You love your wife, but a surgical mishap makes sex painful for her. Is there an ethical way to have your needs met elsewhere? Welcome to Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Have some good stories about your most embarrassing moments that you wouldn’t mind us featuring on a future Feedback Friday? Please share with us at email@example.com (and we’ll share some of our own as well)!
- You love your wife, but a surgical mishap makes sex too painful for her. She once joked that maybe you should find a girlfriend to help you in that department, so you did — and it didn’t go over as well as you might have hoped. Is there an ethical way to have your needs met elsewhere?
- An addendum to the statute of limitations in your state has you considering taking legal action against your father — who abused you when you were still a child. Would it be worth the time, energy, and money to do so at this point? [Once again, thanks to attorney Corbin Payne for helping us answer another difficult one!]
- You’re financially reliant on your judgmental mother who has withdrawn her support in the past when she felt your values didn’t align with hers. How can you get out from under her thumb in what’s thus far proven to be a brutally barren job market for your particular set of skills?
- As a “nice” boss, how can you cultivate the ability to share feedback with your employees that will foster their growth as professionals without feeling like you’re nitpicking at their imperfections?
- You’re no stranger to the indispensable power of therapy, but you’ve found yourself making excuses to avoid it ever since the death of a close friend last year hit you hard. What can you do to stop procrastinating and get the professional help you need? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- 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 and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
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Did you miss our conversation with Stanford neuroscientist David Eagleman about the conscious brain vs. the subconscious brain, exploring new senses, intellectual flexibility, technological brain augmentation, and the umwelt? Catch up with episode 655: David Eagleman | How Our Brains Construct Reality here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Ken Adams | The Confusing Dynamics of Covert Incest | Jordan Harbinger
- Hysterectomy | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Ashley Madison Review: Does It Work in 2024? Is It Real? We Tried It and Paid for a Membership | Chicago Reader
- Can An Open Marriage Be Anxiety-Free? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Esther Perel | Cheating, Argument, and Conflict | Jordan Harbinger
- Is Three a Crowd When Parents Swing Out Loud? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee | Amazon
- Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations in Texas | Janicek Law
- How Do I Confront a Parent about Abuse That Happened Decades Ago? | Quora
- Childhood Sexual Abuse: 13 Stages of Healing | EndCAN
- Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: It’s Never Too Late to Heal | Life Supports Counselling
- How to Make Money Podcasting in 2024: 12 Effective Ways | Riverside
- Your Daily Briefing for Podcasting and On-Demand | Podnews
- Podcasting News, Resources, Conferences, and Events | Podcast Movement
- 11 Signs of Controlling Parents and How to Cope As An Adult | Mindbodygreen
- Nine Tips for How to Give Effective Employee Feedback | 15Five
- Dr. Erin Margolis | Website
- Grief Therapy: What It Is, Techniques, and How It Helps | Psych Central
943: Still Loves His Bride But Seeks Sex on the Side | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to US Bank for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:08] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the yoga towel sopping up the sweat in this toasty den of life advice, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. Namaste.
[00:00:22] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I almost went with the inappropriate Speedo tucked into the crack of —
[00:00:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh.
[00:00:26] Jordan Harbinger: — but I lost my nerve and I couldn't think of the rest.
[00:00:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is that the Bikram thing again?
[00:00:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, the creepy dude, the Indian guy with the Speedos, and everyone's like, "Oh, there's something off about him, but he's so great." And then it's like, dot, dot, dot, can't go to America because of sexual assault. So, um, yeah, allegedly.
[00:00:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Thank you for not associating me with him.
[00:00:43] Jordan Harbinger: No, no, you're right. That ain't you. You're the yoga towel. We got to ring out after we solve some people's problems. I meant that as a compliment, of course.
[00:00:50] Because on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we bring out 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.
[00:01:00] And yeah, I said ring out, but I'm just going to leave it.
[00:01:02] Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. During the week, we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from war correspondents, neuroscientists, rocket scientists, astronauts, music moguls, tech luminaries, hostage negotiators.
[00:01:15] This week, we had Dr. Ken Adams on the topic of something called covert incest, which is, well, I would say less gross than it sounds, but it can get pretty bad. Basically, this is an extreme version of enmeshment where parents turn their children into friends and often into surrogate partners, and how that template dramatically shapes people's mental health. It shapes their romantic relationships, their sense of self. This is one of those episodes that'll have you going, "Oh my God, this explains my whole childhood. Oh my goodness, this explains my last boyfriend." Gabe and I, we tag team this one. Truly, we were enmeshed with this one. Truly a fascinating conversation.
[00:01:51] On Fridays though, we take listener letters, offer advice, play obnoxious sound bites, and compare Gabe to various inanimate but highly useful objects.
[00:01:58] Before we kick off here, though, Gabe and I were thinking that it would be fun to do an entire Feedback Friday episode at some point about people's most embarrassing moments — so big, small, funny, serious life-changing or just totally meaningless. But whatever weird moments y'all have been through, we thought it would be interesting to feature some of those stories. So if you guys are willing to share with us, we'd love to hear from you. We'll collect them over the next few weeks, and hopefully we'll have enough for a whole episode. The funnier, the better, obviously, but even if your story isn't sort of textbook LOL, we'd still love to hear from you.
[00:02:29] And this goes without saying, but we're not just going to have a laugh at these stories. I mean, the idea is that some of 'em are going to be pretty funny, but what we really want to do is see what we can learn from that most universal of feelings, which is shame, embarrassment, and face palm moments. And of course, we'll keep you totally anonymous as always, so no worries there. We can change details if you need to.
[00:02:47] Gabe and I will even try to share a couple of our own embarrassing stories so it won't just be you guys on the line here, which I think is going to be kind of fun.
[00:02:55] So as always, fun ones and doozies. Let's dive in. Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:03:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. 15 years ago, my wife started having lady troubles. The OB/GYN said there were several things to try with the last resort being a hysterectomy. She can be impulsive and stubborn. So she wanted to jump straight to that. The doctor refused, so she found a quack GYN to do it.
[00:03:21] Jordan Harbinger: Did you say quack GYN? Is that like a quack gynecologist, I assume?
[00:03:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:03:26] Jordan Harbinger: Is that what that is? I've never heard that before.
[00:03:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Never heard that phrase before, but kind of special.
[00:03:30] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh. So she had some kind of back-alley hysterectomy or something close to it. I'm already, I'm just wincing thinking about what that must have been.
[00:03:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: It sounds like it. A back-alley HYST, as we call it.
[00:03:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, back al HYST.
[00:03:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: All right, so he goes on.
[00:03:45] Long story short, he botched the surgery and she has so much scar tissue she can't have sex.
[00:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Oh God, that is horrible. Your poor wife, oh gosh, that's — yeah. I know this isn't why you're writing in, and I'm sorry to go all-lawyer Jordan here, but this clearly feels like a tort to me. This is the kind of thing where you sue a doctor for ruining your life regardless of whatever waiver they had you sign, and I wonder if you've considered that. But anyway, go on.
[00:04:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: After that, when I wanted intimacy, she would say, go ahead and hurry up, because it hurts so bad. I would be like, no, I can't enjoy myself if I'm hurting you. For the last 15 years, she's had no desire at all for sex. She'd assist me when I felt frisky, but she couldn't engage with me. To me, the mutual pleasure is the point, and just focusing on my pleasure leaves me incomplete.
[00:04:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's, that's really sad. So this has really impacted her quality of life and your marriage, and I am so angry at this doctor. I mean, we don't know the full facts, but it seems like a major mistake.
[00:04:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: It does. So he goes on.
[00:04:50] Sometimes when I was feeling frisky, she would say, you need a girlfriend. I remained faithful for four years. Then, finally I tried a dating site. I was fully open. I'm married. I love my wife, and she can no longer have sex. So I'm just looking for a friend with benefits.
[00:05:07] Jordan Harbinger: Well, all right. Sorry, maybe I'm nitpicking, but is that a friend with benefits or is that just a mistress?
[00:05:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't think friends with benefits title applies when you're still married.
[00:05:15] Jordan Harbinger: No, that's what I'm saying. Like that's just a mistress.
[00:05:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:05:18] Jordan Harbinger: But what I think he means is, Hey, don't expect too much of me. We're not going to get serious.
[00:05:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:05:21] Jordan Harbinger: You're like a tier two, tier three mistress.
[00:05:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, a mistress-like, a mistress at a distance. How about that?
[00:05:27] Jordan Harbinger: All right, another rhyme that sign off wasn't enough for you. We had to get another one in there.
[00:05:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Honestly, that one wasn't unintentional, I swear. But fair enough. So he goes on.
[00:05:36] I got several responses and started sexting with a married woman around my age.
[00:05:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Her friend ran a hotel and got us a room and we both had a great time. After a couple of hookups, my wife saw a message on my phone and she freaked. I explained the situation and reminded her that she said I should get a girlfriend.
[00:05:54] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so this is going to be a an important question, but when she said you should get a girlfriend, was it like, "Honey, sit down. I want to talk about our marriage," dot, dot, dot, "I'm giving you permission to have casual flinks with other people," or was she like flossing her teeth one night and she's like, "Ah, you should get a girlfriend." Like there's a big difference in the level of permission, real or imagined that might've happened here.
[00:06:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct. Although he did go out of his way to say that. She said it several times, but I still can't tell how sincere that was.
[00:06:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't think she would've freaked if she were on board with this. So he goes on.
[00:06:27] We ended up going to counseling. My wife promised to try hormones among other things, but she never tried the hormones or sought medical help to fix her lack of desire.
[00:06:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Look, I'm very much on your wife's side so far here. She's the victim of this hapless doctor.
[00:06:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: This hap doc, the hap doc you're referring to.
