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Coming up on the Dr. John Deloney Show.


When I should throw in the towel with my marriage, a lot of years of struggles and yelling and fighting and smashing things.


You or her?


Mostly me. My wife, specifically, is a trigger for that.


Every time you smash something, every time you yell, that's the choice you're making. What up? This is John with the Dr. John Deloney Show. I don't know when you're listening to this, but where we're recording this here in Nashville, it is snowpocalypse. I think the temperature outside is one. I think it's one degrees outside, maybe zero. There's snow, and we all crawled and scratched our way into the studio so we could hang out with you today. So glad that you're here. We're talking mental health, marriage, emotional health, your physical health, whatever you got going on in your life, kids, schools, all of it. If you want to be on this show, it's real people going through real stuff in their lives. If you want to be on this show, give me a buzz at 1-844-693-3291, or go to JohnDaloney. Com/ Ask, A-S-K. And please don't forget, hit that subscribe button. If you can roll over to YouTube and just say, All right, I'll subscribe to this thing. Just hit subscribe. It makes such a big difference for everybody getting access to the show. Many people who We don't even know the show exist. So thank you so much for helping us out.


Let's go out to Orlando, Florida, and talk to Lance in the Pants. What's up, Lance?


Hey, how's it going?


Good, man. What's up?


Not much. That's literally the first time I've heard Lance in the Pants.


Oh, I had a buddy named Lance. I called him Lance in the Pants for 20 years. It literally just came out. I think it's a part of my nervous system now. Lance in the Pants, what's up?


I've heard it a million times. I I guess I'll just start with the question I gave you and probably work backwards from there. Basically, just wanting to know when I should throw in the towel with my marriage. It's just been a lot of years of struggles and yelling and fighting and smashing things. I'm just trying to... You are- Mostly me. At least when it comes to the breaking things.


That absolutely has- He's yelling. Listen, has nothing to What does that do with your marriage?


No, I understand that. It's something I've been working on for a while. That's one of the problems. I feel like my marriage, my wife, specifically, is a trigger for that.


Bull crap, dude. I don't buy it. She might know how to push your buttons, but every time you smash something, every time you yell, that's the choice you're making. Or if you can't make it in that moment, you've made the choice to create a world where you all don't talk, you don't connect, you don't exercise, your body doesn't feel good, you're not sleeping, you don't have a job that you care to be at, where you feel like you got a purpose, and then all that crap comes home. All of those are choices along the way.


Right. Yeah, absolutely. I take full responsibility for that. Well, you said she knows how to push my buttons, and I feel like she does it a lot. I've spent probably the last four or five years telling her, I need connection. When we talk, I need you to stay calm and not get ramped up. That part of it hasn't changed. That's where I'm at with, when do I say this isn't going to change and I need to move on?


The challenge here is, by the way, you quit your marriage whenever you want to quit. I don't think this is a marriage that is unsalvageable. I'll ask you a few questions in a minute, and you can just cut to the chase for us all. But it's tough when you're somebody who reacts in what... I'm going to overuse a word, right? I'm going to over-dramatize this, not really. When you react in a violent way, meaning screaming, using your body, you're bigger than she is, is my guess, or maybe taller than her, you smash stuff, you get so angry. Then you feel ashamed about it. You She's like, I'm never going to do that again. I'm going to be cool. Then you come to her and say, Hey, when I talk to you, I need you to be calm. I need you to be cool so that we can have these discussions. Her nervous system knows, no way in hell am I not going to be fully on guard because who knows what that dude is going to do? Then that sets her... She's completely on edge. You feel her being on edge. You start to get more and more frustrated.


She feels it even more. What does she do? She hits you first to create some space, and then you go off. Hitting you first means she pushes your buttons. The only way forward is there has to be a complete this thing's got to... Let me say this. The marriage you had is over. The choice you have is to rebuild one where you're both in on it, and you're going to have to do more than four years of just working on it. You're going to have to do better than that, man. She's going to have to decide, terrifyingly so, to put herself in a position to have something smashed over her again, to be screamed at. You all have little kids?


Yeah, we have two little kids, and that's my biggest concern because this stuff has happened right in front of them.


Yeah, but man, you say in one sentence, I totally own this, but on the other side, you're like, Yeah, this stuff just keeps happening in front of them. It's you. You're happening in front of them.


Yeah, I don't mean it has happened, and I don't want it to happen anymore.


Okay, so tell me what happens in those moments where you can't control yourself. Because she's not on the phone with me. Before we go, I'm harping on you. She's not on the phone. And dude, I know I've got people in my life that can just cut me to the quick. They know how to do that, right? People I've been in a relationship with for years and years and years and years and years. Men and women. They can just say the thing that sends me over the edge. And I know that. So I've got some choices to make.


