C’MON man what’s your Story is a man’s point of view with coping with grief, loss of a loved one, addictions and life’s struggles. So glad to have your on our Podcast this week Chris Robinson!
“Recovery is not a death sentence, addiction is”, Unknown
“Addiction makes good people do terrible things”, Unknown
C’MON man what’s your Story? Our interview on Talking Taboo with Tina today is one where we should embrace the man’s point of view when it comes to coping with grief, loss of a loved one, addictions, and life’s struggles. They don’t need to define you as a Man, and make you less of one, but truly make you the Man you are today! With scars and all! “For every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story.
A Story that says I survived”, Fr. Craig Scott
“The scars you can’t see………. are the hardest to heal”, Astrid Alauda
Check out this incredible interview with, Chris Robinson who will tell us HIS STORY!
Y’all you won’t want to miss this one!
Because there might be something in our wonderful broadcast today that resonates with you or someone else that you would like to share this with.
C’MON man what’s your Story? We have a special guest on our show today. His name is Chris Robinson. He’s from from beautiful Texas.
us, and I’m anxious to go there. Again. It’s a beautiful place. He is. Our title today is Come on, man, what’s your story, that’s for sure. And it’s perfectly perfect for the show today.
One thing that we can all count on is that we’re all going to get sick or disabled, or lose something or lose everything, or perhaps pass away from disasters, tragedies, or in the blink of an eye. And that’s what we’re all here about today. Because we want to show you that it doesn’t have to be complicated, that you can save your photos, you can save your documents. And you can save all of your information so that you and your guest user can make sure that your bills get paid, or that they know where your documents are when needed, or you know where your documents are. Or that you have your photos all saved on a backup drive. So you don’t have to worry if your house goes up and smoke you that that’s my primary concern that when you lose everything, you have lost your life. And there’s nothing else that we can do to repair that. And so we take that painful Aftermath out of that tragedy. So if you haven’t, we will also have a link below for all of the shows notes on our blog, if you would like to also read the broadcast. So welcome aboard. I’m going to bring on Chris and have him.
Hi, Chris. Hi, Tina, how are you? I’m awesome.
Today, how are you doing in Texas? Great. We’re doing great. We’re staying warm. I would love to be there right now. And I want to introduce you you deserve a great introduction with your wonderful story.
C’MON man what’s your Story? He is the author of C’Mon man. He’s a counselor, he focuses on Adult counseling, as well as marriage counseling. Now, after this wonderful journey that has put him into this place in my life now, as you know, I can’t believe you take on the challenges faced by men. And men definitely see things in a different light when things happen. And I’m so anxious to interview today to hear your story, Chris.
And I’m really looking forward to it. So where did it all start for you? Well, for me, it all started, you know, I was I was raised in a little town called Maplewood, New Jersey. And when I was 11 years old, my father’s business transferred their headquarters from New York City to Houston. It was a oil and gas company. And so when I was 11, me and my two brothers and three sisters, and our parents loaded up, moved everything down to Houston
in August in Texas, which was a shock in itself, getting off plane and feeling that hot blast that Fern Oh.
And so we made this transition in August of 1971.
And we’re adjusting we’re trying to figure out who our friends are. We’re getting into school and feeling a little bit disconnected. And it was in November of that year that a trauma hit our family and you talk about things changing in the blink of an eye. Nothing could be truer in our story because as we got settled in and we were looking forward to Thanksgiving Day, in November of 1971. And my brother had been out with some friends the evening before after work. And they went out in a car they had been drinking. There was a car wreck and my brother was killed
in the early morning hours of thanksgiving and 1971 and so were they all killed in the car, Chris?
No, no, my brother was the only one killed. Another one was injured, and the two other people in the car, you know, survived.
But my brother was in the in the front seat and that was before seatbelts were required. And you know, just to unfortunate tragedy. So that is the beginning of our story in Texas. And well, how old were you then? I was living at the time. And my brother was my brother was 15. Oh, wow, he’s so young. Yeah, right. Right. So you had that horrible knock on the door? Yeah. And actually, as an 11 year old, you know, my next oldest brother and I he was probably 13 at the time, and he and I had a room together. And we were looking forward to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston. That was our plan for the morning is we were going to get up, get dressed, go down to the parade, come home, have our Thanksgiving dinner. And so, you know, when my mom came into our bedroom, man, I was I was fired up.
Just just ready to go. And we could see immediately that something was different, something was wrong. And that’s when she she told us what had happened. And it was just like a, a numbness that overcame our entire family. Like an unbelief. Like it’s it can’t be just it’s it stunned. absolutely stunned. And yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t even know how to process anything. And if we consider that in the in the 1970s.
Counseling was absolutely not a thing. Right, that if you were in counseling in the 1970s, it’s because you had some kind of a serious mental disorder. And that’s not something that anybody was going to talk about. Right? No. And you usually went to a facility somewhere. Right, right. And so we were left to all deal with it. In the best way that we knew how. And I was the youngest of the six children. My my oldest sister was actually in town, but she was in her freshman year of college at that point, and so she dealt with it far differently than I dealt with it. You know, she she did, she spoke to people about it, she spoke to my parents better. She spoke to her friends about it. She She grieved, she cried. For for me and my brother, you know, 11 and 13. We, we didn’t even know what to do. We didn’t know how to respond to this. And, and so it’s really interesting to look at how it affected each of my siblings. Yeah, differently. Especially boys, you probably weren’t given the opportunity to really cry and let it out. And you had to be tough and strong. And yeah, yeah, that was it. We just we didn’t even know what to do with it. And so for me, that’s essentially what happened is I just, I just pushed it down.
People around me people at my school that heard about what happened, it was on the news and Euston. And it was like, nobody knew what to say about it. And so since they didn’t know what to say, it was kind of like that I was avoided.
C’MON man what’s your Story? Right, like the plague because, you know, it’s just we don’t know what to say. So we’re just going to go down the other hallway, you know, and that kind of thing at school. So it was it was really interesting, as I look back on it now, and realize how I did cope with it, which was in an unhealthy way.
I pressed it down until the point where I was about 14. And then at age 14, I was in in high school and started drinking at that point. And in Houston in 1971. Nobody was checking your ID, you know, if you walked into one of the corner stores, you could get a beer, you know, that wouldn’t problem or you could give somebody money to walk in and get you a beer and then be glad to hand it to you when they came out. So I I started drinking when I was about 14. And found that, you know, I enjoyed that. And drinking, some of my friends then got their their driver’s license at age 15. And so they would take us out to two bars, in strip clubs, you know, and in all these places, like I’d say they would, they would let you in.
And when you know, when you think about what’s going to get 14 1516 year old boys going,
it’s gonna be the, you know, eroticism of strip clubs, and then there were porn bars in Houston. And so we wound up going to some of those. And that created another addiction. For me, and I tell the story in my book, that I’m fortunate that I did not become addicted to drugs or alcohol. And the only reason is because I also enjoyed sports, I was an athlete, and doing two day workouts for football in August in Texas, did not go well with being out and drinking heavily the night before. No, it kept you more on the narrow road. Yeah, so So from the the, you know, alcohol, I was able to say, Okay, I can’t do that and play my sports, but I also had this exposure to porn that I could do without any problem. And, you know, nobody knowing that nobody finding out about and that really kind of developed into an addiction that, you know, carried into adulthood.
To the point where, you know, hours would be spent viewing that you would go, you would go through the the shame and the guilt, that that, you know, a gambler goes through a shopping addict, goes through an alcoholic goes through a drug addict, goes through addiction is addiction, right? Because you have the craving to do it. And then after you do it, you’re like, why did I do it? Why did I do? Yeah. And it’s one thing, you know, to do that when you’re in college, and single and kind of living your own life. But then there’s another level of guilt that comes into play. When you get into a relationship and you get married, and you have children. And now you’re spending, you know, hours, supposedly working late. But that’s not what you’re doing. Right?
Yeah. And so you’re you’re taking away time from your family, there are some times where you’re taking away time from your employer. And so yeah, there’s there’s a lot of guilt and shame associated with that. And then oh, by the way, add on one more complicating factor, you know, if you label yourself a Christian
will now you know, there’s a whole another level of guilt that I shouldn’t be doing this, I know better. I know, I shouldn’t be doing this, this, you know, sinful behavior, and all that kind of stuff that goes along with it. And you just start heaping guilt upon guilt.
And getting to the point, you know, hopefully we’re you recognize that, why this is really, really bad for me, and I and I need to change something. And there was a point that I was kind of forced into that, to that point was, what do you think that, you know, it’s interesting, because I, I, I was always involved in the church from the time that, you know, my wife and I were married. I was involved in the church, and I happened to be, I don’t know, that’s probably, you know, 20 years ago, at a church where they were focusing on recovery from addictions. And you know, for some reason, they asked me, Hey, would you be willing to serve on this committee be a part of this group that puts this together? And I said, Yeah, sure. I’d be glad to do that. You know, they saw me as a, you know, a leader of the men’s groups in church and things of that nature.
And chronic. Back there. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Like, okay, I’ll do it. And in the very first meeting, the leader of that group, who was an alcoholic in recovery, said, Hey, I think that we all have our addictions.
Things that we just can’t control.
And if we’re going to be genuine and authentic in this group, is we go into helping people in their recovery.
Maybe it would be a good idea for us to just kind of go around the table and say, Hey,
What? What is your addiction? or What was your addiction? and Tina, my heart just started pounding. I mean, I mean, I could feel myself getting good. I never talked to anybody about this. I hadn’t talked to my wife about it I nobody, right? And so here I am, at this group of table with about eight people, and the only thing that I can be thankful for that meeting is that he started on the person next to me, and went around so that I’d be the last.
C’MON man what’s your Story? God forbid that he should start with me, because I couldn’t even hear my heart was beating through my ears.
It’s like hiding in the classroom when the teacher says, who knows the answer to this question, and you’re like, can I? Where can I hide? I literally, I felt like a caged lion. I felt like a wild animal that had been trapped. And just pacing back and forth. That was feel I was looking for a way out. I was I was thinking do i do i get up and leave right now excuse myself from the meeting?
Wedding, I was everything you do everything physically that you could experience in anxiety and panic I was experiencing in that moment. And when it finally came around to me, I told him, You know, I do have something that I’ve struggled with, but I’ve never talked with anybody about it. And I just said, I can’t speak with this group about it. Before I speak to my wife about it. Good for you. So I went home that evening, how many were in the group, there were about eight of us in the group.
And so I went home that evening, and sat down with my wife and really had the toughest discussion with her that I’ve ever had, I didn’t know how she was going to react to it. And she was so overwhelmingly gracious, she just looked at me and said, You’re my knight in shining armor. And I would say, Wow, even with this, even even with this. And that really, I think is the point at which my recovery began. Right? Because when we have an addiction, and we keep it secret, we keep it in the darkness. It has complete control over us. But once we shine a little bit of light on it.
And we find out, Hey, you know what, we were safe in doing that, that there are people who want to help. And I was able to go back the next week, and let the group know what this was. And the group who has experienced addictions, looked at me and said, we understand. We get nice, that’s why we’re here. And so the experience that I had was one of encouragement and support.
Because it just so happens that I was doing it around the right people. It wasn’t my plan, you know, if you don’t want to talk about a backup plan. Now there was not for this. No, there was no plan for this at all. And what’s interesting is that
it began to change who I was right. So when I look back, and and I look at the loss of my brother in how that changed the trajectory of my life, you know, what would things have been like? had that not happened? And they’re even, you know, every Thanksgiving morning? Still today? That’s the first thing that I think about? Yeah, my brother. Yeah, right. But there There comes a time where, for me, you know, I can’t tell anybody how to grieve or what are the right stages for them. But for me, I was able to arrive at a point where tears of sorrow turned into tears of laughter in remembering our relationship and remembering the stories that we had together of our of our life together, albeit short, he was somebody that I looked up to greatly. And so, you know, seeing how that impacted me and seeing how it impacted some of my siblings as well because they had their own struggles, you know, a sister that dealt with alcoholism, and other sister that poured herself into work completely total workaholic.
And so we dealt with things differently. And it changed the trajectory of all of our lives. But what’s interesting is I never would have I don’t know that I would have been experience that level and feeling of love and forgiveness and grace.
Had I not been through that path of addiction? Right I that I went down of some sort? Yeah. Right. Right.
And so, you know, that began to change me. And then as I, you know, went on in my career and things happened professionally, then then change continued to occur unexpectedly, right in the blink of an eye.
That’s, well, hopefully, it was a good change.
What do you think would have been different if your wife had been upset and flew off the handle and not be supportive in that instance? You know, I think that it would have made me want to keep everything in the dark. I, I probably would not have gone back to the group the next week, I would not have had the courage to do that. If I had been rejected, if I had been judged, if I had been condemned in coming out about this. Why would I want to do that again, to anybody else? Right. I will just keep that my secret.
Because it hurts too much. Yeah. Yeah. It does hurt too much. And you don’t want to experience that kind of pain? More than one? Yes. Yeah. And so I think that I probably would have just kind of withdrawn a little bit.
I think that it would have changed my marital relationship.
You know, when I felt judged and condemned instead of unconditionally loved.
I think that that this actually strengthened our relationship. And I think that had that not been my wife’s response, then it probably would have served to erode the relationship, right?
In your case, it wasn’t anything that was going to hurt her or hurt you. Whereas drugs and alcohol could impact
yourself as well of those that you love. Yeah, I guess in that instance, it could be a little bit different. But just having that support is just beautiful. Yeah. And we think that and this is where I start to get into the mindset of men, right? Is that we think, well, this isn’t hurting anybody.
Well, it is it because when we look at porn, we’re we’re watching people who, in many, many cases, did not choose to be doing what they’re doing. We get into the idea of sex trafficking, you know, and when we’re watching porn, like it or not, we are more than likely supporting sex trafficking, right? When we’re watching porn, it changes our view of
the opposite sex. Right, its objective, its objectifying.
C’MON man what’s your Story? And it changes our view of healthy relationship and healthy sexuality. Right. And so I for the longest time, you know, did this with the idea that it’s not hurting anybody? Right. Right. But yeah, but it was changing me mentally.
To to an unhealthy thought pattern. And when that happens, then it was also changing my relationship with my wife. Right? How I looked at her. And so it does have an effect.
But sometimes we don’t recognize it. Yes. Right. And, and it’s predominantly a problem for men. That’s not to make a you know, a broad statement there. They’re absolutely women that that struggle with pornography as well. But it’s primarily men, because that’s, you know, we’re, we’re visually aroused. And so that, you know, that that is an automatic draw for us. And we don’t think that we’re doing ourselves or anybody else any harm. Right.
But don’t you think in the 70s I mean, porn was a lot different than it is today. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, for one thing, it was a lot less success.
All right, I told you that I, for me to to watch porn in the 70s I had to go to a porn Park. Right now I could I could get magazines, you can do that very problem. But tell me Chris, what is a porn bar? A porn words.
Are is is is a bar that you walk into. And it’s like a movie theater where they’re playing, you know, the hardcore pornography and you sit at a table and you’ve got, you know, a waitress serving you drinks and off offering other services as well. Is it all on the screen then that it’s like, the screen there? Like a sports bar? Yeah, right. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that’s, that’s what it would be the equivalent of but it was just, you know, pornography. Is that still now? No, I don’t I don’t think so. I think number one, they became illegal. And number two, they weren’t needed because it was so much easily, much more easily accessed. You know, when the internet came along, you know, who needed it. And so now it’s become a, I think this is a $13 billion industry annually in the United States. So you have the strip, joints still. Now, you still have the strip, you know, the strip bars that people can go to?
