On today's show, we're going to be talking to a gentleman whose co-worker just got promoted and who's now his boss and they don't get along. We're going to be talking to the mother of an alcoholic son and how to set boundaries during the holidays. And we're going to be talking to somebody who is going to talk through their childhood abuse for the very first time. This is a heavy show, so please be careful of who's listening and watch your own heart and mind.
Hey, what's up? I'm John and this is the Dr. John Villone show, a live show with real people going through real challenges for you, by you. It's such an honor to walk alongside folks who are struggling with life, with their relationships, with parenting, with brothers and sisters. We talk about everything on the show. No matter what's going on in your heart and your mind and your family, you are not alone. Millions of people across the country are dealing with this, too.
I'm dealing with it, I'm trying to figure it out, Kelly, Zach, James, everybody in the booth trying to figure it out. We're all in this together, man. We're going to talk about love, loss, family issues. Work issues, people issues, and here's the thing, whatever's going on, give me a call, I'll walk through it with you. We might talk about this. I just want to tell everybody what happened at my house last night and just let you know, man, sometimes you just stumble into something that's awesome.
Last night, my kids came downstairs and they had that look in their eye like, what are you all scheming? And usually they've come up with some song or a poem or some dance routine that's going to end them asking me for candy or ice cream. And they know I'm militant about sugar and all that kind of stuff.
But my kids came down and said, Dad, well, you can play hide and go seek with us. And it's like 4:00 in the afternoon here in Nashville. And so it's already pitch black and it feels like it's midnight outside. And I looked at them, I was working on something for work and I said, absolutely, let's do this. And they both cheered and we ran upstairs, which is just like a big open space, and we turned the lights off.
In my two kids are absolute ninja gangsters when it comes to hide and go seek. I laughed more last night than I've laughed in 20 20. I laughed so hard that I couldn't breathe in certain moments. My kids were laughing so hard. I am the worst at hide and go seek.
Ever, ever. My daughter. Is going to be an assassin someday. But there was no screens, it costs no money. It took like an hour and a half and we had a blast. And here's the thing, your kids need more than anything right now, our undivided attention. Our eye crinkles when we look at them and they know that we love them. Our willingness to just on a whim, be silly, to close the stupid laptop and go play.
They deserve our undivided attention. They deserve to know the dad cares about them, so dads out there. Close your laptop, there's going to be tomorrow to get more junk done. And go play hide and go seek moms out there, you've got plans, you've got ideas, clothes, the laptop. Unplug whatever it is you're doing, put the book down. And go do something silly and crazy that costs no money and no screens, but just let your kids know I love you and man, you are going to laugh, laugh, laugh.
I think I woke up with a six pack abs this morning, just four left, I super didn't wake up with six pack abs, I can promise you that. But here's a deal. Whatever is going on in your heart, in your home or your head. I'm here to stand with you. To walk with you. Give me a call. One eight four four six nine three thirty to ninety one. That's one eight four four six nine three three two nine one.
Or if you want to write your question in contact me at John Deloney dot com show. That's John Boloney Dotcom show. You can fill out the form and I'll go directly to our inbox and we look forward to talking with you. All right, let's go straight to the phones. Let's go to Dean in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dean, what's up, my man? How we doing? Doing all right, Dr. John, how are you? Outstanding, so what can I do to help this morning?
So my coworker recently got promoted and became my boss in the gym, and I didn't really see eye to eye.
Yeah, yeah, man.
And so now he's my supervisor and I get really nervous every time I have to meet with him or talk with him or when he comes to my office. And so I was wondering, what can I do to alleviate some of that anxiety around that dude that is for real.
I've experienced that. It's the worst. It's the worst man. So tell me, back before your co-worker got promoted, what was the source of the tension in your relationship? And I didn't really communicate at all, we kind of just. Dealt with our own own things and our own issues. But why would why wouldn't you communicate with them? Is he annoying? Is is it he or she? OK, is he annoying, is does he pick his teeth?
I mean, why wouldn't you just talk to him? Well, when you're hanging out, you're just different people.
He doesn't have that much of a personality. He's 100 percent focused on work. And I like to have fun and work is great. But then I also like to spend time with my family and go on go on vacation and do other things.
