Meth Head Dad! Freedomain Call In - Transcript


0:00 - Seeking a Fresh Start
5:19 - Unveiling Childhood Struggles
11:03 - Confronting Family Dynamics
37:56 - Brother's Suicide Threat
39:15 - Fallout from Suicide Incident
49:00 - Marriage Deterioration Begins
56:00 - Cheating Revelation
58:48 - Marriage Breakdown Initiation
1:04:00 - Return to Wife
1:07:09 - Reconciliation Efforts
1:10:14 - Bizarre Control Games
1:10:39 - Wife's Mental Health Assessment
1:17:06 - Understanding the Conclusions
1:26:52 - Striving Husband's Dilemma
1:38:38 - Directing the Path Forward
1:45:58 - Confronting Fatherly Responsibility
1:52:30 - Breaking Free from Childhood Excuses
2:04:15 - Consequences of Screaming in Front of Kids
2:12:59 - Ending the Cycle of Harmful Behavior
2:21:35 - Taking Full Responsibility for Actions
2:28:50 - Embracing Self-Ownership for Change

Long Summary

A caller opens up about feeling stable but struggling in co-parenting with his ex-wife, revealing past traumatic experiences that have impacted his mental health. Despite therapy and job pursuits, unresolved issues remain. Discussions touch upon conflicts with the ex-wife and past family interactions, showcasing a journey of healing and self-discovery. The caller shares a story about a falling out leading to high school dropout, pursuing a diploma, and joining the army. Troubled marriage details unfold, including overlooked red flags, family dynamics complexities, and personal struggles like potential self-harm incidents. The dialogue delves into relationship challenges and family backgrounds intricacies, shedding light on the caller's hardships.

The conversation also explores a turbulent period involving a brother's suicide threats, communication struggles, infidelity, and a broken marriage. Insights into win-lose thinking, communication styles, and relationship breakdowns emerge, providing potential clarity on personal dynamics. A man discusses a troubled marriage, separation due to stress and substance abuse, and marital reunification after personal issue resolutions. Host insights into the wife's conflict expression shed light on their challenges, emphasizing understanding different behavior standards. Stefan navigates the dynamics of the caller's marriage, stressing balanced perspectives, self-improvement attempts, and co-parenting responsibilities. Recognizing past actions, motivations, and decision-making significance shapes future directions and effective relationship navigation.

Exploring family dynamics' impact, Stefan and a caller investigate upbringing influences on marriage, children, and responsibility-taking. Confronting family truths, prioritizing honesty and accountability for healthier environments, emerges as crucial advice. The impact of a difficult childhood on personal choices without using past experiences as excuses is emphasized, encouraging reflection for personal growth and better decisions. Stefan deepens discussions on parental responsibilities, breaking the cycle of trauma-driven actions and focusing on healthy behavior modeling for children's benefit. Taking full responsibility, avoiding excuse-making, and fostering self-awareness for positive change wrap up the dialogue with a commitment to ongoing progress and communication.


[0:00] Seeking a Fresh Start

[0:00] To be honest, I'm kind of not sure where to start myself. Yeah, I mean, what would you like me to do?

[0:08] Whatever works best for you. If you want to read, that's fine. If you want to talk, that's fine too.

[0:13] I'll go ahead and read the email. I think I'm in a relatively stable spot right now, and I think it's probably prudent that I reach out and try to have a conversation with you sooner than later. But in therapy for a few months, and I have basically got myself to the point of isolating so I can hopefully focus on getting a job. I'm working on getting a job hopefully soon with a job counselor at the VA.

[0:42] Biggest thing by far that's bothering me is that I haven't been able to provide my kids the life they deserve. Their mother, as well as other people in my life, have seen me start to emerge from a depressed state and looking to move forward and get off trash planet and have done everything they can do to overload my nervous system and send me back in self-destruct mode. I don't live with their mother, and it wasn't a decision that I had come to lightly. I thought it was better for them to not see us constantly fighting and I could get away from the unnecessary fighting and arguing that she was putting me through so I could finally get into a career where I would at least be able to have money for them. My kids and I still spend time together, but it's limited, and with them living with their mother, I still need to communicate with her. Every time I start to gently open up the conversation about, hey, we need to come up with a plan so I can see the kids more often, she immediately will try to steer the conversation into insults and everything else. I don't want to pretend that I've been an angel in all this, but it's been my opinion that she enjoyed the dysfunction and wanted to perpetuate it. I've been listening to your content since 2015 or so, and it's heartbreaking that I tried applying it and sharing it with her, but it was always a fight about something. Public schools, how will they socialize, for instance?

[1:58] I think the biggest problem that I had in listening to your advice, I only thought about how it applied to me and my actions instead of really being critical of those around me. I refuse to believe that my parents, who were still in my life at the time, or even my wife, were anything less than perfect, and I was the only reason why things were dysfunctional. It just sucks. I tell her not to scream at the kids, and she does the old, well, they won't listen otherwise. And when I've even said, hey, wife, we really cost these kids a lot with what they've had to go through, the minimizing, oh, they'll get over it. When I say those kids are under a lot of stress, she says, what do they have to be stressed about?

[2:41] There's just a lot that's happened to me in my life, being abandoned and basically kidnapped. I was forced to live with an alcoholic common as Berkeley graduate and molested. I've just been so crippled throughout my life, and I'm tired of it. Of course, my parents didn't recognize at all what happened to me, and I had even finally told my mom what had happened to me while I was living with her friend. And she did the whole, no, you didn't. A couple years ago, I guess my brother told her, and she decided not to play gaslighting games. My dad has several dozen college degrees that he got while drinking in front of a computer and screaming, get the fuck away, when I would knock on his door and want to spend time with him. Jeez, the dude even wrote his doctoral thesis on the Republic. Just total neglect. I'm not in contact with my parents anymore. I'm seeing where I'm able to make that leap and finally get to where I need to be, but i'm just frozen i've had some severe mental health problems and a couple of psychotic breaks, which i now know is due to the stress and my unwillingness to recognize it where it's coming from and addressing it in a meaningful way i'm just walking a tightrope right now i need to do something fast you had a conversation with somebody a couple months ago and asked them why didn't you reach out eight years ago and i don't want to make that same mistake again because i I should have reached out eight years ago. Thank you once again, Steph, for everything.

[4:07] Wow, brother, what a tale. Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. How appalling and monstrous. I mean, you touched on a couple of things there that I'm curious to unpack further. What happened in the commune, the socialist or communist commune. And I guess if you can just tell me about the story of your childhood, You know, I'm, my heart's breaking, but I think it's important.

[4:38] Now to, to be, it wasn't a communist. She just happened to be communist or socialist left-leaning. It was, um, it's kind of one of those things, um, that, okay. So I was in school and this was actually at a point where social workers were sort of starting to get involved and have a prying eye and more curious about what was going on at home because there were behavioral issues in retrospect. Respect, you know, one of the things that my mom would do on the way to school every morning is just scream. I mean, like nonstop, just screaming in the car on the way to school. And of course, you know, school's kind of boring. Um, so, you know, you have a kid all wired up and stressed out.

[5:19] Unveiling Childhood Struggles

[5:19] And of course, like, I'm not just going to sit there and, you know, none of that was being kind of recognized. And, um, and, and actually this, you know, during this has happened twice, I was sent off to live with these people twice.

[5:34] And I'm so sorry to interrupt. If you could just back off your mic a little bit, you're peaking quite, quite a bit. If you just back off the mic, that's no problem. But yeah, please go ahead.

[5:42] Is that a little bit better? Okay. The first time now, as far as locations, can I mention states? Yes.

[5:53] I don't think that's super important, but you can just say state one, state two, or a state or another state or something.

[5:59] Okay, I just want to, um, so my mom, when I was about 10 years old, had gone back to the, her home state, right? And she had brought me and my little brother and she had some friends while.

[6:15] Uh, you know, my dad, he was stationed in Germany. Um one friend in particular which is this berkeley graduate she was uh you know an art major whatever it was and uh i you know um they were in you know neighboring state and went over to go visit the guy i guess was a security guard for uh like the federal prison system so they moved around a a lot but they happen to be at this uh neighboring state and uh and and went there and it was so bizarre it was just like out of the blue almost um you know my mom made that i'm sure that they had talked her into it because you know i mean my mom i would kind of been you know through a depressed state and um really not making the best decisions uh but i guess that they had talked her into me staying there when i was nine years old this so this is 1999 and uh you know i remember when my mom took off i was sitting there was in in the rv camper looking off and i was sad and uh the you know the guy was like oh we gotcha you know and uh yeah geez and uh they they had an adopted son you know who eventually uh sexually abused me in a uh in a shower at a at a campground.

[7:43] And um what i mean.

[7:46] Sorry that's just a term that covers a lot was like was it like, Penis grabbing? Was it rape? Inception.

[7:53] Yeah, it was. Okay.

[7:55] I'm sorry about that. And how old was he? And you were about still...

[7:58] I think he's just a couple years older than me. I was still nine years old at the time.

[8:04] Oh, gosh.

[8:05] Jeez, I was still single-digit.

[8:07] So sorry. And then how long did you have to live with him after that?

[8:11] You know, in all honesty, I can't really remember. They were very extremely disciplinarian as well. Um, and when I did finally get back, when the school year started and I got back into the care of my mother, um, you know, I just, I, I really didn't want, so, you know, a couple of fast forward, um, a couple of years and, um, you know, I was 13 at the time, you know, kind of misbehaving in school, you know, obviously, I mean, like I said, the social workers, all that we're getting involved. involved. And I, you know, they'd made the genius decision to, to send me back off there again, you know, and, uh, you know, obviously I protested, um, which I suppose to them was just further evidence that that's what needed to be done. Um, but you know, I was there for a year and a half. And I mean, even when I talked to my mom's the first time about it as an adult, oh, well, you were only there for a couple of months. And it was like, no, I was like, Like, I basically went through three, you know, school years. Jeez. Yeah, three grades.

[9:22] But what, sorry, what happened with the stepson? I mean, did he assault you? Did he rape you again?

[9:29] Yeah, it was just kind of crazy. Like, they had me sleeping on the floor on a futon. I mean, this is a three-bedroom house. And, I mean, it was honestly, it almost seemed like that they were sort of, they facilitated, like they wanted that or facilitated. I don't know. It was just great.

[9:45] Sorry, they being the parents?

[9:47] Yeah, yeah.

[9:50] Right yeah um so you can say almost like the virus was trying to spread like if they had assaulted their own stepson then he would assault you and that's the we got you is the virus saying here's how i'll spread or i don't know something like that but sorry go ahead sure.

[10:05] Yeah he well he was um he was adopted and i guess his mom had you know died from aids or something like that i i I really don't remember. Um, and so, yeah, I mean, I'm just, I don't know. I mean, it was just one of those things, you know, and, uh, you know, they were out with severe alcoholics. I even remember the dude, he was drinking NyQuil, you know, and, uh, the woman who was my mom's friend, I mean, they'd just drinking boxed wine all the time. And, you know, um, while I was there, you know, I was performing well academically in school. Oh i was getting straight a's uh for the most part while i was there but um you know i mean the the kind of punishment it was just bizarre you know i mean they'd have me just sit down at the kitchen table for like i mean the entire day with my hands had to be on the you know dinner mat and well i.

[11:03] Confronting Family Dynamics

[11:03] Mean i assume that that's just a way of establishing dominance so that you don't tell tell anyone about the sexual assaults which you know maybe they knew about maybe they didn't but the dominance would be there either way.

[11:15] Yeah and you know like i mean and then yeah just sitting there drinking wine you know just or having me sit off in the corner and you know i mean and at a certain point i just uh i i what happened was when i finally had left that place was so i was sitting there at the kitchen table, I had actually gone back home for a week. And I guess because I had, you know, I needed to just sit there at the table, you know, endlessly or something. And, um, you know, I, I just, I really just, I didn't want to be there. I, the whole time I thought about like, even just trying to walk back home and, you know, almost sort of fantasized about like walking down the coast. Um, yeah, And, uh, you know, what, what ended up happening though, was like, I was just so frustrated and irritated with her. Um, you know, I mean, just, I just going on and on and on. I mean, just trying to break me down. I just picked up a, a, a salt and pepper shaker and just chucked it at her. Like I was just done. And she almost immediately called my parents. And I mean, my parents, they came to come get me. They actually drove all, all the way there.

[12:34] Um, you know, straight through and it picked me up, but I even remember, you know, cause they took my game boy away and they like, well, all they lost it and they wouldn't give it back. And it was just like one of those last little, like, why would you, I don't know, you know? So, and, and when I had kind of gotten back, I just, I guess I, I sort of fell back into to that uh scapegoat role for my family you know and just uh you know i i was home i ended up well i wouldn't.

[13:06] Sorry you you fell back into a scapegoat role what do you what do you mean like aren't you forced to take everybody's shit and smile when you eat it i mean unless i miss my guess i mean what do you it's like saying i decided to walk around a little prison cell it's like well isn't that where you're locked up this wasn't a choice to become a skate you didn't fall into a role you'd be forced into that role wouldn't you yeah.

[13:28] I i i guess i had sort of thought because, You know, I just, I really just, even thinking back about it, I just hadn't really, like, just how much I fantasized about how great my family was while I was back there and how great it would be to come home. And I guess, you know, slowly became, you know, acclimated to the environment there again. That's probably the better way of putting it. And, yeah, I just. And, uh, I, I didn't end up going back. I think I did homeschooling for the rest of that school year, which it wasn't necessarily homeschooling. It was like the supervised go do homework and bring it back here once a week kind of thing. And then I'd kind of demanded to just go to school, just to, you know, get out of the house. And, um, and yeah, even, even starting that school school year i ended up getting into a few fights with other kids who were kind of you know picking on me and um you know ended up getting suspended having to do the the home study thing again, um you know and it wasn't like homes go like the sense that like yeah my my dad who obviously i mean sorry how did the uh.

[14:52] How did the fights in school start.

[14:55] Um usually i mean there were kids like just i mean bullying me i mean you know making fun of of me making jokes, laughing at me. And it was like, I was just, I was kind of just broken down and just sort of kept to myself, you know, and I'd lash out on them. You know, because I just didn't want to get picked on. You know, it was just like I'm kind of walking out of the stressful environment at home. And, you know.

