How to Overcome Anxiety! Freedomain Call In - Transcript

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I'm a 25 year old male and before i go into specifics I need to warn you that I'm an idiot, and yes I have been avidly watching your shows I even called into the show a couple times and donated/read your books even more. I'm an idiot who knows what I need to do, but refuses to do it. and that's why I'm here. I don't know how to face the pain in my life. My fears, my anxieties, my trauma. I can do it for a couple seconds, but just like staring at the sun, it doesn't take long until I look away. I'm calling myself an idiot partially out of self-hate but mostly because I legitimately feel like that word matches any description of me. I'm more than eager to talk about doing it, fantasize doing it, plan on doing it, but actually doing it? never. I've lied to myself, fooled myself into thinking I was facing it before, but all I was doing was tricking myself out of doing the hard work and the simple thing I always should have done. I'm an overthinker. When everyone else is playing checkers, I'm playing chess. I'm more ashamed at the fact I've waited this long to change than anything else. But not just that, it's that I knew what I needed but I was too much of a coward to face it this entire time. A great example would be my training. unless it's easy, convenient, and forgettable, like a nice walk, I never manage to keep up any kind of physical training I find myself looking at the gym or a set of weights, and thinking about how much it would hurt, and how easy it would be to put it off, and how my motivation was already burnt out after the first month or so… I begin asking myself why I'm doing this anyways if I didn't actually want to better myself and the obvious answer comes up that I never actually cared about my physical health i was just doing what I always do, managing my anxieties. When they've been properly managed, there's no reason to do it anymore. I like to think discipline is just self-love plus self-commitment in action, but what do I know?

I want to learn how to face the things I'd rather not face. In the real world. I want to face these pains. My fears. My anxieties, and whatever trauma I might have too. I don't know how. or maybe I'm such a coward I don't want to know how or recall how. I'm tired of anxiety paralyzing me, clouding my mind, and making me feel like crap. Whenever I try to face it, I just end up numbing myself to everything. I need to face it, feel it, let it pass through me. address every ounce of it, but there's so much, and I've neglected myself for so long, I don't know how to face it. Maybe it just take willpower and a little grace. I'd like to think I know how to let go and just surrender myself to my emotions and calm down for a second, but if I did I probably wouldn't be here. I don't feel like someone who should be doing this and not paying for it, if you want to talk I'd be more than happy to donate something serious to your cause. A part of me feels like this is stupid and I'm just wasting your time, because only I can change my life. The only thing you or anyone else can do is provide guidance and enlightenment. and for a long time, I've felt like I've been enlightened to everything already about myself, that my issue is just a simple one of inaction. But maybe it isn't. I don't know.

Hope this message finds you well, if you're interested please let me know.

Transcript

[0:00] Dear Stefan, I'm a 25-year-old male, and before I go into specifics, I need to warn you that I'm an idiot.
And yes, I have been avidly watching your shows, and I even called into your show a couple times and donated, read your books and more.
I'm an idiot who knows what I need to do but refuses to do it, and that's why I'm here.
I don't know how to face the pain in my life.
My fears, my anxieties, my trauma. I can do it for a couple seconds, but just like staring at the sun, it doesn't take too long until I look away.
I'm calling myself an idiot partially out of self-hate, but mostly because I legitimately feel like the word matches any description of me.
I'm more than eager to talk about doing it, fantasize about doing it, plan on doing it, but actually doing it? Never.
I've lied to myself, fooled myself into thinking I was facing it before, but all I was doing was tricking myself out of doing the hard work and the simple thing I always should have done.
I'm an overthinker. When everyone else is playing checkers, I'm playing chess.
I'm more ashamed at the fact I've waited this long to change than anything else, but not just that, it's that I knew what I needed, but I was too much of a coward to face it this entire time.
A great example would be my training, my fitness.

[1:19] Unless it's easy, convenient, and unforgettable, like a nice walk.
I never managed to keep up any kind of physical training.
I find myself looking at the gym or a set of weights and I'm thinking about how much it would hurt or how easy it would be to put it off. And I.

[1:35] How my motivation was already burnt out after the first month or so.
I began asking myself why I'm doing this anyways if I didn't actually want to better myself, and the obvious answer comes up that I never actually cared about my physical health.
I was just doing what I always do, managing my anxieties.
When they've been properly managed, there's no reason to do it anymore.
I like to think discipline is just self-love plus self-commitment and action, but what do I know?
I want to learn how to face things I'd rather not face in the real world.
I want to face these pains, my fears, my anxieties, and whatever trauma I might have as well.
I don't know how, or maybe I'm just such a coward that I don't want to know how or recall how.
I'm tired of anxiety paralyzing me, clouding my mind, and making me feel like crap.
Whenever I try to face it, I just end up numbing myself to everything.
I need to face it, feel it, let it pass through me, address every ounce of it.
But there's so much, and I've neglected myself for so long, I just don't know how to face it.
Maybe it just takes willpower and a little grace.
I'd like to think I know how to let go and just surrender myself to my emotions and calm down for a second.
But if I did, I probably just wouldn't be here.
I don't feel like someone who should be doing this and not paying for it.
I mean, this is my third time around.
You've helped me a lot, but I mean, I don't feel like I've been helping myself.

[3:04] If you want to talk, I'd be more than happy to donate. And I mean, to a good cause, frankly, you're cheaper than therapy and far more effective.
And you help a lot of people, by the way. Part of me feels like this is stupid and I'm just wasting your time because only I can change my life.
The only thing you or anyone else can do is provide guidance and enlightenment.
And for a long time, I felt like I've been enlightened enough about my situation, that I know everything and my only issue is just one of inaction.
But maybe it isn't. I don't know. I hope this message finds you well.
If you're interested, well, here we are.

[3:45] Here we are indeed. That's a brave and very open email. Maybe a little harsh.
We'll sort of dig into that.
Yeah, sorry. No, no, no, no, no need to apologize. I mean, just be honest, right? This is what you feel. This is what you feel. You got to work with what is, right? So that's great.

Trauma and Anxiety as Constant Struggles

[4:01] I appreciate you calling in, and I'm sure we can do some good stuff here. So...
The trauma, the trauma, the trauma. That's obviously a pretty obvious recurring theme in what you write about.
So what is the story with the trauma?
What is going on with that? What are you managing that comes out of your history that is upsetting to you the most? Or the top five, if you want.

[4:25] Well, I've had anxiety issues for as long as I can remember.
And I mean, I didn't know about anxiety for a long time or what it actually was.
Was but it's like a constant you know feeling of a you're in a fight or flight situation and you know i mean living with my father especially i mean it's been a fight or flight situation because he's a narcissist and you never know you know what's going to set him off or what's going to make him explode and uh you know it's just it's been real tough because you know you know how it is especially when you're a kid it's very easy you know kind of pour your emotions out out on kids, I guess, because he certainly did a lot of that to me.

[5:06] And so I appreciate, I mean, the label is interesting, but narcissist means a bunch of things to a bunch of people.
So what are the actual actions, like the empirical stuff that he would do or say that is the most troubling?

[5:23] So, for example, if I ever talked back to him, if I ever, you know, said my own, you you know, feelings or criticized him or said, you know, no, I don't want to do this.
Or, you know, or I felt a different way from him or, you know, I just generally wasn't aligned with him in some way, or if I made him look bad, that's a big one.
Um, those really always kind of set him off.
It's, um, he's very two-sided that way. He's just kind of, you know, one end on one end, you know, when everybody's gone, you know, I still remember this a lot of times when I was a kid, he would put a big smile on as soon as the door closed and everybody was gone it's like a 180 you know like a monster but um, You know, he's just kind of a people pleaser like that, I guess.
And, I mean, that's kind of what I've dealt with for a very long time.
I mean, especially with his explosive anger.
You never know what's going to set him off.
Sometimes it's just spilt milk. Sometimes it's, you know, you look at him for too long.
You know, he's got a lot of drug issues too. But, I mean, nothing's too bad. I mean, who am I?

[6:36] Sorry, nothing too bad? you drop the drug issues thing and then minimize it right away okay well we'll get to the drug issue thing but but uh this sort of explosive anger how often would he get angry now that doesn't mean he's like you know obviously full red-faced vein bulging neck screaming but how often would you would he get angry to the point where you're like oh gotta be careful or he'd have that moodiness or was it fairly constant couple of times a week couple of times a month how did it play well um it was fairly often i mean he was off actually a few times red-faced but um usually it was just kind of like a trigger you know he comes back from work or something else and uh i'm sorry i'm trying to consolidate my thoughts i'm getting a little little cloudy uh so yeah he had some serious anger issues and he it wasn't like you know twice a month or anything it was just whenever really i i mean when i was younger it was much more often it was but as as he got older i guess you know the you know the energy kind of went away the vitality went away but um it's definitely still there um okay man oh man i'm sorry i'm a mess what what what no you don't want to apologize what question did i ask.

Intense Emotional Impact of Moodiness and Anger

[8:04] I i don't remember right sorry so so you got to take a deep breath, just listen and answer because that was that was like being dragged around on the back of a pickup truck down a gravel road in arkansas 1962 where are we okay how often did his his moodiness or his anger impact you?
Was it on a daily basis, weekly, monthly?

[8:28] It was a daily basis.

[8:31] A daily basis. So on a daily basis, no skepticism here, I just want to get the facts, right? So on a daily basis, he has this moodiness that signaled danger.

[8:40] Yes.

[8:41] Okay. So is it fair to say, of course, that it was a perpetual threat because, as you've said a couple of times, you didn't know where it might be coming or what might trigger it?

[8:51] Yes.

[8:51] Okay, got it, got it. And give me the different sort of scales and manifestations of his temper.

[9:03] So, lucky for me, he never really, well, he did hit me, but he's never like actually, you know, throwing a fist at me, you know.
Sometimes he'll, you know, say, you know, like, you know, how do you like it?
How do you like it sort of thing.
But, um. Sorry.

[9:18] Please don't say lucky for me. He didn't punch me.

[9:22] Sorry.

[9:22] Like, that's, that's not, you know, that's, I don't even know what category to put that in.
But there's nothing about this that's lucky for you. Nothing. think okay so and of course you didn't know that he was incapable of or would would rarely do that certainly near the beginning so you you went somewhere i was a little distracted by this luckily for me he didn't punch me much and then there was something about how do you like it and i didn't quite follow that part oh sometimes especially if i was doing something he thought was wrong like uh like if i was um doing something and he thought it was unfair to him he would try trying to put me in his shoes and, you know, they go, how do you like it?

[10:02] How do you like it? You know?

[10:04] So can you give me an example of something like that from early in your life?

[10:10] Well, so I think sometimes, especially if I'm just trying to ask, like, let's say I'm asking him for something like, uh, I want him to take me somewhere and he'll kind of flip the lid and say, well, you know, can't you see I'm busy? Can't you see I'm busy?
I, you know, How do you like it? Why don't you do this for me?
Why don't you do this for me? Why don't you? It gets kind of like really up in your face.
I mean, that's only one example.

[10:38] Okay, so I asked for an example. You gave me a category. Can you think of a material or specific example?
The reason being that if I'm just getting your conclusions, I'm not getting your experience. Does that make sense?
So a specific event, okay so sorry yeah just trying to, no you see the the reason why you're having so much trouble is you're living a world of conclusions rather than empiricism and so for me in my opinion right so i need to know what what actually happened so that I can empathize more with your experience?
Because if it's your conclusions that I'm at least once or probably twice removed from your actual experience.

[11:27] Hmm. Okay. Um, sorry.
I'm just trying to recall like how I actually felt during an event.
So.
Mm-hmm.

Dad's Reaction to Friends Coming Over

[12:01] Okay. So I'm so sorry.
So let's say it's one specific event.
Like if I'm with my friends, sometimes I have my, I had my friends over one day, I had my friends over and I had my friends over and he was kind of bothered by it.
He wanted, you know, to be left alone because he does, like I said, he does do drugs sometimes and he didn't want people to see it, but it was, you know, blindingly obvious.
But, you know, I kind of went and said, hey, can my friends come inside? side.
And, you know, he kind of acted like I was like invading his space.
Like I was asking for him to, you know, give me a liver or something by asking for my friends to come in.
And he just kind of turns around and says, you know, how do you like it?
You know, can I live in your room?
Can I do this? Can I do that? You know, and it's just, you know, it's like, you know, you ask for for an inch, and he, you know, it feels like he was treating it like I was asking for a mile.
And he's always, I mean, does that help?

[13:22] That certainly helps in terms of a circumstance, but that doesn't get me to his rage.
That gets me to, I don't know, false, lying, hypocritical manipulation stuff, but helped me to sort of understand the manifestations of anger.
And please, when I'm asking for examples, in no way am I skeptical of anything that you're going through?
Like, I'm not like, oh yeah, give me proof. Oh, you can't give me proof?
Then it didn't really, there's nothing like that.
I just genuinely want to know what you were facing down as a kid.

[13:53] So where his anger sort of came from?

[13:57] No, that's not what I asked. You gave me an example of your friends wanting to come in. And look, it's really awkward as a kid, right?
Because your friends want to come in and they're like, oh, I want to come in or let's hang out on the couch or I need to go to the bathroom. And so you go to your dad.
OK, my friends are coming in and he's like, no, they're not.
And now you kind of you got to go out to your friends and say, no, we can't go in. You know, it's just it's weird and awkward, right?

[14:22] Yeah.

[14:22] Like, my friends would be over, and they'd be thirsty, and they'd be like, hey, man, what do you got to drink?
And I'd have to say, tap water, right? That was kind of embarrassing.
And so, or if I did have anything to drink, it would be pretty scarce or scant, and I'd have to give them a bunch of ice and, you know, all this kind of crap, right? It's just kind of embarrassing.
I mean, a friend of mine had a whole basement, like, he had a whole closet full of pop.
Pop, you know, like those 24, six, six by four cases of pop.
Like he, you could literally have as much pop as you want.
And you know, I, I obviously that wasn't particularly great for him in hindsight and all that, but I just look at that, like that was like, Oh, it's angels would sing when I'd open that door. Cause I, we were always short of stuff.
Um, so there's just a whole embarrassment thing. So you gave me an example, which is great of him.
Like, Oh yeah. Yeah, how would you like it if I moved into your room?
It's like, what the hell are you talking about? And they're not coming into your room, Dad. They're just coming into the place, which is supposed to be a shared space.
So that's a time when he was, I mean, did that escalate to yelling?
Or when would he get really angry? If you remember something that led to explosive anger.

[15:35] Hmm. So, explosive anger. Hmm. Hmm.
So.

Dad's Explosive Anger Over Spilled Milk

[15:47] Explosive anger. So I'm trying to think of a couple of examples, some actual events. So.
Explosive anger.
So, when I was a kid, I would sit at the kitchen table. My mom was sort of the breadwinner.
She worked at a corporation. My dad was sort of a stay-at-home guy.
He worked a job, but he was mostly home.
And he would feed me dinner. And one day, I was at dinner, and he fed me something that I asked for.
It was nice, but he kind of gave me a hard time about it because I asked for something that took a little cooking.
Well, anyways, I was at the table.

