You could be subconsciously unaware or undeliberately playing small in your little straight jacket to ensure that there will be no disruption between yourself and the person you’re in a relationship with. Sometimes, you’re taking steps to minimize yourself to protect myself from the fear of being abandoned or the chasm that may be created if you kept getting bigger and bigger. Rob talks about the experience he had with Morgan about the three options he saw in his life of how to be in relationship with her and the places where he was keeping himself small, the concept behind that, and how that can apply to other people. He calls is the three paths at a crossroad, which are that (A) he could be a huge success, a distant husband, make lots of money, or (B) he could keep myself small and safe, or (C) they could create the exact world they wanted. Rob talks further about his research into what it means to be big.
145: The Three Paths At The Crossroad
This show is called the The Roads at the Crossroads, which is an experience I had with Morgan where I was talking about the three options I saw in my life of how to be in relationship with her and the places where I was keeping myself small and the concept behind that and how that can apply to you. We also welcome back live coachees. We have an amazing couple come on the show for the second half to get coached about their relationship. They go intimate, deep, real and I’m so happy to have coachees back. If you want to be a coachee, please email Summer@KandellConsulting.com and say, “I want to be a coachee.” Let’s join the show now in progress.
We’re excited as always for the show and this next evolution of who I am, where we’re going, where the world’s going for me. It’s this time to come out of this little bubble of where I’ve been for a long time and bring myself out to the world. A lot of you know, I’m producing my first book that’s called, unHIDDEN: A Book for Men and Those Confused by Them. I’m nervous on a lot of levels and this book is about how to bring what’s inside out, how to bring the parts of myself that is shy into the world. This is one of them, is doing Facebook Lives on the show. Where usually, it’s me and my little corner, with my little crew hiding, and then I can produce the show and there’s a level of safety. When it comes down to it, the ability to step up and step into the limelight is what’s going to be required.
I’m reading a book called Your first 1,000 Copies, which is a book about how to market your book. A big piece I took out of it, was this concept of how to sell your confidence, how to be confident, because that’s what people respond to. For those who know me like, “Rob, you’re always confident that’s who you are.” There’s also a shyness, an introverted nature inside of me that likes to run the show.” This is the first step on road to the book. To continue to live out there in the world to show who I am, the skills I have, what I want to bring to the world, the impact. This is what I do every week on this podcast. Tuff Love is all about saying the truth that needs to be said. The truth is a little nerve-racking to say. The truth you you’re not wanting to hear. It burns when it comes out of your mouth. It burns when it goes into your system, but then when it’s done, you can relax because you’re no longer hiding behind that. You’re no longer a sphincter behind the truth. You’re no longer worried that this part is revealed because it’s come out and it’s been true, and it’s been real.
If you have ever had a great teacher in high school, a great coach, a sporting coach that pushed you to your level. A great college professor, a mentor, that first person at your job that saw the brilliance in you, and kicked your ass to bring it out, rather than your own self-limitations, instead of your own ways that you short-circuit yourself. It’s the ability to step up and be out there in the world. That’s what Tuff Love is about. I pick a topic. I either do rants on the topic. I’ll do an interview with a thought leader that I like. We do that for twenty minutes and then after that, we do some live coaching. I’ll be talking to another fifteen minutes on a topic and then I have two people on the call with their code names are, Mark and Sarah. They’ll be talking about their issues and challenges. That’ll be the second half of the show and hopefully I’ll provide some value to them so they can improve their lives. I’ve been doing coaching for over several years at this point.
That’s the foreplay to the show. This show is called, Three Roads at the Crossroads. This show was built around an experience I had with Morgan. We were at a journey and for those who know what journeys are, you can do the math then extrapolate beyond that. We are in the state of openness, connection, and death. All my cylinders were firing. There are some parts of the journey where I’m deep, introspective, and very quiet. All of a sudden, it’s like this part of me comes out and I am a chatty fucking Cathy, nonstop speaking of who I am, my thoughts. I can get a little annoying as well, but I’m out there with who I am. I was at that point of aliveness and all these things that had been inside of me. All these thoughts that I’ve been hiding for a long time came out and we’re talking about the future. Talking about the next step, the next evolution of who I am. The next growth point in my life.