[15:25] Yeah, and a lot of people don't really understand that if you have a crazy, chaotic, violent, abusive home, I mean, sleep is, you're done. Like, I mean, you're just trying your best to get a little bit of sleep here and there. And it's really tough to you know concentrate and do well in intellectual pursuits when you're tired and stressed so yeah a lot of i've heard this from sort of a lot of people, over the years about sort of sleep issues and so on so you were uh verbally taunted and then you fought back physically is that right.

[15:54] Yes sir okay right okay.

[15:57] Because i was wondering sort of why you were you were suspended and not the other kids and it's because they were verbally attacking you but you attacked them back physically right.

[16:05] Yeah okay.

[16:07] So yeah you were suspended and then what.

[16:10] Yeah i had done the uh the sort of home study thing for a bit eventually, you know god uh went back to school when high school started and uh i hadn't really gotten into any fights in high school um you know sort of made some friends and uh, i i just didn't i just didn't really want to be there i just didn't really focus or want to do my school work or you know i was just you know it was hard it was really hard to talk to people you know i just uh i don't know i just i just had a hard time just associating with people you know i've had a couple of friends there was one friend that was actually um, you know going to the uh the school would you know before i'd gotten sent off um, and you know friends with him made a made a couple of other friends and uh yeah geez.

[17:15] You know, and just, um, eventually, you know, the one friend he, um, and, and it's kind of weird even thinking about it. My mom was supportive of this. It's like, geez, I don't, you know, so I was like 15 at the time or yeah, yeah, I was 15 at the time. And I guess, um, the one friend, his older, uh, sister had lived, moved somewhere to the Midwest. Um, you know, we were in like a desert mess town. It was just, it was an awful place to be really. Really, it's just horrible. I don't know what possessed my dad to think that that was a great place for kids to be, especially if he wasn't going to be there and present for him. But that's what he decided. And yeah, during the summer, we went out there and it really was. It was a lot of, you know, teenage partying, drinking, you know, this and that. And it just wasn't, you know, it was an experience different. Sorry.

[18:09] And did you take drugs, too? Yeah. Okay.

[18:15] Yeah. And, you know, it eventually.

[18:21] Sorry to interrupt. What age did you start drinking and taking drugs?

[18:27] It was at 15.

[18:29] 15.

[18:30] Okay. Sorry, go ahead. And, uh, you know, it just, um, we had gotten back and, um, you know, this is even before school had started. So this is sophomore year and I guess his sister had decided to come back, whatever. And she had said, oh yeah, Hey, we'll get some beers or something. And, um, the guy, like, you know, my quote unquote friend who obviously I'm not friends with anymore. Wasn't, you know, following this. but like i don't know so came in there sat down was talking to his sister and he like flew out of the room and started like punching me in the face, like and just like why are you talking to my sister and it was just like the weird and like honestly it's not like i even cowered or flinched i was just like looking at him like what the what are you doing you know like what are you doing and um well.

[19:23] I mean i guess you would have the impulse control of a lot of people on drugs and just i mean his his brain was i guess somewhat fried.

[19:31] Sure yeah and being a 16 year old and everything else like that just uh you know so um obviously i mean i felt extremely betrayed after that um when and i i just went back home and i decided not to even go back to school you know i basically i dropped out um worked on getting my high school equivalent high school diploma equivalent um and i just i i was just checked out for like a solid, you know, year or so, um, you know, and just kind of didn't do much, you know, hung out with, uh, with a few other people and every now and then I was on the internet quite a bit. And, uh, you know, eventually, I mean, when I turned 17, I, uh, you know, I joined the army and I went to, uh, Iraq and Afghanistan, you know, um, and, and I had met my.

[20:32] Uh, I'm sorry, what was your decision process, uh, in deciding to join the army? What were your thoughts?

[20:38] Well, it was one of those things that I think even going back to a very young age, um, that I just kind of wanted to do, you know, my dad, he was, um, Um, he was in the army, well, he's in the Marine Corps and the army. Um, and that's ultimately what kind of landed is that's where he had kind of retired out of the army. Um, you know, and, and I mean, by that point, I mean, I was pretty excited to just get out of the house and go do something else and, um, walk into the next phase of life. You know, there, there was a very brief period of time where I kind of thought that, yeah, maybe, maybe I kind of don't want to win. And there's very, very brief. I mean, maybe like a couple of weeks, but at the same time, I mean, it's not like, it's not like I had any other kind of plan. I mean, at 17 years old, I didn't know what to do. I mean, and.

[21:26] I'm sorry, when you were in Afghanistan and Iraq, were you a combat guy or were you a support guy or something else?

[21:34] I was a combat engineer. I was, so we.

[21:37] Sorry, I don't know what combat engineer means.

[21:39] We, we did a route clearance. So basically the, the, you know, big up armored V-shaped hull, you know, vehicles that look for IEDs, you know, went ahead of like the supply convoys to make sure that, and the infantry patrols just to make sure that the routes were clear, um, looking for IEDs. So, um, okay sorry i just wanted to understand that so and.

[22:05] So what happened to how long were you in the army and what happened when you got out.

[22:09] Well i was in for four years um i had, met my wife while i was in the army and uh you know i'd met her over the phone through um a a friend of mine, you know, one of my better friends, uh, I, I would still talk to him. Um, you know, I just, I, and I, I've reached out a couple of years ago, but, um, you know, he's, he's got his, he's got a couple of kids. He's a single dad working and all that other stuff. And I haven't just, I haven't really talked to him too much, but I'd met, uh, I'd met her through him and I, they were at like a, um, a club or something. I had just called him just, you know, during, uh, you know, some of my, uh, free time. and she was designated driving and i just i talked to her for a while and so um and.

[22:58] I'm sorry your experience with dating and girls or girlfriends before i guess this is your early 20s what was happening before that.

[23:05] I mean i was 18 um you know when i met her i mean i got married at 19 when i got back from afghanistan but um i mean before that my i mean like well i mean my friend's sister her you know um and then i mean not too much honestly i mean there was you know barely any socialization there okay.

[23:31] No i was just wondering about that and so you got along well with her i guess on the phone and then you met.

[23:38] Up with her and then you got married.

[23:40] Right you said at 19.

[23:41] Yeah we i had met her actually i had met her on my 19th birthday so um sorry what was.

[23:49] It that uh What was it that was appealing about her to you?

[23:56] She was nice, you know. She was nice. You know, she seemed very sweet.

[24:13] So some of the stuff that you've sort of, this is the same woman we're talking about, that you were talking about at the beginning, is that right? right?

[24:19] Yeah, my children's mother.

[24:21] Okay. So, I mean, when you sort of look back, were there any red flags that... Because to go from really sweet and nice to what you're dealing with now, that's quite a journey, right? I mean, and so I'm just curious if there were, sort of looking back, were there any red flags that you may not have been old enough to see?

[24:43] Yeah, in retrospect, yes. And And as I've kind of thought about it over the years, I mean... Because uh you know eventually i i did i did end up cheating on her um i got sent off to some military school for a couple of weeks and um and i went out with friends and was drinking and i ended up cheating on her and uh you know even before that i mean it was just still like it was the a lot of us sorry sorry what.

[25:20] Uh what were the red flag i mean i i forgot to mention also what What were the red flags that you didn't see at the time? I mean, the red flag in her, I guess, would be your childhood and then that you cheated on her, but you already married by then. But when you were just getting to know her, were there any red flags that you overlooked?

[25:41] She there was this time. So and because we have really kind of rushed in the mirror, I mean, a lot of our relationship was kind of over the phone. Um and she had come out to see me after i got back from afghanistan and so i mean we didn't i mean we're not talking like great lengths of time where i got to know her but i think the very first red flag that i remember and i can't remember if we um if we knew that, she was pregnant with my son at the time or not but um we were transferring over her phone number over to my phone plan so i could pay it for her and her sister had owned the uh the phone line or something like that and uh and she was just like really nasty with this customer service guy, like i just i couldn't like it almost it seemed like just such a shift i just i couldn't i I couldn't imagine her being that nasty, you know? And, um, and.

[26:40] Oh, so where she had power as a customer, she showed her sort of true color, so to speak, because she didn't have power over you until you got married, right? Then she had power. And then I guess she had even more power after you cheated. But so she was nice when she didn't have power, and then she was corrupted by power. Is that a fair way to put it?

[27:02] Yeah i think so i think so um because i i do think that a lot of the i mean because she she likes screaming you know i mean that's kind of been you know the thing is is um sorry.

[27:18] Was she screaming at the phone guy.

[27:19] She she was just being very rude i mean it was just like it was very like threatening almost i i can't remember no no it's fine.

[27:29] I have too long but But you weren't married yet, but she might have been pregnant.

[27:33] Well, we were married at that point.

[27:34] Okay, so before you got married, were there any red flags that, looking back on, you may have overlooked?

[27:47] You know, in retrospect, I don't honestly, I can't think of any instance that was like that sort of out there. As far as like hey yeah like i'm not really keen on this behavior kind of thing um i think the closest i you know i i'm just having trouble remembering no.

[28:12] That's fine when you met her did you i mean did she learned about your family uh in your history or did.

[28:20] You guys talk and did you learn about hers did you.

[28:22] Talk about any of that stuff before you got.

[28:24] Married yeah we we had talked about it um and there there was a for a number of years i was pretty dishonest with just how things were exactly um, Yeah. I mean, and, and she had kind of, but she did kind of know that my mom was a little bit out there. I remember, um, because when I first really met her, you know, it was still during that period where they were deploying people for 12 months, but they would, they would let you go home for two weeks, right. Um, R and R resting relaxation. Um, and I was actually in a, in my room, uh, spending time with her, you know, before obviously going back there and everything. Thing and my mom decided to run the vacuum cleaner it was like slamming it into the walls and everything um and and i mean at the time i mean her and i thought it was kind of amusing you know but uh so she kind of had an idea that my family wasn't the greatest i mean we had talked about it i remember at that time i mean she had like a very hostile attitude towards her father her father had like actually I mean had a whole other family behind her mom's back with a woman that I guess he was doing meth with or something, wait.

[29:44] So sorry but while you were dating you found out that her father was a meth head with a second family yeah could that be a red flag or two.

[29:56] Yeah and I it's just one of those things I didn't recognize, Wow.

[30:02] And your friend was like, hey, you know what would be a great girl for you? The girl whose father's a meth head with a second family.

[30:11] Yeah i mean.

[30:14] That's the world you were in right.

[30:15] Yeah i mean.

[30:17] It wasn't like there would be many healthy robust people in that world right if any.

[30:22] No i mean especially given that the town that i was in um and so so you found out about the father is a drug addict.

[30:32] Of one of the worst kinds with a a second family and did you find out anything about her uh upbringing as a child.

[30:41] Um she i mean during that time i i mean again a lot of it is a little bit of a blur there.

[30:50] Yeah no i understand i understand if you remember if you don't that's fine.

[30:54] I mean at the time now later on yes i can i can confirm yes i i do have a insight into her upbringing but back then it was just kind of like i knew that she was i mean raised primarily by her mom which you know her mom did work hard and you know um apparently her dad and her mom had had a business um you know and then whenever you know her mom had found out and all the other stuff i mean it uh you know kind of kicked her dad out of the business or he sold his portion or however that worked i don't remember the specifics on that but she was primarily with her aunt, you know kind of being there and then her older sister I think was about like 10 years older than her roughly, and so I think yeah I mean obviously I had known that she was kind of raised by her mom who was busy and.

[31:55] Well I guess the question is like the screaming doesn't come from nowhere right.

[32:01] Yeah. Yeah, I mean, no, go ahead. I'm sorry.

[32:07] No, no, you go ahead.

[32:10] Yeah, and I don't. I don't know if it's a cultural thing. I mean, yeah, I'm just I'm not sure. You know. Yeah. I'm just i'm i'm not sure i'm not sure what to say from here okay so you i guess you got.

[32:39] Pregnant and then you got married and how long into the marriage did you begin to be concerned.

[32:48] Well my um my little brother i uh.

[32:56] I ended up actually having him, him come out to stay with me. Cause again, I mean, you know, desert meth town, it was like, Hey, you know, a beautiful area with things to do, um, sort of thing. And it was like, yeah, I mean, you know, Hey, maybe, maybe you're able to help out, but I mean, generally, Hey, you know, you have a room. It's not like I was going to ask, you know, my little brother to pay rent or anything. Um, you know, hopefully get away from, yeah. Cause I, I knew my mom's craziness. I mean, geez, um, I know that my mom, cause my mom used to like keeping me the captive audience too. And she'd just say, either go off on weird, tell me weird, bizarre things like talk about a lawyer pulling, you know, boys wieners off or so it was really weird. Or she would just scream at me. So my brother, I guess she was screaming at my brother one time and he'd actually just straight up bailed out of the car. Um, so it was like, Hey, uh, you could be out here. But, um, and this is before my son was born, we were getting ready for the baby and, and all that other stuff. And, um, and, and my brother, you know, my, my brother, my son actually share a birthday. Um, that was kind of like, Hey, yeah, you know, maybe a little bit of, you know, help and you're able to kind of get away from there. Um, but he had even noted just that she, she would just go off on like the, uh, on just the most random things. And I mean, again, this is all before I cheated.

[34:22] Um, but that she would just, I mean, you know, go crazy over all kinds of stuff.

[34:28] Um, sorry, had your wife met your family before you got married?

[34:34] Yeah, she did. Okay. Sorry.

[34:36] So, so, sorry, your, your brother's with you early on in your marriage.

[34:39] Yeah. Gee. And now that I'm in remembering there, there was one thing. So in, in the army, um, I mean, obviously you're, you're issued like a military ID, right? So are your dependent. Um, so that way they're able to go on base and access, you know, the government subsidized grocery store and all that stuff. Right. Um, yeah. So there, there's a thing about losing it though, is that if you lose your ID, I mean, you have to basically go and file a police report. Um, you know, a sworn statement to the provost marshal's office is the proper term, but it's essentially, you know, I have to leave work or tell my job, Hey, you know, my wife lost her ID. Um, and just, just constantly, and that's just been a ring. I mean, she's constantly losing her ID and wallet and everything, but it was just like, you know, Hey, I mean, you know.

