It’s time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the "F Word" here - Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same, and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it.
Bob: Alright, folks. Welcome back to the Alive and Free podcast. Today is a special edition, breaking news… we are going to talk about how to have an argument where both of you win. Now in the work that we have done, that I've done over the past several years, helping people who are struggling with addiction, people who are struggling with depression and what not, a lot of porn and sex addiction shows up in some of the work we do, a lot of the clients that come to us, they just can't find their way out of it, no matter what you want to call it - whether you want to call it an obsessions, compulsion, whatever - they can't stop. [0:01:05.7]
So that's the problem. Because wife doesn’t like it and feels betrayed by it and would like to have that reserved for the relationship based on their belief system or whatever they want because of a whole bunch of different things that are going on. And what's interesting is that because of that, I get to see people in some really seriously interesting situations. So, a while ago, I was working with a guy. The guy was a police officer, worked with the SWAT team and some other kind of different units within the police force, which I'm not super familiar with so if I sound like I don’t know what I'm talking about, it's because I'm not a police officer. Anyway, so he was there and one of the things he mentioned was he worked with SWAT teams and they had to do some training on special weapons and tactics and negotiation and all this other stuff. Well, this is a guy whose life situation was so unique, so his wife, some I don't know 8, 9, 10 years earlier had had an affair with somebody else, had gotten pregnant with it and they had had a baby and then he had adopted the baby as his own. [0:02:10.3]
So this was his child and now this child, you know, grew up believing that he was the dad, didn't know anything different and he really was the dad in the sense that he was raising this child and everything else. So we have that kind of situation. Their relationship, he had done his best to forgive her, to move on, to stick with it and everything else, but that wasn’t really working. He had gotten stuck in pornography a little while to help himself out and there was another woman that he had met online or something and they were having some kind of intimate relations, long distance over the phone, and so there was this interesting love triangle coming up and here is a guy who's trying to talk to his wife to try and rectify their situation or figure out how they're going to have a better relationship, and both of them obviously have very different points of view on the matter. She thinks he's the one that's messed up. From his point of everything he can and feels more love in this other woman's arms, but she doesn't.... anyway. [0:03:06.8]
They had zero intimacy in their marriage for a long period of time. this was a big convoluted affair, pardon the use of the term, and now he's got to talk to his wife about some big things because I want him to have the skills, which is one of the things we train our clients is is the skills to be able to actually have a conversation about big things without it blowing up and without it turning into I'm right and you're wrong, because when you're in a relationship, if one side wins, the other loses and a relationship is one thing. So if one part of a relationship loses, the whole relationship loses. The more you are trying to be right, the more your relationship will lose, over and over again. The only way to really build a relationship, one that lasts, one that stands the test of time is to try and get past the idea that I'm right and she's wrong or she's right and I'm wrong, and I should therefore be punished for this, that or the other and recognize that in a relationship, everything that has happened before this moment isn't happening right now. [0:04:10.1]
So if you want to continue to rehash that, what you're going to do is miss out on this and what you could create in the future. I want you to imagine that you went into your life with amnesia, you and your wife or your husband or your whatever - whatever relationship you've got, and you go in with amnesia, meaning like all of the past history between you that's negative just vanishes from your thought process. You're asleep at night, some miracle happens, you wake up the next day, you can't remember any of it. Would it matter? And my wager is that it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t. The only thing that's making it matter is you and me holding onto it. So how do we talk about this in such a way that we can let it go fast enough or faster anyway? And so that's what I want to talk to you about today. As I was describing this to this fellow and as I was training him on how to talk to his wife or how to talk to his kids so that they could have these conversations about what feel like really massively important topics without it becoming just a fight, but where both people could actually win, he went silent for a moment, and then he's like, you know - you realize something don’t you? [0:05:14.9]
