Having a stalker is bad enough. But what happens when that stalker starts showing up at family functions because their sister is now dating your brother? Is it possible to ensure your safety without infringing on your sibling’s relationship? We’ll try to find an answer to this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- A testimonial from a listener who secured a great job after following advice from our deep dive on how to get your foot in the door!
- How can you help the people of Ukraine as they continue to suffer the atrocities of invasion by Russian forces? Here’s a list.
- What do you do when confronted with a romance like no other: your stalker’s sister is dating your brother?
- Your significant other hates their job, feels stuck because their current skill set doesn’t offer any alternatives, and brings this negativity home every night. How can you address the effect their work is having on your relationship without making them feel even more hopeless?
- You fear your tendency to cry when discussing things that are unfair or unjust may be holding you back and keeping others from taking you seriously, but therapy has thus far been unsuccessful in keeping these involuntary tears in check. So what can you do? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- Your spouse once lived a chaotic life of addiction and sometimes homelessness in her hometown, but found the road to recovery that led to you and an amazing job in another state. Now her lonely father is encouraging her to move back, but you worry that leaving her job and relocating to the very place that marks her troubled history could trigger a relapse. What’s the best way to guide her in the right direction?
- When your bosses constantly ignore your advice that turns out later to have been the right course, how can you resist saying “I told you so” and, instead, use these incidents to reinforce their confidence in what you suggest?
- 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.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
- SeekR: Go to seekr.com to learn how you can make better decisions with access to better information
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- Organifi: Get 20% off with code JORDAN
- Progressive: Get a free online quote at progressive.com
Miss our conversation with human guinea pig and best-selling author AJ Jacobs? Catch up with episode 174: A.J. Jacobs | Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey here!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
Resources from This Episode:
- Chris Miller & Brandon Wheeler | News from Ukraine’s War Front | Jordan Harbinger
- David Eagleman | How Our Brains Construct Reality | Jordan Harbinger
- Getting Your Foot in the Door | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Ramit Sethi | I Will Teach You to Find Your Dream Job | Jordan Harbinger
- Support for the People of Ukraine | Jordan Harbinger
- Stalking: What to Do and How to Stay Safe | Verywell Mind
- Health Care Workers Suffer from More than Burnout | Stat
- What to Do When Your Purpose Starts to Suck | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Cathy Heller | Being Creative in Spite of Your Day Job | Jordan Harbinger
- Erin Margolis | Thrive Psychology Group
- How to Stop Crying so Much, so Easily, and at Work | Healthline
656: Your Stalker’s Sister is Dating Your Brother | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the purveyor of prescription, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission on the show is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening, even inside your own mind.
[00:00:37] If you're new to the show, on Fridays, we give advice to you and answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, to authors, thinkers, and performers. This week, we had former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, and Brandon Wheeler on the ground with the latest from the war in Ukraine, as well as how Russia's strategy may evolve, what their goals are going to be, and what the next phase of this war and campaign will look like. We also had David Eagleman with a lot more about how the brain works, including how our brains make reality and how we might end up with new superhuman senses with the use of technology. So make sure you've had to listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:01:17] Now, before we jump into the questions here on Feedback Friday, one of our listeners, a really talented software engineer named Nate. He wrote us after our "how to get your foot in the door" deep dive. And he came out with something pretty amazing that I wanted to share with everybody. So in that deep dive, I talked about my friend Ramit Sethi's briefcase technique, where you basically anticipate a client's needs or a prospective boss's needs, whoever it is you're meeting with, you pull together a statement of work in advance that would solve those problems. So your pitch isn't, "Here's why I'm good for the job." Your pitch is basically framed as a solution that you know they already need. It's a really elegant and powerful way to carve out a role for yourself. And if you want to learn more about it, I highly recommend listening to that episode. That was episode 629.
[00:02:02] And then Nate wrote in and told us how he used a modified version of the briefcase technique to get his first job as a software engineer. Basically back when he was interviewing with different companies, he'd get a sense of the product and he'd build a proof of concept software application to mirror the job description. And he would, of course, do that in advance. So then he'd walk into the interviews like, "Oh, you're looking for proof that I can do the job. You want to review my build with me. "And he would literally walk them through the software build with his future boss, which as you can imagine is much better than coming in with a resume that says, "I can do this. I promise."
[00:02:36] So as Nate put this to us, he'd go into these interviews with a ton of confidence. I would say even swag, dare I say even some swag, well, because he knew what he had prepared, but also because he'd gotten great practice and already proven something to himself. So Nate said he got a job in no time, obviously. And he attributes a lot of that success to this technique.
[00:02:55] And I love that story. It really does embody so much of what we teach here on the show, so initiative, creativity, passion, putting in the work. It's also just a brilliant way to stand out from the crowd and shift the terms of an interview. 19 other people could be interviewing for the role. They're going to sit there answering hypothetical case study questions about what they could do and how they hope to convince someone to make an offer. And then there's Nate walking in like a boss, full of authentic confidence, busting out the laptop. Like, "Actually here, just look at the real thing because I already did it. The new version that we build when I'm hired will have better graphics." Such a pro move, so I'm not surprised at all that he got hired so quickly.