[16:37] Sorry, you asked for something that was a little cooking?

[16:40] Well, more than just putting something in the microwave, you know.

[16:43] Oh, you asked for something that he'd have to spend some time preparing?

[16:47] Yeah.

[16:48] You bastard. I'm kidding. No, this is like, I don't know if you ever read Oliver Twist, please, sir, can I have some more?
And he gets sold off like a slave for five quid, five guineas after that.
Okay, so you asked for something that involved a little bit of TLC, a little bit of prep.

[17:03] Yep, and so that kind of irked him. He was a little annoyed at that.
And I was, you know, and then I asked, hey, can I have some more milk?
And, you know, he said, okay. And then, you know, kind of the point came, you know, I spilled the milk. It was an accident.
It was just towards the edge of the table. And I, you know, I wasn't paying attention. And, you know, it spilled everywhere.
And he just kind of, he kind of had it, you know, apparently it was just too much for him to bear. You know, he was screaming at my face, you know, I couldn't imagine how many swears he was saying.

[17:39] So, sorry, you said you spilled, how old are you at this point?

[17:43] Oh, I must have been like five or four.

[17:46] Okay, so you said you spilled because you weren't paying attention?

[17:50] Well, yeah.
At the time, I was sitting at the table, and my dad just kind of seemed very mad.
He was pacing around, and, you know, I kind of— I don't know if it's right to make this observation, but he's usually like that when he's not on his, you know, drug of choice for a long time.

[18:12] But, you know, it's— I mean, have you spent much time around four- or five-year-old kids?

[18:23] Oh, not really, except for myself. I mean, I used to be four or five, so...

[18:26] I mean, do you think it's valid to say to a kid whose brain is four years old or five years old that they have a problem paying attention?

[18:36] Not really.

[18:38] I mean, that's like going up to a four-year-old, like, why so short?
Because I'm four, you idiot. So I just, I wasn't paying attention is an interesting phrase that for certain didn't come from you.
I mean no no five-year-old kid says gee i i guess the issue is i'm just not paying quite enough attention that's you know you got to pay some guy just pay attention to what you're doing like it's just shit that comes from outside that people yell at kids for reasons of, banal brutality but that's not a thing that would come from you, right also um, If I'm sitting having a glass of water and someone comes up behind me and jump scares me and I spill my water, am I spilling my water because I'm just not paying enough attention?

[19:39] No.

[19:41] So if your dad is stalking around in a foul mood going through withdrawal from his drug of choice and you're kind of paying attention to him and trying to pour the milk and your hands are shaking because you're scared, is it just because you ain't paying attention?

[19:56] No.

[19:57] No, it's because you're scared. You're in a situation of danger and threat. Right.
So I was kind of struck when you said that there was some issue around you not paying attention, which could be considered, I guess, a kind of fault on the part of the kid.
But you can't ever complain that a five-year-old or a four-year-old isn't paying attention.
And especially when you are frightening the child as well.

Father's anger triggered by accurate observation of drug use

[20:22] Yeah.
I mean, you reminded me of a couple other episodes similar to that. Like I said, where...

[20:31] Yeah, go. Tell me. I'm happy to hear. Yeah. Well, I shouldn't say happy to hear, but, you know, it's good to hear.

[20:36] Like if I spilt the milk, so to speak, or did something that kind of, you know, pushed him over the edge and people were around, nothing happened.
Like, for instance, if I was around one particular point, I said something that might be considered a criticism towards him.
You know, I think I said something like, you know, this place stinks because he smokes a lot of pot.
Lot and um you know i didn't say he smoked it but you know he's i said this place stinks and you know he's talking to a bunch of people and as soon as they close the door you know his smile like i said goes you know directly to a face of you know pure rage like how dare you embarrass me like that how dare you you know you know say something like that you know how dare you you know be like that you know like it's my fault but um right so that shows that he's perfectly capable of controlling his temper.

[21:30] And what he is, of course, is he's deeply ashamed of his drug use.
You know, like if my daughter says, you know, here's the place where my dad does most of his work, right?
There's a lot of cables, right? I wouldn't be mad at her. It's like, yeah, that's That's where I do my work, and it does involve a lot of cables.
So, yes, like I wouldn't be upset, right?

[22:00] Right.

[22:01] Here's the place where my dad has his free weights that he uses to exercise.
Sometimes it doesn't smell great. It's like, yeah, that's true.
I'm not going to argue with that. This is where I do my weights, and sometimes I'm sure it doesn't smell great, you know, if it's whatever, right?
So if my daughter is saying something that's accurate, even if it's not, quote, flattering or whatever, whatever, even if there could be something negative in it, but it's accurate, like, why on earth would I get upset?
So, it was your father's shame and his sense of status, right?
So, he's fine with smoking the drugs, he just doesn't want other people to know that he's smoking the drugs, right?

[22:47] Well, people he wants to, please, yes. People he, you know, strangers, you know.

[22:54] Yeah, I get it. Like, I mean, maybe somebody he smokes drugs with, they know, whatever, right?
But people who his status would be impacted negatively if they found out that he smoked drugs, especially around his kid, then he's mad at that, right?

[23:11] Right.

[23:12] So, obviously, it frankly has nothing to do with you.
It's that he has, he just, he wants to hide something.
And then if you point it out, I mean, it's, you know, it's the old emperor's new clothes thing, right? I mean, if somebody's fat and then some kid comes along and says, why are you so fat?
I mean, that's a real question, right? You are fat if you're fat, and kid has every right to ask that.
Now, you can say maybe we can be a bit more polite over time or whatever, right? But it's a fair question, right?
I mean, when kids would say, let's say they grew up with a bunch of guys who had all their hair, and they'd look at me and they'd say, why do you have no hair? hair.
And they wouldn't even know the word bald. That's fine. So why do you have no hair?
Well, yeah, I mean, because some men keep their hair, some men lose their hair, most men lose their hair over time.
And that's a fair question. Why am I offended? That's a fair, reasonable question.

[24:11] Well, I suppose the only reason he'll be offended is if, you know, he's fighting the truth, so to speak. I don't know.

[24:19] But um well no but i think it's important because a lot of what you have talked about has this is why i sort of stopped on the i wasn't paying attention thing, that you caused something in your father, that you caused him to become angry that you caused him to lose his cool that you caused him uh this is false, children it's a very very important thing to get as a whole children have no causality with regards to their parents children have no causality with regards to their parents children don't make their parents feel or do anything?
Zero, nothing, not a tiny, tiny shred.

[25:22] Now, you could, I mean, you know, there's always people who are like, well, so a baby cries and that makes the baby, that makes the mother wake up.
And it's like, yes, it does make the mother wake up.
Sure, absolutely. You know, if your kid is play fighting you and elbows you in the nose and your eyes water, yes, your kid has caused you pain.
I get all of that. But as far as moods go, children have no causality in the moods of their parents.

Taking Responsibility for One's Own Mood

[25:50] Because I'm their responsibility. Right.

[25:53] Well, in general, in general, people don't have much causality over the moods of others, unless you're in some, you know, you've been imprisoned in some unjust regime scenario or whatever, right?
But no, people don't have any causality on my mood. So if somebody is having a negative impact on my mood, I will talk to that person, I will question myself and see if it's me, see if it's them.
And if I conclude that it's them, I'll ask them to change their behavior.
If they don't change their behavior, I cut them off.
See, their effect on my mood is eventually 100% my responsibility.

Taking Responsibility for My Own Mood

[26:49] Other people's effect on my mood is 100% my responsibility as an adult, right, because it's my mood it's my responsibility well, I have control over who has impact over me, and if I, you know, I mean I had a friend years ago who was, you know, kind of a complainer, and he was a complainer and what often goes hand in hand with complaining is a false sense of superiority people are so stupid man people don't know anything they don't you know they just lie and right so he was kind of a complainer and that's okay a little bit when you're young but the problem is as you sort of cruise into your 30s and all of that you know if the if the people you can think are just losers are achieving a lot more than you are then things are starting and not very empirically good for your theory, right?
So he was kind of a complainer. So his name wasn't Bob, but I said, you know, Bob, I know you're a smart guy for sure, for sure.
He's very, very smart, one of the smartest people I actually knew growing up.
So a very smart guy and very insightful and very thoughtful, but just he couldn't get those wheels on the ground. He couldn't get things going.
And...

[28:11] I said, you know, the complaining is kind of dragging me down.
I mean, I had complaints about the world when I was younger, so I worked to try and improve my skills and improve my abilities and improve my values so that I could have some authority.
You know, if you complain about bosses, then go be a boss.
You know, I didn't like a lot of the bosses that I had as a teenager in my early 20s.
So, you know, one of the things I did was co-founded a company so I could be a boss, and I became a boss, and I was a great boss.
Us so i didn't have any i didn't complain about bosses as much so complaints are fine as long as they lead to some kind of action anyway so so the point of it is that it was like it just got it got his complaining and his lack of success just became further and further more distant from, my life it became less and less relevant less and less interesting and it just looked more and more more sad, more and more pathetic. And it just kind of brought me down.
So anyway, he had a particular field that he was interested in.
So I said, oh, you could open up a school in this field, or you could open up a training area in this field or whatever, right?
And I had some entrepreneurial experience. So I offered him some help and right.
And he's like, oh, but the permits and oh, the insurance and oh, the this and so many fail and blah, blah, blah.
It's like, okay, well, so all you're going to do is complain.

[29:35] And sorry to make such a long story, but But eventually, who's responsible for his impact on my life? It's not him.
It's me.

[29:47] You did everything you could.

[29:48] Yeah. You know, it was a long-term friendship. I'd known the guy for decades. And I did my best.
I gave him, you know, he complained about not making enough money.
So I helped prep him for an interview, got him a better, helped him to get a better job and all of that. And so it just became like, sorry, our life experiences are just too different.
Our perceptions of what we can do about life is just too different.
And the more you succeed, the more that the people around you who just prefer to complain, they kind of have to ignore your success because it goes against their whole theory.
But you can't win, don't try kind of thing. Your deck is stacked against you and blah, blah, blah, right?

[30:38] So, I'm 100% responsible for the impact that people have on me in my life.
As an adult, as a kid, I had no control over that.
I was sent here, I was sent to Africa, I was sent to boarding school, we moved to Canada. I just yanked all over the place and thrown in schools and never had any choice.
Now, I had some choice about who I associated with in the schools and all that kind of stuff. but kids don't have causality in their parents' moods.
Because you have all the choice in the world as a parent.
You have the choice to have a kid. You have the choice to keep the kid.
You have the choice on how much you invest in your kid. You have the choice in how much love you pour into that kid.
You have a choice in how you interpret what the kid is doing.
Right? So every parent knows. Back to your glass of milk, right? Every parent knows.
And it's funny because I wrote about this. If you haven't read my novel, The Present, I actually write about this.
So every parent knows that children want to imitate the parents, right?
You look up to your parents to some degree. You want to do what they do.
They're cool. You want to do what they do. So you see your parents pouring stuff all the time. So as a kid, what do you want to do?

[31:58] Pour stuff.

[31:59] Yeah, of course you do. Of course you do. You want to pour stuff.
Now, it's hard to pour things as a kid, four or five years old in particular, Especially if it's like a big, you know, those big two-liter cartons of milk or whatever, right? I mean, they're wobbly. They tip over.
They're like, you can't aim them correctly, right? I mean, I sort of remind adults, like, you get those weird little metal teapots in restaurants.
All they do is dribble back down the spout. Like, you can't get them to pour for love or money.
I don't know what hell-sent engineer created that monstrosity of self-pouring. But it's hard, right?
It's hard. So, all kids want to learn how to pour, and all kids will fail probably 20 to 40 times.
Absolutely.

[32:49] No question.

[32:51] Like all kids, when they learn how to walk, you hold their arms.
Why? Because they're going to stumble. They're going to fall. Why?
A kid learned, and I say, like, remember what it was like when you learned how to skate or ski? You fell a lot. Well, that's a kid learning to walk.
So what you do as a parent, it's a mindset thing, right?
So as a parent, your kid is, your kid is not going to pour. Your kid is going to miss.
Your kid is going to miss. So once your kid shows an interest in learning how to pour, you have a couple of options, right?
I mean, obviously you can say no, which is going to be frustrating for the kid, and going to communicate to the kid that you don't trust him, you don't think he can do it, he's too young, which is annoying because he knows that he can try.
Or you say, okay, let's throw on our bathing suits, let's sit in the bathtub and practice pouring.

Learning to Pour: Embracing Mistakes and Failures

[33:46] Here's a little plastic cup, here's a little plastic pitcher, scoop up the bath water and pour.
Pour and you can practice it right in a place where what does it matter if you if you spill it's a bathtub right right or you can stand there saying ready to pour you know and you can say to the kid listen it took me about two months to learn how to pour maybe you'll do it faster but you know that was my experience so you know let's let's go for it but it's going to take a little while it's like learning how to ride a bike or whatever it takes a little while it's a couple skinned knees so you do that and you stand by with the paper towel and right you just know they're gonna miss right and say hey good shot man i mean that you know first try that's that's pretty standard but it's gonna take a little while and and you just you recognize that you're racing your kids which means that they're gonna make mistakes and you can't even call them mistakes, it's just learning yeah you have to fail before you can succeed well and you can say fail but but I don't even look at it that way.

[34:50] Really?

[34:50] It's a kid who's crawling. Is he failing to walk? If he can only crawl, he's not failing to walk, failure relative to what?
Hmm right if you say steph you're physically weak because there are olympic athletes who can lift five times what you lift right does that mean i'm weak nope right so you said the kid doesn't fail to pour because failure has to include within it the possibility of success and there's no kid when they learn to pour who's going to get it right every time there's no possibility like like 0% possibility of that, right?
It's like saying, I can learn how to skate and never fall.
Well, if you've never fallen, it means you're basically just slowly walking on the ice and you're not actually learning how to skate.
Or I'm going to learn how to ski and I'm never going to fall.
That's not a possibility. So falling is not a failure. Failure.
Failing to pour correctly as a kid, or not pouring correctly as a kid, is not a failure.
Like, if I start to learn Japanese, I'm going to get a lot wrong.
Does that mean I'm failing? No.

[36:16] It's incorrect, for sure, and I, you know, falling down is not what you want to do on skis or skates, but it's not a failure.
Because if there's no possibility of achieving success without doing something, it can't be called a failure.
And there's no possibility of learning how to skate without falling on your ass a bunch of times.
So how can it be a failure if it's absolutely essential, required, and necessary to succeed?
You couldn't possibly have learned how to pour milk without spilling a whole bunch of milk.
Now, if what is required to succeed is called a failure, then you're calling success a failure.

