It’s true that the diagnosis of narcissism is being handed out a bit too liberally, but this toxic personality disorder definitely does exist, with some experts saying that it's clearly becoming more prevalent with each generation. There is a growing body of research that now shows how long-term narcissistic abuse affects the hippocampus, and the amygdala of the brain, areas that regulate memory, and control emotion. And while someone may not be your classic, malicious or malignant narcissist (there are several sub-types of narcissism), even someone with narcissistic tendencies, or “dustings” can do emotional, and physical damage to those they interact with. Tony also gives his 5 tips to surviving narcissistic abuse. Tony refers to the article “Neuroscience: The shocking impact narcissistic abuse has on the brain,” by Lachlan Brown from https://hackspirit.com/3859-2/

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Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony tackles the topic of pornography today in a completely strength-based, hold-the-shame, become the person you always wanted to be way. He addresses the age-old question of whether or not pornography addiction is even a diagnosable condition...and better yet, does that matter? Tony shares his views on “the voids” in one’s life that typically lead to the brain wanting to cope, or check-out, by viewing pornography. These voids include the lack of connection in marriage, in parenting, not feeling satisfied in your career, not feeling good about your health, and feeling disconnected with your concept of faith. Tony reads from his book, “He’s a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions” available through the following links: https://amzn.to/33fk0U4 paperback https://amzn.to/38hRcx3 Kindle version https://amzn.to/2G30PDu Hardcover version

-

Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!

-

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

-

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

-

Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

-

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

--

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Is Pornography Addiction Real - 2020-09-15
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're going into the world of compulsive behavior, specifically pornography or that word that must not be named. And I know for a lot of you, when you hear the topic, you're probably thinking hard pass. But stick around for a bit. And I promise you that we are going to learn something new today that will either help you or somebody that you put turning to pornography as a coping mechanism for I know you name it, stress, boredom, loneliness, anger behind them once and for all. That and so much more coming up on today's episode with the Virtual.

[00:00:39] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 223, The Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you are anybody that you know is ready to put turning to pornography as a coping mechanism behind them once and for all, and trust me, it can be done and a strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be. We then turn to path back recovery dotcom, and there you will find a short ebook that describes five common mistakes that people make when turning to pornography as a coping mechanism or trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. How many times have I said that I just got it wrong, but I was trying to go off the cuff here, no script and that's what I get for that. So head over to Path Back Recovery.com and again, download that short e-book that describes here we go, five common mistakes that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Ganpat back recovery dotcom. And you can find me on Instagram at Virtual Couch and on Facebook at Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist and stop by TonyOverbay. com, completely redone website.

[00:01:45] And you can sign up there to find out more information about actually a path back reboot that is coming up soon that I am so excited about and the magnetic marriage course that is getting close. I will have a lot of announcements coming up in the next probably one to two weeks about how you can find out more about that. But the quickest way is to go to TonyOverbay.com and sign up to find out more information about all kinds of things. And then there's all right there on the home page. Is the parenting positively in the not so positive of times? That is a free course. It's going to remain free. And I highly encourage you to go there. The feedback has been great. The a lot of people have taken the course and there's even starting to be some nice feedback within the course of things that have helped people along the way of parenting. So let's get to today's episode. And I'm going to be real.

[00:02:29] I have wasted over an hour this morning. I got into my office a little after 4:00 a.m. trying to get a podcast recorded before I started seeing clients today at six and I had the camera up. I was going to put this episode on YouTube, actually recorded about five or ten minutes and then realized that there were some parts that I wasn't recording and tried to go back in and suck some audio out of a video file and then started recording again.

[00:02:52] And at some point I just felt, you know what, I need to reboot, I need to restart. And so I'm doing this, that this episode is not up on YouTube as a video. But I always put the audio episodes up there as well. There are some people that like to consume their podcasts on YouTube, so you still can find it there on the virtual couch YouTube channel.

[00:03:08] But I wanted to talk about pornography today, and I have been I deal with it on a daily basis. This is still as far as the clients I see during a week, I see a healthy amount of couples. I also see a significant amount of women that are trying to get out of relationships with people who may be struggling with narcissistic personality disorder. So helping women recognize trauma bonds and able to break free from their little of anxiety, a little bit of depression. And then I still see a fair amount of clients each week that are trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. And the mode or model that I take is a very strength based approach. And it's one where when I was going on the road interviewing, doing some interviews for my book, he's a porn addict. Now, what an expert and a former addict. Answer your questions. I like to say that so far I am 0 for I think fourteen hundred people that I've helped in having shame be a component of recovery. And I just I want to just talk off the cuff today about pornography and compulsive sexual behavior. And so forgive me if I'm going to sound like I'm going all over the place, but I think it's significant to say that even a decade or more ago when I was starting to do this work, working with pornography and compulsive sexual behavior, that there really wasn't as much of a strength based model. There's still a little bit of a debate in the professional realm of a more of this medical model or this 12 step model, this addiction model versus a a more of a positive psychology strength based model. And I have been working with this strength based model for a very long time. And that is what gets results, in my opinion. And I can again say after doing this for almost 15 years and helping about 14 hundred individuals and then people that go through my path back online recovery program, then the strength based approach has been very effective.

[00:04:54] What does that mean by a strength based approach? I like to tell the story that when I got into counseling and I was working at a nonprofit, I was working with people that were struggling with. And let me just tackle this right out of the gate. I'm going to use the phrase pornography addiction and I'm going to talk about compulsive sexual behavior.

[00:05:12] And I might or I might just say struggles with pornography and why. So one of the first questions that I get truly is, is my husband an addict? And I'm going to pull some things out of my book a little bit today, which is sounds so pretentious. I know it does, but I really am proud of this book. With that I did with Joshua Shea, it's continued to sell copies for professionals, for the betrayed and for the the betrayer. And I think it just really answers so many good questions about pornography, addiction, compulsive sexual behavior. But so here's chapter one. The first question asked is, how do I know if he's actually an addict? And here's my comment on this. So when a client comes into my office to talk about her partner, who she thinks is an addict, so usually begin to list all the reasons that she's sure he's addicted to pornography, and then she'll ask me the question, how do I really know? And so at this point, I recognize that she's doubting herself and questioning her intuition. And this usually happens for one of two reasons. Either one, she thinks that she's not qualified to make that diagnosis or most commonly, she doesn't want it to be true. And so I'll hear the client's entire monologue about her partner's behavior, a behavior that led her into my office in the first place, only to hear her say, but I'm probably wrong. And what I feel like she's really thinking is, please tell me I'm wrong. And chances are she's not wrong. But there is help and there's hope. And so there are countless definitions of addiction and each with its own little nuances.

[00:06:35] But for the work that I do, I like the definition proposed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, which is ASTM.org and it state's addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain impairment and behavioral control, craving, a diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behavior and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. So like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. And so without treatment or engagement and recovery activities, addiction is progressive and it can result in disability or, according to the ACM, even premature death, because we're probably talking there of drug overdose and that sort of thing. OK, but here we go, though. But to me, the exact defining of the word addiction is largely a matter of semantics. So if pornography is affecting your relationship negatively and you suspect that it's an issue that needs to be dealt with, the labeling of addiction or not, addiction becomes irrelevant. And if it's negatively affecting your marriage or your relationship or your family, it needs to be treated whatever you want to call it. So I have couples that come into my office and one is adamant that I label the other an addict, while the quote addict may be adamant that he or she need not be labeled. So we could spend the entire session worrying about labels and trying to define addiction. But that's just wasting crucial time that could be spent on repairing a relationship and overcoming the negative behaviors that brought them there to begin with. So this need to label or not label comes up in other areas of my practice as well in my dealing with clients who may or may not be, let's say, on the autism spectrum.

[00:08:10] Some come into my office and talk about not being good with social cues or having blind spots and the like and finding out that they are on the autism spectrum or being labeled autistic is a relief to them because it's finally an answer to explain their behavior. But others walk through the door and clearly exhibit classic signs of autistic behavior, yet repeatedly expressed that they do not want to be tested or evaluated for fear of being labeled because they're afraid that people will then treat them differently. So the labeling issue is a universal concern and the label doesn't change who you are. It doesn't change the behaviors exhibited and it doesn't change what needs to happen next on the path of dealing with the behavior. But if your behavior is causing problems in your relationship, whether or not you are clinically identified or labeled as an addict, then I feel that's when you need to seek professional help. So I just go off on that tangent because I will most likely use interchangeably the word pornography addiction or pornography, compulsive sexual behavior, or trying to rid yourself from pornography once and for all. And and I doubt that anyone is paying this much attention to my intro over the last three years. But I have shifted it from pornography addiction to trying to overcome turning to pornography as a coping mechanism, because I feel like that really is at the core. What most people are struggling with is this turning to pornography.

[00:09:23] It becomes this almost robotic or zombie like impulse and then it doesn't leave anybody feeling good after that. So they do want to put that behind them once and for all. So I hope that helps. But so back to when I started working in this nonprofit, I would get men that would come in to me and most of them were not honestly, they were not coming to me and saying, I am. I have a pornography addiction. Usually it's, hey, my wife wants me to come in or I got caught or my marriage is in trouble. There are some people that come in and say, I got to get this behind me. I really do. And part of that, I think, is the shame that even has to for someone to say I have a problem and that I want help with that. And that's a big reason why I did create the path back, because I wanted people to be able to address this regardless of if they are coming into a therapist's office or if they want to do that in the privacy of their own home. Because I feel like I do not meet with people who for the most part, say that they really enjoy looking at pornography and it makes them feel better after and it makes them feel more connected with their spouse. So I got men that were coming into my office and I recognize that the traditional training is a lot of behavioral modification.

[00:10:31] So when someone is feeling triggered, for example, or wanting to look at porn, then you're treating that. You're teaching them how to, I don't know, go run outside or do push ups or call a friend or that sort of thing. And so I found that most everyone coming in was almost looking for some silver bullet or some new thing that they've never heard before that would help them immediately get rid of pornography in their lives. But I identified quickly what I like to call this concept of voids. And so I found that I could teach behavioral modification all day and the person is going to do it at times or sometimes they're not. But what I really felt like was identifying that most people were turning to pornography as a coping mechanism wherever they felt these voids and identified five key voids. And one is when they don't feel connected with their partner. And that is why I dove into the world of emotionally focused therapy and did more couples work. The second one is when they don't feel like they are connected with their kids or as a parent or they're not being the parent that they always want to be. And that's what led me to my study with the nurtured heart approach, which is the at the foundation of my parenting positively course that you can go take for free right now, going tonyoverbay.com.

[00:11:41] Another one is people struggling with their faith. And so if you look on my podcast episodes, just go to my website and search for anything that has to do with faith journey, faith crisis or stages of faith. And I have episodes there where I talk about ways to really connect with your faith, where you aren't doing it just because you think that's what you're supposed to do, where you can really tap into your own values that are connected to your faith journey. So we've got the couples peace, the parenting, peace, the faith peace. And then I found that a lot of a lot of people aren't happy with their career. And I'm talking about whether it's their career. They always wanted to be, I don't know, an attorney, but they're an engineer or if somebody is a stay at home mom and they always wanted to have a career so it can go in any of those directions where if they don't feel connected or they don't feel passionate about what they're doing on a day to day basis, that can cause these voids and then wanting to turn the brain saying, OK, I want to check out I want to turn to pornography as just the just the like a little bump, a little dopamine rush.

[00:12:43] And then and then the fifth one/void is their health. And I feel like that's one where a lot of if we want to face it, most of us, I think, anticipated that we would be in pretty good shape when we were adults. But then the stress and life and incredibly tasty food comes into play. And it's really easy to turn to food as a coping mechanism as well. And so look at those five areas. And I don't want that to sound heavy. I want that to sound no pun intended after the food one, by the way. But I want that to sound like, oh, wow, that makes sense, that if we can get your marriage dialed in a little bit more of your relationship, if you're not married, if we can get your parenting dialed in. And of course, if you're if you're young and you don't have kids, then obviously that doesn't mean that we don't worry about that one. But your career, your faith and your health. And it's not that we ignore what to do when the temptation, the siren song of temptation hits. It's not that at all, but we address that. But we also go in and we talk about how to address these voids and how to get people dialed into more of a value based life.

[00:13:42] And and this is where I love acceptance and commitment therapy. So when someone's figuring out their unique set of values based on their life experiences, all of that nature, nurture, birth, order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, those sort of things, when someone figures out their value and then they're more likely to live this more purpose filled life when they're turning to their own value. I have a big value of authenticity. And that sounds clichéd. I know, but it's something I really didn't figure out until I was probably in my 40s, because up until that point, I really was a pretty big people pleaser. And so there were times where I would not speak my truth or my mind because number one, I felt like it would be abrasive or that it would be a negative thing. And number two, I just felt like I couldn't I felt like I needed to be so nice and that I couldn't be authentic and open. But once I recognized that value of authenticity, then I realized that, man, I feel so much more empowering to deal with that need to be authentic than it did to be a people pleaser and try to avoid conflict, because there's so much I could I could do whole episodes on those last two sentences that I said. But so treating the voids in someone that is struggling with pornography addiction is absolutely the way to go.

[00:15:00] Now, the problem is that people often say, OK, they've been caught or they want help. And so it is go and sin no more, never do it again. And the big problem with any kind of addictive behavior is that the person that is struggling with that addictive behavior has had so many go and sin no more moments in their own life so many times where this is the last time. And then when they have not necessarily dealt with these other areas of life and dealt with them over an extended period of time, then they find themselves falling again to the siren song of temptation and then beating themselves up and. Thinking what's wrong with me and often going on a bender and realize that when I talk to clients, sometimes they don't know what a binder is, a binder is just borrowed from the world of alcoholism. And it's where someone has a relapse with acting out with pornography. And then they just feel today shot. And if it's a friend on a Friday, they're like, there goes the weekend. And if it's the 16th of the month, they say there goes the month. And if it's August, they say there goes the year. And I'll work on this next on Monday or next month or I'll start on in January.