[35:31] And like, you can't keep losing this kind of thing, but I mean, then she would kind of go off and obviously, I mean, while I was at work, um, geez, this is really sad to think about, but, you know, I mean, he was there, you know, and I mean, he had access to my computer and anything. And obviously it wasn't like, Hey, you know, you gotta be at my house and, you know, do stuff. It was just kind of like, Hey, yeah, you know, I mean, um, when the baby's here, I guess, you know, you could help out watching them and stuff. Stuff and uh but there there was one instance in particular and i i don't know exactly what it was but he'd actually grabbed the gun off of my uh my fireplace and uh you know it had put the uh you know was holding the barrel like he was gonna kill himself and i just you know talked him out of it sorry.

[36:20] Your brother was gonna kill himself while staying with you this is the brother who who literally jumped out of the car to escape your mother's voice.

[36:28] Yeah.

[36:29] Oh, gosh. And I guess your wife knew about this or did you hide it from your wife or did she know about this?

[36:39] No, no. I mean, I, I talked about it, um, you know, cause I, geez, I mean, there are times I wish I would have just been brave enough to just jump out of the car and just be done with, you know, listening to my mom, you know? And so, I mean, at the time, I mean, I, I thought it was amusing. I was like, wow, you know? So obviously I would have been something I would have shared. Sorry you you.

[37:05] You shared your brother's potential suicide attempt as a as a as a joke i'm sorry i'm just not sure i quite followed that last part.

[37:15] Well i mean he had shared it with me like you know obviously like laughing and i just i was very, you know just i wasn't really aware of just the real severity of that i mean we just just how sort of everything was and the way that my brother had said, I was just kind of like, you know, I don't know. Like I said, I think it was more one of those things. Like I wish I would have just jumped out and just, you know, showed my.

[37:42] No, no, sorry. I meant the suicide or the potential suicide attempt where he grabs the gun.

[37:46] No, no, I didn't share. No. Yeah. She was there. She was right there in the apartment with us. I didn't. That was not a joke at all.

[37:53] And was she, she was pregnant at the time.

[37:55] Yeah.

[37:56] Brother's Suicide Threat

[37:56] Okay. Okay, so your brother is threatening suicide in front of your pregnant wife?

[38:03] Yeah.

[38:06] Gosh.

[38:08] Yeah, and he'd even, you know, when I talked to my mom.

[38:11] Did your wife at any point say, I may have bitten off more than I can chew, or this family is a lot crazier than you let on, or like, how come you're hiding all this stuff from me? I mean, I'm just curious, like, did she ever at some point say, you know, bro, you lied about your family?

[38:32] You know, I don't, she had said that I had put up a front. And I've even told her the same thing.

[38:40] Okay, so she did say she did have an issue with you lying about how insane or immoral your family was.

[38:49] More recently as I mean obviously the marriage is just totally broken down you know yeah and I mean she did, You know, she wanted to be back with her family.

[39:04] Okay, so sorry. So was this like a, I assume this was a fairly big thing for the pregnant woman to have a half-suicidal guy playing with guns in her home.

[39:15] Fallout from Suicide Incident

[39:15] So what happened after that with regards to your brother and your wife, your marriage, and so on? Like, because of that incident?

[39:24] Incident well um you know when i got off of work i i really tried to spend time with my brother and say hey let's go do things instead of just kind of sitting around the house um you know and he was just very upset and um and you know there's one time where he just kind of gotten really nasty with me and so i i took that gun and i ended up breaking it i just absolutely destroyed it because it was just like, geez, you know, like, I just, I felt...

[39:54] Sorry, sorry. So your brother is, I guess, is it fair to say suicidal at this point?

[40:03] Yeah.

[40:04] Okay, so your brother's suicidal, your wife's pregnant, I assume also, and I'm not trying to make you feel bad, I'm just genuinely curious about your thinking here. I mean, I assume that there's a fair amount of mental health facilities or experts available to you, right? Is that right? Right. Through through the army.

[40:22] There was. And I did eventually because I I did eventually go and seek that. And that's where.

[40:28] But your brother wouldn't have any access to it. Is that right?

[40:31] He was dependent at the time. And I was like.

[40:36] He was like under 18 or he was.

[40:39] Well, technically still a dependent under my dad's sort of military.

[40:44] So so your brother could have gotten access to mental health resources. Is that right?

[40:49] Yeah there was actually when I did actually go off to that school my wife ended up, You know, she had got him a bottle of liquor. I told her that it was okay, that that's what he wanted. And he ended up drinking so bad that he ended up in the hospital.

[41:18] I'm sorry. How old was he when your wife got him the bottle of liquor?

[41:23] He was like 16.

[41:25] Oh, God.

[41:26] What? Yeah.

[41:27] Wait, you told your wife it's fine to give your 16-year-old baby brother a giant bottle of hard liquor?

[41:37] Yeah.

[41:38] And in her wonderful decision-making, she's like, yeah, that's great. Let's get the 16-year-old kid hard liquor. And the kid who's also got serious mental health issues.

[41:53] Okay.

[41:54] Okay. Listen, I mean, I'm just trying to puzzle my way through the scenarios here. I just want to make sure I sort of understand things. So he came to live with you when he was 16. Is that right?

[42:06] Yeah. And he wasn't there for a huge amount of time. And it wasn't...

[42:12] Sorry, the other question I had was, when your kid brother ends up in the hospital, after you supplied him or your wife supplied him with liquor, wouldn't you get charged for supplying liquor to a minor?

[42:24] No. No, that's not what ended up happening. They released him from the hospital, and he ended up going home shortly after that.

[42:34] And when was this relative to the suicide threat?

[42:38] This was afterwards. I can't give you an exact time frame. I would probably say four months or so.

[42:47] Okay, so if I understand this correctly, your brother is suicidal. And you say to your wife, get my suicidal kid brother a big bottle of hard liquor.

[43:05] Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I'm just as responsible. In fact, I'm probably the primary.

[43:10] Well, you were the adult at this point.

[43:12] Right? Yeah, I was.

[43:13] Well, I'm not putting any responsibility. You were the adult who'd taken him in. And listen, I understand that your childhood was an almost unrelenting hellscape, so I'm just, you know, But, I mean, you were the adult and you'd taken custody over him. He was suicidal. And your wife and you decide it's good to give the kid liquor.

[43:33] It's not good thinking. Yeah, I mean, I'm primarily responsible.

[43:38] Well, you and your wife were both adults at this point, right? And you'd taken the kid in.

[43:44] Yeah.

[43:47] Okay, so how long, you said he was with you four months, that was four months between the suicide threat and the ending up in hospital because of liquor. I mean, he could have died. Obviously, people do die of that kind of stuff. And so how long was he with you overall?

[44:04] Um for the better part of a year i think about eight months or so okay.

[44:09] And after was it after the hospital after the drinking he was in hospital was it then that he went back home is that right.

[44:18] Yeah and.

[44:20] What was it about that decision to to send him home what what was the thinking behind that.

[44:27] Decision well i didn't i didn't send him home he he wanted to go home uh my parents had got him a ticket and you know got him home um and so he preferred to go.

[44:39] Back to your parents and stay with you and your wife.

[44:40] Yeah i mean that may.

[44:44] Have been his liver saying we don't want to die i don't know but something right.

[44:47] Or i mean and also be around his friends too you know i mean he there was like i mean he wasn't going to be able to hang out with a bunch of army dudes at 16 years old, you know? Right. Okay. Um, so, you know, I've, and like I said, I, I tried to spend time with them. Um, also being in the army, you know, 12 hour stressful work days of just, you know, just been all, you know, but, um, but yeah, and I mean, he, he went home, I mean, And he still has his friends, you know...

[45:24] And was he going to school when he was with you? No, I guess not, if you're on bench.

[45:27] No, yeah, he basically dropped out.

[45:31] So what was he doing?

[45:35] Just hanging out.

[45:37] So he had nothing to do?

[45:39] Yeah, other than having to listen to my wife.

[45:44] Well, hang on. Weren't you still early in the glow of your marriage? Were things bad with your wife at this point?

[45:50] Things were this is it was definitely rocky ground at that point um like one of the things i was gonna mention earlier was that uh my mom had told me that my brother you know talked to her about my wife obviously and was like yeah i mean she'll like just scream about the most um random things out of nowhere sorry i.

[46:12] Just lost track of that your brother would talk to you about your wife.

[46:15] Um talk to my mom because my mom had kind of told me secondhand like hey yeah um you know oh yeah your brother had said um you know that okay if you could stay off the names.

[46:29] I would really appreciate that.

[46:30] Yeah i tried to jump off as quickly as possible, um but yeah oh sorry i just um no that's fine.

[46:43] So i'm i'm trying to fix so somebody was telling you that your wife was a screamer shortly after you were married is that right.

[46:49] Yeah and.

[46:51] Sorry was that your brother or your mother or both.

[46:54] Um my brother, mother um you know my mom uh you know i i wasn't in a huge amount of contact with her, at that point um you know i wasn't i wouldn't say it was on bad turn to their um dissociated but i just i wasn't talking to her too much because i was kind of focused on work and you know coming back okay sorry.

[47:19] I just i'm trying to understand if.

[47:20] You could just answer the question who was.

[47:23] It who told you that your wife you that you didn't experience the screaming yourself is that right Right. But somebody told you that your wife was a screamer. And I'm just curious.

[47:29] Oh, no, I'd experienced it myself. OK, OK.

[47:32] So because I'm asking about the red flags and stuff. So when did your wife start screaming? Or when did you first experience that? Roughly.

[47:44] You know, within months after kind of moving in together.

[47:49] And after getting married, right?

[47:51] Yeah. OK.

[47:53] And so she would start screaming at you. Was your brother there at that point or was he still to come?

[48:00] No, not yet. Um, he didn't, he, he didn't come out there with us for a while.

[48:04] Okay. So your wife is, was this before the birth of your first child? Is that, was she screaming at that point?

[48:12] Yeah.

[48:13] Well, and was it before she got pregnant? Do you remember?

[48:19] Uh, not, you know, and actually not, not particularly. I mean, I, and that's what I attributed it to is that, Hey, maybe she's hormonal and that's why she's screaming. Um, you know, and, and I wish, I, I really wish I would have had much more empathy and care and, you know, Hey, she's away from her family kind of thing. And there's also kind of hard on her having to be a part of this, uh, military lifestyle.

[48:46] Well, but she knew that going in, right? I mean, I know it's a little different to imagine it than to experience it, but I mean, she knew she was marrying a military guy. I was going to have to live on base and he was going to be pretty busy. Right.

[48:58] Okay. Okay. All right.

[49:00] Marriage Deterioration Begins

[49:01] So, just in the interest of time, because we've been close to an hour, I want to make sure we get to the present. So, you were married, I assume, for quite some time. And when did things really begin to break down? And also, how many kids do you have?

[49:18] Two. Two.

[49:19] Okay. And were the ages or are the ages fairly close?

[49:24] Yeah, they're a year apart. Okay.

[49:27] So, how long were you married for?

[49:31] Um I would say I'm still technically because of the um the benefits thing and she has uh you know some health problems and the insurance and this and that um but really I would say last year it was like the hard there's no sort of because there has been a lot of uh back and forth, um okay.

[49:57] I just just need a bullpuck.

[50:00] But I would say last year would be the hard, that's, that's kind of the end. Like there's, there, we're not going to be in a relationship. Okay, sorry.

[50:07] How, how long have you been married? Or were you married?

[50:10] Oh, I'm sorry. Um, for 14, 13 years, we got married.

[50:14] I just, I just wasn't sure. I mean, it could be, could be four years, could be 20 years for all I know. Okay. Got it. And so when did things, I guess she began to scream at you early on in the marriage, and how did it progress to the point where you say last year was the horror show from which there was no return?

[50:30] Turn well i mean there there's been a lot of just horror shows and this and that of just over the years and uh you know what had happened was oh geez it's just it's a it's a lot of just painful history of just going back and forth and fighting just a total waste of time you know but um you Sorry.

[50:59] What are the general topics that you find?

[51:05] Literally about anything. You know, I mean, anytime that I try to have a conversation with her, you know, it ends up being something like that I'm somehow criticizing her or, you know, she totally misinterprets it. And then I'm, I'm, you know, trying to explain whatever I'm saying in several different ways to make sure that I'm making myself clear and understood. Um, and, and just, I mean, really, honestly, nothing. We're just fighting over nothing, you know?

[51:43] Well, I mean, the topics are often not so important, but you're fighting over something. thing. Do you have any thoughts about like what's at the root of the conflict?

[51:57] You know, I would, um, I'm sure she's mad at me that, that I cheated. Right. And, um, you know, there, there was obviously a period.

[52:12] Well, sorry, but with the cheating, if you decide to continue the relationship, you have to forgive.

[52:20] That's what I thought.

[52:21] Well, no, I mean, if, like, otherwise you're just continuing the relationship to have power over someone and bring it up every time and you try to win every argument, right? So, okay, so the cheating, I suppose that's still a thing, is it, like, 13 years later?

[52:40] Yeah, yeah.

[52:41] And so, but the cheating, getting mad about the cheating is also reflective of something else, right? Right. So there's got to be some hostility or incompatibility or problem that is manifesting in these different ways. And even the cheating, because the cheating itself would be a manifestation of some something.

[52:59] Well, it feels like that whenever we're sort of talking or it feels like there's just a competition going on that I'm not wanting to participate in.

[53:13] And what's that competition?

[53:18] Well, I don't know. Just, just trying to make me like how to be like the worst person, like to, to elevate herself.

[53:28] Okay. So she wants to win. She wants to win against you, right?

[53:33] Sure. You know, um, and, and I mean, not, not really like listening to me. I mean, it's very dismissive. Just won't. Like actually listen to my advice or my insight.

[53:48] Well i mean has she had any experience in her life, of a win-win negotiation or is it always win-lose i mean it sounds like with her family math had dad second dad i mean that second family that tells me a lot does she have any experience with both people winning out of a conflict.

[54:09] Jeez, I don't really think so.

