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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

Marissa: Welcome back to Breaking Through Our Silence. I know I say this every time but I am so honored to bring in my amazing, amazing friend, Dave Gilliland to talk to us today. Dave is an asylum officer with the Citizens and Immigration Offices, a veteran, a survivor of child sexual abuse, and a Southern Baptist pastor for the First Baptist Church of Coal City, Illinois. But before all of that, he is my former co-worker, amazing business partner, and long-time friend and travel buddy. We worked together at the 416th Tech Army Installation working in suicide prevention. Thank you so much for being here, Dave. Oh, my gosh, I miss you.

 

Dave: It's awesome. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my little slice of the world on such an important topic. I'm really excited to be here. Thank you.

 

Marissa: Well, thank you so much for being so open to talk to us. So today, I really want to focus on how religion plays a role in abuse. I have been confronted with several people reaching out asking about what they can do, because they are very devout in their religion, and feel very stuck in their abusive situation. So, as a pastor, if somebody were to approach you and say, “I'm in an abusive relationship, but I don't know what to do,” what advice would you give them? What would you say to them?

 

Dave: Well, you know, every person is different, and every situation is different. So, I don't know that there's a boilerplate answer. I'm actually dealing with a couple of different couples that are going through divorce right now. One from my church, one from my extended family. And there's been a culture for a really long time. In a church culture of you don't divorce unless there's some kind of sexual infidelity or things like that. And there's definitely biblical precedent for that. At the same time, I don't think that people should take such a legalistic view of the Bible that they stay in an abusive relationship. I can't imagine that Jesus would want you to stay and be abused. I just don't get that from the Scripture. So typically what I would do is I recommend counseling . I don't counsel myself, because I'm not a counsellor, you know. I'm just a guy who happens to be a pastor on the side. I don't have a counseling  degree. So I outsource counseling , but I recommend counseling . I do recommend reconciliation, as the main goal. You know? Restoration, reconciliation. Let's not walk away from something that's broken if it can be fixed and restored. You know? That's even better. Sometimes people just don't want to put in the work because it takes work. So, you know, definitely counseling . I don't want people hiding and just suffering abuse for no reason. I don't think that's a good way to live. And I don't think that honors God to live that way either.

 

Marissa: That makes sense. First, I like that you said that you don't think that Jesus would want somebody to suffer through abuse. And I agree with that. I'm Jewish, by tradition and by blood. So, Jesus has never been a part of my life, but, from what I understand from Catholicism and Christianity and the sects of Christianity, I also can't imagine that a person that preached tolerance and non judgment would want you to suffer. Right?

 

Dave: Right. There's, a whole school of thought, it comes, like I said, from a very legalistic perspective. Kind of an old school cultural perspective that, you know, the man is in charge. And, you know, the scripture saying that your body is not your own, it belongs to your spouse. And that has really been misused and abused. Some people may say, some pastors may say, “Yes, you should suffer just like Jesus suffered.” And, you know, I think that's a real misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus always confronted people in their sin. I mean, he never just ignored sin. But, he did it in a loving way. And he would say things like, “I'm the judge, not you.” Basically, who has no sin cast the first stone, right? All of us have our sins; all of us have our shortcomings. And I think God, if you look from the whole creation story at the beginning, if you look from the Torah, all right, all the way through the new testament to Revelation. God, continually, constantly over and over again, is about redeeming and restoring. And I think that when people are in an abusive situation, you should try to fix it. Sometimes it can't be fixed. And I think there is a point where you just got to walk away. And I don't think it's the Church's responsibility to make people feel guilty about that, to harm them. You can be guilt tripped in staying, or there's a lot of different ways that we can manipulate people into doing things that they don't want to do. And I don't think that's the Church's job. I think the Church's job is to redeem all of those types of things. To love. And that's ultimately, I mean, you can get through these things. I've seen marriages come back from the brink. Most of the broken marriages I see, there have been a little bit of direct abuse. Like emotional abuse, or some verbal abuse. But most of the time, it's years and years of neglect, right? It's about not dealing with things as they happen. It's not, it's about trying to cover them up or to cover them over, instead of addressing it right then and there. And what happens is when people hold on to their stuff, and those hurt feelings build up; those wounds add up. And then there's a point where everything just explodes. Right? And then it's just a big, giant mess. Like I said, I'm dealing with two divorces right now and that's exactly what happened in both of them. One is a 13-year marriage. The other one’s over 20 years. And it's simply because they have neglected their marriage over the years and they've abused each other in that way. They've not taken care of each other. And now, there's, you know, very little hope for reconciliation.

