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Coming up on the Dr. John Deloney show.


To put it plainly, I suck at being married. I'm on my third one. It's on thin ice now. I have trouble working together on projects. She wants to help. She asks me questions. I shrink into myself. I shut down.


Why haven't you sat down and said, hey, I want to bring you into my life? I can't. Steve, are you in somebody else? Hey, what's up? This is John with the Dr. John Deloney show, taking your calls on mental and emotional health in your marriage and relationships. That crummy interaction you have with your boss to start the new year, or you and your spouse, you'll just want your marriage to be different. You don't know where to start. Are you getting that kid coming in? And they might as well be from another planet because you don't even know what in the world's going on. Whatever you have going on in your life, when it comes to your relationships, your emotional, mental health, actually, I'll just comment on anything if you want to. But those are the things I kind of know about that and how much the Astros are superior to all of the baseball teams. I'm sorry, who won the World Series? Here we go. Here we go.


I don't think it was the Astros.


Was, listen, it's good to just spread the love every once in a while. Listen. Of the Rangers, the Yankees and Alabama football found out, the Patriots. What happens when you win every year? Everybody just hates you. So every couple of years, the Astros, they take one for the team, they lose pretty much.


I think everybody hates the Astros, too.


Yeah. Right. So if you are struggling with a coworker, because your coworker is judgmental and I mean relatively insane and can't see up or down, has no clear understanding about how rational thinking works, I think.


If people out there get it.


Exactly. So I'm the guy to help. I'm the guy to help because God helped me for what I have to deal with here on the show. But if you want to be on the show, give me a buz at 1844-693-3291 it's 1844-693-3291 or go to Askask and please, it makes such a huge difference. Subscribe to the show on YouTube, please. We're really doing a subscription drive this year. The numbers of this show have just grown. We have countless more people with us on a regular basis. It's really exciting and we're going to really push for subscribes and likes, and so please, please help us out but more importantly than us, man, we're fine. Help out your neighbor who just doesn't know, and they're going to finally get the courage to go stick into the YouTube heading. They're going to Google into the top of YouTube. I know that just doesn't make sense, but they're going to write in the search in YouTube, like, my marriage is falling apart. How do I help? And if you keep hitting the subscribe button, it really gives them an opportunity to have this show dumped into their algorithm, and they can get the life change that they need.


So thank you so, so much for all of your help. All right, let's go out to Dallas, Texas. Oh, great. Probably another Rangers fan and talk to Steve. Hey, Steve. What's up? Hey.


I was going to say, with the Astros and the know, once a cheater, always a it.


I knew loud.


We got our first know.


I'll give you this one. It feels good the first time, doesn't. It's just so amazing.


It was amazing. And I lived in Houston for a couple years, so I feel your love.


All right, I'm there. Astros rule for you. Astros rule. All right. What's up, Steve?


By the way, Steve, you're a very smart human, and I think you're the.


Put it plainly, I suck at being married. I'm on my third one. It's on thin ice now. We've been together nine years and married almost five. A couple of things. I have trouble working together on projects that she thinks we should, like cleaning out the garage or working on the barn, taking care of the lawn, stuff like that. She wants to help. She asks me questions or make suggestions or whatever, and I shrink into myself. I shut down. I get short with my answers and comments to her. I normally feel like I do best just figuring it out myself and doing it that way. Secondly, I've hidden purchases from her over the years. I've had my family buy gifts for friends with my own spending money, but I haven't told her about it. Tried to hide things I've done from her. For instance, I was going to go hunting, and I decided to go fishing instead, and I didn't tell her until she found out afterwards. I've also talked with my brother about things that she does that bothers me, but I've exaggerated them and I've not told the whole truth or told the entire story accurately.


These tendencies have definitely increased over the past year or two. I feel controlled by her discipline with money or her questioning me about things. So I've resorted to not sharing some things in an effort to avoid her questioning me on things. That's part of the problem. I feel like I have to ask permission for some things that I really feel I really normally shouldn't have to ask for. Obviously, nothing justifies what I've done, but I feel controlled. I feel like these things eke out of me as a cry for autonomy. I definitely don't want to be anonymous. I just want some autonomy. I feel like I'm lacking autonomy. She's found out about all of these things, so now she has, of course, severe trust issues. She's plainly stated that I'll never gain her trust again, which I understand. Definitely. I can say that asking forgiveness is not better than asking for permission. So there's no justification for my actions. But I do feel like they're a reactive behavior, and I just don't know how to, I guess, stand up for myself on some things that I feel like I should be able to do or want to do without getting pushed back.


And then it gets all jumbled up and it turns into a mess.


So it sounds like you're taking full ownership. So I'm going to hold you to your word. You're taking your ownership. It sounds like you've done some stupid stuff that I wouldn't advise anyone to do. It also sounds like you're married to a brutal person.


She's not brutal, for sure.


Let's do this. I want to circle back. You said you're not good at being married. Are these the same patterns that showed up in marriage one and two? Why did those marriages fall apart?


First one, I felt I was too controlling in the relationship, and it was not really sure why it fell apart. I know that I had parts. I was just too controlling over stupid little things like hanging your towel on a rack and stuff like that.


And she left you?


She did.






All right.


The second one was only six months. It's a long story, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place. I don't know how to really describe that, but it wasn't a match from the beginning.


