Hey, dear listeners, today's guest is my new friend, Megan Good, who you know from Think Like a Man Inkerman to the Saw franchise, Californication Deception and a hundred other things. Megan just directed her first feature film, If Not Now When, which is available to stream now. Megan is just a delight and it was a real joy getting to know her. After talking with Megan, I'm joined again by psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb, who has some expert advice to offer our listeners.
In addition to her clinical practice, Lori is a New York Times best selling author, co-host of Heart Radio's Dear Therapist podcast and writer of The Atlantic's weekly Dear Therapist column. Lawrie's TED talk is one of the top ten most watched of twenty twenty. I can't thank you all enough for listening and coming back every week. Please keep sending us your questions and telling us your stories. Just go to unqualified dotcom and look for the link. OK, here is Megan.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are listening to Unqualified with their host unifiers. Hi, Megan. Oh, my gosh, you are so kind to do this, thank you. No, thank you for having me.
God damn it, you look beautiful. I'm sorry. I just took the Lord's name in vain. And I know your religious shit. I'm not religious. I'm spiritual. Oh, interesting. I do want to ask you about that. But first, I want to tell you, we had the honor of watching, if not now, when. And it's such a beautiful movie and it's so well acted. You directed it along with Tamara Bass. Will you tell me a little bit how the project came about?
Yeah, Sam and I have been friends since I was 16 and she was 19. We met at an audition and after a few auditions, I ended up going to her house and spending the night and we became good friends. And over the years we were both in the industry. And then she kind of took a break and moved to New York. And when she was in New York, that's when I discovered that she wrote scripts. And so I read her first script, fell in love with that.
We spent about ten years trying to get it made and we decided to switch gears and go to, if not now, when. And we took about four years trying to get that made, trying to raise the money. There was a lot of conversation we got to people and they were like, we really don't want a black female drama and we don't think it's going to sell well. And so we ended up finding an independent investor who basically was like, look, you know, I was raised by all women and I really want to support what you guys are doing.
And so that was the beginning of it. And initially we had another director and then in the 11th hour, we were waiting for the money to come through. And at that point we had been waiting about six months. We ended up losing her because she went to another project and Tam was like, you know, we kicked around the idea of directing it before, you know, should we do it? And I was like, man, let me pray about it.
And so I prayed about it for like two months. And I felt like I was telling me to do it. And I was like, oh, my God, I am really nervous and really scared if this is you saying to do it, which I believe it is and I need to sign. So I went to the meeting with Tamara and I said, hey, you know, I really feel like God wants me to do this. Let's do it.
Eight minutes later, the bank called and said all the money just landed.
That's crazy. Yeah, how amazing. I've never directed anything. It's very intimidating to me. Was the experience as joyful and as challenging as you had anticipated? And what were some of the unanticipated challenges? I was terrified.
There was something wonderful about the idea that we knew that we'd be able to lean on each other. But, you know, that first day when she was on camera and it was just me and it was like this big scene at the pool where most of the entire cast was working, I was like, I'm going to throw up. And and then, you know, once I just was like, you know what? I'm sweating, but don't let anyone see you sweat.
Just trust your instincts and you can't make a wrong decision. You know, it's just your decision. And so once I leaned into that, the scene went beautifully and I was super, super happy with it. It was challenging and it was scary. It was definitely intimidating. But you'll be surprised how much you know, just because you've been doing it forever and you may not know what that exact lenses, but you're like, make it look like this.
I want it to look like this. And you're like, right. That's the lens. That's the one. You know, it just was an incredible experience. And I think the biggest challenge was not so much the directing, not so much the acting, but I think just the producing.
You know, it's not the first film that I've produced, but it's the first film where literally it was just us two doing everything, managing this significant amount of money and really all the responsibility kind of on our shoulders in rather we sink or swim, but really depended upon us.
And I think that was probably the hardest part.
How did you and Tamara deal with any disagreements or differences of opinion?
You know, what's interesting is we've known each other for so long that we knew she brings something and I bring something and we would watch a scene and we're like, OK, we need to make adjustments. Our bass notes were exactly the same. We'd see the exact same thing.
And then the notes that were the outpour of that of the Allegro that were completely different. I think there was more of a confidence knowing like, OK, you saw that. I wasn't even thinking about that. I saw this cool. And then we would go and I give this actor notes and she'd give that after notes. And then there were moments where, you know, we did disagree. And we came to an agreement by saying, look, I understand you want it this way.
I'm feeling it that way. Let's shoot it both ways. And then when we get into editing, we can determine which one of the ways looked better. And by the grace of God, when we got into editing, we always agreed that, oh, yeah, OK, your way was better. My way was better, whatever it was. And then when we didn't agree, which was very rare. But when it happened, it was a compromise.
It was like, OK, for this one, we're going to go with yours. But the next one that comes up and we have this issue, we now have to go with my choice, you know, and so we just compromised and try to be fair, you can feel at least, I imagine, after watching the movie The Love between the four leads.
And I hope that that's the case. Yeah, the female bond, it just feels so authentic. I like to also think that you guys are all really close, but I think it has to. With your skill as directors and you're a magnificent actor. I read that you were working on a few other things as well. God, I've just been knitting and working on puzzles.
I did just do this really fun film for Lifetime.
Death saved my life. Yeah. OK, here's the logline that I have Lifetime movie about a woman who faked her own death in order to trap her husband after he hires a hitman to kill her.
Yes, yeah. Yeah, it was fun. I mean, that was the first thing I did since the pandemic. I was shooting a show for Amazon in New York when the pandemic hit and we were like going into episode three. So we go back to that next month, a whole year later. But throughout the pandemic, that was my first job. So really, I've been home, working from home, getting in some quality time with the book, learning how to cook eggplant parmesan and all kinds of random stuff in my ear and insta pot.
And then also just doing a lot of self reflecting, just really like leaning into God and just saying, OK, like you've allowed this season. So what am I supposed to be learning? What am I supposed to be getting out of it? What am I supposed to be giving and really kind of getting some perspective of like what's important to me, which is an obvious question I think we're all asking, but like, how do I come out of this better than I went in in holer?
And do I need to deal with some past traumas? Hubby and I were like proactive about, like getting marriage counseling. And it wasn't that there was an issue. It was like we have this time together that we never have or both traveling all the time working. Let's intentionally go look underneath the hood and let's see what we can find that we can be proactive about instead of reactive about. So really, it's just been about preparing and doing work and doing maintenance and self-help and growth.
I really admire how you are on a constant quest for self-improvement and growth. I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but as you speak about using this time to reflect and grow and having watched some interviews where you speak about that, I envy that because oftentimes it doesn't occur to me because I'm puzzling. But I really admire that.
I grew up in a nonreligious household, but my parents really wanted me to be a virgin when I got married. That was very important to them and I think it had more to do with society. But your book, The Weight, which is a New York Times bestseller, forgive me, Meghan, I haven't read it yet. And then I was thinking, oh, I want to ask Meghan how many of her friends I called her up the day after your wedding that I was like, maybe that's a delicate way to get into it, but then Oprah kind of beat me to it.
But your romance feels very palpable and is pretty delicious. Will you tell us how you met? Oh, gosh. And then tell us all about your wedding night.
So I was in the stage of like I had just made the transition from child actor to adult actor. It's a very rough transition to make. I kind of went like the sexy girl route. And because of that, I got really pigeonholed for a number of years. So the first thing I ever produced was a project that me and my friend Ty Hodges produced together. And he was like, look, I'm always getting kind of pigeonholed here. You're getting pigeonholed there.
Let's do this film. And I have no idea what I was doing, but it came out really, really cool and really, really interesting. And someone had sent it to Devon and I never met him before.
I think he had a little bit of a preconceived notion of how he perceived me as well. So when he saw this film, he set up a meeting and we came in and I met and he was just like, dude, he was like I just had no idea you had this in you. And like, you're great. And like, I really think this is a special movie and I want to see you do more stuff like this. And like, listen, and at the time, he was an executive at Sony.
He's like, just know that, like, I have your back and want you to do well. And if there's anything I can do for you, let me know. And that was it.
At that time I think I was about twenty four, five and over the next six years I would see him at different events rather industry events or church events just that like oh that's the executive that works at Sony, you know, cute guy. But like that's about as far as it goes. And then he was executive on this film called Jumping the Broom. I'm giving you the long winded version, but I love it.
So it was this film that they had offered it to Paula Patton and she had passed. And so people were coming in and they had me auditioning for it. And it really seemed like I was about to get it. And then the eleventh hour, they were like, hey, you know, Paula has decided to accept the project. The director was like, but look, we really love your read and we want you to be in the film. So how about we give you like this best friend role will be forever.