I'll give you the most recent scenario because that's what triggered me to call you. Okay. We were outside. We had a campfire. Out in our backyard, it was a great night, made s'mores and all that stuff. There was a few moments throughout the night where one of our sons was rolling around on the ground and my wife was like, Don't roll on the ground. There's dog poop or something like that. I was like, Just let him roll on the ground. It's okay. Let him be a kid. Then another one came up to us and asked for another s'more, and my wife was like, No. I was like, Just let him have one. We're having fun. Just let it go. She was saying she was surprised by me being loose about things, which I do tend to be very tight. When we're in everyday stuff, I like to keep a regular schedule. Keeping a schedule keeps me on track as well. When the night was over, I was cleaning up stuff outside. She went inside with the kids, and I could hear yelling from outside the house. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I came inside, and My wife is like, I'm losing my cool.


I need you to take over. I was like, Fine, I'll take over. No problem. Then my little one starts to turn the TV on, and I'm like, No, it's 10:30. We'll go read a book. We're not going to watch TV. She came back out and was like, Why can't he watch TV? He's got to calm his brain. I'm like, I don't want him to watch TV. It's 10:30. Then she threw in my face that, You've been so loose all night long, and now this We went back and forth, and it ended up with me getting angry and breaking a chair. But it's those kinds of things. It's like this battle between us with control, I think.


Well, let's reverse engineer this because it's deeper than control. We're going to go backwards. Never freaking break anything in your home again. Got it?




Cool. Are we done with that crap? Because that's you acting like a five-year-old. Five-year-old smashed stuff. Adults do not. Are you done with that?


I am, yeah. I want to be.


No, bull crap. Stop. Walk out the door. Go get a hotel. Don't smash stuff in your house. You're encoding that stuff in your kid's nervous system. Quit. You're terrifying your wife. Stop. And then going back- There's back times where I've- Do what?


I've done the walking out the door, and I would say, I got to leave. I'll be back. And then when I get back, I get guilted by my wife for leaving, and the kids were upset about me leaving. I'm like, well, it's one or the other. I'm either going to walk away from it. You're exactly right.


It's one or the other. I know when I've exceeded my capacity to act like an adult, I'm going to step out for a minute. For the first 2, 3, 5, 10 times, your kids are going to go, Where'd Daddy go? Is he coming back? Mom's going to act be mad and yelling. But you're going to be practicing staying calm in a moment. The adult is running the house, not the child. The description you described to me sounds like, Dude, chill out. They're at a fire. He's rolling around in the yard. So what if he gets dog poop? That's how he's going to learn. What I heard is a woman who is constantly trying to please her husband, who's got a bunch of rules and schedules and regulations Here's what she's trying to do. A, trying to keep the peace to trying to keep this crazed man calm. B, in her own weird way, she's trying to love you the best you can. Then you switch it. My guess is that goes against her nature. She feels like she's always having to be the mean parent. Then suddenly, in front of the kids, she's the super mean parent, and you become the cool parent.


Then Then there's another instance where there's a TV on at 10:30 at night with a little kid, which, by the way, that does not calm down any child's brain. It spins it up. But then suddenly she's like, Oh, I want to be the cool parent. Is that a childish response? Yes. Is that understandable? Of course. Here's the deeper problem. You all haven't had those talks before they happened. You all haven't had like, Hey, how's our parenting approach to be to screen time. How's our parenting approach going to be to X and Y and Z? Because my guess is, you said keeping a schedule keeps you on track. I don't buy that. I think keeping a schedule keeps you in control. I bet your schedule is pretty rigorous, huh?


It's a little crazy, yeah.


Okay, so mine is, too. But my wife gets up at a different time than me, and my wife actually gets up and writes for an hour. And has a cup of coffee. She has a little like a muffiny cookie thing, something I usually don't ever eat in the morning. We have very different morning routines. Why do you subject your family to yours?


I don't try to I inject my family to mine. I'm up at 5:00 in the morning, I go work out, and my wife isn't usually up until around 7:00, 7:30, and she gets our kids ready for school. Then I take our younger one to school. That part is all fine with me. Part of the problem I have with it is with her, it's not consistent. It's like there'll be times I come in at seven o'clock and she slept through three alarm clocks and it's 20 after, and I'm having to wake her up and say, Hey, I'm going to be late getting our son to school. I need you to get up. A lot of it feels like parenting her sometimes, and I get frustrated with that. One thing I told her a couple months back when we were talking is I feel like I've been pushing our family up the hill for the last 10 years, and it's just I'm getting worn out. Because I'm constantly trying to push to keep things moving forward.


You ever asked your wife what she wanted?


I mean, we sit down and we've had talks with... She'll tell me, I need romance. I need in romance to hers, like little notes here and there or bringing her flowers. I've done those things not consistently. If I'm being honest, I'm not real consistent about it because, again, our schedule gets crazy and I just forget. But it should be... I've started in the last couple of months putting notes in my calendar to remind me on Thursdays, pick up flowers or stuff like that. We sat down and had the talks about needs and wants and stuff like that. I've told her many times I need connection from her. Connection for me is long, deep conversations, and she's just like, Well, I'm not smart about those things. I can't have those deep conversations with you. I'm like, I just want to talk. I want someone that I can talk and laugh and have fun with.


