns me down. Recently, he's developed certain sexsomnia habits and I often wake up to my partner touching me intimately.
[00:02:33] Jordan Harbinger: So hold up. Let's just clarify for anyone who doesn't know. Sexsomnia, which is apparently a real thing, is a sleep disorder where a person engages in sexual activity during their sleep.
[00:02:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, exactly. Touching themselves, touching someone else, making noise, sleep sex, basically. Right?
[00:02:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:02:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: So she goes on.
[00:02:51] This is always jarring because, in the past, I actually woke up to being raped, but I can push past the immediate terror once I realize I'm safe. These interactions almost always result in us having sex, which I'm personally all for. I engage him when he is in these states and he confirms that he's awake, but in the morning he hardly remembers anything. I've confirmed that he's comfortable with me proceeding, even if he doesn't remember, but I just feel so icky about all of it. In a way, it makes me feel like I'm raping him, which creates immense shame and guilt. When I bring all of this up, he laughs and dismisses it as a quirk. I asked him if he would be open to doing a sleep study or going to therapy for these habits, and he pretty much brushed off the entire idea as silly. I want to enjoy the moments we are intimate and not go into a shame spiral every time. But is it right for me to engage with him sexually while he's in a semi-lucid state? Is it okay if he's given me his consent? How do I rationalize the guilt, shame, and self-disgust that come with it? Is there a way to navigate my own history and this new issue simultaneously? Signed, Struggling With Consent With My Overactive Gent.
[00:04:01] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Well, this is a new one.
[00:04:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. New relationship problem just dropped.
[00:04:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Seriously, this is a fresh one for us. So she's asleep in bed dreaming about showing up to a final in college without studying or whatever. Next thing she knows, she's waking up her boyfriend, fooling around with her in his sleep. And all of that would be fine.
[00:04:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. She's waking up to her boyfriend, fooling around with her in his sleep.
[00:04:28] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Yeah. I'm sure it's kind of fun and sexy under normal circumstances, but for her, it's very complicated because of her past.
[00:04:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. It's terrifying for a second, then it's a few things. It's kind of confusing.
[00:04:40] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So before we go any further, Gabe, I just have to pause and appreciate the sheer irony of these two people getting together.
[00:04:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:04:48] Jordan Harbinger: I don't mean to make light of this. I know it's difficult but it's just so interesting that a guy who initiates sex in his sleep and can't remember a thing the next morning ends up with a woman who has this very particular history. It's like you just couldn't engineer a more triggering dynamic for either side.
[00:05:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is fascinating, especially because the incidents of sexsomnia is so low. Like what are the odds of this happening? I mean, I'm wondering how much to read into that, or if it's just pure chance.
[00:05:16] Jordan Harbinger: It could be pure chance. There's no way for us to know. It's just, well, relationships are fascinating. Anyway, I want to start by saying I am really sorry you went through what you went through in the past. I can only imagine how terrifying that must have been. But it sounds like you've done a ton of work here. You've come such a long way in understanding what happened to you and how it's affecting your life now, and that is tremendous. The fact that you can even respond to this whole situation the way you are, I think that says a lot about how far you've come.
[00:05:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: How far you've come, and also how safe you feel with your boyfriend, which is great news.
[00:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that too. And that's actually the crucial variable here, how you feel about each other, how you communicate with each other. So we did a little digging online while we were thinking about your question. And everything we found confirms that the conflict you feel around engaging with your partner during these episodes, yeah, it's very normal. In fact, sexsomnia and I just again, want to take a moment to appreciate that this is an actual word and a real condition. Sexsomnia, it sounds completely made up, and yet—
[00:06:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nope.
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: —here we are.
[00:06:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:06:19] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, sexsomnia, it can often be more stressful for the sexsomniac's partner than it is for the sexsomniac, precisely, because it brings up all the questions you're asking. And consent is often at the top of the list. Is this really okay? Am I doing something wrong here? And the consensus out there seems to be that, yes, this is okay if you guys are having open conversations around this when you're both lucid and sober and awake, and you're a hundred percent on the same page about rules and expectations.
[00:06:50] If your boyfriend can't fully communicate his consent while he's asleep — because who could? Then the experts we read about seem to agree that, yeah, you can and should get consent while he's awake. If he says he's good with it and you're into it, then you know, party on Wayne.
[00:07:05] Wayne Campbell: Schwing! (Wayne's World)
[00:07:06] Jordan Harbinger: There you go.
[00:07:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Two soundbites in one show.
[00:07:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I got a soundboard. Okay. I'm going to play with it a little bit.
[00:07:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's how you know it's a special day. Anyway, that makes sense. But that's still probably hard for her to wrap her head around, I imagine, given her past. Like no matter how much he says he's okay with this, I wonder if there will always be a part of her that wonders if she's doing something wrong.
[00:07:25] Jordan Harbinger: She might, and that's something that she should continue to bring into therapy, into her conversations with her boyfriend. And hopefully, she can start to release some of the associations that she has with it. But just on a practical level of, is it right for me to engage with him sexually when he's in a semi-lucid state? My take is in a healthy and respectful and fully consensual relationship where he's explicitly saying, "Yeah, I'm good with it. I'm into it," when he's awake that just seems consensual to me. Look, it's not like he's a random dude that they hang out sometimes. This is her boyfriend, right? They're sleeping in the same bed.
[00:07:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: But even if he doesn't remember what happened the next morning?
[00:08:02] Jordan Harbinger: If he's saying, I don't remember everything that happened, but I know it happened and I'm absolutely good with it, then I think, yes. If you were like, "Wait, what? We had sex while I was half asleep last night. That's weird. I don't know how I feel about that. I guess it's okay." Then I would say, hang on, something's off here. Maybe he's a little embarrassed. You guys got to get clear on this. But they are clear. He doesn't feel manipulated or coerced. She's happy to have sex and get it in. Everybody wins. Although, I just, I know we're going to get some emails from people accusing us of condoning rape or something absurd. I can already hear your fingers clacking, you sexsomniac Karens.
[00:08:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Ah, don't worry. I handle the inbox, so it's fine. I'll take care of that.
