Can I Save My Father? Freedomain Call In - Transcript


0:00 - Opening Up to Stef
10:46 - Family Dynamics and Adoption Choices
14:59 - Childhood Experiences and High School Transition
22:09 - Childhood Discipline and Emotional Impact
32:39 - Understanding Childhood Behavior
34:34 - Communication Breakdown: Child's Desire vs. Parental Understanding
48:58 - Teenage Isolation: Homework Intensity and Parental Relationships
57:35 - Confronting the Past: Addressing Childhood Bullying
1:01:14 - Parental Disagreements: Discords and Family Expectations
1:04:55 - Emotional Weight: Carrying the Burden of Family Dynamics
1:11:21 - Understanding the Weight
1:13:06 - Navigating Nihilism and Depression
1:15:52 - Facing Years of Despair
1:17:08 - Confronting Years of Hell
1:21:21 - Uncovering Deep Resentments
1:22:43 - Reflecting on Past Therapy
1:26:15 - Unveiling Defenses and Manipulation
1:28:04 - Unveiling Hypocrisy and Responsibility
1:31:47 - Embracing Self-Trust
1:36:39 - Seeking Clarification
1:42:59 - Probing for empathy vs. manipulation
1:47:11 - Perception of conversation differences
1:52:23 - The self-centered nature of conversation
1:57:32 - The soul trapped in machinery
2:01:17 - Consequences of a bad conscience

Long Summary

I, a 19-year-old male, open up to Stef about the significant changes occurring in my life as I address the childhood abuse I endured from my parents. Despite the difficulties, my mother has embraced therapy with a positive outlook, while my father's behavior remains aggressive. The complexity of navigating relationships with both parents, especially considering their treatment of my adopted brother, presents a current challenge. Engaging in open dialogues, I strive to gain clarity and understanding, shedding light on the impact on my sibling's upbringing and the contrasting liberal and conservative dynamics within my family.

Stefan and I delve deep into my childhood experiences, exploring the intricate dynamics within my family, which include adoption, parental discipline, and communication styles. We unravel incidents of physical discipline, lack of meaningful engagement, and the underlying issues that drive my parents' behaviors. Stef helps me examine my actions of lying and stealing within the context of communication with my parents. Together, we discuss my family's responses to my desires and preferences, underlining the lack of constructive dialogue and emotional connections within our household.

As we continue our conversation, Stefan and I reflect on parenting dynamics and childhood encounters. Stefan stresses the significance of teaching children negotiation skills and the value of working towards their desires. I open up about instances of rebellion, lying out of fear of punishment, and conflicts with my parents. Exploring family relationships, academic pressures, and teenage defiance, we uncover divergent views on politics and decisions related to COVID. Stefan delves into my motivations and the challenges stemming from parental disagreements on COVID precautions and personal choices.

I express dissatisfaction with the conversations I've had with my parents about their past behaviors, particularly feeling helpless and hopeless about the situation. I long for my father to acknowledge his parenting failures and offer a genuine apology. Feeling weighed down by the circumstances, I express a desire for improvement. Stef delves deeper into my emotions, highlighting the importance of processing feelings rather than merely analyzing them intellectually. I also mention a friend's journey through depression and nihilism before turning their life around.

Throughout our interaction, I grapple with the balance between patience and setting boundaries with my parents amidst challenging family dynamics. Insights emerge regarding the potential for change within my parents and the impact it could have on my well-being. Stef stresses the importance of trusting one's emotions and values when maneuvering through complex relationships, emphasizing the need for self-compassion in establishing appropriate boundaries.

I disclose my feelings of not missing my parents when away and the dread I feel towards visiting their home. Delving into the complex dynamics with my mother and receiving an apology, we navigate through conflicting perceptions of relational experiences and confront past parental behaviors. I struggle with the concept of relativism introduced by my mother and its implications for parenting. We navigate communication hurdles, underlining the significance of empathy and self-reflection in fostering meaningful connections.

In another part of our conversation, I share the pressure I feel to constantly align my actions with my mother's emotions to avoid being labeled negatively. Stef delves into the manipulative behaviors and power dynamics present in relationships, especially within parent-child interactions. We explore the notion of authentic apologies versus manipulative tactics aimed at controlling others. Stef draws parallels between managing challenging family dynamics and navigating interactions with non-playable characters in video games. Viewing difficult parental relationships through the lens of NPCs lacking genuine emotional depth, we discuss the repercussions of harmful parental behaviors on one's sense of self and independence. The conversation concludes with Stef encouraging me to prioritize my emotional well-being and future familial connections.


[0:00] Opening Up to Stef

[0:00] Hey Stef, I'm a 19-year-old male and I've been consuming your content for about 7 months. After listening to RTR, Many Columns, and other of your shows, I understood the need to address the abuse and transgressions that I experienced as a child with my parents. I've talked to my parents multiple times, both together and one-on-one. My mother, after a few aggressive conversations, has been receptive to my perspective and has started therapy as a result of our talks. My dad, however, has only gotten more and more aggressive with each conversation. after our last talk i decided i could not in good conscience go over to my parents house and have not talked to my father since i find myself conflicted on how to navigate the future relationship with my parents i imagine it would be very difficult if not impossible to maintain a relationship with my mother while avoiding my father but i don't feel right cutting off both parents as she has been receptive to my criticisms i know there is something that i'm missing or avoiding that would give me clarity and i will save that i would value your oh sorry you just I just lost.

[0:56] Audio quality there. You got all tinny. I don't know if you hit something or...

[1:01] No, I'm not sure.

[1:02] Okay, I think you're better now. So sorry, if you could just read the last part again.

[1:05] Yeah, I know there's something that I'm missing or avoiding that would give me clarity in my decision, and I would greatly value your assistance in uncovering it.

[1:13] Right. Well, I'm sorry to hear about all of this. Of course, it's always quite sad, if not very sad, when families have these kinds of challenges. So yeah, I'm all ears. do you want to tell me your experience as a child and and what brought you to this this place.

[1:28] Yeah um just a quick update um that conversation with my dad was two weeks ago as of last night, and on thursday of this week he messaged me or last week thursday of last week he messaged me and he wanted to meet up so we met up last night and had a chat and he apologized for the conversation, um that we had but we can talk more about that later just to give you that update um but As for my childhood, my parents are together. I grew up Christian, so Christian school, all that. Went to church every Sunday, Sunday school.

[2:08] As a young kid, my mother, she was a stay-at-home mom. And my dad, he worked a lot and he was part of like a network marketing thing on the side. So he wasn't home a lot, probably until I was about eight. and when he was home he was very tired or working on housework um so i really didn't develop a relationship with my dad early on other than him like giving me lectures about christianity and stuff like that um, And I remember always being really scared of my mom because the way she disciplined me and my sister, my older sister, um, it was a lot of yelling. Um, she never hit us with like objects like a bell or a spoon or anything, but it was probably every once, uh, every two months she would smack us or something like that. Um, she did a lot of like face grabbing or like arm grabbing. um that probably happened every two weeks or something and then like yelling, or like aggressive language was like every day and multiple times a week um.

[3:22] And yeah so school i was very good at school um i didn't really enjoy it um.

[3:30] Um yeah so then in high school i went to a public school i went to christian school all through elementary school and then i went to a public high school um because it had like an accelerated college program so that otherwise i would have stayed in a christian high school, um and that i that i uh during that i still did very well in school but i like got really apathetic towards school um i probably just did it out of like a competitive nature but i really didn't care about any of the work i was doing i didn't want to go to college um and, i got like really depressed or anxious or cynical in high school i was like really angry at christianity um i was always very sad i wasn't like angry at my parents because just because i probably didn't know who to blame or i didn't really know how to address any of my feelings like i remember my like whenever i was sad or angry my mom would always ask me like why i was of sad or why i was angry and i would just kind of fog out like i just feel like i have no idea, and it wouldn't get past that um yeah if you have any questions about that that's the early childhood probably up until now i i moved down to high school yeah you can keep the uh places oh right yeah keep.

[4:56] The places off that's fine but.

[4:57] I i moved far away from home like 16 hours from where I grew up after like, um, cause I graduated high school early. So at age 17, I moved far from my hometown for a job in politics, uh, like right wing dissident politics, um, worked there away from home for a while, about a year and then moved back just cause I started hating it. Um, and now I'm back in my hometown living on my own.

[5:33] Right, okay. So, what was it that prompted you to have, was it a particular incident that prompted you to have the conversation with your parents?

[5:44] Um yeah so during my time in politics i got exposed to a few people and they exposed me to your work so i started listening to your work um and just being back home like i'd go over to my parents i have a younger brother that we adopted from uh china um and just seeing the way that they treat him and the way they like still talk to me. Like I just started challenging them on a few things and then it just inevitably escalated. And so I like deliberately had these conversations with them.

[6:21] And why did they adopt a boy from China?

[6:28] Yeah. So when I was around seven or eight, our church did this program with kids from Russia, where an orphan from Russia would stay in your house for two weeks and they took part in that and they got, the kid was pretty aggressive towards me and he was kind of like a wild kid, understandably Did he speak English? Not really, no we had to use Google Translate to really communicate with him well Seems interesting.

[7:04] I'm not quite sure.

[7:07] You're breaking up a little bit. I can make it.

[7:09] Sorry, just let me know if that's working. Testing, one, two, three.

[7:17] Yeah, you're breaking up a little bit. I can make out what you're saying, but it's a little difficult. Yeah, it is odd. And that's so key. He went back to Russia, and they tried to adopt him. him i didn't want them to try to do that like they they asked me and my sister like do you do you want us to do this we'll only do it if you want us to do it and kind of out of obligation like i felt like i would um be punished or i felt like i'd be um judged harshly and i didn't like kind of go along with it so i just agreed to it um and so they spent a few years trying to adopt him from Russia but just because of like international politics Russia banned all U.S. adoption and then I guess they still wanted to adopt and so we went to China and adopted my brother and.

[8:12] How old were you when the Russian kid and then the Chinese kid came along.

[8:23] Yeah so um i was around eight when i met the russian kid that went on for a year or two, um and then they gave up on that and it was probably another year or two until they got the kid from china my brother so i i was 11 when they adopted my brother and he was five, okay and you have no other you have.

[8:51] No other birth siblings right.

[8:54] Yeah i've been older sister i'm breaking up a lot you.

[8:58] Have one older sister and then you have i guess you had the russian kid and then the chinese kid what was the what was the reasoning behind these adoptions.

[9:08] Um i'm really not sure what prompted them to host the kid for two weeks, um my mom i guess like she's um kind of liberal so you know it's like oh this poor kid from a foreign nation might might be part of it i i really have no idea why or at least you know consciously like they never told me why they wanted to host this kid from russia for two weeks i don't i don't think they planned on adopting him when they hosted him i i maybe they just wanted to try it out or do it for the two weeks and that's it but then they got attached um and then after that sorry i.

[9:51] I again i'm not saying that you would know this but i'm just trying to figure it out for myself like what is the point of bringing a russian.

[10:00] Kid over.

[10:00] For two weeks when he doesn't even speak the language i mean wouldn't you just take the cost of flying a kid over and putting him up and then flying him back and wouldn't you just take that cost and donate to the family?

[10:16] Yeah, I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I mean, as for like the church and the organization, I mean, they're obviously doing it to get kids adopted, but why my family took part in it? Maybe it's like a Christian charity thing that motivated them. I don't know.

[10:33] All right it's it just it seems like a very odd thing to me as a whole i.

[10:40] Just want to sort.

[10:40] Of mention this and just sort of get it off my chest so to speak.

[10:43] No it's like are.

[10:45] There no poor kids in your country.

[10:46] Family Dynamics and Adoption Choices

[10:47] So there are yeah and it's a lot of um family members extended family members of mine brought that up and that like kind of burned the bridge between my parents and some of my extended family just because they didn't i guess my extended family didn't understand well you know you're in america why not adopt a kid who speaks english save some money um and my parents didn't like that and.

[11:17] Do you know why.

[11:18] I don't know why they wanted to adopt internationally i mean with the russian kid i guess i can understand like they brought him in for two weeks and got attached to him specifically but why after that when they were looking to adopt again um no i never really understood that other than you know if you're gonna save a kid so to speak i guess china's worse than america in a lot of ways maybe that was the logic behind it but yeah i never got a reason for that you.

