Tony's Pre-Therapy Check List with Bonus "Why Are Relationships Complicated?"

Posted by tonyoverbay

Recently, Tony had a couple of clients return to his couch after a several-year gap. One client asked Tony if he could sum up everything that the client had missed during his time away from therapy? Another client asked the simple question of why are relationships so complicated? Tony shares several concepts that answer both questions, what has he added to his therapist-tools over the last few years and why relationships are so challenging, and what can one do to improve themselves so that they show up more emotionally mature in their relationships? 

With the continuing "sheltering" rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think 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 mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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=bSWcEQ


[00:00:13] No. Come on. Take a seat.

[00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode three hundred and nine of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four ultra marathon runner and creator of the Path Back, a pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to unhealthy

[00:00:39] Coping mechanisms like pornography. But the same can be said

[00:00:41] For anything, whether it's video games, whether it's food, whether it's your phone, whenever we really don't feel like we are connected or being our authentic self, or if we don't feel like we're in alignment with our values. How easy is it to just turn to some coping mechanism? There are so many coping

[00:00:57] Mechanisms, as I have

[00:00:57] Noticed lately, whether it is turning to my phone for games or my

[00:01:01] Goodness, I just watched a tremendous amount of Tik Tok this morning and that was the last thing that I wanted to do, and I got to own that. I got to take responsibility of that. But as soon as I noticed that I was doing that, I would love to say that. Then I noticed it. I forgave myself and I got right back to the present moment.

[00:01:16] But no, I

[00:01:17] Told myself I'd give myself another three or four minutes, and I don't even know how many minutes. That's a lie. It was another ten minutes,

[00:01:22] But here I am, and we're going to record this podcast. And I had a couple of people over the last, probably two to three weeks who I haven't seen in a while and their former clients that

[00:01:32] Still have access to my scheduling

[00:01:34] Portal. And they've come in to see me. And it's been so great to see some of these people. But it's been a long time. And as a therapist, you really do evolve and you're continually

[00:01:44] Just on a day to day basis.

[00:01:45] You're in the lab, you're having people come in. And if I even just look at the last couple of years as I've learned more about the concepts of differentiation or external validation becoming interdependent versus codependent, or all these other buzzwords that I

[00:01:57] Promise you that I will make sense of, I

[00:02:00] Had someone one of these people, what do you think? The biggest problem is that you see in a couple's relationship and I'm well, I probably I will probably touch on my four pillars at some

[00:02:10] Point, but I just said, Hey, you got a few minutes and they were the last client I had in the day. And so I said, Let me just lay out something I would love for you to just comment as I go along.

[00:02:19] And it just really made me think, I don't think I really have

[00:02:22] Some episode where I could just point somebody and

[00:02:25] Say, Here's a little bit of background that I would love for you to know before we meet, or this

[00:02:29] Is a foundational principle of the things

[00:02:32] That I'm working from. So today I thought I would just try to, I don't know, riff vibe, improv, whatever that looks like. And just if I was asked to just talk through where I feel relationships go south or what that looks

[00:02:48] Like

[00:02:48] And why we have such a difficult time often in relationships

[00:02:54] That I just thought I would just try to lay it out

[00:02:56] From the very beginning. And again, we're going all the way back to birth, to the womb. And before I get to that, I will just do

[00:03:04] A little bit of business real quick. If you are interested in my magnetic,

[00:03:09] If you're interested in

[00:03:10] My magnetic marriage course with my, my

[00:03:12] Buddy, my friend, fellow podcaster, Preston Pug Meyer, then please go to Tony over bakam, go to the contact form and shoot me a note because we're going to be announcing when the next round of the magnetic marriage course will be soon, very soon. And it is a program that

[00:03:27] I am just I am so excited about. I'm passionate about this.

[00:03:31] It works. It helps people communicate more effectively in their marriage. And you can contact me again through

[00:03:37] The Tony Over Bakam website,

[00:03:39] And I'll make sure that you're one of the first people to know, but you're going to hear about it more. You really will. The other bit of business is if you're looking for help counseling, why not try the world of online therapy? You can go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and get 10 percent off your first month's services, and the real gold with the betterhelp.com stuff is in that intake form. They I liken it almost to. I remember there was a sweet spot of online dating

[00:04:02] When I was helping clients way back in the day,

[00:04:04] And this is before

[00:04:05] The what we call now, the swipe culture where somebody I don't know if it was a

[00:04:08] Match.com or if, like there were several others and you had to fill out this pretty broad, this

[00:04:14] Pretty

[00:04:14] Vast questionnaire.

[00:04:16] And then they would use that to match you with somebody else. And then you would start communicating with somebody else and you felt

[00:04:20] Like you, you knew them well before you ever met them.

[00:04:22] Now we have apps and you've got your pictures. You've got somebody that's holding

[00:04:26] Their holding, their niece or nephew. They've got a golden retriever that has an adorable bandana and there's a picture of them by a waterfall. And if you like the way those three

[00:04:33] Things look and there's maybe some very

[00:04:35] Clever movie quote, then you

[00:04:36] Swipe and you say, Yes, I like this person, and before you know it, you're on a date. So that's a tangent,

[00:04:41] But I really feel like the Betterhelp.com

[00:04:43] Assessment

[00:04:44] Form is really good, and it's going to help line you or put you in touch with a therapist who will match what you're

[00:04:51] Looking for. Whether it's anxiety,

[00:04:52] Depression, even maybe the type of modality that you're looking for, the type therapy model that if you've heard a little bit

[00:04:57] About acceptance and commitment therapy, one of my favorites or emotionally

[00:05:00] Focused therapy EFT, or if you want to go dig deep into your past or if

[00:05:05] You want to just stay with what you're dealing with in the present

[00:05:07] Moment there, there are ways to address

[00:05:09] That in the assessment form.

[00:05:10] So please go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch

[00:05:12] And get 10 percent off your first month's services.