[00:06:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, this back al hap doc, quack guy. So the Victorian butcher or whatever, OB/GYN, literal nightmares, material.
[00:06:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh.
[00:06:53] Jordan Harbinger: But I can also understand why her not exploring potential solutions to this problem, especially after promising to in couples therapy. I can understand why that would leave you frustrated too.
[00:07:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: On the other hand, she might be so scarred by all of this physically and emotionally that she doesn't even want to go near the problem.
[00:07:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, I'm sure I can imagine it's beyond debilitating, maybe even kind of embarrassing. And also the way he put it, fix her lack of desire.
[00:07:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:07:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't mean to nitpick myself, but just the way he phrased that, like, fix it. It's like it might be a little more complicated than that and it might not just be as simple as go get a procedure or go take a pill. It might be a process and I don't know how how much he's appreciating that.
[00:07:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it almost doesn't even seem like hormones that do it. Aren't you still going to have a bunch of scar tissue in your lady parts that make it super painful?
[00:07:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Presumably.
[00:07:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:07:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Although she did have a hysterectomy, so maybe she needs hormones on top of it. But yeah, that's my point is that it could be more than one thing. It might be complicated.
[00:07:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This is not a magic pill thing. Also, she's probably traumatized from some dude screwing her up this bad.
[00:07:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:07:58] Jordan Harbinger: So anyway, my heart goes out to her, and that's kind of why. But if this were me, I would want to at least talk to a doctor or two and see what my options are. I mean, maybe a competent surgeon could reverse some of the damage. Maybe the hormones would help. I'm not saying it's easy or pleasant to deal with this, but it does seem like she's resigning both of them to being stuck with this problem. And since she doesn't have the desire, she's just like, "Oh, well." And meanwhile, our dude over here is just like falling apart.
[00:08:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yeah, that's fair. It is interesting how they're both making this happen to some degree. So he goes on, I started feeling resentful that her rash decision to ignore a reputable GYN had taken so much from both of us.
[00:08:36] I really wish he didn't keep using the word GYN, but okay.
[00:08:41] Jordan Harbinger: It's like the word moist. There's something about it that makes you tense up a little bit.
[00:08:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: It just conjuress up like metal or something.
[00:08:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:08:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a metallic word.
[00:08:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:08:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's just, I don't know. I have an image. It's given speculum or something.
[00:08:52] Jordan Harbinger: You know when you go to the dental hygienist, your favorite place and they scrape —
[00:08:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:56] Jordan Harbinger: — something on your teeth with that metal object. It's like that.
[00:08:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep. Happened on earth. Go on.
[00:09:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yep. Okay. So it's the opposite of that for you. For me, that feeling is disgusting. So yeah, it sounds scary, which apparently it is. If you pay some hap do quack GYN with 18 malpractice suits to do your medically necessary procedure, especially something as invasive as a hysterectomy.
[00:09:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just stick with a reputable OB/GYN. You know that rep-gyn?
[00:09:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: So he goes on.
[00:09:21] I started feeling incomplete again, so I joined Ashley Madison.
[00:09:25] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, famously secure ashleymadison.com. Yes.
[00:09:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: I had several mistresses without my wife knowing and ended up seeing one for about eight years. Let's call her Misty.
[00:09:36] Jordan Harbinger: Misty.
[00:09:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Misty.
[00:09:37] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, a classic side piece name. Sorry to everybody out there whose name is actually Misty.
[00:09:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Misty is definitely the dancer who ruins your life down at the Boobie Bungalow.
[00:09:46] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Now, coming to the stage, Misty, the woman you carry on with when your wife maybe, kind of, but who really knows for sure gave you permission to bang, 10 minutes after taking her Ambien.
[00:10:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that's so good. Just to be clear, we're not calling your mistress a stripper.
[00:10:04] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:10:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I just, because I can already hear him getting a little angry. We're just having a laugh because there was a stupid strip club story from a couple of months back. I know you guys, I know you two actually connected meaningfully in real life.
[00:10:15] Jordan Harbinger: No, she really liked it. She really liked it.
[00:10:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, on Ashley Madison.
[00:10:18] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah.
[00:10:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: So the letter goes on.
[00:10:21] She was single, well off, about my age and very sexually adventurous. We had a great time and she fell in love with me. Eventually, Misty wanted me to leave my wife and move to New Zealand with her. I like her, but I didn't see a long-term relationship and I still loved my wife. I said no, and we remained friends with benefits.
[00:10:41] Jordan Harbinger: Again with the friends with benefits title. It is clever though. She's not the mistress who fell in love with me and who I had to put back in the sidepiece category. It's friends with benefits.
[00:10:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Nice reframe, I feel. So he goes on.
[00:10:55] Then four years ago I got cancer.
[00:10:58] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:10:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was out of work for a year. During treatment, I lost my house and cars had to cash in my retirement and still went bankrupt due to the insurance premiums and medical bills that piled up.
[00:11:09] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man. That is brutal. That's horrible. What a dark time that must have been. I'm so sorry that happened to you. That's so, ugh, look, I love this country, but man, our healthcare situation is such a mess. You should not lose your house when you get cancer. That's horrible.
[00:11:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: My mistresses were nowhere to be found during my illness. My wife has been with me the whole way. Even when we had to move into public housing and we lost everything we made together.
[00:11:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Oh man. So you went off and banged all these women, but when sh*t hit the fan, those people, including the woman who was supposedly in love with you, they bounced and your wife stuck by you. So that's got to be a real wake-up call I would imagine.
[00:11:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm cancer free now and I'm back to work trying to rebuild our retirement. My libido is also coming back. I'm feeling frisky and incomplete again.
[00:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Or not.
[00:12:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or not.
[00:12:02] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:12:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh boy. Okay.
[00:12:05] I feel like I want to chase a mistress again, but I love my wife and I owe her so much. I feel guilty and conflicted. Should I tell my wife about the affairs and explain that I didn't leave the first time, it was just sex? Or would that just devastate her and should I pursue a mistress again? Signed, Find Release With Another Side Piece or Cease and Make Peace After Getting a New Life Lease.
[00:12:30] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. There's a lot going on here, but in the interest of time, let me try to get right to the point after this, first aside that I just noticed you notice he said, chase a mistress and pursue a mistress in the end here.
[00:12:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:12:41] Jordan Harbinger: I almost feel like he likes the chasing part of things as well. I hadn't really thought about that before hearing that particular word choice.
[00:12:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting clue. Mm-hmm.
[00:12:51] Jordan Harbinger: Then again, I could just be overthinking it. I mean, word choice is always tricky in a letter.
[00:12:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe, but pursuing a mistress and meeting people on Ashley Madison and the courtship process and having a whole life outside of his marriage might be more intriguing to him than even he realizes.
[00:13:04] Jordan Harbinger: A hundred percent. Okay, so first off, as you can probably tell from our reaction, so far, these affairs were not exactly on the up and up in my opinion. You and your wife didn't sit down and formally open up your marriage from the sound of it or give you permission to have sex with other people.
[00:13:20] Correct us if we're wrong here, but that's pretty clear from your letter. She didn't say, "I know your sexual needs aren't being met. I'm okay with you meeting them with other people. Here are the rules, yada, yada, yada." What she did say was, "Eh, you should get a girlfriend," while you were trying to initiate sex, which to be fair to you, she said it several times, that is a confusing message to receive. Was she joking? Did she mean it? If she did mean it, why didn't she make herself clear? So I can kind of understand how that comment might've given you some kind of tacit permission to pursue these friends with benefits, the frennies with bennies.
[00:13:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: The frennies with bennies? These Mistys with kissies.
[00:13:55] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Man, that sounded so weird coming out of your mouth — kissies, ugh.
[00:13:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's weird.
[00:14:00] Jordan Harbinger: That's speculum, but well done. I'm not even mad at that third rhyme in the first letter alone.
[00:14:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: It felt wrong. It felt right. I don't know. I went with it.
[00:14:10] Jordan Harbinger: I think Mistys with kissies should be our official new word for side piece on the show, I've just decided. So —
[00:14:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: I like it.
[00:14:15] Jordan Harbinger: Actually, I never want to say that again. The point is I can see why that comment from your wife made you think this was sort of, maybe okay. However, the fact that she didn't make herself clearer, the fact that you didn't talk to her directly about this before you signed up for Ashley Madison, and you're meeting women in hotel rooms and all that. I think that speaks to a part of you. A part of both of you probably that didn't really want to have this conversation.
[00:14:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: Either because it's uncomfortable or it's sad, or it's hurtful, or because eh, you didn't want to press the issue and risk having her go, "Oh, that? No, no, that was a joke. Wait, why are you asking me this," you know? It's like that you kind of didn't want to risk that. And if we're honest with ourselves, that might really be it, you know? Oh, would I? Then I would've given her a chance to really think about it and say, no. And then you'd have to deal with the fact that your wife was not okay with you having relationships outside of your marriage, and you would be stuck.
[00:15:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. So there is a big communication issue here.
[00:15:08] Jordan Harbinger: A huge one. And there's a lot going unsaid in this marriage from the sound of it.
[00:15:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:13] Jordan Harbinger: They're both tiptoeing around the topic. They're both avoiding a lot. I get why our friend here obviously has a lot of conflicts, has a lot of confusion about these affairs, and probably a lot of guilt and sadness about his wife, especially after she's stuck by him through this illness. But as long as they're not going right at this question, is he allowed to see other people? Then the reality is, yeah, he's cheating on his wife.