[37:01] And I'm definitely hurting my chances of success.

[37:05] Well, you become, yeah, actually it's a form of sabotage. Calling it a failure is a form of sabotage because then you get concerned and you worry, well, I don't want to fail, and then you aim for perfection and your hands get more shaky and you get more nervous.
You understand, right? It's just this idea that, yeah, my daughter would, you know, and kids, what do they want to do? They want to carry things, right?
And then they want to carry things, God help you, they want to carry things on a tray.

[37:30] Upstairs. And then they want to make you some food. And this is all beautiful stuff.
And it's going to cause a mess. They're going to drop things.
They're going to break things. And sometimes the things that they break might have some sentimental value for you.
And of course, getting older is like none of this stuff matters. Who cares?
I mean, my daughter broke some glass of mine that I'd had for many years.
And it's like, how many times now do I think about that glass?
And oh, the glass that she broke. It doesn't matter.
Now, she and I would both remember if I yelled at her for it.
But i don't care about i mean what do i care about some glass from 40 years ago right well it's worth a lot less than your daughter well infinitely less right and good parenting means, letting your child and i don't know what the word is and it's interesting that i don't think there is a word for it what is the word for all the failures that are absolutely necessary for success, What is the word for all of that? I don't know.

No Word for Essential Developmental Stages

[38:36] Can you call them mistakes? Nope, because they're essential to success.
You can't call them failures because they're essential to success.
And that which is essential to success can't be a failure. It can't be a failure.
If it's absolutely required for success, it can't be a failure.
I don't know that we have a word for it.

[38:55] You're not screwing up. You're not making a mistake. You're not failing.
You're not making an error. because it's all absolutely necessary for success.
Like there's a phase when kids are very young, they make up their own word approximations for things which aren't the actual things.
So for my daughter, a spider was a bitty bow.

[39:22] And my wife somewhere in her papers has like a whole list of all my daughters.
And there's a word for them, I can't remember what it is. But they make up approximations of words.
A chocolate was cotulate.
She had electricity, not electricity. Now, is she getting the words wrong? Nope.
She's not getting the words wrong because there's no way to get the words right without going through that phase.
Every kid goes through that phase of having technically incorrect correct, but essential for success, language development.
They're not failures, because there's no way to get to accurate language without going through that phase.
So, and I'm sorry for such a long thing, but it's really, really important that you spilling the milk does not upset your father.

[40:28] Definitely.

[40:29] Like, you did not upset your father. Children cannot upset their parents.
Because the parents are in control. The parents are in charge.
And the parents, if they fail to have realistic standards for childhood development, parents are kind of a-holes.
Right, so if your father is like, okay, fine, you can pour, and then yells at you for spilling, which you will, you absolutely will.

[41:02] It'd be like me yelling at my daughter for saying biddy bow instead of spider, no if you're a parent well first of all you've been through being a child, so of course your father knew that when he poured when he learned how to pour he spilled of course he did every kid does it's natural, no kid rides a bike without ever wobbling or falling unless they're riding so cautiously and their father never lets go that they never actually learn how to ride a bike.
Every kid with any gumption experiments with bicycling but without holding the handlebars, right? Natural.
And sometimes that will end, well, occasionally that will end badly and teach you some caution, and that's natural, right? It's natural.
So all parents are responsible for knowing the appropriate developmental stages of children.
And you don't yell at children for going through all the necessary developmental stages in order to achieve competence.

[42:12] I mean, you just don't yell. So if your kid pours and spills, that's a good thing.
It means that they're trying something new, they're testing out a new skill, and you give them the opportunity to handle frustration, right?
You're teaching them. The important thing isn't about the pouring, obviously.
The important thing is you don't say, yay, great job, when they spill, but you also don't say you made a mistake, you did something wrong.

The Mechanics Behind Wrestling with Trauma

[42:38] Huh.
So a small question. Would you say I'm doing that to myself in a sense?

[42:48] Sense like if I that's why I'm talking so much about all of this right that's not talking so much about all of this because when I hear people who are having trouble wrestling with trauma, there's a couple of things I listen for just if you want to like know the sort of mechanics behind the smooth operating machinery so first of all I'm listening for the identification of criticisms that come from outside, So if you say, I'm stupid, which you did in the email, then I look to say, I call myself stupid because that's what my dad called me all the time as a kid.
Okay, so that's at least an awareness that the criticism comes from outside. Does that make sense?

[43:40] Yes. Yes.

[43:41] Right. Okay. You didn't do that, which means that you have, in some ways, and look, you're a young man, so look, no problem.
Again, this is totally appropriate to your development, right?
This is not a failure. It's not a mistake. It's just I'm pointing out a path of progress.
Is if the people around you call you these labels and punish you if you don't accept them, then identifying that is important, right?
So, of course, in totalitarian regimes, there are these struggle sessions where you are forced forced to accept negative labels as a bourgeois or a kulak or a, I don't know, whatever, right?
Enemy of the state or a counter-revolutionary.
You're forced to accept these labels. And if you don't accept these labels and apologize and grovel, then they'll throw you into a gulag and probably kill you, right?

[44:41] So if somebody says to me, they've escaped one of these horrible regimes regimes and they say well but i was i was a bourgeois capitalist pig dog right it's like okay so you think that's true like this you don't remember the struggle session where you had to say these things in order to survive right because if somebody says yeah they had a gun to my head and they said admit that you're a capitalist pig dog i will shoot you and i said yes i'm a capitalist as pig dog and they said no but say it and really believe it yes i am like you do all these things right oh yes right but you you don't sit there and say well of course i am a capitalist pig dog, i mean i understand that you really have to believe that and the younger it happens the more you have to believe it but as you get older then you have your memory which is why i was asking for specifics about what happened rather than your conclusions because your conclusions aren't working, right?
Right, so it's sort of like going to the doctor and saying, it doesn't hurt here, this is working fine, everything's copacetic here, the doctor's like, well, can you maybe cut to the chase and tell me what's hurting or what's not working?

[45:57] So, your conclusions are not helping you solve the problem, which is why I wanted to borrow past your conclusions and get to the empiricism of your actual experience.

Challenging Conclusions and Seeking Empiricism

[46:08] You say, well, my dad's a narcissist. It's like, okay, let's say he is. I don't know, right?
Let's say he is. Your conclusion that your dad's a narcissist hasn't solved the problem, right?
So, you're telling me, when you're telling me all your conclusions, you're telling me all the things that haven't worked for you?

[46:25] Well, I've definitely tried a lot. I mean, I grew up being a people pleaser, especially for my parents.
I mean, like you said.

[46:33] Listen to yourself, man. I grew up being a people pleaser.

[46:38] I suppose that you can't consider that growing up.

[46:41] No, it's not that. You definitely grew up. And that's exactly the same as saying I grew up as a capitalist pig dog.

[46:50] Really?

[46:51] Yeah, it's exactly the same. The fuck do you mean you're a people pleaser?
What was the price of not pleasing people what happened to your father what did your father do to you if you didn't please him, if I didn't please him if you didn't do what he wanted or demanded or threatened what happened, he'd make my life hell he would escalate you he would escalate against you he'd be violent abusive or threatening or scary or withdrawing or right he'd make your life hell, Well, I grew up as a people pleaser is a cover-up.
It's colluding with the criminal.
You were forced to please abusive people.
Do you see the difference?

[47:45] Yes.

[47:46] I'm not a capitalist pig dog. I was forced to say that.
You didn't grow up as a people pleaser. Well, first of all, children in general want to please their parents. It's a survival mechanism. There's nothing wrong with that.
But you grew up as a people pleaser? No.

[48:08] My dad was never a happy person. He never really had a smile on his face.
I always tried to make him smile, but nothing ever worked. And believe me, I went to some lengths to make him smile.

[48:20] Well, you kind of had to, because the only way for you to feel any sense of security was if your father was happy.
But your father wouldn't be happy. Now, do you know why your father avoided happiness?

[48:35] Was he ashamed?

[48:39] Boy, that's a reach in the dark if ever I've heard one.

[48:42] Did he know he didn't deserve it?

[48:43] No, because listen, if you're genuinely happy, people around you can relax.
And your father didn't want to let up on the pressure of intimidating those around him so he would never allow himself to be happy.
He always needed to have that threat around. Now, the fact that he's mean to his children or child, and the fact that he is smoking drugs when he's supposed to be parenting, the fact that he has no real purpose or direction or ambition or achievement in his life, if the fact that he's living off his wife's income while being a crappy parent at home, yeah, these things aren't going to make him happy for sure.
But you trying to connect with him by trying to make him happy, you trying to get some sense of safety and security by trying to make him happy, if he actually allowed that, allowed himself to take pleasure in you trying to make him happy, that would diminish his capacity to aggress against you.

[49:53] Right. So, he's doing everything he can not to be vulnerable.

[50:02] Vulnerable? Where does that come from?

[50:04] Well, then he's, if by this standard, he's doing everything he can not to be vulnerable to his emotions or to criticism or just in general, by putting up this kind of aggression.

[50:24] Progression. I'm sorry, we've gone straight back into fog land here, and there's 60 million new layers that you've introduced that weren't there in the previous conversation.
So that's all right, we can back up and figure out why we're in this fog area.
So I was saying that your father won't allow you to make him happy because he doesn't want to lose the ability to bully you, right?
So let's say you make your father happy, you give him a relief from the general dysthymic hellscape of his inner life, well, then he's going to start to value you as someone who can bring him happiness, right?
And therefore, if he yells at you, he will be diminishing your ability to make him happy, because you can't want to make him happy when he's yelling at you, right?

[51:06] Right.

The Power Dynamics of Positive Emotions and Control

[51:06] So he can't have a positive experience of you, because then he'll have to start being nicer to you in order to get that positive experience, right?
So let's say he's got a dealer, right? I assume he had a dealer, right?
Someone who gives him sells him the drugs right now he's pretty nice to the dealer if he goes to the dealer and screams at the dealer and threatens the dealer the dealer is going to not give him any drugs he's not going to want to meet with him anymore right right so he has to be nice to the dealer because the dealer holds the key to him feeling better does that make sense him getting getting his drugs.

[51:44] Yes.

[51:45] Okay. So if you start to make him feel better, he'd have to be nicer to you too.
So he can't let you make him feel better because then he'll have to be nicer to you in the same way that he's nice to his drug dealer.
The drug dealer is a source of positive emotion. Therefore, he's nice to the drug dealer because if he's mean to the drug dealer, the drug dealer won't sell him the drugs.
So he has to reject you making him feel better because otherwise he'll then have to be nice to you so you'll continue to make him feel better.
It's not this, I don't know, the vulnerability thing or emotional thing.
It's like, he just wants to keep having power over you.
Which means he won't let you make him feel better.
Because that would be giving you power over him. Like, in the same way the drug dealer has power over him.
Because as you saw, your father treated people with power over him a whole lot better, right?

[52:52] Yes.

[52:52] So he can't give you any power over him, which means you can't ever be allowed to make him feel better, because that's giving you power over him, then he'll have to be nicer, and he doesn't want to do that.
That's my analysis of the mechanic.
It seems to accord with all the evidence you've provided. I'm certainly happy to be corrected if it doesn't fit in general.

[53:14] No, it definitely seems accurate. I mean, it makes sense, thinking about it, considering all the things i've done to try and make him happy the money i've spent the places i've taken him the things i've done yeah and it doesn't work right he's just kind of sour and distant and negative and and all of that yeah yeah so i mean don't don't go overly empathetic deep psychology with people when you're just analyzing power power.

[53:40] Power is just a mechanic that is practical, pragmatic in nature.
It's not a deep psychology thing.
So, okay, so tell me how things sort of played out.

[54:00] I assume that there was some kind kind of shift in the power structure when you hit your your puberty growth or early early teens, early teens sorry your mic got interrupted for a minute what were you saying uh was there a shift in the power dynamic with your dad when you hit your teenage years and got stronger and so oh definitely yeah so what happened well when i was a kid he definitely be a lot more aggressive he'd be a lot more forward but as i grew up as i got you know sort of bigger and i even got to a point where I got taller than him and he started treating me a little nicer.
I mean, things didn't necessarily change, so to speak, but things were a little softer.
Does that make sense?

[54:50] It does. And you said you did all these things to try and make him happier or better. What were those things over the years?

[54:58] Well, I took him to various stadium games. I've bought him various things.
I mean, one of the big things that I thought would really help him is my dad's an orphan, and he's never seen a picture of his mother.
So I spent like half a year or something on a personal mission to find his biological family. And eventually I found them, and I found a picture of his mother, and that made him happy for like a week, but it didn't work.
I mean, it was definitely interesting learning more about my dad's past, but that was kind of the point where I kind of realized that there's nothing I can do. Like, nothing works.
I could go to the ends of the earth. I could do anything, and it won't work.
There's no point in trying.
And why do you think we've heard so little about good old mom.

Introducing the Overbearing and Controlling Mother

[55:56] Wait my mom, well we certainly heard about my mom over the years so that would be your mom yes, oh my mom uh my mom's kind of uh i don't want to draw conclusions but i And she's a bit of an OCD sort of control freak.
I mean, when I was growing up, as soon as smartphones came out, she gave me a phone and it had a tracking device. So she always knew where I went.
She always had a tracking device on me. I had to buy my own phone and my own plan in order to stop that.
But she's always been kind of busy at work.
Sorry, sorry.

[56:41] I'm a little baffled here. Help me out. You say your mother was obsessively concerned with your safety?

[56:51] I don't know about that. I mean, I suppose you could say she was concerned.

[56:55] She wanted to know where you were with your phone, right?

[56:59] I suppose you could say that.

[57:01] No, no, you said that. What do you mean I said that? You said she got me a phone and put a tracking device on it so she always knew where I was.
Did you not say that?

[57:12] Yes, yes.

[57:12] Okay, so I'm not trying to catch you out or anything here, but I'm a little baffled when you say, well, I told you this thing, and I guess you could say that thing when you repeat back the thing that I just told you.
It's like, no, you told me that.
So if that's incorrect, we can revise it. But I mean, I assume she got a tracking device on you because she was concerned about your whereabouts and wanted to know that you were safe or know where you were.
And so she was very concerned with your safety, security.
Am I wrong about that? I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, but it would seem to me that would be the case.

[57:44] No, that's definitely the case. I think I put it in that context because I always kind of felt like she's been overbearing.
You know, she doesn't know when to let go, when to, you know, put a little slack in the leash, so to speak.
You know, she's always been kind of a helicopter mom, so to speak.

[58:03] Okay, no, I'm not disagreeing with any of that. That's just why I'm a bit confused about the communication hiccup here, but that's fine. We'll soldier on. on.
So your mother is very concerned, kind of helicopter parent, very concerned about your safety, security, and hovers too much.
And do I have that roughly right?