Oh, you're one of those guys that likes to have a life outside of work. How annoying, Dean. OK, so he gets promoted. How do you find out? Through an email Narges. OK, so put everybody listening into your head in that moment you're just sitting there, were you expecting that you could have gotten this promotion to. No, it was it was kind of it was kind of known that he would probably get the promotion OK, but I was maybe hoping for otherwise.
OK, so. He gets the promotion, put everybody in your head, you read this email. What do you think in. I'm thinking I'll give it a chance, but I don't I don't see it going well in the future, OK? At least, yeah.
So brass tacks, is he going to fire you? Do you think he's going to move on without, you know, OK? Is he open to. Is he open to direct conversations? No. So that's challenging, so if you think there's nothing wrong, but OK, so let's flip this around. Is there nothing wrong? Is the issue here you. Elena. Be more specific than that. I don't think it's me, I think. He just always wants to focus on work and I want to have.
I want to. Be able to have a life outside of work, and so whenever we talk, it's always about work, it's never how are you doing? How's your family?
But is he doing things to prohibit your life out of work? Or is he just not a conversationalist? He's not really a conversationalist, and and so when it is always about work, I'm unable to have kind of. A conversation about outside of work, and so I feel really nervous when I talk to him, when I meet with him, because I know he's probably going to he's going to have one have a different style than my previous supervisor. And two, he's always going to talk about work.
He's not going to I don't believe he's going to care about me as a person.
OK, so this this conversation shifted a little bit. I love the Mark Twain quote, which is worrying is like paying a debt you don't owe. And it feels to me like you are worrying about something that in the grand scheme of things is only affecting you as much as you're choosing to let it affect you. So you've got a new boss that you don't see eye to eye on things, meaning he talks about work all the time. You like to talk about other things, but he's not ugly to you.
He's not mean to you. He's not going to fire you. He just makes you nervous because when he interacts with you at work, he wants to talk about work and you want to talk about other stuff. So there's something else there. I thought this is a whole different call, there's something else there with you that feels uncomfortable. What is that? And it can't I mean, it could be, but it doesn't sound like it's just related to my boss wants to talk about work at work, that doesn't seem like a unrealistic expectation.
If he were to have gotten this job and he said, I'm an iron man and Dean, you're the worst, you knew it. And your time here is short, man. I'd be stressed out if I was you. I've had bosses that we didn't get along on a bunch of different levels in the moment. They became a boss. They let me know I've got you in my crosshairs. Deloney right. One time I left, I just quit.
I went and work somewhere else once that person got promoted and the person was so. So. Ridiculously rude, like in a comic way, it's like a cartoon that I just smiled and was like Byfleet come out, right? That isn't selling the situation here.
So what is it that you're actually worried about? I am worried about him eventually thinking that somebody can do a better job than me. There we go. But he's never explicitly said that.
OK, so what you are creating right now is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And every time you're around him, you're going to be nervous and you going to be uncomfortable and you're going to stutter a little bit when you are trying to explain things and you're going to be a little on edge. And you are going to create a world where he recognizes that there is tension there, and since he's the boss, he's going to find somebody with no tension, he's going to find someone to just get the work done.
And so what is it about your performance that makes you feel like somebody out there is going to do better than you? I. Sometimes make mistakes, and he's he's a lot less forgiving than my previous supervisor.
OK, and so does he call you out on it? Sure, and I mean, that's his job and that's his role, right? Right. But so I make mistakes.
My job to I make mistakes all the time and everyone I know makes mistakes. When we came in this morning, the phones weren't working right. Life happens. Right. But we're all on the same team and we all work for it. We all move forward together. And we all know that I was trying to to do the best I can to get things done. It seems to me that you are conjuring up something that might happen someday and you're choosing to live in that future present right now.
And all you're going to do is assure that that happens. I would challenge you to set up a private meeting with him. And tell him you are really grateful to be working for him. And that he's got a different leadership style and you want to make sure that you are meeting his expectations. And then ask him, are there some things I can be doing better? Are there things that you like about my current performance and let him just speak into you?
And if he just looks at you like you've got three heads and he's like, I think you're doing fine, then let that be what it is and then do your best to work your butt off when you're at work and when you're not at work anymore. Check out and go home. Would he be open to that conversation, to you coming in and saying, I'm really grateful that you're my new boss? I'm glad that I've got a job here, I want to make sure I'm meeting your expectations and you're very different than my last boss.
