Episode 110 – Real Men Real Stories – Jonathan – He Filed – Has Children

In this episode I speak with Johnathan about his Divorce story.  We talk about the struggles, the victories, the lessons, and how custody played out for him.

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Michael 5:02
Joining me today is with Jonathan burrows. Jonathan, let's just jump right into it wants to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jonathan 5:22
Yeah, absolutely. I'm, uh, yeah. Thank you very much, Michael. And, yeah, I'm Jonathan bros. I live in a small little town in northern California. Probably about like an hour ish. Northeast of Sacramento, California. So yeah, kind of up in the hills a little bit but still, small town. A little bit rural a little bit. The, you know, within the city. And yeah, I've been divorced, which is kind of funny, like seven or eight years and before that, the divorce process was probably four to five years. And I kind of laugh about that because maybe kind of learning lesson number one is I remember all the pain of going through it and things like that. But enough time has passed by where I was like, you know, I'm gonna have to go into my file cabinet, which is literally a file cabinet of my divorce and pull out the dates and I was like, I just don't feel like that. Like, I use that for, you know, my kid needs a passport. I can getting a driver's license, all that kind of stuff. It's like, I need to improve my chain of custody, but other than that, it's like, I don't even look at it, you know? So, I was like, the timelines are already blurry when I remember being in such a like, painful spot at the time. So So hopefully, that'll you know, some people that are going through it right now. You know, you reach your level.

Michael 6:39
Yeah, I mean, I'm four, four years out from separation divorces this year. So I definitely people say all the time, give it time and that's true. I think that that can be a bit I worry. I mean, obviously time time, can help with a lot of things. I do worry that some guys expect they'll go well, it's been six months What the hell like or even a year or two or three. You know, sometimes it takes a while but you know, I think certainly the further you get away from from the initial destruction or bomb it certainly can. It can lessen in pain. So but let's talk about your the beginning of your of the end of your marriage. So what was what was who? Maybe I should ask it this way? What when did it start going downhill? And when did you know that potentially you were headed towards divorce?

Jonathan 7:35
Yeah, and maybe I'll even like go a couple years before that. Just kind of give some context to the to everyone about my relationship is that, you know, first of all, I really did marry my best friend. Yeah. First and foremost, we met in college and then happened to also serve at the same restaurant while paying for college. You know, we were a deep bond. You know, this wasn't just someone that I met that we had this crazy fiery quick storm and had to get together and stuff like that. We had our our wedding planned. We I proposed her we had our wedding planned out. Ironically, we pushed it back about six months because our child was born on the day that we had scheduled our wedding. And yeah, and she didn't want to, you know, walk down the aisle pregnant. So we've kind of bumped that back. But so I mean, like, you know, a lot of Yeah, our relationship was great, when it was going well, and she was an amazing person and it was a very exciting time in life. So, you know, a little bit backstory about me at the time. was, of course, finishing up my degree in the corporate world. I was in two touring bands as a drummer. And yeah, and so life was kind of party finishing college making money situation, you know, on both sides. Were both partying and having a good time. And fact that she was the very healthy one. She was a marathon runner as well. And, and so sometimes I kind of felt like I was when I was maybe partying a little bit too hard back in the day. And then unfortunately, she blew her knee out and started taking painkillers and some other things and then kind of getting the a little bit more into that world and you know, as time and people change, she unfortunately really fell into the the drug addicts lifestyle. Family being in a band, um, done touring. It's exhausting. Like all that kind of stuff. So. So yeah, so, you know, really for so for two years, I put her through three different rehab programs. Wow. Yeah, two of them are out of pocket one was covered by my insurance and then really long stretched out that I decided that I wanted to separate because she was a danger to our child that that was first and foremost the so that was just not gonna happen and there were some really bad incidents that happened and, and things like that. It's like um, I didn't really recognize the person anymore. So I instigated the divorce and separation and likewise are and then also I let it drag out for several years because I let her off my all my insurance to go through different rehab programs for the following year, because I really did care about her, you know, I want her to to do well and be successful even through all the the painful stuff. So

Michael 10:46
yeah, let's, let's back up a little bit. So what How old were you? When you when it got when a relationship sort of became romantic and serious? What at what point then did you How old were you at that point? Yeah. 22 Okay, so and then so, so fast forward about two years, then that's when marriage was, was proposed or whatever.

Jonathan 11:08
Yeah, so then 24 by 24. Yeah. Had my kid when I was 25. And then. Yeah, and then I'd say by 2627 is when really separation talks. were happening. And when I when I decided that like, Okay, it's time to pull it.

Michael 11:28
So and I'm there was there any indication and I know this is all hindsight and that's a beautiful thing but it was there any indication any family history that she she was going to have any of these issues? I'm I'm just curious.

Jonathan 11:41
Yeah, she did have issues from her past. And I'll keep those private to her.

Michael 11:45
Yeah, sure. Sure. But I'm just curious, like completely out of the blue or was like, Oh, I kind of get it once it was, you know, once it was happening, not that you were looking for it or whatever, but Right.

Jonathan 11:55
Yeah, it was it was stuff that and in fact, a lot of it. I learned really through the process of it. That I was like, Okay, this makes sense. You don't just let some people fall into addiction for many different reasons. But a lot of it made complete sense. And that's, you know, that's your story to tell. And yeah, sure, sure. Yeah.

Michael 12:17
Yeah, I just want to I'm just I'm just curious because I, I think, you know, with with the with the gift that we have of hindsight, I just tried to maybe sort of give some some, potentially some, I don't want to say warnings but or just information like you know, you should always consider everything about a person and I'm not saying you made a mistake or anything. That's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying, you know, for going forward, it's always kind of knowledge, you know, for Warren for r&d and knowledge is power looking at good shit. So, so Okay, so around 2627 And then you said you filed a right around then or

Jonathan 12:52
Yeah, so yeah, so I think it was about 26 is when I Yeah, I'd say 26 was most accurate when I filed and yeah, luckily I had. Oh, good.

Michael 13:03
How did she How did she take that? What What was her mindset? Yeah,

Jonathan 13:07
very angry. With all the whiplash in the world. I mean, you know, that was destroying her life taking her kid away. horrible person. You know, spreading all kinds of crazy rumors about me. Just yeah, the whole Cannon Fodder my way situation. So

Michael 13:26
Did Did you file for full full custody part like Did you forget what was what was the custody situation when you file for divorce? Like I don't you're in California so I don't know how I know Pennsylvania everything separate. So if you file for divorce, that's that's one thing but then you have to file for custody and also for child support. If if you know whoever files or whatever. So

Jonathan 13:49
it's kind of a blend. And that's kind of those things where it's like, get a good attorney if you can and listen to him, because I hear it's, you know, for us, it's it. It started as custody, like this is an emergency situation. I need custody, and then the divorce and the separation we could do all that. But like for now, it's custody. And so that started that but the same judge overheard our case, and when it came to divorce in California gets filed into the same court orders, numbers, etc. So whether you're going to court to talk about how one person wants to divide up a 401k, or you want to talk about custody, it's all with the same judge and, you know, just on separate matters,

Michael 14:32
interesting. Okay, so I do want to dive a little bit into the custody and again, what you know, I probably didn't say this enough, or at all maybe in the pre interview and before we jumped on It's whatever you are comfortable telling you tell whatever you're not don't there's no pressure for me to I'm not trying to paint her or, or or the system or I'm just I like facts as best we can find them and obviously this is your case and your experience but so but at any at any point if there's anything and even you know if if in hindsight, you know, like I said to you earlier, I can edit out anything but so did you so you file for emergency custody was there what? Okay, a couple of couple questions there. Did did. Did she have a lawyer? If so, just again, these are just curiosities of mine. What gender was her lawyer and what gender is your lawyer? And this is just knowledge. And then same question for the judge. What was the gender of the judge? Because guys are always sort of these things around like, oh, it's best to have a female lawyer. Let's have Miller I don't know. I but so just in your experience. How did it work?

Jonathan 15:35
Yeah, I mean, in fact, this is this is a great story to tell because, as I called it, I didn't call it go into court. I called to go into the circus. And like, and I really mean that, because so yeah, in fact, I kind of love telling this because it is such a good thing for people to hopefully get some kind of perspective and take a step back and get a deep breath. Is that so my attorney is male. He's senior in the sense that like he's not taking on any new cases, because he wants to see his cases go through until all the kids are 18, things like that. But he's amazing. And he came through a very close friend and and honestly, the first time I met him, and I can give a lot of advice on dealing with or working with your lawyer, but first I thought he was such an asshole. Like, oh, he would just cut me short things. Like that. And then it was maybe our second session, and he's like, Look, if you need a therapist, they're a fuckload cheaper than I am. Okay, like, I came in here. You came in for a 30 minute interview and I'm billing you for every minute, like so if you want to keep talking to me, that's fine. But go find a freaking therapist man. Like, which I did. You know, so you know, and he kept me so under control through all of it. It was really great. Now on the other side, so my ex wife found her attorney through AAA and na who was is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict themselves. And that's why I called it the circus is that she was also very much a very anti male. Take him to the cleaners will get you whatever you want. You know, and then Little did I know at the time for how much you know, how, see how sharp the fangs looked on that side? How amateur hour really was. That's what we would call circus. Because, yeah, we'd go in there and it was just like, on our side, my my attorney, he was he knew even the little things that would get me anxious for set up. And I swear we had this signalling system where they would say something that he think would trigger me he'd literally pinch me on the knee, and it was his way of being like, Dude, shut the fuck up. I got this. This is amateur hour. Just chill, and be nice and just let them play this out. And then yeah, so you know while as they went through my ex wife and her attorney would go through the drama show the circus, right the big performance. So that

Michael 18:14
So are you saying that just accusations and wild nonsense didn't work out for your ex because she had no evidence and no

Jonathan 18:22
proof? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, no, no evidence or no proof but categorically lying. I mean, you know, things that I could prove to be incorrect. So you know, it was it made them it was one of those things where I really learned like, Okay, this is the time to be quiet, speak the truth. Just be honest about everything. And if they want to put on this whole pony show, and create all these things, it's going to surface. Yeah, and our judge was female. So, and I feel very impartial, like that. did not feel that there was really a I mean, maybe sometimes when things would get really dramatic, I would see the judge look down at me and see me being calm and kind of almost made us look like a thank you for just like being chilled through this. I see through the bullshit, but that took time, you know, two or three Modi language?

Michael 19:20
Yeah. So when you filed for emergency custody, did you fire full full at that point? Yes. Okay, and what was the outcome?

Jonathan 19:30
Yeah, I received it. I received it, but that came with its own struggles. So in fact, you know, we'd like me to kind of share what absolutely okay, yeah. So, younger in the day I used to travel a lot more for work and I went on a quick business trip to Ohio, in the middle of winter, which that's not fun, really, no offense to Ohioans out there, but I don't understand how you guys you know, I did enjoy, like sliding down hills of ice. That was cool. But like, ya

Michael 20:01
know, I live in Pennsylvania winters are bullshit just just categorically say that winter suck. I guess there's some weird fucking people like it, but not this guy.

Jonathan 20:09
So I hear ya anyway. Yeah. Anyways, yeah. So I got a call from my mother, and she's extremely concerned. She lives about probably 4550 minutes from where I am. Both my parents do and she's like, you know, your wife is acting extremely strange. I just call it as a check in I kind of had this bad vibe feeling. You know, what do you think? And so, like, I texted my ex wife. I was like, Hey, how are things going or things doing and, and her response back it I can't remember what it was, but it was something that was off and weird too. And so I told my mom, like, Hey, if you could do a welfare check, that'd be great. If you can't, then you know, I'll call our local PD, smaller town and, and have them just kind of check on things. And I was like, no, let me get on there and do that. And my mom came in welcome herself in the door and there's my you know, barely two year old. Get on the ground underneath the table underneath the kitchen table with a butcher knife and a bag of hot dogs. Literally cutting them up herself to eat while my wife is in the back room, just frantically out of her mind. Not understanding what's going on. So my mom called

Michael 21:32
Yeah, yes, sorry. Did she have right uh for what is it? right of first refusal. So in other words, you were out of town. It was she allowed to see her at that point. Like, what was the scenario? I know you had full but what was the

Jonathan 21:45
oh, well, well, okay, so this is before I got this is what led to getting full custody. Oh, my gosh, this is the story that led to focus. Uh, yeah, sorry. I should have clarified that. Yeah. No. Yeah. Yeah. So. So when we found that it was like, Okay, well, she needs medical help. So they actually, my mom called 911 Like concern they sent an ambulance and daughter and Sure. I mean, she was so wound up that she was in a skit like as time went on, apparently in a state of like, insanity. And so they 5150 eater. Mom took my kid home. I took the first flat I could out of Ohio got home. And really the the two things that were the first courses of action were first an ex parte hearing, which is an emergency hearing in California. You know, here's the emergency judge, we need a temporary hearing or injunction. And then the hard part was at the CPS was involved now at this point, you know, and that's, everyone hears that and goes, oh my gosh, that's really bad. thing, but actually turned out to be a really good thing for me. I had nothing to hide. You know. In fact, I got drilled on some interviews, I'd say as far as that, but I kind of had to take this approach. Like I'm doing this for my kids. So yeah, come into my home, search it like look at our living conditions. Here's my job. Here's what I do. Here's who I am. After some conversation, the caseworker for CPS actually became really helpful for me, like putting me into some really good resources and other things because we didn't have all these online forums and things like that support groups. like this back then, you know, and so she pointed me in some really good directions. And we ended up kind of chatting for a long time after kind of through cases as she check in. But, yeah, I think I'm making us a trophy I should have is getting along. With CPS and then actually being helpful. So yeah,

Michael 23:46
did you did you did you go into it? Like Well, I mean, you kind of said you went into it just like hey, I got nothing to hide But was there any sort of you know, that your your butthole Titan like oh shit, like, this is good or bad. I'm a man like they're gonna squat course.

Jonathan 24:03
Oh, fucking I mean, I had you know, gosh diaper the start of intrusive thoughts. I think that maybe that was the clincher for him, right? You know, it's like, are you gonna take my kid away? You're gonna deem it you know, like my parents. are really great people. So I'm like, even thinking to myself, like, well, what's the worst case is that they don't like a single father taking care of, you know, a child like so can mean that, you know, live with my blog, all these things are going through my head. So absolutely, like, big pucker time.

Michael 24:53
Yeah. Okay, cool. So so at that, at that point, you got full full custody of your two year old at that time, right. Is that correct? That's correct. And, and so let's sort of put a you know, a marker in place. At that point. And going forward now. 13 years and changed later. Did she being your ex take you back? Was there more court battles for just custody specifically, was there any more of that? Was there any more attempts at her to sort of paint you in this negative light and

Jonathan 25:30
yeah, plenty. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. In fact, because her only way of getting back in because after Yeah 5150 And then a rehab and then you know, falling off the wagon again. And then another rehab. It was like this is getting ridiculous. So at that point, she was under super, she had to pay for supervised visitation, like at a facility, and she had to get drug tested. And I mean, at first and she had to pay for that as well. And at first it was just even just urine drug test and they end up switching that to a cheek swab because she had like three in a row tests turned up. undetectable, but with anomalies, something like that. Essentially it was that show they're using some kind of fake pee or some kind of product to help clean your pee up. And the judge is like this is bullshit. This is not what a normal human does, like you're hiding something. So so they switch over to these like cheek swab ones that are apparently a lot more accurate and can find other things and, and it was just constant. It was like we go through these periods of you know, she would have once you know once a week on a Saturday two hour visitation at a facility. It was great facility and my my kid was enjoyed it wasn't finding it. So I'm like, Okay, if we can just cruise along on this. That's great. And then it's like, you know, the classic thing is that she would screw up and something would pop up on her drug test. And she'd have to go face the consequences. And then figure out so many people have way of blaming it on me and all the pressures put on her and all that kind of stuff and, you know, diverting around the whole problem of like, why are there drugs in your system when you know that you like the end and that's even out of my control? Like I'm not if drug pop in your system? I have no control over whether you can see good or not. That's, yeah, that's the court order and the rules of the place. So yeah. But lots of times getting dragged back

Michael 27:32
yeah sorry did you know met so many so many different avenues here so okay. The really matter if you want to talk about this, and if you don't, that's totally fine. But I'm just curious about Well, a couple things. One, I think is this one you probably can for sure. What was your What was your mental state like what not only you know, like you said it was your best friend and you love there and you try to get through rehab and all these things, right. But and you made this decision, like what was your what was Where were you? Where was your head at like during that? Especially the first you know, six months a year or whatever?

Jonathan 28:06
Yeah, I think heavily at first survival mode. Like I looked at days as chunks of time you're taking care of a kid and yeah, I and I'm working a full time job like I need to get her there, get them to to daycare and then to preschool and then to kindergarten all those things right and back I mean, all those kinds of things. And fed and us doing fun things and living a fun life and making things normalized feeling for them, right? That that's a lot of effort. So at first it was survival, just like if I can ever you know, one day at a time, like anything else that we struggled through with our lives. And we're doing that and then I'd say within that also severe severe waves of anxiety. With that waking up the mole and night chest pounding. I remember that horribly. You know, thinking about how can I stay three or four steps ahead of situations when sometimes you can't just step out of your control. And then, you know, sometimes really bad feelings of anger, you know, how can this person do this to me? Why are they a different person, like literally a different person than you know? The best friend and then loneliness, sadness. I mean, and that's and I'm talking us like six months to a year, you know, all those things. You know, it's like great, it's really like grieving a death.

Michael 29:35
So what did you do? What did you do to sort of help with that? What was your what were some of your strategies just because it's usually not just one thing?

Jonathan 29:42
No, it was a lot of things. That's the thing, right? It's a lot of things and you have to try a lot of things. I mean, you know, I was I fall back on music, but then sometimes I'm just like, God, yeah, hit the wrong song. And I'm fucking crying, right? Get the right song. And I'm like, No, I feel fucking like I'm gonna go lift weights and be the fucking like alpha like awesome, you know, goes go party. Motherfuckers like, you know, that song just hit me. Right? So like, I had to be careful about music. So like that art and, you know, close friends, good neighbors, making, making sure that I had good human connections, whatever form that was, you know, reaching out to other people that had I knew had been through this similarly in the past, even if I hadn't talked to him in a long time. Which is something I see I see this pop up a lot is people say well, you know, and I'm example this my my best friend. He's live right down the street. from me. And me, were talking best friend since like, fifth grade, and him and his wife. They've been together for 20 years and married for two years. They're an awesome story in themselves, but like, they decided to move to Texas and that was just it. So you know, I That's correct. Yeah. And so I see a lot of people like yeah, my friends moved away and things like that. And it's like, well, just because they move away, keep in contact, but others, you know, reach out. I and I get this a lot in my life where I haven't talked to somebody in four years, five years, six, I don't care. Like if they reach out and they're like, hey, I need your help. And it's Yeah, and sort of honesty, then. Yeah, like I will be there for you rather like you know, and just brothers, but yeah, women as well. Anyone that that needs that kind of support. So you know, to anyone out there don't feel like you're being a bother. You know, a lot of times yeah, a lot of us are sitting around just kind of chillin and being like, Oh, you're in a crisis. Man. That sucks. Like, let me help. So,

Michael 31:42
yeah, yeah. And that's one of the things you know, not to, you know, direct this towards me or what I do but that's one of the things that I you know, I coach guys and that's one of the parts of my program is, is a week where it's, that's your that's your assignment. You got to reach out to some folks that you haven't talked to in a while and reach out to some folks that did help you through it, acknowledge it, be vulnerable and say thank you open up because as much as I believe that it's a mistake to dive right into another relationship. It is absolutely a must do to reach out to other folks not for romantic connections. But to just lean on people to that's why I do what I do. You need people to get through this. You can't do it alone. So kudos to you, man. Did you? Did you have guidance? Or was that just an innate sort of instinct to like, you know what I just need to because that's kind of where I was. It was like I need to talk and I would just find people to just talk to like, and people are receptive.