Okay. The hard part about what you just described with your current wedding. Marriage, not wedding, but your current marriage is. It's really tough to chicken or egg. It has. She found herself increasingly more controlling and paying attention to everything and really trying to hem you in because you're just a dude who just is dishonest and you just kind of do your own life and you don't want anyone. You kind of want a wife, but you want the idea of a wife, but you don't want to do the work that it takes to have a real wife. And she is clinging so tightly to just shreds of intimacy and relationship that you're starting to get choked by it. Or, man, you've really worked hard. Yeah, you've been a knucklehead, but for crying out loud, I'm going hunting. And so now I'm going fishing. I don't know, that needs to be a big public announcement. But then here comes the grinch and she is yelling, I can't believe you lied to me. And you're like, dude, it doesn't. It's fish, not birds, right? Or fish, not deer. What's the big deal? So what do you think is.


What do you think it is?


I go back and forth on it and I think obviously a little bit of both. I felt probably a little constricted and then just wanted to do my own thing. And then she found out about that and then it's gotten probably tighter. And then I've reacted more in response to that over the years.




She'S got her radar on, which I know is what you've said. Her radar is working perfectly, so she's hypersensitive or on the lookout for things. That makes me want to just do more things. Part of it is I feel he's going to have an issue with something. So I just like the fishing instead of hunting. So I just went and did it. And then she found out later, so I want to share those things with her, but I feel like everything, a lot of things, are kind of a bigger production.


All right, so why have you never said that exact sentence? Because I hunt a lot and I'm trying to think if I told my wife, hey, we're heading out to go hunting tomorrow morning, and I leave way before she. I leave like at four in the morning. So I head out and I get to where we're going, and one of my budies shows up and he's like, dude, let's go fishing. And I'm like, no. And he talks me into it.




I can't imagine that I would feel this big, feel compelled. I might text my wife once I knew she was awake, just in case something happened, that she would know I'm on a lake somewhere. But we have that trust established that she'd be like, you're not here. I don't care what you're doing. You see what I'm saying, right? I'm trying to even make that a big deal in my house. And it's just not. But why haven't you sat down and said, hey, I want to bring you into my life, but I can't?


We have. I don't feel there was a big resolution on it. But that was our latest conversation, was, I want to share these things with her, but I don't feel that I can sometimes.


But can you not? Because she is an overbearing nag.


It's her way of the hell for sure.


Is that true? Or is it because you don't want to? You don't want to do marriage with somebody. You just want your own life. You don't want anyone tell you how to do the yard. You don't want to tell you when to do the yard. You want anyone to tell you about your clothes, your life, your house, anything. I want the towel hung up where I want it hung up. I want everything to be the way it is. And what you're looking for, actually, is you want a maid, you want an employee.


No, not that, for sure.


Okay, then what is it, man? Because here's the deal. At the end of the day, you all are choosing this misery that you have, right? Both of you all are making choices for everything in your life to suck. And I can't wrap my head around why you're choosing this.


Ordinarily, we have this amazing, connected relationship. We even share the same pillow around us.


I'm just kidding.


I just figured you'd say that. We travel with one pillow and we share it, and we are like siamese twins when we sleep.


Okay, so why do you lie about your wife to your brother?


I felt more and more stifled about.


I don't give a crap about that. I don't care how you felt. Why did you lie about your wife to your brother?


I know. That's the scum part that I've done.


Just answer the question, though. Yo. Are you trying to distance yourself from your wife? Are you trying to be cool in front of your brother? Why did you lie about your wife to your brother? What did that get you?


Nothing. It got her angry at me.


Why did you hide purchases? In my world, I call that financial infidelity. Why did you cheat on your wife when it comes to money, even routing. Even laundering money through family members to buy things for other people?


Yeah, I don't have an excuse for it.


So your wife's not here. I think that you're covering up for in a pretty noble way. But she sounds like she's tough on you, but I can't talk to her. She's not here.




What I'm going to tell you. Go ahead. Sorry.


We have some different views on money.


What is your view on money? You should be able to spend it whenever you want, whatever you want. Because it's yours.


No, not at all. Our money is combined. We get a little bit of spending money each month for each other. That's supposed to be fun, play unaccountable money, and most time it is. I think she wonders what I spend it on.


Steve, are you seeing somebody else?


No, not a chance.


Not a. I'm. The more you're talking, the more I'm thinking, the more something feels off. I feel like I'm missing a piece of a puzzle here.


No, there is absolutely zero. I'm not even in the same universe.




Promise you on that.




I just like to go. I feel like if I went and bought lunch for myself out. She's wondering what I did for lunch. And I didn't save the receipt for our taxes, and so it's still accountable. I feel like I just want to go get some lunch.


Is it because she loves you? Is that her way of trying to connect with you? Hey, man, what do you have for lunch today?


Yeah, it is for sure. And then for some reason, I feel like she's keeping tabs on me. Is she about that?


Is she?


I don't think so.




I really don't think so.