And I was like what. He goes, you do realize that these are really high level negotiation tactics? And I…well, I mean, of course they were. I mean, let's face it- I was wrong and she had all the hostages, so of course, I had to. Because I had been in pornography addiction for that long and I had been the one that was making all of the mistakes and she was the one that had all the kids. You know, like she was going to take them and all that other stuff. I had to learn how to talk to my wife in a way that allowed both of us to really say what we meant and what we felt, whether one was right or wrong, and in a way that allowed us to move forward. So, high level negotiation tactics that I've never been trained in but just sort of figured out on my own, this is where we go. What I want you to do is put 3 F's down on your paper or on your hand or in your brain, if you're listening to this while you're driving, and remember this - F, F, F. Facts, feelings, and future. Okay? [0:06:12.6]
Facts means when you're having a conversation, the first thing that you want to start with are the facts. The facts are what happened, not how you feel about it. We're separating those two. So legitimately, what happened. Legitimately, what are the things that went on, the occurrences, the events that some innocent bystander could have walked by and went, oh yeah - she said this; he said that' she put a fist in the air and then he threw a tire and bounced it over the fence…whatever - I'm making this up. Okay? So, let's pretend that you came home from work or… oh, here's a good example. This happened the other night. I was doing the dishes. I was cleaning up from dinner. I was doing the dishes and my son, for some reason, I'm still getting irritated with teenage boys and questions, where they're questioning everything - so this is something I'm working on. [0:07:03.8]
So my son was holding my wife's phone and a text came through from her parents asking if we had shipped something to their house and so, I answered the question, yes, and then he asked a followup question, to which I assumed meant, oh, okay, so he texted them yes, and then they asked and the followup question, well what was it. So I told him what it was. It was just a microphone for my iPhone so that I could actually record things like this on the go. So he was like, okay, and then he walked off. So I'm assuming he got in. I'm in the middle of continuing to wash the dishes and some of the other kids were like goofing off and laughing around and stuff and then my wife came in and she said, hey, did you send something to my parents? And I obviously did not answer in the best way possible. I wasn’t yelling or anything, but I definitely wasn’t like, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah - I sent them something. I was like, yeah, like I told like I told Ziah, right. And so it was a little bit more of like an impatient kind of feeling to it. So as I was doing that, my wife obviously got the feeling that I was super irritated with her and all kinds of other stuff. [0:08:07.5]
Now, was I experiencing irritation? 100% from all the mayhem going on. She had been in the background doing some stuff. And I had been cleaning up the dinner and dishes for a little while and trying to get the kids to tell me where things were and all kinds of other stuff. And so, and she had been dealing with some of the kids in the back. So obviously, we were coming from different worlds here. So what happened, the facts are simply well, she came in the room and asked me a question. I responded to that question. She felt like I was yelling at her, even though that wasn’t even the case because to her it felt like such an irritation that it felt like a yell - again, that's a feeling. So I responded in about the tone that I mentioned to you guys and then she was upset and then so she went in the back room and finished. Now, that's the facts. That's what happened. Right? Now the feelings is where this gets interesting. Her facts, what she perceived, I mean you can argue a little bit about the facts but you got to remember my facts are my facts. [0:09:05.7]
This is what I saw. This is what I felt. Her facts, what she perceived, are always going to be different. We can't ever have an objective truth because everything comes through your body to get to your brain. So there's always going to be some subjective perception in it. She felt like it was a yell or a raised voice or something. I didn't feel like it was a raised voice at all. So when I'm going to state the facts, I'm going to say, look, I just answered a little shortly, but I answered in this way. Yeah, that's what I told the child. And there was no intention of injury or insult in it. There was probably just some left over in my voice, but that was it. From her perception, the perception was yeah, you said this and it felt like it was a really forceful way to say it. So the facts can be a discrepancy in the facts, but when you acknowledge that you have your facts and the other person has their facts, then you can say, oh - okay, cool - so what you saw or you heard with this. No, you said this. Okay, so what you heard me say was this. [0:10:01.1]