And I was just like, OK. And I was like, I don't want to play the best friend. I want to play that character. And I was like, let me just pray about it. And I prayed about it. And God was just like, how dare you? Who do you think you are? And I was like, All right. So then I was like, Yeah, I'll accept the world. Thank you very much and very appreciative.
And I had no idea what he was setting me up for when I got there. Medivation got to spend a little bit of time and it wasn't romantic. It was like, that's executive, I'm the actress. But the more I was around him, I was like, God, that's the kind of guy I wish I could marry. And I was at the tail end of a relationship that I was in that wasn't the best relationship. And it really stole a lot of my self-worth.
I was looking at Darvon like he was just going. Out of my league, you know, when I left them in that movie in Nova Scotia, I was at a super, super low point and I was just like, what am I supposed to be doing? Because I'm clearly not doing it right. And the first thing that God told me was to get out of the relationship that I was in, which was rough at the time because I was very much in love with the person and thought that might be my husband.
And I was living bicoastal. But I was like, OK, this is clearly not right for me. And no matter how I feel, I know one guy's telling me to move and he's telling me to move. So I did that. The second thing God told me was that I needed to be celibate and I was like, Lord, now, you know, that's the one area that everybody kind of gets a pass.
I just felt like it was like, no, this is the area where I need you to show up because you need to do something different because your way is clearly not working.
And the third thing that God said was that me was my husband. It just came out of the blue. I really didn't know Divine that well. I hadn't spoken to him since we left filming the movie. And so I kind of kept it to myself for like the first four months because I knew I sounded crazy. And then after four months, I started telling friends and family. I was like, hey, know that God told me demands my husband.
And everyone's like, does he know that he's your husband? And I'm like, I don't know. And they're like, OK, Megan, what if you say so? Look, good luck with that, you know? And I just sounded crazy. So then cut to a few months later is the premiere for the movie. I've already told my friends and family that this is my husband and they're going to all going to see him tonight over that nine months.
I think I talked to Davon twice, once to go to like an awards show to present an award representing the cast of Jumping the Broom. And the second time I came down to his church because he had his book coming out in me and another actor got like interviewed about like our faith walk. So I only talked to him twice in nine months.
Weight again. So God told you to marry this man yet not be proactive. Yeah. Yeah, that's amazing.
So I was like, I'm just going to wait. And so I did and those a couple of times. Were you flirtatious? No.
I mean I was looking for something and waiting for something, but it was like business talk. So I was like, OK, I guess I'll just wait. And so when the premiere happened, me and my girlfriends were like trying to find him inside the premiere after party. And I'm like, you guys are going to meet him tonight at 8:00. And I remember like seeing him and then like we had come up the staircase, we all had on high heels.
And I just see him coming in our direction. I'm like, go, go, go, go, go, go, go. So we're all trying to get down the staircase.
And he's like, Oh, hey, big on my hey, this is my friends. And so I just try to play it off. And it was like the awkward thing. Anyway, by the end of the night we ended up talking and then he was like, hey, do you want to go get like tea in like two weeks? I get back to my book tour and I was like, yeah. And then we went, got tea.
And ten months later we were engaged in two months later we were married and now we're in year eight.
That's amazing. Congratulations. Did you guys have a fabulous wedding and honeymoon? We did.
I mean, well, the wedding was beautiful, but it definitely was too many people. I want to do it again at year 10. Definitely will not be that many people. But it was really beautiful and not really stressful. Oh, good.
Those two usually do not go hand in hand. You know, the only thing that was stressful was like taking pictures, which is like, of course, friends and family want to have like keepsakes. But I'm like, I don't want to do that today. I actually just want to be present in the moment totally.
But beyond that, it was beautiful. And then I was married for like a month. And then I went to New York for seven months to shoot a TV show. So it was crazy. So we did our honeymoon after that and it was beautiful. And it's been a crazy, interesting, amazing best thing that ever happened to me besides God. Right.
Were you raised with, like a very strong faith? No. Nobody I can think of in my family, at least growing up was religious at all. We didn't go to church. It wasn't that kind of thing. It was just more like, hey, you know, have a relationship with God, whatever that means for you. Read your Bible, figure it out and like, just be led on how you feel. So I started going to youth group and I was about twelve.
Growing up in the area I grew up was a predominantly white neighborhood, and I dealt with a lot of racism and bullying and stuff. And there were these two Latina girls in junior high, Alicia and Barbara, who really used to look out for me when people would try to mess with me and they got into a really bad car accident. There was five of them total, and they were babysitting a little girl who was four. And three of the five people in the accident died, including the little girl.
Oh, God, I'm so so it was brutal. It was horrible. But Alisa ended up getting saved after that. It was so confusing. I was like, how do you go through that? And then you get saved rather than be like, I don't believe in God at all. And why would God do this? It was really kind of like baffling to me and something about her example and just seeing the experience that she had with God because we went on a retreat and it was just a crazy spiritual experience where you could really feel the Holy Spirit.
And I never felt that before. I even know the Holy Spirit was her example, just really kind of left me to God. And so as a kid at twelve, I got saved. And then from about 12 to 18, I was like super crazy religious. Like none of my friends told me when they lost their virginity. I mean, I was like Bible stompers.
You were like militant. Oh, my God. I was like, I just don't want you to go to hell for how? Sex, like I was like crazy. You're like, I've got the information now, right? Is that going to spread it? I actually didn't know what the hell I was talking about. So it wasn't until I kind of took a year off. It was like, OK, what do I believe? That is my belief.
You know, what is God means for me without any religion attached to it? Who am I in God?
I went to go study Jehovah Witness and being Muslim and all these different, I was just like, what is it? And then I just came back to Jesus. And that's just what is right for me. And that authentic relationship that's not based on religion, it's just relationship with Christ. That was where I landed and I got baptized and I was 19. And my journey has been one of just like just open.
You know, I love the idea of the clarification between spirituality and I guess being religious. It feels like what you have is very personal and very beautiful to me. It's I am very interested in that area because it feels elusive to me. And I also don't know if I'm seeking it. I must be on some level because lately especially, I keep asking my guests like probing them because these are the longest conversations I have these days. Right? Yeah, but it's really inspiring and beautiful.
Can I ask you a series of life questions? Yeah. OK. All right. What was your living arrangement like when you first lived on your own alone or when I moved out of my mom's house?
I like the idea of when you just moved out of your mom's house, which would you prefer? You know, I've never really live.
I just my own place by myself, me. I've always had, like, some version of roommate, usually my older sister. But when I first moved out of my mother's house, first of all, I didn't know how to drive until I was 19. I had zero interest in driving or anything like that because I was like a Nickelodeon kid. My mom like, drive me around. I was like, yeah. And then I fell in love with my first little boyfriend and lost my virginity and was just like, so in love.
And he live like all the way like in the hood. And I wasn't allowed to go to the hood. And my mom tried to stop us from like being together. So I learned how to drive in one week I got a license.
The next week I bought a car the next week and I drove all the way down to L.A. and basically moved into his house. And I think I gave my mom like a low key heart condition. But yeah, that was my first experience moving out. And it was different for me because, again, the area that I grew up, we were like one of one or two black families. So when I moved to the hood, I was just like, there's so many black people.
I was like, wow, this is amazing. And it was crazy because it was like culture shock for me, you know? And in that particular neighborhood, I was like, I remember one night I was like the first time I ever heard guns, like, really heard guns. And like the guy who owned the corner store, like somebody killed him. It was crazy to me.
I had never seen or experienced anything like that in any capacity.
So you were kind of an outsider in both places? That was very much how I felt. I felt like I didn't fit in here and I felt like I didn't fit in here.
And then on top of that, you're acting. So that also gives you a whole separate identity. Right? So that's a lot. Megan, would you describe yourself as having like a high level of defensiveness? Do you feel like you're a guarded person?
I don't feel like I'm a guarded person. I don't know why. I'm actually a very transparent person, probably to a fault. I've actually had to learn how to, like, get some perspective on who you should and shouldn't have stuff to. But I definitely know that it produced that like desire of like wanting people to like me and wanting to be accepted and not wanting people to, like, misconstrue my intention or like my heart. I think that started where I grew up.
And then I remember one of the first times I went to like the mall, I just felt like it didn't quite fit in anywhere I went. And so I think that that desire to fit in was one thing that kind of led me for a while. And then when you realized that you only kind of kind of fit in with your tribe, you know, the tribe of people who accept you for you, whoever they are, wherever you meet them, whatever the experience is, there are people who would just love you for you, period.
