My Wife Is LEAVING TODAY! Freedomain Call In - Transcript

Chapters

0:00 - Crisis at Home
7:49 - Behavior in the Car
20:50 - Family Support and Burden
32:51 - Hypocrisy in Peaceful Parenting
42:19 - Justifying Yelling at Kids
54:05 - Childhood Reflections and Family Dynamics
1:06:46 - Childhood Memories and Parental Relationships
1:08:41 - Confronting Parental Hypocrisy and Inaction
1:18:29 - Exploring the Source of Aggression
1:22:04 - Examining Aggression in Marital Relationships
1:29:37 - Confronting Parental Lack of Responsibility
1:39:18 - Challenging Accusations and Misunderstandings
1:41:48 - Strained Family Dynamics and Accusations
1:41:59 - Family Dynamics and Outrageous Accusations
1:54:57 - The Misuse of Scripture and Bullying Behavior
2:08:59 - Unforgiven Past Hurts and Unresolved Anger
2:20:16 - Confronting Love and Hypocrisy
2:25:04 - Distance from Toxicity
2:33:52 - Embracing Self-Ownership
2:42:59 - Rejecting Aggression and Violence
2:48:14 - Setting Absolute Standards
2:51:18 - Facing Parental Influence
2:52:48 - Reflecting on Past Advice

Long Summary

In the conversation, we addressed a caller seeking advice on improving accountability and communication within their marriage. We delved into specific instances of arguments and behaviors within the family, especially during a challenging time surrounding a family funeral. The caller was looking for guidance on addressing these issues and navigating family dynamics, reflecting on personal actions and patterns within the family dynamic. Feedback was provided on modeling behavior for the children and establishing consistent communication and expectations.

The dynamics of the family's interactions were analyzed in a recent event where the caller's wife became upset while driving to a funeral. We focused on how the wife's emotional state led to tension with the children in the car. Disagreements between the caller and his wife about parenting styles and approaches to challenging behaviors, such as yelling, were explored. We discussed the impact of different parenting methods on relationships with children and each other, highlighting the challenges of implementing new strategies in real-life situations.

The conversation also touched on peaceful parenting and the caller's struggles with yelling at their kids despite knowing it's wrong. We questioned why the caller gave himself permission to intimidate the children by yelling, especially in private, and explored the reasons behind this behavior, including issues from their upbringing. We delved into the caller's actions of displaying aggression towards their son and the influence of family dynamics on their parenting style.

Reflecting on childhood experiences influencing parenting style, we discussed bonding moments with the speaker's teenage daughter and contrasted them with his own childhood memories. The caller described their parents' lack of engagement and aggressive behavior, which impacted their relationships. Holding parents accountable for past actions and how unresolved issues could affect current behavior were explored, emphasizing denouncing harmful behavior to break the cycle of aggression in parenting.

The conversation with a caller delved into the impact of childhood experiences on parenting style and relationships. We addressed the caller's father's lack of self-improvement despite advocating for improvement, guiding the caller to address childhood trauma and avoid repeating negative cycles with their own children. The conversation navigated conflicts within the caller's marriage and family, encouraging open communication and addressing misunderstandings for healthier relationships.

Transcript

[0:00] Crisis at Home

[0:00] Okay. It was, I need some marriage advice. He said, we spoke back in November when my marriage was on the verge of collapse, and I need some follow-up advice. For the last six months, I've been trying to hold myself to higher accountability, stop blaming, be more patient, and just overall take the lead as the man of the household. Things have improved, but my wife and I still have had some significant arguments between then and now. Things culminated when her grandfather passed away, we attended his funeral last week. We got into a big fight in front of our kids and it went downhill from there. This was on Mother's Day, the 12th. I don't want to lose her or the family, but I fear that she's on the verge of collapse and our kids are having a mental health crisis. I need your assistance as to how to save this because I'm at a total loss.

[0:50] Well, okay. Well, do you want to remind me what we talked about last time?

[0:56] Let's see. Okay, so it was back in November. um oh gosh uh i'm gonna call this performance anxiety um trying to remember uh the exact.

[1:08] No it's it's totally fine if you don't it's totally fine if you don't remember it's just six months ago and of course i do hundreds of these calls so that's totally fine uh we can just pick it up uh from what happened at the funeral sure.

[1:22] Um well i can i can give uh like a a broad, uh, uh, paintbrush. Um, uh, the bottom line was, um, we were having some, my wife and I were having some significant arguments, uh, a lot of back and forth. And, uh, Um, I did a lot of blaming the, the mother of my children and not taking accountability for my own action. So I would like hold her to a high standard or I would put on a face or I would act a certain way in front of other people. But then when I was with her.

[1:55] This is the part where I ask you for facts, not opinions, because you're giving me descriptions like older to this. And I do this and I don't know what any of that means. Like I need the actual facts. If you are very kind, I just need to see if we can start with the facts. I'd be thrilled beyond words.

[2:11] Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Um, so like for instance, um, if my wife and I would have an argument over something and, like, like a couple of times we would get into an argument like before church or a social gathering. And then, you know, uh, we would arrive at the place and it was immediately like a flick of light switch and, you know, uh, put on this great face and would be Mr. Nice guy. and like nothing had ever happened so it was like i could um put on this great face for everybody else but when it came to arguing or trying to deal with things with my wife like she would get the absolute worst of me um and so it's like why couldn't i well you know if i can flip my switch for these people who i don't even really know and who are like maybe distant friends why can't my wife get the absolute best of me especially since she's the well she's gonna she's gonna totally to hate you for that.

[3:08] Right?

[3:10] Yeah, absolutely.

[3:10] I mean, she's just completely going to hate you for being mean, cruel, and vicious to her and then turning your sunny side on when there are strangers around. You're treating her, you're treating the mother of your children worse than complete strangers, right? I mean, you know, I'm sure maybe she does that with you as well, but, you know, she's just going to hate you for that. Because it's fake, right? Then you're angry. It's fake.

[3:34] Yeah. Right. Right.

[3:36] It's like, you know, when you have a kid and they pretend to have a stomachache to stay home from school, and then they stay home from school and they suddenly magically get better. Like, you just, you've been played, right?

[3:44] Right.

[3:46] Anyway, sorry, go ahead.

[3:46] Right, right. It'll probably all come back to me. But I would also blame her. Well, so we would get into an argument over something. And she would say, well, you did this. And then I would blame. And then I would turn around and say, well, you did this too. And you never take responsibility. But then I wouldn't take responsibility myself. So it was like I would get mad at her for not taking responsibility when I wouldn't take responsibility to myself.

[4:14] Come on, man. This is relationship 101. of one you don't do the you always and you never stuff right right because it's so petty it's so easy to disprove and you're lying because it's never the case that she always or never like you're just putting yourself from a negotiating standpoint you're just putting yourself in a ridiculously weak and vulnerable position right right.

[4:34] Right right well yeah yeah i that's.

[4:43] Okay Okay, so give me, what were the issues, what were the surface issues that you were fighting about at the funeral? Like, what were you fighting about? What was the conversation? Give me a sample.

[4:55] Okay, so... So my wife's grandfather passed away like two weeks ago. We went to the funeral last weekend, tried to be supportive, tried to be, you know, loving and caring.

[5:11] For God's sakes, man. Tried to be supportive. I don't know what any of that means. This is just a narrative.

[5:18] I tried to.

[5:20] No, no, no. What did you fight about? What were the words? What were you fighting about at the surface level? What provoked the conflict and what was actually said? and what were you fighting about at the surface level, at the language level? Like if I was reading a transcript of your fight, what would I read?

[5:34] Right. Okay, so we were driving back from the funeral. We were in the car, and it's like a seven-hour drive from where we were coming from. And coming through New York City, really bad traffic, and my wife's like, hey, it's going to be really bad. It's going to be really stressful, and we need to stay calm. mom, I need you guys to like stop jumping out of the back seats. So the kids, you know, like 15 minutes in, they start like getting up out of the seats. They start like moving around. We're driving a van.

[6:03] I'm sorry.

[6:04] How old are the kids? Oh, 13, 10 and almost five.

[6:11] So are you expecting a four-year-old to sit quietly for seven hours straight? I'm not quite sure I understand.

[6:18] No, no, no. Like totally understand it. But they were kind of like, you know, know rambunctious up to new york city and like the traffic there's really bad and we just said hey look now we need you guys to kind of focus um so that we can get through there but that's that's what my wife said um so and then my daughter was.

[6:37] It because the traffic was dangerous i'm like isn't normally isn't bad traffic really slow traffic how does it how does it endanger.

[6:45] Um well Well, yeah, it's, I think it was really just asking the kids not to like, cause they'll jump or nothing will jump. They'll, they'll just be really loud. They'll like scream or, you know, cause they're just messing around. Right. It's just, it's just kids. But you know, when you're like trying to dodge other cars and all of a sudden, like you hear like one of your kids like screaming, like a blood curdling scream and, but they're playing around in the back seat, it can be a little distracting and nerve wracking.

[7:11] What is the age of the kid who screams?

[7:15] 13.

[7:16] Why is your 13 or 14-year-old screaming in a car? I'm not quite sure I understand that.

[7:23] They're just messing around.

[7:26] No, I understand that, but isn't there kind of an agreement that screaming can get the family killed?

[7:33] Yes, we have explained that to them.

[7:36] Okay, so you've got a son who's screaming in the car, which is very dangerous, right? Because you can't hear the traffic, you can't hear a horn, right? Right. And it makes you panic, right? Because you think it's starting, so you lose your concentration. Okay, I understand that.

[7:49] Behavior in the Car

[7:49] So have you had the conversation saying, like, that's the deal, you can't do it? And has the child agreed?

[7:59] Um, yes, that has happened and it still happens.

[8:03] So then the child hasn't agreed.

[8:06] Right.

[8:07] Okay. So a 14 year old, 13 or 14 year old should be able to sit in a car without screaming.

[8:14] Right.

[8:15] So is it the case that your eldest child, it's a boy, right?

[8:23] Uh, well, we've got a 15 year old. She wasn't there with us, but it was the 13 year old.

[8:28] Okay. Okay, 13-year-old, and that's a boy, right?

[8:30] Yes. It's a girl.

[8:32] Oh, it's a girl. The girl's one boy.

[8:33] Got it. Yeah.

[8:34] Okay, so the 13-year-old girl is still screaming in the car, even though she knows it's startling and dangerous, right?

[8:43] Right. And then she was getting up and, like, dancing, because we had one of the seats down, and we're like, hey, like, stop doing it. And my wife yelled at her. Well, hang on, hang on.

[8:52] Hang on. Sorry to interrupt. Let's just back up a sec. So, the girl... has she agreed to not scream in the car because it's dangerous?

[9:05] Yes.

[9:06] So why doesn't she, hang on, hang on. So why doesn't she respect her agreements? Now, I mean, kids can forget, right? And then you say, no, no, no. Remember, we don't scream in the car because it's dangerous. And she's like, okay, sorry, sorry, whatever, right? So does she say she's not going to scream in the car? And then what's her story when she screams in the car and you say, no, no, no, hang on. We talked about this. You can't scream in the car. It's dangerous. right so what does she say when you remind her okay.

[9:33] Hey i'm sorry.

[9:39] I'm sorry?

[9:41] She'll say that she's sorry or she'll say, okay, I won't do it again. And then a while will go. But the ball kind of, and I'm just using the proverbial ball, like it may be my son who's rambunctious for a little while, and then the other two are kind of calmed down, and then my daughter will be kind of wild, and then the other two are calm. And then it just kind of goes in cycles sometimes. Most of the time they're pretty good, but in seven hours, there's going to be some head bumping. Okay, okay, I get it.

[10:12] Now, why would the, this is just questions, I'm sure there are great answers, so none of this is criticism. Why were the kids coming to the funeral?

[10:27] I wanted to go for emotional support for my wife because I did not go to her grandmother who passed away the previous year. So I said, I want to go to this one, I wanted to pay my respects and be there for her because i knew she was going to be a tough time for her and i wanted to go this time um and then uh our 13 year old wanted to go the 15 year old did not want to she stayed home with uh my brother-in-law and and he took care of her we have a good relationship is fine there uh then obviously the the five-year-old uh couldn't go and then our 10 year old was like well i want to go with you guys too he wanted to go and so we were like okay well sorry that.

[11:04] Did that you're coming back from From the funeral, right? Is that the next day or the same day of the funeral?

[11:09] So we left on a Thursday. The funeral was on, or the wake was on a Friday, and then the burial was on a Saturday, and we were driving back Saturday. So, you know, emotional events, Friday and Saturday, driving back immediately after the internment on the road in New York City, three in the afternoon after grandpa's just been buried.

[11:35] Okay, so the kids weren't somber, right? Like they weren't sad because they just literally came out of a funeral.

[11:45] Right. Right. It had been, you know, four or five hours or so, maybe three or four, something like that.

[11:54] Okay. So they knew that their mom was sad, right? I assume that your wife was sad about her grandfather dying, right?

[12:01] Right. Right.

[12:03] So I'm not saying that they have to sit quietly with their hands folded, but wouldn't they have some sensitivity to your wife being sad and also that they were just at a funeral. Like, this is a good time to talk about death. It's a good time to talk about mortality. You know, like, I mean, there's a certain amount. I'm trying to figure out why they're screaming coming out of a funeral.

[12:23] Right, right, right.

[12:26] Because they're not taking it seriously. Now, I get that there are kids and all of that. So there's probably a certain amount that they just don't particularly process very well. But I guess I'm just curious why the kids would come to a funeral if they don't take it particularly seriously. And that's not a criticism. system i'm just sort of pointing it out.

[12:41] Right i i think i don't think that the morning aspect was necessarily uh stressed we talked about you know going to uh the wake and the service and then the internment and then i think it's kind of like you know when you come home from church on sunday you toss your clothes off and it's like oh now i can send it you know i can relax okay well the funeral over so now it's all right back in the car and you know another onto onto the next thing and what's your wife sorry.

[13:15] To interrupt was your wife close to her father to her grandfather.

[13:19] Yeah relatively relatively okay so she was um i think they're growing up yeah yeah so she was sad and.

[13:27] Did you explain what the funeral meant and the fact that mom would be sad and and all of that.

[13:34] Yeah, we, we did. And we, we explained to them, Hey, look, you know, people are going to be crying and that's okay to, to cry, you know, and sometimes people don't cry at the funeral. It's, it's times afterwards. And so we tried to kind of walk them through like maybe some of the emotions that they might be feeling. Um, and you know, we, we tried doing like, I think, you know, preparing them for it. And I think it went pretty well in terms of their respects at the funeral and afterwards. words.

[14:03] So they didn't scream and act up at the funeral, but just in the car on the way home.

[14:15] I mean, there was a little acting up on the way there, but it wasn't so bad that I remember.

[14:19] Not at the funeral.

[14:21] Right. No, not at the funeral. Now, caveat, after the service in the afternoon, we got done at noon, we went Went back to this family restaurant, whole bunch of family there, like a hundred some odd people all hanging out, people having drinks. And we went back to the grandparents house where they used to live. And now it's empty. But like all the family members were there and people were hanging out and drinking and and talking. And it was a lot of, you know, family time together. So it was loud and rambunctious. So, you know, if you're talking about, well, there's kind of a precedent set. So the kids, you know, I could see where they might also get confused about the environment because it's like, OK, very somber. Now it's like, hey, everybody's back here at the party and there's a bunch of people drinking and talking and being loud and people staying up late. And then it's in the next morning, it's very grandpa. And then we're, you know, we're at the cemetery and then, all right, now we're off on the road again. So it's like, OK.

[15:18] But so but from the from the the sadness of the. Funeral, you then got in the car and drove, and they weren't acting up at the funeral, right?

[15:29] No, they were pretty good.

[15:31] Well, weren't they perfect?

[15:35] I would say they were perfect. What they did, like, didn't necessarily, you know, cause me to be upset or anything like that, so.

[15:43] Right. So you see the pattern, right? And the pattern is you behave well until you're with family alone. Because that's what you model, too, right?

[15:55] Right, right, right.

[15:56] So they're taking your modeling, which is we have to behave properly and well when in the presence of other people, but it turns into Lord of the Flies when the family's alone. right.

[16:05] Yeah yeah that is uh i would say that's true yeah the the typical mask that you see a lot of people uh do.

[16:12] Well like you know i mean you could you can put it on a lot of people but we're not talking about a lot of people a lot of people aren't calling me you're calling me right right.

[16:22] Right i guess i'm just gotta say like you know you see like hollywood couples and it's or you know.

[16:27] People that you know in your life talking about hollywood couples and blending your behavior into what other people do right right i cheated on my wife but then so did brad pitt or whoever right it's like well yeah but we're not talking about that right i.

[16:41] I guess i was just trying to draw the the comparison that you know hey i'm not so different from those people who you know they have all the nice fancy photos on on facebook and then behind the scenes.

[16:53] Yeah they get you know right exactly yeah but you don't want to get divorced right no okay so you don't want to get divorced so let's not talk about how similar you are to people who end up getting divorced, right because then there's no point having the conversation you might just go get divorced right yeah right okay so let's not let blend it in with us i understand the impulse but let's not blend it in with others okay now was it you driving or your wife.

[17:17] Uh, my wife was driving and she was upset.

[17:22] Right?

[17:23] Yep. She was upset.

[17:24] So given that your wife, again, just curious, no criticism, given that your wife had just buried her grandfather, who she was quite close to, why would she be driving? Wouldn't she be a little upset?

[17:35] Um, I had driven to the, the, the internment and then we got to, we like did a bathroom stop, like five minutes. And then she was like, no, I'm going to drive. And I was like, I should, she's like, no, no, I'm going to drive. drive okay that's what you want to do um so i let her uh do that i think because usually sometimes what happens is i i deal with the kids and she'll uh she'll drive and i think she i think that was she was trying to like occupy her mind i i could be wrong oh was she.

[18:05] Trying to distract herself from her sadness.

[18:07] I i i think so yeah but why.