Always it's them; that's what they heard and it's true. They are correct, 100%, what they heard is correct. They heard that. That may not be what came out of your mouth, but they did hear it in their mind and so that's important. You cannot argue with them over what they heard, even if what they heard doesn’t match what you said or some other bystander's version. This happens a lot in mass shootings, where when they interview people, people always think there's multiple shooters because their brain is trying to make sense of sound and echoes and chaos and then most of the time, it turns out there is just one shooter. But a lot of the people around are like, no, and then I heard a shot from over there and then I heard one from over there. They did hear it that way. That's how their brain made sense of it, but that doesn’t mean it matched what the event was and since we don’t have the event on camera, the best we can do is take each person's facts as okay, cool - that's what you heard. This is what I said. And we move from there. Okay? Next step is feelings. Cool. So in that interlude, my feelings were at the moment I was irritated just from the kids and the noise - there was a lot of noise going on because one of them was playing a bunch of music in the background and I was thinking about things from the day as well and some really amazingly deep insights that I had that had also shown me places in my life where wow, this is an amazing place to work where I was still being controlled by environment, as was happening in that moment. [0:11:24.1]
So I was thinking about a lot of things and I was feeling a little bit irritated at having the same question come to me again when I felt like not only had I answered it, but that it had been sent to her parents and that her parents had asked a followup question and that they had been given that answer as well. And so that was where I was coming from and so I felt…I was definitely feeling a little irritated, but I wasn’t feeling at all insulting or wasn’t trying to bag on anybody at all. I had just assumed, poor me, that my son had relayed the information, both to her parents and to her, and that she would have seen that. Now her, in a conversation like this, especially if this happened in the past, you could say, well look, I can imagine that it felt from you, I mean I don’t know what it felt like for you, but I can imagine it felt like I was attacking you or I was really, really short with you or that you were the problem or that you were the irritation. [0:12:16.6]
That wasn’t my intention at all, but I can imagine that that was the case. Now, what that does is it opens the door for the other person to relay their feelings, even if they say, well you were being mean. Okay, cool - so it felt to you like I was just being mean to you. Always, it's their feelings, their feelings, and the second that you're sitting there going, well, no - we're arguing about some objective truth and the true feeling that a person should have is this and I feel like you were being mean, then you were being mean. That isn't the case. There are two subjects inside of this relationship, inside of this experience that's going on and if you're saying, well everything that I perceive is right and everything that you perceive is wrong, what you're doing is shutting down the other person. This is critical in a parent-child relationship. [0:13:05.7]
Am I perfect in this? No. But consider this - the second that your kid's like, mom - you're doing this and you always whatever and the mom or dad says, I'll say dad because I'm the dad, right - it's like no I don’t. What you're saying is whatever you're perceiving is wrong. You need to stop trusting what you're perceiving and you need to trust me because I'm the authority figure and a lot of the problems kids have growing up is that they are not given the opportunity to acknowledge that they're perceiving something in their own way and that that is very real for them. So they're learning to distrust what they feel and to start to look to authority figures, which is a good training if you want them to do that, but to look to authority figures for an answer to what's going on in their life. The problem is that it cripples them from making decisions in their life. They don’t know what they should do. They don’t know what they should study in college. They don’t know if they're going to make the right choice on a potential mate. They don’t know if they're going to choose a good career. They don’t know if they should go one weekend. [0:14:00.9]
They don’t know whatever and they start outsourcing all this stuff to parents, to God, literally to God sometimes, where they say like oh I don’t trust myself because I'm going to choose something wrong so I need to ask God for his permission. I'm not talking about people who literally are tuning in to try and feel what is best for them. I'm not talking about it from that very empowered standpoint. I'm talking about it from the standpoint of I know in my heart what I want to do but I don’t trust myself from years of conditioning, and so I'm going to go ask another authority figure whether that's God or parents or church leaders or friends or somebody else or a mentor, because when they give me permission to do it, then I can go do it and it's not my fault anymore. I can put the permission on them and so on. We can dig into that another time.