And they probably Yeah, they do. They still have the adult video shops that, you know, you can go into you can rent movies, they’ve got private rooms, but they I don’t think that they’re allowed to serve alcohol in there. Right.
You know, we timed it, you know, 14 1516 years old. We pull up going and get a drink at the table, get served. And watch.
You talk about unhealthy coping, that was really unhealthy coping? Do you think you when you look back? Why did you go down that road?
Because she threw everything down deep inside? And? And or was it more of, of that social aspect of have been brought into this group of friends? Well, I think you’re just combination of things. One absolutely is suppressing this not knowing how to deal with it. And then looking for some escape from that, you know, we’re whether we know it or not, when our brains are traumatized.
It can, if we look at PTSD, right, the brain is traumatized. And typically what we will do in normal situations is store memories. And they can be pulled back up when needed. But there are some memories that are stored and archived in our subconscious that we’re not even aware of. Now with PTSD, what happens is the traumatic event runs on the loop. You can’t get rid of it. Right. And that’s where the nightmares, the flashbacks, the hypervigilance, the startle response comes from. And so you know, when we’re when we’re talking about trauma, and pushing it down,
it’s going to find a way back up. Right? And so the way that we want to escape from that, we want to find an escape, right? Yeah. So there’s unhealthy and there’s and there’s healthy ways of doing that. Naturally, the healthy way I know now as a counselor is the processing of trauma, which is part of what I do with people who’ve experienced trauma. The unhealthy way is to just find an escape a diversion or distraction, such as alcohol, which was where I went, right. And I found a group of friends that I enjoyed drinking with and one of those friends had a license and said, hey, let’s go down to this bar. And we were like, be okay. And once we saw what we saw on that barn, you look at the impressionable minds of 14 1516 year olds, and, man, let’s go do that again next weekend. That was awesome. Right? And so that, you know, what seems like an awesome experience turns into an addiction because the brain needs that hit. Right. You need that happiness. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. It’s It’s It’s dopamine, right? Yeah. That it’s that excitement that arousal. Whether we get it from
You know, any number of sources, that’s what addiction is, it’s looking for that next hit and then never getting enough of it. Right?
When do you know you have a problem?
You know, sometimes you don’t, sometimes somebody else tells you, you’ve got a problem. Sometimes you get fired from your job. Sometimes your spouse says, either get help, or we’re done. But then there are other times where you do recognize it. You You hit what they refer to in the recovery community as rock bottom, where you just can’t sink any lower. And you recognize that either in the severest forms of addiction, I’m either going to do one of two things, I’m going to die, or I’m going to recover. And most people are going to say, I don’t want to die.
So I need to go find help. Hopefully, it doesn’t get to that point where somebody has to hit that level, on their own, that they might be surrounded by somebody that says, hey, we’ve got you get a get a sponsor, let’s, let’s, let’s work on your calmness.
I mean, you were very lucky. I was just like, it was like the universe came down and said, You know, we’re gonna put you into this group, and you’re not gonna have a choice. Basically, you weren’t really?
And yeah, I don’t know, if you would have done it on your own. You know, like, probably not. And, you know, thank thank goodness that somebody did intervene without even knowing that they were intervening.
Yeah, it was quite amazing. Really. Right. Right. Because so many people have these hidden secrets. And
sometimes they don’t know really, they do. And sometimes I think, in the, the ones that I’ve had guests for, have been given that opportunity, that epiphany moment where they realize that they need to do something, but then they don’t know what to do.
Right. Right. And so it was clear for me that weren’t good choices. You know, and I like this discussion, because one of the things that that we always need to be clear of is that people with addictions are not bad people.
Right? You would think that as somebody who had an addiction to pornography, that I had no moral compass at all. I did. You know, it’s that moral compass that created feelings of guilt and shame within me, but it’s also that moral compass that made me say, I’ve got to speak to my wife about this. Before I speak to anybody else, it’s not that I was a bad person.
I had a bad habit. I can’t imagine the feeling the courage it took you to do that. It scared the hell out of me
to sit down and tell my wife, I have a problem. It’s like and and I’ve been struggling with this for years.
And get the response. I mean, not no hesitation. Just go straight in the eye didn’t blink in said those words of encouragement to me. What did you think you were gonna get?
I don’t know. I thought I guess I thought I was gonna get you know, a, okay, we need to work on this, we need to do something about this, we need to figure out how to fix you. Nothing like that. Nothing like that. Which really reinforced my my value as a human being. Right, because this when you deal with guilt and shame, you deal with self esteem issues, as well. self worth. So in just those few words, is kind of like all of that worry. Washed away.
Right. And, and as I say, I think that that’s where that recovery process.
Began because number one, I knew I was loved. I knew I was encouraged, I knew I was supported.
And then this was followed up several years later, with me losing a job that I had for 17 years. Not because of any problems with the addiction, but because there was a managerial change. There was a new president of company brought in. And so from his own company, he brought a lot of his own people in there was just a revolving door of the existing managers and leaders of that company that left and I was one of those existing. And so it was, again in the blink of an eye.
Session, 17 years, they came in one Friday afternoon and said, You no longer work here. You know, here’s a severance for you. If you would clear your office out. And I was happy holidays. Yeah, yeah. stunned and numb once again. Right. And so drama, another trauma hits you. Yeah. And I think that any time something like this happens, it causes us to have to step back and say, Who am I?
Right? And so this was another one of those steps where, okay, I had I had moved beyond this addiction that had its its talents in me. And now let the devil Yeah, yeah. And now, I was being successful as an executive with this company. And in on one Friday afternoon, found myself out out the door.
C’MON man what’s your Story? And recognizing, over the next week or so, as I was stunned by this, that I had placed my identity
in being with this company, this was the company I’d been with since I got out of college. Yeah. And I always thought my father worked for the same company from you know, for, you know, 35 years from the time he got out of college, my grandfather worked for the same company. And I just figured this is the way we do things. Well, in the 80s, we found out No, it’s not how we do things, values changed, right, corporations were changing, and it was going to be things were based on what are the you know, what are the quarterly returns. And so there was a change that took place there. And I had to take stock of who I was, as a person and recognize that I had put my identity in poured my time, completely into who I was as an employee, who I was as a provider, right. And that was kind of how I was measuring success is income, and how I was viewed by my peers, the level of professional respect I got. And so here we go with another loss, right. So loss can occur in a lot of ways. And in this case, loss of a job that caused me to reflect on who I was, and recognize that my values had gotten totally out of whack.
And in that process, I recognized that I had to reprioritize and that family is first. But doesn’t it kind of make your stomach like go upside down and, and start pulling all that crap from down in your feet that you push down? You know, it just turns everything up again and says hello. Yeah, again. Right. Right. And it’s it does it has you when something like that happens, you reflect on everything, you don’t just reflect on the last year, a couple of years, you reflect on how you came into this circumstance? How did I arrive here?
Did it all start with moving from New Jersey to Texas? What if that hadn’t happened? is an 11 year old? Yeah, I’ve been experiencing any of this what I have had a different, you know, outlook on life, a different worldview?
We don’t know the answer to that now. But what I do know is that we have a choice in how we respond to any of these situations. And, you know, having a plan does help your response. But getting blindsided by things means that you have to be able to step back, think about these things. Talk to Somebody’s about him and determine what’s my direction from here. Right. And so I think that it was that recognition that, hey, things can change in a heartbeat professionally, and I got my values and my priorities way screwed up.
So that when I reached the age of 50, I started thinking ahead now, that seems a little late to start thinking ahead. Yeah, but but, and it is in a lot of senses. But I think that we are, we go through stages of life, where we’re focused on certain things, having a job income, climbing the corporate ladder, raising children, you know, having enough money to put kids in school, and all that kind of stuff. And so I focused on all that stuff. And it was really, when I hit the age of 15, it was by no means a midlife crisis or anything like that. But I started thinking about what does the future hold for me, because when I reach retirement, I don’t want to spend all my time playing golf, fishing, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, I want to contribute. I want to be an active member of society, I want to be giving back to the community.
And so I, you know, being being a person of faith, I prayed about that for a few years. Literally a few years, I prayed about it for a couple years, I thought I had the answer, that I would go into counseling, and I looked up what it takes to become a licensed professional counselor.
And that was getting a master’s degree, which I didn’t have going through 3000 hour internship, which I hadn’t planned on doing a practicum. Which not.
Especially 50. Right. Right. Right. And so yeah, it’s been, you know, almost 30 years since I’ve been in school. So I shut down the laptop, literally, and just, you know, told God, there’s been a misunderstanding.
I didn’t want this to be hard. I didn’t want I really have to work for this. I can talk to people, I can listen to people. So this, how do I do that? And I went back and you know, prayed about for another year, and it became a occupying thought. Yeah, I mean, during the day, sitting at my desk, and I was in the field of construction, and an executive in the construction industry, reviewing contracts. And I would be sitting there reviewing contracts, and maybe five times a day, I will have this thought come through counseling, counseling. Oh, my gosh, I can’t get this off my mind. And I’m telling you, yeah, I go, yeah, go to bed at night, my head hit the pillow and my mind would just start working on what do I need to do to get an application in for a Master’s, you know, and I wake up in the morning, and the same thing before my feet even hit the floor, I’m thinking about counseling. And so finally, I said, Okay, you know, I give
I checked out some universities, their master’s degree programs, how can I do this while I’m still working, you know, full time in in my industry, and figure that out.
And in in a couple of years later, started into that program, actually, that year, started into the started end of the program. And complete look at you now. Yeah, right, right. So in when I started thinking about that, at age 50, it was not with the idea of early retirement, or quitting the job that I was in or anything like that it was about what am I going to do when I retired age 6567.
But as I went through this master’s program, I became so passionate about what I was learning, and so passionate about the opportunity that laid ahead of me. And the focus for me started coming into working with men, working with men who have had struggles and challenges just like I have and determining where did that come from? Let’s deal with that. Let’s deal with the root cause. Now let’s deal with whatever problems or challenges it might be presenting in your life today. I became so passionate as I went through the studies that as soon as I finished my master’s degree,
I went into counseling full time, into the profession of counseling, I needed counseling as well.
I went into the professional counseling, and now have my my own practice and wrote a book, which, you know, again, that was not part of the plan either. So sometimes it’s just by my willingness to be open to change. And to make a choice, when the right options are presented to me to move forward with those and not to be fearless, or not to be fearful in doing that. And, you know, when I go back to not being fearful, all of that goes back to that moment, when my wife said, You are my knight in shining armor.
I learned there. I didn’t have to be fearful.
But from when you were younger, it brings up that fear. Right? Yeah, yeah. And it’s interesting, because as I got into this idea of providing counseling for men, all of my professors and all the professionals that I spoke with said, that’s a great idea. It’s so badly needed. But you’ll go out of business doing that, because men don’t come to counseling. Yeah, thought, Okay, well, I’m not going to be dissuaded by that. No, I’ve been fortunate enough in my career that I didn’t, I wasn’t doing this for the money. And so I sat at my desk here in my home office
one morning, just thinking about, okay, if men will not come into counseling, how can I reach out to men, and at least give them some tools, some resources, right, for identifying their challenges for normalizing those challenges for letting them know, Hey, we none of us are immune. we all struggle with the same things. We just don’t talk about it, we step it down. That’s why we have heart attacks. That’s why we have the stress. Well, health issues. Yeah, yeah, all these health issues that come into play. So it was really interesting, I started writing down every challenge that I had faced, personally, every challenge that I knew other men had faced where I’d come in contact with, because at that point, I had been a speaker at some men’s retreats and a table leader, you know, talking with groups of men. And what I found at those retreats is that these men, really, without exception, would break down at some point over the weekend, in tears that they had held in for decades, right.
C’MON man what’s your Story? And are recognized while these problems are uncertainties, these struggles are really impacting us. So I just wrote down on the launch sheet of paper, every struggle challenge if I could think of that man had dealt with and essentially, those items became the chapters to this book. Oh, I just started writing about
values, right, because a lot of it was, you know, for me, was my values had gotten way out of whack. And I recognize that with most men, they had lost the compass for their values. And so the focus, yeah.
Right, because when you lose, well, I think, I mean, I’m not a man. But I think love comes into place somewhere in there, you know, and fear, and love will conquer. But fear sure makes the challenge difficult. And yeah, sometimes it’s just all in your head. It has nothing to do with real life.
You’re so fearful from your own past experiences that it’s coming into your real life at the moment.
Yeah, changes perception around things. And you started with a real interesting comment there, Tina, and I’m not a man. Right. The interesting thing is, is that although I wrote this book for men, taking on the challenges faced by men, these are challenges that everybody faces.
The truth is that men and women respond differently. Right? Men are taught by society or culture to handle it, right. Deal with it, deal with it, get up, move forward, quit complain. Don’t cry.
This is not about feelings. These are all the things that are messaged to us, as we’re growing up, right? And so we learn to stuff things down, we learn not to deal with it. That’s why these retreats, men would break down because they had been stuffing things for decades, right? Yeah. Now, this is generally speaking, and I hate to generalize on anything, but generally speaking, men are going to internalize feelings. And women do a much better job of externalizing feelings, women do a better a bit much better job of being in community with each other, with nurturing each other with sharing their burdens with each other. Right. And so their response to these challenges, oftentimes is much different and much more successful than it is for men. And so that’s why I titled The book the way I did. But you talked about our life experiences. You know, what, there are women who have gone through the exact same things that I have, right? loss of a loved one, dealing with an addiction, loss of a job, right, and all of these things that begin to shape, how we are who you are, right loss, loss of a fiancé can be just I’ve seen that with quite a few clients, and it’s amazing what an impact it makes in their lives. I’m not sure if it’s because of the age they are, or I’m not really sure. But
it’s, it’s just whoops, it’s just very surprising.
Yeah, and I think that our age does have a lot to do amongst many other factors. With with how we handle loss.
We, you know, we there are some people who are naturally more resilient than others.
There are some people who have more maturity. And when I say that I don’t mean it in a negative way. I mean, emotionally. Yeah, yeah. He isn’t me his 11 year old, experiencing a loss versus my sister at 19 or 20 years old. Right, experiencing the same loss was handled very differently. Do you think there could have been more love amongst in your family to kind of help with that whole?
I’m not saying your parents weren’t or the household wasn’t loving. But yeah, we Yeah, we had a very loving and a very, very tight family relationship. But when this happened, it was almost like a splintering effect. Yeah, because nobody knows what to do. Nobody knew what to do. And we were all trying to figure out how to handle it individually, including my parents. Right. One of the things that was really interesting is that this was a point in time. And it’s interesting to me because I was thinking about this just this morning. This just hit me this morning. That when this happened, it was my mom who came in and told us the news. My dad was broken. Right? He couldn’t even vocalize it emotionally broken. This, this is probably the only time that I witnessed my dad. sobbing. Right.
And I was thinking this morning, how interesting it is that it was in that moment of trauma that the roles reversed. Yeah, yeah. That the woman was brought over as the strength and I and to this day, I don’t know how she did.