[18:11] Is that that's not teaching good emotional habits to your children is it.

[18:15] If you feel sad distract.

[18:16] Yourself with new york traffic.

[18:18] Right yeah exactly but uh um i well i i know also she she kind of didn't want to bring uh the kids along and i know my wife's going to listen to this and so please i i know i'm probably butchering some of it it somewhere, but, uh, she wanted to originally just go up her and our 13 year old and just those two. And I said, you know, I really want to go there. I really want to be, and I want to be able to support you and, and be loving and caring. And she was kind of reluctant because she's like, I don't want to play babysitter with the four-year-old while I'm trying to like mourn. And I'm like, all right, Hey, I'm going to try to help with that and try to distract. And I, and i i i tried to um and uh but i think there was still like some stress from from having to deal with the kids even in the oh that's right the um uh yeah we we shared an airbnb with her sister and that whole family was just uh that's a whole other call-in show uh just on them um Um, and there, so there was a tension there. Um, yeah.

[19:35] So what's your wife, right. To not want particularly the four-year-old alone. I mean, 14 hours in the car is pretty tough for a four-year-old and, you know, they don't really get the funeral death thing and they certainly wouldn't have much history with the relationship. Right.

[19:50] Yeah. Yeah. So, well, I guess what I wanted to do was like, Hey, despite that. Yeah. I wanted to show family support. I wanted to be a loving husband. I wanted to be there. And I knew like the daughter and my son were going to be like a little much, but I was like, Hey, look, let me like kind of help manage them.

[20:05] But sorry, I know you mentioned this earlier. Just remind me, why would the youngest kids come along?

[20:15] Um uh they they wanted to go we didn't have anybody else who could watch them well.

[20:20] Sorry wasn't your brother-in-law did i get that right yeah.

[20:23] He but he he like uh and he's 30 something but i wouldn't really leave my 10 year old and our almost five year old there with him um not that is there anything wrong but i just didn't want to he was already kind of like uh like we were already kind of burdening him to come up to our house because we had like chickens and stuff. We were like, hey, can you watch them? And then also, can you take our other daughter? So it was like, he had to change a whole bunch of plans. I didn't want to burden him.

[20:50] Family Support and Burden

[20:50] I thought you were big into family support. It's not a burden to spend time with his nieces and nephews, is it?

[20:59] No. He does enjoy them, but I guess I feel like it might have overwhelmed him or something.

[21:09] And is there nobody else? No friends, family? family, like other people with kids that you know, or I guess a lot of the extended family was at least on your side, or there's nobody else you could leave your kids with?

[21:23] Yeah, we probably could have. If we had Tetris, if I had planned a little better, I probably could have found some other people. But I guess I'd kind of acquiesce to, yeah, okay, let's bring them and we'll make it work. And I'll shoulder the burden of watching the kids so So that you can mourn. And then I can also be there and be your supportive husband.

[21:46] Right. I'm not sure how supportive you can be when you're wrangling the kids. But okay. So you're driving in New York. And at what point in the seven hours? Like three hours, five hours? Where are you in the seven hour drive?

[21:59] We're like, I guess maybe three hours in. The traffic was really getting in. No. Okay. So the trip got off to a bad start because we were supposed to leave at like 12. and we didn't get up there till 7.30 and like we had stopped a couple of times. Like when we were- Wait.

[22:12] What? You were seven and a half hours late to leave?

[22:15] No, no, we were supposed to leave at 12 and it normally takes like six, six and a half hours. And we didn't get up there till like seven 30, uh, eight or eight somewhere. So like eight, eight. So it took like eight hours and that.

[22:27] Oh, you only got home at eight or whatever.

[22:31] Sorry. It was, it was traffic both ways to like, to get like to drive up to the funeral, like to Massachusetts and then to drive home. Okay.

[22:39] No, I, sorry. I understand that you had to drive both ways. I can follow that. Um, so did you leave late or was it just bad traffic?

[22:49] Traffic um it uh we had left a little later that i wanted to leave at like 12 she wanted to leave at like 11 30 11 45 and i was like no let's just spend a little bit longer we'll play with you know my daughter wanted to ride the bike and whatever so we got off late and that was my fault so like right off the bat we left like maybe 30 minutes later than we she wanted to and so like most of the drive up there she was very upset because we got caught in a little bit of traffic well i don't know was it we we got set back like i don't know maybe like an hour or so um and so we like kind of got caught up in that and so then that was like you know if we just left when i wanted to i don't know why i let you tell me this and it's so like i'm sitting there like like listening to her tell me how i like you know kind of like flat tired everything and i'm like hey i'm really sorry well don't worry we're gonna make it up like you know like we're gonna get there so i'm I'm trying to make it up.

[23:44] So she's wrong. She's saying, she's saying we're going to be delayed because we left later. And you're saying, no, we're not going to be delayed. You're wrong. And it turned out she was right. Is that, is that, do I understand that right?

[23:58] Well, well, no, I didn't say we were going to be late.

[24:02] I maybe you said we're going to make it up.

[24:05] Well, I guess I don't like, like, it's just a little, I tried to reach her. Like, Hey, look, it's just a little bit of traffic. I know it's really annoying, but like, Hey, we're, we're going to get through it and we're still going to make it up there in good time.

[24:15] Sorry, make it up there or make it back home?

[24:19] Like make it up to Massachusetts.

[24:21] Oh, and that's back home, right?

[24:24] No, we're from further south.

[24:27] Okay, sorry. Are we talking about the way out or the way back?

[24:31] Both of the rides there were...

[24:33] No, no, this one. My God, man. You left at noon. You didn't get home till eight. Is that the way out or the way back? I guess the way back, because home, right?

[24:40] No, that was the way to the funeral in Massachusetts when we left.

[24:45] Okay, so the way to the funeral, you were supposed to leave at noon, you left later, and you got caught in traffic.

[24:50] We were supposed to leave at noon. She wanted to leave at 1130. I said, let's leave. No, no, no, we'll be fine.

[24:56] So you left later and it was bad traffic. And is that the case on the way home?

[25:03] We made like a couple of pit stops and that kind of pushed things back.

[25:07] Well, no, you have to make pit stops. Cops can't put a four-year-old in the car for seven hours straight. They'll get deep vein thrombosis or something. I'm kidding, right? But okay, so on the way back, you didn't leave late.

[25:21] On the way back, we left at an all right time, but traffic kept piling up.

[25:25] Okay, got it. So traffic was bad.

[25:27] Yeah.

[25:29] Okay. So was your wife right about the kids coming and you coming? Like it was not a good idea?

[25:37] Yeah i would say in the end yeah i wound up being disastrous for her.

[25:40] Okay well i mean so she was right about that right yeah okay so you are in the unenviable position of being a husband who's completely in the wrong and it's kind of messed up a funeral emotion for his wife right right right and that you know that happens right we certainly make recommendations that turn out to be, completely wrong so that happens in in every relationship so okay so so you're driving back and New York is bad. You're a couple of hours into the drive. You've got a long way to go and your kid is, your 13-year-old daughter is screaming and intermittently or whatever, right? And what happens with your wife? She's driving and what happens with her?

[26:20] She got mad and yelled at her, to stop screaming and there had already been like some yelling before um and i've tried to get, i've been trying to work on the peaceful parenting thing by not yelling and say like hey come on guys let's bring it down like you can't do this in the car and so then like she like screamed, stopped screaming right which is like you're like why are you guys screaming why are you guys was yelling like you know but like it's like screaming it's like well hey like in my mind i'm thinking well you're yelling like why are you yelling right and it's like well hey we gotta like change the tone and i'm thinking and so i'm like hey you know maybe we we bring it down a little bit she remembers it as i was like like very rude to her or yelled at her about it it's like scolded her and so instead of like defending her in front of the kids and saying yeah guys stop yelling. I went after her and, um, it went downhill from there. So instead of defending my wife, I, uh, told her that she shouldn't be raising cause it was already going to make it more chaotic than it already was.

[27:37] What would that mean to defend your wife? Would that mean to say it's okay to scream at your kids that they should stop screaming?

[27:47] Me uh it would be me not quote unquote you know correcting or telling her that she can't say that now if this is a part of the phone call where she's going to say i said everything was wrong and she's like listening back to this thing like that's how i'm remembering it so i'm not trying to spin it or tell a lie but sorry you're in the car so if.

[28:05] She's if she's here what does she mean by supporting her does that mean not correcting.

[28:10] Her in front.

[28:10] Of the kids.

[28:11] Bingo but she's correcting the kids in front of.

[28:14] Each other she's correcting the older kid in front of the younger kids so does that.

[28:18] Mean nobody.

[28:18] In the family can correct anybody else in front of anybody else because that's not what she's doing.

[28:22] Right but i think she thinks of it as is uh you know we're unified and if we have something to dissent about then we go off in private and we discuss it in private but we don't know but she's not.

[28:34] Doing she's not doing that with her daughter she's not taking And she's not saying, okay, let's pull the car over at the next coffee shop. I'm going to go and have a chat like you guys go get a coffee. I want to chat with my daughter in private. So, right. She's not saying that it's good to talk about people you have big issues with in private because she's correcting her daughter in front of everyone else. Right. Which can be considered a little humiliating. Right.

[28:57] Yeah.

[28:58] I mean, that's the rule. If you want a rule, then you've got to model the rule, right? And of course, if you have a rule called don't scream, then don't scream. And if you have a rule called don't correct people in front of others, then you shouldn't do that with your kids either, right? Because that's the rule that they'll internalize.

[29:12] Right. Well, I think we thought that, because I was on the same page as her for the most part, that like, hey, you know, if there's like something big, like, hey, we should, you know, probably, uh talk about it kind of behind the scenes but like there are times when it's like hey well you know if i was like throttling our son or doing something that was like really bad i wouldn't wait for you to like you know i beat him up not that i've ever done that but like you wouldn't wait and then yeah and then be like after like well you know i really didn't think you should have done that but i didn't want to you know correct you in front.

[29:47] Of the blue the kid turning blue all right now do you have do you have a rule uh as a whole is she on board with the peaceful parenting stuff like don't yell at your kids.

[29:56] Um my understanding of where like i think she's hung on.

[30:03] What do you mean have you had the conversation with her i'm not saying whether you should or shouldn't have right i'm just curious have you had the conversation with her saying we shouldn't yell at the kids.

[30:11] Yes and.

[30:14] Has she agreed to that or not.

[30:16] She thinks that uh okay they already don't listen to me anyway and if you take away the tools that i'm already using then they really won't listen to me so if i can't even get them to listen to me by not yelling at them then they certainly won't listen to me like if oh so sorry sorry her.

[30:34] Argument is i'm yelling at them they don't listen so i really shouldn't change anything i do.

[30:40] Um i don't want to put words in her mouth but i think no no but that's the logical consequence.

[30:47] Right i'm doing this thing which isn't working, how dare you ask me to change what's not working.

[30:57] Yeah, yes.

[30:58] Okay. So she is not on board with don't yell at the kids, right? She says it's legitimate and right and good parenting to yell at, to scream. I guess you said scream, right? To scream or yell at the kids, right?

[31:13] I think she thinks that there are certain times when it's okay to yell at.

[31:18] It's good parenting. It's the only way they'll listen, right?

[31:22] Right. Because if you speak softly, then they won't want to listen to you.

[31:25] Okay. Okay, so for her, it's good parenting to scream at the kids at times.

[31:30] Yes, there are times when it's necessary.

[31:32] No, no, not necessary. Good.

[31:35] Right.

[31:37] Right? I mean, it's necessary to get a cavity filled, but it's not good to have a cavity to get filled, right? But she thinks it's good, like, because it's the only way they'll listen, and obviously kids have to listen, right?

[31:48] I think she would like to not have to do that, but I think she feels the need, like she asked.

[31:54] She would like to not have to do that. I don't understand what that means, but she did it. I mean, if, you know, if some guy has an affair and his wife and he'd say, well, I'd really like to not have to do that. It's like, but you did it, right?

[32:06] I think she would like to not have to yell, but I think that she feels as though maybe she's tried that in the past and it didn't work. So she resorted back to, um, yelling.

[32:15] All right. Have you seen that, that she's tried consistently for a while to not yell at her kids and it doesn't work? Um, I mean, she's had a program said, I'm not going to yell at the kids. I'm going to give, give it six months or whatever. And then she didn't yell at the kids consistently and it never worked. And so now she's back to yelling. Is that, is that because I don't believe that. I mean, but is that the theory?

[32:40] No, no, she, uh, she has not tried that. And, uh, truth be told, like I have not tried that. I just tried the principle of like trying to yell the least amount as possible. Cause I already know that I'm scared. I, I'm sorry.

[32:51] Hypocrisy in Peaceful Parenting

[32:52] I'm sorry. Don't be loud. so you're into peaceful parenting as well but you still yell at your kids.

[32:58] I i i know that it's wrong and i should not do it and so i try not to like i try to restrain myself i like what i guess what i'm saying is like.

[33:07] Okay so you and your wife fail to restrain your hang on you and your wife okay sorry don't be laughing serious stuff but it's kind of funny in a way like dark comedy so you and your wife and i don't see this with any hostility or anything i'm just sort pointing out the facts right so you and your wife fail to restrain yourself and raise your voice and you get mad at your 13 year old who fails to restrain herself and raises her voice.

[33:31] And like i see the irony in that like like i see like.

[33:34] It's hypocrisy right.

[33:36] Right yeah yeah exactly like i like i'll see like it's like sometimes i'll hear so like i don't know why the kids are acting like this i'm like i can point exactly where this like why.

[33:44] Is our.

[33:45] Son punched himself in the head and like super angry like all the time oh i don't know like that came from me years ago from like all this bad stuff that i did like or like why is our daughter acting like that like hey have you not like you've done these certain things before like i see absolutely like where this stuff comes from.

[34:01] Your wife says how dare you lose control and raise your voice while losing control and raising her voice right yeah you you at 13 should have all the self-restraint that me at 35 just doesn't have or 40 or whatever right right okay right right all right and.

[34:16] So like i realized that like as the as the head of the household i have absolutely like completely failed in this like the.

[34:22] I don't know completely failed i guess my curiosity is why do you have permission to intimidate your children like to yell at your children what what's i what's the story with that like i mean no because you have like you do it right so there has to be some reason behind why it's okay to do. Like, I mean, you don't rob banks, right? You don't break into cars. You don't assault people for their wallets because you like absolutely won't do that, right? So you have on the table intimidating, like yelling at and intimidating your kids. And what's the thinking? And again, I know this sounds like all kinds of condemnatory. I don't mean that. I'm just genuinely curious what your thinking is that this is behavior that you can do.

[35:03] It's not okay. Not whatsoever.

[35:06] Oh, no, come on, man. Work with me. I'm asking you the reasons why you think it's okay enough to do.

[35:12] Um, well, you know, like family of origin, a childhood.

[35:18] Um, no, no, no, that's, that doesn't explain anything. Right. Because if you, if it, if it was done to you and you know, it's bad and painful, you've also had the theory you've talked to me. I don't know if you've read or heard of any of the peaceful parenting book, but like, you know, it's, it's, it's not good, uh, to, to do right. So you give yourself permission in some context to do it. And, and then you give yourself no permission to do it. Right. Because, if I understand this correctly, you don't yell at your kids, you don't scream at your kids at church or in company or at a funeral or with friends or with family or in a restaurant. So they see you continually with perfect self-restraint, right?

[35:58] Right.

[35:59] And then, when you can get away with it and you're alone and you don't have anyone shooting you dirty or shocked looks, you let loose.

[36:06] Right.

[36:07] So you give yourself permission to do it at times, and then you give yourself no permission to do it at times. So what's the difference?

[36:18] The hypocrisy.

[36:20] Well, no, that's a description of the results. But what is going on in your mind where if you're in public, you'd never dream of screaming at your kids, and then when you're in a car in private, it's fine or good, I guess.

[36:33] I'm trying to maintain an image. I don't know.

[36:36] These are all guesses. It's an emotional thing somewhere in there, right? Because you have really different standards when in private than in public, right?

[36:48] Yeah, yeah.

[36:51] Now, I mean, some of that is necessary, right? I mean, we go to the bathroom in private, not in public, right? I mean, some of that, you know, we make out with our wives in private, not at the funeral, right? So I understand appropriate behavior and so on. But as far as the morals go, your kids see you with perfect self-restraint in public, and then you let loose in private, and there's got to be a thought about that. So either if it's a good thing to do, you should do it in public, right? you know like it's it's good to feed your children so i'm sure you don't like if your kids are hungry and you're in public you'll feed them right it's a buffet or something go eat right, it's good to play a game with your kids so if you're in a public situation in a park you'll play a game your tag or ball or something like that right so so if it's good to yell at your kids why wouldn't you yell at them all the time in well in public or whenever you felt like it So there's something where this is bad, and then this is good, and the difference between public and private. So what's that thinking?

[38:00] Bad stuff you do away from people and good stuff you do out in the open.

[38:11] Well, I mean, you're just describing the two different behaviors, but the why, right? Because if you don't yell at your kids in public and it's good to yell at your kids, then you're allowing being in public to make you a bad parent, right? Because if it's good to yell at your kids, but you don't yell at your kids in public, then you're letting the position of being in public turn you into a bad parent does that make sense yeah whereas if it's bad to yell at your kids then you're a better parent in public but then you turn into not such a better parent in private so you've got two different, sets of rules then they're kind of opposing depending on public or private right Right.

[38:54] Right, right.

[38:54] So I think intellectually, you probably say, it's not great to yell at your kids, right?

[39:02] Right.

[39:03] Okay, so what's the difference in private? Why is it okay in private? I assume your wife is the same way. She doesn't yell at her kids in public, but yells at them in private. Is it something like, well, yelling is discipline, discipline is necessary, but you don't yell in public because it's a private matter and you don't want to humiliate the kids in public or i don't know like something like that yeah.

[39:28] I guess it's probably long or to embarrass yourself well.

[39:33] No you should yeah like you shouldn't be embarrassed by being a good parent should you.

