Rob bares it all out as he takes your questions—about love, relationships, and all other concerns—and answers it with honesty and sincerity. Explore the difficulties of developing a crush on another person during marriage; learn how to share your own shadows with your partner; find the generosity to your partner when facing big fundamental triggers in your relationship; know how to deal with narcissists and sociopaths; and address differences in money maturity in romantic relationships. At the heart of all of this Q & A, you’ll find the value of keeping authenticity not only in your relationship but yourself as well.
155: Q & A: Relationships, Triggers, And Narcissists
This show is called Question and Answer. You could also call it something cheeky, like Office Hours or Hanging out with Rob or something to that degree. I’m very excited to be here and we’re doing a bunch of Q&A. This was inspired by one of our audience who wrote in a long question, but a great question that I’m going to answer. I solicited a few more and I’ll be answering that. If you have a question, hit me. Love, desire, communication, relationship, money, power, purpose, American history, whatever you need, I’ve got it. If I don’t know the answer, I’m going to say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m sorry about that.”
There are a few bits of business before we start. First, I want to talk about Claire Wineland, who, for some of you or most of you may know, passed away. I was severely impacted by the loss of one of the most incredible people I’ve known. I didn’t know, I knew of and had the chance to meet once or twice the daughter of my good friend, John Wineland. She got a lung transplant and then she suffered a stroke and she never came back. I want to say if you don’t know about this amazing human being, I highly recommend you look her up and find her, Claire Wineland. She also had a foundation called Claire’s Place, which is going on and it’s going to continue, ClairesPlaceFoundation.org.
It was an amazing organization on how to treat people with illness differently. She had an illness from the day she was born and she spent 21 years of her life living rather than being limited by her illness. There are pictures of her with Bernie Sanders, there are pictures of her everywhere, there’s an incredible video. She was at the top of CNN list. If you haven’t heard this person and you want to get a taste of such an incredible person, please check her out and honor her memory by donating to her foundation, which was true and dear to her heart. Thank you, Claire, for your impact in this world.
The second thing I want to announce is that I am part of something called The Bold Man Summit with Adam Gilad. I’m very excited to be part of that. You can sign up absolutely free and you could go to my Facebook page. I also listed that on my professional page, but you can click on the link and watch me speak with Adam. We’re like two big jungle cats that’s walking around each other and sniffing big cats. I had a lot of fun interviewing him. The Bold Man Summit is happening. We’re promoting it.Every aspect of your life can be up-leveled by an improvement and increase in your communication. Click To Tweet
There will be twenty incredible teachers with several of my friends, Gillian Pothier is on that, Ray Doktor, the Hudson’s, Jon Benson, and many incredible men’s coach that I’ve known for a long time. There are twenty great, incredible people. Robert Schwenkler is on that as well, so please check out The Bold Man Summit. You can find out about that on my Facebook page and also on RobertKandell.com. The third announcement is that I am doing my first communication course in Los Angeles on September 22nd. This is called Live unHIDDEN. If you’re suffering in any way in your life, in your relationships, at business, and things that are happening to you, this a cause of communication. I make this bold statement because I know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. Every aspect of your life can be up-leveled by an improvement and increase in your communication.
That starts with communication with yourself because we are nasty to ourselves. We are treacherous, we are the biggest critic that happens right here in our head and in our heart. If you start to learn about this power of communication, the power of the things you say to yourself, and the manifestation that can arise from it, how you relate to your partner, these little nuances that you have no idea that is blocking communication, how we withhold the truth and don’t tell our partners and don’t tell anyone our true selves, is killing you. It’s killing us and it’s killing society. I could trace communication out to the White House and the mayhem that’s happening there. It’s all coming down to communication.
If you want to learn to be a good communicator and you’re available, please come to Los Angeles. We still have some seats left. It’s on September 22nd. If you have any questions, please PM me. I’ve got a great team. We’ve got a great bunch of people coming, so I’m excited. I’m going to be interacting with my Facebook. If you have any questions, please entertain me. Entertain the people by posting a question on any topic, on any level of intensity that you desire, personal or something about yourself and I’m glad to answer it.
