Your adult son has Asperger Syndrome, which has contributed to his naïveté in social situations and led to others taking advantage of him. Now he’s married to a woman who has served time in prison for smothering her own mother with a pillow and attempted to do the same to her ex-husband. On top of this concerning history, she also falsely accused your son of rape and assault when he tried to leave her. What can you do for your special needs son who’s been seduced by this psycho siren? 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:
- Your adult son with special needs has been tricked into marriage with a legitimate psycho killer and accused by her of rape and assault when he tried to end it. How can you help him pry free from this murderous harpy before it’s too late? [Thanks to attorney Corbin Payne, Surrounded by Psychopaths author Thomas Erikson, and clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us field this one!]
- How do you politely decline an offer to “catch up” with an old co-worker who doesn’t seem to understand that you never particularly cared for them?
- After doing a payscale salary comparison, you estimate that you make $15-20k less than the median salary for your qualifications. Would it be best for you to attempt to negotiate a raise at your current job, or bite the bullet and try to find a new job with better pay?
- Your usually non-dramatic wife has taken to breaking into tears for seemingly no reason at least once a week or so (that you know of). Could it be due to her obsession with picture-perfect Instagram influencers making her feel bad about herself?
- 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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On the True Underdog podcast, entrepreneur Jayson Waller and his high-profile guests share motivational tips, inspiring stories, and business-building lessons to help each listener grow in their entrepreneurial journey. Listen here or wherever you enjoy podcasts!
Resources from This Episode:
- Cal Newport | Reimagining Work in a World without Email | Jordan Harbinger
- Lt. Col. Oliver North | Lessons from the Tragedies of War | Jordan Harbinger
- Signs You’re Not Well-Liked at Work (and What to Do About It) | Jordan Harbinger
- How Do I Tell Daughter Her Dad Is Dying? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- What Is Asperger Syndrome? | Autism Speaks
- James Fallon | How to Spot a Psychopath | Jordan Harbinger
- Thomas Erikson | How to Protect Yourself from Psychopaths | Jordan Harbinger
- Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business by Thomas Erikson | Amazon
- Conservatorship | Wikipedia
- Britney Spears is Reportedly Seeking to Continue Her Conservatorship — Just without Her Dad | Uproxx
- Making a Murderer | Netflix
- Laura Nirider | Anatomy of a False Confession | Jordan Harbinger
- The Taken Movies, Explained for People Who’ve Never Seen Them | Vox
- Alex Kouts | The Secrets You Don’t Know About Negotiation | Jordan Harbinger
- Chris Voss | Negotiate as If Your Life Depended on It | Jordan Harbinger
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz | Amazon
- The Effects of Instagram Use, Social Comparison, and Self-Esteem on Social Anxiety: A Survey Study in Singapore | Social Media + Society
- Coffeezilla | How to Expose Fake Guru Scams | Jordan Harbinger
- Why You Compare Yourself to Other People (And How to Stop) | Jordan Harbinger
- Want to Overcome Envy? Make It Your Teacher | Jordan Harbinger
- Robert Greene | Discovering the Laws of Human Nature | Jordan Harbinger
- Duana Welch | The Science of Jealousy and How to Manage It | Jordan Harbinger
Special Needs Son Seduced by Psycho Siren | Feedback Friday (Episode 505)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday, I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, my compadre in consultation. Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave and our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:36] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you and 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. And if you're joining us for the first time or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about the show, we've got episodes starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes organized by popular topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on this show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:01:06] This week, we had Cal Newport. He is an amazing guy who writes all about social media, digital minimalism, getting away from tech. His new book is A World Without Email. We talk about what, what your workflow might look like if you weren't just creating a bunch of busy work for yourself through email. I know that sounds a little bit maybe dense, but he's a great conversationalist. I think you'll really enjoy that. We also had Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North talk about throwback — if you're a boomer, you know who I'm talking about right now. Oliver North on trial for the Iran-Contra affair. That was interesting conversation. I wait to hear what you all think of that one, a boomer or not. There was some stuff in there where I just was like head scratchy, but I enjoyed it. He's a very nice guy.
[00:01:47] I also write every so often on the blog, my latest post, Signs You're Not Well-Liked at Work and what you can do to change that. I wish I had this piece when I was working at the law firm because maybe I would have realized that a lot of those guys didn't like me very much at one of the firms. The job I ended up with was great. I'm still friends with a lot of those guys. The first job I had, eeh, not so much. That British law firm? Go figure. British lawyers with their delicate sensibilities and me brash me, but like young and like no filter on at all. It didn't go so well. Anyway, in this piece, push beyond some of the obvious stuff. We got into some of the subtler signals that tell you how you're seen in the workplace, whether your boss really has your back. How to approach your job and your psychology and your colleagues in a way that changes the way that you are perceived. Lots of gems in that one, I'd like to think. So make sure you've had a look and listen to everything we created for you here this past week.
[00:02:39] And you can reach us email@example.com. Keep your emails concise, just like this rambly long introduction. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. And if you can state the state and country that you are in because that helps us with some of the detailed advice, legal stuff, especially. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or if you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. How to talk to a child about a dying parent? Gabe that was brutal last week, such a sweet family.
[00:03:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:03:09] Jordan Harbinger: Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous. As always fun ones and doozies in this one. And I can't wait to dive in. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:03:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm the mother of a 27-year-old son with Asperger syndrome. Like in many people on the spectrum, he is smart in some areas but lacks basic social skills and tends to be extremely naive. As a result, he has led many people into his life who have completely taken advantage of him in every way. Four years ago, he had the great misfortune of crossing paths with a 56-year-old woman who 12 years earlier had killed her mother by suffocating her with a pillow.
[00:03:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[00:03:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Her mother's medical bills were eating away at her inheritance. So she decided to end her life. After she got out of prison, she attempted to kill her husband in the same manner, but she was unsuccessful. Let's call this woman MP.
[00:04:00] Jordan Harbinger: Can we pause for one second here, just to take in the fact that this woman killed her mother and then tried to kill her husband?
[00:04:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:04:06] Jordan Harbinger: Wholly!
[00:04:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Convicted murderer.
[00:04:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Convicted murderer. Not like we suspect.
[00:04:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:04:11] Jordan Harbinger: This actually happened, went to prison. Holy moly!
[00:04:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep, tried to murder her mother, try to murder her husband. Now, she's targeting this woman's son.
[00:04:17] By the time, my son found out about her past, he was deeply infatuated with her. Their friendship turned into a full-blown sexual relationship in just a couple of days. From the very beginning, MP had convinced him that she had pancreatic cancer and did not know how long she had to live. My son was convinced that the opioids she was popping with generous amounts of wine on a daily basis were for her cancer treatment. When this happened, she would go into a frenzy of rage. She would insult him, humiliate him, kick him out of her house. Then quickly beg for him to come back. My son always did as he was told because he had strong feelings for her. It didn't take us long to realize that MP checked every single box on the psychopath's profile. She often tried to alienate my son from his family, telling him that nobody loved him or cared for him that only she did. She lied and manipulated her way into his heart constantly. She also had a disturbing obsession with cooking him his favorite dishes and asking him if he thought hers were better than mine. One of my son's friends also told me that she once asked him to fly to the West Coast and burn down her home for the insurance money.