[39:40] Well if you quit yelling with being a good parent then.

[39:43] No but you do your wife certainly does i mean And so your wife says, they don't listen to me unless I yell, so I'm going to keep yelling. And they have to listen to me, so this is good parenting, right? That's her justification. I'm curious what yours is.

[40:00] I lose my temper.

[40:02] Okay, but you listen. There's times when you... Sorry to be annoying. There's times when you lose your temper in public too, but you don't yell at them. So it's not a matter of losing your temper, right?

[40:13] Mm-hmm.

[40:14] So your wife has a justification. They have to listen to me yelling. It's the only way they listen. What's yours?

[40:27] Asserting dominance, I guess. Maybe... i don't even know if that that's necessarily it well.

[40:33] It can't be really asserting dominance because if you if you want to assert dominance with your children and then you're super nice to them in public then you just show you're saying i'm a bully kind of bullying in private and then i'm i'm uh i'm being bullied in public right so it doesn't really assert dominance if your kids see you do bad parenting when you're around other people because then you're just succumbing to peer pressure which your children won't respect right yeah.

[40:58] Well like sometimes it's like what they do like doesn't necessarily bother me but i know it like will bother my wife so i'll tell them like so i'll like like in her defense like hey guys come on let's keep it down but i'll be i won't be like well you know your mother you know your mom's gonna get really mad i'll say hey you know i'll try to like hey guys it's really disruptive can you and i'll kind of take like a more of a like we tone.

[41:21] Okay i've got it so so then the principle that goes across to your kids is don't do things that are upsetting to your mother, right?

[41:32] Yeah.

[41:33] Okay, so do your kids see you do things that are upsetting to your mother? Or to their mother, sorry, to their mother, to your wife?

[41:41] Yeah, yeah.

[41:42] Okay, so if the rule is don't do things that are upsetting to your mother, my wife, then if your kids see you do things that are upsetting to their mother, your wife, then that's kind of confusing, right? So one of the things that sort of popped into my head is you're saying to the kids, don't do things that are upsetting to your mother. Don't yell, scream, or whatever, because she's upsetting to your mother. But then your wife gets mad at you for correcting her in front of the kids, which clearly is upsetting to her. So you're saying to your kids, don't upset your mother, while at the same time upsetting your mother.

[42:14] Right.

[42:15] Upsetting their mother, sorry.

[42:17] Right. Yeah.

[42:19] Justifying Yelling at Kids

[42:19] So let's get back to the rule. What is the rule that gives you permission? You know, like, I don't imagine there's any circumstances under which you would rob a bank, right?

[42:30] Right. Okay.

[42:31] So why is not robbing a bank a hundred percent, but not yelling at your kids is 50, 50, depending if you're in public or private, you're upset or like, what's the difference? Like, I mean, because your kids see you do all of this stuff. Like you pay your taxes, you stop when the cop pulls you over, you don't yell at them in public. So you have all these standards and rules that are a hundred percent, right? You don't like just occasionally scream with them in public like you just don't do it at all right so what's the rule or what's the maybe exception to the rule because i don't know if the rule is yelling at your kids and then you don't do it in public or if the rule is don't yell at your kids but you do it in private i don't know what side of the fence the rule falls on but what gives the permission to you what makes it okay for your wife it's like well they have to listen and they only listen when i yell so i have to yell So what is it for you?

[43:29] Like like when it's okay for me to yell or when i give yourself.

[43:33] Permission to yell at your kids so when you're in public the impulse you're mad at your kids about something the impulse comes out to yell at your kids and then you you don't succumb to that impulse right.

[43:43] Um i will correct them i will like pull them aside no no i get.

[43:48] That but they're yelling, so you you get mad at your kids you want to yell at them or if you were in private you would yell at them but because you're in public you don't yell at them right.

[44:00] I i don't know that i really like yell like my wife does i will raise my voice but i won't like get over here right now like i don't do anything like i don't like yeah it's all like like like hey guys you were supposed to do blah but you did blah and so yeah you know like i'll like take a stern tone but okay.

[44:26] I mean the a stern tone is fine i mean that's part of parenting right.

[44:28] Yeah like i'll like i'll i'll yeah like but i i will not i i don't know that i like like scream and get in their faces, like okay that's fine yeah i mean that's so so if it's.

[44:46] Just a stern tone then okay that's that's fine but then the then the challenge is that you and your wife have very different from parenting styles right because you're a stern tone and she's like yelling or screaming right i mean i'm not.

[44:57] Saying all.

[44:57] The time of course right but even if it's occasion.

[45:00] Is that and i could take a stern tone yeah like i won't need to to yell because obviously my voice is deeper and you know i'll be a little bit you know like an average build you know so and you know when you're a kid everybody's bigger than you so it's like yeah i don't necessarily like flex like you know like maybe my wife might have to okay.

[45:18] So has your wife noticed that you don't yell, but so then why would she need to yell?

[45:26] Um well she'll say they won't they don't even listen to you kind of like oh.

[45:30] So she thinks that your tone doesn't work either like she.

[45:33] Says that your.

[45:34] Tone of the stern voice.

[45:35] Well they're they're still they're still doing it and you're not being firm with them and so that's like i kind of take that as like a like you know and what does she mean by.

[45:47] Firm with them and i apologize for talking about you yelling at your kids if you just use the stern tone i like i i certainly i misunderstood understood or got something wrong.

[45:56] That's totally.

[45:57] On me so i really do apologize that was unfair to.

[46:00] Grill you about.

[46:00] That when that's not what's happening but what does your wife mean by, listening or they don't like what was the.

[46:08] Phrase that so i i won't yell at my my kids but i i will um i will get angry at them and uh i have like kind of intimidated them like bullied them in in the past okay sorry i'm a little.

[46:21] Confused now so what do you mean by bullying you.

[46:23] Okay so like um like my son he would get really mad and like he would get upset over something and i would like pick him up and like bring him into another room and be hey man like i could spank you like i i could thank you but i'm i'm not going to because i'm trying to talk with you and like work things out with you but oh so you would threaten.

[46:41] To hit him.

[46:42] Right and then i i i was like i and so i would maybe do that like maybe twice a year okay like where things would And how.

[46:53] Old is your son?

[46:56] He was 10. I would not do this with any of the girls. He was the only one. But this was like...

[47:01] Ah, sexist too. Okay. All right. So you would threaten to hit your son if he didn't do... And can you think of a time or a circumstance where you ended up in making that threat or doing that?

[47:16] Right. Maybe the last time was like maybe a year ago.

[47:21] Okay. Okay, but what did he do that you ended up in that situation?

[47:29] I i couldn't i couldn't tell you i just i just can't remember i did spank my one daughter probably five six years ago okay.

[47:38] So sorry let's let's go back to you so we'll get your daughter in a sec but i just want to understand uh uh the the sort of aggression that you would display towards your son uh you could you remember any instance that led up to that or what you were upset about.

[47:53] Usually it's you know uh very broadly like not following directions which um i myself am terrible at so um more hypocrisy.

[48:04] Okay so so why i mean you we can all empathize with people who don't follow directions right i mean i i'm the kind of guy like i'll i'll assemble something barely looking at the instruction manual and sometimes it works and sometimes it really doesn't, um so if you you can empathize with a 10 year olds especially if you don't particularly follow directions including you know the peaceful parenting thing a little uh you could empathize you can empathize with your son for not following directions right right so why the aggression what's that go what's going on for you.

[48:40] I like i i have full ownership over this so this is my failings that I'm not, I'm going to explain it here in just a second.

[48:52] Uh, so I don't mean to keep grilling you. So yeah, go ahead. Yeah.

[48:55] Yeah. I'm, I'm, I'm explaining this as the caveat. Like sometimes like my, my daughters will be like, uh, you know, you don't discipline your son and you need to do dah, dah, dah, dah. And then like my wife has kind of, you know, said those things like, well, he's just doing it and he's just treating me like this. Cause you know, you treat, he sees how you treat.

[49:11] Yeah. I was, I was suspecting that. Right. So you get goaded into aggressing against your son by the females. Yes.

[49:18] That has happened in the past, and well, that probably still does happen. And I have total ownership, and then I don't.

[49:29] No, total ownership would be, hey, I understand that you're frustrated with him, but intimidation is not going to be the answer.

[49:38] There have been many times where I've bucked against it, and then many times where I'm like, okay, buddy, hey, you were definitely in the wrong, you're in trouble.

[49:45] Okay, so what does it mean for a 10-year-old to be in the wrong?

[49:50] Um like maybe he would have antagonized his sisters or been rude or mean and and done something inconsiderate um i'm surprised that's right right and well he was even younger when when these like things had happened on oh so when when.

[50:09] Did you sort of the the threatening to hit or pull him into a room and threaten to hit him when what was that age that that started.

[50:20] Six six.

[50:21] Okay and that's because he was bad and doing something mean or wrong or whatever right.

[50:26] Yeah probably before then maybe that means probably like five ish and yeah i know there were times when i was roughing before i'm like freaking i feel like i'm such i'm.

[50:35] Sorry i didn't.

[50:35] Sorry it's probably been he was probably like you know five ish five six somewhere around there yeah okay and just think back of all the so like all the like i see his anger issues and i'm like i'm I'm just shaking my head now and I see him at 10 and it's like, it's like programmed in him now. And, uh, my brother's 46 and has all these anger issues and everything too. And he got it from, from our dad. And now it's like, I just see it replicating my, and I'm just, I feel so bad for the, for it because I just completely effed it up.

[51:08] Well, not completely. Hang on. Let's not, let's go from one extreme to another. It's a complete disaster, right? I mean, no, I mean, sure. You're a pretty good parent, right? So let's not, you know, I mean, you haven't sold them into slavery ever. So there's lots of things, you know, beating them senseless every week. So, um, and, um, your father was, uh, aggressive in this way as well.

[51:28] He was aggressive towards my brother. I was the golden child. I could think of maybe like one time where maybe or twice where I got yelled at. So like, yeah, so I got like special treatment and my brother like got the worst of it.

[51:42] Oh gosh. And how often would he aggress against your brother?

[51:47] They got into it a lot my brother to this day is a jerk, um but wait hang on we're not talking.

[51:55] About your brother at 46 we're talking about your brother at four or six right so.

[51:59] I mean she was uh i well he's five years older than um, uh so you know there's a lot of stuff that happened that i wasn't necessarily like aware of or things that i saw that you know i but he he had always told me like how my dad like, like hit him or stuff and like he and my dad got into like a couple of fights here and there and then like my no no no he didn't get.

[52:26] Into a couple of fights with your dad your dad's in charge of the entire relationship.

[52:30] Right right i mean they're not boxers right right exactly no they're not yeah.

[52:39] And so he would.

[52:40] Get it like the slugfest.

[52:41] You know, your dad would assault him or he'd fight back or whatever, right?

[52:44] Right. Yes.

[52:46] And how often did you know this was happening or witness it? Or how often did it happen to your knowledge?

[52:56] I don't know, maybe I couldn't put maybe every like few months, six months, something like that as a kid growing up. So, I mean, maybe more sparse than that. I can only think of like a handful of times, but it's possible that it happened way more often.

[53:15] And when did you do? Do you know when that tapered off? Was it like the usual mid-teens?

[53:20] No, like it's well. It tapered off. yeah like because then because then my brother like started to get into it like when he was in his late teens early 20s like he was still living at home he would get into it with like my mom and my dad and then i fought him and that was the last time i ever saw him like do that uh to my parents um.

[53:42] Oh you attacked your brother because he was attacking your parents is that right.

[53:45] Yeah yeah exactly so i came to my parents to bet but my yeah my brother was like Yeah. And even to this day, I stopped talking to him a few months ago just because he's just, it's so tumultuous. It's a mixed bag. You never know what you're going to get when you talk to the guy.

[54:02] And what's your relationship like with your parents?

[54:05] Childhood Reflections and Family Dynamics

[54:06] Um it's okay it's okay i i i do care about them but there's and i guess i've kind of come to terms with with certain things but uh um like stuff, i i think i think my dad's at the age in his life where he's just trying to like keep things together and so when he when he passes on he wants things to just kind of like be okay and so he's just trying to like keep the peace or like you know and and go out with stuff being okay so it's like there's been like no real rocking the the boats with stuff but sorry that's just a bunch.

[54:53] Of stuff i don't really understand sorry because again this whole narrative so.

[54:57] Yeah what's.

[54:58] Uh what happened with your uh your brother's life again i'm sorry i know he's not on the call so we don't have to get into the detail but sort of big picture stuff.

[55:05] Yeah a big picture um okay so he had all these behavioral health issues uh it turns out late teens he had a brain tumor we have no idea how much that affected his you know ability to to reason negotiate whatever but he has virtually no No friends. He has an IT job from home, does help desk stuff online.

[55:23] Sorry, I know I said be brief, maybe not that brief. So your brother, when did they discover the brain tumor? Yeah.

[55:33] He was let's see this is 90 he was he was probably just shy of 20 ish maybe 18 ish.

[55:38] Okay so your parents might have been assaulting him because of behavior that came from a brain tumor.

[55:44] Right yeah i mean what do you think of that um that's like.

[55:50] Calling a kid lazy because he's going through chemo.

[55:55] Right right right that's the thing like we've never known how much because so like he's been on this medicine that's like shrunk it to like non-existence but he has to continue to take the medicine um but we had no idea how long that uh played and so everyone's tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and no matter how like violent or bad or things have gotten we've always like like a cooling off period of a few months and then it's like okay hey don't worry we still love you you know like we bring it back into all of our lives and then a few months later everything falls out of like kind of self-sabotaging behavior and then everything falls to pieces and then, then wash, rinse, repeat the cycle. It's cooling off for a few months.

[56:36] You mean he's violent, is that right?

[56:42] Violent and, you know, if you want to talk about verbally abusive, like this guy is the textbook definition of that.

[56:49] And did he have to have an operation for his tumor or did they shrink it using radiation or chemo or some other method?

[56:56] He's been taking some meds for years that have shrunk it. He did not want to have the operation.

[56:59] Oh, shrunk the tumor?

[57:02] Right, yeah.

[57:03] Oh, but it's still there, is that right?

[57:06] We don't know what the size of it is, but I think it's, from what he has told us, is that it's under control, whatever that means. Okay.

[57:15] Yeah, they have a sort of wait-and-see approach to it, as far as I understand it.

[57:18] Yeah.

[57:19] Okay. And how are your parents, when you were growing up, how were they with each other?

[57:26] Oh, they fought all the time. They were an unhappy couple. Even to this day, my dad did not want to be in that relationship. And I was like, well, I've just kind of been along for the ride. I'm like, well, where were you, Pop? Like, why didn't you tell me?

[57:42] Sorry, I didn't quite understand. He says he's along for the ride? What do you mean? With the marriage?

[57:49] He didn't say that, but that's in essence his attitude, right? Like, my mom wanted all the kids. He didn't want to have any kids. She did. So he gave her the kids. He'd keep her busy.

[57:59] Oh, so he appeases the women in his life like you do.

[58:03] Oh, right. That's right. Yeah. Okay.

[58:05] All right. So does he claim to be a victim? No.

[58:11] I wouldn't say that he claims to be a victim out like just.

[58:16] Along for the ride. She wanted kids. I didn't. So I gave her kids. I don't have the life I want because I was appeasing my wife. That sounds like a victim to me. I could be wrong, of course.

[58:27] Yeah, it's it's the passive aggressive kind of thing. Like, yeah, he is like, in essence, a victim without saying he's a victim. You know, like just the things that you know, well, I gave up such and such. I didn't do that. I don't know, you know?

[58:41] And did your, sorry, did your brother's, how was your brother's tumor discovered? Just, sorry, to jump back for a second.

[58:46] He went in for a vision test, and he couldn't get to the docs, like, oh, we can't get the vision right, or whatever. This, you know, he kept not focusing, or something like that. And the doc was like, um.

[58:58] Need a scan, yeah.

[59:00] Yeah, and so, yeah, and then something after, like, the vision test, like, he just couldn't get the glass prescription right, or something. And then they took him in, and they did the scan, and that.

[59:09] I guess there was something pressing on his nerve, his vision nerves, right? Okay.

[59:14] Right, right.

[59:15] Okay. And has your brother ever done any talk therapy or anything like that?

[59:21] Yeah, he has. Yep, he continues to see a shrink.

[59:25] Oh, okay.

[59:26] And so he's, quote unquote, putting in the work, you know, is the popular phrase.

[59:32] But he's not dating or he doesn't date or get married?

[59:35] Married or no like it it's just yeah it's very just a very sad situation just in general like this yeah no no social skills whatsoever just um like he flies to amsterdam um, did.

[59:52] He did he have social skills when he was younger i know he's older than you i don't know if you remember much of that yeah.

[59:57] Like he had a few friends but he was always like he would get into fights with people and it was always oh so and so you know he'd be a friend with somebody and then oh so and so's a jerk i don't like him and so he would just like fall out of friendships with with people a lot and so and then yeah and then uh you know out of high school like he didn't even attend his own like high school graduation like he's like oh this is stupid i don't know why you know i'm not always very bitter now.

[1:00:23] How often did you see your parents fighting or not getting along.

[1:00:26] Pretty pretty often like and my mom was very dramatic about stuff um yeah it was very like how to go up and like like she would leave a phone book open like oh for attorneys or so she would.

[1:00:42] Threaten divorce like almost like the way you threaten your son.

[1:00:47] Yeah okay and uh she would um i remember one time she was like trying to she was like writing a story of like all the stuff that she had been through and all the stuff that my dad had put her through. And then like, she's like.

[1:00:59] Oh, all the stuff your dad had put her through. So she's also a victim.

[1:01:03] Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah.

[1:01:05] And what, what are her major complaints? Like what does she consider that your dad has put her through?

[1:01:12] Um well he never helps out uh he you know well uh you know that that well that he was lazy he never loved her which is true you know like never wore a ring and he like never said i love you i don't think i've ever heard him like say that yeah but she accepted.

[1:01:29] That right she chose to date.

[1:01:30] Him to get engaged to marry to.