[00:03:34] And obviously when I heard that I had to pass along that killer life pro tip to all of you. And I hope that helps anyone out there who's interviewing for a new job, whether you're an engineer or not. This principle works pretty much anywhere. Yeah, you can't build software for every job, but you can do a little bit more than just have a proposal in many cases. So thank you, Nate, for sharing that with us.
[00:03:54] And by the way, if you're watching what's happening in Ukraine and you don't know how to help, we've pulled together a vetted list of organizations that will ensure your donation makes it to the ones who need it most. Just go to jordanharbinger.com/ukraine, some really great organizations there, and a great way to support Ukraine in its time of need. So thanks for checking that out.
[00:04:13] All right, Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:04:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 16 years old and several months ago I received a text from a guy I didn't know. I wasn't suspicious at first because our texts started with him asking me basic questions. And we got into a pretty interesting conversation from there. We decided to keep in touch and as time went on, our conversations got more and more personal. Months later, I realized that this guy was not who he claimed to be and was actually a boy I used to go to school with. I also learned that he had been following all my social media accounts and that it had been him liking all my posts under an alias account. I was extremely creeped out and felt quite betrayed. So of course, I blocked him. He's tried multiple times and still does try to contact me in every possible way. And I'm having to constantly block his new accounts. Then today, my brother mentioned that he was going out with someone new and that someone turns out to be this boy's sister. Now, I'm very concerned. I don't want this boy turning up to family events and stuff like that, but I'm also pretty close to my brother and I want them to be happy. So do I tell him? Do I hope for this to just fall apart? I'm pretty desperate for things to not work out between them, but should I feel guilty for not wishing them well? Signed, Block, Stalk, and Too Provoking Perils.
[00:05:30] Jordan Harbinger: I see you brought your a game when it comes to the sign-offs this week, Gabriel.
[00:05:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: I do. You know, Jordan, I have to say before we jump in, this is such a disturbing thing to go through, not the sign-off process but having a stalker. Actually, I don't know if I ever told you this, but my sister had a stalker a few years ago, too. There was this guy — it's been a few years now. I can't remember all the details, but he was basically a distant friend of our family in some way. And he would call her all the time. He would send her these packages in the mail with like a notebook and a pen and secret codes like phrases he wanted her to Google and links to creepy lectures on YouTube, stuff like that.
[00:06:08] And then one night he actually showed up at one of her shows. My sister is a stand-up, she's a comedian. And he showed up at one of her shows. He was just at the club and he started asking her all these weird questions about our family and that finally, she would just have to be like, "Look, dude, like this isn't cool. You need to leave." And I think he put up a fight but finally, he knocked it off. He left and he stopped contacting her, but it was very bizarre. And I remember my sister being extremely unsettled by all of it. So I get why this girl is hoping to put as much distance as possible between her and this guy.
[00:06:37] Jordan Harbinger: You know, first of all, why do you get to blow me up like that, Gabriel? She didn't like the YouTube lectures I sent her? Or was it the life-size replica of her that I made out of Twizzlers that freaked her out? I mean I knew I shouldn't have left that out in the sun for so long, but her windows were locked tight. Uh,
[00:06:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: it was the Twizzlers, man. You pick the wrong medium.
[00:06:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's always the Twizzlers. Seriously though, that is disturbing being stalked like this, even if it doesn't lead to actual physical danger. It's so violating it's unsettling. Now, it's unclear if this guy is actually dangerous or just shady and manipulative, or just a guy with absolute trash game.
[00:07:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, sure.
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: Which is also possible.
[00:07:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:07:14] Jordan Harbinger: But nevertheless, he's obviously making you feel uncomfortable and that's not okay. So he needs to stop. The complicating factor though, is that your brother is now dating his sister. So you're basically caught between his happiness and your safety.
[00:07:28] So here's what I'm thinking. First of all, just because the stalker guy is a weirdo. It doesn't mean his sister is a weirdo too. In fact, she could be great. She could be totally normal. I'm assuming your brother wouldn't date a maniac based on what you've shared. So to root against a relationship between two great people, just because one of them has a problematic sibling, it's not entirely fair. I totally get the impulse, but it's not really fair to them. So, if I were you, I would tell your brother what's been going on with this guy, the messages, the follows, the fake accounts, how all of that has been making you feel right now.
[00:08:02] And then I would say something like, "Listen, if this guy's sister is solid and normal and you guys are doing well as a couple. I don't want to stand in the way of that, but I do not want her brother anywhere near me. I don't want to go to their house if he's there. I don't want him coming over here. I don't want her to tell him stuff about me that might perpetuate the stalking in some way." And basically just strategize with your brother about how to maintain a safe distance, also what to do if this guy continues to harass you.
[00:08:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. That's where my mind went to how she might be able to get her brother to help put an end to this. Maybe if she talks to her brother and makes them realize how serious this is, his girlfriend can talk to her brother and be like, "Look, this isn't okay. You're harassing my boyfriend's sister. This needs to stop. This needs to stop immediately." She's probably in a much better position to put it into this and figure out why he's acting the way he is.
