We all get angry, but what do you do with that anger? Is it healthy to express your anger? If so, in what way? Should you punch a pillow, or a punching bag? Or should you just hold it in, grit your teeth and smile through it? Tony breaks down the article  “7 Myths About Anger (And Why They’re Wrong)” by Amy Morin https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201512/7-myths-about-anger-and-why-theyre-wrong and tells you exactly what you can do with your anger.Head to http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic and get on the waitlist today to be the first to know when the next Magnetic Marriage Cohort begins!Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

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 FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ 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.

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.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT ------

[00:00:01] So a couple of weeks ago, my wife Wendy and I decided that we wanted to go see a movie and where we live in California was at the time relatively still closed down and just up the hill and across the California state lines that Nevada and Nevada had movie theaters that were open in limited capacity. But more importantly, they had popcorn with movie theater butter. So we looked at the calendar and we set our sights on going to a movie. Didn't matter what movie, but we were going to a movie in Reno, Nevada, and we were just eager to go and do and again, truthfully eat movie theater popcorn. So on the way up the hill, the traffic really wasn't that bad. And at one point we were just talking and and having a fun time. And we watched as this little fast gray sports car just zipped right in front of us. And I am talking right in front of us to the point that our car itself slammed on the brakes because we had some sort of auto cruise control that kept us at a safe distance from the cars ahead of us. And as that car cut in front of us, I said something like, that guy seems like he's in a hurry. And then Wendy and I continued our conversation and then is a bit of adrenaline, ran through my veins because I'm human.

[00:01:09] 20 or 30 seconds later, I change topics of conversation. And I just said to my wife that I felt like situations like those when a car cuts me off in traffic are almost like my mindfulness midterm exams. So I never have suffered true road rage. But I would absolutely be lying if I said that there weren't times where something like that would happen and I would immediately see Red and I probably would have driven fast right behind the car for a while to, I don't know, show him that I was mad. And I have processed so many stories in my office, people who have actually pulled people over or who have gotten into fights or have cut people off or have done a brake check or followed people for miles and miles out of their way as their anger just completely ruled their emotions. So changing your relationship with anger is a process, and it doesn't come easily and it doesn't come without intentional work on recognizing and admitting when and why you react with anger. So story number two, and before I jump into story number two, let me just say that the true irony of story number one, as it as we were heading up the hill to Reno to stay for a night and watch a movie, we received an email that theaters less than five miles from our home.

[00:02:19] We're opening up that very day, but everybody needs a little road trip now and again. So back to story number two, Rusty Eyer and I met each other in what could have been sixth grade, seventh grade. And we played basketball together many, many times and recesses and I think junior jazz leagues or junior alto hockley's. But Rusty was a good friend and he was a really good basketball player. And Rusty grew and grew and grew while I didn't. And then he moved out of our boundaries, our school boundaries, and ended up playing for rival Jordan High, the Jordan Beat Diggers. I was an alcoholic. So during our sophomore year of high school, we played Jordan and admittedly I was kind of cocky and I thought I was pretty tough. And Rusty fouled me at one point. And I remember I jumped up and I ran over and I was just I was mad and I got in his face or truthfully, I probably like his belly button. And I remember Rusty just kind of swatted me away like a little bug. And I went flying across the gym floor and I jumped up and I and I realized at that moment, oh, Rusty could crush me.

[00:03:23] Now, Rusty meant no harm. I had run up to him like I was going to do something with that simple suwat. I honestly vowed right then and there that I needed to get rid of my temper. And I swear to you, it left me and it really never came back for the most part. And I have told that story. So many events, corporate events, youth firesides, with clients in session, talking about making a decision and then never looking back. And I will never forget Rusty. And unfortunately, I learned at a high school reunion, actually my twenty year high school reunion. So that was quite a quite a number of years ago that Rusty had passed away far too soon. And I wrote about him in my twenty year high school reunion recap at that time. And his wife, Nikki, had reached out through an email a few days after that. So again, this would have been almost twelve years ago. And she thanked me for sharing his story then. And I'm happy to share it now that twelve years ago she shared with me that she read my then blog entry on my twenty year reunion to her and Rusty's kids, and she said that through some tears they had a really neat way to spend their night remembering their dad.

[00:04:21] So with that in mind, I really am grateful that Rusty either tossed me across an old gym floor some thirty five years ago. So once again, I hope his family stumbles on this podcast and someday they know that he truly was a great guy. That's done a lot of good for a lot of people, even just in the stories that I'm able to tell.

[00:04:37] But coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're going to talk about anger and we're going to cover seven myths about anger and why they're wrong. And this is an important episode today. Anger is something that I talk about, I would say it's fair to say, on a daily basis. And so this article we're going to talk about an article by author and therapist Amy Maurin about seven myths, about anger and why they're wrong. And we're going to talk about the. Add in so much more coming up on today's episode, The Virtual Couch.

[00:05:13] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode.

[00:05:15] I should have looked. I think it's 253 of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified Michael Hamako, Trijicon Alibaba, but creator of The Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that's helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you or anybody that is trying to put that behind you once and for all. I feel like I'm rattled right now. But I am determined not to rerecord this intro. But go to Pathbackrecovery.com. There you'll find the short ebook that describes common mistake that people make when trying to turn away from pornography once and for all. Again, that's Pathbackrecovery.com and my magnetic marriage course with Preston. Buckmeier has finished.

[00:05:53] The first round is complete. We are going to be announcing a new date of when the next round of the magnetic marriage course will be launching at any moment. So if you head over to Tony Overbay, dotcom magnetic there, you can sign up to find out when that next round is going to launch. And it was phenomenal. It was. I will I will have so much more to talk about with that. Interviews with people, testimonials, all kinds of things. So plenty more coming up there. But the first one sold out in a few hours, which was kind of a trip. Now we're going to have a lot more people in this next round. But please go to Tony Overbay, dot com slash magnetic and you will find out more about when it is available and head over to Instagram and find me a virtual couch there. And Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist on Facebook, and I have started to engage a bit more with the newsletter. So if you even aren't interested in the magnetic marriage course, there is a place where you can sign up on Tony Dotcom to find out about things that are coming up. Exciting things. And I will I will leave it right there. So today's topic is anger, and I love busting pop psychology myths. And so one of the myths that I hear so often and I talk about it on occasion, is this myth that the way to deal with anger is to punch a punching bag or hit a pillow or go scream outside or any of those type of things.

[00:07:13] And while I understand them and I have been doing therapy long enough that even when I started working in the first nonprofit that I did when I was in grad school, I believe maybe my brain has made this or inflated this story more than I really maybe more than it really was. But I feel like every office had one of those Bozo the Clown punching bags. And so I I swear to you that I remember receiving training or maybe it was just passed along by other therapists that the Bozo the Clown punching bags were in there so that if somebody got really mad, then you just had to take it out on Bozo the Clown. And I remember at the time thinking, yeah, makes sense. Or have them scream into a pillow or punch a pillow or any of those kind of things to express their anger. And I remember the more that I got into doing therapy, the more that that just kind of didn't make a lot of sense. And I remember at first, without having any data to back this up, feeling like what you were really teaching your brain, the more I learned about the way the brain works and the brain is, it's a series of habits and patterns. The more that you engage in a pattern or a habit, the more your brain thinks, OK, this is what we do. And so your brain actually then has it's almost like a software program that preloaded.

[00:08:23] So when you are starting to get angry, it wants to skip some steps. And once you get right to the end, you know, when your brain really believes this is what habits are all about. Right. But when your brain really believes that this is what we do, we start to get angry, then we get really angry. Then your brain's like priming the pump to say, all right, this guy is getting angry. He's going eventually hit a pillow or punch Bozo the clown or chase somebody down in traffic or really yell at somebody else so that he can then be finished being angry. So it kind of tries to start to get you there quicker. So it really made sense that wouldn't we want to start to train our brain, that when you start to get angry or your mood starts to get elevated, that you would do far better to start to calm yourself down, in any way that that would work, whether it's a good old mindfulness breathing exercise or whether it's going outside or getting in touch with your feelings, your emotions are trying to hear the sounds around you or the smells or that sort of thing, because then what are you teaching your brain? You're teaching your brain that when we get angry, eventually this guy is going to calm down. So let's go ahead and start calming down. So it seemed to make so much sense.

[00:09:28] And so that's why I wanted to put together an episode really on anger. And I found this article called Seven Myths About Anger and Why They're Wrong by Amy Morrin. She's a licensed clinical social worker and she's author of the book Thirteen Things that Mentally Strong People Don't Do. So let's hit each one of these seven myths and then I want to throw some commentary out. So the first myth that Amy talks about is that anger is a negative emotion. She says it's not bad to feel angry. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. And in fact, a lot of really good things can stem from anger and angry feelings can lead to positive change. Yeah, she talks about many social injustices, have called for people who became angry. What if Martin Luther King Jr. had never felt angry as

[00:10:12] an example, so anger, I want to look at that as a negative emotion, anger is just that. It's an emotion. So I find that a lot of people and this is where I will probably have a recurring theme today when people say, I know I shouldn't get angry. And again, I will say every day of the week that no one likes to be should on, not even our own brain. So when we tell ourselves what's wrong with me or I know I shouldn't be angry, I like to reframe it. I'm doing it right now as I'm holding my hand up in the air as if I am holding some something to show someone else. And that is your your thought or your feeling. So instead of saying I, I know I shouldn't feel this way, I love reframing things to say, check it out. I'm feeling angry, because when you look at feelings that way or emotions that way, when it's more of a oh, check it out, I'm getting I'm getting charged right now or man, check out the sadness I'm feeling, then you can kind of step back and take a look at that emotion and really take a look at it from all angles. And you can see. All right, what's leading to this emotion, what's leading to this anger? And it has taken me however many minutes this is into this episode to reference my very favorite therapeutic modality, acceptance and commitment therapy, which we will again refer to from this moment forward in this podcast as ACT and Act talks about you have those feelings and emotions because you are a human being and because you are the only version of you that has ever walked the face of the earth.

[00:11:32] So if you are angry in a situation, it's not that anything is wrong with you. There's no I know I shouldn't feel angry or what's wrong with me for feeling angry. It's a I'm a human. I've experienced life up to this point in a certain way that no one else has. So check out this anger. I'm feeling angry. I'm noticing that I'm feeling angry, and an act there's some really neat techniques to be able to take a step back. So instead of I'm angry, it's I'm feeling angry. I notice I'm feeling angry. I notice I'm feeling angry because I'm feeling what a lack of control in this situation or I'm feeling unheard or I'm feeling like this is the only way that anyone will listen to me. So when you really look at that, anger is not a negative emotion, but anger is an emotion, then it's a little bit easier to kind of step back and say, check out this anger.

