It didn’t bring back any particularly traumatic memories when your older brother confessed that he molested you when you were children. Would it be worth the possibility of dredging up a painful past through therapy to heal wounds you aren’t even aware you’ve been carrying, or should you just shut this confession out of your thoughts and hope the memories remain unattainable? We’ll try to find an answer to this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Is it worth dredging up repressed memories of childhood abuse in therapy, or should such trauma stay buried and forgotten? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- Is it unreasonable that the respect you’ve had for your friend of 20 years dwindles the further down the woo-woo rabbit hole she falls?
- You inappropriately used humor in an attempt to defuse a traumatic event from your coworker’s past. Now this person will barely speak to you, and you’ve even gotten the cold shoulder from some of your shared peers. You feel guilty; how can you make this right?
- You married the mother of your children for the sake of convenience and health insurance, but you’ve never been a good fit for each other — and the situation’s not improved over time. A divorce would be ideal for you, but would it be right for the kids?
- One of your wife’s friends from high school just died. You want to be supportive of her in her time of grief, but you’re not sure how to authentically mourn someone you don’t even know.
- 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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Voices for Justice is a true crime podcast hosted by Sarah Turney. It doesn’t just tell stories in need of justice; it asks you, the listener, to be a part of getting justice for the victims discussed. Listen here or wherever you find fine podcasts!
Miss the conversation we had with Hollywood leading man and musician Dennis Quaid? Catch up with episode 279: Dennis Quaid | Sharks, a Bear, and a Banjo here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Jason Feifer | Build for Tomorrow | Jordan Harbinger
- Brian Brushwood | Scam Your Way into Anything | Jordan Harbinger
- My Healing Journey After Childhood Abuse (Includes Extensive Resource List) | The Tim Ferriss Show #464
- The Meeting | Analyze This
- Dr. Erin Margolis | Website
- How COVID’s Deadly Conspiracy Theories Cost One Woman Her Life | NPR
- Reiki Healing | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Taiwanese Baozhong Tea | Amazon
- Should You Confess You Know He’s Not Your Dad? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- How Am I Funny? | Goodfellas
- Her Beau is Faux, But She Doesn’t Know | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Grief Day By Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss by Jan Warner | Amazon
723: Should I Relive the Drama of Childhood Trauma? | 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 dose of fair trade ashwagandha lowering your blood pressure around all these life crises, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. Our mission on this 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.
[00:00:41] If you're new to the show, on Fridays, that's today, we give advice to you. We answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. This week, we had Jason Feifer on why we fear, change, and fear new technology. He and I go way back. This is kind of a fun one. He's a great speaker, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine as well. He put me on the cover once and that's all you really need to do to get in my good graces for life. And Brian Brushwood from the vault on scams and the psychology of fraud and deception, always a favorite topic here on the show.
[00:01:18] So make sure you've had a look and a listen to everything that we created for you here this week. As always, there's some fun ones and some doozies and I can't wait to dive in. Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:01:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabriel, a few years ago, my older brother and I were chatting about our relationships and he said he was happy to hear that I was in a healthy relationship and that I'm totally accepting of my sexuality and my sex life. He told me that he worried about that sometimes because when we were little, he molested me. This caught me totally off guard. I suddenly remembered tiny flashes of sexualized moments with my brother, but nothing that was too crazy, more just like kids exploring their bodies and being curious. But in the same moment, I was also freaking out like, "Holy sh*t. What? What is he doing? What is he talking about?" I quickly shut the conversation down, told him that I don't really remember what he's talking about. That I'm fine and he doesn't have to feel guilty that I really don't want him to hold onto that anymore. I don't want to talk about it again. He checked that I was sure I didn't want to talk about it and then dropped it. We haven't talked about it since. The problem is I haven't been able to stop thinking about what he said for years although I have a loving and supportive partner who brings me great pleasure and is super understanding. I have a lot of difficulty being vulnerable during sex, and it's rare that I climax. There are also certain positions or movements that instantly take me out of the moment and I totally shut down. Now, I can't help, but think that these might be related to events from my childhood that I blocked out. At the same time, I don't really remember what my brother was alluding to and I'm not sure if I want to. For the most part, I don't think it plays a big role in my life. And while I'm totally a fan of therapy and working through things from the past, I do both. I don't want to give weight to something that doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. I'm not sure I agree with digging up something from the past and potentially traumatizing myself just for the sake of acknowledging that it happened to me. My fear is that it will severely affect my current sex life, which I'm really happy with. On the other hand, part of me wonders if there's more to what happened than just a few flashes that I had. I'm aware that I could be avoiding my past out of fear and shame. Should I be more intentional about digging up my past to see how it could be affecting me now? Should I go back to my brother and ask him to elaborate on what happened and should I potentially ruin my relationship with my boyfriend for the sake of knowing more about what happened to me as a child? Signed, A Gasp At This Past But Steadfast That It Didn't Last.
[00:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. All right. Well, first of all, I want to thank you for being so open with us here. This is very intense stuff that you're sharing. I can imagine how vulnerable it must be to even confront this, let alone talk about it with us. Being abused as a child or experiencing something on the abuse spectrum, I know this case is somewhat ambiguous going through something like that is very intense and very, yeah, confusing. What happened? What didn't happen? What's impacting me now? What's not really playing a role in my life? It's a lot to process. And I just want to say that I really admire that willingness on your part. I don't know, I would probably just ignore it, but not that that's what you should do. That's just what I think most people would do, including me, at least in the beginning. So it doesn't surprise me that you went that route.
[00:04:37] It's interesting, Gabe, like a lot of the letters we get on the show, there's this huge conflict here. "I don't remember. I suddenly remember. I quickly shut this conversation down. I can't stop thinking about what happened."
[00:04:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm. Yeah.
[00:04:49] Jordan Harbinger: "I don't want to give weight to something that doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. Actually, it might be showing up in my sex life now, but I'm also really happy with my sex life, but also I just might be too afraid and ashamed to go near this topic. Who knows?" It's like the angel, the devil on your shoulder.
[00:05:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. You can almost hear the two halves of her battling it out in this letter.
[00:05:06] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. And it's interesting. She's already onto herself. She goes to therapy. She's willing to do this kind of work. She's aware she could be avoiding her past, but she's still paralyzed. And given what she's been through, I actually think that that's very normal. Like I said, it takes a lot of courage to even be considering this. It's one of those, maybe let sleeping dogs lie kind of situations. And I understand that gut reaction as well.
[00:05:31] But look, we're not experts in this area. We wanted to talk to an actual expert. So we reached out to Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist and friend of the show.