[00:15:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:37] Jordan Harbinger: And if it were truly okay for him to do this, he wouldn't have hidden these women from her. She wouldn't have been so upset by the message she found. So should you tell your wife about the affairs? Explain to her that you didn't leave the first time. Uh, well, if you want to have the most authentic possible relationship with her, if you want to have the fairest and most meaningful relationship with her, then yes, I think you have to. But before you do, I would really think through whether you still want this marriage, what kind of marriage you want to have, what the terms would need to be, what you would be willing to give up, what you'd be willing to live with, whether the love that still exists between you and your wife is more important than sex, which, you know, maybe it's not for you and that's fine.
[00:16:17] I'm not judging, but that's something you really need to get clear on. And if you do come clean to your wife, then part of that conversation can be, "Look, this is what these other women meant to me. This is what they didn't mean to me in my heart. I never left you. These relationships were just about sex. I've always loved you. I still love you, but I've done something wrong by secretly carrying on with these people and not communicating with you about how our marriage worked. And I know I need to come clean if we're going to move forward together the right way."
[00:16:45] Now, is that going to devastate your wife? Maybe. This is a very big reveal and she might have all kinds of feelings about what you did, and part of your job is going to be allowing her to have those feelings and accepting her anger and her sadness, her hurt, being willing to bear that as her husband, and frankly, the party who cheated. There's also the possibility that she won't be devastated. Who knows? Maybe through your conversations she'll understand. I don't know your wife. I don't know what her lens on all this is going to be. I'm going to go ahead and guess she's not going to be thrilled, but you won't know until you talk.
[00:17:19] Point is risking your wife's devastation, tolerating the discomfort of her reaction — that's kind of a non-negotiable part of this process. You can't have the confession and clarification without making room for her feelings as a response to it.
[00:17:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is exactly right. And part of me wonders just reading between the lines here a little bit, whether the fear of devastating her and the difficulty of tolerating her response, whether that might be at the heart of their communication issue, the avoidance that Jordan zeroed in on earlier might be an avoidance of provoking your wife and also provoking your own painful feelings that her feelings would stir up in you.
[00:17:57] Now about your illness and what it did to you guys, I got to say that is such a crazy thing to go through. I mean, this is one of those cosmic events that almost seemed designed to humble slash teach somebody something. And I'm not saying that you deserved getting cancer by any means. Obviously, you did not. It's just if you had to design the perfect test for whether these other women you were involved with really cared about you, and whether there were still love between you and your wife, it would probably be a potentially fatal disease that also devastates you financially.
[00:18:29] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. It's fascinating,
[00:18:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: isn't it? You don't need us to tell you who really has your back in this life. But look, I'm not saying these other women were necessarily evil or selfish. Maybe they were, but also, you know, when you tell somebody, "Hey, you're my friend with benefits," you know? Like I'm bringing you in that category when you slot them into that Mistys with kissies column, right? You're also saying, "Look, I can't be there for you in these deeper ways, and so I'm not expecting you to show up that way for me." So on some level, that is fair.
[00:18:58] But now you've been through this life-changing event. It's changed the equation on these affairs, and it's given you a new understanding of your wife's character, her commitment to you, how she really feels about you, and I imagine what truly matters in life. So now you have to decide what to do with that, how to honor that, whether you want to honor that, and what that actually looks like in terms of, you know, being faithful to your wife.
[00:19:22] Even though those probably sound like leading questions, they're not. You have to decide what matters the most here, staying with your wife on her terms that she's comfortable with, or being able to have sex if your wife doesn't want to or can't. If your wife continues to have problems in this department and/or she can't allow you to see other people, that's basically the deal.
[00:19:40] So should you pursue a mistress again? Um, I don't think so. I mean, not the way you have in the past. If you do, I mean you're welcome to, but if you do, you will recreate this entire problem and you will probably feel even worse. I think you need to do some introspection and then you need to talk to your wife a lot about this. Who knows? Maybe through your conversations she will understand what these other relationships mean to you or don't mean to you, and she'll come to accept that.
[00:20:08] Although I'm still a little bit confused about what they mean to you. I mean, on the one hand, you're getting involved with these other women because your wife can't have sex. You're saying it's kind of just about getting off, essentially, but you are really involved with these other women. It sounds like. These are relationships. They might not be on the up and up and they might not be super meaningful. You can't reciprocate this woman who wanted to move to New Zealand with you's love, but to just say that it was just sex, I think probably is not reflecting the full reality of these other relationships, which really complicates things when you talk to your wife.
[00:20:39] And if your wife does come to accept that it might be the ideal outcome if you feel it's essential to see other people, the other possibility is that she will not accept it. And then you're going to have to decide — do I stay with her and do I close the door to these other experiences? Or do we consider separating so that I can be fulfilled in these other ways that matter to me? Such an intense choice, such a personal choice.
[00:21:01] And I know that there are people listening right now going, "What are you talking about? I mean, stay and remain faithful, dude. Your wife is the only real thing in your life. She got you through cancer and bankruptcy. Just accept the occasional over the pants HJ, bro, and you know, the old fortnightly wink. And be happy that you have someone who loves you." And I get it. There are probably other people listening, going, "Okay, there's still love here. That is important, but these two people's needs are incompatible. And so it's fair if they decide not to be together anymore." So I can appreciate both sides of that.
[00:21:34] The fact that your wife stuck with you though, that obviously counts for a lot and I think it deserves some serious consideration. So my final thought is, whatever you do, please do it with a lot of self-awareness and a lot of courage to talk openly and also a lot of empathy and yeah, consideration for your wife because she has been through a lot here, like a lot and so have you. But it started with this procedure it sounds like, and there's more to come if you do come clean to her, and even if it hurts her feelings profoundly, I think she does deserve your honesty and your respect.
[00:22:08] Jordan Harbinger: I could not agree more, Gabe. This is a really tough one. 'cause in a way it's simple. You stick with the person who stuck with you, but I also understand that a lack of physical intimacy in a relationship can be a real challenge.
[00:22:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:18] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not a fan of the way he went about meeting those needs, but of course I understand why he had them.
[00:22:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:23] Jordan Harbinger: But then I also feel terrible for his wife who has dealt a huge blow by this quack gyn.
[00:22:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh.
[00:22:28] Jordan Harbinger: Sorry. But yeah, I know we're nails on chalkboard.
[00:22:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: But then it's interesting. I also think about the other detail he shared how his wife can be impulsive and stubborn, and I know we're only getting his side of the story, so that's his read on all of this. But when one legitimate doctor said, "Don't do the hysterectomy." She went out and found a doctor who would do it and that's how she ended up in the wrong hands.
[00:22:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Right. And then she also didn't seek out medical advice to try to address any of it.
[00:22:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:22:54] Jordan Harbinger: So the whole who's at fault question is actually rather complicated. And that's what makes questions like this so interesting.
[00:23:00] But my big takeaway here is when situations are this complicated, then you got to communicate even more.
[00:23:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: Even if it's scary to do. And that's the piece that they seem to be missing. I hope these conversations go well. I hope your wife is holding up okay. And I hope you guys find the communication and the terms that you need to take good care of each other and good luck.
[00:23:19] You know, who else wants to be frennies with bennies? And boy are those bennies are good. The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
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[00:25:33] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:25:37] Okay, next up.
[00:25:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hello, Gabe and Jordan. I'm a 46-year-old woman living in Texas, and when I was a teenager I was sexually abused by my biological father from ages 14 to 16. He was the typical narcissist abuser who manipulated me into keeping the abuse a secret my mother didn't know. And luckily when I was 17, they divorced and my mother and I moved out. I was relieved. I viewed it simply as I got away.
[00:26:06] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, that is awful. Really awful. I'm so glad they divorced and you finally got away, but I am very sorry this happened to you. Horrible.
[00:26:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: I rarely saw him after that, but when I was 30, I wrote him a letter, finally acknowledging everything that happened and told him that our relationship was over. I threatened that if he tried to have contact with me or even replied to the letter, I would tell everyone what he did to me. I never heard from him again. He still lives in Texas in a small town four hours away, and I think he spent most of his life alone For years. I was happy that that chapter of my life ended. But after having a child 10 years ago, my trauma started to surface in the form of anxiety attacks and nearly a nervous breakdown. That's when I started therapy. I had guilt about never telling my mom and fear that my father might have continued his behavior with other young girls. Three years ago, after years of therapy, I finally told my mom it was the hardest and best thing I have ever done. I can't describe the weightlessness of unloading a 30-year secret. I also told all the friends and family my father had left, and they all believed me and comforted me. I have more closure than I ever thought I would.
[00:27:19] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. That is extraordinary. That must have been quite a difficult conversation with your mom. I can't even imagine having to tell a parent something like this, but shrugging off the burden of carrying such a big secret, that is incredible, and I really commend you for opening up about this.
[00:27:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same here. I'm also so happy to hear that these friends and family believed you and supported you.
[00:27:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, we've gotten a lot of letters on Feedback Friday where people tell their families about terrible things like this and they aren't believed, or people just kind of go quiet and get awkward, or they take the abuser side. So this is a really great outcome.
[00:27:50] So she goes on.
[00:27:52] Then I contacted some old friends, including other girls I played softball with as teenagers, where my father was the coach. After I graduated high school, he continued to coach a traveling tournament team. I found out I wasn't the only victim. The worst part was that he had a full-on sexual relationship with an underage girl on that team after my mom and I moved out.
[00:28:14] Oh boy.
[00:28:15] Jordan Harbinger: This guy is disgusting. Really gross.
[00:28:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I decided to file a police report. I couldn't convince the other girl who's now in her 40s with her own trauma to make her own report, and she has all my love and understanding. Eight months after making the report, a detective finally got in touch with me. He was kind and sympathetic, but basically told me that there was nothing he could do because of the statute of limitations in Texas.