Finally, the last announcement is that my book launch, which was slated for November 5th, is now November 15th. I needed ten more days to get this book solid. We’re in that stage where I sent it out to nine trusted people to get their feedback. It’s to integrate those nine people, which will be a very fascinating and thrilling thing that’s happening on November 15th. I’m also going to do a twelve-hour book launch on Facebook Live. Mark your calendar, Rob’s crazy book launch on November 15th. I should go on Facebook once because I’m going to be there for twelve hours. I’m going to be there from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM PST. It’s going to be a twelve-hour experience. I’m going to bring in a whole bunch of fun people to sit with me and come and talk. I’m excited about that.
Forgetting Potential Relationships And Focusing On Current Relationships
Let’s get down and let’s answer some questions. This is from a woman who emailed me. She asked to be anonymous. I offered to have her on the show to talk live. She said, “Why don’t you answer the question and then maybe I’ll come on the show later.” After reading her question, I understood why. She wrote a long paragraph. I’m going to take some excerpts from it to get the point across. Here’s her question, “I have been with my husband for almost ten years. He is an incredible man, kind, funny, compassionate, brilliant, hardworking, dedicated, and most importantly, he is an amazing father. We’re an awesome team and we’ve been through everything together. We work well and have a comfortable and loving relationship. Over the past year, I have been lamenting as the spark and the excitement is not what it once was. Something that I know is perfectly normal. I’ve been wondering about the possibility of an open relationship.
I was planning on thoroughly exploring this question, doing lots of reading, and perhaps working with a therapist before bringing it up with my husband. I met a guy who I’ve since developed a pretty serious crush on. I know I should pursue my original plan, completely forget about this guy for a number of reasons. One, I don’t want this to be about a particular person, although I am afraid that he has heavily influenced that decision to think about an open relationship. Two, he is very unavailable. He has a girlfriend and lives on the other side of the country and three, I want whatever discussions with my husband to ensue, to evolve organically. I’m afraid that adding someone to the mix will not allow this to happen.
Rationally, I know the answer to my own question. The problem is that this is much more difficult in real life and I find myself secretly hoping that I could pursue something with this other person as well. I am clear that my husband and son are the most important people in the world and I don’t want to jeopardize that, but I also don’t want to look back on my life and resent the fact that I’ve never discussed things that I’ve been thinking with him. The question is, is there any particular advice on how to forget about the potential relationship and focus on my current relationship and possibly exploring new dimensions, etc.?”Whenever we shut down a certain part of our self, it causes a disruption in our own health and with our partners as well. Click To Tweet
You get the point. First off, my friend, welcome to humanity and welcome to what it means to be a human being with evolving emotions. What I’m hearing is this is every hero’s journey. We’re back to Joseph Campbell where if life is out of status quo, something happens. You have what’s called the call to adventure, an opportunity to up level your life or change your life and then you have the doorway. You have the choice to say yes to the call or you have to say no to refuse the call. Both are viable, true, authentic answers. What do you do?
There are a lot of questions that I would have for your husband if I had him on the line, but we don’t have the ability to do that because this is a little secret inside your heart. First off, I want to say thank you for asking the question. Thank you for the care, love and consideration that you’ve put into being with the question rather than just acting irrationally before going. What happens is when we have these questions, either we kill that part of ourselves and shut it down and lock it into a box or like a hot potato, we have to have it now.
We’re not great at what you’re doing, which is the middle ground of the exploration of the question. The good news is that you’re being very deliberate. The bad news is you’re screwed because this fire that was out before is now lit. I don’t think anything you can do with your mind is going to quell this. If you do quell it, it’s more dangerous than if you act on it. Act on it, meaning start to bring it up and have a real conversation about it. What I mean by this is whenever we shut down a certain part of our self, whenever we close off and put that into a prison, that’s the cancer that causes a disruption in our own health and with your partner.
I had an experience with a woman where she cheated on me and didn’t tell me for a year. What happened over that year is that we got more and more separate. I was also more numb and dumb at that time, I didn’t realize it. She cheated on me and because she felt so much shame, so much baggage, and so much hurt and didn’t know how to talk about it. That caused a significant hit to our relationship. When she told me, I had feelings about the physical infidelity, but the real thing that killed me was the year that I lost, 365 days or whatever, a year of loss of not being connected to her because she was afraid. My first question to her after I got a lot of clarity was, “What did I do to not make it safe enough for you to tell me about it?”