[11:47] Said that they spent a couple of years trying to adopt the russian kid.

[11:50] Yeah so.

[11:51] Maybe they just said look it's too it's just too hard heart. Like it's just, it's too difficult. And so we need to go to a place where it's easier to adopt. And I guess they went to China. Now, how liberal, you know, one to Che Guevara, how liberal is your mind?

[12:18] Um, um, when I was growing up, probably like, so I'll scale one to 10, probably, probably like a five. Um, and then my dad is way more conservative and my dad's like the Christian in our family. My mom kind of pretended to be Christian just for like the family dynamics. Um, but me and my sister always knew that like, she didn't like going to church. She wasn't really Christian. She didn't like the church we went to. Um, as she's gotten older a lot, I mean a lot because of my influence, like she's gotten more conservative, but, um, no, she's still like, like with this Palestine, Israel stuff, like she's always showing me, you know, I'm not like passionate about one side or the other, but she's always like showing me the Palestinian war footage. Like she's just really into that. Same with like the Ukraine stuff.

[13:14] Right. Yeah, I mean, I can tell you probably psychologically why she chose a Russian and a Chinese kid. Liberals are highly characterized by an out-group preference.

[13:29] Right, yeah.

[13:32] So, when they said, you should adopt someone from your own country who already speaks English, that would upset her because that would indicate an in-group preference would be a kind of bigotry, or something like that. Oh, yeah. you know, it's part of the underdog thing, right? Yeah. When women are programmed, in a sense, to prefer the underdog over everyone, and so if someone can convince them that someone in the out group is the underdog, they will have loyalty to that rather than the in group as a whole. Again, I'm not trying to, you know, boil your mom down to like one simple graph, but that seems a fair way to approach it.

[14:39] Yeah.

[14:40] Okay. Yeah. So, one of the things that's interesting about liberals, and the one thing I like about liberals is they tend normally to be quite kind to children. They can be better than conservatives when it comes to being more gentle with children. It doesn't sound like this was the case with your mom, though.

[14:59] Childhood Experiences and High School Transition

[14:59] What do you think was going on with that?

[15:05] Yeah, you know, I don't want to make excuses for her, but just thinking about it from a childhood perspective, her dad was quite aggressive. um as to why she chose to and she took like criminal justice in college and she worked in like a detention center for young kids for like teenagers as one of her first jobs out of um college so you know she definitely had exposure to like this is how different cultures or situations affect people's upbringing and how that affects them later in life um as to why she, like um yelled at us all the time instead of trying to understand um well i mean if she did that she'd have to like question her father right okay.

[15:57] So why didn't she question her own father.

[16:01] Um he's quite um he's got a hard exterior and he like he's just a scary guy and and if you, just like push him too far and he kind of like he just allows you like he did something to my brother recently when he was like watching him because my my grandfather lives in a retirement home and my brother was staying there and my grandfather made my brother sit at his own table because he wanted to eat with his friends like like his old people friends um and i called him up i was like hey why'd you do that you know like you're supposed to be taking care of him like you can introduce him to people but why are you making him sit by himself, and like within two minutes he was like i'm not talking about this like i have my reasons i'm in charge um so yeah i mean it's not easy to challenge him but why why she didn't go all the way yeah probably probably just like fear yeah.

[16:59] It's a funny thing i don't understand this about some women it's not just women but since we're talking about your mom i don't understand why there's this sympathy for the underdog and then cruelty to your children like sympathy for the russian kid sympathy for the chinese kid but not sympathy for your own children to the point where like yell at them and hit them and like it just i just can't quite fathom it.

[17:22] Yeah me either i.

[17:24] Mean surely if you have sympathy for the underdog your own children are the most underdog so to speak so i don't know why that seems so impossible to process but rather it's like well i'm gonna hit my own kids a lot yell at them a lot bully them a lot but oh boy that that poor kid in china what the hell.

[17:47] Yeah like i don't understand it.

[17:52] Unless it's just, I don't know, propaganda or something like that. And how has things been going for the Chinese boy?

[18:04] So, we had, like, me and him had a pretty, like, we would do things together, but he would, like, aggravate me and I'd aggravate him. Like, it was not, like, a good brotherly relationship. And my mom and dad have not done a good job with him at all. in my opinion um like the school they send him to it's like a christian school so it's better than like a public school but he's just like he has a lot of energy and he doesn't like he just doesn't do that well in school even though he's very smart like he's really good at math but he just doesn't do well in school he like hides assignments and things like this um and my dad he is still pretty absent like he doesn't engage with my brother at all he doesn't try to understand my brother and my mom raised him the same way she raised us where it's like she'll try to work with you or demand things of you or explain things to you and if you don't like get it right um like you just get yelled at you get put in time out whatever um so he's kind of in the same spot But I was when I was his age where he's just kind of like cynical, aggressive.

[19:22] He feels alone. So our relationship has gotten better. And I've apologized to him for the ways that I treated him when I was like watching. Because for like during the summer, because my mom started working when I was like entering high school. So I watched him during the summer. and I mistreated him in a lot of ways, and I apologize for that. So our relationship has gotten better, and we hang out pretty consistently, but as for him and my parents, it's just not good.

[19:59] I'm sorry, so your mom, you were about 11 or so when the Russian kid, no, you were eight when the Russian kid came, and then 11 when the Chinese kid came. Do I have that right?

[20:11] Yeah. Okay.

[20:12] So your mother adopted some kids, or adopted this kid, and then she went to work?

[20:20] Yeah. Yeah, I don't remember exactly if she went to work before they adopted or shortly after.

[20:28] No, but what the hell?

[20:29] Yeah. Yeah, I know. Yeah. Absolutely.

[20:33] Here. Good luck, kid. I'm adopting this kid. I'm going to work. That's so strange. Did she not enjoy the adoption thing? I mean, wouldn't you adopt a kid because you want to spend time with the kid?

[20:48] Yeah no it's like right from the beginning like right right when we um adopted him like when we were in china like it was immediately like drama anger yelling and that never really stopped um, so like neither of them engage with him like he does homework plays with his own stuff plays on on his iPad. They don't really engage with him. Their quality time is like watching TV shows together, which is not quality time at all.

[21:22] I mean, I guess it can be if you have a lot of interesting discussions about the TV shows, but I don't imagine that's going down.

[21:29] No. Yeah, no. That confuses me a lot. Especially with my dad, even more so, just because he's absent completely. with my brother like why would you adopt this kid not not treat him with any extra sympathy or understanding yeah or or care wow.

[21:57] Okay and so tell me a little bit more about the physical discipline you said you got hit and sort of how often how hard implements not.

[22:09] Childhood Discipline and Emotional Impact

[22:10] Say that one more time you cut out for a second sure.

[22:12] Uh if you can just tell me a little bit more about you said you got hit quite a bit so sort of how often would it happen and was it with implements or by hand open hand close hand what kind of stuff.

[22:22] Yeah so no implements nothing like a belt or a spoon um like a lot of yelling like yelling was the thing that i was always really really scared of and she'd like get right up in my face and like you know yell through the teeth type of thing um and there wasn't a lot of spanking i think i got spanked like five times over my whole childhood um but it was more so um like face grabbing like she grabbed my face a lot or she like dragged me by my arm a few times i remember um and it was not like i like the spanking was for specific things like i lied a lot as a child, this is, okay um can you still hear me yeah go ahead okay sorry i just got a message from you um but yeah so what was i saying um you.

[23:32] Lied a lot as a child.

[23:33] Yeah yeah so i lied a lot as a child and i like stole a few toys from friends and so they'd spank me for that um but like the face grabbing was more just whenever she was having an especially bad day and like if i if she told me to to go find some something in the basement or some cleaning product upstairs and i was having a hard time finding it she would like yell at me and like grab my face um i remember one time i left like a bobby pin or like a safety pin on a chair and it was like a black chair it was like a dark navy blue chair and it would be like right and she's like hey you left the safety pin on the the blue chair go get it right now she said this yelling at me so i went and looked at the very blue chair you know i'm like six um and i can't find it i'm like stressing out freaking out trying to find this pin um and she comes up and she's like yelling at me no it's not that chair it's it's this dark blue one she like um grabbed me by like the base of my neck and like shoves my face into the chair and is like yelling at me asking me if i see the pin um oh my god so that like that's.

[24:49] Completely psycho it's six you're six.

[24:52] Yeah yeah i was six or seven i don't remember the exact age and then i bit my nails um probably starting at like six um probably until i was about eight or nine and like if if she caught me biting my nails she would like scream at me like there was one time in the school parking lot where i like she caught me biting my nails and like she just like did the same thing where she got like an inch or two from my face and like yelled at me through her teeth to like stop biting my nails and.

[25:23] You know actually one of the reasons why people bite their nails it's not just nerves and stuff like that it's actually an adaptive mechanism to expose your body to more germs so that you end up with a more robust immune system it actually has, some not insignificant evolutionary advantages to bite your nails i just wanted to to sort of mention that. I mean, it's not a slightly habit. I get all of that, but it does increase your immune strength. gotcha all right okay so let's go back to the the hell was going on you're trying to find a pin and you can't find the pin and she grabs your face and shoves it into the chair saying do you see it now is it something like that yeah i mean did she remove the pen before because was she shoving your face in around where a pin was um.

[26:12] She kept my face like an inch above the the seat so i guess not.

[26:16] Grabbing you by the back of the hair kind of thing yeah.

[26:19] About the base of the neck yeah.

[26:21] Okay what do you think was going on there like that's that's that's that's really deranged yeah.

[26:28] And there is a few different that those that's like the go find this those stood out the most or like when i would not finish my water bottle at school like there is five or six six things that are pretty mundane that I just like, she'd asked me to do it 10 times and I wouldn't do it or I'd get it wrong. And then she just had this massive blow up like that.

[26:56] That's sick.

[26:57] Yeah.

[26:57] Yeah. I'm trying to, so what, what do you think was going on in her head that this seemed like a remotely not evil thing to do?

[27:06] Well, does she think you're like.

[27:09] Do you think you're willfully, uh, like pretending not to see it is like does she think you're faking it.

[27:16] So she would say like i don't know if you're faking it but like no one listens to me like i've heard that a million times growing up like no one is listening to me i've asked you to do this why does no one listen to me and i mean like me like her and my dad almost got divorced because he was doing this like network marketing thing that was costing the family a lot of money like a an.

[27:38] Mlm thing like a multi-level marketing like.

[27:41] Yeah your friends buy powdered soap stuff yeah exactly oh god um okay yeah yeah how to.

[27:46] How to strip mine your friendships for fun and profit mostly for others yeah yeah.

[27:50] Yeah um so you know that that cost my dad probably like 10 hours a week 15 hours a week of this free time and then a lot of money um and my mom was never on board with it yeah Yeah.

[28:04] Because you need to buy all this stuff and then resell it, right?

[28:07] Yeah, exactly.

[28:07] Yeah, yeah, okay.

[28:10] And like gas, like you'd go to conferences once or twice a week that were three hours away.

[28:15] Oh, God. So he really didn't want to be home.

[28:18] Yeah, exactly. So I don't know if it was like, um you know like her her parents never listened to her and now her husband is never listening to her and she can only express that so much so she's going to take it out on her kids i guess that's my best guess so.

[28:40] When she said listen to her that's not really what she meant what she meant was like mind mindlessly obey her right just do.

[28:47] Whatever she.

[28:48] Says right because yeah.

[28:49] Women have.

[28:49] This peculiar thing and again not just women but i've seen it a bit more with women in where they get completely exasperated if you have any questions about or any hesitation or any problems doing what they want you to do suddenly you're like a bad person you're not listening and they they feel this complete right to escalate to you know semi charles manson levels of aggression just because you're not doing what they immediately want you to do.

[29:15] Right yeah and my dad does that too he doesn't he was never aggressive um so he he spanked me once after i like stole a few toys from my friends um and like it happened like a few different times over the months, um this was probably six or seven it was like lego minifigures yeah um so you know after like five times of me doing that he was like all right i don't want to do this but i have to, because um you know he like robbed a gas station with his friends when he was i guess my age right now like 18 or 19 sorry he so he.