[1:01:32] Have kids so she she got blame she can't blame can't blame people for something that you accept is it.

[1:01:36] I mean if i accept to.

[1:01:38] Work for 10 bucks an hour i mean how do i get had to blame people for paying 10 bucks an hour it's.

[1:01:42] Even kind of.

[1:01:42] Odd to me anyway go on.

[1:01:43] Yeah um he had been married before and had a kid and he kept that from her and she didn't find that out until like they were engaged and then um he also cheated on her in the 80s um and like almost left her but then didn't leave her um so they're codependent.

[1:02:01] And blame each other it's a usual sad.

[1:02:03] Story right okay yeah got it yeah addicted to each other.

[1:02:06] And blame each other and.

[1:02:07] Yeah yes would you have sorry go ahead.

[1:02:11] Sorry go ahead.

[1:02:12] Uh yeah yeah then uh um uh she chased him around the house with a knife one time i think that was probably the time that she found out that he was cheating uh and then she would like allude to that like numerous times like uh like so so he wanted to like bury that and so i guess older ones didn't or the younger ones what the knife.

[1:02:29] Or the affair.

[1:02:29] A bit barely he wanted to like bury the affair like never talk about it again like i I guess they moved on past that, but, um, she would like occasionally when fights would get really heated, she would be like, Oh, you don't want me to tell the kids about so-and-so do you, you know? And then that would just, just, she would just go to him.

[1:02:47] And often would they, I mean, I know you said quite often, but was it like weekly, daily.

[1:02:54] I would probably something monthly weekly you know i again i can't remember but i just know just the tension is.

[1:03:01] Pretty continuous right.

[1:03:02] Yeah yeah exactly i guess that's probably the he would bury himself in solitaire he would go to work and then he would come home and he would just play play solitaire i knew he loved me i knew he cared about me we just didn't i didn't have a whole lot of memories of stuff that we did together and how how.

[1:03:18] Did you know that he left you.

[1:03:19] Um well i was the golden child so i kind of got like whatever i want and he was like no no sorry sorry.

[1:03:27] Hang on didn't you say that you didn't spend much time with your dad.

[1:03:30] Well yeah but i didn't realize that i wanted it at the time when i got older he spent hang on what.

[1:03:36] Do you mean you didn't realize you wanted time with your dad what do you what are you talking about.

[1:03:42] So like as a kid like um so i was put on ritalin because i was uh rambunctious and i i that's not an excuse that's just like you know like how old were you when you were dropped seven eight okay so your parents put.

[1:04:01] You on that right they took the i mean i assume that they're the ones who have to say yes or no right.

[1:04:05] Yeah and there's the same thing like my dad my dad was like well i never i didn't think that you should have uh been put on on that anyway but i didn't really have a choice in that i was like well where the hell were you pop like sorry why wouldn't you have a choice right exactly that this is like kind of more along that that theme of like along for the ride like well i oppose things but no one really listened to me so oh yeah yeah.

[1:04:25] And then you marry a woman who doesn't feel the kids listen to her she has no control okay all right so.

[1:04:32] So what.

[1:04:33] Do you mean when you say that you didn't know that you wanted time with your dad i mean if you had had time with your dad that was enjoyable you would do that.

[1:04:43] Right? Yeah, like... I guess maybe I thought it was sufficient or I was just getting by doing all right. Like I kept myself busy, you know, and like, I think I kind of met the Victorian era definition of kids, which is they shouldn't be seen or heard. So I played video games a lot and I played with Legos. So I was just kind of like out of this. And then like, you know, when I was on my riddle and I was just kind of like, well, you know, kind of tucked away and did my thing.

[1:05:10] And so you've been neglected. Did your mom enjoy your company? Did she want to play board games with you or go for walks with you or play with you?

[1:05:18] When we were younger so we moved to Russia in 91 my dad worked for the State Department we moved to Russia in 91, and we were there for a couple years and when we moved there and then when we moved back life was totally different sorry how long were you in Russia?

[1:05:35] 2 years and how old were you?

[1:05:39] I was 91 I was 9.

[1:05:43] So what the hell did you do in Russia for 2 years?

[1:05:48] Uh so we lived on the embassy and oh so you have the english.

[1:05:52] School or whatever right.

[1:05:53] Yeah yeah and so when you're on the embassy like there's like it's literally like a couple of acres and like the outer perimeter wall and then housing on the inside and there were just kids everywhere all the time there was always something to do so like it was always always playing with it, but not your parents but not my parents no no no like my dad was always like we went out and we we went to like the marketplaces and things like we did like those things. So I learned how to speak Russian and, and I kind of get around. We were there when the wall came down. So that was really cool.

[1:06:24] Um, it's kind of funny how your dad is. I don't know. I'm not saying what he did exactly did, but you know, state department, he's really into managing relationships and he can't even manage the relationship with his wife and kids.

[1:06:35] Right. Yeah. Yeah. That's funny. Yeah. Well, it's interesting to talk with some men and they'll, they'll tell you like how great their careers are. And then, you know, you ask about their home life and it's like, absolutely terrible it's like.

[1:06:46] Childhood Memories and Parental Relationships

[1:06:46] I feel like i'm a diplomat can you be diplomatic with your wife and kids oh hell no but russians yes wife and kids no okay right got it all right so um when you were, young i mean how much do you remember your parents seeking out your company wanting to and like enjoy your company spend time with you play with you.

[1:07:12] Not a whole lot. I mean, you know, like just from time to time. We didn't do a whole lot of family. We went on a couple of family vacations as a kid. I think twice we went to the beach before we moved to Moscow. Twice?

[1:07:31] Twice you went to the beach?

[1:07:33] Yeah.

[1:07:34] Only twice?

[1:07:36] Yeah.

[1:07:37] You had money, right? Dad works for the State Department. You're not broke.

[1:07:40] Broke um yeah we didn't do a whole lot um yeah that's.

[1:07:50] Terrible i'm so sorry.

[1:07:51] Yeah i.

[1:07:54] Mean what do you think it did to your mind that your parents didn't really.

[1:07:58] Seem to enjoy your company or.

[1:08:00] Want to spend time with you.

[1:08:01] I i i think i i managed all right from there but what i realized was just how far behind i was in kind of like life skills and managing things okay so that's very intellectual.

[1:08:17] I'm talking about how did you feel i.

[1:08:23] Think at the time it really didn't bother me and i and i'm not trying to defend them. I just...

[1:08:29] Well, you must have given up then.

[1:08:32] Yeah, I think that's probably what it was is I just kind of like, okay, well...

[1:08:38] So you could have no effect, right? You could have no effect.

[1:08:41] Confronting Parental Hypocrisy and Inaction

[1:08:41] You couldn't win. You couldn't get their interest. They were too selfish. They were too self-absorbed. They were too fighting with each other or some career shit or something. So you gave up. You retreated to your room, your computer...

[1:08:56] And played video games.

[1:08:57] So that's a kind of despair, right?

[1:09:00] Yeah.

[1:09:01] Is that fair to say?

[1:09:05] Yeah.

[1:09:06] I'm so sorry. That's very sad. It's very sad. I mean, just by the by, I mean, my daughter's 15 and a half and I did my show this morning and then my wife's got some stuff to do. So my daughter and I had lunch and then we went out for a nice long hike in nature her and then we went to a bookstore and then we went to get some frozen yogurt and then you know just you know the delightful couple of hours and you know i'm aware that she's getting older and you know uh other things are going to overtake before long so i'm just drinking deep of the oasis while it's still around and i mean i just and i tell her you know at least once a week sometimes to her occasional embarrassment just how much um i appreciate her and enjoy her company and feel really privileged to have her in my life. And that's...

[1:09:58] I feel the same way with my kids. Like, I see my 15-year-old. But things have gotten so bad with, like, the fighting and stuff. Like, I try to tell, like, my kids, like, oh, I love them and stuff.

[1:10:09] You mean the fighting with your wife?

[1:10:11] Yeah.

[1:10:12] Okay. We'll get to that. And I... We'll get to that. But I'm trying to sort of figure out how you know your father loves you when he doesn't really want to seem to want to spend much, if any, time with you.

[1:10:23] Yeah when you were a kid yeah yeah um, uh well i know he always wanted to see me succeed and do well that could be.

[1:10:36] For status that could be for i mean.

[1:10:38] And if.

[1:10:38] You really want to see your kids succeed don't you tell them you love them and want to spend time with them and enjoy their company because that's going to help your kids succeed isn't it.

[1:10:44] Um okay so so the uh bare minimum time that he did spend with me um uh, you know he he did want me to to do well and he encouraged me to do better and so there wasn't anything discouraging like maybe i would do it to my son right like so like i've been uh rude and mean to my son before, like a total jerk. And my dad never really did any of that stuff to me.

[1:11:16] Which means you're paying more attention to your son than he did to you.

[1:11:21] Right.

[1:11:22] Okay, so let's go back to how do you know, or how did you know that your father loved you when you were a kid? Or what made you think that?

[1:11:35] I guess he wasn't necessarily mean to me.

[1:11:40] Okay, that's pretty thin fucking gruel, isn't it?

[1:11:44] Yeah.

[1:11:45] That's like some really watery porridge you got on the table there.

[1:11:49] Yeah.

[1:11:51] Okay and you did you say if i understood this correctly he got a little better as you got older.

[1:11:56] Yeah like so now that i've gotten older no no i mean as a teenager oh yeah yeah as a teenager like yeah then it was like hey let's go like do some bike rides and things and and uh we like did a cross-country uh trip and um i think what happened was my sister had a lot of medical cold problems and so my mom was like kind of um it would like was caught up in taking care of her a lot and my sister and your brother yeah yeah so so my brother like like was full functioning except you know he had his anger issues um and he he was like he was doing really well during the tech boom so he had like a lot of money um and this is you know late uh late 90s early 2000 oh i remember the tech boom.

[1:12:47] Very well it was good times.

[1:12:49] Yeah so he was he was doing all right there and then uh but my sister had a lot of medical problems so my mom was busy helping her and then i was kind of like coming of age in my mid-teens and somebody i was like okay yeah you know let's hang out let's go do stuff and so it was like you know i was the only one left to really kind of Okay.

[1:13:06] So when he kind of ran out of everyone else, he took up with you.

[1:13:11] Right. I was fine with it.

[1:13:14] I'm sorry?

[1:13:16] No, no. I'm making light of it, but I shouldn't be.

[1:13:19] All right. And so, were your parents good parents?

[1:13:31] Oh, heck no. Uh, no.

[1:13:44] Okay. And have you talked to them? I'm not saying whether you should or shouldn't, right? I'm just curious. Have you talked to them about the limitations that you perceived in their parenting or the things that hurt you or made you feel alone?

[1:13:58] Yes. And, uh, my, uh, yeah, yes. Yes. My father has come to the defense of my mother. Um, and my mother has, uh, defended her actions and like, well, you know, the, the, the usual thing. And you've said it many times and you said, well, we did this, we could, what we had. Um, and, uh, yeah, so there's, there's been, uh, but, but no real progress. Um, you know, and I, and I, I've, I've had it out with them. I, I, like I've, I've, I've had it out with them.

[1:14:30] What do you mean?

[1:14:31] Well like you know i i really told like hey you know well you know my brother suffered because of like these things that you did and you know you uh you know because of like you guys fighting and yada yada um you know that that really suffered but so did you yeah yeah like we like we all suffered and then like because you guys fought like you guys never gave us like any relationship advice and so like look at like you know uh yeah if you could write the names i'd I'd appreciate it.

[1:14:57] But sorry, go ahead.

[1:14:58] Yeah, okay, sure. Like that. You know, you look at my brother, you look at me, and, you know, like I had a difficult time like navigating relationships and such, and, you know, like, well, you know, but, you know, no one really showed us, and so, you know, but we did all right, and, you know, you guys, you know, and it's like, but...

[1:15:16] Wait, are they putting your brother in the category of people who did all right?

[1:15:21] Right, right. Like, well, you know, but just some people are the way they are, and some, you know, and it's all just excuses. uses, you know.

[1:15:27] All right. So they've not taken any responsibility for any of their actions, right?

[1:15:33] Right.

[1:15:33] And what value do they bring to your life as a whole? I mean, they did great harm, right? And they have not taken any ownership or apologized for anything, So, what I mean, do you expect your kids I mean, you said that, you know, if your son was mean, right? You'd get really upset, right? Even when he was five years old, right?

[1:16:00] Right, right So, hang on.

[1:16:01] Hang on So, your son, at five, really has to take responsibility for the mean things he does, right? But your parents, in their 70s or 80s or however old they are, apparently don't. So you're fine imposing massive free will and moral standards on your five-year-old, just not on your parents.

[1:16:32] Well, yeah, I guess to that end, right?

[1:16:36] I mean, wasn't your five-year-old doing the best he could with the knowledge he had?

[1:16:41] Right.

[1:16:42] But that wasn't good enough, right?

[1:16:44] Right.

[1:16:45] How dare you hit this on your kid and not your parents?

[1:16:51] Which is why I've tried to kind of ease up and say, and not be as harsh on him because I realized, like, like hey I recognize that all these things are wrong and at some point he's going to like be bigger than me and like okay so that's why I've like like tried No no it means you.

[1:17:19] Don't have any moral standards as far as this stuff goes. I'm not saying you're an immoral person in general right?

[1:17:25] But if you say well I have.

[1:17:26] To hold my 5 year old or my 10 year old or my 15 year old they're morally responsible for the mean things they do but my parents you know they've never apologized never take any ownership and but that's okay they still love me.

[1:17:37] But so does that mean like cutting them out like i don't know like how to deal with because like we already don't see them a lot like maybe once every couple of months and like you know i talk to them like maybe once a month maybe every couple of weeks you know like but like i just don't know how to handle, you know, because I already kind of keep them at arm's length. I mean, they love, like, they're very good around our children. Like, my dad is very good around our kids. But that's terrible. Right, so it's like, why do they get, right. And I've seen this with plenty of grandkids.

[1:18:10] That's sadistic, in my view.

[1:18:13] Uh-huh. Like, why are you so good with your grandkids?

[1:18:16] Well, it's saying, hey, man, you know, we're great with kids. It must have been you. Well, it was great with kids.

[1:18:26] Yeah.

[1:18:29] Exploring the Source of Aggression

[1:18:30] My concern is the aggression that you have. I'm trying to figure out the cause of the aggression.

[1:18:36] Yeah.

[1:18:36] Now your father was aggressive with your mother, right?

[1:18:39] Right. And then my brother.

[1:18:40] Sorry, go ahead.

[1:18:42] Yeah. And my brother was also aggressive as well. So there's plenty of.

[1:18:45] No, but your father was aggressive to your brother too.

[1:18:48] Right.

[1:18:49] Right. And he's. And you say he's, he's both capable of being incredibly abusive towards your brother and of great love.

[1:19:00] Right.

[1:19:00] Right? Like, I think you might have to pick a lane there.

[1:19:05] Right, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[1:19:08] Can you be incredibly abusive, or at least abusive, and also loving?

[1:19:17] That would be...

[1:19:20] Because you're trying to do the two to some degree, right? I'm not saying incredibly abusive, right? But, you know, threatening your son and all of that, which I know is more in the past, More in the past, right? More in the past. Yeah. But.

[1:19:33] That would be abusive.

[1:19:35] Well, I mean, it's pretty scary, right? So where's this level of aggression coming from? It comes from not condemning aggression. Right? Whatever we condemn, we just don't do. You condemn robbing banks, right? I mean, hey, we all know in the modern system it's the bank's job to rob us. We don't want to interfere with that predation. Right? But there are things that you just won't do because you morally condemn them. so the only reason you'd be aggressive is you haven't condemned it.

[1:20:04] Mm hmm.

[1:20:06] So then the question is, why haven't you condemned it? Well, because that would be to really judge your parents.

[1:20:12] Right, right.

[1:20:14] And if you're like, well, you know, they still they're great with the kids, they, they still showed love when I was a kid, and you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, then you haven't condemned the aggression. You haven't held them accountable. And you can't hold them accountable, except in your own mind, right? Because you can't hold other people accountable. We're not judge juries, right? Right?

[1:20:31] Right.

[1:20:32] So in your mind, though, it's kind of okay. And so if aggression is kind of okay, then you're going to be aggressive because it's kind of okay.

[1:20:41] Right.

[1:20:42] The only way that we stop behavior is absolutely unacceptable. It's absolutely unacceptable, and that's a universal thing. It's not just absolutely unacceptable for you, but okay for your parents, right? Because that's not absolute, right? Absolute is universal, right? Right. You don't say, well, I'm not going to rob a bank in this town, but one town and over, that's totally fine.

[1:21:04] Right, right, right.

[1:21:06] So it's absolutely unacceptable to aggress against children. Absolutely unacceptable. Okay, so that way you stop aggressing against your own children, but then you have the problem of your judgment of your father and your mother.

[1:21:19] Right, right.

[1:21:21] So that's the hole through which the aggression comes pouring through, is you have not judged. Now, people say, oh, but if I judge my parents, what do I do? I don't know. I don't care. Because that's not philosophy. That's pragmatism. Philosophy is, is it okay to abuse children, to neglect them, to use aggression against them and so on? Well, no, of course, absolutely unacceptable. It's unacceptable for you. It's unacceptable for me. It's unacceptable for Bob in Alaska. And it's unacceptable for your mother and your father. Now, say, ah, yes, but if I make this judgment, what do I do about it? It's like, I don't care. I do care that it becomes absolutely unacceptable for you to be aggressive.

[1:22:04] Examining Aggression in Marital Relationships

[1:22:04] Because, and we'll get into your wife here. The whole point of this, I understand, is about your wife, right? But we need to sort of, where's the aggression permission coming from?

[1:22:14] Right, right.

[1:22:15] And it comes from, my parents are, you know, not ideal, but, you know, it's okay. And, right, you haven't got to that place where it's like, no, they did some really terrible things and they're not taking any ownership. And that's unacceptable. Now, whether you call them every couple, I don't know. I don't care. That's not the important thing. The important thing is the line that's drawn in your head. Like this shit does not happen. This is not okay. It never was, never will be, never is. Never, never, never. Right? Not in public versus private. Not here, there, near the car, out there, the funeral. Never.