I saw that I was a co-conspirator, a co-creator of the silence because she didn’t feel safe enough to truly be honest with me. You talk beautiful things about your husband and described him as a compassionate, hardworking, dedicated, and an amazing father. What’s going to stop him from receiving you? What is the fear that you have of not being honest? What part of you do you feel you need to hide? You’re minimizing him and if I can use a more charged word, you’re emasculating him by not trusting that he has the ability to receive all of you. My process of what I recommend for situations like this is you have to tell him and all the people with their reasons, “He can’t handle it,” or “It might have set things,” etc.
You have to tell him because if you don’t tell him, then you’re assassinating him. You’re killing the relationship one small stab at a time, one moment at a time. You’re not going to bring fully who you are to the relationship because you’re hiding some part of yourself from him. Brilliantly, you haven’t broken any marital agreements, you’ve just been human and you’ve evoked this desire inside of you. What I recommend is that you say to him, “I need to talk to you about something,” and create a space where the son and the distractions can be limited or eliminated. You want a time and space for you to be connected and free.
Then create a container around this communication. Turn off your cell phones, there’s no music, there are no distractions, it’s just you and him. When you ask for the space, you’re going to create agitation with him. It’s going to happen. He’ll be like, “Can you tell me what it’s about?” No, let me wait until we’re talking. “I need to know.” Then let’s talk tonight or let’s set it up as soon as possible. You need to remain firm not to break the conversation until you’re in the spot where the honest and real conversation can be. The next step might be confusing, but I want you to apologize to him for you withholding this information from him.We don’t reward each other for the truth because we feel uncomfortable. This kills our relationships. Click To Tweet
I want you to say, “I’m going to tell you something that’s been inside of me, but first, I want to apologize for withholding this from you. My reasons for withholding this is I was afraid that you were going to leave. I was afraid you’re going to freak out. I was afraid that you would feel like I don’t love you. I was afraid this might hurt my relationship with you or my son. I want to tell you that I’m telling you this because I want to be closer to you. I’m telling you this because I want to have a rich, deep sexual, beautiful relationship with you. I’m afraid of you judging me and I’m afraid of you not seeing me.” Just lay it out. Open up that heart of yours and give him everything of who you are so he can know who you are.
Hopefully, he’ll be like, “Okay, what is it?” Then you can lay out all these thoughts about your desire to have an open relationship. You can talk about this guy and how you met him and how he evoked sensation in your body. You can talk about your crush. You don’t have to give all the details but give him enough to feel, to know that this was alive in you. Then you can say, “Nothing happened. My relationship is important, but I don’t want to live hidden from you anymore. I want to live unhidden. I want to live connected to you. I want to be in a space where I can show all of you and I have to hold this feeling.” You want to do this as few words as possible. You want to have brevity. In the entire world, brevity is beautiful. In this conversation, do it in a hundred words if you can. Don’t add paragraphs. After you delivered the communication, stop talking.
Don’t try to make it better. Don’t try to placate him. Just stop talking and then ask him for his response. He’ll respond and then you respond to his response. Then, he’ll respond to your response and all of a sudden, you’ll have a dialogue around it. I can guarantee you one thing and one thing only, your relationship will become more intimate by this truth. I’m not guaranteeing you that he’s not going to leave because that would be dishonest on my part, but I can tell you when you unload the truth and when you show who you are, then what happens is that you are in deeper connection with that person. I guarantee that you’ll have more intimacy. Give him the space to feel it out and give him the space to respond. Don’t try to manipulate him into a response that will make you feel better.
Let him and then let him share. I wonder if he has some secrets in there too. This is what happened to me. Burning Man 1998, walking around with Carol, my first wife. We were talking about our sex life, our first honest conversation about sex. I said to her, “I don’t think you’re the last woman in my life I want to kiss.” She was like, “I don’t think you’re the last guy in my life I want to kiss.” I was like, “Really?” All of a sudden, we were two kids in a playground creating a whole new world. My entire life was born of that one honest admission by me and the one honest reception by her, that rewarding reception of the truth. This is what we don’t do to each other in this life. We don’t reward each other for the truth because we feel uncomfortable and it’s killing our relationships. It’s killing who we are and it’s horrible. Be the leader in your own life by revealing these parts of yourself and save your marriage. Save, up level, and increase the possibility of who you can be. If you need help, call me. I can do this. I’ve done this before. I’ve got it.