[29:58] Robbed a gas station but you with the lego toys that's like beyond the pale right.

[30:02] Yeah well he his logic and he said this to me last night actually like i had to do it because i didn't want you to make the same mistake i did like did you understand how that freaked me out no not really well.

[30:14] I get that but i assume that he was aggressed against himself, right? So if it's parental aggression that leads people to want to become thieves, then him hitting you for stealing is not going to solve that problem, right?

[30:27] Yeah, I think he, and he treats my brother, he's still, like, with me, my brother, whatever, like, he applies a lot of moral responsibility to children. I don't know if it's like an original sin type thing.

[30:42] No, it's just an excuse to punish them. That's all. It's just an excuse to punish kids. It's nothing. There's no thinking behind it. It's like, well, in order to punish children, you have to give them moral responsibility. And you want to punish them for whatever screwed up emotional reasons. And the price for punishing them is you have to say that they're total moral agents and totally responsible, wise beyond their years, capable of making wonderful decisions, though still strangely children. And so, yeah, it's not any thought through thing. It's just, oh, if I want to hit them, then I have to pretend that they're responsible for everything. So I guess that's what I'll do.

[31:14] Right yeah and my dad he um he would just like disengage like he like he just wouldn't, talk to us really or like like interact with us like he would like and this is my family for everyone except for my mom like any conflicts between siblings and any conflict with our father it's like there's like a fight or there's like aggression you don't talk to each other for a few days or a week and then everything back to normal um but one thing that is kind of confusing to me it's not so much confusing now after he had that big blow up on me and basically kicked me out of their house when i confronted him with a few things um but when i was probably around six or seven eight something like that i had a dream that we were in my church lobby and my dad was like that he just went insane like it was like an animal and he was like attacking people and like destroying property um and i was just standing there in like the middle of the church lobby like crying like freaking out because my dad was destroying everything and like attacking everyone around me um and i didn't i was too scared to tell him about that dream um but i still remember it like it's pretty vivid um and then sorry.

[32:39] Understanding Childhood Behavior

[32:40] So let's just go back on two things the first is why do you think you stole from your friends and you know stole it's a pretty heavy word to use for a kid who's six but why.

[32:50] Do you think you.

[32:50] Took things from your friends.

[32:51] Um well i mean it wasn't like a lack of toys or anything like that um Um.

[32:59] No, but even if you did lack toys, that wouldn't explain why you stole things. That's like saying, well, criminality comes from poverty or whatever. It doesn't. Right. So, uh, poverty comes from criminality. So again, I'm not calling your six-year-old self a criminal, but it wasn't a lack, even if it was a lack of toys, that wouldn't be why you would steal or take, let's say, take, why would you take things?

[33:22] Right. I'm not sure with the stealing. The lying I can make more sense of, but the stealing, I'm not sure.

[33:35] So the reason that you would take things, again, I'm not going to try and give you this instant answer that's perfect. I'll tell you what I think, and if it fits with your experience, we'll put it forward as maybe true. And if it doesn't, we'll toss it aside. side. But in general, I think that children take things because they can't talk to their parents.

[33:56] Right.

[33:57] Right. So if you can talk to your parents and you say, gee, you know, I really, really want this Lego figurine or this couple of Lego figurines, right? Well, I mean, your parents would say, they would give you some options about that, right? They'd say, well, you know, maybe if you do a little extra work, we can buy you some, or maybe we We can buy you some either way. Or maybe you can trade some of your toys for what your friend has. And that way he can have something that he wants of yours, and you can have something that you want of his. And, you know, they can teach you a lot of different solutions about how to get what you want. Does that make sense?

[34:34] Communication Breakdown: Child's Desire vs. Parental Understanding

[34:35] Yeah.

[34:35] Now, because you can't talk to your parents, you have no functional way to get what you want. So if you're six or seven, right, and you want these Lego figurines, what would happen if you said to your parents i'm i'm really dying for these lego figurines like what would they what would they say what would they do at that age.

[34:54] Um they would say you can wait till your birthday or christmas or anything like that and my grandfather always said you can shit in one hand and want in the other and see which one fills up faster.

[35:06] Wait sorry you can you can shit in one hand and want in the other yeah.

[35:12] And see which one fills up faster which basically like you'll get a handful of shit before you get what you want so.

[35:20] Desires are shit yeah or they're they're weighed with wow that's yeah inappropriate for a kid and a hideous almost demonic image right yeah yeah uh so what you want makes you a piece of shit, okay yeah and it's funny because want that that's a complete opposite right because of course shit is what your body doesn't want it's everything your body can't use it doesn't want so he's saying what you want should be weighed with the exact opposite of what what you want like and and it's really nutty okay so they'd say just wait until christmas but they wouldn't try and figure out you know when when kids want something that's that's a good training on how to get things in life that you can try and get a hold of, like to try and figure out how you get what you want, right? So there's lots of options for kids to figure out how to get stuff, right? It's not just about, well, I'll just run off and buy it for you or something like that, right? So they're supposed to figure out something. They're supposed to figure out ways in which, parents are supposed to help their kids figure out ways in which they can get a hold of things without, you know, just running out and buying for them. But even if that's the case, at least they can then ask for things and negotiate from that standpoint, right?

[36:39] Yeah.

[36:39] Okay. So there was nothing like that. So they just get, what, mad at you or upset or frustrated or angry or something like that, right?

[36:48] Yeah, it was just things like that. And then if I like push any further, it's like, well, aren't you grateful for the things you have? Like you have more stuff than most people. I remember one time I like told them about this one Lego set that I really wanted for Christmas. And then they got me a different one. And I made a comment about how I didn't ask for this one. I wanted the other one. And my mom got really pissed off at me. So, yeah, it's just, you know, anger if I push enough. Right.

[37:17] So if you express a preference, then if your parents get it wrong, you're bad and ungrateful, right?

[37:26] Yeah.

[37:27] So isn't that interesting, right? And by interesting, I mean horribly hypocritical. So your mother expresses a preference, and what happens if you don't give her what she wants?

[37:39] Say that last part one more time.

[37:40] So your mother expresses a preference for something, like go into the room and find this pin, right? So she expresses a preference, and what happens if you don't give her what she wants?

[37:54] Oh, yeah, it's like tonal, like that.

[37:57] Yeah, so if you don't give your mother what she wants, you're a really bad kid, and you've got to get your face shoved within an inch of the chair and aggressed and yelled again and all that, right? That's if you don't give your mother what she wants. But if your parents get you something that you don't want, in other words, a Lego set that you didn't ask for, hey, you're bad either way, right? If you don't give your parents what they want, you're bad. If your parents don't give you what you want, hey, you're really bad, right? You're ungrateful and right. Like if your mother says, I want you to stack the dishes this way or fill the dishwasher this kind of way and you fill it a different way, right? Then she'd get mad at you or something like that. Yeah, that exact thing happens any time. Right. But if you were to say, hey, mom, you taught me this lesson with the Lego set that you're just being selfish and ungrateful. I'm doing it. I'm maybe not doing it exactly the way you want, but you should be grateful and not be selfish because I'm doing it. So you should be happy for the gift we get you, even if it's not what you want. You should be happy at the way I'm doing the chores, even if it's not exactly the way you want. But of course, that wouldn't work, right? Like you can't judo reverse these principles.

[39:11] Yeah. Okay.

[39:14] Got it. Yeah, that's pretty horrible. So yeah, so you would take things because you want them, and there's no way to get them. There's no way to get them other than taking them. There's no way for you to get these Lego figurines other than taking them, because you can't negotiate with your parents. of course you wouldn't be able to at the age of six or seven figure out how to trade with your friend or whatever right so of course you're going to take them because you want them and there's no there's no other way to to get a hold of them like my daughter wants things right and she always has and she's pretty good at not going overboard on wanting things but you know we would always try to facilitate a way for her to get things now we wouldn't just run out and buy them for her but But we sort of try and figure out, okay, what can we do?

[40:04] You know, we don't want to keep accumulating toys. So if you want a new toy, there are some toys we could donate to charity, right? And that way we don't end up with the endless mountain of toys. So if you have some old toys that you want to donate to charity that can get you a new toy or, you know, you can trade with a friend or, you know, do some chores. Like something that she has some power to get what she wants because it's important with kids to teach them how to get what they want but not just give it to them, right? Because otherwise it's just asking. There's no discipline involved in any of that. But yeah, I assume you took stuff because there was just no way for you to end up getting that stuff. And so you might as well just take it because you're also mad at your parents for not talking to you and listening. Because you can listen to a kid wanting something. That doesn't mean you have to run out and buy it. What's most important for the kids is that they feel heard.

[40:58] Yeah.

[40:58] Like, oh, yeah, that does look like a really, really great toy. You know, we're kind of broke right now, but blah, blah, blah. Or, you know, maybe what you can do or we can do is if you really, you know, we can have a garage sale, we can make some money. Like if you're broke or whatever, right, there's still tons of things that you can do to get a hold of the toy. There's so many options to set up a lemonade stand, you know, and let's go buy the ingredients for the lemonade. You can set up the lemonade stand, make some money and buy them. Like there's so many things that you can do. that help you to get things what you want and help you understand cause and effect. But there was none of that. All of your needs were just irritations, right?

[41:38] Yeah.

[41:39] Okay. So maybe that one's the answer. Uh, what about the lying bit?

[41:44] Yeah. The lying, I would just say it's, it's the same thing. Like, um, too scared to like, tell them the truth or like scared of punishment. If I tell them the truth, um, like just with, with, uh, with whatever, like I, I just knew I couldn't open up to them or be honest with them or I'd be punished.

[42:09] And so what sort of stuff would you like that.

[42:14] Um like trying to think of some specific things, um i guess like one big one was like a i'd be sent to school with this big water bottle um and like i wouldn't drink all of it but i'd like pour it down the drain at school so that way i wouldn't have to drink it but i wouldn't get yelled at for not drinking it um and i'd walk out of the car and my mom would be like well it took you so long to get out of school and she'd basically like interrogate me until i admitted it um and then you know i could yell at it and all that so yeah you mentioned what i think.

[42:56] Before like i don't i don't mean to sort of pretend like like, in comprehension, but what the hell is the deal with the, like, did you have a dehydration issue? Like, why the hell would you need to drink so much water?

[43:09] I don't, I have no idea. Yeah, no idea.

[43:14] Um so it's like missing uh it's just like you weren't thirsty but your mom wanted you to drink water yeah okay was she some sort of health kick like you got to drink a certain amount of water or you'll die like was there some health kick going on or she.

[43:29] Is like um not so much with food but like with cleanliness she's like super health concerned like cleaning or um like washing hands And it's like, if I, like, if I go outside for five seconds and come back inside, you have to wash your hands. So she's really like a big germaphobe. Like every time we came back from school, she'd like Clorox wipe our water bottles. And if we wanted to use a pencil, you know, you Clorox wipe the pencil. And if you're done doing your homework, you Clorox wipe the counter because everything was at school. So not so much with food. I don't think that was what was going on with the water. Because, I mean, she wasn't, yeah, she didn't really explain the hydration thing. It was just like drink the water.

[44:20] Huh. Okay. So you didn't know why, right?

[44:23] Yeah.

[44:24] Was it like a crazy amount of water?

[44:27] Not insane. I would drink like half of it. But, yeah, I just wasn't thirsty for the whole thing.

[44:36] Right. and and again this is nothing that you can negotiate right you can't say.

[44:41] Like mom.

[44:41] I'm like i'm not thirsty like why do i need all this water right.

[44:44] Yeah and anytime i try to negotiate or like i remember with the hand washing stuff i'm like can you please like explain to me like i was i only did this for five seconds and this isn't even dirty like why do i have to wash my hands and she'd like try for a little bit to explain it but then i'd like um, give my rebuttal, and eventually it was just like, well, do it because I said so.

[45:12] So reason didn't mean much, right?

[45:14] No, not at all.

[45:16] Okay. Got it. Got it. Okay. Interesting. Now, when did the physical aggression fade out? And when, if it did happen, did the emotional aggression fade out?

[45:37] Um, both of those, the, the physical aggression was probably around probably after we got my brother. Um, cause she like, after we got my brother, the narrative became like, my brother was really awful towards me. the chinese yeah so okay.