[00:08:43] I'm with you. The consent question is almost the easiest part of this equation, the harder part is how all of this echoes this incredibly traumatizing thing that happened in her past.
[00:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I agree. Okay, that's the really difficult thing here. The fear and the shame that comes as a result of this.
[00:08:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, exactly. So to answer your question, how do you rationalize the guilt, the shame, the self-disgust? Well, I wouldn't think of it so much as rationalizing. I think it's more like acknowledging, understanding, appreciating, and then hopefully processing probably with your therapist. Giving these feelings airtime and exploring them rather than trying to suppress them or pretend they're not happening or justify them away, which in the long run, obviously never really works.
[00:09:26] I would ask yourself, and again, you're probably already doing some of this with your therapist, but you can do this on your own too. I would ask yourself, where is my guilt coming from? Is it possible that I'm maybe projecting a part of myself onto my partner in these moments? Or am I punishing myself for enjoying this aspect of our relationship? And with the shame too, what's going on in that whole, "I'm bad for doing this" feeling? Is that residual shame from the earlier trauma? Is that shame coming from the libido mismatch stuff? Or is it coming from the fact that what you're doing really does feel like you're taking advantage of him in the moment sometimes?
[00:10:01] Jordan Harbinger: Or is the shame compounded by the way her boyfriend responds to her concerns?
[00:10:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, I'm really glad you brought that up because one of the things that jumped out at me in her letter was how she asked him if he would be open to doing a sleep study or going to therapy to talk about this stuff, which I think would be a great idea for both of them.
[00:10:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: And he brushed off the whole idea as silly. I could see that making her feel dismissed, maybe even kind of hurt. Like, "Oh, this whole sex in my sleep thing that's making you feel like you're raping me and sending you into a post-traumatic shame spiral, eh, that's nothing. It's just this weird thing I do sometimes." You know, to your point, Jordan, I have a feeling that that response might increase her shame around all of this because when he laughs it off and refuses to talk about it, then suddenly she's alone with all of this.
[00:10:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right. She's the one with the difficult past. She's the one who has to go to therapy. She's the one who has to worry about whether his sexsomnia is fair to both of them.
[00:10:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:10:53] Jordan Harbinger: And he's sitting across from her at the breakfast table the next morning eating freaking Cap'n Crunch and shrugging his shoulders like, "Eh, sleep banging, nah, it's a silly quirk."
[00:11:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:11:00] Jordan Harbinger: Instead of saying, "Listen, I have zero qualms about us hooking up when I'm half. But I can see that this is bringing up a lot of stuff for you, so sure, yeah, let's talk about it. Let's go to therapy. Let me do a sleep study. Let's figure this out."
[00:11:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I think if you just took that approach, even if it didn't become a whole huge thing in their relationship, that would go a long way in reducing some of the feelings she has, these difficult feelings. Because shame, we talk about this all the time on the show, it's isolating. It makes you want to withdraw, it makes you want to hide. It's a feeling that makes you feel like you're different and alone. And I think that's how she feels right now.
[00:11:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And then when you are alone with it, it grows because it's not being processed.
[00:11:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:11:37] Jordan Harbinger: And I think that's a huge unspoken thing in this letter.
[00:11:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Absolutely, which brings us back to where we started, I think this question is less about the mechanics of consent and more about the quality of their relationship. The consent thing matters, of course, but what she's really asking is what to do with these feelings and how do these feelings get explored and work through in my relationship.
[00:11:58] Jordan Harbinger: I could not agree more. So my take, just to be very direct here, is, first off, keep bringing all of this into therapy. I'm really happy to hear you're there. You're still very much in the process of working through all the trauma and it makes sense that all of this is still sort of influx up in the air.
[00:12:13] Second, is there a way to navigate your own history and this new issue simultaneously? I think that's something only you can answer by being very attuned to your own needs, your own responses. Maybe this sexsomnia thing is another useful window into the trauma work that you're doing but I could also see it being very triggering and confusing.
[00:12:33] So my take is, sure, you can try to do both. Why not? But if you feel that the sexsomnia stuff is retraumatizing you or just making things more difficult, maybe you hit pause for a little while. I think that's a good question for your therapist. My last thought is I would try to help your boyfriend appreciate what all of this is bringing up for you, and invite him to help you work through it, or at least acknowledge it a little bit more. Because again, I think that's a huge piece of why this otherwise fun activity is creating this profound shame spiral.
[00:13:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed completely. And by the way, if your boyfriend wants to manage the sexsomnia a little bit better, he might want to talk to someone himself, as you suggested, or at least get a sleep study done.
[00:13:14] Jordan Harbinger: Look, I did a sleep study once because I was snoring, like I had huge tonsils that I had out as an adult and they're like, you have to do a sleep study—
[00:13:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:21] Jordan Harbinger: —first. You basically just go to a hospital and get in bed and they stick electrodes to you. It's interesting if nothing else, you sleep over and then you get up in the morning. Nothing hurts. It's not inconvenient. Totally, this is a really light lift.
[00:13:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not a big deal.
[00:13:35] Jordan Harbinger: And your insurance almost certainly covers it.
[00:13:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting.
[00:13:37] Jordan Harbinger: Especially if you got a rare disorder that causes you to bang people in your sleep.
[00:13:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: It could be really helpful. I mean, when we were doing some research on this, we found out that there are actually a few common triggers for sexsomnia, and they include stress, lack of sleep, poor sleeping conditions, anxiety, substance abuse. So if any of those are playing a role in your boyfriend's life, that might be a way to work on this some more.
[00:14:00] Jordan Harbinger: So come on, Gabe. She's finally getting the action she wants and you're going to take that away from her. Let her have this one.
[00:14:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ah, you're right, I'm being a buzz kill. Actually, what you should do is keep him up for 36 hours straight, assembling IKEA furniture, and leave the heater running all night, then you'll really get some good nighttime nooky.