[54:12] I mean, has she had that with you? I'm not saying that you would know these things either. But, you know, when you go to negotiate for a car, you buy a car, you end up with a win-win, right? I mean, the guy gets to sell the car to you at a price he's willing to accept, and you get the car at a price you're willing to accept. Obviously, you want the car more than your money, and he wants your money more than the car. So that's a win-win, right? Right. So does she have any experience of how to win in a way that your partner also wins or not, I guess? Because the army is not win-win, right? I mean, you do what you're told, right?

[54:51] Yeah.

[54:53] So, yeah, I guess that's my, I assume she doesn't really have that. And it doesn't sound like she had much of that with you. so she may just be the kind of person and I think we can at least understand who says well people have to lose out if I want to get anything in this life I've got a fireman and other people are just going to have to sacrifice their interest because I mean there's no such thing as a win-win it wouldn't even be in her vocabulary so in time she wants to get her way she just has to do whatever it takes to get her way because otherwise other people will get her way and she'll lose forever and she probably had about enough of that as a kid, Yeah.

[55:34] Yeah. I mean, I, um, cause I, I would have thought it was win-win cause obviously, I mean, I, I felt horrible. Um, I sort of.

[55:42] Sorry about the cheating.

[55:44] Yeah. About cheating, about just, you know, not giving her the time and attention that I felt like she deserved.

[55:53] And sorry, why, why did you tell her about the cheating? I'm not saying whether you should or shouldn't have, I'm just curious what your thinking is.

[56:00] Cheating Revelation

[56:01] Well, my, my friend had actually ended up telling her cause I, I was, I was having a conversation with him and she was sort of, you know, back home while I was kind of in the process of, um, you know, um, working on, on getting medically discharged. Charged and uh you know he had told her and and there was just fighting over the phone and.

[56:24] Sorry your friend told your wife was she pregnant at this point as well.

[56:31] She was pregnant with my daughter.

[56:32] Okay so she's pregnant with your second child and your friend tells your pregnant wife that you cheated on her yeah and the cheating was like a drunken messy thing in some other town right Right. No possibility of repeat, at least, like it wasn't like you had a second family or anything.

[56:52] No okay.

[56:53] So do you do you know why your friend would would do that.

[56:57] Well he had told me because i was talking to him and i was just like dude i i honestly feel really bad oh so your friend didn't know this.

[57:06] Directly but you told your friend.

[57:07] That she yeah that she didn't know like he didn't know that she wasn't aware and he had kind of casually said oh and and feels bad about the cheating Cause I guess it was my mom and her again. I mean, I wasn't there. I was a thousand miles away, but my, my mom and her were over at, um, you know, at the house together and he was there and I guess they were talking and he just kind of brought up again or I'm sorry. Um, he said that I had just, you know, felt bad about the, uh, the, the cheating, you know? Okay.

[57:43] I got it. So then your wife pregnant with your second child, um, is told by a friend and how long had it been like what was the time frame between you cheating and her finding out.

[57:55] Um about three months oh.

[58:00] Gosh so you really had no plans on telling her.

[58:03] I i did plan on telling her it was just one of those things like because i'd sat there i was like i i gotta just get things to a stable place and and i i you know gotta get a house all that that other stuff and and when things are settled and they're stable i'll talk to her about the you know and that was kind of a conversation with my friend was like hey you know um and i i don't know i don't know if he was just like not really listening to me when when i was uh when i was, talking to him about it and he just sort of offhandedly made that comment i.

[58:39] Assume you You didn't get an STD from the affair or anything like that, right?

[58:43] No. Okay.

[58:45] All right. So...

[58:48] Marriage Breakdown Initiation

[58:49] How does the marriage go, I guess, over the next decade or so? I know we've got to compress a fair amount here, but how does the marriage go over the next decade or so? Because you were together to have the two kids and your reasons for staying together, I guess, were enough to keep it together. And then what changed over the last year that changed all of that?

[59:10] Well you know i had i'd gotten out of the military and and she wanted to go um back home to you know i mean the area that she she'd grown up with she wanted to be with her family i wanted to stay where i was stationed and that's that's where i eventually came and moved back out to and and where i am now um it was just like i mean she she'd gotten just every concession she wanted wanted every everything that she had wanted out of me i i genuinely tried to give it to her you know um and i mean i got out of the army and i just i didn't have a plan and my i tried staying with my uh my family of origin and uh you know i mean they were just absolutely stressful i didn't she was was screaming still it was just ridiculous sorry she'd be oh god no my my my wife oh your wife.

[1:00:10] Was screaming okay got it.

[1:00:11] You know we i remember there was this um, you know we uh we were over at her her mom's house and uh her sister had a house up in you you know, it was like an hour and a half away and her sister was taking off for, you know, I think a month or two and needed somebody to watch the house. And this is in kind of like a ghetto area or whatever, but it was like, Hey, you know, we're, we're going to finally, you know, since I got out of the middle and this is just within, Oh gosh. I mean, just like a month of me getting out. I was, I was barely even out of the military at that point. And, um.

[1:00:57] I, I was packing up the car, you know, we had, we had the good car seats and all that and, and everything was secured.

[1:01:05] And I, I'd had a, um, a box that I think it had my, um, my monitor. It wasn't that important, but I was basically playing, you know, Lego, um, or Tetris with my car and, uh, you know, two kids in car seats and, you know, myself. And she just kind of like i don't know just just had this really snot like i don't know it was just weird like i was loading up the car i'd actually i'd went out and i bought mcdonald's uh for for her entire family that was there you know her brother sister mom and all that loading up the car just thinking oh wow you know we'll we'll get to i guess sort of feel like we're together and to have a house and have our own space for a little bit and like just sort of kind of went off on me about uh about this box and it wasn't it wasn't like a safety hazard i had a little bit more care and caution than that i didn't just haphazardly say oh well i could be on you know the uh the six months old lap but i mean she kind of just went off and i i just lost it and uh and And her brother had even come out and said that I was a bad dad and I, I, I just lost it and I had bashed my head into my own windshield, um, and, and even drew blood and, you know, ended up spending a couple of days in a mental observation, you know, and sorry.

[1:02:34] When in the marriage was this.

[1:02:35] This, this is, or this is, um, about two years into it, two and a half years.

[1:02:44] Right, okay. Sorry, go ahead.

[1:02:49] You know, and, uh, when we did actually get up to, uh, um, her mom's house. Cause I, I kind of taken off. I mean, this is like I said, that, that very first month of me getting out of the, the military and adjusting and really not having a plan at all. And, um, you know, like as soon as we kind of got to that house, just given that I was just ready to not be around her. Was talking to my brother and ended up actually going back over to my family and uh, i just i still feel bad about i just i have a lot that i just i feel horrible about you know and i just sorry you.

[1:03:35] You ended up sorry going to your your family and not not your wife sorry i just missed that last part.

[1:03:41] Yeah we got to the house where i mean again like you said This is in, this is in the ghetto, you know, it wasn't, it wasn't a good area. I'd stayed there with her before. And there was like, you know, basically a protest. I mean, just right there in front of the house pretty much. And I mean, that was later on when I had experienced that, but it was just, it wasn't a great area.

[1:04:00] Return to Wife

[1:04:01] And, um, you know, yeah, I mean, I just decided to just go back to my family. I just, I didn't want to be around that. I just, I, I just did, I was just avoiding the conflict. and just trading it for another conflict.

[1:04:16] Sorry, when you said you decided to go back to your family, I don't know which family you're talking about.

[1:04:20] I'm sorry, my family of origin. Okay, got it.

[1:04:24] So you sort of moved out from your wife and kids and went back to your parents' house, is that right?

[1:04:30] Yeah, and I just sat around being a, It's a total waste hole, you know, and just, um, consider going to college and just, it was just.

[1:04:44] And were you doing any substances or, or any mind altering substances at the time?

[1:04:48] Yeah, I, um, I was, I was smoking a lot of grass. I was just.

[1:04:54] And was that a habit from your teens or, or was that something that's later?

[1:04:58] I, I had done it a little bit during my teens. Um, but when I kind of gotten out of the military, it was just kind of, I, I don't know, honestly, I just, I, I felt that I just wasn't able to sort of relax, um, without it. Now, I mean, in, in retrospect, obviously it was just, I mean, there was a lot of stress. It's not like there wasn't any conflict or I wasn't, you know, facing any adversity sitting there at my, uh, my parents' house, you know? Um, but it was just like, I was surrounded by this instead of, you know, I mean, going out there and, you know, trying to, you know, getting a job, being independent and getting a place, really trying to take care of and provide for my family. And I just, you know, I was just adrift, you know, and, um, and I, I put myself there, you know, um, and then, you know, eventually I stopped that and, you know, sort of had, um, good motivation for a little bit and thought, Hey, yeah, you know, and I mean, even.

[1:06:03] Sorry, how long were you away from your wife and kids?

[1:06:07] This is um a couple of months and she would come by it wasn't like she was totally out there, i mean she'd come by it was about an hour drive or so um and and so she'd come out to visit me but i just was just so checked out and i just i didn't i didn't even know how to interact with her you know and um well.

[1:06:30] How many drugs were you doing at this time like how how often would you smoke a a day.

[1:06:33] Oh geez way too much a day like basically just the the entire day just you know just trying to check out um i don't know you know i just and eventually i mean i just i'd gotten anxious from it and just was like i needed stop sorry but where would.

[1:06:56] You where would you get them i mean it's pretty expensive isn't it where would you get the money for the drugs.

[1:06:59] Uh you know i had my va A compensation, you know, that was coming in, uh.

[1:07:09] Reconciliation Efforts

[1:07:09] Okay so then eventually you moved back with your wife.

[1:07:12] Uh yeah i mean eventually.

[1:07:17] My uh my grandma ended up passing away and uh you know my uh my my aunt gee what what an awful he well she she had moved in um and my mom and her for it was just this I mean, my, my aunt, I'm sorry, my, my aunt had moved in and, uh, she, her, she and my mom just kind of like took tag team. I mean, just, it was, it was just so stressful to be around, you know? And, uh, and I, eventually I, I'd moved out of there and with, uh, you know what I mean? There, there's obviously a lot that's going on there, but I, I'd moved back with, uh, you know, my wife And I'd actually started working on that. I worked on getting a job and, uh, and I did, you know, I had to, you know, utilize.

[1:08:11] Uh, some of the services out there, but, you know, I got a job and yeah, I mean, she's even like after I started this job, I mean, it's just screaming at me. I mean, we had to share a car at the time and, you know, like yelled at me, dropping me off to work and picking me back up. And, you know, I remember when we did, you know, get our own cars, it's just odd, you know, I mean, I would, I'd wake up, I'd have to work at like three o'clock in the morning. And there was just this, this random game that you would play that just always sticks out in my mind.

[1:08:47] So I'd wake up at like three o'clock in the morning just to make sure I was, I was well awake. And, you know, my, my brother, he, at this point he had joined the military himself and, um, you know, he was over.

[1:08:59] Sorry, what was the random game?

[1:09:01] Um, so I'm, I'm, I'm getting to that. It was just, so I'd wake up early and, you know, read the news and talk a little bit, but I go, I go take a shower. And when I would get out of the shower, I'd expect there to be a comb, a brush or something to brush my hair and it would never be there. Right. And so then I'd go in and I had, I ended up having to wake her up like, Hey, where's the comb? Um, oh, well the kids, the kids, uh, that's a just, geez, that's another thing. I mean, just her, you know, kind of blaming the kids for things that clearly aren't her, their responsibility.

[1:09:35] Um, and even if it is, it's kind of her responsibility to teach them, but regardless. So that was always a thing being stressed out about this comb. And so I had like a cheap little travel comb in my car and I just decided to leave it out there. I said, well, when I get out of the shower, I'm going to go just use this, come out in the car and leave it out there because I don't want to wake her up. I don't want to get into an argument before I have to go to work and all this other stuff. And so I went out there one morning to go get this comb and she just came out there screaming, like, where's your comb? Where's your comb? Where's your comb? And it's just like, I like, so I can't even just let you have the other comb and use this little, this other comb here.

[1:10:14] Bizarre Control Games

[1:10:15] And, and it was just always getting pulled into like these random bizarre games, you know? And so that was the game was, Hey, you got to come ask me for the comb before you go to work. And if you use another comb, then I'm going to come ask for that comb. And it's just like, I just, it's one of those bizarre things that I just, I can't fathom. Like even having the energy to put somebody through that.

[1:10:39] Wife's Mental Health Assessment

[1:10:40] And, I mean, did she have any substance abuse issues or, I mean, it sounds like her mental health was a smidge precarious to my amateur eye?

[1:10:48] You know surprisingly now um before i had met her i guess yeah i mean she had gone to you know raise um obviously i'd met her in the context of you know she she drank with my friend and all that, um but actually you know after after she found out that she was pregnant i mean um i mean good on her you know she quit she did she didn't drink she didn't she you know quit smoking and all that other stuff and um and really hadn't drank or done anything you know i mean um after getting pregnant i mean just kind of focused on the kids which is i mean one of the qualities that i i genuinely admired about her you know, uh i i can't say that i have a very high opinion of her she continued to drink while she was pregnant with my kid um you know and did or didn't drink did i uh she didn't she didn't She didn't.

[1:11:43] Okay. Got it.

[1:11:43] Yeah. I just, um, and you know, and I mean, seem to take that, that whole, you know, being a mother, Hey, you know, health of the baby. I mean, even kind of gone crazy with, Oh, we need to have the fluoridated baby water. Um, you know, or whatever. Right. I mean, she was very, you know, over the top about that. I mean, hyper-focused and, and I mean, I did, I did appreciate that about her, but I mean, In retrospect, it just kind of... Controlling you know i've just um you know and so.

[1:12:20] I mean would you like to know why she did the thing with the comb sure.

[1:12:24] I'd love to know.

[1:12:26] Sure well she felt that she was in an impossible situation and she didn't know how to communicate that so the best she could do was was to create an impossible situation for you.

[1:12:42] Yeah, and it seems like...