[1:22:50] Right.

[1:22:51] And it never was right. And my parents' bullshit excuses don't change a goddamn thing. It was never right. And they know it. And they knew it. They didn't do it in public either, right? Did they constantly yell at each other and bicker in public? Sorry, I'm not sure if you heard the question.

[1:23:22] Yeah, I'm trying to remember. I just think they did.

[1:23:28] Oh, so they were like bickertons even at dinner parties and at restaurants, and they would just yell at each other.

[1:23:35] Yeah.

[1:23:36] It's kind of embarrassing. You'd think that might cost your dad a little bit of his career, but all right, that's what they did. That's what they did, right?

[1:23:44] We never went out anywhere, but there were a couple of times we had gone out and they did get into these small little spats and stuff.

[1:23:54] Okay, but not as big as at home.

[1:23:57] No, no.

[1:23:57] Okay, so they could manage or control their behavior. Okay.

[1:24:00] Yeah, for the most part.

[1:24:02] Okay. Got it. Got it. Was it ever acceptable to be neglected and aggressed against by your parents?

[1:24:21] What do you mean?

[1:24:22] Was it ever okay? Was it ever acceptable? Do you give them excuses? Do you accept their excuses?

[1:24:30] No, no, no.

[1:24:32] Okay. So if you don't accept their excuses.

[1:24:36] Then I can't do it for myself.

[1:24:38] Well, hang on. Yes, that's true. But there's one step before that. So their excuses are false, right? Because they didn't give you those excuses when you were a kid, right? Right. So your dad said to you as a kid, you said this a little while ago. I'm not trying to catch you out. I'm just sort of pointing out these contradictions, right? So you said that your dad told you like he was really committed to you being better, to you improving, getting better marks, getting better grades and so on, right? Is that right?

[1:25:06] Yes.

[1:25:06] Okay. So your dad was all about improvement. Like you've got to do better, kid. You've got to step it up. You've got to, right? You've got to do better, right? Okay. Fantastic. So your dad is all about studying to improve things, right?

[1:25:23] And spent zero time self-improvement himself.

[1:25:26] Well, I mean, he didn't. Did he ever crack a book on parenting? Because he's all about improve, right?

[1:25:32] No, I think he expected my mom to do all that.

[1:25:36] Well, I don't know what he thought or didn't think, but he didn't do what he told you was the most important thing or a very important thing, which was to continually read, study and improve. right?

[1:25:46] Right, right, right.

[1:25:47] If you'd have said to your dad when he was saying, kid, you've got to read, study, and improve, if you were to say, hey, you know, the important thing is I'll just do the best with whatever knowledge I have, right? I mean, if I don't study for an exam, I'll just write the exam and I'll just do the best that I can with the knowledge I have or I don't have with regards to the exam. If you were to say that, you know, maybe I'll study, maybe I won't, but I'll take the exam and I'll just do the best I can with the knowledge I have, what would he say?

[1:26:19] No, no, no.

[1:26:21] I'm just doing the best I can. I mean, this is your parenting, right? This is your parenting, dad. Your parenting is you just do the best you can with the knowledge you have and you know, fuck it. Just see what happens. Right. Don't study. Just, you know, go on your gut instinct or go on whatever. Right. You don't study. You don't learn. You don't improve. Right. So if you were to say that to him, he'd say, no, you got to study kid. Right. That's just lazy. right and that's not productive it's not going to work you can't just not study and then just do the best you can with the knowledge you have what are you some kind of idiot.

[1:26:57] Isn't that what he would say yeah yeah so he's totally full of shit, yeah so he's a complete hypocrite because he imposed rules upon you when you were five and seven and ten that he wasn't studying at a far more important thing which is parenting than a fucking spelling be when you're a kid or a test a grammar test or whatever math test so he's saying you should never be content with the knowledge you have you should always work to seek and improve your knowledge and it's really really important for a geometry test when you're eight but not my entire fucking parenting right so he's a total hypocrite yeah and and he then because he commanded He commanded you or encouraged you or exhorted you to improve your knowledge, right? To get better, to get more knowledgeable. And you would never have as an excuse, I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. But that's the excuse he uses for 25 years of parenting or 20 years of parenting, right?

[1:27:55] Right, right.

[1:27:56] So it's a total lie. I mean, you tell people to improve, you can't say improvement is not necessary. You tell a kid to improve, you can't say as an adult, improvement is not necessary. I'm sure he studied things for his career, right? I'm sure he studied Russian or whatever, culture or history or whatever to go and get the post in Russia. So, yeah, I mean, he's got no excuse. yeah so what this means is that he's completely and totally happy happy i tell you happy, to gaslight you and lie to you about the central pain in your life which is causing a lot of problems with your kids and in particular with your wife so he won't give you any relief he won't put aside his own comfort to help you by accepting his responsibility for what he did, He won't model any self-ownership. He'll just make excuses and watch your marriage slide into the shitter rather than be honest and take some responsibility for how he was as a father. And you call this love? He's sacrificing your marriage, in part, to preserve his own immediate comfort, so that he doesn't have to say or do anything uncomfortable or take any responsibility. And he's also modeling that the patriarch doesn't take responsibility.

[1:29:15] Right, right.

[1:29:16] I mean, does he know? He knows. He would know exactly how damaging that is to you, right? Right. And yet he's doing it, and he's got no problem doing it. When did you confront him?

[1:29:28] About a year ago.

[1:29:29] Right. So a year, you've said, you know, things were pretty agonizing in some ways. I need you to start taking responsibility. It would really help me. And he's like, no, fuck that.

[1:29:37] Confronting Parental Lack of Responsibility

[1:29:37] I'm not taking any of your goddamn responsibility Thank you very much I'm going to give you a bunch of platitudes And send you off to go fight with your wife, Oh I mean, Jesus, man You've got to be kidding me about love, right shouldn't he i mean you sacrifice for your kids right you sacrifice your comfort and all of that sometimes for your kids and yet he won't even tell the truth and take responsibility, when he knows how painful and destructive it is when he doesn't he's still that selfish.

[1:30:10] Well he ran away from the responsibility from like his first wife and kid and like never you know uh never kept in touch with a kid so i don't know whatever happened to the the girl um this was in the 60s uh and then you know cheating on my mom with someone else and i know that's like just yeah but anyway but uh yeah in terms of talking about taking responsibility and hypocritical and yeah there's plenty of other indicators there that are pointed to the exact same thing so.

[1:30:43] So does he love you.

[1:31:01] I think it meets his definition of love but no.

[1:31:04] Why on earth would i care about his definition of love i think he if he doesn't act in a loving manner towards his own offspring why on earth would i care what his definition of love is right, and when i talk about this with you or we make this case or i make this case um how do you feel, don't give me theory how do you feel.

[1:31:36] Sad because I see myself headed for the same thing with my kids.

[1:31:39] Well, that's what I'm really trying to block here. We can't do anything about your childhood, but we sure as heck can do something about your kids' childhood, right?

[1:31:46] Right. So just as a side, I see myself spending a lot more, like exponentially more time with my kids than my dad did and telling them constantly how much I care and love about them. And I still feel like I'm falling hellishly short.

[1:32:06] And how do you feel short?

[1:32:09] Just because I think the relationship with my wife and I just fighting so much has just tainted everything so that they can be like, how could you like, you have just so soured everything, dad. And they didn't seven say said this, but if I were to guess their words, it's like you've soured everything so much that. But, yeah, like, we can't even take the fact that you, like, say you love us seriously because things have just gotten so bad between my wife and I. Like, that's how I perceive it. You know, sometimes, you know, maybe I'm a little more harsh on my judgment, but.

[1:32:52] No, listen, I mean, so how often are you and your wife fighting? And I don't just mean, like, a little disagreement here and there, like, which way to turn on the street. but how often are you and your wife engaged in not insignificant conflict?

[1:33:08] So probably once a month is probably some kind of issue. Or I think we've handled some of them better in the last six months. But usually it's about once a month. And there's probably some small disagreements or something where I'm... Maybe once a week where there's something more minor. once a week to once a month.

[1:33:43] I mean, that's a significant improvement over your own parents, right?

[1:33:51] It may be the same amount as my parents.

[1:33:56] Same amount, okay. And so I'm obviously pleasantly surprised that it's only once a month that there's... And so when I say not insignificant disagreement, disagreement how what do you interpret that as or what what are you answering that as.

[1:34:09] So if i say uh insignificant and were you saying that.

[1:34:13] No like if i say you say once a month there's like a not insignificant disagreement so what does that look like um for the kids maybe or or for you.

[1:34:26] We i've tried to keep things like quiet i'm trying to think the the last time we had something It was like last month. So when we had our big blow up back in like November, when I called you the first time, one of the things that really kind of like took things off was, my daughters had told my wife that I was looking at women, like when we were driving, you know, if there's like, you know, someone who was dressed inappropriately or something like that they would say like oh yeah you know dad stares at women or something like that so they told my wife and that really kind of like set things off um one of the accusations that came out of there was that like because i did that it like made my daughters uncomfortable because they were like well you know if you're doing that like we feel and say like how do we know you're not doing those things like looking at us inappropriately also and that was like a mind-blowing thing like holy crap like i'm being accused by my kids of this of like staring at them inappropriately because i'm staring at other like driving by women or whatever you know the context is so just did they did.

[1:35:50] Your daughters Let's talk about that with you at the time. Um, like I, did they go to your wife or did they.

[1:35:59] They, they went to my wife and then like, she brought it up to me, but because like my wife knew that, like, that I was like, having a long look, whatever you want to call it, because she knew that was happening. I think she tried to defend me, but she was also kind of upset that it was happening. So I think there was kind of like a mixed signal there, like the kids. And so I felt like I was kind of left to defend myself.

[1:36:33] Sorry, and your daughters were, sorry, how old were they last year?

[1:36:37] 15 and 13-ish.

[1:36:40] Um, when would they get the idea? Let's say that you, I don't know, through a second glance at some hot woman on the street or something like that. Right. So where would they get the idea though, that that would be something that might be inappropriate between you and your daughter? So that's a bit of an odd jump to me.

[1:36:54] I i don't know why but uh i have mentioned to them like you know girls who dress scantily clad on like tiktok and other places like hey well you know they're kind of doing it for attention and you want to make sure that you know you have a good personality and you can talk to people and you know don't just have somebody be around you for your looks be around like you know but all these women are doing it for attention when you know, the, the looks fade, you want to have a personality, something that's going to like make the person like stay around. So don't get caught up in like all the looks. So I'd like kind of would emphasize that, but you know, but then they would also be like, well, that's like staring at these women. So it's like, but like, I wouldn't let, we wouldn't let our daughter, like my wife was on the same page, like, Hey, like you guys can't dress like inappropriately. And then they would also, sorry.

[1:37:44] But I still not sure what they would get from you looking at women on the.

[1:37:48] Straight to.

[1:37:49] To looking at at them in in some kind of way like that i mean i'm not sure where that that would come i mean obviously that's not the case right so i'm not sure where that would come from.

[1:37:59] Yeah yeah i i i don't know where it came from um is.

[1:38:04] It school could it come from your wife is there like where i'm trying.

[1:38:08] To figure out.

[1:38:08] Because that's that's a huge divide to put between a father and his daughters right.

[1:38:12] Um yeah i i think she she did try i think she did try to defend me but there was still tension between us and so it was like maybe i don't know if the kids felt like oh well mom's just offending dad but they're still fighting so so they talked about this.

[1:38:30] With your mom and they come out with the idea that you might be looking at them inappropriately.

[1:38:38] Me yeah i i don't know where it came i i know like we could possibly say my wife but i think she said like she didn't mention anything like that to her and i'm going to trust her and so i don't know if it's just kids, doing some kind of analytical leap or something like that. So I'm going to take my wife at her word and say that like, okay, I hope.

[1:38:55] And how that was last November. Yeah.

[1:38:58] That was like, yeah. In the fall timeframe. And then this last month, April, same as you came up with my oldest daughter. Um, and she was like, oh, I saw you looking at women. I was like, I had not done any dog gone. Like I have like nailed this thing down as best I could.

[1:39:18] Challenging Accusations and Misunderstandings

[1:39:18] Like if you want to, like well you I saw you look at so and so I was like like we she's like we were at a restaurant in Massachusetts and I saw you looking at because we were there at the beginning of April again like visiting the grandfather before he died so I saw you looking at social I was like I don't even remember who that was and I was like I'm gonna defend this one adamantly because I was not like I don't even care I was like I'd like tried my absolute damnness to like like change this and like listen to it so I was like this is baloney she's like well you know I don't even know if you're still like you know looking at us i was like that is total garbage i was like like to stand there and like in it's in the middle of the night so it's like 10 11 at night that like you know this this thing was brought up at like nine at night my wife's like oh you know your daughter she needs to talk to you there's like something really going on like if you need don't you know you you need to discuss something so then i like talk with her and then it like escalates from like nine until like late so like discussing anything past 9 p.m i've like put a moratorium on that. I don't want to do that anymore, because all it does is just two people exhausted, and nothing gets accomplished, and you just wake up super cranchy.

[1:40:23] Wait, so your daughter is still saying that you might be looking at her inappropriately, because she thinks you're looking at women as a whole inappropriately, or looking at scantily colored women?

[1:40:32] She was still convinced that I was looking at women inappropriately, and then still wasn't sure whether I was looking at her inappropriately. I was like, that's a total lie. That is not true. I totally changed Like that, I don't believe that whatsoever. And then my wife was like, Hey, like another kind of like, Hey, like, you know, so-and-so like telling our daughter, like your dad, like, but, but, you know, there were like phrases that were said, like, well, I don't.

[1:41:02] I don't know. What did you, what did your wife say to your daughter? She, she's hearing these crazy accusations. And what, what, what did she say?

[1:41:08] My wife and my daughter were in the living room with me downstairs and it was late at night. And I was like, I'm telling you, I was like, like, I'm telling my wife, like, Hey, look, I've been with you for 23 weeks. Like, you know, like this has never even been an issue. Like we like no adult material, like nothing, like there's not anything like that. And she's like, well, I don't know. Because, you know, you also told me that you didn't look at women. I was like, no, no, no, no, no. You don't even, you're going to like throw this.

[1:41:39] So your daughter is saying, well, what if you're looking at me inappropriately and your wife is there, right? And what does your wife say to this crazy accusation?

[1:41:48] Strained Family Dynamics and Accusations

[1:41:49] It was like kind of a, not a, it was a, what I would consider not a very firm defense of me.

[1:41:59] Family Dynamics and Outrageous Accusations

[1:42:00] What does she say? Does she say that's absolutely outrageous? You can't think that about your father. That's absolutely false. My gosh. Like, he's your father. This is like, come on. This is like crazy. let's say he does look let's say there's some woman with with i don't know some crazy tight skirt and he glances yes he's a man you know whatever right but but you're his daughter this is completely not not even remotely in the state like where where was the full-throated defense of of this and and making sure that the daughter didn't go down this crazy path no.

[1:42:31] So um that even that mindset of like oh let's say there's a girl who's walking by like even if i look it's automatic adultery which like hey i guess you know it it says that in the in the bible and i'm, christian and it's like okay hey look i i realize i've sinned but i'm i'm asking for for your forgiveness like with this stuff happens you know like i like.

[1:42:56] I'm sorry is is your is your is your wife also um i mean serious christian right i mean which i'm obviously respect and all of that so your wife is is also quite quite down with christian theology right so.

[1:43:12] I'm i'm going to be held to an even harder standard because i'm trying to be a a pastor and.

[1:43:18] Okay let's go back to i appreciate that i'm sorry to interrupt but let's go back to your wife she also goes to church and she takes christianity very seriously right yes so does she submit.

[1:43:33] For the most part, yes.

[1:43:36] Really? Then why are you fighting?

[1:43:40] Because then she would say that she's not allowed to have an opinion, and so she just...

[1:43:45] Okay, so she doesn't submit. I mean, you're supposed to be the head of the household, right?

[1:43:52] We have had discussions, like, hey, if I'm supposed to lead, she's like, oh, you're not leading, you're not doing it.

[1:43:56] No, no, no, no, no, no, no, that's not her choice. If I understand the theology, and I'm no theologian, right? Right. But if I understand this, then she's supposed to submit, right?

[1:44:06] Yes.

[1:44:07] Okay. So why is she concerned about you glancing at some woman on the streets when she's fighting in that household? Maybe I'm missing something. And again, I'm no expert on this, but she shouldn't be fighting with you, right?

[1:44:29] Right, right. right but it's like well oh so then uh so you so i you know the wife have to submit but then you don't have to uh adhere to these rules that's what.

[1:44:44] Sorry and which which are the rules like you you can't like you have to have fucking excuse me you have to have built-in pixels in your brain that translate every female form into like gaussian blurs or something i don't understand Like, I mean, you can't see women? Now, it's one thing if you see an attractive woman. I mean, my understanding of the theology is something like this. Look, if you see an attractive woman, you will notice that she's attractive. You may even appreciate her form a little bit. But that's not saying I'm going to plan to meet her and I want to undress her and fantasizing about having sex with her. That's the difference, right? I mean, the Bible doesn't say you have to be functionally blind as a husband. Right.

[1:45:28] It's, in essence, if you've already thought about a woman in your mind, then you've basically already cheated. So, like, even if I look at her...

[1:45:38] No, no, with lust in your heart. If you look at a woman with lust in your heart, which means it's something to do with love and attachment, and it's saying that it is a sin against your wife to start lusting after other women, Because, I mean, A, it's a sin against the vows, and also B, it's going to lead you down the path of infidelity.

[1:46:01] Right. And, well, that's what I was accused of lusting after other women.

[1:46:06] Because you glanced at them in the street?

[1:46:09] Yes.