[00:14:17] Jordan Harbinger: That's the spirit. Crush some Xanax into y'all rice pudding and get freaky. But seriously, Gabe's right if this disorder is causing more distress than pleasure, I definitely take a look at those factors, but because your boyfriend is shying away from opening up about all this, and that could be a larger theme in the relationship, I do think therapy could actually be really good for him in the bigger picture. Plus, I can't imagine sleep banging leaves him feeling refreshed in the morning either. It's probably a compounding effect here.
[00:14:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, you've been busy in the night, bro.
[00:14:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, seriously, So, I'm sorry you're struggling with this and I'm sorry it's bringing up some difficult stuff but I also think that the fact that it's bringing up all this stuff with the right support, this could be an opportunity to get an even deeper understanding of where these feelings come from, what drives them, how to respond to them, and long term that could be valuable as long as you feel safe and in control and taken care of, of course. So I hope you get to do that. Take care of yourself and good luck. Hey, and have fun sleep banging. Sounds like y'all get more action after 3:00 a.m. than most of us get during prime time. I'm kind of jelly, not going to lie.
[00:15:23] You know who loves a good 4:00 a.m. sleep shag, Gabriel? The amazing sponsors that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:31] This episode is sponsored in part by HVMN. Y'all know I've been taking my health and fitness a lot more seriously these past couple of years, especially once I had kids. I want to be able to run around with them, get up off the floor, move them into their college dorm, if that's still a thing in 20 years. I've been taking HVMN's Ketone-IQ supplements. It has really helped during my workouts, especially. And I'm skeptical of all supplements. Let me just put that out there. I really thought that this was going to be potentially nonsense. I didn't even necessarily want to take them on as a sponsor, but I've been taking Ketone-IQ regularly for a few months now, and I can definitely tell when I take it and when I don't. I'm not as hungry later on in the day. I'm in a better mood. My workouts are totally different. It gives you a focus for work that is different/better than coffee. It also pairs well with coffee. I even thought that it was the coffee giving me a boost initially, right? Obvious sort of scapegoat for feeling more energetic. But I tested, you know, anecdotally with myself, sample size one, it really is the stuff that's making me feel less angsty and more focused. So I don't know what to make of it other than there on to something. Besides as I joke with the company, it tastes absolutely vile, so you know, it works. If the ketones don't wake you up in the morning, the taste absolutely will. I wouldn't steer you guys wrong, at least not on purpose, and I won't recommend anything that I haven't tried myself as you guys probably know.
[00:16:42] Jen Harbinger: For 20 percent off your order of Ketone-IQ, go to HVMN.com promo code JORDAN. Again, that's H-V-M-N.com promo code JORDAN for 20 percent off Ketone-IQ.
[00:16:55] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Better Help online therapy. I used to have a bad habit of complaining, and I mean a lot of complaining, not just like the casual complaint here and there. I wasn't like that to begin with, but an old business partner complained a lot, and after spending years and years and years together, it rubbed off on me, is how we related to each other. And it gets old fast complaining, rewires your brain for negativity. It doesn't solve the problem. It scares a lot of other people away. And it took me a long time to deprogram that impulse. After seeking the help of a therapist, she helped me extricate myself from that situation. Things have improved a lot since then. So if you've ever thought about giving therapy a try for complaining or for anything else, Better Help is amazing. It's all virtual, so do it from the comfort of your own home. Any hour of the day, they're available in any time zone, 24 hours a day. I got people in other countries doing this. Get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey. And if you don't jive with your therapist, switch at any time, there's no charge for that. Jen requested a therapist with at least two kids, small ones, so she could understand her perspective as a mom, and they made that match the first time around in 15 or so minutes. No joke. That's kind of insane. And Jen looks forward to our sessions every week. It's really helped out a lot.
[00:18:03] 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.
[00:18:13] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us going around here. By the way, I know there's a lot of codes and they're different, and the URLs are different. We put them all in one place. jordanharbinger.com/deals is where they are. You can also search for the sponsors using the search box right there on the website at jordanharbinger.com as well. So please consider supporting those who support this show.
[00:18:36] And now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:18:40] All right, what's next?
[00:18:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 31-year-old librarian working in higher education, and I'm strongly considering a move to Knoxville, Tennessee to be closer to my family and spend as much time as I can with my grandparents while they're still alive. The thing is, while Knoxville is a pretty liberal city, Tennessee as a whole is very much not. Recent legislation in the state has made abortion in any form almost entirely illegal, starting at fertilization, and that's giving me pause. I'm very passionate about women's healthcare and I've done a lot of activism for planned parenthood. At the same time, I resist many people's impulse to write off the south when it comes to regressive policies. If I move there, I would probably resume activism and work to find support for women seeking safe abortions on top of my other job. I'm now starting to get interviews with hiring managers down there. I definitely want to bring up that I feel a lot of mixed emotions moving to a state that has so blatantly limited my bodily autonomy. And I want to ask them what they plan to do for the safety of their female employees if they needed to seek an abortion, especially if they were victims of violence. Even if the answer is nothing, I want to start that conversation. Do you think I should bring this up in my interviews? Or is this unwise to discuss? Signed, Keep My Feelings On the Low Or Make Them Known Post Row.
[00:19:57] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting question. I know this is on a lot of people's minds right now, obviously, a lot of women, but men too. And this is a real concern, especially for somebody who's passionate about women's health and activism, as she certainly seems to be. But this is obviously a tricky conversation to have because who knows how it'll land with a hiring manager specifically. You have to be very thoughtful about how you bring concerns up during the interview process itself.
[00:20:21] And we wanted to run all of this by an expert. So we reached out to Michelle Lederman, author, speaker, and top-notch executive coach. And Michelle's take was, she thinks there's a way to bring this topic up without it being too risky. And the key she said, is whether you bring this up more as a policy thing versus as a personal plan. So you said you want to bring up that you have mixed emotions about moving to Tennessee, but Michelle said she isn't sure if employers need to know your feelings about moving to the state. Getting so deep into all that from the jump, not totally necessary. But what you can do is ask them if there's a company position on access to abortion, what supports they have in place for keeping female employees healthy and safe in terms of actual policies and benefits, and also how they've handled activism among employees, either on an individual level or as a company overall.