[00:05:40] Dr. Ben Sobel: "I'm also known to the people who know me the best as the f*cking doctor." (Analyze This)
[00:05:45] Jordan Harbinger: And Dr. Margolis confirmed that what you went through, whether it was overtly malicious or more innocent, that's a uniquely violating experience. As Dr. Margolis put it, an experience like this, it can send the signal that the people who are supposed to love and protect you can become the people who hurt you. And that's a really confusing message for a young person. It can confuse the attachment system. It can create a lot of shame and down the line in many cases, it can make you think that feeling pleasure or finding yourself in a vaguely similar situation, that that's somehow wrong. And I'm not saying you necessarily feel that way all the time, but when you said that certain things in bed could lead you to shut down, it's not hard to wonder whether there might be some connection between what happened to you as a child and what you're experiencing with your partner now.
[00:06:36] So Dr. Margolis' perspective on whether to explore your past after an experience like this is, yes. That would be a good idea because the reality is this clearly is affecting you, whether you know it or not. I know you said, you're not sure you agree with digging up the past. You might just retraumatize yourself, but you're already traumatized or at least profoundly affected by this experience. So I'm not sure talking about this in therapy is going to make you more traumatized. But as Dr. Margolis explained, it is possible that things could get harder before they get better, because that's actually the nature of working through trauma. But Dr. Margolis also pointed out that one of the things that maintains the symptoms of disorders and distress is avoidance.
[00:07:20] So if you continue to avoid this topic, it could easily lurk in the background of your life. It might continue to show up in your relationships, in bed, in your mind, possibly in ways you don't even realize. I mean, look, you said it yourself, you haven't been able to stop thinking about this for years. That's a very clear sign that there's something unresolved here. You already know the more you try to suppress something, the more power it has over you. The more time and energy goes into thinking about it or trying not to think about it, but finally working through it that might free up a ton of mental, emotional energy. The fear and shame you described — I think those are real and I agree that they're making it hard to address this. But those feelings, they are absolutely worth working through. And I wouldn't be surprised if the fear and the shame were also playing a role in other parts of your life, possibly blocking you or holding you back in ways that you just might not fully appreciate yet.
[00:08:17] So, Dr. Margolis' general approach in situations like this, when you're ready, talk to your therapist. You don't have to start with your most traumatic memory. You can dip your toe in the water and go from there. You clearly have some ambivalence about bringing it up. And Dr. Margolis said that's a perfectly acceptable place to start just by acknowledging the conflict expressing how hard it is to go near this and inviting your therapist to help you explore it. She also recommends finding some good resources to help you cope as you work through this. Your boyfriend sounds like a really solid guy. Somebody you trust, maybe he can be a sounding board and a source of support for you as you go through this. But I would also look for a trusted friend, maybe some support groups, there's books on this topic. There's a whole world of resources out there for somebody in your shoes.
[00:09:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm so glad you brought up her boyfriend, Jordan, because he really does sound like an important person in her life. That's like a central piece of this puzzle and the relationship has some challenges, but it's also really supportive and loving, but I thought it was interesting in her letter, she actually asks, "Should I potentially ruin my relationship with my boyfriend for the sake of knowing more about what happened to me as a child?" And I think that question already says so much about how she thinks about this event, because it's totally possible that by talking about what happened to her as a child, it could bring her closer with her boyfriend, or it could give him a chance to step up and support her in a new way or to understand her better. Who knows? It could even make their sex life better if she could unpack and resolve some of this unresolved trauma from her past.
[00:09:46] So I just wanted to call that out because I get the sense that she thinks that the deck is stacked against her or like that the gun is loaded, so to speak. Like, "If I even go near this, I might lose my whole relationship with my boyfriend." But in reality, the opposite might be true. It might give her more clarity, more intimacy, more connectedness with the people in her life, by going into the difficult past.
[00:10:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a really good point. I do think some of that anyway is the fear and the shame talking. As for your other question, should you ask your brother to elaborate on what happened? Dr. Margolis' insight was that you might be getting ahead of yourself there. Your best bet is to probably talk about it in therapy first, then you and your therapist can explore next steps together. Figure out if and when to talk to your brother, what your goal would be in that conversation. But my take is you probably don't need him to elaborate in order to start making sense of this, especially if talking to him about this is still very painful.
[00:10:41] So there you have it, the good doctor and the boys on the pod, all think that the best thing you can do is start unpacking this. And I know how hard that must be. I know it's scary and unpleasant, but I do believe that that's where you're going to find the understanding and the relief that you're looking for at a minimum. You'll find out whether these vague memories are really as impactful as they seem, but in all likelihood, you'll probably explore a ton of formative experiences and start to appreciate how they inform your life now. And I think that is hugely important, no matter what. There are only good things on the other side of this, I really do believe that, and high on that list to Gabe's point, is an even closer, more honest relationship with your partner, which you obviously value a lot, not to mention a stronger relationship with yourself. So yeah, I hope you get to do that.
[00:11:30] Big, thanks as always to Dr. Margolis for her wisdom. Dr. Margolis is seeing patients in Los Angeles and virtually throughout California. You can learn more about her and how she works at drerinmargolis.com. That's D-R-erinmargolis.com.
[00:11:44] You know what you'll never want to repress, Gabriel? The amazing deals from the sponsors that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:11:53] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online therapy. I used to have a bad habit of complaining and I mean about freaking everything. I wasn't like that to begin with. I used to be so positive, but an old business partner complained pretty much nonstop, it was the way that he related to everyone, including me. And after spending years together, I think over a decade, it rubbed off on me. Complaining rewired my brain for negativity. It didn't solve any of the problems I had. It took me a long time to deprogram that initial impulse, that reaction to literally every issue in my life. After seeking the help of a therapist, she helped me extricate myself from the situation and things have improved so much ever since then. If you've ever thought of giving therapy a try, Better Help is really amazing. It's all virtual. You do it from the comfort of your own home, any hour of the day, any time zone you're in. Get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey. And if you don't jive with your therapist switch at any time, no extra charge. Jen requested a therapist with at least two kids, so she could understand her perspective as a new mom and Better Help made a great match the first time around. I think it took about 15 minutes to get matched as well. And she looks forward to her sessions every single week.
[00:12:57] 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.
[00:13:08] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Wrkout. After interviewing over a thousand people over the years, one thing I've noticed successful people have in common is that they are short on excuses. Billionaires have the same 24 hours a day as everybody else. I've always been a little bit of a chubby guy. And a couple of years ago, I decided to change that. My friend Curtis, who is an amazing athlete, started an online virtual training company and offered to give me a couple of free sessions. It's been life-changing. Those couple of free sessions turned into going on two years of training multiple times per week. I want to be able to keep up with my three-year-old, my baby girl. I want to be able to get up off the floor and I want to live longer. And I've lost a bunch of fat. I'm stronger than I've ever been. It's actually kind of nice because people always say, "Oh, when I was younger, I could do a hundred of these." And I'm like, "Wow. When I was younger, I probably couldn't have even gotten into this position." So me doing 20 or 50 now feels pretty good. Trust me, it's not easy. I used to come up with reasons to cancel the first training sessions. I thought it was going to be really, really hard and barfy, you know, sore. That was not the case. I thought I'll stick with it for a month, three months. And here we are, again, it's almost two years. I'm close with my trainers. I can't overstate the changes in my physique, my mindset, and my health markers and my blood markers, everything. And yeah, I'm in great shape now, at least according to my trainer, Chad, who has the most trainer name ever. I'm always improving. I've got abs now. I've never had abs I didn't even believe they were back there, but there they were. So if you want to see what highly vetted world-class personal training can do for you, check out wrkout.com/jordan. That's W-R-K-O-U-T.com/jordan. It's workout without the first O and if you need me to refer you, you can email me. I'm happy to do that.