[1:12:44] Because you had to have the comb to get to work, so she'd take away your comb, and that puts you in an impossible situation. I have to get to work, I don't have a comb. Now, she must have felt, and this is, I mean, it's very primitive behavior in my view, of course, but I think we can understand that she felt like she was in an impossible situation. Yeah she's trying to raise kids and you say she's quite dedicated to motherhood right she's trying to raise kids with a guy who's a drug addict who's beating his head into a windshield and going to the psych ward yeah that feels like i mean wouldn't that feel like an impossible situation yeah you know i mean it's not the best way to communicate it and i I obviously don't have any proof, but that would be my assumption if that helps.

[1:13:38] You know? And, and I mean, it, the thing is, is, yeah, I mean, um, you know, I mean, I, like I said, I'm not, I've definitely, I'm, I'm very damaged, very flawed. And I've, really not wanted that to be the case um now the the problem with um her her having that recognition right of hey this guy's got some serious issues is that you know it's one of those things like hey i i want you to get better oh hey oh and then and i mean praying and you know everything else and then coming in and screaming at me it's like i want you to get better but i'm also going to do things that have an adverse effect on your mental state um even when you make that clear just say hey can you please.

[1:14:32] Stop sorry hang on okay i really really really need you to stay off the names man come on this is like you're gonna give me so much work after this show it's really annoying okay let me no that's fine that's fine i'll figure it out i'll figure it out but it seems to me there's kind of two standards operating here, and this is often common in the breakdown of a relationship so when i point out her side of things you say well i'm flawed and i'm damaged and i'm not perfect and i wish i wasn't and all that right but then when you're talking about her behavior it's like she's just nuts you know i'm trying to get better and she's praying for me to get better then she comes and screams it like do you know what i mean like for yourself it's like well there's all this history and this rich tapestry of terrible stuff that explains a lot of who you are, but she's just a screamer. I mean, why doesn't, doesn't that rule apply to you both?

[1:15:21] Well, and I have, I mean, I've...

[1:15:25] I'm just talking about in your conversation with me. I'm not talking about some... Because all I have is the words that you're using, right? That's all I have. I don't have any other access to information. And I'm just pointing it out that you have this double standard, it seems to me. That part of your dysfunction is explained by your history and that you're damaged. But I don't think she gets the same explanation. Like she's just a screamer. She's, you know, hypocritical because she wants you to get better and then she screams at you. Do you know what I mean? Like there's – it seems to me like there are these – and that's sort of what I'm hearing is there are these two standards.

[1:16:10] Well, and I've been very patient and I've let her. I've, you know, I don't know. I've just never known how to try to be there for her or help her or help her to feel better.

[1:16:26] Okay, so you're the striving husband who tried to be nice, but she was just crazy. Is that like what you're trying to sell me now? I mean, we could go round and round. No, no.

[1:16:33] It's your time. I don't want to say that.

[1:16:34] Because you give me these excuses that, you know, well, I've been really patient and I've tried to understand, but, you know, she's just crazy. I mean, we could do that if you want. It doesn't seem like a great use of our time, but it's up to you.

[1:16:46] No, I want to get to the real root of things. I genuinely do.

[1:16:50] Okay, so then I understand that you're angry. I understand that there's divorce underway, and that's tough. But if I'm going to be here to reinforce all of the thinking that got you to where you are, right?

[1:17:06] Understanding the Conclusions

[1:17:06] So the one thing I know for sure when people call me is all of their conclusions have got them to where they are. All of their thoughts, all of their assumptions have got them to where they are. Does that make sense?

[1:17:16] Yes.

[1:17:17] I mean, if you're up by the road and somebody stops and says, hey, I'm lost, can you give me directions? You know that everything that they did got you to where they are now, which is lost, right?

[1:17:28] Yes, makes total sense.

[1:17:30] So it's sort of like people say, Steph, I need some directions. And then they say, I'm lost, I need some directions. And then they say, every turn, every straightaway I've done has been great so far. It's like, well, then why are you lost? Right, so you have this pattern, right, which is, you're a victim, and she's crazy. You're a victim of your past, but she's just kind of crazy.

[1:18:00] Yes i founded the marriage on a fraud not telling her about the reality of my family, yes i cheated yes and didn't tell her which is almost worse than the cheating from a woman's standpoint yes i i beat my head against a windshield and ended up in a psych ward, but but but you see for you there's always causality beforehand right i cheated but i I was drunk and I was away from home. I beat my head, but there was this box with the monitor and her brother called me a bad dad. But, but, but, right? So when you do things that would be alarming to your wife, there's context and there's history, right? You are reacting to a surrounding event or even a past event or something, right? So there's causality to what you do, but your wife's just a screamer. But if you're going to do causality like you're talking a philosopher guy right which means you can't have opposite rules it can't be that your behavior is the result of what's going on around you or what went on in your past or alcohol or whatever it is right.

[1:19:17] But your wife's behavior, well, she's just crazy. She's just a screamer. I've been understanding. I've tried to do everything right. You said earlier, I compromised on everything. I gave up everything. We moved to where she wanted to move to. So you're painting yourself as a great guy and your wife's just crazy, which is exactly the thinking that ended up with you being divorced. Am I right about that?

[1:19:43] I don't want to paint myself as a great guy. I genuinely don't in this situation.

[1:19:49] I've been very patient with her. I compromised everything. I gave her everything she wanted. I'm not saying you've, I mean, you've certainly fussed up to some problems and flaws and all of that.

[1:20:04] I just haven't known how to make it right with her. You know, I just, I'd have no idea.

[1:20:12] Okay, so now you're saying that there's, okay, there's no way to have made things any better with her that you're aware of. So you've known her for 15 years, and you have no idea how to do anything to make her happy. Is that right?

[1:20:28] Seems that way from where I'm looking.

[1:20:33] Okay, so there's two possibilities there. I mean, life actually is actually quite simple when you boil it down. So there's two, either it's impossible to make her happy, like for you to make her happy, and that could be because you kind of defrauded yourself into the marriage by misrepresenting your own personal history.

[1:20:52] Right.

[1:20:53] And I understand that. I mean, downplaying the difficulties you'd had with your family, I can understand that. Yeah. But nonetheless, that is a kind of essential fraud to get into the marriage, right?

[1:21:05] Yeah.

[1:21:06] So it may be that based upon that, and she was already pregnant by the time she found out the truth about your family or some more truth about your family. And she's religious, right? You said she prays?

[1:21:18] Yeah.

[1:21:18] Okay, so she's got a covenant with God. I guess not quite enough of a covenant with God to not have premarital sex, which is one of the reasons why you don't have premarital sex, is that a lot of times a woman would get pregnant before she really finds out about the nature of the man's family, right? Right. This is why you wait until after you're married to have at least procreative sex. Right. So, I mean, this is why. So she was I mean, she's religious enough to really give the marriage a shot, but she's not religious enough to not have sex before marriage. OK, that's not uncommon these days. I think only 2% of women are virgins on their their wedding night. But so either it's impossible for her to be happy, at least from there's nothing you can do to make her happy. Right? Or there is something you can do to make her happy. Over 15 years, you haven't figured it out, which is why she's unhappy. Now, to take an extreme example, if somebody ran over your beloved dog and killed your dog, there's nothing that that person could do to make you happy, right?

[1:22:29] Yeah.

[1:22:30] I mean, I don't know, maybe give you a bazillion dollars or whatever, but let's say that they didn't have a bazillion dollars, like there's nothing they could particularly do. I mean, their apologies wouldn't bring your dog back. And, you know, if your children saw their beloved dog getting creamed by some guy who was a drunk driver, like, there's nothing that you could do to, right? So you might be in that situation where the, for whatever reason, could be the founding of the marriage, it could be the fact that you had an affair, and then I assume you slept with your wife after you'd had the affair without telling her you'd had the affair, which is an incredible violation for a woman. Or you know the mental health issues that you've you've struggled with or the fact that she's pregnant and your brother is threatening to kill himself on her couch and so on right i mean so either there's nothing you can do to make her happy because of her history and your choices and her choices too but or there's something you could do to make her happy but you've never figured that out.

[1:23:32] Now, with regards to figuring it out, if you had to repair something in your home, you didn't know how to repair it. Like, let's say you open up your air conditioning unit and it's kind of frozen, right? And let's say you're the one who had to repair it for whatever reason. I mean, you'd figure it out, right? You'd read stuff, you'd watch maybe some videos from some Slavic guy with 12 subscribers who solves every problem known to man. But you'd figure it out, right?

[1:24:02] Yeah.

[1:24:03] Okay. So what work have you done to figure out how to make your wife happier?

[1:24:19] I've tried listening to her i um you know i've listened to a lot of things on the internet, um i've tried to improve myself so that i could i could try to provide for her to try to reduce the uh stress on her plate you know i've uh i've obviously been in counseling and just i mean at a loss with uh you know therapist and the like to try to, just figure out what i need to do you know um.

[1:24:59] And have your therapists or the things that you've watched have they said that the best approach is to excuse some of your own bad bad behavior with reference to your past but say that your wife just yells no no i don't i'm i'm not a therapist obviously i can't imagine there'd be many therapists who'd say justify what you do with reference to your past i was stressed i'm broken uh i this i that like i i had it rough growing up and and so on right i was overwhelmed i you know whatever right so with regards to your your own choices, there are reasons, but with regards to your wife's behavior, it just is. I mean, has anyone suggested that you do that?

[1:25:47] Absolutely not.

[1:25:48] Okay, but that's kind of what you're doing to some degree, right? Again, we can haggle about the degree, but you've certainly done it in your conversation with me. And I assume you're not lying.

[1:25:58] Yeah, I accept that.

[1:25:59] Okay. I accept that. So when you say, I can't figure out, how to make my wife happy. I mean, you're doing the opposite of what you should be doing, right? Which is you're excusing your own bad behavior, but hers is just because she's crazy or mean or a screamer or something like that, right? You have reasons for your bad behavior. She doesn't.

[1:26:31] Well, I don't think that she doesn't have reasons. I mean, I cheated on her.

[1:26:36] You haven't given me any reasons, really.

[1:26:38] I mean, I cheated on her. I was neglectful. You know, I... Like I said, I don't think that I was the warm, caring, supportive husband that I needed to be.

[1:26:52] Striving Husband's Dilemma

[1:26:53] Okay, but in the context of her cheating, you were complaining about her. And we had this back and forth, I'm sure you remember it, where I said, if you decide to stay in the marriage, then you have to forgive, right? And you're like, well, I figured that, or I thought that, I thought that was how it was going to be. So then it was back to your wife is now at fault for not forgiving you right.

[1:27:19] Yeah I I wish she.

[1:27:23] Why did I not tell my wife I cheated well we were moving houses she was pregnant you know like this there's this causality right, I mean you confided in your friend not your wife Thank you. Now listen I'm not saying just get mad at yourself at all I'm saying though that if you extend excuses, to yourself right if you extend excuses to yourself but not your wife that will make her aggressive, guaranteed because for everything you do there's this sensitive causality and explanations explanations and external this, that, or the other. But for your wife, I mean, she's just a screamer. I mean, you can understand that would be kind of enraging behavior, right?

[1:28:40] Yeah.

[1:28:41] Like if I said to you, here's all the reasons why your wife does what she does and had a very sort of sensitive and deep analysis of her history and her childhood and so on, right? and then I said, well, you're just an asshole. Would that be kind of provocative?

[1:28:57] Yeah.

[1:28:58] You're just causelessly nasty, but she has all of these dominoes that affect her and she's very sensitive and all that, right?

[1:29:09] Yeah.

[1:29:12] So if you can't extend to her the causality that you extend to yourself, Again, I'm not saying she's handling it in a good way at all, but it is going to be pretty provocative, right?

[1:29:29] Sure. I just, I think that I've been relatively understanding that I haven't, I've been willing to take her screaming at me to an extent. that and I...

[1:29:46] Are we back to justifying your behavior and painting you as the good guy again? I've been relatively understanding.

[1:29:51] No, I...

[1:29:52] Because it seems like we're kind of stuck in a loop here, which is fine if that's how you want to spend your time, but I know that all this thinking has gotten you to where you are.

[1:30:00] No, you're... You're right.

[1:30:03] It's like I say, here's how you get to your destination. You're like, no, I'm going to go back and retrace my steps that got me to you.

[1:30:10] How... I mean, what's the way moving forward.

[1:30:16] No see now you want to have that now now you will want to avoid a little bit of hypocrisy on your part by talking about the future this is just more avoidance right.

[1:30:28] Well, which turn in the road do I take stuff? What do I do from here?

[1:30:32] Well, now you're playing rubber bones, because I've already told you, right? You have to apply the same level of sensitivity and causality to your wife that you do to yourself. Or you have to drop it for yourself, which you're not going to do. Right? If she's just a screamer, then you're just an asshole. Anyone can say anything they want, right? But if there are reasons as to why you've done what you've done, and there are. I'm not saying there aren't, right? If there are reasons behind why you've done what you've done, then there are reasons behind what she's done, why she's done what she's done. That's universality, right? She's a person, you're a person. There's reasons why you do things, you're not just an asshole. And there's reasons why she does things, she's not just a screamer.

[1:31:16] Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. And she does have some admirable qualities, admirable traits. I mean, she does... She really does care about those kids.

[1:31:32] Who, by the way, have been mostly absent from our conversation, almost entirely absent from our conversation.

[1:31:39] Yeah, and I mostly wanted to talk about how I can best manage sort of this broken family situation. Okay, let's go back to your wife.

[1:31:50] Because regardless of what happens in your guy's marriage, you're going to be co-parents until the end of time, right?

[1:31:56] Yes.

[1:31:56] All right. She comes from meth head dad second family screaming mother i assume crazy kinds of chaos right yeah and she's looking for a safe place to land, right she's she obviously doesn't want a reproduction of her childhood right.

[1:32:25] I don't know you know it.

[1:32:27] Almost just if you were to ask her do you want.

[1:32:32] No yeah of course.

[1:32:33] A crazy family like the one you grew up in she would say no right i mean i'm not saying that that magically makes it happen but that's what she would say right yeah okay so, she meets you and you portray yourself and your family as far healthier than you actually are Do I have that correct? Again, if I'm incorrect, obviously tell me.

[1:32:55] Yeah, far, far healthier than that.