[00:12:19] So that's one of the first myths that I think I would that I love that we're debunking. Or one of the first myths about anger that we're discussing is that anger is not a negative emotion. Anger is an emotion. And so it's not bad to feel angry, but it is the first step in trying to realize why am I feeling angry right now? You know, let's let's kind of look at all the data. And that's one of the first steps to being able to learn to change your relationship with anger or have a different reaction when something that has previously caused you to feel anger happens like take the example I give at the beginning of this episode, a person cutting me off in traffic. I used to feel very, very angry. Now I realize, OK, the person cut me off in traffic. It's not that they think that I am a horrible person. It's not that they purposely saw our car and said, I know what I'll do, I'll cut that person off. And that what really ticked them off because I don't like that person. There was none of that. I mean, I can only imagine or they could only dream if I was that special that I had that kind of control over the universe.

[00:13:18] But I don't I'm driving. They cut me off. That's interesting. Was it scary? Yeah, my my body thought it was because the adrenaline came rushing in about 30 seconds after I noticed the event because I'm human. And would it have benefited me to go chase that person down and give them the what for teach them a good lesson? I don't believe so. But being able to change my relationship with that anger and being able to be fully present, we were able to work through that within seconds. There wasn't really anything to work through. It was more of a noticing things. And when you really look at the concept of emotions in general, we have them all the time. We have several tons of emotions even in every given minute. So at that moment, I chose to not engage in that emotion. And this is one of those fun things I love where I know I've done episodes where I kind of take on a little bit of that, hey, just choose to be happy in the morning and you will I feel like that is a great start, that I'm going to make the choice to be happy. I'm going to focus on happy things. I'm going to set myself up with with some good old happiness, confirmation bias.

[00:14:21] I'm going to look for the things that would bring me joy instead of looking for the negative aspects of life. But in the same breath, I can choose to be happy. And then when negative things happen throughout the day, when I do find myself losing my patience or my temper or control or someone does something external that affects me, and instead of if I realize that I'm not happy in that moment feeling like, well, what's wrong with me? I chose to be happy. It's another example of why we had emotions throughout all all throughout the day so we can be hanging on to this this happiness throughout a day and then something can happen that will cause us to not feel happy. And instead of saying, well, there goes the day, it's fascinating to be able to step back and say, OK, now I'm noticing anger or now I'm noticing fear or now I'm noticing hope. And so that's a. I feel like that's one of the best ways that you can realize that I have a lot of emotions, so I'm not going to I'm not going to chase after this one. I'm not going to chase after anger right now because I don't find it very productive.

[00:15:24] Ok, myth number two is that anger is the same thing as aggression. And a lot of people confuse angry feelings, aggressive behaviors, and combine them as if they're one in the same. So while feeling angry can be a healthy expression, a healthy behavior, aggressive behavior isn't, aggressive behavior is again, a control issue. It's not something that is going to keep a conversation going. It's not going to be necessarily helpful or productive because there are a lot of ways to deal with anger without resorting to threats or violence or aggressive behavior. And this this causes me to think of primary and secondary emotions. And I know that I've had a couple of episodes where I will reference primary and secondary emotions. And as a quick reminder, a primary emotion there. They're fairly simple to understand. They are your immediate reaction to events. So there's going to be some precipitating event and that's going to cause you to experience an emotion. The example I love giving is when my kids went through this phase where they loved scaring me when I was young father, they were younger kids. You would come around, you would come around a corner, and all of a sudden a kid would jump out at you and scare you and you would immediately react. You would. And then you would say, OK, come on, guys, knock it off. That that's not funny. And so the primary emotion was actually surprise or the primary emotion was embarrassment of reacting the way that I did to my kid.

[00:16:48] And then a secondary emotion is then and this is why it gets turn's emotions into these complex reactions. So the secondary emotion increases the intensity of your reaction. So the secondary emotion is when you feel something about the feeling itself. So all of a sudden I'm feeling anger about being embarrassed. And so differentiating between primary and secondary emotions is a pretty powerful coping skill. So if you view anger as, again, an emotion and you can separate that primary or secondary emotion, maybe I'm angry because I feel injustice, or maybe I'm angry because I feel like something is unfair. I'm angry because I was embarrassed. Or so if you look at anger again as a secondary emotion, a lot of times separating that secondary and primary emotion allows one to avoid aggression. Let's go to myth number three is that anger management doesn't work. And I hear this one often have said on occasion that when you are a beginning therapist, a lot of times you're given some pretty interesting gigs. I think I was about to say bad gigs, but I don't want anyone to think that if they are going to anger management class or if they've been even mandated by a court or their some condition where they have to go to a 52 week anger management course, because that's that's what a lot of them are. They last an entire year and they're weekly.

[00:18:10] But anger management does work. So anger management not working is a myth. So when people lack skills to manage their anger, Amy Martin talks about their emotions, can cause problems and all kinds of areas of their life. And that's where I feel like when you look at anger as a control issue, a lot of people and I'll go gender stereotype, a lot of men really struggle with anger because they don't necessarily have the ability to use their words. Being a little facetious when we're talking about talking to kids, "hey use your words, buddy. Don't don't throw a tantrum. Don't pout". those the lack of being able to express oneself can result in the secondary emotion of anger. And at times that anger can just lead the person's every interaction. So what anger management does is it allows people to recognize better ways to cope. So, again, a lot of the relationship troubles or career issues or legal problems result from an unhealthy expression of anger. And so these anger management classes are going to a therapist or learn in mindfulness tools or all of the above can help individuals reduce aggressive outbursts. Myth number four that she talks about with anger is that anger is all in your head and anger involves a lot more than just your mind. And if you think about the last time that you felt really angry, she points out that it's likely that your heart rate had increased to your face, most likely grew flushed and your hands maybe shook.

[00:19:35] And that's because anger evokes a physiological response. And it's that response that often fuels the angry thoughts or aggressive behaviors. So learning how to relax your body or relax your mind becomes a key to reducing aggressive outburst. And here's where you might want to have your finger ready on that advance button on your podcast player. But I had someone literally yesterday in Sessions who I've worked with for quite a while, and I'm so grateful when people feel safe enough to ask these kind of questions. But it was the old question again about mindfulness and hearing me talk and talk and talk about mindfulness or talk of abouthe app Headspaces that I use to practice a mindfulness activity and saying, OK, I, I hear you say it all the time, but I really don't understand, is it trying to clear your head of thought? And it is absolutely not trying to clear your head of thought. And the reason I bring it up with this myth number four of anger being in your head is when Amy Mirin talked about a physiological response, is that your emotions are designed to lead your logic. And that's one of these amazing things about the body. And it is such a go to bit for me now to talk about. But it was a very real experience in my office where one morning I opened the door.

[00:20:50] I walk a client out and I look down on the ground. And at first glance I just thought, that's something on the ground. I really didn't know what it was. I now kind of like to give the example of, hey, if it's a shoelace, then my immediate reaction is still going to be to pull back a little bit and then look down and say, oh, it's a shoelace. So in reality, my emotions are leading the way of my logic. My emotional response was there before I could even think of whatever this thing was on the ground. This thing on the ground happened to be a little snake, a little garter snake that had gotten into our building. And when the next client came walking in from the waiting room, we looked down and I said, OK, that's a snake. And I realized I have to I have to be calm and then get the snake out of the office. But the example then is there are a lot of times now that if I glance down on the ground, my first response is a visceral response, a gut response, an emotional response. And then my logic kicks in and says, OK, that's not a snake, that's a stick or that's a twig on the ground. Or when I walk out the back door of my office to get to my car, there is this little sponge that's been on the ground for I can't tell you how long in the first two or three times I look down, it seems so out of place that I have this visceral or emotional response automatically before I realize it's just the sponge.

[00:22:02] I don't know what I thought it was, but I have this physiological response. So when your emotions leave, your logic, your emotions are what already get, your heart rate increased and when your heart rate starts to elevate, then your fight or flight response is beginning to kick in. Your body is starting to do what it's designed to do, because if your heart rate elevates your cortisol, starts flowing through your body, the cortisol, it it says, hey, amygdala, hey, you know, fight or flight response, Neanderthal brain, caveman brain, reptilian brain, wake up because there might be danger that might be a snake on the ground. And then once you look and your heart rate's already getting elevated and you see that it's just a stick, then we can kind of calm your jets, we can cool down. And when your amygdala is firing up, when the stress hormone cortisol is firing up there, the part of your brain that is more logical, this prefrontal cortex, frontal lobe, it is it is shutting down. If you had yourself a nice functional brain scan going, you would watch as if light switches were turning off all the parts of your brain that are there to process and make sense of things.

[00:23:05] And so this physiological response that anger provides is there inherently for a good reason for that fight or flight response if you're about to get attacked by a wooly mammoth or a saber tooth tiger. The problem is when people go to that anger response on a regular basis, that actually becomes the the brain's path of least resistance that kind of defaults to this this visceral or angry response. So anger is all in your head again is a myth, but you need to practice mindfulness, in other words, on a daily basis. If you are practicing breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your thoughts run, letting your thoughts go, and then when you recognize that your thoughts have run or they have gone, then not beating yourself up about about, OK, man, I'm not even focused on my breathing anymore. But then coming back to focusing on your breath, I've thought often about doing a meditation episode where I do a nice guided meditation and I think I need to do that at some point. I was literally going to do it for episode 200 long ago. Now we're episode 253 and I, I still and pulled the trigger on that. But while I love an app like Headspace to do a daily mindfulness activity, there's also ones called 10 percent happier. There's a lot of them out there. One of the simplest ways to practice mindfulness, I literally do this just about every night as I go to bed and I do this when I just have even 30 seconds or if I pause a lot of times, if I'm somewhere like at a church or in a line or something, and there's just a pause while you're waiting for some something to happen, you breathe in through your nose and on the breath you count one and then breathe out through your mouth and on the out breath you count two.

[00:24:40] So then on the in breath, you would count three, the outbreath you account for and just try to get to ten. It sounds easy. It sounds simplistic, but it's fascinating to watch on a lot of days I'm, you know, one, two, three, four. And then I'm thinking about lunch. And then when you recognize, OK, I'm no longer counting, then don't don't beat yourself up. Just kind of be aware that I'm no longer doing the mindfulness activity. And then I start over at one and two, you know, in and out. And every now and again I'll find myself at 15 or 16. So I even blew right past ten. But what You're doing as you are practicing this almost catch and release of thought, so your thoughts start to wonder and Rove and go, and then when you are aware of your thought, then you come back to the breathing or come back to the breath.

[00:25:24] And when you are doing that in through the nose, out through the mouth breath, you are literally lowering your lowering your heart rate and calming that fight or flight response down. So anger not all in your head. And there are things that you can do to practice learning how to bring yourself back to the present before your brain goes all Neandertal or goes all fight or flight. But here is myth number five is honestly one of the reasons why I wanted to do this episode. Myth number five, that venting your anger releases it. Punching a pillow, trashing the room or screaming to your heart's content doesn't actually release your pent up rage. In fact, research suggests that venting your anger in this way actually has the opposite effect. The more you vent in actuality, the worse you'll feel. And I like to look at it this way. Your brain wants to operate on patterns. Your brain doesn't like ambiguity. And the more that it can develop a pattern, the quicker that it can put that pattern away into this habit center of your brain. And if your brain can pull out of the habit sooner, it's going to use a lot less electrical activity. So your brain is designed to make things habitual, whether it's habitual thoughts or habitual actions. So if you have this this pattern of behavior in your brain where you get angry and then you punch a pillow or you punch a Bozo the Clown doll, or you go out and do a nice primal scream, then what your training your brain to do is when your your heart rate elevates the cortisol releases and you get angry, then you eventually are going to take that anger and then really explode.