[1:46:10] Okay, that's just plain bullying. Like, I'm just going to be frank with you. Like, okay, for instance, are you allowed to go to a museum where there may be sculptures of topless women, right? like the sort of Greco-Roman stuff or the Michelangelo stuff, are you allowed to admire the female form and say, that is a beautiful carving?

[1:46:30] Probably, yeah.

[1:46:31] Okay. Are you allowed to acknowledge that there is an attractive woman on the street?

[1:46:41] That may or may not get me in trouble.

[1:46:44] Well, let me ask you this. Are you allowed to look around the street?

[1:46:49] Yeah.

[1:46:50] Okay. If you look at a woman and you don't.

[1:46:54] Look too long.

[1:46:54] I'm sorry.

[1:46:56] Don't look too long.

[1:46:59] Well, okay. I don't, I don't know what that means. Cause I don't know that there's a countdown. So if you look at a woman, are you allowed to go through the automatic process of noticing whether she's attractive or not? That's an automatic process. We don't control that, right?

[1:47:14] Right, right.

[1:47:15] So you are allowed to look around the street, and if your glance happens to fall upon a woman who is attractive, you are allowed to register that, right? Right.

[1:47:28] Um, mentally, yes.

[1:47:30] What do you mean mentally? The whole thing is a bodily process. I mean, the bodily process of seeing, the bodily process of processing the information. That's an automatic process. The bodily process of evaluating attractiveness. And the reason that men have to evaluate attractiveness, I mean, is to some degree to know who to stay clear of. So if a woman is really putting out a highly sexual vibe as a married man, I mean, I would say as a man as a whole, but certainly as a married man, we have to stay clear of her, right? I mean, it's like saying you have to drive without hitting any potholes, but you're not allowed to look and see if there are any potholes. Like, that wouldn't make any sense, right?

[1:48:06] Right. But if, like, where you might get in trouble would be a double take, right? Like, you see a protracted woman, and then you look back at her, and you're like, wait, did I, you know, that would be inappropriate behavior. Or considered, that would be considered lusting.

[1:48:24] That would be considered lust if you look again?

[1:48:28] Right. Like, yeah. Like, so let's say I'm like, I'm driving or like you're, you're at a beach and there's an, an attractive woman and you, you stare too long or you look again. Um, that would fall into the category from my understanding for, for my wife that, um, I would much rather be with that than my wife.

[1:48:52] Well, but when she fights with you, when she fights with you, she's saying that you're not doing the right thing. You're not good enough for her. There's something negative about you. That's infidelity as well, right? Like, you understand, fighting with your spouse is a form of infidelity because you're saying, I wish you were different. And it's a much, much more serious form of infidelity than looking twice at a butt-thong bikini.

[1:49:14] Right.

[1:49:15] I mean, am I wrong?

[1:49:17] Oh, yeah, because that's way more destructive, I think.

[1:49:21] Oh, absolutely. I mean, if I'm at the beach and there's some woman, I'll do a double take if I literally think she's not wearing anything. No, I'm not kidding. Like, you know, some of these women, they have these bikinis. You can't even see them. It's like two giant wobbly butt cheeks.

[1:49:39] Right.

[1:49:39] And I'm like, I need to, I do a double take because I'm like, is she wearing nothing? Or, you know, out of the corner of my eye, I glance at a woman and she's wearing one of these like tiny flesh colored bikinis. I'm like, is she naked? And I need to, I looked back to check. Right.

[1:49:53] Right.

[1:49:54] Uh have i now lusted and sinned i'm actually just you know i want to know if there's somebody crazy on the beach who's naked right right.

[1:50:01] I'm uh i guess i'm just trying to do at least from from my side since i can't control anybody else um try and do the right thing and not.

[1:50:13] Okay how is how is appeasing going oh.

[1:50:19] Not no not well it.

[1:50:20] Doesn't it doesn't work right so listen scripture Scripture, I'm telling you this from the bottom of my heart, I'm not a pastor. So take this with all the grains of salt in you want. Plus, I apologize for cussing earlier. But Scripture is not for bullying.

[1:50:37] Right.

[1:50:38] It should never, ever, ever be used for bullying. It should never be used to control others. It should never be used to put others down. It should never be used to hound others or win points. That's not what Scripture is for. Four, scripture is for the idealistic perfection of your own soul in preparation for heaven. It is not to nag your husband for a double take. That is misusing scripture to score points in a stupid marital battle. Which would make Jesus weep rivers of tears. That his sacrifice on the cross, on Calvary, bleeding to death for days, was so your wife could nag you for looking twice. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have done it for that. And you know the old thing, right? Why are you so concerned with the speck of dust in your brother's eye and ignore the giant beam in your own? Is your wife so godly and Christian and virtuous and perfect that she can nag you?

[1:51:47] Well, she's never lusted over another man. That's what she would say. She's like, I've never looked at anybody else. I've never cheated. I've never cheated. What?

[1:51:57] She's never looked at other men and noticed if they're attractive? Then she's lying. No, she's lying. Come on. I mean, this is ridiculous. She's never looked at Ryan Gosling and said, hey, he's an attractive guy. Of course she has. I mean, that's not the same as cheating.

[1:52:14] Right. We had a discussion about this. She does not think he's attractive. I think he's very attractive.

[1:52:18] Okay. Whoever she thinks is attractive.

[1:52:21] But yeah.

[1:52:22] No, that's, look, come on, thou shalt not bear false witness. She wants to, it sounds like she wants to nag and bully you on this point. And so she's holding this as a standard and she's seeing if she can get away with it and you're letting her get away with it. So if somebody would say, anybody would say to me, I'm, I don't know, what are you in your 40s or whatever, 50s, whatever. Somebody said, you said you'd be married over 20 years, right? So if somebody would say to me, I have been married over 20 years, I've never looked and ever noticed that another man was attractive, I would just say, oh, come on, this is ridiculous. This is like the guy on the live stream the other day who was like, I've achieved every single one of my dreams. It's like, really? You don't have a dream of world peace? You don't have a dream of, like, you know, no abuse for children? I mean, come on, right? This is ridiculous. This is a lie. It's a lie, and it's an embarrassing lie, because it's so obvious. Now, she, of course, can complain, oh, I've never, ever noticed whether any man is attractive. It's like, oh, come on. I mean.

[1:53:21] Well, I think he's like, you know, say that she, yeah, notices them, that they're attractive, but not in like a lusting after. But it's different for her versus me looking.

[1:53:35] And please don't answer anything you're uncomfortable with. But just in general, are you content and happy with the physical side of your marriage or has that fallen prey to the conflicts?

[1:53:47] Flicks uh yeah you mean like uh intimacy and all the other stuff like that's yeah like that has never like everything's fine like like sexually like plenty more than i could ask for okay good.

[1:54:02] Good all right.

[1:54:02] So like and she she's very attractive you know i like she after four kids like she has a great body she's you know like that's.

[1:54:14] Wonderful to hear that's wonderful to Now, would she also, would she say that in general, to be Christian is to focus on improving yourself rather than correcting others?

[1:54:28] Focus on improving yourself.

[1:54:30] Right. And so I guess my question would be, is she morally perfect to the point where she can nag you for something as minor as a double take?

[1:54:40] Well, no. No.

[1:54:42] Okay, so then she's kind of sinning a little, isn't she, by nagging you?

[1:54:47] Mm-hmm.

[1:54:49] Because the time, effort, and energy that she's putting into nagging you, she could put towards the improvement of her own soul, right?

[1:54:57] The Misuse of Scripture and Bullying Behavior

[1:54:57] Yeah. She told me on numerous occasions that she was worried about the endangerment of my soul, that I would go to hell for the sinning that I had done through lusting after.

[1:55:08] What, with the double takes on the street?

[1:55:11] Yeah.

[1:55:12] Right. Okay. And she's fully comfortable that her soul is in a state of such perfection that she's really concerned about your double takes on the street.

[1:55:24] Well, she was also concerned for herself because I'm supposed to be spiritually leading this household, and here I am committing a mortal sin.

[1:55:34] I'm sorry, a mortal sin? Sorry, a double take on the street is a mortal sin now?

[1:55:40] Well, because I've already lusted in my heart. So therefore.

[1:55:45] Okay. So then you're just going to hell. Is that right? Like this? Just no, there's no escape. Does this seem a little extreme to you?

[1:55:56] Yes, but once the conversation gets to a point where there's almost, there's no like, hey, maybe can we dial this back? Maybe can we talk about this a little bit more reasonably? Once people dig in, it's like there's no room for trying to, win people over to change their minds.

[1:56:24] No, no, but she's not supposed to nag you. You're supposed to love the sinner. Hate the sin, but she's not supposed to nag you, right?

[1:56:33] Well.

[1:56:34] I mean, nagging is a sin. I mean, doesn't the Bible say it's better to live on the corner of a roof than in a house with a quarrelsome woman?

[1:56:42] But it's, if I was her, I would be saying, well i would i'm i'm not i'm trying to save you i because i want you to go to heaven and i'm i'm trying to tell you that you have to stop doing this thing because it's so bad and i don't want you to be at risk of losing your soul okay but but.

[1:57:05] Do you lust after other women.

[1:57:08] No i'm not thinking about them like that okay so then you're not sinning I gave up adult material eight years ago okay so you're so.

[1:57:19] And I appreciate that so you're not sinning right.

[1:57:23] Right I'm trying not to like like I'm not you're not looking.

[1:57:30] And fantasizing about sex with other women and trying to figure out how to meet them and stalking them on Instagram right.

[1:57:38] No I'm not okay.

[1:57:39] So it's sinning in your heart not in your eyes right, lusts after them in their heart. So, as far as I understand, you're not sinning, but you're being gestapoed into near oblivion because you're out in public and she's staring at you and your daughters are staring at you, about where your eyes are going. That's insane. Like, I'm sorry, that's exhausting.

[1:58:10] Well, I guess my actions were noticeable enough that made them think that I was lusting.

[1:58:20] No, but you're not lusting. You're noticing, right? As a friend of mine said, I'm married, I'm not blind, right? So you're noticing, right?

[1:58:30] Right.

[1:58:31] But you're not lusting, right?

[1:58:33] Yeah, but I'm not like, oh, I would hit that.

[1:58:36] Right, right, right. So you're not lusting. So when you say to them, I'm noticing I'm not lusting, what do they say?

[1:58:45] Um, yeah, I don't think that I've articulated that. But I, because I think...

[1:59:01] No, but they say you're lusting after women in your heart, and you say, I'm not.

[1:59:07] My... I think my wife has... Her defense of me in that has not... no no when you when.

[1:59:24] They say oh let's just talk about your wife that the fact that your daughters are involved is beyond disturbing to me we'll get to that in a sec but your wife says you're lusting after women in your heart because you noticed or did a double take on this attractive woman and you say no i notice that she's attractive but i'm not lusting after her in my heart.

[1:59:41] She wouldn't believe me so.

[1:59:46] She's now calling you a liar.

[1:59:50] There well then why would you look and now you're okay let's do this.

[1:59:54] Let's do this role play right okay.

[1:59:55] Sure so.

[1:59:56] She says you look twice and and okay so tell me you you look at a woman and then you glance back is that something like that.

[2:00:02] Yeah and um caveat before we do the role play um months before a while before she'd asked me like oh are you looking at other i was like no no i'm not but then like i'd be in the car and you know that situation wouldn't happen then my daughters told older and they'd be like she was like i thought you said you didn't do that and i trusted you first and now your daughters are telling me that you're doing that in front of them, and now i can't trust you because you told me this how did your.

[2:00:29] Daughters know that this private quasi-sexual matter between you and your wife was a thing who told your daughters that this was a thing this is wildly inappropriate.

[2:00:44] Appropriate i guess maybe because my actions were so blatant but i don't know unless my wife come.

[2:00:51] On who told them.

[2:00:52] Oh i think they were like no they were like in the car they were in the car with my wife and a friend and they were like the the girls were like my wife and some other lady were talking about something and i'm probably butchering it but i think it was something along the lines like they were talking about that and they were like oh yeah you know no no dad dad he looks at he looks at other women too and it was like embarrassing for my wife my daughters okay.

[2:01:22] But how did your daughters know to even check on this with you or i.

[2:01:27] Have no idea but.

[2:01:29] You didn't tell them.

[2:01:30] No so.

[2:01:32] Who told them keep an eye out on dad looking at women.

[2:01:39] Yeah, I don't know.

[2:01:40] Did it come from, I mean, I assume that you're with them in church. Was it some, did like some priests say that you got to be like little Gestapo girls about your, like, so where would they have even heard about this as a thing?

[2:01:58] I don't think they would have.

[2:02:01] Okay, so didn't it come from your wife?

[2:02:06] I don't think she would have told them anything like that.

[2:02:09] Then the mystery remains. Where would they learn to start policing this stuff with you?

[2:02:16] There may be a piece of the conversation that I'm thinking is out of context.

[2:02:21] I'm sorry, say again? I'm not sure what you mean.

[2:02:25] There may be some more information that I just don't remember from what my wife or my daughters have said. But I could have sworn that like one of my daughters was in a car with my wife and my wife and her friend were talking about something along this line and like attractive women. And like, then one of my daughters was like, oh, dad would have stared at that or looked at that or dad or some something along those lines. Okay.

[2:02:54] So, so then your daughter says something that's very disrespectful to you, right?

[2:02:58] Right.

[2:02:59] And what does your wife say?

[2:03:01] Um and then my wife was like oh no he he doesn't do that and she's like oh yeah no i i saw him he did it recently or something like that and then my wife confronted me about it okay hang on hang on hang.

[2:03:13] On and how old was your daughter at this point.

[2:03:15] 12 something.

[2:03:17] So why is she doing that why is she causing this kind of trouble i.

[2:03:24] Don't know yeah you do, strife between me and my wife.

[2:03:31] Why she's absolutely stirring up a whole bunch of crap here and and setting you and your wife against each other and this has been happening now for months right, yeah so what's she doing well.

[2:03:46] So so that's the the 12 and a half year old and then the other one the 15 year old will like hopped on board with this after.

[2:03:55] So this is a rebellion right This is a rebellion against authority, right? I don't mean your authority as the man of the house. I mean, just as a parent, right?

[2:04:06] Right.

[2:04:07] You don't talk about me like that. What are you doing? Well, Dad, we saw you this, that, the other. It's like, you can ask me. You can talk to me about things. Don't you dare dump your conclusions about my sin.

[2:04:24] Yeah.

[2:04:25] Like, that is unacceptable.

[2:04:28] Yeah no uh my my like this also happened again this morning when we were coming home from church and my wife did.

[2:04:40] And your wife did.

[2:04:41] What i um all my kids were were talking about just how bad i was and how terrible it was man like because.

[2:04:58] Because of this whole.

[2:04:59] Second take no no no because of like all the fighting that's been going on and it's like how can you make mom cry and then you get up there and during church like you'll read the prayers and you'll lead a sermon and then you'll be so nice to everybody i'm like i'm nice to everybody anyway oh so you said.

[2:05:17] That they were wrong.

[2:05:21] Yeah i would defend myself for that okay.

[2:05:23] But you need to be curious tell me what you mean tell me what you've seen tell me what you feel tell me what you think otherwise it just comes back in this passive-aggressive dad staring.

[2:05:33] Right well no no no so um this was well the um the adultery they're the staring thing also like oh just like uh so like i was we were in the car as my wife life on our poor kids we're driving home like a 10 minute drive and it was like oh dad like dad why are you so fake when you're there at church and like you make mom cry at home when you guys are because we've been fighting for like this last week and if it's just been really terrible and it's like oh but then where's your church like you wear your collar and all this other stuff and you put on this face here then when you go home i'm like i try to act the same whether i'm at church or at home so there's no like there's no like fakeness like like i'll pray Pray with your mom and we'll pray.

[2:06:16] No, but see, bro, bro, you're just telling them that they're wrong. They have a criticism and you're like, nope, you're wrong.

[2:06:25] Right.

[2:06:26] Has that solved it?

[2:06:30] You said, has that solved anything?

[2:06:32] Has it solved it? Has it solved the problem? Of course not.

[2:06:35] No, no, no. But like, you go to your parents.

[2:06:37] You go to your parents a year ago, and you say to your parents, you were not great as parents. And they're like, no, you're wrong.

[2:06:45] Right.

[2:06:46] Did that solve everything?

[2:06:49] No. know um i get i i told the kids i was like hey look if you want to talk about it let's wait till we get home because there's all four of them in the car no you said.

[2:07:00] Sorry you just i mean unless i've misunderstood something they brought up a criticism and you said no i'm no different at church it's not hypocritical blah blah blah right.

[2:07:09] I i i started to kind of like try to defend myself and then i just listened to them like say everything i said guys like let's wait till Can we get home, please? Can we just try and like, let's not make this car ride chaotic. Cause it's too much. If you guys want to sit down and talk there, because when we get in the car, like then all of a sudden it's just like everything, but it just starts yelling and it's just like super crazy hectic. And it's like, like, at least if we get home, it's like, let's sit down and we can talk. And so that's where I was trying to kind of like steer it towards, but like, there wasn't like in the very like tepid defense of like hey guys we shouldn't like like my wife tried to kind of help bring things in but.

[2:07:51] But they never felt they have a point that that you and your wife are fighting as you say for the last week or so yeah absolutely so what are you fighting well is this to do with the uh the drive back from your grandfather's funeral yeah yeah okay so did that drive get worse and worse or i know we never quite finished the story uh.

[2:08:14] From the uh the funeral from.

[2:08:15] Yeah yeah oh.

[2:08:17] Yes it got exponentially worse.

[2:08:19] Okay and what was the basis of the conflict i mean i know the immediate things that your your daughter was screaming and your wife was getting upset and she was yelling at them and you were saying don't yell and she says how dare you not support me or whatever it is but what happened from there um.

[2:08:35] Just to tie up the loose end you had asked me What were some of the small things and the big things that we fought about? And that was one of the big things that we fought about. Those are the significant things. The other things are like, you don't spend enough time with me. You don't love me. You haven't mentioned that you think that I'm attractive or that I've lost weight.