[00:14:47] Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show. These conversations, they keep me going, but the lights, unfortunately, those bills need to be paid by sponsors. If you want to help support the show, please do check out the sponsors for yourself. jordanharbinger.com/deals has a searchable page with everything. You can also search for any sponsor using the search box on the website as well at jordanharbinger.com. So please consider supporting those who support this show.
[00:15:11] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:15:15] All right, what's next?
[00:15:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. My best friend of over 20 years and I have supported each other through many major life changes. I adore her husband and her teenage daughter, and I can't imagine not having them in my life. The thing is my friend has always been skeptical of mainstream medicine, questioning the motives of doctors and the government when it comes to things like vaccines and adding fluoride to the drinking water. Most recently she refused to get the COVID vaccine, but thankfully, she did allow her daughter and her immunocompromised husband to get it. She knows that I support vaccination, that I believe in science and the mainstream narrative. Over our friendship, she supported me without judgment and allowed me to be me. So I've tried to give her the same space to be herself. Two years ago, she signed up for an online Reiki training. Then quit her retail job. Now, she offers energy therapy and card readings—
[00:16:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:16:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: —and has started hosting classes where she teaches people to communicate with plants and angels. She also claims to have a team of angels that literally talk to her.
[00:16:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:16:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: And guide her in her energy practice.
[00:16:21] Jordan Harbinger: You can't just have one angel, you know?
[00:16:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:16:23] Jordan Harbinger: You can't. That would be — you need a whole squad.
[00:16:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's always claimed to be able to see ghosts and to feel a direct energy from plants, crystals, and the universe.
[00:16:33] Jordan Harbinger: Feel that eucalyptus energy.
[00:16:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: We tend to avoid these subjects so that we don't have to disagree with each.
[00:16:40] Yeah, no kidding.
[00:16:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, right, yeah. My eyes are actually stuck, rolled in the back of my head. Hold on.
[00:16:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: The thing is, I don't think she's succumbing to mental illness. I've always seen her as a smart, skeptical person. So I suspect that she knows her claims are bogus.
[00:16:55] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:16:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: But doesn't want to go back to working retail when people will shell out hundreds of dollars to watch her flip cards and talk bullsh*t.
[00:17:03] Jordan Harbinger: Even worse, "I used to think she was just going crazy, but now I just realized she's a con artist." Got it. Okay.
[00:17:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Which one is worse? That's an interesting question.
[00:17:09] Jordan Harbinger: It's definitely — I have my opinion here. Yeah.
[00:17:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I'm conflicted about her work. On one hand, her clients are adults who pay for her services voluntarily, but on the other, she's taking advantage of people who could pay for a legitimate therapist who might actually help them. I now find myself pulling further and further away from her as my respect for her dwindles. But I don't want to lose my relationship with her husband and her daughter. How do I reconcile my love for my friend and her family with my increasing disdain for her profession? Should I let her know that I don't believe in her powers and her team of angels for my own peace of mind? Or should I just get over it in the interest of maintaining what's left of our relationship? Signed, Serving Some Serious Side Eye at My One and Only Ride or Die.
[00:17:53] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh boy, this whole letter is just a smorgasbord of WTF nonsense.
[00:18:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:18:00] Jordan Harbinger: If you listen to the show regularly, you probably already know how I feel about all of that stuff, the anti-science stuff, the angel stuff, communicating with the universe, the Reiki healing. We actually did a whole Skeptical Sunday about Reiki. That was episode 664. And man, did I get a lot of hate mail from some goofballs, especially on that one. I'm obviously very skeptical about this type of stuff.
[00:18:22] I don't know about, Gabe. You know, you live in LA. You probably order organic baojing tea from specialty retailers. Maybe you have a bit of a different angle here.
[00:18:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, I haven't told you about the angels that talk to me.
[00:18:33] Jordan Harbinger: No, you did not mention that.
[00:18:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I talk to angels. It's not a big deal. It's just a thing in my life.
[00:18:38] Jordan Harbinger: We're getting some big Josh energy right there.
[00:18:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. They help me prep for Feedback Friday every week. So it's like a whole team over here.
[00:18:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah. You got to have that whole squad. I stand corrected.
[00:18:47] This episode — brought to you in part by the small army of cherubs floating around Gabriel's apartment.
[00:18:53] But seriously, this is a lot to accept. I won't get into all of your friends' beliefs here. Let's just put aside for a moment, the fact that freaking Amber over here is stirring her lattes with crystals and talking to her cactus or whatever, because that's not, that's not even really your question. Your question is—
[00:19:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: You think of her for a cactus gal, huh?
[00:19:14] Jordan Harbinger: For sure. A cactus gal. Yeah. I mean, she probably lives in an apartment. You can't put a whole lot of plants in an apartment.
[00:19:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm seeing a lot of snake plants in this lady's apartment.
[00:19:20] Jordan Harbinger: Snake plants? Yeah.
[00:19:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: They are not very talkative snake plants.
[00:19:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:19:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I would. Your question is how do you preserve a relationship with somebody who holds beliefs that are radically different from yours and who has values that are radically different from yours, especially when those beliefs are about things you can't debate rationally? It's not like economics or philosophy where you can point to data or an argument. It's just, you know, I feel the vibes, man. It's really hard.
[00:19:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is. Yeah.
[00:19:48] Jordan Harbinger: So first off, I think it's important to get clear on whether there's still a basis for this friendship that's deeper than these beliefs and practices. Can you guys still talk about meaningful stuff together? Can you laugh together? Do you still respect her perspectives outside of her work? Are you able to have a good relationship with her husband and her daughter that isn't infected by all this woo-woo stuff? If so, it'll be a lot easier to reconcile your love for her, with your disdain for her profession, but it will probably require you to do some mental gymnastics. You might have to deliberately overlook Amber's beliefs or release the frustration you feel. Or just stay away from topics that'll set you off. Just like that cousin at Thanksgiving who thinks Joe Biden is being played by an actor and wants you to buy his NFT collection or whatever.
[00:20:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: I hear you Jordan, but, oh, that's a tricky dance because—
[00:20:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Then you're sort of quarantining the friendship, no pun intended, to topics that are safe and you're censoring yourself. I'm saying certain things or asking certain questions just to like keep the peace. And you're also sort of censoring the other person from saying certain things because you know, it'll be super awkward. So then it's like, is that even a real friendship anymore?