[00:08:55] Also, Jordan, I think it's possible that once this guy realizes that he's harassing somebody he's connected to, he'll probably back off because it's easy to bother somebody you're not related to in any way, but once he realizes that his family knows what he's up to, that it's impacting his girlfriend's relationship with her boyfriend. That could freak them out. The risk is so much higher when you have friends and family in common, right? Then the hit to your reputation is very real. So I'm a big fan of that option, especially since you and your brother are so close.
[00:09:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I agree completely. And if that doesn't work, maybe you escalate by going to the sister directly or contacting his parents and telling them that they need to intervene. My guess is he's just a confused/maybe troubled teenager who doesn't know how to relate to other people and bringing this to light with his family, that could be a wake-up call and hopefully get them the help that he needs.
[00:09:46] But look, if his behavior gets worse, like if he starts stalking you in public or threatening you in any way, then I would contact the police immediately. Show them evidence of the messages, the blocked accounts, take some screenshots, tell them what's going on, how you've asked him to stop. Document, document, document, like I always say. I hope it doesn't get to that point, of course. But if it ever does, don't hesitate to report him, but hopefully, the brother-sister angle will work before things get to that point.
[00:10:14] So hang in there, my friend. I'm so sorry. You're dealing with this. Sadly, it's something that so many women go through. You're getting a glimpse of it early on, but with some hard boundaries and help from your family, I have a feeling you guys can make this stop. So we're sending you good thoughts.
[00:10:29] And Gabe, do you think if I'd made the life-size replica out of Sour Patch Kids, we would have ended up together? I just can't lose any more sleep over this.
[00:10:38] You know, who else desperately wants you to love them? The amazing sponsors that support this show.
[00:10:44] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:10:49] This episode is sponsored in part by Seekr. Have you ever wanted to access more reliable information? I know you have. I do. I, of course, need that to prep the show. Transparency about what you consume online is becoming more and more important these days. So Seekr is a search engine where you can search for things obviously, except Seekr makes it easier for you to access reliable and better information by giving everything a Seekr score, which is analyzed using AI and machine learning, all that fancy tech. So how it works is when you're about to click on an article, you'll see a Seekr score. So you know, how reliable the information is. Seekr evaluates the articles using best practice journalistic principles. So, you know what you're getting yourself into before you even read a piece. You can even adjust filters for what political lean preference you'd like. I find those features all super useful when I'm trying to access reliable information. That's not clickbait or incoherent or a rant from on the left or the right. So try it for yourself. Go to seekr.com to learn how you can make better decisions with access to better information. That's S-E-E-K-R.com.
[00:11:50] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help online therapy. If you've ever considered seeking a therapist, take this as a sign to try it out. I highly recommend Better Help online therapy, whether you have goals you want to achieve, you're going through big changes in your life or you're struggling with something in particular. Better Help online therapy is really convenient. All their therapists are licensed. They're trained professional therapists. They're available worldwide 24/7. You can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. And if you don't click with your therapist, just switch. No additional charge, no drama there. Also Better Help takes privacy very seriously. You can stay anonymous if you'd like. Communicate by video, phone, even live chat sessions right from the comfort of your home. You can text things to your therapist at any time right when you are thinking of it. And there's also a journal in the Better Help app that you can share with your therapist right in the app. Give it a try. See if online therapy can help maybe lower your stress.
[00:12:37] Jen Harbinger: And our listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's B-E-T-T-E-R-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:12:46] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show.
[00:13:00] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:13:05] All right, next up.
[00:13:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 25 years old and I've been in a relationship for the past four years. My relationship is good. I love my girlfriend and she loves me. She's a frontline worker. And ever since the pandemic started, it's taken a toll on her mental health. I've tried to be nothing but supportive towards her, but she's bringing her work home with her every day. She hates her job and her skill set limits are from securing a job in a different field. I've tried helping her by suggesting that she go back to college, but she doesn't want to take on any more debt. She's stuck at this point and it's impacting her mentally and physically, which in turn is impacting the quality of our relationship. She recently asked me about getting engaged and we had a talk where I raised my concerns about our relationship right now. And she basically said that this is just how her job is and how it will always be. I'm uncertain as to what to do anymore. I'm running out of patience and there's no one I can talk to about this. How can I dress the effect my girlfriend's work is having on our relationship? Signed, Resigned to this Malign Frontline.
[00:14:07] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, this is a tough one. Frontline workers in the pandemic. I'm guessing your girlfriend is a nurse or an EMT, maybe an infrastructure worker or something like that. As we all know, they have been hit very hard by the pandemic. Almost all of them are reporting varying degrees of anxiety, depression, exhaustion, stress, a general sense of hopelessness. Those are very real things, whether you're an ER nurse or working at a food plant or in a warehouse or whatever. So I hear you that this has been hard for your relationship. And I get that. I really do, but let's just take a moment to appreciate that your girlfriend is clearly going through something pretty intense. And changing careers, yeah, it's definitely doable, but that could be daunting. It can create even more stress, even more uncertainty. And my sense from your letter is that your girlfriend is in a very bleak place right now. And I do feel for her, but what's most challenging about your girlfriend's mindset these days is this rigidity that she has. She comes home miserable about changing catheters and dealing with terrible patients all day. She wants to complain about it with you after hours. And that's fine. That's obviously part of being in a relationship with somebody.