I don’t know how she remained strong if she did through that. And my father was completely emotions on sleeve. Yeah. Just Just and so it’s interesting when I say that we were all trying to handle it in our own way. I think that that was part of my mom’s waves that I’ve got to stay strong. I’ve got to keep moving. I’ve just got to put the next step forward. Yeah. And, and so that’s how she dealt with it. My dad Uh, you know, broke down emotionally with this and, and, and, you know, my dad wound up dying at age 58. And a cow. Yeah. And I, and this happened when, you know, they, they would have been in their 40s. But I firmly believe that the trauma and the effect on him and the stress that that put on him, affect his immunity affect his physiological response to health and disease.
Because it broke them down. And, you know, my mom just, you know, found a way to keep moving forward. And each of us siblings, found our own ways, some successfully and healthy. But others of us not so much went through a few obstacles first. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. But But those obstacles can serve a purpose, right? Again, what are we going to do with them. And so we have a choice to make, and the choices that I’ve made, and the very fortunate circumstances that I have found myself in with the supportive tribe, if you will, both my family and my friends, the people in my community, that I hang out with, have enabled me to move forward and overcome, and now turn around and lend a hand of support, hopefully, to other men, who may be going through some of these same struggles. I’m sure.
I’m sure they all are all have their struggles. We all do. what’s right, a struggle of either a past or something job wise, or love wise, or relationship wise, or family wise, or? Yeah, and if we can just shine a little light on it, and say, Okay, this has been hidden in the dark for a long, long time. let’s recognize you’re in a safe place, a safe place. And I guess realized, what am I scared of? What am I scared of? Because maybe there doesn’t have to be anything to be scared about. But I’m making it all up in your own mind. Yeah. And I think that many times, that’s it, you know, we become paralyzed by our fear. way, when, in fact, if we will just talk about it, what we’ll find out is that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Now, it’s not to say that everything, you know, has a has a happy ending. No. But it is to say that, if it is fear that has us keeping a secret in the darkness. And it’s going to affect other areas of our life. And those who move forward. Yeah, and those other areas in our life are not good, we’re not going to be able to live to the fullness and quality of life that we that we want to. So you know, even if we have to address a problem, an addiction, and even if it results in loss of a relationship, we may individually be better off for having addressed the problem. Right, to be able to move forward. Right. Right. But But I would imagine in most instances, it doesn’t happen that way. It’s probably a very small percentage that it doesn’t really go the way you hope it goes, I think. Right? I think that most people who run their relationship are going to be very supportive of each other.
No, it’s been my that’s been my experience. For the most part, you know, obviously being in counseling, I see
everything on the spectrum, right. So that’s why I always make it a point saying that, you know, a fairytale ending is not a guaranteed here for anybody. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s only because you push forward to do it. Make it your own world. Yeah. That you wish, right? You your mind can go the opposite way too. And your world is your oyster. So yeah, you know, what I would say is that when we address our problems, whether unexpected things happen after we address those problems or not, that most times we move forward with a better quality of life. Right? I know that I’m moving forward with a better quality of life. I also know people who have identified addictions that have created loss for them.
But they are still moving forward with a better quality of life right now. Absolutely. They recognize they own their their own stuff, some of the conditions that they created. But they don’t beat themselves up with it anymore. They don’t deal with the guilt and shame they recognize that hey, yeah, it was a mistake, but I’m not going to let it define me. Know, it’s done and over with it’s right. It’s in the past. Yeah, absolutely. What kind of message do you have for the listeners? You know, I think that follow your passion. Take care of yourself. No, I say self care is not selfish.
Think about what you want for your life. Sit down and really do a deep dive into your values. That’s, that’s why I start the book with the exploration of values. Because if we haven’t done that, then everything else is just on shifting sand. Right? So I think that we we explore values, we identify our passions, and then we live into those, we lean into those and recognize that hey, if that’s gonna require change, okay, don’t be afraid of change.
Can be awesome. Oh, yeah, yeah, I look at the change that I made the shift in my careers. And I, I gave up a six figure salary to be dropping, you know, to, next to nothing. Yeah, essentially start and pretty, pretty fearful in doing that, you know, to choose to do that it, you know, age 50? and recognize that I don’t know, you know, I might have another, you know, 35 years on this rock.
You know, do I run out of money or what, and I just thought, you know, what, I’m just, I’m just gonna have faith in this, you know, I’ve prayed about it, I put the work into it, and wanted to go do it. And a year into it, I was looking back and saying, Man, why didn’t I do this? 30 years ago. It’s kind of like practicing as a golf.
In golf for sports, really? Because it, you look at that huge road ahead and think, can I achieve that? I really want it. But can I achieve that? And you have fear? You have worry. And obstacles might get in the way.
There might be less training time or, or, you know, you’re not hitting the ball like you should be doing or you’re all up in your head. I always I always seem to bring everything back to sports somehow. Yeah. But the main thing is, is that when you look at every one of those athletes, right? We look at every athlete that has been going through the Olympic trials and the Olympic athletes. They believed in themselves, they had somebody else around them, who believed in them as well. So So I would say, hey, what, whatever it is that you’re doing. Believe in yourself, surround yourself with people who believe in you. And you’re not set up boundaries, you know, because the people who are not going to be supportive of you, quite frankly, don’t need to be around you. You don’t need to allow them to influence you. So you know, believe in yourself and surround yourself with the right tribe and go do it. Don’t be Don’t be fearful. That’s for sure. Well, thank you. That’s awesome. I always think of being up at home plate trying to hit the ball. And you could have this parent that could be yelling, come on, hit the ball, and then when they don’t, the parent says, again, what’s wrong with you? Yeah, right, right. Or you could have that parent It’s okay. You know, you’re gonna get it. It’s it’s just a matter of practice or timer.
Or whatever you’re working on. Well, yeah. We’ll get it right. The first time Babe Ruth swung the bat, he didn’t hit in a park. But he got to the point where he could point to where it was going to hit it. That’s, that’s amazing, really. Amazing. You know, and I think life is like that, too. We get when we focused and passionate. The world is your oyster
within ourselves. Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you, Chris. My pleasure. It’s it’s beautiful story. I’m sorry that you’ve gone through all of that. And I only say that because I’m Canadian, and I have to apologize.
That’s okay. I’m glad you got one apology. You can breathe now. Exactly.
Sure, I’m glad to share the story. It was an honor to be with you today. Thanks for having Well, I, I I don’t even know what to say about your courage and bravery and bringing that out to the, to the forefront for people. You know, that’s truly amazing. And, and I just love your story.
Everybody, your book description, stuff is all down below. I gotta get my finger out again.
Your information is down below for the book. Come on, man taking on the challenges faced by men. I have put those links down below for everyone.
And I want to thank you for coming on our show. It was amazing. As usual, we focus on real and raw conversations with our listeners, about their journey from a life changing event in their life. That was a life changing few events in your life, Chris? Yeah. Took a lot of turns. Yes. But you’ve had the support. It’s amazing, though.
I wish your wife was right there behind you. I’d say Good for you. Because
I know she’s a part of this too. And yeah, she is spiritually. Thanks. Thanks to her, you know, of how things all went for for you. And your and your your church community and the universe for whatever that looks like for people.
It guides you if you’re listening, ignites you. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So you must have been wanting something a little bit for the universe, or God to come down and say, I’m going to put that in front of you. And you’re not going to be able to say no, right, right. Or, you know, you have a choice right. Now, I’m going to give you a choice. Yeah, you can you can choose what to do with it. Here’s your test. And when that idea, yeah, when that test was thrown out to me, I had a choice to make. I don’t like tests. I don’t like those lessons that they keep giving us.
C’MON man what’s your Story? They’re not always easy, but we grow from No, no, we always learn something from them. That’s for sure. So I would like to thank everybody, take a moment and subscribe to our channel down below. Click on that link. And I just have to sing that song, this time ring, my bell rang my bell from the 70s down below, right there. So just make sure that you click on the bell because it lets notifies YouTube, to put it in front of more people. And that you don’t miss a show that’s coming up, perhaps that you’d like to see next. We have so many cool, cool guests, each and every week, sometimes a few times a week. And just like Chris, no one is Superman. And so expect the unexpected. Because you never know what could happen tomorrow, that’s for sure. If you were thinking of someone today, in your mind right now, while listening to the show, you could reach out by Facebook by Skype by zoom, by actually picking up a phone for that matter, maybe even a text. tell that person how much you love and care about them today, because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
So please, I hope that we’ve inspired you and motivated you to start thinking about your unique plan. And our one year list. our one year anniversary, for our wonderful podcast talking to boo with Tina is coming up to our one year anniversary and we are expecting a huge celebration at the end of the month. For the beginning of all guests. I’m really looking forward to that. We are going to bring on 10 of our wonderful guests and we’re going to have a mystery question. And they’re all going to have time to answer that mystery question. And that’s going to be quite interesting because they don’t know what the question it’s, it’s going to be our own Hollywood Squares moment. So thank you. Thank you for sharing your time with us and watching us. I love each and every one of you You
I always end with Carol Burnett. And I know Chris knows who Carol Burnett is.
It’s our their sorrow era. Absolutely beautiful. Carol Burnett, a wonderful, beautiful person and comedian. I’m so glad we had this time together just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started. And before you know it comes a time, we have to say, so long. So long, my friends so long, stay safe. And remember that our journey is made up of a whole bunch of storms, so why not be better prepared for the unexpected? Lots of love. Thank you, Chris. Thank you for coming on our show today. Thank you. You’re welcome. Much love. Stay safe everybody. Bye for now.
Chris Robinson, M.A., LPC Summit Counseling of North Texas, PLLC www.summitcounseling.info Speaker/Author: C’MON, MAN! Taking on the Challenges Faced by Men www.cmonmanbook.com 972-822-8338
Kidnapping Hijacking Gunpoint Oh my…. is an interview with Janine Wirth on her own experience surviving an attempted rape at gunpoint, Janine gives us the courage to fight! Y’all, this episode is WILL MOVE YOU!!
“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, Edward Murphy
“Its best to live by both Murphy’s Law and the Boy Scout’s motto, “Be Prepared”!
“The Wizard of Oz” kind of prepares us for this story with Janine!
Kidnapping Hijacking Gunpoint Oh my…. Our Interview with Janine Wirth, coming to us from Germany!
Janine is better known as the “The Trauma Whisperer, tells all about her crazy life-changing trauma that will inspire you !! She shares with us, how Trauma can impact our lives and especially as SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, how we can overcome those obstacles. From her own experience surviving an attempted rape at gunpoint, Janine gives us the courage to fight! Y’all, this episode is WILL MOVE YOU!! Janine is a psychotherapist specializing in Trauma & PTSD, clinical hypnotherapist and No BS Business coach helping female entrepreneurs heal their emotional baggage and achieve the spectacular business success they desire.
Welcome. Janine here. Oh, come on. There we go. Hi. Hi. So this is Janine Werth. And she’s coming to us on a beautiful evening in Germany today. So thank you for coming on our show.
Janine is so excited to hear more about you. And your story. A little bit about Janine is she is known as a trauma whisperer. She’s a licensed psychotherapist, a clinical hypnotherapist and business coach specializing in helping female entrepreneurs heal from painful life experiences, because you’ve had a few yourself, Janine, and I’m so excited to get into your story. unbelievable story. And I want to say it reminds me of Wizard of Oz in so many so many ways. I feel that in your story, you had little red, glittery red shoes on that you clicked your heels and took you away from that scary, scary event that you had happened to you.
So welcome to our show. And where did it all start for you?
Well, thanks for having me. Well, I grew up I was born and raised in South Africa. And there you get your driver’s license when you’re 18 years old. And the day that I got my driver’s license, it was a Monday, I decided because I already had a card that I had bought in advance, you know, in anticipation of getting my license, I decided that I was going to go out with some friends that evening to a restaurant to celebrate the fact that now you know this huge milestone, it’s like this beginning of your freedom and your adult life. But I never made it to the restaurant because in the parking lot, two men approached the car as I bent down to get my head back to want to exit the car. I looked up and there was an armed man at each winder. And I had a friend with me and they basically forced us to climb over the seats so we didn’t exit the car at all. And instead of just taking all our belongings and the car and leaving us there they decided to take us with them. So yeah, that was I was like, Oh, those coffee good.
Were they scary? Like what was there? Were they like very aggressive or Were they very common doing it?
No. One in particular was extremely aggressive. And I mean, they were armed. So we did what they told us to. And they drove us to the next town in this very secluded beach area. And when we got there, there were looking for rope in my car. But why would an 18 year old girl have rope in her car. And I, of course, I didn’t have any. So the aggressive one was getting really agitated. And he grabbed me by the arm and started pulling me up a sand dune. So I was standing at the top of this huge sand dune looking down at his accomplice and my friend. And he then put his gun to my head and said, take off all your clothes. You know, and often people talk about the fight flight or freeze reaction, and you never know what that’s going to be until you get to that point. And my reaction was fight. You know, in that moment, I just felt this really intense rage. And I looked at him and I said, you will have to shoot me first. And I could see like the shock on his face, because that’s not how it’s supposed to go. I’m supposed to cry. Big please do whatever he tells me. And he was like, What now? Okay. It really caught him off guard. Yeah, in that moment, I use that opportunity to start speaking to his accomplice and telling him, you know, you’ve got all our belongings, take the car just got ready. Got everything. You know, back in the day, I had this huge Nakia that was like a brick. You know, you’ve got my phone. I’ve got my watch. You’ve got the money, you just take the car and go. And they were then speaking amongst themselves in their own native language, which I didn’t understand.
But like a tribe, then would it be a tribal language?
Yes, in in South Africa, we have 11 official languages, so and his a compass, which was the common one could basically convince him, okay, we’re out in the middle of nowhere here. We don’t have robe. Let’s just take the stuff and go. Which they did, thankfully, so my friend and I were stuck in the middle. You know, it was like after, I think it was around 9pm at night, Middle of Nowhere in the dark, and we started running, and we came to a road. And luckily, a fisherman came by, in his pickup, and he stopped for us and said, What are you doing out here and we told him what happened. And my friend’s brother in law was in the police. So he used the sky who stopped for us his cell phone and found his brother in law, told them what happened, gave him the description on my car.
And while all this was going on, you know, I was like, well, maybe the guns were fake, or, you know, because you try and calm yourself down and try because it’s a life threatening event. You try and convince yourself Well, it’s not as bad as, but the police did have a shootout with them. The guns were real. I did get my callback. It was a bit damaged. But I did eventually get it back. And the pivotal part, for me, happened about a week later, because I was sitting in my car on a parking lot waiting to pick a friend up. And another friend who didn’t know what had happened to me, tried to prank me by creeping up on my car and hitting his hand down on my driver window. And of course, that just created this huge reaction to me, it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had heart palpitations, I had this rush of fear. And I thought for myself, okay, this is not how I want to live my life. my adult life is basically just starting. And that led me to go and see a therapist, you know, and he obviously diagnosed PTSD, PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.
And in that first consultation, they asked, you know what happened? They asked you about your childhood, your entire history, and when I had explained everything, my therapist said something to me, that I feel was like such a light bulb moment because he said to me, Jenny, if you had had a perfect childhood, you probably would have cried and begged and pleaded, and I don’t know if you would have survived. And if we would even be having this conversation right now.
And in that mode was not interesting. In that moment, it was like, that was the first little drop of gratitude that I’d ever felt, you know, for the events leading up to that, that I thought, okay, maybe there was a purpose, because all throughout my childhood, I was like, why is my family so different?