[00:05:14] Jordan Harbinger: That is insane. So she's asking him to commit crimes, like serious crimes—
[00:05:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:05:19] Jordan Harbinger: —insurance fraud, arson, because that's what you do for a loved one. Right? My God!
[00:05:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Yep. Poor kid.
[00:05:25] That was when I made the decision to talk to the local police, to my surprise though, she had already reported him for breaking into her house and stealing medication, jewelry, and money. They never contacted my son because they didn't find any evidence against him even though MP, she was calling them almost every day, demanding they investigate again. Shortly after that, she moved back to the West Coast. Two years ago, she convinced my son to cash his last check and fly to meet her. She told him she needed his protection against an ex-boyfriend who was in jail for abusing her and he was getting out soon. My son, who at the time had an $8-an-hour job at a fast food restaurant did not hesitate to fly out. A week later, he was in jail accused of domestic violence.
[00:06:04] Jordan Harbinger: What is going on here? My God.
[00:06:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: It didn't take the local judge long to dismiss these charges, but a charge for disorderly conduct remained because he had disobeyed the arresting cops order to not return to her house. He did so because she had kept his phone and he had no way to contact his family. He was in the middle of nowhere, didn't know anybody around, and he was scared. We flew out, hired an attorney, and finally appeared in front of the judge. The judge advised us to get a restraining order against MP in both cities. We flew back with our son, got him a new phone and number. And luckily, I was able to convince his boss to let him keep his job at the fast food place. Fast forward to the end of last year, MP eventually got his number through a mutual friend and she managed to convince my son to marry her. She came to our town, married him. And on Christmas Eve, my son went to her hotel room to visit her. By the time he got there, she was already high and drunk. So he grabbed his backpack and told her that he was leaving. After walking a few yards, he was arrested by a female officer who informed him that he was accused of strangulating, assaulting, and raping her. She concocted a story about my son, punching her, injecting her in the foot with a drug and raping her while she was unconscious. He spent Christmas and New Year's in jail for a crime he never committed. This whole ordeal has caused my son a great deal of pain and emotional distress. His preliminary hearing is set to begin in a few weeks, and he is very anxious about the years that he might spend in prison if he's found guilty. Since then, MP has not stopped contacting him and us saying that they are married for better or worse, and that she never called the cops on him. We've also learned that she has married and divorced several other men after a few months, probably after they had served their purpose. We know that she preys on younger men that she perceives as lost, naive, and in need of affection, like my son. I told my son's attorney that if and when this nightmare is behind us, I want to press charges for all of the emotional damage she has caused, not to mention all of the money she has cost us since they met. The lawyer said that she wouldn't advise me to do so since it would be a waste of my time and money. But this woman has used her position as a woman to ruin an innocent man for life. I'm angry and devastated that she stained my son's credibility and jeopardized his future. She is a predator and she should not be out in society where she can prey upon other weak men. So I wanted to ask you guys based on your experience and your knowledge, do you think I have a case here? I want to believe that there are some consequences for continually making false accusations at the expense of an innocent person. She is remorseless and she is an insult to the millions of women who are victims of abuse at the hands of men every day. Signed, A Heartbroken Mom Defusing This Bomb.
[00:08:27] Jordan Harbinger: Gabe, I don't even know where to start with this one. The story was a ride. I wanted to interrupt you every paragraph and just be like, what? But I knew that was going to be annoying. So I didn't, but I feel like every few weeks on the show we say things, look, this is crazy. It's never going to be more wild than this. And then you hear this question and you just go. Who is writing this screenplay? I don't even want to make light of it, but it's like a drama on FX or something where you're like, okay, this is some contrived ridiculousness. I believe the letter.
[00:08:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:08:59] Jordan Harbinger: I want to be really clear here. It's just that it's hard to imagine that somebody is so evil and just keeps doing it. And hasn't been flattened by somebody's family member by now already. It's just absolutely unbelieving.
[00:09:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was pretty much speechless when I first read it just beyond tragic.
[00:09:14] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me about it. It's incredibly sad and disturbing from top to bottom. You know, as a new dad, I'm really just beginning to understand what it feels like to love your child more than anything in the world. You want to protect them. You want to see them succeed. You want them to be happy, healthy, safe, of course. And then for this sociopathic monster to target your child, manipulate them, victimize them, victimize your entire family — that has got to be. One of the worst feelings in the world. And you can really hear how much pain—
[00:09:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:09:44] Jordan Harbinger: —and anger this woman feels in her letter. I get it, but the feeling of helplessness, that's got to be the hardest part. Just knowing that this remorseless vampire squid has already inflicted a ton of damage on multiple people, including your son. And there might not be anything you can do to stop her. This woman has already killed her own mother because the mother needed inheritance money. So it's not like she's going to one day go, "Oh, you know, okay, I should stop doing this." My hat is off to you as parents. It really is what you're dealing with. It's more than anyone should ever have to go through. You don't deserve any of it. I am very, very sorry that this is happening to you.
[00:10:19] So look, you're asking a really great question here. The first thing we did was consult the one and only Corbin Payne, top-notch defense attorney, friend of the show. Corbin, just so you know, he's represented numerous abuse victims over the years. He's represented victims in getting orders of protection. He's defended abuse victims, charged with abuse by their abusers. He's helped victims get their children away from abusers. He really believes in helping victims of abuse and assault as most lawyers do, of course, because that's how he get into the profession of criminal defense in the first place or defense in the first place. But he's also seen a lot of stuff go down and he understands better than anyone. How our system is set up in ways that abusers often exploit.
[00:10:57] And Corbyn's take is that yes. Given the facts you've shared, there is a case here. In his view, there is a criminal case for filing a wrongful police report slash wrongful prosecution. And he also believes you have a civil case for harassment, defamation, possibly a few other causes of action. But — and this is the hard part to wrap your head around — in Corbyn's view, neither a criminal case nor a civil case will ultimately stick. And I know that there are lawyers listening right now who are like, "What? There's a case, but it's garbage." Yes. We agree with you. The reason according to Corbin is that no prosecutor is going to go after MP. Prosecuting an alleged rape victim, even when it's a complete BS fabrication and it's all just a part of her sick game, it's just not a good look, especially in this day and age for a prosecutor. Plus prosecutors and investigators, they're generally willing to admit they made a mistake ever and going after MP, that's going to be an implicit admission that they got this case wrong.
[00:11:56] Now, is that a crappy ass reason for not going after this unmitigated maniac? Absolutely, yes. Is it unjust? Yes, completely. But this is the system, this is the system we've got. It's the system you have to unfortunately be prepared to navigate. And there are reasons for this. It's not the whole thing is broken and terrible. You know, it's there because we want to protect victims more than we want to go after the occasional monster. Thankfully, these people are kind of rare. Unfortunately, they've found you.