[00:28:41] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay. So just for anybody who doesn't know, a statute of limitations is basically a deadline for bringing a case. It can range from a few years to decades depending on the crime. Most states implement these statutes to protect people from getting hit with charges that are filed years and years and years after the alleged crime. In the interest of fairness, we as a society, we want defendants to have the opportunity to put on the best case they can, and we don't want people to have to fight charges that allegedly happened so long ago that the evidence is long gone. The witnesses can't remember anymore, they've passed away, stuff like that. Statutes of limitations also protect witnesses to a certain extent. They give law enforcement and prosecutors a hard deadline to work against the victims don't just get strung out for years.
[00:29:24] Sorry for the legal crash course. I just wanted to remind people why a statute of limitations exists. Especially when it comes to horrible sex crimes like this where there's compelling evidence that the alleged perpetrator really did these things to a number of people. Because a lot of folks go like, "Our system's broken." It's like, no, this rule exists for a reason even though sometimes it blows up in your face.
[00:29:42] So carry on, Gabe.
[00:29:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Then last year a friend alerted me to an addendum to the laws around the statute of limitations in Texas regarding abuse. I emailed that detective but never heard back. I don't know if I have the energy or emotional capacity to pursue justice, but it's in the back of my mind at all times. Can you gimme some clarity on the statute of limitations in a situation like this? Should I pursue this again? Signed, A Vindicated Victim, Unable to Forgive Him with the Vim to Still Go Get Him.
[00:30:14] Jordan Harbinger: Phew, what a story. Again, I'm so sorry that you went through this, but I'm also so impressed by how far you've come, how you've owned your story, how you found agency by talking to another victim and reporting this to the police.
[00:30:25] You're asking a good question about the legal side of this. So we reached out to Corbin Payne, attorney and friend of the show. As per yooz, our very own Atticus Finch had to kick it off with a disclaimer, as we attorneys love to do and remind us that he's not a Texas lawyer. He's from a couple states over Tennessee, where the biting wit is even sharper and the accent's more beguiling.
[00:30:45] Now, Corbin wasn't sure what this addendum actually was. He did some quick research, said it looks like Texas's statute of limitations for child sex abuse was amended in 2019 to give victims more time to report cases. So I'm guessing that's what you're referring to. But Corbin did have a few broad principles to share. And again, sorry for how law heavy this answer's going to be, but it all relates to what to do about your father, I promise.
[00:31:09] First off, the US Constitution bans something called an expost facto law. That means you can't retroactively punish somebody for a past crime, and the Supreme Court says you can't prosecute somebody for a crime that's already passed the deadline under the statute of limitations by amending the statute of limitations to extend the deadline. If the deadline is already passed by the time of the amendment, then the person who committed the crime cannot be prosecuted. But if the deadline has not already passed by the time of the amendment, then the person can be prosecuted. Basically, if they already thought, oh good, the deadline passed, I'm off the hook. Nothing can change that.
[00:31:44] But Corbin wanted to be clear. This is the US Supreme Court interpreting the US Constitution, Texas as a state, they might have broader protections in place for the accused. So it is possible that a change in the statute of limitations would not extend the deadline for somebody to be prosecuted for a crime. And even if the statute of limitations were amended to give indefinite time for bringing a charge, the state still might not be able to prosecute it. But that's something you'll have to ask a Texas attorney.
[00:32:09] The second thing Corbin wanted us to remember was the US Constitution guarantees defendants certain due process rights, including the right to a speedy trial. So for the purposes of your story, if a defendant like your father were able to argue that an extremely long delay in bringing an indictment, prejudice his case, then that would be a violation of his right to a speedy trial, and that would likely result in a dismissal. And in your situation, a good defense attorney, they're going to be able to argue that so much time has passed.
[00:32:37] He can't now prepare an adequate defense. He can't find a witness to provide an alibi. When this allegedly took place I was fishing with Tom. Tom died 20 years ago, right? And he, physical evidence is long since destroyed, et cetera, et cetera. So in Corbin's experience, bringing this case against this guy would be an uphill climb for the state.
[00:32:55] The other thing is the state has to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And that's a major factor in this case. Because if this were ever brought to trial, this is the definition of he said, she said. The length of time involved, the lack of corroborating evidence, the lack of corroborating witnesses.
[00:33:11] Again, all of that means that this is going to be a tough case for the state to prove. And any witnesses they would've to corroborate the crimes against you. The state could bring in other witnesses who would testify about his attacks on them. So this other woman, for example, they can only do that under very specific circumstances. And that's another thing that makes this a hard case in Corbin's opinion. And that's also probably factoring into your treatment by the police.
[00:33:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right. The last thing Corbin wanted to share, and this is a burning issue for him. We've heard him get worked up about this many times and I think appropriately so. The way we dole out money for police budgets tends to prioritize drug prosecutions over any other types of crime, which means that the divisions that investigate and prosecute violent crimes tend to be extremely underfunded and short-staffed, which means they have to make tough decisions about prioritizing certain cases over others.
[00:34:03] As Corbin put it to us, if they had all the time and all the resources in the world, maybe they would pursue this, but the fact is they've got extremely limited time and resources, so they kind of have to prioritize other stronger cases. To quote him here, you deserve better, but this is the way things are all over the country. It's completely backward. But Corbin said to us, the people who design our criminal legal system haven't asked for his opinion. So there it is. Now, I know that's probably incredibly frustrating to hear. It probably feels like the system has conspired to deny you and other women justice, and that's entirely fair. And Corbin felt the exact same way.
[00:34:41] But here's the incredible news. You have come such a long way in processing what you've been through. You went to therapy, you talked about this, which was huge for you, and also a gift to your child. I think that's tremendous.
[00:34:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: You reported it to the police, which was the right thing to do. You reached out to another victim. You empowered her to report. She ultimately didn't want to, and that's her right. But you did your part and you had the courage to tell your friends and your family what happened to you to again, really own your story and to find their support. When you said you felt weightless after telling your mother when you said that you've gotten more closure than you ever thought you would. I mean, I wanted to stand up and applaud for you because on a personal level, this is a massive win.
[00:35:23] Now, sadly, but also luckily and incredibly that private victory is sometimes all you really have in a case like this. And that might be the contradiction that you now have to live with.
[00:35:35] Jordan Harbinger: Which is why Corbin wanted to share one more idea with you, less as a lawyer, more as a human being. To quote him again, the biggest hurdle to prosecuting people like this is their ability to weaponize shame and to utilize other forms of manipulation to keep victims quiet in Corbin's view, a world where everyone is better educated about sexual abuse, better educated about its red flags, and better able to encourage its victims to speak out. The more we as a society can effectively crack down on it.
[00:36:01] So if you want, justice Corbin said, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in helping victims raising community awareness advocacy. We don't know if you can get your abuser punished beyond what you've already done, but helping others get justice or avoid getting victimized. You might find that a very rewarding experience.
[00:36:19] Again, I'm so sorry you went through this, but I'm so proud of how far you've worked through the legacy of this painful event, sending you a huge hug and wishing you all the best.
[00:36:28] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Use a descriptive subject line. Makes our job a lot easier. If you're finding dead squirrels in your mailbox, your neighbors are eavesdropping on your therapy sessions through the wall, or you're thinking about rekindling things with your unstable abusive ex with literally the craziest parents that we've ever heard about on this show, whatever's got you staying up at night lately. Hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:36:55] Okay, next up.
[00:36:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm 22 and I graduated from college with a degree in marketing last year. I've been working at a nonprofit for about a year and a half. And while I feel really appreciated at this company, the pay is decent and it's a good cause, I'm not learning anything and I can feel my creativity and soul getting sucked out of me, but it's a remote job, so I have a lot of flexibility and freedom. Separately. I started a podcast with my cousin recently about the story of a sexual assault trial as well as sexual assault in general. I have absolutely loved working on this podcast. I find myself spending hours and hours working on it and thinking about it constantly instead of my other responsibilities. It's something I would love to turn into a career, but I understand how saturated the podcast market is, and I know this may not be realistic. Right now, my mom is paying 60 percent of my rent because I can't afford to pay it all with my current job. I've thought about getting a job as a waitress or something, but my mom says this is a bad idea because I would be surrounded by bad people who aren't going in a, quote-unquote, "good direction." I grew up in a very Christian household and my mom has always held money over me. I can't even tell her about the podcast because I mentioned things like premarital sex and drinking, which are both things, I'm worried she would take away my rent for.
[00:38:17] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:38:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's done that kind of thing. Before when I was young, she made me pay for my figure skating lessons and many other things when she found out that I was drinking slash being a bad kid, but I had no time for a job and she wouldn't let me get one. Because being a high level figure skater is a full-time unpaid job. My mother is also one of the main donors of the nonprofit where I work. I don't want to settle for a job I'm not great at or don't love, but not having a big girl job is really putting a damper on my confidence. My job search is not going well, although I've applied to tons of places and it's making me wonder if I'm even meant for marketing or PR. I also really don't like that my mom has such a strong hold on me financially, which in turn means she has a hold on my life. What should I do? Do I tell my mom about my podcast and risk her being extremely disappointed in me and maybe even taking away my rent? Signed, Chasing My Own Goals and Listening to My Soul While Still on Mama's Payroll.
[00:39:16] Jordan Harbinger: Super interesting story. First of all, I'm very sorry to hear the job search isn't going well. I know that can be really demoralizing, especially for a young person who's just getting started in her career. For what it's worth, we're hearing from tons of listeners that the job market these days is really weird and it's very tough. So you're not alone there. It sucks for, I guess everyone, you might just have to be persistent and patient until something hits, and it sounds like you're hustling, which is great.
[00:39:39] So I'm very intrigued by this podcast that you're working on. This is obviously where your passion lies. The fact that you're working on it, you're thinking about it for hours and hours, even more than your main job, that tells me you found something very meaningful to you, something inherently rewarding, and that's fantastic. But you're right. Turning a podcast into a career is extremely difficult. It really does have to be a labor of love for a ridiculously long time, in most cases, before you see any external rewards, if you ever see any external rewards.