[00:21:13] In Michelle's view that can get the conversation going and give you a sense of their position without them knowing about your mixed emotions, so to speak. And I think she's spot on. Your mixed emotions are fair. That's for you to work through, not for employers to know. The last thing you want to do is bring that energy to an interview where you might be signaling that you're not super hyped about the role, or that you're bringing possibly inappropriate things to them from the get-go. You want employers to fall in love with you. That's your job in these interviews. Besides your mixed feelings, they're not going to influence their policies anyways. All you need to do is learn about them so you can use that data to resolve these mixed feelings on your own.
[00:21:53] Now, Michelle did say that part of this depends on how much you want these employers to know about you, and if you do want them to know certain things, then maybe the risk is worth the knowledge. But Michelle's take, and again, I think she's absolutely right, if you need the job, then your best bet is to approach this from a policy perspective. So go crush these interviews. Sniff around for the information you need, and find an employer whose values fit yours. Once you're in a great role, okay, then you can start speaking up on this issue if that's appropriate, but I would argue that that comes later.
[00:22:24] Big thanks to Michelle Lederman for her wisdom here. If you want to learn more about Michelle, she writes a terrific newsletter called Connected Leadership. We'll link to that in the show notes. You can also sign up for it on her website, michelletillislederman.com. We're also going to link to Michelle Lederman's book, The Connector's Advantage in the show notes as well. It's a terrific book. Highly recommend checking it out, especially if you're in a situation like this. And good luck.
[00:22:47] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. That'll make our job a whole lot easier. And if there's something you're going through, any big decision that you're wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. What to do if you found out your wife is secretly an escort? 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.
[00:23:13] All right, what's next?
[00:23:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 39. I'm divorced with twin five-year-old boys, and I've always been a partier. Eventually, I got hooked on fentanyl and ended up in rehab a couple of times. The second time, three years ago seemed promising, but I relapsed again. About a year ago, I quit again, and something is different this time. I truly feel and act differently. I'm a good man now. I've dated and it goes really well. All of my interactions with coworkers, friends, and strangers are better than ever. The thing is, I'd like to reconcile with my ex-wife and raise our kids together, but she can't shake the sh*tty person I was not too long ago. Proving myself day after day is working, but it's slow. I don't want my kids to be teenagers by the time she decides. Is there anything more I can do to prove my worth that I'm not considering? Signed, The Second Act Suitor.
[00:24:09] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Well, first of all, well done on getting clean. That is a huge accomplishment, especially with fentanyl, man.
[00:24:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:24:16] Jordan Harbinger: That stuff is brutal.
[00:24:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Brutal.
[00:24:17] Jordan Harbinger: I can only imagine how much strength it must take to kick a substance like that. I've seen, you know, we've all seen the documentaries.
[00:24:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:24:25] Jordan Harbinger: We've all seen the news. It's clearly been a rough road, and the fact that you have a year clean and you're feeling and behaving differently and you're relating to all these people in a new way, it's phenomenal. And recovery is a lifelong process, so I've heard, I'm sure you know that as well, but it really does sound like you've turned a big corner here. So it makes sense that you want to get back together with your ex. You feel like a whole new person, and this could be a whole new chapter, but that's harder for her.
[00:24:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:24:50] Jordan Harbinger: I'm going to go ahead and guess. You put your family through some awful stuff and it was probably very painful to watch you use and relapse twice. So asking her to give you another chance. It is asking for a lot. It's asking her to forgive you. It's asking her to have faith in you, and it's asking her to open herself up to the possibility of being hurt all over again if things don't go well, to say nothing of what that would mean for your kids. I'm putting myself in the same shoes. I just, I wouldn't want my kids to find one of their parents overdosed in the house or something like that.
[00:25:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:25:23] Jordan Harbinger: Or to be around that, I just wouldn't, and you're not wrong to want to get back with. I'm just calling this out so we can appreciate why this is such a huge decision for her. So my advice, and this might not be exactly what you want to hear, but here it is, I would channel most of your energy into becoming the best person that you can be. The best father, the best colleague, the best friend, the best student of recovery, rather than trying to get your ex back, that can still be on your radar and maybe that's one of your motivations for staying sober. And look, that's great if it is, but I would think of getting your ex back less as a goal in and of itself, and more as a byproduct of your recovery and your growth. And I'm going to say that again because I think it's really important, rather than trying to convince your ex to see you as this new person so that she takes you back, I would invest your energy into becoming that new person and allowing her to come to her own decision here.
[00:26:18] And by the way, when I used to give dating advice for a living years and years and years ago, this advice was the exact same drugs and addiction or not—
[00:26:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:26:27] Jordan Harbinger: —when somebody would say, "How do I get my ex back?" The answer is, don't try to do that. Work on yourself. And either that will happen or it won't.
[00:26:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:26:34] Jordan Harbinger: But trying to get someone back is a process. It's fraught in many ways, and it's a flawed idea to begin with. And I say that for a few reasons. First, I think your biggest priority right now is staying sober and rebuilding your life. You're a year into recovery, which is amazing, but this is still early days, man. A year ago, you relapsed. A year ago, you probably broke your wife's heart again. I understand how badly you want your old life back, but I think you also need to give yourself the time you need to rebuild this foundation for yourself, not only so you can reconcile with her, but so that you can be healthy and happy.
[00:27:09] Second, if you ever did get back with your wife, you need that foundation to be rock freaking solid, man. Otherwise, you're at risk of recreating the same situation again. And look at it this way, if you did get another chance right now and you relapsed because your foundation wasn't 100 percent rock solid, you're never getting another chance, probably. So in my opinion, it is much better to take your time and be safe rather than sorry. This is not time wasted. This is time well spent on becoming the guy who deserves his life and his wife and his family.
[00:27:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree. Well said, Jordan. I also think that he needs to respect her process here too. Like when he said that proving himself day after day is working, but it's slow and he doesn't want his kids to be teenagers by the time she decides.