Are you somebody that every conversation ends up in some... Like a Huberman podcast? Or every conversation ends up in a Dr. Atia podcast?


I'm a lot like that.


I'll admit it. I'm a deep sinker. Here's what I'm telling you. I almost burned out every friend I have over that crap. Two things. Number one, I have a coach that I pay an exorbitant amount of money that I meet with on Friday mornings, and we meet for hours. You know what we talk about the craziest scientific, theological, rabbit-holy social psychology stuff in the world because I have to have that. When I worked at a university, every lunch was like some theory, some legal scholar talking about this with an anthropologist. I mean, that was my whole life for 20 years, and I missed that. But your wife is right. Every conversation like that feels like she's not enough for you. You get frustrated. She feels her lack of making you frustrated. You have to be a grown up and say, Okay, I need this. But this isn't the person for that. When I was in an MMA gym, I needed that physical Let's go contact. Well, that's not my wife. She's not going to sit in the living room and fight me. So I had to go somewhere else. See what I'm saying?


Yeah, I get it.


I want you to listen to your language. I've been pushing my family up a hill. My guess is your wife's tired of getting pushed. Yes, I get you feel like you have to parent her. I also often, not all the time, sometimes people are just immature. I don't give a crap. They sleep in through their alarms. They're lazy. They just don't care. There's also people who have just flat given up because they can never do it right. And whenever they try to do it the way you want to do it, it just goes sideways, or you change the rules, or you get mad, or you're doing this, or what about that. Is that ringing a bell?


Yeah. That sounds more along the lines for sure.


Do you want to end your marriage? My marriage is fine. I don't have a stake in this. I'm just asking you point blank, are you done with this marriage?


I don't want to be. No.


I wanted- That's not the question I asked. I don't want to have a bagel for breakfast this morning. I ate a bagel this morning. I never do that. I know it's going to cost me. My blood sugar is going to fall off a cliff here in about 45 minutes. I'm asking you, Is your marriage over?


I want to keep working on it. I wanted to keep working on it.


Yeah, but you also don't want to smash chairs. Tell me, am I going to work on this or am I not going to work on this?


No, I'm going to keep working on it. Okay.


The path forward I see for you is, and you're not going to like this, I feel like I've said this three or four times last several shows, and I don't think I've ever said this before up until now, is that you find somebody You tell her to watch your kids, and you blow off your 5:00 AM workout for the next morning, and one night you take your wife out to dinner early, and you hold both of her hands across the table, or you send your kids to a babysitter at somewhere else's house, and you do it at your house, and you take a knee in front of her, and you just say, Hey, I'm sorry. I've been pushing you up a hill. I've been trying to create this thing in my head. You and I could go down a rabbit hole. My guess is you're running from something. I don't know what you're trying to hold together so firmly or what picture you're trying to solve for, but your attempt to make everything perfect in your home is destroying your home.


Yeah, you could probably make a career out of me. There's a lot going on.


Well, here's the thing. You're doing it right. What I mean by that is, my guess is you went through hell growing up and you have found a way to solve for that. That is systems and control and strength and discipline and determination. Fair?




Cool. That works on a David Goggins podcast. It does. It works in his real life. It doesn't work in 99.9999999999% of marriages. Okay?




If you want to stay married and you want to keep your family together, tell your wife, I'm sorry. I acted like a child when I scream at you. I act like a child when I smash things. That will never, ever happen again. I've been trying to force a life on you. I never asked you what you wanted in this life, what you felt like. Here's an exercise I want you all to explore. How do you want your home to feel when you walk in from work every day? How does your wife want the house to feel when she opens her eyes up in the morning? Because my guess is that alarm goes off and her body says, Don't get up. Don't get up. How do you want your kids to- I heard you say that before.


After that fight, I did leave for a night. I went to a friend's house and stayed there. When I came back, I told her there was just this feeling like a two-hour drive. In an hour there, I just had this feeling like a backpack, a heavy backpack was just taken off. Because that was the day I told her, or the day I told her I wanted a divorce. I don't think I really meant that at the time, but I just didn't know what else to say to stop the fight we were having, the conversation we were having. I left for a friend's house, and I just felt this relief that I haven't felt in a long time.


What do you know about feelings?


What do you mean by that?


Feelings are designed to keep you safe. They don't tell the truth.




There's probably a sense of relief that you didn't smash somebody this time because that day is coming, my friend. When you're going to be leaning over somebody you love because you think it's bad now. Your kids haven't started really coming after you. When they get in first, second, third, fourth, middle school, My fear is on your trajectory, you're standing over somebody you love, and they're curled up in a fetal position with their face busted up because that's where you're headed.