[00:40:08] So my best advice there is to just stay connected to your passion for the project. Let that sustain you. Let it be enough. I would love for you to make tons of money from something like this right out of the gate, but sadly, that's almost never how it works, and I'm glad that you know that. But what we really need to talk about here is your mom.
[00:40:24] So, holy moly. I mean, this is quite a relationship and I'm sorry to hear that this has always been tricky. It sounds like your mom exerts a lot of control in your life financially for sure, but also socially, ideologically, she might not be a bad person by any means. She might just have very strong values, and she's obviously passionate about instilling them in you.
[00:40:46] But my sense is that you've struggled to healthily separate from her to be authentically yourself to pursue opportunities that you find important like the podcast or even a restaurant job, because she wouldn't approve. The fact that your mom supports you financially though, is a huge part of the challenge.
[00:41:03] Now look, it's very kind of her to help you out with rent. It sounds like you need it, especially as a 22-year-old person who's still finding her footing professionally. So let's just take a moment and appreciate the gift that she has given you. I'm sure it comes at least partly from a good place, but there's a cost to that gift. The cost is that it makes it extremely hard for you to be honest with your mom about what you really want out of life, how you want to spend your time, what you find meaningful.
[00:41:31] Now, I don't know if your mom is deliberately trying to control your life by paying for your rent. Maybe she is, maybe she isn't. Probably, it's not conscious, but the result is basically the same.
[00:41:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. And also the fact that she's a donor at your nonprofit, which I assume is how you got the job, I think is also an interesting detail, right?
[00:41:49] Jordan Harbinger: She's very woven into her life, everywhere she turns professionally, anyway, her mom's just kind of there.
[00:41:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: When you said that, "I can't even tell her about the podcast that I'm so excited about, because I mentioned things like premarital sex and drinking, which are things that I'm worried she would take away my rent for," that really jumped out at me.
[00:42:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:42:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: And honestly, it made me sad because you are genuinely lit up by this project, and you have to suppress your excitement, and you have to hide this part of your life from your mom because basically she can't handle the subject matter.
[00:42:18] Jordan Harbinger: Which I find extra frustrating because I'm assuming she's not necessarily endorsing those things on the podcast, she's just discussing adult topics, you know, like, like an adult.
[00:42:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:42:28] Jordan Harbinger: But here's the problem. If you don't keep that hidden from her, then she could take away your rent money, which, whether or not this is an intentional strategy that's clearly a source of her power and control over you.
[00:42:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. She is pulling the strings, the purse strings, and also kind of the mind strings.
[00:42:44] Right. The other example you mentioned is also really interesting how she made you pay for your skating lessons and other stuff when she found out that you were drinking and being a quote unquote bad kid, but then she wouldn't let you get a job because being a figure skater, a really good figure skater is a full-time, unpaid jobs. So what's the deal there?
[00:43:01] Jordan Harbinger: I thought that was interesting too. What a message to receive, eh?
[00:43:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: But also what a bind she put you in, right? Like you have to pay for your own lessons because you're behaving badly, but you can't go get a job on the weekends to pay for them because you need to be fully focused on your sport, which I just made so much more difficult for you to do.
[00:43:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, sorry to open up your whole childhood here. I know you weren't trying to talk about that, but what is the logic here? I mean, what game is mom playing?
[00:43:24] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, again, it just sounds manipulative and controlling to me, this was clearly only a punishment with no functional byproduct or result, really. By that, I mean she didn't get a job and then spend her time working instead of being a, quote-unquote, bad kid, which would've made sense like, "Oh, you have too much free time. I'm going to make sure you work during your waking hours and you're too tired to go out and get screwed up with your friends." It sounds like she just had her life get a lot harder because her mother wanted her to feel the sting of not behaving as mommy dearest wanted her to do.
[00:43:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, right.
[00:43:53] Jordan Harbinger: So she created a problem for you, and then she didn't even allow you to solve it. She just wanted you to suffer, and that strikes me as oddly harsh and cruel somehow.
[00:44:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree, but also if you really were being a bad kid who did need some guidance, then she could have sat you down and tried to understand why you were acting out and where this behavior was coming from, not just punish you in this very weird and confusing way.
[00:44:17] Jordan Harbinger: You know, that story also makes me quite sad. I just have this image of a parent who's a lot more interested in making her daughter conform to her values in this very authoritarian way. Possibly because she was also raised that way rather than trying to explain to her why these values even matter in the first place and trying to understand her.
[00:44:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. And that last piece I think is the most important part is like how much does mom really want to understand her daughter and give her the space to authentically be herself? Mom has been the boss for a very long time, so her opinions obviously carry a lot of weight and now they are constraining your options. But I imagine that she also takes up a lot of real estate inside of you. I do wonder if some of your mom's beliefs and judgments and also her fears might also be holding you back internally. In the way that you approach, for example, your job search or the way you assess professional opportunities, or the way you decide what's worth pursuing and why, and whom do I get to tell about it?
[00:45:14] And actually that's the aspect of your relationship with your mom that I am the most concerned about. Yes, the financial control is real and very important, but also for somebody like you who's interested in creative projects, it's the intellectual and emotional and artistic control that concerns me even more.
[00:45:31] Jordan Harbinger: And sometimes that can be the hardest part to shake. So, okay, what do you do? First of all, my strong feeling is that you need to become financially independent from your mother. I realize this isn't going to be easy, especially with the job market the way it is. Might take several months, might even take a year or more, but I really do have confidence that in time with the right approach, with a great network, with a lot of hard work, you will find a great opportunity that uses your skills and pays you well. Now this is crucial because as long as you need your mom to approve of your choices in order to keep a roof over your head, then the terms of your life will never be entirely yours. Your professional decisions will be informed by her, and I think you're always going to feel beholden to your parent.
[00:46:11] Not to mention she didn't say anything like this, but I'm also waiting to hear like, "Oh, you're dating a boy I don't like. Well, don't make me take away your rent money. Oh, you know that friend you brought over? I don't like her. Don't make me take away your rent money." It just sounds like that's the default. I mean, if you're going to take away rent money, because she said something about alcohol on a podcast —
[00:46:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. What else would she punish her daughter for?
[00:46:33] Jordan Harbinger: And even if she wouldn't really do that, the fact that this girl is thinking about, "What if my mom punishes me for this?" Is that really a way to live your life? It sounds like North Korea, like you just default. Don't do anything. 'cause it might piss off your mom, who's then going to make you homeless. Kim Jong mom don't deal with that.
[00:46:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Kim Jong mommy over here is playing a big role in her life, which by the way, all of that is also a recipe for resentment and frustration and fear, and interestingly, often depression. You know, just that cocktail of having to pretend to be somebody you're not, to keep your mom happy and repressing all these feelings that are dangerous in your family.
[00:47:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, for sure. But again, I'm not saying your mom is necessarily a bad person. We said Kim Jong mom, that wasn't super flattering, but you know, we're messing around. She's your mom. She's been generous with you in this big way. I'm sure if we talked to her, she'd say, "Look, I just want my daughter to be happy and productive and successful and on a good path, and I'll do anything to get her to do that and not make the mistakes I did." And then we would all have a group hug and understand each other, but the dynamic between you, how she's shaping your choices, how you feel stuck and confused because of her role in your life, in my opinion, that's what you need to explore right now and to start to rewrite in a way that feels fairer and more authentic to you.
[00:47:44] So here's an idea. If working in a restaurant is the best way to make some extra money right now, then I would encourage you to at least consider it. Does your mom need to know? Can you just work your shifts and not tell her? I hate to encourage you to hide more stuff from her. I'd rather you do the opposite. But I also think it's fair to keep certain details from her as an adult, and you are an adult. At some point, you'd have to explain where you're getting the rent money that you no longer need from her. But just tell her OnlyFans no.
[00:48:11] That might be months down the line, at which point you can say, "Actually, I picked up an extra job because I want to be taking better care of myself." And if she's like, "My daughter in a restaurant, the den of sin with all the low lives and losers and fallen souls," you can say, "Look, I hear that you don't like this mom, but I don't feel it's fair to rely on you for rent at my age, and I want to be a responsible adult. I found a job that paid me nicely. I'm happy to put in the work to succeed, which is something you taught me from a young age." Or who knows? Maybe after the fact she won't be mad at all. And if she says — you know, Gabe, I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not working in a restaurant is bad for you, I have a feeling it's uhoh, she won't need my money, which means I can't influence her choices. Like maybe there's just a hint of actually I like paying her rent because she can't go against me.
[00:48:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, exactly. Yes.
[00:49:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So maybe she doesn't actually give a crap if she works in a restaurant. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't.
[00:49:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe it's both.
[00:49:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's a little bit of both. And if she says, well, I don't like you being surrounded by bad people who aren't going in a good direction, you can say, "Hey, I hear you, mom. Thank you for being so concerned about the people I surround myself with. I don't know about the other people at the restaurant. I really only know about myself. What I need right now is to make some extra money so I can be a self-sufficient adult." It doesn't need to be a fight. It can be a simple conversation where you gently start asserting yourself a little bit more.
[00:49:30] Now, I don't know how your mom's going to respond to that. She might resent you. She might panic. She might fly off the handle. She might try to guilt you into doing what she wants. People who lose control over their kids, if they're exerting control, they might not like that, but it doesn't mean that's necessarily going to happen. But hey, none of those reactions, none of those mean that you are wrong. Actually, they would be quite telling. They probably only reveal the parts of your mom that she hasn't probably dealt with, and you have to be able to bear those feelings. It's not always about you.