Why don’t I have the kind of mother that’s, you know, waiting at home with hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies, you know, because you tend to compare with your friends. And you see, well, this is a completely different scenario. And from there that basically started this passion that I have for trauma, because I was parented by a woman who had experienced trauma, and unfortunately, didn’t receive help, because back in the 70s, you know, so I know what it’s like to be parented by someone who’s experienced. I’ve experienced trauma myself. And I know for a fact that if it affects every single part of your life, how you parent, how you show up in relationships, how successful you’ll be. So for me, because it affects so many different parts of your life, I thought, this is something that I need to get all the information that I can on, and I started reading everything I could find, you know, life went on, I went into a corporate career. And it was only a few years ago, when one of my best friends was on his deathbed.
He had developed cancer. And they said to him, Well, you know, we think two to three years, and he was gone within six months, you know, and it was here in Germany, and I was visiting him at hospice. And he said something really amazing to me, he said, make sure you are doing what you love, because I thought I would have more time. It goes by so quickly. Yeah. And that sort of made me reassess my life and what I was actually doing, because
there’s this test, it sounds very morbid. It’s called the gravestone test, where basically, they say, Go forward to your death. And what would it say on your tombstone? You know, gravestone, and at that point, my would have said, she made a big corporation, a lot of money. And I wasn’t satisfied with that. So luckily, I have a very supportive husband and my children were, you know, that older?
And I said to him, I just have this feeling that I need to change direction. And he said to me, Well, I just want you to be happy. So what do you want to do? And I knew that I wanted to become a therapist, I knew that I wanted to specialize in trauma. And I knew that I wanted to work with women, because there’s one we always put ourselves last, you know, we want to make sure that everyone else is okay. And by the time we get your souls, there’s just no gas left in the tank. Now we always forget about ourselves.
Yeah. So I then started this journey of getting licensed and going, I went to England, I went to Ireland, I went wherever I thought the best mentors were, and decided to have as many tools in my toolbox as possible. Because my core belief is you don’t have to spend years in therapy. I want people to be able to shrink that timeline significantly, and not have to talk about it for 10 years and hope that something happens. I take a more dynamic approach to therapy, where this is also where I use regression hypnosis, because when we just speak, we are engaging the logical part of the mind, the part of the mind that helps you decide what are you going to wear today?
What are you going to eat for lunch? What show Are you going to watch tonight, all of these things. But when we’ll talk about trauma, and unresolved emotional wounding, that’s all part of the subconscious mind and when we talk like this, the subconscious mind does not come into play. So with regression, hypnosis, we can take the logical mind and put it to sleep and go directly to the subconscious mind and explore which emotions have not been processed properly. As you know, you can imagine as a trauma specialist, I hear the worst of the worst stories. They’ve been raped, all kinds of awful things. But I always tell them, you know, broken bones heal, cuts, bruises, with enough time the body heals. But emotional wounding doesn’t heal. By itself, you have to actively engage, to process the act. So when we go straight to the source, and we go and find out what emotions need to be process, we can take 10 years and turn it into a couple of months.
A couple things, I want to backtrack a little bit from what you’re saying. So in that moment, when, because of what you were saying, with the trauma, you didn’t have any physical inflections on you or your friend right now, but a lot of emotional trauma. And so when you think of it in your mind, and I know it’s hard to figure out, because, but I know with trauma, that you have visions of the episode, in your mind, you have visions of hearing his voice, your visions of smelling? Like, was there any smells that you can remember? Was there? Was it really hot? outside? And it just added to it? And what made you feel inclined to say, Well, no, I’m not going to take my clothes off. And you can just take my car kind of thing. You know, what do you think made? The his friend the one that wasn’t so vocal? change their mind? What What do you think happened there? And what did your friend do at the same time? Were they the opposite of you not being strong and just crying or? No.
So my friend was standing at the bottom of this June where they had parked the car.
And he, he was in a very tough position, because I’m up there with someone holding a gun to my head. He’s done here with someone having a gun pointed. So what can you really do in that situation? This is not a situation that calls for bravado because we weren’t armed, know, what were we going to do if he did anything that you’d probably get shot on the spot. So I wasn’t expecting him to do anything. You know, the things that you talk about the small the cell phones, and that this is what we refer to as PTSD triggers.
And this is the part that we need to help our clients process because when you’re small, that familiar smell, or you hear a sound that reminds you of the event, the part of the brain that processes trauma, content time, it just goes up. I know this, I recognize this being your amygdala, the part of you, which is like your alarm system freaks out, right? So for me when I got my car back, and they had some of their belongings, like a luncheon, and you know, in the radio, they had a cassette with their music. That was quite an interesting experience. Because that proved to me, this wasn’t just a bad dream, this really happened. And I was in my car with my sister, and she was sitting in the backseat, and she’s like, I just can’t try and imagine you like sitting here in the backseat, like what was going through your mind. But in that moment, it’s also surreal. You’re just like, where are they taking us? What are they going to do? You know, all of that goes through your mind. So it’s difficult to explain it to other people, because part of you is experiencing that part of you is trying to dis associate and try and be somewhere else mentally, because it’s expecting the worst case scenario, you know.
So that is the part that we need to process and figure out which are the base emotions Is it fear is it anger is a chain, there’s so many emotions that come into play, and say, okay, that’s what we need to help apply and process because that’s the part that the mind is holding on to the fact that he grabbed me on my arm. I didn’t care about that. The fact that I thought I was gonna die and had the thought It’s gonna take them forever to find my body here. That’s the part that needs to be worked on.
Well, the part that you don’t know what they’re going to do next, and what was taking off all your clothes going to be next, you know? That sounds like they really didn’t have a plan.
Like a lesson to write me, maybe kill me and leave me there in the middle of nowhere. That is the plan. Otherwise, why would they take us there? Why would he dragged me up the dune? Why would he put his gun to his head and tell me take my clothes off? They did have a man. But my reaction, I believe, was the catalyst in changing that because it went off script, it didn’t go as they imagined it would go, or maybe had gone in the past volume. I don’t know if I had been the first victim or if they had tried that, how many times wrong.
So that’s why I say that reaction for me was such a pivotal point, because that was sort of the thing that made them like, oh, what now kind of thing. And that was the point that my therapist was trying to highlight to me by saying that reaction was from resilience from your past experiences, where you decided, I’m going to stand up, if nobody has my back, I’m going to stand up for myself.
That’s so cool. Because they must have been shocked and then looking at each other. So it was really good that the other person the other guy would that was down below could change his mind also, right?
Yeah. Because at that point, they realized, okay, and like, What now? Are you going to shoot her? Like, how far are you willing to go with this? how, you know, are you laughing? I brought them to the point where they had to take some sort of action. And luckily for me at that point, I mean, I was single, I didn’t have any children. I could say that, because there was nobody that was, you know, relying on me.
What do you think would happen? Now when you have somebody that you have many people that rely on you? Well, life?
Hopefully it wouldn’t. But if it did, if it were ever a point where my children were at home, I would do something. Because I mean, I would prepare, be prepared to take a bullet for my children. So I have thought about that often. And I’m a fighter by nature. You know, I, my entire life, I’ve had to fend for myself. So I think that is my default setting. I’ve never been one to even in the height of emergency. I’m the one that is calm, and follows through and I’ll have a little breakdown later on, you know, has been sorted out. And that’s when it’s calmer. Oh, that’s awesome. No, I wanted to bring it back to that, because it brought me to what you’ve been working with clients now, too. Because it is it’s just like a car accident. I mean, you have down deep inside, and you just keep on putting more and more dirt on it until all of those feelings and thoughts and processes finally fall into your feet. But they’re still there. They don’t go away.
You know, every experience that you have in your life, create some memory and some of these memories of good, which is great. Some of them are not. And those that have emotional attachments to them are like baggage. And if you have this huge pile of baggage, nobody’s going to clear it away. You have to go in there and decide what are the good memories that I want to hold on to?
And what are the things that I need to let go off. Because you couldn’t imagine it’s like a hamster on a wheel. And your mind is trying to process stuff. And that little hamster is just running, running, running, running. And that actually takes a lot of your mental energy. Because half of your mind is trying to figure this all out. And once you actually start active lead, taking the steps to work through that. That little hamster can finally stop running and it can take a break. And immediately you have so much of your mental energy back. A lot of my clients say it’s amazing. I feel like I’m 20 again, I wake up before my alarm I feel like I’m so full of life is because that mental energy that drain isn’t happening anymore.
Yeah, the mental drain is, I think, worse than the physical drain.
That’s because when you are in this tug of war with your own mind every single day, at some point, it’s got to give, it’s like you can’t do that forever and have a really good quality life.
Absolutely. So what, what can you do for someone like yourself, say you had a client with the same situation, you have to delve deep into those feelings. And, and I think that’s where a lot of people don’t have the strength to dig up that stuff that hurt them so much.
Well, my goal is to take the emotional charge away, so that these painful life experiences can become neutral, like the sky is blue, the grass is green, I survived a hijacking, kidnapping and attempted, there’s no emotional charge to it anymore. Because I’ve processed it, it doesn’t have any power over me. So for me, it’s important to help my clients identify the emotions that need to be worked through. And a lot of people are then scared of read, you know, reliving these events. But that’s not what we do. We want to just go like to detectives and get that information.
Kidnapping Hijacking Gunpoint Oh my…. It’s not about reliving. If I have a client, for instance, that gets attacked by vicious dog, and I take them back to that event in hypnosis. They don’t feel that pain again. We’re just looking at it as if it’s a movie and saying, Okay, there you felt this. And that is what you felt. And this is why you feel these things. And if they have active PTSD symptoms, to help them to identify their triggers, and to have tools on hand when something like that happens. But that’s why I love regression, hypnosis so much, because instead of talking about it, and rummaging around in there and reliving it, we’re going straight to the record saying, Listen, listen, this needs to be processed, and we get working on it. We’re not going to sit and discuss it for 10 years, because I think it’s pointless.
Yeah. And I find Well, in the past with counseling, it seems like that’s what you keep on doing is you just keep on bringing it up and bringing it up. And it doesn’t seem to you don’t want it to get a life again, you just you want to experience it to be able to sweep it away.
Yeah, well, the thing is, you know, back in the day, I don’t even when I went for therapy, it was a good few years ago, back then that was all we had. In the meantime, so many different modalities have come into play, like neuro linguistic programming, hypnosis, you know, EFT, tapping, there’s so many things that we can now implement to help clients do that a lot quicker. And in an act of manner. Talking about it is very passive to me, because you’re actually just hashing it over and over again, you’re not doing anything to create a result. You know, talking about things until the cows come home doesn’t change anything. No, no, no, in this industry, you have to feel to heal and be able to do that, you first have to acknowledge that you have this emotional wounding because you can’t change which you’re not willing to acknowledge, and then decide, okay, how is the best way for me to get through this in a safe, effective manner, as quickly as possible. And usually, that is when you would go and seek someone to guide you on a journey.
And I think it brings me to the point of sitting with a family or friend that’s dying. And why I say that, because if you’re not, and I talked about this at many of the podcast, but if you’re not present in the moment, to experience, this journey, and and be there for that other person, whether they’re dying or whether they’re trying to recover from a tragedy, or a disability or an injury or something like that. I find that if you’re not present, which we talk about because the things that take us away from being pretty Present are our fears and all of our things that we’re stressed about at the moment. You know, I’ve had so many clients that have been calling me at that moment and saying, you know, my mom is passing away. And I don’t know where her bank accounts are. And I don’t know where her investments are. And I don’t know what she’s done with her will. And I don’t know where this is, and I don’t know where that is. And I’ll say it’s too late. You can’t worry about that right now. And you’re going to have so much regret. And it’s almost created a trauma to yourself for later. Because if you can’t be present with the person and really feel like you’ve done everything that you could, you’ve said everything you wanted to say, You’ve heard everything you’ve wanted to hear, before they are able to go, then you’re going to have trauma inflicted on yourself because you weren’t prepared. If that makes any sense, does that thing that people will certainly have regret. Because once that moment is passed, you can’t rewind back and go back. So I think that, in any experience, that moment of being prevalent is super important. And you know, time is such a precious precious resource, you can make more money. But time, that is our most valuable resource, in my opinion, and to give someone your full attention and be fully present. I think that’s one of the greatest gifts available that you can give someone.
Absolutely. I I agree with you time is up there with for me as well. But I think love is, is the number one thing for me. Because you can’t, you can’t change that. And love and time kind of go hand in hand.
Now will love last forever time unfortunately does not. It’s very
Kidnapping Hijacking Gunpoint Oh my…. Yes. Yes, it is. So what could you do you think there was any other lightbulb moment for you epiphany or moment that? You don’t you’ve been in this business a while now? Do you think it’s your you’ve changed from
I do think that I have changed and for the better. Because, you know, when we experience trauma, and I want to clarify trauma for a second. A lot of people you know, when we talk about trauma, they think horrific car accidents, miscarriages, death. Yeah. And that is that’s what we in therapy call big t traumas. But a lot of people don’t realize that having a parent that’s emotionally unavailable. Or growing up in a home where you don’t feel safe. Those things are also traumatic experiences and a lot of people, you know, I’ll have woman come to me and say, Well, I was bullied for most all my life. But at least I wasn’t raped, you know, sort of quantifying the experiences and it’s like, being bullied. For me several years, that’s a traumatic experience, but because people think it’s normal, or it happens to so many people, they don’t realize that that counts as trauma. Right?
So trauma is actually any experience where the mind feels threatened, and where there is an absence of your own power, an absence of security or safety, and the absence of love. So when you experience these things, especially as a young child, you know, if you have parents who have, you know, alcohol or drug abuse problems, or that are violent, or on the other side, just completely neglect you, or are narcissistic. A child doesn’t say what’s wrong with my parent, why are they alive? The child says, What’s wrong with me? Why does my parent treat me like this? Why don’t they love me unconditionally? What’s the world teaches us that if anyone’s going to love you unconditionally, it should be your parents. But when you grow up in a home where that is not available to you, that shows up later in life. It shows up in the kind of relationships that you’re willing to accept, and how you’re going to be treated in those relationships shows up in your boundary. Are you going to be appeased a people pleaser because you’ve been trained your entire life, it’s easier just to go along with whatever they want.
You know, it’s easier to give that drunk violin parent what they want then to try and defend yourself. So this conditions are behavior, and these show up later in life. So, I work with a lot of female entrepreneurs, they’ll come to me and say, you know, I know what I’m supposed to be doing in my business, I’ve spent 1000s of dollars, I’ve listened to all the courses, all the online gurus, but when it comes to taking action, I can’t do it, I self sabotage. And I can then go and see where that started in their life, because your mind wants to keep you safe. And if it feels that being visible as an example, which is critical, especially in an online business, if it feels that that is not safe for you, it’s gonna go out of its way to make sure that you’re not visible, you will, all of a sudden start having headaches, or lose your voice, or your technology will fail, something will happen where you cannot follow through on your plan, even though you had every intention to and then women will come to me and say, why is this happening to me? Or they have their whole life going so well, they managing everything so well.
But then they’re binge eating, eating a whole pint of ice cream 10 o’clock at night when nobody can see that,
then that sounds like fun.