Jonathan 32:42
Yeah. I mean, that's really what it came out of. And it was that and then and also, the other side of it was that, you know, I've got this child, right, and the single dad and kind of the, and being in a smaller town. There's kind of a label that was put on you back then, right? I mean, I'm not going to deny that that's just that's the shit that it is. Yeah, so yeah, it sucks to like, take your kid to, you know, on the soccer team. Yeah, yeah, five or six years long soccer team, and you hear mom's fucking saying shit about you. Like they think that you're far enough away. To not hear stuff like you know, what's really as deal like, you know, shit like that. And then you hear about like, oh, there's this big sleepover and your kids not invited, right? Or, you know, and it's like, so part of that was also just like, gosh, I need my kiddos to experience a normal life. Like, you know, people understand that that that aren't judgmental, things like that. So not just for myself. But for my kid as well. And so, yeah, and like I said, in the end, we didn't have, you know, online forums and communities like we do now to meet people, dads, groups, things like that. That we do. So. Yeah, that was totally like organic. Just reach out for help. And then a lot of different ways. So

Michael 33:56
yeah, well, yeah, kudos, man. Because, unfortunately, as men, I think, you know, I think we I don't think I know we isolated oftentimes, you know, we will. You know, you mentioned earlier like, you know, don't don't think you're bothering people but a lot of us men do because we're supposed to work we're told or taught or, or whatever it is. It's innate. I don't know that we're supposed to be tough and we're supposed to white knuckle through life and we're not supposed to have feelings and we're sure shit and if we do we're not supposed to talk about I'm gonna stuff them down. So kudos human. I think that speaks volumes about your character because like I said, it's not something that unfortunately that everyone does. What are other things that you kind of lessons that you learned through this process? Like what, what are some of the things that you would impart to whether it be a sort of a not not necessarily exactly legal, but maybe in that realm, but other things that you learned? What are some things that you would definitely say You know, if I was you I would do this, this or this?

Jonathan 34:53
Yeah, I mean, on the legal part, it's yeah, man, pack your patience. And and I say this a lot in life. I mean, whether it's your frustrating commute or a divorce is like, I will literally say to myself in a lot of situations in life, like okay, I've got my keys, got my wall, I got my phone, got my, you know, my everyday carry stuff, right? And then it's like, okay, did I also pack my patients because I know that this is going to be something frustrating for me. And with the with the court systems and things like that. That is so hard. It's so easy in hindsight to look back and be like, oh, yeah, I can be patient through something like that. When, you know, you're in between court dates have something very important happening. I mean, pack your patience. You're like, Are you kidding me? I'm trying to just not vomit. Like, you know, that's so I mean, that's one thing that I learned you know, another thing is, you know, for those of you that can't afford a good attorney, or that can just find a good attorney is really listen to them. That's why you hired them. I'm not saying that all attorneys are good or that you should listen to all of them. But when you choose one, make sure you really listen to them, because I think that it painted me in the best. As long as inexpensive as the process was. It it was actually the shortest way given some of the things I held up and through the divorce meaning like, you know, health care and things like that, where I was slower like things but that cut through the tape, I would say the fastest. So that's really it on the on the legal side. I mean, it's every state so different effect it's gotten a little bit hard time is that like you know, and I know kind of a lot of different attorneys and different worlds and states are just so different. You know, it's hard to blanket statement that but

Michael 36:48
yeah, for sure. Yeah, I always get kind of iffy when we start talking legal stuff but but you know, your experience obviously has some value, because you were successful. Were you told by your attorney to document because that's one of the things that we I stress if anyone asked me document everything, keep a journal, and a notebook and document document document. It sounds like you were so yeah, I mean,

Jonathan 37:13
document everything. And that's why I say like I have a divorce file cabinet. Not a divorce packet. All right, like it's a chronological order of things that happen that is probably, you know, was straight over there. Yes, about three feet deep. And that's I mean, and that's the thing, right? Is that Yes, it's all the text messages, the communications, documents, situations, uncomfortable events, anything and everything. And then just feed it to your person. And then they'll decide what they like to do with it or not, you know,

Michael 37:48
so on the on the mental sort of aspect of this. You mentioned reaching out Did you did you did you did you do therapy or did you hit up medication at all like I did personally, antidepressants for a little while. Was there any any other thing around mental health? That you did that was was also beneficial?

Jonathan 38:07
Yeah, I mean, therapy was huge. And I would say effect, you know, so therapy is very, very good. And it takes a lot of time, and it can be expensive, depending on your situation. So I mean, that's the crappy part, but you know, if you go into it with really the honest honesty to yourself that you want to make yourself feel better in your own skin and improve your situation. It helps a lot more. So and it helps a lot faster. I didn't do the medication path because I actually done that when I was younger. And I tried a few times because I battled depression and other things when I was a kid and it's still to this day, you know, I'm happy and things like that, but that's about so there's no harm against anyone that wants to be medication. But for me like SSRIs and things like that. There as hormones change your brain changes as you get older stuff like that. They didn't work for me then they don't work for me now but but they can help out a lot of people so so that I mean really good exercise is another one trying to eat well I mean, and this is all stuff that everyone says right and that sucks when you're when you're fucking depressed. Like that's the worst shit to hear. And I hope that people get that like, oh, well if you eat well and you exercise you go out in the sunshine and like for me rose colored glasses is all your problem. It's like, when you're depressed, you're just like, Fuck off, right? Like I was in my room. Pull the covers over my head and eat a fucking pound of ice cream like this off. Yeah,

Michael 39:41
I mean, sometimes that self help stuff and that positivity or just Yeah, exactly want to be like the fuck off. I don't I'm not feeling it today. I don't want to hear your shit. But you know, there's truth to it, right? It's just sometimes though I do think we have to embrace the suck as my army brother and say sometimes you have to It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to have another quote that I love is you know if it never rains, how would you appreciate the sunny days like some days it's gonna fuck and rain and that's okay. It is as long as you don't sort of get get down about being down. If that makes any sense. Like it's like, just know that you know, the sun's gonna come out. You're gonna be okay. There's gonna be another day all those kind of stupid fucking cliches again, but man, they just they bring true.

Jonathan 40:25
Yeah, and pay attention to the minute moments. When you get that motivation when you're in depression. Because like, you know, you could literally feel good for like two minutes and be like, you know, like, Okay, I'm gonna get up and do the thing and that turns into eight hours. 10 hours, right? So, you know, just when you feel those like good, uplifting moments. Do them when you're really in that spot. And trying to develop that into a longer period of time, even if you stretch that to 30 minutes is better than, you know. Eight hours of depression and two minutes of feel good than eight hours or depression and 30 minutes of feeling good, right? I mean, that's, you know, yeah. So, yeah, stuff like that.

Michael 41:07
You mentioned one of the boundaries, and I'm sure that must have been difficult, especially pre interview you mentioned this, and I'm sure that must have been difficult because you know, your heartstrings were probably being pulled on in certain ways, right? That was your best friend. It was someone that was going through some stuff, but you also you know, had a child and had to protect and and yourself, right? How was that process for you and developing boundaries? What was if you want to talk about that which moments or which types of things were difficult to set boundaries against? Can you talk a little bit about like that? Sort of that whole process for you?

Jonathan 41:44
Yeah, I mean, and boundaries, I think are built upon. enough pain. Yeah, that's kind of like embracing the suck, is that you know, if you sit down just write out boundaries on a book and you haven't had to establish them with people that really want to destroy every boundary you create, you tried to create, you know, it's gonna be tough. So you get that out of just experience. And a lot of that especially has to do with communication, is that and that could be from the tactile things of, you're not supposed to be reaching out, like, you know, part of the court order is you don't reach out directly to our child. And then you would do things like when I was old enough to get a cell phone and would text directly. And it's like, that's not okay. Like, I gotta call you on your bullshit on that. I know this is gonna lead to a big fight behind closed doors and probably be brought up in court, but in Canada can't see that and I'm gonna make sure that they feel safe. And I make sure that I stamp that down as like, that's just completely unacceptable. So tactile things like that. Other boundaries and things that don't even stop to this day. Money, you know, like, it's like, the perpetual money machine. When does that end? It's like, I'm divorced. I have no legal obligation whatsoever, but like, you know, it really it's like this is a true and very funny story of about a month and a half ago, is that you think like your divorce and things are done. And even in the great situation that I'm in. I feel like you know, unfortunately, she's still a ghost that wanders around my life. And whether that's maybe once a year every other year, I get some random text from or something like that. Or I get someone on Venmo literally, a random woman on Venmo messages me with a request for $25 and all calves says, are you bugging her name? broses husband, question mark, question mark, question mark. That bitch stole from me and I swear to God, I'm going to the cops. And like all right, like luckily like the whole I have establish boundaries and stuff that I looked at that and I was like, I this is just kind of funny. Like I literally like laughed at it. And I was like, but I did reply back and I was like, No, I'm ex husband from a long time ago. And if that's the case, then you need to call the cops. Well, clearly, I was dealing with somebody that was not someone who was going to call the cops, right. So services like bargaining thing and you know, like, I just kind of had to flip the switch and this is where I'm like, you know, I don't care and I'm older and I feel secure enough. Now as I just said, you know, you want $25 I know like five people that are looking for and I'm curious myself to see if she's dead or alive. So I'll pay $25 If you can video record, where the where she's at and send it to me. And I swear to God, it was like, the table's turned in this girl is just like, What Why do you want this information? Right, you know, and I'm just like, you think you're the only person looking for a drug addict? That's as that stealing money or something like and I swear I got ghosted it was it was like the greatest thing ever, but like those are the kind of like boundaries like that's, you know, before I would say I'd be afraid to, you know, I'd be like, I'm in trouble for something, you know, or, Oh, they broke a rule or they broke a series or something and like, now I have to deal with this to eventually grow just through enough of these little pain points, you know, far from the first debt collector that's came after my ex wife, you know, they've had to do some really hard shit to this was an easy one. Right, like, so. Yeah, I mean, like I said, it's kind of like through the pain of process. You kind of like, you know, it's like the funny thing is, is that it kind of taking a step back and not to make this too obscure, but like, it sucks because as men like we are taught like, oh, you need to wear this like body of armor and like, be there to like, protect and you can't ask for help. You can't be vulnerable. You shouldn't cry. Also, they're bullshit. When in reality, it's like no, like you like that's built up over time. You know, that's like, like tough skin. You know, like, that just happens over time and experience. So like, you'll get your suit of armor. It's just that like, it's gonna take some time for you to build it up. And don't feel bad about that in the least. You know. And maybe surround yourself with some people that do have the experience to talk you off that stuff.

Michael 46:17
Yeah. So you brought up sort of, in a way and again, you know, whatever you want to talk about, but I'm I'm curious what the relationship is, I mean, for sure. It sounds like she's not around at all, is that the case like you don't hear from her and she doesn't contact your child and there's no relationship there. And again, what whatever you are comfortable discussing is obviously it's up to you.

Jonathan 46:47
Yeah, so my kid is done with our with her with the mother, right? I mean, so that's just that was nothing to do with her and, and that's and I fully support that. For me. She's still like, like I said, like, I grieved her like a death and still walks by me like a ghost. And, and even like right now in the current spot. What's so funny about that Venmo situation is that usually it's every six to nine months because holidays, Mother's Day, things like that will be where out of the woodwork, she'll come call or text or do something to show up into my life and I kind of have to just score it back out the door and it'd been like about a year. So actually, in the back of my mind, I was thinking to myself, like, is she legitimately dead and her family just hasn't told me? Like, you know, and then I saw a pop up and I'm like, oh, no, that goes lives on, you know, so, you know, so that, that sucks, but like, but I have control over it. You know? I could decide to apply to somebody or not, you know?

Michael 47:58
Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, that's, that's the one thing that you know, throughout all of this, that's the one thing that's I think, oftentimes most important to sort of wrap your head around is, you can control you and that's it. But but that's not a bad thing. That's the best thing. Because a lot of times I think we are susceptible to what others do and say and I'm not saying it's it's easy or I perfected it but you know, when you're when you're able to sort of put that and wrap your head around it like it's, it's my actions are what matters. My actions are what I can control it kind of I think it brings you a sense of peace, like when you stop worrying about what someone's doing, or and I get it, it's hard and, you know, she's coming back around, and probably some challenges, you know, in terms of even just reaching out or whatever, you know, but at the end of the day, you're able to decide how to handle that situation, right. You don't have to let it bother you or, you know, you can take certain actions and it's up to you to decide how you want to handle it. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's definitely one of the better, you know, lessons to learn. Which I would imagine, was there any point where you had any kind of guilt in terms of maybe I could have done better with helping her or, or maybe, I don't know, is there any kind of that sort of like hindsight, not hindsight, but that that regret or that, that that, you know, I wish I would have typed shit. Did you experience any of that?

Jonathan 49:26
Sure. And I think that that also kind of takes part of like, nobody is innocent when it comes to a divorce right? I mean, nobody you could pay me in the best light and everything else but no, like, I have done my own shit not and for me that was yeah, like I did not when you know she's often rehabs that are expensive and taking care of her life. And figuring her life out. And then, I mean, hell, I've even helped finish pay for a bachelor's degree ironically, in criminal justice. Like, while she's doing this, right, like, I mean, so you could just decide to work or not work. You get to decide to be in these rehab places and then you get to go to finish your degree and then oh, relapse because that like, I mean, there were times where I was just a mean son of a bitch. I mean, just, you know, like, I would do the things that would get to the next step, but I would be cold, you know, and that was just me holding on to this like, internal hatred. Like you know, this I don't know if I call it hatred, but like anger just, you know, I'm I'm working my ass off at a long job. I put my kid to bed, and then I do freelance work at night, get five or six hours of sleep, you know, paying for the bills and for all this other stuff coming up, and then do it all over again. And that was, you know, six days a week at that point. So I mean, yeah, there was a lot of resentment, I guess, is the best way to put it and I was cold, I was distant. I wasn't supportive when it came to, you know, like, I would go visit her things like that and I'd walk in and I would just be in a bad mood and, and that wasn't helpful for her recovery. That was just being a dick. You know, when you're you know, it's like all your actions are Oh, yeah, you're visible actions that you're taking care of your life we're seeing the ex wife but really not just tons of asshole moves on my part. Born from that, so

Michael 51:15
yeah, I think I know for me in the beginning I try not to anymore but certainly beginning I was yeah I was angry I was a dick I was any any way I could be difficult. I was you know it just because you're you're so hurt and you know, as men are hurt turns to anger. And so what do we do? We would be giant fucking dicks because that's just that's easier than then then being honest and saying, hey, you know what, this this is really, really hard and hurtful. I can't believe you put me in a spot and said we just barely talked to him or whatever. Right, which is, you know, you know, again, upon reflection and hindsight and all that it's a very childish behavior. And and I'm not saying like that's, you know, it's not in the sand that you call on you that I'm talking. I'm speaking for myself. Its inability to handle emotions, turning them to anger and just being like, kid like throwing a fit like a small child, you know that someone took his toy and he stomped his feet. It's just it's yeah, it's, it's, it's sad in a lot of ways that we we weren't given the opportunity to, you know, I interviewed a psychologist once he talked about this sort of how men are like, you know, sort of, we live in this sort of middle ground where it's, we don't get too happy. We don't get too sad. You know, we try to you know, just be sort of feel nothing in it robs us of the richness of life. And I think, I think, you know, in a lot of ways that's, that's that's men's journey, I think, you know, I think it's changing certainly, I mean, I know that changing for me personally, and I think, you know, when I when I can find someone like yourself, and it's funny how the universe works, and I don't know if we want to touch on that, but we can we could probably briefly touch on it. Just a shout out to Dan hooked us up, but, you know, I think I think it is changing but I think I wonder I don't know how different our lives would be as men if we had been given some of these fucking skills before we were, you know, in our late 30s and 40s and shit, like, I just

Jonathan 53:15
Yeah, I mean, you know, it's, and, and I think there's also a context to that is, you know, I think this is a struggle for a lot of marriages, but also for ourselves as people is a kind of, say, the 10 year rule, like about every 10 years, you kind of change into a different person, whether it be dramatic or small. It happens. I mean, I'm 41 very, very different from 21. Right, I mean, gotcha. And then you think yourself like, Okay, well by my math, that's two different people. And I'm like, No, I'm in like, four since then, you know, not all my fundamentals are there, my morals are there, you know, everything's here, but like, you know, a lot of different beliefs, whether they're political or whether they're professional whether, you know, so you kind of Yeah, I mean, that's that's stuff changes a lot. So I mean, God, if I could go and whisper in the 20. If I go through my 21 year old ear, he actually probably told me go fuck myself, as you know, everything just like if the 21 year old talk to my 16 year old self ego telling myself to right. That's our disposition.

Michael 54:14
Amen. I mean, I often think about if I could go back, obviously, we can't write there's no flux capacitor. There's there's no DeLorean that travels in time. But if I could go back, what would I do? And I know there's two options that I sort of consider and I don't do this often, but sometimes just out of my own, I don't know. weirdness. I go, what I tell. Let's say I go back to the wedding day, would I tell that dude to fucking run? Or would I tell that dude to grow the fuck up and not be such a dick? Like, I wonder which one because they're both applicable. They're both applicable because as you said earlier, there's no way that I wasn't complicit in the downfall of the marriage. I had my part in it. There's no fucking way you can't. Did she make the ultimate decision that you're doing a lot of negative and bad shit as fuck and lately, but I had my guilt and my part in it. And I don't know if I would tell that to to grow the fuck up or if I would tell that to the fucking run. I'm not sure, but I don't know. What they asked me.

Jonathan 55:11
I mean, God, that's a that's an interesting line to draw there. That's a good one. I mean, right now, in this time period, I told myself like, you know, to grow the fuck up. I mean, like, as much pain and money and you know, everything else that has been through the wringer. It's like I I wouldn't be who I am today without all of that, you know, just like all the great things in life that I've experienced, you know, everything puts you together and makes you a balanced person. And, you know, it's like, if I wasn't able to go through that. I feel like there's a lot of ways in business and in life that I wouldn't be able to set those same boundaries with other people, you know, because I do tend to be a very positive person. I try to be a pleaser, things like that. And I feel like, man like in the modern world, it's a jungle out there. Things are crazy. People are weird. And being able to establish boundaries with them and be able to, you know, keep the madness out and keep the good people in is so important. And I don't think that I would necessarily know that if it weren't the case. So I'd say, you know,

Michael 56:18
well, my friend, thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it. I do know that. The last question that I asked everybody is what words of wisdom would you impart to a man who's just beginning his divorce journey?

Jonathan 56:30
Yeah. Can I make a cheap order? Or Yeah,

Michael 56:33
absolutely. All right. Make it okay. 10. We can do we can do this part. Part Two later.

Jonathan 56:38
All right. Yeah. All right. So so my two my two pieces of advice is that you know, figure out how to feel comfortable in your own skin. However, that is, that means something different for everybody. But I mean, that's the one thing that we can't take off, right. So, you know, figure out how you can feel comfortable in your own skin, and that'll take time but that's something that I feel like we're all privileged to have, and try to work on that. The second thing I'll say, which you kind of played on earlier, is that with female relationships, so when you're getting through this is that I do discourage trying to date immediately after I don't involve myself with recently divorced or recently, extra people myself because they're going through some things, but what I would what I would say and this sounds like a unicorn, but it's kind of not try to make friends that are girls and be honest about that being that's all they are our friends that are women. Period, take sex off the table, everything else and you will gain so much insight into what you're experiencing keeping your head in check. You know, two of my very closest friends are female. And in fact, one of them's a therapist, that actually a trauma therapist, but so it's kind of like a I mean, we laugh and compare things like that, like she's give me cheat codes, you know, on like, how to how to get through life and stuff like that, but, you know, but if you can do that, honestly, without any romantic involvement at all, do that and let it come naturally. You can't force it then like that. It's like trying to make friends in general. They gotta come naturally, but But yeah, that could be a whole two parter in another episode.

Michael 58:21
Yeah, well, I was just thinking you're gonna have to ask that friend of yours that she'd be interested in coming on because trauma therapist that like sends off all kinds of alarm bells and I want to talk to that person.

Jonathan 58:36
Oh, she'll, she'll want to talk I just want to make gotta make sure that I get setting boundaries, right, like Yeah, Ali, I'm sure you're gonna listen to this, but for the love of God, if you come on this podcast remember the creamy like fucking patient confidentiality All right, like that stuff. That's the thing, right? It's like when you meet people like that you can be so honest about everything about being a man and not have like that. That's what taking sex also stuff takes off the table is like you said the most fucked up shit. And it's like, yeah, like that was fucked up. And here's how I wouldn't receive that, or here's how I would perceive that. And then likewise, you have any other reciprocated, right? They're gonna do the same thing back to you, and you have to listen. And you have to really understand and care, you know, and then when you do that, man, it's it's its own deep, really, really great relationships. So yeah, she would definitely come on. I just gotta make sure I keep her in check to not share too much shit about me. Over 10 years of friendship, right?