[58:19] Yes.

[58:20] Right. Right. This is why I'm confused.
And I'm sure that there's, or maybe there's something that can clarify this in a way that doesn't make me feel like I'm losing my mind.
So far, we haven't found it. So your mother is very concerned about your safety and your security, yet your primary caregiver is a drug addict that she married help me square this circle batman i can't see my way through this how on earth do you reconcile well i'm so concerned about my child's safety i've got to track his every movement and also interestingly his primary caregiver who i married had a child with and gave control over my child is a drug addict with a violent temper.

[59:04] Yeah, I remember having a couple conversations with her, especially as a kid about my dad, because I always thought I could, you know, confide in her about my dad's addiction.
And I used to tell her the kind of things, you know, he'd do and what I thought.
And, you know, she'd say, she'd kind of just, you know, toss it to the side, you know, like, it's okay, it's okay, don't worry about it, you know, or she'd say, like, there's nothing we can do. You know, we can only do so much.
You know, I don't have all the power in the world. I can't stop him.

[59:35] So she was fully aware of your father's drug addiction and violent nature or aggressive nature?

[59:44] Well, I assume she was partially paying for it.

[59:48] Well, no, but I mean, she was obviously aware that your father was a drug addict in charge of a child.

[59:54] Very aware.

[59:56] Okay. Okay. So I'm trying to sort of figure this one out.
I mean, how do you square that circle that she's both obsessed with your safety and putting you under the care, custody, control of a violent drug addict?

[1:00:08] Then she obviously wasn't as obsessed with my safety as I might've been led to believe.

Mother's Anxiety and Need for Control

[1:00:16] Well, that's a very bland way of putting it. Tell me what you mean more about that.
Have you made this, I mean, have you thought about this before or is this new? Oh, definitely.

[1:00:25] I mean, it just seems like my mom maybe has the same anxiety issues as me.
I don't know, but, you know, it's just a...

[1:00:34] What do you mean the same anxiety issues as you? I don't follow.

[1:00:38] Well, she needs to have control in her life.
She needs to feel and believe that she is in some sense of control.
And if she isn't, then, you know, things, you know, she gets a little out of hand. Like, for instance, if she doesn't feel like she's in control, she'll shove you out of the way or do anything she needs to get back in control.

[1:01:04] I'm sorry, again, I'm a little confused here because she wants to be in control.
She likes being in control, right?

[1:01:11] That's been my observation, yes.

[1:01:13] Okay, I'm not disagreeing with your observation. I'm just trying to understand how this squares with the circle of I'm desperate to be in control because I feel great anxiety when I'm not in control.
But I'm completely helpless with regards to my husband's drug addiction and terrible parenting.
I can't control things. That's out of my hands. You can't change it.
So if she's so desperate to be in control, why does she pretend all of this helplessness with regards to your father's addiction and dangerous parenting?

[1:01:46] I don't know. I genuinely don't know.
I don't know if it helps, but my mom is morbidly obese.

[1:01:59] Uh, can you tell me about the history of that?

[1:02:02] Well, she's always been morbidly obese.
I mean, she's gotten larger over the years, but, um, you know, I'd always like, especially as a kid, I pointed out, you know, like you said, like you were big or something and I'd be very much shamed for that.
But, um, I mean, I try to help her. For instance, I try, let's go for walks.
Let's do this. What can I do to help you to stop being overweight?
And she'd usually kind of shame me and say, there's nothing wrong with being overweight.
There's nothing bad about it. It's a very sensitive issue for her. And it always has been.

[1:02:42] Well, okay, so obviously she's helpless with regards to your dad's drug addiction because she's, quote, helpless with regards to her own food addiction.

[1:02:53] Mm-hmm.

[1:02:54] Sorry, mm-hmm. I'm not sure if that's an agreement or not. If you disagree, that's totally fine. I just want to make sure I understand.

[1:03:00] Well, I assume she does have a food addiction. I mean, she does.

[1:03:06] Okay, how tall is she and how much does she weigh?

[1:03:09] Oh, I don't know how much she weighs. She's never told anyone.

[1:03:11] But you could give an eyeball to it.

[1:03:14] Oh, I'd say she's like 5'6", maybe upwards of 300, 400.

Uncovering Eating Habits and Midnight Cravings

[1:03:25] Right. And how much does she eat?

[1:03:29] Well, during the day, she doesn't really eat a lot.
She likes to do a thing where she takes out a salad. She goes to work, she only eats salad.
And by the time she gets home, she's almost always, you know, knee deep in a bar of chocolate.
It's always at midnight.

[1:03:44] Yeah, one bar of chocolate a day is not great, but it seems to me unlikely to get you to three or four hundred pounds.
I mean, I assume she's a secret eater, right? Must be a secret eater.

[1:03:55] I think so I mean that's that's got to be 6,000 calories a day to get up there and maintain that, yeah because I don't really see it often I mean we have a very big dessert kind of table at our house or at least you know there's like cookies and brownies that she buys and you know they're like by the caseload and they always kind of you know end up missing by the end of the week or so but um.

[1:04:25] Okay, so she's, I guess, a midnight eater, a secret eater, or she hoards things and stores things and, you know, whatever, eats at work.
You said she was at a corporate job, is that right?

[1:04:37] Yeah, she worked at a corporate job.

[1:04:40] Oh, she retired?

[1:04:42] Oh, no, no. Her job was deemed irrelevant, so she got laid off.
But now she works for the local town administration. administration.

[1:04:53] Oh, yes. Yes. The ladies who ended up working for the government, it seems almost an inevitability, right? Okay.
All right. So, and she's always been overweight?

[1:05:04] Always. I mean, every, well, not always. I mean, if I look at a picture of her when she was, say, maybe six or 13, she wasn't.
But I mean, it seems like since she was, you know, as soon as, like when I was born, she was definitely that way. Yeah.

[1:05:21] And you're an only child, is that right?

[1:05:24] I'm an only child.

[1:05:25] Right, okay. All right.
So your father, did he ever mention or talk about your mother's weight?

[1:05:35] Oh, he complains about it occasionally. I mean, the only time when I can really get him to actually talk is when he's sort of talking drama or complaining about someone or talking down to someone or saying, you know, this person's bad because of this whatever reason.
And he'd definitely gossip a lot about my mom, and my mom would gossip a lot about him.
In a way, that's kind of the only way I'd really learn about them is because they'd kind of, you know, talk behind each other's backs, so to speak.

[1:06:04] Right, right. Okay, okay. And your father did not have, I mean, did he have any kind of career, any kind of work or job experience?

[1:06:12] My father, I suppose you could say he had a career in being a machinist, but he just kind of floated from job to job.
I mean, he wasn't really anything consistent.
It was always sort of minimum wage labor.

[1:06:29] And he didn't work on a regular basis throughout your childhood, is that right?

[1:06:33] No, he didn't work on a regular basis. Okay.

Father's Marijuana Addiction and Work History

[1:06:38] All right. And was he a daily marijuana smoker?

[1:06:42] Daily.

[1:06:44] Multiple times a day? Not a wake-and-bake guy, I hope.

[1:06:48] Oh, he was a wake-and-bake. Yeah, he was a wake-and-bake.

[1:06:50] Oh, wow. And has he ever challenged that addiction in himself?

[1:06:55] No.

[1:06:55] Know i've i've confronted him about it various times but i mean to this day he just thinks i'm you know one of those people with a stick up my ass with you know sort of that you know uptight straight edge attitude of no drama man you just don't know how to relax nature's herb yeah it's the cult of marijuana that's the major addiction the weed itself i think is kind of an afterthought it's the mindset like at least a smoker doesn't sit there and say ah it's nature's gateway to of creativity man you just it's like they know it's bad and they do you know they all right but yeah no the and drinkers you know will occasionally say yeah i drink too much or whatever but for weed smokers it's like you really get locked in this green prison of of complete denial of reality and it's just it's appalling it's definitely kept me away from it oh yeah yeah and have you managed to keep a healthy weight i'm occasionally i get a little overweight but i have been able to keep keep a healthy weight, actually.

[1:07:53] I've been working on fitness, like I said in my email, but I kind of just keep falling through.
But I would say I'm a healthy weight, yes.

[1:08:01] And that's good for you, because, I mean, I know this from the research in the Peaceful Parenting book that, yeah, people who, kids who are born to severely overweight mothers have a higher tendency to become overweight themselves.
I don't know, epigenetics or genetics or whatever, right? But it's pretty rough.
So good for you, man. Well done.

[1:08:21] Thank you. you well done and what is your relationship with your parents like at the moment well currently my relationship with my parents is kind of tedious because i haven't necessarily confronted them fully about how i feel i've done it in pieces and a lot of the time i distance myself from them because you know being with them just being in the same room as them is anxiety inducing and i don't really have any reason to be in the same room with them as you know just it's it's work so So, you know, they kind of think that.

[1:08:52] You live on your own?

[1:08:54] I, well, I have a sort of a bit of a complicated thing.
So my parents own an apartment building and they give me a sweetheart deal on an apartment that I have that's separate from their apartment, which they live in.

[1:09:07] Right. But, um, how much money a month do you think you're saving?

[1:09:13] Oh, I'd say, uh, 800 a month. I mean, I'm planning on moving out because I don't want to do this forever.
I mean, I, I mean, this is kind of like me giving them power, so to speak. And, you know, I don't like it.
So I'm definitely planning on moving out. I mean, even if it's difficult or it costs some money, I mean, I think it's going to be worth it.

[1:09:34] And what's your dating life been been like?

[1:09:37] My daily life has been...

[1:09:39] I'm sorry, your dating life. I'm sorry if I was mumbling a bit there. Your dating life.

[1:09:43] Oh, I haven't dated in a while. I mean, last time I had a girlfriend was 16, and that did not go well.

[1:09:50] Wait, you've been celibate almost 10 years?

[1:09:53] Well, I suppose so. I mean, I have had some casual encounters, but I mean, I mean, those were kind of pure desperation, to be fair.
What uh what the hell's going on that you aren't chasing girls i'm afraid of being, not being enough i mean i i don't feel like i have my life together at a certain point where i'm allowed to chase girls i mean i don't even have a social circle of any kind i you know i can't imagine you know how well how fit i would be to any woman who would be consider a serious relationship with me, especially considering I still have some kind of relationship with my parents.
I'm just too ashamed to sort of put myself out there.

Social Isolation and Absence of Friendships

[1:10:39] All right. So, I mean, you rattled off a bunch of things there.
So, lack of a social circle?

[1:10:47] Yeah, I don't really have any friends. I've kind of lived like a hermit for a while.

[1:10:52] Okay, and sorry, you don't have to tell me your exact job, but what area do you work in?

[1:10:58] I work in telecommunications. I work a remote job.

[1:11:03] Okay, and when was the last time you had friends?

[1:11:08] The last time i had friends had to be i want to i want to say high school but i only kind of orbited a friend group in high school i never actually had you know people who would come over to my house i mean the last time i had friends must have been middle school, although i didn't i did have my middle school high school i did have my middle school friends friends during high school, so maybe that's not fair to say.

[1:11:38] What happened to your friendships since high school?

[1:11:40] Well, they kind of drifted away. I mean, one of them went to Minnesota, and he's in one of those universities.
He's always had some issues. The other one moved away. He doesn't talk to me anymore.
They all just kind of drift away.
Some of them just haven't been tolerable. One of them is terrible at communication, and I just haven't been able to have a relationship with him because, you know, I send one text, he replies two days later, and I can never pinpoint anything down with him.
And, you know, he hangs around kind of a bad crowd in many ways.
I'm not really necessarily comfortable with the people he hangs out with.
But, I mean, that's just kind of how it's been with the people I know.
And they've just kind of – I mean, I suppose it's my fault. Yeah.

[1:12:33] Well, I mean, fault is a dangerous word, right? But in terms of responsibility, I mean, do you, I mean, tell me about your average week.
So you work, you know, eight hours a day from home or whatever, like, what else are you doing?

[1:12:50] Well, I have a, sometimes I do, like, yeah, I distract myself more often than not, if I'm being perfectly honest.
I mean, right now I have a project I'm working on, just archiving and digitizing old family photos and stuff.
But, you know, more or less, I'm just kind of distracting myself, watching video, playing video games, watching things and, you know, binge watching shows.
And, you know, if I'm not working, I'm usually doing that to unwind.
And, you know, it's very easy to forget how time passes. I mean, when you distract yourself like that, you know, I mean, so my average day is definitely mostly distractions.

[1:13:32] What's your screen time a day?

[1:13:36] Well, if I'm not paying attention to the screen time at work, I'd say maybe four or five hours.

[1:13:48] Pornography addiction or issues?

[1:13:51] Oh, I've had a very large pornography issue, but recently I've kind of made a promise not to watch pornography or download it or participate in it.
I've failed a few times, but that's still something I'm working on right now.
I don't try to engage in it unless I have a sort of a weak moment. moment.

[1:14:11] Well, I guess the good news is that archiving and digitizing old family portraits is probably the least sexually exciting thing you could do.
So I guess you're strangling the libido that way. All right.

Desiring significant change in life by the age of 35.

[1:14:26] And what's your guess about, you know, I'll still be doing the show in 10 years, right?
So without some significant change, you're calling me at 35.

[1:14:39] What is your your life look like well without some significant change like there's no significant change in my life i'm just i mean i would stay the trajectory i'd probably change in some ways i'd move out i'd maybe get a slightly better job i have a small group of friends i mean indeed wouldn't be anything spectacular i suppose i mean i definitely feel like i need some serious sort of change in in my life because how else am I going to change?

[1:15:12] Okay, so you'd be calling me at 35 and you wouldn't have a girlfriend and you wouldn't have a family and you wouldn't be there. And what is it that you would like to see at 35?
Like if you call me at 35 and say, yeah, life is good, man. I've got X, Y, and Z. What would that be?

[1:15:25] I'd like to see my life actually being realized. I'd like to see myself being fulfilled.
I'd like to work a job that I like, that profits, that adds something to the community, that I'm having a skill that I enjoy having.
I'd like to have friends who are kind of like you or somebody else.
I'd like to have healthy relationships. That's kind of the gist of it.
But, you know, I'd like to have that kind of life where I can be myself and I can do things that I want to do.
And I have kind of a flourishing life. I have friends.
I have a wife. I have a future.
I have, you know, a house. I have, you know, things like that.
I mean, I don't know how I'm going to buy a house at this point.
But, you know, just does that help? I'm afraid I'm rambling.

[1:16:16] No, man. It's your life goals. It's not a ramble. All right.
So would you say, I mean, I get the anxiety and all of that, but would you say that the main of major manifestation of what's wrong in your life for you is isolation?

[1:16:31] I would say so.