To me, you know, and that is then my job to go and find out. Why is that happening to you? Why are you falling into these patterns of behavior that are actually taking you away from your goals instead of towards your goals? Because when you are fighting against yourself every single day, at some point, you get tired, and you’re like, Okay, well, obviously, I was never meant to be successful. Obviously, I this is just not for me, I’m not good enough. And that’s not true. you’re responding to a certain set of beliefs and conditioned behavior. And once you know what that pattern is, you can stop that cycle and change all of that. But you have to first go back and see where did this actually stop? Why am I behaving like this?
Well, I guess it’s recognition of what you’re actually doing. Because I think the pattern just it’s just making it somehow, especially for women. It makes you feel better. So you do it again, and it makes you feel better. Not sure why it makes you feel better. Why does that pint of ice cream tastes really good and make you feel better? I’m not sure.
Yeah, it’s so soothing. You know, I, for instance, had a client who was, you know, having struggles with emotional eating, specifically binge eating. And she said to me, I, I’ve tried to everything, this, I just cannot figure this out. I said, Okay, let’s go and have a look. And we did regression hypnosis. And in her scenario, she did have an alcoholic father, who when he was, you know, came home drunk, he would go into a rage, and he would actually physically assault my mother. And she was about four or five years old, and he came home drunk. Her mother was pregnant, he hit the mother. She tried to go in between them to protect her mother. And he said to her in that state, you’re so worthless. I wish she had never been born. Why are you even here?
So for her when the person who is supposed to protect you and love you, turns on you and becomes the scariest person in your life. As you can imagine that from her perspective as a four or five year old. From there, she started, you know, thinking that this is the truth. But what would happen after these huge fights is her mother would try and comfort her and give her sweets, put her in her lap strike her hair, give her a chocolate or ice cream say it’s all okay. It’s all going to be better. So for her when she feels overwhelmed, or her boss makes her feel like she’s not good enough or she has a fight with her husband. She wants to go back to that moment of comfort and recreate it or relive it. She can’t climb into her mother’s lap, but she can definitely eat a chocolate or grab an ice cream.
But we don’t even think about it.
That’s what’s so crazy. Yeah, totally unknown to us that, it’s like that we just do it.
Yeah. Yeah, when we could identify that pattern, I could explain it. You’re, she’s like, Oh, my daughter. And now she knows how to deal with a bad day at the office or an argument with her husband, she knows the solution does not lie at the bottom of an ice cream container. Because she knows that a worth is not connected to ice cream, you know, but you have to first be able to identify that and see how it’s playing out. Because once you do, it’s like, oh, my goodness, it’s like, when you’ve watched the end of the movie, you know how it’s going to get. And then you know, okay, I feel this, usually I would be running towards this, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to find a friend, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m going to journal I’m going to meditate. It’s replacing those negative autopilot behaviors with positive, helpful empowering behaviors. But you first have to know what’s going on.
I find him putting on that kitchen cupboard where you would go to or on the fridge, some little messages on little recipe cards. Something that means something to you. And that’s what I stick on the fridge or the cupboard or on the mayor or when you’re getting dressed or so that it can keep on triggering the positivity circle, instead of going to the fridge and getting ice cream and thinking that it will make you feel better.
No, no, affirmations are definitely great. The work that I do is more about reprogramming neural pathways so that you don’t have that autopilot. Because when someone is in that moment, and they just want relief so badly. At that point, a lot of times the affirmation, they won’t stop to read the card too late for them. So with that process of using hypnosis, you can actually reprogram their thinking so that they don’t get to the point where they’re actually even walking to the cupboard. But, you know, affirmations I think are definitely a good starting point for people. If they maybe can’t afford to go and work with a therapist at the moment.
Just to start the process of of the loop. Stop on that loop, somehow. Yeah. Oh, that’s awesome. Did you have any final notes, messages for our listeners? Sure.
So I would like to give your community if they are interested, every heal your inner child hypnosis, which I believe is a good starting point for people who are interested in going on the healing journey. And this will show show you that it doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. That Whatever happened to you and your past is not your fault. But healing is your responsibility. Especially if you are a parent or want to be a parent, I always tell my clients, your goal should be to give your children a childhood they don’t need to heal from and the best way to do that is to heal yourself. So that you are parenting in the moment and not from these old wounds and being triggered on a daily basis and reacting to that. It’s the reaction part.
Yeah. Because, yeah, I guess it’s the realization first of what you’re doing. And then maybe the reaction of realizing that you are triggered by certain things, and looking at what triggered you, and so that you can start that healing process.
Now, that awareness. Because as I said before, you cannot change what you’re not willing to acknowledge. And to acknowledge something you have to first become aware that this is a problem.
That’s the hardest part. That’s that first step. I always talk about it too. If you’re really suffering any listeners out there that are really really suffering out there that cannot find the light or have had something happen to them. I always go back to my car accident when when everything’s falling apart, and I go in this black room, you feel like you’re in a black, dark room, and you’re looking for a little speck of light that can, that you can feel like you’re alive again. And when I found that door handle and that you could turn that door handle and see a little sliver of light around the door, and then you can actually work on opening it and seeing the beautiful, whatever that looks like for you outside of that door that you can walk through. It’s just, it’s just amazing. But it’s such a struggle to get to that point. I find in my past anyways.
Well, I think that some people, especially people who know that they’ve experienced trauma, particularly in their childhood, they, a lot of them actively seek solutions, because they know that this could and probably is causing some sort of problem or self sabotaging behavior. It’s people who don’t realize that the years of bullying or having that parent that’s not available to you that that is actually a traumatic experience, because the trauma isn’t as obvious to them in the beginning.
Yeah, so it’s hidden little things that holiness is hidden. Yeah, it’s all those little hidden things that you don’t even know that affect you.
I am yet to meet a person who has not experienced trauma in some way shape, or form, whether they know it’s trauma or not, every single person, even if they have parents who were amazing and tried their best, it will then be in the form of a teacher that tells them you’re never going to monitor anything, or friends that bully them or someone doing something to them at some point. So I want people to realize that it’s nothing to be ashamed of every single person has experienced foma in some, some way. You know, some of us are just more vocal about it, because we want to make it normal for people to speak about it.
Well, and understand it, speak about it and really understand it because I think we don’t really understand it in the moment. I just wanted to Well, thank you, thank you for that message. That’s beautiful. And I’ll I will make sure that the link is down below in the description box for our listeners, both on our YouTube channel and our podcast. Thank you Janine, did you like to say anything to our German listeners?
You mean in German? Sure. If. So I would like to just make or not make our listeners, but have our listeners really understand what Janine is saying, because when Janine was on the top of that mountain of that sand dune, and in the moment of, of that trauma, it’s really a tragedy. It’s in the moment of a tragedy, because you could be in a wildfire. You could be in a car accident and just hit. Is that kind of that same kind of moment?
Kidnapping Hijacking Gunpoint Oh my…. Can you tell our listeners that you cannot think straight? Like, I don’t know what happens to your head in the moment. But it’s like when, when you’re in that accident, and people say, Oh, I can worry about all of my documents. I can worry about all of that stuff later. No, you can’t. Because when something happens, I don’t know what happens to your head. But it just disappears. And you go on that fear flight kind of moment. But you’re not logically thinking. You’re not like, I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t know where your strength comes from. And I don’t know like you could have cried he could have cried your eyes out. You could have screamed. You could have done many things. And, and even if you were to do it all over again, Janine, I don’t think you would even maybe do the same thing. We don’t know what we’re going to do in that moment. No one can tell us.
But in that moment, it just overcomes your whole body and your mind. Doesn’t even think straight. And it’s the same thing when someone is dying. You cannot think straight and
in the moment, your only thought is here is this most of the time life threatening situation? How do I survive? It’s like this. They talk about the lizard brain that kicks in and its only job is to keep you alive in that moment. So,
right. So well, thank you. That was beautiful amount of beautiful story. I’m sorry for your experience. But look at where it’s brought you today. And I’m sure you’re happy, Happily helping healing many, many people. And I want to thank you for all that you do for helping people.
Thank you. And thank you for providing this platform where people like me can hopefully inspire other people and create awareness and give them the courage to take that first step.
Absolutely. It’s, it’s a tough step people. This is tough stuff. But it feels so good when you actually do it.
So I hope we’ve inspired each and every one of you. So please take a moment and subscribe to our channel. Maybe add a little bit of testimonial and some good reviews would be really super duper, and click on that bell. And our last guest Paul always makes me sing my song, ring my bell. Ring my bell down there, down below.
So you get notified of any upcoming podcasts or YouTube channel videos that we have coming on our channel. No one is Superman. So expect the unexpected. Stay tuned for our next podcast and our live stream on our YouTube channel. And for more great conversations just like this one with wonderful Janine Werth.
Kidnapping Hijacking Gunpoint Oh my…. You can find all of her information information down below in the description box. I hope that we’ve inspired you and motivated each and every one of our listeners to start thinking about your unique plan to get started on it today. Thank you for sharing your time with us and I love each and every one of you. I always end our show with Carol Burnett because she was just a wonderful, wonderful comedian. Do you know who Carol Burnett is Janine? Yep. Do you love her too? Yeah, I used to watch her when I was little kid. And she always had that thing with her ear.
Yes, absolutely. I’m so glad we had this time together just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started. And before you know it comes the time we have to say so long. So long. My wonderful listeners so long till the next podcast. Thank you stay safe. Stay cool over the summer. And thank you for listening. Bye Stay Safe, Be Kind.
Freedom from Trauma & PTSD Support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/18023…
Surviving Storms with your partner is a double obstacle because you have to hope you will have the support when you need it the most!
Managing storms in your Life have their new paths, new decisions and new attitude. Our interview with Mike Daly, is outstanding and explicit journey of the United States Air Force, a Lawyer, of course a Cancer survivor. Yes, that is definitely part of the journey too that left Mike legally deaf.
“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?” – James Baldwin
“In his iconic novel Giovanni’s Room, gay author James Baldwin makes a powerful statement about love. He proclaims that sex and gender don’t matter; all that matters is that two people love each other. Nothing should stand in their way if they have love in their hearts. These words resonated with millions of people who felt like their emotions were invalid because of the gender of the object of their love. With this quote, Baldwin assured them that it didn’t matter because love is love.”
Our story today is called Surviving storms with my partner. And we are going to bring Mike Daly in from Connecticut. And what a wonderful, inspiring story. Especially this month of June, I feel that it’s super important to talk about these things.
Because we don’t always just have one storm that we have happened in our lives. We feel we’re Superman, but we’re really not. But we think we are. And I would like to you know, we just we just think it’s it won’t happen to me. We we don’t prepare for the unexpected. We truly we weren’t prepared for the pandemic. We weren’t prepared for wildfires or hurricanes. When we’re given you know that five minute evacuation notice. It’s unbelievable to you know, what do I take what what do I What do we do next?
Yeah, it’s crazy. And I’ve been in that five minute evacuation. Notice, and it really is life changing. Um, you know, I just wanted to mention your backup plan puts your life all in one place everything that’s all up in your head into one place in case of any unpredictable circumstance. And that takes that aftermath, a painful Aftermath out of a tragedy because you’re prepared and you don’t have to worry. And you don’t have to stress. Yeah. So I’d like to welcome our listeners, our listeners.
So I would like to welcome our wonderful Connecticut guest today. It is going to be very, very huge because Mike didn’t have just one storm hit his life. He had many. And we are going to bring him on right now.
Hey, Mike. Hi, how’s everybody doing today? Awesome. Awesome. I’m just gonna give here a little introduction to every all our listeners here. So Mike comes to us from beautiful Connecticut. And I would like just a second. He has an outstanding, and he has an explicit journey that he talks about with the United States Air Force. He is a lawyer, a pilot, of course, a cancer survivor. And yes, definitely part of the journey that left him legally deaf. And I can’t believe how many storms you have managed. Mike. Unbelievable. Do you want to tell our listeners how this all started? where it began for you?
Well, it kind of was, you know, we have a plan, or we think we have a plan or people have a plan for us. So the plan was graduate high school, and go to college and being from I was born and raised in New York, all of the Irish kids in New York, where do you go to college, you go to Florida, and offline. first cousins went to come. And of course, I was going to follow those steps. Until I realized I didn’t want to go to Fordham. So the first thing was I went home and I broke news to my parents that I didn’t want to Fordham, which was the first storm. And little did, I realized that wasn’t even a storm, the best was yet to come. So when I finally convinced them that a college education was better than no college education, they agreed that I could go to a State University in New York. And then I came home and I told you that I had decided that I wasn’t going to go to college because I was going to get married.
Surviving Storms with your partner and that was the said, that was the big storm. So the question, of course, then became, how is it that you are going to do this? And I said, Well, I’m gonna enlist in the military, which was not wasn’t planned, it was seven days, Southeast Asia was still an issue when it was difficult, you know, my parents weren’t, you know, particularly thrilled at the prospect of you know, their eldest son, enlisting in the military and perhaps finding himself in Southeast Asia.
So my father said to me, which is one of the things that has stuck with me through my entire journey was, acts have consequences. And if you take the action, know that the whatever comes from that you are responsible for, you have to dress good, bad or indifferent. And one of the things that he had said was, this is the day that you go to college. So if you’re looking for a college education, go now, because you have two sisters that have a brother, that’s 14 years younger than you. So I have three additional children to educate, and two weddings to pay for, because with that switch you did back in the day. And so if you don’t go now, don’t come home thinking that you can say, Okay, I want to go to college now. Because your decision not to go now means that when you’re ready to go, you figure it out. But so that was the first thing I didn’t have a plan for.
So I went into the military. My father didn’t give me some good advice. He said to me, you know, the military might not be your career. So make sure you figure out what you’re there, you’re going to have them teach you so that you have a skill that translates when you come out, which was sort of interesting, because I got involved with telecommunications and air to ground communications.
I was very fortunate that I was trained and my background investigation came back clear. And I was able to get into air to ground communications for the National Emergency airborne command post an Air Force One. So I got excellent training. I had a skill that that was that translated. And ultimately I was stationed back in Washington DC working on presidential communications. When my I stepping back before I went to, so I got after I got my training. The wedding was being planned. And that wedding plan didn’t go particularly well and it became apparent that I’m at the ripe old age of eight 18 I was not ready to be married. And so we broke off the engagement. sort of interesting because now my plan has changed, my life has changed.
And again, I don’t have necessarily have a plan because this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. But I mean, the best of it. And I certainly not consider not getting married a storm, especially as things begin to unfold. But it was different, it was different than I wasn’t prepared. So I found myself at 18 years old, being stationed at what they considered a remote base in Germany, where there was no barracks, there was no housing, I didn’t speak German, and I had to buy a car and I had to find an apartment and I had to learn to grocery shop, because the closest based was about an hour away.
But you figure it out, but you figure it out. Guess as I went through, I go through life, finding out more and more that I can hold on to that actions have consequences. But I, but that, but only enables me to say, Okay, this happened now. And what am I gonna do? I have never really reached the point where I need to have an action plan. There’s never been a decision if this if then. So I made the best of it. I had a great career, I got that as transferred back to Washington, DC, and I met somebody. And it was a man. And I started to come to terms with emotions that I didn’t really understand. But I did know, that couldn’t stay in the military. Because back in the 70s, the theory was if you were in the military, and you were gay, you were considered a national security. And who’s going to because national security risk then somebody who’s working on presidential communications and national airborne, emergency everyone command plus communications, but me.