Michael 59:31
Well, again, the power of editing my friend we can always remove yeah, thanks again, man for doing this. I really appreciate it. You know, I will stay in touch and I'll let you know as soon as it comes out. And again, thanks for doing man. Appreciate it.

Jonathan 59:46
Yeah, of course, man. Have a good night. I appreciate it.

Michael 59:48
Yeah, all right. Okay. All right. All right, man. For you go. I just want to say thanks. Like, not in a you know, recorded way. recording stopped seriously, man. Thank you. Dude. That was awesome. Awesome. I'll edit it. I'll probably edit it. I don't know when I'll get around to edit it. I want to get it done soon. Because I want to get it out. Honestly. It's a bit timely with some of the topics I was arguing with someone last night a couple guys last night in the group that are basically you know, men are always fucked in court and this and that and and I just I just don't believe that nonsense. I'm not saying it never happens but it certainly it did happen. But I just think times are changing and, and I don't think telling man and whining about something that isn't helpful. I don't know it's just it drives me nuts when I see that shit because I've interviewed so many guys that have not been thought that I've gotten like you have gotten you're not the you're not the person interview that was full custody. My my buddy Chris went from a slim ish majority to almost all the time he went from like 60 to 80% or whatever. And this was 12 years ago or whatever it was. So I just I just don't think it's helpful because I think it it could I think it could and maybe I'm being maybe I'm wrong here but I think it could God cause men to be like, Yeah, fuck it, then I'm gonna lose anyway. And that's just

Jonathan 1:01:11
I think that should take well you know, if you find an editing, because I know that we kind of cut through some things quicker. If you feel like there was something that we had to build on as a point. You want to set up like a 15 or 20 minute to dive into something deeper. He feels important. Just pick me. up I'm glad to to add to this because I agree. You know, it sucks. I mean, you know, I've joined the Facebook group I like I like the group a lot. I see a lot of those. I know exactly. You're talking about with complaints, and the people and then I see some really good ones and you know some words of wisdom. It's like, at this point in my life and it's like you get through all that shit and it's like I approach all this is a place of servitude. Like, you know, it makes me feel good to help these people that at the time when I felt like so resource lacking and like shit, you know that I can give something back that can make other men feel better to sleep at night or something like anything. So

Michael 1:02:05
I hear you, I hear you, brother, thank you so much. I'll let you know as soon as it's out. And yeah, but if I hit anything and we want to touch base, I'll definitely reach out. All right, awesome. Appreciate it. Yep. Take care. So you later Bye

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Episode 109 – Narcissism – Journalist Meehika Barua

In this episode I discuss all things Narcissism with journalist Meehika Barua.  We talk about whether people are born a narcissist, how to spot it in a partner, what to do if you are with someone that is one, and what it may mean if you are called one.


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Michael 11:02
Joining me today is mihika mihika. Let's just jump right into it wants to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Meehika 11:32
I'm a freelance journalist. I write for magazines like Vogue. Our newspapers like the Guardian, Washington Palace, etc. I cover culture lifestyle, a lot of dating pieces. And yeah, that that's me, in a way.

Michael 11:51
Well, and the reason I reached out is I think you had written an article on narcissism, and I wanted to talk to you about that. today. So let's start off like I'd like to do let's define things. What is narcissism? What is the definition of narcissism?

Meehika 12:09
I mean, to be fair, it's so layered because a person can kind of have narcissistic traits and not be MPD, which is you know, like someone who has actual narcissistic personality disorder. So a lot of people if you actually diagnose them, they will not qualify. For NPD. But that doesn't really mean that they don't have traits that are narcissistic. It just it doesn't list. It doesn't check all of the list that is required to qualify someone at NPD so I guess like that is also the first distinction and there is no textbook kind of item definition of a narcissistic person but I would say someone who is very, you know, like they can never be wrong, who thinks that it's always the other person that's wrong. They, you know, like, they don't have the empathy and this is what a lot of psychologists have said. Even the ones I was talking to that it's basically a lack of empathy in every situation that is just the baseline of narcissism, just a very innate lack of empathy.

Michael 13:41
Do you think it's possible that someone can have some of the traits and and not be a full blown narcissist, and I'd still be an issue. I mean, there are there are some aspects of of having some narcissistic traits that are not terrible, or is it like if you have one of these traits, it's like you're probably really difficult to deal with. Do you think that there's layers or or severity to this thing?

Meehika 14:07
Yes. So I when I did my piece, I was talking to a psychotherapist who works with you know, like the topic as an he teaches about narcissistic traits and just has a module on narcissism. In the university he teaches, and there is healthy narcissism. So you know, when you see entrepreneurs or you see, you know, like, really kind of larger than life intallation influential people, they got there because there is healthy narcissism. And then there is just the very toxic kind of like, lack of empathy can be with narcissism. But now as I said, the distinction is those kinds of people. Some of them could be NPD, but some of them are just people with other issues who have a lot of narcissistic traits. So it's definitely very layered. And I guess like when I was researching a lot about this, my main concern was, Oh, my God, do I have any narcissistic traits? Yeah. Because the more you study about it, the more it's like, oh my god, like I might do I have any tendencies? And so the psychotherapist I was talking to was like okay, this what you just did there. A person who has narcissistic tendencies a person who has NPD will never even get to that point. They will never even say, Do I have a problem? Am I the problem for them? They are perfect and how this word also came about is from the folklore. I don't know if you know about it. So this was like, I don't know if it's in the Bible, or in some sort of like, hex or whatever, but there was this person and his name was Narcissus, or NARS sicko, something like that. That's where the word comes from. 1000s of years back, and he used to look at the reflection of himself in the lake. All the time. And kind of like, I genuinely don't know the exact lore, but he's in a kind of a reflection and just kind of be like, Who is this person and why is he always how I want to fight him and this and that. Why is he copying me? Everything I do, he's just telling me something like that. In the attempt to fire this person. He goes in the lake, or something like that, and drowns. So his narcissism basically killed him. Or something like that. I don't think I haven't, you're exactly correct. But if you Google it, it definitely has to do with a boy with a name narcissists are something looking at himself and the reflection in the lake. So that's where it comes from, where you're so kind of everything is so about you that you destroy everything, you know?

Michael 17:26
No, and so maybe that that's sort of the theme is a lack of consideration, because you mentioned that lack of empathy. So a lack of consideration and empathy for others means that you're focusing only on you. So maybe that's sort of where the distinction lies. is, you know, I think you can look in the mirror and think fondly of yourself or actions that you take or whatever, but as long as you're able to be considerate or empathetic of others, then perhaps that means you aren't a narcissist.

Meehika 17:58
Yeah, I think that ability to even ask yourself that question is, in itself shows that you're not like narcissistic in a dangerous way. Because I'm actually narcissists would not even have the empathy to ask that question.

Michael 18:15
So is this something that is an aid in other words, I mean, I know you know what it means, but I'm a simple fellow, I gotta explain things to myself. Is this something that's like you're born with it? Or do you think it's developed due to childhood or whatever?

Meehika 18:31
Honestly, there are so many different views on that some psychologists say that it is something you're born with, while others like Dr. Romani who does a lot of stuff on narcissism. Say it's about narcissistic parents. Creating narcissistic children and that is kind of true as well, because I've seen it My mother has a lot of narcissistic traits. And I kind of see where she gets it from because my grandfather was like the emblem of I guess toxic masculinity and narcissistic, you know, crate so I can see that. But what other psychologists also say is that people with NPD basically have a Cortex in their brain. I know we're like, we're born with three cortexes and so one on the cortex is kind of it's supposed to be a certain kind of size. And in those people with NPD, that cortex is way shorter, and then it's shorter. That cortex is kind of responsible for empathy and because they don't have that they have less empathy for everything. They don't know how empathy works, and it's really weird because I mean, I love this stuff, right? So I've spoken to people who have kind of and this also kind of goes into sociopathy and you know, things like that. So I've spoken to people who have actually duck are diagnosed sociopath like actually diagnosed. And I always ask them, like, how does it feel like what does it look like? And they have said this to me that they genuinely try to mimic other people in kind of a group setting to know what the appropriate responses. For example, the person I was talking to was giving me an example saying that let's say we're also they're gonna grow up and someone got a phone call saying that, let's say someone died. He's like, I have to look around at everyone. Else to see how they're reacting and mimic that, because I don't know what the appropriate response is. to that. He's like any situation. He doesn't have an empathy. And I was when I was having this conversation. I was like, kind of giving him really worst case scenarios. I was like, Okay, what, what happens? When, let's say tomorrow, you get a call, and maybe your parent has been in an accident. Let's just say like, hypothetically What is your response to that? And that person was telling me well, my responses that well, if they're an accident, they're on the road, I'm sure there has been an ambulance that came and I'm sure like someone helped them there is literally nothing I can do. So me rushing to the hospital isn't gonna make a difference. I am not a doctor, so I might just continue watching the Netflix movie I was watching. So exactly. So this is someone who has been diagnosed as like sociopath, it's just that they don't have that empathy and different ways like they can go just therapy and learn how to mimic empathy, but they just don't have it in many in them. But then again, of course, there are other psychologists like Dr. Romani who has said that narcissism is created by you know whether you've had a narcissistic sibling or a parent and something like that, like it's just a chain that goes on narcissistic parents creates a narcissistic child. And I can see that so it's, there is no straight answer to that.

Michael 22:54
Yeah, well, that's not always it's always better if there is but but I think like many things in life, there never is a straight answer. But I do think that it makes me funny enough. It makes me feel some sympathy for these folks, if they truly if they don't have the capacity, like they were born that way, and their brain isn't lined up the way a normal brain is whatever the hell that means. Then they can't behave normally. There's a part of me that will almost feel sad for him. And I wonder and you kind of said like, they go to therapy and they can learn to mimic but I wonder I wonder if there is like, if, if you really wanted to like it, but I guess that goes back to like, if you want to be better than you probably aren't narcissistic. So maybe, I don't know. I'm just trying to sort of wrap my head around. It all and then try and figure out like, is this something that people can change but I think a you have to recognize that you you need to change and if you if you if you do that you're probably not narcissistic and be even if you do somehow someone sit you down and says you need to change but you don't have the capacity Oh, it's just there's that's kind of sad in a lot of ways like there's no matter what you're either so clueless that you it in a way that you you're not going to get help. And even if you want you can't kind of get it anyway, I wonder what the success rate is. If there's any stats of like someone that is sort of forced to work on this, if they can learn to mimic it in a way a which is so crazy to me to think about that they can be sort of successful in that like I'd be curious to I'm not trying to put you on the spot. I just I'd be curious to know if that that data exists or if that sort of scenario exists where someone is able to sort of change themselves in a way when they're not really don't have the capacity. I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I

Meehika 24:50
was though asking more of videos that Dr. Romani who is like she's got like PhD and she works with law classes who come in and want to change. Sometimes there are very few I mean, what she says is, most of them it doesn't last long. You can try but there are like like one out of 10 or two out of 10 cases where they're very committed to it. And it's just that practice makes you perfect. So when you practice this every day and you're so committed to it, it becomes a lifestyle. That it's like learning French isn't dead, like you know, I mean, you can give up or you can just be so committed to learning that it becomes a lifestyle but I genuinely This is so I mean nowadays there's so much content as well about like, narcissistic parent. And the more you look at it, the more I realize especially because I see so many narcissistic tendencies and my mom they don't they kind of don't change, but you just kind of need to sort of have the tools and the mechanisms have a call to deal with it. But changing them or trying to get them to change is just such a lost hope and Lost Cause like you should never that should never be the aim of dealing with anyone who you think has narcissistic tendencies. I wonder

Michael 26:32
if we kind of talked about this, I think during the pre interview a while ago, I wonder if and I think it's true if this word this sort of diagnosis is thrown around a lot nowadays and it is right and I wonder how helpful and or harmful that is like because I see it a lot in I run a Facebook group. It's got 7000 men in it at this point that are going through divorce or been through or whatever. And then on occasion that word narcissist gets thrown around like it's like everybody on the planet has or is a narcissist. I wonder how helpful and or hurtful, that type of mentality is and I think therapy speak and you're starting to see some of these things that you know, I think are mainly positive but could could clearly be you look at this Jonah Hill thing and I'm not going to comment on whether or not I believe it or whatever it is what it is I don't I'm not choosing sides here. Just saying there. You could see that people are sort of using this therapy speak stuff. I mean, shit we're gonna hear it really in an hour wonder how helpful and or hurtful it is.

Meehika 27:42
I mean, it's definitely there. It's so difficult because there really are people who have no idea about these words. And for them, it's really helpful to educate themselves. Like I know people have been with narcissists in relationships for like five years or a decade and they had no idea about any of these terms and gaslighting and, you know, just all the glossary of terms and I think with social media, it's coming to awareness now, whereas earlier, these terms were only kind of like a secret code language that psychologists and therapists talked about. It was not known to the general public. But with that, obviously now everyone's self diagnosing everyone else. You have a bad day. You just leave without any context. And so that's definitely like, I don't think diagnosing anyone helps. And this is what I have spoken to, you know, with the therapists about, what do we do? It's mostly about how a person makes you feel, and not as to will mostly make you feel a certain way, which is, you know, putting you down to elevate themselves, making jokes at your expense. So she's not funny having no empathy for you're, like, you know, they're sort of like those checkboxes and when someone's making you feel like that, there is no point even trying to diagnose them just be like, okay, they have a few narcissistic tendencies, that just make me feel constantly on edge. You know, or whatever and just maintain your distance and just kind of don't react do not justify don't explain it to them. There's like a textbook guidance of how to deal with narcissistic people. Because the thing is, you can't avoid them even if you're not in a relationship with them. You might have a narcissistic boss or a co worker that you have to put up with. So it's, it's not like there is no point diagnosing anyone. It's just you need to develop tools to know how to protect yourself, and how to literally have the tools to deal with them because it's a very textbook kind of, you know, gray rocking those kinds of techniques.

Michael 30:26
So well to that point we want to look at like how do you know if if someone is is someone you're in a relationship with how do you know if they are a narcissist what are some of the telltale signs that they will? And again, not to necessarily diagnose, but just to understand what you're dealing with? What are some of those signs that you should look for?

Meehika 30:45
The number one sign which is which everyone kind of agrees on this? is just the only thing I feel like everyone in the narcissistic space like all the experts agree on is the bath the love bombing phase, that dark and it it's like it goes like this and then dips down like that so the first few weeks is like extreme affection and this time kind of you know, it can be in the form of gift. It can be in the form of literally someone telling you they love you on the third or the fourth date, you know, things like that. I mean, of course the recently Netflix shows like The pandas and LAN and you know, things like that about like, if you want to actually see how it works, but it starts very good. Like really good and you're like oh my god is a Faraday this a dream everything is like perfect. And then should start going down but when should start going down in the same pace when it went like up. It's like they will give you small doses of that high that you used to get. But it's like a few weeks of like, a really great high and then it's just bad, but it's like, it's like a drug, you know? So you get withdrawal symptoms, but then you just get a little bit of a hit and then you're like, oh, it's the same high. It's actually not the same high. And then this cycle continues and can continue for years. But also like there was gaslighting which is like invalidating everything you're saying your reality if you get into any conflict, it's like the narcissist like it's not me all of its you like this is all you this is your doing? And every conversation happens like that and this is not even just in a relationship context. But even like if you have a narcissistic parent or if you have a narcissistic sibling. If you look at every single time you've had any conflict, I mean, literally every time I address something with my mom, I realize I have spent three hours sitting down or sometimes more addressing every single thing. And she has either a justification, or she she she blames it on to me you were to the to the level child you you know I had to discipline you this and that. Or it's something or the other it's everything else but not her. Yeah, you know you it's like there is no accountability. There is no concept of accountability. So, you know, like it's just like if you and you're having a conversation or a conflict and you say that okay, you did this and this hurt me. I will be I will be okay. Of course. It's human nature to be defensive and I'll be like, Oh, maybe I did this because XYZ but I am really sorry. I did not know you know that with narcissist. It's just doesn't exist. There is no owning and there is no apology. There is now kind of like it's just deflecting as wherever they can deflect. GLORIA

Michael 34:36
Do you think it's um, I mean, obviously, it's the lack of empathy and stuff but like, I wonder if it's a the the inability to be accountable. I wonder if that that that's also like a brain function where they they can't or if it's just, it's so scary to them to take accountability, because then that would mean like, there's something wrong with them or whatever, or it taps into what they were. Because I think if you were raised by a narcissistic parent, you probably would have to have some pretty crappy feelings about yourself like deep down like like root the root stuff, right? The beginnings right? And so I wonder if that means then you don't take account of Billy so you don't look at yourself and so then you don't feel this negativity, negative emotions, negative things that were sort of put on you by a parent. You know, I wonder so I guess my question is, Are my wandering out laughs I really a question is, I wonder if it's something that is a brain thing where they can't sort of take accountability or they're just so unable to look at themselves because what they see is really, really ugly.

Meehika 35:46
I think they're so conscious of their image that nothing they think they can do can ever be wrong because that would qualify them as like humans, or you know, but they have this very ideal, perfect version of themselves. And so a lot of the times you would also see where narcissists are. And this is something Dr. Romani talks about a lot. They are the most charming people in a room full of people all the time. So if you have a partner or if you have a mother or a sister, and you're telling your friend that this person is so narcissistic and bla bla, and then they need them in a party or something, they're like oh my god, your partner or your sister or your mom is so lovely is so amazing. Because they are so they are the life of the party. They are so conscious and so amazing. At pleasing everyone else, and kind of like maintaining that image. So when you address something, that image kind of shatters and they're like, oh, no, now I made a mistake or I'm human, and that just I don't they just have a very idle version of themselves. They can do no wrong.

Michael 37:16
Yeah, and I wonder if that's because they they do feel deep down so bad about themselves that they have to prop themselves up in this way and sort of put on this facade. I mean, you know, and again, you know, when we think about these things, I am when I anytime I interview anyone about anything I'm always like playing myself against what what's being said and you were kind of talking about it earlier like come on. I a narcissist, and I'm sitting here thinking all these things like shit, I do some of the stuff I do some of that stuff or whatever. And I don't know that means that I might not be but I may not probably have some traits like, and I think it's, it's sort of a weird fine line. I think where you you want to be confident you want to be self assured. But you, you know, I guess you can't take it too far. Or but I guess again, if you're even conscious of it. Like I don't think about it on a daily day to day basis. Like, am I behaving like a narcissist, but when when I do this sort of interview and I'm thinking about well, man, I did some shitty things throughout my time for sure. And there were times where I wouldn't take blame. I'm sure that I'm almost as positive. But then there are times when I when I have I get I don't know, I just, I guess if I'm asking these questions of myself, I'm probably okay. But I think like you were saying earlier like, you know, somebody like Elon Musk is probably maybe not a full blown narcissist, but clearly guy likes himself. And so but is that a bad thing? And so myself sitting here, just thinking about these things, I struggle with it. which I guess means that I'm that I'm not but that doesn't mean that I don't, perhaps sometimes behave poorly. I'm sure I'm sure. I do that for sure. Probably once. A day, I would imagine but but anyway, so I guess, I guess I'm just sort of thinking out loud about sort of my experience because I was called one in you know, and so that makes me go, Oh, am I maybe I am because when you go through the divorce process, you know, at least in a lot of the cases I see it's this is anecdotal. I don't have any studies, but when someone's leaving you, they label you as a very bad person narcissist, borderline personality disorder. I got all the negative stuff that you know, she could think of, and they do that and I understand the mechanism. They do this because they have to right you're not going to lease on and be like, Oh, he is just the best person ever. Like you're not if you're not leaving if you're saying those things, right. So in order to sort of sort of give yourself some fuel, you're going to you know, you're you're going to find all the negatives and I get that but as someone that was called a narcissist, it's it's I look at it and go Well, you know, maybe maybe I am maybe I have these traits but but I guess I guess you can have some of the traits and not be a full blown narcissist right.