And once I started allowing those people to be my people and stop worrying so much about what other people thought or trying to get them to like me, it just really freed me.
It also made me feel bad for those people because I was like a lot of that stuff actually has nothing to do with me at all. A lot of that stuff is just their stuff and you end up kind of bearing the brunt of it, especially in our profession. And so I actually just gave me a little bit more grace towards others and made me go, you know what, like I'm going to wish that person the best. And even if they're, like, nasty, I'm just going to love on them and bless them from a distance and keep it pushing.
And it actually, I think, is linked to me being more well rounded as well and more understanding and less judgmental and more open to other people's journeys.
I think it says a lot about you that you made like a best friend through the audition process.
Right. Those rooms are mean. Yeah. And like especially during that time when you see your regular competition. Yeah. Like making the rounds.
I mean, I'm a big believer of like there's room for everybody, you know, and everybody brings such uniquely different things that I believe was mine is mine. No one can take it from me. And what. Someone else's. Someone else's. Take it from them. So the idea of competing to me just doesn't really make sense, you know, and I like better the idea of like jumping each other and supporting each other and being happy for each other and constantly knowing that, like, what is mine is coming to me and so, like being happy for the other person.
And I know not everybody thinks that way, but I feel like it got to be balanced.
That feeling has come a lot easier to me as I get older. I assume that it's because my brain is slowly deteriorating, but the good news is it's becoming slightly more blissful.
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OK, if you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be? There's so many places I haven't gone that I want to go. I mean, I've been a lot of places, but I think I've been to enough places to say that there's one where I'm like, that's where I want to live. I feel like Jungle Island type situation, just complete freedom and no stress and maybe no Internet unless it's to watch Netflix since you were born and raised in Los Angeles.
I think a lot about the idea of what home means to me. And I love a lot of things about Los Angeles, but I've lived here for 20 plus years and I don't have that feeling of homecoming when I return here. It feels like a very transitional place in a transactional place. But you must feel a sense of home because it is your home.
Yeah, I do Santa Clarita. Mostly whenever I get off the 14 freeway, I immediately feel like I'm at home. It's like, you know, I don't think I've felt that yet since I've been since we've been married because we travel so much. We haven't felt like our home home yet. So I'm looking forward to that and looking forward to that feeling. And I think that'll be within this next year and start a family. And all of that is everyone asking you about that.
People have been asking me that since, like the week before I got married, I'm sure. Can I get married first and can I have a few years? And, you know, but I think for me, I was never in a rush. I always knew I would do it later in life. So, yeah, yeah, I felt the same way. And I'm happy I waited because I think I'm a better parent as an older parent.
OK, let's get back to this questions. What talent or ability would you most like to have? I wish I could sing.
I wish I could really sing. I feel like you can. You did in your movie, right?
I can hold a note, but it's.
Yeah, it's like if you turn the music off and you really listen to what's really going on and see what haven't you taken the time to learn about. Mm. I don't know. What would you say.
I wish I spoke another language fluently. I really love like geology or like I would love to be able to play a musical instrument. I don't know if it's a my skill set, even if I did have the time to answer your question that you asked law. Oh, that's a great answer, Megan.
I think the only other thing I would have been besides an actress is a lawyer, especially now. It's something that I aspire to learn a lot more and understand it a lot more because I think it needs a lot of reform. So, yeah, that's something that I haven't taken the time, but now I'm slowly kind of learning and need to listen to more.
What do you crave? More of time with my husband when we're not working.
I love that. I so feel you. My fiance is sitting right there and it does feel like even during this time, we work a lot.
What is your relationship to the idea of patriotism?
I feel that we all have a responsibility for me personally, especially in this season, and it's different for everybody, but I still like to be able to do what I do for a living. There's a million talented, beautiful girls, more talented and more beautiful than me. And to be able to do what I do and to be able to excel in it, I think that it has to be bigger than yourself. And I think you have to have a bigger intention and a bigger goal.
And so for me, using what God has given me to do my part to try to write, which should be right in the world already and to use my platform is like a stepping stone and a tool to have a voice and to push things in the direction that they should go in and encourage other people to boldly do the same. I feel like that's the connection that I have to. It is just a deep sense of responsibility to use everything in my life for something that's way bigger than just myself, but really for the good of everybody into as cliche as it sounds to really do my part to change the world.
I love that. I haven't asked too many people that question, but I was thinking about the idea of like one of the most beautiful ideas of our country is that we must constantly critique it. And isn't that truly being a patriotic person involved with refinement, involved with improvement? Yeah. All right.
What or who has influenced your career the most? I think the person I looked up to the most in my career has been very since I was a young woman. I've admired her work. I've admired her struggle. I've admired her transparency. I've admired her perfectly imperfect ness, you know.
And again, where I grew up, there wasn't a lot of women that I saw that look like me. So when I would see someone that I identified with, I'd really hold on to that as a really, really special thing. And like a real example before me. And there were a few, but she just really stood out to me because I think that people felt like this woman is so beautiful that they downplayed her capability and how brilliant of an actress she is.
I think it was overshadowed by how people perceived her physically. And I identify with that a lot, especially in my 20s, again, going back to, like, making that transition from a child to a doll. And I really, really got pigeonholed there. And it was a lot of the attitude was just like, oh, my gosh, I really loved, like, sink my teeth into this. And like, this is like so gritty and challenging.
They're like, yeah, just stand there and be pretty. And it was like really disheartening. And so I think a lot of her different seasons I have identified with in some way, shape or form fashion. And then Angela Bassett, who is the first time I saw like that kind of strong, was like, what's love got to do with it? There's no reason, absolutely no reason why she shouldn't have gotten Oscar.
I know. Come on. I know. It's crazy. I just got chills thinking about that performance or performance in that movie. It's just astounding. So crazy. OK, back to your first love. You were 18 when you fell in love for the first time. Yeah.
Like, how would you describe this? Like, was it a great choice of a person as all first loves are? You know what?
I got pretty lucky. You know, she was really sweet and like a great person and like, we're still friends to this day. It's been like 20 years. Wow.
And it's crazy because he actually is in ministry as well. Initially, when we were younger, he was in a boys band. They toured with like N Sync and Britney Spears and all these people. But yeah, it was a good first love scenario for the most part.
Yeah, I really got fortunate. That's amazing. Mine was not like that. He was like the first attractive guy that showed interest in me. He was arrogant without being intelligent. Terrible. Yeah. I wonder if he listens. I hope so. I'm saying he totally broke my heart though. Oh it was such a juvenile relationship that it had nothing to do with him. It was just all about me. If he liked me, if he didn't like me, you know what I mean?
I'm not even sure I could define too many characteristics about him. OK, what is a trait you dislike in others judgment?
There's a part of me that just goes like, who are you? Who are you that you have the right to judge anybody? We all are on this journey and we all deserve grace. And it's not even grace that should have to be given, because who are you to give Grace? You're on this journey, too, you know, and that's for me, it's something I just don't particularly care for.
What is a trait you just like in yourself? The desire to. But I guess I still have it. You know, the desire to not be misunderstood or unloved because someone thinks that I'm different than what I actually am. I think that has been like kind of a thing that I've always had that's developed in stages. You know, first it was because you're one of one or two black families and that it's because you're in child actor and then it's because you're looking at your peers and their preconceived notions of you.
And then it's the Internet and the blogs and then it's the marrying a husband in ministry.
And, you know, the kind of like the way people perceive it as like Californication actress marries Hollywood preacher. And it's like we're actually really not that different. I was only on like six episodes, Californication, but OK, there's always some version in my life of it's almost like an expectation from people. If you were this, then I'll love you. And if you're not this, then you're not lovable. And I think even though I'm OK with not being loved by people who I don't need to be loved by, because I don't actually want that love and that love is actually not good or right for me.
But I think that that underlining of always not quite a hundred percent feeling like you fit in or like you are completely understood. And then there's the doing well at being an actress. At times there's almost like a guilt that comes with that, you know, where it's like you don't want people to perceive you a certain way and think that that's because of what you do for a living and that your identity is caught up in what you do versus like, I don't like this or I don't want this because Megan just doesn't like it and she doesn't want it.
It has nothing to do with Megan, the actress. It's just Megan, you know. And so I think there's so many layers and versions of that that have developed throughout my life. As much as I don't want it to be a part of me, it is a part of me. And I think I'm learning to not give it so much power, but in the same breath, it's like something that's like it. Maybe deep, deep, deep, deep down there now, but it used to be like right at the surface, I hate it, but at the same token, I love it because it makes me sensitive and it makes me able to understand others and be completely open and discerning about other people's experiences and emotions.