I realized that there was a part in our relationship, there was something in our connection. I do want to call it unpotentiated. There was a withhold, there was a part of me that wasn’t communicated. There was something between us. I’ve been struggling with this viewpoint with therapy, and our journeys, my journals, and conversations with Morgan. With this viewpoint that I don’t deserve to be big. The NLP people say, “Never say that. Never give yourself that reality.” That’s not my lineage. My lineage is about, “You have a viewpoint that’s not serving you. If you have a viewpoint that’s not totally clear, the job is to go in and examine, to play, to look, and to understand what’s happening and why it’s happening. “I have the viewpoint of I don’t deserve to be big and I’ve had it on some level my entire life.
Time and time again I’ve been hammering on looking at it. I realized in my relationship, I had fabricated in reason not to be big with Morgan. While I wasn’t blaming her, I had hired her to play the role of the object, the excuse, the reason that I wasn’t allowing myself to be big. What it came down to was that I had a fear. I want to be clear that Morgan is not doing anything. She may be providing the presence and the stimuli, but this is 100% me. This is 100% my bullshit. This is 100% my belief system. This is me using her as the object to give myself the rationale to be small. The reason was I had a fear that if I got big, it would create a chasm between me and her. A separation between me and her that would upset her, that would be a distance, that would create chaos in our relationship. She would feel diminished.
I had this belief system that I would do things, that I would create some distance between us that would cause her pain. Eventually if I kept getting bigger, then what would happen is that we would separate, that she would leave me, that I would be abandoned. I was subconsciously unaware, undeliberately creating myself, play small in my little straitjacket to ensure that there will be no disruption between me and the most beautiful, magical person in my life, the best relationship I’ve ever had. I was taking steps to minimize myself, to protect myself. I don’t want to give Morgan a total free pass. She has her humanity, she has things she said, she has her fear that she’s expressed in our very overt relationship. This is 100% me. This is about the part of me that was afraid and was using her to stay small.
This in itself is an important part of the rant because we do this all the time. We often look to our friends, associates, and partners and put the blame of our own viewpoints onto them. We often say to them, “You did this to me, or you make me feel this way.” No, you have never had anyone make you feel any way. “You hurt my feelings,” is a total bullshit statement. They may have provided extreme stimuli to provide the impetus for you to feel that way. It’s always our choice. This gets dangerous when you get into viewpoints about rape and consent. That’s a more complicated system. I hope that you give me space to say it’s not always those extreme cases to be safe and make sure that your feelings are right. The 99.9% of the stimuli in our life, we are responsible for our reaction to it. It’s not the circumstances. It’s you. It’s one of my early podcasts that you can find.
Just know that in our life, we have all these people that create this vast opportunity for us to stay small. I recognize deeply that it wasn’t Morgan, it was me. In this journey I said to her, “I see three choices, three options over the crossroads we’re at. I want to present them to you and see which one you want to do.” When you are in a similar spot, you might have one road that you see, which isn’t a crossroad. If you think there’s only one road from every circumstance, every choice, you’re lying to yourself and you’re actually being lazy. You’re not taking the time to perceive, to look and to investigate other options. If you’re looking at your life and you think, “I only have one choice.” There are circumstances where it’s true, but mostly there’s always at least two choices. If you’re thinking that at this road there are only two options, then I think actually you’re still being lazy. I still think that you’re not perceiving, or playing, or tweaking out the other possibilities that are out there. I came up with three, you can come up with four or five, or you can come up with ten options. I think when you get above five, things get confusing and you’re alluding or you’re duplicating. I would recommend it in this practice of you’re at a crossroads in their life or with someone, you look for the three to four to five option.
Let Go Of The Safety Of The Relationship
The first one that I saw in this conundrum of how I can be big inside this relationship is I could let go of the safety of the relationship. I could become my workaholic self. I could go for making the money. I can make choices in terms of what’s good for me and not good for the relationship. I could minimize and dilute and not care too much about what she feels and go for the option. We know plenty of people in the world, and probably in their lives that have done that. They said screw you to the relationship. This is what I need to do to be successful. I want to actually honor that as a viable choice. I also want to say that in my heightened state I said to Morgan, “This could be an attractive option for you. Think about it. You could have an absent husband. Your husband could make lots of money. The security for you and the kids could be handled. You can have some affairs that I wouldn’t know about or care about.” This is the American way.