Meehika 40:08
I what I've actually learned from my other friends, I mean, one of my friends she's the one who introduced me to this whole plethora of narcissism talk is because she has she had me she has a narcissistic mother and she always always chose narcissistic partners, which is kind of true for myself as well. And so the more I was talking to her about my dating life, and the more she directed me do all of these people, experts, Dr. Romani, there's not but I had the same conundrum as you do. And I was like, a minor narcissist because he called me one he literally called me one. And she was like, That is a textbook narcissism one on one thing they do because deep down they know that they have the traits. They will call you one this is like mirroring. So you know, you hold a mirror to exactly what they're doing. And it's like, she's like all of my partners who were like completely narcissistic called me one. So she was like, this is textbook like and this was something Dr. Romani talks about as well. Because yeah, it's basically using therapy talk now to just say that you're the problem. Yeah. And yeah, so that's that's very textbook kind of person calling you Narcissus

Michael 41:53
wonder like some of the people that sort of, because I again, I see it on occasion. I don't know the frequency but the guys in the group will be like, Oh, she was absolutely a narcissist and there was a part of me going I wonder if he's really the narcissist here because because, I mean, there are certain guys who post constantly about it. All they post is about narcissism and how to look out for and I'm thinking, Gosh, I wonder if this guy is really, really the narcissist I mean, I can I don't know I don't I'm not trying to diagnose anyone. But I always often wonder like the person that's screaming the loudest about it. I wonder if it's actually, like you said sort of mirroring like we're, you know, projecting or whatever you want to call. So so if you find yourself in a relationship with one how do you get out of that with minimal damage? What's the best way to sort of extract from a toxic relationship with a and especially one with a narcissist

Meehika 42:51
I guess it's like, it doesn't happen overnight, because they're gonna make it really difficult for you. And this is the thing this is why people find themselves with a narcissist for like, five years, 10 years because they make it impossibly difficult. So you need to have an exit strategy and you have to kind of do it in you know, kind of like stages so you start Gray, rocking them a little bit. It's, it's really hard, but you they will because even after you have actually gotten out of that, or even when you're in the process, they will try to Hoover you. And hoovering is another time which you know Narcissus to do. It's like hoovering the victim back in with that exact same kind of like dose, giving them that pie. It's like how people you know, don't who are addicted to drugs. Don't leave it for years and years and years. It takes them ages to get clean. It's the same thing. It gives you the same head so the narcissist is gonna kind of do everything and now this is why it's a bit tricky because there are so many different kinds of narcissists. Out there or like people narcissistic tendencies you've got like the covert narcissist, you have got the raging like ultra, you know, whatever masculine or just a raging narcissist you know, there are very different kinds of them. And I remember one of my friends, she was in the cycle for I guess like three years three or four years every single time she got the courage to leave and she's like, this is like I'm leaving. He would say everything that she wanted to hear. Like she wanted to move in with a boyfriend really badly. She wanted to probably get married to someone you know. He knew exactly what she wanted. So he would give her her back end with these words saying, I want to live with you like we can just move in together and this and that. Like literally when she's leaving. He would say these things just to Hoover her back and you know like even you can even start looking at faces and this and that from next month on blah blah and then she would go back to their real life is all of that gone in literally like it last a few days. Not even though we're weak. And it's back. It's back to how it was. And she I think she repeated the cycle every two or three months. Until one day she was like, This is bad. The whole thing took three or three years I guess she was with him for like one year and three years was trying to break up with him. Well, I mean, it's it's really important that this Why say like, obviously this is important to educate yourself about these times, like what's Uber and what do they do? And things like that because they're gonna you will need to know what's happening when you're in the middle of it. It's really hard. And because even when I was with a guy who was like, I mean, I can't obviously diagnose them as MTD, but I'm pretty sure he clearly already had like, most of the narcissistic tendencies to qualify as one that it was the same thing. The entire relationship. The first half was great, whatever No, it was first half like 1/3 of this was forever and the rest of it was just constant shooting at that he would just give me doses of that hi I initially got and that is usually enough. Because when I was talking to a psychotherapist about this like what what what is this? Why do people stay in this? Why did I send this? He was giving me an example of I don't know if you've heard of that study that's conducted with rats, where it's like, positive reinforcement and you know, like when you feed a rat food in like you don't know when it's there is no like schedule. It's not like it's everyday at 1pm or it's everyday there is no schedule. So the rat actually doesn't know when you're going to see him next. So it's like they would do everything to please you all the time, not knowing when the next dose is coming. But similar to that like you will go through a long period of shittiness because you don't know when that next fix is coming. On when they give you that very small dose of that you're happy for a long time or whatever. And then again, the relationship is shit but you stay. It's just the same. It elicits the same hormones in us as humans. As it does in that graph. And the same ideology is also used when you're trying to train a puppy. You know, when he when the puppy does something good. You treat the puppy, right? That's positive reinforcement. But when you know now the puppy knows if you're going to do something good you're going to treat him so now he's going to behave he's going to pee where you asked him to pee. He's gonna, you know, with humans and that's what the experiment was the you don't know when that you know fixes coming to you're always waiting for it and kind of you know, on your toes trying to please the nurses nurses never impressed. And then every now and then we'll get that six and there's also it's the same dynamic read like children dealing with narcissistic parents, it's like you will spend your entire life trying to please that parent but they will never using the bar is here and you achieve it. And the next thing you know the bar is here again you achieve it and the next thing you know the bar is there. A very good example of it is succession. It's a very raging narcissistic parent. I don't know if you've seen succession have you? That

Michael 49:38
only only a few episodes?

Meehika 49:40
Yeah, so it's literally a narcissistic parent dangling a carrot in front of all of his three children. And every time they achieve it or one of them dad, he's like yeah, whatever, blah, just like at the higher bar. So it's it's that kind of like, you know, they're never pleased with you, but at the same time, they don't want to let you go. They just want to like play with you. Kind of I don't know. It's a great question.

Michael 50:09
I I think when I hear things like that some sometimes and I don't know what this says about me but sometimes I think regardless of what a person does or how they behave, and I get this easier said done and all that but to me there you should have enough self worth. And I'm not saying I'm there either, but you should have enough self worth. And I'm not trying to put it on the person I mean, but if you're not being treated well walk away, right it if you have an innate sense of like, confidence or and I know that's tough. For everybody but but sometimes when I hear these things I'm like why? And I'm not trying to call anyone out and and I'm not trying to blame the victim. I am not but but if if you can't walk away from something that's clearly not healthy, but maybe you don't realize that it's not healthy. I don't know. To me, there's a part of me that says because I see again, I see this all the time. Guys are like, Oh, she was narcissist and she did all these things. And I'm like, well, but you tolerated that like and again, I'm not maybe maybe it sounds like victim blaming. I'm not trying to but but there's a part of me that says if you did work on yourself, then you will be able to walk away from something. And I'm not I'm not saying domestic violence and that kind of stuff. You know, that's a whole other conversation. And, you know, that's that's not what I'm talking about. But but there's a part of me that when we talk about accountability, right, it's hard for me not to think that a person rates nonsense or whatever. I don't think I mean, it's not I'm not again, I'm not trying to blame on price sound like that, but I'm really not but but I think if you tolerate some some beat, yes, whatever that means, then then you need to figure out how to not right. I mean, isn't there some accountability there as well.

Meehika 51:54
And to be honest, the main reason for that is a lot of these people. And that's true for what happened with me as well had either a narcissistic parent or a sibling and all their lives throughout their childhood so that treatment is normalized. Do you think that is normal? Which it's not right? You don't know. It's not normal. I did not know this until my friend who had a history of now she's obviously married. To who she's married for like over a decade, but she has a narcissistic mother and she had a history of dating narcissistic people. And then she saw me doing it and then the more I started talking about my mother, she was like this is you're doing exactly what I did 20 years ago. And that opened up an entire block off like, oh my god, like even if I'm not saying all of my exes were NPD or something, but 80% of them had very high narcissistic tendencies. And I the thing is these like, I choose them and they choose me. So narcissists, people with narcissistic tendencies. Literally choose a particular type of victim. So now it's like I come across because now I know better. A narcissistic person cannot choose me now because it's like, it won't work. Like literally I can spot it. The dynamic will not work. But earlier I was the perfect victim. And I was also searching for the same thing. I always like because that treatment was so normalized for me that none of the other guys who showed me otherwise and like who were nice, they didn't stand a chance with me. I wasn't with them. Like I mean, I would be with them and then I would break up with them because that was just totally not normal to me.

Michael 54:02
So it speaks to a feeling or a thought or an idea I have everybody should be in therapy, and I know there are therapists to go around but we all need it work and and and you're right I guess I didn't think of it in that way. And that it's that was normal. That's what you knew. And I guess in some ways if if I hadn't been in therapy and hadn't done any kind of work, and I really only only got into therapy because my father died when I was 22 and that really rocked my world. So I was able to examine myself and look at myself I have a lot of work to do on the fucked up individual but but I think if you've never been in that space of sort of like working on yourself that maybe you wouldn't realize or with a an unbiased third party or whatever to sort of help you see some of these things that maybe you never would because you're right it's it's it's it's natural. It's normal. This is the way your mother treated you so it's going to feel familiar and like and normal. Yeah, I suppose I didn't think of that. Well, listen, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for doing this. I really, really appreciate it. The last question that I asked everybody is what words of wisdom would you impart to a man just starting his divorce process?

Meehika 55:16
Just tarping as in those just like Have they left the past and have they come to that decision?

Michael 55:26
They're there all the above. I think probably the big one, I think is is she has either served the papers or she's left or or you've left whatever, like whatever the scenario is, but you're you're clearly separated.

Meehika 55:43
Um, well, I think there is no point kind of trying to blame who was wrong but also kind of see that what you could have done and what led to this just kind of like I guess introspect. And I see a lot of men who immediately get into like new relationships and or are like immediately getting engaged and things like that. And I think that is really scary because then you're just trauma bonding, haven't really dealt with all of the trauma and you're just like you know, looking for a quick fix, and some validation. And also another thing I see a lot of couples who recently divorce is that they see it as a competition as an to get a better looking partner soon. So that is like the ultimate game that oh my god, I cannot let my ex win. So I have got to find a new partner a good looking one. Post them on my social media. And a lot of people also do it because they want to show to their friends or their Mutual's that I am on the problem. Look, I got shiny passes in an instant. They are the problem but you're actually kind of not portraying that it's just the fact that you've taken no time to reflect and just replace this pattern quickly is just you you kind of are showing that you are the problem. So yeah, I mean, honestly like there is no point trying to find blame. There's no point trying to find another person to show the words something else, I guess just take time to reflect and make sure that you learn from that and then you don't repeat them because you don't want to be a person who's been divorced two or three times and that's the thing like if you keep repeating the pattern, you're just going to end up being that person who's been divorced three times. Every day is it doesn't work for normal human.

Michael 58:06
No, I can't I don't know who could afford that shit. It's expensive to be honest with you, but yeah, I agree. I mean, I try to preach it all the time. It's take take time, at least a year and some people like everyone's different. Yeah, but you're not going to die if you spent a year alone. You know, I think honestly it takes it can take a lot longer. I think it does but a year at least for goodness gracious sake. I think you know, I'm coming up on year four, actually, two days will be four years since she left and I still have work to do and still have struggles, you know, and it's compounded, I think, because we have kids and so I have to deal with her. And so it makes sort of a clean break. It's not possible. And so then I think then that delays the healing because you still have to see and interact it's a lot easier if it's, you know, out of sight out of mind. It's a very truth. But when you have to deal with them, especially if you have to go to court or all these things, it just it allows the wound I think to never really truly I wouldn't say truly heal but but it takes longer because it's it's it gets keeps getting poked, you know, again, if you were the one that was left and didn't make the decision, so I agree wholeheartedly. You got to take the time to heal to work on yourself to reflect so thank you so much for doing this. What's the best way people can find you? How do they get in touch with you and your work and the things that you do and the articles you write? What's the best way to find your stuff?

Meehika 59:29
My social media handle as Gabriella that's MEHIPABA Are you a that's the same for Instagram as Les Fatah. I post all of the articles I write so yeah, it should be on my social

Michael 59:43
media. Awesome. I'll make sure to put it in the show notes. Thanks again so much for doing this. I really appreciate it.

Meehika 59:49
Of course. Thank you so much.

Episode 108 – Payoff, Road Trippin, and Dropping Knowledge – Solo

In this episode I talk about recent events, an upcoming road trip, and an upcoming class I’m giving.

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Michael 0:00
Hey what's up, gentlemen, this is Rising Phoenix podcast podcast about how to rise up after divorce. I'm your host, divorce coach, Michael Rhodes. Let's get into it. Hello, and welcome to the show. This is episode 108. Apologies for the delay. As you all know, I think, you know, I've been having some sort of struggles, anxieties in life in general, and that's affected my mental health for sure. But I guess my ability maybe to, I don't know if Dodi's right word, but it's affected me scheduling out. New guests, and that's because I have this anxiety around booking. So I don't know how many folks probably none of you know, this, or maybe a couple a long time ago, I used to manage local bands. And I used to work for a national management firm. And I put on concerts and festivals, small stuff, like in clubs, you know, five 600, people type, capacity type places, so nothing huge, but but one of the rules was always the I preached, the bands that I worked with, or bands that I booked for or, or, or managed was, if you're going to book a show, you don't cancel, and if you cancel shows, don't book them. And so I had this sort of anxiety around booking a guest and then not being able to follow through, and it's happened in the past, but it's the cause shit happens, shit comes up. But there's more anxiety around it because of this job. And I just don't know what my schedule is going to be. And things pop up. And I have a boss who just used to kind of chatty and so there are times when he calls and I feel very anxious if I don't if I'm not able to answer, and I would freak the fuck out if I was in the middle of a podcast interview with my boss called, but But I gotta figure out how to wrap my head around that. And I'm starting to make efforts on that front. And I'll get to some of that, but, but I just wanted to touch on, you know, kind of where I've been I know, you guys probably know that. But I just wanted to sort of reiterate that, you know, I've had to take some time off to to deal with the anxieties of life to deal with the anxieties of the job. And and determine what am I going to do about this? You know, the things that I teach, I essentially needed to apply to myself, you know, I had to figure out what was the problem? And what is what is the it's not the solution. It's what is what is the effort that is going to be made to alleviate the identified problem. And you have to be specific about some of these things, or all of these things, you know, specific problems will allow you to take specific actions. So if you know exactly what's going on, I can say, Oh, I'm stressed. Why? What does that mean? And so I had to take some time to really sort figure this out. I got a new therapist, as you know, I've been working with her. And that's been pretty good, although sporadic. I think the biggest thing that has helped me lately is, and I'll quote and I'll butcher it, Mr. Viktor Frankl, and he was a Holocaust survivor. And he wrote a book called, I believe it's called I've never read the book, I just know the quote book and I'm going to read the books on the list have to read but that fucking list is long as it I believe, is called Man's Search for Meaning. And in the famous quote is, and again, I'm gonna butcher it, but he talks about the space between spot stimuli and response lies your power. So in other words, if you're triggered, you're someone pisses you off someone makes you upset. The the space in between that moment, and your response is where your power lies. And so I've tried to when a phone call comes in, work phone call, when an email comes in, I've decided to take that time to pause and take and take my power and use it and decide is this something that I need to be stressed out about? Is this something I need help with? Is this something I can handle? Is this something that it requires my absolute attention requires me to be stressed. So it's really about sort of taking the time to decide who I want to be and the kind of person that I want to be? Do I want to be stressed out? Do I want to be pissed off? Do I want to be angry to want to be sad? And some of these things are sort of inescapable, right? You're gonna be triggered you're gonna be pissed. You're gonna be sad these things happen. And I'm going to talk to talk about something else happened recently that that shows with that The work that we taught that I talked about here, God does it pay off? It really does. And I'll get to that. So anyway, so I've been working with cultivating my power in that space and making decisions about who do I want to be. And who I want to be as someone that is not rattled by the everyday bullshit of life, it's still going to happen. Don't get me wrong, but but I've gotten much, much, much better at that. Taking the time to determine whether or not this is something and I'm really, really practicing it, I promise you, this is something I'm really working on, do I do I want to be stressed out? Do I want to be pissed, I want to be angry, you want to be sad. And again, some of these things are inevitable, they're gonna happen. And that's okay. And there's also your power is also in do I want to stay in this mindset. So let's say in that in that space between stimuli and response, let's say I get it wrong, quote, unquote. And I get sad, angry, mad, whatever. I have it within my power. And this is the trickier part to change that it's really hard. But it's, it's I am finding it much easier to, to cultivate that space in that pause, and then decide when when you react lightning quick like that. It's harder to change your mindset, at least for me. But if I take that time to pause and determine whether or not how do I want to proceed, how do I want to receive? How am I receiving? And how do I want to receive it and perceive it? And then how do I want to respond? What kind of person do I want to be? Do I want to be stressed out right now by this email? I breathe? No, I don't I don't Okay, so let's take a look at it. You know, what are they asking for? What do they need? What What can I do? What can I What can I do what you know, maybe I did mess up whatever, right? I can take the time to determine who do I want to be a stressed out pissed off individual or someone who is able to take the punches in the blows of life and go, Okay, I don't want to respond like, this is how I want to respond. And it's fucking it's, it's hard, man. It is hard, but, but doing that work, of being mindful. And it all centers around this and that that's my opinion, is my belief I've stuck in believe it. It's about being mindful of your thoughts and being able to determine whether or not those thoughts are helpful or hurtful. And and, and so a stimulus comes in an email comes in, that's like, why didn't you do this and I can determine in that moment to take that personal in a way that it is hurtful. Or I can decide, well, that person maybe they're having a bad day or, or maybe they're wrong, or maybe I did screw up or whatever, right? I can decide, who do I want to be? How do I want to respond instead of just allowing my brain and its old habits and patterns and paths to dictate how I'm going to be I am control of my brain. My brain is not in control of me. That's fucking hard to do, though. And I'm not perfect at it and I fuck up. But I work on it. And it's it pays off and I'm going to I'm going to talk about how it pays off. Here here in I don't know if I have anything else to cover. I think that kind of covers kind of where I'm at. I just got back from vacation, and I'm doing pretty well the vacation went by way too fast. I had a good time. I found myself doing doing fishing and I really liked fishing. I'm gonna be one of those guys. Now. I guess going forward. It's fucking fun catching a fish. I gotta say. We fish last year, we went on a fishing trip. This one was a little different. Because well, the fishing trip we want we want to have the expedition and I'm not going to touch on this stuff too much. But I'm just saying I really like Buck efficient. We last year we went and it was an expedition to ignite expeditions. Probably not the right fucking word where they call it I forget what they call it, but it was a charter. It was a half day got a lot of fish. It was fun. But it was done sort of, I wouldn't say for us but the dude the guide wherever he was really good at what he did, and he really helped us and he kind of led the way this guy not so much. Didn't have as good a time on the charter. But then we went out later and we we run in a pontoon boat when we went out and we fished and I caught a fish and it was awesome. And then we went on the pier and I fished and I almost caught a fish that's a long story was probably a stingray I hoped and it spoiled me it took fucking I don't know I don't know how many feet will wrap on the thing to I'm 53 and 54 feet I don't know it took my whole fucking spool and the guy the peers I guess price thing right they do it all the time. So, but it was fucking fun. I thought that fucker for a good 20 minutes but anyway,