[00:26:59] So you're creating this pattern of behavior of that. Instead of when I get angry, then I call myself down. It's when I get angry, I have to just explode to then complete this cycle or this pattern. So what I love encouraging my own clients to do and what I've been practicing myself for ages is when you start getting elevated or you start feeling angry, then you've already been practicing this mindfulness technique. So your emotions are already locked in and saying, OK, when this guy starts to get angry, when his heart rate starts to elevate, we already know that he's going to do his whole breathing thing and bring himself back to the present. So let's go ahead and start him breathing. You know, let's go ahead and start calming that heart rate down. So it says if it's not that I don't ever get angry, but that emotional response or that impulsive response to anger isn't as likely to fire, you know, automatically. So venting the anger, it's a myth that that then releases the anger in reality, learning how to be aware or notice anger. Do a quick check in and see if you can separate that primary and secondary emotion and then being able to turn back to some nice centering or breathing exercise.

[00:28:10] The more you do that, the more you're going to create this new pattern of behavior around anger. And when you feel angry, instead of needing to vent the anger, your brain's already going to go into this Zen mindfulness mode. You're gonna be grabbing your yoga mat and your ponytail and then being able to sit there and be more present, which very quick side note or tangent. I think that that is a funny reference because I'm bald guy. So when I talked about learning mindfulness or going all Zen, I would talk about, you know, you're trying to get to this point where you literally are sitting on the floor, cross legged yoga mat robe, ponytail, and that's my impression or my view of what Zen looks like. And when I had a client at one point where I think we had had a zoom session and so we're talking and I'm talking about this mindfulness and I threw out the ponytail and yoga mat reference. And then I think it was it was a couple of weeks later and this person had reached out to me and threw a message and it said something remind me something about mindfulness. And I went to Amazon and I found a clip on Ponytail and a yoga mat. And I just sent these two links and I thought it was one of the most clever responses known to man.

[00:29:14] And then I didn't hear back from the person. When we met up again, he said, hey, so was I supposed to buy the the clip up ponytail or the yoga mat or. I don't know if that was intended to me. And then I felt really embarrassed because I had not laid out that I that was my attempt at humor, that if I'm sending you the the clip on Ponytail and yoga mat, that means I am encouraging you to go all Zen and mindful. All right. Myth number six, we're almost done. So let's let's get through this one. Ignoring your anger makes it go away. So I feel like that one, you probably can answer this one yourself. So suppressing anger here. We just talked about venting anger and venting your anger releases it. So ignoring your anger, though, doesn't actually make it go away. I know that can sound contradictory, but suppressing anger isn't healthy either. Smiling to cover up your frustration or denying your angry feelings or allowing others to treat you poorly in an effort to keep the peace can then cause you to then actually internalize your. Anger or it's it's causing. It's causing you to turn your anger inward and immigrants, that is suppressed. Anger has been linked to a variety of physical and mental health issues, from hypertension to depression. So what that is saying is that you don't need to just eat or swallow your anger.

[00:30:27] But if we go back to that myth number five of that venting, your anger releases that and that, we're saying that that's false. Then what do you do with your anger? You don't want to suppress it. It's literally being able to be aware of your anger, being able to tap in again. Is this a primary or a secondary emotion of being able to acknowledge my anger, not try to push my anger away, make room for my anger, breathe through my anger? Because if we remember this whole concept of what is called psychological reactance or that instant negative reaction of being told what to do, we do that in our own head. So if I'm telling myself to not get angry, my own brain is going to say, I'll do whatever the heck I want. In fact, I'll get more angry. So being able to recognize that anger, notice that anger. And it's so funny as I'm sitting here and I didn't record video on this one today, but my hand I'm holding my hand up in front of me because I'm so I want you to reframe instead of that, I'm angry. What's wrong with me? It's a man. Check this anger out and I'm holding it up in my hand in front of me, because if we can separate that, I'm a nice person, but I may get angry and we externalize that problem.

[00:31:30] Then we start to look at will win. When does this anger come upon me? You know, this anger, if we externalize it, look at it as if it's a black cloud. And when I am feeling we'll go with the traditional hault, hungry, angry, lonely, tired, that acronym that maybe when I'm feeling one of those emotions or one of those things is happening in my life that then here comes anger. It descends upon me. I'm still a nice person, but look at this. Here's anger, so I can't ignore it either. So acknowledging it, there you are. Anger, you know, even thanking my brain for. For what? The purpose that it's trying to is maybe trying to get me to feel angry because I have a primary emotion of feeling unheard or there's injustice or things aren't fair. So my brain's already preloading the the old hey, you get mad about this now, you know, do we need our secondary emotion of anger? And so being aware of anger, make room for anger, don't ignore your anger, but then just venting it or breaking dishes or yelling or screaming isn't a way to deal with it as well. So it really is being able to acknowledge it, make room for it, breathe through it, go back to the present, turn to value based activities, things that mean something to you. And that's the way that we're really going to to work through anger.

[00:32:39] And the seventh myth that Amy shared is that men are angrier than women. And she said that research consistently shows that men and women experience the same amount of anger, but they do express it differently. So while most men are more likely to be aggressive or impulsive in their expressions of anger, the research shows that women are more likely to use an indirect approach, like maybe cutting someone out of their lives or maybe being a little bit more passive aggressive with the comment. So if you feel like you are being picked on as a man, that you're you're not given any breaks or you're it's assumed that you are always the angry one and that the woman in your life never experiences anger. I would say that they they you both experience anger. But again, it's how that anger is expressed. So let me kind of go through a little bit. She gives a little bit of data on healthy ways to deal with anger. And again, this is Amy Mirin, and I really appreciate what she shared in this article. She said, The best way to deal with anger is to really find a healthy way to express it. So turning anger into something constructive, such as creating positive change or responding assertively is the best way to cope with angry emotions. And that before you can express these emotions, then you really do need to understand how you're feeling.

[00:33:47] So it's important to to identify when you're feeling disappointed or when you're feeling frustrated. And again, that can be part of practicing. What's your primary emotion? What's your immediate reaction? And then that secondary emotion is, in essence, reacting to the reaction and pay early pay attention to early warning signs that you're you're feeling angry. Are you becoming angry because you can really start to notice the patterns of behavior. You can start to notice triggers, because if I know that every time my kid, if they come in late from for curfew, that I'm going to be angry because that's a pretty easy one, then then work on calming yourself before you need to have that exchange. If your kid's coming in late from curfew and so that you don't already you haven't already been consumed by anger because of you. It's fascinating, too. If you look at that example in particular, a lot of times that that's a that's a good old attachment wound or an abandonment wound where we may sit there as a parent and feel like I have to get angry or my kid isn't going to hear me. And so while we may have created that pattern of behavior, that doesn't mean you can't change that pattern of behavior. So if you go into a situation like that and you are calm because you're working on your anger, that doesn't mean that your kid isn't going to respond in anger because that's how they maybe feel like they have control of a situation.

[00:35:01] And so all you can really work on is you. And this is one of those things where I feel like being able to model a good behavior is is going to go Incredibly far with your kids, whether it's modeling an apology or modeling, taking ownership or accountability or modeling, that I'm going to go into a situation and not resort to a anger response, because when you're in a calmer state, you know, that's when you can take steps to actively problem solve issues or express yourself in a more productive manner. And Amy, talks about increasing your emotional intelligence can prevent you from saying and doing the things that you might later regret. And I talk often about my emotional baseline concept that self care is not selfish. And so I feel like it's important to fill your tank first or to grab your mask first. Before I was doing the I'm drawing a blank here. But when you're in the airline, when you're when you're flying, you know, the oxygen mask that put your oxygen mask on first before helping others or get to higher ground before you can lift someone else or all those wonderful cliches, but you do need to have yourself in a really good spot to be able to recognize, deal with and work through anger so that you aren't necessarily just working out of this emotional response. I would encourage you to go listen to an episode I did a couple of weeks ago on self differentiation.

[00:36:16] That one I've gotten. If you didn't listen to it because it sounds boring, that one, I've received an incredible amount of feedback because what a self differentiation means is that is being able to still maintain a connection with someone, but also being able to have your own opinions and thoughts. And one of the biggest keys of self differentiation is being able to separate your emotions from your logic. Because we get so caught up in our feelings, we get so caught up in our emotions that that can hijack us in attempting to have a positive, productive conversation. So I am going to call it good right there. I do have and maybe I was laughing at one point where I was telling someone that I'm really good at saying, here's what you will make this a part one and part two. I'll talk about these other things and then I'll fix the HDD. I don't know what what that would be if impulsivity of putting out a podcast or what's hot that week in my mind. But sometimes I don't get to a part two. But when I initially thought about doing a podcast on anger and I found these seven myths of anger from Amy, which I really appreciated using a basis to have this episode, I also found a book that was talking about 50 psychological.

[00:37:25] I don't know if it said myth's or not, but Methy was it's better to express anger to others than to hold it in. And it but it just goes heavy into the data, which I think is really, really fascinating. But maybe I'll talk about that in a future episode. But in essence, it has the data, the research all the way back from a lot of research done back in the 80s and 90s and then the early 2000s on the fact that, yeah, and expressing yourself with anger is not the healthiest way to deal. You don't have to go punch the punching bag or break the dishes or yell to use a primal scream that it is more productive and healthy to be able to learn to deal with one's anger as far as calming oneself down, because now you're going to start setting this new neural pathway of when I get angry, I am going to eventually breathe and calm down and your brain's going to start preloading that that program and you will find yourself surprisingly calm and even some of the most triggering of situations like when I started this podcast today, having someone completely cut you off right in traffic and realizing that's interesting or having your kid really come in hot or angry because they feel guilty or they they're you know, they don't want to deal with their own primary emotion and having you not react. And it's an amazing, fascinating thing to do.

[00:38:42] It's the end of the episode. And I once again skipped right past the Betterhelp.com/irtual couch ad that I had planned on throwing in earlier. So if you happen to still be listening, I would just love to encourage you to go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch. You'll get 10 percent off your first month services of online therapy. I got a little tag lines here that might as well read them. What are you waiting for? Your you owe it to yourself to at the very least, just check it out. Go ahead. And whether you're dealing with depression, anxiety, some of the frustrations of getting back to some sort of normalcy in your life, Betterhelp.com has a bunch of licensed professionals that you can connect with. And up to 24 to 48 hours, you can communicate with them through text, email, that sort of thing. So go to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month services. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the podcast. If you're still listening to me, maybe you're doing something where you don't have access to your hands. If you if you feel so inclined, feel free to go hit a rate or review wherever you listen to your podcast that always helps other people find the episode. And if you found something productive today, feel free to share this episode on social media with a friend, that sort of thing.