[1:16:33] Now, do you know why do people isolate? What's your theory about, not you in particular, right? Because you don't want to just make it all about you.
But why do people isolate themselves? I mean, we're not designed that way.
We're not built that way, right? We're social animals.
So what do you think the major motivation is behind people cutting themselves off from the world in the way that you have?

[1:16:54] Well i suppose if someone wanted to if someone was isolating themselves they would only do so because they think that everything in the outside world is not as good as what they could get by, isolating like if they think that society or maybe uh you know the neighborhood they live in isn't you know worth investing in then they wouldn't ever go outside or talk to any neighbors so they kind of seclude themselves into their own space.

[1:17:25] That is exactly the opposite of the truth, even by what you have said.
And I appreciate that effort to redirect me. It really comes from your parents.
Yeah, so that is the entire opposite of the truth. Because when I asked you why you weren't dating, you said, not because, well, the women around aren't worth anything, I'm too superior, their hoflation has taken down my loins or something like that. Do you remember what you said when I asked why you weren't dating?
Yes i said that i was too ashamed today right i don't feel adequate so you say well people isolate because they feel the world is not up to their standards but you isolate because you don't feel you're up to the world standards am i wrong no no you're not wrong so that's an interesting defense right i mean that's a real that that was your parents coming in for a misdirect right um and i assume that this is the aspect of your parents vanity so vanity is is one of the things that makes you unable to deal with addiction because you simply define your addiction as good right or not bad right so weed is good uh nothing wrong with being overweight, right so you just you just change your definitions and once you change your definitions you're.

[1:18:32] You're fine and you don't so your vanity is when you just make things up and then believe that they're true like you are the measure of all things there's no objective reality or standards or truth or empiricism that you need to subject your will to.
This omniscient will, it's kind of satanic. Like the will can just be anything.
You can redefine anything. You can make anything bad good, anything good bad.
And rather than lose weight, you'll simply define obesity as good.

[1:18:58] And it doesn't matter what the evidence is or the facts are or anything like that.
So redefinition to the opposite of truth to avoid anxiety, that's a parental habit, if that makes sense.

Animals isolate when wounded or ashamed.

[1:19:13] So people isolate, in my view, For two major reasons. And this is true of animals to some degree as well, right?
So animals isolate because they're wounded or they're ashamed.
So animals that are wounded will often crawl to try and heal.
Or if you've ever been out in the woods or even in a garden or whatever, you can find under the bush there's some wounded rabbit just sits there and stares at you, right?
It hasn't rejoined the burrow. Maybe it can't find its way back or something like that.
So animals that are wounded will isolate, and animals that are ashamed will also isolate.
Like, you know, it's not a good thing if you're a dog owner, if your dog is not greeting you when you come home, right?
If your dog doesn't run up to greet you when you come home, why is your dog not doing that?

[1:20:05] Well, because they clearly aren't excited to see you.

[1:20:08] Nope. Because they just chewed up your favorite shoes or something like that.
Because they're ashamed.

[1:20:15] Oh.

[1:20:17] Right so they go they go lurk somewhere they they hide somewhere because they've made a they've ripped up some cushions they've made a giant mess right and you've seen you know the videos you've seen of people scolding their dogs the dogs just kind of hang their heads and right so the dog that doesn't come out to run you it doesn't come out to to greet you is is ashamed is is no that knows that he's in trouble is ashamed or whatever it is right so animals isolate because they're wounded, physically or they're wounded mentally right now you're not that's why i asked you about the obesity you're not wounded physically right right i'm not wounded physically right so one of the reasons why animals isolate when they're sick is why why do animals isolate when they're let's say it's not just a wound let's say that the animal is ill why do animals often isolate when they're sick, to avoid predation to avoid um to avoid being wounded again no because they they're going to to get found, they're going to get found.
So it's not to avoid predation.

Animals self-isolate when they're ill to protect others.

[1:21:26] Is it out of fear? Is it? I'm sorry, I'm bad at this.

[1:21:34] Well, if you are, if you have a bad cold and your friends invite you, let's say people invite you over for dinner, what do you say?
Say um i'm sick i can't come over yeah and even if you feel relatively okay you don't go over because you don't want to make other people sick right right so animals self-isolate when they're ill so that they don't spread their germs to the other animals.

[1:22:05] So if you feel psychologically sick, or if you feel infected by something negative, you may have an instinct to self-isolate to protect the herd.
Like it goes that deep into our biology, I think. Wow.
That you're keeping the world safe from you, from spreading any negativity or spreading any dysfunction or spreading your chaotic thoughts or confusing people.
Or giving you're helping people avoid a negative experience of you wherein you might spread whatever dysfunction you feel that that you have and so you keeping the world safe by staying home, and i'm doing that with my emotions well i don't know if this this may fit it may not fit in your particular circumstance everybody's different but that was sort of my my first two thoughts like physical wounding and psychological wounding would be a reason to self-isolate and so when you think of being out there with other people and chatting do you think that they will have a positive or negative experience of you I always assume that they're going to have a negative experience of me right so you are self isolating to save the hurt.

[1:23:27] Hmm.
So.

[1:23:32] Your parents infected you and your benevolence is to not infect others with whatever your parents infected you with.
And again, I'm just using this as an analogy, if that makes sense.

[1:23:43] Yeah. So I'm kind of betraying myself in a way. I mean, by doing that.
I mean, I can't get better.

[1:23:55] Oh, God. You don't like to experience anything. You just want to jump straight to the conclusions.
Okay, but let's analyze this at the most abstract possible level.
Now that you've explained the last 10 years of my life in vivid, powerful, and amazing detail, I'm going to jump straight over that experience of my life being explained to me and go straight to conclusions.

[1:24:16] No, no, no.

[1:24:16] Take a deep breath. If this is true, and I'm not saying it's the whole truth, and I'm not saying it's all the truth, but if there's an element of truth about this in your life, what does it feel like to have your isolation illuminated?

Exploring the feelings of isolation and fear.

[1:24:32] It feels like... I feel stupid.
I feel like an idiot. Well, not... I'm sorry. I feel like...

[1:24:40] That's not a feeling, that's another judgment. But what does it feel like?
If I say you're self-isolating to prevent the spread of your dysfunction or your perceived dysfunction?

[1:24:53] I feel like I'm kind of tripping myself. I feel... I feel silly.

[1:25:02] None of those are feelings. They're all judgments. What are your feelings?

[1:25:09] So... I feel...
How do I feel about this being, I feel like I'm alone.
I feel like I'm hurt. I feel like I'm, I feel, I feel scared.

[1:25:35] Go on. Now we get to a feeling. That's good. Go on.

[1:25:40] I feel like I'm, you know, when thinking about my isolation, I feel scared of breaking that shell of, you know, any idea of, you know, like breaking outside of that bubble.

[1:26:00] Right. So if you are self-isolating for fear of contagion, we'll just call it contagion, which means spreading whatever dysfunction you perceive, right?
If you're self-isolating for fear of contagion, then you have an answer as to how to get back out into the world, right?
So either if you have a, quote, contagion, right? If you have a contagion, you fix the contagion, then you can go out into the world, right?
I mean, I have a cold right now, so I'm not socializing.
When my cold is better, which will be in a day or two or three, then I can socialize again, right?
Because my contagion is fixed, right?

[1:26:43] Right. Right.

[1:26:43] Now, if you don't actually have a contagion, then you don't even have to wait.
Does that make sense?

[1:27:02] Yes.

[1:27:04] So either you have a contagion and you can work on it and fix it and go out into the world, or you don't have a contagion, in which case, I mean, obviously, you're going to have some regret right right i mean still if some if some guy was staying home and masturbating rather than going out to date girls and i said why and he said oh i have some horrible venereal disease that is really dangerous or whatever right i'd be like okay well that that makes sense like good for you right right because he's he's self-isolating sexually Actually, because he's contagious in some dangerous way, right?

[1:27:44] Right.

[1:27:46] But if he spent 10 years not dating because he thought he had some terrible venereal disease, and it turns out he doesn't.
That would be a tough thing, right? Because he would be like, wow, I lost 10 years, right?

[1:28:02] Yes, that would be a very painful feeling of regret.

[1:28:07] But better than 20 years, right?

[1:28:12] Certainly, certainly.

[1:28:13] So for you, if we've identified one core issue with regards to self-isolation, which is contagion, and of course i was talking earlier about this is why i was talking about my friend, who was infecting me with his complaining right and eventually like he wouldn't change so i had to cut him off right right so that's like he has a contagion which is negativity and and again that was fine when we'd be younger and all of that's fine to be critical of the world but you've got to try and build something better otherwise all you do is complain and die and that's a shitty way to spend the glorious gift of existence, right?
Certainly. So I was talking about him. He was a contagion. So I tried to cure him, right?
I tried to cure him.
And I tried to cure him by a wide variety of means, and you tried to cure your dad, right? Your dad has a contagion called misery, right?

[1:29:14] Yes.

[1:29:14] And you tried to cure him. And your mother has a contagion called obesity.
And you tried to cure her too, right?

[1:29:22] Yes, I did.

Fear Arises from the Revelation of Self-Isolation

[1:29:29] Now, if you view yourself at some level as a contagion, then you're going to self-isolate to help the world. So if there's some real truth in this, and if we've identified something essential into why you're self-isolating, then you're going to feel fear.
But why would you feel fear when this was revealed?

[1:29:58] Because it was wrong.

[1:30:01] It's underneath the fear.

[1:30:03] It's underneath the fear.
Underneath the fear that I feel when I think about my isolation.

[1:30:17] No. The fear arose when we saw a cure for the isolation.
That's because that's what i face whenever i face a cure or self-improvement right so why would you be afraid, of not being isolated or what would be underneath the fear, if we've identified why you're isolated and you feel fear what's underneath that fear Fear.
What is the fear reaction to?
It's hope.

[1:30:56] Fear of hope?

[1:31:00] You're isolating, and you become comfortable with that, to some degree.
Now, if we've identified the root of your isolation, this contagion theory, then you can fix it.
So you have hope to not be isolated, right?

[1:31:20] Right.

[1:31:22] Now, when you have hope to not be isolated, you have fear.
Hope and fear, right? Because we're talking fundamentally about your anxiety, right?
Why do you have anxiety as a form of fear, right? Are you okay with that?

[1:31:38] Yes. Okay.

[1:31:42] Fear and hope are two sides of the same coin.
Fear and hope. Because if we don't have any real hope for something, we don't have any real fear. I mean, let me give you a silly example.
So every day across the world, there are countless auditions for dancers, right? right?
Do I fear being rejected from any of those auditions?

[1:32:22] Seeing as you have never auditioned for one or said so, I don't know.

[1:32:27] I won't. I have no fear.
I have no fear because I have no hope to be a dancer. I have no hope up to pass a dancing audition.
I have no training. Well, maybe a little bit of training at theater school, but not much training as a dancer.
So I'm 57 years old, you know, whatever it is, right? So I don't have any fear of rejection.
Now, I just celebrated my 21st wedding anniversary. Do I fear rejection from my wife?
I do not, because we're committed, right?
And we enjoy each other's company and love our lives together and all that.
So do I, When I was younger, of course, I would see a girl, and I would think about asking her out. Maybe I'd go up and ask for her number or something.
So I would have hope that she would say yes and fear that she would say no, right? The hope and the fear are the same thing.
Now, if I see an attractive girl, I don't feel any hope or fear because I'm happily married. Do you see what I mean?

[1:33:31] Yes.

[1:33:34] So we fear what we hope for, because we may lose right we may be rejected right right you may fail so your anxiety you think of as fear i think of it as, as the shadow cast by hope. And if you focus only on the fear, your life is paralyzed. If you recognize that the fear is, is wound up with the hope, then you can focus on the hope.
And the hope can motivate you to overcome the demotivational aspect of fear.
But if you only focus on the anxiety, all you're looking at is the demotivational aspect of the hope, and you are just paralyzed.

[1:34:31] Right. Right. I'm focusing on the negative desire, the anxiety of failure, of the opposite of what I'm hoping for.

Detaching Fear from Hope: Overcoming Anxiety

[1:34:44] You have detached the fear from the hope. Now, why have you detached the fear from the hope?
Again, let's go back to capitalist running pig dog under the head totalitarian stuff.
Of our anxiety is designed to do what why do we have the capacity for anxiety why did we evolve the capacity for anxiety to warn us about potential dangers yeah to give us the unease that's not immediate right so if we don't say if i'm hiking in the woods and some bears chasing me we don't say I have anxiety, right?

[1:35:24] No.

[1:35:25] Right, because there's a bear chasing me. That's just fight or flight.
That's pure adrenaline, right?
However, if I live in, I don't know, Scotland in the 14th century, and I'm not quite sure I have put aside enough food for my family for the whole winter, that would be anxiety, right? So there's no bear chasing me.
There's just this unease that I'm not quite as prepared as I need to be.

[1:35:54] Right. Right.

[1:36:00] So, anxiety is there to help us prevent disaster that's not immediate.
And it's very healthy and very helpful right now.
If you can't do anything about the disasters, the anxiety doesn't go away, but the hope does.

Childhood Anxiety and Powerlessness

[1:36:40] So over the course of your childhood, you had fear about the direction that your parents were taking you, right could you do anything about it at the time no, okay what about since well I definitely have a lot more power and ability to change my life now no no no about them, about them yeah have you been able to fix or change or improve or reform your parents no I have never been able to and you had to try though right yes, so your parents provoked anxiety society, we're going in a bad direction without a solution.
So imagine this. Imagine you're driving with your father in the middle of nowhere, like some ass end of the desert, right?

[1:37:47] Okay.

[1:37:48] And...
You probably only have 40 minutes worth of gas left, you can see.
It's not, the light's not on yet, but it's low, right?
And you're convinced that he's driving away from the only town around.
And it's cold. It's like one of these deserts, warm in the day, but cold as a witch's tit at night, right?
Now, you feel unease, right? Because you're driving in the wrong direction.
You don't have blankets. And if you run out of gas in the middle of the desert, I mean, you won't die, but it'll be a really, really horrible night, right?
And then what the hell do you do in the morning?

[1:38:33] I don't know.

[1:38:34] 100 miles from a town or 200 miles from a, like, so you feel a lot of unease, right?

[1:38:40] This isn't sustainable, the situation. I shouldn't go back further into that desert.

[1:38:45] Yeah so you turn to your dad and you say dad like let's say you're i don't know 11 years old you can't drive right so you say dad uh you know the last lights were like 20 minutes behind us like we're just heading straight into the void here man and let's say there's no gps or whatever you don't get cell phone service whatever it is right this just give me the scenario right so you're saying dad i don't know man he's like shut up kid i know what i know what i'm doing, now does that make your anxiety go away no it makes it a lot worse it makes it worse because now you have anxiety and and, You can't do anything.

[1:39:31] You're being driven into disaster.