Michael 9:55
I had a good vacation. I'm back and I'm already starting to Take Action. I've sent some emails this evening to some potential guests. And I'm going to try and work my way through this anxiety I'm having on booking guests and just be open and honest and say, Listen, it might come up that I had to cancel it last minute, I don't want to do that I apologize. But I have, I have a real job, which is good and bad. Good, because it pays well, bad because it's a fucking job. Right. So all that said, I want to talk about the work and how it has paid off for me. So in terms of my children, it was a really great vacation, my children and I had some really great bonding moments, it was a lot of fun for us. And, and, and when it was came time, when I got home yesterday evening, and she came to pick them up, I got incredibly sad, I really did not want my girls to go. And and I cried and I cried in front of my my daughters and in not in a you know, in a fetal position type of way. But I was clearly upset and I let them know that I was going to miss him, I want them to go. But but not in a you know, not in a accusatory manner towards the accent and, and I'll get to sort of my thought process, but But I opened up to my children a little bit and just let them know, I was gonna miss him. And it was it was a really good experience. It further strengthened the bond, I think. But this is a case of doing the work paying off of being mindful of the stimuli or the Yeah, the stimuli and then thus the response, right. So I was I knew that I was upset, clearly I was mindful, man, I really don't want them to go. And there was a split second where I didn't want to cry, and for not split second was probably, I don't know, 1020 30 seconds, somewhere around there, probably not quite 30 Where I were, I didn't, I felt like I didn't want to show that to them. And so I started I could fucking see it happening sort of, or I was recognizing and having started to get a little bit angry, and I thought I could go out there and tell that bitch, you know, fuck you, you did this. And that's the old me. That's what the guy who never did any work, who never was able to embrace his sadness, for what? And leave it at sadness. This is the guy who would when he was hurt, he would turn to anger. And I saw that it was fucking clear as day to me. And I said, first of all, it's my sadness. It's my grief. It's my, my feelings. They're mine. Right? It was she a part of that process of getting me to that in a way of course, right? She wanted to divorce she has, you know, thrust this upon me and myself and my children, all that right. But the feelings that I was feeling were mine. And so if I turned to anger, and lash out at her number one, I robbed myself of the ability to feel the actual feeling, not the anger, the sadness, and thus heal, and to grieve properly, and feel a little bit better. Because because I'm actually feeling it. I'm naming it I'm sad. You know, this a name entertainment. That's so fucking true. If you can pinpoint what it is that you're actually feeling you can deal with it and face it. And then you have power over it because you know what it is. But when you go lightning quick to anger, which I started to do, you rob yourself of the opportunity to really feel the true feeling and to thus heal from it, and be able to move on from it and not be resentful because I could have spent I could have stayed in anger. And I could have spent my whole evening being pissed off and bitter. And what ruined my whole fucking evening. Instead, I realized and recognize what was going on. And I said, No, I'm not doing that, man. I'm gonna feel this feeling. And I cried, and I cried a little bit from my girls. And then I left and I bought like a little baby. And but I dealt with it. And I felt it and I didn't put my my bullshit on anyone else. Because here's the other part. If I would have done that, I would have not only given my my shit, right, my inability to deal with my hurt feelings, I would have given it to the axe, which of course, part of you and me says, Who gives a shit? Fuck her. You ain't wrong. But because my kids are there, then it becomes their issue. So then my inability to deal with my hurt becomes their hurt. Do you understand what I'm saying? So we don't, if we don't learn how to deal with our own hurt, we transfer it to other people, usually in the form of anger, and then we hurt others because we're hurting. And that's just people talk a lot about what does it mean to be a man own your fucking feelings? It says step out step one, but it's in there. Because they're my they're my feelings. I should be I should be man enough to own my feelings. That is my sadness. I should handle it and deal with it and process it. Because when I do and here's what happened. Then I have a few bad moments. And you know, maybe maybe I was sad for after they left. I don't know. 30 minutes, maybe 60 minutes. I don't think it was quite 60 minutes. I felt the feelings I I dove in I leaned And I cried and I felt it and then I was fine and I had a really great day today it didn't linger it didn't it didn't stay with me and that shit is possible it just fucking is it takes hard work to do that to get to that point but it is possible to feel a feeling and not have a control your fucking life to feel it to heal it to move on from Nemeth detainment feel it to heal it whatever can rhymey fucking thing you want to say it works. It just does. And so here's the other part of that story so the end of the evening I'm laying down on the couch was watching the the new Walking Dead Dead City. I think it's called I think they used to call it I always did that change. I don't fucking know. Anyway, it's nagging. Negan if you watch The Walking Dead, you know what the fuck I'm talking about? And by the way, I'm not sure like the show. I like the characters. For sure. I'm just not sure the storyline. Anyway, I digress. I'm sitting on the couch and I'm like, fuck it. I'll pull up Bumble and I started swiping and who the fuck do I come across my ex and again, here's here's a here's a case of of doing the work and it paying off. I could have again easily turned to anger. FUCK YOU DONE God, Baba and all this. You know what I mean? If I would have stayed in my anger from earlier, it would have been exacerbated by seeing that profile. Just seeing her. And by the way, she looked good. So Melissa, if you're listening, your profile pictures, you look good. You're an attractive woman, for sure. But you also were mean, amongst other things, you're a liar, because you're sure fuck aren't 41 years old, by the way, which so I obviously I swipe left, and I guess I shouldn't have called her out. But that fucker, whatever. I don't think she listens. I don't know if she doesn't. I don't care. I mean, maybe it's some kind of setting or something or glitch. But so I swipe left, of course, because of course I'm not swiping right. Although someone said to me, you should you should swipe right, just to fuck with her. One of my students, of course, I'm not going to do that. But wait, so I swipe left. And then I thought well, wait a minute, let's say she was 41. Like, so I backed up. And I was like, sure enough. And that made me chuckle. So again, it you know, doing this work and feeling these feelings and being able to manage my emotions allowed me to have a good day today, a good evening, and actually to be able to laugh at my ex, who apparently swore off dating but yet is back on dating apps. And I only knew that because of a conversation with my daughter. I wasn't asking it's a long story thought we're talking about but but anyway, she apparently just told my oldest that she was done dating back in December or something or that's when I was told about it. Again, I didn't ask about it. I was talking about my experiences. Because my kids, I was dating someone. Okay, I'll just tell the story real quick. Maybe I've said this before. Again, I talk a lot. I don't know. It's like I say, I was dating someone my daughter, my oldest daughter knew because she went to high school or starting middle school with her this woman's daughter. And so my daughter, my daughter's both were asked me a bunch of questions about this woman. And I was like, Do you ask your mother all these questions? And that's when it came up? Well, Mom says she's done dating. So anyway, so I found it funny that while apparently she's not, which is fine. You know, do your thing, girl by the fact that she's lying about her age. I don't know. I thought that funny. Maybe I'm wrong. And so my point is that if you're able to manage these emotions, they don't control your life, you can control them now there are going to be things that can happen or will happen for sure that are gonna throw me for a loop and I'm gonna be distraught when I don't want to be and pissed off and I don't want to be these things happen. But man, I'm I'm making strides. And I feel really good about it. And so I'm sort of taking the time, I guess a little bit to celebrate that. And to let you know, that if you do this work, fucking pays off. If you're out there, and you're listening, and you're like, I want you to imagine right now and I don't know where you're at in your journey. Maybe Maybe you're as far along as I am. And maybe you're in a good space too. But if you're not, if you're in any part of your journey, just imagine coming across your ex's dating profile, and I'm sure a lot of you have and it's not the first time I have but being able to laugh at all and not ruin my day. My night and then my next day is puking progress. Now sure, some people so well, yeah, it's been almost four years that is true. But there are a lot of men that I have come across that have this much time from from the divorce or separation until you know, current day and they still struggle. So the work pays off. That's my fucking point. So that's that. The next thing I wanted to talk about is two things. I'm gonna I don't know if I haven't said this on the podcast, but again, if you're in the divorce support for men group, you're aware of this. I'm

Michael 19:55
taking a road trip so I am flying down to Austin town. exists on the 30th of this month. So two weeks from now, I'll be flying to Austin, Texas, I'm going to rent a car. And on the 31st of July, I'm going to start driving back home, it's probably going to be a three ish day trip, I'm going to try it's about a 24 hour drive in total, I'm not going to drive 24 hours straight. I think I'm looking at driving eight hours a day, I think I can fluctuate from that. Taken off work, so I'm not in a hurry to get back. But if you are on the route, and if if if you're listening and you're not in divorce support from ungroup reach out if you're on if you're anywhere from sort of, I guess the east of Texas, well, from Austin, all the way up to Pennsylvania. So I think the first stop is going to be an Arkansas I'm probably gonna stop in Nashville. I'm not sure from there. If you're in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, obviously does a Pennsylvania any of those states and and it's not too far off from my my route, reach out, please. I'd love to interview folks along the way for the podcast. But if you just want to hang out, that is completely fine. We can just hang out, I can just meet you. That's cool, too. So I I'm hopeful that I'll be it'll be a three to four day journey. And then I'll be back home. And anything that I do film, any interviews will be put out as a podcast episode. And I'm not sure I haven't gotten anything concrete. I have one particular friend, alpha code alum who said he's, he's willing to tag along, he's gonna fly to Austin. And this is what he says, I don't know, if he's booked anything. I hope he does love to hang out with him. Adam, if you're listening, shout out to my friend. He's gonna join me in Austin, and he lives in Nashville. And he'll join me on that stretch of the journey. So if you're anywhere and along that route, if you just want to put in to Google, Austin, Texas, to York, Pennsylvania, if you're any law anywhere along that route, I would say you know, if you're willing to drive an hour, I'll drive an hour. So if you're, you know, two hours off the route and are willing to drive an hour, I'll drive an hour off Route to to meet with you. I'd love to meet all of you guys. And if you would like to meet with me, just just send me a message send me an email. I do want to touch on this too. This happens on occasion. I'm not mad but you know, I have a coaching you guys know I have a coaching program and I will get back to doing episodes on the program. And I also will get back to doing the discord episodes, discourse episodes. With Chris it's just at we've had some technical issues and I just haven't been able to, to fix it, like we've recorded a few times and the audio hasn't worked out and I'm going to fix it. I just don't know when it will happen. Because I do enjoy those episodes. So so anyway. What was I saying? Yeah, so I think I was saying that I'm gonna I'm gonna anything I record I'm gonna put out. By the way, this is the second time that I've Oh, that's what I was saying. This is the second time I've had to record this episode because I was doing it earlier. I forgot the point I was talking about and normally I just I just don't I don't worry about it. I don't edit it. I just leave it in but it was I completely froze. I was like, What the fuck that anyway, if you know I have the coaching program, and if you're interested, that is awesome. Book a call, let's have a conversation. If if you just want to talk to me, and that's I'm flattered, and I understand and I appreciate it. Please don't book a coach's call, just just send me a message. And if you want to talk, we can still talk. You know, we can get on a zoom call, we can still talk but when you book a coach's call, I get fucking excited. You're like, alright, somebody wants to work with me. And it's happened on more than one occasion. I wouldn't be bringing up people want to talk to me. I just don't just send me a message. Well, I could jump on a phone and then someone the other day said, you know how much for you know, a console. I don't tell you how to talk to me. I can charge anybody I talk to me. That's just fucking weird. So if you just want to and I'm flattered, and I appreciate it and understand it and that's fine. But I don't want it does bother me at all. You know, people sometimes think that, you know, I'm sorry, you know, and I hear this all the time. I've heard it's night some guy messaged me. He's like, Oh, I'm sorry to bother. You don't fucking bother me. I'd love talking to people I love I love talking to people that that are thirsty for knowledge and are looking for help to navigate this and that doesn't mean they're looking for paid help. I mean, just help that I mean this stuff. whole fucking premises of everything I'm doing. But I can't do shit for free. But but if you just want to talk to me, I'm not gonna just just just message me send me an email, and and and say, Hey man, I just really want to talk, that's cool. I just don't book a coach's call, I get excited. And then I get let down because I'm like, oh, and guy just wanted to talk to me, which again, it's flattering, and I appreciate it. And it's weird. And but I understand it, it's just, I get excited. And then I get let down. So. So anyway, speaking of sort of talking with me, and all that kind of stuff. If you're interested, I'm going to be doing a class on Wednesday, this coming Wednesday, the 19th. At 9pm. Eastern, the the event is in the divorce support for men group. And so the zoom, it's through Zoom, zoom link is in there. If you're not in that group, and you want to attend this class, and I'll explain what it is. Just send me an email, and I'll send you the link to the zoom. So what am I doing? So I often see, you know, people talk about, you know, change your thoughts be more positive, I often see very negative comments from folks, which is understandable, it's par for the course when you're going through this bullshit. So I'm going to give a class on and I said I said an hour, but it might take longer than that, on how to combat that what to do about your negative thoughts. Because it's something that, that I have struggled with in life, but I've developed sort of a, I want to say formula, because that makes it sound like you know, this is the way and it has to be this way, I would say a method, maybe I have a method that I use. But that method allows for the nuance of life or the nuance of the human experience. So in other words, I do a certain thing a certain way. And not it might not work for you. But that that method will I know that doesn't really make any fucking sense. And I'm not trying to be secretive. I'm just trying to figure out how to say it to make some kind of sense. I have a way that works for me to deal with my negative thoughts. But the exact way that I do it might not work for you. But the methodology that I use will again, I don't know if that makes any sense. So So anyway, if you want to attend, it's totally free. It is. I'll be honest, I guess it is, I guess I probably will do sort of a sales pitch type thing at the end. I think I don't I'm really honestly not doing it. for that. I just, I just want to help because I see so much. I see so many folks with so many negative thoughts and negative comments and and negative about themselves that I really just kind of want to help because I have those things too. But I have I have a system that works for me, and I think it can help you. It's something that I definitely do teach and it is part of my program. But I'm hopeful that it won't just help period. And it's not, you know, do I hope it'll generate interest? Yeah, I guess I mean, sure. That'd be awesome. But and I may do some sort of salesy bullshit at the end, I don't know, I might say, if I can get five guys to sign up all, you know, the, I'll give you my program for? I don't know, right now, it's $1,200. Maybe I'll give it to 4000. I don't know. And by the way, you know, again, I'm gonna get back to episode on on the program. But so I'm charging $1,200 At this point, it's slowly but surely ramped up. And and I'm, I've been told by many folks, mentors and stuff, just a little anti for one. So do you need to charge way more than that, like, that's insane, that you're only charging money I can tell the Alpha code now is I think a $3,500. Program. So in my programs are four weeks longer. So it's, you know, in my opinion, it's a fucking steal. But But anyway, it's really honestly not the purpose. I think it might be. It's something that might come at the end, you know, but it won't be. It's not just for that I'm really just want to give you this, this stuff to help. And I also think I might, so I'm probably going to it's going to be on Zoom, so I'll probably record it, and I'll probably broadcast it. If everyone's okay with that. I know I'm gonna make sure everyone's okay with that if they want to turn off the camera or whatever. But I probably broadcast it live and in the divorce report from Ungroup. I'm not Harmsen Sure. I'll wait till everyone jumps on and see what everyone thinks it feels. At this point. I think there are 29 that have said they're gonna go and 10 that or maybe I think I don't, fucking five could show up. I don't I mean, doesn't matter. I don't I don't care. I'm just trying to put out something that I think is helpful. And so So yeah, so Wednesday, July 19 9pm. Eastern. And I think, again, depending on

Michael 29:37
the folks that are attending, what their thoughts are, I may put it out as an episode as well. It is sort of based around a block of weeks in the program. They won't be exactly like that, because I also have negative behaviors. There's a block of week seven to week 11 That sort of around sort of dealing with our issues and making changes and so there will be sort of cherry picking out of those weeks to specifically address negative thoughts, negative thoughts are in there, but so is negative behaviors. So is making some decisions about accepting or changing who you find out you are when you're doing this examination process. So yeah, you know, if you want to attend just hit me up. I hope to see you, I'm really excited about the gowns with you. I'm going to be shooting for 60 minutes, but maybe, you know, it'll go longer. Maybe it'd be shorter shit, I really don't know. I think 60 minutes is where we'll end up. And of course, there'll be time for questions and things of that nature. So yeah, I hope to see you there. And so I think that's all I got I, I really, I don't mind doing solo episodes. But I really, really like interviewing folks. So I won't be doing a lot of solo episodes, I won't be strictly doing solo episodes, I shouldn't say I won't be doing a lot, I'm sure that I will. Over the course of time, I will probably do a lot wherever the fuck a lot means but I really like interviewing people and I'm gonna get back to that just I appreciate your patience. I appreciate appreciate you guys, you know, somebody reached out and asked, you know, you know, when's the next one? And you know, you know, are you gonna come back? You know, I've had those questions I have not done. I'm just, you know, I'm having I needed a break. And I don't know that I'm 100% back yet. But I am starting to make strides to to get completely and fully back in terms of you know, bringing on guests and experts and things of that nature and I am incredibly excited about some of the the folks that I have talked with in the past you know, I definitely think there's much more to cover, there's much more to learn, there's much more to gain. There's much so many more people that need the the support and this help and, and I just, I love doing it, man and I'm gonna keep churning them out. So if you need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out. And in the meantime take care of your brothers. Reach out, give support, get support. Take care. Much love. Bye. Thank you so much for watching and or listening. Since my separation in July of 2019 I have done an incredible amount of work on myself. I've had many different therapists, life coaches and went through different programs. I've taken all that I've learned and put it into my own program called forged by fire. If you are interested in having me help navigate your divorce, please hit my website Rising Phoenix divorce coach.com. I look forward to working with you

Episode 107 – Updates and Loneliness – Solo

This episode is dedicated to one of our brothers, Paul Dunphy.  
In this episode I give some updates and talk about loneliness.

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Michael 0:00
Hey what's up, gentlemen, this is Rising Phoenix podcast podcast about how to rise up after divorce. I'm your host divorce coach, Michael Rhodes. Let's get into it. Hello, and welcome to the show. This is episode 107. Recording this pretty late, after midnight 12:10am To be exact on the 23rd of June. And I wanted to give some updates and cover at least one topic maybe maybe more, I don't know. Usually I like to be compelled to do solo episodes and compelled with a particular topic, but right now I'm compelled for for a few different reasons. One is to provide some type of an update. Realize that probably haven't done that in terms of where I'm at mentally and where I'm at. With all the things that I'm I'm trying to do and and what kind of direction I'm heading or any changes or anything of that nature. So but before I get to any of that stuff. I wanted to talk about a particular person. And I'm going to say his name on here and I don't typically typically do that for supporters or contributors or friends. But someone that was a supporter and attendee to have a lot of meetings early on. I think way back when we were doing zoom meetings when this thing kind of first started, Mr. Paul Dunphy is currently in the hospital and he's in the hospital because he has a brain tumor. I just got the news this evening. I don't know the prognosis. I have been able to talk with him. I can't see any more than that. I just don't know enough details. But he is a man that's a Navy veteran as as as am I and so we have that sort of bond. And, and of course, both going through a divorce and having children and I I was lucky enough to have met Paul, we had dinner one night him. Myself and his little boy. And I don't know, I just um you know, people say life is short, but I don't think life is short. Life can be short. But moments like divorce, make it feel like life is fucking long. But for sure, for sure. Life is fragile. And I don't I don't know. Prognosis. I didn't want to ask too much of him. He's he's he's in the hospital and he had an operation and he's not done yet. From what I understand and I don't think he would mind but from what I understand they removed 80% of the tumor. And there's more to be done and I just don't know enough details but I did tell him and he was excited to hear that this the next episode was going to be dedicated to him so this is for Paul and moments like these man it just it hits you and I can't articulate it. Probably it properly but this is the man I know this is a man that that I would consider a good man I do consider a good man, a Navy veteran, a father a brother in divorce and I just man these these moments are just I don't know. It's scary. For sure. Like this fragile, fellas, like this fragile. So this one's for him. And again, I don't I don't have much of a plan. To be quite honest with you. I just felt compelled. And I just moved in some kind of way and I I don't I don't know what way exactly I'm certainly there's some scariness there and you think about all, you know, I think, I think Paul's, he's late 40s. And I'm NID creeping up on late 40s. And my father passed away at 44. And there's just so much. I mean, Paul is not my best friend. I'm not, I'm not I don't know, it just, it just stops you and just it scares the fuck and show me quite honest with you. I don't want to die ever. I mean, I just don't. I hope that Elon Musk or somebody can figure this shit out, or we can just live forever. But obviously, we're not there yet. And dying scares the shit out of me. And seeing someone that, you know, has been through, you know, a lot, I would say. Divorce certainly is a lot. And, and again, he was an early participant in what I was doing, and an early supporter, and you know, he, he, he contributed, and I sent him a mug, he has a Rising Phoenix podcast mug, and it's just someone in my, in my tribe, that is, you know, going through something, and it scares the shit out of me. So I'm, I'm rambling a bit, but um, you know, I am not buying anything, I am not fake. And I'm sort of processing this in some ways. I found out earlier tonight. And I was out with a friend and I tried to put it on hold sort of the thought process of like, you know, obviously, I was like, you know, is there anything I can do? You know, he's like, friends and family got my back. Don't worry about it. But there's still a part of me going what what? I don't know. So, this, this one's for him in I also did want to provide sort of an update of where I'm at, I think it's probably pretty transparent, that, you know, there's a lot there's been some changes. So I guess I'll start with the Facebook group. That was Rising Phoenix podcast, that's the way that it started. And that is gone. It became the divorce men's network or divorce mints, Network page, or group sorry. And that is gone. And so is the website, divorce men's network. I don't really have any, I certainly don't have regrets. So I don't have any negative feelings around it. It didn't work. Quite frankly, I didn't see the need to, to pay a couple 100 bucks to keep the site running. It was time for its renewal. And I just didn't see the purpose because one of the purposes one of the main purposes was to bring people together and that's, that hasn't worked and that's for various reasons. And I'm not going to I'm not going to touch on it or talk about it other than to say that it didn't work and so that's why the web's website is gone. And it all podcast episodes going forward will be posted on my website. I mean, there are other obviously they're still out there. You're literally you're listening to this on either on YouTube or Spotify or dog catcher apparently is one man if you're if you're listening to this thing on dog catcher Can you just send me a message because I would love to know that I don't I don't think there's many of you there's a few of you I don't even know what the fuck that is. But it comes up on on Buzzsprout which post and it tells me where people listen or what apps or whatever that people listen through and that is one and I don't I didn't even know that was a fucking thing. So please do me that favor reach out and say Hey, bro, I listen to you on dog catcher. I'm the one I don't know if it's one or it's a small number for sure. The majority listens via Apple Music or Apple whatever the apple podcasts I guess whatever the fuck Apple calls it's it's stuff so so if you would if he could he would send me a message I'm just curious. So So but the episodes and transcripts will be posted on on my website rising thinks the worst coach.com The website for the podcast is still up and running Rising Phoenix podcast that's still there. That's I don't think that's gonna go anywhere. I don't think either of those two are gonna go anywhere. I tried something and it didn't work and that's okay.