So I felt like I had a target on my back. So again, we’re faced with a change in plan. Thanks to my dad, I did. I didn’t necessarily have a plan for what he do next. But I was prepared for whatever happens next, because he encouraged me to not look at the military as a career in case I wanted the ability to go out. Well, as I was getting out, Mike.
Yeah. Is it is it different now in United States Air Force?
I don’t I you know, it goes back and forth. You know, I’ve understand they’ve had the don’t ask, don’t tell policy. So you could stay in and as long as you didn’t advertise the fact your sexuality, and nobody was allowed to ask you about your sexuality. And I understand that under the Trump administration, they changed it so that it was not as as open and affirming. And quite frankly, oh, but there, yeah, it’s up. But right. Yeah, you’re back. There you go.
Okay. Switch it a little bit to your right. My right. Here, no, your left. Better. There you go. I can see your head. Right. There’s my symbol in the corner. And it’s right in your eye there. So yeah. There we go. There we go. You’re back. So you think, yeah, there you go. You think it’s different now?
I think it probably is a little bit different. I mean, back in the 70s, it was an absolute. So when I wasn’t going to stick around long enough to find whether this was a passing phase, or for real or not. I mean, I had gone in thinking that I was signed all the paperwork and everything. And suddenly, you know, you meet somebody and everything turns upside down.
So do you think these feelings just really like they came out of nowhere and you weren’t really sure you weren’t understanding yourself? Is that part of the problem?
I think? Well, I think part of the problem was was that I wasn’t understanding myself. Part of the problem was, you know, I had never considered it. I don’t remember, particularly being attractive. Certainly not that I can recall being attracted to men when I was like in high school or anything, whether that was my own fear, my refusal to acknowledge it, or just I’m not but It was never anything that I addressed or was concerned with, right or dictating, you know, did I, you know, was any good, what I suppose a good relationship, I was thinking that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this person. And it was, you know, and it was a traditional, you know, was a woman relationship, right.
So, it wasn’t until I, you know, I spent two years in Germany on my own, I, and I dated, and then I went, I was transferred to NBC. And I dated, and I met somebody that big I became friends with that just led me to have a different set of emotion, not understand what was happening to me, knowing that it wasn’t a one afternoon or a one week thing, it was an issue that, that that remained at the forefront caused me a lot of concern, both because I didn’t know how to deal with it. Plus, know if it was reciprocal. And honestly, at that point in time, I didn’t know how to find out it was. So but I did know that it was occupying enough of my time, and thoughts to be taken seriously, which meant that I didn’t believe that I had a future in the military.
I despite the fact as I made the decision to leave the military. People saying to me, but you know, Mike, you know, you’ve got good career I was, I was young, I was in a very a field where I’ve always going to be comfortable a field that I knew where I could be answered, I had been promoted. as quickly as possible, I had made all my promotions The first time I was eligible. So from both a career advancement perspective, as well as a technical perspective, and and I had started to go to college, when I was in Washington, DC I was taken, like I said, University of Maryland, everything seemed on track, but for this other feelings, this other feeling. And it actually was and and the other overriding theme in life is everybody’s named Mike.
So my name is Mike, the gentleman that I found myself wanting to be romantically involved with his name was Mike. And it was his father that actually gives me my gives rise to my second monitor. So his father, I, who I met a bunch of times, couldn’t understand why I wanted to get out the military. And I couldn’t tell them, you know, what am I supposed to say, you know, I think I might have a crush on your son. Yeah, just kind of puts me in this awkward position. You know, so you can’t say that. But you know, so basically, he said, What are you going to do? And I said, I’m finished my degree. And who knows, maybe I’ll go to graduate, maybe I’ll go to law school. And then I immediately said to him, but people like me, don’t go to law school. So I’ll probably just get my degree and get a job and do something. So he said to me, you know, what do you mean, people like you, you don’t go to law school. He said, when you’re my age. And you said yourself, she was I wonder why I go to law school.
He said, I just I said, he said, I want you to just get up and go and look in the mirror? Because there’s your answer. Because the only thing stopping you from doing anything is yourself. And when you accomplish something, I want you to get up when you say, Gee, I wonder how I how that happened? Or how I did that, or anything you need to happen. Go look at me, again. Because there’s your answer, you get it. So I had both of these ideas, you know, actions have consequences, which I to heart. And then if you don’t do something or do accomplish something, it’s because you did it or you told yourself you couldn’t do it. But there was some there was still though, if you tried and there was never a discussion if you try and it doesn’t work out, whether because the person in the mirror I can control the outcome which I found out later on, or you know, the need for a backup plan.
So despite the fact that my everything in my life kept changing, I recognize that the action or the change had a consequence. I and I would also recognize that I’m responsible for it. But with that yet and figure out okay, what’s the next step? So I came out of the military and I got a job working for American Airlines. And it was it was was a good ride me while I was there, I came to terms with what I was feeling, realized that I was in fact gay.
A little bit, it gave me a little bit of space to, to allow your career to continue, but allow space for your emotions and feelings to figure out where you’re at with that.
And it was actually kind of funny, because I had a meeting room, there was no pressure, there was no pressure to date, there was no pressure for to not D, I could just be open to the stability. And I was able to support myself. So I was in a position where I could continue my education. And I could move forward with my life in whatever direction it went, still not having a plan. So I met somebody whose name also is Mike. And we, we dated for many, many months before I could even decide what it was that I wanted to do that I could be sure that this was what I wanted. He Fortunately, he was very patient. That was kind of our first storm. You know, I mean, I think many times were scratching his head saying, you know, what are we doing with this lunatic who can’t make up his mind about anything? You obviously have a thing for Mike’s. Oh, that I mean, that’s, you know, every pretty buddy was Mike. But, you know, fortunately, he he was patient, he dealt with me, he kind of waited until I sort of figured things out. I was ready to make make the move, and it would go now looking back 43 years later, it obviously was the right.
You know, we were supposed to be together because, you know, he became my support, I became his support. And we decided to make a certain commitment. Um, and it’s, it’s, it’s interesting, because when we made that commitment, we also that was probably the only time in my life I’ve had a plan. Because what we did was we bought one and bought a second home. And he went through all of the legal mechanics that we needed to go to to be to be sure that we could, if there was an illness, we had access to each other that we were able to make decisions with respect to each other’s care. We could make decisions with respect to each other’s finances as well as own. We both had conversations with our families. So interestingly enough, not about the nature of our relationship, just the fact that we had invested together and everything. And we, so if anything happened, nobody’s family should expect anything, because everything was going to the other. And it was sort of interesting, because my parents never asked any questions needed. Hey, the two families came together like any other relationship. Mike’s Mike’s folks and Mike were so good that my parents table for all of my for both my sister and my brother’s weddings.
Surviving Storms with your partner is a whole bunch of obstacles like when my parents became friends with his parents, we spent holidays together. And nobody ever nobody ever asked any questions about what the needs are really, two boys, everybody just accepted it. So from that respect, I think I was pretty lucky because it was one big change in my life that I didn’t have to plan for. Because I know so many people that have had, you know, issues with their family issues with their sibling issues with their social network and everything. And you know, Mike and I were pretty charmed, our parents accepted us they know, we made the decision. When we bought a home, we were going to tell people that we had separate rooms or anything, we weren’t going to advertise the situation to the neighbors into the community, a large book, we weren’t going to deny it. And we weren’t going to talk about going away with someone or doing something with someone it was always Mike and Mike. And if people chose to question us, we would answer them. And if people chose not to question, we were going to let them accept whatever was going on in their own terms. So it was sort of interesting, because neither nobody in either family ever asked anything.
SAME SEX PARTNERS
That’s really nice. Isn’t that when you think about it, because there’s so many family I mean, who doesn’t have family issues? Right. Right. So especially with same sex partnerships, and and trying I think it’s even more important to have a financial and, and not even just a spiritual but a financial plan of, of small and big things in your life. more organized. And then the average heterosexual partnership because of, of the ability to make a plan together. And and I think what happens when a man and woman get married, they don’t really get all that stuff together normally, like they just get on with their lives, they did their wedding they did their whatever their parties, and then they just both work and and go on from there. But I really like how you
said that you try to get your life organized with each other. And that’s super important.
Well, it was important. And one of the reasons that it was important is because the Lord, there was no mechanism to do it for us. But traditional, we never had the opportunity to have a traditional marriage recognize our relationship. So if something happened to me or something happened to Mike, and we didn’t have those documents in place, we could we it would have been impossible. Absent our families recognize our relationship and agreeing for us to take care of each other, you know, we can have life insurance. But what happens, you know what happens with all of that stuff, if we or for that matter, what happens is later on when I found out that I had cancer and stuff, what happens when those decisions need to be made, and everything so that we were all very aware of the fact that that we needed those protections. And that was one of the things kind of that that really made our cemented our relationship was you know, our concern out those those things.
And you know, those are pretty big life decisions. When you start buying homes together in planning. You’re not relying on the Lord to take care of you but relying on each other to to affirmatively take those steps and take that time to make sure that the other person is, you know, is taken care of. I think what happens is that cements the relationship in a different sort of a way than a traditional marriage and stuff because it does, it says to a certain extent . And and that’s one of the ways when you don’t have a sodomized or legal ending. I think that’s one of the ways that you show your partner that you’re all in.
But we all should do that. Well, we doesn’t matter what laws are in place really. Right? We should all be thinking about, okay, I want to make sure you’re going to be okay. I want to make sure that I’m going to be okay, if I get sick. And you know, can you look after me? Would you be able, you know, like looking at all of those viewpoints. And that’s, that’s so awesome that and I just wish everybody did that whether there’s a law or not, the laws change and we need to be better prepared. Right. Yeah.
So yeah. You know, and, you know, so and, you know, so when we bought the house and everything, you know, we we, we knew that we were going to need to play and we both, you know, we had though we had our first house, which is where Mike’s folks lived, then we had the second house, that we really kind of needed to plan for that. Um, and then, you know, I finished college. And it was sort of interesting, because then it became the decision of what, what’s next? You know, are you going to stay at American Airlines? Are you you know, and if you are, what’s your career path. And one of the things was on. Because we both worked at very different deployments. I was on the technical side, and he was on.
And believe it or not, you’ll you’ll kind of laugh Tina I knowing that the challenges to get myself on tours to do this podcast, I was actually doing data processing equipment and computer system design and everything. But that was many years ago, and now is a very different world. And now it’s sort of funny. Once again, I guess I should have stayed up on the technology, because then I could work myself on and I wouldn’t have tortured you the way I did. Try to get up on the air and do this podcast. Well, you know, things change every year. You just can’t keep that mic. It’s, it’s all cool. It’s all cool.
Thank goodness I have I have my background in Microsoft Certified systems engineer. Sorry. It was all trouble troubleshooting. Absolutely, yeah. So no problem. So we decided, you know, so what do you do next?
I really I was in my late 20s. I didn’t particularly feature myself staying in this job was 65 years old. Mike and I were in different An area. So it wasn’t a transfer within the company together wouldn’t have been the easiest thing to do. And even if I did, my job would have stayed this, his mind has changed, but my job would have stayed the same. So I decided to go to graduate school and I went to law school. And so for the next three years, once again, it was kind of all about me. You know, I was I worked full time, you know, so I, the household and stuff.
So what with the way that this would work out, was I would get up in the morning, I would study, I would go to school, I leave school, and I would drive into Hartford and I would work usually from like four o’clock in the evening until one o’clock and then do like, computer simulations and other things. And then I would go home, and I would fall asleep, and I would get up in the same routine. And then the weekends. Were pretty much dedicated to, you know, study catching up, you know, and we were in the middle of, you know, work renovating a home, we but you know, what we could afford, which was a handyman special, so many weekends, you know, or many nights after work or many weekends, you know, the goal was to just get a couple of sheets of sheetrock up on the walls or anything. And ultimately, we finished right before graduated from law school, we finished renovating the house.
Um, so there was a lot of stuff going on. And things weren’t particularly always easy. Because of all of that. I wasn’t feeling very well. And I said to me, I was talking to my mother who is was, is that that was a diabetic. And I kind of told her how I was feeling. And she kind of raised her eyebrows and made an appointment for me with her endocrinologist. And when they brought me in and started doing the testing, I rang all the bells. And so in the middle of going to graduate school in the middle of renovating a house in the middle of trying to get everything, I found out that I was a type one diabetic, and I needed to learn how to adjust my diet, adjust my exercise, manage my sleep and everything around the need to give myself shots.
Which was you know, which was a very big deal, it was a big lifestyle change. And you know, as always, it was all about me, no plan, no discussion about what happens if either one of us ever gets serious mess, but fortunately, you know, Mike was there, I’m rolled with it, Mike took the time, he learned probably he was more willing and open to learn than I was because I was much more comfortable defying. And I recognize that many ways. I was fortunate because it didn’t happen to me when I was 17. And it didn’t happen to me when I was 20. When you know you you want to out have pizza and you want to just kind of do what all of your friends are doing. Because that’s the most important thing. Other than trying to figure out if you’re gay or straight, but the secret that I didn’t have, you know, but being a diabetic, you can’t keep it a secret. So, as always, you know, Mike came through with the master plan, Mike came through and said, You know, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this, you know, we don’t have a plan. He didn’t plan for it. Maybe we should have planned because my mother was a diabetic, but you know, we didn’t. So once again, he stepped up and you know, do what you have to do.
Which go here, while you were doing all those things, you were probably eating wrong, and you were probably not exercising. Right. So it it said, check your health, Mike.
Yeah. So suddenly, you know, instead of being able to grab a Burger King on my way from, from Springfield, Hartford to go to work, it became either finding a place where I could get a reasonable meal or planning in the midst of everything to have food with me that was not going to you know, was not going to tip the scale and, and it was also a lot of coming to terms. I mean, Mike had just pay close attention to me because oftentimes, if your blood, especially if it’s going very low, you don’t right, you don’t necessarily realize it and that’s actually much more dangerous. In the immediate, then, that high blood sugar, blood sugar will affect you over time. A low blood sugar in essence makes you incapable of operating a motor vehicle or anything.
So he really had to be very much on the ball and it was an It was incredibly stressful because there weren’t you know, now we’re talking about the mid 80s there weren’t card phones, there weren’t cell phones he couldn’t fall in said you remember to he, he could go and say how are you feeling or anything else? So And I was gone from, you know, six or seven o’clock in the morning, until, until midnight or one o’clock at, you know, so there was a lot, you know, was a lot of stress and there was there was no plan. Other than, you know, when I got to work, obviously, I would make it a point to call them and say, you know, or I’d say in the bill, but you know, once again, we had, you know, no plan, which takes me back to my two monitors, which probably are not there, okay. But there should be a third which is make a plan, which actions have consequences. And, you know, and you got to make it work. And you know, you’re you are responsible for yourself, if it goes right, you look in the mirror if it goes wrong in the mirror.
So, but, but still no plan. Yeah. So I was on fortunately, you know, so, either. Either way, when you’re thinking about this where you know, your life is going to change, I was going to law school. Nobody was under the impression that I was going to continue in American lines as an attorney. But there was no plan. There was no what Where do you want to work? Don’t know, what kind of job do you want? You don’t know?