Continue On The Path Of Limiting Yourself
One person goes off and create, the other person lives their life and benefit from it. While at face value, this seemed like a horrible option, there actually could be some benefit for you in this option number one. Morgan’s face got wrinkled, she’s not a very good poker player. She’s like, “No, I don’t want that.” I appreciated that. In this first option, there was possibility. The second option was this concept is I can continue on this path of limiting myself in this relationship. This is also a viable path because I’m doing well. My consulting business is doing well and we have to tweak some expenses, lower some expenses to make our lifestyle work. There will be a minimizing of our output, but we could keep going the way it’s going. It’s a possibility in something that could work. The downfall of it is that I’m always going to know that I’ve been living inside of this limitation. I’m going to always know that the straitjacket that I’ve been wearing, I haven’t taken off and I will always know that I played small in this life.
Co-Create Life Together
For those of you in relationship with someone who knows they’re playing small, this could be a very attractive option to her as well. It tends to be whiny. There was probably for betrayal and blaming in the future. Option number two, which is a viable option but is not great. Number three, it was the one that we agreed upon. It’s the most amorphous, but it also offered the most possibility. Door number three at our crossroads is the possibility that we co-create this life together. It’s not me making all the business decisions. It’s not me with all the responsibility. It’s not me in the role of a production. Why don’t we work on this together as a team and build this reality together? She immediately went for number three which I was grateful for. What this conversation had was to bring what was unspoken, spoken. To name the places where both of us are co-creating a situation that’s not as potentialized or big as we want it. It was a way to do it in connection with collaborative sensation rather than antagonistic.
I think a lot of people make these decisions in their life from this antagonistic place, “This is your thing, you go ahead and do it and I’ll sit over here feeling resentful.” How many conversations did we have like that? I could sit over here being, “This is all my responsibility anyway. You’re not helping. I’ll do it myself.” It was the possibility of both options. It was a possibility of different sides of the coin. In the middle was this place of, “Let’s do this together. Let’s create the possibility of union with her input and my input, the third possibility is better, “Do you want to say that very next day I made a business decision without consulting her,” and that led to one heated discussion. I learned from that experience. I learned from my previous experiences. I learned from all the places we’ve gone, not to shame, but pass of where things are. Where to look at how I can gather information from different places to head into the future? There’s so much more possibility.
To bring this back to you in your life, you might be at a crossroads in any part of your life. You could be in a crossroads of your relationship, or your business, or something you want to start. Or something with a parent or something with your health. There’s a multitude of things. We hit these crossroads and the first pragmatic step to find brilliance inside of that is to say, “I’m going to look at the possible options and I’m going to go to the extremes.” I wasn’t attractive to go to the workaholic, industrialist who ignores this wide option, but I had to go there and I had to present it. Go to your options, then investigate that and then the people in your life, enroll them into the conversation so they can be a part of it. They can feel that they’re a procreator. In the co-creation of it, there’s so much more power.
If Morgan picked something different then at least she would have the choice rather than me sitting over here making the choice for us. I made the choice together. We faced these crossroads in our lives time-and-time again. It’s like one thing leads to another and one possibility is always around. Your ability to truly find the most optimized option is what’s going to lead to your life of mastery. It’s going to lead to your life of opulence. It’s going to lead the life that you never thought was possible. My life is way beyond what I thought was possible when I was young, when I was at OneTaste. When I left OneTaste, the possibility of who I am and everything I have is so amazing compared to what I thought was possible. There’s the next up-level and the next possibility and the next creation. From that, I think life keeps getting more and more interesting. That my friends is my rant. Thank you so much for coming. We’re going to bring our two guests on to the show and we’re going to talk about the problems.
Sarah, Mark, you’re both here. Thank you so much. I’ve got a little bit details from our call beforehand. If you each briefly, give everyone an overview of what your challenge is and your history. Sarah, do you want to start?
In relation to what you were talking about, my husband and I have been married together for thirteen years. We’ve been separated for a little over the past year. We both love each other and I think in our heart of hearts, would like to make it work. I have increasingly felt like I’m not important enough in his life anymore.