That was intense. That makes me want to ask about your thoughts on social media. Like, I can understand people who enjoy it as kind of as a distraction or as something fun to put out of, you know, friends or family or fans or whatever. But I don't love the forum, I guess feeling so vulnerable to critique or compliments with something that feels momentary and possibly, at least on my end, not all that well thought out. Right.
Guess I'm a pretty private person. I think so. I don't really have a relationship with social media, but I don't know if when you were talking about growth, because I don't like to look at the hurtful things. And it is mind boggling that people spend time writing hurtful or hateful things. Weird when you're talking about, like, empathizing with other people. Yeah, those are people it's very hard to attempt to get into their brains. It feels like a sad place or something.
I don't know if you have thoughts on this.
Yeah, no, I mean, I agree with you. I think it is a sad place. First of all, I do not want to get on social media. It ultimately was like the studio asking me for like a project I had coming out to like, please promote it, please get a page. And so I did. And then I found myself able to if I had a message that I wanted to get out there. And a lot of times was really kind of like defending myself in the beginning, like setting the record straight and clarifying what I needed to clarify for my brain.
And then over time, I started liking being able to share and be transparent and connect with people from different places. And then I think now I have my kind of spurts with it. Sometimes I'm in that place where I want to share and connect. Other times I'm like a maintenance thing because I need to put this out there or whatever. But when you see negative comments and things that can be very hurtful, I think now a part of me kind of like feels bad for the person, for them to have the time to sit there and focus their energy on you or anybody else to just write something.
I mean, it says a lot about what's going on in their world and in their head. And I used to take that stuff very personally and see something. And I mean, I'd be practically like sweating as I'm responding to the person, like stressed out. And I always respond in love in like, you know, kindness. But I will check the hell out of you in love. Like I said, the only other thing I should have been besides an actress is a lawyer.
I set someone completely straight in such a loving fashion. But as I was writing it, I'd really be stressed out. I'm saying I think now it's just about having perspective. I try to actually just avoid the nice stuff or the nasty stuff because I don't want people validating me when the last people are wishy washy. You know, you're valuable right now because and the second you don't have this going on, are that going on? You no longer valuable.
It's like very almost inflatable and deflate a ball valuation. Yeah. Which doesn't feel authentic, which isn't I think there's some people it's authentic firm.
But I think the bulk of it is it and I think that's why you can't really take it in. And I think for me it's easier to just say other people have their stuff, love them from a distance, but protect your spirit without letting it break your heart or make you better or make you have like a chip on your shoulder completely.
Megan, has a stranger ever changed your life?
Am I? I'm sure I've met other people who have been influential that were just like moments in time, because I tend to talk to random people no matter where I go and get a lot from it. But the thing that stuck out was I was at the mall, this mall situations, Poveda, and some guy came up to me and at first I thought he was like a quipster and he just kept like following. And then finally he came up to me and he was like, Can I pray for you?
And I was like, Yeah, sure. And so we ended up like praying at the mall, at the mall, in the middle of the mall. And then we ended up talking for like an hour. And then as I was leaving and obviously I was like twenty two. So I wasn't like the smartest bird. But when we were leaving, he kind of looked like he didn't have somewhere to go. I was like, do you need a ride to your car or like to the bus station or something?
And he was like, actually if you could just drive me to the corner. At the time I wasn't thinking anything, but we ended up sitting in the car and it was nothing weird at all. But we ended up talking and praying for like another three hours. Wow. It ended up becoming like a cry session and like it was like deep and it was just like some random kid that was probably a few years younger than me. He's probably like eighteen, nineteen.
And it was like a whole beat. And then like, I dropped him to like his car and we exchanged information and I put him in my phone as angel. And the next day I went and looked for his number and couldn't find it and I never saw him again.
Wow. It was so random and like amazing.
But it was like just what I needed at that time because I was in a really rough patch. I needed someone to, like, pray for me and I needed someone to like. Give me just like a good word, like pour into me, and then I ended up pouring into him too, even though I didn't know him from Adam and it ended up just, I guess, being with both of us needed. And that was it.
That's amazing. All right.
What character or role have you most enjoyed playing? You know, I've enjoyed a lot of characters that I've played, I think right now that the show that I'm getting ready to finish up for Amazon, it's Untitled Harlem Project. I'm really enjoying this character. Her name is Camille. I haven't played something so close to me before. And she's really kind of quirky and confident, but can be self-conscious, smart, but like a little bit weird and like, she knows it and then she's a little clumsy.
There's just all these kind of elements to her that I love and I can relate to and then some that are very different than me, too. But I love and can relate to them. It's a little bit of a Lucille Ball kind of comedy, but like still grounded and like still drama. But it's just been a really fun character for me. And then my cast mates, the other three women that are on the show are just amazing to them.
I just met when I booked the show, another one I've known for years, and I'm just so happy there. And that was always kind of my thing. If I do a show, I'm a hippie and so I need to be free and I need to move around in shows. Don't really give you that. And so if I make that commitment, it has to be a place where I'm really happy and I'm really happy here.
That's so incredible and envy making because it's not always like that. Megan, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Your authenticity is your superpower? I would tell myself one with regards to the other things in life, it's not that serious. It'll be fine. And to the more you lean in to your authenticity, the freer you will be and the easier it will be to attract your tribe. And the less stressful life will be in general because you're just living in the fullness of who you are in the right people will be attached to that and the wrong people won't be attracted to that.
And that's actually a great thing.
OK, let's seriously, do you believe in aliens or ghosts for sure?
Both of them. Yeah.
I don't know what to think about the aliens, but I definitely believe they're there. I love all that stuff like encounters of the third and the fourth. Like all that.
Have you taken like ghost tours and like New Orleans or anything? I would. And I've seen a ghost once when I was at Sundance my very first year there, it was terrifying. A Sundance ghost. I saw Sundance goes. And when I tell you I called my mom, like screaming and I was like in my little Sundance room and like, my manager was across the hall and I was like, oh, she was like, just go to your manager's room.
When I was like, a kid is in the hallway.
And she was like, just open your door and run. So I opened my door and I ran down the hallway and opened the front door and ran straight from that door across the hall into his like room. And I was like freaked out.
It was terrifying. What did it look like? It was like a completely jet black full on formed figure. And the room was, you know, it's like the room when you leave your TV on and everything's like kind of grey and like the room's completely lit up, but it's like still dark ish. And this figure was jet black, like fully formed.
It was terrifying. Did you go back, think maybe two nights later and I wouldn't sleep in the room. I, like, slept in the living room. But I mean, I will say now that I've experienced that, it's not scary to me anymore because it's like, well, I pretty much had that shit scared out of me, so I don't think I can get any worse than that.
How do you like solitude? I do. Just not too much for too long. I need it. I absolutely need it. Like air. I breathe, but I need it like inner space in a portion the way that I want it. And outside of it, I need energy. I need life. I need people. I need sounds. I need to hear cars. Otherwise I feel crazy. But what I want solitude. I want it my way and I want it by any means necessary.
Do you have a favorite movie that you watch over and over?
Not that I watch over and over, but I think my favorite movies growing up for Halloween four and five. Halloween four and five. Yeah. It's what made me want to be an actress. Really? Yeah, I wanted to be that little girl. You know, I was like Michael Meyers niece, Jamie. I was like a year younger than her in real life. And those were the scenes I would act out all over my living room and throw myself down the staircase and pretend like I broke my ankle and climbing under the table.
And Michael's trying to kill me and I just love those movies.
So you kind of like being scared or that mild sense of fear? I do. I think it's important. It's balance in general in life, I think gives you perspective. But in film and TV, it's a heightened emotion, much like one of the most important, most powerful emotions in the world. You know, love, it's survival is up there with that, maybe even more so in some accounts, you know. So I just love what that brings out of me and what that feels like in film.
Yeah. Do you have any collections? What do you collect, Betty Boop. Really like in all forms, it all forms, figurines, dolls, blankets, socks, robes, toilet bowl covered rubber ducky stickers, everything since I was like ten.
Are you tired, though, of people in your life giving you Betty Boop gifts because they don't know what else to give?
You know, it's it makes me so happy. OK, good. Next time I see a Betty Boop, I'm going to be thinking of you. OK. What? Is your first boss like I started acting when I was four and I got serious about it when I was about 13, and so I don't know how I would really classifiable, you know, is the boss, a director, the producers. So I don't really remember.
Has there ever been a time when you thought about quitting the entertainment industry?