[00:12:22] Now, Corbin did think that you had a good shot at winning a civil defamation suit. But sadly, he's with your attorney on this one, he doesn't recommend going down that road either. And I concur, right? Mostly, it's doubtful that MP has enough money for you to collect anywhere near what it's going to cost to bring the lawsuit against her. It seems like her whole grift is getting with people that make money so that she can live off of them. And your son makes $8 an hour, and I'm not trying to belittle the guy or anything, but she's leeching onto those types of people. She doesn't have a bank account full of 200 grand to pay you for emotional distress and your legal fees.
[00:12:58] Plus, you're dealing with a known liar, a manipulator. There are tons of ways she can play games here. She can hide any assets she does have. She can drag it out. She can mess with the process. Anything to drive up the cost of actually collecting once the trial was over. And the trial could last years or the suit could last years, right? Because she could just not show up and go, "Oh, it's because of my cancer." Bullsh*tters are unfortunately also able to bullsh*t the court up to a point. All of that would probably be fun for her. It would give her a level of power over you guys. And in some twisted way, she'd get off on it.
[00:13:28] So, yeah, you might win a moral victory against her, but you're going to spend a lot of time and emotional energy to get there. And then you're still not even going to see a dime. Collecting from people, especially deadbeats, is next to impossible. So it's Corbin's opinion that going after her just isn't worth it. And sadly, I think he's right. But I do recognize that other attorneys might feel differently. I always recommend getting as many opinions as you can so that you can decide for yourself.
[00:13:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree. Get a range of opinions. I know that that must be incredibly frustrating to hear. It's frustrating for us to report back to you too. Believe me, but we're not just speaking from a legal standpoint here. We also consulted with Thomas Erikson, behavioral expert best-selling author of the book, Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business. He was on the show recently, too. That was episode 465, by the way, if you want to check it out. And Thomas, even though he told me, he really understands the impulse to retaliate against a woman because he arrived at the exact same conclusion that Corbin did.
[00:14:23] And Thomas, he put it this way, "Psychopaths are seriously, seriously vengeful." If they can get back you for something, they think that you did to them, even though they are the problem, they will try to do as much harm as possible to you. And they do not work by the same, you know, rational logic that you and I do. Usually psychopaths, they don't care about consequences because in their minds they have the right to do whatever they want. So Thomas' advice, and I'm quoting him here, "Move on with your life, put as much distance as you possibly can between you and the psychopath. Walk away. When a psychopath tries to contact you, walk away. When they try to contact somebody you know in order to get at you, walk away. When they show up at your doorstep full of promises, 'I'm going to live a new life. I'm a changed man, or I'm a changed woman,' walk away. Remember a psychopath will never, ever change. Walk away." And again, that is a quote directly from Thomas.
[00:15:16] And here's the thing you will not feel good about this decision. In fact, I'm guessing you'll probably feel pretty awful. It'll be very, very hard to release this anger, to put it all behind you but — and I'm going to quote Thomas again here — "You have to understand one thing. This is so crucial. This is a game you cannot win. Walk away." He keeps saying that. "And save yourself from the whole mess because you cannot win this game." Again, Thomas has words. He literally wrote the book on this stuff. So trying to take MP down, I totally get why you'd want to do that. I would have the same instinct too. I think Jordan would have the same instinct too, but this really does sound like a losing game, legally and psychologically.
[00:15:52] That said there is another route you could take here. The next person we consulted with was Dr. Erin Margolis, great psychologist, also a good friend of the show. And she pointed out that you could always call adult protective services and file a report. APS, they're separate from law enforcement. They're able to open a case of abuse against an elder or in this case, a dependent adult since your son is on the autism spectrum. In fact, Dr. Margolis, she has worked on cases in the past where the police didn't think that there was enough to open a case into abuse. But she actually called APS and they took the report right away. And who knows, maybe having an APS report on file that could help law enforcement see the full story here, which is that MP is bad news and your son is actually the victim. Or you could at least give them some pause when it comes to believing her in the future.
[00:16:35] Jordan Harbinger: That is solid advice, Gabe, and it kills that the best move here might just be to walk away. I mean, somebody has got to stop this woman, right? Maybe I'm just naive here, but if it's the woman writing in, MP could come back on her even harder, which is even more terrifying. She should be in prison or in the ground, in my opinion. I realize that's a bit dark, but she is a psychopathic murderer. So I'm not really going to apologize for my sentiments here. I mean, this is somebody who murdered her own mother, tried to kill her husband, and is now in meshed with his family and victimizing them. I mean, this is like the worst kind of person. There's a special place in hell for these kinds of people.
[00:17:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:17:11] Jordan Harbinger: There's another legal move you might want to consider. And I know this is a very hard call — honestly, there's a part of me that like, if this happened to my kid, I would be brainstorming ways to lure them into a trap and I would freaking cut them into little pieces. Now, I'm the psychopath. Go figure! But there's another legal move you might want to consider. And I know this is a very hard call to make, it's controversial, but given how hard it's been for you to protect your son, especially when it comes to his money and his relationships and dealing with law enforcement, you might want to consider filing for a conservatorship over your son. In a nutshell, a conservatorship would make you guys his legal guardian, you control his finances or you could. If he got married again, you could file for divorce or an annulment on his behalf. If he got in trouble with MP or anyone else, again, you could take out a restraining order against them on his behalf, stuff like that.
[00:18:00] Now, we talked about this quite a bit, and the truth is we hesitate to suggest a conservatorship for high functioning adults with special needs. I think we all think that someone like your son deserves to live a full and independent life. And I'm sure that you agree, but I also hear you when you talk about how much pain your son has been through how much grief and terror this has caused you guys. You want to protect him, but you can, not really. Not when he gets himself into a situation like this, a situation that he just doesn't seem to fully grasp, which I understand.
[00:18:33] So for all those reasons, we do feel that your son is a good candidate for conservatorship. And obviously, that's a decision that you guys will have to make as a family. It's very personal. But the fact is if your son continues down this path with this woman, he might be going to prison and possibly worse. Who knows what else this woman has in store for him? Obviously, she's planned a lot of these horrible things in advance, especially if they stay married, it's just, I don't even want to think about it. She could extract more money from him. She could fabricate new charges. She could put him in physical danger. She could hurt him herself. She's an unpredictable maniac, literally. So there are some very real and urgent reasons for you to consider a conservatorship.
[00:19:11] And I know the whole #FreeBritney thing, people are hating on the idea of controlling someone's life in that way, but there's a reason that these court orders and arrangements exist when somebody just isn't capable of taking care of themselves the way they need to be, especially in situations like this. This would be hard for anyone. Right? This kind of situation, especially when they're in the middle of it.
[00:19:32] And by the way, Dr. Margolis, she also recommended looking into organizations for adults with autism, nonprofits, treatment centers, advocacy organizations, places like that. They probably have great resources. They might even have access to low fee legal services to help you guys navigate this decision. If I were you, I would book a call with a special needs attorney. Tell them your story and get their take on whether a conservatorship would even be helpful. Because not to pile on here, but I am really worried about your son, especially when it comes to the police.