Then here's the deal. You have to decide, because the things you've told me can be one of two things. And I'm just being honest. And it's hard in this short of a conversation, especially without her. If you ever want to call back with her on the phone, that would be fun, man. But here's the deal. Either she is borderline pathological, she's like the deep state. She wants to know what you ate, eat, where you are at all times. She wants to know what you spend and why you spent it and who you spent it with. And you can't have a marriage like that unless somebody cheated on somebody and you are reestablishing trust. And then for a season, you have to live like that. Sure, right. Either that's the case, or there is a woman who is desperately. She is so desperately trying to connect with you. She asks you about lawn care, for God's sakes. And you're just like, leave me alone, lady. What'd you have for lunch today? My God, will you quit hassling me? Well, hey, I'll do the taxes. Did you get the receipt? Oh, my. And, bro, why.


That'S what I was hoping to get help with. I don't know why I have this. That's why you're the one. She's not a nag. She cares about me. We care deeply about each other. But I resist some things, and I don't know why.


Why do you hate Steve?


I don't know.


You can't stand Steve. And if Steve gets brought out of a shadow at any level, from what Steve had for lunch, for who Steve dated in high school, to what Steve's thinking, steve feels buck naked in Times Square, totally exposed and terrified, and he lashes out. Or he goes undercover to keep Steve from being seen, because Steve doesn't want anyone to see Steve, because Steve doesn't like Steve. True or false? Do you struggle with pornography?




What's your advice?


My vice is, well, I like to buy things.


How much have you bought that she doesn't know about?


That she doesn't know about nothing. She knows about everything.


Okay, here's the deal. I love you enough to tell you this, brother. This ends in divorce unless you decide that you're worth being in a relationship with, period. And that means you have to let some people connect with you. And if something like. My goodness. When I used to do a lot of cris. Response stuff, I was showing up to people's homes, and there was dead bodies, there was body parts, there were brains all over the place. And my wife tried to connect with me, and I finally said, hey, you don't want to know what I'm seeing at night. I don't feel comfortable talking about it. But I will tell you, last night was a really rough one. And when I say that, it would really mean a lot to me if you just give me a hug or. One night after I had to show up and there was some kids that had passed away. It was a real gnarly situation. I woke up. I went in my kid's room, in Hank's room. He was really young, and I just held him, and he was dead asleep. And then I come out of his room, and it was, like, in the middle of the night.


I had to hold my son. The next morning, my wife was like, man, what were you doing? And I was like, hey, I don't want to talk about. So there's that. If you feel that strongly about the yard, hey, this is my sacred space. And I know it's so weird, but I feel awkward talking about the yard. Be honest and be brave enough, be a man enough to say, here's what I need. But it's just cruel to beat up somebody for wanting to connect with the man that she said she loves, especially if the only reason he doesn't want to connect is because he doesn't love himself, right? Do you believe you're worth being loved, man?




Who I think you are? Here's my path forward for you, man. And I know this is brief. You and I could probably talk for another couple of hours, and I'd love just to go have a drink with you one day. I get a sense from you that it is exhausting to be you. That's how much grief you carry about you, how much disdain. And you have to hear me say, my friend, please, I know we're on the phone and you can't see me. Please listen to this. Your wife is trying to love you, and you're worth that love, period. Any story counter to that is not true. It's a lie. And so the goal here is to stop running from that woman loves me and to start leaning into, okay, I'm going to practice being uncomfortable in her presence. I'm going to tell her that I love you so much. And every time you try to connect with me, my body screams, you're not worth her. And it has to stop now. And that's nothing she's going to have to fix. You're going to have to be the guy that says, I am going to allow myself to be seen.


And that's going to start with you keeping a daily journal practice. That's going to be you deciding on a weekly basis to sit with your wife and say, how can I love you this week? That's going to be you deciding to go see a counselor because you have to go seek some professional help for this. Period, dude. Period. Stay on the line. I'll get you three free months with my friends at betterhelp. I'll at least get you going. You can start seeing somebody within the next 24, 48 hours. But it sounds to me like your wife is desperate and she's getting to the end of her rope. She's saying, dude, I've been trying to connect with you for so long, and I'm tired of going to war and get my handbit off every time I reach out to hold yours. You have to decide to enter into a season of discomfort where you learn to love yourself, where you learn what it feels like to be loved from someone else. When you learn to drop your shoulders and say, I don't care how the yard works, because that's my wife, I don't care where my towels are today.


That's my wife. And then in those moments that you do need something, you don't say, you need to do this. You say, hey, when I go to lunch, I don't think it through. I just order like a sandwich or whatever. I don't pay attention. And when I get home, for some reason, it feels like I'm being attacked. I feel attacked. I'm working on that. But I promise, if I don't know what I had for lunch, I didn't keep the receipt. I'm not trying to hide anything from you. I love you. I just don't think through lunch that much. But I can't wait for dinner. I feel like this one's going to be a long time working through. Steve, you call me anytime and we'll get you back on the show, man. Those are a few steps you can get going. Hang on the line. We'll hook you up with betterhelp. And I'll hook you up with building a non anxious life. My latest book give you a place to start. We'll be right back. Today's show is made possible by some of the best potions and powders on the planet. Organifi. I first bought organifi with my own money after several of my brilliant, muscled up friends kept ranting and raving about how great they were.