[00:20:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's a good point. And I agree if you have to do all of that, it might mean that the friendship just doesn't work anymore. But I do believe that there are certain relationships and they can be good relationships that do function well on certain levels and just not so much on others. And maybe that's where these two are.
[00:21:16] The challenge though, is when someone's career becomes an entire lifestyle and worldview. For example, you have a friend who has a traditional job. They come home at night and surf Reddit and get interested in zany conspiracy theories as a sort of casual hobby. Maybe you can overlook that, but when your friend is making medical choices for herself and her family that are informed by dangerous nonsense and/or pseudoscience or believes that she really does have these supernatural powers with no training and no evidence, no real evidence. Or only wants to do Reiki sessions instead of a beach day or whatever. It just becomes a lot harder to dismiss.
[00:21:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's true. Then it's in your face constantly. And it sort of is the entire friendship.
[00:21:57] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. So again, is that all there is now, or is there substance to this friendship beyond all this crap?
[00:22:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, I have to say that's one point in favor of this friend. She knows that the woman writing in supports vaccination, that she believes in science and the mainstream narrative as she put it and she supported her without judgment. So that might be the saving grace of this friendship.
[00:22:17] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. That's definitely encouraging, but is the woman writing in really able to respect her friend's choices too? Like she said, she feels like her friend is actually conning her clients, which is something we hadn't touched on yet, but probably is one of the more important elements here. Her respect for her is dwindling. And hey, I get it. I have the same reaction. But if outwardly you're like, "We've been best friends for 20 years. I love you." But in your head, you're like, "You're bad sh*t up your own ass and a total charlatan, who's just ripping people off. You're a bad person." Then the whole friendship at that point, what is it? It's a lie.
[00:22:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's a layer of deception, self-deception, yeah, it's complicated. So look, there is another option here, which is to talk to your friend about all of this, her beliefs, her work, your skepticism, your concern about all of that.
[00:23:01] I know that probably seems scary, but it would be a really interesting test of this friendship. If you said something like, "Listen, we've been friends for 20 years. I love you. I love your family. Our friendship means a lot to me, but there's something I've been struggling with, which is, I don't really understand all of this stuff you're into now. If it makes you happy and it gives you meaning, great, I'm all for it. But I just don't know how to feel about the card readings. I don't know what to make of the fact that you have a team of angels in your apartment. That you talk to plants in the universe. Honestly, it's just hard for me to wrap my head around that and it does bring up a few ethical questions for me. And the reason I bring this up is I don't want to walk on eggshells around you. I want us to be able to talk about everything, and I guess I'm a little confused because I've always seen you as a smart, skeptical person. So it's hard for me to square that with you talking to angels and ghosts and using crystals and all that stuff. So help me understand," right? That kind of thing. "Between us, how much do you actually believe in all of this stuff? What evidence do you have that you're able to do this kind of work? Do you have any qualms about what your clients are getting from you? Am I missing something?"
[00:24:08] And then maybe you guys can have an open conversation about it. I know that seems risky. I know it seems like you're almost impugning her work or kind of like casually insulting it, but I actually think it would be fascinating to put her on the spot a little bit without being judgemental or aggressive.
[00:24:22] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, yeah, that would be interesting, but something tells me, Amber is not going to like that too much.
[00:24:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, that's, what's interesting about this because Amber might be like, "Honestly, I get it. My work is kind of out there and yes, I really do believe in this stuff, but I'm also kind of playing it up. My clients do expect that, but also I really do help them and the truth is I'd much rather do this than sell t-shirts at Hot Topic.
[00:24:46] Jordan Harbinger: You know, she worked at Hot Topic.
[00:24:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: She either worked at Hot Topic or she worked at one of those stores that sell like bougie succulent arrangements next to $200 coffee table books about following your bliss.
[00:24:58] Jordan Harbinger: I feel like you're just describing your apartment right now.
[00:25:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow. Okay. I feel both seen and attacked at the same time.
[00:25:06] Jordan Harbinger: Well, that is our mission here on Feedback Friday. And you are not exempt from that.
[00:25:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fair enough.
[00:25:10] Jordan Harbinger: I see what you're getting at though. Like if Amber can actually engage, then she'll know whether there's a friendship worth salvaging.
[00:25:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, exactly. Then you'll still have your reservations, but at least you guys can both acknowledge the truth and there's an open line of communication and that's the level on which your friendship survives.
[00:25:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:25:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: But if Amber gets super defensive and she goes on like a 40-minute diatribe about the paranormal, the cups card, and she can't even entertain your question, then that will tell you a lot. Then you'll know for sure that A, she's 100 percent identified with this new career and she's determined to defend it. And B, she doesn't have the self-awareness or basic respect to acknowledge another person's angle on it and just talk it out with you. And then I think you'll know more about whether you can reconcile your love for her, with how she makes her money.
[00:25:56] Jordan Harbinger: I'm starting to like that approach, Gabe. It's an interesting litmus test for their friendship because as long as she approaches her with curiosity and openness, Amber can't turn around and accuse her of being a hater or whatever. She'll actually have to go on record and explain some stuff.
[00:26:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, exactly. But, you know, I do feel for this woman because there is more at stake here. If she and Amber end up parting ways, then she'll lose her relationship with the husband and the daughter and that's tough. That's sad.
[00:26:22] Jordan Harbinger: Look, I hate to say this. I know it sucks, but that might be the price she pays for holding her friend to certain ethical and rational standards or just, you know, standing by her values.
[00:26:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. But Jordan, to her, that's like losing a niece. It's like losing her brother-in-law. Like, that's a big sacrifice.
[00:26:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But what is she supposed to do? Pretend that her friend isn't nuts or a con artist so that she can come over for dinner and watch Love Island with the family. I mean, look, I'm all for avoiding drama, but it's a bit of a stretch.
[00:26:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Okay. It's a fair point. I guess it comes down to, what's more important to her being authentic or being close with these people.
[00:26:56] Jordan Harbinger: I am with team authenticity and I find it hard, really hard to ignore a bunch of bullsh*t just because I have a history with somebody. That's just me. She might have a different lens here. I say, give that a shot. Just be prepared for whatever comes back and know that you might have to integrate some new data about your friend, but that's ultimately a good thing. Long term, to know how you feel about somebody and to prioritize them in your life accordingly.
[00:27:21] So good luck. We're sending you, your friend, and her posse of angels are best thoughts,
[00:27:27] Gabe. I don't know. You know, I was thinking about this. What's worse actually believing in a bunch of stuff that's totally kooky or not believing in it but still doing this because it's making you money.
[00:27:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:27:36] Jordan Harbinger: And my conclusion is really not believing it, but still doing it because it's making you money because succumbing to cognitive bias and then turning it into a career, thereby, reinforcing that cognitive bias. That's not great. You should be able to get around that, but it doesn't make you a bad person. It just makes you a little bit misguided. And also, I recognize that maybe I'm being a little bit judgey here because some people might really be helped by that. They're really into it. It gives them hope, whatever, yada, yada.