[00:15:14] But then when you propose a solution, like going back to school so she can find a career she does like, she jumped straight to, yeah. Not an option. I just can't take on any more debt. This is how my life is. It's always going to be this way." Fair enough. Student loans do be crazy. Who knows if going back to school is even the right move? But this pattern of hers, this pattern of finding the first obstacle and putting up a wall and then concluding that her life is fixed. And there's nothing you can never do about it. That in my view, that is the real problem here. Not that she's unhappy, but that she's resigned, almost committed to that unhappiness. So, if you have any hope of helping your girlfriend work through this, that's where I'd focus my energy, on helping her see that she tends to have this response, that it makes it hard for you to help or even want to help. And that, from your perspective, it's making it impossible for her to be happier and more.
[00:16:06] Now, my guess is that this part of your girlfriend's personality is pretty sensitive. We tend to shut down like this around those areas that are most vulnerable, right? So you'll have to be very gentle when you bring this up. Approach her like a peer, a partner, the person who wants her to succeed more than anything. Tell her, you know, it's hard, but that you also feel there's a better way to work through it. Give her a chance to talk through her response. Not just her general unhappiness, but her stress or anxiety or fear around making a change in her life and listen to her while she does that. Help her understand herself better why she's putting up this kind of resistance when it comes to making a change.
[00:16:44] Gabe, you know, my hunch is that it's just too overwhelming for her to think about changing careers because it brings up many difficult thoughts and feelings.
[00:16:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:16:53] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe it's the uncertainty. Maybe it's whether she has it in her to make a big change. Maybe there's some pride wrapped up in sticking with a tough career. You know, she doesn't want to quit when it's hard. It could be any of those.
[00:17:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:17:04] Jordan Harbinger: But whatever it is in her mind, it's easier to surrender to being miserable than to put in the work to not be miserable. It's not easier, of course, but that's how the mind often works.
[00:17:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I think that's exactly right. Great point. So once you've explored her side of things, and by the way, that might take some time, you know, it might not be accomplished in a half-hour conversation. It could be a few weeks of you guys going back and forth but once you've done, then I would help her see how her way of responding to this career stuff is affecting you and the relationship. And I know you've already done this to some degree and you were met with even more resistance, but it might be worth helping your girlfriend see what it's like to be in a relationship with someone who's in that place.
[00:17:45] Because like Jordan said, it's totally appropriate for you to be there for her as her partner. But to be in a relationship where one person is always miserable and then wants to dump on you from the time they walk in the door until you go to bed and then refuses to even consider ways to be happier, that is inappropriate at a certain point that becomes dysfunctional and it becomes a bit unfair. She has to take ownership of her state of mind and how she shows up in your relationship. Just like you do.
[00:18:12] Now, does that mean that your girlfriend needs to pretend to be happy when she's not that she should hide her true feelings from you? Of course not. But it does mean in my view anyway, that she needs to find better ways to take care of herself. If she decides to stick with this career, which is certainly her choice, then that means developing better coping strategies, maybe making some lifestyle changes, finding a hobby or two, some outlets, working out, whatever it is. Going to therapy might be great. Maybe finding a different relationship with her job. And most importantly, not looking to you to carry all of that for her. And if she decides to eventually leave to do something else, then it means working through this fear and this anxiety that she has and finding a way to process those feelings so that they don't hold her back so much.
[00:18:55] Because look, it's okay to struggle. We all struggle, right? It's fine. But it's not okay to look to your partner to take on the feelings for you because you won't even entertain the possibility of making a change that would be more productive.
[00:19:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You nailed it, Gabe. That's a recipe for codependency and a toxic marriage and I'm afraid it won't end well. Your girlfriend needs to step up here either in making a career change or in shifting her approach to her job. So my advice is to make it clear how important that is, not just for you in the relationship, but for her and to support her however you can in becoming that person.
[00:19:30] To be honest, Gabe, I get that this seems like an impossible time for frontline healthcare workers and that it seems like it might never actually get better.
[00:19:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:19:38] Jordan Harbinger: And I think his job is to help her realize that there's always light at the end of the tunnel. Even if the pathway to the end of the tunnel, isn't the straight line you thought it was at first. And if you can do that, then I think something great could come out of his tough chapter. So good luck.
[00:19:53] You know, one note that I didn't mention is, don't try and solve people's problems right as they're venting. And I think we kind of mentioned this in the answer, Gabe, right? Where we said, listen to her when she comes back — because sometimes a lot of folks, they find that they get resistance when someone comes home and goes, "Oh my god, this day at work was awful. My boss was usually an a-hole did this and this patient did that. Can you believe it?" And they're like, "Well, you should just change jobs and you should go back to school." It's like, "Well, hold on. I didn't ask you for that. I'm just venting."
[00:20:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:20:17] Jordan Harbinger: But if she's always venting and then never wants to make a change, then it's sort of more of a chronic issue than I'm going to vent about my day and then have a normal life after that, right?
[00:20:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: It might be helpful for them to have venting time and then solution time.
[00:20:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:20:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know what I mean? Like you get like a couple of hours a week to just get it out of your system complaint. I will listen. I will be there for you. But on Sunday, let's carve out 90 minutes and let's start to think about what this might look like if you want it to make a change.