[00:39:52] So have an amazing day. And taking this out, as per usual, is a wonderful, a talented Florence with my favorite song.

Well, life has truly handed you lemons, not just one or two, but a truck full of lemons has backed up to your driveway and not even rang your doorbell and asked you where to put them. No, the truck just dumped them all in the driveway, there’s no use complaining about them...what do you do with them? We’re making lemonade...a lot of lemonade, because you truly do have it in you to take a driveway full of lemons and make the most wonderful lemonade that the world has ever tasted. Today we discover the recipe, through acceptance, through owning your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, through learning how to communicate, to stepping out of a victim mindset, to learning how to self soothe all the way to self-confidence. Cliches be darned, on today’s episode Tony shows you how to not simply survive based on everything going on in the world, but to truly thrive. 
Sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
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 mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
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 https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ 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.
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.
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery


Holidays, vaccinations, sheltering in place, the brain's desire for patterns or order, we're a year into covid anxiety, communication, distance learning, people telling me that they always wanted to work from home until it was actually forced upon them with so much uncertainty in the world, in our lives, in our own heads. It is it is no wonder that anxiety, depression, marital discord, frustration and parenting are at an all time high. But I promise you, that doesn't simply mean that you are doomed, that there's nothing that you could do or that you have no control of your future or even your present. Oh, no, my podcast listening friend. Sometimes you do need a push to truly take action and as if 2020 wasn't a big enough push. I'm really not quite sure what would be. But if you haven't taken action already, if you're not even sure what to do next, you are in the right place. Cue the patriotic music. OK, I guess I still don't actually have the budget to license that long of a clip, but I am going to give you the secret to happiness. The recipe for making twenty twenty one your well making twenty twenty one a whole lot better than twenty twenty because do you want to simply survive or do you want to thrive. It's time to thrive my friends and I will tell you how. Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:01:23] Welcome to Episode 239 in the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbey, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, husband, father might well have a coach author. I forgot my own spiel, creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program. It is changing lives. Truly go check out pathbackrecovery.com and at the very least go download the short e-book that is on that website that talks about five myths that people fall prey to when trying to stop numbing out or coping or turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And they do that when they're not feeling connected to their spouse, their kids, their health, their faith, their career, their life, which is what we're going to talk about today. And please head over to TonyOverbay.com and sign up to find out more about my upcoming programs. There's a free parenting course on there and including I'm talking about it often now, but a very exciting release of my magnetic marriage course. And if you didn't listen to my episode a couple of weeks ago called How to Truly Connect, a.k.a. the consequences of Crummy Communication, please go back and give that one to listen.

[00:02:17] I lay out my four pillars of a connected conversation, which is a it's a concept that is the foundation to the upcoming magnetic marriage course. But honestly, even just hearing the four pillars can point a couple or a person in the right direction of setting the table to have better experiences when communicating with anybody. I have to tell you quickly that one of the pillars, the first pillar is accepting or understanding or trusting that nobody wakes up and thinks to themselves, how can I truly hurt my spouse today? And I just don't believe that they do. So if someone is withdrawn or if they are angry or if they're aloof, if you come into the situation with that first pillar, at the very least to assume good intentions, it's going to be more of an attitude of curiosity. And curiosity is one of the first steps, I believe, toward empathy. So the reason that I share this pillar, not only because I want you to go listen to that episode, because it truly is one of these game changing the thousands of downloads more than others. A lot of comments, good comments coming in through email.

[00:03:14] But yesterday, I went to tell a health video session with the client and the client has a good sense of humor. So a good, witty comment here and there, I believe can truly help somebody feel more comfortable in a session or in their life, which leads to more openness and sharing. Which side note, if you have a humorless marriage and you really feel like you are a naturally funny person, if you feel like outside of your marriage, people think that you're funny. If humor is truly a core value of yours, then living within a marriage where you feel like your humor is unappreciated or even discouraged. So that's an example of what is called a socially compliant goal. We're going to talk about those more today. But if you're suppressing your humorous side because you feel like you're supposed to or if you keep showing your humor side and it's not appreciated or if it's even judged or shamed, so you repress that side of you, then you're not going to be living your your best life. Your motivation is going to be weak. It's ineffective because you are going to have to show up and go kind of against your own will, your own process of unfolding or becoming.

[00:04:10] So again, we're going to get to more of that later on in this episode. What is the key? Be funny, not you want to be aggressively or a jerk about being funny, but I want to help you learn how to be yourself and kind of live your best you, and we're really going to dig so deep into that today. But OK, so I'm going over this first pillar of a connected conversation with this client and they say, so I'm giving my spouse the benefit of the doubt. I know that they aren't trying to hurt me. When they approached me about this particularly sensitive subject to which I float out a true Jim, I say, that's right. You believe that while they don't wake up and think, how can I hurt my partner, you're kind of more in this mindset of your spouse waits till at least mid-morning after a good snack to think about how they'll hurt you. Any kind of pauses. And he starts to reframe his comment. And I am expecting Rush's laughter. And if anything, there were an awkward pause moment. And he continues basically trying to say that what he just told me in a slightly different manner. So I say, oh, you must not have heard my joke. And I said and I repeated the joke. And this time he kind of laughed wasn't the Rorschach's laughter that I had anticipated. But he shared with me that I had broken up a couple of times.

[00:05:19] The Internet was bad when I was telling the joke. So the funny parts basically have been eaten by the Internet. So it made me sound kind of like a complete buffoon, not understanding my own pillar that he was trying to share, I'm sure trying to get approval. So I just jotted down a note on my iPad, freaking 2020 and the hiccups of distance therapy. And I only give you that as an example of the fact that I was dealing with something that I wasn't having to deal with a year ago. I mean, I've had sessions where the clients Internet is just bad. So we spend a few extra minutes here and there dealing with technology where that wouldn't have been the case previously, or we end up doing it like the Pioneers did on the phone. And so I'm blowing through another couch because I want to be respectful of anybody that is is still choosing to come into my office as I am deemed an essential worker and I have adequate space and wipes. So I continue to wipe down surfaces. And apparently the bleach and wipes was it initially meant they hit the couch a few times a day. But with every wipe or every missed joke, there's also an opportunity to practice acceptance. Yeah, this is what's happening. This is where we're at right now in life in the world. And is it fair? Is it unfair? Not even arguing that it doesn't feel very fair, but once we accept that, we can kind of move on from it or once we accept that, we kind of learn how to transcend it.

[00:06:30] And I feel like this is part of what's happening or as well as I'm I'm kind of learning gratitude and being grateful to be able to work to help people. And as cliched as this may sound, a daily practice of gratitude absolutely provides a bump to one's emotional baseline, because as crummy as things may be in certain areas of our lives, it often takes something major to happen in order to take action. I don't think anybody wanted 2020 to happen, but oftentimes it takes things like that to really push us to a place where we we need to do something different or we even think about doing something different. I mean, I've literally done a corporate training for a fortune, I don't know, Fortune 20 or 30 company where I had executives on my zoom screen. And this was pretty covid. And I'm talking about gratitude. I'm basically doing a personal podcast. And yet I personally didn't take up the practice of daily gratitude until I had noticed over the last few months that my own emotional baseline was starting to dip. So it took a hard time to drive me to a new behavior. And I get couples in my office on a daily basis that are frustrated or even individuals that are frustrated. They're even in my office.

[00:07:33] And usually back to this couples scenario, one of them is frustrated that it took them having to schedule an appointment with a therapist or having to threaten to leave or threatening the D word, the divorce word, having to say that they are essentially done with the marriage in order for the other person to take action. And I've said this often, and it's unfortunate that often it takes a dramatic or a significant event. You know, in that scenario, an affair, betrayal, a complete withdrawal of emotion, a lack of love or a lack of sex, or the newfound addiction of a partner to get people to a place where they believe that they need to work on things. But often it does. I mean, people tend to choose the path of least resistance it's built in. It's an innate survival skill. And let me kind of talk about that for a minute. Your brain thinks it has a finite amount of energy to work with. So it wants patterns. It wants repetitive behavior. It believes that if an action or even a thought process happens often enough, that we can file it away into this habit center of our brain. I mean, think of tying your shoes or brushing your teeth. And brain scans show that we truly don't require a lot of electrical activity when operating out of this habit center where when we are doing new things, we're requiring a fair amount of brain activity, electrical activity.

[00:08:41] So just think that our brain thinks that it is doing us a favor by trying to figure out efficiency. So, I mean, we're truly trying to simply be efficient, to live forever and as well as have a sense of purpose and make a difference. And all the while, we have this innate desire for connection, like a deep connection, and where do we find connection? With other people. So, I mean, you see, when we evolved, our brains evolved from a time when life was not so much about happiness, but it was more about survival. I mean, our brain was initially designed to be what is called a don't get killed device. So we were designed to look out for danger, to anticipate harmful, dangerous situations, because if we could avoid danger, then we would continue to live. But in quoting Dr. Russ Harris, who is author of a couple of my favorite books, The Confidence Gap, as well as The Happiness Trap, let me kind of share a little bit of what he said Dr. Harris has said about this this happiness and our brains. He said early on your goal was to eat and drink and find shelter and reproduce and protect your family so that you could survive. Again, your brain was more of a don't get killed device. But the better we became at anticipating and avoiding danger, the longer we lived in, the more kids we had. So each generation, the human mind became increasingly skilled at predicting and avoiding danger. So now our minds are constantly on the lookout. We're assessing and judging everything that we encounter. Is it good or bad or safe or dangerous or harmful or helpful.

[00:10:02] But now it's not as much as animals or packs of thieves that we have to worry about, but it's about losing our job or being rejected, getting a speeding ticket, embarrassing ourselves in public, getting a terminal disease and a million other common worries. So as a result, we spend so much time worrying about things that more often than not won't happen. And then we also have this inherent need to belong to a group. And early on, if you're Klann boot you out of your group, how long would it be before you were devoured by wolves? I mean, sometimes, literally. So how does the mind protect you from getting booted out by comparing you to other members of the group, the clan? Am I fit in?

[00:10:37] Am I doing the right thing? Am I contributing enough in my as good as others? Am I doing everything that I may do, anything that might give me rejected. So does that sound familiar? I mean, our modern day mines are continually, Dr. Harris says, warning us of rejection and comparing us to the rest of society. So no wonder then we spend so much time looking for ways to improve ourselves or putting ourselves down because we don't measure up, because early on we had this small group of people to compare ourselves to. And now we have here comes my sounding like the fifty one year old man that I am. And now we have this, the social media showing us people who appear to be smarter and happier and more successful. So we're not only comparing ourselves to them, but to a person that we ideally think we need or want to be.