And now I take them every single day. Even my wife and kids are in on it, and they're an essential part of my wellness routine. Y'all know that I take a number of supplements every single day depending on what my goals are and what I'm trying to accomplish. But overall, organifi has helped me reduce the number of individual supplements I take by bringing some of these things all together. Here's the deal. Organifi makes everything easy because it's a powder that you mix with water and they also have capsule supplements. And after you drink it, you're off to the races, off to better digestive health or off to deep sleep. Here's an example of some of the things I take every day. I take the green juice and the red juice all the time. The green juice levels me out and gives me the critical micros that I need. And the red juice gets me ready to rock and roll in the morning without mainlining caffeine. My family and I have also been taking immunity for daily immune support while everyone we know has been getting sick and not feeling well. These products are some of the cleanest in the world.


They're delicious. Even my kids will take them. They've become some of my favorite goto supplements. Organifi is hooking up our show listener gang with 20% off all organifi products, even the kids line. Go to deloney or use promo code Deloney at checkout. That's deloney, or use promo code deloney at checkout. All right, let's go out to Danville, Illinois, and talk to Jane. What's up, Jane?


Hey, what's up?


Partying. What are you doing?


Sitting here chatting with you. I have a question.


Okay. What's up? Okay.


So, one morning, I was listening to your podcast, and you said, we marry our unfinished business. And I have never heard anyone say that before. And I was wondering if you could explain what that means.


Oh, yeah, I would love to. That's a great question. I don't even remember when I said that. I've probably said that multiple times on this show. Some would go as far as to say, it is a nervous system wiring. It's that deeply embedded in you. But I know it's common vernacular among therapists, particularly relationship therapists. And here's the idea. Let's say you're a little girl. Let's do this. Let's make you the example. Can we make you the example, jane? Sure. Okay. Tell me about how you grew up. Tell me about your dad.




I didn't meet my dad until I was in my.




Where'd he go?


I don't know. I met him. I flew out to Colorado as medium. Then he came back to Illinois to visit for a little.


No, no. Why did he leave you in the first? Like, why did a dad abandon the most precious thing on planet earth, which is a little girl?


What I was told from my mom was that when she told him that she was pregnant, he left.




So I never knew him my whole life. My aunt found a newspaper clipping, and she sent it to me when I was in my. These are your grandparents, and so I looked them up. They live in the same hometown that I grew up in. I don't live in that hometown anymore. And so found him, got in touch with him. Things were great. Flew out to Colorado, met. Then I came back home, obviously. And then he came for a visit to Illinois, and we exchanged letters, and he would send gifts for me and my husband and my kids and things like that. And that went on for a little while. And then he started. I don't know. It was really weird. He wanted to come and visit me, but he would call me and ask me questions. About my mom. And then he would call my mom and ask her questions about me, and she told him, if you're just coming to get with me, then stay where you're at. But if you're coming to see Jane, then absolutely come and visit her. And he was coming to visit me, but he would call me and ask me if he would be okay to stay with my mom.


So it was, like, really weird. So when she told him that, he never contacted me ever again. And so I haven't heard from him since. And I'm fine with that. I've lived 30 years without him. I don't think about it anymore. I figure I found out what I needed to know about my past on his side of the family. I did meet my grandparents. They were wonderful people. And I'm just really grateful that I grew up with my mom and her parents and not the other way around.




So, tell me about. Tell me about your mom.


Much of it.


My mom, she just passed away a little over a year ago. In April, it'll be two years. And she. Gosh, she had three kids by three different people. She was married, but the people that she was married to was not the fathers of any of us.


Did you have a household of stepdads?


Not a whole lot. Maybe, like two or three. One of them wasn't for very long. Mainly, we grew up. My mom lived with her parents. So my entire life, until I moved out for college, I lived with my grandparents and my mom.


Okay, so I'm going to take a wild. Just these kind of statements, like, you marry your unfinished business, those aren't always etched in concrete. Okay. But it would not be uncommon for someone who had experienced the life you experienced. And I want to be real clear to the listener. Jane, can you and I just talk, like, super? No one's listening to us except for a couple million people. Is that cool? Real quick. Just a private to the side.




You gave me the very sanitized version of your childhood fair.


Yes, very sanitized.




Very, very sanitized. Okay. So it would not be uncommon for someone who grew up in the home that you grew up in to very much be a pursuer and a people pleaser, someone who made sure everybody else was okay?


Oh, yeah, that's me. 100%.


Okay. So when I say you marry your unfinished business, the sentiment is your nervous system. This isn't a character issue or what your body is asking, what was so bad about me that that guy left all those years ago?




What was so bad about me that stepdad a came in for just a little bit and hung out with me and then took off. Is that not good enough for him, either? And then what happens is your body asks that question over and over and over and over and over again. What about me? What is so bad about me? And you start to solve that problem, nobody will have any sweat on their glasses. I'm going to wipe it all off. Everyone's going to have a meal in front of them. The laundry is going to be done. I am going to be. And without thinking it, without meaning to, you find yourself in another romantic relationship where you're chasing and you end up trying to prove yourself to somebody else and to somebody else, into somebody else. No, I'm worth it. I'm worth it. I promise I'm worth it. I promise I'm worth it.