 

Marissa: But what about people who are, not to, you know, downplay anything with the couples that you're working with, but the people who are in verbally or emotionally abusive relationships that are persistent? Abuse is classified as a pattern of behaviour that cycles through honeymoon, to tension, to explosion. And so those are the people that I'm concerned about, truly, that feel guilt ridden to stay.

 

Dave: Well, again, I guess I would recommend counseling first, for any of those situations where there's sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, try to get some help. There's a point when you are enabling somebody else's mental illness, right? Their stuff’s being projected on you, and they're taking it out on you. If I ever struck my wife out of anger, she should walk out the door. Right? She absolutely should. That said, we've been married for 20 years, we should get counseling, if that's possible. I grew up in a very abusive home, with an alcoholic father. And I can't tell you how many times I heard, “Oh, I'll never drink again, I'll never hit you, again. I'll never do this, again.” And there comes a point when you know, right, that those words mean nothing at all. Right? Words go so far, but then there's got to be some action. So, in the church language, we would call that repentance, right? And what repentance means is, it doesn't mean saying, “I'm sorry for something.” It means basically doing a 180. I was going this direction, now I turn around and I’m going in that direction. So, if I'm being abusive, I'm going to quit being abusive. And I'm going to start being loving and supportive and encouraging and all those things. So, when I'm dealing with people from a pastoral perspective, one of the first things I look for is, how do I see these people behaving towards each other? Are they behaving towards each other with criticism and sarcasm and a lack of integrity? Or are they trying to love and care and compassion? Do you see those things in their actions? Because what you ultimately want is you want that person to say, “You know what? Yes, I am wrong.” So, we would call that, you know, confession. “I'm wrong. This is wrong, and things I've been doing is wrong.” So, they're displaying some humility, right? And then they say, “I'm going to change my ways.” Then we create some action steps. What is that going to look like? Number one, you're not going to hit or you're not going to say these things. You're going to go to counseling. You can go to counseling together, but you also should go separately. And then we create some action steps. And then we really just want to check in with that other person, the victim, the person is being abused. And see, is this actually happening in day-to-day life? Because usually, when I see somebody, it's once a week, once a month, at the most, if they're going through something like that. So, you want to keep checking in with that other person. “How's it going? How's it going?” You can tell if somebody’s really turned it around. If they really want to restore. If they really want to repent. I'm using a lot of our words, but it's just the way it kind of plays out. You know, if they repent and they start taking those actionable steps, you really want to try to support keeping those people together. If they're not, then, and I can't make that call, you know. At some point the victim has to, I hate even using the word victim, but the person being abused, has to make that call. And I think, as a pastor, not every pastor is like this. Not every denomination is like this. But for me, I'm not going to dump a guilt trip on you for doing that. You know, I don't have to live with the abuser. You do. And there is definitely a point now. You know, the flip side of that is somebody says, “Oh, my husband came home and had a bad day and, you know, threw his car keys at me. I'm leaving.” Well, okay. I have bad days, too. Is this habitual? Like you said, is it a pattern? Or is it a bad day. You know, some people will look for anything to get out of a marriage. And some people stay too long. And that's got to be a personal call.

 

Marissa: That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for saying all that. So, I wanted to bring this up: in vows, in marriage vows, it says “I vow to love, honor and cherish.” And those three words are powerful words, but they're also really vague. So, a lot of times, people will use that as a way to guilt somebody into staying, right? Like, “Well, you vowed to love, honor and cherish me.” But then on the flip side, that person isn't feeling loved, honored or cherished back. So, can you just give what your opinion of that is?