[00:28:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:28:01] Jordan Harbinger: But if you're just like, "Yeah, this is a bunch of bullsh*t but look at these idiots who pay for it," then you're a bad person.
[00:28:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:28:07] Jordan Harbinger: You've got con artist.
[00:28:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Whether it's real or not—
[00:28:09] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:28:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: —you believe in it or not. Yeah, it's like, you're not treating your clients in your work with much respect if that's how you feel.
[00:28:15] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:28:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is such an interesting point because what are the clients getting out of it? I think the woman writing in is assuming the worst, which is that she's just pulling one over on these people, completely making up the card readings and just getting like 300 bucks by Venmo and just laughing her way to the bank.
[00:28:28] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:28:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: But if these clients are — I mean, look, even if it turns out that it's not really that real or whatever, but if these clients are getting interesting insights or they're making connections, I'm not saying it's better than therapy, but if they get something out of it, maybe fair enough. I think that matters too.
[00:28:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's definitely not better than real therapy, but if it's giving people entertainment, plus, okay, as long as everybody's intentions are in the right place. I'm just not convinced that somebody who was skeptical their whole life and rational their whole life suddenly discovered this. And it's like, "Let me throw everything I know about critical thinking out the freaking window. Oh, and thereby make a ton of money doing it. Oh yeah, no, I totally believe in all this. I'm just very—" I'm skeptical that she's no longer skeptical. I think she's at best willingly, putting aside her critical thinking to make money and at worst is doing so because she knows she can make money doing it. And she doesn't give a crap if it's real or not. That's what I'm worried about.
[00:29:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: And can you be friends with that person?
[00:29:22] Jordan Harbinger: I couldn't do it, but I also understand the predicament she's in. If you went kooky, I'd be like, ah, crap, what am I going to do? Now, I got to replace my Feedback Friday producer and something, something, get a new best friend, whatever.
[00:29:35] You can reach us at email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. And if there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you need a new perspective on your life, love, work. How to tell your dad that he's not actually your biological dad and you know about it, even though he is on his deathbed? Whatever has you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:30:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I recently landed a truly incredible job. I really love my coworkers. And one of them made a huge effort to connect with me outside of work. We developed a friendship and ended up bonding over the fact that we had both experienced a very similar traumatic event in our past. I use a joke to cope method with my past. And I've joked about this event around the office when the topic arises. My coworker always laughed and went along with it. So one day, I made a lighthearted, but still off-color joke about her past. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had gone too far. I immediately apologized, but the damage was done. Since then, she's avoided me almost completely. And I've noticed that a few other coworkers have also been cooler with me as well. It was even briefly mentioned in my performance review. I don't think that management knows the specifics, but it was still very rattling to know that the situation has made it that far up the chain. This coworker is someone I really admired and she's also just an all-around wonderful person. We work on the same team. So day-to-day interaction is unavoidable. She's been extremely professional at work, but it's clear that things are badly damaged. It's been over a month now and I still feel so guilty. Should I continue to give her space or try to sort things out? And how do I handle the situation at work, knowing that this is the reason my other coworkers are distancing themselves from me? Signed, Removing This Foot From My Mouth Without Causing Things to Go South.
[00:31:29] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, this is a really interesting one, Gabe. I can picture exactly how this moment went down. You can almost see this colleague's face draining and the whole office, just going dead quiet with the wide eye, look around who else heard that kind of thing. It's like that scene in Good Fellas or something.
[00:31:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:31:45] Jordan Harbinger: But before we dive in, Gabe, I'm so curious what this woman said to her.
[00:31:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same. I kind of want the tea here.
[00:31:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, maybe they both lost a parent or they were both in some kind of accident. Or maybe it was even darker, like an assault or something like that. And it was just really dicey to joke with her about it.
[00:32:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It could be. In which case, I can imagine why the colleague responded the way she did. I mean, that probably has more to do with some unresolved trauma on her end. Not this woman's fault really entirely—
[00:32:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:32:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: —but still you can understand, maybe.
[00:32:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But I got to say I'm kind of frustrated on this woman's behalf, the woman writing in, I mean because she wasn't trying to be hurtful. She's cracking a joke, which is how she deals with difficult things. She saw real signs that this colleague was able to have a laugh too, and it just misfired. And yeah, she apologizes immediately. She obviously didn't mean anything by it, but now the colleague is holding it against her and so are all these other people. And now their bosses know about it, which means people are talking and the situation is just really spun out of control. And that sucks.
[00:32:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: It sucks. I'm having the same reaction, like, okay, someone makes an off-color joke, they hit a nerve. It happens. If they apologize and they actually mean it, like give them another chance. Like this woman isn't malicious, she just put her foot in her mouth. And for reasons that were somewhat understandable. I'm with you, I'm feeling kind of protective of her.
[00:33:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Same. But whether it was justified or not, this is the situation she finds herself in. So here's what I would do. I would send this colleague a brief email and basically say, "Look, it's been a month. I still feel awful about what I said. I just want to sincerely apologize again. I know my joke hurt your feelings and that just wasn't my intention whatsoever. I value our friendship. I think very highly of you. And I'd really appreciate the chance to talk to you about what happened. So we can work through it together," something along those lines. And I know you already apologized, but it's possible that she just needs to hear it again, a little more formally or in some different way for it to land.
[00:33:40] Hopefully, she agrees to grab lunch or something. And then you guys can have a real conversation and just sort of hash it out. If this were me, I would ask her what it felt like when you made that joke. Give her a chance to explain why this is such a tender spot for her and make a real effort to understand her. Then you're in a much better position to say, "Okay, I totally hear you. I get it. And again, I'm really sorry that my joke hurt you, but please understand. I wasn't trying to do any of that. You know, that I joke about this stuff myself sometimes. That's just how I deal with difficult events. And now that I know how you feel, I won't do it again."
[00:34:17] If I heard that I would have a hard time not forgiving someone.
[00:34:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, so would I. I agree completely. And that's a really nice approach, but I'm a little bit worried about the damage that's already been done with her other colleagues. Like how is she supposed to fix things with management? That's rough.
[00:34:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it adds this whole unnecessary third dimension to the whole thing. I mean, look, she could just tell her bosses what happened. And tell them she patched things up with this woman. I know that's even awkward, but if they're going to ding her for something like this in a performance review, then I think it's fair for her to set the record straight.
[00:34:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Good point in a way that's actually easier than dealing with their other colleagues because what does she do? Go up to them each individually in the kitchenette and say, "You know, just so you know, Angela and I work this out. She's not mad at me anymore. I'd really appreciate it if you start inviting me to happy hour again," or whatever, it's just so high school.
[00:35:06] Jordan Harbinger: It is so high school, but workplaces are pretty high school sometimes. And you're right.