[00:50:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. And in time I'm pretty sure that your mom will settle into this new reality. I mean, what other option does she have? I mean, she could keep writing you rent checks and forcing you to cash them, right?
[00:50:09] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:50:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like she can't do that. She could yell at you forever for not believing what she believes. I mean, okay, but at what point does she just give up slash you say, "Okay mom, I got to go." Right? Like the beauty of taking care of yourself is that you don't have to put up with nearly as much from somebody who frankly should not have a say in whether you get to work on a podcast that you really love.
[00:50:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: So do you tell her about the podcast and risk her taking away your rent? Um, long term, yeah. I would love to see you tell your mom what you're working on and not censor yourself any longer. That would be another great way to individuate. But if telling her about the podcast is going to seriously compromise you financially, like if you would have to give up your apartment or you would get evicted because she would refuse to help you, then I would be very thoughtful about this. And I do think you are well within your rights to keep the podcast on the DL while you pursue your plan to financial independence. But if you do that, then you have to really make this plan a priority. You got to put in the work, you know, maybe you give yourself six months or nine months to make the money that your mom is currently giving you, or maybe you put the job search or the networking into overdrive and you really hustle in a new way to land the job you want. Or maybe you give this waitressing idea a go and you see if it works for you.
[00:51:20] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe you start shagging a wealthy old guy to make up the shortfall.
[00:51:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, okay, for putting all the ideas on the table, I guess that's an option. Just make sure that that guy loves podcasts, I guess.
[00:51:30] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Anyway, once you're not at risk of losing your apartment, then you can tell your mom what you've been working on. And I realize that that might sound a little manipulative, and maybe it sounds like I'm contradicting what we were saying this whole time about not hiding parts of your life from your mom, but to me, this is kind of fair game because frankly, I'm not sure that your mom needs to know everything about your creative projects while you're working on them, and also privately working on something you care about is okay.
[00:51:54] It might even be helpful for the project because it's pretty clear to me that her opinion is not going to add anything to the project. If anything, it might make you more confused and conflicted about it. Where this gets tricky for me is if you go years without telling your mom what you really want to do with your life because you need her money. At which point, yes, that starts to feel inauthentic and potentially a bit gross. That's the scenario I would avoid by putting in the work now.
[00:52:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I agree. My parents still think I'm a lawyer. That would be a hell of a whopper, I suppose.
[00:52:25] On the job hunting front, the best advice I can really offer you is to keep investing in your relationships. Those are going to help you break into the industry you're interested in. It's going to fill those gaps. If you're not finding success in the traditional job search, I would shift 50 percent or more of your energy toward building new relationships. Invest in those sixminutenetworking.com, right? Let that be your job hunting strategy.
[00:52:47] That said, if the nonprofit is giving you stability and flexibility while you work on your passion project, that's one good reason to stay. It might not ultimately be enough to stay, but that's one factored away alongside the others. But honestly, I think the crux of your letter is your relationship with your mom, and my gut is telling me that her influence shows up in a lot of areas of your life. So that's where I'd really dig in and good luck.
[00:53:12] By the way, I subscribe to a newsletter. It's an industry newsletter for podcasters. It's Podnews, podnews.net. If you go to podnews.net/jobs. They actually have tons of podcasting jobs and most of them are going to be remote just because it's a digital thing in this day and age, not all, but there's a lot of jobs there. Sure, some of them are Apple and Spotify. You know, I want head of sales with the 10 years of experience, but a lot of it is like producer needed for this script, editor needed for that. So if you love podcasting and you love the podcast you're working on, there's a world in which you get an entry level job in podcasting and you don't have to join a cafe cult or whatever your mom's afraid of happening to you and hang out with all of those horrible people that work at the In and Out Burger or whatever. You could get a podcasting job and that might really dovetail nicely. And I always see new jobs on pod news.net/jobs. So go ahead and take a peek there. If you're really trying to dig into this industry and go to podcast movement or something like that too, might be a worthwhile trip to, uh, check out the industry and the vendors and all that stuff.
[00:54:10] You know, who wants to be your sugar baby, Gabriel? The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:54:19] This episode is brought to you in part by US Bank. It seems like there's a credit card for everything these days, right? Food cards, cards for travel, cards for rare stamp collecting for me. I don't know what I'm going to be spending money on from one minute to the next, but wouldn't you know it? US Bank has a card for people like me. Check out the US Bank Cash Plus Visa signature card. With this card, you get up to five percent cash back on two categories that you choose every quarter. The great thing is the earning doesn't stop there. Even after you choose your first two earning categories. You also earn two percent back on one everyday category. You choose each quarter like gas stations and EV charging stations, or grocery stores or restaurants, and you still earn one percent on everything else. Apply today at usbank.com/cashpluscard. All that already sounds good, but this card just keeps earning with a $200 rewards bonus after spending a thousand dollars in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. If you like choosing how your card earns, apply at usbank.com/cashpluscard. Limited time offer. The creditor and issuer of this card is US Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visa, USA Inc. Some restrictions may apply.
[00:55:19] This episode is also sponsored by Quince. As we kick off the new year, everyone's buzzing about ditching the old for the new. Right? Well, we joined the bandwagon with the closet clean out, but the real game changer, we decked ourselves out in some comfy finds from Quince, specifically matching cashmere sweaters. Yeah, that's fine. Judge me. I don't care. I like it. Okay. Now, I've never seen myself as the twinning and family photos guy, but honestly, we look pretty dope in those outfits. And Quince isn't just about the cashmere sweaters. The thing with Quince, they specialize in classic wear forever pieces. So imagine snuggling into a luxurious a hundred percent Mongolian cashmere crew next sweater that starts at just $59 or strutting around in their chic leather jackets and stylish pants. They even have jewelry. But here's the kicker, Quince offers everything at prices up to 80 percent lower than similar high-end brands. Their strategy is slave labor. No, their strategy is they work with top factories cutting out the middlemen and their markups. Plus actually, actually they're committed to ethical and sustainable production. So you look great without the guilt. No tiny hands were involved in making anything that you're going to wear. Unless the adults just have tiny hands, but we, you know, look one problem at a time. Elevate your wardrobe with quality enduring pieces.
[00:56:21] Jen Harbinger: Upgrade your closet with Quince. Go to quince.com/jordan for free shipping and 365 day returns on your order. That's Q-U-I-N-C-E.com/jordan to get free shipping and 365 day returns, quince.com/jordan.
[00:56:34] Jordan Harbinger: If you like this episode of Feedback Friday and you found the advice valuable, I invite you to do what other smart and considerate listeners do, which is take a moment and support our amazing sponsors. All the deals, discount codes, and ways to support the show are all in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also email me email@example.com. If you're lazy or you can't remember that one thing that you heard on the show, I'll dig that code up for you. That's how important it is that you support those who support the show.
[00:57:00] Now, back to feedback Friday.
[00:57:03] Okay, next up.
[00:57:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a pastor who manages a few employees in my small church. Most of the time in these environments, people won't give real feedback because, you know, we're Christians and we don't want to be mean slash insert other dumb reason for being dishonest. I'm not a micromanager and try to be hands off, but my employees will sometimes ask me how they're doing and if they can do anything better. I usually tell them that I think they're doing great and if they have any ideas that fit with our company direction, I'm all for backing them. I just say, great job, sincerely, and move on. But I'm afraid that I'm not actually fostering their ability to grow as professionals, which isn't fair to the people I'm responsible for. I don't want to start nitpicking if there's nothing there, but at the same time, I want to be a good employer who helps them grow and improve our church or whatever church they go work at in the future. Do you have any advice on how to give good feedback as an employer? Signed, Looking to Diagnose and Hopefully Say Adios to This Aversion to Giving Notes When My Flock is Asking For a Dose.
[00:58:08] Jordan Harbinger: Great question. I love that you're aware of this. I love that you want to invest in these people for such good reasons. You are absolutely right that depriving these people of meaningful feedback is holding them back, especially because they're literally saying, "Hey, how am I doing? Can I be doing anything better?" Usually the answer is not just, "Nah, Jesus loves you. It's all good, bro."
[00:58:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:28] Jordan Harbinger: You know, your employees there hungry for feedback, which also says a lot about them. So this is a wonderful opportunity for all of you.
[00:58:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: I got to say, I find it so interesting that in these environments people won't give real feedback because it's, you know, quote-unquote, "un-Christian." That must be a common cultural thing in environments like these religious institutions or maybe self-help groups, or even I would imagine like group therapy practices or nonprofits where it's like very touchy feeling and people want to be kind.
[00:58:52] Jordan Harbinger: And I kind of get it. There are certain environments where the purpose of the place or the ethos of the organization is its intention with the idea of honesty in some respects, or it seems to be.
[00:59:03] So my first thought is you need to shift your lens on honest criticism here. Yes, honest feedback can sting a little bit, sometimes it can ruffle some feathers, it can throw people off. It can be a little tough to take in for some folks. I don't know, man. Would Jesus sugarcoat his feedback or would he tell it like it is, man?
[00:59:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: No. In fact, a lot of his most famous teachings are pretty tough.
[00:59:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Wasn't it like somebody judged this prostitute, I guess, that he was hanging out with and he's like, "Hey, he who is without sin cast the first stone," which is basically like, "Hey, shut your face unless you're perfect." If Jesus was your boss, I don't know anything about religion, obviously, but he seems like the kind of guy who'd be like, "You know what? You can do better. And you know how I know that because I'm watching you."
[00:59:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: And that's how I'm going to love you by telling you that.
[00:59:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly.
[00:59:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right.
[00:59:48] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. So yeah, can throw people off. Like we said, it can be tough to take it, but that doesn't mean it's cruel or you're a bad person for doing it or giving it. In fact, it's the opposite. Giving meaningful feedback to people, especially when it's delivered with love and a genuine desire to see people succeed, that is a huge gift. And again, it's one that your employees are literally asking for, so I think they're ready for it.