Yeah, that's what I went through as a kid, and I don't want to go through that. Exactly.


I need you to hear me say with all certainty, 100% certainty, the thing you are trying to achieve through radical discipline, through everybody doing everything right through turning your family into a military unit is actually starving your body from what your body needs. Because if you got the crap beat out of you as a kid, your body is still wondering as a five-year-old, why are you hitting me? I'm a kid. And that's that ferocious rage that comes out when you find yourself smashing a chair after a pretty good night with your family. That's the five-year That's the fifth grader still trying to defend you. The difference is your wife's not throwing punches like your old man did. And until you decide, and this dude, this word sucks. I hate it. I hate it with all my heart. It's the truth. Until you decide to open yourself up to actually let this woman hurt you, that's the only way she can actually connect with you. That's the only way you can save your marriage. It's called her ability. That's beyond writing little notes. Her writing little notes is proxy. That's her begging, Will you just think of me one time over your stupid calendar, please?


Over your workout program, please? That's what she's ask in. Do I even enter your mind until you get home, or am I just an employee of yours that you think about when you walk in and you're looking to inspect my performance? And does this mean she's perfect? God, no. No way. She's not on the phone.


The things I can do.


What you need to do is tell your wife you're sorry. I would list very specifically how you've hurt her. She's not made you do one damn thing, dude. She's never made you smash a chair. You did that. She's never once made you raise your voice. You chose that. But until you take full ownership of that, it's going to be this tit for tat thing. Now, you're bigger and louder than she is. You probably have made her parent a certain way. You've probably made her clean a certain way. Now, she could always leave, but that's different. I'd be very specific, and then I would let her know I have signed up. I'm going to see a counselor in my community to deal with my childhood abuse. The time of running and flexing is over. I'm going to deal with it. That's the only way you can save your marriage. My That's it. I wish there was another way. That's it. I think that relief you felt was this, A, an illusion that the responsibilities are gone. That's very, very temporary. But I also think that relief was your body saying, oh, thank God, because we were holding back from doing something really bad.


I'm telling you right now, you need to go seek professional help to deal with that inner rage. For a special Especially men and women, yes, but especially little boys who are physically abused from some tough guy dad or that tough guy mom for that instance. That shame will haunt you and your family forever until you say, I'm done. And I'm done isn't just flexing through every hard conversation and try not to hit a hole through the sheetrock. I'm done is sitting with a counselor and saying, I'm letting this crap go. I'm not letting that abuse run my life anymore. I love you, man. Call me anytime, and I'll be honest with you. I'll shoot it to you straight. I actually think your marriage can be saved, and not only saved, I think it can grow into something pretty amazing, the thing that your body has been desperately screaming and searching and running for all these years. But you're going to have to start over from from step zero. And your wife's going to have to be all in, too. That means both of you are going to have to be very vulnerable, and that's going to be scary for a while.


We'll be right back. All right, let's We're going to go out to Detroit. Man, home of the lions that are just crushing it right now. Let's talk to Kayla. What's up, Kayla? Hey, how are you? Good.


How are you? Nervous.


Don't be nervous. You're good. You're in good What's up?


I guess my main question was that I've recently become an alcoholic, and I'm not quite sure how it happened or why, I guess.


I don't know that that's the most important thing right now.


No, it's not. But I know I need to deal with I'm also working on that, too.


What does that mean?


I just started recently going to therapy. I gave my husband all my cards and stuff, so that way I don't have access to buy it.


Are you spending... Well, back me up here. What happened? How did we get here?


Well, I guess it's only been really strong for the last six months, but I think it started when we moved out here. My husband went through a deep depression phase, and I had to pick up the slack of everything in the house, and it just became overwhelming. After a year of doing that, I slowly started drinking to make myself feel better, and it just got worse and worse over time. Okay.


In your case, alcohol works, man, because your home life sucks. It was really tough.




I know it's not PC to say, but being married to somebody who's in a dark depression and can't get out of bed and you're taking care of everything. Do you all have kids? Yes, we do. Okay. So you're doing everything, everything, everything, plus worried about the electric bill, plus worried about things that you all had not previously agreed were part of your job description, right?




Do you have a history of alcoholism in your family?


Unfortunately, yes. One of my sisters has died from it. My mother has died from it. Has died from it? And my dad was an alcohol, yes.


So you are playing with fire?


Yes. I know that, and I don't want to do it, but there's something in me that I just can't get past. I know.


It's a demon. I know. I promise there's light on the other side, but right now it is scary, scary, Scary.


It is.


Because you told yourself this would never happen to you after walking with your sister's death, your mom's death, you swore up and down. The challenge here is, yes, you're drinking, and yes, you're scared to death, and yes, it's becoming easier and easier. Have you had a drink today?


No, not yet. Okay.