[00:20:02] And we didn't really touch on this yet, but Corbin pointed out. He is probably on their radar now, and this is really sad. Honestly, it's kind of uncomfortable to talk about, but certain people with special needs or some people with intellectual disabilities, they sometimes, not always but have difficulties moderating their emotions, their decision-making, that can sometimes result in violent or even sexually inappropriate behavior. And sadly, these are the members of the special needs community that the police tend to come into contact with the most. And these people, they have a much harder understanding of the nuances of a police investigation. And just to be clear, I am not saying that your son is one of these people. In fact, it doesn't sound to me like your son is like this at all.
[00:20:44] What I am saying. Is that the police might assume that he is. And it's possible, they heard MP's story and just believed her based on their flawed assumptions about your son. And since he struggles with social cues and understanding people's intentions, I'm worried that he wouldn't handle a police interview in the best possible way. So our advice here is this, I would strongly impress upon your son that going forward, he is not to talk to the police without an attorney present. Make this very real for him. Do your best to make sure he understands, because the last thing I'd want to happen is for your son to get picked up by the cops for some unsolved assault in the neighborhood. And then make statements that are later construed as an admission of guilt.
[00:21:25] And if you think I'm being dramatic here, just watch Making a Murderer on Netflix. Watch what the detectives in the case did to Brendan Dassey. He's a kid with an intellectual disability, questioned for hours without an attorney, coerced into what many experts believe, and what you can see on film was a false confession. And then listen to the interview I did with Laura Nirider. She is the attorney who represented Brendan Dassey. She explains on this show, why people often confess to things they never did just to get out of a stressful situation. That was episode 456, by the way, one of my favorites. This kind of thing happens all the time and it happens even more to vulnerable people like your son. And by the way, that could be another benefit of getting a conservatorship. It essentially has your son declared legally incompetent because if worst comes to worst, a good attorney could challenge a confession on that basis. So this could literally save your son from going to prison for something he did not do.
[00:22:23] And I'm not trying to freak you out here. I'm really not. I hope this never happens to him. But these are the scenarios that you have to plan for. Like Corbin says it's not paranoia if they are actually after you. And the truth is when the cops want to close a case, they often are after you.
[00:22:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well said, Jordan, I agree. It's worth considering every single option they have to protect their son because right now I'm just picturing the cops, running with this nutjob story, picking her son up and then Brendan Dassey-ing him into a confession somehow. I mean, his prelim is in a couple of weeks. Who knows? Maybe he's already made self-incriminating statements and that's what they're there to discuss. I don't know how that's going to play out, but yeah, any possible advantage they can give themselves, I think they should consider it.
[00:23:03] Jordan Harbinger: It is very possible. I mean, I really hope that's not the case. I'm sure their lawyer's doing everything she can to get the charges dismissed, but that is exactly the scenario that I am worried about.
[00:23:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Our last piece of advice is just this: you guys have been through a lot here, and you're about to go through even more with your son's hearing, coming up and possibly for the rest of your life. So if you're not doing this already, I would seriously consider going into therapy both individually and as a family, if that's possible for you. The monster that you are up against here, the stress of this whole ordeal, what it means for your son, what it's doing to you guys as a family, this is truly next level stuff. It's probably the most traumatic experience of your lives if I had to guess, and you're going to need good mental health to survive it, for sure, and then to thrive when this is all behind you.
[00:23:44] So I would find somebody to talk to as soon as possible, you could really use a place to process all of this rage and this fear, especially if you don't end up going after MP. That's a very complicated experience to grapple with on your own. I would not be surprised if there were some residual feelings about that, some unresolved anger, tension, distress, frustration with the world. I certainly would feel that way. And Thomas Erikson, he agreed his advice was to work this out with a therapist as well. And if your son sees a therapist on his own, ideally somebody who has experience treating patients on the spectrum, maybe treating victims of abuse, they might be able to teach your son some more skills to manage a personality like MP's. So he can avoid her and avoid predators like her in the future.
[00:24:25] Beyond that, though, the best thing you can do right now is help your son distance himself from this woman as soon as possible. And then let your attorney deal with her from here on out. Your son, he's in an incredibly vulnerable position here. You know, this better than anybody. He's married to his abuser. He's still in contact with her. That is just giving her more opportunities to sink her teeth into him. So I would strongly encourage him to file for divorce, help him understand as best you can. I know how hard this must be. Help him understand that this woman does not love him, does not care about him, and is only trying to hurt him.
[00:24:59] And if that doesn't work, then it's probably time to consider a more drastic intervention, including the conservatorship, not just to help you set out right now, but as an insurance policy against any future problems.
[00:25:09] Jordan Harbinger: I agree, Gabe, they have a lot to work out and it sounds like that'll be more effective in a therapist's office than it would be in a courtroom, just getting as far away from this woman as possible. That really does seem to be the way to go. I wish you guys the best. I really do. Your son is incredibly lucky to have you as a mother. I really admire how strong and committed you guys are. I don't know if I would handle this half as well if I were in your shoes. Honestly, this is — I meant what I said before. Like I would be, what can I do all? Oh, I can't file a lawsuit. Oh, I can't keep this person away from my son. Okay. Can I get away with like burying this person in the foundation of my house? It sounds funny, but I'm like, I'm serious. Like what do you even do?
[00:25:47] Keep taking care of your son. Also make sure that you keep taking care of yourselves. And man, Gabe, I really hope the police nabbed this woman soon. She needs to be put away, but I don't have a lot of faith in that if she already murdered her own mother. How was she out of prison? She murdered her own mother and she's just out running around making police reports. And the cops are like, "Oh, I guess somebody attacked her." Like, hello, psycho she's slipping through the cracks. It is terrifying. I hope they never cross paths with her again.
[00:26:13] So stay safe. We're thinking about you guys or sending our best thoughts for the hearing. And man, I just, this one gives me the heebie-jeebies. The world is so much better off without people like the psycho. It makes me think I'm a bad person because right now, I'm like, you know, someone should run her over with a garbage truck. That's what should happen? Like, honestly, I know that sounds terrible. Like, if there are superheroes out there—
[00:26:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:26:35] Jordan Harbinger: They're quietly taking care of people like this that are just completely cancerous to society. They're just terrible, straight up evil people.
[00:26:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: And the Liam Neeson version of this story, that's what he's doing.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: He's going after this person himself.
[00:26:46] Jordan Harbinger: She just vanishes and nobody ever hears from her again and the cops come knocking. Like, "Yeah, we've been looking for her for 60 days." "I have no idea."
[00:26:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: No idea.
[00:26:53] Jordan Harbinger: Sorry, I've never seen her.
[00:26:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: So wild.
[00:26:57]Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:57] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:27:02] This episode is sponsored in part by ZipRecruiter. If you're a business owner who's hiring, you probably face a lot of challenges when it comes to finding the right person for your role. I hear about it all the time from my friends. You'd think in this economy to have a line of qualified candidates for each job. But finding a qualified candidate can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Sure, you post your job to some job board, but then all you can do is hope the right person comes along, which is why you should try ZipRecruiter for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. When you post a job, it could send out to over a hundred of the top job sites with one click. They'll match you. They use their smart matching technology to find the right people with the right skills and experience for your job and actively invite them to apply. ZipRecruiter is so effective that four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day.