[2:08:53] I'm sorry, your wife says that you don't love her. She thinks that you don't love her.

[2:08:59] Unforgiven Past Hurts and Unresolved Anger

[2:09:00] Um or that i'm not really attracted to her like she's sorry well which one is it it's uh that if i truly loved her i wouldn't treat i wouldn't have treated her the way that i did, in the past and she's had a real hard time of like letting go and forgiving me and she's wanted to forgive me but she was just like waiting for me to like blow up and do something bad and this last argument like that was it and so it's always so what is it what.

[2:09:28] Is her complaint about the way you've treated her in the past, what's her big complaint or complaints?

[2:09:37] That I'm nasty and vindictive that I'll, that I've just broken her and I'm just manipulating her.

[2:09:50] I mean, these are very, very serious accusations, right?

[2:09:53] Yeah, absolutely.

[2:09:54] And what percentage do you think she has merit in these accusations?

[2:10:05] I think in the past, I think in the past I've, I've said I've yeah I've definitely said some like really harsh things like, Like probably eight years ago, like we got into a fight and this is where she talks about like the, the light switch and turning things on and off. Um, I said, I said like, you're the worst person I've ever met. I also said like, why can't you be a better mother? Um, she, she's had some, she's had quite a few miscarriages. She's had 16 to be, uh, there. And in fact, 16 miscarriages, 16 miscarriages. And, um, Uh, many of them, I was not there or, uh, was not have like, I, I, I missed them for like one other reason or another. Um, or I was not really emotionally supportive the way I should have been.

[2:11:16] Okay. That's, let's go back to you saying to your wife, you're the worst person I've ever met.

[2:11:22] Yeah.

[2:11:22] Why would you say that?

[2:11:27] Well there's no reason no excuse.

[2:11:29] I didn't ask for the excuse but why did you say that we got.

[2:11:35] Into a huge fight and, I think she like shoved me up against the walls. She like pushed me. She's like yelling at me. What do you mean you think? I can't remember whether it was like I said that to her first. Like I said that to her and then like we were fighting and then she like pushed me or whether like she pushed me first. Like I got really mad and like I was yelling back at her and then like said that to her.

[2:12:12] And what were your kids when this was happening?

[2:12:14] Oh, they were watching this whole stupid thing. it was a pattern super shitty oh my gosh yeah so your kids are watching.

[2:12:23] You're the worst person manhandling physical aggression they were watching all of that.

[2:12:28] Yeah oh brother, yeah that's where all this uh my kids with the like my son has ptsd i'm i'm like 100 convinced convinced, like he absolutely has to like see somebody my uh my other daughters too so like when we talk about like trying to save a marriage it's like uh like my wife is crying and I'm like, crying and it's like yeah and there's so much more Stefan there's so much more you talk about a codependent relationship with like my parents it's like Well, here I am.

[2:13:16] You mean like in terms of name-calling or ugly language and physical aggression?

[2:13:24] I've really tried to tamp it down over the years, but it's still been bad. Whether it's name-calling or the aggression and stuff, Like this is stuff that like probably, Should have gone to a counselor a long time ago, but every time you think, okay, well, I'm going to do this differently, I'm going to try this differently, I'm going to not act like this, and I've tried to, like, change my ways. I'm very sorry.

[2:14:06] Yeah, I mean, that's a heck of a burden for the marriage to carry, for sure. And that's, like, not exactly a mortal wound to a woman's heart, but it's pretty close, right?

[2:14:14] Right well i can understand so when we talk about like looking right like i can understand why she would you know whether you want to call it a jump to a conclusion or something like that you know why she would know because it's.

[2:14:26] Not an infidelity that's a distraction i think probably the tough thing what does your wife think of your parents.

[2:14:31] Uh well she's she's like i mean i get reminded all the time about like all the red flags that she saw that she chose to ignore and now she's paying the price for them and i've just been like absolutely terrible for her and so like yeah you're not answering.

[2:14:47] My question what does your wife think of your parents.

[2:14:49] She she thinks they're absolutely terrible okay so so i i want you to.

[2:14:55] Get into your wife's perspective here right.

[2:14:56] Sure yeah because.

[2:14:58] It's and and no.

[2:15:00] No no.

[2:15:00] Problem it's hard to see this kind of stuff right Right?

[2:15:03] Sure.

[2:15:04] So she sees you forgiving your parents who did you immeasurable harm, right?

[2:15:13] Mm-hmm.

[2:15:14] Is that fair to say?

[2:15:17] Yeah.

[2:15:17] You don't hold them to account. You don't yell at them. You don't get mad at them. You don't threaten them. You don't cut them off. You don't, like, you forgive your parents, right?

[2:15:26] Mm-hmm.

[2:15:28] That you never chose to have in your life who did you immeasurable harm.

[2:15:32] Right.

[2:15:32] And did your brother, immeasurable harm. So she sees you forgive your parents, but not her.

[2:15:47] I forgive her.

[2:15:47] No. I absolutely... No. You can't possibly say to someone, you're the worst person I ever met when you have parents like yours.

[2:15:59] Right.

[2:16:00] She sees you not getting angry at your parents, right? To them. But only to her and the kids.

[2:16:11] Right.

[2:16:12] And that's the price of not getting angry at your parents. the pricey this is my view i'll give do you mind if i go straight up christian here, sure okay your parents did you great harm and were very terrible parents in my opinion and i think there's pretty objective reasons for that which we've sort of talked about, thou shalt not bear false witness right don't lie about important matters of morality morality. Thou shalt not bear false witness. You've had, what, one conversation with your parents where they totally gaslit you and lied to you at your expense, and at the expense of your family, right? Is that fair to say? So thou shalt not bear false witness. I think you're angry at your parents. You were neglected by your parents. You saw your parents brutalize your brother for what turned out to be a brain tumor, probably, right? It's completely unfair. And you're angry at them, but you won't express it to them because it's very painful and because it's hard to look at your parents and say, well, they'd rather lie to me and gaslight me than take any responsibility. And that's a complete lack of love, right? You're still telling me at this particular age of your life, when you should know better, that your father loves you, right? This is why I was spending time on that issue. Does that make sense?

[2:17:39] Yeah. Okay.

[2:17:40] So you're angry at your parents, and rightly so. And to me, not expressing anger, and you don't have to express it directly to them, but not acknowledging that anger in your heart is lying. It's bearing false witness.

[2:17:53] Right.

[2:17:54] So then your wife says, oh, so he forgives people who treat him really badly, and he's really nice to them. but I, who treats him well, get treated like shit by him.

[2:18:09] Right.

[2:18:11] Do you understand how maddening and frustrating that is?

[2:18:14] Oh, absolutely, yeah.

[2:18:15] If only I could find a way to do as much harm to him as his parents did, he'd treat me really well.

[2:18:23] Right, right, yeah.

[2:18:26] So you treat the people who did you great harm very well, and you treat the woman who had 17 miscarriages and gave you four children often quite badly.

[2:18:39] Right, right, which is why.

[2:18:42] You don't say to your parents, you're really bad parents. You say to your wife, you're the worst person I've ever met. No, the worst person you've ever met is your parents.

[2:18:50] Right.

[2:18:53] But they get all sugar and spice and all things nice from you, right?

[2:18:58] Yeah.

[2:19:00] And then because you're humiliated and won't be honest with your parents, and you lie to your parents and to yourself about your parents, where does that anger go?

[2:19:12] To my wife.

[2:19:14] That's right, and your kids. Yes. so from her perspective, you're a coward with your parents and a bully with your kids now this may be the case with her as well but I'm talking to you not her right so if she was on the call I may be saying similar things right but, our children in particular will not think us any stronger than our weakest position position.

[2:19:54] Right.

[2:19:55] And your weakest position, my friend, if I understand this correctly, is with your parents.

[2:20:00] Right.

[2:20:01] So how can they have respect for your authority if you lie about your parents and treat them well without demanding any accountability or honor or truth from them?

[2:20:15] Right, right.

[2:20:16] Confronting Love and Hypocrisy

[2:20:17] And if you still claim to be loved by those who gaslight you and lie to you and won't take responsibility and destroyed your brother, by the way, if you claim that's love, but you claim that the wife who married you almost a quarter century ago, well, it's just the worst person you've ever met, then you can't be held in high moral esteem. And, you know, we don't have to be perfect to be held in high moral esteem. But we can't be this contradictory. Does that make sense?

[2:20:51] Right. Yeah.

[2:21:01] Sorry, you're busting with your microphone quite a bit. I can hear a lot of background noise.

[2:21:06] Oh, sorry. I'm trying to figure out... Well, sorry, there's a fox outside. I'm outside in my garage, and there's a fox outside.

[2:21:17] See, that's it. You're just talking about a hot woman, aren't you? That's it, right there. Don't look at that fox twice. She'll turn to stone. I'll be forced to tell your wife. He looked at a fox, a foxy female. anyway sorry go on twice i tell you anyway sorry go ahead.

[2:21:34] My dog is sitting here like keeping watch over and i've got my sniper rifle here in case it gets rally because we have chickens anyway um so but i don't know what's so like in my mind i feel like i have dealt with and like like have them at a distance but clearly i do not, so i other than like cutting them out so what i did like i cut my brother out entirely, and that was the most like that was the best thing i could have done i feel absolutely so i forgive him but i also realized because of his level of toxicity as a as a person couldn't have him in my life right who's primarily who's.

[2:22:12] Primarily responsible who's primarily responsible, for your brother turning out the way he turned out and you know we can say your brother and this and that and the other. Guy did have a brain tumor.

[2:22:26] Right.

[2:22:26] So who's primarily responsible?

[2:22:30] My parents.

[2:22:31] Yeah. I mean, they raised him. Your father fought with him and aggressed against him continually from what you said, if I remember rightly.

[2:22:42] Right.

[2:22:44] So they kind of broke him.

[2:22:46] Right.

[2:22:48] So how can you, ostracize the effect but not the cause.

[2:22:57] Right um well he he's right well in in return he's also done that to me but then like.

[2:23:05] No but your parents have done it anyway because they won't tell you the truth about the childhood won't take responsibility won't say here's what we did wrong you're right you know let's talk about it more let's let's hear more you know we you know we we don't want you to be carrying this burden. I mean, you're carrying this burden called a bad childhood, and your parents could lift that burden off you anytime they wanted. Anytime they wanted, they could call you up and say, you know what? You're not responsible. It was our fault. We did this wrong. We did that wrong. We made these choices. We made those choices. It wasn't your fault. You were just a kid, and we're really, really sorry. And that would lift a huge burden from you, wouldn't it?

[2:23:41] Yeah.

[2:23:41] But no. No, they just kept ladening more and more and more burdens on you. And you come to them for comfort, for truth, for relief, for support, and they just pile more burdens on you, more lies, more gaslighting, more hypocrisy, more blaming you. How dare you criticize us? We just did the very best we could with the knowledge we had. That means that you're unjust for judging us badly. I mean, we did the very best we could. Right, so they're continuing to gaslight and undermine and harm you.

[2:24:20] Could you hold on for just a second just like 10 seconds sure, I'm on the phone with with with, the guy who I told you I was talking to to work through the stuff with.

[2:24:38] I'm a hot woman.

[2:24:42] I'm on the phone with a hot woman.

[2:24:45] So sexy very British.

[2:24:49] Wait, say that again, Stefan So sexy.

[2:24:52] Very, very British Oops, my top fell off, Thank you Something meme-worthy Something meme-worthy.

[2:25:04] Distance from Toxicity

[2:25:05] Yeah Only Stefan's is my channel Anyway, sorry, we had a fox kill like a dozen of our chickens a couple weeks ago and we killed one but now they're back I'm surprised they do return like minks yeah, Um, yeah, yeah, with my, with my brother, it was, it was so easy because it was just so, the vitriol was just so blatant and obnoxious.

[2:25:42] And listen, we've been talking for a long time, so I have to be a bit more efficient. So with your parents, absolutely, it's more subtle, which in many ways makes it more destructive.

[2:25:50] Right, right, right, right. Yeah, it's death by a thousand paper cuts over an entire lifetime.

[2:25:54] Time oh yeah like give me give me a fair fight not like gas in the vents right right.

[2:25:59] Right right yeah yeah exactly so that's why uh yeah but to like the the thought of like ostracizing my parents but it's the oof like like my mom has just said.

[2:26:12] No just just i mean you don't i don't it's what you do in your mind that matters it's not what you do on the phone i mean maybe you You talk to them again. I don't know. Philosophy, morality, it doesn't give you prescriptions, right?

[2:26:26] Right.

[2:26:26] It says, but honesty is the important thing. And of course you're angry at your parents.

[2:26:33] Yeah.

[2:26:34] Of course you're angry. I mean, in a sense, they robbed you of a brother. You were isolated over the course of your childhood. You saw them fighting continuously.

[2:26:43] Right?

[2:26:44] And that's not good. Everybody knows that's not good parenting. You don't fight in front of your kids. I mean, you can have disagreements, but you don't fight. You certainly don't name call, and you certainly don't shove each other into walls and say you're the worst person I've ever met. So I think that your kids have reasonable criticisms of you. Asked us, your wife, and you have reasonable criticisms of your wife. But trading criticisms doesn't achieve anything.

[2:27:12] No. Right. Right.

[2:27:14] Right, so you have to model, in my view, you have to model all the stuff you did that was wrong and bad. And some of it was based upon, you know, just not recognizing the connection between your anger at your parents and what was going on in your family. Because your parents betrayed you, have betrayed you, and continue to betray you, in my view, by not taking responsibility for your childhood and blaming you for having any criticism of them. That's very petty and very vicious. And in particular, because they know how to treat children well, right? They're demonstrating every time they're with your kids, oh, we know how to treat children well. Look at that. How nice, right? That's really cruel, right? They're not saying, man, this is way easier as grandparents. parents i mean we really now that we see how well we can deal with children i feel really ashamed about how i dealt with you and your brother and your sister right are they saying anything like that.

[2:28:00] Uh my dad said well you guys really like figured out the formula you guys really did a good job like you guys yeah but they didn't yeah uh my dad's kind of alluded to like having done some things wrong but but.

[2:28:17] Then when you talk to them directly he wouldn't take any responsibility.

[2:28:20] I'll tell you if i were to sit there and talk with him directly he would probably, i would think that he would admit like hey yeah you know i really screwed the pooch on this, but if it's with him and my mom at the same time like there have been like we've had those discussions my dad's like hey look you can't talk with your mom like this like you're like this is like you really upset her like you need to call and apologize and they did it on, And so, you know, but like if I sit with him separately, like we we would have these like very candid chats. Like, yeah, I mean.

[2:28:55] Maybe he'd say I screwed the pooch on it, but then you'd have to sort of ask why. And also, why is it your job to bring it up when he's the parent and like all of that? I mean, did your father give you useful advice that you follow to this day about life and relationships and work? And I mean, were you even parented?

[2:29:13] The best dating advice was don't date a girl with thick ankles.

[2:29:17] Okay, so no, not parented yet. Anything else?

[2:29:21] No. Okay, so they're not your parents. Right.

[2:29:26] They're just bill payers and roommates.

[2:29:30] Right.

[2:29:30] Because if they don't give you moral or helpful or useful, they don't parent. Parenting isn't paying the bills and taking you to the dentist every six months. Parenting is getting involved in your kid's life and helping shape and guide them. Right. Right, the spare the rod, spoil the child, the rod being, as you know, moral instruction.

[2:29:49] Yeah.

[2:29:49] So where was the moral instruction?

[2:29:53] Yeah, there wasn't really.

[2:29:54] Well, they couldn't give you any because they couldn't model any. What are they going to tell you? It's important to get along with people now. Are you going to go back and fight for four more hours with your mom?

[2:30:02] Right, right, right, right.

[2:30:03] Okay, so I don't know what you do with your parents other than I think you need to sort of acknowledge the harm that they did and the fact that you've modeled. entitled you forgive people you're scared of and you bully people who are dependent on you a little bit right right so i think it's just beg for forgiveness and don't expect reciprocity because we don't we don't you know like you've you've done some wrong to your wife right uh we acknowledge that right that's not a big right and okay she's done some wrong to you but trading your fault my fault like just you have to model self-ownership and that self-ownership is here's all the things i'm absolutely wretched about here's all the things i'm incredibly sorry about Here's all the things I would literally give one of my kidneys, maybe even both of them to take back. I've done wrong. And you talk about that with your wife, you guys sit down and talk about it with your kids where the age appropriate level is there. And you don't do it so that your wife then says, well, here's the things I'm sorry about. You just keep modeling that.

[2:31:01] You know, you can say, look, I don't appreciate the eyeball policing every time I'm out there and who I look at and who I don't look at, because these are not the biggest issues facing our family. The biggest issues for me that I have control over has been my behavior in this family. And I've done some things right. I acknowledge that. And you have. And I'm not trying to throw you under the bus here. But the things that I've done wrong, I've really made mistakes. And I don't have any excuse because I knew it was wrong when I did it. I knew it was wrong afterwards. And I apologize with every fiber of my being for the things that I've done to hurt you. And I am now going to work my very, very best to make amends. And the apology is just the beginning of the conversation.

[2:31:45] Right. And so I tried that months ago and I worked really hard at it. And we had this blow up after the funeral and there was fighting, hitting, screaming.

[2:31:58] Oh, you and your wife hitting each other?

[2:32:02] I was... She was walking away from me. I was trying to block her from leaving so that we could talk. And she walked up the steps. I walked up the stairwell with her. I tried to block her from the way she pushed past me. We got into the room. I tried to hold her. Obviously, we're both very heated at this point, but I tried to hold her. Hmm. She hit me and slapped me and punched me. And then my son saw that. And that was just, he was just punching himself in the head. It was absolutely the worst thing.

[2:32:51] Right. So, you know, you led me down a little bit of a garden path here, right? Because I was asking you about significant conflicts in your life. You're like, well, maybe once a month, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? And it's really only two, two and a half hours or like, well, I mean, two, two, two hours, 40 minutes or whatever into the conversation where it's like you did allude to your son hitting himself earlier um but it's like yeah so you're punching and hitting each other you and your wife right i.