Michael 9:47
i This is what I teach. Adam Grant is someone that if you guys are Facebook friends, you this is someone I've shared before and he talked about this not too long ago about you know, it's Quitting, I'm gonna paraphrase I'm gonna butcher this for fucking sure. But it's okay to quit essentially what he was saying it's not quitting if you can't just keep, again, paraphrasing, you can't beat your head, he definitely didn't say this, but this is the just can't beat your head against the wall and expect things to change. Like, if it's not working, it's not working, you can change course. It's not quitting, it's it's evaluating and determining that this isn't working. So let's try something else. So my focus going forward is is to find men that are willing to do the work. And that can be the work can be joining the discord server, it can be just listening to this podcast, it could be being part of the Facebook group, I just want to try and surround myself with those men because it is a struggle sometimes to do the work. But if you have people around you that are supportive, in that, that hold you accountable sometimes that help you with advice or point you in the direction of growth or whatever, that aren't just like, you know, just go bang chicks man or you know, let's go party or I mean, our own party and don't get me wrong, but as someone that just recently attended a dead and company show a fan of partying. But you know, that can't be you can't that can't be your answer to this pain. It can't be I don't want. I mean, it can be but I don't want you in my sphere in my life, if that's who you are, and that's fine, be who you are, I don't give a fuck. Honestly, I would prefer if the world was more like me and in terms of my appetite for growing and being independent and not being reliant on others for my happiness or my eye soothing or whatever. I'm looking for those types of people. And so that's what I'm trying to focus on. So the local groups that all of the local groups all the local Facebook groups, they're gone and and I'd given up my efforts to create sort of the a of of divorced men and that's my tried. There there are some others that are still interested in that and I in which, sorry, bro, I really thought it was even ion Bravo is jizyah. And I hope you don't mind him saying saying your last name. And I'm not going to edit it out because I'm too fucking lazy. Hopefully he doesn't mind. She had OB doesn't mind. He is sort of pick up the mantle a little bit, there's a map. And I guess I'll have to put this somewhere maybe in the show notes or something. I'm not going to put it on my website. If you go to the divorce men's divorce support for men group on Facebook. You can find it in there search search ions posts, and you can find it. It should be a pinned featured post but I'm not 100% sure if it isn't I'll try and dig it up. I got to do something with it anyway, just to make it a I guess the premium version or whatever the support from from folks from the discord making it a pay only option has given me a little bit of funds and and you know, I feel obligated to use that to further the cause. I am not going to do anything with that map in terms of running it or I mean, I don't think I'm gonna push it, talking about it right now. But I've given up that that that I don't want to say fight but that mission it's just it didn't work for me at this particular time in my life and maybe in the future to work maybe what I ended up trying to do I don't know. I'm trying to focus on men that want to do the work and how can I provide things for them to do that? And by the way, I'm doing it right alongside of them. So there's I think that's I think that covers all the changes so the Facebook group is gone the divorce men's network Facebook group they divorced men's Network website is gone. Local groups, local Facebook groups are gone. The discord servers now pay only and I haven't had a lot of pushback on that which I'm glad I don't think $5 A month is much to ask I am working on and I took a little bit of break from it but I did a lot of change in there to try and foster an area or a punch and st area a place that is for growth. I don't think that everyone that will come in will stick around. Some people may be asked to leave because they don't they're not a good fit. And that's okay. Not Not, not everything that I do is for everyone. My outlook isn't the same as everyone else's. I mean, everyone's different. And but I'm trying to find folks that are interested in growth not just getting laid, or just pretending like, this doesn't hurt or, I don't know, just, I guess kind of the opposite of me. Maybe, perhaps. And it's been good. You know, I'm I don't know the exact number. I think it's in the 40, roughly 40 men that have signed up and are contributing monthly, and I've tried to put that back. I've paid for a couple of bots have paid for some boosts in the server to make it better for video chats that happen, I think I still need to boost it again, is the Wednesday night meeting this last Wednesday night, it wasn't I don't know if it's my internet, or I don't know. So I may boost it a little bit more. And I'm constantly sort of, I shouldn't say constantly but I'm on the lookout for things to to put into that Discord server that foster growth that foster a community, a tribe. And that's what I've called a call it I'm calling it the Rising Phoenix podcast tribe. To build that tribe out to provide tools and, and camaraderie of like minded men, and camaraderie is something that I you know, I crave and miss and something that was a part of the United States Navy, that was a true brotherhood. And that's connection is one of my values learned from from my time in the Alpha code. And so I'm trying to foster that. And, and if you don't think it's worth $5 a month, that's cool. Aye. Aye, I don't care. I mean, I'm, I'm hopeful that people will but you know, it will take a whole fucking lot of people, for it to be a significant amount of money in my life to make a difference. And so it's not about money. It's more honestly about like, who is willing to pay. And if they are, then they're probably someone that belongs in a tribe. Not always, not always. But as Justin Dillahunty said, and I quote that man a lot, and I'm sure other folks have said this, but people that pay pay attention, and if you're gonna pay for something, hopefully you will participate in a way that makes it worthwhile for not only you, but for others so so I think that covers it. If you if you go to Rising Phoenix podcast.com You can get a link to Kofi K. Oh, Dash fyi.com I think it's Kofi Kayo dash fyi.com/rising Phoenix podcast I think. But if you go to Rising Phoenix podcast.com you'll see the link I used to call it warriors and that's still what it says Now I think on the on on the website, become a warrior click here type thing, but I'll probably maybe change it I'm not sure. But But that's where I'm at in terms of the things I'm doing the other thing that like I said I'm gonna post all the episodes on Rising Phoenix are Rising Phoenix divorce coach.com And so I'm using with that I'm using some automated software and things with WordPress the website to make everything automated, I bought some different plugins for my website and at this point, almost everything is it's pretty close to being completely automated when I upload an episode and and to Buzzsprout it the plugin that I have on my website searches for a new episode or gets notified I don't know how the bucket works, some kind of voodoo magic I guess it automatically creates a draft post on the website, I do have to upload the transcript and there is some some work there in terms of grading the transcript, which I'll probably address when my subscription to otter which does the transcriptions when that runs out. And I'll probably address it to make that automated as well but but then once it once I change it from a draft to a regular post then it posts to Facebook Instagram and the discord server so it's all good stuff. I appreciate the support so very, very much it does help it has helped to automate things which relieves pressure for me there's still some work to be done but it's coming a long way and I'm

Michael 19:48
advertising the discord server in the divorce support for men group once a week and I'm going to start advertising on a regular basis the probe my program forged by fire just pull I have signed 10 clients, and it's been going pretty well. I'm, I'm hopeful. And even if like never do it as a full time gig, I'm still able to help man. And there's no question that it helps men. And I will get back to doing episodes about program. I just there's a variety of reasons why I backed off from the podcast for a little bit. And I'll get to some of that, too. I do want to cover a particular topic, but I do want to cover some of this sort of news information type shit, I guess. So, you know, thank you to all of you. It has helped me to to automate a lot of this stuff. And I guess, I guess I'll transit is sort of like why? Why have I sort of taken a step back? Obviously, my mental health was suffering a little bit, and I'm doing I'm doing much better. I've made a lot of decisions that have alleviated a lot of stresses. I've asked for some help. Boy, I can't tell you how much that helped. I know as men, and we'd like to go it alone. And so I knew I mentioned earlier and Pete and Scott and Jaron and Chris, and Dan, and Ryan, are now helping me I'm not I should probably shouldn't have gave Biden's last name apologize. But hopefully he doesn't get pissed. The rest of my don't I don't know if they want me to say their last name, I think I think some of them would be okay with it. But But regardless, I'm not going to mention it without explicit permission. But they are now helping me run those those I believe it's seven total men are helping me run the divorce support for men Facebook group, and I cannot I cannot stress enough how much that has helped me. I can't tell you how much I love those men for helping me. I simply asked for help. And they answered the bell, answer the call. And I am fucking lucky and fortunate to have them. And it's not just the logistics of approving people and policing people. It's bouncing things off of them. Hey, guys, what do you think of this post? Is this guy, what do you think of this guy? What do you think of this? Comment, those types of things. It's been invaluable. It's been a complete and total one man show. And I had no buddy by choice, I guess I don't know, I had nobody really to bounce things off of a few people did help out. But then you know, they they have lives and you know, they, you know, things get, it just gets overwhelming and they take breaks. And that's okay, I would do it too. And but I would never really reach out and say, Hey, what do you guys think of this? What do you think of that, but now I am doing that. And they're doing it to vice versa. You know, they're watching the posts and requests. And they're like, what you think of this guy. And it's just, it's, it's such a good thing that have a community and a tribe. And, and I mentioned this in a live video about the significance of tribe and I talked about perhaps doing a solo episode, and I will, but it won't be today. But that it will be coming. Because I feel very strongly about not going through shit alone and building your tribe. It's so important. I mean, it was the outro to the podcast a long time ago. While if you go back and listen to episode one to fucking don't remember, it will give you the quote that I sort of stole and adapted a little bit. Find your tribe, man, it's so fucking important to find people that see the world the way that you do. It's so important for a variety of reasons. So, so thank you to those men. And you realize I'm a little bit all over the place, I apologize. I didn't take any notes or anything. I just wanted to, I felt compelled. And I just wanted to first, you know, talking about Paul, and then give an update on where I'm at and how I'm doing. And I still have some moments, I'm trying to change some things with my job and in terms of procedures and processes. And also mindset mindset is so huge. Instead of getting stressed out, I'm trying to let things go and take a better mindset to be mindful of where I'm at, to practice what I preach. These are things that I talk about in my program, you have to be aware of where you're at and what you're thinking, and then decide do I want to think like this to all want to behave like this? Do I want to have these feelings and it's you know, it's not always easy to change some of these things but but the first step is to be aware and I'm and I'm very aware, something wasn't working. So I'm trying some things I'm trying to make some changes. And it's you know, it's I haven't had a panic attack. I've had some panic. I was in Pittsburgh with my oldest daughter and we went to Science Center. And we watched a Taylor Swift laser show, which I'm not a huge Taylor Swift fan at all. I mean, it's kind of hot, but I had a little bit of a panic. Eric did very, very little. The lights went down, the doors closed. And I was like, oh, fuck, I had a little tiny bit of a panic. But I was good. I worked through it. I've been working with a therapist on that, and trying to use some techniques and some tools. And it's really it's centered around a lot of stuff that I teach, just never taught it around panic, I taught it around fight or flight. I mean, I guess PANIC IS is slight and a lot of ways, but I teach it more about like being distraught or angry, and not, not panicking, not not anxiety, but it still applies. And you know what the fucking answer is, drop into your fucking body, get out of your fucking head and get into your fucking body. Our brains cause more fucking problems than we know how to deal with. And and so so anyway, so I'm doing pretty well mentally, I still have some panicky and some overwhelm here and there. But I'm trying I'm idea. One of the things that I talked to my therapist about on Wednesday, was trying to implement meditation, at least twice a week, you know, just a small goal, like just twice a week, once when my my girls are here Monday and or Tuesday, and then one other time throughout the week. And I'm trying to do that. I haven't done it this week. But it only started yesterday. So I think that covers sort of, you know, what's been going on, it covers Paul covers what's been going on sort of some of the changes that I've been making, it covers kind of where I'm at mentally, I don't think there's anything there. I can say that, like I said about the score, it's pay only but I'm also I'm still working on adding things and changing things and making it a place that fosters growth that encourages growth that allows for people to express themselves and be surrounded by men that are supportive, and understanding. Because as any of you that know that listen, you can talk about your divorce to someone, a loved one until you're blue in the fucking face. But if they've never been through it, they just don't fucking get it. So it's really important to surround yourself with people that do get it and it's much more important, I think, to surround yourself with men that get it because they've been through it. So I think that covers all of the sort of, I don't want to say extracurriculars, but sort of I don't know, accessories ancillary. I don't know the fucking word. It's late, and I'm tired. But it covers some of the stuff that I guess, you know, ancillary perhaps, but important nonetheless. But I really wanted to talk about loneliness. I see it. So very much guys are always posting about how lonely they are. And, and I understand that I do you know, especially, you know, and all of these stories are dynamic and different. And, you know, I was with her for 10 years, and I was with him for two and I was with him for 24. And it's just, everything is different. And so, but but but when you're in your story, you believe that, you know, you're justified in your loneliness, but I was with him for four years, and some guys are going Yeah, wow was within 24. So at the end of the day, it doesn't fucking matter. You had an experience, a moment of time in your life and you're with someone and you're every moment. It wasn't with him. But it was was about them in some kind of way. Right? You know, you had dinner with them, you ate with them. If you were traveling somewhere for work, you're telling them where you're going, when you're coming home, in even a normal workday, and you're you're planning birthdays and gifts and Christmas and all these kinds of things. And all of a sudden, you're you have them not around, and it can be very lonely. It can absolutely be. But we have to I think it's important to get to a place where you're you're okay with being alone and you don't feel lonely when you're alone. And so, and I know, you know, oh, yeah, well, okay, how do you do that? Or that's it sounds easy or easier said than done and all that kind of shit. But I think the thing that you have to do is, is treat yourself like someone that you are dating, you know, if you read the book, single on purpose. If you if you consume a lot of shit that John Kim talks about, you know, I think even used to be a miserable fuck talks a lot about sort of dating yourself. You have to get comfortable with being alone. And you can't do that by sitting in your house, watching Netflix, you have to go out and experience the world by yourself in ways that you would have with someone else. I think that's the key and that's the answer. Take yourself to a nice fucking dinner. You know, you

Michael 29:45
want to go on a date and then spend spend a buttload of money and take someone off to a really nice place. take you out to a really nice place. Go to a movie by yourself. Start being comfortable in your own skin. You know, it's okay to be alone. It's You can be alone and not lonely, you can enjoy your own company. And in fact, I say, I think you should. Because if you can't do that, then again, you're susceptible. I say this all the time. And I don't want to be a broken record, but you're susceptible to taking whatever crumb comes your way. You're susceptible to taking and being in another relationship or being with another person that isn't healthy for you simply because you can't stand being alone. But if you never go out and do things by yourself, then you'll never be able to tolerate it. And I think it's a really important step. If you're lonely, go out and do things by yourself. Challenge yourself. Growth is hard. It's not easy. There were times when I would go out to a movie and I would feel like a fucking loser. But why am I a loser? Because I don't have anybody. What if I did have somebody and they didn't want to didn't like that movie? And I was like, Well, fuck it. I want to go see that movie. What about me? What about my knees? What about the things that I like? What is wrong with going to a movie or a restaurant or a bar? Or a concert by yourself? There's not a fucking thing wrong with it. And if you think that if you feel that, then push yourself to do these things. Take baby steps. Instead of going out to dinner with yourself go to the bar, sit there and have a drink. Don't get shit faced, obviously. And then next time maybe have an appetizer or whatever. progress not perfection you don't have to conquer the fucking Mount Everest on the first fucking attempt. You can you can you can climb up to the first summit and be like, You know what, this is pretty good for now. I'm gonna fucking go home. You don't have to, to win the fucking game. The day the ending the quarter. You can do a little bit at a time. It's not necessary to to conquer all of your fears. All of your your your things for lack of a better description. On the first shot, yeah, it's progress is Baby steps. Baby steps are still steps. Trying something and doing something and still doing something. If you sit around and expect things to change, I got it. What are y'all fuckin crazy. Like, it's nothing changes if nothing changes. And so if you're feeling lonely, challenge yourself to go do things by yourself that you would normally do with someone else. And I get that sometimes it's going to be uncomfortable and weird. And people might think, Oh, what's this? Fuck what people who gives a fuck? That people have their own shit. And more than likely they're not thinking any fucking thing because they're in their own head. When's the last time you went out and saw someone and wondered why they weren't in those shoes? What's wrong with him? Or why and this plate? You're not You're worried about your own self and most people are worried about their own selves too. And if they aren't, it's because they're fucking miserable and they can't deal with themselves. So they're looking for everyone else to make fun of or point fingers at or and so fuck them. Who the fuck are they? Who gives a fuck? Do you want to be okay? Then then put yourself in uncomfortable situations again, baby steps. Start small. Maybe you just walk into a fucking restaurant. Maybe Maybe you just walk up to the fucking door and then go fucking home. Baby steps is okay, it we don't have to fucking win the Superbowl in our rookie season. It's not necessary. And in fact, you fucking can't win it after the first game of the season or the first fucking quarter or the ninth or 12th or 17th Fucking quarter. So I'm gonna do the math. I don't know how many quarters that would take the one Super Bowl putt and you can't win all those quarters. It's okay to build that. That's that's the way anyway. So this is my challenge to you. If you're struggling with loneliness, then treat yourself the way that you want to treat someone else. Buy yourself something nice take yourself shopping take yourself to a nice dinner take yourself to a movie. Go play golf go to the driving range. Go bowling who gives a fuck? People are gonna stare who gives a fuck? Who are they to stare? Who What are they gonna? Who knows what they're thinking? Who fucking cares? If we are going to be beholden to other folks opinions, we're just going to sit in our mother's sit in our fucking houses for the rest of our lives. Because someone's going to find some reason to laugh at you or point fingers or think weird things because they're fucking miserable. There's so many fucking people walking around this fucking world that are just fucking miserable. And let them be fucking who cares? If you want to, to change if you want things to improve, you have to make changes you have to push yourself and I know that sucks. Nobody asked for this. None of us here that are listening. I don't think we didn't ask for this fucking bullshit. It's an unwelcomed bullshit opportunity, but it is an opportunity. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could go on a date with someone who you're super attracted to? But realize that you just don't fucking like her and be like, I am not. Thank you. This was very nice. Thank you very much. You know how good that make you feel. To be able to say no to something that deep in your soul, you know, is not good for you. Instead of just again, beating your fucking head up against the wall and expecting not to get a headache. Buck all that. What about us? What about what we want? What? What about what's important to us? And being able to reject things that aren't for us? Wouldn't that be fucking awesome? Wouldn't it be awesome? If you didn't feel like you had to please everyone constantly want to be awesome. And I'm not saying this isn't like a I mean, obviously, there's a component of it where it's like, Fuck everybody. That's a little bit there. Right? But I'm not saying don't be bitter. I'm not saying being bitter and angry. I'm saying just be so secure In your skin that you don't give a fuck. You have no fucks to give about someone who isn't yours who isn't compatible. Who isn't? doesn't check all of your boxes. Wouldn't that be better? Fuckin would be. You don't have to answer all fuckin answer for you. It would fucking be better. Is it hard to get to that place? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, man. Life's hard. It really fucking is. Is it better to have someone than to be alone? It's better to have a good someone. I would take being alone. And I've done it. I've rejected women that haven't been good for me. And I'm not saying they're bad women. They just weren't for me. And it makes me feel good to be like, You know what, I don't want to deal with this bullshit. I have self worth. Look at me standing up for myself and saying no, I'm good. I'd rather be alone. Now empowering. That is no. Awesome. That is the thing that you're worthy enough to say no to somebody that you find attractive or that you have the or that once you You understand what I'm saying? You know how empowering it is to stand up for yourself. It's fucking everything. It shows you that you matter that you have worth that you don't have to tolerate things that you don't, you don't have to. You're not starving. So you don't have to eat the fucking cheese off the mousetrap. You understand what I'm saying? You can you can pick and choose what you want. You have choices. You have options, and I get it. It's hard. You know, I'm I'm on dating apps and they can all go fuck themselves every single MOTHER FUCKA now apps, but I have the power to reject what's not for me. I mean, I'm fairly decent look, and I think and I get a hit up fairly often. Excuse me on these dating apps. Clearly, it's a stressful fucking thing. But I can say no. Because I have some self worth. Do I think that I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread? No, do I have struggles apps of fucking loosely, but I have enough self worth reject was not for me. And I got that by doing a lot of the stuff that I'm explaining to you by reading books like single on purpose and deciding that I'm important to I'm worthy. I'm a fucking human. I have breath. I breathe that therefore I'm worthy. I'm worthy of love. Buck what your ex said, What the fuck does she know? She fucking destroyed a family she ran out on you. She may be cheated on you. She lied to you. So her opinion is one that matters. Dump buck that and fuck her. What about my opinion of me and if my opinion of me sucks and I got some fucking work to do. And the work is to spend time with yourself to get comfortable with being alone to feel like you're worthy of being by yourself that you don't need someone to make you feel like you're a whole person. Because you don't? Is life better? Go back to this question. Is life better with a partner than it is alone? Yes, if it's a good partner, if it's a shitty partner, then fucking no rather be alone. So I think that's all that I have. I well, I should I should say I do want to touch on so what I'm struggling with, besides, you know, anxiety and stress and all this kind of shit, is that my job is obviously as you I think you will know I started a new job in November and it's a little bit more demanding and so scheduling podcast interviews is is really it really stresses me out I can feel just even talking about it. I can feel that fucking area right back here.