[46:00] Not so the.

[46:01] The russian.

[46:01] Kid was only with you for like two weeks but you mean the chinese.

[46:04] Yeah exactly and did he come.

[46:06] With any knowledge of english or anything like that.

[46:08] No he learned within six months right okay but no he didn't have any when he came um but yeah he like would spit on my toys or like spit on my food or stuff like that um Um, and I assume that's like a territory thing, like probably wasn't a lot of access to food or clothing in the orphanage.

[46:32] So, oh, and how old was he when he was adopted?

[46:36] Five.

[46:37] Oh, wow. So they really took on a hell of a challenge, right?

[46:41] Yep.

[46:42] Wow.

[46:44] Wow um so yeah uh after after we got my brother or shortly after the physical aggression stopped and then once i got into high school like like the yelling stop it didn't stop with my sister, um really ever um it still kind of goes on less so but um like all through high school her and my mom would like get in bites and stuff like that, but yeah probably around 13 or 14 she stopped yelling at me and it just turned into nagging huh.

[47:25] All right now after that um once i got into high school and into politics my dad started yelling at me a lot more uh that i like wouldn't wear a mask at school and so i got kicked out of, to your authority um yeah so it my mom hasn't been aggressive towards me or yelled at me it's just more nagging but my dad has been more aggressive what i mean he was kind of like the a mask enforcer like like he's like a manager so making sure people were wearing the mask, um and so he's kind of like betraying his conscience when he's doing that because he knows, like the the authoritarian plan or whatever and like all the covid stuff like he knew all that um but he still wasn't forcing it so i'm sure if it's like his son is braver and more courageous than he is uh-huh.

[48:19] Right right right.

[48:20] So he's gonna shut that down you probably.

[48:22] Weren't enjoying school a whole lot so.

[48:24] No it was a psychology class in the first class was like this is the psychology why donald trump is retarded um right and so i was like all right screw this guy let's have some fun um and so i like didn't wear the mask and got kicked out and that was during high school and it was a college class so i just stopped going to the class because i didn't need it um but yeah so if his son is braver than he is he's gonna get pissed off well.

[48:55] It's not just that but he's actually enforcing.

[48:57] Yeah exactly so.

[48:58] Teenage Isolation: Homework Intensity and Parental Relationships

[48:58] It's not even like he's should be resisting he's actually enforcing something that he doesn't believe right, dear idea, so what happened with your relationship with your parents in your teens i guess like your mom stopped yelling it a little bit your dad i guess picked up the slack and so on but how was it in your teens with your parents.

[49:24] Um yeah so i wasn't very close to them um like me and my mom would like watch tv shows together um me and my dad would like talk sometimes after school um but i spent most of my time during high school during homework because it was like very homework intensive so it was school and then like three to four hours of homework every night what.

[49:55] Why why so much freaking.

[49:57] Yeah um well maybe two to three but you add in like dinner and like eating after school so it's like by the time i got done with homework it was like 8 8 30 p.m and then and some some nights later um there was so much work um it was just like like the school was like a college prep school like by the time you graduate you're supposed to have um like an an associate's degree um so it's like a lot of preparing you for college or so they said um so they just load on the homework and like read this book write this paper though.

[50:39] Like i'm sorry i don't mean to sound like a douchebag maybe i do but why would you why would you do this much work i mean that that wrecks your teenage years isn't it.

[50:52] Yeah yeah I you know maybe it all makes sense.

[50:57] But I mean isn't there a bit of rebellion like no I want to go make some bad decisions I don't know maybe.

[51:04] No there really wasn't a whole lot of that well actually so, freshman and sophomore year not really um i just kind of did that i had some friends i would hang out with every once in a while um and i i had a girlfriend at the beginning of high school so i mean there was like a little bit of outside of school stuff but no like school was very stressful, um and yeah it just wasn't like we we would talk and we wouldn't get in that many fights um your parents but yeah we just yeah yeah yeah we just weren't very close, um it was just like nagging from my mom and then like a conversation here and there with my dad so.

[51:45] Tell me and i i don't mean to criticize i'm i'm just kind of curious and you know maybe you made way better decisions than i did but what was your thinking regarding the school was it like i got to get out or was it like well the the stuff that i want to do is it really does require uh this this school staff or like what was what was the story there do you think.

[52:07] Yeah so for a while um like until sophomore year my goal was to get into mit and get into like aerospace engineering uh-huh um so i was like if i can save you know two years of college of worths of money that's really good and i have it on my record that i did this so even if i don't get into mit it i've saved this much money that i can get to a good school anyways um and then covid hit during sophomore year of high school um and so i started like watching a lot a lot of political content like i started watching uh peterson and then like um a bunch of like covid stuff like this is why covid is a scam or this is why the vaccine is really bad um and so once i got into politics I was like, yeah, screw all this. I'm not going to high school. So I just started, and it was all remote. So I just cheated on everything for the last two years and then did like politics and some like philosophy stuff. stuff during all my free time um and so during that time it's like where was the rebellion streak like that's like me doing politics was like a huge rebellion for my parents, um and then like moving away to work in politics as well why.

[53:28] Was it a rebellion so much for your parents.

[53:30] You asked why it was such a rebellion yeah.

[53:35] Why did why would they consider that such a rebellion.

[53:37] Um well they just disagreed with like basically everything i was getting into like my mom is pretty liberal and then my dad is conservative but he's kind of like just don't do anything um like there's no need for political action um and so any of that is like well that's aggression that's you know you have to meet people where they are um and i guess he was right on some that stuff but for him like i think it's motivated by cowardice more than that, so well yeah with my mom it's just like she disagrees with it and the things i say like piss her off and that i'd get like a rise out of that and i'd enjoy like arguing with them about it, uh yeah and i just didn't like being around them so moving away was part of that too do how.

[54:31] Did they deal with the covid stuff i mean obviously well i would assume that they they had some issues with your life kind of going on hold for covid and all of that right.

[54:46] Um yeah like they would they never like forced me to wear the mask or they had forced me to get vaccinated but But it was a lot of like, there was probably like three or four conversations where they were like, both yelling at me or raising their voice that like I was being disrespectful by not wearing a mask and they would like try to convince me to get vaccinated. So, I mean, they didn't force me to do anything, but there was a lot of fights about it for sure.

[55:18] So they didn't have any particular doubts about the efficacy of the vaccine or anything like that, or the utility of it?

[55:30] They didn't really talk about the utility of it. It was more so just like, you know, we have to get it for our jobs or we have to get it to see these family members. It was more like a don't cause trouble sort of thing, more than like the science of it.

[55:44] All right. And what happened, I guess, so you did a couple of years of the college thing and did that, did I get that right? What happened sort of from there?

[55:58] Yeah, so after high school, I had a bunch of college credits. But right after high school, I moved to work in this political job.

[56:12] Right, right. And how did you enjoy that?

[56:16] Um so when i first moved i started working i enjoyed it it was like i was around a bunch of people who thought the same they were like edgy and rebellious and we were having fun it was a bunch of young guys it was a small new company um and we were all living together so it was really fun at the beginning and we did some pretty cool stuff but it didn't take that long before we were like getting suspicious of the managers at the company and so i'm not, that's not really like i don't want to get into all that but it kind of fell apart um i lived down there and worked there for a little over a year and then pretty much everyone who i enjoyed or hung out with and thought was a good person ended up leaving it was just very corrupt um like like the clientele and the management was just really bad okay got it um yeah yeah like Like, the way you got raises or promotions or whatever was basically, like, who's more aggressive. Like, there was really no value of competency at all. And, you know, I was able to work well with that. But it wasn't good.

[57:27] Right. Okay. And then when did things come to a head with your parents? Yes.

[57:35] Confronting the Past: Addressing Childhood Bullying

[57:36] Um so yeah after i moved back this was in december of last year i really got like settled in january of this year i would go over there and do laundry and like see my brother once a week every two weeks um and so it was probably march i think the first time i had a conversation with my mom, um and she got pretty aggressive and then when i tried to have a conversation with her again dad and my dad got involved um and so and my dad like freaked out on me and left the conversation, but my mom like stayed around and heard me out and i eventually like explained to her like you know you bullied your three children for as long as you had power over them and she's like i didn't bully them like i didn't mock you guys you know so i didn't bully you and i was like are you serious like do i have to explain to you what a bully is like a bully is someone who repeatedly um aggresses against someone because they have more power um and like that's exactly what you did, like like you yelled at us and you like physically aggressed against us like at least once a week with the yelling at least once every two weeks with the physical stuff so what do you mean you didn't bully us um and she she did the whole like you're just saying this to hurt me like i've I've already said, I'm sorry.

[59:04] Um, like, why, why are you doing this to me? Why is this so important? Um, and I was like, I just said, like, you've already tried that. Like, you know, that doesn't mean anything. Um, and she, she eventually was like, all right, yeah, you're right. I, I bullied my, my kids for, for this long. Um, I like kind of forced her. I didn't force her, but like, I wasn't satisfied until she like said the words, like, I bullied my kids for this long. um and so after that she was like all right i'm gonna go to therapy for like anger management, and i'm like that's not really the issue like i mean i guess that's part of it but it's like the problem isn't that you're just like you know you just shove your anger down more i don't really know what goes on in anger management therapy so you guys have a bad understanding of it but, the the um the thing with her that i'm still well i guess we can get to that later um but with my dad um about a month after he stormed out from that conversation um.

[1:00:11] I would i tried to bring it up again i would my mom like went to bed or whatever and i was like hey you know we had this conversation and you've never stormed out from a conversation with me, so that like i haven't this hasn't sat well with me um can we like try to talk about this again, and so we talked for like five minutes and then he just started like lecturing and yelling at me and then at one point i interrupted i'm like can i please just get a word and like can you just listen to what i'm saying like you're just yelling at me and lecturing me like can i get a word and he's like no i don't think you can get a word and i think you need to leave um so i got my stuff, and then before i was about to walk through the door i was like i was gonna ask him will we ever be able to like have a conversation about my childhood and before i finished the sentence he's like i'm gonna stop you right there and then he went on this long rant about how i was being being ungrateful and how like family is so important and i'm breaking like the family.

[1:01:14] Parental Disagreements: Discords and Family Expectations

[1:01:14] Um at one point he was talking about my grandfather's an atheist he's like your grandfather like turned you away from christ but i still kept him in our life because that's what you do for family like sometimes you just have to deal with people you don't like um, and he was like you know i want to cheer for you and i want to help you but sometimes you make it damn hard um and i i just yeah so that that after that conversation i sent you the email.

[1:01:47] Right okay and how are your parents getting along these days.

[1:01:54] How are my parents getting along yeah um their relationship like i for like during my teenage age years i didn't want to get married and i didn't want to have kids just based on their relationship like my mom just kind of like nags my dad and then my dad like a lot of his behavior is just centered around appeasing my mom like he'll like measure his words or his actions, to appease her um in like a submissive way um so it's all right like, I don't know. I haven't been around them that much for the past two years. But I think it's fine. I wouldn't call it deep or anything like that, or they don't seem very happy around each other.

[1:02:48] All right. Okay. And do you know if you're... your mother going to therapy and your mother doing the anger management or whatever she's doing, do you think that that might have...

[1:03:11] You're cutting it out a lot. I don't know. So, if you're walking in.

[1:03:15] When, your mother going to therapy, going to anger management and so on, do you think that that's changing her relationship with your dad at all or have you had any i'm sorry.

[1:03:30] I can't hear i can't hear what you're saying.

[1:03:32] That's strange i haven't i haven't moved at all all right we'll just wait for it to clear up let me know when you can hear me again your mother going to therapy and going to anger management do you know if that's destabilized her relationship with your dad at all.

[1:03:47] Um i know they've had some discussions about it like he didn't like he one thing that he said to doer was like um i'm not gonna let him do to me what he did to you like basically like make her feel guilty or responsible um so like he's he was kind of against her like feeling responsible, and he he went with her one time but he's not like a big fan of the therapy thing for this like they went to couples counseling um but yeah they've had some arguments about like what i've brought up now that she's more receptive to it but but he wasn't.