[00:27:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, I understand that he's impatient, but what about what's going on for her? To your point, Jordan, she might have some very valid reasons to be skeptical or guarded. I mean, she's probably a bit traumatized too by everything they went through. He's come a very long way, for sure, but he's also had a checkered past. He only has a year clean. She might need to see more before she's ready, and that is fair. And so I find myself wanting to say, I understand your eagerness. I appreciate your confidence. It's great. But I also think you need to be respectful and patient while your wife goes through her process. Because this isn't just about what you want, your timeline isn't the only one that matters. This is a really big deal for your wife and your kids too.
[00:28:37] Jordan Harbinger: I could not agree more. If you want to speed things up, and it sounds like you do, I wouldn't do it by performing the role of the guy who has this sh*t together. So she says, "Okay, let's give it a shot." I would do it by working every single day to become that guy — be a present father. Be a solid friend to your ex. Be a trustworthy colleague. Be those things, not because you want your lady back, but because those things matter. And I promise that if you keep working on becoming those things, which I know you're already doing, she will take notice. She will have more reason to trust you. So you're still going to be serving your original goal here. You're just going to be doing it for the right reasons, which I think is crucial for anyone in life, but especially for somebody in recovery.
[00:29:23] So good luck, man. Take care of yourself and everything will fall into place as it should. We're rooting for you. And yeah, don't be too hard on yourself here, man. A year sober from freaking fentanyl, you've dodged a bullet multiple times.
[00:29:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:29:36] Jordan Harbinger: So kudos to you for that.
[00:29:39] You know what's even better than wildly dangerous, illegal substances? The products and services that support this. We'll be right back.
[00:29:49] This episode is sponsored in part by Squarespace. Have you ever thought, I'm just an ordinary dude or dudette? Do I really need a website? The answer is a resounding yes, especially if you run a business, you do freelance work or even work as an employee. A website is indispensable. Having a website will make you easier to find and it'll make you more hireable because it builds your credibility as well as your personal brand. And whether you think those are annoying or cringe or not, they exist. You'll definitely stand out in the sea of resumes if you have your own website. It's never been easier or more affordable to create a website with Squarespace. You don't need to know how to code. With Squarespace, just pick a template, a design theme, then customize it. Squarespace has all the tools you need to get your personal site or online business off the ground. You can even generate revenue through gated members-only content, manage your members, send email communications, leverage audience insights, all-in-one, easy-to-use platform. I'm not even scratching the surface of what you can do on Squarespace. Give it a try for free at squarespace.com/jordan. That's squarespace.com/jordan. Use the code JORDAN to save 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain.
[00:30:52] This episode is also sponsored by Progressive insurance. Most of you listening right now are probably multi-tasking, so while you're listening to me talk, you're probably also driving, cleaning, exercising, maybe even doing a little grocery shopping. But if you're not in some kind of moving vehicle, there's something else you can be doing right now, getting an auto quote from Progressive insurance. It's easy and you can save money by doing it right from your phone. Drivers who save by switching to Progressive save over $700 on average, and auto customers qualify for an average of seven discounts — discounts for having multiple vehicles on your policy, being a homeowner, and more. So just like your favorite podcast, Progressive will be with you 24/7, 365 days a year, so you're protected no matter what. Multitask right now, quote your car insurance at progressive.com to join the over 27 million drivers who trust Progressive.
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[00:32:07] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:32:11] All right, what's next?
[00:32:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. A friend recently invited me to join her women's circle. She described how empowering and rewarding it was for her promoting sisterhood, emotional support, and women mutually holding space to help manifest each other's dreams.
[00:32:27] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yes, because when I get supernatural manifestation powers, I'm using them to help other people's dreams come true, obviously.
[00:32:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, maybe these women are just really generous. You don't know. You don't know what's going on in this women's group.
[00:32:39] In the orientation though, she explained how the structure of the group requires 15 women to reach completion, one at the top, two below her, four below them, and eight at the bottom, and how each woman is required to give a, quote-unquote, "gift" of $1,440 to the most senior woman upon joining. After the, quote-unquote, "energy is complete," in other words, once eight women at the bottom have paid off the top person, she leaves the group, and the two women below her form two new circles. Eventually, you too get to the top and get your money back, eightfold, $11,520.
[00:33:19] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yes, a financial circle jerk known as energy. And by the way, this just occurred to me, if I draw a diagram of one person at the top, two people below them, four people below them, and eight at the bottom, it looks a little bit like—
[00:33:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I know.
[00:33:33] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know. What is that shape called again? It's like a—
[00:33:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is it a trapezoid?
[00:33:37] Jordan Harbinger: It kind of looks more like there's a pointy top and then the bottom is wider. And there's slanting lines go, oh, right, it's a pyramid.
[00:33:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Pyramid.
[00:33:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right, right, right.
[00:33:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:33:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Go on, go on.
[00:33:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: This was all starting to sound suspiciously Ponzi scheme-ish.
[00:33:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:33:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Pyramid scheme-ish, yep.
[00:33:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:33:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: So I told her I'd think about it. I then went down the Internet rabbit hole, finding countless stories of similar women's groups being busted by sting operations, disgruntled former members, turning in the group to authorities. And the women involved facing large fines and even going to jail. When I declined the invite and raised the question of legality with my friend, sharing some of the links I'd found, she explained that they were taking care of any legal risks by having all new members sign a letter saying that they give their money unconditionally as a gift. It was her understanding that this made it legal under the IRS gifting laws. I'm dubious about all of this, and although I feel like I've done as much as I can to persuade my friend to reconsider her involvement, I'm understandably still concerned for her. Is there really a gray area where something like an illegal pyramid scheme can become legal if the parties involved sign such a letter? Signed, Roll With This Loophole or Dodge a Sinkhole.
[00:34:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh boy, well, these scams just keep getting dumber and dumber. Don't they, Gabe?
[00:34:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:34:54] Jordan Harbinger: It's actually incredible to me. We've taken so many questions about MLMs, multi-level marketing schemes, Ponzi schemes, and other financial scams at this point, I just, I think it's pretty clear they are all a waste of time, but this whole having people sign a letter saying they're gifting their money away, that's a new wrinkle. What a classy operation, eh?