And so that doesn't mean that's who you end up with over time. That doesn't mean that that plays its way out in every situation. But if you, Jane, have found yourself exhausted in marriage over the last 15, 2030 years, or you've got kids now that you love, you love your husband, but not one person has ever asked, jane, what do you want to do? Then there might be worth asking. Have you spent your adult life trying to make sure that nobody ever leaves you again, even if that cost you the things that you were really interested in? The big, curious questions about how the universe worked that you wanted to pursue, but you were too busy making sure everybody else could pursue them. And that may not be you. I don't want to cast that on you, but I'm just using you as an example of that would be marrying your unfinished business. And sometimes you marry somebody who's amazing and he'll never leave. Often, people who went through what you went through as a kid are on marriage number four, because they marry people who leave, and they try so desperately to solve that, and they can't because it was never their problem to begin with.


Your dad left because something was wrong with that dude, not you.




How's that ringing true?


The husband part? He's my first husband. We've been married for 28 years. And 29 years. We just had an anniversary in November.




Thank you. But the people pleaser. Definitely. That is 100% me. I'm very much a people pleaser. I'll apologize for things that.


Just to keep the peace. There you go.


But, yeah, I know my sister and I have different views on the way we see my mom as we grew up. So I don't know I'm just always, like, trying to see the positive of things.


And here's the deal. You're probably both right, by the way, and we are both right. Yeah, we are.


Because I agree with what she says. But I guess I just choose to see the positive and not dwell on the negative.


And what I would tell you is when I say something like, your body knows you go looking every day for the most positive attributes your mom has. Because why not? Right? Why not? What is just at this stage in the game, what is revisiting all this ugly going to do? Right?




Let's find the positive and let's sit on that. There's some real value in that. But you have to honor both sides of the ledger because your body is still trying to protect you all the time. So if your mom was unstable yet she showed up and provided if your mom paraded a bunch of unsafe men through your house, through a household of little girls, but, man, we never missed a freaking meal. Both things are true. And there's some safety in that where you exhale and drop your shoulders and you're like, I'm never going to miss a meal with her. The heat is never going to get turned off because she works her butt off. She'll do whatever it takes. And there's a high alert in your nervous system waiting for who's coming in the door next. Or in your case, who's going to leave next.


I know my kids have pointed out to me a lot that I get very judgmental. Not judgmental, but defensive. When somebody judges me, I get very defensive.


Because that's all you got. Because if you're found to be less than, boom, now they have reason to go, which is your body's worst possible fear. It sounds like you did not marry your unfinished business. So kudos to you. Did you marry an amazing guy?


That's good.


Did you marry an amazing man?






He's not perfect, but I'm not perfect.


I am. Of course. None of us are, right? None of us are.


None of us. But no, he's a great husband, great father.


Awesome. The idea. So, hey, great question. The idea of marrying your unfinished business is those core issues that came up when we were kids. Why did you leave? How did I make you so angry that you had to hit me that much? Why was perfection? Why were my grades and how nice my bed was made? Why was that more important than you hugging me? Those things get wired into us and we go looking to solve that problem down the road. And I'll keep saying this till I'm blue in the face. That problem is never the kid. It's always the adult in the room. And then we often crash into a spouse and our body goes, ah, this one feels familiar. I'll solve this one. This guy's really aggressive, and I see how angry he is, but I'm going to be so loving, he won't hit me. I'm going to fix this cosmic loop, and then, bam. This guy, I could tell, man. I could feel it. He leaves, he cheats. He's not going to cheat on me. I'm going to be the most perfect wife who ever existed. My dad cheated on my mom. My granddad cheated on my grandmother.


It stops with me. And that dude goes and cheats, too, because your body's solving for homeostasis and safety all the time, and those two things collide. Great question, Jane. Thank you so, so much. I want to tell you, man, I'm proud of you. Because for a sanitizer, as you told that you grew up in a really tough, tough environment, and it sounds like, of course, you're not perfect, but it sounds like you stood in front of the fire and you've changed things for your family. You've got a steady marriage over 30 years. You got grown kids proud of you. You've given your kids a chance to continue to change that legacy into something that's going to be beautiful. You planted seeds to trees you're never going to get to eat the fruit of. I'm proud of you, Jay. We'll be right back. Hey, it's Deloney. Lint is one of the cornerstones of the christian faith, and it's got a bad rap over the years. People think it's just like a month in a week, like 40 days of giving up a thing like candy or alcohol or whatever, until we can get to Easter and we can finally get back to poisoning ourselves with junk food or staying up too late or whatever bad habits we tried to cut out.


Lent is so, so much more than just abstaining from some vice. Lint is about entering into a season of 40 days of reflection, prayer, and, yes, fasting. It's about finding meaning, purpose, discipline, and finding connection with God and finally letting go of trying to control everything. If you've grown up in a christian faith and you've heard about Lent and you want to jump in with both feet this year, or if you're not a person of faith and you're always wondering what your coworkers are talking about during the season, my friends at Hallow have created the 40 day Lent prayer challenge. It's going to be an incredible 40 days meditating on the theme of surrender, and it's going to be led by Mark Wahlberg. Yes, that mark Wahlberg, Jonathan Rumi, and more. There's going to be lint themed music, stories, prayers, and even special things for your kids. I personally am going to take on the challenge, and I hope you'll join me and millions of others across the globe. Hallow is the number one prayer app in the world, and for listeners of this show, you get three free months of Hallow, all 10,000 plus prayers, meditations, music, the lecture series, all of it by going to deloney.


That's three free months of the app at hallow. slash deloney. All right, let's go down the street to my hometown, nashville, and talk to Lexi. What's up, Lexi?