But right when you get off this call, to calm down because you're nervous, right? I'm still going to love you. I'm not going to be mad at you.


Yes. Okay.


Not only is that the case, but you swore to yourself it would never happen to you. So you've lost trust in Kayla.




Is that fair?




I think we can get to the why. It sounds like your childhood was hell on Earth. Fair?




Then your body, for lack of better terms, you married your unfinished business, and you married somebody with some similar mental health challenges, and you're going to solve it. Suddenly, you realized, Oh, I can't solve this. And your body was like, I got a plan for when we can't solve a problem, both genetic- Bad plan. And behaviorally, right? You're in it up to your eyeballs.




There's one plan and one plan only. You got to go scorched earth because you're going to die. If I'm you, if you're my sister, if you're my wife, if you were one of my closest, closest friends, I would tell you, I don't see a path forward without you going to an inpatient treatment right now before this thing gets… The train completely leaves the station. The fact that you haven't drank this morning before Before this call, I'm taking that as a good sign because you're nervous up until now, right?




Did you drink last night so you could sleep before today?


Yes, I did.


It's growing on you like a You're a mentor, right? Like a shadow coming up behind you.


Yeah, it does.


How's your husband right now? Can he handle things for a few weeks?


He absolutely could. He has He had to get me to do inpatient treatment.


What's your hesitancy?


I have very bad anxiety with not being around my kids. I know I thought he could take care of them. Just leaving them for that amount of time, it just stresses me out.


Then have you heard me talk about anxiety?


Yes, all the time.


Have you taken that Anxiety test?


Yes, and I got read on every spot.


Every one of them?


Every single one.


All right. What's my cornerstone rule about anxiety?


Which- Oh, you're going to have to- Do what? You're just going to have to tell me. Okay.


My cornerstone rule, or I'll say it in nerd speak. Okay. When you feel anxious about a thing and you walk away from that anxiety, meaning I know that if I don't go to inpatient rehabilitation, I am going to die. My kids will experience what I experienced when my mom died. The guilt, the pain, the hell. But your body feels anxious about leaving your kids because in some ways, you're worried about your husband's ability to care for them, and in some ways, they've become a pacifier to you. They're a Xanax for you. They're one glimpse of light in a pretty dark world. Fair? Yes. Yes. It's less about, are they going to be okay? It's more about, are you going to be okay? When you feel that anxiety, You run and you hug those kids. Here's what happens. Your body actually reinforces the anxiety. It makes it stronger because it got what it wanted. It worked. What it wants is for you not to get any Get further away from the light as possible. Those two little kids are all the light you got. My cornerstone rule, and it's not my rule, it's neuroscience, the only way to get that anxiety to stop is to head directly into it.


You're anxious about leaving your kids for 30 days? I'm going to sprint towards that. You're anxious about how your husband is going to be able to handle it? We're going to sit down and we're going to make a plan. Are you anxious about waking up dead? Like your mom, like your sister, like your aunt? I'm going to make a committed plan that that never happens to me. You see what I mean? This is changing your posture. This is you standing up tall for the first time in your life and put your chin up and your shoulders back and saying, I'm heading right into this. Then you realize, I can't walk into this by myself. It's too scary. I've been there. I know. You've got a husband who's saying, Hey, will you go get this taken care of? Because I don't want to bury you. You got two little kids looking at you. You've the ghosts of your mom saying, Honey, take care of this, take care of this, take care of this. How does that all sound? Besides really, really scary.


I don't even know. It's just scary. It's just scary. It is. I know I need to do it. Okay.


Let this be the day. Listen, your body is going to crave this one thing. If you've heard me talk about anything, read anything I've written, I always am talking about homeostasis. Your body is going to want to go back to what it knows. It knows alcohol, it knows chaos, it knows anxiousness. It knows somebody who said he's going to love you ends up in a really dark place. It's what your body knows. Rehab for you, A, it's going to be not drinking, right? But bigger than that, it's going to be you learning a new way to live. That sounds scary, but doesn't that sound freaking amazing?


It does. It does.


Can you imagine walking in your front door. You just start laughing when you get home and your knucklehead kids come running up to you and your husband's on the couch and you're like, Oh, God. But the heat is on. And your husband's hung up Christmas lights somewhere in the house. Who knows? Whatever fantasy you have in your head. I want you to know you can build that. You can't do any of it if you're drinking. Is it unfair that you got this deck of cards? Yeah, it is. I didn't get that deck of cards. I eat when I'm stressed. I don't drink. But that's the card you got, and that's the card you got to deal with. Will you make that call today?




Do you promise?


I do.


Okay. I'm going to have Kelly put a note on the calendar. In 30 days, we're going to reach back out to you.