[1:32:57] Far, far. Well, we're great, right? Love my family. So you portray yourself as a happy, secure, safe and healthy place for her to land after being shot out the crazy confetti cannon of her meth-head dead childhood, right? And then, after she gets pregnant, and she gets pregnant, I assume, on the idea that you're going to be the savior with the good family who brings her to a great place. And then, she gets pregnant. Now, she's not going to have an abortion. She's a nice Christian girl, right? She's going to get married. She's got a life.

[1:33:47] And then, funny story.

[1:33:50] Turns out your 16-year-old brother threatened suicide on her couch when she's pregnant. Now, was this her first encounter with the deep corruption within your family, or was there other indications for her beforehand?

[1:34:07] Hand well like i said some of the ways that my mom was kind of acting when we were first uh kind of together there, you know she she had some indications um i you know i don't i don't think that i admitted to her um what had kind of happened to to me out in oregon for a number of years Okay.

[1:34:36] So she didn't know about the sexual abuse, and you were lying to her. And listen, I understand why. I'm just pointing out the facts. This is not some big Zeus-like thunderbolt judgment on everyone. I'm just looking at the cause. Now, look at the dominoes, right? Because if you have contempt for your wife, or she's just crazy, or she's just a screamer, I'm here for the kids. Right, so if you have hostility or contempt for your wife, then your kids are going to have to choose, and that's not fair on them, right?

[1:35:15] No, it's not.

[1:35:16] Okay, so... And that's interesting. So when did your wife, or I guess your girlfriend, when did she first get exposure to your mom's craziness?

[1:35:31] Well, like I said, the one instance that I remember is, you know, we were in my bedroom there, and it was like 11 o'clock at night.

[1:35:44] Oh, the vacuuming thing, right?

[1:35:45] Yeah, yeah.

[1:35:46] Okay, so whatever. effort maybe she's a bit ocd with the cleaning right but that's not the same as right um because i asked you if there were red flags with regards to your wife and you're like well she did yell at the phone guy but that was kind of later and so on right so that was all kind of hazy but now you're telling me that your wife had indications of your crazy family what while she was still dating you before a little.

[1:36:09] Bit a little bit but i think that you know we sort of just treated that as something humorous, you know.

[1:36:16] Okay, so your family all falsified the facts to snag this woman, right?

[1:36:26] Well, I don't think that my mom or my dad wanted me to honestly get mad. I mean, it was just kind of like my mom...

[1:36:34] No, no, but they didn't uncork their crazy in front of this woman, right?

[1:36:38] No, not completely, no.

[1:36:40] Well, no, hang on. What do you mean, not completely?

[1:36:43] Um well i mean eventually my mom.

[1:36:45] No no not eventually i'm talking about early on before she got pregnant.

[1:36:49] No they didn't.

[1:36:50] So you're all putting on a show right that you're saner than you are yeah.

[1:36:55] Yeah that's accurate.

[1:36:56] Okay now do you think that your wife grew up with a shit ton of deception in her life, I mean her father had a second family yeah so how and I assume that he hid his drug habit either from the family or from his employer or whatever right, so she grew up massively harmed and traumatized by deception right, yeah and then what happens you take the story from here from your wife's perspective, she's like oh deception is just the worst thing ever deception is a soul murdering event and i've grown up completely surrounded by deception which means of course because you knew about her family she didn't know about yours, you knew that she'd be incredibly susceptible to deception.

[1:37:53] I didn't think about things that way.

[1:37:57] No, you didn't think about things, but you knew that she grew up with a massive amount of deception, and therefore, I mean, you would understand that she would be a pretty easy person to light it. And your parents would certainly know that. Sorry, I'm not sure whether that squeaking is in the the background it's a little distraught are you opening a screen door or no.

[1:38:20] That's that's probably just my chair kind of.

[1:38:22] Okay yeah if you could find some place that's not squeaky that would be excellent yeah.

[1:38:25] Yeah let me get out of that chair um yeah sorry about that um so i i.

[1:38:38] Directing the Path Forward

[1:38:39] And I'm not talking about you and your motives here, right? Because we've had an hour and a half of you, right? I'm trying to get you to a place that's better for your family. So your wife, or your girlfriend, is sold a lie of a family to marry into, right?

[1:39:01] Yeah.

[1:39:02] And also, since there are aspects of personality and mental health that have to do with genetics, she's sold a lie that she's reproducing genetically, right?

[1:39:13] Yeah.

[1:39:15] Now, that's going to be kind of an enormous freak-out situation. Deep down, right? You said she started screaming when she was pregnant, right?

[1:39:29] Yeah.

[1:39:30] Well, why was she screaming? You think it's hormones? Now we're talking about it this way. why was she screaming when she was pregnant?

[1:39:41] Probably because she realized there was a lot more on her plate than she initially anticipated.

[1:39:51] Okay, don't give Beattie's euphemisms. A lot more on her plate. Why? My gosh, man. Your sensitivity of your language at your own faults is exquisite. But she's just a screamer. Okay, why was she screaming when she was pregnant?

[1:40:06] Probably because she realized that, you know, there were going to be some problems, that I was...

[1:40:12] There were going to be some problems. No, because she was lied to and she was trapped. You and your family lied to her, deceived her, impregnated her, and trapped her. And she was never going to get away from this falsehood, from these manipulators, from these liars. And she's trapped. She can't have an abortion. She's going to have to get married. And she's never going to escape the lies and manipulations of her childhood now she's trapped. Does she have the language for all of that? Probably not. She was a teenager.

[1:40:47] She was a few years older than me.

[1:40:50] Okay. Early 20s. Not important.

[1:40:53] Sorry. I just... I've had that.

[1:41:00] Trapped her in a life that she was desperately, desperately, desperately trying to get away from. Now, could she have vetted better? Okay, I get all of that. but we're talking about what happened not what should have happened, my father and my mother lied to me pathologically and that was the basis of her family oh good here's a nice family a healthy family, a good family everybody claims to love each other they get along thank goodness, I've managed to escape these crazy liars and manipulators, and then she gets pregnant bad call definitely not in line with her values but it happened, and then what does she find out now that she's stuck everybody reveals their true colors everybody rips off the mask and she's right back where she started at the age of three, but with no chance of escaping.

[1:42:11] But hey man, maybe she's just a screamer Maybe she's just irrational and crazy and screams and is hormonal Do you see what I mean? Like the difference in how you evaluate yourself I get an hour of backstory from you for every little decision But she's just a screamer, It doesn't make it okay what she's doing. Of course, it's not good to scream. I get that.

[1:42:44] I just wanted to make it right. And I mean, the thought that I've had... No, I've just wanted to make things right and really be...

[1:42:50] Okay, I don't care about these Hallmark cards of putting medals on your chest for what a great guy you are. I'm trying to help you understand your wife. Like, don't give me this useless, treacly, Well, I'm just a good guy. I just want to make things better. or I just don't want to understand my wife. Come on, man. Do you want to fix this or not?

[1:43:08] I want to fix it.

[1:43:09] Okay. Is what I'm saying, potentially somewhat accurate?

[1:43:16] It absolutely is. And the thought that I've had...

[1:43:19] You knew her father was a drug addict, right?

[1:43:23] Yeah.

[1:43:24] And what do you do? You abandon your family to do what?

[1:43:30] To do drugs.

[1:43:31] Wake and bake, man. Eat five bowls a day. Oh, I know. She grew up with a drug addict father. You know what would be great? I'm going to be a drug addict. Because that's going to help. Now, you, of course, immediately go to, yes, but I was really stressful and I was out of the army and I didn't know what to do. So you have all these reasons. Okay, fine, have these reasons. But give her her reasons, too. Don't play this one-sided game of of everything I do has all these delicate causalities, but she's just a screamer. That's bullshit, man. Come on. She's got her causes, and she's got her dominoes, as do you. And I'm not trying to be insensitive to you. I'm just trying to say stop bullshitting about everything I do has all this sensitive causality, but she's just crazy. I can see her side. I'm not saying her side is right. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm not saying she handled it well at all, but I can see how growing up with liars, manipulators, and drug addicts, and then getting tricked into a family where there are liars, manipulators, and drug addicts, and you can't ever escape your childhood, I can see how that would fuck someone up.

[1:44:46] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. I just i've had that thought and that feeling that i i kind of brought her into my family as like a sacrificial lamb well.

[1:45:06] That's all very fucking poetic but you just lied and manipulated and you all did right, brought her in as a sacrificial lamb holy crap man how about just some basic self-responsibility and the reason i'm saying this here's the three i mean this is all about your kids right Yeah.

[1:45:22] Yeah, absolutely.

[1:45:23] So every screwed-up thing you do has all of this infinite and delicate causality where it's somehow not quite your fault. You know that's going to happen to your kids, right? I mean, I assume it already has to some degree, right?

[1:45:38] Yeah, I mean, they're kind of just in a difficult situation, and I don't...

[1:45:45] Sorry, they're in a difficult situation? What do you mean?

[1:45:48] Well i mean they're they're living in a you know kind of a ghetto town in a very tiny house and you know um and they're stressed.

[1:45:58] Confronting Fatherly Responsibility

[1:45:59] Out do you ever abandon you ever abandon responsibility holy crap they're in a difficult situation you're their father they're exactly where you put them, yeah what about her mother what about their mother it's like yeah you chose her you chose to have protected sex with her you chose to stay married you right so they're not in a difficult situation you're their father, i mean to take an extreme example if i lock a dog in the basement i say well you know that dog's it's in a difficult situation it's not really getting food and water it's like what.

[1:46:42] I just don't know how to navigate any of the conflict.

[1:46:46] Right, so now you're going foggy on me again, right?

[1:46:50] I want to avoid that.

[1:46:53] So when it came to explaining your life to me, and I'm going to be harsh with you, and I apologize for that. I just want to be direct for the sake of the kids. So when it came to explaining your life to me, you have have exquisitely delicate and right, and I sympathize hugely, but when it comes to explaining your life to me, I got an hour of, here's why things happened, right? But then when it comes to fixing things with your family, you have no clue. So when it comes to yourself, you hold 19 juggling balls in the air about what happened and how it affected you and how it put you down a certain path or blocked you from another path and I did this because of that and that happened because of this and this happened because of the earlier thing, right? So you've got a whole nuclear reactor of complicated engineering as to why you are who you are, right? But then when it comes to fixing anything, you just go completely rubber bones. Don't know, can't think, no clue. But you already show me that you have a lot of clue about how to understand people and things because you gave me all of that in the first hour about your whole life. Don't go rubber bones. You can't go rubber bones. You're a father, not an option. It's not an option to go rubber bones when you're a dad. Because your kids are looking to you for leadership and guidance and wisdom. him.

[1:48:20] Of course so.

[1:48:22] You have this thing on the table called well i don't know man i don't know no clue, like if you listen and i have respect for that in terms of consistency, if i had said to you tell me about your life and you'd be like well i don't know man stuff happened i have no idea why i am the way i am no causality no sense of cause and effect i don't know right okay but then so then when you say to me when it comes to fixing challenges challenges, then at least it would be consistent, right? Because you say, well, I don't know why I am the way I am. I don't know why I turned out the way I turned out. I don't know why my life is the way it is. And then if I say, well, you know, here's some ways to fix it. So I don't know how to do any of that. Okay, at least that's consistent. But you see the difference, right?

[1:49:08] Like, you've got two cars in the garage, and both of them are broken. And you spend, I come and say, say, oh, what's going on with these cars, right? And with the car called you, you take apart every little piece, you show me, oh, this goes to this, here's the catalytic converter, here's the transmission, here's the this, here's the that, I'll put it back together, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? And then when I say, oh, this is the same car, what's wrong with that one? Oh, I don't have a clue. Man, I don't know. It's like you just showed me how to take apart an engine and put it back together, and you're saying you have no clue what's going on with the other car. Come on. Right so you you disassembled your whole life reassembled it so that i could see the causality and with your wife and things that you can do that might improve things you just go blank and fog out, Do you see the difference?

[1:49:58] Yeah, I understand.

[1:49:59] Okay.

[1:50:00] I understand.

[1:50:08] It's a matter of pride, right? So how does it feel for you to say to your wife, you're right? You're right. No caveats. No, but you were wrong three days ago. But I have all of the sensitive causality that happened when I was in the womb forward but just you know what you're right I did something really wrong I did something really bad you're absolutely right and you're every right to be angry at me and I'll do what I can to make it up but unreservedly taking responsibility, and being wrong.

[1:50:44] Yeah I will absolutely admit when I'm wrong you know and I have throughout the years.

[1:51:00] Because you don't do it in this call I mean so you're telling me that there's another person there's another version of you that's done all of this stuff throughout the years just not in your call with me I mean you'll say that I'm wrong and then you'll tell me why it happened which is a form of excusing yourself, I did drugs but I was stressed I cheated but I was in another town and I was drunk I didn't tell my wife about cheating on her but it's because we were moving house so you give yourself all of that maybe you admit when you're wrong but if you admit when you're wrong and give an excuse nobody believes you.

[1:51:43] No matter how bad a childhood you've had it's entirely possible, that you can be completely in the wrong and it's nobody else's fault see i tell you man this is a big secret and i say this to you brother to brother like we both had bad childhoods in some ways i think yours was worse but i'll tell you you know what the big the big lasting damage that a bad childhood gives you is excuses that's the that's how it gets you in the present it's not Not the shit that happened for you decades ago, for me half a century ago. That's not the stuff that gets you. The stuff that gets you is the lowering of the standards because you had a bad childhood. Because you always have a reason as to why you did something wrong.

[1:52:30] Breaking Free from Childhood Excuses

[1:52:30] And you can always trace it back to, well, I'm not that assertive because my mom screamed at me, or I don't like telling the truth because my dad's a compulsive liar, or whatever, right? So you always have a way to lower standards when you have a bad childhood. And that's what gets you. That's the problem. problem. Your choices as an adult in your 30s, your choices are still enormously conditioned by the excuses of a childhood that was objectively terrible. I'm not going to pretend otherwise at all. And, you know, my sole goal with you, with me, with others is to say, okay, how do we reduce the negative effects of a terrible childhood. I mean, that's fair. That's a fair thing to say. Isn't that what we kind of want?