[01:00:09] So I would also take a look at why you've only been settling for this kind of quick, superficial, good job, pat on the back kind of feedback. Is it because you've been anxious to really give people notes in the context of a church, or is it because you yourself have been avoiding the potential difficulty and awkwardness of giving feedback? Or is it just something you're not used to doing and it takes some time and energy to really think about what your employees need to do in order to improve and you just kind of haven't done it yet?
[01:00:35] It might even be a mix of all three, but the corner you need to turn is, I'm the boss and part of my job is to invest in my people, and I need to give them the gift of meaningful feedback. Even if it's a little uncomfortable, and yeah, not let yourself off the hook by just praising them and moving on and then going home.
[01:00:53] So in terms of actual tips on giving feedback as an employer, well first of all, I would take the time to tell your employees what they're doing well, what you're happy with before you tell them where they can improve. This isn't just some BSS version of the compliment sandwich where you say a nice thing and then you say a tough thing, and then you say a nice thing and then you call it a day. Although I do think the compliment sandwich can be a decent technique. It's got its place. This is about genuinely validating people for what they're doing well, so they feel recognized and appreciated before you tell them where they need to improve.
[01:01:25] Psychologically, it has a huge impact. It makes the criticism land the right way, and it's just a form of respect and kindness. If you've ever been on the receiving end of criticism without any mention of where you're succeeding, you know how much that sucks, even if the feedback you're getting is meaningful and necessary.
[01:01:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, totally. I hate that when somebody doesn't take five seconds to tell you what's going well before they dive into all the things they wish you were doing better. It's just like, oh, I'm willing to hear this, but can you just at least acknowledge me for one second?
[01:01:53] Jordan Harbinger: What you hear though, when people do that is they're like, well, you already know that and you don't need me to spare your feelings. And what they mean is, I actually have trouble giving praise. I can only give negative feedback, and it makes me more comfortable if I'm just the unapologetic bad guy.
[01:02:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or people don't realize that it's worth taking the time to think about what someone's doing, doing well, and express it to them. I just find that so interesting.
[01:02:12] So anyway, yes, I agree with all of that. I would also really nail your tone and your intention in these conversations. So when you sit down with these people, I would literally say, "Look, I've realized that part of my job is giving you meaningful feedback, which you have asked me for, and which I really appreciate, by the way. And so I want to chat with you about, yeah, what I think is going really well and where I think we can improve. And before we do that, I just want to say everything I'm about to share with you is coming from a place of real appreciation for all of your hard work and a genuine desire to see you succeed. Not just here, but anywhere you work in the future. And yeah, I just want to make our church as successful and productive as possible." Saying something like that at the top of a conversation about feedback and actually meaning it, of course, is so powerful because that will signal to your employees that this feedback is not just about asserting yourself as the boss or making them feel bad, or just checking some box that you haven't checked before. It's about elevating everybody to perform at the highest possible level. This is something I'm very passionate about. The spirit in which you share feedback really matters.
[01:03:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. And then when you actually have these conversations, I would be super specific. I wouldn't be like, "Hey, look, Clyde, your fundraising presentations, yeah, they need a little push. Get on that, will you?" Or listen, "Eleanor, your weekly newsletters, they could be a little stronger. Give them some more thought." I would take time to really think this through and offer some real pointers. "Clyde, you're killing it at the donor outreach. I love the way you talk to our partners on the phone, but I think your presentations could be stronger. The writing could be a little snappier. The design could be a little more elegant. They need to be shorter, they need to be more impactful. So I want you to study other church's presentations and see what they're doing. Well, I want you to take this E-course on PowerPoint. I'd love to review the decks before they go out so we can get two pairs of eyes on them," that kind of thing.
[01:03:56] Give him some concrete next steps. Come up with a little system or process around the feedback so you can help them put it into practice. For example, scheduling a monthly review of the presentation right then and there. Booking a call to talk through that e-course when he's finished with it, whatever it is. I could go on about this for a while. There's a whole art and science to give him feedback, and I would definitely read up on it online. It's easy to find, but ultimately this is not rocket surgery.
[01:04:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Did you just say rocket surgery?
[01:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, rocket —
[01:04:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or rocket science?
[01:04:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You'd think I'd know the difference by now, but if I can't get it right at 43, I think that train has sailed.
[01:04:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love that. That just slipped out. Didn't you literally say we talked to rocket scientists on the show at the top of the episode.
[01:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, and Rocket Surgeons is coming up next year. Anyway, half the battle is knowing why you're giving this feedback. The other half is how. So go do this prep. Go have these conversations and trust that being radically honest with people is absolutely consistent with the values of a church. Nothing more Christ-like than telling Clyde that his PowerPoints suck. Love your attitude. You sound like a great boss and good luck.
[01:05:00] Alright, what's next?
[01:05:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, last year, one of my best friends suddenly passed away at age 25 due to COVID. I had moved from the US to France and I learned the news around midnight. One night I was out at a bar celebrating a birthday when a notification flashed across my phone. It was her girlfriend texting me to call her telling me that my friend had died.
[01:05:24] Oh man.
[01:05:25] Jordan Harbinger: That's awful. 25. That is, it's incredibly tragic. That must have been quite a call to receive. So sorry to hear this.
[01:05:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Needless to say, I was in complete shock. I spent the next 24 hours in a zombie-like state, tasked with having to call my friends back in the states one by one to deliver the news. It was awful. The morning of her death before going out that night, I had gotten a haircut. I have not cut my hair since it's been almost a year. I'll be going to the US soon, and as a gift, my mother booked me an appointment at our favorite salon so that I could do something nice with my hair. As she told me this, I felt a lump rising in my throat. I felt my heart pounding in my chest until I couldn't hold back my tears and started crying.
[01:06:09] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. So clearly the haircut and this loss got linked up in your mind. I can understand that.
[01:06:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I can understand it too. Also, getting your hair cut is kind of intimate, right? I wouldn't know. Because I'm a guy and I buzz my hair now, but I think I get it.
[01:06:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, the hair thing might be kind of a shortcut to some intense feelings. I understand that not having hair might make this difficult for you to understand. Gabriel, I guess you got a bit of a, got a bit of a hair-dicap.
[01:06:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: wow, okay. You're really, really on the dad jokes today, eh? But yeah, it's like when you're getting a massage and you randomly tear up or something and you're like, "Why am I crying at this Burke Williams right now?"
[01:06:47] Anyway, so she goes on, my mom immediately apologized and said she would cancel the appointment. Ever since my friend died, I've known it would be best to see a psychologist to help me with my grief. But I've been procrastinating and I don't quite know why. I'm no stranger to therapy and sadly no stranger to death either. I first went to therapy for two years in high school when I struggled with anxiety and depression after my friend's 18-year-old sister died by suicide. Then at 21, one of my best friends killed herself by jumping off of a building. The art therapist I saw in college was helpful in the aftermath.
[01:07:24] Oh man. Okay. You've experienced a lot of loss in your life and also very tragic loss through two suicides and a young COVID death. This is intense. This is very unusual.
[01:07:38] So she goes on. This time around though, I can't seem to get myself to do the research and just find somebody to talk to. I always have an excuse. I don't know where to start. I'm busy with work, et cetera, et cetera, and I really do need to cut my hair. I mean, it still looks fine, but like, come on. In the previous losses, I never adopted this sort of oddly specific compulsion. I'm not sure why I'm so stuck. It's like if I cut my hair, will someone else die? Which I know is completely illogical. Why can't I help myself? More importantly, how can I start? Signed, Getting Over These Shivers About Facing the Scissors When I'm No Beginner at the Inner Work of Figuring Out Why I'm Injured.
[01:08:20] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I actually thought you were going to do like a one word sign off this time.
[01:08:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[01:08:25] Jordan Harbinger: I think it was staring you in the face and you just missed it.
[01:08:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wait, what was it?
[01:08:29] Jordan Harbinger: You ready?
[01:08:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[01:08:30] Jordan Harbinger: Lock blocked.
[01:08:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that's good. Okay. Yeah.
[01:08:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:08:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not bad. I should have, but you know, I can't help myself.
[01:08:37] Jordan Harbinger: You can't help yourself. I know, I know. Well, like I said, this is more than anyone should ever have to go through. The fact that you had to notify all your friends one by one after that must have made this even more painful. You've been through a lot here, and I'm just so sorry that you had to say goodbye to your friend and that this trip home is bringing up some difficult stuff for you.
[01:08:59] We wanted to run all of this by an expert. So we reached out to the one and only Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist, friend of the show, and apparently our new resident experts on being blocked by the locks.
[01:09:10] Soundbite: I'm also known to the people who know me the best, as as the f*cking doctor. [Analyze That]
[01:09:15] Jordan Harbinger: And Dr. Margolis had the same reaction that we did. She was really saddened to hear about what happened to your friends. Her heart goes out to you. It's interesting, you referred to what you're doing as procrastination, as a compulsion, but Dr. Margolis proposed that we call it what it is. It's avoidance, right? You're avoiding the haircut, you're avoiding going to therapy, and in Dr. Margolis view, it makes sense that you would want to avoid this. These are profound losses that most people your age never have to go through. So she could understand why opening up this box or doing something that reminds you of the day you get the news, the day you had to make all those calls. That feels incredibly heavy.
[01:09:55] But as Dr. Margolis put it to us, when a person avoids a certain experience, they're not just avoiding the experience itself. What they're avoiding is the feelings that come with it. You know, rationally that a haircut's not going to cause someone's death. But like you said, it's not logical, it's emotional and the emotional component of this, that's what feels so overwhelming in your case, it sounds like there's a lot of fear around confronting some of this stuff. Okay. But Dr. Margolis hunch was that there might also be an element of control here. Like, "Okay, if I don't get the haircut, someone else isn't going to die. If I don't go to therapy, I won't have to deal with the big, chaotic feelings that are going to get dredged up."