[1:39:33] Like you might as well be tied up in the trunk. Actually, being tied up in the trunk would be easier in a way because you then wouldn't even imagine you could do anything, right?
So you keep driving and you keep driving and it just gets darker and darker.
And then that little light goes on of the gas, right? You've got 30 miles left.
You don't even think you can make it back to the town or any place.
Your dad's just kind of hunched over there, his jaws bulging Tom Cruise style.
And you say, Dad, seriously, like, I really think we're, I'm sorry that you're mad.
I don't mean to make you mad, but we're really heading in the wrong direction here, man. Like this, this is not good.
And what does your dad say?

Father's Stubbornness and Escalating Anxiety

[1:40:19] Tough shit.

[1:40:20] One more word out of you, kid. I'm dropping you off by the side of the road and keep going.
One then you really have the cold to deal with i didn't bring you along on this trip so you can second guess everything i do i've heard that more than once yeah we could all spend the next hour going over all of this crap right what happens to your anxiety it gets it gets really much worse, Do you know how fucked up it is to be in a situation with someone who's been really petty and mean to you and you're totally in the right?

[1:41:01] I think so.

[1:41:03] Well, you know so, because I know that's happened to you with your dad, maybe your mom too.
Because when you finally run out of gas, right?

[1:41:13] Mm-hmm.

[1:41:13] And your dad knows he should have listened to you, knows that you should have turned back, knows that you're right and he's wrong.
How does he react?
He reacts with rage with uh the realization that he's gone this far and he can't go back there's no redemption he's not going to sit there and say holy crap kid like i've really put us in a mess and you tried to tell me like i'm so sorry but that's not going to happen right, there's no way he can make amends the fucking match company has completely screwed this up, you know i know i feel there's got to be a leak in this fucking rental car's gas tank because i know i filled that up, and he's going to want to double down and then he's going to say okay put your shit in a backpack we're walking oh this is suicide well and he's going to be like we're not turning back man.

[1:42:16] We're going on and then he wants to start you walking into the desert, 10pm bone cold right, and you're like dad we gotta stay in the car like it's windy blowing sand we're gonna get lost, these students are all interchangeable man our tracks are going to get covered up like so your fear keeps mounting, And if you keep following your father, what happens?

[1:43:03] Then my life situation gets much worse, and being able to fix it gets much harder.
The longer I wait, the worse it gets. It's like entropy. It just gets worse and worse.

[1:43:18] So your anxiety keeps mounting because you still have options. options.
Your option might be just run.

[1:43:30] I have something to lose, but he doesn't.

[1:43:36] Well, he's willing to risk his life rather than be wrong, because for him to be wrong and admit that he's at fault is a fate worse than death.
So he's willing to just walk off into the desert, be swallowed up by the sand, rather than admit he's wrong.
I mean, man, come on, you've seen seen this with your parents you see this all the time in this world people who would rather die than admit that they're wrong i don't understand it it's incomprehensible to me they seem like a different species but there's these people who are like they i will never admit that i'm wrong, i would rather like i would rather like your mother would rather give up 20 years of her life then admit that obesity is unhealthy it's yeah that's been the case your father is willing to court mental illness alienation from his kid you know if he's smoking whatever damage the smoke does to his life he's willing to do all of that rather than say maybe i've got a problem with weed, and that's the same kind of feeling that i've been facing maybe not to the same degree three but sort of facing that anxiety right.

[1:44:45] Because they don't want to face theirs they don't want to face, you're facing your anxiety what do you mean i just it feels like maybe they don't want to face their mistakes they don't want to you know have to face you know the debt perhaps they so to speak, that they've accrued by continuing to go on this path.

[1:45:08] But, you know, that's kind of the same thing that I don't want to do, which is partially perhaps why I'm still on this path with them.
Because I myself don't.

[1:45:20] No, you're on this path with them. It's the first thing you told me about your father, brother.
First thing you told me about your father was backtalk got you fucked up.
Right he'd fuck you up for backtalk do i remember that rightly you didn't say f you up but you know what i mean you said the first thing you said backtalk right so for you to disagree with your father risks death, As a kid, right? I mean, any escalation of parental aggression is perceived by children as a kind of a death threat.

[1:45:59] Right.

The Decision: Desert or Opposite Direction?

[1:46:02] So, for you, if you're in the desert with your dad and he's marching off into the ice end of nowhere, and you're like, look, I've got to head back.
I mean, maybe there's a car we could flag down, maybe, I don't know, something, something.
Maybe we'll see the light of a town or a hamlet or something, right? But we can't just keep going into nothing.
So, if you decide not to march with your father, you've got to head the opposite direction. What's the grave danger?

[1:46:39] That my father won't approve of my decision.

[1:46:42] You're sorry, your father will what?

[1:46:43] That my father won't approve of that decision, that I'd still be threatened by his reaction to me saying no to this path.

[1:46:54] Right. So if your father is demanding you march with him into the desert, and you want to turn back towards the last visible lights, you've got to run.
I do have to run and I've always felt like I've had to run right so your parents are massive, massive failures and if I'm unjust or unfair or wrong about that I'm happy to be corrected I don't think I never hear it from their lips I mean they would say that's the whole point of failures is They can't admit that they're failures, otherwise they'd change.
Who cares what they'd say? Objectively speaking, is a guy who barely worked, who stayed home, the kept pet of his titanically obese wife, who threatened his only kid and smoked drugs like a pathetic addict all through that kid's childhood, never admitted fault, fault, and spent his pathetic, helpless days bullying a little boy, is that a success?

[1:48:16] That's a dismal failure.

[1:48:18] That's a dismal failure. Your mother, married to a drug addict, had one child, put that child under the care, custody, and control of a drug addict with a violent temper.
Is three to four hundred pounds at five foot six and won't even admit that she has a problem, is that a successful person?

[1:48:40] No.

[1:48:41] So they are just marching off into the desert. Well, your mom kind of staggering, I guess, in those tree trunk legs.
So that's where they're going, right? Now, do they want you to come with them?

[1:48:56] Yes.

[1:48:56] They surely do. They want you to come right with them.

[1:49:00] Do you want to go that way no i don't you do not so what are you going to do if i, well they don't want me to admit that they're wrong by turning away from their path by not choosing to keep going into this blind desert and continuing these unsustainable habits i'm effectively proving them wrong and showing them the truth that what they've been doing is wrong Because once I make it to that light you spoke about, that city and the desert, they're going to look pretty sore.

[1:49:38] Well, if you follow your parents, the best you can hope for is a life like theirs.

[1:49:45] That's not much of a life.

[1:49:47] Oh, it's awful. It's beyond awful. It's an insult to the glory of existence, in my opinion.

[1:49:54] Very much so.

[1:49:55] So, you're a young man, and I sympathize with all of this, and there's nothing wrong with anything you've been doing.
Nothing wrong, in my view, with anything you've been doing.
But you're calling me because time's marching on, and you're looking at your parents, and you're looking at the light.
Your parents are wandering off into the darkness and kind of death of the desert, and you're like, pretty sure I saw some lights back there.
Not that way, they're going. But the other way.

The significance of turning 25

[1:50:32] Definitely. I mean, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I mean, I've had this feeling, especially since I've turned 25, you know, it's an arbitrary number.
It shouldn't mean anything.
But, you know, when I was 23, I wouldn't have thought.

[1:50:46] What do you mean it's an arbitrary number? It's not an arbitrary number.
It's 25 times around the sun. That's not arbitrary. That's science.

[1:50:53] Well, sorry.

[1:50:54] It's a quarter of your, well, no, it's a third of your life.

[1:50:59] What do you mean?

[1:51:00] Sorry, what do you mean it's an arbitrary number? I'm not sure what I follow.

[1:51:04] Well, I mean, saying that I've gone too far at this point now that I'm 25, it's just, it's very, I don't know if I want to say it's subjective.
Because when I was 23 or 22 or 20, I probably wouldn't have said the same thing.
But because I think that 25 is, you know, I'm almost to 30, then all of a sudden now I have to turn my life around. I have to do something.

[1:51:30] No, 24-25 is when you as a male hit brain maturity.
Like your brain has finished growing now.

[1:51:39] Yeah, that's been a scary thought of mine.

[1:51:41] The fact that 25 is a multiple of five and we have four fingers and a thumb, that's not arbitrary.
The fact that it is probably a third of your life, that's not arbitrary.
It's not just made up, oh, 25. No, these are very real things.
You know, when you're 12 and you hit puberty, well, it's just an arbitrary number. Nope.
It's when you're designed to hit puberty. You know, 11, 13, 10, whatever it is. But around that age, right?

[1:52:12] Right.

[1:52:15] So...
Do your parents exhibit any anxiety about their lives?

[1:52:26] They do. Very much so.

[1:52:29] In what way?

[1:52:30] I mean, they exhibit it a lot of times, especially now with bills.
They exhibit it in, you know, the consequences.
How do they exhibit anxiety? Well, they exhibit it, obviously, in their bad habits.

[1:52:47] No, no. know we maintain bad habits out of a lack of anxiety i mean do they sit there and say geez we've really taken a wrong turn in life or we got to fix things or i gotta quit drugs or i gotta eat less like they don't exhibit that kind of anxiety right it's all just surface level i gotta pay this bill and this nonsense right right it's uh yeah do they ever experience any doubts about how they parented i've never heard them say a word okay so here's a really really important thing to understand about life as a whole.
Sorry to be an annoying lecture guy, so forgive me for any minor pomposity, but there's this part of the brain called the amygdala, and the amygdala processes threats.
Fight or flight, anxiety, it processes a lot of these kinds of threats in the world.
Now, there are large, large, large numbers of the people, sometimes it seems like it's about about half the population that has an undeveloped or underdeveloped amygdala.
They do not experience threat in the way that people with a normal, healthy amygdala experience threat.
And so when other people express unease.

[1:54:00] These people with the smaller or less developed amygdala, they don't experience any of that unease.
So if you look at somebody who's morbidly obese and you feel some unease about their health the morbidly obese person with the undeveloped amygdala doesn't experience that and then they say well you just you have a phobia.

[1:54:22] If somebody's sitting in a living room with their feet on the couch and they say, I'm suddenly terrified of drowning, we'd say, well, you're not in a pool, you're not in the ocean, you're not in the lake. So that's an irrational fear, right?

[1:54:35] Right.

[1:54:36] Because they're in no danger of drowning. So for them to have a sudden panic attack about drowning would be an indication of some dysfunction in their mind, right?

[1:54:46] It would.

[1:54:48] So, if you're somebody with a healthy amygdala, and again, this is no medical advice.
I mean, just talking using this mostly as an analogy, but I think there's some biological basis to it.
But if you're somebody with a normal sense of fight or flight, normal sense of unease, normal sense of danger, of threat, then you look around the world and you see dangers, concerns, worries.

[1:55:14] Other people they look around and they feel no fear at all and then they look at you like well you're just paranoid like there's something wrong with you you have all these weird phobias or prejudices or like you're just bizarre there's no there's no danger no there's nothing to be afraid of oh go on very true and it's just that reminds me of kind of my mom you know she'll she goes out out into these very shady parts of neighborhoods sometimes and she'll do it just to buy something off of you know craigslist or something and you know i try to tell her this is a dangerous neighborhood you know these are some very shady characters you're going to be making a deal with for you know a crock pot and you know she just looks at me like i'm crazy you know like you know you don't know you mean she doesn't even have a sense of danger from her eating habits right.

[1:56:06] So there's a lot of people, and I think marijuana, you know, the sort of famous, quote, mellow, you know, laid-back marijuana stuff, which is, I guess, vaguely true until they're confronted with any of their hypocrisies or falsehoods, but a lot of drug addiction is around calming anxiety, a lot of alcoholism is around calming anxiety.
And there's a kind of a fundamental mismatch, I think, in a lot of relationships between people who experience unease in the face of potential dangers and people who don't, right?
You can see this all over the world. I mean, I remember reading this post from someone saying, yeah, my girlfriend wanted to go to a party in a really bad section of town.
And I said, don't go to the party in the really bad section of town.
It's not safe. And she's like, don't you tell me what to do or whatever.
And he says like, no, no, no, really, really. And anyway, so long story short, she went to the party in the really bad section of town and she got assaulted and it was very bad.
And then she called him at three o'clock in the morning saying she'd been assaulted and he's got to come and take care of her. And he's like, no.
And she was like, what do you mean? No, I need you. It's like, no, I told you not to go.

Mismatched Views on Danger and Consequences

[1:57:30] So I'm breaking up with you. You can't break up with me. I've just been assaulted and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And he's like, no, if you're not going to listen to me when I tell you things are obviously and transparently dangerous, then you've got to deal with the consequences on your own.
And, of course, all of her friends and his friends were like, how could you? She needs you. She's just been attacked.
But he held firm. Now, whether that's right or wrong, that's an example of a mismatch.
And the world is kind of divided in a lot of ways between those who sense danger and those who are just blissfully unaware of it.
Blissfully unaware of it. It's a little bit more of a male-female thing, I think.
I think because men, you know, we deal with predators, we go hunting, we have war, so we're a little bit more sensitive to some of these dangers.
Women tend to be a little bit less attuned to some of these dangers in the world.
So there is this kind of mismatch.
And so I think for you, it's almost like you're trying to get your parents to change their eye color through reason and evidence.
It's like if they are and i'm again i don't know if it's the amygdala thing that just could be a way of talking about it but their sense of danger is just not at all the same as yours.

[1:58:52] And and if you sort of understand this division those who sense danger and those who don't now in the past those who didn't sense danger would defer to the judgment of those who did, right?
So if you and I were on a safari in some place in the Amazon or, you know, in the jungle or something, and we didn't notice or smell anything unusual, but our guide said, ooh, you know what?
I smell panther. We've got to head back, right? What would we say?

[1:59:31] Well, he's definitely the expert in that field. If he feels a certain anxiety because of a smell, then I'd be a fool not to listen to him.

[1:59:39] Right. Whereas your parents would say, you're such a panther-phobe, we're going on.

[1:59:45] Right?

[1:59:46] They wouldn't have respect for the guy who had a more trained and finely attuned and experienced sense of danger, right?

[1:59:56] Certainly.

[1:59:58] So, and of course, young people have a lot of bravado, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they should listen to the cautions of the older people from time to time and so on, but they just always get dismissed as bigotry and all of that.
So, I think understanding that if your parents don't experience reasonable dangers, and of course there are people who are paranoid, and they are afraid of dangers that aren't real or aren't immediate, and there is a paranoid thing, and I get that.
But that doesn't mean like, just because there are some people who are irrationally anxious doesn't mean that all anxiety is irrational, right?
There are some people with phantom pains that doesn't mean all pain is phantom pain, right?
So we understand that. So if your parents don't experience danger or risk, it's really hard, for me at least, to imagine a scenario wherein you could talk them into experiencing something they don't experience. It's like talking someone who's colorblind into seeing color.
You can't do that. They don't experience color.
And your parents don't seem to experience anxiety. What that means for you is that you experience triple anxiety because you experience the anxiety of you under their tutelage and the anxiety for their future as well.