Yes. Once not that long ago. Probably about five years ago. Six years ago. Oh, really? What was the impetus of that? I was working on the show and from the moment I got there, I put a lot of stress on myself because of who the creator was. And I really wanted to do such a good job. And then once we got to doing the show, there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen. And I was in these situations where the director would say, I want you to do this, this and this.
And then you say running. And then all of a sudden the creator would come in and whisper in my ear and that he'd be like, I want you to do this, this and this and say action. And I would like not know what to do. And instead of just saying, like, hey, guys, can one of you only give me notes are like you guys are giving me literally conflicting notes or like whatever it was, I just let the stress build and kept trying to like, please.
And I got to the point of where I would like blackout and not remember my lines at all. And they were like challenging lines because of the world that it was set in. So it wasn't like a word like the it was like a made up world that didn't exist in the English language. And I have to remember this word. And so it got to a point where I was so stressed out that I was blacking out and then people knew that I was blacking out and they took that as if maybe she needs some help with her acting instead of maybe I need some help with remembering, you know, and I don't mind having a coach.
I think it's really good to have one. But it feels a little different when someone tells you, hey, you need this. And I felt just completely misunderstood and like I was getting the wrong prescription in terms of help. And this went on for a few episodes. And it wasn't till this director named Tonday Stage and director, because I'll tell you before that I had one director who yelled at me in front of the crew to the point of where when that director came back, my hands were trembling when I was doing the scene because I was so afraid of messing up another director who asked me if it was my first job.
And I just said, you know, I've done a few other things and just left it at that. By the time this guy turned came in, he just looked at me and he said, I know what you can do. I'm going to leave you alone, do your thing. And everything changed. What a gift. I mean, everything shifted. But, you know, the other director had to come back and it was still a struggle.
And I was still stressed out after he left, even though things are vastly different because he gave me the freedom to really catch my breath and get on my feet. It still was a challenge with all the other elements. And I think by the time it was done, I just felt like I had survived a war. I felt like I barely made it out in terms of like the emotional trauma and stress that I had experienced in that circumstance. Yeah, I felt like I was like, I think I'm done.
I don't think I want to do this anymore. And then it kind of occurred to me like, wait a second, I've worked with crazy actors.
I've worked with nasty people. What I just experience is as bad as it gets for me personally. And I survived and I didn't just survive. I did a pretty good job. I didn't do great, but I did a pretty damn good job considering. And that's something to be proud of. If I can survive that, I can survive anything. And why would I quit? Because now there's nothing to fear.
I think that anybody who's worked in Hollywood for maybe more than a decade has had at least one moment where your confidence is completely shook to the core. Was your character a regular on the show?
I was the lead God, which I'm so thankful for, but it was that was rough. And I felt blindsided too, because I had already been in the business for 30 years. At that point, I never experienced anything like that. I just was so blindsided. But like what is happening right now to my life, like and then you can't get off the rollercoaster four or five months to go, six days a week. Your first one in, last one out.
You're not getting off this rollercoaster.
What are some of the best advice you've ever been given? I've been given a lot of good advice. You know, my godfather gives some of the best advice that I've had. I think his version of saying, like, you're nuts, what you bring is unique. So just stop second guessing it, you know, and just lean into it. And he was very affirming of me. You know, he's actually been a big influence on my life.
But I think his advice was always kind of like trust, just trust what your brain is doing, because what it's doing is doing something different. And that's something you've got to lean into. And that made me feel is misplaced. As I often felt growing up. There was a silent confidence to me because I felt like I am bringing something different. We just don't know it yet.
That did something for me is awkward and as uncomfortable as I've been, I've always been a little bit overconfident. And I think that's because of the way I've been poured into, you know, so that sustain me. That's an incredible balance to the other crazy.
Sometimes I feel like I'm a jelly doughnut, like I have this intense core of fire and confidence and self conviction. Surrounded by this puffy layer of self-doubt and insecurity, it's there, but I still have my center, my dad used to say, honey, you are a beautiful chair. And the problem is they already have their beige sofa and their white rug or whatever. And so the beautiful chair doesn't fit. So you have to wait for your living room.
Yeah, I think he told me that when I was maybe 19 or 20. It has comforted me for years. But that's a real statement.
When his death saved my life coming out, I'm really excited.
Valentine's Day is a quick turnaround. Amazing. Yeah. So it should be fun. Oh, my God. And then my real sister plays my sister. Oh yeah. How was that? Amazing. So amazing. You know, that's like my best, best friend. And it's the second time we played sisters and she did an incredible job. She killed it. And then being able to have those scenes and there being things that we can identify and relate to, you know, with the characters and those exact moments that we've shared something similar.
And to be able to tap into those moments and live and breathe it, it was pretty amazing.
Yeah. Megan, thank you so much for doing this and. Thank you for having me. You're very wise and there's a lot of amazing food for thought in this conversation. So thank you so much for that.
We're going to make a carrot cake right now.
Oh, I'm so jealous. We're big bakers over here, so we'll see if it'll be successful. I don't know. But thanks, Megan, so much. So very welcome. Thank you. Bye, Megan.
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Hey, everyone, psychotherapist and New York Times best selling author Lori Gottlieb is back to offer some expert advice. Among other things, Lori writes The Atlantic's weekly Dear Therapist Advice column and is a co-host of the new podcast, Dear Therapist. For more on Lori and our other experts, you can find links on our website at unqualified dotcom. Hi, Lori. Hi, Anna, how are you? I'm wonderful. Let's call Kay Gray. I don't know.
Hey, thank you so much for doing this last minute that was so kind of you. Oh, no problem. I was just doing a puzzle. Oh, my God, I love puzzles. I, I don't know what's happened to me. Kate, I'm here with Lori Gottlieb. She is a psychotherapist and she's the author of The New York Times best seller. Maybe you should talk to someone. She also is incredibly qualified.
So, Kate, will you tell us what's going on? Yeah, sure.
So one of my really good friends, I met a guy in July and started dating him and is really happy with him. But we are very concerned because he is an alcoholic and there's a lot of things going on. So when she first met him, she found out that he had three pending DUIs and he got those within one year. So they were felony charges. He got his license taken away. He was on probation. He violated his probation and was an obviously additional trouble because of that.
So there was a lot of things kind of happening about all of that where we were not sure this was the right person to be with at this time. And our group of friends had kind of decided that maybe we should talk to her about this because we were just concerned for her safety and well-being. And she has a young son. And right when we had kind of started to talk about having this discussion with her, he was in a very, very bad car accident because he was drinking and driving and caused an accident.
And so then we decided it wasn't the right time because she was very upset about it. And I guess I'm trying to be concise because there's so many details, but we are not sure if it's really our place to say something to her. But she moved him and his son into her home with her and her son after knowing him for two months. Once he was out of the hospital, he tried to get alcohol delivered to the house because he couldn't drive, because he doesn't have a license and because he was physically injured.
So we just don't really know what to do because we want to look out for her and try to understand why she's with this person. But we don't want to overstep. And I'm also afraid if we do confront her about it, that it'll just drive a wedge between us and then they'll be even more invested in each other. So that's kind of the short version.
Kate, when you guys found out that he wanted to have alcohol delivered, was that information that you got from your friend? I'm just wondering how. Yeah. Oh, OK. So your friend is kind of open about talking.
She is. But I think she knows that everyone, because I've talked to her other friends that she kind of hangs out with outside of our group and everyone seems to have the same feelings. And so I think she is kind of reserved for sharing things because she knows that none of us are going to be that sympathetic. And when she told us about it, she kind of laughed it off and downplayed it because I think she knew that it was bad.
And she told us she's tired of everyone giving her advice. I think it's because everyone's probably telling her the same thing, which is the opposite of what she wants to do. So I don't know. I'm just concerned. And he has these upcoming court dates for his three DUI and he might go to jail because of it. Also, I don't know if there will be additional charges because of the accident since he was driving while drinking with no license.
And so just kind of a mess. And we don't really know how to be helpful to her without making her upset.
So, Kate, I have a question. Is this unusual for your friend or does she date people who are problematic as a general pattern?
I would say it's a general pattern. She was divorced about three and a half years ago and ever since then has kind of dated you guys seriously. Some of them have been better than others and it just didn't work out. And then a couple of them have been what I would call problematic.
And I'm talking about problematic to this degree where they're not really functioning at a level that she would need for a partner. I would say yes, but not to this degree emotionally unavailable or, you know, not really being an active participant in the relationship, the last boyfriend she had before this one had been to prison for three years for drug charges. I think why we're so baffled is because she's an incredibly smart, driven, successful woman. She has her head on straight.