Michael 39:44
Right behind. Obviously if you're listening to this, you're like, What the fuck are you talking about? But if you're watching on YouTube, it's right behind. It's my my upper back right below my neck. I can feel that shit stressing me out and here's here's why. Man, I feel it's so difficult to schedule these, these interviews with other folks. Sometimes it's simpatico, and it works out really, really well. And sometimes it doesn't. And that stresses me out because I'm like, Well, what if? What if I scheduled this three weeks from now and but then a meeting pops up for work? Talk to I do. But I think I've settled on. I'm just going to schedule what I can in if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. And it can because it happens. It's happened in the past, we're Oh shit, I got a thing. And I can't make that one. Can we reschedule that? Socks? I don't want to do that. But I can't. I really like interviewing people. And I can't put that on the back burner, because I'm afraid of how it might play out. If there's a conflict. I'll just fucking make it work one way or the other. And that might be canceling the interview and trying to reschedule. I will say that when you cancel interviews, it's really fucking hard to reschedule people, sometimes I don't know if they take it personal or if they're just like, a flake or I don't know what it is, but it can be harder. And so that's part of the stress like, oh, fuck, well, what if they, you know, that's also probably some sort of weird self esteem thing. What if they think I'm a flake? Or what if they think I'm an amateur, which I am a fucking amateur? Just to be quite frank. I mean, I'm, you know, just, I'm okay with that. I mean, my soccer basement. I mean, I enjoy what I do. And I think I think I am pretty fucking good at it. But But I can't, I can't worry about that. I can't let fear get in the way. And so going forward, probably not. For a little while yet. I'm still trying to get comfortable with that mindset of you know what, fuck it. I'll just schedule it. And let's see what happens. Coupled with vacations and trips, work trips. I do have a work trip. Next week, I'll be in Chicago, shout out to anyone that's in Chicago. And once you get together next week, feel free to hit me up. Especially if you listen on dog catcher. Or any buggin thing. I don't really care, but but I will be in Chicago next week. And then I guess what is it the 27th? or some shit? I don't know, for Monday, June. Whatever the fuck it is, until my flight is scheduled for Thursday morning. But I'll probably end up flying home Wednesday evening, but I'm not 100% Sure. So anyway, so if you're in Chicago wanna get together want to get together? Hit me up. I think you probably all have Rising Phoenix divorce coach at Gmail or Rising Phoenix podcast wearing 20 at gmail or if you're in the divorce support group, Michael Rhodes clearly says it at the beginning. Just hit me up. And so yeah, I will get back to I have a couple of really interesting folks that I've been talking with that I'm excited to get on the podcast. It's just a little bit frozen in fear of having panic and anxiety around the scheduling process and figuring it out and making sure I don't cancel and trying to coordinate with work and kids and all that kind of shit. So, but I am not done. I am not quitting. I fucking love doing this. I really do. I think that I don't I don't know that I'll ever be able to do this for a living and that's okay. I hope someday I think someday I'm just gonna fucking throw in the towel and be like, fuck it. I'm close enough to retirement I got some money in the bank. I'm just gonna fucking drive around the fucking country in an RV and interviewed divorce dudes and psychologist like it just that's what I'm gonna do. It's probably nine years from now. Maybe episode I don't fucking know 1000 or some shit. I would love to do this for a living. But unfortunately, my bills are very demanding and they need to be paid. So as are all of our so. So I think that's it. If you need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out if you are interested in my coaching program. Hit the website, rising Pink's divorce coach.com and book a call and let's have a conversation. Maybe it's a good fit. Maybe it isn't. We won't know until we talk. So I guess that's it for now. Take care of yourselves and take care of each other. Thank you so much for watching and or listening. Since my separation in July of 2019 I have done an incredible amount of work on myself. I've had many different therapists, life coaches and went through different programs. I've taken all that I've learned and put it into my own program called forged by fire. If you are interested in having me help navigate your divorce, please hit my website Rising Phoenix divorce coach.com. I look forward to working with you

Unknown Speaker 44:50
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Episode 106 – Real Men Real Stories – Jared – He Filed – Has Children

In this episode I speak with Jared about his journey, his why, and things he did to grow through the process.

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Michael 0:00
Hey what's up, gentlemen, this is Rising Phoenix podcast podcast about how to rise up after divorce. I'm your host divorce coach, Michael Rhodes. Let's get into

Michael 0:19

Michael 0:21
Joining me today is Jared, Jared, let's jump right into it. Want to tell us a little bit about yourself and your divorce journey? How long ago did it start? How long were you married, all that kind of good shit.

Jared 0:33
So I'm Jared sharp. I'm from southeast Idaho. I've got four kids from my marriage. And I was married for six years. And yeah, it ended abruptly and I got blindsided.

Jared 0:51
My journey COVID, August 13, of 21. And I was officially divorced January 5 of 22. So, like I said, I got blindsided by the whole thing. She came home from work on the 13th. And I could tell something was off. And so I came out and talk to her. And I'm like, Well, what's going on? And I don't know how to start, like, well just start at the beginning. And she just I want to divorce. One, okay. And, of course, I was distraught. I ended up sleeping in my truck at my brother's backyard that night, to get away. And I had a family reunion the next day as well. Oh, horrible reunion for me.

Michael 1:45
Yeah, I can imagine. So what I mean, after that sort of initial shock, or I guess in that initial shock, or what what was your mental state? You said you, you kind of left slept in a truck? Like what? How were you for the next couple of weeks, two months? Like, what where was your head at?

Jared 2:00
So the first day I was in, fix it mode, what can I do to help this I brought up counseling and all that, and I got shot down. And then I got super depressed, I started having panic attacks, which I'd never dealt with before. Just trying to pick out a shirt for my boy, I ended up wandering around Walmart for 30 minutes leaving on my cart, try not to pass out. And, you know, I accidentally got drunk one time, and realized, Oh, this is a very slippery slope for me. And so that was my first major hurdle is trying to take care of an alcohol addiction. But I've never had that issue before.

Michael 2:48
Oh, so did you lean on drinking pretty heavily in the beginning, then? Or did you have one incident and you're like, I can't, I gotta, I gotta avoid this.

Jared 2:57
I had one incident with it. It was after I dropped off the kids at her house, I went to the bar. And there were a bunch of people that knew me there and knew what was going on. So everyone started buying me drinks. And she ended up asking to come pick me up and take me home that night. Oh, shit. Oh, it was very rough. And for me, it's knowing my mindset and how I work. And so where it scared the shit out of me. I put my whiskey on my woodstove where I could see it every morning. And I proved that my mind is stronger than my addiction. And I control it. It does not control me. Like that. And so I went cold turkey for three months.

Michael 3:45
Nice. Man, there's some stuff there. I'm gonna I'm gonna dig into later but the self awareness is pretty awesome. Did you did you? How long so did she move out? Did you move out? Like what? What was the How to what was that scenario? How did that play out?

Jared 4:02
So two days after she left, I confront her at work, because she always tried to avoid the conversation. And a little bit background on her. She has BPD which is borderline personality disorder. Three weeks prior, we had a serious suicide attempt from her as well. So there's a whole nother thing I could get into. Yeah, but when I confront her, I told her I'm like, okay, so I see it one of two ways. Either you're trying to push me away so you don't feel as guilty often yourself, or you're screwing somebody. And by the look she gave me I asked her All right, who you screw on. And so she'd been cheating on me. She started cheating on me the day before we left for our anniversary trip. Which that was the same weekend she had her suicide attempt.

Michael 4:57
A lot of guilt there on her part done, I guess

Jared 5:00
Yep. And as soon as I found out, she was cheating on me, I told her she'd never sleep in my house again. And she went got a hotel room with her boyfriend, and I've been in the house ever since.

Michael 5:12
So she left the kids and I'm guessing. Yes. And then, so Did you file that she followed? What? Take me through that scenario? So So you know, she's in the the hotel or whatever. So she's gone. What's the next step down? Did you do anything legally?

Jared 5:33
I tried to do a protective order in September. I started the process in August, and was trying to get that because I was in fear for my kids due to her mental condition. That makes sense. And I got stumped in court on that one, because she hadn't directly threatened anybody in 60 days. So they said it doesn't matter. Interesting.

Michael 5:59
So, so the protection order didn't go through. No. Okay. So then when what was your next step, then did you? Did you file for custody file for divorce? Like, what did you have to do any of that kind of stuff.

Jared 6:13
I kept trying to fix things for another couple of months, I was so wrapped up in my grief. I couldn't see the forest through the trees. I just, this is the person I love. I don't know what I've done wrong. I don't know how to fix this. And I continued to try and fix it until November 4 of 21. What happened? My boy had a appointment, I appointment and he was very sick 103 degree temperature. And she took him down to this appointment anyway. And he wasn't able to get it done, because I was stuck at work. And so they denied him. And we got his medication ordered back in Preston, which is about three hour drive. And instead of bringing him right back to get his medicine, she went and screwed around in Lewiston for a while and tried dragging him to a park and all that glitch. That was the point where I hit okay. I'm all in now. It's on.

Michael 7:20
Do you think she was just fucking incompetent? Or just just out of her mind? Like what what would lead a person to not tend to a kid with 103 degree fever? No and your opinion?

Jared 7:34
I think she was trying to prove that she's the fun parent. And look how much fun we can have together. And then his medicine was ordered at 10am. She didn't get back till town till 7pm That night, where we could actually get him his medicine. And that was the breaking point for me of yep, I want this to. I'm done.

Michael 8:01
Yeah, so it was almost like a defense mechanism for your kid at that point.

Jared 8:07
Yep. That helped me snap out of my depressive state and get into my pissed off shit needs to be done.

Michael 8:18
And, gosh, take me through that. Was that like a lightning quick decision? Was that like, did you struggle after like, I don't know, or were you just like, nope, fuck, this is it. I'm good. This is gonna happen. Now.

Jared 8:32
I had my moments of doubt. But generally, it was a quick switch. Because that's also my self awareness. I get depressed first. But once I hit the pissed off stage, that's when things are getting done.

Michael 8:45
I like it. Okay, so So then at that point you filed for divorce and custody or what, what? What were your next steps?

Jared 8:52
So I started hunting around for a lawyer. What's that time, divorce rates had spiked because of the pandemic and all that. So it was hard for me to get a hold of a lawyer. And so go forward to December 3 of 21 is the day that she was actually served with papers. And she showed up against our custody agreement we had between ourselves and was just taking my kids anyway. But he forgot that my twins were in school. And so my mom, they were over there at the time she called let me know what was going on. So I took off work early, and I was waiting for at the house. got somebody that could come and serve her paperwork, and we just sat and waited for and when she got to the house she just blew in to the door, grabbed my twins by the hands and tried taking them out and was just screaming at me the entire time. And I blocked the door. I wouldn't let Leave with my kids. And she started to accuse me of trying to kidnapper and all this shit. I'm like, No, you're welcome to leave just not with my kids. And it got to the point where I called the police. And as I'm on the phone with the police, she's screaming at me the entire time to the point the dispatcher told me to tell her to shut the hell up, because she can't hear me.

Michael 10:24
So that I mean, I laughed button for it wasn't funny at the time. But that had to help your your cause, right, like, clearly, because there's I think there's this this, I think it's a bit of a myth, although there are, obviously are some truths in it. But when you involve the law, or the courts, man automatically gets screwed. Like, it doesn't matter. And so, in this case that had to whether or not that's true or not, I don't think it is, but but let's put that to the side. When she's screaming and yelling and acting like a fucking maniac that has to help you did. Did you did the cops notice that she behaved that same way once they got there was there? How was their demeanor when they arrived?

Jared 11:06
The problem is, I'm from a small town, and the responding officer was her childhood friend. So I ended up getting kind of screwed on that. So I had this guy server with the paperwork in front of the cop. And the cop flat out lied in his police report. And oh, he just mentioned to me that he had her serve that day. Hmm. And then when it came to court stuff, I was trying to get body cam footage and all that, and they deleted everything. Sons of bitches. So that ended up being an uphill battle for me, but I still had the dispatch recording of her screaming at me.

Michael 11:47
There you go. Okay. All right. So we're probably getting ahead of ourselves here. I'm probably getting us ahead of ourselves. Okay, so did we're okay, so were you arrested for that incident? Or what happened? Did she was she able to take the kids like, what happened at that?

Jared 12:04
So legally, they couldn't do anything against me, because there were no legal grounds for her to take the kids where there wasn't an official custody agreement with the courts. Make sense? But because I don't want my kids separated from each other. I let her take the twins, because she already had the youngest two. Gotcha. And so we met, my mom played mediator on that. And okay, she called her since she was pissed off at me. And we came to an agreement. And so for the next month, I started playing very nice where I had served her with paperwork, not create waves, let her get complacent. As I started viewing it as a chess match. She isn't my enemy, but she is my opponent.

Michael 12:53
Oh, I love that. Oh, man, that's awesome.

Jared 12:56
The other thing that I loved about it is my ex wife didn't know how to play chess.

Michael 13:03
Well, I mean, and we'll get to that. I think we'll see that so. So then did you file for custody at that point, like, immediately after he said, you sort of kind of played the game? Did you wait, like, how did you eventually file for custody?

Jared 13:18
So the custody was all in my divorce paperwork, I had all that pulled out and gave it to her at the same time. I spent two weeks using Google going through it with a fine tooth comb. I had all the schedule and everything figured out. And I still don't have a lawyer at this point. I had one scheduled and my appointment with him was a week after I had her served with paperwork. And when she left, she made the mistake of leaving 20 years of psychiatric paperwork in my house.

Michael 13:57
So you know, I have

Jared 14:00
yep, I played it. Very nice. I when I finally got into my lawyer, I brought him everything. And okay, I've got this and this and my state, you can legally record with a one consenting party. Interesting. As long as it's not somewhere expected to be private. Gotcha. So that so I was recording. I was recording everything. And by the time I got to my lawyer, my lawyer is like, Who do you have helped you? This it's actually very well thought out and in depth. Like me, I'm pissed off so I'm figuring shit out as I go along. And I'm reading up on everything

Michael 14:42
wet so is your mental state at this point, mostly pissed off and focused or I'm sure you probably had other you know, the roller coaster I'm sure didn't stop but was that your main emotional state was anger.

Jared 14:57
My main one was determination. My role model through the thing was Spock, it's my inner nerd coming out. Back relies mostly on logic, but he does have emotion. Sure, and my kids can afford me being emotional at the time. And so I relied mostly on logic. When I was by myself, I had my moments of doubt where I broke down and I was crying really bad. And, you know, still suffering the panic attacks and, and, but the depressive states got less and less, I started relying on my anger a bit more, and using it in a constructive way.

Michael 15:37
Yeah, I always say anger can be good if you use it as a fuel. Otherwise, it's a waste. So it sounds like you did that. Which is awesome. During those moments of those like those lols, those, those dips in the roller coaster Did you reach out? Or what did you kind of keep to yourself and try and deal with all the pain and the sadness by yourself?

Jared 15:57
I tried to keep to myself, it would hit points where I would be stuck in bed for a while. And so I started setting myself a daily goal. When I was struggling to get out of bed. Like, today, I'm gonna put my socks away. And sometimes that's all I accomplished that day is all right, I got my socks done. I hit my goal. I can be content.

Michael 16:22
Nice. That's smart, man. I mean, that's, that speaks to your perseverance for sure. More. So what I mean, where did where did? Where does that come from? Where do you think that you have you always sort of been a resourceful, resilient kind of guy. Is that just who you are? Or is that something? You were like? I gotta do. I gotta do this. I gotta figure this out.

Jared 16:41
It was, I gotta figure it out. And so I was trying different methods. And that was the one that worked the best for me.

Michael 16:49
Yeah. Amen. i That's one of the things I teach. It's the I don't because I don't think they're, I mean, there's certain universal truths and whatnot, but I think everyone's different. So something, you know, that worked for me might not work for you, and vice versa. So man, I love your mindset there. Okay, so, so you eventually so what was the custody at that point? What How much do you have and how much? Yeah.

Jared 17:14
So at that point, she was taking them every other weekend, from Friday through Sunday. Okay.

Michael 17:22
And what was that what was was in the agreement, or is that what you guys agreed to? Or arminas? That was divorced. Okay. And when you because you had had the he said it was an all in the paperwork already? What did you have in that paperwork in terms of custody? Is that was that what you had at that point to

Jared 17:41
know, so a week before I had her served with paperwork, she blew up on man tried taking the kids couple days early for her weekend. Well, technically, your weekend starts on Thursday. So and the weekends technically don't start till Saturday, and it was a whole fight. And she threw a big stink about it. So I put in the paperwork. Okay. You say weekends, don't start till Saturday morning. So that's why I put in the paperwork. So because she made mad, she lost herself some more time to.

Michael 18:17
So okay, and so eventually, you go to court, and you you win, right? Isn't that essentially what happened?

Jared 18:24
Yeah. So I gave her an extra two weeks to do her paperwork and whatnot. And she never replied to me. And so I ended up winning by default. I did my default paperwork. And so I was officially divorced January 5 of 22. By default,

Michael 18:44
holy shit, I was pretty quick on.

Jared 18:48
When I get determined, I make sure I get things done.

Michael 18:52
I like it. Okay, so if I remember, I don't want to jump ahead, but I just popped in my head. Didn't she try to go back to court to know the divorce essentially?

Jared 19:05
Yeah. And that started two months after that.

Michael 19:08
So two months later, she decides now did she do this? Because she didn't like the custody terms. It sounds like where you're at custody and divorce is all kind of wrapped up into one. Is that one of the case? Yeah. Okay.

Jared 19:23
Her mom was the driving force on a lot of things for her to try and get more custody and she was the one funding my ex wife.

Michael 19:32
I see. And I was trying to do it all on my own. Sure. And so, so she, she two months later, she tries to get it changed and she was shot down, correct.

Jared 19:44
It took another three months after that. Okay. So all of a sudden, I'm getting emails from my lawyer that, oh, hey, they're filing this motion and this motion to try and unfold the divorce. And then she had To me her own paperwork. That's what the custody is gonna look like and all that, right and tried serving me with divorce papers at the same time.

Michael 20:10
She doesn't No offense, but she doesn't sound too bright.

Jared 20:14
It helps having a dumb opponent. Wisdom has always chased her, but she has always been quicker.

Michael 20:23
Oh, buddy, there's some there's some lines that are gonna come out of this one. I love that one. Okay, so at what point? Did you start sort of it? Maybe it didn't? Maybe you did it sort of at the same time. But what did when did you sort of focused on your mental health and trying to to get away from the term illegal once once the things are finalized, so to speak? Like, what was your maybe that's the question, what was your mental state then? And or what? Yeah. When did you sort of start focusing in on permitting? Again, maybe you're doing at the same time, your mental health.

Jared 20:56
I was doing it a little bit the same time. But after the official divorce date is when I really started. It was then I actually found your discord. And I was in the discord meeting three days after. And that was my first meeting. Oh, no shit. Everything was all right in line together with everything.