[00:27:48] Jen Harbinger: So while other companies overwhelm you with way too many options, ZipRecruiter finds you what you're looking for, the needle in the haystack. And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free at this web address, ziprecruiter.com/jordan. Once again, remember to go to this unique place, ziprecruiter.com/J-O-R-D-A-N. ZipRecruiter, the smartest way to hire.
[00:28:08] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by DesignCrowd. Seeing your business idea come to life is all a part of the buzz for any entrepreneur. I know it well. Nothing says you're up and running and ready to take on the market, like a personalized logo, website, or business card. DesignCrowd can help you get to that place. With graphic designers from all over the world, you have the ability to take the start of your idea, share it and see what comes about. It truly takes the hard part off of you if you lack in the creativity side like me. It allows you to move forward with multiple designs and logos to choose from. You can't go wrong. Here's how it works. Post a brief describing what you want. DesignCrowd invites almost a million designers to submit. Within hours, you get your first design. Over the course of about a week, a typical project will get 60 to 100 or even more different designs from designers around the world. The hardest thing is always going to be picking your favorite design. You rate them, you can send me to your friends, have a vote. Once you decide, you can approve payment to the designer and you'll be sent all of the design files.
[00:28:59] Jen Harbinger: Check out designcrowd.com/jordan. That's D-E-S-I-G-N-C-R-O-W-D.com/jordan. And save up to $150 on your next project or enter code Jordan when posting a project.
[00:29:11] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:29:16] All right, next up.
[00:29:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe, I'm a 60-year-old woman based in the UK. And when I retired last year, I moved to a beautiful small town. A former colleague of mine has indicated that once it's safe to mix again, he'd like to come visit me. I'm a 60-minute drive away. He said he'll bring his mistress, who I also know their work. So there's clearly no romantic intent. My problem is that I don't want to see them. We primarily had work in common and this guy has caused me distress in the past by making personal comments that I frankly didn't like. I didn't tell him that I had an issue back then because he was senior to me. And he was known to be vindictive if crossed, but I don't want to bring things up that I should have addressed at the time as that isn't fair to him. And I don't want to open up that can of worms. I'm not assertive in some circumstances, and I've always had a strong drive to please people and to keep things pleasant. So is it fair to respond by saying that it's kind of them to offer to visit me, but that I no longer want to meet up? Do I need to offer a reason? Thanks for your advice. Signed, A Country Bird Trying to Avoid a Second and Third.
[00:30:11] Jordan Harbinger: Well, first of all, thanks for the lighter fare. I don't know if I can handle another one of those like Q1. But Gabe the award for most British email ever goes to this woman, for sure.
[00:30:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. This is basically the Olympics of avoiding confrontation.
[00:30:26] Jordan Harbinger: I just love that this woman retired, moves out of the city to the countryside just to get away from everyone. And she's still freaking has to deal with Ned from accounting, whatever. Like, "Hey, I'm bringing the office to you. All right. Let's hang out."
[00:30:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. He's not even our colleague anymore. There's literally nothing tying them together. And she still can't quite tell him she doesn't want to have tea with this guy.
[00:30:47] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, it's tea.
[00:30:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: So good.
[00:30:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Hilarious. But you know, also somehow relatable, there's still a part of me that feels bad telling people I don't want to hang out, even though, as a dad, I basically have the universal get-out-of-jail-free card now. Like, "Hey, sorry, I'm on diaper duty for the next three years." Nobody can really argue with that, especially people without kids. They're just like, "Oh yeah. Okay. No problem."
[00:31:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm so envious of that. I'm still stuck at the, "Sorry, things have been just so crazy with work phase."
[00:31:12]Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I definitely recommend having a kid. Then you can get out of any invitation and never do anything social ever again. I highly recommend it.
[00:31:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Solid reason to have a kid. I don't see anything wrong with that plan.
[00:31:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So what do you, what do you do here? You basically have two options from the sound of it, right? Option one, Ned comes for a visit. You spend a couple hours of your life, rolling your eyes at his stupid jokes. You make small talk with his mistress. By the way, Gabe, I love that she said mistress, right? Like not girlfriend—
[00:31:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mistress, yeah.
[00:31:38] Jordan Harbinger: —not just, we want everyone to know. I want Gabe and Jordan to know that this is some chick that he is banging. That's it.
[00:31:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, it was definitely mistress. I don't think she meant that word in another context., She would have said girlfriend or wife.
[00:31:49] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah.
[00:31:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: So it's a mistress. Yeah.
[00:31:51] Jordan Harbinger: This dude's like, "Hey, I know. I used to make creepy comments in the break room about how good you looked in that skirt, but I'd love to drink some Earl Grey with you and BT dubs, I'm bringing my side peas."
[00:32:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's long and sort of it, yeah.
[00:32:02] Jordan Harbinger: But this guy's a real piece of work. Well, that's option one. Option two is if Ned brings this up again, you just politely tell him that you're a little consumed with your own life right now, and you don't have time for a visitor anytime soon. And I know that might sound a little weird or even be scary for you. And I hear you that you are a people pleaser, but this option is available to you. And honestly, there's zero downside to declining this invitation. You don't work with this guy anymore. He wasn't respectful to you in the past. He doesn't sound like a particularly good person. You owe him nothing. Nobody, and I mean, nobody at any stage of your life, nobody has any claim to your time. But especially when you're 60, you're allowed to respectfully tell someone to F off. That's gotta be one of the major perks of being 60. I'm not there yet. But I assume one of the best parts of getting older is just not having time to waste on these sh*t birds, period.
[00:32:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree. And I'm thinking that this is a great opportunity for her to learn how to do that. I know you have 60 years of keeping things on an even keel, but maybe you can take a chance to try a different approach here. I bet it'll feel pretty good. And like Jordan said the cost of you saying no, virtually zero. Worst case, he fires off a passive aggressive note to you on Facebook or whatever. Although Jordan, I'm assuming, he's British as well. So in all likelihood, it will be more like, "Fair enough. Glad you're well. Toodle pip," or something like that.
[00:33:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:33:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: And then you can go back to your peaceful little life.
[00:33:21] Jordan Harbinger: Cheerio then.
[00:33:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. Message received. And then you can go back to your peaceful life out there in the country, working on your bird calls or I don't know, whatever it is, you're up to out there, living your best life.
[00:33:33] Jordan Harbinger: I can feel our producer, Jason, who is from the UK, from Sheffield, just cringing, editing our terrible fake British accents. That honestly don't sound British at all. No British person talks like either of us right here.
[00:33:45] Look, exactly, tend to your freaking petunias. I bet it would be really powerful for her to stand up for herself after years of keeping things pleasant, even if it's with something small, like this. That's actually the best place to start.