What kind of law Do you want practice I want to do with planning and taxes. Well, that didn’t fit with my personality at all. I had been out in the community I was when I was born networker. I thrived on meeting new people and new experiences and everything. And there I was putting myself into a position where I would be miserable. The last thing I could do is sit in a room by myself, and draft documents and do that other stuff. Lots of people thrive on it, but I need to socialize the outlet. But even even as we went through three years of law school, there was never a discussion. The plan was that I was going to graduate. And the long term plan was there was going to be a lawyer. That was it. So when I you know, fortunately, I was very lucky when I was the tester plan had been to take my last school course, we were going to go to Europe, take a vacation, and then we were going to come back and I’m just going to resign from the company which would have terminated my flight benefits. And and my health insurance and a whole lot of other stuff. No, we didn’t talk about getting health insurance.
No, we didn’t shop around and we had diabetic in the house who wouldn’t be unemployed who didn’t make any plans for health insurance. Yeah, but once again, I got lucky because the the end of the in the middle of third year of law school, the company offered a severance package that included a year salary and an include lifetime health and medical insurance and I qualified even though we knew that we should have had a plan, we chose to not focus on it. And we got lucky, we got lucky because what ultimately happened was I was able to leave the company in March instead of waiting till May. And I was able to leave with money to take us over as well as health insurance that was so critical for my medical issues.
But no plan. And Gail when I came out, I passed the bar and I found a job and I tried my hand at a state planning and tax law for probably about 60 days. Fortunately, we had a litigator in the same firm who took me to court with him and I took to that like a doctor. So I for almost 30 years was a litigator but don’t help me. And you’re with people though, so it was right up your alley. Well, yeah, it was right up my alley because I was out networking trying to find business, make connections meet potential clients. I you know, was gregarious, and I was outgoing and as you can tell, I like to talk and and I enjoy problem solving my I have an enjoyable evening if I’m just by myself as you know, I used to follow the Supreme Court like many people follow the New York Yankees. So I I don’t mind sitting there and speculating on you know, what’s Neal gorgeous, got to watch Sondra Sotomayor gonna do and everything and then reading a decision or reading a book about the philosophy of the law or anything else. So yes, what was great If you like that, if you like that, yeah, unfortunately, I did. Fortunately, I did. I mean, I also liked the New York Yankees, but but I liked doing that. So it was, you know, so it was good and I enjoyed it and, you know, putting the argument together and, and you know, and having a thing come to you.
And, you know, tell you what their issues are and you figuring out the strengths and the weaknesses and making recommendations. Now, you also need need to plan that. And you don’t, because law school doesn’t train you for any of that law school does not prepare you for the prospect of people trusting their lives to you. And you making decisions, you don’t make the decision, you make the recommendation. But you know, what, you, you make a recommendation and you say you should do this cause and you’re not usually whether it’s a financial issue, or it’s a marital issue or anything else, people aren’t necessarily in the best position to make those decisions. So you do find yourself guiding people through their lives. And nothing prepares you for the emotional toll that that takes because you home at night. You go home at night, and your life remains the same. But all of those people whose lives you touched, they are not saying often times, they’re very, very, very fewer.
You know, when I started out, I started out litigating in a general practice, and I was doing divorce work. And it used to frighten me because you know, that you’d get into you get into the, you know, into a courtroom and you’d settle something, and there will be a lot of pressure for you to not only settle the case, but to resolve it that day. And I like to do that. Because you don’t know, you know, something sounds good. But you need to live with it. You need to figure it out. And I kind of had a lot of people aggravated because I said yep, I think we’ve got a deal. And we’ll finalize it next week. And I would tell my client, you go home and you live with it. And you think it and, and things so I just want you to know, which was unpopular. So then you’re swimming upstream.
Yeah. But I found my niche, I found my niche. And, and, and it was going well, and then something else hit. Right so that it was going well. And then we came back from Europe and I had a an odd rope on my back. And somebody pointed about to me and I scratched it and it bled. And Mike said to me, you know, you need to get that checked out. So I tell him the next day from work, and it was a you need to get that out. And I was they came over the next day. And Mike said, Have you made an appointment yet now, we had a very good friend, that was physician and he was a surgeon. So my thought was I should just call Tom, he’ll cut it off. And that’ll probably be it. So finally, I came home after about a week and I said okay, so this is how it works. You either make that appointment based on your schedule, or I don’t care if you’re in front of if you’re planning to be in front of the United States Supreme Court. If I have to make that appointment, you don’t come out of here.
You know, and we never talked about what it was we never talked about what it could be it was an annoyance. It was annoyance. So I went, I call I made sure that I called and I made an appointment and I went in and I had to taken out this friend of mine, this friend of ours, Tom, so not a problem, Mike, you’re fine, nothing to worry about. I think, you know, we had mutual friends and one of their daughters was getting married. And he said to me, You know, I’m sure I’ll see you at a meeting give my best and we’ll talk soon. And about four days later, I was in the office. And I got a call. And I was a smoker at the time. Like I smoked from the time I was 14 or 15 you know in the military smoking at then was a big deal because you got to get out of formation. They you know, the old term smoking if you got it would spray. Little did we know them what we know now but anyway.
So I’m in my office and I get a call from Tom. And he says want to see you Michael tonight. And what’s going on? He says I don’t want to talk about it. I’ll discuss it with you guys tonight. And I was like well, if you don’t tell me why I’m coming. I’m not going to come. So he told me that you know I had a fairly dire diagnosis and that I had a form of cancer that, you know, was pretty blunt with Brad. And he needed to talk to us about what our options were, and how we wanted to approach this. And he wanted to make patients receive both assert, uh, you know, scheduled surgery and also to see an oncologist. So I kind of had them figure out how I call my and tell him this, you know, without dropping a bomb on them on the phone. And what year are we talking about for this? At this point, we’re talking about 2004. We had kind of coasted I got I graduated from law school in 19. You know, in 1988.
We had we had our home, we bought in a larger home, we sold a home, things were going well, life was good, life’s good. I was very fortunate. You know, I mean, Mike and I were traveling, we both had flight benefits from American Airlines. Everything was going, you know, we feel we were finally we weren’t struggling to put anybody through school. You had more time, we had more time we were spending more time together. We unfortunately weren’t spending any time talking about the next phase or what if, or anything else, like every couple we have a good days are bad days, we had some days where I’m sure probably more than me, scratched his head and said, you know, what have I done here? But you know, and you know, during that time, you know, we lost mom to cancer, and you know, so there was good times and bad times. Like it like that, you know, life life happens.
So, but we had never discussed what was going to happen if one of us had serious illness, we never discussed what was going to happen if one of us, God forbid, had cancer. I mean, we didn’t, we didn’t think that those things would happen to us. If we didn’t, they wouldn’t happen to us, or we just didn’t think. So. I called Mike and I said, you know, Tom wants to see us and we went in and he kind of outlined his, you know, his concerns were and the fact that I needed surgery, and the fact that I needed to go into chemotherapy and stuff. Oh, what do you do that what happened, believe it or not, was my dad was in hospice at that point.
And so I was told this, and I was told that, you know, and, you know, give you a diagnosis, they also say, don’t go on the internet, don’t do this. And don’t do that. And I didn’t do any of that. But my dad, so he also knew that the that my chances of survival were not very good. And I’m like, why is that? Did they ever sink? Why?
Well, because the form of cancer I have, is it. It doesn’t act normally as a cancer doesn’t. It’s also very great. It’s very aggressive, and it’s virile. And so normally what happens is be asymptomatic at the beginning, it’s usually test the size to other organs and and other places in your system before it’s ever diagnosed and treated. Before it’s shown its little head, right. So and at that point, they didn’t know what my prognosis was specific to me. They only knew the fourth can’t based on the biopsy and everything in the prognosis wasn’t good.
But unfortunately, I had to start I couldn’t go through treatment because the following morning, I got notified by my father’s physicians that I needed to have being inside I suppose papers. So I signed the hospice papers, and I called my doctor and I said, You know, I gotta wait, my mother’s got Parkinson’s disease. And I’ve gotten care of this, which, you know, again, you know, what are you going to do? No, Master. Yeah, we didn’t plan for cancer, we didn’t plan for my father. We certainly didn’t plan for them to both happen in the same week. You know, that was pretty upset. You know, he was like, like, you know, every day every day matters. And I was like, Yeah, but these days matter in a very different way. So, so, we got my father taking care of and I went in and I can like, you know, get your treatment. Hat started my treatment, had some issues along the way, like everybody does, you know, you sit No, we used to call it the big red chair club. You know, you sit in those great fluffed, recliners. They’re all red and and, you know, I I couldn’t, I couldn’t let cancer control me.
The deal really was that Mike and Mike came to every single doctor’s appointment, he came to every single scan, he came to every single chemotherapy treatment and everything. But I was struck because I felt like, for the first time in my life, I had no control. So for the guy that needed to recognize that actions had consequences, and that I was responsible for those appointments, and then if it was good or bad, however, it turned out I needed to look in the mirror, but I had no plan. I was just I was floundering, I was floundering plus the fact that was a bit of a control freak. So I decided that cancer wasn’t going to control me, I was going to show the world that I could control it. So the thing that I started to do was I started riding a bicycle, not that I ever thought I was going to be Lance Armstrong. And I was never done a ride in the Tour de France, but that I could do it. And what I started doing is I would ride to my therapy treatments, which was almost 80 miles one way.
And I would try to ride home. And I’d get usually about halfway. And then I would call Mike and I’m done. And we have a point, I’d load the bike in the car, and we would come home, you know, and we would do you know, with all of the stuff that you’ve learned about answer, nausea, the vomiting the body, the inability to eat, I lost a lot of weight I didn’t want to eat I had no appetite. And the game we used to play was we used to go to a restaurant that had mud pie, mud pie was a big, because my everyday it didn’t taste like 10. And it was cool in my mouth. And I was getting sores and I was getting blisters and everything else. But the deal was they had to have meat and vegetables before I could have the mud pie. So it became a bribe bribery thing. And so one thing leads to another. So now I’m writing the by going through these chemotherapy treatments. And then I decided that I’m going to ride in the lance armstrong ride for the roses and in Austin, Texas.
So now I’m training 100 a ride because I cancer is not going to control me, I’m going to control it. And also it gave me an opportunity to raise money for cancer survivorship program across the country. People learning how to live with cancer because one of the things that I realized is that kids young, they can cut the kids are at your body, they can’t ever cut the cancer out of your mind. So I became very much the scan anxiety the fear the something bothers me right?
That’s a strange paint is it and everything. And I was having you know, I was having a fair amount of side effects. I got the chickenpox I got shingles. Wow, a lot of you know, a lot of, but every day I went to chemotherapy, I rode my bike, and I would go to chemotherapy. And I would have a joke. Many, many days. They were filthy jokes. A joke for us today, not what you want me to put on your podcast. But, but because none of us had, you know, we all the group of us became Oh, close that there was no filter, there was no barrier we just communicated. So one of the goals that Mike and always I always had was jaw and I will tell you a quick story.
One of the jokes, we would have the jokes too just to make people laugh. Because the other thing is you never knew you would go there sometimes there’ll be an empty chair. Oh, and of your team. What are your team missing? What missing? Yeah. And you’re almost didn’t want to ask because you hoped that they were just in the hospital. But you know, and you know, so we so So Mike and I became recognized, as you know, the guys and we would do a lot of noise, we’d be noisemakers and we would have all of our jokes and everything else. And one day, one of the aides came and she brought us believe it or not board a sportily and sources for lunch. When you see toward ladies in a boat, at least I did because I’m very sick. have their sixth year I really thought that I said to her What are you expecting us to eat? Is this the medical waste? From the pediatrics lounge Have you like collected up all the four skins and thrown them in a bowl? You know, that’s what tortellini looked like.
And that became He came everybody’s war cry. And he was like, I don’t believe and I said, and then you served it with a sausage. You know. And, you know, when I go back there now for my checkups and everything, they still tell that story and how they would end would never serve tortellini and saw john the same day in the in the US and said, but you know, but it was hard. It was very hard. But so the fundraising became a vehicle became very important to me. And, yeah, the and then what happened was, I had an opportunity to work with a cancer survivorship. So I’m riding my bike, going for chemotherapy, I’m trying to run this practice this law practice. And now I’m trying to raise money.
And then they tell me that the cancer survivorship organization located in Connecticut, so I reach out to them and I, they have a ride. So now I’m writing in two rides, I’m going to Austin, Texas, I’m packing Mike up. And we’re flying to Austin, Texas, he’s not riding a bike, and I’m getting 100 miles.
He doesn’t know what’s going on, I’m still going through chemotherapy treatments, I’m telling them that I’m fine. So that I can do this. He’s doing things like taking a tour of excess capital, while he doesn’t know what I’m doing, or if I’m okay. Fortunately, by that time, we have, you know, we had cell phones so I could stay in contact with stuff came back. And I was writing to this organization in Connecticut, and the doctors told me very specifically, you know, you’re limited to 50 miles. But a friend of mine who was very successful, they owned a company and everything offered, if I could ride the 100 he would match everything I raised in that particular year, I’d raised $35,000. So was huge to get a $7,000 to get a $35,000 match. But I had to coerce my friends to lie so that we made a mistake, misread the sign when you return way in a bike race to go, the shorter loop and you turn the other way to go the longer road, we all agreed that, you know, I was just going to make the mistake, and they were going to follow because they also didn’t want me riding along. And you know, then I was working at the Children’s Hospital with the pediatric and that led me to the Hole in the Wall Gang camp. So what ultimately happened was cancer, I had no plan. I use reacting on a day to day basis to my inability to control my life.
And suddenly, I started making mistakes at work. And it was all starting, it was getting too much because there was no plan. So each day, I had a plan to get through the day or the next thing, but it was always it was always to show cancer never to show me never to show my never to show anybody else that I was in control. It was always really to show cancer and I didn’t recognize what was going on. And what happens again, in that situation is the person that’s closest to you in the world. In my case, Mike would say to me, Mike, what are you trying to do? Yeah, you know, you you’ve got too many irons in the fire. You know, this is your he used to say he says you’re behaving like Don Quixote. You know, you you’ve got your Lance and you’re charging and windmills, Mike, you can’t control this. My way that you pro This is that you take care of yourself. You take care of us, you come home at night, you sleep you rest. You don’t find another project, that you somehow convince yourself that cancer is not you.
Because you can do that yourself. So we had almost the perfect storm because we had actions have consequences. We have it want to do it. And you do it go look in the mirror. And if you don’t do it, and you go look in the mirror, but we have no plan. So my plan to be cancer was my plan was to beat it every day at what I was doing. So I made some mistakes in my practice, which caused a whole host of additional problems. And then I happened to mention one day to my secretary. I’m one of these guys you can tell that you know always talks and my hands are going and everything else and I we do the Hey Jen, get this Hey, Jen, what do you think about this, she was my you know, the person that worked directly from me and I had made six people working for me. So there was also that pressure to keep the farm going because I had payroll, these people that were that depended on me to pay their bills that depended on me to provide them with health insurance, and everything.
So, one day I walked out, I said to her, I noticed that when I yell out, hey Jen, could you give me this file? Or some? Or I’d ask the question, nobody was answering my questions. So I walked out and they said, Hey, Jen, what? Are you going deaf? Can’t you hear me? And she said, I’ve been waiting to have this conversation. Let’s go in your office. And she said, go in depth, but I think you probably are. And I said, What are you crazy? And she says, No, no, I spoken to Michael about it. You know, when we had this conversation, I’m going to tell you that I want you to have you here.