[00:11:17] So sometimes it almost felt like what chance do we have? You know, I've had a couple of people talk to me even over the holiday. We're. Not quite to the break yet, but during the holidays that they have followed a bunch of people on Instagram or social media in order to win certain prizes or giveaways. And I'm not saying anything negative about social media influencers, but one person told me in particular that they they kind of couldn't wait till these contests were over because they found themselves just comparing just comparing to the person's house, the person's hair, the person's kids, the person's spouse. And and I kind of shared that, you know, that person is really putting out their their best self. So when we're when we're trying to compare ourselves to this person that we ideally think that we need to be, again, that is a tough place to put ourselves. And so where does that leave us? So let me set up one more very important premise along this path of learning to to thrive and not just to survive. Author Robert Glover lays out a very succinct set of concepts that I feel like I've circled around in many, many different podcast episodes. So let me quote him. He says that when children come into the world, they're totally helpless. I always say that they're squishy babies in need of help. So he says they're dependent on others to recognize and respond to their needs in a timely, judicious manner. So as a result of this dependency, every child's greatest fear is abandonment. So kind of goes along with what Dr. Harris is saying to children.

[00:12:40] Abandonment means death. So to go along with that, then children are ego centered and nothing judgemental or wrong about this. I mean, that's what they are. The world revolves around them because that's all they know and they want their needs met. It just is so. So this means that kids inherently believe that they are the center of the universe and that everything revolves around them because, again, they're little kids who don't know otherwise and they don't yet know how to self advocate or to get their needs met. And they don't have a clue about what others are going through, primarily their own caregivers. So Glover says that therefore they believe that they are the cause of everything that happens to them. He said that these two factors, their fear of abandonment and their ego centredness that create a very powerful dynamic for all kids. So whenever a kid experiences any kind of abandonment, he and I'm going to go with him. But it's he or she will always believe that they are the root cause of what's happened to them, because, again, they are egocentric. They are attachment base, their a needy creature. Again, zero shame or blame, it just is. So these abandonment experiences are going to happen. The baby's going to cry at times and nobody's going to come to the rescue or even a well-meaning parent might think, OK, I can't just go to the rescue every time I need to teach them how to be strong and resilient and survive. So, again, it's just this balance that no one is going to get it, quote, right or perfect. So there are going to be times where the baby is going to cry.

[00:14:03] Nobody comes to the rescue. There's so many times where the baby is hungry and or even the kids hungry and told to wait for dinner. I had a client the other day processing some childhood issues and it was so simplistic but so beautiful, where this is an adult who was on a road trip over Thanksgiving. They had to go to the bathroom and they were dying to go to the bathroom, but they wouldn't make their needs met. They didn't want to inconvenience anybody. They didn't want to put somebody else out. They are an adult. And when we dug deep, it didn't the well didn't have to go too deep to find that growing up. If they if anybody in the in the family had to go to the bathroom on a road trip, it was they were told to wait, hold it basically. Hey, I don't really care how uncomfortable you are. I'm the dad. And when we stop, we'll go to the bathroom. I mean, again, I have this I think my kids are lucky because my bladder is about the size of a thimble. So we stop all the time. But you know, that that concept of I mean, if you were a dad, you get little kids or a mom and you're on a road trip and have to go to the bathroom, stop, you're not creating some apathetic, needy monster, but you're helping them know that they they matter. I mean, they really do. So so in that scenario, this person realizes, oh, wow, I'm an adult, I can advocate for myself.

[00:15:12] So that was kind of powerful. So, again, they are going to be hungry, told to wait for dinner. Are parents going to get angry because they have their own issues and they think that they are crummy parent because their kid is human, or meanwhile the kid does something that embarrasses the parent out in public and that parents having their own experience of, oh no, what, if my friends think I'm a bad parent, then they won't want me to be a part of their group. Right. Goes back to that what Dr. Harris was saying, where they're going to feel they worry they'll get booted out of the clan. So other abandonment experiences may be a parent putting unrealistic expectations on a kid, you know, expecting the kid to be perfect or trying to live their own lives through their kid. You know, they never had the opportunity to play sports. So their kid needs to not only play sports would be the best. And even if they the parent means well with the old hey, you can do better than that, champ.

[00:15:58] I mean, or heaven forbid the parent does Shame them or hit them or neglect them because again, of their own issues. So because every child is born into this imperfect world with with imperfect parents and imperfect families and because I'm sorry, but there are no perfect families. No, no perfect people that that that same egocentric kid, even if they begin to move out of that egocentric view of themselves, is. Carrying with them now into adulthood, that they must have been the reason for so many of these painful events in their lives, that they that they're unlovable, that why why didn't my parents listen to me? Why didn't they stop to go to the bathroom? Why didn't they hear me when I said that I didn't want to do a particular class or been through that sort of thing?

[00:16:42] And again, I know how how this is. This is such a fine line. I can't tell you I'm still of the mindset that I wish my parents would have made me take piano lessons or the piano lesson one alone is fascinating because I feel like, you know, I get people all the time saying my parents made me continue to play soccer and I hate soccer and I never want to play soccer. No offense to soccer people, but they would say, but I really wish they would have made me play the piano.

[00:17:07] So I get that there is no hard and fast rule of what this looks like for a parent, which is part of the whole reason why this can be complicated and why it's going to be important where where we're heading here in just a few minutes. So, again, they were we're going to feel like we must have been the reason for so many of these painful events in our lives. And that is untrue and incorrect and it's absolutely inaccurate and inaccurate view of their life or their childhood, but without help or without awareness, without accepting this imperfect world and imperfect parents and the fact that the parents themselves are trying to deal with emotions, that as a kid we can't figure out and even for the most part, again, without doing the work as adults, of course, we're going to come into relationships, into adulthood, still trying to figure out how to navigate relationships and how to present ourselves and how to be confident and and be our very best selves in a way that others will think are OK or that others will then care about us.

[00:18:03] And so these abandonment experiences create what many experts refer to as toxic shame, that something must be wrong with us inherently or our parents would have met our needs or our friends would have always been there for us or met our needs, or that people would care about us deeply or want to know more about us, or people wouldn't just try to fix us or judge us or people wouldn't want to just cut us off when we start trying to talk or the people who want to spend more time with us. So we have no way of understanding that our abandonment experiences are not caused by something about us, but they're caused by imperfect people who are supposed to, in our minds, recognize no and understand how to meet our needs. Back to the author, Glover. He defines toxic shame as the belief that one is inherently bad or defective or different or unlovable. And it's not just the belief that one does bad things, but it's a deeply held core belief that we are bad.

[00:18:59] So when we spend the rest of our lives trying to navigate this balance of trying to understand who we are or why we like and care about the things that we do all the while trying to see if our figuring ourselves out is going to allow us to still be a part of the group or the community or our marriage or our family all the while continuing to try then to be somebody that we believe others think that we should be or that others will like.

[00:19:23] And so this is where I go big with the you're OK. You're not broken.

[00:19:28] You need to get to a point of acceptance that you have the thoughts, the feelings and emotions that you have, because you are you you are human.

[00:19:36] You're the only person who has been through what you have been through. And I wasn't going to go into my go to here. But you're the only version of you from a nature nurture, birth, order, abandonment, rejection, DNA hopes, dreams, fears, losses.

[00:19:52] Your that's you're the only one that has that complicated, complex set of experiences that leads you to feel, think and behave the way you do. And an understanding that, again, you're not broken, you're human. And that leads to acceptance and with acceptance. I want all that negative energy to dissipate. I want you to begin to drop the rope of the tug of war against what you feel like you are supposed to feel or supposed to think. Acceptance does not mean apathy. Acceptance does not mean that you are resigned now to a life of mediocrity. Acceptance means that you're human, that you're OK, and you not only think, feel and behave what you do because you are you, but you now then also have the goals or the values that you have, not what your parents have, not what your spouse has, not what your community has. They're not what your church has or not the things that you think you're supposed to believe or feel or think you have values that you have and that needs to be void of that toxic shame. So in moving from just simply surviving to thriving, I want you to you're being you're done trying to just meekly please others and hopes that they will accept you or like you. It's time to step into your confident adult self. Others may say to you, I can't believe you really think that way.

[00:21:08] And instead of reverting to that, I don't know. I must have done something wrong or maybe I really don't think that way. Instead of putting out that vibe, you know, I hope that today you're going to understand that you're bringing you're bringing with you the negativity around a comment that somebody says to you that I can't believe you think that way, you're bringing that from childhood, that toxic shame. So there is power and saying, OK, you may not believe that I think that way, but I do. And you're not being a jerk. You're not being defensive. You're not being passive aggressive. You're stepping into your own person, your own sense of self. Your parents may say to you can't believe you're going to travel during a pandemic. Your spouse may say to you, I can't believe you honestly like that type of movie. Your boss might say, I didn't realize you had such strong opinions or your church may say, no, no, you don't really believe that or you don't want to go read that or you don't want to look into that. And instead of reverting back to the toxic shame based inner child self who doesn't want to disappoint others at the risk of them not liking you, there is so much power and saying, OK, I actually am going to go travel to see my family because I'm an adult.

[00:22:11] I make my own decisions. Or to your spouse. Oh no, I do like these types of movies or to your boss. I really do believe what I just said. I do have strong opinions and I believe what keeps us from doing this so often is this belief that will disappoint others or that will come across as a jerk or so many other thoughts. But when we are not living up to our and I'm talking our values, our desires, our beliefs, our desire for connection with family, our desire to be a better parent, our desire to to live according to our own values, our goal of being authentic and not having to back down from things that we feel important about if we're not doing those things our motivation is weak and ineffective and that we turn to coping mechanisms because then we feel less than then people want to come out to their phones or porn or alcohol or games or shopping, you name it, is as coping to numb out or to possibly get a quick bump of dopamine to carry them through the day to get to tomorrow or Monday or next month or next year. But that is just kicking the can down the road.

[00:23:16] My friends, the secret the key is to embrace who you are, accept it, own it, because once you accept it, you can transcend it. Once you accept that life is going to be a series of not only good experiences, but also not so good experiences. I say bad experiences, then you'll be more apt to lean into the bad because you know that you're going to be able to get through it and you're going to make the most of the good. You're going to be incredibly present in those good experiences. You're going to find more and more this good and just living a true, authentic life, pursuing a life full of meaningful relationships, not trying to figure out who you need to be in various situations so you won't offend others because that gets maddening.

[00:23:53] That's exhausting. But being open and authentic and sure, it's going to feel awkward when somebody questions your belief or your value, but stay in it, own it, get out of that victim mindset and you're going to get through that uncomfortable moment, confident and strong. No longer will you simply be surviving to get to another day. You're going to be thriving. And it's scary to drop that rope of tug of war trying to figure out if will I offend somebody that I say the right thing, that I you you're going to say the things that you feel passionate about or important about, and you're going to drop that energy when people say, I can't believe you said that, it's OK. Well, I did. And I don't mean that to come across as sounding negative or sound like a jerk or sounding defensive. It just that's how I feel. So you'll be thriving and you can't wait for another day because that's another day for you to fully embrace and engage in. And in those moments, your energy will shift from, I hope I don't offend anybody to standing up for something. And that power and that energy is what will not only lift yourself, but others. And remember, this is where one of my favorite quotes and the reason I enjoy even what's leading up to my magnetic marriage course is a communication style that allows for two people in a relationship to have their own thoughts, opinions and and feelings and know that we can learn how to express them without jumping back into our bunkers without feeling like a victim. Because here's the deal. We're bringing in all of this stuff from childhood into our marriages, into our relationships. And sometimes we don't even sometimes, most of the time we don't even really realize how it affects us and how then we just want to be heard in our relationships.