[00:33:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. Because if she's avoiding conflict, as a matter of general policy, there's got to be other situations that are even more annoying than this wanker trying to come visit her. Maybe she tells Ned, "Thanks but no, thanks." She realizes nothing bad happens. And then, slowly worked their way up to protecting our time even more with other people. I don't know what else is going on in her life. Turning down a pot of tea with the weird guy who works at the cheese shop in town or whatever. Declining her ninth Zoom call this week with her bridge club, whatever else is going on in her life that she doesn't want to say no to, maybe she can learn how to say no.
[00:34:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, hang up on those scammers, trying to sell you a car warranty, all that stuff. Anyway, give it a go. See what happens. That's my vote too. Worst case scenario, you piss off a pushy, cheating, misogynist. You don't even like, and who doesn't even matter, and has no relevance in your life. Best case scenario, he never bothers you again. You learn something about yourself. You retired to the country for a reason. So enjoy it. Good luck and enjoy those petunias.
[00:34:48] All right, next up.
[00:34:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe, I made a career change into IT at the age of 30 and at the time it was an okay salary increase. For the most part, I've lived paycheck to paycheck and here I am five years later still making an entry-level salary. I love what I do, but it's nearly impossible to afford a place on my own in California with my current income. I don't believe my lack of a salary increase over the years is due to my job performance since I've gone from an entry-level tech support role to a junior system admin during this time. There have also been many layoffs at my company, and I'm now one of only two IT members they decided to keep on board permanently. Part of the problem may be the fact that, I'm not very assertive—
[00:35:23] Oh, interesting. There's a theme today, Jordan.
[00:35:26]Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: —and have never really had to negotiate salaries before. After doing a pay scale of salary comparison, I estimate that I make $15,000 to $20,000 less than the median salary for my qualifications. I'm not the job hopper type, but I'm feeling more and more like it's time to move on. But then I also can't seem to find a company that I actually feel passionate about. Would it be best for me to attempt to negotiate a raise where I'm at currently or bite the bullet and find a new job with good pay, but settle for whatever opportunity I happen to find? Signed, Push for More or Head for the Door.
[00:35:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you're right. It does look like we've got a little theme going here with the conflict avoidance today. Maybe we should put them in touch with the woman in the countryside. They can maybe help each other. Maybe they can get together at her house in the countryside and ignore each other. I'm just kidding, man. We're here to help.
[00:36:09] So it is time, in my opinion, to ask for a raise or start making some moves. You're a valuable employee. You've been in this role for five years. They clearly need you. It sounds to me like you're worth your salary and probably a whole lot more, at least according to the research you did about your market rate.
[00:36:23] So here's how I'd go about that: the first thing I would do is pull together a short email or document covering everything you've done in your role for the last five years, what your responsibilities were, how you handled them, what the impact of your work was. I would explain how much you love the company you work for that you'd love to stay and grow in your department, but that you need a raise to match your level and experience. And I would name the salary that you want. And point to your research on the median salary for your position. Send that to your direct managers, maybe HR, if it's that kind of company, and schedule a conversation with them.
[00:37:00] Another way to do this is just book a meeting with your managers and have the conversation directly. That might be best if you have a good relationship, especially if it's a smaller company. But even if you do it that way, I would still write this down so you know what your talking points will be. Email though, that's usually best because then you're on record asking for a raise. And your managers can reread the email later, or just forward it on to HR and you don't have to rely on them to make your case for you. You are controlling the story.
[00:37:29] Now, they might say yes. They might say no. And in the event that they do say no, I would think about how you'd respond to that. You might say, "Well, that's a bummer, but I understand." And then you just slink back to your desk and clear out some more IT support tickets. Or you might say something like, "Well, that's a bummer. I wish we could have found a way to make this work. I'll keep doing a great job here, I promise. But I just want you to know that being paid my market rate is really important to me, so I'm going to start looking around." Now, you don't have to be a dick about it. You can say this respectfully, but it might be good to put them on notice a little bit.
[00:38:01] And I know people are like shrieking here or yelling at the phone. Now, look some experts, they recommend looking for another job first, even if it's a job you don't really want so that you have a competing offer in hand before you ask for a raise. That is my usual advice. That way you have your company over the barrel, either they give you what you want or you bounce. We've talked about this on the show before. And it's interesting, people always write an afterword with different takes on either of these strategies. Some people think it's smart, having that leverage, having that other offer. Some people think that's not cool, kind of manipulative, but I cannot deny that it works. I have seen it work. And when you work for a company that doesn't take you all that seriously, it just might be necessary. And like I've said before, sometimes the competing offer is the only language that company speaks.
[00:38:47] So I'll leave it to you to decide. You might want to start casually interviewing regardless, just to boost your confidence a little and maybe give you an offer that you can use as leverage. Or who knows? Maybe you start interviewing and you come across a place that you actually love. That'll pay you what you want and it's a no brainer. You just jump ship. And maybe your current company matches or even beats that salary. And then you go back to the new company and you tell them that they have to beat this new offer and you end up with an even higher salary than you first thought. It is totally possible and that is totally fair. That is how job hunting literally works, especially in the middle and higher positions in pretty much any organization.
[00:39:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed. It's just like the woman in the countryside, right? This guy has an opportunity to step up and grow a little bit. And look, I know it's daunting. I know you're not a very assertive person. I hear you, but asking for a raise, that's always a little bit uncomfortable, but that's just one more reason that you have to do this. Well, that in the two bedroom condo you're obsessing over on Zillow these days, that's probably pretty good motivation too. I know how that is. Because unassertive people, they often end up in situations just like this, being paid less than they want, not wanting to be the squeaky wheel, just sort of passive aggressively, resenting their bosses for not giving them what they really want. But at some point you're going to have to decide what's more important to you. Do you want to keep things on an even keel or do you really want to get what you deserve? And it sounds to me like you're at a place now we're getting what you deserve really does matter more. And I think that's great.
[00:40:07] So I would try to think of this negotiation as an opportunity to learn a new skill, find out what it's like to advocate for yourself a little bit. I promise you that nothing terrible will happen. Again, worst case scenario, you ruffle a few feathers, you get turned down and then you look for a job that just treats you better. And best case scenario, you get what you actually want and you get to keep your job, which is pretty cool. Either way, you win. Just make sure that you're truly killing it at your job before you ask for this raise. It sounds like you're doing an exceptional job, but just make sure that maybe — you know, sometimes it's worth taking an extra month or two and just going way above and beyond before you actually ask for the raise, so that your case for it is absolutely airtight.
[00:40:42] Jordan Harbinger: Agreed. The more you do this, the better you'll get at it. And the less intimidating it'll be. It is definitely a skill worth investing in because this won't be the last time you have to ask for what you want a raise or otherwise. And I promise you that. Final thing here, I do recommend checking out a few episodes as you prepare for this conversation. I would start with the three-part interview that I did with Alex Kouts on negotiation. Alex is one of the best negotiation minds that I've ever met. He's an incredible resource. You will get a ton out of those. Then I would listen to my episode with Chris Voss. Chris was the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI. He wrote a best-selling book called Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. I highly recommend that as well. I think those episodes will be a game changer for you. They'll give you all the tools you need to get what you want here. We'll link to all of those episodes in the show notes, of course. So good luck, man. We're rooting for you. You deserve a raise. Go get it.