This is Mark. It’s a little bit complicated, but there is a huge age gap between us, 21 years actually. I’m older and I’m fairly certain that Sarah feels loved by someone taking care of her financially, showering her with time and presents, buying things for her. I feel loved by being part of a permanent team and that often feels to me like I’m renting her affection. She’s much younger and much more attractive than I am. I didn’t feel permanent and if anything went wrong then she would leave me or if she didn’t get what she wanted, and that is indeed what happened. I got angry with her one too many times and she took a lover and moved out and abandoned me, which realized my fears. That’s in a nutshell.
First off, thank you so much for playing raw on the first concept. That is important and impressive. Mark, I hear what you’re saying. You guys have been married for thirteen years. You’ve had this fear from the beginning that the basis of your relationship was based on commerce and you’re supplying this financial lifestyle?
Yes, that was my fear. It was the age gap. I wanted someone to grow old with and die with since I’m a month short of 63. That was why the main reason I hesitated getting into the relationship because I didn’t think it would be permanent. My mom having been married five times and I’m desperate for permanence. Sarah mentioned earlier about my hoarding, but I’m a collector of stuff and I like to hold onto the past. I collect a lot of junk and financial security is very important to me because I didn’t have a sense of security when I was a child.
I love when people know their stuff. That’s some serious childhood wounding. That’s some serious understanding of that. I want to say that I understand everything you’re saying. Sarah, do see the cost of that viewpoint that you walk in, that he perceived that relationship, starting off from the point that it’s impermanent, and you need to make an effort and create and to force permanence.
I’m demanding from her sense of permanence, which she may not be able to give me, but it’s very important to me.
You do see that it’s almost an impossibility?
Almost is the keyword. I tend to make invidious comparison. I enjoy that word invidious, something that causes envy or resentment. There had been other examples that I tend to compare our relationship to others. I’ve used up too much of our precious time.
Sarah, hearing his viewpoint, I’m sure you know it but how does it make you feel?
I knew what I was getting into the day we got married. I spoke with Mark before he was going to pick me up and he said he couldn’t go through with it because I was too young for him and I was going to leave him eventually. It’s been a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe something’s going to happen, then it’s almost like you make it happen. He needed to test me, he needed to increasingly get angrier and angrier until no woman could take it anymore and would have to leave. I have what my father likes to call an iron butt, and I have a huge tolerance for horrible treatment. I put up with it and I tried to deal with the anger but I couldn’t take it anymore. Another factor that came into play was the fact that not only was he behaving as if his mother is more important to him, but also he told me she is more important to me than you will ever be. It’s like he enjoyed hurting me. I realized I have to get out before I don’t have any self-esteem left. It’s been very painful for me because I love him so much. He’s the most important person to me in my life. That’s why we’re calling you because I don’t know what else to do.Look at the possible options and go to the extremes. There's so much more possibility and a multitude of things. Click To Tweet
Thank you so much for sharing that. To the term of your voice, the depth of that feeling and all the things that are happening for you, it only makes sense. The dynamic that you’re creating and your feelings are right and they’re real. Self-fulfilling prophecy that’s what I heard and the creation of that. I want to do something that I don’t normally do at this point, but I want to ask the simple question. Sarah, what would be your optimal relationship with Mark? What would that look like?
It’s simple. It’s what we used to have. We’re both very frugal. We’re both financially self-sufficient independently. We used to have a dating life and we used to have fun together and we would spend time on the weekends and there wasn’t resentment about him giving me too much time towards the last days of our marriage or last years of our marriage, it was like he was doing me a favor to spend time with me.
Mark, we’ll come back to that. When you do that, she might be saying something that’s totally against what you believe, and as my teacher likes to say the opposite of truth is another truth. It’s diminishing of one person’s viewpoints and feelings.
I agree with her feelings. She should add about what changed on those after the seven, eight years. My mom lost her mind and lost her health.
It doesn’t matter. This is the Tuff Love for you. I’m not saying that your feelings aren’t right about the intensity of your experience with your mom, but her feelings are right. Your feelings are right. What marriage is and what relationship is, it’s creating space for everyone’s feelings to be right. Being a support of each other through the intensity of your relationship and the circumstances around it. I’ll have her finish and then I do want to hear about what you think. Sarah, you got the dating life, for her to make her time, you want more of his attention it felt like the second half of your relationship have been diminished.