[1:04:27] Okay yeah all right now tell me about something i can sort of hear this in your voice just it sounds like you're carrying a burden to to not to criticize or anything it just it's a wee bit of an energy drain you know like the way that you talk is like you're just kind of carrying a burden and it's kind of flat and Like, is there a particular burden that you feel or a heaviness that you feel or anything like that?

[1:04:55] Emotional Weight: Carrying the Burden of Family Dynamics

[1:04:56] I mean, this situation has weighed me down for the past couple of months. I mean, I was pretty...

[1:05:02] Okay, so that's it. So this situation has weighed me down for the last couple of months. It's slowly sliding off a cliff or something into an abyss, if that makes any sense. So tell me about this burden.

[1:05:21] I'm trying to think.

[1:05:23] It may be more of a feeling than a thought.

[1:05:26] Yeah. Yeah, I guess kind of like a hopelessness. I feel hopeless a lot, even though I know it's not pragmatic.

[1:05:45] No, no, no, don't get me. I don't want to hear the intellectualizing, right? Let's just go with the emotions, right?

[1:05:51] Okay.

[1:05:52] Okay, so you say you feel helpless, right?

[1:05:55] Hopeless or like apathetic about a lot of things.

[1:05:59] Okay, so help me understand the... See, normally if you take a break from dysfunctional relationships, you're supposed to feel energized or that's often the result. I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong, but that generally is the case. And so I'm trying to understand the burden here. What's the undertow? What's the weight? So you feel helpless, hopeless, is that right?

[1:06:23] Yeah. Okay.

[1:06:24] So what do you feel helpless or hopeless about? um is it your dad yeah.

[1:06:39] Uh yeah because in my personal life like career or relationships like i don't feel hopeless about that but in regards to like these conversations with my parents yeah i felt really hopeless.

[1:06:51] Okay so how do you know those are your feelings, because it seems it seems to me that the only person who's expressing genuine helplessness or, manifesting general helplessness in this entire story is your dad because he's now made at a point of pride like i'm not gonna let him do to me what he did to you and like all of this so he's now helpless because he's taken this stance like he can't listen he can't give way he can't surrender, he's given away his free will, he's lost his choice. So it seems to be that the only person who's genuinely helpless in a sense in the whole family situation, I mean, maybe it's your sort of stepbrother, but definitely your dad, from what I've heard.

[1:07:38] No, you're exactly right. Yeah.

[1:07:40] So how do you know that these feelings are yours and not your dad's?

[1:07:45] Yeah. No, I don't. And it has been something that's confused me. Like, I don't know why I feel it. Um, and like, I didn't feel that when I moved away for a while. Um, but yeah, no, I think you're right.

[1:08:02] Well, I'm not right enough to change how you're talking. So we'll, we'll keep digging away. Okay. So if you, if you feelings of helplessness, what is the worst case scenario that your feelings of helplessness are giving you? what's the most negative outcome that can happen if you're helpless and feelings turn out to be accurate or.

[1:08:25] Um i'm just like forever stagnant like i don't find any um i don't improve the relationships like i don't make a decision on the relationship with my parents doesn't improve it just kind of stays the same i don't really go anywhere career-wise like i just kind of stay and like deal with whatever fallout happens in the next couple decades i'm just like yeah i i just don't realize Otherwise, I don't take advantage of my potential or things like that. I just kind of like fall away.

[1:08:58] Okay, so that's a lot more than just your dad, right?

[1:09:03] That's what I imagine, but I have no reason to believe any of that would be true. That's kind of what's confused me.

[1:09:11] Okay, but you saying, I have no reason to believe, that hasn't gotten rid of it, right?

[1:09:16] Yeah.

[1:09:16] Okay, so just avoid all the stuff that hasn't worked, right? Like if you go to your doctor and you say, well, I've tried this and I've tried that, this hasn't worked, that hasn't worked. And at some point your doctor is going to say, okay, so you're here because this stuff hasn't worked, right? So I get that, right? So tell me how helplessness with regard to your dad turns into decades of mediocrity and failure for you.

[1:09:40] Well, I mean, that's kind of how he turned out. um and that's like he's encouraged me into that spot like what do you mean um like he's tried to convince me to work at the exact same place that he works at even though he complains about it all the time and doesn't like it there and he's tried to convince me to like stay around these bad relationships like with my grandparents or with okay so he's sabotaging the family yeah.

[1:10:08] Okay so So he's sabotaging you. So tell me what you're, like, if the worst case scenario is this kind of helplessness with regards to your father, what's the best case scenario with regards to your father? What would you most like to happen?

[1:10:25] Um so like a perfect situation would be like he realizes all the ways he's failed or compromised in his life with people and with career and stuff like that and like apologizes for the way he treated me in like a really specific and genuine way not just like a general like i'm sorry for for the things I did wrong. Yeah, that's, and then we build on from there. Or if that doesn't happen, like, I just don't talk to him.

[1:10:55] Sorry, I'm trying to figure this one out. So your father is in his 50s?

[1:11:02] Late 40s.

[1:11:02] Late 40s, okay.

[1:11:03] Yeah.

[1:11:05] So you want your father to say, I was a bad father and I've wasted most of my life.

[1:11:16] I mean, that's the truth, I think.

[1:11:17] No, no, I'm not saying it's not true, but that's what you want. This is your ideal scenario.

[1:11:21] Understanding the Weight

[1:11:21] It's for your father to realize that he totally effed up his parenting and has stagnated and wasted his energies in his non-career. Is that right?

[1:11:31] Yes.

[1:11:31] Okay. Now, have you ever been around someone who's older? Have you ever been around someone who has gone through that process of, my life is a fake and a lie and a failure?

[1:11:48] Um i have one buddy who is 30 and is making really big progress in that regard but he doesn't have a family or anything like that.

[1:11:56] Okay so he's almost 20 years younger than your dad right yeah but no kids and right like because the parenting is i guess while your your stepbrother is still around right but your dad's not really interacting with him right yeah okay so what did your friend who's was 30 what did your friend have to go through to get to where he's at um.

[1:12:19] A lot of conversations with me he went through the pot that like the drama at the politics job um and that that kind of like drove him away but um yeah it was like a lot of um stuff like that because like.

[1:12:36] Okay that's that's some surface level shit brother and for a lot of conversations okay yeah what did he have have to go through emotionally to realize that his life had been a failure up to 30.

[1:12:46] Yeah. Lack of good relationships, no career prospects, like total nihilism and depression.

[1:12:56] And how long did that nihilism and depression last before, I guess he's starting to turn the corner now, right?

[1:13:04] Probably like five to nine years.

[1:13:06] Navigating Nihilism and Depression

[1:13:06] So are you saying that he was depressed for five to nine years before he began to turn around?

[1:13:13] Um in a major way yeah i don't know all the details of those years that's fine but no sorry i know i.

[1:13:19] Didn't mean because i assume you haven't been having conversations with him since you were nine right.

[1:13:23] So or ten so right so.

[1:13:27] He was depressed for his adult life and then what happened when he began to really realize what a failure he'd been like what was that arc.

[1:13:38] Um for a lot of months that i was working with him it was like he'd realize that or you think about that a lot and you just get more and more like depressed and hopeless once he thought about that um and then some conversations with me and some other people we've started to like, unpack that and figure out like why that is and how he can move forward um but yeah for a while just like you think about all like all the years you've wasted or things like that and you just get more and more depressed okay.

[1:14:06] So for how long was he going down and where is he in the backup journey.

[1:14:14] Um from the realization part.

[1:14:16] Not from the general adult depression stuff.

[1:14:19] Um yeah he's probably in like the beginning stages of coming back up.

[1:14:24] My god this is like wrestling with fog well.

[1:14:27] Sorry what was my question um how how how far down did he go how long back up how long like months years days minutes um yeah so probably um like like a year a year into the way back up a.

[1:14:44] Year into the way back up so he was going down he hit bottom about like for about a year and now he's starting to go back up.

[1:14:51] Yeah okay Okay.

[1:14:54] All right. So, do you think he's got six months to go, a year to go until he's up?

[1:15:00] Oh, yeah. I'd say that sounds about right.

[1:15:02] Okay. So, let's just say, round it up, let's say a two-year process, right?

[1:15:06] Okay. Yeah.

[1:15:07] Okay. He's 30, no kids, no marriage, right?

[1:15:12] Mm-hmm.

[1:15:14] And he certainly has enough time to recover, right?

[1:15:18] Yes.

[1:15:19] Right. So, why am I asking you all this?

[1:15:25] What about my father?

[1:15:26] Yeah. So, let's say that you get what you want with your dad. He realizes he was a bad dad. He's missed his whole parenting window. He can't get it back. He's had a bad relationship with his wife. He's got a bad relationship with his kids. And his career has been a mediocre failure. And he's pushing 50.

[1:15:46] Yeah.

[1:15:47] Okay. So for your friend, it's two years.

[1:15:52] Facing Years of Despair

[1:15:53] What is it for your dad?

[1:15:55] I mean, it's impossible to say, but like five, ten at least. Like, just insane.

[1:16:02] Okay, so let's say that your dad will be catastrophically nihilistic and depressed for a couple of years.

[1:16:11] Yeah.

[1:16:12] That's your optimum outcome.

[1:16:16] Yeah. Yeah.

[1:16:19] Okay. How does it affect you when your dad's reaching out and flailing and falling down that canyon that you have to fall down in order to rebuild your life?

[1:16:30] It just absolutely holds me back. It pulls you down?

[1:16:34] When he holds you back, it pulls you down?

[1:16:36] Yeah, yeah, you're right, yeah.

[1:16:37] Okay. So your best case scenario is your dad pulls you down into the darkness for a couple of years.

[1:16:45] Right, yeah, yeah.

[1:16:47] Do you understand why you're feeling helpless?

[1:16:50] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

[1:16:53] There is no good outcome. There's zero good outcome, unless you want to count three to five years until your dad resurfaces, where he's pulling you down, desperate, nihilistic. You've got to talk him out of the tree. You might have to talk him off a ledge.

[1:17:08] Confronting Years of Hell

[1:17:08] You might have to, like, he won't want to get out of bed. Like, tell me where's, like, if your dad's going to change for the better, it's going to be years of hell for you, for him, for your sister, for your stepbrother, for his wife, your mom. Isn't it going to be years of hell?

[1:17:28] Yeah, absolutely.

[1:17:30] So, you understand why there's helplessness here?

[1:17:33] Yeah. You don't want that.

[1:17:36] Do you? Because you've got to get a life started.

[1:17:39] Yeah.

[1:17:39] You can't be waiting until you're mid-twenties to pull your dad out of the swamp every day.

[1:17:44] Yeah.

[1:17:46] So either he stays the same or he falls and falls and falls.

[1:17:53] Yeah yeah you're absolutely right.

[1:17:55] This is why it's kind of important to fix shit before you're almost 50 yep.

[1:18:00] Yeah that's always where i stopped thinking was like what do they like okay he, he realizes everything i want him to realize and then what like he divorces my mom or he like stops like like what does he do well.

[1:18:19] He won't do anything he'll stop doing everything for a while, right so do you understand sorry i hate to sound patronizing and i apologize for that smart guy okay but do you understand why your dad is saying i'm not gonna let my boy do to me what he did to you do you know why he's saying that um.

[1:18:36] Just because i'm gonna like expose him.

[1:18:38] No the reason he's saying that is because he's he knows he can't do that journey right okay gotcha it's just an elemental self-preservation.

[1:18:49] Yeah.

[1:18:50] You know, hey, my wife, he can push you off a cliff, you've got a parachute. I don't have a parachute, so I'm not going anywhere near that cliff edge.

[1:18:58] Right.

[1:18:59] I'm just going to fall and fall.

[1:19:03] Okay.

[1:19:03] So this is not a principle thing. He's saying, I am beyond help. I cannot and I will not make that journey. I can't make that journey, I won't It doesn't matter, right? That journey is not for me. Or to put it another way, he's saying, I won't survive that journey.

[1:19:25] Right. Yeah. And when he was yelling at me, one thing he said that stuck out to me, he said, if you come in here and try to fix us, you're going to have another thing coming. And I was like, whoa, that's like crazy mask off.

[1:19:42] Well, but it's very accurate. Another thing coming, which will be his depression and nihilism and this and that and the other, right?

[1:19:50] Yeah.