[01:10:32] So this avoidance might be a way to reestablish control in a situation that probably feels very out of control. Death being probably the least controllable thing that any of us will ever experience in life. But as Dr. Margolis put it, avoidance is one of the chief things that maintains symptoms and perpetuates distress. Because when we avoid something, it feels good in the short term, right? When your mom canceled the haircut, you probably felt relief. Great. Now I don't have to think about my friend. I don't have to go fricking sit and cry a Fantastic Sams."
[01:11:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: You think her mom was going to take her to Fantastic Sams?
[01:11:09] Jordan Harbinger: I probably not. It sounds like her mom was going to take her to one of those bougie salons where they serve you cucumber water and ask you about your last breakup before they give you a cut in color. It sounds like a really nice gift, honestly.
[01:11:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: By the way, for anyone who's from another country and who's going like, who is Fantastic Sam? Fantastic Sams is just a chain of barbershops in the States and it's very nostalgic.
[01:11:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right, that advertise on TV because it's like $12 for a bull cut or something. You go when you're 12, you get your hair buzzed like Gabe, low maintenance.
[01:11:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: I do it myself just so you know. But I could go there if I wanted to, but yeah, exactly. Not the kind of place where the barber is going to ask you how therapy is going when they hand you a nice glass of rosé.
[01:11:45] Jordan Harbinger: No, you're in and out. I think it's probably 20 some dollars now. No shade on Fantastic Sams. I'm sure they're great. Point is short term avoidance feels good. Long term, it prevents you from realizing that a lot of your fears will not come to pass. And then you don't learn how to cope with those fears appropriately. And that can make your world very small or smaller. And as we all know, the longer you avoid something, the scarier it becomes. That's true of loaded haircuts. It's true of therapy, it's true of getting on an airplane, facing a phobia, going on first dates.
[01:12:18] This really cuts across diagnoses. So the question Dr. Margolis wanted you to ask yourself is, what feels so scary about facing these big feelings? Of course, it's going to suck. Sometimes it's uncomfortable, it's sad. Therapy obviously brings up difficult material, but it would be helpful to get clear about what specifically feels hard about talking these days.
[01:12:40] Look, maybe it's just that more sadness feels too overwhelming right now. Okay? Maybe you're afraid that if you dig into what this loss is bringing up for you, you'll have to confront your own mortality, you know best. But it's interesting you've been willing to feel these feelings before. So it does sound like there's something about this go around that's making therapy feel particularly aversive.
[01:13:01] So Dr. Margolis shared a few things you can do to overcome some of this avoidance we've already talked about. The first thing, just recognizing that avoidance only makes things harder. Short-term pain in the service of long-term gain. That's the key. Another thing is turning to any coping strategies or distress tolerance skills that you've learned before, things that can help you tolerate the anxiety of going through these experiences.
[01:13:23] For example, maybe your mom doesn't cancel the appointment, but she goes with you. You have a friend there. You're not alone, or you go to the appointment alone, but you talk to a friend before you walk in. You meditate in the car for a few minutes, whatever's your flavor. Ground yourself a little. Or maybe you tell the hairstylist, "Hey, I've been going through something intense. So if I just weirdly start crying while you shampoo my hair, thanks in advance for putting up with me." Give yourself a little space to be messy and invite him in a little, that kind of thing.
[01:13:50] Also, Dr. Margolis said that when you do begin therapy, you can literally say, "Look, there's this thing I need to talk about, but I'm not quite ready. I could use some help in understanding my resistance to talking about it," that might also make therapy a little bit less daunting.
[01:14:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. She doesn't need to dive into the deep end in session one, right, from the jump. I just want to talk about her mom for one moment. This decision to cancel the appointment is also interesting.
[01:14:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I kind of got a little whiff of that. She was like, "I can't do it," and her mom was like, "Yep. Can't do it. Got it. Canceled right now."
[01:14:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm sure her mom had good intentions there. She wanted to protect you from feeling distress and look, sometimes that's kind and that's appropriate, but in this case, her canceling the appointment is also kind of working against your progress. It seems to me that she's, in some sense colluding with your avoidance in an interesting way.
[01:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right. But you know, as a parent, I totally get it. When I see Jaden or Juniper crying, I want to do everything I can to make them feel better. Your knee jerk reaction as a parent is usually, oh, I need to eliminate the thing that's causing the suffering. It's just how we're wired.
[01:14:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure, of course. But there's another way, which is I can see that this haircut is freaking you out. I get that. It's hard. Before I cancel the appointment though, do you want to talk about it? Do you want me to go with you? Is there some way you can feel sad and get your haircut after a year?
[01:15:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right. It looks like mom's helping her run away from this, and I'm sure that's coming from a good place, but I don't think it's really serving her.
[01:15:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: It also makes me wonder if mom might have done that for her daughter her whole life, or is doing that in other ways. And that might also be a key to figuring out the, quote-unquote, "procrastination." You know, maybe our friend here doesn't have as much practice hanging in the tension of these difficult experiences if mom was often there to jump in really quickly and ease distress or just let her off the hook.
[01:15:36] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, good point. Could be. All the more reason to start leaning into it more. So Dr. Margolis' final thought for you was have some compassion for yourself here. This is the third traumatic death you've experienced in your young life. So starting small is totally okay. Give yourself a little grace here. This is tough. If you can't make a therapy appointment tomorrow, maybe you just do some Googling. Maybe you ask a friend for a referral. You don't have to do everything all at once.
[01:16:02] And by the way, grace doesn't just mean I'm not going to do this hard thing because I don't want to suffer. This isn't about creating a situation where you never have to feel this pain. This is about the way in which you'll hold that pain. It's going, okay, I'm going to be really freaking sad today. I'm going to be scared. It makes sense that I'm scared, but I'm going to do my best because I want to live a full life. And if I can't do it all today, that's okay. I'm going to try again tomorrow.
[01:16:25] In fact, Dr. Margolis said there's good research to support the fact that self-compassion is a stronger and more consistent motivator than shame is. To quote Dr. Margolis one last time here, the goal is not to get rid of the emotion when you do these things, it's about feeling the emotion and doing the thing anyway, not to torture yourself, but again, to prevent your life from getting too small or being paralyzed by fear. So take care of yourself. Start small baby steps in all that and be patient, but also be courageous.
[01:16:53] Again, I'm so sorry about everything you've been through. Life is so intense Sometimes. I wish none of this had ever happened, but now that you're here, it's time to lean in and find out what's on the other side. And you can do this. I know it. We're sending you a big hug, and we're wishing you all the best.
[01:17:09] Big thanks to Dr. Margolis as well for her wisdom and advice. Dr. Margolis is seeing patients in Los Angeles and virtually throughout California. You can learn more about her and her approach at drerinmargolis.com.
[01:17:22] Hope y'all enjoyed that. I want to thank everybody who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Dr. Ken Adams if you haven't yet. Six-Minute Networking over at sixminutenetworking.com. Dig that well before you're thirsty, folks, I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago and I wish I'd leaned in a hell of a lot harder. It's free on the Thinkific platform, no nonsense, no credit card number necessary. Just a few drills that if even if you do, the first couple drills going to be a game changer for you, sixminutenetworking.com.
[01:17:48] Show notes and transcripts at jordanharbinger.com. Advertisers, discounts, ways to support the show at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[01:18:06] This show is created an association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Corbin Payne. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who could use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
[01:18:38] You are about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show about how technology can augment our brains and allow the blind to see the deaf to hear.
[01:18:46] David Eagleman: The conscious mind just gets access to the very top little bit, the newspaper headlines, and the reason is, you know, you've got almost a hundred billion neurons. Neurons are the specialized cell type in the brain. These are doing incredibly complicated things, and by incredibly complicated, I mean, things we haven't even scratched the surface of yet in terms of the algorithms that they're running that make us up.
[01:19:06] I don't think we could even function at our scale of space and time if we had access to that level of detail. I mean, you can't keep a hundred billion things in mind, and you know, each one of these neurons is talking about 10,000 of its neighbors. I mean, just look at riding a bicycle. If you really pay attention, okay, how exactly am I moving? You'll probably crash. If you play a musical instrument, you know that if you start paying attention to what your fingers are doing, you're dead. You can't do it anymore because what's happening is so fast and sophisticated that you can't possibly address. That with the slow, low bandwidth consciousness, this has to be something that the rest of your brain takes care of and just does for you.
[01:19:42] These are all zombie routines. They're just completely automatized. Most of them we'd never even have access to. The vest is probably our best bet for the next 50 years or something until we figure out better ways to get deeper in there and plug things directly into the brain. But that is not as easy as people think. We're just now at this moment in history for the first time in billions of years, where we can suddenly feed in completely new senses to the brain. In a year from now, the human species starts proliferating into all these different kinds of experiences that can be had.
[01:20:17] Jordan Harbinger: To learn how it's possible to create completely new superhuman senses, check out episode 655 with David Eagleman on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:20:29] Adam Corolla: Hey, it's Adam Corolla. Not sure if you heard, but I do a podcast Monday through Thursday, wherever you listen to podcasts. I team up with the very best comedians in the world, plus critical thinkers and all around nut jobs, and offer my personal insight on current events, the state of the nation, and the stories you may have missed. As the world gets crazier every day, you can stay fairly sane. I'll keep you there. I'll handle the crazy. Nuance is often lost on today's world, but you can find it right here. Available wherever you listen to finer podcast. I'm Adam Corolla and I approve of this message.
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