Hi. How's it going?


Rocking and rolling. What are you up to?


Good. Nothing much. Just trying to calm my nerves about this call.


You're all good. What's up?


Okay, so I have a kind of description that I'm just going to read because this topic is even hard for me to kind of explain, so I hope that's okay. But of course, I am a very anxious, and I guess you could say paranoid person. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression around four months ago, but my doctor felt like the main cause of that was my sleeping habits. As long as I can remember, I've been scared of very irrational things. It's pretty embarrassing to admit, honestly, since I'm an adult now, but I remember feeling this way as a child and I feel like it got a lot worse in high school. But as an adult, I still struggle with this. It affects my everyday life. I can pinpoint certain characters that I've seen in tv shows or on the news that trigger me more than others, but mostly when I'm alone or when it's dark. My mind is pretty much convinced that the same episodes I've seen on these tv shows are going to happen to me, even though I know it's not real. So I don't sleep well because I'm super anxious. I have one eye open, and I just last night was up for hours with just super anxious and paranoid thoughts.


I know that's a lot.


Well, I was going to say, welcome to my club. I am happy to have you. As another charter member, you just described me about twelve years ago.


That makes me feel good.


It is awesome to have you.


Thank you. I really hope you can help because I've seen three or four therapists over the years, and nobody's ever been able to help me or even give me sound advice that helps me get to the next step. So I'm like. I feel like if anybody could help, it would be you.


Well, I appreciate that. What are some things that they have told you to? What are some attempts they have made in the past?


So the first therapist I saw, I was in high school. My mom had just seen multiple episodes of me having pretty much panic attacks because I would get so scared of things that were clearly not real. So I went to a therapist, and his ideas were to. At the time, I was scared of taking a shower when I was alone because I had seen a show where a serial killer killed girls in the shower. So I would not shower if nobody was home. So he just encouraged me to do that when no one was there and prove to myself that nothing was going to happen. And that didn't really help at all. And then as an adult, I've seen therapists, and they pretty much just tell me to change my thoughts or to pray. And as much as I want that to help, it just hasn't done anything for me.


Oh, man. Hey, if you were here, I would ask, is it okay if I just hug you for a minute? I'm sorry.


Yeah, it's pretty hard. I'm really over it.


I could see. So the guy you actually saw in high school was closer to the truth.




Now, had I been working with a teenager, I would not have done it that way because it's pretty abrupt. What he was doing was the nerd word is exposure therapy. And so let's take a snake. Let's say you have a phobia of a snake and you can't breathe. You don't sleep like, snake, snake, snake, snake, snake. Snakes. Right?




What they'll do, especially with youngsters, but even with adults, is they will start with you just sitting in the room, and I want you to imagine a snake, and we'll do that for, like. And then we'll play a game just to cleanse your mental palate. And then, all right, for 5 seconds, for 15 seconds, you're going to picture a snake, and then it moves gradually towards. You're going to color a coloring book that I have here, which is clearly children's cartoons of snakes. You're going to color it. We're going to do it together. And as an adult, you feel like, this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever done. It's embarrassing, but you color it and what you're slowly doing over time and you end up with the last session is he brings in a giant snake or you all go to the zoo and you hold a snake together, because what you've done is you've gently, over time, taught your body tiny step by tiny step that we're going to be okay. Now, I want to suggest to you something totally different. That's what he was trying to do. And I actually think there would have been some help there back when you were a kid.


But just going, basically what he did was, all right, just go to the zoo and hold a snake. You'll be fine. Your body was pretty much. He skipped a bunch of steps. But I want to ask you a different kind of question. Okay.




What if your body's right?


That's a good question. Let me ask you this.


I'm going to say this and it's going to sound crazy. I don't think there's something wrong with.




I don't think something's wrong with you. I want to at least sit for a minute with the idea that Lexi's body is working perfectly. So if that was the case and we backed out 30,000ft and I was sitting right next to you. So we're all good.




What is Lexi scared of?


That's a good question. I've tried to think about this a few times and it's.


Let me say it differently. I asked it wrong.




What is Lexi's body trying to protect her?


I. I really don't like the feeling of being scared. I think that's, like, above a layer above where I guess you're probably trying to go. But I don't like the feeling of being scared is something I think I'm scared of.






And so, for example, last night I heard it was storming in Nashville.


I'm sure you heard it was madhouse. My daughter ended up in our bed. Yeah, it was a whole. Yeah.


Oh, gosh. Yeah, it was loud. And I heard something that ended up being. Our shutter fell off her house. But in the middle of the night, I heard the bang. And in my head I was like, okay, someone just came in our backyard. They're going to come kill us. My kids are going to have to watch. I had these crazy thoughts spiraling throughout my head and I fully believed that that was about to happen. And the feeling of the anxiety and just the waiting, I guess, is really what triggers me the most was like, I couldn't relax because I just was so sure something was coming, and I don't know.


I want to suggest something else. Yeah, that's a drug for Lexi, okay? You get high off the flood of adrenaline and cortisol, and here it comes. It's showtime. It's game time now. And when you don't have that in your real life, and maybe you grew up, you and I could sit down for an hour, and by the way, you're Nashville. Come down and visit me in the studio. That'd be fun. We can hang out. But you're like, yeah, for sure. Never going to happen, ever. If you grew up in a wild situation, in an unsafe home, your body put a gps pin in in these moments of I'm free falling. Okay. And maybe you didn't. Maybe you grew up in a perfectly safe home. Cool. But if.