[1:19:53] I mean, have you ever bullied a kid?

[1:19:57] Yeah, I would say I bullied my brother.

[1:19:58] Yeah, your stepbrother, right? Okay. I mean, that's pretty tough to recover from, right? And you have all the excuse of being a kid, and you didn't choose to have him in your life.

[1:20:07] Yeah.

[1:20:07] Right? And it was really your parents' job to maintain and keep that relationship healthy.

[1:20:12] Yeah. Right.

[1:20:15] So, trying to picture it from your father's point of view, sorry, how old's your half-brother again?

[1:20:22] My brother is 12 or 13.

[1:20:25] Okay, so maybe he could fix things there, but the problem is that your brother will probably be almost an adult by the time your dad gets out of his nihilism.

[1:20:38] Right.

[1:20:40] So and then he'll just have and then he won't get out because then he'll be depressed about not being there for your brother so he probably won't get out, I mean, it's pretty tough to find a half a decade to burn as an adult, right?

[1:20:58] Absolutely.

[1:21:00] Yeah, it's impossible. Yeah. Because let's say he waits, well, I'll just hang in there until my youngest, the Chinese kid, gets to be an adult. It's like, but then, you know, maybe there's some grandkids on the way, and then he can't, like, you just don't have half a decade lying around.

[1:21:17] Yep.

[1:21:20] So i think that's the helplessness.

[1:21:21] Uncovering Deep Resentments

[1:21:22] Yeah yeah and that really struck me like i i i cried a little bit when he said that like that totally hit it on the head yeah right and yeah yeah knowing.

[1:21:35] When there's a bounce for people is pretty important.

[1:21:37] Yeah yeah i haven't really been able to like i I kind of know that some people can't bounce back, but it's hard to define like what are the parameters or timeframe. But yeah, with this, I guess it's pretty clear.

[1:21:54] Now, how long has your mom been doing the self-knowledge thing?

[1:21:59] A month or two.

[1:22:00] Right.

[1:22:02] And it's, it's what the therapist she's worked with in the past. So I don't even know how valuable it is.

[1:22:06] Right. When did she go to therapy in the past?

[1:22:11] Like couples counseling with my dad. And then a little bit after my brother came, cause like they were, it was like a horrible time for them or they, yeah, for them. Um, but like they, yeah. So for couples counseling and then for like parental counseling or something like that.

[1:22:30] Right. Okay. So this is like eight years ago?

[1:22:35] Um, maybe a little bit less than that. Oh, after you can't. Yeah, like six and probably for a total of a year or two.

[1:22:43] Reflecting on Past Therapy

[1:22:43] Okay. So they did quite a substantial amount of therapy, right?

[1:22:47] Yeah.

[1:22:48] And yet?

[1:22:49] And yet.

[1:22:50] And yet you as the newly spawned adult had to come in and bring the truth, right?

[1:22:57] Yeah, exactly. Okay.

[1:22:59] So if your mom's been down this self-knowledge thing for like a month or two, that process is barely taking. And it depends, of course, what's happening with the therapist, right? Yeah, exactly. Of course, we don't know that, but... And also, she may be doing it just for show. She may be doing it to keep you around, and it's not like a deep thing.

[1:23:21] Yeah, I've definitely suspected that.

[1:23:25] That could the heaviness also be that you want your mom to fight for you harder with your dad.

[1:23:32] Yes so yeah i've thought that a lot um after she apologized and so she went to therapy and i told her this today um because she asked how i was doing i was like i i've still felt this like anger or resentment towards her even after she apologized and went to therapy and i was thinking about that I'm like well she's like totally fine or not totally fine but she's not like freaking out about the fact that her husband did this to her son or is still doing this like she's acting in a way that's not causing huge problems so like does she really mean any of what she did like she's still fine pretending, right um so yeah i'm still i still feel like anger and resentful towards her absolutely um and i wish like i was thinking okay well what do i want her to do um and then it was like well i would really like ideally she'd be like all right or excuse me sorry about that yeah i'll.

[1:24:36] Get rid of then yeah.

[1:24:37] Our our son said this and i realized what he's saying so now i know my husband did this and he's reacting horribly like we need to figure this out right now otherwise our family's going to fall apart right so i don't i don't care what how long this takes or what how like what we have to do like we're going to figure this out um like that's that's what i would do in like a friend group or or like with co-workers like all right this is a huge problem we can't ignore this we have to figure this out right because something that will happen if you don't um, and there's just none of that i mean she'll like try to convince him to do it but it's probably just like little nagging is here and there um like it's nothing really something real and then, like like the apology that he gave was just a lot of excuse making and like it was just the exact same conversation i had with him last time but with no aggression it was just like excuse making and well this is what you have to do this is just sometimes how it is it was it was the same thing he just wasn't pissed off that day right.

[1:25:41] Have you ever had thinking back on this relationship like you've got close on 20 years can you think of a time where you felt really connected with or close to your dad.

[1:25:54] No never right.

[1:25:59] I mean, there may not be an authentic self there.

[1:26:02] There's not. I really, I don't think there is. No.

[1:26:06] Okay, so then it's just defenses and manipulation, right?

[1:26:09] Exactly. Yeah, that's all there is to every conversation.

[1:26:12] There's just levers. There's no, it's just NPC, right?

[1:26:15] Unveiling Defenses and Manipulation

[1:26:16] Input, output, levers and programming and, right, defense and blame and avoidance and manipulation. There's not a person to contact. there's a machinery of self-protection hiding the absence of a self.

[1:26:31] Exactly.

[1:26:32] Right.

[1:26:33] Exactly.

[1:26:34] And that's who your mother is spending her life with.

[1:26:37] Yep.

[1:26:41] So, I wouldn't hold my breath.

[1:26:45] Yeah.

[1:26:46] And then you have the tricky situation, because, and it is a very, very difficult situation for which you have my deepest sympathies, which is, you seem to have gotten through to one parent but the other parent is doubling down yeah so what does this what does this do over time what happens over time it's.

[1:27:08] The same that's it's the same thing that's happening now it's just fights here and there oh yeah that's just how he is we're working on it you gotta to give him time um it's just excuses and like a limit on like the depth or honesty.

[1:27:26] So it's just it's just how he is you have to give him time and you have to accept him for who he is right yeah was that was that kindness so to speak ever extended to you as a child.

[1:27:40] No.

[1:27:41] Right. So again, it's just a hypocritical manufactured standard designed to avoid responsibility, right?

[1:27:48] Yeah. Yeah.

[1:27:49] Like you get the back of your neck grabbed and shoved into a pillow, your face, because you can't find a pin when you're six. But with your dad, apparently, who did you some serious harm and damage, it's all about patience and acceptance.

[1:28:04] Unveiling Hypocrisy and Responsibility

[1:28:04] and so that's vile obviously at every conceivable level because it means that your mother is very fully aware of the values of acceptance and patience and gentleness and generosity and right, she's fully aware of those values just not when you're six yeah yeah, I'm so sorry man I'm so sorry what a pair to have to deal with or not as time went along. Yeah. Okay. So, and you said that you don't have to get into any details. You don't want to, but you said your dating life is going okay.

[1:28:44] Yeah. So I dated a little bit in high school since I didn't date at all. When I was working that job in politics, it was just work, work, work. And pretty, pretty soon into it, I knew I was going to be leaving. So I didn't want to like start anything that I would have to move away for. uh so i didn't really do any of that during that time but now i'm like getting pretty social and i'm on a few apps so i'm very optimistic about that.

[1:29:15] Okay so you get a quality woman right you probably heard this spiel before right so i have you got a quality woman yeah and how is she going going to be reacting to the old parental units yeah.

[1:29:32] Not not well at all as you know if if i am like yeah yeah no i've thought all these things before you're absolutely right and that's why why are you still there then.

[1:29:40] Yeah i mean i tell you man my my wife is very classy she's all kinds of sophisticated she's very classy and if i had a drag her over and you know i did in the past with ex-girlfriends probably why they're exes but yeah my my wife is very classy very sophisticated, and man if i had a tractor over to my mother's repulsive hovel i mean it's just impossible to really imagine how that would have gone down well it's possible to imagine and that it would have gone down pretty pretty quickly would have gone nowhere pretty quickly yeah.

[1:30:17] And i i like when i'm around my parents i'm a lot less talkative i'm a lot less energetic or confident um so i just wouldn't want to be around like a girl i'm trying to impress when i'm around my parents like it would just not that sounds awful to me.

[1:30:36] Mm-hmm, Okay. So, I mean, I appreciate all the background, and I think I have a fairly decent handle on the situation. So, what is it that you most fundamentally call to ask me?

[1:30:53] Yeah well it was the it was the clarity it was the clarity on the um on like where to go with my parents because it's like it was i always felt that like this was how it was going to be like there wasn't anything i could do like any real hope of change but when my mom was really apologetic and like started therapy and you know just last night my dad apologizing it's like all right, well, do I owe them some sort of patience? Do I, do I like try to work with them or, or not? Um, and so there, there was a few blocks there. Um, like, like with the, well, what happens if your dad and your mom do what you want? Like, what does that do for you? Um, like that, that was really what I was looking for. And you helped me a lot with that. So thank you so much.

[1:31:47] Embracing Self-Trust

[1:31:48] Would you like a little more help yeah absolutely okay so when you give yourself shoulds and ought tos it is an expression of not trusting yourself yeah yeah exactly right so you know how how should you treat your parents well you know if if i mean you're a highly intelligent highly competent, young man. So, in my life, I try not to say I should or shouldn't do X, Y, or Z. What I do is I say, well, listen, I'm a good person with good intentions, I've got good values, and I'm going to trust my feelings. And what that means is that if I feel like forgiveness towards someone. right then i'll tend towards that if i don't feel like it i'm not going to say i should.

[1:32:39] Exactly yeah well and that's how i felt about going over to their house and when i was away i never missed them and when they came a few times i was like kind of dreading it.

[1:32:49] Right and.

[1:32:50] Then when i was when i was reading rtr and you were like the the whole you know your mom's name lights up the screen on your phone like that hit so like that that hit me so hard um and yeah i never missed them when i was away and then whenever i think about going over to their house like it's just like all right i'm gonna go over there i i don't look forward to it and um you know i was doing my laundry there so just recently i went to a laundromat and my mom was like oh i'm so sorry you had to do that and i'm like i enjoyed it way more like i was able to read a book i got it done done faster i guess this is way preferable.

[1:33:28] Yeah a couple of quarters should beat that mess right, yeah okay so as regards to what you should or shouldn't do with your parents i mean i obviously i think you've done a very a very brave thing and and you've spoken to them honestly about your experiences and and what you want and what you're looking for and that's i mean that's truly magnificent and you know most people go through their lives uh as you can see from your parents right most people go through their lives without any shred of that kind of honesty yep so that is something to be truly admired and i just think that's magnificent honestly that's amazing and and beautiful and great now as far as what you should or shouldn't do going forward i i would just trust your instincts because otherwise you're at war with yourself so if you say well i don't you know my mother's forgiven me but i still feel resentful towards her should i or should i not it's like but you do yeah now if you want to talk to her and say you know i appreciate the apology but i still feel resentful okay so if if you say that what do you think your mom would say i'm not saying that you would say like the rtr thing i still feel resentful i'm not saying it's you i've just i still have this experience of resentment like not all the problems of 19 years have been solved in a month and and it's still the issue of dad and you know You're obviously not fighting hard for dad to take this step or anything like that. So I don't know if that's the cause. I still feel resentful. What would your mom say?

[1:34:54] Yeah, I actually did that a few hours before we started because she asked how the conversation with my dad went. So do you want me to read that?

[1:35:01] Sure.

[1:35:03] Okay. Yeah. So she asked me, how did it, how did it go last night? And I said, it was all right. I was a little confused afterwards. Um, it just seems like there isn't a real change, but I do appreciate the apology. Um, and I said a few other things along the same lines. She said, I get that. I also know the perception of how a conversation goes is sometimes different. Um, she said, of course, my, my wish is that you will not stay away and that you'll come over and hopefully work through things um i said to be honest i don't feel eager to it feels like an obligation it doesn't mean i shouldn't or anything like that i just have to think more about it um all.