Dealing With Shadows Trigger
Question number two. When dealing with our own shadow triggers, is it always best to share them with your partner or are there certain things you simply keep to yourself? Is everything up for sharing? My answer is I’m going to share everything I am, all my shadows, and all my triggers with Morgan because I want the most ultimate, optimal, deep, intimate relationship with that woman. I want to live free inside that relationship. In my world, in my viewpoint, you need to create need. You have the opportunity to create a methodology that each partner can fully reveal something to each other.
There’s nothing that should remain hidden between two people. Radical honesty, you might call it that. I call it honesty. I call it relationship. I call it truth. How to have the best relationship possible is to reveal all parts of yourself. My first answer is, there is nothing that I feel I need to withhold from Morgan and that’s my choice and that’s the relationship I model. There’s one important caveat about this. I also do significant work with myself, with journaling, with my therapist, on my journey work, in my thought process first before revealing this to Morgan. Here’s an example. I hung out with this woman. Morgan and I have a monogamy with a guest star relationship, which means that we will engage with other people if the situation is right, but only together.
I was hanging out with this very young attractive woman and I felt the spark of desire all over my body. It ebbs and flows, everything she did, everything she talked about sparked me and I could feel it in my body. I was driving home having a very normal conversation, feeling all this sensation in my body. I was like, “Should I tell Morgan about these feelings?” The answer was no, not at the moment. What I did is I processed them. I thought about them. I looked at what part of me got turned on. What was inspired by that? What was happening to me? I took this big blob of energy and sensation and distilled it down to the hot, rich, dense cup of coffee of what it was.How to have the best relationship possible is to reveal all parts of yourself. Click To Tweet
Call it like a two-gallon Arrowhead water jug going down to twelve ounces of pristine to make a blue coffee and rich. Then I told her about the coffee and I told her about the feelings around it and what happened. It went from something that had so much charge for me because I’d done the internal work to potent truth. It had a lot to do with my feeling older, which was interesting, and the loss of the circumstances of where I was in my 30s. Time is marching on. I do feel like I’m getting younger and better shape, but there are realities of being who I am. It was a fear of loss of being older, which had nothing to do with this beautiful fine other woman, but it was about me. The answer is yes, but don’t use your partner or abuse your partner to figure out what’s going on for you. Be deliberate to figure out what the steps are to deliver that fine cup of beautiful dark, rich coffee.
Facing Big Fundamental Triggers In A Relationships
Question number three. When facing big fundamental triggers in a relationship, how do I reconcile being generous towards my partner, keeping the connection open, and respecting myself when I feel that he is not? There’s a lot to that question. Let’s break that one apart because that’s such a rich question. The main thing I’m hearing is that you don’t feel respected by your partner. That’s before we’re worried about whatever channels should be open or thing that should be handled, I think that’s the thing you need to handle first. If you don’t feel respected, if you don’t feel safe in your relationship, if you don’t feel truly who you are or feel seen by your partner, then anything you do to force that connection to be open and generous, it isn’t going to work and it’s going to be inauthentic.
Before you deal with the triggers, the external stuff, the top level stuff, go down to the core level. Go down to the basic level, go down to a place where you’re like, “There is a fundamental issue in our relationship as I do not feel you respect me. I don’t understand why this is happening to you. I don’t understand what’s going on and I want you to know that I do not feel safe in this relationship.” Without safety, without your vigilance center, your amygdala, without your limbic system handled, you’re going to be tweaked no matter what.
When I left OneTaste in 2014, I was in a deep form of PTSD. I was in a very triggered state. Then I asked a woman out and I started dating a woman I had liked for six years. She was awesome and sexy, and I wanted her for six years. Finally, I had the chance because the opportunity of my life had changed. We started dating pretty much directly after I left OneTaste, but nothing was working inside of me. My physicality wasn’t working. Every time she would take a deep intake of breath that I perceived as judgmental. She was a New Yorker, she could nail me like I nail other people and every time she spoke, I got triggered and so I went to see a therapist.