[1:53:26] Yeah, which I need to do. I mean, I need to.

[1:53:28] Okay, so you can't, for the rest of your life, you can't go to your childhood for an excuse ever again. Ever. That doesn't mean don't have sympathy for what happened to you. I have great sympathy for what happened to you. It was terrible. And the best way to stop having a bad childhood is to stop letting it give you excuses. Because I bet you're sure as shit that your parents also used their own shitty childhoods as an excuse.

[1:53:59] Or their previous marriages or whatever.

[1:54:02] It's the past.

[1:54:03] Yeah.

[1:54:04] Made me who I am. Oh, great. I can never escape the past. Well, of course not. That's like expecting a piece of clay that a potter worked on to change its shape after it's been baked and hardened.

[1:54:17] What if, what if, the answer to a bad childhood is to not let it give you excuses? What if that's how childhood actually ends? Is it's no longer an excuse? And it's hard, because listen, my natural sympathy for you as a child is without end, without bottom. What happened to you as a child was appallingly evil.

[1:54:48] How do we fight evil? We don't let it lower our standards. In fact, if you really want to fight evil, you use it to raise your standards. So I was like, wow, my mom was really kind of crazy and mystical. Now, one way to end childhood would be to say, I reject all mysticism. Okay. All right. I don't let myself go down that path of mysticism because I was raised by a crazy violet mystic, right? Okay. Okay. Ah, but that's not why we're talking. Why we're talking is I judoed that shit. And I said, my mother was anti-rational. I'm going to judo that into being very rational. My mother was a terrible mother. I'm going to judo that into being a fantastic father. I mean, in my life growing up, my mother was by far the worst mother around. I have judoed that into being the best father that I know of. Of course, there's lots of stuff I don't know, so I'm not going to claim some objective. But, you know, I'm the best father that I can possibly be.

[1:55:55] So what if.

[1:55:57] Your childhood demand so did your parents take responsibility for their actions.

[1:56:04] Very rarely my you know my mom and i had almost seemed like we may be, sort of overcoming that and having some of that agreement like hey you know i there there were things that i did wrong you know raising you and if you call it while you were growing up um we were kind of on the verge of that kind of conversation and you know it just almost seemed like she had the she was started once she felt that she was trying to dislodge.

[1:56:36] The demon from her breast it noticed and clamped down right and she let it okay do your parents when you were a child did your parents take responsibility for their actions.

[1:56:44] Oh god no right.

[1:56:46] So now you have to to be on the lookout for anything that gives you an excuse to not take responsibility for your actions now your childhood was so terrible that 99.999 percent of people will give you big hug and sympathy and lower their standards for you well he had it so tough growing up you know blah blah blah we can't really expect do you see what i mean yeah that's how they keep you in your childhood, And you do it too, and listen, I do it, I'm not above this, you understand, again, I'm right here at the trenches with you, I'm fighting this as well. But what if, if your parents took no responsibility for anything, what if you take responsibility for everything? Now, people will say, well, that's just a reaction formation. You're bouncing opposite end of the pendulum. And it's like, well, no, but it's true. You are responsible. You are responsible for what you do as an adult. I mean, there's nobody else in your brain. There's nobody else who's possessing you. There's nobody else who's moving the levers of your limbs. It's just you. So it's a factual statement. And what if you were to say, everything in my life is the result of my choices and will.

[1:58:10] I have to be a lot more serious about things and really weigh out the consequences of my actions a lot more. Couldn't let myself get drawn into arguments and really had to look at the bigger picture.

[1:58:26] I'm not sure what any of that means in practical terms. Again, you're a very intelligent and abstract fellow, so I don't know what any of that means in practical terms. But what if you were to say, what if you were to say, that the breakdown of the marriage is me. You say, oh, but she's there too, and she's making choices. It's like, yes, but she's not responsible for your choices. Only you are.

[1:58:50] Yeah, and I'm willing to say that, yes, it is.

[1:58:54] Okay, and what if where your children are living is you? Because you said they're in a bad situation, abstracting yourself from what's happening. What if where your children live, you say, oh, well, well, but her mother's in control, or her mother, I don't know, does she have custody? Is that how it's playing out?

[1:59:12] No, there's no custody agreement. It's just kind of like.

[1:59:15] I didn't want to... So you're just spitballing or whatever, right? So what if you were to say that where your children live is 100% on you? Now, you say, ah, yes, but I have to convince her mother. It's like, yeah, okay. I understand that.

[1:59:27] I need to do everything that I possibly could, and then some to get them out of that situation.

[1:59:33] Have you ever apologized to your wife for lying to her about your family?

[1:59:36] Yes. Yes, I have. Yes, I have.

[1:59:47] Have you apologized to your wife for calling her crazy while giving yourself sensitive excuses for everything you did? At times, you've done that, I think. Certainly, this convo has happened.

[2:00:22] I think I need to just apologize for maybe not being as empathetic as I've needed to be with her.

[2:00:31] Oh, my God.

[2:00:32] I don't think so.

[2:00:33] This is more self-abdicating language. Language if everything you do is causal and sensitive but she's just crazy that's not just not being quite as empathetic as you should be yes because you have that in your head, when you're arguing with her well i have all the sensitive causality as to why i did what i did but she's just a screamer she's just crazy she's a hypocrite she prays for me to get better and then she screams at me, hides my comb right so you have that in your head and she can see it very clearly women see everything they know everything they're x-ray machines, so she knows exactly that you have the hypocrisy and look i talk about her hypocrisy so she was on the phone and she's certainly welcome to call me but your hypocrisy is you have all this delicate causality for why you made decisions but she's just a screamer. Now, she knows that you have that opinion of her. She knows how hypocritical that is and it infuriates her like you wouldn't even believe. And also, when you fight with her, I assume you fought in front of the kids?

[2:01:50] Yeah, way too much.

[2:01:51] So, if you fought with her in front of the kids, you understand when you fight in front of kids... No one's right. The kids don't look at you and say, well, dad's totally got the goods on mom. Dad's vastly superior to mom. Dad's totally in the right. Mom's totally in the wrong. Dad has all this delicate, foggy causality of trauma and abuse, but mom is just crazy. Like, they don't think that. What do they think?

[2:02:19] They think that two adults are screaming and that they have to hear it all over again. And it's annoying and they're stressed out that they're even having to be around that.

[2:02:27] Well, the children know that the parents are putting pettiness.

[2:02:37] Viciousness, right-fighting above them.

[2:02:42] Well, infinitely above them, because it harms them. That they have adult toddlers in charge of them. You don't let your children see you fight now if you have a disagreement with your wife that's fine right they do need to see that people have disagreements and can resolve them in a positive and productive way but you certainly don't fight, why why did you fight in front of your kids now can't be anything to do with your wife can't be anything to do with your wife and it also can't be anything to do with your history, why did you fight in front of your kids how often would you guys fight in front of your kids or that they could hear.

[2:03:30] Way too much.

[2:03:31] How often, all the time every day oh.

[2:03:37] Jeez yeah I mean at least a few times a week.

[2:03:42] Okay a couple of times a week so your children over the course of their childhood have seen thousands of screaming matches yeah Yeah.

[2:03:50] Right. Yeah.

[2:03:54] I'm just curious, when were we going to get to that, after we spent an hour plus on your childhood?

[2:04:04] I would have jumped into it immediately. I just thought that I needed to give you as much history as possible.

[2:04:15] Consequences of Screaming in Front of Kids

[2:04:16] All right. Why did you fight with your wife in front of your children? Why did you harm your children? And frighten them?

[2:04:39] I would immediately... Just jump into fight or flight mode. I just, I, wasn't handling the conflict well.

[2:04:58] Those are all excuses.

[2:05:02] I didn't want to be disrespected.

[2:05:08] But you were disrespected in the eyes of your children because you're having a screaming match with your wife. So let's try that again. There's only one reason why you screamed at your wife.

[2:05:29] Well, what is it?

[2:05:32] You gave yourself permission.

[2:05:35] That's a very strong point.

[2:05:38] That's it.

[2:05:38] Very strong.

[2:05:39] That's all it is. There's no causality. You've got free will, right? You know I'm a free will guy, right?

[2:05:44] Yeah.

[2:05:45] Why did you scream at your wife? Because I gave myself permission. I gave myself the excuse. I let myself do it. I may have encouraged myself to do it. But it's the only reason you did it, right?

[2:05:57] Yeah.

[2:05:57] You chose to. Yeah, you're right. That's it.

[2:05:59] You're right.

[2:06:01] Because, you see, if it's because of the past, the past is irrevocable, which means you have no free will in the present. Do you see what I mean? Well, I'm a shitty dad because my dad was a shitty dad. Okay, well, your dad's never going to be unshitty as a dad, so that means you have no choice to choose any better. That's the amazing power about free will, is free will is no excuses. Because the moment you have excuses, there's no free will. Somebody pushes me off a balcony and I fall. Why did I fall? Because of gravity. But I had no choice about that. Once I'm pushed, I fall. I have no free will about that. Nobody would say to me, well, okay, I get that you were pushed off, but why did you choose to fall? That's not a choice. So this is where your parents get you, if they were bad parents, and your parents were bad parents, in my opinion. This is where they get you. They give you excuses. Then excuses perpetuate the shitty behavior. Why did you scream at your wife? You chose to. You gave yourself excuses. You wanted to. You indulged. You were hedonistic. Whatever you want to say, but you, you willed it. And if you blame anyone other than yourself for screaming at your wife, you're modeling terrible stuff for your kids.

[2:07:25] Agreed. Yeah. I just i'm i'm just thinking um as you're as you're saying a lot of this it's.

[2:07:37] Why did you do it because you chose to do it but what's the causality there's no causality you chose to do it did you know it was the wrong thing to do to scream in front of your kids, yeah of course you knew you've been to therapy right i'm sure i'm sure you read some books on on marriage or like productive resolution of conflicts so why why did i do the wrong thing Well, it's very hard for us. And listen, I get this. Again, I'm not in any superior position here. I'm down here in the trenches with you. It's very hard to look at ourselves and say, I did what I did with no excuse. I'm not going to give myself an excuse.

[2:08:17] I chose to do it.

[2:08:20] But why? No, no, no. There's no why. Because the moment there's a why, there's no free will.

[2:08:27] Yeah.

[2:08:28] You gave yourself permission to do it, so you did it. You wanted to do it, you gave yourself permission to do it, so you did it, right? Like if you, I'm off sugar, right? So if I want sugar, if I give myself permission to eat sugar, I'll eat sugar. But why? Because I gave myself permission to do it. Right? I mean, if you're short on money, you don't give yourself permission to go rob some woman in an old age home, right?

[2:08:54] Of course not.

[2:08:55] It's just not on the table. now for you screaming at your wife in front of your kids that's on the table that's something that's in the circle of allowable actions right, as was sleeping with another well I was drunk no no no come on come on.

[2:09:16] Yeah I wasn't I wasn't.

[2:09:18] If you're so drunk you can't decide you can't get it up right or you won't remember sure right so you gave yourself permission to Right? And when we have bad childhoods, we give ourselves permission to do a bunch of stuff because we can play the dominoes game and say, well, that's because of my bad childhood, but that means a bad childhood never ends. And it replicates. It's like a virus, right? It replicates. Trauma replicates through excuses and reasons, which is why I've been fighting you tooth and nail about all this causality in these dominoes. All they do is give you permission to act badly and all they do is give me permission to act badly too so again I'm not lecturing you from a superior standpoint we're all struggling with this stuff what is a life like if I don't have a single solitary excuse, for anything.

[2:10:12] Your parents acted badly because they excused their own bad behavior they blamed their kids they blamed their history they blamed their circumstances they blamed whatever it doesn't matter, but your parents were bad parents because they gave themselves permission to be bad parents. That's all. That's all. It's not causal. If you have the impulse to do bad things and you give yourself permission, you'll do those bad things. So that's the area that I'm at with you, with me, with everyone. What is a life like with no excuses? Screaming at my wife is not an option anymore than knocking over a gas station because I want some money. I mean, you don't walk past the gas station and say, well, I could, I'm going to toy with the idea, maybe, just maybe, and it certainly would be easier in the short run than going to work. You just don't think, it's like, it's not a thought because it's not on the table, right? But for you, the option called screaming at my wife in front of my kids, that's on the table, and that's something you give yourself permission to do. That's why it happens. Nothing else. Not because of your childhood, because you were screamed at as a kid, but you hated it. So you know exactly how bad it is. You also saw your parents, I'm sure, fight as a kid. how did you feel about that.

[2:11:34] You know that was an odd thing that there was a little bit there was a little bit that my mom had done actually okay what about your socialist uh socialist.

[2:11:46] People you did they yell at each other.

[2:11:47] They sort of argued the one time i remember um and then this is prior to me when i threw that that pepper shaker i do remember the uh the husband yelling yelling at the the woman um because i guess while i was back for christmas she was passed out drunk on the floor saying that she missed me or something okay so so hang on so yeah.

[2:12:13] So sadly this is a fight you can't win but not with me but just with reason right so.

[2:12:18] If if.

[2:12:19] You saw your parents scream at each other and you knew how bad it was then you have no excuse for screaming at your wife because you know exactly how bad it is if your parents didn't scream at each other then you have have no excuse called, well, this is what I experienced and this is what I'm used to.

[2:12:33] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was, it was there. It's just something that I hadn't, hadn't really thought about in a while is, uh, and actually fighting with each other. It was almost like they, they, they tried to say that they didn't have conflict. It was always that kind of, um, I don't know.

[2:12:54] Okay. I don't want to get too much into the depth of history because it doesn't matter which fork in the road we take. You're not justified.

[2:12:59] Okay.

[2:12:59] Ending the Cycle of Harmful Behavior

[2:13:00] Let me ask you this. So your kids are in their teens, right?

[2:13:03] Uh, yeah. Okay.

[2:13:05] Yeah. Do you want your kids, like, let's say your son, your son starts dating and she's a screamer. She screams at him, right? And that's going to break your heart, right?

[2:13:24] Yeah.