Michael 21:20
Yeah, no funny, or you don't I don't know, if you mind. But just just a little side here. Like, that speaks to all things happen for a reason. There's perhaps a higher power to you. I know a little bit about you. And I don't I don't want to say anything that you don't want to say. So I'll let you speak for yourself. But is that was there any kind of that in your journey? Do you lean on a faith? Did you did you use that as sort of a guide or didn't bring you hope any of those kinds of things?

Jared 21:51
No, for me, I mostly listen to music. And, you know, I was at a point where I was avoiding things that really set me off. But the one song that was my mantra for the previous six months was from Trolls. He knocked me over Bible always get back up again. And so I listen to that one pretty religiously through everything of yeah, I've been knocked down ball always get back up.

Michael 22:24
Was that something? Again, I think that's sort of essence early. But was that a part of you always that mentality? Or do you think you developed it along this journey?

Jared 22:33
I think I developed it as I went along. And then while the other things I was doing through the process was reprogramming my brain?

Michael 22:42
How did we do that

Jared 22:45
I used to be a bit pessimistic. And now in the group, I'm more known as the silver lining sky. And so the example I always use is I went over the canyon to see my buddy one day. And as I'm driving through the canyon, I lose radio signal. So it's dead silent in my truck. Course I turned talk to my wife, and she isn't there. But for about five minutes, it set me off. But this was the turning point for me, where I really started focusing on my silver linings. And I always tell people, it doesn't matter how small and stupid the silver lining is, you can always find some truth. The one I got out of that one is, well, I don't have to haul her fat ass around anymore. And I'm saving that much in fuel. Horrible silver lining, but I found it.

Michael 23:38
I love I love it. Well, it speaks to doing the work, right? Because you could have just spiraled and then you know, come out of that situation or that that moment, and just been like completely depressed or angry or whatever. But you did the work the mental work of like, okay, how can I find the positive in this? I mean, that's just so important.

Jared 24:05
For me, it's a way of reprogramming my brain is now I find silver lining so easy, huh? I, in a way, I had to kill who I was. Because the old may but the mindset I had, I was not going to survive this. And so for lack of a better term, I had to commit mental suicide and start at my base.

Michael 24:32
I mean, did you lean on any books, podcasts? People? Instagram followers, right.

Jared 24:40
I had my aunt, my brother, who have both been divorced. I listened to a few podcasts and I read no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Michael 24:48
There you go. Okay.

Jared 24:51
And so I had the whole identity crisis of I don't know who I am anymore. I just essentially this dried my mind. And so I started viewing it like a pyramid. Alright, this is my core belief is my family. So that's part of my building block. And I slowly built it up from there. And as I was going through my day, I figured something out and Oh, shit, there's Jared, again, that's part of me, that's going in my building block. And so I had to completely reinvent myself.

Michael 25:28
Is there? How hard was that? Like? What? How would you describe that that task or that, that mission,

Jared 25:38
it takes a long time, it was very difficult. The beginning steps of doing it that way, were painful. And it's not easy to do. And so that's what I found is focus on four core beliefs of who you are as a person and what you absolutely believe in. And that's your focus. And as you go about your day, you're gonna start start finding more, and you can start building your identity again of who you are.

Michael 26:12
What in the what was your why, like, I think this is always important to have sort of a larger why? Because Because journeys like these are they're not easy, obviously. Right? This podcast is littered with these stories of people that do rebuild themselves and build back up that create new versions of themselves Phoenix's if you will. But there's some times where it's like, Fuck this, this is hard. I don't want to do this anymore, or this isn't working or whatever. And it's important, I think, to have a why, like, why am I doing this to remind yourself? What was your why? What was your motivator when you had those down moments?

Jared 26:48
My motivation was my kids, amen. They were already having abandonment issues with their mother leaving. And I wasn't going to make them go through more. I decided then in there, I'm going to be the best father I can be. And so they were my focus through it all. Because it would be unfair of me to not take care of myself. And that was my main motivator to really improve my mental health is to help my kids, because if I'm incapable I can't help them.

Michael 27:25
Amen. Jesus, man. So I mean, I'm sure we'll get to touch on some of the things but where are you now? Like, how do you feel now about where you're at in life? You know, what, what? What's your mental your state of, of mental health currently?

Jared 27:41
I'm doing awesome. I still have my random, depressed, but sure. They're very small and insignificant anymore. And it still continues to grow. Like last week, I just noticed, I whistle again, when I'm just going about things which I haven't done that in a long time. I caught myself doing it well work last week, and Oh, shit. There's some more me, all right. It's nice. In a way the journey never ends, I can continue to be building myself up and finding more and more of me, and I'm becoming happier because of it.

Michael 28:22
Oh, 100%. I know, we haven't really touched on this. But you you do lead meetings on Friday nights. And I'm thankful for you for doing that. How do you think that has helped? Or what has that done for you during this journey?

Jared 28:36
I have noticed I've progressed a lot. Not just my mental state, but as a person. And because that's one thing I do have to thank my ex wife on is, if she hadn't done this to me, I wouldn't be able to help as many people as I have helped. And so I love the opportunity, being able to use my experiences, and turn it into a positive. Yeah, I got screwed. But now I can help this guy out who may not have any other resource, but I'm able to be there now.

Michael 29:10
Yeah, it's such an important part of the journey. What do you think? And I promised myself I was going to quit bitching about this and I am going to I'm not it's not a bitching question. It's just to Why do you think other men? I don't know what the answer to this is, if there is one even but why do you think other men don't lean on that as well? Maybe Maybe they're not ready? Or maybe it's just too hard. But why do you think it's so rewarding to give back? You know that I know that but why do you think other men don't do that?

Jared 29:37
Well, even though I think a lot of it is they still have that stigma in the back of their mind of we're supposed to be men. We're supposed to be strong. It's hard to share feelings. And also sometimes once you get better, you try and stay away from it so you don't accidentally go down that rabbit hole again, and ended up in the same state of mind.

Michael 30:00
Yeah, and I agree, but I think it makes you stronger when you do, right when you revisit those moments and you're able to dig yourself out again, it just makes you so much stronger. And it allows you to develop tools to handle so so if you're, you've developed these tools to dig yourself out of these holes, you're going to be better off when other things in life hit you because things are gonna hit you right you're gonna fuckin flat tire fucking engine blows up fucking fire, but whatever, right, you're gonna, you're gonna have moments you're gonna have shit just because that's what life's about. But I mean, not saying it's all shit, but but she's just gonna come in the fact that you're able to lean on these things that you've learned. I just think it makes you a better man. All in all.

Jared 30:44
Oh, yeah. Well, and anymore my way I do it as I do it by exposure therapy. Hmm. So like, there were some songs. You know, I tried for a long time to avoid things that would set me off. Sure. But I realized that when those depressive states hit, they were a lot lower. Yeah. And so I Alright, I'm gonna try something new. And I tried exposure therapy. There was one time the song came on the radio that my ex walked down the aisle to. And it threw me through a loop for about two days. And that was why I decided to try the exposure therapy. I listened to that song on repeat for a day, till I became desensitized to it. And it doesn't bother me anymore. I rock out to it now.

Michael 31:33
Well, that's awesome. I mean, again, how did you how did you stumble upon that, where you're just like, this is something I don't I don't want to be like this. I don't want this song, or this memory to control me. But how do you how did you stumble on that? That, Okay, fuck it. You know, that mentality of I'm gonna, I'm gonna take this head on. But then how did you come across exposure therapy or that sort of methodology.

Jared 31:56
So I tried the avoidance way. And I, I did that for about six months. And I realized I wasn't getting better. And so I need to try something else. So I'm gonna go the exact opposite, and see what happens. And don't get me wrong. The first few times listening to that song killed me. Yeah. But I eventually got out of it. And I started dating myself. I would take myself out, I call it master dating. So I wouldn't recommend going to a movie for your first master date. That is hard to do. But I started going and doing things that I wasn't allowed to do, or she didn't want to do. And so I have a favorite restaurant, that is my go to anymore that we never went to. And I own sitting by myself, I put my phone on, I watch a movie, and I have an awesome dinner. And I enjoy myself. I take myself out to an arcade, I go throw hatchets, I have a fire. And so every weekend, I don't have my kids, I date myself now. And it's teaching you to give yourself grace and love yourself and not stay in the slumps.

Michael 33:22
Is there anything that you learned through this that you'll you know, should another one come along another relationship? Is there anything that you've learned that you will, you'll either look out for or apply to the next one?

Jared 33:34
So we have our red flags that are me, I was in this state of mind, and I'm starting to realize what was happening to me in this relationship. So this thing here, I'm not going to allow it to happen to me again. And I have the subconscious behavior of backing down because I don't want to fight. I'm good at it. But I try to avoid it. Sure. And this comes into the self aware aspect of things. When I'm backing down, I have the unconscious behavior. I look down and left. And so I tattooed a Jekyll and Hyde tattoo on my left forearm. That way I look down and left. I see my Jekyll and Hyde tattoo. And I know I'm doing again I'm being Dr. Jekyll right now it's time for Mr. Hyde to come out. I'm not going to allow this shit to happen to me anymore.

Michael 34:34
That's some product found shit there my friend. I mean, would you say I mean you kind of said it already. But I mean you're you're a completely new man. Would you say?

Jared 34:43
Oh, yes. 100%

Michael 34:46
And it didn't come by easily right. You didn't. You didn't stumble upon it. You put in a lot work.

Jared 34:53
No, this is I'm 18 months out now. Somewhere in there and I I discovered a lot along the way and I still discover stuff. And the more I discover, the better I become.

Michael 35:10
Man, I gotta tell you, man, I love your story. I love your outlook. I love your drive your passion for self awareness or, or challenging yourself or pushing yourself mentally. It's It's fucking admirable man. And well, I think I mean, we could touch on a couple of other things. But But I think, like, we got a good bit out of this one. And so, I mean, obviously, life will go on. And hopefully I can, we'll you know, we'll bring you back. So, so let's, let's wrap this one up. And let's ask the last question that I asked everybody, which is, what words of wisdom would you impart to a man who's just starting his divorce journey?

Jared 35:56
I would say, don't be afraid to show your emotion. There is no shame in it. I had a hard time crying in front of people. But it is so empowering to yourself to be able to do that. And there is no shame in getting help, either. And give yourself grace on it.

Michael 36:15
Amen. Brother, I want to thank you for doing this. Delta feels short, but but I think it hit so many positive notes that I think I think it's it's enough to wrap up with. You're gonna continue, I hope to lead the Friday night meetings. If that's the case, I'll go ahead and make that public announcement.

Jared 36:35
Yep, that's still my plan. And so yeah, so Friday

Michael 36:39
nights in OUR DISCORD SERVER. Jared will lead meetings, I think we're looking at maybe changing it to 9pm. Eastern on Friday nights. Is that I think that's what we touched on last time.

Jared 36:51
Yeah, that should be fine with me. I'm open on Friday. So

Michael 36:54
awesome. So if anybody wants to join the discord, I this, the discord is now a more paying members. Not too much controversy has come from that but a little bit, but I think for me, it was necessary. And I think it certainly this podcast and that server are worth $5 a month. So that said, if you are really struggling and you don't have a pot to piss in, just send me a message and we'll work it out. It really isn't about the money. I'm just trying to ensure, amongst other things that I surround myself with people that really are committed to doing things like Jared just described, because a lot of times in charity could probably speak to this, we see guys that come in and just don't want to do the work and just expect some kind of quick fix or just just completely lean on anger. And I want to sort of make sure I'm surrounding myself with those that really, really want to grow from this shitshow that we didn't ask for.

Jared 37:54
And I would say that all of your emotions can be very helpful if guided in the right direction. Like I had to learn how to curve my anger to where it helped me and even my depressive moments. They were teaching moments that helped me get to where I have now.

Michael 38:15
Amen. Thanks, brother. I appreciate you doing this and we'll be seeing you on Friday nights in the discord.

Jared 38:21
Alright, sounds good. See you later.

Michael 38:23
Take care. Thank you so much for watching and or listening. Since my separation in July of 2019 I have done an incredible amount of work on myself. I've had many different therapists, life coaches and went through different programs. I've taken all that I've learned and put it into my own program called forged by fire. If you are interested in having me help you navigate your divorce, please visit my website Rising Phoenix divorce coach.com I look forward to working

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Episode 105 – Road Trip Series – Volume 5 – Solo

In this episode I provide an update on where I’m at.

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Michael 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the show. This is the fifth attempt to record this buckin episode. I am on the road, this is a road trip series, this will be episode 105. Every time I have tried to record this, I've gotten a phone call. So twice yesterday and twice today. So this will be attempt number five. I'm doing this because I wanted to give an update. And it's been a while since I did a road trip series episode. I think this is interesting that I think this is volume five, I'm not sure. I'll find out later when I go to upload. So how am i I'm okay, I wouldn't say I'd say maybe I'm a little better than I was. Thank you to all of you that reached out that wasn't the intent, and certainly wasn't necessary, but it absolutely was appreciated. So thank thank you to those of you that did. So I took a look at all the things in my life and had some really good conversation, Chris Long, and I made some decisions, some decisions still to come. The first of those decisions is I'm going to stop bitching and complaining about the lack of men coming together, I'm going to stop complaining about local groups just not working. Just do an anti says that anytime you complain about something more than three times you're choosing that problem. So instead of continuing to bang my head up against the wall and not expecting a headache, I am going to eliminate my quest for local verbs for to try and make the a of four divorcement just it's not working. Not to say that it might not work in the future. Or if anyone else wants to try something different, you absolutely have my full support. I wish that it did or would but it hasn't. And you know, I I think that it's just really hard to get men to come together to talk about their feelings and what they're going through. That sucks. But that's reality. And I don't like quitting things. But I also have to be mindful of putting my energy to things that aren't helpful to my mental health. And it is frustrating that my efforts have mostly gone with there's been no success, my efforts have been futile. So I'm going to put my efforts elsewhere and not so much else. Whereas just going to continue some of the things that I do love and try and find some efficiencies and ways to do things better and, and, and ask for help. And that's the other big change that has occurred. I got a group of men together and asked them to help me and they every single one of them answered the call and as if you're in the divorce sport for men group, you're aware of this. There are now four new moderators in there in addition to the three that are already in there, and we have all been working diligently to figure out how to divide up the labor and help and provide the support that is needed and to change the culture in that place a little bit as best we can. I have picked men that are like minded and men that see the world in a similar way now not exactly not 100% but very close to how I see things and obviously that's important because it's it's it's my place for lack of a better description. So I'm looking forward to getting that help. There's obviously you know, a learning curve. A comfortability that will that needs to come for these men to varying degrees for all of them. I'm not not saying they collectively aren't comfortable or, or or are what stage they're in. Everyone's a little different. Everyone has a learning curve and, and things just like the technology and how to apply the rules that a ban people how to approve people, and all those kinds of things. And so we're going through some of that now. But I am just very, very grateful for their support and our health and it's time it'd be means the world to me. It it honestly, it recharges me in some ways, you know, made me feel really good about what I'm doing. Because it's not only you know, they're, they're supposed to reach out and they're, they thank me and all that. And that's great. But they have guys helped me by by their efforts and actions. That's that means a lot. So that's, that's two of the changes. One more potential change is going to come with the discord server. And this is the one that I don't have a concrete idea as to what I'm going to do, but at this point, I am leaning towards making the discord for Warriors only. And doing that because much like other things, I really want to make sure I'm focusing in and are focusing. And also, I guess, strengthening my tribe, or I don't want to say condensing because that's not the right. I just want to make sure that I'm surrounding myself with people that are like minded. And I want to make sure that I'm not letting people into my sphere anymore, as best I can, that aren't looking for the same things that I am. And that is to learn and grow and be a better man through this. Use this as an opportunity and not stay bitter and angry or not stay in victim mode, but are really dedicated to working on themselves. And if you're willing to pay $5 a month to be in that discord, then I think that can go a long way towards guaranteeing that you're interested in working on yourself and not just bitching and complaining. Or not just staying in victim mode. You can you can be in victim mode in the beginning, but at some point and yes, it varies for everybody. But at some point you have to get out of why did this happen to me and look at it. Like what, what can I do now? And what is next? And not in a? You know, negative way? Like, oh gosh, what's next? What else is gonna happen? More like a Okay, well, where do I go from here? How can I use this opportunity? Shitty on ask for opportunity, but opportunity to work on myself. So that's kind of where I'm at with everything. I don't know about the discord server 100%. That's why I'm leaning. If you have opinions on the matter, you can certainly reach out. And let me know what you think. It is not a money making venture. But again, another. I don't know if it's a Justin doll handy, saying but he has said it. And I think I'm sure others say it. But people that pay pay attention. So if you're going to pay the $5 a month, then you're going to pay attention to what's going on and be active I would hope in the community and support people that are going through it. And then you then give back. Lastly, I guess I don't know if there's anything else on my mind. But I guess I'll speak to some folks did reach out that were a little upset by that episode. And I'll say two things. One, as I said hit dog hollers. And I think that is very true. And if you thought that I was speaking to you and you're hurt by it, then maybe instead of defending yourself, you could consider what I said instead of being defensive. I understand being defensive and

Michael 9:45
feeling attacked or being a sensitive person because I am a sensitive person. And it's obviously much more ideal for me to go to the individual and express my feelings. But when you see it In a grand scale, or at least, you know, more than just a few, then it's easier for me perhaps lazier, I think, in some ways in his poor leadership from being honest, I can't, but I can't. At least I don't feel like it's sensible to reach out to each person that I've seen behave in such a manner. And so I express my frustrations on a larger scale. And some of you that aren't that weren't meant for that, because you're doing some work, you're you are active in the community. You got hit with that trap? No. But if you reached out to me, and asked me or commented about, you know, how you were hurt by what I said, or how you were wondering, and if I provided some type of reassurance, I meant that not everybody has the same set of circumstances. Sometimes, not only do we have the divorce or what not to deal with, and then obviously, the children and whatnot, but that also creates some significant challenges. And if we have certain circumstances in our lives, and it creates, those challenges are you are compounded and times and you know, I don't know what the fucking word is. I'm trying to say it's amplified perhaps. And so if I provided you some type of guarantee or not guarantee, but some type of reassurance that it wasn't you that I was speaking about, I meant that I had a few people in my head when I was speaking about this. But I really wasn't attacking any one person. I just see way too many people behaving in the manner in which I described, it, at least is way too many people in my interpretation or my view, and for whatever what for whatever that is worth. The last thing I'll say is, if you found yourself hollering, or felt hit by what I said, and you were unable to for various reasons. And I'm not saying they're not legitimate, just reasons that you can contribute or give back, I have a request. And that is come on the podcast. If you have done very well and you have moved on in life, then you are a success story. And I would love to share your story. Because at the end of the day, I think one of if not the central reason for this podcast, is to give some hope to folks that are going through this. And if you have a success story. Let's tell it because that provides hope. And the more success stories we have, the more hope we can give because everyone's story wild, very, very similar, it also has differences. But your story of success might line up the beginning of your story might line up with the beginning of someone else's story and your end of your story, at least in this context. That is positive and and successful can give hope, with some specificity that can be applied to other fellas, you know what I'm saying? So the more Real Men Real stories that conveys success, the better. And so if you find yourself unable to because of a time crunch or resource crunch in that you have your kids a lot and you can't be active on social media. Whether that be in this group, or whether that'd be in discord or a Facebook group or whatever. They come on the podcast. I think that the more stories the better. So I think that's all I have. I guess I'll wrap up by saying that I am okay and I will be okay. And I appreciate those of you that listen that give feedback and support that do contribute to my my warriors that contribute monthly. I appreciate you i Thank you. If you are interested in becoming a lawyer and becoming a member On the discord, you can hit my hit the podcast website, Rising Phoenix podcast.com. There are links to support the show. If you are interested in being coached by me and going through my program, you can go to rising penis divorce coach.com. I have one slot left at $750. After that it will be increasing. I'm honestly not sure. It's been the team around me has kicked around and suggested the idea of increasing it to $1,600 $100 a week as the program is 16 weeks. I don't know that I'm going to do that. But I may. It is certainly worth it. And for comparison's sake, and if you look and this isn't to knock anyone or anything, but if you look at the Alpha code, the cost of the Alpha code is now $5,000. And I think my program is certainly as good and I think in some ways better no offense to Justin or the opera code. I love Justin and I love everyone associated with the outcome of the coaches and the men that have graduated with me so it's just a comparison. And if you go to rice beans divorce coach.com You can click on testimonials you get two testimonials from gentlemen that have completed recently. So that's all I got. I hope you're all well. If you're not reached out, take care much love

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