[2:01:23] Very true.

[2:01:24] So I'll give you another example and then I'll, because I really want to get this across because your anxiety, I wanted you to have some respect for it, not view it as just a dysfunction and then we'll sort of talk about ways out of it but.

[2:01:39] I was in a relationship once with a woman now when i'm in a relationship i mean i'll be open about this it's nothing particularly shocking or surprising if there's a problem in the relationship i need to solve it right that just i'm just that way right if there's a relationship and there's a hiccup or there's a problem i'm like oh there's a hiccup there's a problem let's talk about it, right?

[2:02:02] That's my thing, right? Now, I do that, you know, there's some abstract responsibilities and all of that, but I also do that because, like, I just find it really uncomfortable and unpleasant if there's a problem in a relationship, then I want to talk about it because I'm confident that I can resolve it, or it will be resolved one way or the other, but I just feel really uncomfortable.

The Struggle of Communicating Incompatibilities and Unresolved Issues

[2:02:21] Now, when I was in a relationship with, it doesn't really matter who, but once or twice I was in relationships where if there was a problem in the relationship, relationship the other person didn't even seem to notice you know if we weren't getting along if we were distant if there was a little bit of snipping and sniping going along like i'd notice that like right away and i'd be like well we gotta solve this right like whatever's going on we gotta talk it out and figure it out right because this is kind of unpleasant whereas the other person would be like what nothing wrong i'm fine there's nothing wrong at all what are you talking about, that's weird right yeah that is what do you do if the other person genuinely doesn't notice that you're not getting along what do you do because then they're saying you're paranoid or you're making things up or maybe this has to do with your mother or this isn't empirical or like you're fantasizing or you know what i mean like this this there's nothing real here just making making up problems.

[2:03:18] Hmm. Yeah, that's kind of like being able to, that's like having an itch you can't scratch.

[2:03:26] Well, it's an incompatibility in the relationship that can't be resolved.
Because the other, like, I know that there's a problem in the relationship because I'm experienced enough, you know, to know when there's a problem in the relationship.
And even in my 20s, that was the case. So I know there's a problem, but they won't admit there's a problem.
So for them, it's kind of like we're hiking in the deep woods and we hear, or I hear a crack behind like a twig being stepped on or a stick being stepped on.
And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Right. And she's like, I don't hear anything.
And then I'm like, oh, you know, we got to, we got to look around, man. This could be something big, dangerous coyote, wolf, bear, it could be something. Right.
And then she sees a little bunny.
Right. And I'm like, run. She's like, what do you mean run? It's a bunny. Right.
We're having whereas i see a bear she sees a bunny right so i'm like run and she's like because it's a bear and she's like i only see a bunny what do you like this we we can't hike right, and so when you when you're around people who lack this sense of anxiety and danger and threat you will go insane over time, because you're constantly trying to tell them there's a risk, there's a danger, there's a problem and they're like, what are you talking about?
Everything's fine, it's great, couldn't be better, right?

[2:04:56] And it will exhaust you because your amygdala is trying to cover three people, who won't listen to you and think you're paranoid.

[2:05:10] And the people with no sense of danger are kind of in charge of this at the moment so they're creating this whole culture where any legitimate sense of caution or concern is just brushed off as paranoia very true you can see this happening all over the west in particular right so i just, i was sort of struck by this when you were talking about your parents and their lack of concern over of their own dysfunctional lifestyles, their lack of regret over their own bad parenting, their lack of any kind of processing of their own bad life choices.
I mean, can you imagine? I mean, I assume your parents are in their 50s now, and I don't know, I can't imagine being 50 years old, having been laid off, have some dead-end job, and be 350 pounds.
I can't imagine how I would, and can you imagine that? How would you feel?

[2:05:58] I feel 10 times worse than I currently feel.

[2:06:02] It would be a complete disaster.

The danger of being around people who don't sense danger

[2:06:06] And yet, your parents don't feel this concern, which means you're going to feel it 10 times.
And being in proximity, being in the orbit of those who don't sense danger, for those who have a legitimate sense of danger, right?
So you have concern about ending up like your parents, which I think is a perfectly rational and sensible thing.
But if you're around people who don't sense danger and you sense danger, they become your danger.

[2:06:40] Hmm. It's a...

[2:06:44] Unless they listen to you. Like we would listen to the guide in the jungle about the panther stench, right?
Yeah, okay, man, you're in charge. Take us out, right?

[2:06:55] Hmm. And they've certainly never listened to me at this point.

[2:06:58] Well, and, you know, if you're down with some scuba instructor and he says, something's wrong with your tank, we've got to surface, and you're like, no, I'm going deeper into the cave, you now become a danger for your instructor because he's got to follow you and he could get killed.
So your lack of perception of danger becomes a very real danger for your instructor.
And your parents' lack of perception of danger becomes a very real danger for you.
And if you have people in your life, you have a danger, you sense a danger, you know that there's a danger, and you have people in your life who deny it, you end up isolated.
Because you have anxiety without authority.

[2:07:41] Anxiety plus authority is fine. That's what it's for.
Anxiety plus helplessness, where your father's driving more and more into the desert and you can't get him to turn around, that escalates.
The whole purpose of anxiety is it escalates until you do something about it.
You wake up in the middle of the night. Let's say you live in a house in the middle of nowhere.
Where you went there sounds someone sounds like someone's moving around downstairs can you go back to sleep no i live alone right you live alone and sounds like someone's moving around down so you can't go back to sleep your anxiety is like absolutely get up get a baseball bat go investigate right yes and and because anybody who just went to sleep could get killed like that's not very very good, right?

[2:08:40] Exactly.

[2:08:43] So you're trying to feel life anxiety for your parents who don't feel their own anxiety and they won't listen to you.
So your anxiety can't be resolved while you have people in your life who are acting in very dangerous and self-destructive ways and who won't listen to any good advice.

[2:09:04] I need to find people who respond to anxiety and I need to respect my own anxiety because by not respecting my own anxiety I'm basically gravitating myself towards my parents I'm sorry for joining well you are you are turning your anxiety into a pathology which is your parents perspective.

[2:09:33] So if our tour guide in the jungle says there are panthers and this is dangerous, because they drop from the trees or we can't protect ourselves or whatever, right?
And we say, oh, you're just panther-phobic, then we're turning his legitimate concern about panthers into a form of mental illness.
So when you send me your, I have all this anxiety, I guess I'm stupid, right? right?
You are pathologizing your own anxiety, which is to say you have this weird free-floating anxiety that's kind of crazy, but that's your parents' perspective.
When you go to your parents and say, listen, things need to change, things aren't right, things aren't good, this is not a good path, you're overweight, you smoke drugs, don't they say, you're crazy, you're too square, you're too stuck up, you're just phobic? Don't they pathologize your anxiety?

[2:10:27] Oh, definitely. I mean, I've tried to address it in minor ways.
I definitely haven't put it all out in the open like you just said right there.

[2:10:35] It's fine. I mean, but they pathologize. So then you internalize their pathologizing of your anxiety. You say, well, I just have this anxiety.
It's like, no, you don't just have this anxiety.
You're trying to save people who won't even recognize any danger.

Escalating anxiety when danger is not acknowledged

[2:10:57] I mean if you've got some kid in the ocean and there's a shark swimming towards your kid and you say get out of the water there's a shark, and your kid's like no it's don't be silly it's just a dolphin just you're paranoid right, your anxiety's not solved is it no no that's in fact it shoots up because the fact that he He assumes that it's always something that's safe. No, you saw the fin.
It was a fin going side to side, not up and down. It's a shark fin.

[2:11:31] Like the tail fin, right?

[2:11:32] So you know it's a shark.
So your anxiety doesn't go away because your anxiety is like, okay, now I have to run in and get my kid out, right?
Maybe get my ass bitten off the boot because my kid's not listening.
So, your anxiety is escalating because the people aren't listening.
Which means that you're not safe. Because if you wind your heart into the hearts of people who don't recognize danger, they become your danger.

[2:12:14] Hmm.

[2:12:15] Because what's going to happen, and not too long down the road, my friend, what's going to happen is your mom is going to get really ill, right?

[2:12:24] Hmm.

[2:12:25] I mean, she's crazy overweight, right?

[2:12:28] Yeah, very, very much so.

[2:12:30] Okay, so I'm sure, you know, so something's going to happen, right?
I mean, you don't see many people in their 80s who are 350 pounds, right? I was reading this report.
This doctor was saying, yeah, you know, like in your 50s, your 60s, your 70s, if you're severely overweight, something's going to take you out.
It's just what I read, right? It's not my advice. It's just what I read from a doctor, right?
So you're right now, part of this is why the 25-year-old thing, it's not arbitrary because your parents are getting into their 50s, right?
And you've got a drug addict and a foodaholic, right?
Drug addict and food addict, what's going to happen to their health?

[2:13:15] Their health is going to take a steep decline. They're not going to pay attention to it, regardless of what happens.
And once again, my life is going to feel like I'm living in a house that's burning down, and I'm the only one with a fire extinguisher.

[2:13:30] Except that burning down a house doesn't take 10 to 15 years, but bad health can.
So yeah, they're going to have health issues, I would imagine. They're going to go to their their doctor but because they don't get a sense they don't really process any sense of danger they won't really listen much to their doctor they'll probably do a little bit here and there but they'll just slide back into their old ways because it's comfortable and and you as the only child right where does that burden fall on to me right and then just like when you were a kid you'll be stuck trying to help people who won't listen, Listen.

The Pain of Holding onto Unstable Relationships

[2:14:03] Oh, it hurts just thinking about it.

[2:14:06] And that's going to be 10 or 15 years of your life. And next thing you know, you're 40.

[2:14:13] Exactly.

[2:14:14] And your life is gone. Passed you by.

[2:14:18] I need to learn how to let go of them. Is that right?

[2:14:21] I'm not. Listen, man, I can't tell you what to do. You know that.
I'm just telling you the stock facts of the matter, at least as I see them.

[2:14:27] It just seems like the kind of thing that needs to happen because the relationship is unstable.
There's nothing I can do. I've tried everything already. I mean...
I mean, the best thing would be to, you know, let go of their hand, turn around and head that direction where the light is in the desert, you know?
I mean, it's a very difficult thing.

[2:14:54] Take a look at it economically. Like, for a long time, I've been saying to people that fiat is dangerous and Bitcoin is less dangerous, right?
In my sort of economic opinion, right?
And there are all these people like, no, I'm happy to keep my savings in fiat or whatever it is, right? Okay, well, then don't listen.
That's fine. You don't have to listen, right? But if you don't listen, it means you don't really respect where I'm coming from.
Now, respecting where I'm coming from doesn't mean that you have to agree with me, but you have to have some decent reasons for disagreeing with me if I provide good reasons for agreeing with me.
Otherwise, you're just dismissing my good reasons, my thought, my evidence, and all of that, right? Which means you're just dismissing me. me.
And if you don't respect me enough to listen to me, then it's not a relationship.
I mean, if your mother doesn't respect you enough to say, hmm, maybe 350 pounds is not ideal, healthy fighting weight for a human being who's not 19 feet tall, fault, right?

[2:16:03] Yes.

[2:16:04] Maybe, just maybe, my son has a point. If your father doesn't say to you, maybe, just maybe, being a Wakenbaker for 30 plus years, I mean, if he's in his mid-50s and he started in his mid-teens, that's 40 years, right?
So maybe being a multi-times a day a chronic weed abuser for multiple decades, maybe that's not great, right?
Then they don't respect you enough to even get a second opinion.
Because, of course, if your mother goes to, I think, any competent nutritionist or doctor would say, yeah, that's overweight, that's unhealthy, right?
So it's not that she's not listening to you. Like you say, hey, go check with a good doctor. And the good doctor is going to be like, yeah, that's not, like, what are you doing?
This is crazy, right? It's really bad. It's really bad, right?

[2:16:56] Definitely.

[2:16:57] So there's no input, right? They don't listen to you. They don't listen to experts.
They don't listen to anybody.
They just follow their own preferences. It's what you said to your dad, narcissism, right? Follow their own preferences. Other people's preferences don't really exist. Okay, so there's not a relationship.

[2:17:14] And there never was.

[2:17:16] No, there never was and certainly won't be, right? So there's no relationship.
If they don't listen, if they don't respect you, you know if i'm going someplace and my wife says you should put on nicer pants what do i do, put on nicer pants right i'm not gonna argue with her, i put on nicer pants, If I'm with them all, with my daughter, and she says, Dad, you're humming too loud, I stop humming. It's not complicated.
I listen. I mean, over the course of this conversation, at least a dozen times, I've said, if this fits, this is my theory. It could be right.
I'm happy to be corrected. I'm trying to listen to what you're experiencing.
I'm trying to give you as much value as I can in the time that we have.

[2:18:09] Right. Right.

[2:18:11] So people who don't listen to you, there's no relationship.

[2:18:16] So if there's no relationship, there's no reason for me to value or even there's no value there. So.

[2:18:27] Oh, no, it's worse than that. It's not that there's no value there.
And you told me this earlier. What was the other reason you didn't want to date?
Hey, honey, here's mom and dad. oh that wouldn't, that's something I don't ever want to have to do have you ever seen the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape well this is her fatter sister so so it's not just that there's no value it's that there's negative value right, which is preventing you from dating and it's also preventing you from gaining experience in a relationship where you actually get listened to, Right. You are every day, you are gaining more and more experience in not being listened to and not having a relationship.
And that's what you're training yourself in. I mean, well, let me ask you this.

[2:19:25] Okay.

[2:19:25] Do you experience like the conversation that we've had here, we're having here? Do you experience me as really listening to you?

[2:19:33] Yes.

[2:19:34] I really try my very best to not push any kind of agenda or anything.
I'm really trying my very best to listen and to not formulate theories that don't follow the evidence and happy to be corrected.
And, you know, I like I refer back to things that you said like two hours ago or whatever. Right. So I really do. I mean, obviously not perfect, but I really do try to listen.

[2:19:53] You're incredibly nice.

[2:19:54] Which is why sometimes like the first hour I'm just asking questions. Right.

[2:19:59] You show you care.

[2:20:01] Well, how does this feel relative to a conversation with, say, your dad? I mean, we're not dissimilar ages, right?

[2:20:09] Well, talking to you feels like somebody else is actually acknowledging my existence and talking to me and acknowledging how I feel, where talking to dad feels like talking to a brick wall.

[2:20:21] Right, right, right. So, you want to have experience in relationships where people listen to you.
And if relationships where people don't listen to you are keeping you from finding the people who do listen to you, then you're moving in, you're going with your father into the desert.
And at some point, there's no turning back.

[2:20:48] I definitely don't want to reach that point.

[2:20:51] No, you don't. I guarantee you, you don't want that because you'll feel it in a way your parents don't.