[00:35:15] We haven't heard about this particular variation before, so we reached out to not one, but two experts to figure out if this is on the up and up or if this is still a total scam. And you're going to see this woman's circle busted on the local news one day. The first person we spoke to was Bill Onofry, a New York transactional tax and planning attorney.
[00:35:34] And the first thing Bill said was pyramid schemes like this — yes, indeed. It was a pyramid the whole time. They're very much a gray area in the law. Some operate without any opposition from the government. Others are taken to task. As he put it, what's right isn't always legal and what's legal isn't always right. And that can be confusing, which is part of what draws so many vulnerable people in. In Bill's view, though operating under the guise of gifting, that does not help matters, and any attorney drafting gift letters to try and legalize this should be very careful. And look, I'm guessing an attorney didn't even draft this. This is probably just something she found on the Internet.
[00:36:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Template, Microsoft Word.
[00:36:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's a template. It's definitely not even from Legal Zoom. As he explained it to us, gifts in the legal sense, those are made without compensation. If you can't play without pay, this is not a gift. It's an entrance fee with an expected 10X return. The payment up the chain, that should constitute income to the recipient and it should be reported to the IRS, which of course, I'm sure they're doing that, right? So Bill's take, to avoid parting with hard-earned money and then having to fight in a court of law to get it back, your instinct was absolutely right. Don't sign anything. Don't give anything.
[00:36:47] Now, where my mind went was, should you warn other people about this group? You know, potentially save other victims. But Bill made a good point, which is you have to be careful about how you express your thoughts about this group and who you share them with. As he put it, reporting concerns to the law is one thing, but bashing Susie and her magical, energetic women's circle verbally or on social media that could have negative consequences. This woman is arguably running a business. Look, it's probably an illegal business, but it's still a business, and she could argue damages if the scheme ever implodes, especially as a result of you warning other people. Bill said he doesn't know of any judge who wouldn't just toss a liable case grounded in what is an illegal act, but still anybody can be sued for any reason at any time, and defending yourself costs time and money. So it's probably best if you just sidestep the drama, honestly.
[00:37:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I hate that because I want her to go on Twitter and just drag these women from—
[00:37:43] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[00:37:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: —defrauding people, but that is really good advice.
[00:37:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: The second person we spoke to was Jeffrey Shurtleff, a federally licensed tax practitioner, and the owner of Yorktown Main Tax & Accounting in Huntington Beach. And Jeffrey was even more blunt with us. In his view, would the IRS consider $1,440 a gift? Nope. Does a signed agreement make it a gift? Also, nope. His advice really echoed Bill's advice. A gift requires the donor that is the new member handing over the 1440 to be doing so with no expectation that they'll get something in return from the doney, which is the senior woman who's collecting 11 and a half thousand dollars.
[00:38:21] The 1440 that's actually payment for services or as Susie and her coven of fraudsters call it, the energy, and for membership also in a social club. So the new member should be reporting this payment on a 1099-NEC. The senior woman probably needs to claim it as self-employment income, and if they don't, Jeffrey said that there could be civil and/or criminal penalties. For a social group to avoid reporting and paying income tax, it has to be exempt under IRC 501(c)(7), which by the way, that's different from a 501(c)(3), you know, like the nonprofit status.
[00:38:55] But Jeffrey said that groups like this are not exempt because of something called inurement. So basically, in this case, an individual member of the organization is personally benefiting from the money paid by new members, and that is not okay. Jeffrey also confirmed that the IRS would not accept a letter or agreement that would make anything about this legal even if it were signed by both parties. So this whole like letter thing, it really does sound like total BS.
[00:39:21] So the best thing you could have done is stay far away from these folks, which I'm glad that you did, and I would also tell your friend to do the same. Whether this group ends up getting investigated or not, this is almost certainly fraudulent, probably a scam, or at least dicey, kind of like borderline case, shady. It's just — honestly, at the end of the day, whatever the legal status is, it's a total waste of time.
[00:39:42] Jordan Harbinger: A total waste of time, and for not that much money.
[00:39:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:39:44] Jordan Harbinger: Imagine spending half a decade or more of your life fighting off the IRS and the Feds and defending yourself against a lawsuit or just always looking over your shoulder because you wanted to turn 1400 bucks into 11 grand.
[00:39:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:39:56] Jordan Harbinger: That's not even close to worth it. The 11 grand not even going to be the retainer on your attorney—
[00:40:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:40:01] Jordan Harbinger: —to fight one of the. Nothing is worth it, but certainly not 1400 bucks or 11 grand or whatever you end up getting. We're also going to share some great resources Jeffrey sent us to help you and your friend better understand the laws at play here. We'll link to all of those in the show notes for you. One of them is the IRS's Office of Tax Shelter Analysis, and there's a hotline there for reporting abusive tax shelter transactions. If you ever feel moved to drop a dime on Susie and her merry band of Fraudsters, that's your call. I'd probably do it because I hate scammers like this, but honestly, this fraud is a drop in the bucket compared to, I don't know, PPP fraud or billionaires with offshore shell companies hiding assets or whatever. There are many more serious criminals out there. It's always an option though.
[00:40:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: But how would you even report people like this, like, "Dear IRS, there are some women in my hometown sharing some very weird energy you should know about"?
[00:40:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, totally.
[00:40:53] "I have some real concerns about some of the dream manifestation I'm seeing in my women's circle, Agent Forester."
[00:40:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah. The bad vibes division of the financial crimes unit, that's where you got to take this.
[00:41:03] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. And anyway, I'm with Gabe. Run from these people as fast as you can, gather all the information, share it with your friend. I hope she can hear you and see this more objectively. You could save her a lot of trouble down the line.
[00:41:15] And if you need some help in approaching her, I'd check out the article and the deep dive we did on the psychology of people caught up in scams. We'll drop those in the show notes as well. Sending you good thoughts. Maybe try manifesting a group that doesn't defraud other people or the US government and — namaste.
[00:41:32] All right, next up.