[2:13:25] Now, do you want your son to say, look, it's inevitable I'm going to end up with a screamer because I was raised with the screamers? Do you want your son to end up marrying her? Because, hey, man, that's what he's used to. That's what people do.

[2:13:41] Oh, God, no.

[2:13:43] Okay, so you want your son to break the cycle, right?

[2:13:47] Yeah.

[2:13:47] Even though he grew up with screamers, you don't want him using that as an excuse, right?

[2:13:56] I don't want him getting in a bad situation because of it.

[2:14:00] You don't want him using his traumatic childhood as an excuse to repeat it, right? So, how are you going to get your son to break the cycle if you're not willing to do it? If you want your son to not give himself excuses for bad behavior... Because he had a bad childhood, you have to model that. Right? What if your son becomes, or what if your daughter becomes a screamer, or your son is screaming at the boyfriends and girlfriends, right? They say, hey, man, that's what I grew up with. That's what I'm used to. That's what I know. That's what you do in relationships. You scream at people. How are you going to feel?

[2:14:45] Normal. Right.

[2:14:47] And you would say, what would you want to say to them if they say, Well, of course I'm screaming at my girlfriend, Dad, because that's what you do.

[2:14:56] I'd say it's my fault. Honestly. I'd feel completely liable.

[2:15:03] And what would you tell him, though? He'd have to say, well, what do you mean? If you know it's bad behavior, you know it's your fault. Why did you do it?

[2:15:15] Well, moving forward, I gave myself permission.

[2:15:19] Yes. I gave myself an excuse. I was screamed at and I gave that as an excuse to myself, which harmed you. I don't want you giving that excuse. I don't want my bad behavior to be an excuse for you to act in a destructive way.

[2:15:38] Yeah.

[2:15:39] But you have to model that. You can't just say it. Kids are empirical. Everyone's empirical fundamentally. mentally. So you have to stop making excuses for your bad behavior. That's the only way your childhood ends. Because your childhood was bad because your parents gave themselves excuses for bad behavior. The end of excuse is the end of trauma.

[2:16:03] Yeah.

[2:16:07] The end of causality is the beginning of morality. And morality only exists when we don't give ourselves excuses. Why did you take drugs? Why were you a wake and bake kind of guy for those couple of months? Because you gave yourself permission to. And you said this, you said, I woke up one day, I'm like, oh my God, I've got to stop doing this. And what did you do? You stopped doing it because you no longer gave yourself permission, right?

[2:16:31] Yeah.

[2:16:37] A bad childhood is no excuse for bad behavior. In fact, a bad childhood is causal in far better behavior because we've seen exactly what happens when people make excuses and don't take responsibility.

[2:16:54] Right?

[2:16:55] You tried talking to your mom about being a year and a half with these crazy people with the rapey stepson, right?

[2:17:02] You tried talking to your mother.

[2:17:04] I was there for a year and a half, and what did she say? Ah, it's a couple of months. You wouldn't take responsibility. How enraging was it that she would not take responsibility for sending you there or keeping you safe?

[2:17:14] That was very heartbreaking. It just felt like it didn't matter. Yeah, it does make me angry to think about. Right.

[2:17:28] And I'm going to need a little bit of that just anger also applied to yourself, because you did give yourself permission for many years to do things that were harmful to your children and harmful to your wife and harmful to yourself.

[2:17:38] Of course.

[2:17:39] And you gave yourself permission to do those things because you were raised by people who took no responsibility. Right. And so you have to model for your children full responsibility.

[2:17:59] Yeah. Yeah, I do.

[2:18:02] You know, when I was talking about being deplatformed and how none of my colleagues came to my aid or even gave me private messages of support and encouragement, did I say, well, they're all just bad people or jerks? No, I said there's something about me that doesn't engender that kind of loyalty. It's me. Something about me. At least in colleagues, right? I mean, I have it in my personal life and so on, but I just don't have it in my professional life nearly as much, right? So I didn't say, you know, these jerks, I got their career started, they totally betrayed me, whatever, right? I'm like, no, it's got to be something about me. It's got to be something that I'm doing. And even if I were to say, which I'm not, but even if I were to say, well, these are just opportunistic jerks, and the moment I couldn't provide them any benefit, they just, Okay, I chose to have these people in my life. Still 100% me. I wasn't betrayed because if I had people around me who weren't loyal, I chose them to be in my life. So I'm responsible for the betrayal. I can't be betrayed by anything except excuses and myself.

[2:19:11] And your wife and your parents and your childhood is not responsible for any bad behavior you do. My childhood, my parents, my history, the media, my colleagues, whatever. They are not at all responsible. For anything that I do. I will not shred or shed 1% of 1% of self-ownership to anyone else.

[2:19:45] I don't have a co-pilot. I don't have excuses. I don't have a history that makes me do things or prevents me from doing things. Full autonomy is when you're informed by the past past but let it dictate nothing. So being informed by the past is, oh yeah, I was raised by screamers so I know how bad that is so I shouldn't scream. I was raised by people who didn't take responsibility, I know how bad that is so I have to take responsibility, right? That's being informed by the past. Excused by the past is, well, you know, I was really stressed so I smoked drugs. You know, well, I really wanted to get with my wife so I lied to her about my history. Well you know that's causality and what that means is you just train the muscle called give yourself permission for anything because you can you and i can both find anything in our past to excuse just about anything we did right sure and that lowering of standards that erosion, of standards is the most toxic and long-term effect and for many people it's permanent of childhood right.

[2:20:55] And I think that's what your kids need most right now is for you to take 100% self-ownership of your life and your choices, not just now, but in the past. See, it's all on me. Now, of course, they're going to say, well, mom did stuff too. And it's like, look, maybe mom will accept that she's responsible for her behavior. I can't control that. I can only tell you that I'm responsible for my behavior. And maybe it'll transfer, I don't know. Maybe the virus of responsibility transfers as well as the virus of self-abdication, I don't know. But it doesn't really matter because the effects of self-ownership are irrelevant, because self-ownership is a fact.

[2:21:35] Taking Full Responsibility for Actions

[2:21:35] Your parents did not have a gun to your head when you were in your marriage, forcing you to scream at your wife in front of your kids, right? That was not a fact. That was not a thing that happened.

[2:21:49] No.

[2:21:49] So you chose it. Did they influence it? Yes, but they could have influenced you to never do it. Right? There's no causality. Well, my parents hit me, so I have to hit my kids. There's no causality. My parents hit me, so I know how bad it is, so I'm never going to hit my kids. That's causality. And because that's a choice, the causality doesn't affect anything. The causality doesn't affect free will, because free will is how you choose to interpret the causality. Right? You know how bad it is to have a screaming family or an aggressive family or a fighting family or a non-empathetic, non-caring family. You know what it's like to be raised in a family that doesn't care about your safety and happiness and security. So it could have easily have been that you said, Man, I know what it's like to have parents who don't put their kids' interests first, so I'm going to put my kids' interests first and never yell at my wife in front of them. Or yell at my wife at all, right?

[2:22:49] Yeah.

[2:22:51] And how long have you been listening to what I do?

[2:22:54] For eight years now.

[2:22:56] Eight years! Have you ever heard me talk about self-ownership before?

[2:23:00] Plenty of times.

[2:23:01] Right!

[2:23:01] As you're talking to me about this now, it's becoming very real.

[2:23:07] So when i this is not a trap but when i ask people this is like i'm lifting the kimono here right so get ready for some very pasty legs so when i ask people about their childhood, almost always what i get is bad things happen to me so i did bad things, have pity for me about my childhood and therefore give me excuses as an adult they use their childhood to avoid accountability as adults which is a terrible thing to do to your inner child and.

[2:23:41] I'd like to stop doing it.

[2:23:42] I i would like you to stop doing that too and and you'll be happier thereby but you don't use your inner child as a human shield for crappy behavior in the present right you don't use the suffering of yourself as a child to further inflict suffering offering on children in the present, right? I mean, your child didn't, your inner child did not survive childhood so that you could use him as an excuse to lower your standards and thus harm children in the present. That's not what he lived for. That's not what he survived for, right?

[2:24:16] So, what I'm looking for, which I almost never get, and so don't feel bad, this is a common human phenomenon, what I'm looking for is this. Man, I had it really rough as a child, and let me tell you what I learned never to do. Even though I've said that about 12 billion times over the course of free domain, right? I had a shitty childhood, so I learned exactly what not to do. You've heard me say that many times, right? Now, people then come to me and said, well, I did shitty things, but it's because of my my shitty childhood and they think what I mean I don't know what people think yeah sounds good I understand but they use their suffering as children to try and garner self-pity, as adults and I'm like listen I have absolute pity for what happened to you as a child that was terrible but the only reason that I can have pity for you as a child is by condemning your your parents, right?

[2:25:20] That your parents did great wrong.

[2:25:22] Now, the moment you've done great wrong to kids, though, and I'm not putting you at the same level of your parents, of course. I understand that, right? So I'm not putting you at the same level, right? But you've done some things to harm your kids, like the screaming, the fighting, the divorce, and all that kind of stuff, right?

[2:25:34] Yes, I have. Yeah, I have.

[2:25:37] So the only way that I can have sympathy for you as a child is to hold your parents fully accountable and immoral in some of the things they did. Is that fair to say?

[2:25:49] Yes. Okay.

[2:25:50] You understand that's a universal principle. So the moment you've harmed children, you fall into that category of, I can't give you excuses because I didn't give your parents excuses. Does that make sense? And again, I'm not putting you in the same category of egregious behavior. I'm not saying you're the same. I'm just saying that there's a general principle that applies. Shoplifting is not the same as first degree murder. So, you know, I'm not putting you in the same category.

[2:26:17] Sure. As far as that goes.

[2:26:18] But, you know, you have sympathy. for yourself as a child because your parents did great wrong okay well you did some obviously not as bad wrong but you did some wrong with your kids and you've got to have sympathy for them but sympathy for them means that you have to be pretty harsh with yourself, because the only way to break the cycle you have to give yourself no excuses, because i mean you didn't give your parents excuses like i never heard from you well my mom had this and my dad had that and you know they were abandoned or my dad's dad was a violent drunk or right so and this is why the causality can't just be for you sorry go ahead no.

[2:26:56] I just i used it give me see i mean my dad did have a have a rough childhood he was the oldest and you know my mom you know but and and i've i've had sympathy for him throughout the years but i just don't feel like that's been reciprocated. Right. Sorry, I didn't...

[2:27:14] No, that's fine. So you've had some sympathy for them, which means that you've lowered standards. It wasn't as bad that they did to me what they did because... They had bad childhoods. Well, that means that you're lowering standards for them. You're lowering standards for you. And your kids pay the price for your lowered standards, right?

[2:27:38] Yeah. And it's got to stop.

[2:27:41] Did you corporal punishment your kids?

[2:27:43] I did until I had listened to your arguments. And of course, I mean, it was a classic. I think that I'm doing what is right. And I thought that it was more justifiable because, well, I wasn't just outright, you know, punching my kids in the head.

[2:28:04] Yeah, you had like a ritual of explain and all that, right?

[2:28:07] Yeah. And I mean, you know, when I heard your arguments on it, that's when it stopped. It was like, wow, yeah, this is, you know, it has the effect on IQ. I mean, all of your arguments against it. It was like, makes complete sense. It's got to stop. We got to, you know, and we were still together at the time. And it was like, wait, there's all this stuff that we got to do to, it's my fault. You're right.

[2:28:29] Yeah. So, I mean, living a life without shifting self-ownership to others is really tough. I mean, I think it's kind of natural for us, but, you know, it's kind of pounded out of us pretty early. And then, of course, you know, we're put into these terrible schools where we're forced to do whatever the teacher wants and all that. So self-ownership is a tricky thing because of the headwinds of statism.

[2:28:50] Embracing Self-Ownership for Change

[2:28:51] But it's a biological empirical fact that no one has forced you to do anything that's been harmful to your children, that it's all been a choice. I mean, and if you had been forced, I wouldn't have anything moral to say to you about anything bad that you've done, right? Somebody did force you to do something, right? Because then the moral condemnation would be on the person who forced you, not on the victim. him. But I think that the way to break the cycle is just 100% self-ownership. Why did I, you know, why did you say to your wife, why did I yell at you? Because I gave myself permission to. And then no tit for tat.

[2:29:27] Because tit-for-tat is an abandonment of self-ownership. But you also, it's like, no, no, no. You model self-ownership and see who it spreads to. But you don't model it conditionally. You don't, like, I'll take one step forward. If you take one step forward, it's not having free will to walk. You just walk and see who joins in. And whether this works things out with your wife or not, of course, I don't know. No, but I'm fairly sure that she'll get really mad at you for a while. And then as long as you hold on to self-ownership, she'll calm down.

[2:30:04] Yeah.

[2:30:05] And then the self-ownership will spread. Now, whether it spreads to your wife would be great if it did, but the most important people it needs to spread to is your children.

[2:30:14] Absolutely.

[2:30:14] Right? Don't use my bad behavior as an excuse, because I did. I used my parents' bad behavior as an excuse for me. I was wrong to do that. You suffered because of it. And I'm now going to model 100% self-ownership. That I'm responsible for everything I do. Nobody forces me to do anything in personal relationships. And I think that's the, I mean, to me, that would be the road forward.

[2:30:44] Yeah, it makes total sense. Makes total sense, Steph.

[2:30:48] Good. Good, good.

[2:30:50] Hopefully it's a way to stop the back and forth, but use, you know, and I just, yeah, I just got to focus on that. And yeah.

[2:31:00] All right. All right. Listen, will you keep me posted about how things are going?

[2:31:03] Absolutely.

[2:31:04] Of course, if your wife wants to talk, I mean, I'm certainly happy to help out. And I really do appreciate your time today. And I look forward to hearing the update.

[2:31:14] Yeah. Thank you very much, Steph. I appreciate every moment of this. I really do.

[2:31:18] You're welcome, my friend. Take care.

[2:31:20] All right. You too. Did you want this recording from my side of the audio, by the way?

[2:31:25] Let me see. Let me see if I do. I'll let you know. Just don't delete it for a day.

[2:31:29] Yeah. I'll save it. All right. Well, you take care of stuff. Have a great rest of your day then. All right.

[2:31:35] Bye.

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