[00:35:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:35:11] Jordan Harbinger: That does seem petty. My gut is telling me that she shouldn't try to win these people over, just focus on Angela. That's the relationship that she needs to repair.
[00:35:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Then when they see her and Angela yucking it up in the kitchen again, they'll probably drop the grudge and forget what happened. And if anyone asks, she can always explain the story, what happened, but she doesn't need to do like a whole PR campaign.
[00:35:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. It's exhausting even thinking about it. The best thing she can do is just patch things up with her and just keep being great at her job. The rest will eventually fall into its place on its own.
[00:35:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: And, you know, if Angela's the one who gossiped about this whole thing to these other colleagues, which by the way, not a cool move—
[00:35:48] Jordan Harbinger: Not cool.
[00:35:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: —on Angela's part. That's part of the reason I'm mostly on this woman's side here. Angela will probably tell everybody that they're cool again. She seems to have a lot of influence in this office. She's well respected. So I'm guessing that other people in the office probably take her lead most of the time.
[00:36:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point. I'm sure that office politics are playing a big role here — again, so high school, but also very typical. So give this apology one more shot. If this woman still won't forgive you or let you back into the cool kids club then, yeah, you'll know you've done everything you can and she's being unreasonable. And then you can focus on your work and trust that the two of you can be professional enough to just make that work.
[00:36:25] For what it's worth, I hope you don't lose your sense of humor. You might have to dial it back a little at the office. Maybe it'd be a little more cautious when you joke around with new people, but being able to laugh at yourself and move through life with some levity, I personally think that's a superpower. So don't let this whole thing throw you. Hang onto that at least for yourself and good luck.
[00:36:46] Gabe, I like to poke fun at people, especially myself. So whenever possible or whenever I'm not a hundred percent sure something is okay. I just make myself the target of the joke instead of somebody else. That's helped me avoid this kind of stuff in the past. And Jen has even—
[00:37:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:37:01] Jordan Harbinger: —even said before, when I make fun of somebody, she's like, "Oh, that one maybe didn't go over as well. Like some people were cringing," and I'm like, you know, the way to just never have to worry about that is to always — if I'm the target, then nobody else can really get mad.
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. Yeah. But you know, also what bothers me about this is like, everybody likes to laugh until it's their turn to be the butt of the joke. And then it's like, "Oh no, that's not okay."
[00:37:24] Jordan Harbinger: Beyond the pale.
[00:37:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:37:25] Jordan Harbinger: How dare you?
[00:37:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's like, why does this woman get to laugh at the woman writing in when she makes a joke about it, but when it's her turn, she can't? I mean, look, we don't know what she went through.
[00:37:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:37:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe her situation was different. Maybe she hasn't gone to therapy and talked about it yet. Maybe, actually, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe the thing that she didn't like was that other people were around.
[00:37:44] Jordan Harbinger: I was just thinking that like, "Hey, we can joke about being kind of X, Y, Z, or having this horrible thing happen to us in college but I didn't want all 27 people on our floor to hear that.
[00:37:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:37:55] Jordan Harbinger: Now, I've got a freaking, be like, "Oh, she was just making that all up and joking. Totally not a real thing that happened to me, everybody," awkward head down.
[00:38:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's got to be a huge part of this.
[00:38:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, because this woman is very well respected. She has authority in the office. Maybe that's like a big problem for her, for people to know this very delicate part of her past, or—
[00:38:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:38:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: —to see her as the object of a joke in the workplace or something like that. I still think she's being unreasonable, but that could explain why she reacted the way she did. And if so, that would be a great thing to talk about in that lunch meeting.
[00:38:24] Jordan Harbinger: Agree. You know who will always tolerate your off-color jokes? The amazing sponsors that support this show and we'll be right back.
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[00:40:45] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:40:49] All right, Gabriel, next up.
[00:40:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys. I'm 43 years old and I've been married to my wife for five years. She's 11 years younger than me and we now have two kids, a four-year-old who is born with special medical needs and a nine-month-old. We got married when we learned of our first pregnancy. And although we were never in love, it felt like the right thing to do as we didn't believe abortion was an option. And I needed to get them both under my health insurance.
[00:41:14] Ugh, that's an auspicious way to start a marriage.
[00:41:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Over the years, it's become clear. We're not a good fit. We've become tolerable roommates rather than husband and wife. And the only thing we have left in common is our unwavering devotion and love for our children. I'm now left with a devoted mother who doesn't know how to be in a mature, romantic relationship with real responsibilities other than the kids but enjoys the comfort of the lifestyle I provided. I feel that my intellectual, emotional, and sexual needs have never been met and probably never will. We also don't value the same things, such as hard work, discipline, curiosity, fiscal responsibility, cleanliness, and a healthy lifestyle.
[00:41:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[00:41:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I recognize that being a stay-at-home mother is one of the most difficult responsibilities there is, especially with a child with special needs. So I give tremendous credit to my wife for that, but I don't think that that should be a reason to neglect herself or our relationship. She's let herself go. She's developed a poor relationship with food over the years. She's gained a lot of weight to the point of developing hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, I exercise five times a week, read books, chase after personal and professional goals, and always try to self-improve. I believe I have a long life ahead of me and could find a better partner for me, but I dread the impact that divorce will have on the kids. But if I don't move on, I fear that I'll continue to be in an unfulfilling relationship for the rest of my life, or at least till the kids are grown up. How can I choose between doing what's right for me? And what's right for my kids? Signed, Bearing the Load of This Brutal Crossroads.
[00:42:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, this is a sad situation. You and your wife, you guys were sort of forced together because of this pregnancy. You probably weren't the right match. Your child was born with special needs, which by the way, that's an extraordinarily difficult responsibility and probably places a whole other level of strain on this marriage. Honestly, I feel for both of you here, especially for you, but of course, for your wife too, because the truth is if she's neglecting her health and has a problematic relationship with food and is avoiding certain responsibilities, it's probably because she's wrestling with some painful stuff herself. Maybe around your first child's health or around the state of the marriage or around what she's envisioned for her life or what she thinks she's capable of. Who knows? I'm sure there's a lot going on there. And so I have compassion for her too, even if she's responding to her life in a way that makes things more difficult.
[00:43:44] But since you are the one writing in let's focus on your side of the equation, the reality is you guys just are not a good fit anymore, possibly never were. That's a sad truth to confront, but them's the facts. And given what you've shared, I'm actually more concerned about what will happen to you and the kids if you stick around in this marriage than what might happen if you decide to leave. Now, I don't mean to be flippant about that. I know divorce is painful. It obviously does impact children. But as we've talked about on the show a bunch, I'm not convinced that sticking around in a bad marriage is better for the children than leaving, especially when you could be building a more fulfilling life on your own, chasing after these great goals of yours, being active. Maybe finding a partner who's excited about those things too.