[00:41:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys. About eight years ago, I had this assistant who was always chasing this one girl. She wouldn't give him the time of day, so he worked his way in with her mom. He would help her around her business, her yard work, and eventually in the bedroom.
[00:41:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, he really worked his way in with her mom. Okay.
[00:41:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. He worked his way in.
[00:41:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: He would brag about it constantly. I believed him as he was known to sleep with older ladies, including his mom's friends. And I even witnessed one leaving his apartment before work one morning.
[00:42:03] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:42:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: The thing is, the girl who was chasing originally this older woman's daughter, she finally accepted his advances and now they're getting married in less than two months. I'm not friends with this woman or her daughter in any way, although this guy and I could be connected later on through work, although it's unlikely. Apart from all this, I don't like this guy and I have no respect for him. He's racist. He's extremely dumb, and he's very tone-deaf. Am I morally obligated to tell his fiancée about what he did and how do I do that without blowing my cover? Signed, Watching From the Sidelines While this Slime Climbs Into the Bloodline.
[00:42:42] Jordan Harbinger: This is where I got to make my own soundbite.
[00:42:44] And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.
[00:42:46] That's what this reminds me of.
[00:42:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:42:48] Jordan Harbinger: What can I say? Another Feedback Friday banger. What a way to end the week, Gabe. Literally, a banger in this case.
[00:42:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah. I thought I'd mix it up. You know, give everyone a little moral depravity to take into their weekend.
[00:42:57] Jordan Harbinger: Seriously, this question makes me want to take a shower.
[00:43:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. A long one, a scalding one.
[00:43:02] Jordan Harbinger: In nail polish remover. So, okay, this guy is bad news, right? He's a creep.
[00:43:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, he's a piece of work. He's a piece of work, absolutely. I mean, I don't know what his plan is here. He's obviously very manipulative, but this also means that the mother is keeping this huge secret from her daughter as well, right? She's not telling her daughter that she's about to marry her former boy toy. That's incredibly messed up as well.
[00:43:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, good point. They're both putting his fiancée in an awful spot. Maybe the mom is just so ashamed that she slept with this guy. She'd rather just bury it.
[00:43:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe.
[00:43:34] Jordan Harbinger: Although I don't really get that logic because the mom—
[00:43:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:43:37] Jordan Harbinger: It doesn't sound like she did anything wrong here.
[00:43:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:43:38] Jordan Harbinger: Unless she's still married to somebody or something. I mean, assuming she didn't know that he had designs on her daughter.
[00:43:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:43:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And if he was running a game on her to get to the daughter than the mom was the victim too.
[00:43:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:49] Jordan Harbinger: And she could go to her daughter and say, "Okay, this is really weird and I'm mortified, but your boyfriend and I had a thing. I should have told you earlier, and he won't tell you, but obviously, you need to know before you get married."
[00:43:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:44:00] Jordan Harbinger: That's the right thing to do.
[00:44:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:44:01] Jordan Harbinger: That's the reasonable thing to do.
[00:44:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Of course, it's the mother's job to tell the daughter, not this guy who randomly employed this guy eight years ago. But the fact that she didn't tell her daughter, that tells me that there's something off with this family.
[00:44:15] Jordan Harbinger: I just don't get it. I mean, how can you attend your daughter's wedding when you were sleeping with the groom?
[00:44:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dude, that's going to be a weird walk down the aisle. I'll tell you that much.
[00:44:26] Jordan Harbinger: I didn't even think of that.
[00:44:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:44:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Ugh.
[00:44:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just imagine giving your daughter away to the guy you used to bang after he pruned your azaleas, and then watching them make out before they spend the rest of their lives together. Ugh.
[00:44:40] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, yes, while you clap and smile. I don't think it's going to be the rest of their lives. I think this is a ticking freaking time bomb.
[00:44:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:44:46] Jordan Harbinger: That's going to go off any minute.
[00:44:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure.
[00:44:48] Jordan Harbinger: Whether this guy spills the beans or not. And it's going to be a nightmare when it does.
[00:44:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: A total nightmare. Yeah.
[00:44:53] Jordan Harbinger: So the million dollar question, should this guy tell the daughter what he knows?
[00:44:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, honestly, this woman deserves to know the truth. I'm not totally convinced that this guy has to be the one to tell her though.
[00:45:04] Jordan Harbinger: But he's the only one who knows besides again, Mrs. Robinson and the freaking American Gigolo over here.
[00:45:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, well, that's true, but he's not friends with this woman. He's not friends with this mom. He doesn't have any connection to them. If anything, I get the sense that he wants to drop a dime on this guy because he knows he's a POS. He hates this guy.
[00:45:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: And you know, not exactly because he's really looking out for this poor woman.
[00:45:28] Jordan Harbinger: Well, he'd probably say that he's doing both, but you're making a good point. What are this guy's motivations, really?
[00:45:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think it's revenge a little bit. Or at least like, "I hate this guy. He's ignorant, he's racist, he's tone-deaf, and now I finally have an opportunity to mess him up."
[00:45:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, but is that so bad? If this guy has been manipulating people and treating them poorly and spouting hateful crap for the last eight years, and now he's about to break some poor woman's heart, does it really matter why the guy writing in wants to bust him?
[00:45:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Uh, I mean, I think it does kind of because when you're not clear on why you're doing something, things tend to get messy.
[00:46:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:46:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Look, it's kind of like that — do you remember that question we took, Jordan, a while back from the guy who's—? Okay, so he had an employee and the guy was kind of a jerk, if I recall, and he and his wife were engaging in PPP fraud.
[00:46:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. They bought a camera and a vacation—
[00:46:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:46:15] Jordan Harbinger: —and a deck. Yeah, I remember that.
[00:46:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: And this guy was trying to decide whether to report them to the IRS or to whatever the body was.
[00:46:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: And if I remember correctly, our take was, yeah, report him, but do it because he's breaking the law. And he's hurting all taxpayers, not because you have a personal vendetta against this guy. I just think when you start to act like a vigilante for personal reasons, things, they get messy and they get gross, and it doesn't always make you feel better.