[00:20:43] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Whenever Jen vents about anything I will always say, "Are you venting, or do you want to solve this problem right now and have my input?" And she'll be like, "I'm just venting." And it's like, "Okay, cool. Yeah. Well, then, in that case, screw that person. I agree with you," you know, just we'll lay it in like that. And then if it's like, "I don't know, what should I do?" "Okay. Do you actually want input? Okay. Well, this is partially your fault, or we should do this and strategize that way." Because if you give the wrong thing at the wrong time, you're not accepting that person's venting and it makes it even worse. It's like, "No, I'm here to complain about my mom or whatever," right? "I don't want your input. I want to complain about my boss. I don't want you to tell me that I have 50 percent of the share in this problem." You know, you're just making it worse.
[00:21:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Totally.
[00:21:24] Jordan Harbinger: So, yeah, there's something to be said for that.
[00:21:27] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. That makes our job a lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff, life love, work. What to do. If you clash with your parents over something as major as sexual assault? 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.
[00:21:53] All right, what's next?
[00:21:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm a 43-year-old guy from the Netherlands. And whenever I need to talk seriously about something, especially when I find the subject too unfair or unjust, I start crying. I can still think clearly I'm not in any form of panic, but tears just start rolling down my face. This has happened to me a lot, even when talking to my boss during one-on-one meetings. She tells me it's fine. And that it's actually a good thing that it makes me, me or some BS compliment like that. But to me, it's not. I hate this tendency and it's holding me back. I noticed that others think I'm really emotional. And so they take me less seriously. I think this all originates from being bullied for a good 10 years as an adolescent and being an unseen child. I always had the feeling that the things I said or did weren't good enough. I also recently found out that I'm a highly gifted person. I'm in the top two percent of the Dutch population IQ-wise, but fortunately, I'm not considered hypersensitive. I tried therapy a few times, but I get really bored or tell the psychologist what they expect to hear just to please them or to get rid of a conversation I just can't get it. How can I fix this? Signed, Switching Gears with These Troubling Tears.
[00:23:04] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. That is an interesting question. I can hear that this is really tough for you, man. This crying thing is inconvenient. Obviously, it's embarrassing. You want to figure this out, but you're kind of stuck. We wanted to chat with an expert in the field. So we reached out to the one and only Dr. Erin Margolis, the shrink with the missing link, clinical psychologist, friend of the show.
[00:23:23] And in her typical fashion, Dr. Margolis quickly zeroed in on the heart of your letter, which is really about your relationship with your feelings. You're asking how to make the tears go away, how to fix the problem. But as Dr. Margolis has put it to us, this isn't really something to fix. Emotions aren't something that you need to get rid of. In fact, it's the opposite. The feelings you have, you have to acknowledge them in order to function properly. Because what's probably happening is that you've been stuffing them down for so long, they're coming out wherever they can, in this case, in difficult conversations at work. It's like shaking a soda bottle, you know, you shake it a bunch of times and then you barely twist the cap, and bam, suddenly there's strawberry soda all over your kitchen or squeezing a balloon, pushing the air around to different parts of the balloon. Pick your metaphor. These conversations about things you find unfair there that twist of the bottle. Those are the moments when the balloon pops.
[00:24:16] But as Dr. Margolis explained to us, the thing about emotions is the harder you try to control them, the more they actually control you. So if you're going to work on this, it won't be by suppressing or hiding from your feelings. It'll be by giving them more airtime in your life, in your close relationships, and definitely in some therapy. You're never going to get rid of your emotions, but you can change your relationship with your emotions so you can process them differently. So they won't control your life in the way that they are right now.
[00:24:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Because I think what we're all hearing in your letter is actually quite a lot of shame around those feelings. In fact, I found it so interesting that you wanted us to know that you're a highly gifted person, right? Like very cerebral, very accomplished intellectually, but that to use your word, fortunately, you're not considered a hypersensitive. Jordan, that's so telling, right?
[00:25:07] Also this thing, he said, uh, what was it? "I noticed that others think I'm really emotional. And so they take me less seriously." But do you know that for a fact? I mean, how do you know that? Has somebody explicitly told you that at work? It sounds to me like you feel this shame about having these feelings and then you're locating that shame in other people and they're reflecting back to you the thing that you suspect about yourself — projection, basically.
[00:25:30] So Dr. Margolis' question for you was where does that judgment come from? And if you were in her office, she said that she would want to explore what you learned about emotions growing up, maybe somewhere along the line, you were judged for your feelings, maybe punished for them, or perhaps blamed for them in some way, or just you grew up in a house where you weren't allowed to have those feelings. That'll do it. Or maybe the bullying that you mentioned really did do a number on you and you learned how to shut down those feelings as a way to survive, or maybe you've soaked up some cultural stuff about, you know, how men are supposed to deal with their feelings, just stuff them down and then they're not an issue. All of these things are very common, but these are the early formative experiences that lead somebody to not have this relationship with their feelings. That's what I would dig into if I were you.
[00:26:12] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, but Gabe, how's he going to do that when he's actively avoiding this stuff in therapy? You know, he's tried therapy a few times. He gets really bored. He just tells the psychologist what they want to hear to get them off his back.
[00:26:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, that's exactly what we're talking about, isn't it? The fact that he's sort of manipulating therapy and putting up this resistance to avoid getting into this uncomfortable stuff when that is precisely what he's in therapy to work on.