[00:25:32] The goal in a magnetic marriage is not to always resolve. It's to be heard. And the more we feel like we can be heard, the more we're going to turn to our partner to be able to share things, the more we're going be able to process human emotion. Sue Johnson, founder of VDT Emotionally Focused Therapy, says that we are we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being.

[00:25:52] That is that attachment basis. And I've had people recently, somebody reached out to me and they said, I don't I don't know if I agree with that. And and I said, OK, again, OK. I mean, I, I can try to convince you, but I got a thousand couples under my belt now where I know that when people stay in this vulnerable role but not a vulnerable role where than they are trying to navigate this, should I or shouldn't I say this in true magnetic marriage, connected conversation, script, fashion. When people realize that they it's OK for them to say, let me take you on my train of thought, here's where I'm coming from, and when the other person recognizes that pillar number one, that all right, my spouse is not trying to hurt me with what they're saying then that I go into pillar number two. I'm going to I can't tell they're wrong. That's their experience. I can't say I can't believe you don't I can't believe you're saying that. It's like, OK, but I am or I can't say you don't really believe that because they do. And and so that's my second pillar. Third pillar is ask questions before putting out comments. Too often we say, OK, I just don't want to hear you go into all that stuff about what you supposedly believe. But OK, now you can talk we're setting ourselves up for these just not positive, not productive conversations. Then pillar number four is when somebody hears something.

[00:27:10] If you are in a marriage and your spouse finally feels like, OK, I really got to say something. And we've got this conversation script set up, this magnetic marriage, four pillars, connected conversations, script set up where if your spouse comes to you and says, hey, I just got a I just got to tell you how I'm feeling, then, OK, they're not trying to hurt me. Pillar one, pillar two. And I'm not about to tell them they're wrong. This is a vulnerable moment. Even if I don't agree with them, even if I don't believe what they're saying. That's that's my stuff to kind of set aside while I then ask them questions, tell me more and then thank them for sharing and and then pillar four, don't go into the geez. Well, I guess I'm the world's worst husband. No, don't go into victim mode if you're the listener, stay present. And then when that conversation when that person feels heard, now you get to be the speaker, they get to be the listener. Our goal is to be heard, because we weren't heard as kids. We weren't. And and that's that could be from bad parenting. It can be from parents just trying their best and going through all of their own stuff. But we weren't. And so our desire going throughout life is to be heard, to be validated, to know that somebody cares for us, that we matter.

[00:28:19] And so this is where Sue Johnson talks about while this belief may be that I got to figure my own stuff out before I can then show up in a relationship, if you really have a a meaningful relationship, whether it's in your marriage or whether it's in your parent child relationship or relationships with your friends, that you are going to be able to be yourself. And somebody is not going to say, I can't believe you said that. You don't really believe that. Well, let me tell you what I think before you open up with all that garbage. And then and then you would let's say that you do get it out there and then the person says, OK, I guess I'm the world's worst friend. I mean, you can see how this I feel like these four pillars of a connected conversation that I that I mentioned in the earlier episode that I'm talking about right now that are fundamental basis of my magnetic marriage course, which I wasn't I'm going to talk about today are so imperative because you can see how when we bring these this childhood wounding into relationships and then we have to we feel like we have to try to navigate and say those things just the right way. And then we have other people and kind of inserting their opinions or letting us know or what they think they think that we're wrong. Then you can see how we just aren't feeling heard. We aren't feeling like we're our authentic selves. And then we're even showing up in our marriages, which are supposed to be our safe, secure place and feeling like we can't even be ourselves. No wonder that we turn to these unhealthy coping mechanisms or we feel like we're just checked out or we feel like, I guess we're stuck or we feel like this is I guess this is as good as it's going to get.

[00:29:35] So moving from just surviving to thriving is not a passive aggressive, negative or defensive nature. It's a stepping into your true self empowered. This is how I feel. And and I really believe, you know, when you it's that power, that energy. That's what will lift not only yourself, but others, because now you're standing up for something that you believe in and you're finally just embracing your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions. So I kind of feel like ending this episode and pulling it up right now with the Marianne Williamson poem, because, my goodness, I feel I feel inspired by this poem and kind of where we're at right now. The Marianne Williamson poem, Our deepest fear is not that we're inadequate. Our deepest fears that we are powerful beyond measure, because it's not our light, it's not our darkness that most frightens us. Let me read this the right way, because it is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be are a child of God and you're playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that's within us.

[00:30:54] It's not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. You are playing small, does not serve the world. It may serve the insecurities of some of those around you who want to hold you down so that they too can feel justified in not embracing their true senses of self. But it doesn't serve you, and it may be subconscious, but when I first heard this poem, I was moved. I was moved by the middle and the end, but I skipped right past the beginning. I thought that that was crazy, that I was afraid of being powerful beyond measure. But I get it now. That fear comes from that scared little kid who, of course, bless his little heart, who believed that because the people around him were human, that they weren't perfect. Therefore, they weren't always there for him, that something was wrong with him. But now he's an adult. He's an amazingly complicated, wonderful, imperfect adult. And in accepting that complicated, wonderful, imperfect self, he truly can and will transcend it. And in that process, some around him will find strength and they too, will find the strength to rise and others won't bless their hearts.

[00:32:06] They haven't yet figured it out yet. But in playing small, that's not only you who isn't living, but those around you won't even have an idea of what it looks like to live. So then someday, when they decide it's time to do something different with their lives now, they'll immediately think of you that, you know, there was always something different about you. Now they're going to learn. They're going to seek you out. They're going to want to find you and know what that is. What is it that that you have that puts out that different vibe? And I know what it is. You now know what it is. You've learned that life wasn't meant simply to survive, but it was meant to thrive. So if you have a second, please reach out to me and share with me stories of how you've turned from surviving to thriving. Or write to me right now with this episode brought up and you contact that Tony Overbay dot com or go through Tony dot com, the there's a contact me section of the website. But what this has brought up with you and what you can do to thrive, I mean, I know these things can sound so cliched, but let today truly be the first day the rest of your life.

[00:33:05] I'm grateful for you listening, for spreading the word, for helping me move to somebody who is thriving daily, somebody who for decades only survived. I survived the decade through a job that I really didn't care about, but I did. But no, I didn't care about it. And that is what has really led me to this place now where it's I it's I love what I do. They're ups and downs every day. But turning from just simply surviving to thriving has meant more than I ever, ever even knew. And I want that for you as well. So thanks for spending time with me. And I didn't do an ad in today's episode, but if you are seeking some help, I'll just make this short and sweet. Do me a favor and go sign up for better health outcomes. Virtual couch. Give the world of online counseling a try. It's it's worth taking a look at. And if you go through that link or you type in, better help dotcom virtual couch, you get ten percent off your first month's services and who knows, maybe that will throw enough my way that I can actually have that patriotic music clip in the beginning.

[00:34:08] Hey, thanks so much again for spending your time with me, and I'll see you next time on the virtual couch.

Acceptance can be both liberating and confusing. To accept that you may not be a professional baseball playing astronaut who marries a supermodel and lives in a mansion overlooking the beach can in one sense be the end of a dream (OK, a pretty far fetched dream, to be fair). Often our brains are afraid of accepting our current situation because we fear that with acceptance comes apathy. More often, however, acceptance can be empowering. Accepting that you are a human, full of emotion, thoughts, frustrations, fears, and more, actually allows you to move forward without the feeling of shame. For many people, that movement can be the first step toward an incredibly rewarding, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating life. Tony also refers to the article What Are Primary Emotions? Learn To Understand Your Instincts https://blog.mindvalley.com/primary-emotions/-Sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-

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 mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
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 https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ 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.
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.-
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery


Are you afraid of rejection? Do you have a fear that if people truly knew who you were, your core, that they would reject you or if they really knew who you were, if you really dug deep into all of your thoughts and your fears and your hopes and dreams, is there almost this fear of acceptance that if people truly knew who you were and they did accept you, then what?

[00:00:21] They might move on? But we're going deep today. We're going to talk about radical acceptance, primary, secondary emotions, all of these and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:43] Welcome to episode two hundred and thirty eight of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. A certified mine will have a coach, a writer, a speaker, a husband, a father of four, an ultramarathon runner and a creator of the Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program. It's changing lives truly. Go check it out. Path back recovery. Dotcom, at the very least, go download the short ebook that is there that talks about five myths that people fall prey to when trying to stop. No out stop turn into pornography is a coping mechanism for not feeling as connected to their spouses, to their kids, their health, their faith, their career, their life. And head over to Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up to find out more about some upcoming programs, including a very exciting release of my magnetic marriage course coming in February. If you didn't listen to last week's episode about the consequences of a lack of a connected conversation, please go check it out. That's one of those episodes that I put a lot of thought and effort into. And it's getting passed around a lot for sure. The download numbers are wonderful and amazing. And in that episode, I unveil my four pillars for a connected conversation, and they are game changers for communicating more effectively, whether it's with your spouse or your kids or your extended family or anybody seriously. And I have received a lot of wonderful feedback this week of people simply wanting a worksheet of the four pillars so they can live happily ever after. And that gets me excited. But honestly, and yes, this is going to sound like a sales pitch, the pillars work.

[00:02:09] They truly do work. But in my marriage course, we're going to get into the nitty gritty of how they work in the land mines to avoid and how to have empathy and empathetic statements and how to avoid, again, these landmines that lead to conversations that just go south or don't go anywhere. And I could go on and on. But listen to that episode. And also, if you get a second, go to Instagram, @virtualcouch, there's a lot more content getting put up there by some wonderful people that are helping me behind the scenes. So today we are talking about acceptance. So what does that even mean? And I have been thinking about this one so much lately. So let me let me give you a couple of examples. So when I am working with people who are struggling with any type of an addiction and it doesn't even have to be an addiction, but honestly, let's even go with the big ones, pornography or alcohol or sexual impulse. um, let's even just talk about junk food, any any kind of just turning to some sort of behavior that you don't want to. Here's what acceptance looks like. So let's say hypothetically that you go to the store last Saturday to buy some things that you actually do need and then you impulsively purchase very thin Oreos. Now we're talking purely hypothetical and remember that an impulse is not premeditated compulsion. That one's premeditated. So sometimes we fall prey to impulse. If I were telling a true story about last Saturday, I might say that Friday night my wife and I went on a run and we worked out.