[00:46:38] Jordan Harbinger: I hear you and I get it, but for me personally, I find it really hard to separate those two things out. Like this kid who's sleeping with the mom and the daughter, he wouldn't be in this situation if he weren't a complete skeeze ball in the first place.
[00:46:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:51] Jordan Harbinger: It fits a larger pattern. So of course, the guy writing in hates him. The guy is hateable.
[00:46:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:46:55] Jordan Harbinger: His personal feelings about this dude confirm exactly what he's doing now.
[00:46:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. So you know what? That's a very fair point, but okay, the other reason I'm hesitating — again, there's someone here who should be doing the right thing, and that's the mom.
[00:47:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's the one with a great reason for telling her daughter the truth and she's not doing that. And that is their business, not really his.
[00:47:15] Jordan Harbinger: Well, okay, I can't argue with you there. It should obviously be coming from mom and if it comes from somebody else instead of mom, that's going to be—
[00:47:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Blow up the family, yeah.
[00:47:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yikes. I don't want to be in that room at all. But in a world where she won't tell her daughter this crucial thing, I do wonder if it falls to this guy who's watching it all from the outside. And, yeah, It'll be devastating to her when she finds out, but in the long run, she'll probably be grateful that somebody told her.
[00:47:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Okay. Fair point. Like it might not be his job, but is he creating a net good by giving her the heads up?
[00:47:45] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly, and I think he is, even if he's overstepping a little. But I really do see both sides of this. And I guess ultimately it just comes down to this guy's values, what he believes is the right thing to do.
[00:47:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:47:58] Jordan Harbinger: As for how to tell this woman what happened without blowing your cover, I think that's pretty easy. You could create an anonymous email account or a Facebook account and write her. You could send an anonymous letter in the mail if you want to go old style. You could cut out letters from different magazines and paste them on a blank piece of paper, like a ransom note from the 1970s.
[00:48:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: You could hire a plane to write, "Brandon was banging your mom between Home Depot runs," in the sky.
[00:48:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's my personal favorite. It'll set you back a little bit, but that's really making a statement. That's poetry. There are loads of ways to do this. You just have to get creative. But yeah, I would make sure you cover your tracks and keep this as far away from your business as possible. If you decide to go through with it, just minimize any potential blowback.
[00:48:39] Gabe, family secrets can just be wild.
[00:48:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:48:43] Jordan Harbinger: The situations people get into.
[00:48:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, man.
[00:48:45] Jordan Harbinger: This is just insane.
[00:48:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Insane.
[00:48:47] Jordan Harbinger: I feel bad for this young woman. She's obviously the innocent party here. Her mom is between a rock and a hard place, made the wrong decision for a long period of time. I mean, they're about to get married. She should have said something like when she met the guy.
[00:48:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Definitely.
[00:48:57] Jordan Harbinger: "Oh my god, I used to bang that guy. Don't see him anymore."
[00:49:00] Geez, I hope she finds out and dumps this guy ASAP one way or the other.
[00:49:05] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everyone who listened, thank you so much. Don't forget to check out the episodes with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Maria Konnikova on scams if you haven't had a chance yet.
[00:49:16] If you want to know how I managed to book all these great people and manage my relationships using software systems and tiny habits every single day, check out our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free. It's over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. I hear about this all the time. People will get lazy with networking. They don't prioritize it, and then once they need those relationships, they are too late. And this stuff takes just a few minutes a day. Again, it's free. jordanharbinger.com/course is where you can find it.
[00:49:47] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or you can connect with me right there on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi, or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:50:03] 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'm a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[00:50:21] Ditto Bill Onofry and Jeffrey Shurtleff. You can contact Bill at Walsh & Onofry, W-A-O-law.com, and you can find Jeffrey at Yorktown Main Tax & Accounting, yorktownmain.com.
[00:50:32] Remember, we rise by lifting others, so share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:50:48] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a sample of my interview with someone with decades of experience in protecting people at every level. From the top levels of government to victims of spousal abuse, violence is a reality. If you're not prepared for its possibility, you'll be caught off guard by its eventuality. Learn how to hone your sixth sense for danger. Discover how to spot the red flags that signify someone's a likely abuser, con artist, or predator. Here's a bite.
[00:51:17] 16 years ago, when I was 20, I got into a taxi cab in Mexico City and it turned out to be a fake taxi, and the guy was driving me further and further away from my destination, further and further away. And my brain went through this process. It said, "No, it's probably going to be fine. I know he said he was going to ask for directions, but he's a cabby. He should know that. No, no, no, no, no. But I mean, I've never been kidnapped before, so that can't be what's happening." And then I remembered some guy on Oprah in 1994, something like that, when I was a kid sitting there with my mom who said, "Never go to the secondary location." And I only realized, a decade and a half later when reading the book, the Gift of Fear that that was you.
[00:51:58] Gavin de Becker: Everybody with a normal functioning mind and body system does have intuition, and what we have in varying degrees is our willingness to honor it and listen to it and learn about it. It's our most extraordinary mental and physical process.
[00:52:14] The stomach lining as an example has a hundred million neurons, a hundred million thought-cells, that's more neurons than there are in a dog's brain. When you hear the word, our gut, you know, "I had a gut feeling," it's a very accurate description of what's going on. And these two brains in the gut and in the skull communicate with each other through the body. And so the whole mind-body system delivers intuition to you, which is knowing without knowing why, knowing without having to stop at all the letters from A to Z on the way, just getting from A to Z automatically.
[00:52:47] It doesn't really matter how a thing should be. It only matters how it is and how it is in terms of reality in this moment. And reality is the highest bound you can get to. That's the place where you can see what's coming. And I'm so glad to hear that story and that makes my day. That means a lot to me, particularly as I'm about to hear, I hope, how well you prevail because I know we're here having a conversation. So you did well.
[00:53:11] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I slid behind the driver's seat and he reached over toward the glovebox and I grabbed him and threw him back to his seat because I figured he had a knife or a gun in there or something and that's when he made it faster—
[00:53:21] For more, including the most important thing we can do to cut potentially threatening people out of our lives forever, check out episode 329 with Gavin de Becker.
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