If you, or someone you know, is looking to drop the F Bomb of Freedom in your life, whether that's from addiction or depression and anxiety or just anything that's making you feel flat out stuck, but you have no clue how to shake it and just want help doing it, head on over to LiberateaMan.com and book a call, where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you've been missing.
Bob: So with the kids, think about it - we do this all the time - Kid: This is gross. No, it's not. This is gross. No, it's not. Or a kid gets hurt and we go, "No, you're okay. You're okay." It's okay if they feel like it hurts. We don’t need to confuse them and be like, "Okay, cool - that really does hurt. It really does. Right? Do you need to cry? Do you need to get it out? Awesome." You can acknowledge the fact that they're experiencing pain. There's nothing wrong with it and then they can discover, "Hey, look and I'm okay now. Sweet. Everything's going to be okay. That's great." It's a wonderful promise, but don’t shut down your kid's perceptions about how things are - "Oh, that really hurt." "No, it didn't." And I've done this to my kids all the time, so I'm speaking from experience here. I'm not just ranting and railing at parents. Like this is from my own experience seeing how much I've shut down the feeling part. So both of you get a chance to share your feelings. [0:16:01.5]
She's right or he's right, the other person is right about their feelings. You are right about your feelings. You are both correct. What this has given you is the chance to say, "This is what I felt and what I saw and heard and tasted and touched - the senses - this is what happened, from my perspective and this is how I felt. When you did that, I felt…you feel… like when my wife walked off, in that moment, I felt like oh, man - see, look, she always thinks I'm the problem. She always thinks I'm the burden. She… like these thoughts jump into your head. I mean, if they don’t jump into your head, you're amazing - way to go. They don’t jump into my head as much as they used to, so it is possible. But I had a few fleeting moments of that, real frustration, then I had to go on a walk because I just was really frustrated with a bunch of different things, bunch of different, and that was one of the facets last night. Right? So, feelings came up. When she walked off, I just felt, oh great, now she thinks that I'm sitting there trying to do this and she thinks I'm yelling when my brain wanted to do what I'd heard growing up, which is like, "You want to know what yelling is?! I'll show you yelling!" Because that fixes everything. Anyway, so both of you get a chance to share your feelings. [0:17:05.9]
The last F is future. We have facts. We have feelings. The last F is future. This is critical. If I share the facts and I share how I feel about it, that's wonderful. And in some cases, that lets go of a lot of emotion, but you don’t get to blame people for your emotions. Right? This isn't a dumping ground - "I feel this way. You don’t get a chance to share yours." If you're going to share in a situation like this, both of you get a chance to share. The last one's future. This is what I'd like to do from here. This is what I want to do with this. I either want to keep feeling this way or I want to experience our relationship in this other way and last night's thing. This is what I'd really like - I'd like for both of us to just start over on refresh and understand that well, we were both frustrated to start with and then we had one conversational interchange that we both took way farther than it needed to go, and I'd like for us to just like start fresh and say, hey, how's it going…let's, this is what I want." This I want - right - that's the future. [0:18:02.3]
What is it that you want? Here's the key. If you don’t want the same thing, that's an important thing to note because that's the first place to work. If you want different things, then okay cool. So the question becomes if I want one thing and she wants another thing, then what can we create together that allows both of us to get what we want? It's not well, let's compromise and therefore cut off … neither of us get what we want, but we did something together. No. Let's talk about it. Let's figure out what's there. It may take some time before you're both like, huh, yeah - I want this or I want that, and you may both want the same thing or you may get creative and start to work on what can we create together to make this thing pan out? Either way, what happens is you get to hear where they're coming from and you get to say where you're coming from and then once you both know what you want, now you can start working toward that moving forward instead of continuing to rehash the past. The only point of having this conversation is so that we can move forward, not so we can continue to augment and add on to the suffering that's already there. [0:19:09.3]