[00:16:07] And all of those are these experiential avoidance components where it's kicking that can down the road where, you know, absolutely to get control of an addiction or an addictive behavior. Let's not wait till Monday. That's just a story my brain is trying to tell me. Is that all right? We'll wait till Monday. Well, we need to deal with it right now, as a matter of fact. So I hope that makes sense when we talk about the concept of addiction in general and where I come up with these voids that we're trying to work on each one of those voids. And I think that does lead right into again, I'm going to read out of the book where the next question was, is there a difference between pornography addiction and sex addiction? And so I said similar to the answer to the first question, this one comes back the labels and whether or not they are relevant. So to be clear, until recently, there wasn't anything in either the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is called the DSM, or the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases, which is the ICD that talked about sexual addiction or pornography addiction. Now, recently, the WHO updated the ICD to include compulsive sexual behavior disorder, which is CSB D How about those four acronyms as a mental health condition?

[00:17:18] And so while this designation doesn't exactly meet the standard for addiction, it is definitely the strongest statement made by a body of experts in the field of sexual mental health. So I say, let me share a very 30,000 foot view of what's happening to the brain with doing pornography. So when a man and I'm going to say, man, it can be a woman as well. When a man is watching viewing pornography, when he watches porn, his brain releases the feel good drug dopamine. And there is some fascinating research and I've got some very early episodes that I realize now are almost three years old. So they're hard to find in the archives, but fascinating research around what is called the Coolidge effect. So the idea is that a male will mate with a receptive female once and then he can experience a period where he is not interested in mating. However, if you bring in another receptive female, he will then mate again and so on and so on until he, in essence, can no longer move almost to the point of death. So this phenomenon has been observed in many different species in the animal kingdom. So what's happening is that this, quote, lower brain or reactionary brain was designed to see a female who could possibly help the male bring forth kids to assist in tilling the land and harvesting food so his brain pours out dopamine in order for him to hyper focus on her, to do whatever it takes to convince her that he is her man.

[00:18:33] So what research now shows is that the lower brain can't differentiate between the real woman in front of him or the pictures and videos that it's seeing on a computer screen. So it will see another, "willing female" on the screen and pour out dopamine saying I got to get her to. But so now with this endless supply of willing females and you can probably see where I'm going here, the brain continues pouring out dopamine, basically creating this dopamine binge, which actually kills off many of the dopamine neural receptors of the brain. So this causes the brain to need to see more and do more to get that same rush as there aren't as many dopamine receptors there to receive that feel good drug. So the addict will start looking for more, sometimes shocking or twisted or taboo things to get the rush.

[00:19:18] And so sometimes this can lead to people experimenting with things that are outside their relationship or people outside of the relationship because they simply want that dopamine rush. And so typically there is a period of time before pornography, quote, addiction becomes a full blown sex addiction where the individual will begin to explore what it would take to actually find a partner to have sex with. It's like they become addicted almost to the hunt. The dopamine rush comes from that hunt or the exploration. So sex addicts aren't necessarily are not necessarily they are not looking for long term relationships. They just want a quick fix. And so I've had so many clients in my office explaining that the progression from just viewing pornography or even just images to then viewing pornography to exploring sites that will allow you to connect virtually with someone online and then ultimately finding ways to meet up with a real individual for the sole purpose of a sexual encounter. And again, this is that just trying to get that dopamine rush, whether it's only pornography or both pornography and sex, the outcome for the individual is the same that it's all about. It's all about satiating the evergrowing desire and obtaining the requisite dopamine rush that the user needs to feel satisfied. So much like the move from pictures and a magazine to videos or Internet pornography to strip clubs, to massage parlors, to meeting up with an actual partner, the addict is looking for the next rush of dopamine and keeps needing to push the bar higher in order to feel.

[00:20:38] Sexually gratified so with other types of addictions, you often hear the term gateway, so an example would be marijuana as the gateway drug to harder substances. But while your partner may not be there yet and may never get there, I have seen too many situations where pornography was the gateway for acting out sexually. So anecdotally speaking, I have never had a sex addict that hasn't been addicted to pornography. And I have also had clients with severe addictions to pornography that have never acted out sexually. And again, I realize that I'm using the term addiction, even though I already identified that we could even challenge that word addiction rather liberally. And I want to continue to read. I did not realize I would be reading so much from my book and I really would encourage you to get a copy, especially I know a lot of mental health professionals. Listen to the virtual couch tonight that is so flattering and it contact me for a discount on a copy or something, but or it's on Amazon. It was just on sale. But to get the book, the stuff that Josh Joshua Shay is addressed from the answering these questions from the addict perspective is phenomenal.

[00:21:42] And so we we get a question and we both answered it and we had no idea what the other person was saying. And I just really am grateful for the flow of the book. So let me there's a quote. There's a paragraph I want to get to here. And so the question the next one I wanted to address was, was he this way when we first got together? So my answer was, typically spouses ask this question because they want to know one of two things. Number one, how did I not see this until now? And number two, did I somehow drive him to this behavior? And I just say this. The first is a loaded question of how did I not see this until now? If you've been together for many years, there are so many ways that you're both different from each other in so many ways in which you have both changed over the years. And I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Is he the same person you fell in love with and married? Probably not 100 percent, but neither are you. And again, saying that in a very straight face, the hold the shame love you kind of way. And I can tell you, based on seeing hundreds of individuals and sitting with them collectively for thousands of hours, that this is not an addiction that pops up overnight.

[00:22:38] However, it is an addiction that is steeped in this is so key: guilt, shame, secrecy and isolation, all of which are developed over time as the addiction progresses. So if this addiction was there prior to when you met and were dating, then your partner probably hoped that the sex life that you would eventually share would be enough to take away any desire to view pornography. And unfortunately, unless addicts begin doing serious recovery work, simply getting into a monogamous relationship is often not enough to address the addiction. Now, again, I'm not trying to paint this just broad stroke, brush canvas, all these other art analogies. If you can tell that I'm not an artist, that is, if someone has struggled with this, then they are not. They will continue to do so in marriage. This is that thing where everybody's relationships are different, everybody's personal experiences that lead them to their relationship is different. And so, unfortunately, where I'm going with this is is the acting out sexually, whether in a committed relationship or a one night stand, won't satisfy the addictive nature of pornography. So if the person is actively trying to put this past them actively in recovery or and again, this is where it gets a little bit cloudy, but even if they're aware and trying to work with this, if they've admitted that there is an issue or problem, then we're on the right path. So I believe here's the paragraph I really wanted to get to. I believe that the addiction has very little to do with the spouse, although I can understand how difficult that might be for the spouse to accept.

[00:24:10] So this addiction began with the husband's early exposure to pornography, to him then becoming, quote, sexualized young, where the wiring of the brain began to view a lot of his life through a sexually charged lens and addiction. As I mentioned earlier, springs from this well of unmet needs and this lack of connection. So, again, he's most likely feeling disconnected from his work or his school or his health or his relationships and his faith and his brain is turning to pornography whenever he's not feeling good about himself or the situation. And so over time, turning to pornography has become habitual and instinctual. So sometimes I share with clients that no one typically picks up something like smoking in their 20s or 30s. And the concept is similar. With pornography, there is early exposure that leads to an addiction of turning to porn for stress relief or to numb out or to cope with problems. And by the time an addict is married, looking at pornography is how they may react to any and all of some of the above stressors. So and I'm not trying to paint this as a negative thing. I want to continue to have this conversation. And I want people to feel people that are hearing this. They're going to be men and women that are hearing this episode that I want them to recognize right now that you are OK, that you are normal, that early exposure to pornography is not your fault. No 10 year old or now the average age of first exposure is somewhere between 8 and 11. That is not something that that is that.

[00:25:35] I know you didn't wake up in the morning and say, I think I want to find some porn. It's something that has been put in your place to put in your way, it is something that whether it is by advertisers, whether it's too easy to access it on the computer, whether cousins or older brothers or dads or mom, I've heard every version of this that has left pornography up on the screen or people at school or showing things on phones or long gone is the day of IF a person sees, its WHEN, especially as youth. And so it is so important to have the conversations about not if I've seen pornography, but I would always bring up in our family nights. Hey guys, when's the last time you saw something pornographic and almost saying, how did they get that through? I would hear about people posting things on Pinterest or on Instagram or those sort of things. And I want you to know, parents that are listening to this, I just I plead with you to not have the reaction of an immediate. Oh, my gosh, give me your phone. Where's the hammer? Let me bust this up. You will never have that thing again because it is introducing this filth into the home, that sort of thing. We want to be able to have the conversations because your kids are going to be out in the real world, whether under your watch or down the road. And what we really want to do is give them these coping mechanisms. These tools or these safe places to be able to go to and talk to you about seeing pornography or if they have a hard time putting it behind them once and for all, or if in hearing this episode that you can help them feel their voids, that you can help them recognize that they are enough or they do have worth or you can find very productive activities for them to engage in.

[00:27:16] I've had people have their kids join individual sports. I've had them and somebody do competitive Pokémon. I've had people do chess. I've had people, do you name it, crocheting, artwork, teaching kids, tutoring kids, volunteering at an old folks home, learning to play music for the first time. Those are things that can be done to start to build this confidence and fill those voids and raise their emotional baseline up to a place where they can turn away from the siren song of pornography. So I hope that is something that is not as scary, but that I'm I want you to know that. Yeah, it's I wish it wasn't here. I really do. But we'll note that one of the first things in the book, The Road Less Traveled that I loved by him. Scott Peck says that life is difficult. And as soon as we recognize that life is difficult, the fact that life is difficult no longer really matters. Because once we've embraced that, OK, life is going to be difficult, then we can transcend the fact that life is going to be difficult. It no longer gets becomes a big giant wall in front of us.

[00:28:17] We know that's coming. That wall is coming. So now we're going to prepare for or going to run through the wall. We're going to climb the wall. We're going to go around the wall. Are we going to get some tools to break down the wall? Because the wall is going to be there. So we're going to run into that wall.

[00:28:30] We're going to run into those situations where our kids are going to have struggles or challenges with pornography. And we're going to look at that and say, hey, champ, thank you so much for telling me about this. Let's do this. What can I do to help? I'm we're on it. Not oh, my gosh. I was so afraid of this day. Now here it is. And what am I supposed to do? And I'm a horrible parent, because that's not the case. And there's a wonderful talk by a person named Dieter Utchdorf, and he talks about he's a pilot. He loves to tell stories about flying. And he talks about if you and I'm going to butcher this quote from the talk, but he talks about if you take off and then a plane is one degree off course, then over the span of, I don't know, hours or thousands of miles that you it will be so much further away from its intended destination. And so I liken that to early exposure to pornography. So when someone has seen pornography, let's say at 10 years old and I often give this example and I'm really thinking of one of my teachers, Mrs. Anderson, I don't know where she is these days, but I remember sitting in a class and I can remember the individual right now, real life example. I won't say his name, but I remember him saying basically, look at this Mrs. Andersen's figure, look at her shape. And I remember thinking, I can see Mrs. Andersen. She's annoying. I think she's got long hair.

[00:29:45] She's really mean. And I look back on that. And I learned later that he had he had definitely been exposed to pornography early. And so to him, Mrs. Anderson was a female that he saw, just like he saw the women that he saw on pornography. And I'm so old. That was probably a magazine that he saw, I don't know, maybe a filmstrip or something like that. But I look back on that now and it makes so much sense. So to me, Mrs. Anderson was an annoying teacher. To him, She was a sexualized being. And so that's what early exposure to pornography does. And that's where I feel like that now, where a few degrees off. And so at some point when someone then is exposed, then it's almost like the world changes a bit for them. And I don't want that to feel like, oh, my gosh, the world's changed. It's OK. That makes sense. And so now from that point forward, that person, that teenage boy, for example, who is a normal, teenage boy, he's going to have all those female hormones are coming, to procreate, replenish the earth, that's a built in part of a factory setting. And so then and seeing and having these sexual desires and that sort of thing, that it's almost OK that's been unlocked. It's been unlocked early. And so now that is going to frame a little bit of their experience to live a little bit, a lot of their experience from that day moving forward. I buried the lead in one of the reasons that I really wanted to talk about this, and I'll end with this story and I have so much more I would love to share on this, but I do want to try to keep these episodes somewhat short, short ish.

[00:31:10] But a couple of weeks ago, I was asked and I alluded or I talked briefly about this on an episode a couple of weeks ago, but I had been asked to come on a national radio show and talk about pornography in the pandemic. And the truth is that the use of pornography use has skyrocketed since people have been sheltering in place. And when people have been around their computers and they're bored and they have just too much time on their hands, because I really do believe the biggest trigger that leads to pornography use is not, oh, some guy sees a hot chick, that old cliche, it's boredom. It's I call them crimes of opportunity. It's where somebody nobody's home or they're by themselves. And there's the computer. And their brain is so used to saying, hey, I know what we can do. And then they turn to pornography. Then they feel bad. Then they say, I'm not going to do it again until the next time. And then they think, what's wrong with me? And it's just this continuing shame spiral. But I was asked to go on this national radio show and I really didn't know a lot about the host and turned out the way we traded some emails.

[00:32:10] And he was very complimentary. And on his own Facebook page, I said that I'm a friend of the show and he said, I'm a brilliant author, so I love that. I appreciate that. But when I went on and I totally I really I can understand where he was coming from, but he brought me on to talk about it, and then he just jumped right in and said, hey, I don't think pornography is a problem. And so I think that was supposed to rattle me. And then on my first time to that rodeo, not even my tenth time to that rodeo. And so I said, hey, that's fantastic. And if that's not something that you think is a problem or struggle with, then my I can't I'm not going to try to convince you of that. And I talked about the concept of psychological reactance, which is that instant negative reaction of being told what to do. So if someone doesn't feel like they have a problem or someone doesn't feel like something is a problem, me telling them that it's a problem is actually going to, you know, trigger this psychological reactance. The person is actually going to dig in a little bit deeper. And I disagree. And so I got a sense that was where the conversation was going. So I just said that if that if he didn't feel that it was a problem, then that's wonderful for him. And I said, but for the fourteen hundred or fifteen hundred people that I've worked with individually that have decided that they did not like pornography as a component in their relationship or that it was something that they were turning to far too often.

[00:33:26] So they weren't as productive as they could be at work or it made them less of feeling like a connected parent, then that's a problem. And I don't think he was prepared for that, because then he continued to say, I watch it with my wife. And I said, man, then you guys would not need my help. And that is fantastic. But for the people that I work with, the people that are turning to me that want to put that behind them, that feel like it, it has made them less present in their relationship than I can. I can help people with that. And and he was pretty funny at that point. And he said, I turned to cake. I think that with frosting is a coping mechanism. And I said that, my friend, I can help with that. If that is a coping mechanism you want to put behind you, then I can work with that. So I appreciated that. But it was really I really enjoyed getting on and talking about that. If someone is saying it is not a problem for them, then I will tell you it can be difficult to work with. So that's the hard part about if somebody is being told to get help, but they really don't feel like it's a big deal or they feel like they have it under control, then Number One, they're probably going to have a little bit of that psychological reactance.