Money has always played a role in my relationships with my very first love. I had dated a very poor guy and I paid for absolutely everything. I bought him a car and I was his mom and then he dumped me. I had such a horrible experience with that. After that, I said from here on out, a man’s going to pay. Our relationship in my mind was pretty equitable. I paid for most everything except the mortgage of our home. It was working out okay with some minor bitching. I think the biggest issue is that we took a lot of vacations that cost me a lot of money, but Mark would say that we were staying in nicer hotels than he needed to be staying at it. He doesn’t like to do expensive things like shows, movies, and stuff that I like to do. He would complain that we were spending the money on things that were for me and my argument was if I was dating someone else, then that person would be paying for those things. If I’m paying for them and I think that they are reasonable requests on my part that we shouldn’t be allowed to do those things. It wasn’t forcing him to do things he didn’t want to do.
I got the feeling. If you go back to what we want, if you go back to the root, if it’s not Rob’s magic fingers and go into the direction you’d want. You’d want to go back to the way things were. You’d want to feel connection and you’d want to have a dating life, you’d want to have a relationship.
Mark, I know there’s a feeling to want to respond to what she said. If you could snap your fingers and have relationship the way you wanted it with Sarah, how would it be?
I would want it to be like a relationship that her sister has, or her parents has. She left out the part, we had this wonderful period of seven or eight years until my mom ran out of money and started to have to be taken care of. I have felt stressed financially, having to pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time with my mom who needs a lot of care. She often says that if I only gave her the amount of time and money that I give to my mom and can we talk about forbidden subjects? I know that we people easily talk about sex and all that, but money is terribly forbidden and it’s the elephant in the room.
It’s not about the money.
That’s what I’ve always thought. It’s not.
You need to believe me or not. I want to make sure that you understand that. I’ve been doing this for a long ass time and I’ve coached tens of thousands of people at this point and I’ve enrolled people for court. I’ve had to deal with money my entire life. I’m also good with money. I’m in New York too. Money to me is like part of my heart. It’s very easy to get stuck on the money. What I think happened was you had this huge disruption in your life with your mom, which is totally real, painful and authentic. What happened I suspect is you lost connection with Sarah to handle the challenge of the mom. Sarah on her part didn’t have the skills or capability or patience, and she didn’t have what it took to hold you in that. Then in the dysfunction of the mom, you guys disconnected and then from that, the money and the attention were the easiest things to blame. It’s the disconnection I think is the pain, rather than the money.
The disconnection came from the money, Robert. Whether I am struggling, it feels like I’m struggling financially and Sarah came into some money and she has a fat trust fund and would never have to work again a day in her life. I feel like I’m going to be living under a bridge if the way I’m hemorrhaging money continues. The problem is that my need for a sense of stability. She has parents that came into money and somehow they both ended up on the title of all the money that the mom had. The same thing with her sister. Her sister has a very challenging relationship with her husband, but he’s ended up on the title of everything so there’s like a permanent couple and their money is all mixed up and all that. With Sarah, everything is separate. I’m not on the title of any of her assets and not only that, the wealthy uncle who’s the source of all this income, even gives me an annual gift of $12,000 or $14,000 or something like that. I am not allowed to keep a penny of that, she keeps all of that.
On coaching sessions, I would definitely play this out more, but I want you to know. I understand, I get it. I’m trying to point out it’s the disconnection you guys have around the challenge of money, around you guys not seeing eye-to-eye. The plagued part of you that feels diminished and, “I’m not loved because I’m not on the title of things,” there’s so much connotation on the money. What the pain is the disconnection.
Yes, I feel very separate from her.
I’m going to change the direction a little bit because, I got the point. There are three things that need to be worked on your guys’ lives, regardless of what formula your relationship has. Mark, there’s a fear of ending up under the bridge, there’s a fear of ending up alone. There’s the impertinence, all these things that are driving you and co-creating the situation. You need to address that fear. What the weird part is, if you address that fear, I suspect everything in your life will change, maybe a little bit, maybe a lot. It feels like the fear is running your life and causing the disruption. The disruption cycle is in the fear. The fear is causing the disruption. Can you hold that possibility even if you don’t agree with it?