Okay. This is going to be absolute hell. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. The light and peace on the other side of this thing is going to be something you have never experienced before. In your life. You have an entire country of people behind you on this one. But by the way, we don't matter. The person who matters is your husband. People who matter are your kids. Person that matters is the woman standing in the mirror. So proud of you, Kayla. Tonight, after you make that call and say, I'm ready to go, actually, first tell your husband, then make the call. I don't want you to shoot us an email and just say, Hey, I'm checking in tomorrow morning at whatever time, at whatever location, whatever inpatient treatment. We'll send you something nice over there. I'm really, really proud of you, Caleb. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Man, I'm proud. We'll be right back. All right, we're back. Let's go across the big pond and talk to Sophie in London. What's up, Sophie?


Hi there, Dr. John. Thank you so much for speaking with me.


Of course. Thanks for calling in. How are you? How are you doing? I'm doing great. It's freezing here, but the sun is shining, so that's great. How about you?


It's freezing here and it's pitch dark.


The land of sadness.


What's up? No sunshine here.


Well, I'll try to be all the sunshine you need for today. So what's up?


Oh, awesome. Thank you. So if it's okay, I'll give a bit of context first because otherwise my question makes no sense. So essentially, through my whole working life, I I've been really well known for working well over my contracted hours. I've been in my current workplace for three years. My managers have really recognized that I work far too long, and they really, really tried to encourage me to change that, which I've really resisted till recently. But I have, since just before Christmas, really tried hard to pull my hours back. I'm suddenly experiencing a lot of anxiety to the point of extremely embarrassing having panic attacks at work. I'm in the process of finding a counselor, and I'm working on my self-care routine as well, but I'm wondering if you had any other advice. Ultimately, I need to communicate all of this to my colleagues and my managers. I'm really, really trying, but I don't really know what I'm doing.


I'm so proud of you. What you're talking about is the curse of the Western world. It sounds like your body reached a place that mine reached about 10 years ago when my body said, Hey, I've been trying to get your attention for so long. I quit. Because if I don't quit- Yeah, I'm hoping it doesn't quit. Well, it's basically like one of your tires has fallen off. That's what a panic attack is. That's when your body's like, Oh, you're not getting this message. So we're just going to start shutting the system down, right? Yeah. Man, you would be somebody who I'd love just to go have a drink with and sit for a couple of hours because my guess is you got a long story. It's pretty remarkable. Is that fair?


I don't know. I talk about work a lot, so it probably bore you to tears.


Okay, so let me just cut to it. Work is your drug. My My friend, you've heard me say this. If you ever listen to the show, my friend, Ian Simpkins, he lives right down the street here. He says, If busyness is your drug, rest will feel like stress. So you've put your entire identity into work, hours in, production, even to the point that now it's... You were that fun kid at the bar who everyone loved having around because you would always have one or two drinks too many, and you were hilarious. You'd do the funny thing. You would just go kiss the dude at the bar. You were the fun friend, and now your friends are like, Hey, dude, you got to slow down. That's your boss's. Do you realize what a crazy thing when your boss is like, Hey, you got to quit working? No boss says that, right?


No, it's a standing joke.


What is work allowing you to hide from in your life?


That's a very good question that I wish I had a solid answer for. I don't really know, and I'm aware that's something that I probably need to go through.


I think you do. I think you don't want to say it. What is your body trying to protect you from? Is it going home to an empty house? Is it loneliness? Are you married? Do you have kids?


I have a partner. No kids. Foster cat. Going home to the foster cat. My partner, when he's home, because he works weird shifts.


Here's what working a lot did for me. I didn't know how to be a husband. I didn't know what I was doing. In the first four or five years I was married, I just got a clear message I was doing it wrong, and I didn't know what to do. I opened up my toolkit to try to, quote, unquote, fix my marriage, and there was just a hammer in there. That's it. I didn't know what to do. But one thing I did know how to do was go work. I took extra jobs and extra shifts, and then I got a pat on the back, initially. Then I got some extra money in my account, initially. Then my wife could do some cooler things, and it felt right.


Yeah, I don't. You're saying that you didn't know how to be a husband. I don't know how to be a person who goes home or a person who stops working. I like to be occupied.


Yeah, but what is your body so terrified from? Did you grow up with scarcity growing up? Did you have food insecurity growing up? No.


Food insecurity, very fortunate, very aware of my privilege. Was achievement the way that your dad patted you on the head or your mom, or did you come up in a really safe, wonderful environment?


Often without meaning to, very high-achieving, very well-meaning parents really do a dance when they're straight A's. They really do a dance when There's more money being made.


That's really interesting.


Because over time, and by the way, this isn't a moral failure. This gets encoded in your nervous system. Your body begins to understand through biochemical processes that the way to connection, the way to love those that are most important to me when you're a kid, it's the adults in your life, is achievement, busyness, earning money, getting grades, getting into the right schools, getting the right markets.


That's interesting. I remember something my dad said to me that I got van results through and I'd got like 98 out of 100. And his response was, What happened to the other two?