So what are some ways I can grow and improve? What would he say if you did that? I'm not sure. So maybe I do need to have that conversation, but I think that's a worthy conversation, Dean. It's going to relieve a lot of stress and pressure on you because you're going to find one of two things. One, you are way overblown, this in your mind. And he isn't really thinking a lot about you. He just wants you to get the work done, do it right, do a good job, or he's going to fire you and you're going to find out much sooner.
And you're going to be able to alleviate that worry and you're going to be able to start making alternative plans.
Something I've done the last four or five bosses I've had. I would ask them, hey, do you do lunches, do you do coffees, what are things that drive you absolutely nuts? What are things that you really care about? I just ask people point blank in the last couple of buses ahead, they smiled and like no one's ever asked me that. I guess I prefer coffee over lunch. I guess that I really get crazy when somebody lies to me.
I don't like being surprised. I don't write, but it's just I'm bringing it to them. They're the boss. So it's my job to reach out there. I wish in a perfect world, leaders would reach out, but they don't. Right here at Ramsey, they do have had a couple of extraordinary bosses over the years that did. But on the whole, most don't. They're too busy. They're running around doing 50 other jobs.
But it sounds like, Dean, you have conjured up a world where you are living in this stress that may or may not be true. May or may not be true. He might fire you. I hope he doesn't, but he might. And the only way you're going to know is by going and sitting down and saying, I appreciate you. And again, starting with gratitude is always the way to go. He's the boss. You should be grateful that you got a job right now.
There's millions that would love to trade places with you. So then go tell them I like that idea, man. And how about this, Dean? Go have that conversation with him and do it in a respectful, kind way where you were legitimately trying to learn about ways you can help meet the expectations he's going to have for you in this new season and then holler back at me.
I don't know how that call goes. I want to know if your concern was overblown or if he gave you some very clear parameters about how you have to improve your performance or if you got a sense, a tip off. And my time here is short. My my worry was totally justified. And I'm going to to start looking for other work. Call me back and let me know. Here's the thing about anxiety. It steals your future from you.
And if you're in a situation where a simple conversation, a hard conversation, looking at some data, some facts and figures will help alleviate that future. Don't run from it. Don't hide from it. Just do it. Just do it and do it with a spirit of gratitude and do it with a spirit of inquiry. Not an attack, not a rude way. But don't let anxiety steal your future, especially when it's something as easy as more info or a conversation.
So I'll be thinking about you, man. I want you to circle back after you have that conversation. Let me know how things are going. My hope is the guy just has a different style than your old boss. He's a guy that loves talking about work when he's at work. And he may surprise you. He may like talking about family, other things, but no one's ever approached him for. He may want to go to lunch with you, man.
He may want to just grab a cup of coffee and see how things are going, or he may not. He may be one of those weird guys that when they go to work, they just want to work. And God bless those folks, man. Those are awesome. All right. Thank you so much for that call. Let's go to Angela in Seattle. Angela, what's going on? Good morning, John. My question is how best to handle alcohol in the house and personal consumption when I've got a relative of my son who is an alcoholic coming over to visit for a whole week?
Ha, that's a great question. So tell me about your son. He's 29. He well, he tells me we have a good relationship. We talk every Sunday. He tells me he's an alcoholic. He knows he's an alcoholic and he's not willing to do anything about it. I enabled him for way too many years in the path of least. Resistance was then to move in with his alcoholic father. My ex-husband is a he's a good kid and he's not figured out what he needs to do with his life yet.
And he's kind of just I'm waiting for him to wake up, but it hasn't happened yet. But I love him and he's coming for a week and I want to see him and I want to make sure that we have a great time. And I've always got a few bottles of liquor here in the house, but I feel like, well, he's here. We probably should put them away and not drink ourselves. Yeah.
So the way you've painted that picture, the only responsible, caring thing to do in that set of circumstances is to get every shred of alcohol out of your house and to let him know before he comes that there will be no alcohol in the house and it won't be welcome in your house. Yeah, and anything short of that is you putting him in a position to fail. Yeah, yeah, weird, we live smack in the middle of a downtown area where he can walk to a bar in three minutes.