[00:34:27] They're going to double down and say, well, it's not really a problem. Or and here's the part that I really wanted to end with. And I had a podcast I did for a group called Leading Saints, and it's talking to ecclesiastical leaders and I highly recommend it. It's called Taking Shame out of the bishop's office. And it's a way that when people are struggling with pornography, addiction or compulsive sexual behavior, they don't feel good about it. They don't. And I again, I know that's the case. And so when they come into my office, the last thing that is helpful is for me to say, man, do you know what this could turn into or do you know how bad this is? And we just have a tendency as humans that when a teenager or a spouse or somebody comes and confesses or gets caught, we don't say, hey, thank you so much for coming in or I appreciate you dealing with this because we've got this and I know that you're going to be able to make it through this. And that is the response we need. We need to be able to win again if our kids come to us honestly with any issue or problem, do some mindfulness work like crazy so that when they say, hey, I wrecked the car or I'm struggling with pornography addiction or I'm failing a class. That school that our reaction is, hey, I am so proud of you for coming to me.

[00:35:42] I really appreciate that that takes guts. And so we're going to figure this out. Let me know what I can do to help. Let me know if you need me to be an accountability, buddy. If you want some professional help when the world of the school, if you need a tutor, whatever you need. I am just so proud of you for coming to me. And we've got this because it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to go to somebody and say, I'm struggling with anything. So that's my ultimate goal when dealing with pornography. Is it a bad thing? And it objectifies women and it warps sexuality and it's it's a component and well over half of divorces. Now, according to I think it's the American Lawyers or Attorneys Association. Yes, all of those are true, but it's individuals that are struggling with this. And so we need to treat them like individuals as well. And if you're hearing this and you are struggling and you've tried to put this behind you and have been successful, it's not too late. And there are so many people that I've worked with that have spent a fair amount of time literally like coming into my office and saying I didn't do the homework or relapsed again or so. And it's as if they want me to say, Oh, man, yeah, you're like super broken. Go ahead. You can go and just act out like crazy. And yeah, I guess I couldn't help. No, it's not the way it works. It can be a little bit of a journey.

[00:36:57] It can take more time than one would anticipate, but that's just the way that it works. The old cliche of it is what it is. But just being aware and seeking help and trying to put distance between thought and action, those are the things that are going to get you back on this path back to that person that you always wanted to be or a person that you dreamed you could be. And that is somebody that isn't turning to compulsive sexual behavior as a coping mechanism. So I appreciate you taking the time to stay with me. If you have questions I would love to do, I'm going to start now. Here's a sneak preview of the new revamped Path Back program is I am going to be doing some Facebook lives. I am going to be doing some Q&A. I am going to be doing as part of the Path Back program, some weekly calls and answering questions and working with individuals. And so I would love your questions. You can send them through my website at Tony Overbay.com. Just go to the contact page and just send me any questions you have about pornography, compulsive sexual behavior, any of that. And I'll try to get to those on a future episode or a Facebook live. Those are going to be archived. And I'm just grateful for you spending this time with me. And I look forward to seeing you the next time on the virtual couch and have a wonderful, fantastic day.

Tony reviews the life-changing book The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. https://amzn.to/2VUcMEd “Trauma is a fact of life…one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.” In part 1 of many episodes on the subject, Tony talks in depth about what trauma is, how it effects our attachment styles and kids, and how that can complicate our lives, and relationships as adults.

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help. And Tony is so confident that this program will work, that he's offering a money-back guarantee!

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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Title I had an amazing time on Rachel Nielson’s podcast 3 in 30 Takeaways for Moms. We talked all about parenting, specifically how to find the positive even when it feels like nothing positive is happening! Rachel does a fantastic job boiling down a topic to, in this case, 4 takeaways in around 30 minutes. 

Take a quick look around your room, your office, or even your car. What do you see? Do you find yourself staring at the same piles of paper, or half-completed projects that you've been working around for days weeks or even months? Do you feel a constant "low key" feeling of anxiety when you're in a messy room? And what if company suddenly decides to stop by? Do you panic, or party? If you’re feeling even a tiny bit of stress even thinking about the areas of your life where there may be an excessive amount of clutter, you’re not alone. In this episode, Tony references the article “A Cluttered House is a Cluttered Mind,” by Erin Cullum, as well as the article “Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies,” by Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies

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Tony also references the article “No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol” by Saxbe and Repetti https://undecidedthebook.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/saxbe-repetti-pspb-2010.pdf

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Tony's interview on Shawn Rapier’s Latter-Day Lives can be found here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/latter-day-lives-talking-with-latter-day-saints/id1262984796?i=1000479049886

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help. And Tony is so confident that this program will work, that he's offering a money-back guarantee!

-

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

-

Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

-

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

--

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Transcript:

EP 210 Mess causing stress-2020-06-23-375.mp3
[00:00:08] Everybody, thank you for tuning in the episode 210 of the Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit couch, a father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you or anybody that you know is trying to put pornography behind them once and for all and trust me, it can be done in a strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be way, then please head over to path back recovery dotcom.

[00:00:39] And there you will find a very short e-book entitled Something to the effect of five common mistakes that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Again, that's passed back recovery. Dotcom and my free parenting course. Parenting positively, even during the not so positive times, is still, well, free. So just head to Tony Overbay dot com courses and you will find it there. A couple of other very quick items of business today. I'm recording this on a on a on a beautiful Tuesday morning in Northern California. And yesterday on Monday, an interview I did with Sean Ripia on his Latter Day Lives podcast is was aired. And it is very it's very fascinating to be interviewed and be in the hot seat and just have to tell stories about growing up and all of those sort of things. And I still try to turn it back around and an interview or do virtual therapy on Sean. He wasn't aware at the time, but he fell prey. So if there's that and if you want to hear more, it bounces sound silly saying, hey, if you want to hear more about my story, go over to Shandra Piers Latter Day Lives, interview his podcast and I'll put that in the show notes as well.

[00:01:51] Maybe a link there. That was a lot of fun. And I did a lot of a couple of other podcasts this week that are coming up soon. And I'll kind of keep you aware that doing a whole website upgrade, that's going to make it easier to find a lot of content, not only my own, but when I've been a guest on some other shows and that sort of thing. Which also leads me to I've alluded for a long time to go to Tony Overbay dot com and sign up there to find out more about all kinds of exciting new things. And one of those exciting new things is getting very, very close to a reality teamed up with with my business coach. He's a he's a motivational speaker. His name's Preston Buckmeier. And we are about to launch a marriage course. And honestly, it's it's incredible. I've wanted to do something like this for a long, long time. And I will be talking plenty about this in the next few weeks as we gear up toward the launch, revealing the name and where you can find out more information. But right now, just go to Tony Overbay Dotcom and just sign up there on my email list to find out more. Or if you go like or follow Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist on Facebook or follow me on Instagram at Virtual Couch.

[00:03:05] You will find out more information as it becomes available, but it truly is going to be incredible. He is really pushed me hard. I wanted him to to be able to really put a lot of these concepts of emotionally focused therapy, F.T. this couple's model that I love in very tangible what do I do next? How do I implement this weighs so again, so much more. You're going to hear about that in the next few weeks. But I can't wait. We've we spent a whole lot of time these last few weeks putting this together. And I really feel like we've kind of cracked the code, so to speak, on how to communicate more effectively with your partner, along with exercises on how to. And I wasn't even planning on talking about it today. But you can tell that I'm very excited and very quick if you have a second and you can subscribe or rate or review the podcast, that helps a lot. That's again, there's an odd algorithm. It's it's a mystery of how people find out more about podcasts. But I know that is one of the ways. And with that said, just a quick review that I received this week from someone named Polly Pocket, which I love that because my kids had Polly Pockets.

[00:04:10] And it's one of those things that we saved and hung on to, hoping that for some reason they would become collectibles. But I don't think that's the case. So I might need to get rid of them or I guess save them for my grandkids or something like that. But this person said, I love this podcast with all capitals and love. It's the first podcast they ever listen to, which is really an honor when I hear that Tony is interesting, he's captivating and informative. And when I listen to his podcast, I love that he's real and he doesn't hide it. You don't ever feel bored learning. So thank you very much, Polly Pocket. And please, if you have a second again, rate review, subscribe all that good stuff. All right, let's get to today's topic. This one is fascinating. And oftentimes my wife and I love this. She will just text me news articles that she sees throughout the day and we'll just say, hey, this might make an interesting podcast. And this is one that has been on my mind for quite a while because it has to do with clutter.

[00:05:01] And I will be so up front and honest that I am not the person that this well know. I'm the person that. This article has been targeted or is intended for, because I do find a lot of mental clutter when I am surrounded by clutter, but then even if I'm looking at my desk right now as I'm recording, there's clutter.

[00:05:20] There's a there's a lot of clutter. And I will find myself often even in therapy, looking around my office and thinking, man, I wonder if people just kind of step back and take a look if they would just wonder what's what's Tony's deal. I mean, if I just take a glance around right now, my desk with all my podcast equipment, I've got books on here, I've got a whole bunch of sticky notes. I've got some uncashed checks and water and keys and phone and all kinds of things. And looking around my room, I've gone through a candle phase. I'm now defusing essential oils to make my office smell good. I'm using fig, by the way, right now, which I didn't even know what a fig smelled like. But it's it's lovely. I really enjoy it. But all around my office, I do feel like one could say there's clutter. So I think I need to have someone come in and declare my office.

[00:06:05] But I know that clutter. I hear it often brought up. And it's one of those topics that people, even in marriage, can have really difficult conversations around because someone might have grown up in a house of order will just say that and someone might have grown up and not as much of a house of order. And so they both have different experiences when they are interacting with or around clutter. And I'm not talking hoarders kind of clutter, although if that's an issue, I'm sure that it would be even more exacerbated is what we're going to talk about today. And honestly, if you've never watched a Hoarders episode, a season, a new season was uploaded on Netflix recently. And it is that is that is my just kid in a candy store.

[00:06:49] If I just sit there and watch an episode of Hoarders because the psychological component is fascinating and then just to see how people get to where they are, it'll kind of blow your mind to see that. But the article that I'm I'm going to pull from today and actually go with a couple of them is one that my wife has sent me. It's by Aaron Culham and it's titled A Cluttered House is a Cluttered Mind. So I try really hard to stay organized. And and I don't really know of Aaron's background or credentials, but Aaron did a nice job putting this article together. But then it refers to a another article that I'm going to jump to by a clinical psychologist. And it and she also referred to a study that was a really in-depth study that is on words in how you describe the clutter in your home. So I'm going to talk about that as well. And I am going to tell a couple of stories that I have never told before that I'm very excited to talk about where it puts me not in the role of hero, but a bit in the role of the unaware husband. So Aaron starts the article by saying that she didn't always realize clutter has a direct effect on her mood. She said the daily grind of getting ready in the morning unwinding after a long day at work usually ends and dropping bags at the door, jumping into some comfy clothes, shedding any stress, seeing what's for dinner, taking time to relax.

[00:08:08] But she said for her, the sigh of relief since the call is impossible without a clean, tidy home. If the countertops aren't clear, she says, neither is her mind. Piles of paper, probably unnecessary mail cringe. And she says, and I've heard this one many times, Hoarders is a horror show. So she talked about this correlation or identifying a correlation between what her apartment looks like and how she feels physically and mentally. And she said that when you reduce that clutter in her home, that it really has made a difference in her day to day. So she says she tries to make a conscious effort in trying to clean while she goes or gets dishes done as soon as she can keep shoes out of the doorway avoids what I love is the clothes chair in her bedroom. That might also be the treadmill or the StairMaster or the weight bench. I know I've had a few of those in my day, but she says she tries to put things back after she uses it and avoids accumulating clutter in the first place, striving to create a minimalist space and all of those wonderful things. And so I'm skipping all over that because I think that there are people that are listening right now that either think, well, yeah, that's what you do. You put things that way after you use them and you pick up along the way and everything has a place. And I forget what that phrase is.

[00:09:20] My father in law used to say it. There's a place for everything and everything in its place. And so there are people that that just come so naturally. But when you interact with other human beings, especially those of the tiny variety that isn't always is easily is easily done is one once. So she said she recognizes not everybody feels this way about clutter and she talks about a boyfriend of hers who wouldn't bat an eye, things strewn across the counter. But so here we jump into one of the articles that we're going to talk about today, she said. In Psychology Today, Doctor of Psychology Sheri Borg Carter writes, Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren't necessary or important. That clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on. So simply put, mess equals stress, so I really like how simplistically Dr. Carter writes that clutter bombards our mind with excessive stimuli. And I'll admit I hadn't necessarily thought of that. I mean, if you go back and look at Charles Duhigg is the power of habit, that book, he has some pretty fascinating data of even looking at CEOs in the workplace and how they're there. I like to call it their brain sponge can be full by the end of the day and their people can get to the point where they just can't make additional decisions. And so I feel like there's a correlation here that as clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime, I'm sure that that causes some mental fatigue or exhaustion along the way.

[00:10:49] So the more that we don't have to deal with this extensive or excessive stimuli, the more chance we are going to have to be able to be present and be there for our partner or our kids, or to be able to show up a little bit more and not feel just overwhelmed. So the first story that I want to tell is a story of when when when we had little kids, when Wendy and I had little kids and we've been married and we're getting close to 30 years. My youngest is 16. So I've got 16, 18, 20 and 22. So this is many, many moons ago. I believe we maybe had one or two little kids at the time. And Wendy said a couple of things at one point that had changed my view that day that I've carried with me. I've used in sessions and you name it that as in let me kind of set the stage. So we had a toy room in the house and and I'm pretty sure it was when we had two little girls. I want to say that three and one or four into my my oldest two daughters and we had every toy known to man is I think a lot of new parents would do the kitchens and Barbie, their princesses and doll houses and and little cars and everything.