She recommended that I go and see a therapist. I went to see a therapist and the therapist said, “You talk as someone with trauma and you can be in this relationship, but what’s going to happen is you’re going to be highly triggered, not because of her and who she is, but because of your mental state and your mental inability to handle all of who she is.” She laid it out to me and I went home. I broke up with this woman that I like. I was not able to be in the relationship. There was no way I was going to have presence and be able to handle her because I was deeply triggered by my experiences and I needed to do a lot of work.
I started seeing a therapist. I started doing a lot of work on myself. Ten months later, I met Morgan and I was able to be available for her. I tell you this story because if you don’t have the foundation of who you are and don’t feel respected in a relationship, I would highly recommend looking at the safety and the reason to be in that relationship. I’m often recommending to people, if you’re not in an optimal relationship and optimal means that the relationship is improving and evolving, you might want to look at your motivations for staying in the relationship. How many of us are in status quo relationships? How many of us are in relationships that are declining and decreasing intimacy and safety? How many are truly happy? A lot of you and what’s happening is that you’re replicating probably some historic hurt to stay in a relationship that’s not serving you.
In this question, my tough love is to say to your partner, “We’ve got two choices. One is we can work together at building a level of respect and connection with each other or number two, I’m out of here,” and mean it. Go out there and find a guy who can love and respect you for who you are. I know it’s rough out there in terms of dating. I know there’s a decrease of good men out there. I’m working on it. There are great men working on it. The Bold Man Summit starting next week is working on it. There are many people working on it. Don’t diminish yourself by staying in that relationship out of some fear of scarcity that you can have the relationship you truly deserve. Please do not keep men dumb by staying in relationships that don’t serve you because all you do is your anger increases, his dumbness increases, and we’re recreating the same cycle. Find a relationship where you feel truly respected and then worry about opening up a channel and being generous. Do that shit first.Don’t use or abuse your partner to figure out what’s going on for you. Click To Tweet
On Narcissists And Sociopaths
I don’t know if I’m going to answer this one too well. How about talking about narcissistic clinical cluster B-types and the many varieties that they come in? My hallucination is that the feminist movement has been taken over by these types. I mean the third wave feminist we’re seeing currently. I didn’t know what a cluster B personality disorder type is. He says, “It covers narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, and borderlines.” They have all have similar traits such as being charming and manipulative. What the question I hear is, “What do we do with narcissists and sociopaths?”
As someone who’s engaged with many narcissists and sociopaths in my life, I can tell you, there are two ways to play. One is to not be engaged with them. I don’t agree with the statement that the feminist movement has been taken over by these types. I highly disagree with that. The patriarchy has been taken over by these narcissistic types, look at our President. The majority of women who are leading the feminist are contrary to that. I find them to be powerful, clear, brilliant, working against sociopaths and narcissists. There are certainly some, I’ve worked with some, I know some and I’ve made out with some. I want you to know that there is a validity to your question, but I don’t agree that the feminist movement has been taken up by them.
Back to my thoughts around them. Number one is you can avoid them. If you’re the type that gets suckered in or is a good compliment to a narcissist, I would highly recommend not to engage with a narcissist because of your systems. Insecure attachment types tend to hang out with narcissists and this is not my area of expertise. I’m not going to act like I know what I’m talking about, but if you’re a compliment to a narcissist, be careful if you find yourself engaged with one. Avoid them. Option number two is to be aware of them, to watch them, to notice them, and to learn from them. For the things that we have judgment on, we tend to push it away and try to not deal with it. We push it into our shadow. Option number two is to sit back and watch and notice the impact they have on the world and see how they’re affecting things.
There are some powerful narcissistic women doing good work in the world with their shadow. Pay attention to the good work and don’t get affected by the shadow and if you can’t tell the difference then sit back and look in and investigate more. I’m obsessed with Donald Trump because I am amazed at what a sociopath and a narcissist he is. I’m amazed at his moves and actions he has and to continue to be who he is and it’s getting worse. It is like the car crash that’s getting worse and worse. I’m amazed that we are a country where 33% or 34% of the people still support him beside it.
What is it about our patriarchy? What is it about the masculine-feminine ratio that’s going out in the world? What is it about us that have co-created this man in charge of our country? That is fascinating to me. I am obsessed with seeing what the strings are being pulled and the dynamics that are happening. I speak out when I feel it, but I’m overall just watching. The third is to dive in and engage. If you have a strong force field against narcissism or sociopaths, I did particularly and I threw myself in and that’s where the trauma came from. I was engaged with a lot of narcissists and sociopaths and I didn’t have the internal systems to combat them. My PTSD was my inability to see and be true to myself inside that environment.