[00:26:35] I mean, even getting bored, that's such an interesting experience because it's sort of not a feeling boredom isn't exactly an emotion, but getting bored is often just a resistance to the thing that is coming up in the moment, right? You're like, "Ah, I don't really care about this. I'm not feeling connected to it. I'm just bored. I'm not going to engage." That becomes a huge barrier to actually working on the thing with a professional.
[00:26:55] So if I were you, I would get back into therapy for sure, but with a very different approach. And I would probably just tell your therapist how you've resisted the process in the past, the areas that make you uneasy, just call that avoidance out from the jump, give your therapist as much information as you can. The therapy is exactly the right place to work on that stuff. So it would be so great if you were there and if you truly engaged in the process. If you gave that a real shot, I think you would find that these feelings you're avoiding, they're not quite as bad as you think. I get that they feel so intense, but the judgment, the self-loathing, that's causing so much more suffering than just the baseline feelings. So if you want relief here, there's really only one option. You're going to have to start talking and you're going to have to start feeling.
[00:27:39] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely. Gabe, my sense is that this guy thinks emotions make you weak, which so many men do, right? But really all they do is make you human. And Dr. Margolis mentioned that when we talked to her as well, that not only are these feelings perfectly normal, but there's also no such thing as a good or bad feeling, according to her. There's only the meaning we ascribed to those feelings. I thought that was a pretty important reminder. Like this guy gets angry or sad about something and he interprets that as bad, which means he should stuff that feeling down because it's somehow not right. But the feeling is what it is. It's neither good nor bad. It's just a feeling. And he gets to decide what to make of it, what to do with it.
[00:28:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. Plus stuffing down your emotions all the time. That takes a ton of energy. It is exhausting. And that probably makes them even more sensitive when these tough conversations come up at work. I mean, no wonder he's crying. He's probably drained from all of the suppression.
[00:28:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, for sure. So time to start a feeling, man. I know you don't want to, but it's your only option. Look, mind that, he's also Dutch. I mean, it's not exactly the home of the emotional soap opera male stereotype, right?
[00:28:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sensitive evolved, man. Yeah, possibly true. That's the cultural stuff again.
[00:28:49] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. So trust me when I tell you that, acknowledging this stuff, exploring it with somebody you trust, that's going to be way easier than bursting into tears every time your boss gives you a note on your PowerPoint or whatever. It might be scary, but it's going to be liberating and it'll open up a whole new world for you. Plus it'll save you a lot of money on Kleenex. So good luck, man. You got this. We'll be rooting for you.
[00:29:10] You know, Gabe, I cry tears of pure capitalist joy just thinking about the amazing deals and offer from our show sponsors.
[00:29:18] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show, and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:29:23] This episode is sponsored in part by Organifi. Organifi is a line of organic superfood blends that offers plant-based nutrition made with high-quality ingredients. Each Organifi blend is science back to craft the most effective doses with ingredients that are organic and free of fillers and contain less than three grams of sugar per serving, like Organifi Green Juice with the essential superfoods and a clinical dose of ashwagandha, helps reduce stress and support healthy cortisol levels. Or, and I drink this all the time, Organifi Red Juice, which is a superfood punch for lack of a better word. It increases your energy without caffeine, only two grams of sugar. So you're not slamming a bunch of extra calories. Each Organifi blend is easy to use. You Just mix it with water or your favorite beverage while you're on the go. There's little packets you can bring with you. They don't compromise quality for taste. Organifi takes pride in offering the best tasting superfood products on the market with a price that works out to less than three bucks a day. You can experience Organifi's high-quality superfoods without breaking the bank.
[00:30:16] Jen Harbinger: Go to organifi.com/jordan and use code JORDAN for 20 percent off your order. That's O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I.com/jordan and use code JORDAN for 20 percent off any item.
[00:30:28] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Progressive. Most of you listening right now are probably multitasking. And yeah, while you're listening to me, you're probably also driving, cleaning, exercising, maybe even grocery shopping. But if you're not in some kind of moving vehicle, there's something else you can be doing right now, getting an auto quote from Progressive insurance. It's easy and you could save money by doing it right from your phone. Drivers who saved by switching to Progressive save over $700 on average and auto customers qualify for an average of seven discounts. Discounts for having multiple vehicles on your policy, being a homeowner, and more. So just like your favorite podcast, Progressive will be with you 24/7, 365 days a year, so you're protected no matter what. Multitask right now. Quote your car insurance at progressive.com to join the over 27 million drivers who trust Progressive.
[00:31:13] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. National Annual Average Insurance Savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Progressive between June 2020 and May 2021. Potential savings will vary. Discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations.
[00:31:27] Jordan Harbinger: By the way, you can now rate the show if you're on Spotify. This is a big help. Just search for us in Spotify and click those three dots on the upper right to rate the show.
[00:31:34] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:31:39] All right, next up.