[00:44:29] I mean, you're 43. That's my age, essentially. You have so much. You have a whole life out of you, really. I hoped I do too. That's important. I don't think that sacrificing your happiness is actually going to serve anyone. Because really what's better? Your kid's having a dad, who's modeling a healthy, fulfilling life for them and has a decent relationship with mom, but doesn't live in the house. Or your kid's having a dad who lives under the same roof, but gives one-word answers at the dinner table and is always walking around the house, just seething with resentment. I know you think you're hiding it, but you can't for long and your kids are going to pick up on it. I just don't think that you're doing them a favor if this marriage is really over.
[00:45:10] Now, if the marriage isn't really over then I would obviously encourage you and your wife to start talking about all of this. Possibly take it into couples therapy but it sounds like you guys are beyond that, which is why I'm being so blunt here.
[00:45:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I'm with you completely, but I'm getting the sense that divorce is complicated for him. Something is holding him back here. Values might play a role. Religion might play a role. I know they mentioned abortion wasn't an option. So I'm wondering if maybe that's part of the equation here. Culture obviously plays a role. Family plays a role. Of course, if you grew up in a family where divorce was unspeakable or where sacrifice and devotion were valued more than happiness, then, of course, you would feel a huge conflict about this.
[00:45:51] Jordan Harbinger: It's funny. The word devotion jumped out at me when you read the letter too. He said, "The only thing we have left in common is our unwavering devotion and love for our children." And then he said that he's now left with a devoted mother. It's an interesting word to use twice.
[00:46:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I think we're talking about a family where this idea of devotion is probably valued, very highly.
[00:46:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: And to be fair, that is a huge part of being a parent. And it's absolutely crucial when you have a child with special needs. And also, I love that he appreciates this about his wife as well. He recognizes everything she's done for their family. He admires her for that. So he's not just discounting her here completely, but it sounds like that idea of devotion often comes at his own expense. Like you have to stick with a situation that's not working because anything less would be morally wrong or dangerous or reckless.
[00:46:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. And I'm not making fun of it. I grew up this way around a lot of Catholic folks. My dad grew up Catholic. It sounds very Catholic and possibly other religions as well to just be like, "Well, I'm suffering and I made this choice. So that's just the way it has to be." And I sort of sense that maybe this is going on there. I have no real evidence other than they said they didn't believe in abortion or they got married young.
[00:47:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:47:01] Jordan Harbinger: But I feel like that's probably playing a role and I get that. I respect that, but that's what worries me here in a lot of ways. I mean, he literally said, "My intellectual, emotional, and sexual needs have never been met and probably never will."
[00:47:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. That is pretty stark.
[00:47:15] Jordan Harbinger: Pretty stark and pretty damn certain. It's so important in a marriage at least to have a few of those, like, look if things peter out in the bedroom later, because you have a bunch of kids, you can work on that stuff. But to be like, "Yeah, this was never a good fit for me. And here we are 20 years later," like dang, man.
[00:47:30] So that's my advice, our advice. I'm not saying you should pack your bags and leave tonight, but I would at least allow yourself to explore these thoughts and feelings and not shut them down out of a sense of obligation that might not truly be serving you or your family. But if you need some help doing that, hey, I would think about talking to a therapist, even if it's just for a few months to sift through all this stuff. It's a lot to process and I think it would be a big help to you.
[00:47:58] I would also go back and listen to episode 689, where we took a question. It was question three, by the way, from a veteran whose wife had cheated on him. He was thinking of sticking around for the kids, even though he was sure that it was over. His situation is very different from yours but I think a lot of the ideas we talked about apply to your situation as well. So we'll link to that one in the show notes for you, of course.
[00:48:19] Again, I'm really sorry that you're at this point, but I do think there's a much happier road ahead and a more fair one to all of you and one that doesn't have to hurt your children as much as you might think. So, good luck.
[00:48:33] All right, what's next?
[00:48:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. One of my wife's friends from high school just died. I'm religious. And I'm familiar with the phrase, "Mourn with those that mourn." My problem is that I suck at that. In fact, my initial response to the news was to make a joke about it. I'm trying to work on this, but it's really hard for me to mourn when I have zero connection to the person who passed away. How do you help others when a friend or family member has died? How can I show my wife that her friend I've never met matters to me as well? Signed, Sworn to Mourn But Torn About How to Be for Lauren Without Inviting Scorn.
[00:49:10] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man. Well, first of all, I'm really sorry to hear that your wife's friend died. That's really tough. I don't know about you, Gabe. It scares me when I hear about people our age dying because I'm like, that could have been me. I never thought about that before kids or when I was younger. And now, that I'm getting older and have kids, it's like—
[00:49:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:49:26] Jordan Harbinger: —when people die my age, I'm like, "Oh my god.
[00:49:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Life, man, it's crazy.
[00:49:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. It's actually very touching that you're reaching out to us to know how to be there for your wife right now. You know, grief is, it's such a complicated experience, right? There's no one way to do it in a way. It's an experience that's made up of so many other experiences. There's a lot going on inside that process. And when you are on the outside, it can be hard to know exactly what to do or say for somebody who's mourning.
[00:49:55] So, first of all, being there for somebody who's going through a loss and mourning the person yourself, those are two different things. You don't have to do both in order to be helpful to your wife right now. And I agree it is hard to mourn someone that you had just had zero connection with, but there's no expectation that you have to feel a certain way toward this person. All you have to do is have a kind response and authentic response. And your authentic response is, "I didn't really know this person, but my wife did, and this is a big loss for her. So I'm going to be there for her." And that's really, all you have to do is be there.
[00:50:31] Sit with your wife while she's going through it. Invite her to talk about her friend if she wants. Listen, help her work through her thoughts and her feelings, express, remorse, empathize with her. Ask her what you can do to help or ask this friend's family if that's appropriate. Even if it's something small, like setting up the house or picking up food or coordinating with the friend group or whatever it is. Again, you don't have to manufacture anything. That'll backfire anyway. It'll come across as clumsy and disingenuous.
[00:51:00] So to answer your question — how can I show my wife that her friend I've never even met matters to me as well? My take is you don't have to show your wife. This friend matters to you because she mattered to your wife and you want to be supportive of your wife right now. That's all you need to remember. Beyond that, I wouldn't really overthink it.
[00:51:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, exactly. And if all else fails, you can always just ask your wife, "Hey, is there anything I can do? Do you need anything? I'm kind of out of loss here. I don't know how to help. I want to be helpful." And let her tell you what you can do if there's anything to do.
[00:51:31] Jordan Harbinger: Totally. He doesn't have to be perfect. He just needs to be attuned, available.
[00:51:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, because it sounds like it's hard for him to know how to act during an intense time. I thought it was very interesting that his initial response to the news was to crack a joke about it.
[00:51:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Same here. That is 100 percent something I would've done when I was 23, by the way.
[00:51:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh yeah, same here. But it's like the woman from question three, right? The one who jokes to cope. When something's uncomfortable, humor is a great way to deflect or distance or to just like deal.
[00:52:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:52:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: But it's interesting, humor can often also be a way to cope with shame.