Oh, man, we're more similar than you think, Sophie. My dad, and him and I have laughed about this. I got 1 B. I think it was my first semester in college, maybe my second semester in college. I got 1 B. I was thrilled because that was a mess. Actually, my first semester in college, I don't think I did great. Second semester, I was like, Dude, this is school, and I'm smarter than this. I got to put some effort into this. I got all A's and one B. My dad's first response was, Huh? I would have killed you to just get one more? I remember that deflated feeling. He wasn't meaning that at I think he was completely kidding. But he didn't have the tools to go, Hey, you've turned this thing around. I'm proud of you. He didn't have that. His dad didn't do that. My granddad's dad died when he was 10, so he didn't have that skill set. But I learned early on, Oh, you will achieve.


Yeah. It's interesting. Even my parents were like, You work ridiculous hours and you should really try to leave the office.


You've heard me talk about anxiety a lot.


It's essentially everyone.


Yeah. Everyone who cares about you is watching you die. There's something inside of you that is so terrified of being alone with Sophie, that you will do anything, even up and to death, to avoid dealing with Sophie. Dealing is probably dramatic, just being with. Your body has identified stillness, a cup of tea in the morning. Just asking your partner to take the morning off and let's just go for a walk, even though it's pitch black outside. Your body has put a GPS pin in that that says, Danger, danger, danger, danger. We got to stay working. I'm telling you, the only way through that is to go directly into that anxiety. There's not another path. You can't go around it. And self-care routine-y things, that is just bandaids on top of it. It just is. Anyone who's like, Well, you should just have a warm cup of tea and take a hot bath, just walk away from them. This is deeper than that. This is encoded in.


Oh, no, no, no, no, Go for a walk at lunchtime, get some fresh air.


But it's way bigger than that.


Which in itself is torturous. It is. Leaving my dear.


But I'm talking it's bigger than that. This is you saying, I will only work eight hours today, and I will put a thing on my computer that shuts my computer off at the end of eight hours. I'm going to feel so anxious. I'm not going to know what to do with my hands. My body is going to go, and I'm going to head directly into that feeling, not flip the computer back up, work my way around that software program, and then get back to it. My phones will go off at 6:00 PM, period. I will not turn them back on, period. I'm going to feel that sense of powerlessness. I'm going to own it. Only then can you ask yourself, What do I actually want to do right now? Because here's my problem, and you probably experience this, too. I love working. I like it. I actually like it. You have to think of it like alcohol. It's okay to like having a drink. It's okay to like having two. Then it will kill you. See what I'm saying?


Yeah, I think so.


But I don't think you want to. Please tell me. Tell me, I'm so curious because I know that you know. What are you scared of? I think you know. What is it?


I don't know who Say it.


It's like I don't know. It's sorry.


Don't be sorry at all. This is hard stuff.


It's like I don't know who I'm going home to. Yeah.


Is your partner safe?


Mostly, yeah.


That means no.


That's a really bad answer.


No, it's not. It's an... Oh, hold on. No, you can't walk it back now. You already said it. It's a truthful answer, not a bad answer. You can't be mostly safe because that means you're not safe. Now it makes perfect sense to me while your body has said, you will go to work and you will stay at work, you will keep working, and then you will keep working on top of that. And your bosses are like, Oh, my gosh, Sophie, go home. Your parents are like, Honey, go home. And your body's saying, We can't. Are you going to love Sophie enough to go be safe?


Sorry, I'm trying to order the words in my head.


No, don't. Just speak.


I don't think I realized how you asked the question.


I know. It's scary. I want you to do something you probably haven't done in a long time. Instead of fighting your body, fighting that need to go work, finding that need to not be in your home, I want you to flip the whole script. Put your hand in your chest and ask yourself this question, what if my body's right? What if the safest place for me on planet Earth is at a work environment where... God, what amazing bosses you have. They're even caring about you outside of here. They care about your mental and physical health and well-being. There's not a lot of bosses on planet Earth that act like that.


That's very true.


You still have mom and dad It's not it. They probably… If they could do it over, of course, they would change some things. They still care about their baby girl. Then you go home to a dragon. You know if he's going to be a sleeping dragon or if there's going to be everything's going to It's going to be on fire. Here's the deal. I'm not going to put you on the spot because I know this is hard. If you've never thought about this before, it can be really overwhelming inside your body. I'm going to ask, please, please call somebody today and get in and go see somebody. In your I don't really care what the cost is because you're not safe physically. Fair? But I'm going to tell you, it sounds to me like your body's working perfectly. In a strange way, thank God, it's chosen work as the avenue of safety over some substance, over some thrill-seeking behavior. Behavior. And I'm going to say this, too. I don't know that your colleagues at work need to know the insights of all of what's going on in your life. Maybe they're safe enough and you could tell them.