[00:31:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, a couple of years ago, my partner was living in chaotic, active addiction in her hometown. She was in and out of legal trouble, homeless from time to time and even went missing. She was finally rescued by some close friends who brought her back to her family and a neighboring. Shortly after that she and I reconnected, dated, eventually married, and are now expecting our first child. Since then, she's been sober, holds a respectable job, and is on the up and up. The problem is her father has high hopes that she and I will move back to her hometown once some lingering legal issues are resolved. I have multiple issues with this. For one thing, she got her current job due to a good recommendation, which convinced her employer to overlook her legal past. In our home state, she wouldn't enjoy that kind of advantage and would be forced to take jobs that historically have put her in direct contact with problematic elements. I also think that a large part of her recovery came from her getting out of that environment, returning would put her one bad day away from trouble. There was one time early in our relationship when we had to temporarily live in our home state and she became dangerously close to falling right back into that past. I've hinted at my concerns to her father, but he seems to think that they're a non-issue and that simply being with me will help her avoid any future problems. To make things more complicated, her father recently went through a messy divorce and now lives a lonely life with his dog in a small apartment. While my partner has told me that she does intend to stay here. I know that our father's situation weighs heavily on her. I worry that when the time comes, she'll make a rash decision to move back, which her father would encourage. Our couples counselors seems to think that there are problematic elements in her relationship with her father. And while I like the man, some dynamics in their relationship are concerning to me too. So what's the best way to address this? Signed, Putting Some Distance Between the Misses and Her Past Existence.
[00:33:30] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, this is a tough one. Your partner's caught between doing what's best for her sobriety and making her father happy. I know the feelings that play are quite complicated, but I actually think the principles that should guide your decision here are dead simple.
[00:33:45] And the first principle is the top priority for your partner should be to stay sober and keep building a better life. If moving back to your hometown is truly going to compromise her sobriety, I would be very thoughtful about making that decision. If she can only get a job at a place where the other employees are using and selling or being around her father is going to trigger old patterns that make her want to get high or toxic friends are going to come out of the freaking woodwork and pull her back. That's a huge risk. That is a real thing.
[00:34:14] Now, does it mean your partner absolutely will relapse if you move back? Obviously not. I also think that a big part of her sobriety is knowing how to manage those triggers, how to distance herself from those influences, how to stay connected to her recovery when things get hard. And that is her job. But if moving back is going to make her sobriety significantly harder to maintain, especially if it's so soon after getting clean, then a big part of me is just like, why do that to yourself? Why make things more difficult?
[00:34:42] And that brings me to the second principle, which is it is not your partner's job to take care of her father. It's sweet that she cares about him. There's obviously a bond there. Of course, they should have a relationship, but for him to lean on her to move back so that he's less lonely, he's less lonely when moving back could compromise her sobriety. That just strikes me as kind of dysfunctional. And obviously, it's unfair. It's very interesting that your therapist thinks there are problematic elements in her relationship with her father and that you do too. I totally got that vibe from your letter as well.
[00:35:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:35:17] Jordan Harbinger: It seems to me like there's some enmeshment there, some codependency, maybe a little narcissism, just the idea of a father expecting his child to fill a hole in his life to make him less lonely. Like that's the reason that she exists. That would be concerning to me, even if your girlfriend were not in recovery. But when you add the addiction piece in, it becomes a major concern.
[00:35:40] It also makes me wonder if having a parent like that just maybe contributed to her addiction. I don't want to blame the parents. It's a little unfair, but like childhood parents, early formative experiences, they always play a huge role in addiction. So moving back to be with dad, it's fraught that to say the least. So I'm with you, man. I'm not crazy about this idea. And it sounds like your partner is mostly on the same page.
[00:36:03] My advice talked to her about your concerns. Get clear with her about y'all's top priorities, her sobriety, the new baby, your independence, your relations. Tell her that you're worried that her father is going to pull her back in at the last minute that moving back is going to expose her to dangerous influences that it could seriously derail this amazing life you guys have built together. And then — and this is crucial — help your partner find a way to be there for her father without upending her entire life to make him happy. That might mean FaceTiming to check in, visiting somewhat regularly, planning a family trip from time to time, whatever it is, but also help your girlfriend find that internal boundary where she isn't trying to take care of her dad at her own expense. And that would be a great thing to bring into therapy too. I'm really glad you guys have that space to talk this out. That's super healthy.
[00:36:56] Gabe, I'm a little worried about this guy and his wife. Not just that she might move back, but that like plot twist the dad and his dog end up moving in with them and living in their basement for the next 20 years. So that's also not ideal.
[00:37:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Either way, problematic.
[00:37:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Good luck man. We're rooting for both.
[00:37:13] All right, what's next?
[00:37:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe, I work as a software engineer and struggled to get my bosses to take my advice seriously. Time and time again, I say that we need to do X, Y, Z, but they brush it off, even though I list all the benefits for the company. Later, we won't get the results we need and they'll have a meeting with another company that ends up saying we need to do the exact thing I suggested a year or two ago. And then it suddenly becomes an urgent deadline. This is mega frustrating. And I have to bite my tongue, not to say, "I told you so," as I know that that probably won't help the situation. On top of that, I would like to eventually be a technical advisor to the company. So it's important that I build my communication skills. Is there a way to use this scenario to reinforce their confidence in what I suggest or should I focus more on the delivery of my advice? Signed, Cost-Benefit Paralysis.