[1:35:44] Right hang on hang on let's let's go back to what your mom said.

[1:35:47] Yeah no exactly all right so read me your thing again um the first one yeah um she asked me how did it go and i said it was all right i'm a little confused afterwards it just seems like there isn't a real chain.

[1:36:03] Okay so when you say i'm a little confused afterwards i mean i'm not saying you do the doing this in a manipulative way but what's one of the reasons why you would say that.

[1:36:15] Um um i well one of the reasons i was like conflicted afterwards but i guess in regards to the conversation i'd say that because it's not definitive like it still gives her like oh oh, maybe it'll be all right.

[1:36:27] No. Sorry, I can tell you what you're doing.

[1:36:30] Don't do things.

[1:36:31] So the reason that you would say I'm still confused is so she will ask what?

[1:36:39] Seeking Clarification

[1:36:39] Why are you confused?

[1:36:40] What are you confused about? Tell me, tell me, tell me the sides of things. This is a big, long conversation. You know, I mean, obviously you had a big talk with your father. It's really, you're changing the basis of the relationship. And, you know, help me to understand what you're confused about. What were the pluses? What were the minuses? You know, blah, blah, blah, right? So when you say, I'm confused, I'm not saying there's anything manipulative in what you're saying. but when you do say i'm confused part of you is probing for empathy yeah curiosity you're probing for curiosity yeah absolutely right like if you're trying to get to someone's house, and you phone them and you say i'm lost what are you hoping they're going to say well where are you and you know oh you take this next third left and right to go to the lights and then take a right or whatever right like they're going to ask you where you are and then they're going to solve your problem called i'm lost and when you say i'm confused you're probing your mother for empathy rather than manipulation and yeah and then.

[1:37:40] She she just gives what she wants.

[1:37:41] Okay so let's go to what she said just give me the sentence by sentence yeah.

[1:37:47] I get that i know the perception of how a conversation.

[1:37:50] Okay hang on i get that means what i don't care well no but But what is she surface level saying?

[1:37:58] I understand what you're saying.

[1:38:00] No, but you said I'm confused, but you haven't said what you're confused about.

[1:38:05] Exactly, yeah.

[1:38:06] So when she says, I get that, what does she mean?

[1:38:12] I get being confused or I get being fogged.

[1:38:16] But if you say, I'm confused, and somebody says, I understand that, they can't. Because they haven't actually asked you what you're confused about. so getting that someone is confused confused is the absence of something it's the absence of resolution or certainty or closure yes right so you're saying, I don't understand, I don't have conclusions, I don't have resolution, I don't, it's all foggy to me, and if somebody says, I totally understand that, that makes no sense. Because you can't understand something which is just, if you're confused, and that means you don't have closure or a certainty or understanding, then how can she get anything if you don't even get it? At least without asking a bunch of questions. Does that make sense?

[1:39:09] Exactly. Yeah, no, makes perfect sense.

[1:39:11] Okay, so she says, I get that, and then it seems to me she's going straight into manipulation. What does she say next?

[1:39:18] Yeah, she says, I also know the perception of how a conversation goes is sometimes different.

[1:39:23] Okay, so hang on. I also know the perception of how a conversation goes is sometimes different.

[1:39:30] Yeah, I didn't know what that meant.

[1:39:31] I think she's saying, I talked to your dad about it, and he perceives this. Now I'm talking to you about this, and you perceive something different.

[1:39:41] Yeah, he probably thinks they weren't great.

[1:39:44] Okay, so when she says, I understand that the perception of a conversation can be different, right? Okay, so she's saying you and your dad disagree.

[1:39:56] Yeah.

[1:39:56] Okay, I think I get that. I'm going back to when you were a kid, right? So when you were a kid, you had a perception of a conversation.

[1:40:06] Right.

[1:40:07] That was different from your mom's and your dad's and what happened.

[1:40:12] Um yeah it was just like i was wrong.

[1:40:14] Well you got attacked yeah exactly i mean emotionally physically vocally right you got abused and attacked and hit and put down and yelled at and right your dad your mom would what grab you by the face isn't that what you said yeah okay so it's obviously a little baffling to me from a sanity standpoint which is your mother is like well you know people can very much have different perceptions of a conversation And that's okay. But if that's her belief, what about when you were a kid?

[1:40:49] Right. Yeah, she's very relativistic with different relationships, but she was never relativistic like when I was a kid. Right.

[1:40:59] Now, do you think that your mother would have any perception of how horrible it is to hear that it's very important to recognize differences in opinions and differences in experience and different perceptions of a conversation and to be gentle and curious and accept it? Like, that all of this, when she was screaming blue murder in your face and shaking you by the face when you were a kid and didn't understand something or had a different perception of the conversation.

[1:41:28] If I said that, you were?

[1:41:30] Well, I mean, no. I mean, do you think, sorry, do you think that she has any understanding of how different these standards are?

[1:41:42] No, not at all. i mean right after we had this conversation about parenting she was telling me about this other, kid or like this other co-worker of hers who was like fine with the way they were parented but like she like it was really aggressive just like keep the story short and she was like you know some people just see it differently and this is after she's apologized for being aggressive towards me i'm like we just had this whole conversation oh so now she's trying.

[1:42:12] To program you with other to say that it's just a relativistic preference like preferring red over blue.

[1:42:19] Right and i i said like a million times because she kept saying like these these are just your preferences of what good parenting is i was like no this is not like just my idea or my like arbitrary standard, like like there's reasoning behind this and i can give it to you if you want but i mean it's pretty obvious why you shouldn't hit children um no but.

[1:42:39] It's even sorry it's even deeper than that sorry to interrupt because she's saying that it's just relativistic but if it's just relativistic then why would you violently impose it upon others.

[1:42:50] Yeah right.

[1:42:52] So it would be like something like okay let me let me have the convo with your mom if you can just play your mom for a sec right.

[1:42:59] Yeah go ahead okay.

[1:42:59] Probing for empathy vs. manipulation

[1:43:00] So mom you're saying that my preference to not be hit is just a subjective and relativistic preference and other people can perceive it very differently.

[1:43:07] Well i I mean, I get why you would feel that it's bad, but I mean, a lot of people get hit and say that it's good. So, I mean, it's, you know, who's to say?

[1:43:15] Okay. So, you're disagreeing with me now, right?

[1:43:20] Um, I guess.

[1:43:22] No, you are. I'm saying it's bad, and you're saying it's subjective, right?

[1:43:27] Well, I mean, look, I'm disagreeing because, you know, you're just giving me your perspective, but like— No, no.

[1:43:32] No, I'm not complaining that you're disagreeing, but you are disagreeing with me, right?

[1:43:36] I guess, yeah, I guess I'm disagreeing with you.

[1:43:39] Okay, so you're disagreeing with me. Do I get to hit you? Like, what if I just punched you or grabbed you by the face or shook you?

[1:43:47] No, you don't get to hit me, okay? You don't need to talk like that.

[1:43:50] No, no, no, I understand that. I understand that. Okay. So it's wrong to hit for disagreeing?

[1:44:00] Yes.

[1:44:01] Okay, so when I was a kid and I disagreed with you, why did I get hit if it's wrong to hit for disagreeing?

[1:44:07] I don't know. I guess I was just a bad mom.

[1:44:09] No, mom, don't go rubber bones on me, because you're saying that it's not bad to hit children and that's fine it's just a subjective thing but you said it was absolutely wrong to hit you, for disagreeing with me but when i disagreed with you as a kid i could get hit listen.

[1:44:29] I i would tell you like where things are or how to do things like a million times like i showed you how to vacuum a million times and you just wouldn't listen like i didn't know what to do.

[1:44:37] Have you ever had trouble with your computers or your printers or your tablets mom yes okay i honestly don't know Do you come to me for help? yes okay do i get to belt you and hit you and scream at you because i've i've told you a bunch of times how to how to do this stuff no okay so what's the difference you're an adult i was a kid surely we should be nicer to kids than adults so why don't i get to belt you when i've told you a million times how to print wirelessly i.

[1:45:05] I honestly don't know like i've already said i'm sorry i don't know why we need to be having this conversation or like what what you want from me i'm just i feel like you're doing this just to hurt me.

[1:45:12] Okay so mom you you realize that you just said i me me i like half a dozen times in about five seconds well.

[1:45:20] Can we only talk about you like there's two people in this conversation.

[1:45:22] Not not according to you because i keep making these points and then you just keep talking about yourself so so for you there's only one person in this conversation is partly the problem i have is it seems pretty narcissistic and selfish for you to just talk about your thoughts and perceptions and feelings and make these arguments and then fold immediately when i disprove you and then complain that that i'm not serving your needs or feelings and and And like, it's just all about you, right? Like, do you not understand that I'm in genuine pain here and I'm genuinely frustrated about these completely hypocritical standards?

[1:45:53] Listen, I know that I'm like, I'm selfish or I've been angry before, but like you doing this isn't helping.

[1:46:01] Oh, sorry, sorry. I'm supposed to help you, mom? That's my job? I'm angry at you for hitting and belting and yelling and screaming at me as a kid. And now the only thing that you can think of is how I can help you? Do you get how narcissistic this all is?

[1:46:17] Yeah, I guess I'm just a narcissist then.

[1:46:19] Okay. All right. Well, so then as a narcissist, we can't have a relationship because narcissists don't have relationships with anyone. So I guess you've just made things really clear to me. If that's your answer, that you're a narcissist and you can only think of yourself and you can't ever really have empathy for anyone else, then that's my answer. I mean, if you want to take the defense of narcissism, I'll tell you that comes with complete disengagement for me, because narcissists can't be fixed.

[1:46:43] I want to have a relationship with you.

[1:46:45] No, you just said you were a narcissist. And now you're saying, I want, I want. I'm here. Can you recognize that at all?

[1:46:54] Yes, obviously you're here.

[1:46:55] Okay, thank you. Can you stop talking about yourself for five goddamn minutes?

[1:47:00] Well, apparently all you want to talk about is the way I parented. Like, we're only criticizing me here.

[1:47:04] So you're back to talking about you?

[1:47:09] I don't know what your goal is here.

[1:47:11] Perception of conversation differences

[1:47:12] Okay, so we're back to talking about you.

[1:47:13] If you just want to criticize me, I don't want to have this conversation.

[1:47:16] Can you start a segment of the conversation without talking about yourself?

[1:47:21] I guess not.

[1:47:22] Okay, okay. Then I guess you are a narcissist, and there's no point trying to have a relationship. It would be unfair, right? Because I'm asking you to do something you just can't do, which is to have empathy for someone else.

[1:47:35] Yeah and then it just goes in circles from there.

[1:47:37] No so it doesn't go in circles and did you see I mean you got that right like everything I Mimi I you're hurting me it's just she cannot get out of her own head and into somebody else's heart, I'm so sorry man that's hideous.

[1:47:57] Yeah that's always like.

[1:48:00] And you've got the hypocrisy right oh yeah absolutely hitting you as a kid was great if I disagree with you how dare you hit me you disagree with me as a kid I totally got to belt you yeah exactly right so of course it's convenient relativism, it's relativism when, you're complaining and it's absolutism when she's complaining.

[1:48:23] Yeah exactly and that yeah like that's how i always felt as a kid like it was just everything i did had to be perfectly measured to how she was feeling that day otherwise i was a bad person.

[1:48:34] So it's all just a series of power play manipulations to make her right and you wrong so that you can be dismissed and she can get her away yeah all right and now how did that break at all over the conversation or was it just like she felt the threat of you maybe not wanting to spend Spend time with her so she'll appease you and comply in order to just continue to get what she wants, which is your company and presence, so that she doesn't have to explain to her friends where the hell you are.

[1:49:01] Yeah, the apologies or the appeasement has all felt like that, like instinctually. it's been like you're the things you're saying are just like different versions of what you've said in the past and like nothing about you is really changing so you have to just be saying these things to appease me and keep me around right okay and like i'm yeah like like you were saying like you know i'm a relatively virtuous person and i don't look to harm people and if people truly forget or ask for forgiveness, like I'm, I don't withhold it. So why do I, why am I still angry? And it's like, it's probably a really good reason for that.