[00:05:14] So there's all the business. So let's get to today's topic. So I'm just going to talk you. True. I feel like I'm

[00:05:23] Going to look at this, maybe as if let's just say someone is

[00:05:25] Going to start meeting with me for the first time, and there are just some things that I would love for them to know or understand prior

[00:05:30] To coming in to counseling. And why I say that I'd like to

[00:05:33] Start off with birth is because it's so important and I just in every fiber of my my being. I think it's so important to understand that we basically are wired to survive. The brain is that don't get killed device. And so we are going to do whatever we can to survive. And I'm going to throw

[00:05:54] A lot of things out over probably the next 20 or 30 minutes

[00:05:57] That today I'm not going to refer to an article, not can refer to a

[00:06:00] Book. I'm just going to talk about

[00:06:02] Accumulation of the knowledge that I feel like I have learned over the years that helps me as a therapist. So from birth, we are programed that abandonment equals death because when we come out into the world, we don't even know that we exist. We don't even know that we're an entity until we have an interaction with someone.

[00:06:21] Until all of a sudden now someone touches us, someone they spank them on the bottom so that then they gasp

[00:06:26] For their first breath, or they immediately hand the baby to the mother, and the mother is now going to breastfeed the child. But until that happens, the baby doesn't

[00:06:35] Even know it is a thing. It doesn't even know it is

[00:06:37] An entity, but now it has an interaction with another human being and we're off. And so from this point forward, we are programed to get our needs met. If we do not get our needs met, we will die. And that

[00:06:47] Is going to set the stage for a lot of things to

[00:06:50] Come in your future and your relationships and your journey to try to find out who you are as a person. So when you look at that, abandonment equals death phase for the first year or two, who knows how long if a baby emotes, if a baby cries, if a baby coos

[00:07:07] Makes a noise, then people

[00:07:08] Pick it up and hug it because it's adorable or they actually smell pretty good. That's a bonus from little babies. Or if they need to be fed, we feed them breast feed, bottle feed, whatever it looks like. And so right out in our core, we are programed to know that if we express ourselves that someone will be there to meet our needs and I'm really talking.

[00:07:28] In essence, I don't even want to say best case scenario, but what is

[00:07:31] The most likely thing to happen? There are some research. I talked

[00:07:34] About a little bit of this in last week's episode where I gave some of the data or the research behind emotionally focused

[00:07:39] Therapy, where you have babies that were left with no attention, and how

[00:07:44] The sad studies that do show that in certain situations, I believe it was back in the 50s, 60s in in orphanages across the world where the babies would not even they would die if they did

[00:07:56] Not have interaction or they were smaller, they had a lower birth weight. They there were a lot of health effects for when a baby did not have that attention when they were young. So we go throughout the first few years of our lives where we express ourselves, and for the most part, people meet our needs. But now a kid hits to be the age of two three four.

[00:08:16] And now I start saying, OK, now let's welcome to the world of abandonment. So if a kid has always been programed to then express themselves and get

[00:08:24] Their needs met? Now, all of a sudden they're asking

[00:08:26] If they can stay up past their bedtime, if they can

[00:08:28] Go sleep over to friend's house, if they can have candy before dinner, if they can get out of doing their chores and they

[00:08:34] Actually have a voice to express these things.

[00:08:37] But now a parent wants to teach the child responsibility and work ethic and fairness and all of these sort of things, or how to

[00:08:45] Interact with your siblings.

[00:08:47] But the child is still coming from this primal need of I need to get my needs met or I will. I fear abandonment. Abandonment equals death. So now every child starts

[00:08:55] To try to figure out, how do I

[00:08:56] Get my needs met? And what does that look like? Do they become the pleaser? They become a scholar, the athlete. Do they become the rebel? Do they? Do they

[00:09:05] Withdraw? And that's the only way that people will then say,

[00:09:07] Hey, what's up, buddy? Or do they say,

[00:09:09] Hey, I'm going to do, I'm going to get the best grades, I'm going to do all the

[00:09:13] Chores. I'm never going to complain. And now

[00:09:15] My parents will say, Man,

[00:09:16] Why can't everyone be like you? Because if you really start looking at that, OK, that's how they get their needs met. That's how they get that external validation, which is

[00:09:25] Another thing that I find so fascinating

[00:09:27] That we

[00:09:28] Don't have a sense of self

[00:09:29] As a kid. There's no way because we really are just still in the survival mode. So meanwhile, we're trying to figure out how to get our needs met, and by doing so, we feel like we are not sure of ourselves. We feel like we maybe aren't confident, but we're going to reach out to others for external validation. So I may not know how I feel. So I'm going to base how I feel on those around me. If my parents are happy, then I feel like then OK, I must be doing something right. I must be OK. If my parents are upset or my siblings or those around me, then I must be doing something wrong. And you can start to see how we're going to start moving forward into life by internalizing the way that other people react and starting to think that that must be about me. So this concept of abandonment? It really goes deep because we're trying to, meanwhile, figure out how to get our needs met. Who do I need to be in order to get people to stay or to get? People to like me, to love me, and we're doing that in every different environment. What type of child do I need to be with my parents or what type of sibling do I need to be? What type of friend do I need to be? Who I need to be to my religious leaders at church? Who do I need

[00:10:34] To show up? As with my coach at school

[00:10:37] For whatever the sporting event is? Who do I need to be in the classroom in order to be liked or in order to get my needs met? And again, even if it isn't to be liked, it's to get my needs met. If the only way that I get attention is by rebelling or by fighting or by acting out, then we're starting to set that

[00:10:55] Wiring to say that's the only way that I know

[00:10:57] That I will get anyone's attention. And and it helps. I believe it helps us understand more of where that comes from, because if no one cares about me, if no one notices me, then that means I may

[00:11:09] At some point cease to exist and I will. And that equals abandonment and abandonment equals death.