No, I did.


Okay. You grew up in chaos or not.


Yeah, in chaos.


Okay, so think of it this way. Your body put a gps pin in. At any moment, this thing comes down, and it is simply all the time. 24 7365. Your body is trying to take care of Lexi.




It's just trying to take care of you. And so it has put a bunch of gps pins in darkness and in noise and in hovering, scary pictures. Do you have abuse in your background?


Not physically, but mental? Yeah. I had a pretty rough relationship with my dad, and there were quite a few episodes that happened as a child. My mom is convinced that that's what this is all rooted in.


But when somebody says, like, oh, it's all rooted in this, what they're going to tell you is, so now that's not there, just get over it.




And what I want to tell you is it's baked into your nervous system. It's part of you. So your body is working great. The one freaking guy that was supposed to take care of be the safe, warm place for his daughter went to war with her. Right?




And so you pull that image away and your brain goes searching for the next image to plop in there. And you just happen to sit down in front of a tv show where someone's getting hacked up in a shower.




And you're like, oh, that's how it will happen.




And then eventually you have to take a shower. You have to. And you figure it out and figure it out and figure it out. And your body goes, all right, that's not it. It's going to be this. And it just keeps moving and moving and moving and moving. I would be stunned. And I never, ever do this on this show. Okay. In fact, I'm not going to do it on the show. I want you to go talk to a counselor and I want you to ask if they will give you an OCD diagnostic or an OCD analysis. Okay?




I would be surprised if there's not some sort of. The trend line between OCD and anxiety is very thin. But when I sat down with a doctor and walked through and he was like, oh, dude, clearly right here. It gave me so much peace. Okay.


Okay. Yeah, that's interesting because I almost included in my have. I'm not diagnosed with OCD, but I'm pretty sure that I. Well, I want you to go.


Don't do a Google diagnostic because that is. But I do want you to go talk to somebody and say, hey, would you give me an inventory and see if this is what this is? Because your doctor's right. Nothing in your body works if you're not sleeping.




How old is your baby?


I have a one year old. She just turned one. And then a six year old and an eight year old stepson. We have a busy house.


How dark can we get? Real quick, quick.


Whatever you think.


Did you have some looping, pretty awful thoughts?


Yeah, I did. And my daughter had really serious health issues last May, and she pretty much did die at the hospital and they were able to save her. But that definitely spiraled me as well.


But hold on. You had some thoughts that you were concerned if somebody knew it was in your mind, they're going to take your kids, didn't you?


Oh, yeah, for sure.






And then you take those thoughts and you bury them in the deepest recesses of your soul. And then you can't sleep, you can't breathe. And then your machine loops up again and it goes in again. And it goes in again and then. Is your husband a pretty good guy?


He is. Yeah. He actually is the one that told me about your show. I'm so thankful.


Well, he's grasping at a ghost because he loves you so much. He doesn't know how to reach you because you're so far inside of yourself.




But I need you to hear me say you're not broken.


Thank you.


Do you trust me?


Yes, I trust you.


I know it's weird to think that your body's working just as it should. Here's what we have to do. You ever been in the shower? And it's facing in the door, and so you open the shower door, and you turn on the shower, and it shoots you right in the face, and you're in your full clothes and you're like, wow. Because it's just all we need to do here is turn the nozle the other way. Your body's working great. It has just identified darkness as the end of time. It has identified loud noises or scary thoughts as it's all over now. And it is not something that you can think or just quote unquote pray your way out of. It is a biochemical response. Your body dumps cortisol and adrenaline into your body. That's why you can't sleep. Has nothing to do with you being crazy. It has to do with. Your body is filled with fight or flight chemicals.


Yeah. I always say, I'm like, if I could run a marathon, it would be.


In the middle of the night.


Exactly. And you just lay in bed and you're like, all right, well, I'm just going to lay here. I'm going to lay here. Right?




And then no matter how much you're just laying there at 614. Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Right. It just starts up again.






Pretty much. That's how it goes.


You're not crazy.


That feels good to hear.


Okay. You're not crazy.




So I want to give you. You got a lot of work ahead of you. I'm not going to lie to you. Okay. I do think there's. I'm going to send you both of my books because I wrote them for you.




A lot of people get a lot of benefit from them, but I wrote them for you because you and I have very similar situations. Okay.


That's helpful. Yeah. Thank you.


I want you to know this, though. You're going to have to be willing to let this go as an identity.




You're going to have to just force yourself at a scary moment. You are going to have to do that. But that's down the road. What I'm saying is right now, you have identified yourself as. I'm an anxious person and I'm scared of being scared.




The problem is you wear that as a badge, as a label that you've put on your lapel.


Yeah, that's true.