[1:49:44] Right. Yeah. I, I don't, I don't make myself do stuff, you know, I mean, I'll, I'll focus on virtues and values and, and so on. I don't, I don't make myself do stuff because that's to say that there's some part of me that's just really bad and wrong and, and corrupted. I've just gotta, I gotta force myself and hurt myself like a bunch of one random sheep with the worst sheep what the most aggressive sheep dogs known to man I'm like eh you know if I feel like calling someone okay I'll give him a call if I don't feel like I feel no obligation to do that which goes against some pretty deep moral instincts that I have which have guided me you know pretty well in life, overall and I have lots of validation but of course I had to kind of invent the wheel which you don't have to hopefully myself and other people have you know shaped a couple of rocks round it at least for you. Oh, yeah. Yeah, but if you still feel resentful, it's like, yeah, it's because... I mean, it's hard to say exactly what it looks like because it's so incredibly rare. But for your mother to genuinely get it.

[1:50:49] It's impossible. She's never gotten anything, really.

[1:50:52] If she's still in the state where every one of your perspectives she can only interpret as to whether it helps or harms her immediate emotional interest, then you're not in the conversation.

[1:51:02] Yeah.

[1:51:02] Like, well, I'm not getting what I want, therefore you're bad. Well, I am getting what you want. Therefore, I'll give you a pat on the head, right? That's how you train a puppy, right? So that's not personhood. Personhood is, tell me more. I'm curious. Tell me more, right? Right.

[1:51:17] Yeah. And I never, like, even since they've apologized, like my dad last night in the conversation where he wasn't aggressive and he apologized, like I, at one point, because he was explaining how important family is, because it's like the piece away from the chaos of society. I'm like, I never once in my entire childhood felt that way about my immediate or extended family. And then he just like glossed right over that. Right. Like I just said a very important thing.

[1:51:44] Right but it's not important because he's trying to tell you family is everything so you do what he wants and if that strategy doesn't work then he'll just move on to some other strategy he's got no curiosity about your experience it's like okay i'll try this key in the lock does it open the lock nope okay i'll try this key in the lock i'll just try my whole series of bullshit manipulations and i'll just keep trying the keys until i get what i want yep doesn't matter like Like, you don't sit there and say to the lock, are you okay? Do you mind if I violate you once more, Harvey Weinstein style? Like, are you okay? Do you need some lubrication? Do you need some wine? Do you need some Barry Gibb or Barry White? Do you need anything?

[1:52:23] The self-centered nature of conversation

[1:52:24] You know, sweet nothings, candlelight. You know, do you need a sponge bath, a back rub? You know, it's just like, nope, try the key, try the key, try the key. Damn it, right?

[1:52:32] Yep.

[1:52:34] Yeah, it's a pretty horrible thing to be on the receiving end of, just seeing that they just don't care. They don't care, seems to me.

[1:52:42] Yeah, yeah. And I just know that if I, like, because my dad, he probably feels like, oh, I apologized. I was really open. And if I go to him and be like, yeah, you weren't open and you haven't changed at all.

[1:52:55] Well, so the apology then just becomes a precursor to more bullying. Like, hey, hey, man, I apologize. I apologized. I did what you wanted. What more do you? Now you're just being unreasonable. I did what you asked.

[1:53:06] That's exactly what's going to happen.

[1:53:07] I did apologize, and now you want more, and then come on, man.

[1:53:10] That's exactly what's going to happen.

[1:53:12] Yeah, so it's just a setup, and I'm sorry about that. It's just, you know, genuine apologies are really powerful and beautiful things to both give and to receive, and this kind of setup is really gross.

[1:53:23] Yeah, it just felt—it all felt gross. It all felt gross.

[1:53:29] And, again, the last thing I'd want to do is tell you what to feel, but— The mindset that helped for me, and it may or may not help for you, but the mindset that helped me was something like this. Look, my parents are beyond choice. They have no functional free will. In other words, like I'm an empiricist, right? So I'd say, okay, what evidence do I have that they're capable of making choices? That they're capable of self-reflection, that they're capable of looking back upon their lives and saying, well, I had these ideals or these standards. it's i didn't fulfill them in this way and i feel bad and i need to make amends like, where's the conscience right and you know my father died no reconciliation no apologies no kind he didn't even let me know he was unwell and you know my mother it's been like 20 plus 23 years or something 24 years maybe even 25 if i really add it up and you know she's still around.

[1:54:28] And you know there's there's nothing and i mean there's nothing that could be done now i mean good lord i'm going to probably be a grandma a grandfather in in not too long from you know in you know probably eight eight years so like what on earth would i need parenting for i haven't been right for like 40 years right so so i view them as machines they are they're npcs and i i remember reading somebody talking about a video game character i think it was in the game morrowind which you know you probably would have been five years old when that game came out so you probably we didn't play it but it was the precursor to skyrim and and so on and i remember somebody saying oh yeah i had this guy this character in morrowind uh i haven't played the game in 10 years i just booted it up and i i picked i left him on the mountaintop and he's just been standing on a mountaintop for 10 years freezing his ass off and you know that's a kind of and i remember playing the game morrowind and i had an npc character and i you know these things with npcs i don't know if you play many games but i like some of the rpgs right so you know you get this sidekick. You get this NPC character, And I remember sometimes they're just not there. And you're like, damn, where did he go? Because, you know, they maybe get stuck somewhere or whatever, right? And I remember having to retrace my steps, and I found him locked in a room in a dungeon I'd been at like two days previously.

[1:55:52] Right. Right?

[1:55:53] And, of course, it's just a bunch of digital blobs. It's not an actual person trapped in a room. him and he's like freaking out and and and having flashbacks to his childhood about being locked in cupboards like it's just a bunch of digital nothings with no preferences whatsoever you know like i i play the game katan sometimes when i'm exercising and if i'm in the middle of a particular set then i don't make my turn and the the robots are all like the the npc characters are all tapping their watches like hey man come on it's like they don't care right i could wait a thousand years is they wouldn't get impatient they wouldn't be bored because they're just so it's just a bunch of blobs of digital data now you can personify it all you want and it's kind of funny in a way to do that i felt vaguely relieved to have released my npc from the dungeon where he got stuck behind a door but of course it doesn't matter whether he's there or not i could have just generated another npc or you know hired someone else or whatever it doesn't matter at all and dragon's dogma has these like npcs and all of that and and they'll chat with you some sort of vague ai way you know If it's kind of dark, they'll say, hey, it's getting dark, and they'll suggest things. But of course, it's just a bunch of digital blobs with no free will. They're just NPCs. And part of the game, of course, is you anthropomorphize these blobs, or you put the soul into the machine.

[1:57:15] And we have that kind of impulse sometimes with those who are close to us, particularly if they raised us, right? Which is to try and put the soul into the machinery. Right. Or imagine that we can reach through the machinery without losing fingers or limbs and free the soul.

[1:57:31] Right.

[1:57:32] The soul trapped in machinery

[1:57:32] Like I went back to free my NPC. But when I freed my NPC, he was just a bunch of digital blobs in a different digital blob, right? He doesn't even think of the term dungeon. He's just in a particular digital blob called walls.

[1:57:48] Yeah.

[1:57:49] And so, for me, it was like just looking at my parents and saying, okay, they're basically just NPCs. Now, it frustrates me because I'm not an NPC. And I'm like, well, I was able to escape my manipulations and my programming and all of the NPC train tracks. I was able to jump tracks and, you know, go aerial or whatever.

[1:58:11] And they're not. So if I just find the right key or the right combo, I can reach through the machinery and free their soul, like my NPC from the dungeon. But there was no evidence that that was going to happen. There was no evidence that they even knew they were trapped. In fact, they viewed me as bad, right? Yeah. I'd view them as misguided, and they viewed me as bad.

[1:58:35] Just as in that little roleplay, your mom was like, you're hurting me. because you know the woman who shook your neck and shook your face and yelled in your face apparently it's just really bad to hurt people it's like what like there's no consistency well i'll just i'll just try i'll try i'll try to manipulate his empathy into not hurting me right he's upsetting me by bringing me face to face with my own conscience or lack thereof he's He's upsetting me. So what I'll do is I'll try to play on his empathy, because I'll try to make him believe that you shouldn't hurt those you love, and hope that he wouldn't notice that I spent good chunks of his childhood terrifying and terrorizing him. I'll hope that he won't notice that hypocrisy, right? And then if he does notice that hypocrisy, then I'll play the self-pity, and then I'll play the self-attack. Oh, I guess I was just a bad mother, and then he'll rush in to defend me from that, and he'll forget about himself. So the reason why narcissists constantly talk about themselves is so you'll end up dealing with them rather than bring your own complaints to the table.

[1:59:43] Right. There's an old Monty Python skit about the complaints department, like you call the complaints department, and all they do is complain to you about their bad backs and, you know, they've been sitting too long and, you know, they think they have a headache and, you know, one of their testicles is slightly larger than the other. and so that's the complaints department and then of course you never end up getting to complain because all you're doing is listening to other people's complaints and that's kind of how the selfish people operate is they'll just continually talk about themselves and then they'll pretend to be self-attacked they'll pretend to have self-pity they'll pretend to cry anything to have you focus on them rather than your own thoughts and feelings because if they end up having to focus on your Your thoughts and feelings, like you've got to understand this barrier. If your mother or your father, if they genuinely focus on your thoughts and feelings, they turn from good people to bad people. Because the barrier between them and focusing on your feelings is all the times they hurt you.

[2:00:44] Yeah.

[2:00:44] And they hurt you because they did not process your feelings. They only process their own feelings. I'm frustrated. You damn well have to pay. And so the barrier between your emotional reality and their perception is a pile of bodies, in a sense, as high as the Himalayas. It's like a Mount Everest of bodies. Yeah. It simply can't climb that. And they can't see you on the other side. And the bodies are the wrong things that they did.

[2:01:16] And this bad conscience.

[2:01:17] Consequences of a bad conscience

[2:01:18] Causes a permanent eclipse between your heart and the heart of everyone else's this is why it's important not to have a bad conscience sorry i keep i keep talking you wanted to say something go ahead.

[2:01:26] No you're exactly right yeah they're just there wasn't a moment that there was like a um a consideration of how i was feeling right wow there was a few times that happens like what do you think of my parenting like is there anything think i could do better and i was like yeah i don't like when you yell or like you scream or like you grab me and she's like well do you understand why i'm doing those things like you understand why i'm frustrated and you know i'd be like yeah yes okay and then you know right and anything from there on yeah.

[2:01:58] Anything to keep your emotional reality away from her heart and and the way i also viewed it is like you know those are you are you christian.

[2:02:07] I'm not christian know.

[2:02:09] Okay. So, but the analogy would be that they sold their soul to the devil, right? They sold their soul, they sold the happiness of their relationship with their children for the sake of immediate and petty emotional gratification, satisfying anger or hostility or rage or whatever, right? So they, and when you, after you sell your soul to the devil, certainly after a certain amount of time, you can't get it back.

[2:02:37] Yeah no absolutely.

[2:02:38] And i don't know exactly what the tipping point is but if you harm children for long enough you never get your soul back the the the path to npc is the bones of child love right that that's the that's the path to npc them is to crunch the bones of dependent children to harm children is the surest way to end up without free will because you can't choose You can't choose empathy. You can't choose connection. You can't choose love. You can't choose self-criticism. You can't choose any higher standards. The path to NPC is littered with the bones of children, except the children survive. It's just you who don't.

[2:03:19] Hmm. Jeez. Yeah, exactly.

[2:03:23] So is that a useful mindset, perhaps, to approach this stuff with?

[2:03:28] Yeah, that's amazing. Yeah, that's extremely helpful.

[2:03:32] For good good well i appreciate your patience with some of the technical issues i'll take out a couple of names and places here and there but i i really do admire you for what you're doing this is going to be an amazing foundation for your own future family to make sure you maintain that connection and that your children don't see you being you know pushed around by some some what sounds like kind of cold-hearted bullies and i just think what you're doing is is fantastic in in terms of the progress of the species and your own family line in particular yeah magnificent job.

[2:04:03] Thank you thank you yeah you've helped so much with that so i i appreciate it so much.

[2:04:07] All right brother well keep me posted and uh i really do appreciate your time today great great job thank.

[2:04:13] You thank you.

[2:04:14] Bye-bye bye.

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