But if you're an abusive situation, you've got to go find a place for your body to be safe. If you ever listen to this show for more than two episodes, I don't ever tell people to end a relationship. Get out. I'm telling you, get out. If he's not safe, get out. It's the only way your body is going to let you breathe. We love you, Sophie. We're here anytime you want to call. Reach out anytime. Any resources we got for you, whether it's financial support or whether it is through the Total Money makeover stuff and financial piece, or it's any of the books, anything we can do to help you, let me know. We got you. I think it's time to ask yourself, where can I go and be safe? God, I know this is hard. But you deserve to be safe. We'll be right back. All right, we are back. Man, Kelly, today's show got heavy, heavy, heavy. It did.


Real fast. On some things I wasn't I wasn't expecting that based on what the email we got in, we're like, Oh, okay, no big deal.


Yeah. You all send me a little scratch like, Hey, it's going to be about this. Again, I want to reiterate this to all the listeners. Just ask yourself, what if my body's right? Take the anxiety test. We'll link to it in the show notes here. If you take the anxiety test and it says most of your life is read, it did that to me. After I released the book on Building a Non-Anxious Life, I took my own anxiety test, and it was like five out of six were read. I was like, Yeah, there we go. It was right. It was 100% right. I quit doing a lot of things. So get back on the horse, get back on the horse, get back on the horse. But ask yourself, What if my body's right? What if my body's right? All right, as we wrap up the show, Kelly, you said you found something on the internet.


I did. I found this story last night, and I thought it was just neat, so I wanted to read it real quick. A woman posted, I'll read most of it. I'll paraphrase some of it. She said, I want to tell a story. When I was in the third grade, I went with my mom while she dropped off some drugs. Anyway, she left me in the car and sent some guy out to, quote, unquote, watch me. It's just me and this guy. He looks over and says, You don't know what a haiku is, do you? I responded, Yeah, it's a Japanese poem consisting of three lines in a pattern of 575. I remember I had just written one in class. He freaked out and told me I was the smartest person he'd ever met. I was eight. Anyway, on that day, he vowed to make sure I made it to school. My own mother was in her own world doing and dealing drugs. I tell you, this guy made sure I made it to school every day. He picked me up every day and then did homework with me. He took me to all the important things in my life.


He became my family, the closest thing to a father figure I had ever known. He was my best friend. He saved my life. She's telling this because the night that she wrote this, she got a call that he had passed away. He'd had a heart attack. She says, Anyway, he's gone, and I'm probably going to be weird for a while. I'm sorry in advance. I just need to put this out there. She goes on to thank him and tell him, she said, Thank you for teaching me how to change a tire, replace my brakes, watch every episode of The Simpson with me, and literally saved my life countless times. This is what he told me, and this is the important part here. You can literally or you can have a good life in spite of your mom, or you can have a bad one because of her. I thought that was such an interesting quote right there because we talk about people all the time, the lady in the second call, for instance, who has this family history, but you can do it in spite of them or a good one or have a bad one because of them.


I thought that was very, very powerful.


Yes. That because is a much more eloquent way of what I try to tell people, set the backpack down. You can keep carrying that sucker and get your knees and hips replaced, or you can just set it down. It sounds so trivial, but dude... By the way, everybody listening, when you feel like we're entering into an election season and you feel completely powerless. The Middle East is setting off more and more and more and more. It looks like this one's going to cascade into a big one, and you feel powerless. There's a little kid on your block that needs someone just to show up. There's a little kid on your block that needs someone just to throw a football. There's your own kids in your house that need you to be an adult. There's a school that needs volunteering. There's an extra shift you can grab at work because a single mom that you work with needs to be at home. There are ways to serve everywhere, right?


Yeah. This girl right here in particular, she is a doctor.


She went to med school?


Yeah. So think about, had this guy not come out, think about what her life could have been. Her mother was dealing and doing drugs, but because of this one guy came out to ask her a stupid question about a haiku and then showed up. Yeah, just kept showing up. And made sure that her life was different. How one person, I mean, he changed life.


Now all the countless patients and family she's impacted because that one dude out of a drug house- Right, came out and said, She needs better. Let's just call it the other important thing. Learn what a haiku is, people.




Pay attention to iambic pentameter. These are important things. No one's ever asked me in a dark alley what the square root of a triangle is. It could happen, and you could end up in med school. Parents, show this of the show to your kids. Only this part, but show this part to your kids. Kids, you never know when mom's going to be dropping off drugs and a guy's going to get in your car and ask you a hard question, and it's going to change the course of your life. Here's the other weird question. How did you get your daughter to write this question in, Kelly? No? Too soon? I ruined a beautiful story, didn't I? You did. You had to go there. I went too far. I know. All right, I'm going to retract that statement. I'm going to self-edit. I'm going to slap it up, flip it, and reverse it. That was direct. Yeah. Thanks for playing that, Kelly. That was a beautiful story. Yeah, sure. That was awesome. Love you guys. Bye..