[2:33:17] Was not hitting her i was trying to keep her from.

[2:33:21] Oh you were physically blocking her i.

[2:33:23] Was blocking her yes.

[2:33:25] Right so that is a form of physical aggression because i also assume you're larger than your wife right i'm.

[2:33:30] Not i'm not downplaying that as.

[2:33:32] Okay so you're You're blocking your wife's exit and she's hitting you to get away.

[2:33:38] Right.

[2:33:38] Right. So when you say you tried taking self-ownership and apologizing, it's not something you try. It's not like a strategy or a chess move.

[2:33:47] Okay.

[2:33:52] Embracing Self-Ownership

[2:33:53] It's a continual process.

[2:33:55] Right. Right. So for six months, I've been trying to, whenever there's a fight, I wouldn't even say, well, you did this. I just say, look, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have. I'm not even looking for her to apologize. I'm just, hey, I really, you know, I should have set a better example. I should have led. Like, there's no finger pointing for me. Well, what about your side of the thing? It's just completely, I'm just like, put it all on me. i'll just take the entire thing.

[2:34:25] And i'll just say okay so you're modeling self-ownership and your wife is using that to what increase her aggression towards you i'm not being sarcastic or anything i'm genuinely curious because sometimes when we model self-ownership and you say okay like here's all the things i did wrong the other person gets a certain sense of relief and says okay and and the things i did like they modeled they they mirror that does that make sense yeah.

[2:34:51] There's that does not happen like well you know i shouldn't have done this and i shouldn't have done that it's like well you you did this to me and this is why we did it's it's always you you you you okay.

[2:35:02] So she like your mom because she said your mom plays the victim too right she.

[2:35:11] Heard that i was saying that she was playing the victim.

[2:35:17] I'm sorry, who heard?

[2:35:19] If my wife heard me saying that I thought she was playing the victim.

[2:35:26] Well, no, my question is, is she a little bit like your mom? Because you said that your mom was playing the victim. Not whether you would say that to your wife, but is that somewhat accurate? It may not be accurate. I'm just curious.

[2:35:38] When there is a fight, she will say, she will point out all of the things that I did. And there's never, and if I point out, if I've tried to point out something, hey, well, you know, I didn't like the way you handled this.

[2:35:58] No, but even if you model self-ownership, she won't take self-ownership.

[2:36:05] No. Okay.

[2:36:06] So then that comes back to your parents, right? So the reason why you accept her not taking self-ownership is you accept your parents not taking self-ownership. Your parents haven't taken any responsibility for any of the wrongs they've done, have they?

[2:36:22] Right.

[2:36:22] Okay.

[2:36:22] So that's your template.

[2:36:23] Your template is that the people who love you never have to take any responsibility for anything. So that's the, again, that's the price. And I'm not saying that your marriage is the price but your wife's attitude is she looks at you and she says okay so yeah his parents have never taken any responsibility and he's great with them he never yells at them so of course i should be like his parents because he treats them the best, right you hold your parents accountable right right you hold your parents accountable, and then your wife may change but right now she you have this template called oh yeah people don't have to, they can treat me like terribly and I'll never hold them accountable and I'll treat them very well. And even if I try to hold them accountable and they say, no, I'm not, we're not accountable at all. We're not responsible for anything. Like your parents said, you're fine. You just keep going. Right.

[2:37:14] Right. Right.

[2:37:20] If your wife sees you holding your parents accountable, it may give her pause.

[2:37:25] Well, she, uh, she hasn't said, I love you for the last week and she's ready to, to leave. She's like, like absolutely done. She doesn't want to.

[2:37:36] But you can't be, you can't be violent in front of your kids. Like that's an absolute no, no, obviously. Right.

[2:37:41] Well, right. Right. But, but that's, I mean, it's not even, it's just the entire situation and everything.

[2:37:47] No, no, No, but your son is hitting himself, right?

[2:37:50] Right.

[2:37:51] So you can't be violent in front of your children.

[2:37:54] Right.

[2:37:59] So, I mean, the marriage in its current state is bad for the kids, isn't it?

[2:38:05] Yeah.

[2:38:10] And so if you choose to block your wife leaving and you guys choose to fight with this kind of aggression, both eight years ago, and I'm sure in the intervening time, in front of your kids, then you're taking an ax to the base of the marriage, and you're harming your children in very serious ways, right?

[2:38:26] Right.

[2:38:33] And so when your wife chooses to hit you in front of the kids, when you choose to block your wife's exit in front of the kids, then you are choosing for the marriage to become, I think, isn't it fair to say you're just both voluntarily choosing for the marriage to be to be unsustainable, because you can't be doing that with your kids and and if you can't stop from doing that and you've been married did you say 23 years uh.

[2:38:57] Been together for 23.

[2:38:59] Married for less and yeah okay so you've been together for almost a quarter century and this is where you are which is not good for the kids right Right.

[2:39:12] Yeah.

[2:39:14] And these are choices based upon escalation, right? If you'd have let your wife go, she might not have hit you. If she hadn't hit you, it wouldn't have been as traumatic for your son. But you both make these choices, right? And they're on the list of things that you can do.

[2:39:33] Right. You guys have these things on the list of things that you can do. And whenever I see people who have, you know, obviously some pretty bad behavior on the list of things that they can do, then what I do is I look for, okay, where is this allowed in their relationships? It's precedent. You know, like if you have in your life people who aggress against you, then you can't say, I won't be aggressive. Or if you have people in your life who've modeled that, who it's okay, then you can't say no to it. If you have somebody in your life who's a drug addict, you can't say, well, I'm never going to have anything to do with drugs or drug addicts, because you've already broken that precedent, right? So if your parents don't take responsibility, then it's hard for you to impose responsibility either on yourself or on your wife, because you already say it's fine. Love involves not taking any responsibility, because you said, at least as a kid, you felt like your father loved you, and so on, right? Right. So, love means you act out, you sacrifice the other person, you harm the other person, you don't take accountability, you don't take responsibility, and aggression is totally fine. I mean, you said your parents are still bickering with each other, right?

[2:40:53] Yeah.

[2:40:53] Okay, so you're fine to be around and care about and expose your children to people who bickered through your childhood and have bickered through your adulthood.

[2:41:02] Right.

[2:41:03] So, how are you going to say no to bickering? How are you going to say no to aggression when you have these people in your life? yeah it's like well i'm not going to have any organized crime in my life, my my father is tony soprano but i'm not getting it's like no well then you you have right so if you're going to have this kind of aggression in your life if if it's if your parents are doing it it's fine with you how are you going to say no to it with your wife yeah yeah, And your parents are also going to end up turning you against your kids. Like, you know that, right? Because if your parents are super nice to your kids, then when your kids get older and they ask you about your parents and you say, well, they did this wrong and this wrong and this wrong and this bad and this bad and this bad, what are your kids going to say? You're crazy. They were great. You're wrong.

[2:41:54] Right.

[2:41:56] So this is more sabotage, right?

[2:41:59] Hmm.

[2:42:04] You can't have better relationships than your worst relationship. You can't have higher standards than your lower standards, right? Lowest standards.

[2:42:14] Mm-hmm.

[2:42:16] I mean, if you're at a garage sale and there's something there for five bucks, you don't pay $500 for it, do you?

[2:42:23] No.

[2:42:24] That's the lowest price, so that's what you pay. And integrity means that, you know, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and you can't have higher standards in your relationship than the relationship that has the lowest standards. And I think that's your parents, isn't it?

[2:42:41] Yeah.

[2:42:42] They can bicker, fight, ignore you, destroy your brother, and they're still welcome in your life. And you say, well, there's a distance. I don't care. The principle doesn't matter. Like saying there's a distance, like to take an extreme example, if you killed a guy 20 years ago, you're still a murderer.

[2:42:58] All right.

[2:42:59] Rejecting Aggression and Violence

[2:42:59] Well, it's a lot of distance. You know, I haven't killed a guy in 20 years. it's like yeah but you're still a murderer so you keep them at a distance well first of all that's going to change when they get older they're going to start hoovering in resources maybe that comes from your sister probably not your brother but they're going to start demanding more and more resources as they age out and need more support and all of that so that's coming right so the fact that you keep them at arm's length when they're still relatively healthy is one thing because i'm at the age now i'm think i'm a little older than you where you know decaying parents are like dominant in in a lot of people's lives so yeah so that's coming and and that's why you need to have the boundaries right now but yeah i mean so that would be my like why is that on the table as things to do well did your parents ever were they ever violent with each other in this kinds of ways yeah okay so your parents were physically aggressive and they're still part of your life and they're welcome in your life and they don't have to take responsibility so how on earth are you going to stop the behavior if you condone it in your parents.

[2:43:55] Right, right.

[2:44:03] And if you don't accept it in your parents, it's off the table for you. Now, what happens with your wife, I don't know. But you just have to have an absolute standard. Like, no, physical aggression is really bad. People who do it are really destructive. My parents have done it, I assume, for four plus decades, right?

[2:44:20] Yeah.

[2:44:21] Okay, so it's unacceptable. And it can't be undone and it can't be fixed. And you don't want to see it and you don't want to be around it and you will not have it as a standard.

[2:44:31] Right.

[2:44:32] Right. I mean that's why Jesus I come to set parents against children fathers against sons because there's a new standard which people have to rise to and the new standard is no physical aggression, no violence, no abuse, and the people rise to it or they don't and everyone in my life follows that and there's nobody in my life who doesn't right there's nobody in my life who yells at their kids there's nobody in my life who is aggressive in that kind of way.

[2:45:06] Yeah.

[2:45:08] Because that's off the table. That's a universal standard.

[2:45:12] Right.

[2:45:14] So I hope this makes some kind of sense. I'm sure it does. I mean, you're a very smart guy and all of that, but I hope that this follows or tracks for you.

[2:45:21] It does. I don't know what to do about my marriage right now.

[2:45:26] I don't either. I mean, anchor management courses would be great and so on, but i i don't know i mean there's a lot of uh a lot of scarring on the whole right for sure.

[2:45:38] There is much well i mean like i like i can forgive right like like me i have a little bit more of a light switch right i'm like okay look forgive us stop forgiving.

[2:45:47] Stop forgiving where it's not earned.

[2:45:53] No, no, no. I mean, like, between my wife and I.

[2:45:56] No, no. I'm talking about you and your parents, because your forgiveness of your parents where they have not earned it is the problem. It's the whole thing I've been hammering at for three hours almost.

[2:46:04] Right, right, right. Like, I can, it would be hard for me, but I feel like I could keep them far enough away where I would be all right with it.

[2:46:16] No, no. It's, oh my God, it's not how far they are away, and it's not how often you talk to them. it's what i the 10th time it's what goes on in your mind is it absolutely unacceptable what they did and what they continue to do with their aggression and their violence in their marriage yes is it absolutely unacceptable then don't have that shit around your kids, right and don't have it around you and don't have it around your marriage.

[2:46:40] Right which is why i'm saying i can't physically have them be around.

[2:46:44] Okay so if that's right if that's absolutely unacceptable then you've started the path of it being unacceptable to you because now you have a universal standard called i don't do that i don't countenance i don't allow it i don't accept it no matter what right, and then you will have the resolution to not do it yourself right but if you have a big gaping hole called it's fine if my parents do it You can't stop the behavior in yourself. You can't.

[2:47:16] How could you?

[2:47:18] Because if it's unacceptable for you to do, how can it be acceptable for your parents to never stop and still continue to do it, right?

[2:47:25] Right. Well, my wife has the exact same problem on her side, but we're both kind of...

[2:47:32] I'm sure you do, and you have to have that as an absolute rule. Right. It is unacceptable to use aggression, abuse, and violence in a relationship. and if people do it, it's unacceptable. Again, I can't tell you what to do. I just tell you, I wouldn't have people like that around. It's gross. It's vile, and I certainly don't want my children exposed to it. I wouldn't. I just wouldn't. I can't honestly tell you. It's probably been about 30 years since I spent time with a Bickerton couple. I just don't do it.

[2:48:05] Right.

[2:48:06] I don't want my daughter to see it. I don't want that around. I have no respect for it. I think it's contemptible. So it's just got to be off the table.

[2:48:14] Setting Absolute Standards

[2:48:14] Like, no, I don't live like that. It's disrespectful to the glory of our souls. It's disrespectful to the capacity of our minds. It's petty. It's mean. It's vicious. It's nasty. And you've got to have an absolute line, a big fiery line saying thou shalt not pass. None shall pass. It doesn't. It's never acceptable. And whoever gets caught up in that, it's like, well, too bad. You should have been better. And you work on that with your parents, you'd be amazed when that behavior becomes truly unacceptable. Even for your parents, you'd be amazed at what changes in your heart. Then it becomes like bank robbery, right? If you forget your bank card, you don't just say, well, I'll go rob a bank. It's just not on the table. Go back and get your bank card. Like, it's not like you don't sit there at the bank. Oh, maybe, maybe, right? You don't. You're just not tempted, right? Does that make sense?

[2:49:06] Yeah.

[2:49:07] It's an absolute standard. So, its temptation is off the table. So, anyway, I hope that makes sense.

[2:49:16] It does. I'm just... So, I see what you're... So, I'm trying to project in the future. Let's just say I defoo, right? Just to, you know, ease...

[2:49:31] Well, I don't look at it that way. The way I look at it is you have an absolute standard, and you say to your parents, listen, you guys have been bickering and violent my whole life. will you make a commitment to deal with this, to get therapy, to couples therapy, anger management? Like, I cannot have this in my life, ever. It's infecting my marriage. Like, what you do, like, you wouldn't have people coughing up blood on your children, would you? So you say to your parents, I can't have this in my life. I can't have this fighting. I can't have this bickering. I can't have this violence. So I really, really hope that you guys deal with it, but I'm not having it around. Now, if they say, well, you know, we'd rather fight with each other and poison your marriage. Then it's like, okay, I'm sorry. You make, it's not just separate from people, right? It's you have standards. And if people rise to meet those standards, fantastic. And if they don't rise to meet those standards, that's a shame, but you don't just, you know what I mean? It's not just separation. If that makes sense.

[2:50:26] Right.

[2:50:29] I can't watch you guys fight. It's been 45 years. I can't watch you fight anymore. I'm done. You fix it or I'm just not seeing it anymore. I'm not watching it and I'm not having it get in my head. It's infecting my marriage. And it is, right?

[2:50:46] Yeah.

[2:50:46] And your wife's parents who fight and do your wife's parents use violence as well?

[2:50:52] They did. Yeah. Okay.

[2:50:56] So she grew up with that. Okay. Okay, so that's infecting your marriage too. And you guys realize that you're puppets of your parents because of the lack of clear standards of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. So you guys are continuing your parents' battles. And your kids will continue it too if you don't fix it.

[2:51:15] Yeah, yeah.

[2:51:18] Facing Parental Influence

[2:51:18] Now, as far as what you do tomorrow with your marriage, I'm not that guy, right? Right, I mean, you called me last year. I mean, I guess it took for six months or so, then it didn't. But I can't tell you what to do with your marriage tomorrow because I'm a prevention, not a cure guy, right?

[2:51:39] Right.

[2:51:40] But I think the thing that's most affecting your marriage is your parents.

[2:51:44] Right.

[2:51:45] And the lowering of the standards. It's the crack through which bad behavior gets through. With that understanding, I hope that you can forgive yourself a little. And your wife, too.

[2:51:59] Well, I'm never short on forgiveness, or at least I'd like to think that I'm not.

[2:52:11] Well, have you made this connection before?

[2:52:19] Yeah, we talked about it the last phone call, but it seemed to me, like, that seemed to be a piece of it. Like, they weren't, like, necessarily helping, but it seemed more like you need, like, for me, I needed to take more responsibility in the lead as the husband's father.

[2:52:35] Oh, so we talked about the toxicity of your parents last time, right?

[2:52:38] Yeah.

[2:52:39] Okay, so hopefully, given that you didn't take my advice last time, maybe you'll take it now.

[2:52:47] Okay, yeah.

[2:52:48] Reflecting on Past Advice

[2:52:49] All right, bro. It's been almost three hours. So I'm going to wind things down, but you know, sometimes it takes a couple of runs at things, right? If I gave you this advice last time and it didn't particularly take, maybe it'll take now. I mean, again, maybe it's not the right advice for you, but, um, I certainly think that, you know, anger management would be a good thing to at least stop the behaviors immediately. But I think real down, down at the root, I think is the, is the parental, parental stuff.

[2:53:13] Right and it would um uh therapy for kids at this age i.

[2:53:19] I couldn't tell you i'm not a therapist and i don't have any experience or knowledge on on that so uh but if you.

[2:53:24] Talk to.

[2:53:25] A therapist i'm sure a therapist will will help but i i certainly think that the best thing for your kids would be a vastly improved behavior which um maybe maybe my advice will help with but yeah i i couldn't i couldn't tell you with that answer.

[2:53:37] No stefan you've um uh yeah well i i'll and i'll help wrap this up for you what really clicked for me was when i um didn't talk to my brother anymore that really changed a lot of things in my life so i can only imagine that uh and i know you said you don't necessarily have to like just completely cut them out you can say like hey these are the a standard because it's poisoning poisoning my marriage but uh i can um i can see how that would affect how my wife and i would both act if we were to uh tell the people that were the cause of this that uh get the help change or like hey sorry we can't be in the same relationship together and i think that would be a a start for a big change so thank thank you for, Thank you so much for taking the last three hours and helping me with all this.

[2:54:35] You're very welcome. And I hope you'll keep me posted about how it's going. Big hug to your wife. Big hug to you. Big hug to your kids. And I certainly wish you the very best. And I absolutely admire where your heart is heading. And thank you for the call tonight.

[2:54:47] Thank you, Stefan. Thank you for the call. God bless you. I really appreciate it.

[2:54:52] You're welcome. Thanks, man. Bye.

[2:54:54] Thank you.

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