[00:11:56] We had everything. And we would try to put all of these things in this toy room, in the toy room would just be a disaster. And I remember how often we would clean the toy room. And I remember feeling kind of like, well, what's the point? Because the girls are just going to go in the next morning and just just mess up the toy room again. So wouldn't it just be smarter to keep the toy room in complete disarray? And my wife disagreed and I wouldn't give it a lot of thought at that time. I'm working in the computer software industry. I go off to work, I come home and and I can tell at times that she's pretty frazzled. The toy room might be a bit of a mess. And again, I would assume that, well, then we should just leave it because it's a lot of work to do. But she really wanted to clean up the toy room at the end of the day, and that would kind of extend out into the family room and other areas of the house of where she really wanted to. Just at the end of the day, I used to say this is probably a negative at the time, the way I would say it, that we wanted the house to look a bit like a model home. And then at the end of the evening and again, I wish I had my therapist skills back in the day of apologize, too, I think so many times because of this.

[00:12:59] And I was taught valuable lessons, but I remember one time to saying, hey, tell me why it's important for you to clean up the toy room at the end of the day, clean up the house at the end of the day, have things off of the counters when it's just going to get messed up the next day. And that was when she let me know that she said is a stay at home mom. She kind of felt like to a certain point how the home looked was a bit of a reflection on her so that when people stop by, for example, and we live next door to her sister. And so there were people in in her neighborhood at that time, I think that there were five or six stay at home moms and thirty something kids under the age of ten. And so people were kind of going in and out of each other's homes. So when people stopped by, she just felt like if the house had a semblance of order, that it was easy for her to feel comfortable welcoming people in. And and this is a deep marriage therapy principle that it was not my job to try and dispute her view of reality. You know, I was I mean, even if I wasn't going off to work every day and not being in the home, who am I to say, well, you shouldn't think that way or you shouldn't care.

[00:14:00] You just need to, you know, all those unproductive things that we find ourselves saying instead of saying, hey, tell me about what this experience is like for you. So she like that feeling. There's a semblance of order. But she also shared that at the end of the night, and I love this one, she felt like having the house picked up or in order helped her relax and allowed her to be able to turn off her brain a little easier and be able to go to sleep. And so to this day, cleaning up the kitchen, picking things up off the floors, the counters, loading the dishwasher, even putting the pillows back on the couch, finding the remote controls, which can be just a tedious nightmare of a task. Taking the dogs out to go potty, you name it, has become a nightly routine that we do together while talking about whatever topic comes to mind. And while I truly didn't find that, not doing it some fifteen years ago bothered me for so many years, I just have in doing so that it's a way for me to show that I can be there for my wife who I care about, that's my person, or, you know, it's all I needed to know. And so now I've grown to really appreciate it, not only as a time that we can connect, but there are also times where she'll have other things going on. And I know, hey, this is something.

[00:15:08] I can do for her to show her that I care or that I love her and and I've also grown to really appreciate it. Kind of a quick thing about this to a global pandemic. Note often want to come down to go on an early morning run or get to the office before the crack of dawn. It is kind of funny now because I'm met with dishes out the Top Ramen package on the counter as my older kids and youngest is 16 and I have my 16 and 18 and 20 year older in the home right now. They're keeping some pretty odd hours. So that is something that we could clean it at 11:00 at night and then maybe at two or three, there's still these kitchen elves or kitchen fairies that are messing things up. So it's so much easier to kind of clean that up really quick because of having it clean the night before. But again, I am not some person that that grew up wanting or expecting this order, but I've come to really appreciate it. And that's why I like this article where Dr. Carter talks about this excess, excessive visual stimuli that removing that really can help feel a sense of calm or peace. And and and I know that it lowers the cortisol levels or the stress hormone levels. And and speaking of dishes, you know, I'm going to say that story and I hope I remember to get back to it. Dishes in the laundry.

[00:16:20] I want to say remind me of those. Let's put a pin in those. So there's there's Authors' there's a study and this is one that Aaron Cullom, the original article that I'm referring to, she references the authors of a study called No Place Like Home: How Home Tours Correlate with Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin noted the way people even describe their homes may reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. So I did go dig up that that study out of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Home tours correlate with daily patterns of mood and cortisol. And this thing is fascinating and I won't go into too much detail here. I could put a link to this in the show notes as well. But I'll just read the abstract of this. This review, this study, the abstract is that the way people describe their homes may reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. And and I think this is fascinating. Are you going home and feeling like it is a restorative process or are you going home and feeling like it is a stressful process? So this article uses linguistic analysis software. So linguistic inquiry and word count to analyze 60 dual income spouses self guided home tours by calculating the frequency of words that describe clutter. A sense of the home is unfinished, restful words and nature words. So based on a principal component analysis, the former two categories were combined into a variable of a stressful home and the latter two into a restorative home.

[00:17:54] So over three week days following these home tours where people were describing their homes, wives with higher stressful home scores had here's the fun part had flatter diagonal slopes of cortisol, which happens to be a profile associated with adverse health outcomes. So people that took these home tours and described their homes as not being restorative or as being more as stressful, they had these flat or diurnal slopes of cortisol. So that that means that they had more more stress in their lives. And they felt that in describing their home, their home was full of clutter, whereas women with higher restorative home scores had steeper cortisol slopes. So these results held after controlling for marital satisfaction and neuroticism that women with higher stressful home scores had increased depressed mood over the course of the day, whereas women with higher restorative home scores had decreased depressed mood over the day. So that was this longitudinal, very nerdy sounding study that basically says when people feel like there is clutter in the home, that it can lead to more of a depressed mood over the course of the day. And women who felt like the home was more of a restorative place had decreased depressed mood over the day. So back to the article by your column. She says, I know what it's like to feel stressed out, feel like this UGH instead of a welcoming ahh when thinking about going home.

[00:19:16] And she said it was especially true when she lived in a small San Francisco studio apartment. So let me kind of refer now to this article that she had referred to, and this is by Sherrie Borg Carter, who has her doctorate in psychology. This is off of psychology today and it says, Why mess causes stress, eight reasons and eight remedies. So Dr. Carter then does go on to say clutter plays a significant role and how we feel about our homes and our workplaces and even ourselves, that messy homes and workspaces they do. They leave us feeling anxious, which somewhat can feel helpless and overwhelmed. And but yet rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives. So she goes over eight reasons of why mess leads to stress. So this is the one that was quoted in that previous article by Aaron Cullom. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, so visual, olfactory, tactile, so various stimuli that that can become a bit overwhelming. So this causes our senses to work over time on stimuli that isn't important or necessary. The second thing that she references is clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on. And I think that's a pretty interesting one. Just just give yourself a little awareness exercise today and just notice just notice when you might be distracted by a pile of something or by just something that you remember that you maybe needed to do that had to do in the realm of cleaning the house or becoming more organized.

[00:20:49] Third, she says clutter makes it more difficult to relax both physically and mentally, forth clutter constantly signals to our brain that our work is never done. That one that one spoke to me. That one resonated with me because I feel like I often think I just need to clean my desk. I just need to clean this particular corner of the office. I need to clean my side of the bed. I need to clean my side of the bathroom. Those things that you can just tend to see have a little more clutter. The fifth thing she references clutter makes us anxious because we're never sure what it's going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile. And man, that one's true. I have a hidden pile of stuff in my office and it continues to grow. And I have told myself many times that I need to take an hour and go through it. But if after I read that number five here, that never quite sure what it's going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile, I really felt that one, because I feel now like even my brain has said I just need to set aside a couple of hours and then even then I feel like it's probably gonna be a little bit longer than that. So there is this just great unknown. And if you've had the experience before where maybe once I jump into cleaning this this pile that I have, that it may not take as long, I mean, I really am kind of hoping that will be the case.

[00:22:02] But I understand this great unknown does cause a little bit of mental stress. Number 6, clutter creates feelings of guilt that I should be more organized. I can check that box as well. And embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes, our workspaces. So this secret pile that is in my office is not in plain sight of my clients. But every now and again, I'll have a client in my office and I maybe run to the restroom. And if they stand up and they're going over to look at my bookshelf, which I'm looking at right now, you can often see then where this secret stash of things are and it is embarrassing. And so I feel that one, that that clutter can create feelings of guilt and embarrassment. Number seven, clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm and problem solve. And so I think that just has a little bit of that, what I think of as clutter creep, where it creeps into all kinds of areas in visually, spatially. And then again, I think that that just kind of taxes our brains. And finally, she said the clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly. For example, files and paperwork lost in the pile or kee swallowed up by the clutter.

[00:23:11] I am one of those who likes to think that I know fairly well what is in my pile of stuff. But if I'm being very honest, vulnerable and authentic, then there are plenty of times where I have looked through my pile of stuff thinking I would find something and not finding what I thought had been there the entire time. So Dr. Carter says fortunately, unlike more other commonly recognized sources of stress, like our jobs or our relationships, clutter is one of the easiest life stressors to fix. A little bit of hope there, right? That's a kind of a positive statement, she said if clutter's invaded your entire house.

[00:23:46] Don't tackle the job alone. Get the whole family involved by starting with one room everybody uses and making each person responsible for a section. If you're on your own, start with one area at a time and finished cluttering that area before moving on to another. This will give you a sense of accomplishment, as you will see your success little by little. And I think there's a whole podcast that could be done there in the little by little. If we really look at the way habits are formed, if we look at the way the brain works, we we often want these big home runs, these massive turnarounds and changes. And we will even hear those stories in the media or on TV or movies are made about these dramatic 180 swings and attitude and behavior. But the truth is, we just make a little bit of progress and we need to just be patient with the process. So we we need to view our accomplishment by little by little success. Number 2, create designated spaces for frequently used items and supplies. You can quickly and easily find what you're looking for when you need it. However, try to make these designated spaces closed spaces. I really like this one because I have one of these drawers in the kitchen, she said. Close spaces such as drawers and cabinets storing things on open shelves are on top of your desk does not remove those visual stimuli that create stress and lessen the amount of open space that your mind sees. So it's OK to have that drawer.

[00:25:06] I was going to say junk drawer, but. Let's just say it's a drawer of treasures, that's what I'm going to call my my drawer. Now, this is a good one.

[00:25:14] Number three, if you don't use it, don't want it or don't need it. Get rid of it. You can toss it. Recycle or donate it. And she loves one person's trash is another person's treasure. I have a friend of mine who says often that I bought it and now I'm just holding it, waiting for the person who actually needs it. And honestly, reframing that way can be amazing. So she says, but don't don't keep it. If you're if you're not using it, if you don't want it or you don't need it, don't keep it if you use it, but only rarely store it in a box in the garage or if it's in your office in a high or low place to leave easy access space for things that you use more often. And I really like this one. Put a date on the box with rare exceptions. If you haven't opened the box in a year, whatever is inside is probably not something you need. And I've heard some really clever ways to do this with clothing. One that I have tried a time or two is turning things that I haven't worn the turn of the hanger or on the other side. So it's it's kind of go opposite of how you normally take it off of the the rack or whatever that would be called. And if it is still turned that way for a long time, then you can probably get rid of that. You know, that means you haven't worn something like that in a long time. Number four, when you take something out of its designated place to use it, put it back immediately after you're finished with it. And I love how she said that sounds simple, but actually takes practice and commitment. I am very bad at that one that I'll just usually set things down and so that I can put them away later and then later doesn't often come create a pending folder.

[00:26:40] This is one that I am going to do to begin today. A pending folder helps you clear off your workspace while at the same time provide you with a readily accessible folder to centralize and easily locate pending projects. And I think this is what I need to do with with male or with kind of letters that I need to get back to or those sort of things. Number six, don't let papers pile up. Random paper strewn everywhere. Could be public enemy number one when it comes to stressful clutter, were inundated by mail and flyers and menus, memos, newspapers and the like. And the key is to be conscious of what you bring and what others bring into your spaces in this one.

[00:27:13] Oh, this is hard for me. It is so difficult for me to go through papers as soon as you can, tossing what you don't need and storing what's necessary in its proper place. I, I am horrible about just piling up mail to the point where then it does seem a bit of an insurmountable task. And I find that just if I can just open it and deal with it when I get it, it's so powerful and often my wife, bless her heart, will kind of just gently bring awareness to the ginormous pile of mail that might be sitting in a certain area of our house. And and when I tackle it, I feel awesome and amazing and I can't lie. There have been a few times where I have found things that that that I've been owed a little more on lately, things like that, because it's I didn't open it. I have to own it. It's on me. It's OK. What can you do? You open it, you move forward and you try to learn from that experience.

[00:28:00] Number seven, declutter your primary workspace before you leave it. It's normal to pull things out while you're working in a space, but make a habit of cleaning off your workspace before you go. Not only this, give you a sense of closure when you leave, but also makes you feel good when you return to a nice, clean space. And that kind of goes along with that story that I talked about earlier in in our home. And number eight, this one, bless her heart, Dr. Carter, make it fun. She says you're going about cleaning things out, put some on, put your favorite tunes on, and the more upbeat the better. Not only will you enjoy the tunes, the time will pass faster and you'll probably work faster than you would without the music. That one is a bit of a challenge for me of making cleaning and declaring fun. So if you're able to do that, more power to you. Bless your heart. I may try that, but I can't count on just some some some happy tunes are going to make me feel excited to to clean and declutter. So I love that she dresses.

[00:28:53] It's just finally, clutter doesn't only apply to our physical environment. Mental clutter can be just as stressful, if not more stressful than physical clutter. And boy, can I speak to this, although there is an entire article she said at least of suggestions about mental cluttering. One of the most basic and useful tips that she offers on mental declaring is to focus on one project at a time without distractions, distractions, being things like cell phones and emails and other electronic gadgets. And she says you'll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish when you focus on a project without allowing anything else to get in the way. And she says, Well, I realize and recognize it's hard to accomplish in this day and age. It's doable. And she says that she thinks that we will agree it is well worth the effort. Dr. Carter, you are absolutely correct. It is definitely worth the effort. As far as you know, a lot of times my ADHD inattentive type, formerly known as ADD, can sure get in the way when there are tasks that I truly want to focus on.

[00:29:46] I promise talking about two other concepts, the dishes and the laundry. I am going to I've long joked on doing an entire podcast on parenting and dishes and marriage and laundry.