[00:03:31] And Saturday morning we went on a run and we worked out. So in theory, by the time I ran to the store, hypothetically speaking, and I was really, really hungry. And there's actually this clever acronym called Halt HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. And these are key triggers that can lead to all kinds of types of impulsive behavior. So I was hungry straight up. So in hindsight, noticing that trigger, if I would have acknowledged it ahead of time, it would have been really helpful for me to make my intentions known that I would not be impulsively purchasing junk food. I could have written out a list that could affect the list. I could have called my wife. I could have mindfully breathed through my desire to get these said thin Oreos. But I didn't. Or hypothetically speaking, I didn't. And I impulsively purchase the Oreos. So I get home and I make my standard joke that look what they threw in my bag. It must have been running a special buy a bunch of healthy food and they throw Oreos in for free, to which my wife assumes her part of the bit and says is on the receipt or I'll run out next door. I'm sure the neighbors would want them to, which I ripped the bag open, shove a few of my mouth and say, oh no. They fell open and fell into my mouth and hilarity ensues and you get the point. But here's where acceptance comes into play. So we fear that if we accept something that the final version of the story is written.

[00:04:44] And in this case, it would be that if I accepted that I want to eat junk food, that then you may as well back up the the Keebler truck or whoever makes Oreos. I'm kind of drawn a blank to my back door and then just run a tiny conveyor belt from the back of said truck directly into my mouth until I get so large that I pop. So we fight it. And I hear this in sessions a lot. I was going to say all the time, but that's an all or nothing statement, where people will say something to this effect. You know, I don't even really like Oreos, so I don't know why I keep buying them. I don't even know what's wrong with me. And so do you feel that energy or that vibe? Here's what acceptance would look like. Oh, I really like Oreos. They are amazing. They're not good for me, period. So if somebody says and this is real, this stuff happens often. If somebody then says, I didn't think that you ate things like that. So prior to acceptance, I would have said, I know, I know. You're right. It's I mean, it's not like I like them. I just eat them when they're in the house. And then I would constantly have this Love hate relationship going on with Oreo's of what's wrong with me, you know, sometimes I can't even stop myself. So when I get a bag, then I go, I go all ham, as the kids say, and I just devour them.

[00:05:54] But no, here's acceptance, radical acceptance. So in a radical acceptance form, the person says, man, I didn't think you ate things like that. To which my response now, honestly, would be OK. But I actually love them. I think they're amazing. I can literally feel their creamy goodness running through my veins after I eat a lot of them. I don't like the way I feel after eating a ton of them. I don't feel so pretty. But no, I dig them and I really like them and they taste, they taste wonderful. So with acceptance and this is the case literally right now, hypothetically, you know, I ate a few and I haven't gone back there because with the acceptance, yes, they taste good. Yes, I can have them if I want. And no, that doesn't mean that that's all I'm going to eat until the bag is gone. If you own it, remember, you are the only version of you. You like Oreos. Some people like other things. Last week I was in a conversation with somebody where they discovered that I'm not a fan of older cars now. Sounds very benign, right? But they went on to tell me how much they loved old cars and the simplicity and the smells and the sounds. And I'm listening and I'm asking questions and and they say, see, now that you think about it, don't you just love them? And I said, Oh, no, I don't. But I love your passion around them. Acceptance. I mean, there's no part of me that then feels less than or like something is wrong with me.

[00:07:09] It's actually that lack of acceptance that leads people to the what's wrong with me story. And any virtual couch longtime listener knows that I am no fan of the What's Wrong with me story because we need to shift that mindset. I mean, you think and you feel and you behave and you believe the way you do because of all of your experiences that lead you to this very moment in time. I have experiences or I have a lack of experiences that caused me to like or dislike certain things. And I have a nature, a nurture, some DNA that causes me to like the taste of certain things or certain experiences. And with that, we need to operate from a place of acceptance. Another story comes to mind. A good friend of mine, I remember and I maybe I think I told this maybe it was on someone else's podcast. But I remember I was going I love competing. I love racing. I love marathons and ultramarathons and five k's and ten k's. And I love growing up with my kids. And we would do family, family races, family, five k, family, ten k's. And I've run races with my kids and half marathons and and my wife has been there to pace me the last twenty and twenty or more miles of all my 100 mile races that I've run. I love that stuff. And I was at a a triathlon and I can't swim and I'm owning it, on my own. And that one I have tried to paid for lessons.

[00:08:25] I've literally been given a refund on lessons where someone said, you know, maybe you just aren't meant to swim and we even have a pool. So I own it. I really do. But I was at a triathlon with my wife and she does triathlons and she's an Ironman and she's amazing. And she swam from Alcatraz and she can swim. She can swim so well. And I'm at one of these events and I just feel the energy there. And I'm by my friend and I say to him, I turned to him and I just said, doesn't this make you want to just just do it? It doesn't make you want to just jump on a bike and and run and try to get in the water and do a triathlon. And I remember he just looked at me and said, oh, no, I don't want to do it all. He was there watching his wife. And I just remember at that time, well, well, earlier pre therapy, I think I was in my computer software days and I just remember thinking, how could he not like this? How could he not just want to do this? And then fast forward many, many years later and we're at some activity at his house and he's he's showing some guns that he has and shooting things, I think some skeet or trapper. I don't even really know the difference. And then he said, don't you just love this? Doesn't this make you just want to just shoot things and and do gun things?

[00:09:35] And I said, well played, sir, because I didn't necessarily have that deep desire, just like he didn't have that desire to to compete or run a race or a marathon or triathlon or that sort of thing. So acceptance there are certain things, again, about all of us that cause us to feel, think and behave the way we do. And so we come to operate from a place of acceptance.

[00:10:00] I like certain types of music and I don't like other types of music. I like certain genres of books and movies and certain sports and not others. You know, after my senior year of high school, I was literally run over by a twenty eight foot dual prop ski boat down at Lake Powell. And I carry the scars on my legs to show to show for it some thirty three years later. And I haven't been a huge boat guy after. Imagine that. And I used to feel pretty bad about that, you know, like, man, why, why, why can't they just get over this? But now there's acceptance. And here's the funny thing with acceptance. That was when I became more likely to actually get on a boat and then eventually try some water skiing later in life. But for years, though, what's wrong with me? Why can't I just get over it? Story. Kinda Tortured me like I was letting somebody down. I recently spoke with a friend who had studied for a year for a particular career, and then once he entered the job market of said career, he quickly realized that this was not what he truly wanted. And actually, let me let me call an audible here. Let me let me change this up. Let me change the careers of everything.

[00:11:00] Let me let me give you a very tangible example so I have a better example. A real example. This is another friend, not any client. And this was long ago. So I once had a running buddy and this who was many, many years my junior, meaning he was much younger than me. And he moved into my neighborhood house, sit with his wife for his grandmother and and her husband while they served a service mission in another country. So I was in my running marathons phase. This was before the ultra marathon phase and I was chasing down a Boston Marathon qualifier. You needed to run very, very fast to qualify for the Boston Marathon. And I had already missed the qualifying time by, I think, three or four minutes in Back-To-Back marathons. So I enlisted the help of this this young person, this young in shape guy, not a distance runner at that time, but a speedster. And we ran together often and we had a thing where at one point, a couple of miles out, he would turn around and head home and I would go up a bit further and then I would turn around and I would try to catch him. And it helped my speed a lot. And then I eventually qualified and ran the Boston Marathon.

[00:11:58] And it was wonderful and amazing. But during this time we talked a ton and he had knocked on doors through college selling anything alarms, pest control, you name it. And he was a personable guy and he did extremely well financially doing that, doing the knocking doors. I remember that was the first time I realized that people could make a lot of money doing that. But he was going to school to be an engineer. That was what he had had thought he wanted to do for a long time. So he got his degree. And at that time that we were running together, he took a job with an engineering firm. And he was he was pretty miserable. He didn't like going to work. And he missed a lot of things about sales. He missed going out there and contacting people and and just and I know for many people hearing this and even me, I can't imagine doing that the door to door stuff. But he missed that. So he started knocking on doors on Saturdays just to kind of raise his emotional baseline and maybe to make some extra money. And then that one day on a Saturday, he was able to essentially make as much money as he was doing his engineering job.

[00:12:55] So he'd gone to school for engineering and he struggled for a bit with fighting that, wanting to be an engineer. And he worried that if he accepted that he didn't want to be an engineer, then he'd find himself rudderless and I don't know, maybe knocking doors the rest of his life and as if that were a bad thing. But in come's acceptance, first acceptance that he had gone to school and got the degree done. Yes. Yes, he did. And I feel like a lot of times people say, OK, but here's all these things that I've done in the past. And so acceptance and saying, OK, yeah, that's that's what I did. You know, I remember and this is a bit of a tangent as well. I didn't get my ADD diagnosis till I was in my mid forties, and I can't tell you how often I have my mind just likes to drift. It goes back to what life was like before I got that diagnosis, before I did the research on what that consisted of, before I knew how important things like structure were before I became medicated. And I look back on that and I think, man, I wish I would have gotten this figured out a long time ago.

[00:13:51] I could have been so much more productive and yeah, I could have. acceptance. noted. But now I'm right here right now. So, so back to my friend. So acceptance.

[00:14:02] He had gone to school and got the degree. Absolutely he did. He went to school. He got the degree. Then his brain says he should be using that degree. So first up, of course, shoulding nobody likes to be should on second says who that he needed to be using that degree. Next up, our brain wants to say that if we accept, then that's the end of the story. But it is the opposite. And this is so key with acceptance. We can move from point A on the story, where we previously thought we already knew what point Z was. Point Z was thirty five years later retiring from an engineering firm for him and I mean for me. I remember when I sold when I was doing computer software for ten years, I thought, this is what I'll be doing for the next 30 years and then I will retire because we see that model from a lot of people and it's worked for them. But for me, man, I was miserable day to day. I was just miserable. And so from here, he moved now to point B, so from an engineering firm to knocking doors because that and this is key. That is where the confidence kicks in. The confidence kicks in thanks to acceptance, not in spite of acceptance, because once we accept who we are and where we're at in life and what we enjoy and what our hopes are and what our dreams are and the things that we've been through, what our own story is, the baggage we bring into any situation.

[00:15:19] Once we have that acceptance, then we can move forward with a higher emotional baseline. Then we can move forward owning our own parts of that story and acceptance and commitment therapy, which is my my therapy model of choice. In his book, A Liberated Mind, Dr. Steven Hayes talks about what is, again, one of these true game changers. For me, it's a term called a socially compliant goal. so in his book, The Liberated Mind Doctor, he says that values require pivoting from socially compliant goals to chosen values, and he says that that redirects the hearing for self direction and purpose. People often attempt to achieve goals. And this is so good, people often achieve attempt to achieve goals because they feel that they have to. Otherwise, people that we care about or whose views we care about will be displeased or that they'll be disappointed in themselves. But research shows that such socially compliant goals give rise to motivation that is weak and ineffective. We may try to drive our own behavior with such external goals, but we also secretly resent them because they undermine our own process of unfolding. This yearning for self direction and purpose cannot be fully met by goal achievement, since that is always either in the future, meaning I haven't met my goal yet or the past.

[00:16:34] I met my goal and then now I know we got to live by our own values.