[00:41:40] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:41:45] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online counseling. Often people freak out when they hear the word therapy, I get it. But contrary to common misconception, therapy isn't just for those who are struggling with mental illness. It can be beneficial for anyone who's experiencing stress, intense emotions or life transitions, and wants to improve their life. Talk therapy provides you with a safe, nonjudgmental place to vent about your experiences, explore your options and develop skills to handle various life challenges. So if you've always wanted to try therapy or you're going to try it again, maybe you just need to talk some things out, Better Help offers online licensed professional therapists who are trained to listen and help. Finding a therapist can also be intimidating and time-consuming for that matter. With Better Help, you simply fill out a questionnaire. They'll hook you up in a couple of days, and then you can schedule secure phone or video sessions, plus exchange unlimited messages with their therapist, from the comfort of your own home or your bed if you're in a situation where you just want to do it from bed, from your couch, I get it. And everything is confidential.
[00:42:41] Jen Harbinger: Our listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. Visit better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan and join over a million people who've taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced Better Help professional.
[00:42:55] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Upstart. Do you dread looking at your credit card statement every month? I don't blame you. Upstart can lift that weight off your shoulders so you can finally feel the relief of being free of credit card debt. Paying off debt can feel like an uphill battle with high interest rates. Upstart can help you get ahead. Upstart is the fast and easy way to pay off your debt with a personal loan all online, whether it's paying off credit cards, consolidating high interest debt, or funding, personal expenses. Over half a million people have used Upstart to get simple, fixed monthly payments. Unlike other lenders, Upstart looks at more than just your credit score, like your income, your employment history. That means they can offer smarter rates with trusted partners. With a five-minute online rate check, you can see a rate upfront for loans between $1000 to $50,000. You can receive funds as fast as one business day after accepting your loan.
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[00:44:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by NetSuite. You're still running your business on QuickBooks — QuickBooks, more like quick sand. The bigger your company grows, the faster you sync with outdated software that just can't keep up. NetSuite has made our business much stronger. We used it in the past to automate some financials, which allows us to focus on what we like doing best. Save us time, energy, stress. You don't have time to spend dealing with manual processes, multiple systems delays, and scrambling to get the numbers you need. Get on some solid ground NetSuite by Oracle, the scalable solution to run all of your key back office operations no matter how big your company grows. NetSuite gives you visibility and control over your financials, inventory, HR, e-commerce, and more everything you need to grow all in one place. NetSuite helps you automate your key business processes and close your books in a fraction of the time, think days and not weeks. In fact, 93 percent of surveyed organizations increased visibility and control over their business since making the switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite.
[00:44:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right now, NetSuite is offering a one of a kind financing program only for those ready to graduate from QuickBooks. Head to netsuite.com/jordan. That's special financing for you graduates at netsuite.com/jordan, netsuite.com/jordan.
[00:45:11] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show.
[00:45:25] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:45:29] All right, last but not least.
[00:45:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe, my wife and I are both 25 years old and we're living a pretty good and stable life. But lately, I've noticed a concerning pattern in my wife's mood. Every week or two, she'll become sad and even break into tears for seemingly no reason. Last weekend, she cried after going to the mall saying that everybody there is beautiful while she looks shabby. Once she started crying because she hasn't been on a beach vacation for years. The next time she cried about having nothing to wear. My wife is not a drama queen. She's not doing this to manipulate me. She never yells at me or tries to offend me. She's already achieved a lot in her life and she has a lot of potential for growth. As soon as her mood returns to normal, she feels bad about what happened. It says she doesn't like herself for being so moody and admits that she has very low self-esteem. But then I see that she spends hours a day on Instagram scrolling through feeds of beauty models, rich bloggers on vacations, stuff like that. And the day after one of these episodes, I see her snoozing her alarm for half an hour and eating a junkie breakfast while scrolling through her feed again. So I have to wonder, could this be the reason she's got these unrealistic expectations of beauty, low self-esteem, and feelings of envy? How can I help my wife get better. Signed, Consoling and Controlling my Wife's Gloom and Doom Scrolling.
[00:46:40] Jordan Harbinger: This is rough, man. I'm sorry that your wife is suffering so much here. That's got to be painful to watch probably even a little unsettling since her moods seem to shift so quickly. And I feel for her, she's really going through it right now. She's spending hours doom scrolling the gram, comparing her blooper reel to other people's highlight reel. Staring at people whose literal job it is to create the illusion of a perfect life and then beating herself up for falling short of these completely manufactured lifestyles. The link between social media and depression, anxiety, envy, narcissism that is a very real thing. There've been loads of studies on this, and we're just at the beginning of the curve here. They all come to the same conclusion, which is that excessive social media use is seriously damaging.
[00:47:22] That said I don't think it's fair to pin all of our problems on the technology. There's obviously something in us that responds to this stuff, and we have to take responsibility for that too. Our self-image, our values, how we spend our time, how we take care of ourselves, that is our job. Instagram, it definitely magnifies our worst qualities, but it's our fault for opening the app 16 times freaking before lunch and putting so much stock in this BS in the first place. So it's a chicken and egg thing. Like did the low self-esteem cause her to react so strongly to Instagram or did Instagram give her "this FOMO," that she never really had before? This sort of lack that she never really saw existed. Either way, it does sound like social media is affecting your wife's mental health. No doubt about it, but it sounds to me like she's also dealing with some very real stuff of her own hair. And if she wants to get better, she's going to have to start acknowledging that.
[00:48:17] So how can you help your wife get better? Well, I would sit down one day with her and just talk to her about what you're noticing. Tell her how much you love her, how much you care about her well-being. That all you want is for her to be happy and healthy and enjoy her many accomplishments. Then tell her what you've been seeing lately to mood swings, the emotional dysregulation, the low self-esteem. This is not going to be news to her but it might be powerful for her to hear it from you to know that your experiencing what she's experiencing. That you want to see her get better. I would tell her that you can't help, but notice how much time she's been spending on her phone lately. And that when she has these episodes, it seems to be because she's comparing herself to other people. Tell her your concern and that, you know, there's a better way to spend her time and mental energy and that you want to find a way to work on this stuff together.
[00:49:09] Maybe you even tell her about how social media makes you feel and what you've done to make sure that you're not caught up in this hall of mirrors yourself. And by the way, you could bring this up in the moment when she's having one of these episodes, maybe she'll be forced to confront the problem more urgently that way. But if it's hard to talk to her, when she's in that state, then you might want to wait until she's feeling more stable. And that way she'll have some distance and all the feelings you're talking about, won't get in the way.
[00:49:36] Anyway, after you lay that out, I would ask her if she agrees with what you said, invite her to talk, let her tell you what she's thinking, what she's feeling when she brings up her self-esteem, help her dig into that more. Find out what's behind it. Why she struggles with her confidence? Where do those beliefs come from? Maybe you can ask her what it is about Instagram, that she likes so much. What's compelling her to open up the app so often? How it makes her feel? Maybe it's boredom and she needs some new goals. Maybe it's a little bit of narcissism, although I'm not sure here, she needs to find a healthier way to see herself. Maybe it's insecurity and she needs to recognize what all of this self comparison is actually doing to her. Whatever comes up, I would listen, validate it, give her the space to process it, help her understand herself a little bit better.
[00:50:22] And if that feels too forced, or maybe even in addition to this conversation in the moment you catch her opening up the app and bingeing, maybe you can ask her, "Hey, how are you feeling right now? Are you on Instagram?" And she's like, "Oh yeah, I kind of feel gross. I should put this away." Get her to recognize the pattern of Instagram, making her feel like crap right there in the moment. Maybe that's how you tee up. The bigger conversation.
[00:50:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed. Jordan, solid advice. Maybe even recognizing the pattern of feelings, thoughts, events that lead up to her, opening the app. You know, sometimes we open like social media just to avoid. Whatever it is that we don't want to deal with in that second. So it could be some unrelated thing that is actually the real issue. And the social media is just a distraction and that ends up magnifying whatever she's already going through. But either way, I get the sense that they never had a direct conversation like that before it could be exactly what she needs to realize. There's a problem. Start to find some healthy solutions. So I like that a lot.
[00:51:13] The obvious solution though, is really to spend way less time on Instagram and social media in general, maybe even delete the app altogether. A lot of people have done that, including me at certain points. And I can tell you, it definitely works. But to Jordan's point earlier, that just might be a symptom and not the root cause. If your wife is going to work on her mood, her envy, her self esteem, all of that, then she has to start processing those feelings, finding ways to put them toward a more productive use. And one of the best things you can do for her here — surprise, surprise. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but one of the best things you can do is encourage her to talk to somebody about this because what your wife is going through, it is intense for sure, but it's not unique. These are themes that every single person on earth right now is dealing with. Your wife is still young. This is exactly the right time for her to start dealing with these themes. I'm pretty confident that talking to a professional that would be a huge help to her. And it would also probably be a huge help to you into your marriage as well.
[00:52:01] Because right now, a lot of his energy, Jordan, is going into supporting his wife when she breaks down, when that energy could be better spent on each other, making their marriage stronger, chasing after their goals that they wanna achieve together. I mean, anything really besides staring at Bella Hadid's photoshopped cheekbones or double-tapping pics of people in their bathing suits, running a six figure business from a beach in Tulum or something like that.
[00:52:22] Jordan Harbinger: That is the worst. And look, when I see those, all I can think is you are not running a six-figure business from the Playa, bro. You're just saying that you are so you can sell this guy's wife a six-month coaching course on how to tell other people how to chase this fake dream that you've manufactured. I'm getting worked up here. I can't stand the influencer crap. I'm doing a show about this type of thing. Yes, another one. We already had Coffeezilla up here exposing fake Internet gurus and money-making scams online, especially on YouTube, but Instagram and YouTube are kind of two sides of the same coin.
[00:52:52] Anyway, last thing here, I have some great resources for you. You can check these out on your own before you talk to your wife. Maybe you can even share them with her directly. The first is an article we wrote sometime back called Why You Compare Yourself to Other People and How to Stop. That's some really useful information in there about how to put an end to this destructive cycle. We also wrote an article about envy and how you can make that uncomfortable feeling your teacher. One of my favorites, super useful techniques in there. I would also check out my interview with Robert Green, discovering the laws of human nature. In that interview, Robert talked about where envy comes from, why it's so destructive, how you can flip envy to your benefit. Great stuff. And then I would listen to my episode with Duana Welch, where we talk about the science of envy and jealousy, how to manage it, how you can use it to move a relationship forward rather than tearing it apart. We'll link to all of those in the show notes, so some articles and some podcasts there.
[00:53:48] It's wonderful that you care about your wife this much. She's lucky to have somebody to talk to you about all of this. And I do hope you can get through to her, but if you can't and really no matter what, I would encourage her to go talk to somebody. These moods that your wife is going through, they're definitely trying to tell her something and I would help her find out what that is so she can get off the gram and get back into real life.
[00:54:08] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out Cal Newport and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North if you haven't yet.
[00:54:15] If you want to know how we managed to book all these amazing folks on the show, it's all about the software systems and tiny habits. Those are in the Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free. That's over on the Thinkific platform. jordanharbinger.com/course. Now, you can't make up for lost time when it comes to relationships and networking. You've got to dig the well before you get thirsty. The course is free. I don't need your credit card info. None of that crap. This is the stuff I wish I knew 20 years ago, all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course, and everything takes like five minutes a day. So just go for it.
[00:54:46] A link to the show notes for this episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Videos of Feedback Friday sessions will eventually be up on the YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me up on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:55:08] 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. Keep sending in those questions to email@example.com. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own, and I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. Remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice 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.
[00:55:47] I wanted to give you a preview of one of my favorite stories from an earlier episode of the show. Megan Phelps-Roper. She used to belong to one of the most hateful religious cults in America, the Westboro Baptist Church. She was born into this church and she later escaped. To hear her tell the story firsthand is really incredible.
[00:56:06] Megan Phelps-Roper: I started protesting when I was five years old. But even at that first picket, there was a sign that said Gays are Worthy of Death. So God Hates Fags is what Westboro is so that we became known for. We were the good guys and everyone outside the church was evil and going to hell. And we had the only message that would bring the world any hope.
[00:56:24] We had to go and warn people. These terrible things are happening and if you want this pain to stop, then you have to change because God isn't going to change. After the September 11 attacks, we had the sign that said, Thank God for September 11. What were we thinking?
[00:56:42] This massive crowd comes down. We were at this corner of this intersection of these three streets. By the time they actually reached us, we're just enraged. There was no space between us and them. And it got really dicey. One of my cousins gave his signs to somebody else and like started standing on top of a trash can pretending like he wasn't with us. They were again, incredibly intense because obviously the circumstances are so sobering. It brings me incredible sadness to think about now.
[00:57:10] I can do this forever. My family, they would refuse to have any contact with me at all. Once I left. Somebody that we had confided in, sent a letter to my parents and told them that we were planning to leave. And then an email came in and we left.
[00:57:27] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Megan, including the details of her harrowing experience and escape, check out episode 302 of The Jordan Harbinger Show
[00:57:40] Jayson Waller : Jayson Waller here, host of your True Underdog Podcast and YouTube channel. This is what we've got in store on our episodes. I'm going to tell stories of me growing up, being trailer parked, high school dropout, teen dad, to opening three businesses that were successful. The latest business winning Inc 500, three out of four years, entrepreneur of the year, and it's a billion-dollar company. That's right. I'm going to give you tips, strategies, how to overcome adversity, how to be better, how to not stay in the mud. On top of that, on this show on the full episodes, we're going to have interviews with people who have overcome adversity, people that have been successful, but started with things in their way things they had to overcome and struggle with. How did they get there? Check us out on iHeartRadio, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. You can go to trueunderdog.com. Subscribe to everything, or go to YouTube at the True Underdog Podcast.
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