[00:30:01] So let me just try to do this off the cuff and hopefully it won't kind of go south. And if it does, then I will have already. Deleted it and edited it, and you'll never hear this part and won't even know that you didn't hear it. So let's let's let's do the laundry first. So often I have let's say it's a it is let's say it's a stay at home mom and a dad and he's off slaying the dragon and at work and that sort of thing comes home. Hey, I'm exhausted, I'm tired and and I will hear complaints in my office. Often that and laundry isn't done and that sort of thing. And so it is such a simple solution for this. And that is my wife is amazing. She she's very intentional about two days a week that are laundry days. And and I really enjoy if I get home and it's later and we've just cleaned up, the house is kind of mentioned and then we just like to dump the laundry out on the bed that needs to be folded. And I help and we fold and we talk. And it's amazing. And I love being able to be there for her. And and, you know, when people do the whole well, I've worked and she needs to do it. And what's the goal? Is the goal to have this perfect equity in responsibilities or is the goal to have a productive marriage? You know, is the goal to have just this magnetic marriage, this this, you know, what's your goal? And that's why I love it.

[00:31:16] If the goal is a magnetic marriage, a connected marriage, then the. Yeah, but things aren't equal. Exactly. Fair. Who cares? It becomes a story. My brain's trying to hook me to, you know, this path of least resistance. My brain's trying to say, well, yeah, but it's not fair. It's kind of what we're I don't care. I would rather have the relationship with my wife and I have learned to fold the heck out of some laundry. I'm not good at matching socks. I have to constantly be reminded of how many Folds Beach towel has versus a bath towel. But it's OK. I'm trying and I just want to to be there as much as I can for my wife. And I really appreciate that. So that one's a one on laundry. What's your goal? Is your goal complete equity? Or she should do this because I do this? Or is your goal the relationship? Are you both turning toward each other and trying to help each other get through life? Because there's a lot going on in people's lives. And that is the goal of a of a connected marriage, of magnetic marriage, is to have this this just dyadic union is Sue Johnson, founder of EFT, talks about where you can go out and you can fight the battles and storms of the day and know you've got this safe haven where you can return and process the events of the day.

[00:32:23] You can talk to your partner about anything and and they'll know they'll know that that they're there for you. They want to hear what what's going on for you. They want to be there for you. They want to show up. How, how, how, how, how you want them to show up and you want to do the same for them. So there's laundry, the dishes. The reason I said dishes and parenting is and I'm not I'm not joking about this. I have spent probably dozens, if not 100 or more hours in therapy talking about people and parenting and the dishes. So if your goal is to have the dishes done perfectly every evening, then I highly suggest that either you maybe think about having that be your responsibility or I don't know if you could hire somebody to do the dishes on a daily basis. And I'm sounding a bit a bit mean maybe right now, because I know that a lot of parents are going to say right now. Yeah, but they need to learn responsibility and they need to learn, have a work ethic and those sort of things. And I am not disagreeing at all. As a matter of fact, please go take my parenting course. The positive parenting, even in a not so positive of times, the parenting technique that I love, it's an evidence based model and it's called the nurtured hard approach that nurtured her approach. Your job is to build inner wealth. Your job is not to be the punisher.

[00:33:40] Your role is not to be the enforcer. If you say to your kid at any point in your life, Hey, champ, you can come talk to me about anything and then you're going to get just all over him about the laundry or about the chore chart or that sort of thing. Then you you truly are taking on the role of the Punisher. And and so if you have chores and dishes and all those sort of things are part of chores, then I believe as parents that's those are opportunities for us to express unconditional love and to to really hear our kids. You know, if it's if their job is to do the dishes every night and they haven't done them, instead of going in guns blaring and saying, why are you doing this? Like, look at all that I've done for you. And and this is all I ask of you that is not going to set anybody up for success. Hey, you know, I see you're sitting over there, you know, how is your day? Tell me what's going on. And it's busy or, you know, they've had a rough day at school or work or whatever. First of all, don't respond back with it or you think that's hard. Try working forty hours or whatever it is, because that's not going to make the kid go. Oh, man, you're right. Let me come do those dishes Dad. But instead, you know, they want to be heard. It's like, hey, thanks for sharing that and even it's a I'm going to take care of these that I know the dishes are your job.

[00:34:57] I'm going to take care of them because it sounds like you've had a you've had a day. If you want to help, you can. But if not, I hear you. And I know I just made it sound so overly simplistic because. Right now, there might be some pattern, some kind of dug in negative patterns between, let's say, a kid and a parent, but but in the long run, you know, that is going to build this inner wealth or kind of nurture a good relationship. So, again, if your goal is to have the dishes done perfectly every evening, then then then you can still throw the the guilt or the shame, the kid or that sort of thing. If your goal is to have a relationship or to show your kid that, hey, I'm here, then I might suggest listening to that parenting course I did. And you can come up with, you know, some consequences or that sort of thing if if these jobs aren't done. But I would say before laying that hammer down the seek first to understand and show them that, hey, this can be a time where we could do this together or if you are overwhelmed, son or daughter, then I got your back and I'll take care of this and an offer. I feel like that is the way where you are.

[00:36:01] Your son or daughter is going to then see that you care about them and and that's when you're going to see them typically get off the couch at some point and go to help you. And so but I feel like a parent is almost afraid to kind of make that move or that commitment to say, hey, I got this. It looks like you've had a rough day and fear of that their kid is going to walk all over them. So, again, I've oversimplified a very intentional parenting technique that I believe needs to be in place. Go check out my parenting course. It's based off of the nurtured heart approach. But those two things, dishes and laundry. If your goal is to have the dishes done, then you know, you're going to probably upset the relationship that you're trying to have with your kids or your teenager. If your goal is to have the laundry or a complete equity in the home, then then, yeah, sure. Then you can double down on you. Well, I refuse to do the laundry and, you know, I'm going to say, look at what you're going to get from that. It's not going to be a connected marriage or that sort of thing. Those are my two cents. And I know I've spoken many times about those in the context of parenting with the nurtured heart approach or couples communication through this emotionally focused therapy model. And again, about to come out with a marriage course that is going to address a lot of these things. All right. I have rambled. I hope this has been a helpful episode. It has helped me from a standpoint of what clutter can do to kind of just bring it brings those stress levels up in our brain and we want to kind of lower those stress levels so we can be more attentive, more present, more positive and all of the things that we do. Have a wonderful weekend.

[00:37:35] I will see you next time on the virtual couch

For most of us, we will do almost anything to avoid drama, even to the detriment of our personal and professional relationships. Yet at times, even the most mindful person may find themselves feeling like a victim who has no voice. While on other occasions, when seeing someone being picked on, we may attempt to rescue someone in that same victim role. And even crazier still, we may occasionally find ourselves trying to teach, or lecture or punish those who we feel are playing the role of the martyr, or victim. Stephen Karpman, M.D. identified these three roles, The Victim, The Persecutor, and The Rescuer, as part of what has become known as the “Karpman Drama Triangle.” Understand the drama triangle can not only help you recognize the negative roles that we tend to gravitate to in strong, emotion-filled interactions, aka “drama,” but also how to get out of these unhealthy situations.

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Tony references a wonderful summary of the Karpman Drama Triangle by Linda Graham, MFT  which can be found here https://lindagraham-mft.net/triangle-victim-rescuer-persecutor-get/ And for more information on Transactional Analysis (mentioned in the episode) click here https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/transactional-analysis.html

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help. And Tony is so confident that this program will work, that he's offering a money-back guarantee!

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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

-

Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Right now we need to be able to listen, empathize and understand our brothers and sisters more than ever...but why can that be so difficult at times? Even when many people stop to listen, why do their brains immediately go to, "yeah, I hear you, but you don't understand my..." Whatever comes after the "but" or "my" in conversations tends to be an "empathy-killer" at a time when we truly need to increase our empathy skills! Welcome to your Ego!

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In today's episode, Tony refers to an article by Mark Leary, Ph.D. Dr. Leary is the Garonzik Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University and author of The Curse of the Self. In his article What Is The Ego and Why Is It So Involved In My Life https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toward-less-egoic-world/201905/what-is-the-ego-and-why-is-it-so-involved-in-my-life Dr. Leary does a wonderful job at explaining our egos, and why it can be so difficult to step outside of one's self and truly listen to others. Tony takes Dr. Leary's thoughts on ego and shares some things that you can do immediately after listening to move forward with an increased amount of empathy.

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help. And Tony is so confident that this program will work, that he's offering a money-back guarantee!

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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

-

Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

-

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

--

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

In light of all of the events of the past week surrounding the horrific death of George Floyd and the protests and demands for change that have sprung forth from this senseless tragedy, I found myself contemplating my own views on privilege, race relations, empathy for my fellow brothers and sisters and how our views are formed, how they can change for the better. A large part of my own change has been through my relationship with Coach Charles Gazaway, who I interviewed on The Virtual Couch podcast back in June of 2018.

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In preparation for the episode at that time, I had reached out to the exclusively white parents of the basketball team that Coach Charles had been coaching for a few years at that time. There were wonderful comments from parents about teaching the kids hard work, determination, etc., but there were several comments by parents about Coach teaching that we're all brothers and sisters, and that basketball was a vehicle to bring kids together from all races to work, as one, for a common goal. Coach is the major reason my son now has a very tight, close-knit group of black friends who love him as the brother that he is to them.

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From the episode’s original description “Coach Charles Gazaway is a former professional basketball player from, as he puts it, “the hood, the inner city,” of Oakland. Coach started coaching my son, and a group of “lily white kids” from the suburbs almost 6 years ago and has taught them more about life, and people, through the game of basketball, than I could have ever imagined. A year and a half ago Coach suffered a serious medical setback temporarily losing his sight due to complications of diabetes, but he continued to coach through a kidney and pancreas transplant. He’s an amazing mentor, and role model to not just the kids, but to the parents as well. Coach led his team, in Cinderella-story-like fashion to qualify for the California games in San Diego.” As mentioned in the intro, you’ll hear a reference to donating for a trip to San Diego for the boys...that trip is long gone, but if you would like to donate to a charity of Coach Charles’ choice, you can do so here: PayPal.Me/TheVirtualCouch

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I also reference a wonderful article titled: What Can I Say to an African American Friend as Anger Rises by Terry Porter of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, you can find that article here https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/06/what-can-i-say-to-an-african-american-friend-as-anger-rises-faith-you.html

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Our original interview in its entirety (with two old sponsors that I believe no longer exist...they were edited out of this new recording) can be viewed on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0fOAjYhxJw&t=1s

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#coach Charles Gazaway #kidneytransplant #pancreastransplant #survivor on #coaching youth, #aaubasketball and on being a #mentor Coach Charles uses #basketball to teach valuable skills on #race and #racerelations to kids. #rolemodel #blacklivesmatter

From her website, http://aboutprogress.com, Monica Packer is a recovering perfectionist, a podcaster, and a Progress Coach. She also has a very successful online program that helps people create their first podcast called Podcast U along with fellow Podcaster and former Virtual Couch guest Rachel Nielson of 3 in 30 Takeaways for Moms. Monica "saves women from themselves, by helping them ditch perfectionism, step into their gifts, and move towards real progress." And while sometimes phrases like these can sound a tad bit ambiguous, just give Monica a few minutes, and you'll be hooked. Monica is one of the most real, authentic people that I've met, and in this interview, she lays all of her baggage out on the table for everybody to see. I guarantee you'll find some challenges that you've most likely struggled with yourself on that table and Monica will help you understand what to do to start to deal with that baggage and move forward in a healthy, empowering way.

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Monica discusses her struggles with perfectionism, anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, and her constant battle with impostor syndrome as she strives to help people take a look in the mirror and not only own their own lives but understand that it's OK to find yourself far from perfect. You can find Tony's encore episode on Monica's About Progress podcast here https://aboutprogress.com/how-to-stop-hating-yourself/

-

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help. And Tony is so confident that this program will work, that he's offering a money-back guarantee!

-

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

-

Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

-

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

--

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Episode Transcript:

Perfectionism and Procrastination with Monica Packer-2020-06-02
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I talk with friend and fellow podcast or Monica Packer, host of the About Progress podcast, on her battle with perfectionism, something that I believe so many of us struggle with, whether consciously or subconsciously, perfectionism can often be the underlying cause to anxiety, depression and an overall lack of satisfaction in your relationships, whether it's with your spouse, your kids and so much more. So join monokini today as she not only shares her story, but also share some tools that will help you even before you finish this episode. That and so much more coming up on this episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:45] Hey, everybody, this is a very quick advertisement, and I know I'm a podcast listener, you can get a little fast forward button probably on your podcast player, 15 seconds, 30 seconds. But bear with me. I'll try to make this quick. As a therapist myself, I obviously recommend that everybody give therapy a try, because when people ask me, do I need therapy, I don't even have to talk to you. The answer is yes, I need therapy. Everyone could use a sounding board. Everybody can use an objective third party. Everybody could kind of dig deep a little bit and find out what are the things that they've been holding back on. One of the things that they feel like they should be able to get over or shouldn't be worrying about shouldn't shouldn't. Nobody wants to be shot on, but we're all hanging on to things that would be helpful to process. And there's even things that we thought we'd achieve by now or things that we really want to achieve so that we won't have these regrets in life. And so if there are people listening right now that might be noticing that their anxiety and depression may be getting a tiny bit worse, especially with what's going on in the world right now, let's get to it.

[00:01:46] Let's not leave that untreated. You owe it to yourself, to those around you, your spouse, your kids, you. I mean, you're the you owe it to you at the very least to give therapy a try. So if you're nervous about finding the right fit, if you're worried about bumping into somebody in the therapy waiting room, if you have any worries about therapy, might I recommend that you go immediately to better health outcomes? Virtual couch again, that's betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, all one word. And just take a look at the world of online therapy. Go check out what over half a million approaching a million people have already done before you can sign up now they're going to better help dotcoms, less virtual couch and get the help that you need, the help that you maybe didn't even know that you need. There's a broad range of expertise and better helps counselor network, which might not be available in many areas, and especially right now with shelter in place, with social distancing, betterhelpcom is designed to do video therapy, telephone therapy. They even have appointments that you can text. So the service is available for clients worldwide. You can log into your account at any time, a message, a therapist, and you'll get timely and thoughtful responses.