[00:52:05] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. What do you mean by that?
[00:52:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, I feel like he has some shame about not knowing what to do in a serious moment like this, and it might be putting him in touch with something pretty intense to your point, Jordan, which is that we're all going to lose people we love. And also we're all going to die one day. And so one way we deal with those thoughts is often to crack a joke, right? You feel that fear, you're incompetence, self-doubt, just that vulnerability, in general, and then you reach for a joke to put some distance between yourself and those feelings.
[00:52:34] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Yeah. He finds out his wife's good friend died, somewhere in his mind he's like, "Oh, crap. I have no idea what to say. This is so uncomfortable. I'm freaking hopeless at this." And instead of going, "Oh my god, honey. I'm so sorry. How are you feeling? What can I do?" He tries to make light of the situation, which is actually a very normal response.
[00:52:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally normal. I just bring it up as a thing he might want to explore if he wants to get better at this. You know, it's interesting. A year and a half ago, my grandmother died as you know.
[00:53:00] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: It was a big loss and like the way our friends and family turned out over the following week was incredible. Like the house was packed, people were cooking, cleaning up, pitching in. They were staying late. It was just really touching. And it made the whole experience, not just doable for us, but like actually really special. And in a weird way, it was actually really fun. We still talk about that. But when I think back on that week, I don't remember anybody doing anything, you know, quote-unquote, like big, I don't remember any huge talks about life and death and what it all means. The main thing I remember was just a bunch of people being there and just doing very simple acts of kindness and it made a huge impact on me.
[00:53:39] So I share that just to say that you don't need to overthink this. You just got to show up and just like, look for what needs doing and do it. And that's enough. Sometimes that's the best way to help people who are mourning.
[00:53:50] Jordan Harbinger: I totally agree. Because even if you have the perfect thing to say to somebody who's mourning at the end of the day, it's going to all be about those little gestures that you do. That's what counts. So focus on that and you'll be great. And again, I'm really sorry to hear about your wife's loss. I hope she's holding up okay. We're sending both of you good thoughts.
[00:54:10] You know, by the way, Gabe, this is somewhat relevant, maybe not so much, but I've read in — I think it was that. Remember we read that book on mourning. This is ancient history now, but—
[00:54:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh yeah.
[00:54:18] Jordan Harbinger: One of the key takeaways from one of the chapters was that when somebody dies right away, there's this rush. Two weeks after, everybody's there, maybe even four weeks after, but like—
[00:54:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:29] Jordan Harbinger: —10, 12 weeks after—
[00:54:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:31] Jordan Harbinger: —everyone else has moved on and you're like, "Wait, I'm still really upset about the death of my friend—"
[00:54:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:54:36] Jordan Harbinger: —cousin, whatever it is.
[00:54:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:54:38] Jordan Harbinger: And so what the advice was was maybe be the person that reaches out initially, like everyone else, but also checks in—
[00:54:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:45] Jordan Harbinger: —10, 12 weeks on because almost nobody's going to do that. They're kind of like, "Okay, I'm done. I'm good with it." And it's like, "Well, no, this person's spouse died. They're still thinking about it three months later, six months later."
[00:54:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, right. She's going to be missing her friend for a while.
[00:54:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:54:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: So yeah, the most valuable part might be down the line in a few months.
[00:55:00] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:55:01] Well, hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody for listening. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Jason Feifer and Brian Brushwood if you haven't yet.
[00:55:10] Want to know how I managed to book all these great people for the show? I use software, systems, and tiny habits. And I know you probably don't have a podcast, but it doesn't matter. You still want to network, right? A non-gross way to network and maintain relationships. Our Six-Minute Networking course is free. It's on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty and build relationships before you need them. Do not try to make them after you need them. That's the stuff I wish I knew 20 years ago. This has been very crucial for my business and my personal life. Again, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:55:44] A link to the show notes for the episode is at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, and discounts, all those little codes, they're all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support us. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:56:07] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer, never was a good lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[00:56:25] Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance.
[00:56:38] Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:56:54] I wanted to give you a preview of my conversation with the legendary Dennis Quaid. We got into rejection, both in Hollywood and outside and how he brings his characters to life on screen. This is really a fun episode. I think you're going to dig it.
[00:57:10] Dennis Quaid: I didn't know at the time if I wanted to be an actor. That was back during the time when I wanted to be a veterinarian or a forest ranger — forest ranger.
[00:57:19] Jordan Harbinger: You'd be fighting fires right now.
[00:57:21] Dennis Quaid: Yes, I would. I've been evacuated from my house right now.
[00:57:23] Jordan Harbinger: Are you really?
[00:57:24] Dennis Quaid: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:24] Jordan Harbinger: I saw the smoke when I flew in this morning. And our flight originally was canceled and I was like, "You got to get me to LA. We got Dennis Quaid coming here. I can't stand him up for this bullsh*t fire.
[00:57:33] You use a lot of different accents in many of your films. I'm curious how you learn and practice those.
[00:57:38] Dennis Quaid: My brother and I grew up doing impersonations like Ed Sullivan and John Wayne and you know, everybody that was around us. So I pick up on accents badly, even. You know, like in India, I would be talking—
[00:57:52] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:57:53] Dennis Quaid: —just this way.
[00:57:53] Jordan Harbinger: Are you the guy that hears one on TV and then spends the rest of the week annoying everybody in the house?
[00:57:58] Dennis Quaid: I prepared in secret.
[00:57:59] Jordan Harbinger: So like you're in the shower going, "One more, Jimmy! One more!"
[00:58:05] Dennis Quaid: "I can't get her to cool, Captain!”
[00:58:08] Jordan Harbinger: That one's awesome. That's definitely good. There's a reason you get paid the big bucks for these and I don't that's for sure.
[00:58:13] I know music's a big part of your life. You wrote a few songs for three of your films. You've been in a band for like 20 years.
[00:58:19] Dennis Quaid: Same guys.
[00:58:20] Jordan Harbinger: Same guys?
[00:58:21] Dennis Quaid: For 19 years, this Halloween.
[00:58:23] Jordan Harbinger: Happy bandiversary!
[00:58:26] Dennis Quaid: Well, that's really good.
[00:58:28] Jordan Harbinger: You can steal that. I definitely think I just made that up just now.
[00:58:32] Dennis Quaid: Really?
[00:58:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:58:32] Dennis Quaid: I've never heard of it.
[00:58:33] Jordan Harbinger: I've also never heard of it.
[00:58:34] Dennis Quaid: Wow. That just came out.
[00:58:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:58:36] Dennis Quaid: See what happens when you relax?
[00:58:37] Jordan Harbinger: Is it true that you play with your band in bare feet?
[00:58:41] Dennis Quaid: Yes. When we first started out. The Beastie Boys, they don't wear shirts. I won't wear shoes.
[00:58:48] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Dennis Quaid, including how he uses fear to stay motivated, check out episode 279 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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