But when it comes to guys, it seems like she just continues this pattern of dating men. Who feels judgmental to say, but we don't think are good enough for her. You know, they're very I'm sure they're very nice guys, but it's just not the type of relationship we want for our friend.
So I don't think that's judgmental. I think that's loving to say that.
Kate, I was just going to say what an incredible friend you are not only to have this concern, but also to describe your friend as someone who is worthy of a great person. When I got your email, I was thinking about how back in the day when I was attracted to, like, fucked up people, man, I wish my friends sort of described me as like that kind of person or at least had the concern lowered.
When you talk to people that have these outside concerns, what is a good approach? I mean, you obviously can't heavily influence somebody else's behavior that's out of your control. What do you think?
Well, it's interesting because you talked about how you're so worried about coming off as unsupportive to your friend. I've written in my book and talked about a lot this concept of idiot compassion versus wise compassion. So idiot compassion is what we do with our friends. They say, here's what's going on. And we just back them up. We say, yeah, you're right, they're wrong, or we we just support them, even though we feel like maybe there's something else going on here because we're so worried that they're going to feel like we're not on their side.
And wise compassion is when you hold up a mirror to somebody and you help them to see something or help them to see their situation or themselves in a way that maybe they aren't willing to do. The way you present it is really important because the word compassion is in there for a reason. It's wise compassion. It's not like you're judging them. It's coming from this place of love. And I think it's really about asking your friend, why did she tell you about him ordering alcohol like there was a reason she told you that knowing that you were not going to have a positive reaction to that.
When she told you that, how did you respond? What was your reaction?
Well, I am a pretty opinionated person. And so when we have these group face time to check in with each other because I live in a different state, I have just been pretty much silent because I knew if I started to speak, it would probably come off the wrong way or I would say something that wouldn't have been the best. So I just pretty much not said anything. The one thing I forgot to mention was he after he got out of the hospital, he went to a rehab hospital.
And I don't know if that was physical rehab or addiction rehab, but he checked himself out of the hospital the same day and took her to her house. And she had come to the conclusion that weekend that she was going to end things because it was clear to her that he wasn't interested in getting better and so on and so forth. But she was going to wait until after Christmas so that the kids could have a good Christmas. And we were all concerned about that because we were very excited.
She had come to that decision, but were afraid that by waiting a month, it would give her time to backpedal. And that's exactly what happened. So two or three weeks later, we had another group call and she had completely changed her mind and they were going to stay together. I think she told us those things at that time because she was ready to break up with him. But then she's been taking care of him and she has told some of us that she wants to be needed and he needs her right now because he literally can't take care of himself.
So I think it's kind of a toxic, co-dependent thing. I mean, you obviously would know better than me, but I think that's why she was open at that time, was because she was going to break up with him and so was telling us all these things he'd done that made her come to that decision.
Kate, I worry and I wonder what Laurie thinks about this. I worry that the group phone calls may be alienating to Kate if she feels a little bit backed into a corner. I wonder, Laurie, do you have thoughts on this? Yeah, I was thinking the same thing that I think that when you feel a lot of shame around something, which I have a feeling she does. There are two things I think going on with her. One is that she really wants help.
And the other part is that she feels a lot of shame around the fact that she still loves this guy and she's having a hard time doing what I think she knows. That and that deep place of knowing inside of her that this is not right and so she's really battling with these two things. And when you have a bunch of people on a screen or on a call, she can feel that shame because there's like a lot of people kind of holding up a mirror to her in that way.
And I think a one on one conversation, even a phone conversation where she doesn't have to look at your face. And normally I'm all her face to face. But I think that it might be a little easier for her just to hear your voice and to hear kind of the love coming through your voice and to really have a conversation with her and just say, listen, I have been afraid to talk to you about this directly, but I love you so much.
I'm not telling you what to do and I'm not judging you. I'm saying this from a place of love. I see you doing a lot of things in this relationship that don't feel healthy to me, and I think they don't feel healthy to you. And I think that's the reason you've told us or me about some of these things. And you can really empathize with why she might be with him. I'm sure he has some good qualities. I'm sure that it's nice to be with a partner as a single parent.
I'm sure it's nice to have another person there. But just as you want to be needed, you need someone to write. And so, you know, there are other people, by the way, who need her. Her friends need her. Her child needs her. But also she has needs I don't know if she's really aware of what they are. And she's so terrified, you could say, listen, I know how terrified you are of being alone and not being with this person.
But I'm terrified for you of what happens if you stay with this person. And I'm not, again, telling you what to do and I'm not judging you, but I want to tell you the truth, because that's a big apprentice.
Laurie, I wonder if Kate can open up the dialogue. Is it too much to say something like, I don't know. Sarah and Emily and I have been talking about your relationship and I really don't like to be talking about your relationship without you. I want you to be able to come to me. I want you to not feel like your friends are talking about you behind your back. There is this concern and we love you. And that's why I wanted to call you, because I want you to have a place you can go to without like the group pressure of everything.
Is that an OK idea, Laurie? Yeah, I really like the opening of we've all been talking about you, but without you, because we love you and we were afraid to hurt you. But we also feel like we're hurting you by not really talking to you directly and having these conversations without you. And I just want to have a one on one conversation with you and open up the line of communication so that you can come to me with your concerns, with your questions, with whatever you want to talk to me about, because I just wonder if Key opens up sort of the bridge of trust before maybe saying, I view this relationship is really toxic.
Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't use those words. You know, I would never use the word toxic about somebody's partner in initial conversation because I think that right away they're going to get defensive. It's more about when I look at what is going on between the two of you and this person is around your child and ask her, I wonder how you think about it. Are you thinking about this at all? This isn't the first person who's had a criminal record.
You've had other people like this. Do you ever wonder about why someone like you so great ends up with people like this? How do you make sense of that? Maybe you can ask her, like, how are you going to feel if he goes to prison, if he serves time? Are you going to be OK like taking care of his kid or I mean, I wonder, like there are avenues maybe to approach this from a practical level, too.
That may be. I don't know. Laurie, is that a terrible idea? No.
I mean, that that's part of the reality check. That's that's what's so important is to be able to say out loud the things that are hard for her. The minute she gets those thoughts in her head and I'm sure they've popped into her head, they go right out because they're too hard to look at. But if you say them out loud, if they actually have some air, then she has to hear them. They live in the space between the two of you when you say that.
So it's not about denial so much because she's living in denial and she's really good at it and we're all good at it when we want to be. And so when you say these things out loud, it pierces the veil of denial just a little bit. Is it awful that I hope for prison time for this young gentleman? No.
Well, we know I'm saying because he didn't have a license and the vehicle he was driving was registered to a family member. They didn't know who he was. So he was in the hospital after the wreck is a John Doe. And I believe that no additional charges or anything have been filed from the accident. So we were I mean, it's not funny, but we were joking, like, should we call the Crimestoppers and make sure they know that he was the one driving that car when you guys were joking about that?
Was your friend involved? No, no, no, no. It was a conversation between me and another third party friend, but he's endangering the lives of other people. Right. And I'm nervous that what if he's drinking and taking care of our son or drinking and drives or son somewhere? And those are the things that I'm most concerned about, is does she trust him to be alone with her son? And if she doesn't, to me, that's like an automatic deal breaker.
But I'm not a parent, so I don't know.
But well, and I think this is probably territory, too. That will be tough for your friend to hear. Yeah.
And I also think there are already questions she has asked herself and she has decided to just go into denial and not think about. But I think that when you say it out loud, again, these are important questions and tone and delivery matters so much. And also, I would say timing and dosage. Right. How much are you going to say in an initial conversation? And then, you know, how much of that one thing do you want to say?
So, you know, I think the initial conversation is really about kind of saying, listen, we've been talking about this. I want to talk with you about it directly and open that line of communication because I love you. I'm not judging you. I'm not telling you what to do, but I'm telling you that I'm very concerned about you as someone that I love and care about and I'm concerned for your child. And that might sound really judgmental, but you are concerned for her child.
My fantasy, Kate, opens the door to the friend on an individual level. So when there is crisis, this friend can call Kate and feel safe calling Kate. Yeah, that's true.
And then the question is, how is Kate going to handle it? So, Kate, when you found out, for example, that he was having alcohol delivered to the house and you were silent, so now that you have this line of communication open, if your friend does come to you and says, oh, he got another DUI or he got in another accident or he killed someone, because this is what happens with drunk driving. Right. So all of this tragic potential is there and already has has happened that you aren't silent, that you're someone who says, how do you feel about what just happened?
And you say to your friend, you say, that really alarms me. You're not silent. You say this is this is really this is really terrifying. This is really alarming. This is really dangerous. How do you make sense of this? And I keep bringing the kid back into it. I think it's really it helps ground her in reality a little bit. And maybe there's a world where you say something like most people don't get a DUI and certainly get multiple.
This is a little crazy. And then maybe there's also a world where you say, is he dealing with a lot of depression? And if so, that must be really hard for you because she doesn't view him as a villain in any way, you know, or at least she hasn't defined it in her head. So we are approaching the relationship with care. Lori, in my off base, am I encouraging a relationship? What you're nodding.
I don't know if that means that I know I'm not it because I think that the things that you're asking her to say are are right on. I wouldn't tread too lightly. You know, there's a balance between come to me every time something happens and I'll empathize with you versus come to me every time something happens and I'll empathize with you. But I'm also going to talk about the situation as it is. I'm going to deal in reality. And that's not judgment.
Reality is just reality. Like, let's let's look at this. Wait a minute. So he just got in another accident. You know, he went to rehab. He left rehab. He's got several of these. He's not working. You're taking care of him. Your child is watching this. You know, he has an addiction and he's not interested in getting treatment for it and then just letting it sit there like. So here's what's going on and then see what she does with that space.
And there comes a point where you can't listen to it anymore. I think that people feel like, well, then she really has no one to talk to about this. I would highly encourage her to talk to a therapist while this is going on. While you're still there for her. I would really say, you know, this is really hard. And and I think that you need a safe space. You can go and talk about this where it's just your space, nobody else is, there are people who know you are not involved and you can just get like a really good second opinion on what's going on here and and talk about all of the things that you're maybe embarrassed to talk about with me, about how much you love him, about why you love him, about why he's so important to you.
You can talk about the range of your feelings for him in a way where that person could help you get clarity, whatever you decide to do, maybe you'll decide to stay with him. But at least you've talked to somebody about it and you're really clear on why you're there, because I don't think that you will end up thinking that she wants to stay there after she goes to a therapist. Fingers crossed. But, yeah, that's a really good idea, I know one of our other friends just went to counseling with her boyfriend to talk to some things and told our group about how happy they are that they went and did that because just expressing things out loud that they were kind of afraid to say to each other, I mean, you know, this obviously it was really helpful for them.
So maybe using that anecdote from our other friend to introduce it to her would be a good way to talk about that.
I don't think that he is going to want to go to therapy with it. And if he did, he would not be truthful and it would be a long slog of him not being truthful. Your friend not being able to say to the therapist, wait a minute, that's not true. This didn't happen that way. And so it's really important, I think, that she go into individual therapy right now.
Kate, I think you should definitely encourage us. I'm just worried that Kate will be skating on thin ice initially when she reaches out individually.
Am I wrong?
Well, you have to balance here. The well-being of this is a really serious situation. This isn't just like we don't like your boyfriend. This guy is incredibly problematic in terms of bringing all of this chaos, instability and danger into their lives. What if he is driving with them and, you know, something happens to her child, something happens to her and her child doesn't have her mom anymore. What if one of them gets really injured? What happens when he drinks a lot?
Does does he ever get violent? Does he ever get angry? Does he ever do things that, you know, he regrets the next day? I'm not talking about driving necessarily when people have an addiction at the level that he does because he's he's not interested in acknowledging his addiction or facing his addiction or getting any kind of treatment for it. He's not anywhere near the place that she would need him to be to feel like this could be viable. If he deals with this, he's not going to deal with this at this point.
Would it be crazy for Kate to say to a friend, like, I just want to make sure as well, like as we talk about these things, that you wouldn't be financially liable for anything? And thank God that as far as we know, that he hasn't hurt anybody. But I wonder if those are like seeds you can plant to like, have you thought about your insurance policy? But maybe those are ideas you could bring up to your friend as well to get her to actually see the practical fallout that could happen with his behavior?
Yeah, I believe she's paying for everything now, like paying for his medication you're taking from the accident. And I don't know that he's contributing to the household expenses, but I would assume no, because he's not been working for a while. So, I mean, even before the accident, I believe he was not working. So, yeah, I think she is providing one hundred percent of the financial stability in the house.
Are you close with her family? Not really. I mean, I have met her mom dozens and dozens of times, but we only talk when we see each other in person, which obviously is not all.
But now, you know, Kate, the more that I'm hearing about the situation, the more it sounds like your friend is an addict, too. And I think she is addicted to the drama, addicted to the needing to be needed. As you said, she has an emotional addiction. And so it's interesting that as much as we try to get her to see her boyfriend's addiction, I think the most important thing here is to help her, to see her own addiction.
Both of them are addicts and neither is willing to acknowledge their addiction or get treated for it. Yeah, I say it's funny you say that, because on my notes, she feeds off of drama, which sounds like a high school thing to say, but when she told us about having to essentially track him down because he was a John Doe in the hospital, it was this huge soap opera story because. That's true in many situations, even outside of relationships.
She does seem to kind of enjoy. Dramatic situation, right?
That makes me think, Kate, that these conversations, she may push you away, she may not be very open to them, but I also think that it's important to state reality, especially for an adult, that you don't have to go along with their fantasy world. And when you do and so many people do, because they're afraid that they're going to offend the other person. But what you're doing is you're validating an unreality. Right. And so, you know, by going along with it, by being silent, is going along with it, too.
You know, you have to help the addict see what is going on. And they're going to come to see it, however they come to see it. But if the people around them are all tiptoeing around you, pretending the addiction isn't happening, which is what she's doing with her boyfriend and what you guys are doing with her. Yeah, that makes sense. I just knew my initial reaction would be aggressive, which is why I didn't comment on the calls, because, I mean, I know I can be a judgmental person, like I said earlier.
And so I knew my first reaction would be, what are you thinking? Why are you with this person? And I knew that wasn't going to be helpful. So that's why I kind of stayed silent. But now that it's been several months and I've been able to sit with it and absorb some of the information, I can be more sympathetic, I think, and not reactionary, especially when you think of it as an addiction.
You can be more sympathetic because you realize that you asked this question, Will, how can someone so smart and she has her head on her shoulders and she so professionally successful, how does she end up in these situations? Because she has an addiction. So there are lots of highly successful people who have all kinds of addictions. And what do addictions do? They're a way for us not to feel. So there's something that she does not want to feel.
There's some pain that she has unresolved. And this is why, if there's any way to suggest to her to go to her own therapy, she will start to be able to deal with the real issue and not all of the ways that she's kind of self medicating. So he's self medicating with alcohol. She's self medicating with the drama of his life. That's validating because I thought that, but I don't know anything, so it's nice to hear, you know, someone who knows about this kind of thing.
What I was thinking I might even approach it by talking about the addiction and what she has in common with her boyfriend. Because, you know, I could even see saying to her, I like what Ana said about, you know, we've been talking about you, but I want to talk directly with you. But I would make it very clear right there, they did not put me up to this. They do not even know that I'm calling you right now.
Right. So it's not like I'm doing an intervention on behalf of all of our friends. This is just me and you and I care about you. And I realized, you know what? I've been silent because I didn't want to hurt you, but I realized that I'm hurting you more because I think that just as your boyfriend has an addiction to alcohol, that there's something in here that is drawing you to this situation that is not good for you.
And it feels a little bit like you have an addiction to maybe an emotional addiction. This isn't the first time that you've been with somebody like this. And it's hard for you, even when you say you want to quit, you go right back to it, just like an addict would who says I want to quit drinking. But they go back to it. I just I feel like my silence has not been helpful because I love you too much and I want us to have honesty between us.
And I felt it was really necessary to kind of open up this conversation and and see if you were open to talking about it with me or thinking about it or, you know, how you might be able to kind of look at your situation a little bit more clearly. And maybe that's with a therapist where you could go and have a safe space that's confidential. And you could talk about all the different reasons that you want to be here and what draws you here.
No matter what you end up doing with him, understand better what you are doing so that you're going forward with eyes wide open no matter what you decide. I love that. I love that opening up with the idea that, you know, we've been talking about you because we love you. I don't want to do that without your involvement. And then I think it is really important to not tell your other friends that you've made that phone call because she will call.
Right. And she'll be like Kate said, like, so you guys are talking about me. I think it's important that you establish that trust. Then you guys can hash it out later and you can say, yeah, I called her weird actress and her podcast.
And Lori Gottlieb.
Don't you think, Lori, that part's important, that she because, yeah, it will be a large thing in her head. It will stick in her head that you guys have been talking about it. She already knows. But to have it confirmed will stick in her head and she might be a little mad at you. Maybe not, but she'll call other people. So it's important that you kind of anticipate a little bit her defensive moves if you want to, you know, be in our life and then follow through with them.
You know, make sure that after you talk to your friend, then you can regroup with your other friends. Don't you think, Lori?
Like, yeah, I think it's important to make sure that these are one on one and that they weren't about that stupid peripheral stuff. And she'll look for that. Right. And so that means that whatever you talk about in your conversations are not reported to the other friends and you make that clear with her. They don't know that I'm calling you and this is just me reaching out to you. And I'm not reporting what we say on this conversation to them, but I don't want there to be and I just want to be clear.
But I don't want there to be secrecy. And what I mean by that is addiction is all about secrecy. And so if she thinks that she can just tell you everything and you're not going to do anything with it ever, that could be a problem, too. So I don't want you to say whatever you say on here is confidential because she's like he killed someone like this or she's really in trouble in some way. Right. I would just say they don't know that I'm reaching out to you today.
This is just the two of us. I'm not I have not reporting to them that I'm having this conversation with you. It's just I felt like it was really incumbent on me to be a good friend. And this is what I would want if I were in your situation. This is what I would want. I might not like it. I might be defensive. I might feel that it's invasive. I might feel like it's none of my friends business.
But this is what ultimately I think I would want. And it's not one conversation you're saying. I'm just I'm just opening up that line of of conversation because we've never really had it. And then she might not speak to you after this. You might avoid you because you are then saying things that she already knows, but she doesn't want to have to face in her own life. And so you can follow up with her like caller. I don't know how often you normally speak, but call her a few days later whenever you would normally speak and just say, like, hey, I'm just checking in.
It was a hard conversation. How are you feeling about our friendship and you leave it about that, how are you feeling about our friendship, Laurie, as I'm imagining being in Kate's shoes?
I'm wondering how she should bring up the idea of the children's safety. Well, that's where timing and dosage come in. I think this first conversation is really about, hey, you know, I've been thinking about your boyfriend and his addiction, and I'm thinking that maybe there's some addiction, this emotional addiction. And it's really just about that. It's not all of the other things we talked about. Those come out in other conversations. So, again, these are many times people think that when they talk to somebody about something hard, that it's one conversation and then that's it.
And that generally doesn't work very well. It's usually a series of conversations. It's about building trust. It's about breaking down some of the person's defenses. And I would just peppering into the conversation not you need to see a therapist, which people hear is very shaming, but just maybe it would help to have a place where you could go talk about all of the complicated feelings you have here because, you know, you have all different kinds of complicated feelings.
And I don't know how to do that. You can say like I'm your friend, but I don't know how to do it. Someone else would be so much better at helping you figure out what's going on, even if you stay with him. And I always give her that out. Yeah.
And I imagine that she's telling you guys, like, stuff about the delivery or or whatever his behavior is probably through a little bit of like laughter and like, can you believe it?
Yeah. She was laughing because he had it delivered to the neighbor's house the first time, which I don't know what his plan was because he can't walk or couldn't walk at the time. And then the second time he had it delivered to their house, but he again couldn't walk. So she answered the door. She was like, yeah, I ordered it. And I answered the door. And then I poured it down the drain and he got mad.
But she was, like, joking about it.
So to me and Laurie, correct me if I'm wrong, it's me. It feels like she wants to tell you the story. She wants to bounce things off of you guys, but under the guise of like, isn't this kind of weird and funny and normal? And that's it feels typical of how people unload. Right. Well, and it's also part of the addictive behavior. So an alcoholic might say something like, oh, my God, I got so wasted.
And here's what happened to can you believe it? And is this a funny story when really they're trying to say, like, I have a problem, but they don't they're kind of they're they're they're kind of walking this tightrope where part of them is like, I have a problem and I want help in. The other part is like, oh, but I can't let go of this addiction because then I have to. Then what what is going to replace it?
So again, an addiction is a way not to feel. So they know that if they start to get rid of their crutch, if they stop self medicating with emotional drama or with alcohol or whatever people self medicate with, what are they going to do without their medication? It's a real struggle. It's like on the one hand she wants to break up with him or she did at one point. But what am I going to do without my daily dose of drama?
I mean, I would be curious to know how she does think about the future and does she think about marrying this person and then having all kinds of liability and and entanglements that, you know, that could really ruin her life? Seriously? Yeah.
What if he is in an accident where something horrible happens? But. Well, I mean, the thing is, we're asking her to get rid of the very thing that is is her medication. So the more drama, the more she's drawn to it because she doesn't have to think about her own life. So, again, I think these first conversations are really just pointing out that parallel for her, she will probably reject everything you say or get defensive, but it still goes in if you deliver it with love and compassion and you don't try to convince her of anything.
So when people really shut down and can't hear you is when you try to convince them, like, look at this, look at this, look at this, and then this happened and look at what he did here. That is not the conversation. Conversation is just I see both of you so tied to these addictions and struggling so much. You know, I just I want to talk to you directly because I feel like I feel like, you know, I've been silent and that that's not being a good friend to you.
Kate, you think you could have this phone call with her? I think so my stomach will be in knots, but what do you have to lose by having this conversation? Where is where's your stomach? In knots? Just because I hate confrontation and even though I would, it wouldn't be a confrontational conversation, just the, I guess, anticipation of actually seeing that stuff to her. I think she would be very open and I don't think she would get mad at me.
But just having to actually have that conversation for me, it's just it makes me nervous because of everything.
Lori, when you talk about timing, should Kate ease into the conversation or I don't know, I would be more direct about why I'm calling.
I wouldn't beat around the bush. And again, gently, your voice, your tone, your and when you really are in your body and you're coming from a place of love, it's going to come across so lovingly.
Not the I don't understand why you're with him, Tone. Right. And I want to say one more thing, Kate, which I think will be helpful.
When you think about the knot in your stomach, it sounds like you are thinking that you might have trouble tolerating her discomfort, that her discomfort will make you uncomfortable. And I don't know what your relationships are like. And I'm sure that's a whole other conversation. But I want to say that a really great skill for anybody to have is in any relationship, a friendship, a romantic relationship is to be able to tolerate another person's discomfort with our truth.
O God, Lori, it feels like a challenge of a lifetime, but it's brilliant when you say that again, Larry, I'll try to remember what I said.
But I think that what I was saying is that one of the most important skills in any relationship, whether it's a friendship or a romantic relationship, is to be able to tolerate the other person's discomfort with our truth. And what you're doing is you are sharing your truth with her and your truth is I love you and this is what I'm seeing. And I'm concerned as your friend and I want to be able to talk with you because I feel like I've been hiding and I don't want to hide in our friendship.
And that's beautiful and it's loving. Yeah. And Kate, even if she doesn't respond well to it, you are getting practice, tolerating someone's discomfort with your truth so that you don't have to in your own relationships and your other relationships, be silent or be worried about how somebody is going to receive your truth if it's delivered in a loving way. Yes, I love that one day it might be something about you that you want to share. That will be your truth.
Your truth isn't always about the other person. Sometimes it's about you and you want to be able to share it. And the reason that you're hiding some aspect of yourself is because you're worried that the other person won't receive it well. So this is great practice for just relationships in general. It might benefit your friend. It might not. I think in some way, maybe in the long term it will benefit your friend, if not in the short term, but it will certainly benefit you right away and that you'll get practice doing this.
Oh, well, I think that's great advice and kind of an impactful statement just all around, I'm feeling better. So I appreciate it.
OK, well, hey, thank you so much. I really appreciate your email and your call. And I know our listeners will as well, especially during this this time with this craziness. I know a lot of people are dealing with drug and alcohol issues. Will you keep us posted, Kate? Yeah, definitely, and thank you again, this has been incredibly helpful and insightful and I appreciate it. So thank you.
OK, well, thank you so much, Laurie. Did you have any further thoughts? No. I mean, I think, you know, we'll be thinking about you. And I think that so many people can relate to this situation of feeling like, first of all, just being in your friend's situation, of being addicted to someone or something and not being quite able to let go yet and even really acknowledge it fully. And I think being in your position of wanting to be a good friend and trying to figure out how to do that.
So we'll be thinking about you. Well, thank you. Please do keep us posted.
I bet anything that our listeners will respond to this case and write us and with their own experiences and maybe, you know, wanting to know how everything went.
So if you do feel like keeping in touch, we would love that. Great.
Yeah, I definitely will. Thanks again, Kate.
Yeah, thank you. Of course. Happy to help. All right. Bye, Laurie. That was amazing.
What wonderful advice. Oh, good. Yeah, I hope it's helpful for her. Yeah, I hope so too. By Laurie. Thank you so much. Bye, Ana. Take care.