So in your conversations, when you're having difficult conversations like this, you want to make sure, yes, that you both get a chance to acknowledge your facts and that you acknowledge that both sets of facts are correct, unless one of you is deliberately lying. My teenage son likes to just deliberately say something different just to goad me. That's different. Let's assume both of you actually want to resolve something. Second piece - both of you get to share your feelings and you're both right. Even if it sucks to hear that the other person thinks that you hate them, even though you've loved them for a long time and you do all kinds of things for them, even though it sucks, you're both right. And then you both get a chance to share where you want to go from there, what you want out of this, where you want to head so that you can actually see, well do we have the resources and the materials available to make that? What do we need to do? Do we both want the same thing? Can we shift? [0:20:00.6]
There was a man, Henry B. Eyring, he was called into… in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, he was called into one of their…to assist in one of their High Councils of Meetings of the Apostles, these are the people that make decisions for the entire Church, and Elder Eyring, he was, he studied, he studied and taught at Stanford Business Communications. He knows how to run business meetings and leadership meetings. So he shows up. He's like, okay - we're going to see how it's done from a group of people who are inspired by God, right. They open up a topic and all of them just start talking with such frankness, such bluntness that he thought he was going to watch a train wreck happen. He's like this is not how you do it, but everybody is expressing their opinions, they're voicing what they feel and then over time, a short period of time, he starts to notice that all of these voices and opinions start to line up because all of them want the same thing - what is the best decision to make for the Church. So all of these opinions start to line up and he thinks to himself, holy cow, I've seen a miracle. He describes this on a YouTube video. You could probably find it. [0:21:02.7]
It's like a 5-minute long little thing at a press conference he did a number of years ago. And so he sees this. He's like oh my gosh, I've seen a miracle happen, but then the head, the president of the church, stands up and he says, look, we're not going to do anything with this right now. I still feel like there's some people who haven’t been able to express themselves fully and so, we'll wait on this for another time. No decision was made at all until he knew that everybody was unanimous in the direction they wanted to go. As they left, he was thinking, why did he say that? I thought everybody was lined up. As they left, he watched one person step aside and just kind of squeeze the president on his arm and say, "Thank you. I didn't get to say some of the things I really felt like I needed to say." Notice this - no moving forward until you're both moving forward in unanimity. It's not about compromise. When you both want what is best in the situation, it's not about compromise. It's not about "I get what I want because I know I'm right" or "he gets what he wants because he knows he's right or because he has all the cards or because he's manipulating me" or anything like that. [0:22:04.4]
When both of you actually want a relationship, then this is about finding a future where both of you fit in it and where both of you win. Too many people are busy trying to win in their relationships, which means that their relationship loses or goes nowhere because a win and a loss in a relationship zeroes itself out. If you really want your relationships to grow, you have to find a way to talk so that both people win because a win plus a win is two wins. A win plus a loss is nothing and both people losing, because neither one gets what they want. That's a definite backwards step.
So as you're moving forward with your relationships this week, I highly, highly, highly encourage you to think of these three Fs and use them. Make sure facts, feelings, future. You can use them in business situations, in parenting, with spouses. You can use them with friends. You can…anytime you're going to talk about something big…and if the conversation is so big that you can't stop from your emotional state in the middle of it, separate the conversation from the emotional reaction by doing it via letter or email - I don’t recommend text because that's not usually long form. [0:23:16.7]
Allow yourself … email is good - it's probably saved our marriage many times - where you can just say what you have to say. They can say what they want to say. You can have your emotional reaction to that and then come back from a clear mind and continue to talk back and forth. My wife and I have done that several times where even sometimes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 email exchanges before we finally can talk face-to-face about something, just because it's a charged topic. So, remember your three Fs and then next week, we're going to talk about you being already a master and what that means for your life.
And that's it for today's Alive and Free Podcast. If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from, and while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you, and plus, it's just nice to be nice.
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