At the tail end, I am grateful that I had the experience and I went on the hero’s journey, in and out of the hell of what that was. I’ve learned much about myself because I dove in. If you want to understand it, don’t avoid, confront, go in, dive in, and engage. Go in with curiosity, go in with care, go in with an awareness and see what that narcissist sociopath wants to teach you. The three options are avoid if you don’t feel like you have the intestinal fortitude to handle it, sit and watch, or engage. That’s what I think.If you’re not in an optimal, improving and evolving, relationship, you might want to look at your motivations for staying. Click To Tweet
Addressing Differences In Money Maturity In Romantic Relationships
The last question, and this is a great one, we’d love to hear how to address differences in money maturity in a romantic partnership and how to get on the same page for the sake of the relationship even when your values are almost opposite. What’s more charge-y, differences in sex and desire or differences in money? That’s a toss-up and that depends. People can handle sex better than money. You can handle the discrepancy of sex better than discrepancy of money. That is an intense question and intense situation to be in.
Money maturity, what I mean by that or what I hear by that is that you have a different life experience than your partner and how to handle that. If you’re in a more mature situation than your partner, then you need to be a mentor to that person. You need to offer your advice. You need to offer your experience. If they don’t receive your mentorship, if they’re stuck in the arrogance of their youth and think they got it all handled, then I would seriously consider the sanity of that relationship. If you can’t have a dialogue and say, “I’m seeing a lot of pitfalls you’re going to go into, we need to talk about this,” then the relationship itself, you won’t have a good communication flow and I don’t see much happening in that communication. Both partners have to be willing to share and receive.
Even with your maturity, there might be things that you don’t see. You might have blind spots, you might have shadows, you might have things that you’re not aware of. It’s important for you to be a receptionist as well. I got involved in a business after OneTaste, a business called LA Mother. Morgan and I were just starting our relationship and she said, “Are you sure you want to do this?” I said, “Yes, I totally know what I’m doing,” but I didn’t know what I was doing. I wish I would have listened to her and at the same time what a grand epic adventure that had been to deal with my final sociopath narcissist in my business partner, not Morgan, my business partner. My point is that both people need to be able to receive and talk and hear from each other in order to have a conversation about money because as you go deeper in a relationship, your money problems can severely impact each other.
Especially as you get more legally tied, carrying someone else’s money karmic is a challenging thing. It’s like you’re getting down to your baseline security, you’re getting down to your lower levels of Maslow’s rules. Make sure that you can have conversations about it. If your values are different, then again, I don’t have a lot of faith in the relationship unless you do things like keep the money separate, which I don’t think is the healthiest thing ever. If your values are truly opposite in what you believe, you either need to do significant work to create a third possibility and this is possible. I’ve seen it many times where both parties come with their brilliance, their blind spots and their shadows about their money issues and together form a third option that works for the two of you.Go out there and find a guy who can love and respect you for who you are. Click To Tweet
Without the open dialogue, without the caring, deliberate nature of it, money can tear a relationship apart definitively. I did a show with a couple that had been together for a long time. Their differences around money tore them apart because she had one viewpoint and he had a different viewpoint. There was a lot of straight talk in the show about if your relationship is not optimal, maybe it’s time to consider it. That’s important.
That’s about all for this episode. I’m grateful. I had a good time on the show. Thank you much for all the people who posted questions and thank you to all the people who continue to support me on the show. Please check out RobertKandell.com for more shows. All my podcasts are up there. Please check out my Los Angeles Communication course, that’s available as well. If you have any questions you can find me on the various forms of social media. I am very open to emails, text messages, WhatsApp messages, Skype messages, and the likes so please feel free to reach out to me.
Thank you so much for joining me on Tuff Love. I enjoyed the show. Time just flew and I felt I was into the questions. I’m grateful that people are listening and asking questions and using my knowledge because all this stuff is inside and it wants to come out. For more shows, please visit me on iTunes and Stitcher. Give me some ratings, give me some stars and you can find out all about me at RobertKandell.com. Have a great day. I love you.