Right. And here's here's another thing. He you know as well as I do, if he goes out to a bar within, you know, and I don't even know if they're allowed to go to bars in Seattle right now, if he does go to a bar and gets all tanked up and then comes back to your house, you're not going to have a good week because I will burn that night and you'll be stressing it will burn all the next day because he'll be hung over and not feeling well.
You'll feel shamed. He'll feel ashamed of you, the whole mess. And so setting some boundaries now that not only includes you letting him know I'm getting rid of all the alcohol out of the house, we're going to have an alcohol free week. But also, you cannot come to my house drunk.
Yes, the good news is that Washington state is are going to be closed. That's through route through the well into December. So. Right. That's actually I had I hadn't thought about that.
So can he can he go a week without drinking? I don't know if he's a true alcoholic, he might not be able to, and so a whole week at your house may be a long time. And as much as you want him there, you have to do the hard, hard work of letting the fantasy of your little boy coming for a week and having a lovely remember the Times Thanksgiving. That's not going to happen. If he is a true functioning alcoholic.
There's going to be some challenges that week, right. And I don't want you to set yourself up for heartbreak or set him up for failure. Right. And so maybe it's a three day trip or maybe it's a 48 hour trip.
Yeah. Yes, I have no idea of knowing how it goes sideways, but I hear you. What does. Are you are you remarried? Yes, what does your husband think about him coming to visit? Oh, he's fine with it. He's as my husband always says, we're rooting for and we want him to succeed. You know, we talked and we talked about this and we we we definitely both agree not having alcohol in the house is the right thing to do.
And not drinking that week ourselves is the right thing to do because we do love him. And I my husband loves him. I mean, he's you know, he's we want to help him. That's what I don't want to enable him.
There you go. And here's the thing. He's he's blessed to have somebody like you that cares about him. And it sounds like your new husband's a saint, too good for him. I've met a number of new husbands, second husbands over the years that don't want anything to do with their spouses, adult kids. And so good for him. And here's what I think is going to make the whole week much better, and that is you sitting down and writing these out for yourself and then calling your son and then just letting your son know.
I want to set up the best week possible for all of us. You tell me all the time you're an alcoholic. I want to know how long you can go without drinking, because I'm going to take the alcohol out of the house. I want us to have a fun, connected, sober time and be ready, Angela, for him to blow his top and to throw a temper tantrum and be mad and say you're not getting rid of all the alcohol is going to be a terrible things giving or I don't want you to have to do all that.
He might do that. And if he does, he does. Hopefully he doesn't. Hopefully he says, wow, that's awesome. My parents love me and they care about me.
And, you know, that's a long stretch for a true alcoholic. And maybe he's just running his mouth a little bit about being an alcoholic. Maybe he likes to drink. He likes to drink his old man, but he may be just fine going a week. Right. But I think the true adult Integris thing to do is to call him on the front end and set up the ground rules, whatever they may be.
And letting him know, hey, I'm taking all the booze out of the house. Yeah, you've been pretty, pretty good at understanding I have not given him any money for almost a year now. I'm not enabling him like I was. And he he actually accepts that. And we have a good relationship. So that's awesome. I feel like he'll understand why I'm doing it, because I. I do use I love you too much to it's too painful for me.
I'm be a child of an alcoholic. I had an alcoholic ex-husband. That son. That's right. I know I can be oversensitive and I need to watch myself about setting boundaries and a kind of organized, non emotional way. There you go. And he's understood it.
Let your new husband let him know that this is hard for you. I know you already have, but let him know how I'm going to set some boundaries down. And people who are true addicts, they will hear you intellectually, but emotionally, they will they will say things to you and they will fight you and they will kick you not not physically, but they will fight and kick and scream because they're their inner child is hurt now. Is hurting, right?
Yelling Yes. So set those boundaries, feel good about them. Understand that you're caring about him, but do the next right hard thing, which is to let him know ahead of time and understand it. Any time you set up a boundary, there is a chance that other people respond poorly to that boundary and he may throw a temper tantrum and not come back. He may say, if you're going to do all this and I'm just going to stay here with that and your whole week's going to be blown and you're going to call and you're going to say Deloney.
You told me to call him and I wish I hadn't of because this sucks and he didn't show up. And I'm going to be sad with you. But it still would be the right thing to do. Letting him know, hey, you can't come to my house drunk if you leave my house, if you sneak booze into my house, I'm going to ask you to leave.