[2:20:59] So when i let go of this feeling that i have that i'm obligated towards my parents that i need to constantly be around and put out every single fire and you know deal with all their problems and you know be there kind of you know on call handyman for every single situation situation when i let go of that you know my life kind of feels a lot lighter and i'm wondering if that's how i face my anxieties like the actual anxieties that i should be listening to my my anxieties.

[2:21:38] Well, I don't know about facing, or certainly listening to your anxieties.
Your anxieties are not to be managed, they're not to be controlled, they're not to be pathologized.
Your anxieties are like, okay, so I'm really concerned about something, what if I'm right?
Let me try, see, here's the thing. It's free-floating anxiety when you solve the problem, but it doesn't go away. Does that make sense?

[2:22:03] Yes.

[2:22:04] Right, so if you're in the woods and you're chased by a bear, right?
And then you get back to the town and you take a cab to the hotel and you go up to the 20th floor of the hotel and you're in your bathtub and then you still have the exact same experience as if the bear's about to catch you, then you have a problem, right?

[2:22:25] Yes, very much so. Right?

A Never-Ending Cycle of Anxiety

[2:22:27] So it's free-floating anxiety when the anxiety says, oh, the problem is X, right? right?
And then you deal with X, and now it says, oh, the problem is Y.
Oh, A, B, C, Q, M, right? It just keeps grabbing new things, right?

[2:22:46] Yep, it never stops.

[2:22:48] So then, but you don't know that, right?

[2:22:52] No, I don't. I just keep trying to put out every fire every time it says this is wrong, this is wrong.

[2:22:58] So the good news is that everything that you've done hitherto has not solved the problem of anxiety, which means there's no point keeping doing it and expecting a different outcome.

[2:23:08] Yes.

Anxiety: Listening vs. Ignoring

[2:23:18] So, you don't have a problem with anxiety, in my humble, obviously amateur opinion, you don't have a problem with anxiety.
You have a problem with not listening to your anxiety and letting it help you.
I mean, if you have anxiety that you don't have enough food for the winter, because you have three cans of beans, okay, do something about it, right?
If you have a whole warehouse full of dried food and you're like, I don't think we have enough food for the winter, then you have a problem, right?
Very much yes but you are still trying to solve your parents problems trying to feel all their anxiety trying to fix them where they don't feel any concern right so that hasn't solved the problem, so stop trying to i mean stop trying to fix people that that's pretty key right because fixing your parents is not about them it's not about helping them fixing your parents was the only way you got through your childhood fixing your parents trying to fix your parents trying trying to heal your parents, trying to make your parents sane and healthy and rational and good.
That was the fantasy that got you through your childhood.
Because, of course, look, if you'd woken up at the age of four and you said, Oh, my God, these crazy, immoral people are going to be in charge of me for the next 15 years.
You probably wouldn't have got out of bed.

[2:24:45] No.

[2:24:46] You have something that got you out of bed. and that something was, I can fix them. I just, I got to fix these things, right?
I mean, if you're trapped in a room and you got 200 keys, what keeps you going is trying all these different keys, right?

[2:25:08] Right.

[2:25:08] And if you get to the end of the bunch of keys and you still haven't opened the lock, you just, oh, I must have missed one. You start again, right?
But if there's no key, and there's no lock, and there's no way out, you give up, right?

[2:25:24] And giving up is not a pleasant feeling.

[2:25:26] Yeah, we don't allow that. Our system does not allow us to give up.
It will create any fantasy, anything, to give us a sense of progress.
Oh, I'll try this. Oh, I'll try that. Oh, maybe if I try and make a joke with my dad. at, or maybe I'll just buy some salad and bring it home to my mom.
Like, you just keep trying things because you have to maintain the belief that you can do something and achieve something and change something.
Otherwise, you just give up.
And giving up is not acceptable. We don't get to be the alpha predators on the planet by giving up, right?

[2:26:02] Right.

[2:26:03] So when you're a kid, not giving up is absolute survival. I mean, for me to believe that I could talk my mom into not going crazy was foundational.
It was foundational.
It also prevents us from becoming violent. If you think you can talk your way out of a fight, you don't throw a punch, right?

[2:26:27] Right.

[2:26:30] So, I mean, recognizing that your desire to fix your parents was foundation, like, that's why you're here. That's why you're alive.
And it's given you great skills of reasoning, of conversation, of language, lots of great things that you've achieved, the willpower, right? Lots of great things.

[2:26:46] I hope so.

[2:26:47] But maturity, you know, the sort of peak of, at least the real origin of adulthood is, I don't need to fix people to survive.
In the past, yeah, you needed to believe you could fix people in order to survive.
You don't need that anymore.

[2:27:08] I don't owe them anything.

Owning the History with Parents

[2:27:12] I'm not sure what you mean by that statement.

[2:27:14] Statement well if i don't need to fix them which is the truth i i believe i've read i've read it somewhere in your real-time relationships book but i don't owe them anything i don't owe them i don't owe it to them to put out every single issue they have you know i don't have you you owe them justice and accuracy that if they've spent 20 years not listening to you then accept that.

[2:27:43] They're not going to listen to you. You owe them justice and accuracy.
You owe them the effects of their behavior. If somebody's earned trust with me, I owe them trust.
If somebody has earned contempt from me, I won't withhold that.
I pay what I owe. If I borrow $100 from someone, I'll pay it back.
If I lend someone $100, expect them to pay me back.
So you owe your parents, you can't say I owe them nothing because that's to say you've never had a history. But you owe them an honest, fair, and rational evaluation of their behavior.

[2:28:17] That's a game changer.

[2:28:19] Because to say you owe them nothing is to say you have no history.
Some guy in Botswana, I don't owe him anything, right?
We have no history. I don't even know he exists. He doesn't know I exist.
So you can't be that with your parents because you have 25 years of history, plus womb time, right?
So you can't be indifferent to them. You can't say there's nothing between us. I owe them nothing.
You owe them a fair and rational evaluation of their behavior, and then you pay what they owe.
You know, if you hire someone to do a job for you, they do a good job, you pay them, because they've earned that pay. If they don't do a good job, you don't pay them.

[2:28:57] Right.

[2:28:58] And so, you know, if you have good parents, then you should honestly evaluate that and give them, you know, provide what they owe and so on.
And if you have parents who don't listen and who are mean and cruel and, right, I mean, you owe them a fair and rational and moral evaluation of their choices and their character.

[2:29:18] Yes. Yes. So what would a fair and rational person do in a situation with people like my mom and dad?
They would probably do what I did, give them some advice, try to help them.

[2:29:34] No, you know exactly what they would do. Because you've been preventing a woman from doing that.
So a fair, rational woman comes into your life, likes you, thinks you're great.
Oh, you're into philosophy. Fantastic.
Okay. She meets your parents. Fair, rational, intelligent woman who cares about you. What does she think of them?

[2:29:58] She thinks they're dysfunctional and they're a disaster. Right.

[2:30:04] And they've also, they're the people who've done the greatest harm to you.
They should have intervened years ago, my friend, and you being isolated into your mid-twenties.
They're perfectly content with that. They have no problem with that.
They don't want to interfere with that because they want to keep exploiting you, right? So they're destructive.
I mean, objectively, this is not a subtle thing, right?

Recognizing Destructive Patterns in Parents

[2:30:26] Oh, that's dark.

[2:30:28] No, it's fair. Honestly, if my daughter was living at home at 25 with no friends, or my daughter hadn't dated, I'd be like, my God, I would never let it get that far.

[2:30:40] Well, certainly.

[2:30:41] Not that it ever would, but I'd be like, oh, my God. They should have intervened eight years ago, seven years ago. They've just let it go on and on.

[2:30:52] Yeah. It just kind of breaks the illusion. I mean, realizing that the only time when they might have even said something is when they said, oh, [X], why aren't you dating?
It's not because they actually care. It's because they feel a sense of guilt.

[2:31:06] They're just putting it on you. You should do this dating thing.

[2:31:08] It was never actually – they never actually cared. They just had an anxiety they projected on me.

[2:31:14] Right.

[2:31:15] It's kind of sick in a way.

[2:31:19] They are not getting you to adulthood. They're not getting you to freedom.
They're not getting you to liberty. They're not getting you to self-assurance.
They're not sitting down and saying, listen, what's in the way of you dating?
You know, whatever we need to do to help with that, right? I mean, say, well, you know, mom, you're kind of really obese and dead.
Like, you're still smoking weed in your 50s. Like, this really, I don't want to bring a date to this.
Say, oh, my gosh. So you're saying that my overeating and your dad's drug addiction is keeping you from dating.
Oh my gosh Well, we have to stop that then because we care about a little kid.

[2:31:53] Oh Well, things I've never, oh, never, never.
If I said something like that to them, they'd think, they'd say that I'm blaming them for something that's not their responsibility, that it's my fault, that, you know, this has nothing to do with them.

[2:32:13] Right so they would absolve themselves of any history with you okay yeah they're claiming to have no history okay so then i judge you as if we have no history and i judge you like i would just meet you at a at a place like some party you'd be there i'd be like good lord i want to see those people again well then you're nobody no and and they they're saying we choose our addictions over you which is kind of what addicts do right they choose the addictions over the people around them and that's like okay fine so you can have your addiction but you can't have me too right if you're going to choose your addiction over me you get your addiction but not me that's the only act of possible caring that you have is to give people stark choices not to enable their bad decisions, to subsidize them so yeah that's uh and it's been a long chat and uh sorry i i know it's been a long chat but i still have a bit of a cold so my energy comes in kind of waves but uh that's also what i I wanted to get across in our chat here.
Hmm so by facing my anxiety the reason why i'm i've been so kind of refusing to face my own anxiety and scared of doing that is because i have something to lose i'm sorry if i'm sorry if i just want to reflect on everything we've so you got to stop with the i me me i, okay so if you accept your anxiety has a legitimate basis who loses.

[2:33:39] Loses um my parents right so stop with the i lose i lose like come on you gotta you gotta distinguish the parts of you that are organic and the parts of you that are inflicted some guy stabs me in the side i don't say well i just have this wound it's like no i was stabbed i was wounded by somebody outside myself it's not mine it's in my body but it's not my i didn't do it to myself, right? Some guy stabbed me.

[2:34:02] Right.

[2:34:04] Right. So if you accept that your anxiety is legitimate, then that's going to be a negative experience in the short term to your parents, right?

[2:34:16] Right.

[2:34:17] So the reason you want to avoid legitimizing your anxiety is because your parents may suffer some negative consequences, at least in the short term, right? Right?

[2:34:27] Right.

Anxiety's Impact on Parents and the Need for Validation

[2:34:28] So stop with the I, me, me, I. Your anxiety is not just about you.

[2:34:35] Because it's about other people.

[2:34:37] Because your parents have constantly told you that your anxiety is baseless, because if it's not baseless, then they may suffer some negative consequences.

[2:34:44] I've been trained to hate my anxiety.

[2:34:47] Yeah, you know, I mean, if you have some concerns about some guy trying to scam you, hey, maybe that Nigerian prince isn't going to send me $10 million.
Dollars, he's going to be like, no, don't be crazy, you're paranoid, I love you, I'm going to send you the money, right?
So if you accept that your anxiety is about the Nigerian scam prince guy, a real, he doesn't get your bank account. Right.

[2:35:12] I have an issue with anxiety because I have never been listening to my anxiety in the first place.

[2:35:19] Well, because your parents don't want you to listen to your anxiety.

[2:35:23] Right. I've been dismissing myself.

[2:35:27] The price of your survival has been to not take your anxiety seriously.

[2:35:31] Yes. I believe you said it in your book, Real-Time Relationships.
It was one of the key pieces.
You said that it was dismissing your true self, how you truly feel.

[2:35:42] And that's kind of the you said it was like eating the invisible apple right, oh yeah that was a podcast 73 i think it was way back in the day yeah it was in the book but um.

[2:35:54] Yeah so i think i probably repeated in the book as well it was a popular podcast back in the day but yeah so.

[2:35:59] That would be just accept that your anxiety is valid and ask what it needs you to do what do i need to do to be safe right so if i don't think i have enough food for the winter okay accept that i need to get more food for the winter and then when you get enough food for your for the winter your anxiety should be should be okay with it okay done my job you listened we're good right so first in order to figure out if you have an anxiety issue you first need to accept your anxiety and change based upon its suggestions right so the feelings look and i talked about this in the book too right the feelings that you think about going over to your parents place for dinner what do you think i think of dread anxiety so your your instincts are very clear this is not a positive experience for us so if you force yourself to do things that are bad for you of course you're going to feel anxiety right if i have some giant impulse to go and ride a motorcycle cycle on the ice without a helmet i'm gonna feel some anxiety because it's dangerous it's bad for me right anxiety is trying to save my ass right exactly it's trying to win the phone your phone cell phone rings and it's your mom how do you feel i feel uh all anxiety yeah like oh god right how long is this gonna take right exactly and then you probably play a video game.

Trusting Instincts and Avoiding Exploitation

[2:37:29] With her own speaker so you don't have to concentrate.

[2:37:33] So yeah your feelings are telling you everything you need to know, Which is, I don't enjoy interactions with my parents.
And there's negatives. And, you know, you've tried to work on some of the issues.
You know, you don't have to work forever and you don't have to try everything because you have indications on how things are going to go, right?

[2:38:00] Right.

[2:38:01] Just listen to your instincts. But people want to pathologize your instincts so they can keep exploiting you, right?

[2:38:07] Exactly. and keep me in conflict with myself and my emotions.

[2:38:11] These are the bad neighborhoods. They don't want you to have any concern about bad neighborhoods because they want you to come in so they can rob you, right?

[2:38:18] Come on down.

[2:38:22] All right, so will you keep... And also, I would strongly suggest talk therapy.
And if you need money, I'm always happy to help.
Oh, please. If you are looking at getting some therapy and you can't afford it, let me know and I can send you some cash to get you started.
It i don't know i don't know if i could ever i don't know if i could ever ask you for that i don't know if i could ever ask you for money if anything i should be giving you money no no no, don't don't make that decision for me that's my offer and if you need it just let me know i'm happy to help i'd rather you get therapy than not so if that's the barrier you can just send me a note and we'll sort it out but uh yeah i would certainly strongly strongly recommend uh talk therapy but yeah just act as if your instincts are are true and you won't get eaten by the bear air-cold time.

[2:39:09] Yes, I think my priority for the future, at least now, is going to be getting out of this apartment and getting my own sort of independence back, if I ever had it.
And just trying to reach out and trying to manage, listen to my anxiety and get out of that shell.

[2:39:30] Beautiful. All right. Will you keep me posted about how it's going?

[2:39:33] I will. Thank you very much.

[2:39:34] Thanks, man. All the best. I appreciate the call today.

[2:39:37] Thank you have a nice day bye.

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