So you’re not I had just finished a trial, I had just gotten inverted. How could I not here. And so no plan, I didn’t have a succession plan, I didn’t have a plan to how to wind down my practice. I didn’t have any plan for what to do if I couldn’t practice for a partner that, yeah.
And now they’re telling me that not only am I coming out of chemotherapy, finally, and I’m thinking I won, because I did all of this stuff. Forget about the fact that I was leaving a trail behind me of things that I wasn’t focused on or wasn’t focused on correctly, including my relationship. I mean, you know, I wasn’t obviously, when you’re when all of the lunatic stuff that I’m doing. I wasn’t paying attention to Mike. But he, you know, but he stuck with me, you know, he’s, you know, and he, we had no plan for how we were going to deal with chemotherapy or anything. And, you know, fortunately, I was able to make money. And fortunately, he was able to manage money. And those were the roles that are playing, those were the roles we adopted, which put us in a position where we could weather that storm, both financially and everything else. So they want me to get my hearing. So I’m just getting out chemotherapy. And I’m just thinking that I’m going to get my life back.
Yeah, and now that tell him he can’t hear. So, I, I’m gonna humor them. They want me to go get my eyes, my ears checked, I’m gonna argue with them, I’ll go get my ears checked. So I go to the I go, and they they test my hearing and I am at probably 30% 30 to 40% I’m hearing 30 to 40% of what goes on, like, it’s impossible, I can hear fine. And they’re like, No, you can’t hear my so now where I’m dealing with the fallout from finishing chemotherapy. And now I’m gonna death and assess cause from chemo or the drugs. It was as it was a result from it was one of the chemotherapy drugs that they initially they didn’t find out was they just knew that my hearing was decreasing because and then over time, we found that other patients that were on the same types of drugs, we’re experiencing similar issues. So the way they convinced me that I couldn’t hear because I refuse to accept the I did, I was trying cases I was riding my bike I was communicating with people. And my thing was if I’m deaf how I’m doing that Yeah, so but like my my my sister, Jen said, but Mike, you don’t talk on the phone anymore.
You talk on a speakerphone and it’s very loud and they can hear it down the block. So there were all these little changes going on. I was yelling to them like I always get get me this so what do you think of this are you know, do I have to I have to be and I wasn’t hearing and the answers but it was never may it was them.
It’s funny how your body just assimilates to whatever your if your eyesight starts going your body just manages it like you don’t even realize it near hearing the same. Yeah, it’s it’s crazy. Yeah.
So but I so what they did was when they told me I needed to get hearing aids. So I said sure, sure. I’m gonna wipies because God knows you know, he’s been throwing up telling me that I need to get hearing aids, I should get hearing aids. I’m thinking to myself, getting hearing aids. This is a small price to pay. I’ll just keep them in the glove box in the car. So but what I did unbeknownst to me was they told him, that when they fitted me for the year moles, they wanted when I was distracted, they wanted to slop back so that I couldn’t see him. And when they took the earmolds out, and we began to converse again, they wanted him to create a disruption.
To get my reaction, well, there was no reaction. So he was sitting behind me, and he was clapping his hands. And he was calling me names, and he was counting, and he was doing all kinds of things, but I didn’t hear any of it. And what they what we found out was that it wasn’t that bad. What I done was I’d had subconsciously learned how to read lips. So what, like what and you know, you just don’t realize, you know, like, he would say to me, I realized that, you know, when we were in the car, you don’t want to drive anymore. And I would sit sideways, I put my seatbelt on, but they’re always sets, I was always always looking. I changed the seating in house, I didn’t sit where I used to sit, I always used to sit on the couch next to him. Now suddenly, I’m sitting in chair at an angle to him. All these things were happening, but I had no idea that that was happening or anything else. So what ultimately happened was, I made so many mistakes in my practice that I had to shut down. I couldn’t hear I call it again, I couldn’t go into court and read people’s lips. Um, so and no plan, no retirement plan, no nothing.
As this was going on, a friend of mine, and I’ll spare you all of the details, except to say that to you, that I was going down and I was helping him every day because he was going through divorce, and I’m completely incapacitated. I was talking to his brother. And I’m saying, you know, Sam needs help. Sam needs help. He should be impatient. He was suffering from severe depression and everything. This was a guy that was 10 times smarter than me. He was the valedictorian of my law school class, and everything else. He ultimately took his own life and took life of both of his children and his wife. So that just kind of completely destroyed me, because I felt so responsible. I was talking to the sky every day, I was going down, I was taking them to a psychologist, because I couldn’t take him to a psychiatrist. Because if he was on medication and sticking psychiatry, he wouldn’t be able to have unsupervised rotation. And I’m saying to myself, so it’s the law telling us that it’s better to stay broken and to get fixed. Stay broke, and you can see your kids get the help that you need.
You’re not allowed to spend time alone with your kids. Is that is that what happens. And at the same time, I had a very well known litigator that wanted to present against my physician in the drug company that they suspect caused my my deafness. And he said, and I said to him, but mark, I met with him and I said, That’s not going to work. Because first of all, I don’t want to sue these people, these people saved my life. I had a very, you know, I’m still here. And granted, I’m going to the dermatologist every 45 days, and I’m having biopsies and I’m this and I’m taking shots, and I’m on chemotherapy and everything. But I’m still here. Yeah.
So. And if they said to me, maybe they said it. Maybe I didn’t hear because I couldn’t hear. But if they said to me, yeah, one of the side effects is that you could lose your hearing. I would had I not maybe a year. But that doesn’t mean that insane. I said, and if they didn’t, if they did, didn’t say it, they didn’t know because I believe that they were dealing with the best knowledge that they had at the time. And more importantly, if I heard them say it, I would have said you can’t hear from six feet under in a wooden box.
So I would I would have waived, I would have gone down this road anyway. And it was very hard to be here for 28 for almost 30 years and have him say to me, that doesn’t matter, Mike, we can work around this. We’ll settle the case. And I was like, there is no case nobody didn’t think wanted me. Everybody did the best that they could and I’m still here and I’m proof of that. And you want to do to vote. Yeah, absolutely. So I had that and I had the death of my friend Sam, saying it’s better to stay that broken where you’re suicidal, you cause for deaths rather than move forward. And that’s okay. Because he, and then I lost the second friend to suicide was like a real wake up call for me. So I tried retirement and that didn’t work out that worked out fine for the summer. I hear that a lot. Yeah. And then it got close. And this is a true story. I was watching daytime TV, because I was going out later. And later in time, I was watching I was watching Kelly Ripa in the morning. So at night, I’m reading books about the Supreme Court in the morning. I’m reading Kelly Ripa watching Kelly. And one day, I turned on the remote to see who our guest was the next day.
So I could plan my day. And I was like, What have you if you can’t add to your mind? You’re planning your day around around TV? This is your spy camera cancer for Are you not? And I had no plan. I had nothing. I mean, it was one day at a time. Nobody. We didn’t plan for retirement, Mike will work and we didn’t plan for retirement, no plays home watching daytime TV. So I started volunteering at the hospital. And there I was just an amazing, amazing journey. But more importantly, I got myself a job. And because of the thing that affected me the most, which was which was, um, you know, I’m suicide of two friends. Right? And that I got a job working for a young adult mental health awareness organism and I started to volunteer. And now I’m the office man. You know, it’s like your passion. Yeah, no, it turned out to be my passion that and obviously, I still go to the dermatologist every 45 days, I still have my biopsies I have, you know, an experiment. And, you know, I have medication that I have to take and everything, but from my diabetes. You know, that was the other thing that made it very difficult, you know, that you died using the chemotherapy or on a collision course? Yes. But you know, it was sort of interesting for me to suddenly realize I watched daytime TV that there was no for this either. It was just life was happening.
And, you know, in many ways, it’s still happening, because now I’m old, I’m working here. Mike is now 70. He has gotten me through every, every day, every single day. I one of the habits that I developed as I was going through all this was at night when I go to bed, I take off my slippers, and I purposely get down on my knees, I wish them all the way under the bed.
Because then I get down on my knees and I realize how much I have to be grateful for. And in the morning, when I get out of bed. First thing I’ve got to do is get down on my knees to get my slippers out from under the bed. And the first thing that I see is my sleeping on the other side of the bed. And I realized how much I have to be grateful for. That’s awesome. But I say to myself, would it have been better? If we had thought about these things? Two reasons, it would have made the journey that much easier, that much less chaotic, that must less frightening. Nobody’s going to plan to get cancer. Nobody’s going to plan to go death. But you can plan for a catastrophe.
So what if the what if what if I can’t work, it doesn’t matter if I can’t work because I have diabetes, and I’m losing my eyesight or I have cancer or I’m losing my hearing? Or I’m just old or you get arthritis? Or who knows or if you have a car accident, right? COVID Yeah, right, exactly. But we never plan that. And you know, But through it all. Michael stayed focused on the need to control the circumstances, to organize, to keep to organize it to figure out what we were doing and how to move us forward. So when I say there was no plan, Michael always had a focus on the end, Ron. So Mike might not have. So Michael had planned Michael knew what he had to do. Michael had to manage. Michael had a plan for our retirement, Michael had to give thought, Michael Murali on and encouraged both of us to get long term care insurance and disability insurance.
All of these other things. So he had the plan, but I lived, I’m 65 years old, I lived without a plan. I lived reactionary, the two things that I believed, because I had been told Young was that actions have consequences, good, bad, or indifferent. And you have to control those. And you have to figure out how you play the cards that you dealt. But I never gave any thought to how to play the cards when I got dealt a crappy hand.
Now is that kind of like the same same as you made your bed, you can lie in it now. It’s similar. It’s similar, you know, you played the card, you’re dealt, you know, so you make good choices, you make bad decision, I tell the dealer hecha, whatever it is you got, you got to play them, you’ve got to figure your way out. And you know, and the other thing was, you know, when when things go wrong, you go look in the mirror, things go, go look in the mirror.
So it wasn’t a matter of not having any sense of responsibility or anything. It was a matter of always reacting, always reacting, never being proactive when it hit the fan. And But Michael, on the other hand, was always focused on the end run. And that’s about a stroke. That’s what got us through, if he just saw and if he didn’t look forward if he didn’t take stock of the situation, and have a plan for moving through it. We I don’t know. I don’t know if we were to stay together. I don’t know what our retirement is, you know, for all I know, you could be eating cat food right now. You know? Yeah. Yeah. And that’s expensive, too. Yeah, that’s better than a GP, especially.
FINAL NOTES FOR LISTENERS
But what what kind of final note would you have for our listeners, that’s brought you to this point in your life, you’ve helped so many people in mental health, in cancer and raising money in in being trying to find your passion. I think you have many passions. But yeah, what kind of message do you think you would have? You know, maybe just another LGBTQ partner? Like, what would you have? I mean, what you’ve gone through is different than what others especially in that era, because we didn’t look at it in the 70s, or 80s. But I think the thing is, is thing is, is to take stock of who you surround yourself with, whether it’s a same sex partner, or opposite sex partner, or whatever, you build your life together.
Understand that there it’s not, it’s not all candlelight dinners. And you need to you need to plan for those nights. That’s not a candlelight dinner. And getting old is not for the faint of heart. So we can all you know, it we were living, what do they call it? spontaneously? Yes, the badge of honor. And I did that I did that for I just reacted to everything that happened. And thank God, it has a happy ending. But it has a happy ending, because I’ve made good because of the person that I was fortunate enough to be making choices. So I think that we can all spontaneously for the day. But think that we all have to recognize that life is not a spectator sport, and that we do have to plan that we are going to have good days and bad days, and how do we get through the bad days? And how do we capitalize on the good days? How do we know? We don’t know what’s next? So how do we make sure that we give ourselves as much insurance and by insurance, I don’t necessarily mean health insurance or life insurance or anything else. But just insurance that that the people that we care about and the people that care about us get what they need from us in good times. And
oh, that’s so beautiful. If this wasn’t recorded, I would have recorded that. Oh, that’s so awesome. Thank you. Did you have any other final message that you’d like to get the listeners?
I mean, what the story? Yeah, I you know, I want to thank people for listening. You know, I mean, I hope that, you know, they certainly if anybody had a question they could get in touch with me through you or anything. You know, I just, I just hope that when you go through this by yourself or alone, it’s a waste in many ways, not a waste. Because we come out strong, he come out differently. But if I can avoid if I can help one person do it better than me. Because they plan and they thought about it and they’re a little bit more introspective. And they recognize that it could happen, then yes, it gives what I went through, meaning purpose.
And so I just hope that one person that nobody gets cancer and that nobody needs a plan. But they can all say at the end of the run, Mike told us to plan. And isn’t he adult because we didn’t need to plan? Yeah. Oh, the the situation is that’s not going to happen. Because we all need a plan. We all need to know what it is that we’re doing. And we all need to know how it is that we’re going to weather the good days and the bad, bad. Yes. That’s perfect. That’s perfect. Absolutely. Perfect. Thank you so very much for your, your passion and helping others. I know, I really, really appreciate that. My Kim, of course, your other Mike has a big point in all of this as well. Getting to you to where you’re at right now as well. So thanks, Tom, your other half? Maybe your better half? I’m not really sure. But absolutely my better half. Sometimes I do have better halves. Yeah. And yeah. And what he shows is that, you know, it takes patience, both with yourself and with so I guess the other thing that people should always remember is, is they go through these good times and bad times to have patience.
Patience. Yeah. And we all hate patients. I know I do. Yeah, it’s it’s tough. We we have to wonder why we need patience. But when you’re in it, you sure You sure do. So well. Thank you. It’s that time again, listeners, I can’t believe it’s already, you know, we could talk to Mike here for forever, I’m sure you’re full of knowledge, you are full of experiences. And I may just have you come back on again, at some point in time again, because, you know, it’s it’s really beautiful. Unfortunately, you’ve had to go through what you’ve had to go through. But at the same time, wow, your experiences can help so many people. So thank you, thank you for that. Thank you look back at your convenience. And you know, yeah, yeah, and update us and give us some more highlights. So thank you. Thank you everyone, for watching and listening to our show. And take a moment and make sure you click on the subscribe button, share this with others. And click on that bell. And I know one of our other guests makes me want to sing. to click on the bell, there’s a bell right before beside the subscribe button down here somewhere right down there, right there. So make sure you click on the subscribe like this, this show as well, it helps to make sure that we’re getting more of the shows out to other people. And click on that bell because that really means that you get notified when we come up with more great guests like Mike, and you don’t want to miss it. So if you don’t click on the bell, you might miss a show. So um, I want to thank everyone for coming. As you can see, Mike is perfect for expect the unexpected. No one is Superman, and why not look at what we can do today to be better protected for tomorrow. And I coach each and every one. Because there’s nobody that gets out of this life alive, so to speak. And I just want everyone to feel that, that they don’t have to live in stress. They don’t have to live and not knowing what to do next. Because you’ve already consider the what if especially with your friends and family, parents, brothers, sisters, that type of thing, because that’s a tough situation to be in after the fact after the storm has hit. So thank you everyone for listening and watching. And if you were thinking of someone today, that’s in your mind that you haven’t spoken to, please reach out to them. Tell them how much you love and care about them. Because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Thanks Mike!
MIKE DALY AT : https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014065901310 email@example.com