[00:16:39] And Dr. Hayes says values are chosen qualities of being and doing, such as being a caring parent, being a dependable friend, being socially aware or being loyal, honest, courageous, living in accordance with their values is something then that is never finished. It's a lifelong journey, and it provides a way to create enduring sources of motivation based on meaning. Ultimately, what your values are is up to you. Your values come from your nature, your nurture, your birth order, your DNA, your abandonment, your rejection. All of those individual things make up your values. They are a matter between you and, as Dr. Hayes says, the person in the mirror. So one of the key things is to recognize what your value is, because too often we're going to school to study something that we're doing because we think that we should or that we're supposed to or that we have to or OK, maybe it will make us some money. But if it goes against our own values, are chosen qualities of being and doing so in the situation of my friend, if he has this core value of just of just being out in nature, of adventure, of connection with other people, then that that goal of getting out there and doing the sales routine is going to be in line with his values. So it's going to be something that he he wants to do. And it totally lines up with what he feels is important to him if he gets the engineering degree and goes to work at an engineering firm, because that's something that maybe his his parents had instilled in him, that that would be a good job that that worked for your dad or you knew somebody that made a lot of money being an engineer or being an attorney or being a CPA or any of those things.

[00:18:15] Then a lot of times we think, OK, I want that. I want I want that money. I want that stability. And so then we jump into those opportunities and then find out that they really go against our core sense of self or they go against our core values. And so once they do, then your motivation is weak and ineffective because it goes against your sense of self. So in comes that radical acceptance accepting what is important to you. In the book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, which again, one of my favorites, Paech, says that life is difficult. This is a great truth. It's one of the greatest truths and it's a great truth because once we truly see this truth, then we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult. Once we truly understand and accept it, there we go and accept it, then life's no longer difficult because once it's accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Once we can have this acceptance that life is going to be difficult and once we have this acceptance that people will be disappointed in us, and once we have this acceptance that we are going to do things that will let other people down, then the fact that we're going to do that, in essence, doesn't matter anymore.

[00:19:20] I mean, it can still we're still going to feel it, but that shouldn't be that's a positive way to show it on ourselves, I guess. But then it shouldn't then determine the direction that we go in our own lives because we worry that we're going to let somebody else down, because that that that lack of acceptance, that working under somebody else's construct when we are playing off of these socially compliant goals and our motivation is weak and ineffective because it goes against our own process of unfolding. When that happens, Dr. Haze talks about a concept called experiential avoidance. Then at that point, when we don't feel connected to our job or we don't feel connected to the way that we're parenting, we don't feel connected to the way that we communicate with our spouse. When those are these socially compliant goals, then we have this thing called experiential avoidance. And what that means is we're looking for anything we can just kick the can down the road. You know, I'll do better tomorrow or I'll start over on Monday. I remember in my computer software world, it was just man, make it to 5:00 on the clock. And tomorrow, tomorrow I will really be invested and I will try my best. But I'm telling you, as a therapist, as a writer, as a speaker, as a podcastor, as somebody who creates programs to help others, I can't wait to do the things that I do because there's this it goes it is in line with my core values of connection, of helping, of being authentic. One of my

[00:20:41] Biggest core values, so when when we when we seek to avoid this is back to the book, The Road Less Traveled, Peck says, whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But he said this means that we give away our power to that entity. So when we say, well, my spouse said that that's what they expected of me, or when we say, well, my parents always said that I would let them down if I wasn't an engineer, then we're giving our power away to that entity and bless that Entities hearts I really do feel like most people mean well, that that goes against our our own sense of self. And so it goes on to say, problems don't go away. They have to be worked through or else they remain forever and they can become forever a barrier to growth and development and growth in development of the spirit. And so the quickest way to get to that growth and development of the spirit, in my opinion, is acceptance of this is where I am. This is these are the things that I've been through. These are my thoughts and beliefs and actions. And I need to accept it. I need to not avoid that responsibility of my own behavior. I need to own it, because I don't want to hand over that power to somebody else. That's a waste of time. I need to be able to understand that life is going to be difficult. So a great truth.

[00:21:51] And once it's it's once it's accepted, then I can transcend it again.

[00:21:56] Once I understand and accept that, that yeah, I'm not a tall man, I would love to be tall or I wasn't born with privilege. That would have been great. Or I mean all of those things.

[00:22:05] Once I accept that then OK, it doesn't matter then that's where you know I can't believe you like Oreos. Think OK, acceptance. There is such a I don't mean to sound like I don't care but again, I don't, if somebody is like I didn't think you ate those things, it's like, oh, I eat them. I put them right in my mouth and I devour them sometimes lots of them. And so now next the next point, next point in life, next question, acceptance.

[00:22:31] So Peck goes on to say that, you know this again, this this inclination to ignore problems is once again a simple manifestation of an unwillingness to delay gratification. He says confronting problems is, as he has said, painful to willingly confront a problem early before we're forced to confront it by its circumstances. How deep is that? means to put aside something pleasant or less painful for something more painful? So he said it's choosing to suffer now in the hope of future gratification, then choosing to continue present gratification in the hopes that future suffering will not be necessary. There's the game changer. It is suffering is going to happen. That's what life is about. But if you own it, if you own your part of that, then you you get to the gratification sooner.

[00:23:12] You're not delaying that. I mean, yes, you're delaying some gratification right now to work through an issue. But then that is where would that acceptance comes, an even stronger sense of self and more appreciation for the things that you've been through.

[00:23:24] And because sometimes people behave as it's almost like they think that if they by not accepting something that that is going to change the situation. It's that thing where I'm going to wait until something happens to me. I'm going to be more reactive, and I want you to shift that mindset and be more proactive, get in front of a situation, own a situation, own you're part of it. Accept your role and your thoughts and your feelings and your emotions. So people want to think that it's like accepting painful situations or our emotions is as if it's passive or or like you're giving in to something that is not it. I mean, it's kind of just noting that this is where I'm at right now or and here's one that's so key. And I'm going to wrap this up pretty quickly here. But people don't want to feel pain. That's OK. We're human. Yeah. We don't want to. There are many situations in life that are not in our control and they can be painful. But the goal is not to avoid that pain, but we can control how much we may suffer over a particular experience because that that suffering is the part that we can control. We can't avoid the pain. We're going to have reactions and feelings and emotions because we're human, but we can control that part of the suffering.

[00:24:30] So let me kind of wrap things up with this concept of primary and secondary emotions. I love this concept. I've done an episode or two where I mention this in the past because, again, we don't like feeling that pain, but we can't avoid that pain. But but let me tell you how we can control how we can control how much we suffer through that experience. Again, with the concept of acceptance, which is pretty darn amazing, we can actually get to more control of the situation. So I pulled up an article and it's this is from a it's called "What are Primary Emotions? I learn to understand your instincts" and I'll put a link to this. It's from mind valid dotcom. It's a really good article and it just says it's by Mind Valley. And so, you know, emotions are what keep us alive. It goes on to say that emotions protect us from danger. They promise to respond to events around us. They enable us to develop meaningful relationships. And the article goes on to say, Have you ever felt an emotion so strong that your entire body and mind were taken over by it?

[00:25:29] At two, OK, minus the Erbe, these are known as primary emotions, and understanding why they arise is essential to having some sort of control over them. And additionally, we have these secondary emotions. There are secondary emotions that are directly connected to one of the primary emotions, and they can be quite complex to understand and deconstruct. But we are going to do that right now. Thank you. Mind Valley's article. What are primary emotions? Learning to understand your instincts. So what are primary and secondary emotions? The psychology recognizes two different kinds of emotions. Primary and secondary are primary emotions are a direct result of experience. They're powerful and overwhelming, but they don't often last very long. Secondary emotions, on the other hand, are more subtle and complex.

[00:26:13] So a lot of people like to believe that there are, in essence, eight primary emotions from which secondary emotions are derived. The primary emotions can be anger, fear, happiness, surprise, sadness, disgust, interest and shame. And I'll I'll point you to this article and you can go into it goes into the definitions of anger. It can go into the definitions of fear, happiness, surprise. But in hopes of keeping this episode a little bit shorter, then once we have the acceptance around these emotions, you know, as the article says is in the case of most things in life, the key to emotional well-being is balance. So embracing positive emotions, but not trying to push away the negative emotions. So the key to this emotional balance is learning to be aware of what you feel and in developing effective coping mechanisms. So while primary emotions are easy to understand, the secondary emotions are what are complex. So in essence, a secondary emotion is a blend of two or more of these primary emotions. And they may not be as strong, but they will tend to last much longer than primary emotions. And they can have a bigger impact on your wellbeing. So a secondary emotion can be something like anger, it can be something like anxiety. So and I often give the example that when I was when my kids were young and they would scare me, I would come around a corner and they would scare me. I would react and I would get I mean, I don't I'd like to think that maybe I didn't do this, but I remember one time in particular kind of, hey, come on, guys, like, stop scaring me.

[00:27:34] And that's a secondary emotion. The anger is a secondary emotion because what's my primary emotion? My immediate reaction was embarrassment. These little kids were able to rattle me and get under my skin and cause them to fight or flight response to kick in. So that's a primary emotion. But then the secondary emotion was that anger and anxiety not only is anxiety a secondary emotion, but the article says it's among the most common. In essence, it has the role of masking other emotions that people aren't able to understand or express. Now, some anxiety is completely normal, and it's even it can be attributable to the stress of modern life. I really do believe that a lot of anxiety is there is a warning, but if anxiety is not dealt with, it can turn into, you know, kind of article says, to a disorder that might negatively affect your quality of life in the long run. So the most effective way of dealing with anxiety is by letting the underlying emotions surface. Now, easier said than done, but with the help of a trained professional such as myself or another therapist or therapist, that maybe the likes of betterhealth.com/virtual couch where you can get 10 percent off your first month services.

[00:28:34] And that is what over one. I wasn't even doing an ad right now, but go to a better help dotcom slash virtual couch, check it out. There are people that can deal with anxiety there from the comfort of your own home through tele therapy, through email therapy, through texting, therapy and betterhelp.com/Virtual couch. You have a licensed professional counselor right on the other side of the of the line. But but letting those underlying emotions surface, then those are the way that you can combat anxiety and learn to process their underlying emotions with the greater skill and care. So I really feel like the concept of radical acceptance is so important on moving forward that, again, it's not the end of the story. It's getting you from point A to point B and from B, you go to C, C to D, and it is an amazing journey where you clarify your values and your direction and you live a more purpose driven life where you feel it's more full of meaning. Yes, it'll have the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, but you experience every bit of it and you're going to experience much more of it coming from a place of radical acceptance and a place of these value driven goals, staying away from these socially compliant goals which lead to this whole concept of experiential avoidance. But I could go on. I appreciate your time. Thank you for joining me.

[00:29:48] This on this episode of The Virtual Couch, I hope that you can start to dig a little bit deeper and take a look at what would be something you can do this week to just own it, to accept it, and to just watch the power and the energy that comes from saying, you bet, I dig those Oreos. All right. I will see you next time on the couch.

Proudly designed with Oxygen, the world's best visual website design software
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram