Jealousy & Online Affairs – Mila

Jealousy & Online Affairs – Mila

What goes on in someone when they’re jealous, possessive, obsessive or need to create drama?  Mila was born into a family where her parents “couldn’t live with/couldn’t live without each other”  and she found herself as an adult becoming like them, She also began snooping on her partners and engaging in online and in-person affairs despite knowing better and wanting to stop but unable to leave her cold and uninterested husband.

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online counseling.  To try a week for free go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental  Must be 18.

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Episode notes:

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online counseling.  To try a week for free go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental  Must be 18.

This episode is sponsored by Audible's Binge Listening Event which lasts until June 28.  Get $50 off the price of an annual membership as well.   www.Audible.com/binge

Help support Paul in keeping this podcast going.  It's not possible without donations from listeners.

Becoming a one-time (PayPal) or monthly (Patreon) donor for as little as $1/month and qualify for bonus content and personalized stuff from Paul.  www.mentalpod.com/donate

You can help the podcast by using our Amazon link.  Bookmark it.  It helps us and doesn't make your items any more expensive.

You can also help the podcast by going to our Itunes page and giving us a nice rating.  It boosts our visibility.  And you can help by spreading the word about the podcast through social media.

Every little bit helps and we need it!

Episode Transcript:

Transcription services donated by Accurate Secretarial LLC. You can find them at www.AccurateSecretarial.com.

 

Welcome to Episode 336 with my guest Mila. We're going to talk about jealousy and online affairs. My name is Paul Gilmartin. This is the Mental Illness Happy Hour, that sounded very official, a place for honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas and sexual dysfunction to everyday compulsive negative thinking.

This show is not meant to be a substitute for professional mental counseling. I'm not a therapist. It's not a doctor's office, more like a waiting room that doesn't suck. I like how I pretended like I just came up with that, even though I've said it pretty much for the last 200 episodes.

The Web site for this show is Mentalpod.com. Go there, check it out. Fill out a survey. Maybe we'll read your survey on the show. It's completely anonymous. We don't even collect your IP address. Other things you can do on the site, you can support the show financially. You can read stuff I've written. You can read stuff that other people have written. You can join the forum.

We have resources for places to get help, a directory, all kinds of stuff, or as I like to say, don't do any of that and just sit on the couch with your thumb up your ass, because that does burn calories, two. It, actually, you've got to give it a little bit of an effort to get it from burning one calorie to two calories, but I think if you really focus on it a lot of you can [chuckles], you can cross that, what is this, I'm searching for the word that when you finish a race, the finish-line tape, there's got to be another word for that.

All right, all right [chuckles]. I was getting into the shower yesterday, and I'm sure this has happened to you guys, and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and you say to yourself [chuckles], who let a human potato into my house? I was so disgusted, but I've been unable to go to sleep without eating ice cream right before I go to sleep.

Last night, I tried, and I tossed and turned for an hour. I got up, I ate, eh, probably a half a pint of Ben & Jerry's and came back to bed, fell right asleep. I don't know what it is. I think it's related to all the grief and shit going on in my life and divorce and our dog Herbert dying and Ivy is sick now, by the way, our other dog. Hopefully it's not serious. I'm bringing her to the vet tomorrow.

But anyway, my point is, instead of running from my feelings, which is what I've been doing for most of my life, I'm trying to sit in them. I'm trying to not distract myself with things and to just feel my feelings. It is so fucking hard because, like I can't even get past looking at a picture of Herbert when he was a puppy and I, I want to go back and look at pictures of him.

And there's one picture in particular that just, it just breaks my heart. And for those of you that are monthly donors, it is the thumbnail picture at the beginning of the video tribute I put together of Herbert. He's a puppy and he's really excited and happy and he's chasing another dog around the yard.

And so instead of just ignoring how painful that is, I try to get quiet and ask myself, beyond the fact that I loved Herbert and he was a great dog, why does this feel so additionally painful, because we had a dog before Herbert. We had her for, her name was Charlie, and we had her from like 1989 or '90 to 2003, and she was everything that you could want a dog to be. And when she died, I felt pain. It lasted weeks.

But there's something, there's like an extra added thing to Herbert dying that I've been trying to feel and not intellectualize. And the other day I was just sitting, sitting in the sadness, and thinking, what is it about Herbert that I miss? And I thought, you know, that picture just sums up how happy and innocent he was, and now that's gone from my life.

And it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks, is there is a part of me that is mourning for the little me that had his innocence taken when he was a kid, and I was a really, really sweet kid, and I'm not just saying that. I was a good kid. High school, a different story. I became bitter and sarcastic and etc., etc.

But as a kid, and I think that's one of the things that hurts so much when I look at Herbert, because when I think back to the stuff I went through as an innocent little boy, I can't feel things, or it's rare that I can get in touch with that feeling. It's like a car going by at 100 miles an hour. I can recognize it, but I can't slow it down enough to get anything other than it's just a blur going by.

And I think some stuff is starting to heal around that because I’m a big believer that trauma can kind of be trapped in our bodies, and we hold it as much as we can, subconsciously, and I have noticed that since I made that connection and since I've been doing all this crying, etc., etc., a muscle issue that I had in my groin and one of my legs, I'd always thought it was just purely a hockey thing, that just gets re-aggravated and never goes away.

And I've had this tightness for years, no matter how many massages I get, etc., and for some reason, like in the last three, four days, all of a sudden it released. And I'm thinking maybe that, maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe Herbert [chuckles], the ghost of Herbert gave me the best groin massage I could ever imagine. That's what I'm trying to say.

It is so interesting how we process the things that hurt us or scare us. I'm going to have a lot to talk about with my therapist on Friday. And speaking of my therapist, I've mentioned many times our sponsor for this show is BetterHelp.com. Donna is my BetterHelp.com therapist. I love her. She gives me tools to help me deal with stuff. She nudges me towards seeing things and feeling things that I might not do otherwise, and I highly recommend BetterHelp.com.

If you would like to try them, you can get a free week of counseling by just going to BetterHelp.com/mental, filling out a questionnaire. They'll match you with a BetterHelp.com counselor, and then you can try a free week of it and see if it's right for you. And you have to be over 18.

All right, this is a Shame and-, no, this is an Awfulsome Moment filled out by Partly Sunny. And she writes, I'm currently sober and I've turned my life around after 20 years of drug-addicted misery and turmoil. Yay, me. I'm now a college graduate and I'm in graduate school to pursue a career in mental health counseling.

Here's the thing. I have a yuppie younger sister who has a perfect life. I pretty much hate her. I attended her 11-year-old daughter's birthday party last week, for some moronic reason. Although most interactions with my rich bitch of a sister leave me feeling horrible about myself and my life, I thought, maybe it'll be different this time.

Anyway, I parked my piece-of-crap-mobile in front of her McMansion and I was already feeling like a loser when her daughter ran up to me and said, Mom said to tell her if you go upstairs because she's afraid you'll steal money or screw anything with a penis.

 

[Show intro]

 

PAUL: I'm here with Mila, and that's a pseudonym because we want you to be able to speak freely about your life, your story, and an issue I can't believe we haven't devoted an episode towards yet, jealousy.

 

MILA: Yep.

 

PAUL: We are in the same support group but don't know each other because we don't go to the same meetings.

 

MILA: Right, right.

 

PAUL: And then we were at a meeting together and you shared, just like a two-minute share on jealousy, and I thought, it would be great to have her come talk about that, and I’m so glad you took the plunge and you're here and willing to talk.

 

MILA: Yep, yep. I, yeah, I guess I said yes and it's, I'm a little nervous about it--

 

PAUL: Are you regretting it?

 

MILA: I'm not regretting it. I'm just worried as to what I'm going to say [chuckles], but--

 

PAUL: I'll lead you through all the questions.

 

MILA: Okay, all right.

 

PAUL: So, you're how old?

 

MILA: I am 40 years old.

 

PAUL: Okay. And what was childhood like?

 

MILA: Oh, well, you know, my parents aren't alcoholics, but every time I've read about like codependent issues or other addictions, like they should have been. It seems like they would be, you know. It was a very volatile home. My mom and dad are still married. They can't, it's that so typical, they can't live with each other, can't live without.

You know, my mom wouldn't let my dad talk to anyone, and it's something I grew up noticing and seeing--

 

PAUL: No females.

 

MILA: No females, and she even didn't, [sighs] my mom didn't believe in friends. She believed that anybody that wanted to be your friend wanted to hurt you or get something from you.

 

PAUL: Where do you think that came from?

 

MILA: I think she had a really rough childhood. Like, I've been dealing a lot with my mom issues and like kind of forgiving her because I think she just grew up in a really shitty household, and I think she was just doing the best she could.

So, I don't necessarily know exactly where that came from, but it's definitely something that she's kind of, she didn't like it when I had, when I had friends, too, she'd always just be like, your friends aren't really there for you, like she, you know, she's gotten better about it now that she's older.

My dad had a stroke a few years back, and that softened her up a lot, but even then, she was telling me that she [chuckles], she was so mad that my dad was flirting with the nurse, recently. Like, this was like, she was really upset with it, too, and I was kind of laughing inside because, you know, my dad's an old man now and, you know, like they've been married for over 50 years, I'm like, what are you going on about?

You know, but so, I mean, my childhood was my mom was very, [sighs] she was very upsetting. Like, she was always angry. She didn't want to show me anything, because she would be so frustrated with me if I didn't know how to do something right. So, like I have a lot of resentment towards her like because she actually is a very skilled person. Like she knows just about to do anything except for probably like fix a car, but like she never taught me anything.

 

PAUL: So she's frustrated that other people can't keep up.

 

MILA: Yes, and won't do it right and, you know, she would call me names and, you know--

 

PAUL: Like what would she call you?

 

MILA: Well, there's a word in Spanish called pendeja, which means like you fucking idiot, basically. Oh, sorry, I don't know if I'm--

 

PAUL: No, no, you can swear. You can swear.

 

MILA: --you know, and that was something that she would call me, and I think, looking back, she thought she was trying to help me. Like she thought she was, you know, pushing me. But, you know, it wasn't, it's not something that felt good. And my parents are always fighting. I mean, to this day, they fight like cats and dogs.

 

PAUL: What do you like notice in your thoughts and like physically in your body when you're around them and they're fighting?

 

MILA: It is [sighs], put it this way. When I was growing up with them, I never felt like anything was wrong. I didn't really realize how volatile that situation is. But now that I've been away for so many years, I go there and I’m just like, the anxiety just like heightens and I feel--

 

PAUL: Do you feel it in your chest, your stomach, what do you . . .

 

MILA: Mostly in my chest and, it's almost like a shaking feeling. Like I almost feel like I'm literally shaking, whether I am outside or not. I feel like really angry, too, that they're behaving this way towards each other, and I get caught up in it, to be honest.

 

PAUL: Did you try to get them to not do it?

 

MILA: I'd try to get them not to do it or I'd try to get one to see the other one's point of view, or I'd try to tell them how they should be behaving, and I'd get wrapped up in it really quick.

And it ends up me, a lot of times, I end up crying a lot, and then it's like they put, you know, my mom especially will just always push it back on me, you know, why do you have to be that way, why do you have to be crying, like there's no problems here. And I don't think they know how to live any other way, to be honest.

 

PAUL: And where were your parents raised?

 

MILA: In a Latin country, and they came here like in their 30s, so, and I was their last child born, I was their last child, so I was the one born here.

 

PAUL: And how many siblings?

 

MILA: I have two siblings.

 

PAUL: And do you get along with them?

 

MILA: I get along really well with my brother, who is like the middle child, and then my oldest sister, I haven't spoken to her like in six years, to be honest.

 

PAUL: So you're the baby.

 

MILA: Uh-huh.

 

PAUL: Is your older sister kind of similar to your mom?

 

MILA: Yes, but she doesn't believe she is.

 

PAUL: Oh, yeah, they never do--

 

[Chuckling]

 

PAUL: They never do.

 

MILA: She doesn't, she--

 

PAUL: They never believe that they're really screaming into a mirror.

 

MILA: Right, no. And the last time I saw her, it kind of got volatile, so I kind of have separated myself from her because she just feels, she blames my parents a lot, where I don't. I think I have more compassion for my parents than she does.

 

PAUL: Do you feel that that's, and hold your thought for one second, we'll come back to it, do you feel that is a result of doing work on yourself in support groups and stuff or are you just kind of generally a more empathetic, self-reflective person?

 

MILA: Both, and I'm also a mom.

 

PAUL: How many kids?

 

MILA: I have one son.

 

PAUL: And how old?

 

MILA: He is now, he's 20.

 

PAUL: Oh, my God.

 

MILA: Yeah. Yeah, so my mom, you know, that's the twisted part. She actually helped me so much in raising my son and so did my dad, and there's sometimes guilt, like I wonder, you know, that I put him in that household, you know, but he tells me that they don't act, like it's really funny, I think, as the grandchild as opposed to the child, because he just looks at them, he's like, oh, it's funny, and I don't, he goes, I think they act out more around you than they do around me, because they do that for you. Like, he'll say stuff like that.

 

PAUL: The thing that I see happen a lot is the parents who are controlling and maybe even abusive to their child, then they lavish praise on the grandchild--

 

MILA: Oh, yeah.

 

PAUL: --and there's nothing, because I, and it struck me that maybe because they don't see that the grandchild as somebody who is going to affect their reputation, whereas the child, they're afraid it's going to reflect badly on them.

 

MILA: Or, yeah, maybe, and I don't know--

 

PAUL: Not consciously.

 

MILA: Right. Do you have any children?

 

PAUL: No.

 

MILA: Okay. Well, here's the thing, too, about being a parent. It's like no one talks about the pressure on your shoulders to make sure this person like goes out into the real world and is a person.

 

PAUL: I can't imagine it.

 

MILA: You know, I--

 

PAUL: It's why I didn't have kids.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Yeah, and I don't think, I think, sometimes I wonder if I would have had a child if I didn't have him so young, because I would like know this and I was so naïve back then and I just kind of was like, doop-do-do, I'm doing what I'm doing and things are, you know, and he's turned out to be great. I'm so blessed and lucky.

But I just, there's this crazy pressure about making sure they're going to be someone functioning in society, you know.

 

PAUL: Right. And what is the deal with the father of your son?

 

MILA: His dad, oh, that was, I probably knew that person for about two and a half years. He stepped out of my son's life when he had another child. And my son was around seven, and he just one day called and said, you know, he doesn't want to be here, he wants to go home to see you, and that was kind of it for a really long time.

He came back into the picture--

 

PAUL: It probably made it easier on your son, though, huh?

 

MILA: You know what, it made it easier on my son and it made it easier on me [chuckles]. Like, I'm going to admit to that, just because, we haven't gotten to the jealousy issues yet, but there was that situation. He was, his dad is a lot older than me, and so I was, you know, I was about 19 years old when I had my son.

 

PAUL: And how old was--

 

MILA: He was about 26. So, there was a lot of control, I basically, you know, I think, you know, they say you marry the parent that you're trying to fix the relationship with, and I think that was definitely my mom. I think I've done that twice. I got married again, I married my mom [chuckles].

 

PAUL: So you marry guys that are critical--

 

MILA: Judgey.

 

PAUL: --high-functioning, intelligent.

 

MILA: Possessive. And I think me wanting to do the, like be good or do the right thing or show them that I could do whatever it is they're trying to show me, I don't know how else to say that.

 

PAUL: Like this time around I'm going to win?

 

MILA: I guess. And I really didn't realize I did that until I was going to therapy about my ex-husband, and she pointed out to me. She's like, you realize you describe him and her with the same words, right? And I was like, what?

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: I was like, no, I never thought about that. Oh, my God [chuckles].

 

PAUL: I would say about 90% of the guests that come on the show, they pick one of their parents as--

 

MILA: It's crazy. It's crazy.

 

PAUL: Yeah. I wonder sometimes, is it because we're familiar with that script? Is it because subconsciously we want a do-over and we're going to get it right this time?

 

MILA: Maybe.

 

PAUL: All of the above?

 

MILA: Probably. Or, you know, maybe it's some kind of, not conflict, but like a challenge or something.

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

MILA: Like, you like maybe, you know, and totally like not knowing that you're doing that, but like this kind of challenge of like, this time, you know, I'm going to make this person see me in the best light and they're going to see me for me and love me.

 

PAUL: Which maybe presents itself as a feeling of being awake and interested in that person.

 

MILA: Yeah, I mean--

 

PAUL: Whereas the healthy person just seems boring.

 

MILA: Yes [chuckles].

 

PAUL: And I can't read them, what the fuck is going on?

 

MILA: You know, and that's a big thing that I've been noticing through program and stuff, is seeing that I struggle when days are just, not, I don't want to say flat because that makes it sound like there's something wrong, so--

 

PAUL: But when there isn't something wrong.

 

MILA: When there isn't something wrong, I am waiting for something to go wrong, and if it doesn't go wrong, then I want to see what I can do to make it go wrong.

 

PAUL: What was the thought that I had you hold about 10 minutes back?

 

MILA: Oh, what was I talking about? It was before the kid. I'm not even sure. I’m sorry, you told me to hold my thought. I forget what, we were talking about childhood and my volatile--

 

PAUL: Your parents.

 

MILA: My parents were super volatile and they would yell all the time and how I feel inside when I'm around them, yeah, I'm sorry.

 

PAUL: Okay, that's all right.

 

MILA: I'm sorry.

 

PAUL: I feel like we're getting a pretty good picture of like where you come from, and do you feel that there is anything pertinent to talk about regarding your family's ethnicity, or is that just--

 

MILA: You know, probably. I mean, my mom would tell me stories of my dad when she was dating him that, you know, she wanted to get a job and she was going to be like a, I’m going to say like a Coors Light girl or something, be at the bar selling beer, kind of thing, and he was not, he wasn't going to get her do that. He was like, no, no way, you know.

And she was so upset about it because she was going to get to wear this great dress and wear this wig and like she was like, this is going to be so great, and my dad was like, you're not doing that, you know.

And definitely, I mean, you know, growing up, you know, Latino, usually you're Catholic [chuckles]. Usually you're Catholic--

 

PAUL: That's not a hard bet.

 

[Chuckling]

 

PAUL: Pretty good bet.

 

MILA: And you know, I have an older sister and she was a lot more, she voiced the things she would do and she was so upset about a boyfriend she broke up with, and my mom kind of egged her on, you know, and said, if you didn't have sex with him then maybe you wouldn't be so upset, and she admitted, you know, yeah, I had sex with him. She was like 16.

So, from that point on, I did kind of, I was about eight. Well, I was six if she was 16, but I don't remember when I started hearing it, though. I started hearing from my dad, you don't want to be like your sister, in the regards of losing my virginity, do you know what I mean, and so there was a lot of--

 

PAUL: To lose one's virginity is to invite trouble.

 

MILA: To invite trouble and not to be, I guess, a woman with dignity, I don't know. You know, there was this idea, and I don't know how this translates to jealousy but it does, and what we're, you know, like my mom even had, you know, she stayed with my dad because she lost her virginity to him and who else was going to want her.

 

PAUL: I see.

 

MILA: So, that was kind of put in my head pretty early on, too.

 

PAUL: I see.

 

MILA: Like, who's going to want you if you've done it with somebody already?

 

PAUL: Did your mom intentionally lose her virginity to your father?

 

MILA: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. She--

 

PAUL: Do you think she, go ahead, go ahead.

 

MILA: She stayed in, her grandmother had a visa, her mother, I'm sorry, had a visa for her to come to the States and she purposely did not come to the States to stay with my dad. So, she showed up in the States about 10 years later, and she left her grandmother at the airport before she was supposed to get on a plane and come here, which can you imagine that?

 

PAUL: Hm.

 

MILA: Like she like stayed [chuckles].

 

PAUL: So that's like inconceivable that somebody would not want to come to the United States?

 

MILA: I think so. I think so.

 

PAUL: I don't know because I have nothing to really--

 

MILA: I guess you're right--

 

PAUL: --to compare it to. I didn't spend enough time in Mexico to--

 

MILA: Right. I think at the time, and her mom was bringing over all of her brothers and sisters so she was kind of one of the last people to come over here. So I think more, not just to come to the States, but more to just be with your family and to just like, you know, be able to come here legally.

You know, her mom had it all worked out for her and she just like ran off with my dad, which I kind of love that story, I'm not going to lie [chuckles]. But you know, and I think that's wild, you know, like that, to me, is--

 

PAUL: It's kind of romantic.

 

MILA: It's very romantic, but, God, if that was my kid, she would have been [chuckles], that would not have been okay.

 

PAUL: So, we talked about what it feels like when you're around your parents. It sounds like they were both kind of possessive of each other.

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

 

PAUL: What are some of your early memories of childhood in terms of you having experiences that gave you a sense of who you were, for better or for worse?

 

MILA: Hm, that's a good question.

 

PAUL: That affected your self-esteem positively or negatively or, you know, just kind of life-changing moments. It could be something that was good or bad or . . .

 

MILA: School was, school was a tough place for me. I grew up in the '80s in a predominantly white neighborhood, and I really didn't know I was different until I started, well, I didn't know I wasn't like the other kids at my school until I was around them more enough for them to let me know.

 

PAUL: And what would they say?

 

MILA: It just wasn't so much what they said. They just would just like kind of make fun of my attire or--

 

PAUL: What was funny about your attire to them?

 

MILA: I guess I wasn't wearing like the cool Guess jeans or--

 

PAUL: Were your parents lower economically than the average person in--

 

MILA: Yes.

 

PAUL: --where you were raised?

 

MILA: Yes. They found a town that they really fell in love with and they wanted to stay there, because they felt it was really like clean and nice and all that. And it wasn't so much that--

 

PAUL: Can you say what state it was in?

 

MILA: It was in California. It was in California. How do I, how do I explain this better? There wasn't many other Latino kids in my class. It was either me or kids that couldn't speak English, and that came at about third grade, where they couldn't speak Eng-, like it was either, they didn't understand [chuckles] a brown girl that--

 

PAUL: That spoke English.

 

MILA: --that spoke English and they'd try to put me in ESL and they were like, she doesn't need to be here.

 

PAUL: You're not the first person I've heard that. That's inconceivable to me that they would just say, oh, you know, your last name is [last name], let's put her in the English as a second language. It's like, what?

 

MILA: Oh, yeah.

 

PAUL: Without even talking to the kid?

 

MILA: Yeah, and then you'd go in and they'd, you know, do you know how to say cat? And I'd be like, yeah, I know how to say cat. But, you know, I think it's tricky for the people in education, too, because I do, I have some language issues that I didn't really understand until I was getting older, and I don't think it was something that they could pick up on.

 

PAUL: I see.

 

MILA: You know, I mean, I was speaking, my parents kind of made me speak English at home because they were afraid of this, they were afraid I was going to, you know, not be smart enough to, whatever, pass kindergarten or whatever.

 

PAUL: Are they fluent in English?

 

MILA: They are not fluent in Eng-, well, they can get by, yeah. They can get by. They can get by for sure.

But what I remember, there was a few things at school that happened. I wanted to give kids gifts because kids had given me gifts the year before for Christmas, so I wanted to do the same thing one year. And of course, my mom is like, what, we're not going to, who are these people. So I was like, please, Mom. You know, so there was a store called Pick 'n' Save back then.

 

PAUL: I remember Pick 'n' Saves, yeah.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: So, I was able to pick some things from there and I took them to these classmates, and I'll never forget that someone was able to tell where it came from, and then that was a thing. You know, that was like a laugh at me. It was something to put me down. I mean--

 

PAUL: How old were you?

 

MILA: That one, I was older. I was like probably in like fourth grade by that point. And then, God, these moments are so weird that are coming up.

Another thing, you know, speaking of the whole ethnicity thing, I do have to say this story. When the kids started showing up that couldn't speak English, a teacher, you know, asked me to kind of be their translator. And it was around, you know, probably third grade and I started feeling like I was getting in with the other kids more.

 

PAUL: With which kids, the white kids--

 

MILA: With the white kids.

 

PAUL: Because you were translating?

 

MILA: No. I felt like, before I was translating, I felt like I was starting to make some friendships and people were starting to like me--

 

PAUL: Oh, and now they're dragging you down--

 

MILA: And now they're going to, yeah, they're going to group me up--

 

PAUL: In your mind.

 

MILA: Yes, they're going to group me with somebody else so they could, again, point out, because, you know, when you're a kid you don't want to be different.

 

PAUL: No.

 

MILA: You don't. And I remember going home to tell my mom that this was happening and to write a letter to the teacher to let them know that that's just too much for me to do, I need to, you know, be concentrated on my studies. And to this day, I have so much guilt about that, like--

 

PAUL: Why?

 

MILA: Because I felt like I let somebody down. This poor girl just needed some help, and I was too concerned with being liked by these other kids that I wasn't strong enough to help her out.

 

PAUL: But is it your job to educate?

 

MILA: No, but, damn, it's one of those--

 

PAUL: I get it. I get it.

 

MILA: --moments where you just look back and I'm like, what a little shit I was. Like--

 

PAUL: You were just trying to survive socially.

 

MILA: I was trying, socially trying to survive.

 

PAUL: Which is everything at that point because you don't have a sense of self and it's like--

 

MILA: Yeah.

 

PAUL: --you want to see yourself reflected back, and it sounds like your parents were so wrapped up in their own issues and who they needed you to be instead of seeing you for maybe who you were. Don't let me--

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

PAUL: --put words in your mouth. That's just the vibe that I'm getting from what we've talked about and the fact that you wound up in the support group that you did.

 

MILA: Yeah [chuckles]. Yeah, yeah. Well, I had them as great examples of how to be with another person.

 

PAUL: How to avoid intimacy.

 

MILA: Yeah.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Yeah, exactly. But, wow, yeah.

 

PAUL: So, that was something that kind of was a big moment for you. Any other moments in childhood or adolescence that you think are kind of . . .

 

MILA: You know, I--

 

PAUL: And it could just be something that you don't know if it's a big deal but for some reason it pops into your head. I love those stories, too.

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, for me, honestly, you know, [sighs] boys were a big deal too soon. Like, I would, do you know the show Sha Na Na? Do you remember that show?

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

[Chuckling]

 

PAUL: You're old enough to remember that?

 

MILA: That's how little I was, when I was in love with someone, like do you remember the TVs that were on the floor?

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

MILA: And you're like a little kid, and like now I look back, I'm like, yeah, that was like, he was like my same height. You know, I'd walk over [chuckles] and he's like right there, and I would sit there and I would kiss him on screen and my parents would laugh and they--

 

PAUL: Was it one of the Sha Na Na guys?

 

MILA: Oh, yeah. It was Dirty Dan. I was in love with Dirty Dan so much, because he could hop on one foot while he played the guitar.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: So, that was like--

 

PAUL: That is so adorable.

 

MILA: --that was the coolest thing ever, you know, and I think back and I was like, yeah, I was like three or four years old. And I told my mom I was going to marry this guy. I told, you know, and they would know. They still, you know, they'll bring that up every now and then, remember when you were in love with Dirty Dan? You know, and then you look him up when you're old and you're like, yah, God, what the [chuckles] . . .

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: No, but, yeah, I don't know if these are moments that I'm supposed to be sharing--

 

PAUL: I love them. No, I love them because it, they're unique to each person's life and that, to me, is one of the things that I love about doing this podcast, is just hearing the details of people's lives, things that struck a chord in them then or now.

 

MILA: Yeah. Why do I remember that, you know? It's so weird, you know. But I, you know, and I think in the '80s a lot, we were alone a lot as kids. You know, our parents were always working and it was okay to be home by yourself.

So, yeah, I mean, I was home a lot alone, and, like I don't see it as a bad thing. You know, sometimes I look, you know, again, I look probably back on that and romanticize it because I kind of got to do my own thing and I could make my own sandwiches and, you know, dump all the Kool-Aid powder into one tub and it'd be good.

 

PAUL: What do you remember longing for, if there's anything you remember longing for, in regards to a connection to people, be it in your family or other, you know, maybe to be seen, to be told you're beautiful, to be told you're smart, I don't know, whatever it is--

 

MILA: It always will go back to my mom. It always will. Like I, you know, I think--

 

PAUL: Wanting to please her?

 

MILA: Wanting, like I had this idea of a mom, I think, from watching TV or being around my American friends, you know, like the mom you could go to with anything and you could tell them like your boy troubles and she would have--

 

PAUL: The Brady Bunch.

 

MILA: Yes, and she would have all the answers for you and she would sit there and hug you and tell you everything was going to be okay. I did not have that with my mom. I will, I feel so awful, like I have so much guilt when I say these things about her, and I just, I finally think I've accepted that that's not the way she shows me love, but it's something I think I will always long for.

I think there is times where I really needed her that way, and it was more, what I'd get from her was more, you're so stupid for liking this guy, why, you know. God, I went to the movies with a boy and I lied about it and, you know, she hit me over it, you know, you're going to, you know, what are you doing in the dark with that boy? It was just always like a feeling of like I had to lie to her for her to accept me, you know. You know, and that's rough.

And again, like I have, I feel like I've dealt with it just because, again, like she just didn't have the tools. She didn't know what she was doing.

 

PAUL: But let's just separate that for a second--

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah.

 

PAUL: --from that little you that needed that, because that's the part that I, because that's what we carry forward into the world and that, for me, is the purpose of this show, is to say, how do we walk with that wound.

 

MILA: You just do [chuckles]. I mean, that's what you got to do. I mean, but it's a big part of like I think me as an adult and like that feeling of not being good enough or if someone knows more about you, are they going to accept you or yell at you or hose you down, right.

So, I mean [chuckles], it's like, so, you know, and like, yeah, of course I still long for that with my mom. I still wish I could get like some amazing advice from her to make me understand the ways of the world, you know.

 

PAUL: Was she ever physically affectionate with you?

 

MILA: You know what? Yeah, yeah. She wasn't always cold. I think my mom is just, I think she's just a really hard woman. She's a real tough woman, you know, and I think, I do remember when I was little. This is a weird memory.

I remember I was upset with her over something, and she was trying to hug me, and I remember turning my back on her and just being like, no, no. And there's, I don't know if that stays in my mind because maybe, I think like, why didn't I take that hug from her, that's all I wanted, you know. And I was like, I was probably like five, you know, and I just was like, nope, nope. And I have that memory and--

 

PAUL: That makes sense to me that that would be etched in your memory because that's the one moment when you had control.

 

MILA: Perhaps, yeah.

 

PAUL: Of that dynamic.

 

MILA: Yeah. Yeah, you know, yeah, I guess so. You know, and to be fair, though, too, she would, I always wanted to sleep in my parents' bed, like most kids do, right? And I remember I would like crawl like on the ground to get to her side because my dad would always be, nope, you can't stay in here, you know, so I would just crawl to my mom's side and then just climb in on her side, and she would let me. You know, so there are, she's not all bad [chuckles].

 

PAUL: I haven't heard many parents on this podcast described that were all one or all the other. And I think that's what makes it so hard, is because we want to make it black or white, and people aren't. Even the nicest people have, you know, shadows or whatever, you know, the shadow self that, I forget who the psychologist was that talked about that, Jung, I think it was Jung.

Any other, if you could have put into words what you wanted to your mom, if you could have gotten her to be completely still, no anger, completely focused on you, what would you have loved to go back in time and to be able to express? And would there be an age?

 

MILA: Definitely when I was, I'd probably say seven or eight. I don't know why. But it's like, I think I really would, I'd ask her to be like, hey, Mom, I'm actually a pretty good sponge and I'm really up for learning anything, please show me, and it's, because she's like a really good artist, too. Like, she knows how to paint and draw. And I feel gypped.

I feel really gypped, like she has all this, like maybe she doesn't have all the head information for me, but she had a lot of skills, and I feel gypped. And I wish I could go to that age and be like, Mom, I know I'm not that smart yet or I'm not that good at anything yet because I'm a little kid, but I promise, if you just take some time with me, you know, I could make you proud [chuckles].

I mean, you know, and that's probably what I would do if I could, if I could. You know, all the other stuff I'm telling you about, like I wish I could run to her about boys and all that stuff, like I think that's probably why I'm going back to that earlier age, because yeah, I feel gypped. I feel gypped. And that's actually like speaking highly of her, you know.

 

PAUL: I have a feeling a lot of people that are listening to that moment, it just broke something open in them because . . .

 

MILA: Me, too, I guess, all of us, a lot of us have gone through this kind of stuff. And there is comfort there for me, to know that I'm not alone.

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

MILA: You know, I don't know why. Why does that [chuckles]--

 

PAUL: Because I think that's all we want--

 

MILA: --if I can make someone else not feel alone, it will help me.

 

PAUL: That's why I go to support groups.

 

MILA: Right, right. Yeah, it's a weird, it's a, I don't know why I use the word weird. It just, I guess that's connecting to other people.

 

PAUL: The more I deal with this, all of the mental and emotional struggles life throws at you, the more I've realized the one tool that just always seems to help something is to connect to a safe person, in a way with boundaries and, you know, mutual respect, etc.

 

MILA: Yeah.

 

PAUL: Have you found that, and is that a difficult thing for you to navigate? Are you the type of person that pulls away or drains the other person, one or the other? Can you do it in moderation, platonically and--

 

MILA: [Chuckles] I think I'm a little bit of both.

 

PAUL: Yeah. But first, let's tackle platonically, then, and maybe this would be a good way to segue into the jealousy thing, and then we'll talk about romantically--

 

MILA: Sure.

 

PAUL: --dealing with emotions and the issues that it brings up. So, platonically, do you, are you able to be, have platonic friendships with men or women--

 

MILA: Yes. Yes, I can. I definitely can.

 

PAUL: And is it something where boundaries are pretty clear in your head? If there are problems, is it usually that you are the one that wants to make it more than that or is it the other person that wants to make it or is it a mixture?

 

MILA: Probably, you know, I like--

 

PAUL: Or never?

 

MILA: --I like getting older. There's one good thing about getting older [chuckles]--

 

PAUL: It's the best. If only our bodies got younger, it would be the fucking greatest thing ever--

 

MILA: --[inaudible], I think when I was younger it was harder for me to be platonic with men because they would like me too soon [chuckles], and now I think the older people, like we're older and everyone gets that we're just like connecting on a friendship level, there isn't like--

 

PAUL: It's so much easier when the hormones aren't raging--

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah. It's awesome [chuckles].

 

PAUL: It's really nice, it's really nice.

 

MILA: But to be fair, too, I have, maybe my boundaries sometimes are, if I'm not attracted to a guy, then I'm allowed to be their friend. If I'm attracted to them, it's going to obviously be harder to just be friends.

So, you know, boundaries, you know, and then there's work situations where you know someone is your boss or you know someone is your co-worker, you know, and there's those type of boundaries, you know--

 

PAUL: That you cross or they cross or both?

 

MILA: Or that we know we can't cross.

 

PAUL: I see. So it's kind of an emotional flirtation. You're both in relationships and you don't want to be disrespectful to your partner--

 

MILA: That has happened before, for sure. I've been a lot better about that kind of stuff. So it's kind of weird to talk about right now. I mean, definitely--

 

PAUL: Weird in what way?

 

MILA: I don't know. I guess because I feel like I've been changing on that side a lot. And I, God, it's so hard to talk, it's so hard to put into words exactly, but, you know, when you're younger you don't even realize the people that are attracted to you.

And then you get to a certain age and you realize, like, wow, maybe I can't be that friendly because people think I like them, when I'm just being me, I'm just being a friendly person. And then you kind of like try to bring it in, I don't know how else to put it. You try to make sure that you're not--

 

PAUL: How do I protect myself without coming across as a, quote, bitch.

 

MILA: You got it. And how do you put up your boundaries without them going, well, that's not what I, I don't like you anyways, you know--

 

PAUL: Right.

 

MILA: So it's, and that's the part I mean about getting older. It seems like a lot easier to manage, and also I think because of all the stuff I've been going through that I'm putting up more boundaries and I'm understanding boundaries and I'm understanding like, and I can see, I can look at myself a little more and go, well, you're flirting, you know, no, you're not just being friendly right now, now you're actually flirting. And so--

 

PAUL: And some people flirt so unconsciously, they have no idea.

 

MILA: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. And, you know, you've got to watch for that and, you know, yeah, so, I mean, I could totally have platonic friends, and I have a lot of girlfriends, too. You know, I'm not, I'm probably a guys' girl more just because I'm a tomboy and I just, I think I feel more comfortable with men, honestly, because of my dad.

Like my dad, I didn't, you know, you go into the person that, you know, shellshocks you or what, I don't know, is that the right thing to say, but my dad was always super supportive, you know, and he was kind of my guy. You know, so, and I have an older brother--

 

PAUL: So your dad wasn't critical of you like your mom was.

 

MILA: No, no.

 

PAUL: What were the issues? Were you able to get all the attention you wanted from him?

 

MILA: It wasn't so, I mean, he worked a lot. He worked a lot, but when I was born, he was working on night shift so I spent a lot of time with him in my early years, you know, and he like, you know, I was on his motorcycle going to preschool and like he was just with me a lot and he always like let me know how much he loved me.

I mean, honestly, my dad always really let me know, and he always kind of like was like, you can do anything you want, you're going to do whatever it is you want to do in this life, you know. So, he was really my cheerleader and my support, and I could, if my mom was being a bitch, I could go to him and he would just like, you know she doesn't mean to be that way, you know she had a rough childhood, whatever, he would always try to help me through that stuff.

 

PAUL: So which would--

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: It sounds so--

 

PAUL: --which one would sink in to your self-esteem?

 

MILA: I think my mom did because we somehow attach to the negative, right?

 

PAUL: Isn't that crazy?

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Isn't that weird? I mean, there's stuff coming up about my dad now, like my resentment towards him, that let her treat him that way and how he just put up with it, you know.

And then some of the things, you know, he would also be like, I'm still with your mom because of you and, you know, your brother and sister and I can't leave. You know, there's, you know, I'm not going to leave him totally out in [chuckles] in the pleasant--

 

PAUL: That's a pretty fucked-up thing to say to a kid.

 

MILA: It is totally fucked up. They both would put me, I was like a little, like the triangle. Like, you know, she'd bitch about him to me and he would bitch to me about her.

 

PAUL: Oh.

 

MILA: And I was kind of like, I don't know.

 

PAUL: That's so awful.

 

MILA: Yeah, but--

 

PAUL: That's so awful. I think so many parents do it and not knowing.

 

MILA: Not knowing, no. And it's like--

 

PAUL: Because they want the kid to understand, this is why we're yelling, but just don't, just don't yell--

 

MILA: Then you just think it's your fault--

 

PAUL: --go to counseling.

 

MILA: Yeah, just don't yell, right--

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Yeah--

 

PAUL: Go for a long walk.

 

MILA: --I try to tell them that, I try to [chuckles] . . . but yeah. But because of that, you know, I think I feel closer to guys easier. Women, I always feel like they're going to judge me right away, you know. But I became aware of that at some point, so I kind of will try a little harder with women, if that makes, like I will like know, okay, I'm going into this this way, just be nice and see what happens.

But I definitely have, like I have one girlfriend that will always comment on my commitment issues. Like she gets mad at me because I won't like make plans with her as easily as she'd like me to [chuckles].

 

PAUL: Mm-hmm.

 

MILA: So--

 

PAUL: Is she right?

 

MILA: She's totally right. She's totally right.

 

PAUL: And what's it about, do you think?

 

MILA: I get overwhelmed with friendships. Like I feel like they're going to want more of me than I am willing to give.

 

PAUL: Oh, my God, do I relate to that.

 

MILA: You know, and it's not like I don't like them. I just, you know what, I might want to just stay home on, you know, Tuesday night and not go out, or I have something else to do and you're pressuring me to like hang out with you. And then if we hang out, how long am I supposed to stay here for?

 

PAUL: Exactly, yeah.

 

MILA: And then I, you know, and you feel like a jerk [chuckles].

 

PAUL: And you're out and, you know, the conversation isn't going great and you're thinking, I am missing Netflix for this?

 

MILA: Mm-hmm, yeah.

 

PAUL: And then you just feel like, God, am I just the worst kind of curmudgeon? What--

 

MILA: Right.

 

PAUL: --what the fuck is my problem?

 

MILA: Right.

 

PAUL: You know, I heard somebody say one time that some people are energized by company and some people are drained by company, and neither one is better than the other. They just are that way. And I tend to think that maybe those of us who are drained by company, it's that waiting for the other shoe to drop because we were on eggshells as kids. We didn't--

 

MILA: I am so that person [chuckles].

 

PAUL: We didn't know what was going to happen next.

 

MILA: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and also, I mean--

 

PAUL: And maybe that's why when we get around support group people that we know are safe, I get my battery recharged. It's the opposite of being drained.

 

MILA: Mm-hmm, yeah. Yeah, and I think you're also allowed to just sit there and listen if you want to, and if you want to perform you can, and if not you can just sit there and listen. I mean, I don't think anyone in my real life would--

 

PAUL: She used air quotes when she said perform, by the way.

 

MILA: Sorry, sorry [chuckles]. Yeah, I, like sometimes I go to those meetings and I don't say a word. And if my real, like the outside world of my social circle were to know that I could stay quiet for an hour and a half, they wouldn't believe it [chuckles].

 

PAUL: How long have you been going to support groups?

 

MILA: It's been about a year now.

 

PAUL: And is there a moment that sticks out in your mind when you said, I think this is the right choice for me to be here? Or you heard your story come out of someone else's mouth, or just a detail of it--

 

MILA: To be honest, I knew I had to be in that room probably about for seven years before I went in there and I was just too scared to go in there. And then I think just hearing, I think just feeling like I could kind of share, like hearing some of the things people share and I felt like, wow, people are feeling safe here, that made me feel like I could keep going back.

And I think I was in, kind of in a state of a lot of pain that I kind of needed to go somewhere instead of staying home at that time, at the beginning. I think if I stayed home I was going to cause trouble, and like I kind of knew like if I went there I was at least occupied for an hour and a half.

 

PAUL: And was there a certain issue or issues that brought you there?

 

MILA: [Chuckles] Gosh, yeah. I mean, in a nutshell, I was in a, my second marriage, not my son's dad. I was in a marriage for about 15 years, and it was not a good, we were basically reenacting, he came from a volatile family, I came from a volatile family, and we just decided to reenact it together, and I was in that relationship for far too long.

And he was really shut down and we were living separate lives for probably at least like eight of those years, and I was just in that relationship still.

 

PAUL: And so you'd poke the bear.

 

MILA: I would poke the bear. I started running around with other people just to feel good about myself because he had no interest in me.

 

PAUL: What do you mean when you say, running around with other people?

 

MILA: I started having affairs. And it was out of like survival. I mean, again, it was a survival moment for me.

 

PAUL: Talk about what you were feeling inside when you had that first affair, what you were thinking, the feelings that were coming up in you, all of the traffic going through your head and physically.

 

MILA: There was, you know, I felt really dead inside for a while and I felt--

 

PAUL: Before the affair.

 

MILA: Before the affair.

 

PAUL: And had there been a good portion with this husband?

 

MILA: Good portion of time before I started--

 

PAUL: In terms of like you two getting along, you feeling like you're getting the attention, your needs being met--

 

MILA: We had probably a good couple years together--

 

PAUL: That's what I wanted to know.

 

MILA: Yeah. We probably had a good couple years together.

 

PAUL: Okay. And then in, say, year what you started thinking about straying?

 

MILA: Probably year five or six, and I had like an online thing with somebody because I thought it was safe because I wouldn't, you know, see them physically.

 

PAUL: And what, if you're comfortable sharing . . .

 

MILA: What . . .

 

PAUL: More of like what form it took--

 

MILA: The online relationship?

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

MILA: He lived super, super far away. He was like in another country. So we would e-mail each other like every day. We would chat online every day. It really did start off as, again, as a friendship, but the more, I just got really stuck into fantasy. Like I just thought like--

 

PAUL: He's the answer to all my problems.

 

MILA: --he's the answer to all my problems. He's paying all this attention to me. He kind of was really available like [inaudible] part of me--

 

PAUL: He doesn't judge me.

 

MILA: He doesn't judge me and is just always there. If I would say, hey, can you come online, he'd be there in a minute. And that, to me, there's moments where I wonder if I make this up, like did I make this all up, because that person was literally like that person on a shelf. As soon as you needed to play with that toy, he was there. And that went on, you know, for a good like year, at least.

 

PAUL: And it stayed platonic, at that point?

 

MILA: Ah, well, no. We started, you know, talking, you know, nicer to each other, more romantic to each other. We started sending photos to each other. This stuff is kind of hard to talk about, but fuck it.

And then we started like video chatting with each other, which never, you know, it's funny when I say that because it didn't ever, it wasn't sexual ever when we video chatted [chuckles]. It was just like--

 

PAUL: Really?

 

MILA: Yeah, it was just [inaudible] [chuckles]--

 

[Simultaneous discussion]

 

PAUL: What do you think that's about?

 

MILA: I don't know. I think [chuckles], I don't know.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: I think maybe that was too weird.

 

PAUL: Yeah, that makes sense, that something about the photos was safe because it kept the fantasies, the fantasy had boundaries, whereas maybe on video there might be something where you're afraid you would turn the other person off or they would turn you off and the fantasy would be popped.

 

MILA: Yeah, maybe. I don't know. And I think back--

 

PAUL: Or one of you just had a shitty Internet connection.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Yeah, maybe that's it. God--

 

PAUL: There's nothing worse than orgasming to jitter.

 

MILA: I know, right? Oh, my God, oh, my God, it's so embarrassing.

 

PAUL: So, go ahead.

 

MILA: Yeah, so, so yeah, that went on for a while, and then I just, oh, God, it's just myself, it's weird because it's been so long now that I’m actually able to talk about it and not be so triggered by it, but I really was in a really low spot with my husband.

I felt so rejected, like beyond rejected, and that I could even talk about it now without crying, it's interesting, actually, but the rejection was just, I never felt so disliked by somebody. And like now I realize it's his stuff, you know, it was his stuff going on--

 

PAUL: He just had a fear of intimacy.

 

MILA: He had a fear of intimacy. He was an alcoholic. He was, you know, did drugs, I mean, played video games. He would pretty much rather do anything than to hang out with me, you know, and he would just always have this look on his face like he hated me, like I just, you know, there is that, I can still see that look in my face.

 

PAUL: Did he, and this is just a curious question, did he have somebody in his life that had sexually abused him or smothered him?

 

MILA: You know, I'm not totally sure about that, to be honest. I'm not sure. I know he had his mom issues, too, and, you know, maybe, I don't know. Maybe I reminded him of his mom. You know, I don't know.

 

PAUL: So, going back to the online relationship with this guy, so it then, when it went to video chat, then what?

 

MILA: Well, what happened was, I split up, me and my husband split up a couple times, and the first time he wanted to video chat with me all the time but I was like, well, like I'm, I could go places now, I could go out [chuckles].

 

PAUL: The guy wanted to video chat with you, not your husband.

 

MILA: Not my husband, the guy wanted to video chat with me--

 

PAUL: Correct, yes. Wouldn't that be weird, your husband leaves and he's like, I need to see you but by video?

 

[Chuckling]

 

PAUL: That way I can be playing a video game--

 

MILA: Only via video--

 

PAUL: --and you can't see it.

 

MILA: Right, exactly. That would be kind of, that may have happened. No, just kidding.

Yeah, so he kind of got clingy, to be honest, and of course, me being me, I'm like, oh, what do you, like now you're asking too much, I have real people to go hang out with, you know. I don't know. I got really, it got a little twisted, and so I kind of started to fade away from that relationship.

 

PAUL: How did he react?

 

MILA: He pretty much was like, I knew this was going to happen, I knew you would stop talking to me, and, you know, but we never, like we would kind of make plans to meet up in real life, but it never was like a solid plan, so we just never did. And, you know, I haven't, and then, you know, I decided it was probably not a good idea to be talking to him anymore, you know.

But even before that, I did, like I had like a short fling before that, before I split up, yeah, and that was just--

 

PAUL: Like an in-person physical--

 

MILA: Yeah, an in-person thing, and it's just like I, I feel like now it's just, it's like a different person.

 

PAUL: You're a different person now.

 

MILA: I'm a totally different person now.

 

PAUL: Describe who that, who you were then, what your thoughts were, what your mental and emotional battles were as you made those decisions to do that, because I'm sure it didn't come easily, your choice to do that.

 

MILA: No, it didn't, and it was a long time before I, like I wanted to be a faithful wife. I wanted to be, I just wanted to be a faithful wife, I really did, and I just was so lonely and I was so, I was so, just my self-esteem was so low. It was a really dark place.

And I don't know if I'm talking about, like I feel like I’m so casual about it right now that I'm kind of tripping myself out, to be honest, but I was in a really dark, sick place. I just needed anybody to let me know I was val-, like to validate me, to just like let me feel okay and like me, like can you please laugh at something I say? Can you please just like, whatever it is, just make me feel alive because I feel fucking dead?

And, you know, really, I look back and it's not my husband's fault. I'm the one that stayed. I'm the one that stayed all those years, you know, way further than I should have, you know, and, or longer than I should have, and I didn't know how to leave. I really didn't know how to leave.

And it's that whole thing, you feel like a failure, right, like I don't know. I’m sure you've heard that before, it's like you think you fail if it doesn't last.

 

PAUL: I very, very much relate, and that's kind of the loneliness that I'm dealing with right now, is I've never lived alone. I love my freedom. But I feel like a scared 12-year-old boy that hasn't been given life's instructions and that I'm going to let people down or the world is going to let me down.

 

MILA: Right, right, and it's all, those are just, why is that script in our brains? I don't know.

 

PAUL: Maybe having criticisms pounded into our heads as kids? Maybe genetically we're that way? Maybe a combination?

So that first affair, how did that take place, the in-person physical affair?

 

MILA: I was at, I went away like on a trip, and of course my husband didn't go with me because he didn't want to do anything fun ever anyways, and it was a group, you know, a big group of people and there was, actually one guy wouldn't leave me alone. And somehow that set me off because he was there with his wife, and that just, first of all, I didn't like the attention he was giving me, which is weird because of what I just said, but I didn't like it because his wife was there and it felt really uncomfortable, but it somehow set me off to the, I need to be protected by another guy, in this weird sense.

And so there was another man there that was like somewhat nice and somewhat funny, and I decided that I was going to let that happen, just because that would protect me from this guy that was bugging me. Like I don't like--

 

PAUL: Let him protect you or have sex with him?

 

MILA: I didn't have sex with him. We made out. We didn't have sex. But like I needed somebody to put a barrier between me and this other man that was chasing me around that weekend, and then maybe I was, maybe it, God, maybe I was, you know, maybe I wanted that kind of attention from somebody, but the wrong person was giving it to me so I just needed to chase something else to let me still get the drug that I was letting myself have from the wrong person. Does that make any sense [chuckles]?

 

PAUL: It does. It does. It does.

 

MILA: Maybe that's what I was doing. So yeah, I ended up making out with this guy and it just, we didn't have sex, though, you know, people probably won't believe me, but we didn't, we didn't have sex. We just made out.

And then he kind of became a little obsessed with me and I tried to see him outside of, when we came back to L.A. or whatever, I tried to see him again but it was just, I felt really weird and messed up about the whole thing, because I really wasn't into him. I just needed that high, I guess, or that kick of somebody liking me, and then he kind of was a little obsessed with me and like I probably kind of got off on that and, but it was, at that time I was still married, you know, and it just, it kind of blew up in my face pretty quickly, actually, like it--

 

PAUL: How so?

 

MILA: Because my husband was super jealous, I think he, how did he, he found out about it somehow, and I don't remember the details right now, but he kind of found out about it really quickly. He found out, he didn't find out about the guy I had an affair with on this trip, but he got a hold of my computer and found out I was talking to this person online.

 

PAUL: Ah, the first guy.

 

MILA: Yes. And then it kind of trickled into the situation that happened on this trip. And so that just got blown up in my face like really fast and really like, it was a very upsetting time [chuckles], to say the least.

 

PAUL: I bet, I bet.

 

MILA: Yeah. And that's, we kind of like split up for about a year and then we got back together and we tried to make it work, and then I just, like I think I got to a point where I was afraid if I let myself have sex with my husband that the tables would turn and then I would, he would take it away from me again, and then I would--

 

PAUL: Because you were the one that was wanting physical intimacy and he wasn't giving it to you.

 

MILA: Right, right. Right.

 

PAUL: And so, he was now desiring physical intimacy--

 

MILA: I think he was just trying to, you know--

 

PAUL: Repair the relationship?

 

MILA: Yes. Yes, and I kind of, like it was really scary for me. It was really scary for me. I was like, I don't want to go back to where I was a couple years ago, where you just, you know, take it away from me.

And I was, I just, like I felt like I had gained a little bit of power and I wasn't going to just give it right back to him, and so I was in a, I still was, you know, in a sick mode, but I wasn't able to repair that relationship with him. I just kind of was gone.

 

PAUL: Who demonstrated more jealousy in that relationship, you or your husband?

 

MILA: Oh [chuckles]--

 

PAUL: Or was it kind of equal?

 

MILA: It was probably kind of equal, but I [sighs], oh, God. I, there was a lot of jealousy going on with him towards me. It wasn't just like other men. He finally like admitted that he didn't like the fact that I could kind of talk to anybody and be open with strangers and just, blah, talk, that he didn't know how to do that socially. He was really socially awkward. So, he had jealousy issues just like that.

And then, he couldn't handle me, yeah, he was super jealous. He couldn't handle me talking to anyone. Like I couldn't even have, I couldn't even be friends with him on Facebook because if someone like liked something and then it was, it meant something else.

 

PAUL: You couldn't be friends with who on Facebook? Anybody.

 

MILA: Like with my husband, because if he saw any type of activity--

 

PAUL: Oh, I see.

 

MILA: --on there, he'd get upset, which I, you know, we're going to talk about me soon, and like I've been, I've done that. So yeah, I mean, that relationship was extremely jealous between the two of us and it just was like, he did this thing where he would act like he didn't think girls were cute. He would always like make a noise and I'd always know when he did think they were cute because he'd make a noise about them. And I'd be like, why do you do that? You're making me, like you [sighs]--

 

PAUL: Like what would he do?

 

MILA: Oh, God, it was like he'd just, like, blagh, make a dumb face at like Pamela Anderson, let's say, and I'd be like, okay, you're lying, why are you acting like you don't like her, you know. And so it would make me uncomfortable when I would notice him liking someone, because he would act like he didn't like anybody. So if he did act like he liked someone, I'd be like, ooh, man, that means he really likes her.

 

PAUL: And how would he act if he liked her?

 

MILA: He'd get shy and couldn't really talk and kind of fumble over his words and . . .

 

PAUL: And what would you, in that moment, you're shaking your head now.

 

MILA: I’m just like laughing at myself. Okay, yeah [chuckles].

 

PAUL: What would you think or feel in that moment? So he's at the mall with you and, you know, maybe there's a clerk who's helping you and she's attractive and he kind of starts to get shy and is fumbling his words, take me through what you're thinking and what you're feeling in your body, the thoughts that are going through your head.

 

MILA: Yeah, it's just, it's the insecurity and, you know, she's prettier than me, she's going to, you know, he'd want to have sex with her. He, you know, look at the way he's looking at her, he never looks at me that way. You know, and usually a lot of my stuff is always like in my chest, you know, and it's just like, again, that shaking feeling.

And then there's rage, and then there's the rage.

 

PAUL: Talk about that.

 

MILA: Then there's the, I want to, you know, bash him in the face for this, and I want to yell at him and make him like me, which I don't understand that.

 

PAUL: At what point does the rage kick in, generally?

 

MILA: Pretty quick. Pretty quick.

 

PAUL: So like seconds or minutes into this?

 

MILA: It's probably seconds. I think that's my go-to always.

 

PAUL: And you're feeling shaky, adrenaline.

 

MILA: Yep, shaky, adrenaline.

 

PAUL: Face gets red.

 

MILA: I start seeing red. I'm trying to work, right now I've been just trying to work on the place where I don't see red, because once I see red I, forget it, like . . .

 

PAUL: And then what will you do, say something?

 

MILA: I will say shitty things. I will be yelling.

 

PAUL: Like?

 

MILA: I will be, you know--

 

PAUL: In front of that other person as well?

 

MILA: I probably won't say it in front of the other person.

 

PAUL: That's what parking lots are for.

 

MILA: Yeah. Yeah, you wait till you get closer to your car [chuckles].

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: You know, I'd probably be like, I saw you looking at her or, you know, God, see, I'm not angry right now, it's so hard to come up with these devilish things, but yeah.

 

PAUL: And are you saying it softly? Are you yelling it?

 

MILA: No, I'm yelling. I have a yelling problem. I have, I turn into my mother, and that's something I've, I'm really working on right now, and that's why I was talking about what I was talking about when you met me. It's just, I'm really, I've been out of that marriage now for four years and it's like taken all this, it's been taking this time for me to kind of change my behavior.

 

PAUL: So, let's just go back to, he sees her, you can tell he likes her, you're feeling rage coming up. What is your mind telling you, you said, you mentioned, she's prettier, he never looks at me like that. Do you then extrapolate into the future what's going to happen, he's going to break up with me, this is going to, I kind of want to know, take your train of thought, you know, just an example. It doesn't have to be factually correct, but kind of give me an example of what the train of thought would be like--

 

MILA: Oh, the train of thought goes everywhere, yeah. He's going to, you know, see her later. When he's talking to me he'll be thinking about her. I start obsessing pretty quickly.

 

PAUL: In what way?

 

MILA: Just in everything that is happening--

 

PAUL: Can't think about anything else.

 

MILA: Anything else, just what's going to be happening between him and her and how I'm not good enough and I'm not pretty enough and I'm not, you know, whatever, my boobs aren't big enough, my, you know, I'm not wearing the right clothes, I don't have enough make-up on, I'm not, you know, I'm just shit, and he wants her because she's everything better than me and he's going to somehow, you know, in my head, I don't know like, you know, it's funny about jealousy because in your head, you know, your guy can pretty much get whoever they want.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: You know?

 

PAUL: Yes.

 

MILA: And it's just, it's crazy-making, you know, and it's like, in my mind, you know, they're going to, you know, he's going to get her number and they're going to see each other and he's going to leave me for her.

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: And, yeah--

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: --and he's going to treat her better than me.

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: [Chuckles] And they're going to, yeah, and they'll, I don't know, God, it just keeps going.

 

PAUL: I want to try to take this as far as we can because--

 

MILA: Yeah. And they will be happy and he will stop drinking because of her and he will do everything I wanted him to do for me but he's going to do it for her.

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: And, wow, I can't, I don't know. And they'll grow old together and be happy and he'll forget about me [chuckles].

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: God [chuckles]. And he'll realize he never loved me and he wished he would have met her before me.

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: And, God, I don't know anymore, and, and, and, and, and . . .

 

PAUL: And how about you, what's the and?

 

MILA: And for me?

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

MILA: And I'll be alone and I'll be heartbroken.

 

PAUL: And?

 

MILA: And no one else is going to ever want me, just like he didn't want me. It's sick--

 

PAUL: And? And?

 

MILA: And I've always known I'm not good enough for somebody to stay in a relationship with me. I've always known that no matter what this person is going to want somebody else besides me. You know, that's all going through my head, I guess, you know. It's awful. It's not fun. It is not fun.

And then what I do to try to, I don't know, I don’t get the yelling part. I've been trying to understand that. Like it's the protecting, I guess. It's not that I don't understand. It's like me yelling at him about it is somehow protecting me, because then I'm telling, I'm controlling the situation. I'm making a reason for him to be disgusted with me, you know.

 

PAUL: Oh, yeah.

 

MILA: So it's like, I'm just literally turning it around and having control of it, and it's like, yeah, of course you don't like me anymore, I'm a piece of shit.

 

PAUL: And it sounds like, you know, when you get triggered and then adrenaline starts pumping and you're seeing red, it's like a way to let the steam out.

 

MILA: Yeah, I mean, yeah.

 

PAUL: I mean, who could sit with that and just not say something? I’m not saying, you know, the only choice is an unhealthy choice to yell at somebody, but, you know, the first time that I used a different tool other than, you know, being mean or shutting down or whatever, was I talked about my anger with my wife instead of directing it at her. I said, I'm so fucking angry right now.

 

MILA: Yeah.

 

PAUL: I don't even know why I'm so angry. I didn't know what it was that had triggered this, but I felt the rage come up, the powerlessness, and all of that stuff, so I just kept talking, saying, I feel like putting my fist through a wall, I don't know why. I'm having trouble expressing this God damn it, motherfucker, and it helped in that moment because it gave her a chance to see me without her having to be on the defensive.

 

MILA: On the defense side, right.

 

PAUL: And that was a big turning point in me learning that, oh, [chuckles] you don't have to either stuff your anger or take it out on somebody else. You can express it in a way that is vulnerable, I don't know.

 

MILA: Yeah, I don't know.

 

PAUL: It felt weird as fuck.

 

MILA: Oh, yeah. Yeah, and I've, I have tried, it's hard. That's hard. I have tried explaining what I'm jealous about instead of yelling, but that's still hard for me.

 

PAUL: Especially in that moment?

 

MILA: Oh, yeah, in the moment, it's hard. I mean, I [sighs], it's like I instantly get, I instantly get bitchy, instantly, and even my tone of voice changes and I instantly want to just stab, even when I'm trying to explain. Like, I'm upset because, you know, I don't believe where you went tonight [chuckles], you know--

 

PAUL: Is that a common one?

 

MILA: I make up, okay, so--

 

PAUL: Give me the greatest hits, or finish your thought. Finish your thought first.

 

MILA: Oh, there's no, I mean, it's just, I've been in this off-and-on relationship with someone that's, you know--

 

PAUL: Currently?

 

MILA: Currently.

 

PAUL: Uh-huh.

 

MILA: And I obsess. I just make up stories about what he's doing. And I'm really working on not doing that. And it's hard. It's really hard.

And it's like all I've been learning to do, is just to shut up a lot and I'm not, you know, I'm not trying to stuff my feelings. I'm just trying to take a pause and like really be like, okay, your mind is kind of going to a dark place. There's really no record for me to think this right now.

 

PAUL: Right.

 

MILA: I can't, you know, if someone were to, I've been on the other side of someone being jealous with me and someone looking through my stuff and somebody, you know, not believing anything I say when I say it. Like, I know what that feels like. Why am I acting this way? Why am I acting this way?

 

PAUL: Do you find yourself wanting to look through his stuff?

 

MILA: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

 

PAUL: Like what, tell me what would that look like, if you were to just throw off any kind of guilt or, you know, this isn't the healthy thing to do, what would that look like?

 

MILA: Oh, I've, well, I have in the past, I haven't in a really long time [chuckles], you know, things like going through photos on a computer to see what photos have been taken. If I could go through his, he actually, he's been doing this thing where he'll punch his code in front of me, you know, and I have to, I look away.

 

PAUL: Oh, he's not demonstrating it for you. He's just not hiding it.

 

MILA: He's not hiding it, and I think he knows, like he knows I've looked through his phone before, okay, so it's something I'm, you know--

 

PAUL: How did he feel about that?

 

MILA: Of course he didn't like it. You know, that's violating your trust and--

 

PAUL: Privacy.

 

MILA: --privacy and, yeah.

 

PAUL: For our British friends, privacy [pronounced differently].

 

MILA: Yes, exactly [chuckles]. And I wouldn't like it either, and if you went through my phone you might find something that doesn't seem right when it's nothing. You see, that's the thing, that's the thing that hap-, it could happen, and then that will send you down another river. So, this is stuff that's pretty, this is embarrassing, but yeah, I mean--

 

PAUL: It never solves anything, does it?

 

MILA: It never solves anything. And it just creates more of a mess. And it's been a long time since I've, I mean, don't get me wrong. I've been tempted, you know, he'll go in the shower and leave his phone and it's like, it's tempting. You know, and especially when I feel like he's pulling away from me, so then, of course in my head something is going on.

 

PAUL: Is there anything he could say or do that would silence that urge to want to snoop?

 

MILA: I don't know. It's me, really. You see, and the thing about him is, he's a lot like me. He's very social. People like him. You know, like one of my friends makes fun of the fact that I'm jealous about him because she's like, he's just like you, he's just like you, you know. And I'm like, I know, I fucking hate it. No [chuckles].

But I don't know. I mean, I really want to get through this, whether it's with him or at least I feel like, if I could at least continue to do things differently that I could learn that I can. That's what I've really been going through right now, and it's hard.

 

PAUL: What are the healthy coping mechanisms you turn to when you want to look through his shit when he's in the shower?

 

MILA: I tell myself I’m not getting out of bed [chuckles]. I will, a lot of times I actually pray, to be honest, and I ask to help me, because it's, okay, this is where I, because it's so embarrassing. Like, I'm really embarrassed by this, you know. I'm embarrassed that I'm so afraid that he has something else going on. I'm so afraid that I'm going to, like I've spent all this time with somebody to find out that he never really liked me.

And knowing affairs aren't usually, like if he did something, it's not about me, you know, but that's hard to believe. That's really hard to believe. And I just wish the obsession would stop in my head, because I know I cause like a wedge, you know, between us. And I know, because like I said, I've been on the other side. I've been on the other side of what that feels like.

And, you know, if he says he's going to go hang out with his friends, I need to believe him. But there's been times where I'm just panicking the whole time and I'm waiting to hear from him, and then I'm trying to--

 

PAUL: And the rest of your life is on hold.

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah. And during that time that he's gone, I'm either, like I will either, I don't do this all the time so when I say these things, you know, but there's some times where I'll just like rather sleep early, really early, so I don't have to pay attention to when he gets back to me.

And, you know, I feel like I'm causing suffering for myself, like I'm causing these stories about something that hasn't happened and I'm sitting there suffering through it, and I have to believe that if, I have to believe if he makes those choices that I'll know like what to do. Like I'm not going to--

 

PAUL: It's not going to kill you.

 

MILA: Right, it's not going to kill me. And I will be able, I'll be okay. I'll be okay. You know, but it is the worst, it is the worst feeling [chuckles]. The thing about jealousy that's so weird is that it never feels good [chuckles]. It's not like, oh, that made me feel better right now.

 

[Chuckling]

 

PAUL: I'm so relaxed now that his phone is clean.

 

MILA: Yeah, no. No, and do it, yeah, when the times I have gone through his phone, you feel like an asshole. You feel like such a jerk. You're just sitting here and you're like rummaging and you're looking, and then you, you know, it's just, it's not a good feeling.

 

PAUL: When you pray, what do you say?

 

MILA: I ask, I just ask to help me not touch his phone, help me feel okay, help me believe that I'm okay, that I'll know what to do if he makes that choice. It's, again, it's control, it's my control issues, like I want to control what he's doing.

I want to, and I don't know where that comes from, and that sounds, as soon as I said that, it sounds awful, but like I want to control that this person is going to stay with me and just be with me and just want me and just like me and that's exactly what I want him to be doing. You know, and he's his own person. He's not me. And that's just so hard [chuckles].

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: It's so hard. Like if I had it my way, I would be that girl that, you know, no matter who he was talking to, even if she was, you know, Heidi Klum and she was even kind of like flirting with him, I'd be like, yeah, of course she's flirting with him, look at him, he's awesome, he's great, yeah, but he's coming home with me, ha, ha, ha. Right?

 

PAUL: Yeah [chuckles], yeah.

 

MILA: That is like a dream. Like I wish I could be that girl. But instead I would just be like dying inside, and I would feel like my heart just jumps through my feet and--

 

PAUL: Why can't I be more German?

 

MILA: Yes.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Exactly [chuckles]. You know?

 

PAUL: You've painted such a great picture of this for me, and I hope the listeners as well, and I hope that people who deal with this issue the way you do know they're not alone in hearing what you've shared.

 

MILA: Yeah.

 

PAUL: Is there anything else that you would like to share about it? Do you ever make outreach phone calls when you're in that place?

 

MILA: Yes, yes. I--

 

PAUL: Just talk about that briefly.

 

MILA: Occasionally I will--

 

PAUL: People from the support group?

 

MILA: From the support group or sometimes good friends of mine, just to kind of be like, this is what I'm feeling right now, and they kind of help talk me off the ledge and, you know, remind me, just remind me, like first of all, you know, the thing about jealousy and being insecure, is like other people don't get it. They just sit there and they're like, what's wrong? You know, why would you feel that way? You're, you know--

 

PAUL: Because they see how awesome you are.

 

MILA: That's what they say. And I'm just like, I don't think that's true [chuckles].

 

PAUL: Why would he be with you, you know what I mean, etc., etc.

 

MILA: Right, they say the things you need to hear, which is great.

 

PAUL: Wouldn't it be awesome if emotions were logical?

 

MILA: Right, but they never are. And usually when I talk it out I'm okay, usually. And you know, I think the one thing I do need to say is really, if you're dealing with these issues, to really try not to let your behavior take over yourself.

You know, like I feel like I've really been trying to, when I feel these intense feelings, when he hasn't even done anything and, gosh, I'm lacking examples right now, to just, you know, do the opposite of what you want to do. You know, my instinct will be to yell and confront and to be like, I know you're with so-and-so and I know you're talking to her. Instead I've been trying to just be like--

 

PAUL: Go find a girl who's attractive and bring her back and say, it's okay to have sex with her--

 

MILA: No.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: No. That gave me so much anxiety.

 

PAUL: I’m so sorry--

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: Just kidding--

 

PAUL: I was trying to make a joke.

 

MILA: Just kidding.

 

PAUL: Yeah, okay.

 

[Chuckling]

 

MILA: I mean, I just try to [sighs], God, I'm not, now I'm like fumbling. I just, I've been trying to really work on not acting out in anger and just try to be like nice in that moment, even though it's like you're clenching your teeth and you're hating every minute of it.

 

PAUL: Does it get, is it kind of like a muscle, that the more you do it the slightly easier it gets to do it next time?

 

MILA: I think so. And I think it also, for me, has been helping me see like, look, the night turned out good, instead of into some fight and then, you know. Which is what I want. I want the night to be nice. So if I don't react to something that's not existing [chuckles], I have a nice night, or I could react to something and blow things out of proportion and then be crying, you know. So I guess it's like I'm trying to choose the not crying [chuckles].

 

PAUL: That sounds like a good choice to me.

 

MILA: Yeah, yeah.

 

PAUL: Sounds like a good choice to me. Well, thank you so much for sharing this.

 

MILA: Sure.

 

PAUL: It was a really, really touching episode, and I, I learned a lot.

 

MILA: Oh, good.

 

PAUL: Yeah.

 

MILA: I'm glad [chuckles].

 

PAUL: Thank you.

 

MILA: All right.

 

PAUL: Many, many thanks to Mila. I love when I interview somebody and not only do they really open up and share their vulnerability, but I realize that even though I may not have that specific issue that that person has or the same set of external circumstances, the feelings that I battle are exactly the same.

I want to tell you guys that this episode you're listening to will soon be transcribed and available on our Web site. Many thanks to Accurate Secretarial for donating their time and helping out the show.

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Let's get to the surveys. This is a Happy Moment filled out by Living the Dream. And she writes, a friend's father suddenly passed away a few months ago. It's very happy right out of the gate. And I went to the service at the cemetery 50-plus miles away. I didn't know anyone else at the service, so my anxiety was heightened as I wandered around the people looking for my friend.

When we finally saw each other, I waved and smiled. She threw her hands up in the air, yelled, oh, my God, and came running to hug me. I was completely flabbergasted. We have a great relationship, but we're both a little standoffish and just give quick hugs and what-ups and, to each other when we usually meet, so this outpouring of emotion and happiness took me off guard. Boy, did I fuck that sentence up [chuckles].

I was completely flabbergasted. We have a great relationship, but we're both a little standoffish and just give quick hugs and what's-ups to each other when we meet, so this outpouring of emotion and happiness took me off guard.

We gave each other the biggest, longest hug and she kept repeating and crying, I'm so glad you're here, I'm so glad you're here. I'm tearing up thinking of that moment. It made me realize something that will stick with me forever. That is the kind of person I want in my life. That is the kind of friend I'd consider family more than my own family of origin.

That moment also made me feel so incredibly happy to be here so I could support my friend. This past year has been mentally draining to the point of suicidal thoughts over the winter, and this beautiful experience with my good friend helped me see the value of my existence. She loves me. Thank you for that. That's really, really sweet.

I mean, there is really no feeling like somebody being excited that you're there. I think that's why we love dogs so much. They're never [chuckles], they're never like, oh, you again, you live here, no big deal.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by Horatio Algae. Love it. She is straight, in her 20s, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment, she writes neglectful.

Ever been the victim of sexual abuse? Yes, and I never reported it. A male employee at my middle school responded to innocent attention from me with romantic interest and eventually turned into a, quote, relationship, which felt consensual at the time when I was 13 years old. He was 10 years older than me, so 24 at that time.

We ended up, quote, dating until I was 18 years old. I kept this a secret throughout high school, but both of our families and many in my small community were aware and never interfered. He received a tut-tut from the principal of my middle school, for example.

My mother used him to borrow money and rides around town. Wow, that is so fucked up. I broke up with him when I left for college. Now that I am 24 years old, through therapy I've begun to conceptualize this, quote, first boyfriend as a sexual abuser and to recognize that my parents truly let me down.

I've been offered opportunities to pursue legal recourse, but I'm not interested. I'm most plagued by the classic symptoms of being sexualized too young, some of which you have described. On a recent episode you mentioned that paralyzing fear of being considered creepy, and so I feel this.

The guy from my youth would compliment my 13- and 14-year-old body and lament its eventual decay into full womanhood. I'm an attractive woman, I'm told, but I'm convinced that every man sees me as a haggard old woman and is repulsed by attention from me. I enter a kind of dissociative trance when I have to talk to someone who might feel attracted to me or vice versa.

I'm ashamed to be in any situation in which attraction is a factor. I'm still in the early process of healing, but I have to say, Paul, you are immensely kind, respectful and acknowledging of boundaries with your guests. People trust you with their secrets for a reason. It's that you've broadcast hundreds of hours of recorded proof that you're most worthy of trust.

Well, thank you for saying that, and that was very uncomfortable for me to [chuckles], to read out loud. [In Mean DJ Voice] Well, aren't we full of ourselves? That was a weird Mean DJ Voice. That almost sounded like a cross between Mean DJ Voice and Johnny Carson.

She's been physically abused and emotionally abused. I had a boyfriend when I was 19 who attempted to rape me in my sleep once. This took place in the context of a lot of emotional abuse in which I wasn't allowed to have friends or much autonomy. I wasn't allowed to listen to music, for example. This compounded my issues with power dynamics and relationships. I still find myself asking my current boyfriend for permission to do things like listen to music or eat certain things. Wow.

Any positive experiences with abusers? Of course. This latest abuser was one of the most charming, charismatic, magnetic people I've ever met. I learned a great deal from him and his family. Through them, I was acculturated into bourgeois middle-class culture, something I'm thankful for.

Darkest thoughts. Pardon the background on this, but my sister, my older sister and I were neglected by our mother in favor of the animals she hoarded, 30 or so cats, 12 or so dogs at any time. Holy fuck.

I deeply resented the dogs because they were fed more regularly than us and got more attention. Double holy fuck. They made our clothes stink so I smelled like wet dog at school every day, my clothes covered in white dog hair. On the rare occasion that I'm angry, I take some pleasure in thinking about kicking an aggressive dog really hard in the head. I don't actually want to hurt any animal, but I guess my resentment towards pets runs very deep.

You shouldn't feel guilty about that, and especially because I know in this episode, if you hear this, I've been talking about how lovely dogs are and how much they mean to me, but it's weird the things that represent our abandonment or abuse. They don't have to make sense, and as long as you're not abusing any animals, whatever thoughts you have is, they're your thoughts, and the last thing you should do is shame yourself for what you're thinking, much like sexual fantasies.

Speaking of sexual fantasies, I don't have sexual fantasies, though I have a pretty healthy sex life. That gray fog-style depression keeps me from having many creative thoughts.

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? I can't think of things, but I'm so mired in my own swamp that I can barely care to reach out.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I want this Wellbutrin to keep working. I feel a bit better each day. Have you shared these things with others? Yes, I've got some great supportive friends. That's awesome.

How do you feel after writing these things down? Tired, exclamation point. Anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences? You're okay, exclamation point. I wish I could accept this. I guess that would be, I wish I could accept this. Well, then I'll tell you, you're okay. Thank you for that. Thank you for sharing that.

This is an Awfulsome Moment filled, I love this name, filled out by Wake Me Once I'm Happy, and she writes, when I was 14, my mother decided she had had enough of being a mum and booked a very sudden one-way flight to Europe. I was suffering from depression and anxiety and my younger brother was suffering from OCD. She knew our father was abusive both physically and mentally, but she sent us to live with him anyway so that she could go.

The week before she was due to fly out, my school counselor called her in to the school to inform her I was cutting myself. I had already not been eating and barely speaking for the weeks leading up to this meeting, so my family were aware that I wasn't coping. When my counselor explained to my mum what was going on, I started crying and backtracking, saying, I didn't want my mum to miss out on living in Europe because of me.

The counselor turned to me and said, you are the child, your mum is the parent. If you aren't okay, she will want to be there for you. My mum then turned to me and said, honey, if you want me to, I can postpone my flight a week. The counselor stood and took my hand, walked me out of the room and said, so that my mother could hear, you deserve so much more than that from a mother. Mum flew out the following week.

That is hall-of-fame fucked up. That is hall-of-fame fucked up. If you want me to, I can postpone my flight a week. And I like that she doesn't even [chuckles], forget the fact that she's abandoning her kids. Forget the fact that the best she can do is to postpone her abandoning them a week. You have to love the, if you want me to [chuckles]. She can't even accept the guilt of not being able to wait a week that she has to turn that on you to make that your decision. Oh, my God.

This is a Happy Moment filled out by BAMF, and then in parentheses, a.k.a. Badass Mary Frances. And she writes, one, I had an altered-state experience when I was 25, where I had the most profound existential experience of my life. Time stopped, and I was in an infinite place where I became every person I ever loved.

I felt their joy, cried their tears, understood why they have their little quirks and bizarre behaviors, laughed at jokes they had shared with people long before I was born. And I realized that we are all connected as one consciousness.

I came to understand that death will be but the close of a chapter rather than the end of a book. I was not suicidal by any means, nor did I desire to die, but I had this crystal-clear joy and peace. I saw the instant of death and how it seamlessly moved into the next life without pain or awareness. It just happened.

I also have a very intense visual representation of this hovering in front of me, a molten ball of liquid bronze material that represented all life. Every so often a little drop would pop out from the ball, arc through the air, and return to its source. And I realized that those were souls leaving one body to transition into another.

I've seen it several times since in meditation and flotation sessions, in quotes, sensory deprivation. The whole experience is something I've somewhat been able to illustrate through language, but there will always be elements of it that are beyond description.

And then her second Happy Moment, she writes, the first time I heard your story about your childhood relationship with your mother that you told on the RISK! podcast. I had always known that something about my relationship with my father wasn't right, and your story was the first validation I had ever received. I was listening to it on the way to work and I pulled over on the side of the road to give my full attention to it. I opened up and cried in a way I think my subconscious has been wanting me to do my whole life.

The whole time your story was playing, I was watching the most beautiful pink and orange sunrise and all of the elements combined created what felt like an infinite sacred moment that became the first step on my new healing journey. That story is what introduced me to this podcast, and I'm so thankful.

Thank you for sharing that, and I'm so thankful you found us, too. I mean, I love getting messages or just reading anywhere that somebody has discovered the podcast and clicked with it and that it's helping them, even if it's just to bring them comfort and all their, even if all their problems and fears and all that stuff are still there, just, there is nothing like feeling just a moment of comfort in the middle of the tornado.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by JP, and he's straight, in his 30s, was raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment, never been sexually abused, never been physically abused but he has been emotionally abused.

He writes, my parents divorced when I was about five years old and my mother purposely moved me and my two siblings from New Jersey to Florida to try to get away from my father. Both of my parents were emotionally unavailable and my father is very narcissistic. My mother was working full time and going to school at night, so we were left with a babysitter most of the time. I believe this is the reason that I have abandonment issues.

My parents never talked to me about sex at all, so I never had any information and I had to try to figure it out on my own. I struggle with intimacy and healthy sexuality probably because I never had those things modeled for me as a child. I understand now that my parents were just passing on the dysfunction that they learned from their parents. I feel that I understand myself much better, having become more aware of my past.

Darkest secrets. I have exposed myself on the Internet to escorts and have spent thousands of dollars on sex. I have tried to get others to participate in my sexual-acting-out behaviors, including my wife, and have damaged them also. This is what I am most shameful about.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. Having sex with a woman and degrading her with words and beating her physically. What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? I wish I could, and by the way, that is, file that under the, I’m assuming under the category of that's a consensual thing, whatever type of play that he's, I don't want you to think that I'm just glossing over that if he was degrading and physically beating somebody where it wasn't a part of some pre-agreed-upon role-play, although I hate the word beating even if it is role-play.

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? I wish I could tell my mother that moving us away from my father was the wrong action but probably was a good result. I would also ask her why we never talked about sex.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I wish to get in touch with spirituality and continue in recovery from sex and love addiction. Have you shared these things with others? Yes. I've been in therapy and I go to a support group and have been for three years.

How do you feel after writing this stuff down? I feel like I haven't organized my thoughts in quite this way before. And he would like to hear an episode with a therapist who specializes in sex and love addiction. By the way, those are called CSATs, which stands for certified sex addiction therapist.

And I don't believe we've had a CSAT on yet, which is a license, but we have had those that do deal with it a lot in their practices. I'm trying to think of one off hand. Oh, I’m spacing out. If you do, if there's ever a subject that you're interested in, go to the search box on our homepage and type in any keywords and an episode that has that word in the show notes or a blog will come up in that search.

This is a Happy Moment filled out by Sierra, and she writes, I'm the oldest of four children with my youngest sibling being 15 years younger than me. She's four years old now and is the light of my life. As a chronically depressed and anxious human being, I struggle with feelings of, is it nihilism or nihilism [pronounced differently], and that the world is a dark and scary place, but my little sister is the essence of pure joy and love encapsulated into a small human.

Whenever I see her, she greets me with a running jump into my arms for a hug, and then she leads me off to show me all of her favorite things. She sings constantly, even when she's using the washroom, and just belts it out. She makes up these songs and they usually consist of her favorite activities. A classic of hers is I like walking in the woods all day, repeated over and over.

She loves drawing and is always giving me new works of art of hers, which I proudly display on my fridge. I know this isn't a single happy moment, but she brings me more happiness than I will ever be able to express. She teaches me to love unconditionally and that the world is a wonderful and exciting place. Being her big sister is the biggest blessing of my life and I cherish that. That's really, really beautiful, really, really beautiful. Thank you for that.

God, it's like I could feel that little girl's energy just reading that. You know, there are these studies that talk about the positive effects that like bringing puppies in to senior citizens can greatly impact their life, negatively [chuckles]. No, positively. Yeah, they look at the puppies and they go, I'm jealous, I can't move around. I'm near the end of my life, this thing is in the beginning of its life. Fuck you people. Why do you got to bring this in and rub it in my face?

They also say when a dog is at the end of its life, having a puppy around it does the same thing, and it's good for the puppy because the puppy can also learn from the dog. That's one of the things that we're considering, is, oh, I should say my ex-wife is considering, is getting maybe a puppy for Ivy. I don't know why I felt the need to mention that.

This is an Awfulsome Moment filled out by Plant Lady, and she writes, I always wondered why my mom had such an unflattering wedding dress from the pictures I saw, and then my aunt accidentally revealed it's because she was eight months pregnant with me [chuckles].

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by Iton, and he is gay, he writes, gay but, gay now but I don't think, quote, I was born this way. He's in his 40s. He was raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. He writes, bigoted Catholic parents.

Ever been the victim of sexual abuse? He writes, yes, and I never reported it. And I don't know if this is what he was talking about or not, but I wanted to read this survey because I think it is a great example of how baffling PTSD can be and how it's important to not focus as much on, to not focus on, is this valid, and instead to focus on, what can I do moving forward.

He writes, I was 11 and having a nightmare. Someone was being killed. I woke up and noticed that it was not a nightmare. A woman in the house was being murdered, or so he thought. She was screaming. I froze. I don't know how long it lasted, but I was frozen all along and could not do anything about it.

I learned years later from womanizer friends that she was probably just having a woman's orgasm. It froze me even more. Women's orgasms were so violent, they were not the ones being killed, but they were the killer. They were killing men in the process. And everything I was reading about the subject in magazines and books confirmed my intuition. Women are European mantis. They digest the male after love.

I'm not sure what he means by any of this, how much of this is metaphorical, if he read something that, I don't know. Put aside what any of that actually means because there's something, there's stuff in here that I think is important. Continuing.

I was really smitten with a girlfriend, but because of this epiphany and because of survival instinct, I could not pursue that love interest. And as much as I loved the woman, I was disgusted by their sex. Digesting a male after lovemaking was just, I'm lost for words for it.

I have never been able to have sex with a woman ever since. It's worse than that. Two weeks ago, I was in the Metro. I live in Paris, France, and one of the girls next to me talked about her night and how good the sex had been the night before, and I started to dissociate. It happened time and time again. I guess, it's happened time and time again. My mind goes, la, la, la, la, la, la, leaves my body. I'm cold, frozen, and I watch the situation from above my body and I cannot function again until I leave the triggering situation.

So, I had to leave the car, leave the Metro, and I only writing about it triggers what I think is PTSD. I've never been able to speak about it, even with my psychotherapist, because I'm so ashamed of it. Who should be ashamed about what makes the straight male so proud of their performance? I'm triggered right now and cannot think right.

I just want to die, because who should be scared to death about something so common? The sad thing is now the pain that was inflicted to me I somehow try to inflict on others, my male lovers. How could I now sleep with male-eating mantis, asks why I have to be so loud when I'm having sex with him. Oh, I guess he's loud when he's having sex.

And how do I not respond to video porn without audio but can respond so overwhelmingly strongly to porn videos with just the audio? I'm disgusted with myself, with my love of the same sex. Sex cannot understand myself, but at the same time feel that I am not responsible for the whole situation. Sorry for being able to write when my self-called PTSD is being triggered.

And I wanted to read that because, as hard as it was to understand sections of that, the thing that ultimately I think is worth talking about is it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks of what might be your PTSD. It's important to start processing that stuff with somebody else and to not judge yourself.

And, you know, the analogy that came to my mind was, I don't know if you've ever seen the video of this, but there was a bridge, I think it was in the Pacific Northwest, I'm not sure exactly, that spontaneously began twisting and moving around and I believe eventually collapsed. And there wasn't any explosion. There wasn't, you know, some big weight wasn't put on it. The engineers determined that there was some type of frequency that had caused this bridge to start twisting and turning and buckling, and all things, all things have a response to certain frequencies. Even rocks will respond differently to different frequencies.

So why, as human beings, with emotions on top of being affected by frequencies, why should we judge ourselves for something being valid in causing us pain? I hope that makes sense.

But please, stop beating yourself up and talk to somebody about it. He also said in the survey that he's too ashamed to talk to his therapist about it. Please do. Please talk to your therapist. And if they don't have sympathy for you, find a different therapist because you are in pain and you deserve compassion and help and somebody on your side.

This is a Happy Moment filled out by, I love this name, True Trans Goth Queen. I know that if I went to your apartment there would be a Smiths album. Probably a Morrissey solo album. By the way, how fucking amazing of a guitarist is Johnny Marr? He was the guitarist for the Smiths. Oh, my God, at like 23 he was doing that guitar part in the song How Soon Is Now?, which is, I couldn't even identify if that was a guitar or a synthesizer, the sounds that he created are so amazing. Anyway, I got off on a rant, tangent. It's not a rant.

What gender are you? She is trans male to female, so she recently transitioned from being male. And her Happy Moment, one night very recently I was at a local fresh food store and I bought a candle to treat myself with.

And later that night while watching The Simpsons and messaging friends, I lit the candle and took photos, and I assume she means photos of herself, and one in particular stood out and I noticed that a year and two months after starting hormones, the guy I hated for so fucking long was gone and the girl he had held captive inside for over two decades was visible and free. That is really, really touching. I can't imagine how amazing that must have felt, and probably must still feel. I can't imagine. And how dare anybody tell somebody else what sexuality or gender is valid.

There's this person that I occasionally get into it with on Facebook who said that they think homosexuality is a mental disorder, and, you know . . . people that think that what turns you on is a choice, first of all, fuck off, and if you say that sexuality is a choice, assuming we're talking to a homophobic straight person, then what you're also saying is that you are attracted to the same sex but you're choosing not to act on it.

So, why don't you take your issues out of it and let somebody else decide what they want to do? Or the reality is that you think you know what it's like to be in somebody else's skin, because if there is no choice involved in you, in who you're attracted to, why the fuck would you tell somebody else that they have a choice?

If you're not fighting the urge to have same-sex sex with somebody, why the fuck would you tell somebody else that that is what they're experiencing? When you experience the very opposite of that, who the fuck are you to tell that person that you know what it's like to be in their skin? You can't see it right now, but I am up on a soapbox and I have a bullhorn and I'm wearing one of those 1920s raccoon coats and waving the flag and the straw hat.

This is a Happy Moment, and it's kind of a, this could be, oh, in fact, they say, this might be an Awfulsome Moment. For those of you that are new to the show, we coined the term awfulsome for something that was horrible at the time but looking back on it there's something kind of awesome about it, either because it was positively transformative, ultimately, for that person, or there was something funny or ridiculous about it.

And Bumblebee writes, I was 12 years old and being sexually abused by a janitor in my elementary school. When I came home crying one day, my older brother made me tell him what was going on. He was 16 years old. When I told him, he took the baseball bat out of the closet and walked with me to my school.

My brother, who had bullied me my entire childhood, walked right up to my abuser, who was in his 40s, and threatened to kill him with a baseball bat. I remember standing behind him, seeing my abuser with genuine fear in his eyes, and feeling powerful for the first time.

I kissed the back of my brother's jacket, and I remember my lip gloss leaving a mark. For the first time in my life, I felt protected. My brother stopped bullying me after that day and the janitor never looked at me again. That moment I was saved from an abuser and my brother became a lifelong friend.

I look back on this day as one of the best of my life. In case you're wondering, I reported him a year later. My school was very religious so all they did was interrogate me like a criminal and eventually fire him. The authorities were never informed.

Thank you so much for that. Thank you so much for that. Man, that picture of your lip gloss on the back of your brother's jacket while he is confronting somebody more than twice his age, man, that's powerful. The stuff you guys share with me is, I just feel very grateful.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Pale Blue Dot, and she's straight, in her 20s, raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse? Some stuff happened but I don't know if it counts.

In high school my boyfriend would regularly guilt me into sex despite my protests and vocally saying no, but I would never physically resist him. Once we'd get going, I'd still act like I was enjoying it, just to make him happy, even though generally I was disinterested. Not sure if this qualifies as anything other than apathetic sex, which I'm sure isn't unusual, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Whatever your boyfriend's intention was is not as important as how it left you feeling then and how you feel about it now. You know, there is a continuum of ways that we communicate with each other, and I'm not going to try to say one thing or the other, but the fact that you vocally said no, that's not okay. That's not okay.

And as I've mentioned many times on this podcast, when I was younger, I would, I would tell myself that, you know, I'll get the real answer if I just press her a little harder. And it makes me sick to my stomach to say that, but we have to talk about these things. And I would have never thought that what I was doing was wrong.

I look back now and I had just told myself, well, if she doesn't look frightened or angry or I'm not holding her down, it's not abusive, and I was wrong about that. And I'm ashamed about that, and I hope, I hope that this can happen less with people, because it is so hard, from what I've read of you guys sharing, it is so hard for you to give yourself the compassion that you need because it wasn't a dramatic assault. But if it left you feeling assaulted, that's what matters.

She has been physically abused and emotionally abused. I was regularly emotionally abused and neglected by my father, who suffered from alcoholism, drug abuse and addiction and an undiagnosed mood disorder, possibly either borderline or bipolar. He'd change therapists too frequently to get a solid diagnosis. His mood was erratic and unpredictable and he would often lash out at my mother, sister and I.

Any positive experiences with your abuser? I love my dad and some of my fondest memories from my childhood involve him, mostly because his unpredictable nature also provided some fun, spontaneous moments. He would often take me fishing or buy me snakes and lizards as pets without asking my mom. These moments reminded me that my dad loved me despite his disease and his anger.

Luckily, my relationship with my dad improved after he and my mom divorced when I was 12, but he passed away when I was 19 before he could finally get the mental help he so desperately needed. You are such a sweet, compassionate person.

What are your darkest thoughts? I have no doubt that my darkest fantasies stem from my strained relationship with my dad, typical, quote, daddy issues. I fantasized about being a little girl again and having an older man obsess over me romantically and sexually, a sort of Lolita-esque scenario. Even as a child, I fantasized about being rescued by an older man and taken to live with him as his ward and muse and showered with money, gifts and affection.

Even as young as eight, I was fantasizing about being obsessed over sexually by an older man. I was masturbating at the time already, but I never really thought of anything while I did it. It was simply because of the pleasurable sensation it caused.

I didn't know what sex involved exactly, but I knew I wanted to have it with an older guy who worshiped me unconditionally. That fantasy has followed me my whole life and it's still my most powerful one.

Darkest secrets. While I get no sexual satisfaction from children by themselves, the, quote, idea of a man having sex with a child is very pleasurable to me. I know that in reality it would be horrifying to witness and I would never wish it upon any child, but I can't stop myself from playing out scenarios in my head.

Usually I'm the innocent child and the man is older and good-looking, trying to repress his lust for me. I've never and would never look up actual child porn, but I have read and watched hentai, animated Japanese pornography featuring incest between fathers and young daughters, and also Lollycon, where an adult character's body is morphed into that of a child but their mind is still their own, sexual desires and all.

While I would never do anything dangerous or harmful with my sexual fantasies, they still bother me. I'm in a loving relationship with a healthy guy who is my age and I'm sexually sated for the most part, but this secret of mine is something I have to regularly indulge in to keep satisfied.

I worry that my thoughts are unnatural, even though my boyfriend reassures me they aren't. I worry that they stem from the abuse I had as a kid and that if I ever had children myself I'd have the potential to hurt them somehow because of the sexual longing I have.

Sometimes I even worry that I myself was assaulted as a child and this is some weird coping mechanism I've concocted. What if I can never truly solve my own mental health issues until I uncover this part of myself that I've buried and forgotten, or maybe that's just another fantasy?

Those are all fantastic questions. The thing that really leaps out to me about this is that, I worry that my thoughts are unnatural, even though my boyfriend reassures me they aren't. Listen to your boyfriend. Allow him into your sex life. And unless you're hurting somebody, embrace your sexuality and have some mind-blowing orgasms and I bet it can bring you closer to your boyfriend, as long as you aren't hurting anybody.

You know, obsessing over why our sexuality is the way it is, is, I'm going to throw another analogy at you, is, like imagine that you're in some dinky little boat in the middle of the ocean and some huge ocean liner goes past you and tips your boat over. Does it matter what the name of that ocean liner is that went past you? Or does it matter that you just try to find a way to put that boat upright and keep paddling, while being sunburned and wishing you were dead [chuckles].

I couldn't keep the whole thing positive. I had to shit on myself. I hope that makes sense. Oh, sometimes I just cannot stop beating myself up. It's like, it's, [in Mean DJ Voice] do it, Paul, do it. You're such a piece of shit, Paul. There is no bigger piece of shit than you.

No, Mean DJ, I’m not giving in. I am not giving in to your abuse. This has been a beautiful episode so far, maybe talked about me a little bit too much. [In Mean DJ Voice] You're always talking about yourself too much, Paul.

Listen, I have no interest in what you say or think. [In Mean DJ Voice] [Chuckles] Yeah.

Continuing. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. Pretending I'm a child and being loved both romantically and sexually by an older man. Sexual incest between father and daughter, both consensual and not. Being assaulted in public and even being gang-banged. I've always been conflicted about my fantasies because I know some of them are typical and some of them, dot, dot, dot, I don't know if they're typical and that bothers me.

Sexual partners have always been accepting when I've shared my fantasies. In fact, seeing a guy get excited about my fantasies often gets me excited, too, but sometimes I'm afraid that my fantasies aren't just quirks that I've developed and instead stemming from a darker part of me. What if they're both? What if they're both?

Who gives a shit if it stems from some darker part of you, as long as that part isn't, look, if you're not plotting to go hurt children and you're in your 20s already, I'm going to say you're probably okay and probably safe, like 99.9% sure. Embrace it. Let your boyfriend love you.

And it's a way of letting him in, too, you know, to let him love you is a way of loving him. That sounds like that should be a cheesy song, huh? Loving him, letting him love you is a way of loving him. Oh, my God, that would be the worst love song ever. And I'm going to go write it.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I wish to be taken care of, emotionally, financially, physically, everything. I used to want independence and freedom, but struggling with borderline and severe anxiety has destroyed my confidence. Really all I want is to be financially comfortable and have the freedom to pursue my hobbies, engage with people on my terms and enjoy each day instead of constantly dreading the unknown future.

I was at my support group today and I started talking with this friend of mine, and he and I have decided that every day we are going to try to remember to text each other and the thing that we're going to text is, let's live today like we've just been rescued off of a desert island.

If we could come to every day with that feeling of excitement and gratitude and just wanting to soak everything in, how do we hold on to that? How do we hold on to that, those moments?

There's moments when I finish cooking for myself and I sit down at my little two-person table in my little kitchen and I'm so grateful and I'm so at peace, and I close my eyes and I thank God, the universe, whatever, that I have food on my table, and not only food but delicious food, and that I'm able to cook for myself. But how do I stay in that place, or at least get to that place more often? I don't know. But I'll let you know how that goes. So, we're just going to text each other every day, desert island, to remind ourselves.

Have you shared these things with others? I share most things with my boyfriend, but I haven't told him about my wish to be taken care of. I'm afraid it would run him off. I doubt most millennial men would want a traditional housewife who just cooks and cleans and goes to the gym during the day.

I try to keep up a façade of independence and confidence, but deep down I'm just a girl who hates herself too much to find any success in freelance writing and who has too much social and performance anxiety to work a normal office job.

I think that that would be a great place to start, though, is to work on the social and work anxiety, and I think if you're sharing with your boyfriend, hey, here is what's going on in my mind, not, by the way, I am plotting to coast the rest of my life, I think then that would be one of the ways to start to heal that shame that you have. Your boyfriend sounds like a great guy and you should let him into what's going on.

How do you feel after writing these things down? Uncomfortable. Not bad, not good, just uncomfortable. There are so many things here that I haven't even shared with my therapist of three years because I'm afraid she'll think I'm weird for bringing it up or because it's not relevant to my bigger, overarching goals. I guess it feels pretty good to at least see them in writing.

And she would also like an episode with a guest who has borderline personality disorder but not the stereotypical lashing-out kind, the, she calls it, more of the quiet borderline type.

And there's an episode that should be coming up soon with one of the guests I recorded when I was in Europe, and we're going to call her Anne, and she was raised in East Germany. And I've known her a while, and when she told me that she has borderline personality disorder, we'd already known each other for a couple years, just through, you know, e-mails and stuff, and I had no idea. I had no idea. And she talks about it in the episode that we recorded. So hopefully that will, you'll get something out of that, but her story is great either way and I hope you listen to it.

This is, and finally, this is a Happy Moment filled out by Cameron, who is a trans male. And he writes, I majored in music in college. When I was a senior, I played with the top wind band in our department and sat first chair in my section. That year we were invited to perform in Seoul, South Korea, and with the Korean government paying for almost everything except for airfare, which our university took care of. All we had to take care of was whatever money we wanted to spend on extras, gifts, trinkets, snacks, etc.

There were a lot of us that hailed from low-income families and never dreamed of traveling so far away from home. Our director wrote an arrangement of a very popular and beloved Korean folk song. He wrote a solo for the principal flutist, which was me, that introduced the recognizable melody of the song.

We played three concerts, one indoor and two outdoor. I was able to catch a few glimpses of the audience when I was playing my solo. I saw the faces of complete strangers light up when they heard me play. Through music, I felt like I was saying thank you to them, or telling them how much we enjoyed their country.

After the concert we ran into a cohort of Korean student musicians who were so excited to meet us and told us how awesome we were. I've stepped away from performing for the time being, but the entire experience, and that moment in particular, is something I'll carry with me forever. It felt gratifying and fulfilling to be able to speak their language and show our appreciation without having to speak a single word out loud.

Beautiful, beautiful. That universal, that universal feeling of we are all together is the best. It's the best. And surprisingly, I forget that when I'm in my recliner with a furrowed brow, just thinking about myself and how fucked my future is [chuckles]. Yeah, I'm drawn to do that every fucking day.

I hope you heard something that resonated with you, brought you comfort, made you laugh, pissed you off. Do I dare say that?

 

[Closing music swells]

 

Yeah, just never forget that you're not alone. We are all in this together. And thanks for listening.

 

[Closing music]

 

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