[00:02:48] Plus, you can schedule these weekly video phone sessions, whatever it is, so you won't have to sit in an uncomfortable waiting room, as with traditional therapy. Although every time I do this ad, I do want to say that my waiting room is quite lovely, better, helpful, assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. Oftentimes you can start communicating in under 24 hours and the better health outcome assessment. The intake alone is brilliant and they also work with with all kinds of things, acceptance and commitment therapy. One of my favorite techniques, emotionally focused therapy. They work with anxiety, with OCD, with depression. So do yourself a favor, go to better help outcomes, less virtual couch. You'll receive ten percent off your first month services. And I can't lie. Obviously, if you're going to better help comes Virtual Couch. And this is the Virtual Couch podcast. It's going to help me out a little bit too. So go check it out. You'll receive ten percent off your first month services. What are you waiting for? Just go check it out. Betterhelp.com slash virtual couch. Try it today. Thank you for tuning in Episode 206 of The Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay.

[00:04:06] I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and co-author of the best selling book, He's a Pawn. And now what? An expert and a former addict. To answer your questions in which I play the role of the expert and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you or anybody that you know is struggling to put pornography behind you once and for all, and trust me, it can be done in a strength based hold the shame, become the person you always knew you could be way, then please head over to path back recovery dotcom. And there you can download a short ebook that describes five common mistakes that people make when trying to get rid of pornography once and for all. Again, that's pathbackrecovery.com. And I would love if you took my free parenting course parenting positively, even in the not so positive of times. You can find it at Tonyoverbay.com courses. And I've also talked on a couple of podcasts recently about creating a little bit of awareness to folks who might be experiencing any type of a faith journey, a faith crisis to drop me a line at contacted Tonyoverbay.com. I have some information coming soon that I would love to share and use that email address as well.

[00:05:13] Contact the TonyOverbay.com and feel free to send any questions. I'm looking forward to putting together a question and answer episode in the not too distant future, but the stages of faith, the stages of change stages of life, that is what I talked about in my last episode. Two hundred and five. And that is a topic that I am excited and passionate about. So I went big on that episode. So if you missed it, then I would highly recommend going back and given that one to listen. That's episode two hundred and five. And speaking of going big, my guest today is big in the world of podcasting. Her name is Monica Packer and she is the host of the incredibly helpful, hopeful and real podcast called About Progress. And I was actually on Monica's podcast. I had to look this up back in January of 2019, and I loved being on her podcast. She's a wonderful interviewer. And as a matter fact, she ran the episode as an encored later that year in December of twenty nineteen, which I was absolutely flattered by. And I have actually recommended that episode that that we recorded it actually. I think it's actually my therapist paperwork that I send out the new clients because we covered some some of my just things that I love to talk about and things that I think really can help people in therapy. We talked about my emotional baseline theory, as well as my love of acceptance and commitment therapy, which I believe will absolutely change one's life for the better if you embrace the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy. But today we talk about Monica's continual work with in a round about her perfectionism.

[00:06:50] And I love this concept because I think a lot of times the things that drive us, drive anxiety within us is this this desire or this need or this even subconscious just movement toward feeling like we need to be perfect. So perfectionism. And so I think a lot of times when people feel like, why do I have so much anxiety or why do I feel depressed that a lot of times there's an underlying piece of this perfectionism that is that is causing some of the anxiety, some of this depression. So Monica does an incredible job talking about this today. That's what I just I love about her. She's so real. She's honest. She's not afraid to be incredibly vulnerable. And while I know for a fact that it can be extremely difficult to put yourself out there, because I'm sure Monica is run into folks who maybe haven't been as kind as she would like or possibly openly criticized your choices. But, you know, and I really believe this when you get real with yourself, you begin to change your life. And when you really start to get real with others, then you can truly help drive and inspire this change and others. So I don't want to spoil anything or share much more other than to say that I highly recommend you give Monica's podcast about progress. Listen and feel free to start with her episode two hundred twenty five, which was her encore presentation with yours truly, which she titled How to Stop Hating Yourself. All right. Now onto my interview with about Progress's Monica Packer.

[00:08:32] Come on. Take a seat.

[00:08:37] Karl Rove is busy, no, everyone's busy, but you're not touting it, but you know what I mean. Like, you don't have a sign, like I'm busy, but you're doing so much good work.

[00:08:49] So I thought, OK, let's start off by what is how are you quarantining? What is that like for you?

[00:08:55] Yeah, we're doing pretty well. We live in a pretty small home, comparatively to probably most America. I mean, we live in a twelve hundred square foot house and have four little kids. So, you know, what's been interesting, Tony, is my kids are doing far better than I expected and it's almost made like we're exhausted by the end of the day, you know, in different ways. My kids are happier in some unexpected ways so that it's almost been like a really big in a weird way.

[00:09:22] So and I love that you're still there because I feel like that's why I'm seeing people bringing to my office a lot of moms in particular that feel like they are allowed to maybe slow things down a bit. There aren't as many dictations, but then it feels odd to say I'm flourishing under quarantine. But, you know. Yeah, yeah.

[00:09:37] We're definitely we had a breaking moment for sure this week. I feel like all of us did. Yeah, because we're six weeks into quarantining. I think we're starting our seventh week. So I think it did you know, everything did hit the this week one day for sure. But then we got back in the swing of things. So overall, yeah. We're handling OK now.

[00:09:55] That's good. That is. And then do you care to talk about the breaking point? What does that look like in your home? What does that look like?

[00:10:02] Well, that looks like me not doing anything I was supposed to do that day, you know, like not getting out on a walk with all the kids, not doing any home schooling, just feeling very overwhelmed and just caught up in the emotions rather like overwhelm them. But, you know, I think because I. Just felt it all that we were able to get back into the swing of things the next day, you know, OK, let's start over.

[00:10:29] Well, I love what you're saying. I feel like a lot of the moms I'm talking to in particular right now, I always want to say, man, it's OK to have those days and those feelings and leave. But when then you have people that are going nowhere around you that do have those expectations. I don't we don't have a precedent for what we've done in previous pandemics. Right.

[00:10:46] So not much as you can. That's about it.

[00:10:51] Absolutely. And the funny thing is this. I've heard from homeschooling moms, moms who have homeschooled for years, and this isn't even homeschooling like this is hard for all of us to make. That is so nice to know. Yeah, we're all in this together, you know.

[00:11:03] Yeah. I cannot speak for homeschooling moms, of course, but I have a couple of wonderful moms that have shared with me that the first week when everybody's on social media saying this is amazing, we're doing all these things every day and I love homeschool. And they're saying, OK, it's not that it's hard. Exactly right. And by week two or three within the person saying, OK, give them back to school, take them, then almost there is validation from the the homeschool mom. And I feel like what you're saying as well. I'm hearing the hey, this is just not it's odd for everybody. It really is.

[00:11:33] Yes. Yeah, it really is. We're taking it day by day over here, that's for sure.

[00:11:36] So you I had to in this podcast, I was telling you, I think before we recorded with them, I think that my nephew, a couple of daughters, my son in law, my wife that I'm hearing tomorrow. So by the time we hear this one, it will already be out there. But I thought that was the most fascinating part, was No. One. No one. That's an all or nothing statement. We're going to talk about those today. But I do feel like very few people are really thinking, hey, this online school forever, it looks awesome because, you know, that same computer that used to watch dog videos and play for at night is also now telling them what they need to be paying attention and they don't shower and drive somewhere. The routines are kind of gone, which I think plays more of a role than we thought.

[00:12:14] Oh, definitely. And actually, to honest, I think that's why we've done fairly well up to this point. And again, I'm not saying we're thriving every day, have those days, but routines have been so central to my kids. Yeah. So we've been really doing that. And also, to be honest with you, I'm a former teacher, so I am looking at this from the both lens. Like, I know teachers are working so hard, but I'm doing what's best for my kids right now. Yeah. And that means I pick and choose what they send home. And I let the teachers know and they know well what we're doing, but we're not doing a lot of the busy stuff. They're getting home. We're working on what they need to do and choosing how we're going to spend our time to stick to our own routines that are helping them be OK.

[00:12:59] Now, I love it because our routine, the brain likes routine. I mean, probably what they do. Right, they need. I felt like this is a perfect segue way to jump into perfectionism, but I want to kind of give a little bit of praise and ask a question. First, though, I'm sure, though, that your your podcast program, the podcast course that you're doing with Rachel. Yeah, I've been throwing people your way because I'm guessing you get the same thing. I now feel like weekly. I get people saying, hey, just super quick, you just tell me everything you know about podcasting, how to create discourse. You get that often.

[00:13:28] Yeah. And that's actually why we started our course, because it became a part time job for me to answer questions. And it was just to know it's not something you can do like in fifteen minutes because I mean, it's like years and planning and there's failures and successes.

[00:13:43] And I was doing the same thing. I was creating a Google doc and I still I'm doing a little bit of I was actually going to put this on my website. I like your course far better, but I've done a little bit of one on one podcast. Consulting is what I say. And then you find out that within an hour long session or appointment, you just can't cover everything.

[00:13:59] So absolutely. And that's how I did it, too. For about two years, I did one on one. And then even then it was like exactly. You said, like, you can't cover it all.

[00:14:07] Yeah. So where do people find people that want to do podcasts that want to email you and me both and we want your emails to death and. But what's easier, when to go. Where do they find you if they want to. You really find that course.

[00:14:19] Yeah. So you're speaking to Rachel Nelson, a three and thirty takeaways from Mom's podcast. We're business partners for podcast. You start our podcast university so they can go to podcast. Yuuko Our doors are closed right now for courses enrollment, but they can just email us and we'll we'll let you in. Just we'll just communicate with you or they can sign up for our free weekly emails that are very good. Like we give amazing tips every week on podcasting that I think, as I mean, people should be paying for it. It's really great.

[00:14:49] Yeah. No, I'm glad you're doing that, though, because the podcast is amazing and we love we love doing you and I both love you. And yeah, everybody is awesome, I guess, but they are very frustrating and we people don't really know how to navigate. So I'm great. It's hard.

[00:15:00] Yeah. OK, our topic today, Monica, this is going to be fun refection I always like.

[00:15:07] I love talking about this.

[00:15:09] Ok, so tell me why. Because a lot of people hear this topic and they they there's a lot of fear around this. And I talk about this often, I would say at least daily with somebody in my profession. Yeah. Yeah. So tell me about where you kind of start with this or why do you enjoy. Talking about it, what's your experience been with perfectionism?

[00:15:25] Well, I enjoy talking about it first just because I think so many people don't even see themselves as perfectionists. And it's really a revelatory thing for them to discover about themselves that so much of what is holding them back is, in fact perfectionism and not laziness like they thought it was, or lack of being a go getter or not having enough self-discipline like they themselves or they've given themselves too much credit and the most negative ways. Right. Because they're not realizing what really is at play here is perfectionism. So that's why I was really helping people interrupt some bad cycles in their life and bad routines and bad ways of thinking about themselves that are not helping their growth. And I've seen women really take charge of their personal development in ways that have changed their entire lives because they are now believing in a process which is getting messy, making mistakes, being persistent and flexible. But it involves pushing against that perfectionism in ways that are are challenging, but so worth it, so worth it.

[00:16:31] And I feel like tell me if you agree, but I do feel like a lot of times if I'm looking or working with somebody that is struggling with anything from depression or anxiety, eating disorders, a lot of these coping mechanisms that sometimes these come as a way to try to deal with the feelings around perfectionism or those feelings around that. I'm not enough story is the case totally.

[00:16:50] I think the route to say perfectionism is suspect. So some people are the stereotypical kind, the overachieving perfectionist. But I think most people are on a spectrum and that usually actually leads to the other side where they're underachieving, where they where they are in a holding pattern, things to perfectionism either wherever you are on the spectrum, the root is the same. You are measuring your worth of outcomes. Yeah. So you're propping up like what's on the exterior, both in appearance and in successes and achievements as standing in for your worth. And when you do that, you are doomed to fail and you are doomed to not have a whole sense as a therapist talk about because it's on the exterior and you're just setting yourself up to never feel like you've arrived. And I've been all of that spectrum I talked about. Yeah, I've been both sides of that spectrum and everywhere between and my life really did change five years ago when I when I finally decided to lean into the mediocre and to take my work off of the outcome and move it more to the internal. And not only do I feel better about myself and I'm more myself, but I've actually grown exponentially. Yeah. And taking perfectionism off the table, I still deal with it all the time.

[00:18:15] It's still a part of me, but that's what I know I want to be. One of my goals today is I want to be able to. I like what you just said there of when when there's the acceptance and you and I had a on one of your courses. I love how you teach this acceptance and commitment therapy part of the acceptance. I feel like once we have that acceptance that that is when we actually truly start to move forward. And that is a scary that is talk about faith, a faith principal there of not knowing it. Because if we let go of that. But I just need to make the million dollars I see to be the perfect mom. I just do whatever when we can let go of that. I'm not saying that then all of a sudden we have the million dollars and we are the perfect mom. No, but but we don't realize how it's holding us back, right?

[00:18:53] Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:18:55] So I want to hear you. I want to hear more of your story, like your experience. Tell us some stories. This is what I love about your podcast as well as so. So I don't know what comes to mind when you think about that five years ago, whether it was was it a breaking point or was it a what was your process like in that embracing or accepting?

[00:19:10] I don't know, talk to us differently. OK, well, I feel like I have to step back a little bit further than that, because when I was twenty is when that like my whole life up to that, I was that stereotypical perfectionist, like the overachiever, all the extracurricular, all the best grades, all the leadership positions like. I think you can think of and it all came tumbling down for me in college with the eating disorders, like all those mental struggles you describe, like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, it was all there. And I had to come face to face with that. That was not the way I could live my life anymore. And so that was 13, almost 14 years ago.

[00:19:55] And so can I ask you, Monica, so I look up to that point. Do you feel like you were achieving what would be viewed as success, as is getting leadership positions or good grades or popularity, or did you have a lot of those things?

[00:20:07] I, I did, but I honestly think it was a facade. It was something I was so pressured to uphold. And like I said, it's an impossible measurement of your worth that you're constantly on this stairwell of trying to maintain it. And in the process is when I really completely lost myself, really. And I mean, I almost I almost lost my life over this. I'm not even being you know, I'm not. What's the word? Exaggerating just what a significant low and series of lows this was for me and how I had to fight for tooth and nail to recover from my eating disorders. And in the process, though, Tony, like I went to the other side of the perfectionism spectrum, I didn't even know that I was still doing the same thing when I was too terrified to try then because I thought if I tried hard in my life, I guess I set goals. If I plan my day, I did. Before that, I'd go right to living like I was before and be miserable and go right to the borders again. And I was trying so hard to stay away from it that I wasn't growing. And then so five years ago I was and I had, you know, I had my third child and I had everything I really wanted in my life.

[00:21:21] And I felt like I had what I needed, but I wasn't living it. I felt like the exact way I had felt 14 years ago. Almost depressed, anxious, suicidal ideation. Lots of shame. Yeah. And it's because I lost my self again, also to perfectionism because of fear of not measuring up. I wasn't trying anymore.

[00:21:47] Ok, so feeling like that pendulum has swung completely the opposite direction.

[00:21:51] Uh huh, absolutely. And so I actually went back to therapy not realizing I need that and again came face to face. I was still caught up in perfectionism and that I had to start messing up and being a real person. A big part of perfectionism is detachment. Yeah. You detach yourself from yourself like your own intuition. You detach yourself from others because you're putting yourself in a place of being unknowable. So how. And that's how I was. And both ways. Uh huh.

[00:22:23] Well, how did you start to detach then? I mean, when one recognizes that you're on the other end of that pendulum. Yeah. How do you then are you and you like you said, I love how you say you were afraid of going all the way back to the perfectionist side. So you talked earlier about this concept of mediocre. I mean, is that where that started to come in?

[00:22:42] Absolutely. I mean, so I started I had this list of things that I wanted to start doing again, like things I had thought about forever, writing and baking, and started writing a blog ten years too late. And and that was all for so long. I had all those excuses, like, it's not going to be good enough. Nobody will like it. I don't know what I'm doing is I going to lead up to anything. And I decided to just try them and to just do them without worrying about where they were going to take me or what I could achieve or do from them. And that's how it evolved to one thing to the next or the next. But yeah, it really was just leaning into the mediocre side and being OK with it. And part of that honestly meant I started to write like I told you, and that's when I started to share more of my struggles and ways that nobody knew what I was struggling with, my eating disorder orders, not even my roommates, not even my best friends, not my family, even my husband. After we got married and we actually didn't, he we try it.

[00:23:43] He wanted to date four years and I put him at arm's length because I was in the middle of trying to recover from my eating disorder. And and even then we got married and like a year end, I had something about like on our family box. And not even this isn't later. But I mentioned something about dancing, how much I missed. And one of the sisters somehow picked up on, like maybe I lost my love of dancing because of an eating disorder. And so she asked him and like, does Monica have an eating disorder? And he said, oh, no. And when he told me that, I said, What? What do you think? What do you think that was then? And I realized I had told him point blank, like, I have really bad eating disorders. I had told him other ways, like that shame was still so inside me, that detachment, that fear of being human. Even in my recovery for years, I still didn't want people to know that I was human and then I was struggling with things and I am so great, there's so many thoughts here.

[00:24:41] One is I want to touch on the word that even as a therapist, I feel like can be overused. But I believe that the vulnerability of how hard that can be. And I'm also curious before we even get to that, especially with that when you were in the midst of your eating disorder and you can just tell me, no, this is this wasn't your experience. Sometimes, like, OK, sometimes I find that people worse that I work with that struggle with things like eating disorders. They didn't want to open up to anyone, but they also were almost surprised that people weren't noticing more or that they weren't trying to intervene. Do you know where I'm going with that?

[00:25:11] Are you asking if people intervened or would have known?

[00:25:14] And those did you did you want people to even though you weren't willing to put yourself out there, was there a part of you that just thought, man, somebody just somebody recognized this or somebody help somebody save me? In a sense, yeah.

[00:25:24] I definitely felt those for sure. Like, I won and I needed help and I wanted help. I didn't know how to say it to people. But honestly, Tony, at that point of my life, I had never received more praise than then. Wow. OK, so people didn't want to see it. Yeah. Even the people closest to me, OK, they didn't want to see that as a problem. And a lot of it, too, Tony, honestly came because a mind part of why didn't it point blank tell people about it is because in my head I had the wrong eating disorder. I didn't have the good kind, OK? I had you know, I had bingeing and exercise. And to me, that was not that was a more shameful eating disorder than, like anorexia. You know, like I try to be anorexic for like ten years and it didn't work.

[00:26:17] So then I failed and became like, you failed. Yeah. And then when you said that and then when you said that people even gave you more praise, I feel like that's one of those situations where you bless everyone's heart. When people don't know what to do, they often feel like I'm going to tell that person, no, no, no. You're doing your amazing thinking that that will be enough to raise them up, to raise their baseline up, to be able to overcome something, even if they see it.

[00:26:39] Yeah, totally. And, you know, it's been one of those things like I've pondered how to deal with this, too. When I recognize people that I'm like, I wonder if they're caught up in the same things I have struggled with. And I hear friends or family members worrying about it or talking about it and nobody saying anything. Yeah, and it's scary to do. And I've had to do that. I've had to say are can we talk about this and are you struggling with this? But the sad thing is and you know, that's well, that people who are really entrenched with eating disorders.

[00:27:13] I will deny it. They need to come to a place where they are ready for help, and at that point I was because I knew it was new, my life was was in jeopardy, both literally and figuratively.

[00:27:26] I knew that it was it had taken over everything. I could handle it that way.

[00:27:31] And I can see us now going we could go ours because now I feel like a man I know one of these days with another one where I want to explore that. I know as a therapist that people aren't going to necessarily get the help until they really feel like they need the help. And even then, what I think a lot of times I see in my office are people that want to just come and then hope that just by coming to a therapist or talking about it, that then everything will just magically go away because there's that experiential avoidance. They're not really wanting to have to do the things that they think that they have to do and that. Right. And so I don't know if that was a part of your process as well of was it was it a lengthy process to start to really make change?

[00:28:08] It was a lengthy process, but not because of lack of trying. I honestly actually I think I'm one of those people that I do. I am willing to do whatever it takes to work on things in general. That's just my personality. Yeah, but what was interfering with my recovery was that I wanted it to be because I was working hard on it. I wanted it to be fixed overnight. You OK? Yes. And so, honestly, the best one of the best moments that happened and my therapy then was a therapist telling me that I was going to struggle with this the rest of my life. And that took a big burden off my shoulders because it made me think it's not up to me to fix this overnight. And I will have to put in work for years. And I honestly can say, like, I actually don't think I struggle with that. Yeah. Anywhere near to the extent that I did before. It's something I'm aware of. Yes. And I make sure that I'm being careful with. But every single year that passes, it's less and less and less and my head and unless something that takes hold of me, but even just having that permission to know that I couldn't do my perfectionist thing with this and fix it with pure grit, that was really a relief to me.

[00:29:28] I'm glad you shared it that way. And I try to whether I'm working with addiction or whether working with any any of these sort of things, I like to say that what you just said, but where it's going to feel less and less, I mean that I think when people say, I know I'm going to struggle with the rest of my life, part of me does want to say yes, but it still looks so much different. But I know something does that here in that moment that. You bet. OK, let's just embrace that. But it really does because. Right. Those skills become so good. If I always say you can. Yeah, you'll note that thought. And that's one that you write. I love noting things I know all the time. I still have these thoughts of imposter syndrome or the big what ifs or what if. No, all of a sudden people stop or listen to a podcast or come into therapy. And instead of it being this like fear, there's a little bit of like, oh, OK, there's that thought kind of noted that you think your brain has lost.

[00:30:19] Hold on. You and I will say it did take me. It did take me for several years. I didn't think I was improving, like a lot of it. A lot of how I was behaving was. But the internal struggles were just like an alcoholic who was trying to avoid the drink, you know. Yeah, but now it's now it's far different. I guess it's things I note, but it's not as it doesn't take as much effort and work and worry on a minute to minute basis like it did years ago. Now it's it just comes up every every now and then.

[00:30:54] Yeah. OK, let me jump back to the word vulnerability. I'm sure raw, authentic and vulnerable. I have a wonderful client who we combine them once and it's vulnerable, authentic, all three of them. But I feel like that's such a you know, those are authentic and they're kind of cliched therapists and words. But I love them because. So it sounds like that being vulnerable part played a pretty big role for you. Oh, yeah, huge. What was that like and what was the process.

[00:31:19] Yeah. So when we started, when I started to lean into that mediocre armonica side of me five years ago, that didn't tell me actually opening up a lot about the struggles I was facing. So but I did choose the best medium. I think that's when I started a website and I was like, Hey world. I struggled with eating disorders. Hey world, I have big faith crisis. Hey world, I like I just was like, like letting it all out and you know, I don't I say that wasn't the best medium to maybe jump out, jump into it with just because it almost was a strange way of me being vulnerable without being really vulnerable because I didn't have conversations with my parents or my siblings like are my spouse. Even so, it was almost my way of telling people that I love them also without really giving them that space. And so I learned more in time. I mean, God bless them all. They were really patient with me. But I think it was more alarming, even though for them it was more alarming. For me, it was such a release and it empowered me and showed me. I mean, they talk about the power of vulnerability all the time. And I know that's another thing people roll their eyes about, but it truly did empower me and it connected me. So like we talked about, perfectionism is a big disconnect. Yeah. When I started talking and showing that I am human and I am struggling, I do not have it all together, but not unlike us. So follow me on Instagram, but like a real genuine like, you know, asway even with my. And it connected me and with people and it connected me with my spouse and my family and myself and ways that have held me so much. They really have held me well.

[00:32:58] And so here's all of my acceptance and commitment therapy principle. And as I appreciate you saying me, and maybe it was this unique or maybe not the best way, but, boy, I have people in here that I just I will try to identify literally like, say, start a blog and don't even share anything does help or or to podcasts and maybe you'll never share it or. They are their friends you can open up with, and some people want to do it with people that are far away, so you want to do it through text. Some people want to you know, some people are like, no, I need to meet face to face with somebody. And that's that's stuff I love about everybody's own unique private experiences that they bring to the table. At that moment, I can just figure out what does work. But that's where. Because all of those. Yeah, but I'm afraid of those stories the brain generates or what keeps us away from even trying. And so I love that you eventually said, OK, this is how I need to do it.

[00:33:45] So, yeah, I guess you're right. In the end, it was how I needed to jump into the deep end a little bit. Yeah. And it actually gave people a chance to connect with me because I still have people in my family who do not want to talk about any of this stuff and but they at least they've had the opportunity. And I at least know that, you know, I can say some things at a dinner table that maybe I want to have in the past. Yeah, and that's OK. And like like a bowl, like I, you know, be be that person now, but more just like.

[00:34:19] No, it doesn't need to always be that way because because I love and thanks for validating that to because I will have people often say I know I should want to just ah I know I should just say something about it or someone will say I know I shouldn't want to just text about it or I know I and again I want to go with the hey there's no conditions on this thing. There is no you should or shouldn't or the way you do it. Let's just talk about what's what's a workable or productive thought for for kind of our goal of getting that vulnerability out there. And then let's look at kind of what's really.

[00:34:51] Yeah, yeah, definitely. I agree with you.

[00:34:54] So do you want to talk about a couple of directions that I love to. I want to I want to address maybe the all or nothing thinking, but also I love how you we traded some emails beforehand to and I really like the concept of sustainable growth of a small wins. I think that we just want we all want that home run. I mean, I will say when people come into my office, especially for anything in addiction, these sort of things, sometimes I say, hey, so are you expecting me to have like a magic wand or maybe this amazing pill that will all of a sudden change all of these things and make it easy? And usually it's a little bit of, yeah, maybe I am. So it is about slow growth. Right. So I don't to talk about that first.

[00:35:32] Absolutely. Because this is something I've really grown passionate about, because when you talk about perfectionism, it's easy for people to discount themselves from that because like, oh, I'm not this, I'm not that. But I think everybody falls for all or nothing thinking and basically at the root of that as falling for this lie, that overnight success is possible. Yeah. Yeah. And that it's lasting. Yeah. Because that's the thing we often forget too. Is that one of my favorite quotes and that's one of the few I have memorized because that's not how my brain usually works there with you. But it's yeah. It's Winston Churchill and he says success is not final, failure is not fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts. So with that, success isn't even as final. So we have this sinking in our head, I think, with our our cultures and our family structures where we are trained to believe that in order to succeed and needs to be done through extreme action and we need to see the results right away. And that is not true. It's just it's it's scientifically not true. And and it doesn't last even if if you put in those huge, monumental efforts. Yeah.

[00:36:40] I mean, not even nine times out of ten, I would say way higher. Nine point eight times out of ten. Are you going to go right to burn out or overwhelm or even worse, back to bouncing back to the bad habits or cycles. It has to be done small and you have to believe in the process. The process is not overnight and it's not huge actions. It's small, meaningful steps gradually built upon each other and over time. And this is nobody wants to sign up for this, right? Like nobody wants to sign up.

[00:37:11] But I know they're like, hey, in ten years you'll be changed. Like, no, people want it in two days, you know. But but really, if you want lasting change, then you need to believe that this is the process. It's James talks about this in atomic habits, how like you have that valley of disappointment when you're on that growth scale and you just don't believe you're changing. Yeah. You're disappointed because you don't see the fruits all your yet. But if you just keep going and push that, you're going to break through that plateau and you are going to grow and exponential ways. And that's the process. It's it's getting into the muck of those small steps and wondering if it's working, feeling overwhelmed, sometimes stress, making mistakes, trying again, trying again, trying again. And then all of a sudden you look back and you realize, oh, I actually have grown and I have evolved and I have changed. Like, I guess it is working. Yeah, that's the process.

[00:38:12] And I for people that aren't runners, I feel bad any time I go into talking about running, but I think I. We talk about this all the time, too, but the best, yeah, it seems like that every day waking up and doing the getting the miles in and some people like to call them junk miles, or some people say, you know, they don't I wasn't I wasn't feeling it today or all those things. But then over the course of just months and years and you just get those base miles in and you start noticing that, OK, you go run the half or the full marathon and it's a little easier than you thought it was. And you want to sustain growth, you know, and when I started bumping into these longer distances, even to myself, I would think, hey, who can run 50, 50 miles, hundred miles, whatever it was like? Well, you kind of do it a little bit. A little bit here. A little bit there. Yeah.

[00:38:57] And we talked about this when you were on my podcast in twenty eighteen about how I taught myself to swim.

[00:39:05] Yeah. Yeah. And like literally terrified, not even figuratively, literally terrified of swimming and could not swim because I had air problems my whole life, I wasn't allowed to put my head in the water so I only learned to like doggy paddle. And now I don't have like I don't have to wear the earplugs when I'm in the shower like I used to. So now I can swim. But I'm so terrified of water. But this is this is I'm not going to draw this out. But basically, the only way I learned to swim three years ago, I started swimming 20 minutes a week, OK, just 20 minutes a week.

[00:39:43] And you would think that would do nothing, because in the beginning, I mean, it was probably like six months of me standing up a quarter through a lap, not even making it halfway, standing up and choking my guts out. Why all the old people swim past me like circles around me. And now three years later and I can swim a half hour straight, no stopping. Yeah.

[00:40:03] The only way that happened is because I believed in the sense that if I consistently tried imperfectly that I was going to get somewhere. And that to me and I still don't enjoy swimming, but doing that has been like such an affirmation to me that this is this process does work.

[00:40:22] I like that you called out imperfectly to I can't lie to. I remember having this aha moment where I thought that if I really had put as much, I think I was OK. I've never done this before, but I think I always thought that man, if I had only been one six two or six three and then I work in all the effort and I would be this pro basketball player, I think I always saw that. But then I realized, oh, wait, but am I putting that effort into anything in my life? That's one of those where I would have been, you know, then I would have then I would have been this other thing. And I remember thinking, OK, that was a big epiphany or an aha moment. And then I realized though, OK, well, now I can put this effort into ultra running, so I start putting effort into running and I realize, oh, I'm still kind of a mid packer. And then I thought that was, that's OK. And then I realized, OK, my goal is just to be me and to be present and why do I enjoy these things and what are my values? And definitely like the podcast. Right, a podcast. When you put something out every week and and there are people that have probably put in less effort that are far more popular or people that have put in more effort that aren't. Or all I can do is do the things that I think are important to me. So and definitely right. When you say mediocre, do people give you any push back to that that word?

[00:41:28] Oh, yeah, I think people and that's actually why I almost branded everything mediocre, Monica and I did. I mean, aspirational. Some people really want really what they want is a radical growth. But but but that is what I'm promising, but not in the ways that they're, you know, being primed to believe in. I think that overnight stuff. But, yeah, people don't want to people don't really want to lean into that. But when really when you do, I mean, where you get is way better than where you currently are. Like, it will surpass where you think. And I will say, Tony, like I fall for this guy all the time, still like I still get really disappointed that I started a podcast around the same time as so and so and wow. How are they so much bigger in so many ways. And I get caught up in that too. It's it's going to be around us all the time. And it's just I think it takes one of the clients I my coaching program and I just coach people on like personal development. So not like these, like, you know, like I'm not a therapist. What you do is incredible. But even then, like, we are talking about this process and one of my clients said it takes the greatest of courage to do the smallest of things. And I'm like, yes, that is it.

[00:42:41] Yeah, that's the process. When I was setting up for our podcast, I did just I mean, with forty five minutes ago, I was doing the whole thing about man, I've been doing this a while. I'm approaching two hundred episodes. There are people that are more I was doing the same thing like forty five minutes ago. Right. And then I noted it and then. All right. Thank you Brian. And let's go do this podcast so keep going. So can I ask you do. And it's funny to your partner Rachel who does such an amazing job of yours, these takeaways. And I always tell her that's my I am horrific at that. You know, it's like at the end it's like, hey, that was a great fun. And then but what are we supposed to do? So. You do you kind of have ideas of what you tell people that are especially going to be hearing this or what do you do? Where do you even start? If it's the OK, I'll buy into the I don't have to have this overnight success. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to have this all or nothing thinking, where do we start?

[00:43:32] I know this is like a chicken and the egg thing. Right? Because I think I didn't realize I was creating a process and leaning into this. I didn't realize that I was basically doing a giant years long experiment and that's what I've been doing. But if I were to distill it down to like where to start, I would say and this one seems. This one seems kind of meta like a little bit like is that really going to help? But honestly, I think the number one thing people need to get real about is who they want to become. Yeah, OK, Rudy, you want to become what type of person? I'm not talking about achievements. I'm talking about values like you. I mean, that one interview I had with you, Tony. Yeah, that that is something. And like I told you, my my brain, like things go in and out, in and out and with you. And I remember everything you've taught me. So I thought about getting what I want.

[00:44:20] I want my people to find my people. And I want I want to find you where we got to tell that to like, how do we still get access to that? I love that interview as well.

[00:44:30] Well, how about I'll send you the link and you can put it in there. But it's how to stop hating himself by Tony Overbay. And I'm going to send them the same version that I was in.

[00:44:39] They where I still use yours. That one I thought you were talking about in the program, you being very vulnerable because I felt that, OK, because that how to stop hating yourself. I can't lie. I still that one. I think I might share this with you a while ago. That ones I'm one of the ones I send to people as well because it's made me laugh because it's such a weird editing job.

[00:44:57] Will you please send them the new one? This is I showing. No, like it's a process like Tony was experimented on when I tried a new way of editing and adding and music. And the second version is way better that. But but again, at the heart of this is you need to know what matters to you and who you want to become, because for me, a large part of how I've been able to lean into this is because I realised who I wanted to be with someone who was a lot bolder than I was currently being, someone who is more ambitious and creative and wholehearted and real. And those are all came back to some big values that I was missing. So I had to get real about who I wanted to be. And then with that, all tons of research shows, and I love self development. I love reading all the books. But over and over they show that feelings along with acceptance of but therapy feelings follow actions. Yeah. So you have to start acting the part of the person who would be acting bold. So it's not so much. And this is where people get confused. And I get it because I can't give people an to Z step process. Right. But it's it's it's getting to the heart of acting, the part that you want to play. And it's not so much about what you it's who you're becoming. Yeah. And and that's where you have to get messy. Yeah. Because the value and you start acting the part. Yeah.

[00:46:19] You realise all of those. I would say that's the shouldst the growing up feeling like well I should think this or I should care about this or I should feel this and any time we're going it, we're trying to do something based on a should or how I'm supposed to feel. They talk about how that becomes socially compliant goals. I mean, so it's the you know, the motivation is weak and ineffective because it's going against your sense of who you want to be or your sense of self. And I feel like that's that's the messy work because it's like I know I'm supposed to care more about whatever. And so then somebody then feels bad if they don't care as much about whatever, but they're the only version of them. So the reason that they might not care about whatever that is is because they're human. And so I love that. That is messy.

[00:46:59] And there's a lot and that's what's worrying about it, too. Like we're talking about purpose this month on my podcast. So right now we're recording in April. So if people are, I don't know when this will air. But the reason we're talking about that is because a lot of us fall for this lie that we're like Bilbo Baggins or Frodo Baggins or even Harry Potter, like we have one definable purpose that is just going to land on us. And it's the same with this, too. It's not so much about what you do. It's who you are. It's who you're becoming. So that is really fun. You're not waiting for something to be handed to you or like this is the path. This is the one ring. This is the one wand like it. No, you just start living and become on many. It's like I might not be a podcast for the rest of my life, but. But my but who I am, am I am I frozen.

[00:47:47] I knew it said no second but you came back. You might not be ok. That's real life. Yeah. OK, ok.

[00:47:52] But who, who I'm becoming it can still grow and be nourished no matter what I'm actually doing. I have freedom to take different paths and pivot, but I'm still living like the person I want to be.

[00:48:07] Yeah, I always do that when that's the we want A to Z and I say, well let's just figure out what B is and then B can go to C and see to the and I mean before I went back to school to become a therapist after my software career kind of halted, I had a whole different direction. I was trying to go and it didn't really go, as I said, even think about that now because I just feel so much passion for what I do. But but I, I got to I got to a and then I really thought I knew what Z looked like and it was not and I tried and it wasn't there and thank goodness be led to see in the and all those sort of things. So just that, that progress, it does take courage.

[00:48:42] And you know what? And one thing I've been you know, I have been trying to distill down more like what is the process like? What does it look like? And I think it's equal parts patience. And persistence, and with that, you have this lens of curiosity, what if I try this, will that take me? What if I put up and this and that to me is the process.

[00:49:04] Ok, so I got this recording again and we just figured out basically the secret of life, but realized that it was not recording. So that was the frustrating part. Yeah, we did. So I guess I never know. I don't think we can go back to that or whatever it was in that moment that felt very in that moment. So, you know, everybody missed out. But that's all right. OK, and maybe that's a sign because I get accused of going too long and my podcast at time. So maybe that is the saying keep it nice and tight. So. All right, Monica, maybe we wrap up with with you talk about practical ways of moving toward the sustainable growth. And we've identified that it's we've got kind of digging into of these values or really the person they want to be. And you've got the concept of I really like that. Letting go of the perfectionist is a little bit more about being accepting or managing a mediocre.

[00:49:54] And and I think we talked about I think we maybe hit early on, but the perfection, the idea of perfection is it's impossible, right? Yeah. And it's what it is.

[00:50:07] It's such a flawed and then and I think if we listen to your podcast you did on Perfectionism on yours with Dr. Jennifer Finless and five, which was amazing and nobody was amazing to was and if you if somebody is hearing this and they want to learn more about just perfection in general, I'd say go back to that episode. I'll put that on my show. And she she just nailed it from a one up and one down position. And I loved how she talked a lot about perfectionism really does come from somebody feeling like that's how they they will be valued or that's how they'll be seen, or that's what is importance. And that fear of just if somebody sees that they aren't don't have everything together, that then for some reason they will be less than, is that the case? Yeah, absolutely.

[00:50:50] Yeah. That woman's changed my life in many ways.

[00:50:52] So I loved hearing that because I had her on my show a couple of times talking about where she's very much known for or as a sex therapist. And Mancia, she knows she does everything right.

[00:51:02] Yeah. Yeah. Well, she's like you. You guys are like, you know, Jack of all trades.

[00:51:07] So that's very kind. That is so. So I don't know where would you what are some things maybe we didn't cover that that you would love to speak to as we kind of wrap things up before the Zoome gods hit us again.

[00:51:18] Yeah. Um, you know, I think if we were to just send people off, what I would say is this is going to come across really terrible at first. I hope people stick with me like you are not special, meaning you are not unusually broken. You I think a lot of people just are convinced that they are special because they are so unusually broken that they can't do what they want to.

[00:51:48] They can't change in the ways that they tried and they haven't been able to do it. You're not special and that way everyone is broken. But also with that, I think you need to have that greatest courage we talked about.

[00:52:02] Yeah, you need to take on the greatest of courage to do the smallest of things. I was just listening to something this morning by James Wedmore. He's like a marketing online guy, so I don't know how to do with about self development, but it really hit me what he said about taking on radical responsibility. OK, that's what we need to do as individuals like take on radical responsibility that this is what it looks like. It looks hard and messy and not easy and not an easy process. Not overnight, but take on that radical responsibility because because you believe that you are worth the effort and because you believe that there is more for you out there. That is where I am at all. It is possible like you are special in that way, like you do have so much potential. And when you believe that and you take on that responsibility to work towards a meaningful but mediocre and imperfect, a messy ways, you will surprise yourself by how much we will have grown.

[00:53:02] And I and people I know they stuck through that. I love what you said. I did a presentation. So I did a presentation long ago where I said one of the slides was, you're not all that. And a bag of chips. That was this phrase back in the nineties or whatever. And I was ready. I really I thought it was going to be hilarious and funny. And I just watched the faces in the room just go flat. And I was, you know, was I was there was this I was like, no, no, no, no. You know, when you're when you somebody doesn't look at you when you're driving out of your court, it's not because they hate you. They might be busy or they just you embrace you and go after your values. And so I hear you. I love that. And I think one of the things that I hope that people have heard that we're talking about today is there's going to be a lot of feelings around even some of the if it's trying to do things that are just easy or trying to do things. And then if that turns out to not be something that you enjoy or is right for you, then you actually get to do something the. And that becomes this process and you pivot exactly so I love that there's a there's a nice I don't remember many quotes either.

[00:53:59] I think that's I love that you said that earlier. There's a author named Terence McKenna and he talked about jumping into the abyss and finding out on the other end that it's a featherbed. And I and I love that because I was at that time, I was trying to tell couples that we're having a hard time being emotionally vulnerable with each other, that, you know, it may feel at times like you're going through this fire, but then when you get through this ring of fire, there's your partner just wanting to give you this huge hug. You know, when they're when they're putting out this, you know, anger and feelings of betrayal or all these things, that and the guy gets defensive and then starts the gas line or whatever it looks like, it's like, man, just have empathy and compassion, you know, get through that fire, jump into that abyss. And on the other side, there's this featherbed. And I think that's the case with what you've been talking about today, is that we trust that you are this is going to feel better overall. Your baseline is going to raise it will, but it's going to have some ups and downs along the way. And that's part of being human, right.

[00:54:56] Amen. Amen, brother. All of that.

[00:54:59] Monica, thanks so much. I was so looking for this. We got plenty more we got to talk about, though, in future episodes, if that's OK. Oh, I love it any time. All right. I'm going to put links galore in the show notes.

[00:55:09] I'm going to hit the pause here. Please hang on, because I want to just tell you how much I appreciate you and thanks for coming on that. Thank you, Tony. Thank you.

[00:55:17] Emotions flying past the pressures of the daily grind.

It would be fun to play Scrabble almost floating past midnight and push aside things that matter most. Sales of discount price and an opportunity to take off your shoes is worth.

In the 1980s James Fowler, Professor of Theology and Human Development at Emory University and director of both the Center for Research on Faith and Moral Development and the Center for Ethics wrote a book called Stages of Faith. Fowler’s work compared the stages that one may go on in their faith journey, transition, or crisis with the stages of cognitive and moral development proposed by noted Psychologists Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. Fowler’s work has resonated with many people who find themselves feeling lost, abandoned, or angry at their faith communities as they begin to develop their own sense of self as they gradually mature into adulthood.

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Tony began working with Fowler’s stages of faith over a decade ago in helping people with their own faith journeys and quickly found himself seeing one client a week going through the process to several a week to now several each day. In this episode, Tony shares his thoughts on how Fowler’s stages of faith can easily be applied as “stages of life,” ultimately helping people recognize that there truly isn’t anything broken, or wrong with them because of their beliefs, and the sooner one can recognize where their own belief system, values, and goals come from the sooner these same beliefs, values, and goals can become embraced and life can truly be lived from a more authentic, empowered state!

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help. And Tony is so confident that this program will work, that he's offering a money-back guarantee!

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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

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