[00:11:14] And then I like talking about the fact that every little kid is emotionally mature. Every little kid, by definition, is somewhat of a narcissist, a little narcissist egocentric and doesn't have really an idea or empathy for the plight of others. And so we absolutely feel if somebody doesn't give us what we need or do what we want, then it must be about us. I take the example of

[00:11:36] Kids at Christmas time. If the kid really wants a bike, all they want is this bike. Their friends are getting bikes and they don't get the bike.

[00:11:42] It isn't because, hey, maybe my parents, where there's a whole wrinkle there, especially for kids, if they don't really know why Santa did not give them the bike, but if their parents are financially strapped or their dad may maybe lost his job or their parents are going through separation or divorce. But to the kid, it's I didn't get my bike.

[00:12:03] I must be bad, I must be unlovable, I must be broken. And that concept of abandonment

[00:12:07] Is what we carry forth into our relationships as well. I hope that you're following me right now, but if you are trying to get your needs met and you're trying to do that whatever way you can, whether you are the comedian, the scholar, the peacekeeper, whatever that looks like. And then meanwhile, people are doing people things. People are just being human, going about their own business. And so therefore they may not fulfill your deepest desires, your wants, your needs. Then we make it about us. We feel like we must be broken. We feel like people must not care again because we have a hard time

[00:12:41] Looking outside of our self or stepping outside

[00:12:43] Of our own ego to see that

[00:12:45] Everyone has things going on. And I didn't anticipate necessarily going in this direction. But a couple of weeks ago, I talked about my daughter being in a horrific accident that still is just hard. But I found some

[00:12:56] Of the most interesting conversations. So many people have reached out and that has been phenomenal, and I'm grateful for it. But I've also had some people that are fairly close to me that then will reach out to me or some

[00:13:05] Appliance that will come in and see me and haven't

[00:13:07] Seen me for a while. And they'll even say, Hey, I'm reaching out. I figured everybody else was

[00:13:11] Reaching out to you as well, so I

[00:13:13] Hope that you didn't feel like I didn't care. And I realized those are where those of you aren't doing your own work, where those pangs of abandonment could kick in because it is interesting.

[00:13:21] I absolutely understand and

[00:13:24] I know that I'm that person often who

[00:13:26] Sees that somebody is going through something and I step back

[00:13:28] And think, Man, I want to give them their space where if that person and again, not that I think that everyone's thinking, Why didn't Tony reach out to me? But you could see how if they did say, OK, why have all these people reached out, but not my friend Tony? He must not really care about me, or I must not really be that important when in reality, this is where it is, where my pillar, one of my four pillars of a connected conversation to assume good intentions or there's a reason why people are doing what they're doing is so important. Whether we're talking about in your relationship with your spouse or in any scenario that I have had good people that I know love me, care about me, but have not

[00:14:05] Reached out about this accident, even as I podcast it about it, as I talked about it, because

[00:14:10] They there's a reason why we're having

[00:14:12] Their own experience.

[00:14:14] And it might be they haven't been on social media,

[00:14:16] They haven't listened to a podcast that I've done in the last couple of weeks, which makes sense. So that isn't about me. It's just people doing people things. So that's what that abandonment starts to look like.

[00:14:24] And when we start to get into relationships, whether it's in our teenage years or the other start, we start getting into romantic relationships that we still are playing this game and

[00:14:36] Recording the video on this today. So if you want to go to my YouTube channel, you wonderful going subscribe, that's always

[00:14:42] A lot more coming down the road on the YouTube channel. But I have

[00:14:44] My hands

[00:14:45] And my hands are now together. They are together because I say that we all start out these relationships,

[00:14:50] In my opinion, as is somewhat enmeshed

[00:14:52] And then codependent. And that's because we're trying to figure out how to

[00:14:57] Interact so that we have this connection and closeness because of this

[00:15:01] Deep fear of abandonment. And this is whether it's a relationship with a romantic partner, whether it's a relationship with a friend, whether it's a relationship with a parent, whether it's a relationship with a church, whether it's a relationship with a job. And when we're in that codependent and enmeshed state, then we're more likely to not necessarily discover. Are you going to share our true self because of this fear that if I

[00:15:22] Say something that my, my spouse, my parent,

[00:15:24] My friend disagrees with, there's a chance that they may say, Wait a minute, I this isn't the person I knew. So they may abandon me, and abandonment equals death. But then as you go throughout life, you go throughout your experience, you

[00:15:39] Start to have more experiences, you start to get a job, you start to maybe graduate school,

[00:15:42] You start to have kids, you start to have financial pressures. Things happen in your life. People die. People leave. You are starting to have more of your own experience than it is absolutely natural and normal for people to start to really feel that they have different opinions than their spouse is so normal for that to happen. But this is where things get scary. So when you are enmeshed and codependent, then you are and you start to have your own experiences. You are starting to become interdependent. You're starting to become differentiated,

[00:16:12] Which again, showing my hands

[00:16:13] Differentiation is where one person ends

[00:16:16] And the other begins. Instead of this codependent enmeshment.

[00:16:19] It's interdependent and differentiated, but I hope that I'm laying the groundwork to say, but that can be scary. Why? Because you may become a differentiated you may be having your own experiences. You may be, as they say, and growing and starting to say, Man, I don't know if I still feel

[00:16:35] The way I do about certain things when

[00:16:37] I was younger or even when we got married. And that's normal. That is. Human, we're expected to grow, we're expected to expand, we're expected to take a look at different experiences and filter them through our lens,

[00:16:51] Not the lens of my spouse

[00:16:52] Or my church or my work or my siblings or my parent, but my lens. And one of the most difficult things is as we start to explore how we feel about things. Now here comes a

[00:17:03] Big bunch of. Asian or people will say, I didn't know you

[00:17:07] Felt that way. And what our media

[00:17:09] Thought is, Oh, am I letting this person down?

[00:17:11] Am I disappointing this person? Because if I am, they may leave me

[00:17:14] So

[00:17:15] Often when we start to explore what

[00:17:17] Really matters to us and somebody else says I,

[00:17:20] I disagree or I don't think the way that you think, then

[00:17:23] We'll often say, I don't know. Maybe I'm just maybe I'm just being impulsive. Maybe I really

[00:17:26] Don't feel that way because we're so afraid that if we really be, if we become our true self, that what if

[00:17:33] Everyone around us says, I don't like that guy and they abandon us? Because why abandonment equals death?

[00:17:39] But the most important thing you can do is really find your sense of self, find out what matters to you. And this is where I start to move into this

[00:17:47] World of acceptance and commitment therapy, my

[00:17:49] Favorite therapeutic model. It is the

[00:17:51] Model that changed my entire practice. It changed my my self

[00:17:54] As a human being. And where we go

[00:17:56] With acceptance and commitment

[00:17:57] Therapy is when we feel as we're starting to figure ourselves out, as we're starting to really understand what matters to me. We all have these

[00:18:06] Sets of values that we ascribe to.

[00:18:10] It come from our fill in the blank, our parents, our siblings, our church, our community, and so we show up and we adhere to these values, but that doesn't mean that they're the right values for us, so we need to start exploring what really matters to us.

[00:18:25] When my favorite exercise is to do an acceptance and commitment, therapy

[00:18:28] Is go through a list of

[00:18:30] Common values with someone and find

[00:18:32] Out what really matters to them and why.

[00:18:34] And just the examples that I give

[00:18:36] Often or the value of I'm a big I

[00:18:38] Have a value of curiosity

[00:18:40] And to a point that if I have something in my head, I want to give it, I can give it a

[00:18:45] Go. As my wife says, I want to google it.

[00:18:47] I want to explore it. I want to understand more about it.

[00:18:49] It might last a second, it might last two minutes.

[00:18:52] It may look like absolute my my ad inattentive type. It might look like

[00:18:57] I am just becoming distracted and chasing squirrels, but

[00:19:00] That's OK. It's one of my core

[00:19:01] Values is is curiosity as knowledge is adventure. One of my core values is absolutely being authentic authenticity.

[00:19:09] And one of the challenges is you start to discover your own values that once you really embrace or lead into a value, it's going to be scary and your

[00:19:18] Brain is going to say, I don't know if that's going to really work. I think one of the easiest examples that I give with this is let's talk about the value of honesty. It sounds like

[00:19:27] Everyone would be on board absolute

[00:19:28] Core value of honesty.

[00:19:29] But if you grew up in a home where there was brutal honesty, where people were told often that you look ridiculous, that food was horrible. I can't believe that you gave the talk that you did in church today or whatever that looks like. And if to you that always felt like that was harsh, maybe you were one who

[00:19:43] Was a bit more sensitive and maybe highly sensitive, a highly sensitive person since reprocessing sensitivity of that episode is about that. So that brutal honesty just does not sit right with you. It doesn't

[00:19:54] Feel right. Then you may have more of a value of compassion. But if you grew up in a home where no

[00:20:00] One was telling the

[00:20:01] Truth ever, then you may have an absolute core value of honesty. And here's how that shows up differently.

[00:20:07] If I am going, let's just take the simple example of

[00:20:11] Hey, how'd you like? How'd you like dinner tonight? If you have a core value of compassion, then you may say, You know what? I thought it was pretty good.

[00:20:19] And others around you will say, Well, that's a lie. My value is compassion.

[00:20:23] So I don't feel like it is

[00:20:26] Who I am to, to tell

[00:20:29] Someone that was pretty gross. I didn't really care for that because to you, it might not matter

[00:20:34] In the grand scheme of things. I'm going to

[00:20:36] Be eating every day, I'm

[00:20:37] Going to be eating several meals a day. So in the grand scheme of things, I would rather be compassionate than to tell someone that I

[00:20:43] Don't like

[00:20:44] What you just made. Now here's the way this works, though, is

[00:20:47] It's wherever you point your value. Your brain is

[00:20:50] Still going to come up and say, I call them the habits. Your brain is going to say, yeah, but so if I decide, OK, my value is going to be compassion and then I'm hit with that, somebody says, How would you like the meal? And I say, Hey, you know what value of compassion?

[00:21:02] I need to lean into my value. I need to do what's right for me and what really feels right for me.

[00:21:07] Then I'm going to

[00:21:08] Say, Yeah, I thought that was pretty good. I really liked the flavor combination or I really liked the cheesiness. Or now you're really trying to find what you did like about that. And then your brain is going to say, Well, yeah, but you're not being honest. And that's where this is, your journey. This is your

[00:21:23] Value. So what do you say to those earbuds? Well, yeah, I'm not even arguing if that's a true or false, it isn't a productive thought toward my value. So am I being by

[00:21:31] Definition or in a jury of my peers? Honest? No.

[00:21:35] But that's not the that's not even the point that I'm arguing. Was it a productive thought

[00:21:41] As I leaned in toward my value of compassion? Now, if your value is absolute honesty because of your experience growing up and you feel like that would

[00:21:49] Go against my my core value or sense of self, then somebody says, What do you think about the meal? And if you said, honestly, I wasn't

[00:21:55] Really a big fan of it, I didn't really enjoy it.

[00:21:58] Then your brain is going to say, Yeah, but you're going to sound pretty rude.

[00:22:01] But if our value core value is honesty, then we're not even arguing if that statement again is true or false, is it a productive thought

[00:22:08] Toward your value of honesty?

[00:22:10] And the more that you start to understand and explore your values,

[00:22:15] You're going to first be met with a lot of those? Yeah, buts, and then you're going to acknowledge them. That's not even we're not even arguing that's true or false statement.

[00:22:23] But is it a productive thought toward your value? Because here's the thing if you are

[00:22:28] In acceptance and commitment therapy, we talk about what's called socially compliant goals. And that is when you are doing things because you think you're

[00:22:35] Supposed to or you think that if you don't do them, you'll let others down and

[00:22:38] We can go back to what we started with today if I let others down. What if they get upset with

[00:22:42] Me and then they they disappear and abandon me, and abandonment equals death? So we're almost programed, then to first do

[00:22:49] Things that other people want us to do because we want them to like us. But then as we start to understand that this maybe isn't my core value, so I need to do something else. I need to really find my values and I need to just I need

[00:23:01] To live in accordance with my values. Then we're going

[00:23:05] To start to go through this process of being

[00:23:08] Invalidated often

[00:23:09] And the. Socially compliant goal

[00:23:11] Again, is when

[00:23:12] We are doing things because we think we're supposed

[00:23:13] To, or if not, we will let others down. And in

[00:23:17] Fact, the phrase that I so appreciate

[00:23:19] Is if we are living a life

[00:23:22] Of socially compliant goals or if you are only acting on socially compliant goals, then your

[00:23:26] Motivation will be weak and

[00:23:27] Ineffective because it goes against your process of unfolding, unfolding, meaning just

[00:23:32] Unfolding and understanding and discovering who you are as a person. Because you're the only version of you that

[00:23:38] Has ever walked the face of the Earth with

[00:23:39] Your nature, nurture, birth order, DNA, abandonment, rejection hopes, dreams, fears and so you must find who you are. And the

[00:23:47] Reason I was so excited to lay this whole piece out today

[00:23:52] Is that I hope you can understand that it is normal and natural to figure out what matters to you, what job you want to do, what type of relationship you want to do, where you want to live. But you're going to be met with invalidation because there are people who say, No, you don't really want to do that and you don't really think that. And I'm not

[00:24:09] Saying that those people are even coming from a bad place. I recently had someone who was in school to

[00:24:13] Be a an engineer and part of the what we really

[00:24:18] Enjoyed was as we found this person's values.

[00:24:20] That engineering degree really

[00:24:22] Was more of a socially compliant goal. They were doing it because everybody

[00:24:25] Said you would make a good engineer, engineers make money and that sort of thing. But this person was anything but an engineer in their heart. So when they were trying

[00:24:33] To go on this socially compliant goal of doing this so that I won't

[00:24:36] Let others down, then they were

[00:24:39] Experiencing a lot of one of my next favorite concepts experiential avoidance, which means I will do

[00:24:45] Anything and other than

[00:24:48] What I'm supposed to do and I'll do what I'm

[00:24:50] Supposed to do later

[00:24:52] With experiential avoidance if you're living a life full of socially compliant goals. Boy, in today's day and age, and I'm going to sound like

[00:24:58] The old man here, but there are so many other things to do. I can't imagine

[00:25:02] Growing up in my twenties and having a cell phone with unlimited data and

[00:25:07] Streaming and

[00:25:08] Games and social media and pictures and videos. And so if

[00:25:12] You really haven't found what matters to you, how many of us then like I started my day today, I

[00:25:18] Love what I do, and I couldn't wait to do what I do. But I also told myself, I'm going to scroll through tick tock a little bit, and I don't even. It was a long period of time till I finally said, OK, enough watching little kids saying funny words, dogs and cats doing funny things and people breaking into spontaneous dance, which I could do none of. But once that experiential avoidance, the things that you can do instead of the things

[00:25:41] That really matter to you or things that you need to accomplish, it's overwhelming at times.

[00:25:46] And what happens is you are living a life of social compliance and then you're met with these all these opportunities for experiential avoidance. What happens is now we'll just

[00:25:55] We'll do what we need to do tomorrow. We'll do it later.

[00:25:59] And how many times have we said that? I often say that if you if it's halfway through the day, often will say, You know what,

[00:26:04] Tomorrow I'm on it, I'm going to do whatever it is I need to do tomorrow. I'm going to work harder. I'm going

[00:26:09] To organize things, I'm going to

[00:26:10] Do my homework, I'm going to write the great novel.

[00:26:13] I'm going to reach out to my friends. I'm going to clean the house. All those things tomorrow.

[00:26:16] And then if you do that day after day, he hit middle of the week and then, you know, on a Monday, I'm a new man. I'm going to do everything on Monday,

[00:26:23] And we get to that sixteenth of the month. Then it's next month. That's my month starting.

[00:26:28] What are we now? February, March 1st.

[00:26:30] I'm going to diet. I'm going to I'm going to start keeping track of things and

[00:26:33] Organize and write and journal. And so if we really aren't connected or in a line

[00:26:39] With the things that matter to us again, if we're living more of this socially compliant life, then that experiential avoidance piece is going to jump up big time and it's going to get in the way

[00:26:49] Of everything

[00:26:50] Being very all or nothing statements. But it

[00:26:52] Will lead to then

[00:26:53] A feeling of we feel less than or what's wrong with me, because why can't I finish things today? Why do I keep putting things off until next week, Monday, that sort of thing. So one of the key things to do in that scenario is just the first of all, give yourself grace, you're human. You're this the first time that you're going through whatever it is you're going through right now in this very moment with all of the stuff that you bring to this very moment. So instead of saying, Man, what's wrong with me and say, check this out, this is how I'm showing up right now, this is what I'm doing instead of doing the things that I feel like I need to. So it's good to check in and say, Why am I doing the things that I'm doing? Is it because I feel like I have to or I'll let somebody down? Or is it because this is something I really am passionate about or that I want to be doing because you have so much better chance to really accomplish the

[00:27:36] Things that really matter to you? And even then, you're going to have distractions. Even then, you're going to run into times where you're hungry or angry or lonely or tired that that acronym halt.

[00:27:45] So at this point

[00:27:47] Now we're talking about, you are trying to figure out who you are. You are an autonomous individual and you have the pull of others. The pull

[00:27:55] Of these attachment wounds, these abandonment wounds

[00:27:58] That we all go through. And this is why I feel like this is so important to understand going in and why I wanted to lay it out from birth. Because at this point when people are in relationships,

[00:28:08] I'm

[00:28:08] Very confident that I feel most people. Don't even know what they don't know. They don't even know that there is necessarily a better way. They and they don't even try to

[00:28:15] Find the tools and so they until they start to not feel satisfied in their relationship. And instead of then going out and finding the tools, a lot of times they'll say, Yeah, you don't

[00:28:23] Get to that. Later, I'll look

[00:28:24] For those tools when

[00:28:26] The kids are older or when

[00:28:27] We're more financially stable or we move into the new house, or maybe even when the kids are out of the house, then we'll work on things. But unfortunately, a lot of times there's been a tremendous amount of time

[00:28:35] Or a wedge that has grown in a relationship

[00:28:38] When people have not gone out and try to improve their relationship. This is why when people say, do I need therapy? The answer is yes to to any and everyone. And I'm only saying that not

[00:28:46] From a very dramatic insert the ominous music now, but I feel like we're

[00:28:51] All still trying to come from this place of

[00:28:53] What really matters to me. What do I want to do? I know I shouldn't think that.

[00:28:56] I know it's too late to do that. Whatever those things

[00:28:59] Are, no. Explore what really matters to explore. What is your passions are. Even if your first round of that

[00:29:07] Exploration is just doing so in your own mind and doing a little bit of exploration, because I would imagine that if all of a sudden you say, you know, I always want to go to culinary

[00:29:15] School

[00:29:15] And you throw that at your

[00:29:16] Spouse and you've never mentioned that or you've mentioned it offhand.

[00:29:19] And then they say, Oh, seriously, like, you don't even cook around the house, how invalidating is that going to feel? And then that's one of those situations where too often somebody will

[00:29:28] Say, Yeah, you're right. You're right. I don't really want to do that.

[00:29:31] But that leads into this next concept of we

[00:29:33] Are also wired and I go back to what I was talking about earlier,

[00:29:36] Too. We want external validation. We want someone else to tell us that

[00:29:40] We have permission

[00:29:41] To do what is important to us. And that is that is I was going to say that's a tricky game. No, it's not. It makes sense. But it's now we're starting to get into this concept of emotional immaturity.

[00:29:51] We're all emotionally mature until we become emotionally mature, and that is

[00:29:56] Also a process of unfolding. So let's use that culinary example. If I have always wanted to go to culinary school

[00:30:01] And I watched some food network and I've never really expressed that, or if every

[00:30:05] Now and again, I've just I've had fun in the kitchen and I throw out to my spouse or my kids that and this isn't me, by the way, I cannot cook at all. But this was a real example of a few years ago that I had a client that was this is the process that we went through. But if I'm saying, man, I should go to take a class or something. It's almost like the person was saying it, saying, What do you guys think?

[00:30:25] And they want people to say, Yeah, I think that's a good idea. But here you don't necessarily feel confident. So you're putting that in the hands

[00:30:33] Of another person for external validation. You're saying, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this. So what do you think? And this is where I say, Boy, bless everyone's heart. That's trying to say, What do you think?

[00:30:45] Because we do want other people's opinions.

[00:30:47] But how much do we let that opinion sway us

[00:30:50] If I really feel in my core that I will regret the fact that I don't, if I don't at

[00:30:54] Least go do some cooking classes or explore culinary school, and then I feel like I'm going to get to

[00:30:59] A point later in life and I'm going to have a regret there. Then please, by all means no, that you don't have to have that external validation because when you're putting your what I would like to do

[00:31:09] In the hands of, I call it, the psychology of

[00:31:11] The peanut gallery, you're looking for someone else to say the right thing, to validate you, to make you feel better, even though you're not exactly sure how you feel.

[00:31:18] And I like saying that there's a really small chance that that person is going to say the right thing.

[00:31:23] And now, if they don't say the right thing, if they say, Well, we can't afford it

[00:31:27] And then we haven't even talked about it, we haven't even

[00:31:29] You haven't heard me. We haven't even looked at the fact of, man, what would that look like even just cook together during the week? What if we

[00:31:34] Took just there's so many free things on YouTube that we could just take a watch.

[00:31:37] But if you just are immediately shot down with, yeah, we can't afford it or I don't think that you have time, then we just put our the desire, this need for

[00:31:44] External validation and the hands of someone else. And I say that there's such a small chance they're going to say the right thing.

[00:31:50] And when they don't now look what happens, then I feel worse. I feel like I feel that they don't really even know me. They don't understand me.

[00:31:58] And now I also get to say

[00:31:59] They don't care.

[00:32:00] And then I go back to my abandonment, say, Man, I must just be broken. I must be unlovable, even if that's happened at a subconscious level

[00:32:08] Where instead, as we start to find ourselves, as we start to become more autonomous, as we start to become more interdependent and again, be ready for that invalidation. But that's part of just becoming more emotionally mature is saying, Hey, I think I want to go back to culinary school or I think I want to start cooking more in the home. And even then, your brain will then do the

[00:32:26] Yeah, but well, yeah, but you haven't done it in the past.

[00:32:29] And then, yeah, I haven't not even arguing that you don't even know what to make. You don't even know if your family will like it. You're not even sure if you have the right pots and pans and ingredients. All those habits are absolute. We're not even arguing that, but are those productive thoughts. So I want to start taking a look at what it would take to learn more about how to cook so that that we need to become internally validated. We need to know that, no, I would

[00:32:52] Like to do this. And now I'm coming

[00:32:54] In any conversation out of pure just connection or

[00:32:58] Curiosity about what someone else is experience like because ultimately we're trying to figure out how to find ourselves, how to become the best version of us

[00:33:07] That we can be, even if

[00:33:09] Our spouse. And says, I don't like that or

[00:33:11] I don't

[00:33:12] Think you should. And I'm not saying that

[00:33:14] We have to, you can only rely on yourself. No, but an emotionally mature relationship

[00:33:19] And an emotionally mature person is someone that shows up and says, Here's how I feel, because this is how I feel. This is based off of my experiences. Here are my hopes.

[00:33:26] Here are my dreams. And this is where I tried to lay out earlier why we

[00:33:30] Have this codependency in this enmeshment and relationships. It's because that's the way we show up. We don't have those tools. It's expected to not have those tools from the factory because of these abandonment attachment wounds. So oftentimes I find that couples have to go through things in order to then have to go find the new tools.

[00:33:46] And the people that show up in my marriage course are people that have been married for quite a while and people that even will come in saying We're OK, but we know that there could be we could have more in our relationship, even to the point where I've tried to use my four pillars,

[00:33:59] Often on

[00:34:00] Couples that are premarital couples

[00:34:03] Or young couples. And I find

[00:34:05] That often they aren't even hearing what my

[00:34:07] Four pillars of a connected conversation

[00:34:09] Are, because in their mind, they're

[00:34:11] Saying, Yeah, no, it's not that big of a deal. It's really not that bad. So what I'm saying, no, from the

[00:34:15] Factory from the beginning pre marriage, please

[00:34:18] Assume good intentions. The other person is not trying to hurt you or there's a reason why what they do,

[00:34:22] Please pillar two do not tell them you are wrong or I don't believe you, even if you feel like they're wrong or you don't believe them. And that leads to pillar three. Ask questions before making comments and then pillar four. Don't make it about you. Don't go into victim mode. Don't run back to your bunker.

[00:34:37] If someone says that I want to go to culinary school, first of all, don't assume that they're saying that because they think that you

[00:34:42] Can't provide or that, Oh, I'm not a good enough provider. You think that you have to go be a renowned chef?

[00:34:47] No, that's not the point. There's a reason why they're expressing themselves. Pillar two, I can't say that's ridiculous or I don't

[00:34:53] Believe you,

[00:34:54] Even if that's

[00:34:55] How I feel. That's where if I say, Well, but you don't even cook,

[00:34:58] What did I just tell them? I just said,

[00:35:00] Hey, you're wrong. Pillar three questions before comments. Hey, take me on your train of thought.

[00:35:04] Tell me how long you felt this way. What do you envision? What are the things you like to make? What are the things

[00:35:08] That you would like to do? What was your experience like growing up and did your parents cook or did they not? Or did you try to?

[00:35:14] Or was that the only time that you really felt a connection with

[00:35:16] Your mom or your grandma or whatever that looks like? And then pillar four,

[00:35:19] If you're that person that's listening,

[00:35:21] Then you could do pillars one, two and three. Great. But then if that pillar

[00:35:25] Four, then you say, Well, I guess it doesn't matter what I think you're just going to do whatever you're going to do. No, I just went into victim mode and I want that person now. I'm wanting that person to say, No, you're right. I probably shouldn't have said that or probably shouldn't have done that. So all of those ways are the ways that we're showing up emotionally

[00:35:38] Immature in a relationship. So when I have a young

[00:35:40] Couple or have a couple that really hasn't necessarily been through, I will just call it extreme relationship

[00:35:45] Trauma.

[00:35:45] But they're coming into me because it's something just doesn't feel right.

[00:35:48] I'm telling them those four pillars, the same four pillars that will

[00:35:52] Help couples that have gone through everything from

[00:35:54] From infidelity and

[00:35:56] Addiction and allowed them to to connect once again. Those are the same four

[00:36:00] Pillars that if they were adopted early in a relationship, even if you feel like, no, it's OK, then man, we

[00:36:08] Would not necessarily

[00:36:09] Feel like we are growing apart over the years and that we'll deal with things later. So in a nutshell,

[00:36:16] Which I think is probably too cliched for all that I just shared,

[00:36:20] We talked a little

[00:36:20] Bit about abandonment and attachment today that we all have this fear of abandonment deep within us.

[00:36:25] Even when they do the work with people

[00:36:27] That have narcissistic traits and tendencies, narcissistic personality disorder, and on my waking up the narcissism podcast, I really do call it emotional

[00:36:34] Immaturity that comes from a deep abandonment wound

[00:36:37] That comes from a person who has not felt a secure attachment to a parent because perhaps their own parent expressed emotional immaturity or narcissistic traits or tendencies. Gaslighting is a childhood defense mechanism, so people are showing up in relationships, and if they have such a deep

[00:36:53] Seated fear of abandonment that then they can never be wrong because they feel like they're wrong, then you will immediately

[00:36:59] Abandon them so they will gaslight. They won't

[00:37:01] Take ownership or accountability

[00:37:02] Of things. And so that is the pinnacle of emotional immaturity. So we're all starting out emotionally immature. And then as we try to find ourselves or find our sense of self or find out what really matters to us, we still are influenced by the opinions of others. When we try to say that, Hey, I

[00:37:18] Really I need to not care what other people others think. Ideally, that is the place to operate from.

[00:37:23] But sometimes we feel like that means that then I will never

[00:37:25] Have interaction with another human being. But when we show up interdependent, differentiated,

[00:37:31] Autonomous, confident and not looking for external validation, I promise you this is a relationship

[00:37:37] That you have never seen before because people have to do the work to get there.

[00:37:41] And I often have people say, But then why do you even need somebody else if that's the way you're showing up? And I completely understand that because this is this, this is this

[00:37:50] Holy

[00:37:50] Grail of relationships that is I'm trying to explain that to people in my office or even on podcasts

[00:37:54] That you don't even know what that looks like until you get there. And I know it's really hard to

[00:37:58] Trust someone's voice over

[00:38:01] Your headphones or even when people come into me, they're so hurt because they don't feel heard or understood in their relationship. And so I will be talking about four pillars for. So I mentioned the four pillars, here's the

[00:38:11] Four pillars, and I now understand that people are often saying, Oh, those sounds neat,

[00:38:14] But you just I just need you to hear me and I need you to let me know, is this normal? Or can you tell me, can you tell me

[00:38:20] What to do about my spouse?

[00:38:22] But in reality, this is your journey and you are starting to become interdependent. You need to figure out what matters to you. What are your core values? What are your hopes? What are your dreams? And then being able to show up confident, differentiated with another human being?

[00:38:35] That is an amazing place to be because

[00:38:37] Now you are two people with

[00:38:38] Your own experiences and you can express them and it isn't a slight or you're not trying to break down what the other person's experience is. You're showing a calm, confident, energetic autonomous with your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. And now it is a connection like you most likely never felt because you have to do the work to get there. And then now, all of a sudden, we're talking about the concept of edification

[00:39:00] Of one plus one is three when you're attacking parenting questions, when you're

[00:39:05] Going through what decisions to make in life and you feel like I can say to my spouse, I don't know, what do you think? And what they're going to express is their experience.

[00:39:12] And then differentiation is where you can really still maintain a relationship with someone, but you don't have to defend yourself, and you certainly don't have to break down what their version

[00:39:21] Of life is.

[00:39:22] But when you're too emotionally mature, differentiated autonomous people in a relationship. We're talking polarity. We're talking magnetism.

[00:39:29] We're talking, you just feel alive when you can say,

[00:39:31] Man, here's what I think. Tell me what you think, and when you feel safe and securely attached, then you're saying, OK,

[00:39:37] I even thought about that. Let's talk about that more.

[00:39:40] And the more that you are able to express yourself and feel heard now, you are able to work through things that you are bringing up from childhood.

[00:39:49] You know, this is where I feel like whether your belief is in a god or

[00:39:52] A creator, a supreme being or whatever that

[00:39:55] Is, we often

[00:39:56] Say that we're here to multiply and replenish the Earth that I really feel we're here to connect with other human beings.

[00:40:02] Because, as Sue Johnson says, an emotionally focused therapy,

[00:40:05] We're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being because

[00:40:08] If you just leave thoughts to be

[00:40:10] Rumbling around in your head, we are designed

[00:40:13] For them to not go to the best case scenario. And if we aren't able to express ourselves and share things with someone that is safe, someone who isn't going to say that's ridiculous. I can't believe you're thinking that because the reason you're thinking that whatever that is is because you're thinking that because that's your experience and all the things

[00:40:29] That you've brought in your life up to that very moment are there because that is what you are feeling and thinking and that is perfectly OK. So there's a little bit of a primer. There's a little bit of a hey, here's what's nice to know before you head into therapy of understanding

[00:40:44] That there is there are these abandonment attachment, wounds and needs that we all have from childhood and that as we get into relationships, we're naturally going to be a little bit more enmeshed and codependent. And as we go through life, we're going to start to recognize me and I do have my own thoughts and opinions, and that's perfectly OK.

[00:40:59] But if you are in an emotionally immature relationship and I'm talking about with yourself or with your spouse and you aren't doing the work,

[00:41:07] I could do air quotes there,

[00:41:09] Then it is going to be scary. And we are going to fear abandonment

[00:41:13] When we start to express our

[00:41:14] Needs, our desires because our partner will often say, Whoa, whoa, what does that mean about me when in reality we want to say, Boy, tell me more about that. I'm your person, I'm here for you, and you deserve that kind of of a relationship

[00:41:28] That was flying back from seeing my daughter yesterday and I was listening to. It's funny. I had an odd thing on the flight where I could only get access to certain things that were downloaded on my phone. And one of them was the book No More Mr. Nice Guy by Glover. A couple of things he said he was talking about nice guys, and you can put this into anybody that's in an emotionally immature relationship. He talked about and I was typing this out on the plane, so I know that I missed some of this. But he just said that once you are in more of an emotionally healthy relationship, then you can start to see your partner as a gift that you've invited

[00:42:01] To help you clear out your own issues around anger. And then you can have a shared experience around grief from your childhood experiences.

[00:42:08] Because if we are able to say, Boy, when you just said that, I found myself triggered or found myself angry, but it's

[00:42:14] Not about you, it's about me, it's about my emotional

[00:42:17] Response. So if your spouse is going to assume those good intentions that you're not trying to hurt them and they're not going to say you're wrong, they're going to ask questions and they're not going to go into

[00:42:26] A bunker, a victim mentality. Now we're having an emotionally mature conversation. So why do I feel anger? Why do I feel

[00:42:32] Triggered when my spouse says something when, whenever

[00:42:35] They present? And if we can look at that with

[00:42:37] Curiosity, with a secure attachment with our spouse, now is where we can really start to grow and say, Wow, OK, that must be because I felt this way as a child, I felt like I was never

[00:42:46] Enough. I felt like I could never quite read

[00:42:48] The room going into my home. And I wasn't sure mom or dad were angry or sad, and I was trying to make sense of that. But I was young. I was a kid. I was emotionally immature myself. And so no wonder now I show up in my relationships trying to figure

[00:42:59] Out, OK, how do I need to show up here in order to get my needs

[00:43:02] Met? So we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human.

[00:43:06] All right.

[00:43:06] Hey, if you have questions about today's episode, then fill. Free to send him over if you have examples or stories that came to mind, I'm over in my waking up the nurses and podcast. I'm getting so many stories about the things that people hear,

[00:43:17] And I would love to hear more of those

[00:43:19] Stories on the virtual couch, and I would love to share those at some point down the road. So if you had any aha moments here, if you had any concepts that really hit you or resonated as, Oh, this is what my abandonment looks like or my attachment wounds, or this is what my experience was when I started to really recognize, these are the

[00:43:34] Things that are important to me,

[00:43:36] Then feel free to send them through the contact form at Tony Overbay dot

[00:43:38] Com. I would love to hear them and maybe share them on a

[00:43:40] Future episode, and I appreciate you, as always, spending time with me here on the podcast and I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

[00:43:53] Compressed emotions flying past our heads and out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind, it's wonderful. And plastic waste and rubber ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter most.

[00:44:23] He eats my. Three.

[00:44:54] News of discount price opportunity.

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