Fear is huge in me. I realized that.
Sarah, there’s a deep anger I feel towards Mark in terms of the way you can treat it. I’m not going to say that’s right or wrong. It doesn’t matter. There’s anger, disruption and frustration and it feels like that anger is causing the disruption. If you want to be in relationship with him, there’s going to need to be some work on that and then some forgiveness, first for yourself then to Mark.
I totally agree.If you want to be in close proximity in relationship, you need to sketch your relationship. Click To Tweet
The third thing to work on is, if you guys want to be in close proximity and relationship, you need to sketch your relationship. Remember those little games, little drawings, and you can shake it up and start over. You’re going to need to sketch your relationship and start off with a blank piece of paper, or a blank slate, blank white board, and then start from scratch of how you guys want your relationship. The good news is, is I feel in both of you, the power and the consciousness and awareness to create something new. I don’t know if I feel the willingness yet. There’s a possibility inside of it that you could both live rich, deep connected lives with yourselves and with each other. Give a lot of time.
I want to ask a few more questions. Do you guys have a support system? You guys have therapists, coaches or trusted friends or men’s groups, women’s groups? Do you have some support in your lives to help with this next evolution?
I have a fantastic support system. I have amazing friends and I go to Al-Anon regularly.
How about you Mark?
No, I have no one in my life I can talk to about this.
I’ll say this to you bluntly. Without a support system, it’s not going to get any better. I’m not prescribing anything. There are plenty of places you can go that’s inexpensive. Finding a men’s group or finding a place online that’s similar. Your isolation, it’s going to make this fear bigger and bigger. You need someone in your life to say, “I understand your fear, I know where it comes from. It’s false evidence appearing real, FEAR. There are ways to tweak all these viewpoints. You need to move out of the fear into activation.
If I went to a men’s group or had someone to discuss this with, wouldn’t they be kind and polite and agree with everything I’m bitching about and then say, “You’re right?”
No, if you have a good man’s group or good therapists. I’ve gotten my ass kicked and more men’s groups that I like to remember and they are the best things ever. I have good male friends around me who tell me the truth because that’s what I asked for and that’s why I offer them. I’m saying this about me. I’m not saying this about you. If they said like, “Rob, stop being whiny. Stop diminishing yourself or stop making yourself small. This is ridiculous.” I’ve had great mentors kick my ass publicly and privately. I see a therapist and he’s changed my entire life significantly at this point. I don’t want to get this limited knowledge prescribed what to do. I’m saying you need to do something, if you want this to change.Stop diminishing yourself or stop making yourself small. Click To Tweet
I wish so much for you to have that because I can feel the good man you are. I can feel the blanket of fear that’s running your life and it’s sad. You have a good woman who wants to love you. It may not be perfect but that’s pretty special in this world too.
She may not want to love me the way I want to be loved. She’ll give up.
That’s a strong possibility but I don’t know if you’ve worked through enough of your bullshit, be blunt to make it easy to love you, you could make it easier. She can help you with your bullshit. I’m not saying that she’s the only one feeling, there is definitely support outside of her, but there’s possibility, my friend. I don’t want you to die alone.
That’s no fun.
Thank you so much both for being on the show and volunteering. I’m available in a professional capacity with you guys or if want to chat a little bit, Mark, I’m totally available, to Sarah as well. You don’t have to be alone. I can point you with some other resources if finances are a challenge. There is a possibility.
I can’t thank you enough, Rob. I think you have a great show and that helps a lot of people. You do a lot of wonderful things for folks, so thank you.
Thank you, Rob.
I’ve got to love the live coaching. Nothing like that to get your blood flowing. Thank you so much to everyone. Thank you so much for supporting me in this transition. I’m coming up with so many things on the horizon. Thank you so much for being here and if you folks have time, please visit me on iTunes and Stitcher. Give me some reviews, give me some stars. Finally thank you to my love, Morgan, for a lot of things, for showing me what true love is. Go for it. Be merry, get some nookie. I love you.
Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much, Mark and Sarah for being vulnerable, real true and allowing me to be of service to you. It’s such a gift every single time I got to play the role of telling people some things they might not know and can help them along the path.