We're going to have an alcohol free week. I want to set us all up to be successful. And if you can't go that long, I totally understand. I love you. Let's only only spend three or four days together. Good for you, Angela. I appreciate you trying. No matter how old your son gets, you know, he's almost 30. You're still trying to figure out ways to love him. You're still trying to figure out ways to no longer empower him.
Good for you. And you also recognize the one heartbreaking thing about addiction and loved ones is that they have to choose. We can't do it for him. We can't make other people get well, and that sucks, so it makes us feel powerless, right. But thank you so much for the call. Let me know how it goes. I don't know how the Thanksgiving holiday goes and we will be rooting for you. All right. I want to talk real quick about something that's making its way around the interweb.
You probably heard of it. It's called toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is an unrealistic, dismissive, overly optimistic view of the world, and here's the thing, I am a to the death optimist. I was raised and trained by a gentleman named Michael Shaunak, who was the original optimist that I'd ever met. And he he gave me so many cool tips and ideas and perspectives on how to see the world in a more optimistic way. But there's a difference between optimism and toxic positivity, toxic positivity tries to just move away the ugliness and the heaviness of life with Narborough, it's going to be cool and good vibes in these nonsensical Pinterest, Instagram, empty mantras, right in toxic positivity is not the same as positive psychology.
Positive psychology is focused on resilience, control and your mindset, which is controlling the things you can control and letting the other stuff go right. Always looking towards ways you can improve your situation. It's about resilience. It's not about it's all good. Toxic positivity creates a false view of the world. It's all rainbows and butterflies and puppies and unicorns. It's just immature. Quite honestly, if you want to live an authentic life and achieve anything worthwhile, write anything.
You've got to kill the fantasy. Dr. Andrew Young used to tell us all the time during crisis response, facts are your friends when things are good and when things are bad. Facts are your friends, right? If your world's on fire, oh, 20, 20, acknowledge it, acknowledge it. Because here's the thing, toxic positivity hurts people who are experiencing real difficulty when you say things like do just look for the silver lining or it could be worse.
Aw, come on, man. Stop being so negative or suck it up.
Yo, man. Don't say those things to friends who are going through hard things, instead, be present, listen, and just acknowledge the difficulty they're facing. When you when you suppress. Feelings mean when you shove them down, another word for suppress is depress, right? Another word for suppresses depress. Don't depress yourself, don't depress your emotions, don't depress the people around you if people are driving you crazy with their negativity. Step away. Or ask for permission.
So I permission to get my inside here. How are you asking me for my thoughts on the situation? Because another way we can look at it, and that's different than how you just look for the silver lining. You write, toxic positivity is naive and destructive. May we all listen well to those who are suffering and be people of realistic courage in the world? Is Caronna wreaking havoc? Yepp. Is the economic fallout going to be devastating? Yep.
Does the US owe twenty five trillion dollars? Now we're just mail people checks for crying out loud. Is that going to serve us well. Holy smokes man. No. No. Is there fighting going on all over the world? Yep. Is our country incredibly divided? Yep. Our neighbors hating neighbors yupp. Is that a reason to not be optimistic? No, it's not. It just means I got my work cut out for me. That means you've got your work cut out for you.
That means that we all have to lean in this together, but denying it, pretending it's not real is foolish and it hurts people. So let's do away with toxic positivity, let's do away with living by the Instagram quote or the Pinterest quote or the little wooden sign, we hanging out an hour on the new ship lap in our new kitchen's right. And let's get to the hard, gritty work of being actual optimist, of actually working hard to change the situations for the better, being resilient, honoring people, and sometimes just sitting with people and saying, thanks for sharing Suk's.
Thanks for sharing. I'll be praying for you. How can I help? Right. All right. So let's go back to the phones. Take one more. Let's go to Ken in Green Bay, Wisconsin. What's up, Ken? Good morning.
Hey, Dr. Dean, good to talk to you today. You too, brother. How are we doing?
I'm doing all right. How are you doing? All right. Myself. So how can I help, ma'am?
So I'm twenty nine years old. I've kept quite a dark secret all these years. And you're honestly the first. This is the first time I've really ever even spoke of this. So I've seen counselors and therapists, not too many over the years, but in my in my 20s, I've seen a couple and I still never had the courage to really talk of it. So now I just it's been eating at me all these years. And I've just decided that because my life is where it's at right now and some of the habits and the problems I face day to day, I feel like because of this problem I face as a child that it might have something to do with it.