And I want that crap gone. You're an awesome, badass mom and wife who grew up in hell and has done a pretty amazing job with three little ones over on. That's who you are. You're not a scaredy. Whatever. Yeah. Your body overreacts for sure. And here's what I want you to do. Stop being afraid of your own body. Because what you're going to end up doing is you're going to start asking yourself, what are you trying to protect me from? That sentence changed my life. Because I'd put my hand on my chest and I'd say, what are you trying to protect me from? My things was the economy. Every time I looked at, I saw a red ticker on the ticker tape, a little red arrow pointing down my body. Boosh. Dropped into my stomach. Dropped. It was game time. It was fight or flight. Every time I got a bill in the mail, it would never stop. You can't live like that, right? But I started asking myself, what are you trying to protect me from? Oh, from the stock market. Of course it's going to crash. The people are crazy. And of course it's going to just keep coming back until it doesn't.




And it was this gentle dude, my body's working awesome. It's just identified the wrong villain. But you have to decide to give up the identity that I'm crazy because you're not.


Yeah, I guess I never really thought about it that way, but I definitely do. When I think about who I am, that is at the top of the list. I'm a scaredy cat. I'm afraid of everything.


You're not. You're a little girl wondering what you did so badly. What was so bad about you, that your dad treated you like that.


Yeah, that makes sense.


Tonight, I want you to write that eight year old girl a letter and say, dear eight year old Lexi, I freaking love you. And I'm holding you as tight as I can because that should not have happened to you. And if I'd been your mom, that wouldn't have happened.


I can do that.


You got to let that little girl go. And there might be a ten year old, and there might be a 15 year old. And as you write these letters, more crap is probably going to come up. But I want you to slowly sit with them, and I want you to make that a practice. I've got several letters written to myself over the years. I want to give you this glimmer of hope before I let you go. Okay. Because you and I could talk for hours, just kind of piecing this thing together.




But I think more than a bunch of tasks that you could google at the end of the day, I think I need you to hear me say you're not crazy. I need you to hear me last night. What happened? Okay. I've been sick, and so I was sleeping upstairs in our guest. It's. It's a converted attic, so it's right up against the ceiling. And last night, the storms were nuts.


Yeah, they were.


And I woke up, my heart was racing. The wind was just whipping. The rain was so hard. Bam, bam. I heard the trash cans flying around outside because I live out in the country. And I started laughing. I started laughing and I thought, man, they are getting it out there. Then I said, thank God. We needed this rain bad. And I rolled over, and I got an 87 on my sleep score last night, which is pretty high for me.




Okay. Here's why I tell you that I need you to believe me that healing is possible if you put this work in.




You're going to have to have some time in the darkness, right? And they're probably going to have you draw a picture of dark, of a dark room with a little kid in it. And if you want to do that with your husband, you all do it together, because don't do this by yourself. But you all two draw a picture of, just for a week at nighttime, just going to draw a picture of a little kid in a room that's dark. And when your body starts going, I want you to feel it. Put your hand on your chest and go, man, my body feels like there's somebody coming in this door right now, but I'm safe now. And then I want you to draw that picture on a nightly basis or an afternoon basis with your husband until your body doesn't take off on you anymore.




And then it's just going to keep ramping up and ramping up until you can't freaking wait for the darkness. And by the way, every once in a while, I go into the house and I'm like, something doesn't feel right in. Don't. It's just trying to take care of me again. It's fine. I'm not going to war with my body anymore.


That would be a great feeling.


Wouldn't that be awesome? Okay. Can you undeclare war against Lexi starting today? That doesn't mean anything's going to be better tomorrow. You're still going to have trouble sleeping tonight, all that. Let's undeclare war from Lexi tonight. And I want you to put a journal by your bed. Someone's probably told you this, every irrational, wild thought. I want you to write it.




Oh, I heard the shutter blow off. Someone's in the backyard. We're all going to die. Write that down. Get out of your body and onto a piece of.




Okay. Will you do that?


Yes, I can do that. That seems like a tangible step.


Will you and your husband come over and get some free coffee and hang out?


Yes. He would love that. We actually saw you one night at five, guys, and my husband was like, that's John Deloney. I had no clue who you were at the time. And I'm like, who the heck is John Deloney? He was like fangirling. And then he ended up showing me your show and I've listened ever since. But he would, yeah, y'all come up.


Here, tell him you were on the show and that we're going to hang out and then it'll be okay.




And if you come visit me in person, I'll give you a couple of names of some local people that I trust that I think would be worth seeing.


That would be amazing. I was going to ask if you could do that. Thank you. Yes.


All right. Hang on the line. I'm going to hook you up with those free books and we'll get them shipped out to you. And I hope to see you guys in the studio soon. We'll be right back. Hey, what's up? Deloney here. Listen, you and me and everybody else on the planet has felt anxious or burned out or chronically stressed at some point. In my new book, building a non anxious life, you'll learn the six daily choices that you can make to get rid of your anxious feelings and be able to better respond to whatever life throws at you so you can build a more peaceful, non anxious life. Get your copy today at John As we wrap up today's show, man, maybe my favorite new singer right now. It reminds me a lot of Mike Ness, but he is singing some country music. His name is Zach Bryan. Anything he's putting out these days is amazing. Song's called something in the orange and it goes like this. It'll be fine by dusk light I'm telling you, baby these things eat at your bones and drive your young mind crazy but when you place your head between my collar and jaw I don't know much but there's no weight at all and I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't because I say I miss you I know that you won't but I miss you in the mornings when I see the sun something in the orange tells me we're not done go listen to every song Zach Bryan has, man.


He's pretty good. Pretty good. He's actually amazing. Love you guys. Stay in school. See you soon. Close.