[00:38:04] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, yeah, that is frustrating. This sort of thing is very common, but I feel your pain. It's incredibly inefficient for the company and it's demoralizing to you. I love your question though. How can you use this challenge to get better? That's exactly the right mindset to have. So the way I'd approach this is basically a diplomatic version of, "I told you so," that builds your cred as a leader.
[00:38:27] The first thing I would do is go back and take some notes on all of the times you recommended something that your bosses ended up ignoring, only to realize later that they should've done it. Write down the projects, the dates, the cost to your company in not to following your recommendation, how much time and money was spent ignoring your advice, the hit to the software, the impact on morale, the team, all of that. The more you can quantify that the better, but I would also include those harder to measure qualitative impacts as well.
[00:38:56] Then, I would book some time with your bosses and this is where you have to do some work to be very calm, non-confrontational, collaborative. I would say something like, "Thanks for making some time to talk guys. I wanted to share something I've noticed recently. Maybe you have to, and if we can work on this, I think it'll make a huge difference in the quality of our product and how we work together." Then you tell them what you told us, how in several instances you recommended doing X, Y, Z, but they decided to go a different way. Then they don't get the results they need. And they consult with someone else who says they need to do the exact thing you suggested two years ago. And then you're scrambling to do the thing you wanted them to do from the start.
[00:39:33] But when you tell them all that, I would point specifically to the projects where that happened. Remind them specifically of the meetings or emails where you made your recommendations, what the timeline was, how it played out. So they are literally forced to recognize that you had the right answer from the jump and it doesn't just look like revisionist history, where you are the guy who always has to be right.
[00:39:55] Then, and this is probably the most important part, I would say something like, "Look, I'm not bringing this up to be like I told you so, I'm bringing this up because I want us to work as efficiently as possible. And I just, I don't think we're doing that right now. I love this product. I love this team. I hope we worked together for a long time, but I think we can all agree that this way of doing things, it's not serving anybody. We could save a ton of time and money and improve our momentum if we took a little more time to consider my proposals. Not because I'm always right or that you guys don't have great ideas too, but because we seem to be shooting ourselves in the foot by overlooking these approaches when they can help the most." Something like that, if you can deliver this message in a way that's respectful and collaborative and not to finger waggy, I know it will land the right way.
[00:40:42] And then, invite them to share their view of the problem. Get them to either confirm that you're right or explain why they've been doing things a different way. Maybe they have their reasons too, even if they're bad reasons. And that's useful information for you too, because if you realize in this conversation that for whatever reason, they're never going to take your recommendation seriously, maybe this isn't the company for you in the term. Maybe you take your skills somewhere else, where they actually value your expertise and they don't waste two years and tons of money ignoring your advice. Either way, you win. So give it a shot. Flex those diplomacy skills, even while you spit the truth. You don't have to be aggressive in order to be right. Just point to the facts and keep your eye on the prize, which is finding the best solution. And you've got this. Good luck.
[00:41:31] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everyone who listened. Thank you so much. Don't forget to check out the episodes with former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller and Brandon Wheeler, as well as neuroscientist David Eagleman on the brain and superhuman senses.
[00:41:45] If you want to know how I managed to book all the amazing people that you hear on the show, it's about software, systems, and tiny habits. I'm teaching you all of those things for free in our Six-Minute Networking course. It's on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig that well before you get thirsty. The drills take just a few minutes a day, literally like five minutes. I wish I knew this stuff decades ago. It's been crucial for my business, in my personal life. You can find it all again for free at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:42:15] A link to the show notes for the episode is at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:42:29] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[00:42:47] Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance, but y'all are smart enough to know that.
[00:43:01] Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:43:18] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's what you should check out next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:43:25] A.J. Jacobs: What I tried to do was thank a thousand people who had even the smallest role in making my cup of coffee possible.
[00:43:34] Jordan Harbinger: A thousand? Oh, that's not a lot — that's a lot.
[00:43:37] A.J. Jacobs: Oh, god, it was a lot.
[00:43:38] Jordan Harbinger: A hundred people would be a tedious—
[00:43:40] A.J. Jacobs: It was way more than.
[00:43:43] Jordan Harbinger: 10 times that many.
[00:43:45] A.J. Jacobs: Everything we do requires hundreds, thousands of interconnected people and that we take for granted and just making this mental switch, just from a selfish point of view is very good because it really does help you appreciate the hundreds of things that go right every day, instead of focusing on the three or four that go wrong.
[00:44:06] There's a great quote. I wish I'd come up with it myself, but it says, "It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting." So I had to fake it for a long time. You know, I would wake up in a grumpy mood, but I'd be like, "I have to spend an hour calling or visiting people and thanking them."
[00:44:28] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm not in the mood to do that.
[00:44:29] A.J. Jacobs: No.
[00:44:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:44:30] A.J. Jacobs: So it was like acting, it was like method acting and I would force myself to do it, but I'll tell you, by the end of that hour, your mind, you know, the cognitive dissonance is too much. Your mind will switch over to gratefulness. There's a great quote that happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness. Having that mindset really will make you happier.
[00:44:54] Jordan Harbinger: For more with A.J. Jacobs and his fascinating journey to thank everyone involved in his cup of morning coffee and an inside look at just how complex the supply chain of our lives really is, check out episode 174 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.