So basically, what happened?
Hey, hold on. Hold on. Before you before you tell me what you're about to tell me, that's quite the setup here. So why me? Why did you choose to whatever's been hanging on for 30 years now, three decades? Why now? Why me? Well, because, you know, I've really enjoyed seeing you on Dave Ramsey show, I really taken a liking to the things that you have to say to callers. And I like your insight.
And I feel like saying this over the phone, not face to face to somebody I don't know at all was a little bit easier.
OK. All right.
Well, I don't know where you're about to head with this, but I appreciate your trust and go for it. So so tell me what you've been sitting on.
So basically, when I was about four or five years old, I was sexually molested by my older brother for quite some time.
Man, I'm so sorry. Thanks. And it just it was so weird. I remember it so vividly, but at the same time, it's so foggy. I don't know if my family really knows about it. I think they do. I have four older brothers. I'm the youngest of five boys. And I just I remember it happening over and over while I shared a room with my older brother. And I don't know why we shared a room.
I don't I don't understand it because we were he's the second oldest and I'm the youngest. So I don't really know how that worked out or whatever. But I do recall it just ending one day it just ended. What was the age difference between you and your brother?
So he is seven and a half years older than me. OK. Hmm. So nothing too significant, but that's a lot.
That's a whole whole lot. Especially if you're talking about three, four and five and 10, 11 and 12. That's a big, big gap.
What makes you think that folks in your family knew or know about this?
Because I just remember I remember it ending abruptly one day. And I and I have this vision. I'm not I'm not sure if it's a dream of this vision, but I remember my mom yelling at my older brother at one moment because I feel like maybe another brother of mine kind of found out or saw what was possibly going on and then told my mom. But I never spoke to my mom about it. I never spoke to anybody about it. And my mom has since passed away.
And I get really upset that I never talk to her about it. And I don't want to bring it up to anybody now, especially my brother, because of how awkward it may be or how, you know, I feel like he's kept this inside to me, you know, so.
So as we dig into this, I need you to remember one key important thing. Somebody took something from you. And from this point forward, you are in control of the narrative. You are in control of the way this plays out. OK? And. I want you to know that it's noble and kind to think about his his feelings, it's noble and kind for you to think about what he might be going through. But the reality is people who suffer abuse at the hands of loved ones often spend their life trying to make sure everybody else is OK.
Yeah, and the one person they don't make sure is OK is them. And so I'm giving you permission, you don't need my permission, but I'm giving it to you anyway, that it's time for you to start caring for you. OK, OK, OK, it sounds like over the years you've dabbled in talking to professionals, you've hemmed and hawed around it because, you know, you weren't well, you knew something was wrong on you inside.
And now it's time to. Decide whether you know what the way things are. Just having said it out loud on the radio in front of millions of people that's out there, I feel better now or you're going to go be about healing and it may or may not end up in sitting down and talking with your brother about what happened.
So. Circling back now that, you know, like you're in control, you've said it out loud. There's several traumas here. One is, yeah, being sexually abused by someone who loves you, your older brother, that's big number two, almost as bad, if not worse. Because, again, your brother's 11, your brother's 12, your brother's 13 during this stuff, not letting him off the hook, but he also is a child, right?
As bad, if not worse, is the thought that my adult mom knew this was happening and didn't do anything or my adult mom did know this was happening. She put a stop to it, but never stopped to ask me if I was OK. Right, and Ken, that's not OK. Did that happen to you? That's wrong, and that sucks. Mm hmm. Totally. And so you said it out loud, and I know you have I'm just assuming here you have fantasized about that conversation with your mom.
You fantasized that conversation about your brothers, with your brothers. You fantasize about having a conversation with the actual brother who hurt you. So I ask you this, what do you want to do? Well, getting the courage to speak to you today about this was was difficult enough, but I do feel like a weight has fallen off my shoulders.
Do you feel. I really do feel different than before. You said that out loud. Yeah, describe that to people listening, because there are millions of people who have suffered things that can't bring themselves to say it out loud and people don't realize what it feels like to just set that cinder block down for a second. Yeah, I mean, I really feel like I was just carrying a backpack full of cinderblocks all these years, I really do. And it just it feels really good to just say it out loud.
I've kept this secret suppressed for all these years, my entire life, essentially. Yeah. And just saying it, it makes me feel like a whole different person.
Well, I appreciate your your trust, your man. I appreciate your bravery. And so going back, what do you what do you want to do now?
Well, I haven't given it a whole lot of thought because I never thought I'd really get the courage to tell you. Yeah, but I do I do feel like I want to discuss this with with at least my other brothers first before I approach the brother that did this to me because I'm a little closer to my other brothers than I am him. But I really don't know. I really don't want my dad still around is alive, but I really don't want to talk to him about it.
We're not very close anyway, but I would like to approach my other brothers and just see if it's something that they were ever aware of or, you know. But I really don't want to drive a wedge between my brother and the other ones, you know, either.
And so a couple of things. You're number one, you're not driving a wedge. That wedge was driven by somebody else. Mm hmm. OK. And it's not your responsibility to continue to make sure your other brother's OK. Mm hmm. It is important to remember that he was a child to. Right, right, but the wedge has been driven. OK, I want to ask you, what do you want to accomplish by having the conversation and there's not a right or wrong answer to this?
But do you want ultimately him to say he was sorry, do you want him ultimately to acknowledge that he hurt you and that he wished he hadn't? What are you hoping to get to? Do you want to see him go to jail? What do you what do you want to see happen? I don't want anything negative to happen to him, and I certainly don't expect an apology because I realized he was a child as well. I guess my main motivator would be to to figure out if this was possibly or excuse me, if this event that happened had any bearing on the way I am today as far as my own issues, my own sexual problems that I may face today with with my own self, you know, did that event have any any cause on this the way I am?
So what sexual problems you have now? Well, growing up, I always had this sort of teeter tottering on whether or not I was gay, right? Know, I never I never felt the urge per say, but I always thought maybe I was. Yeah, I've never, never done anything physical with another man, but I've always had that thought, like maybe I am. And I've always had girlfriends. I have a girlfriend now. And, you know, I always thought, what if I'm bisexual?
What is this? What is that? Because because of this event. Because it's screwed up my whole head. Yeah. You know, I have porn, porn addiction, pornography, I watch often, you know, I, I somewhat abuse alcohol, not terribly, but I somewhat abuse it. I have an addictive personality.
Yeah. So I just wonder if these issues are because of this. I think it's a futile exercise to look for a particular pinpoint cause of X and Y and Z. I also think the answer to all those questions is going to be in some shape or form or fashion.
Yes. One of the most damning things about sexual abuse, about abuse of any kind, is it makes you start doubting yourself. It plans all kinds of different questions and seeds in your heart and mind that wouldn't have been there in the first place. And it fractures. Connection because it weaponize his relationships, right, your body begins to associate closeness and love with hurt, and the only thing that keeps us well is relationships. That's it. And that's the demon.
That's the forest fire that will rage through family trees for years is disconnection. That makes us anxious and it makes us depressed. And it makes us look to shut off those alarms with varying sorts of addiction. And you just name several of them, right? It makes us not trust ourselves and spend our whole lives performing to make sure everyone around us is OK. And it's exhausting, right?
Oh, big time. Yeah. And so here's you can take this for what it is you have permission to do whatever you want to do in this situation, OK?
Mm hmm. Before you go meet with your other brothers, I would recommend sitting down with with a counselor that you trust and being honest for the first time. Being absolutely honest. I would have I want you to to mention to that councillor your plan to go to your other brothers before your your the offending brother.
Mm hmm. Without knowing more about your family dynamics, and again, we only have 10 minutes or 15 minutes, you're on the radio. I feel like going directly to that brother after you've got some healing and some some very specific questions to ask that you can work through with a trauma counselor and again, this isn't a lifetime event.
I think you can go meet with somebody and get to them. I think you can meet with somebody and get to some specific questions and goals very quickly. You're a real articulate guy.
You've obviously thought through this for a long, long time. But I want you to recognize what's about to happen to you. OK, you put this out there. You've said it now. Once you take the lid off this thing, you're going to be filled with rage that you've been keeping down for a long, long time, you're going to be and you can have rage and it's going to spew at everybody, OK? You are going to continue to look at every single disagreement in your life and want to blame and push and point.
Some of that will be accurate. Some of it won't. And you're going to feel things that you haven't ever felt because they've been buried underneath this deal, OK? That's why it's real important to have somebody to walk with you during this next season. OK, and it's not a life again, it's not a lifetime of you're going to be in therapy for the rest of your life, that doesn't mean that you're not going to heal relationships. But it does mean that by taking the cover off this thing, you're going to have to deal with some stuff you haven't dealt with.
You're probably going to have some regrets that you've made in your life that you're going to have to work back through and forgive yourself for. And you might need to end up calling your girlfriend and saying, I'm sorry about some things.
Letting her in on this conversation, right? But at some point, sitting down with your offending brother, if he'll have the conversation when you're ready to rock and roll, that may be a real healing for you. And after meeting with a counselor and talking through specifically what happened, going through a trauma narrative, learning some some coping skills that don't involve pornography, that don't involve alcohol, that don't involve yelling and flying off the handle or whatever other challenges you experience.
You may realize, dude, I'm not going to have a conversation with him. There's no need to. There's no need to. I'm not going to get the closure I was looking for, I'm not going to get the apology that I desperately want, or maybe you will, right?
Right. But that's true, but I want you to keep in mind you're in control of how this plays out, but I also want you to keep in mind that now that you said it out loud, there's going to be some who some instant release, some instant, like you said, breaks down.
You're going to put those cinder blocks on the ground and now that real work is going to start. Because now you've acknowledged it. And I want you to be a good steward of you, can I want you to love my buddy Ken for the first time, and I want you to start by asking somebody who is a professional to walk alongside you and you've got to be honest with them. I will certainly do the same. OK. I'm really appreciate it.
I'm proud of the call. I'm proud of your bravery. And if you were just walking out to take the trash out tonight and you burst into tears, I want you to know that's OK. And if your girlfriend calls tonight and says, hey, I can't I can't get together tonight, let's do it tomorrow, and you just feel rage, race through your body, I want you to know that's OK. It's how you handle it on the back end.
That's that's going to determine character. Right. But now you're just taking step one of a long healing process, OK.
As you make your way through this, I want you to reach out to me again. I want to know how the conversation with the counselor goes. I want to know a couple like a month from now, a couple of weeks from now, as you begin to wrestle with this and you start to imagine sitting down at a table in your living room with your brother, what that conversation will be like. And let's keep talking, let's keep talking, because I want to hear how this thing plays out.
I want to honor your bravery, brother, and. I mean, I'm proud of you for saying it out loud, proud of you for taking that cinder block out of your backpack that somebody else put in there. And just setting it down. Setting it down, not carrying it anymore. My hope is that the spring returned to your doorstep, a spring that you may have never known, Ken. And you're able to connect with your girlfriend, you're able to stop having intimacy with fantasies, with people on a computer, and you're able to have intimacy with real people in real life.
And that's going to be a process. You're going have to learn how to do that.
You're going to quit drinking when you get scared, quit drinking when you feel alone, you quit drinking when you feel shame and be able to lean into real people. And you're going have to learn how to do that because that was taken from you at a young age.
And I hope that you get to a place of forgiveness. And that's the last final brick to set down. But the healing starts today. My brother and I'm proud of you, Ken. I'm proud of you. We'll be thinking about you and me praying for you and your family, my friend. So as we wrap up the show, I want to lean into a great song written by Stephen Jenkins. So if the self-titled album. Third eye blind.
Called motorcycle drive by Stephen Wright's summertime in the wind is blowing outside and lower Chelsea and I don't know what I'm doing in the city and the sun is always in my eyes and it crashes through the windows. I'm sleeping on the couch. When I came to visit you, that's when I knew that I could never have you. And I knew that before you did. Still, I'm the one who's stupid. And there's this burning like there's always been and I've never been so alone.
And I've never been so alive in visions of you on a motorcycle drive by the cigarette ash flies in your eyes and you don't mind and you smile and say the world doesn't fit with you.
I don't believe you. You're so serene, just careening through the universe, your axis on a tilt, you're guiltless and free. I hope you take a piece of me with you. And there's things I'd like to do that you don't believe in. And I would like to build something, but you'll never see it happen. And there's this burning like there's always been. And I've never been so alone and I've never been so alive. I've never been so alone and I've never been so alive.
This has been the Dr. John Delonas show.