 

Dave: Sure. I mean, in an ideal world, that's what we would all do to each other, right? I've been happily married for over 20 years now. Do I love, honor and cherish my wife every day? No, not as much as I should. I take her for granted. And she would say the same thing to you, you know? Because we're human beings. And that's just the way we do. A lot of people don't even put those things in their vows anymore. What I more specifically point to, and you know, if I was a really good pastor, and I had been really prepared, I would have looked up the exact scripture reference for this. But in Ephesians, Paul tells husbands and wives, and this is the one that probably you hear most often, is wives submit to your husbands, right? Yeah, I mean, it does. It's wives submit to your husbands as your husband submits to Christ. And so, a lot of men will use that and say she's supposed to submit to me. Well, it says, as you, the man, are submitting to Christ. Most men aren’t submitting to Christ the way they want their wife to submit to them. So, it's not it's not a license to abuse, it's not a license to oppress. It says, husbands, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands. And I think it's interesting that those two words are used with those two genders. Because it seems like sometimes the most difficult thing for a man to do is to show love. And sometimes the most difficult thing for a woman to do is show respect to a man. And, you know, there's a lot to unpack there that you could unpack. But the thing that I tell married couples, when I'm getting ready to marry somebody, is the wedding is a day. A marriage is a lifetime. And it takes work; it takes intentionality. And what it really takes is selflessness. If you are putting that other person above yourself, each and every day as much as you can, and they are doing the same, you have a much higher chance of being successful. You are putting in 110% every day, and they're putting in 30%. At some point, you got to say this is dumb, right? This just is dumb. And that's, I think, when you ask for help, and you address it, right? Because if you don't, then what happens, again, is you go 3, 5, 10, whatever years. However you decide to cope with it until you just blow up, and you're like “I'm done.” And it doesn't matter what happens now. So, should we love, honor and cherish? Yeah, I mean, I should love, honour and cherish you as a human being. Do we do it? We're not great at it, a lot of times. Just look at social media, right?

 

Marissa: That's true. I think that we're at a point in society. And this is a total 180. But, we're at a point in society where social graces have kind of gone out the window. And we're kind of so disconnected because we are so overly connected, that the need for human contact is satisfied by turning on my phone and going on Facebook. So, I don't feel the need to shoot you a text message every week and say, “Hey, Dave. How are you doing?” And I just think that's so sad. And I think that plays a big role in the way that people relate to each other and why abuse is so rampant.

 

Dave: I think, too, that you see, you've probably heard this before, but there's a degree of anonymity even if you're friends with a person on Facebook or Instagram. There are things that I see people say on social media to each other that they would never, ever say to their face. And I think, in a way, and I'm not going to say that all social media is from the devil. I think it's just the way we use social media in such a poor manner. But, I think it has really decreased our communication skills. I think it has really taken away from the way we communicate with each other. And I certainly think there's probably a correlation to the way we communicate in the marriage relationship in that sense, as well. It's a lot easier to get in my friends group and chat with my buddies about how horrible my wife is, instead of just actually saying, “Hey, babe, what you said to me was, the way you said it was disrespectful. And what you said hurt me.” How hard is that to do? And if I said that to my wife, she would be crushed. You'd be like, “Oh, no, I didn't mean to do that. I didn't mean it that way,” or “This is what's going on,” you know. And we can have an actual conversation about it. People don't seem to want to do that anymore. I don't know why. And I think maybe one of the reasons is because social media makes it so easy to not have to do those things, right?

 

Marissa: I guess it sounds so silly. But there's a thrill in picking a fight with somebody or saying something that you would never say to somebody’s face on social media. Because there's really no, there's no consequence. I can go on and use really mean words and attack people. And the consequence I get is a couple more people will call me a bitch. That doesn't really mean anything to me, right? So, there's like a thrill in that. And then the more you do that, you just get used to that kind of aggressive negativity. And it becomes much easier to speak in that way than like you said, than it is to confront the person that's actually bothering you. And my mentor, Jack Canfield, has said to me, on several occasions, that we complain about things to the wrong people. So, his biggest example, his main example, is we don't go around and complain about gravity, because we can't control gravity, right? It just, it is. It exists. But people, like you said, will go to their friends and bad mouth their partner, or, you know, will attack somebody on social media, and complain in that way. Call everybody from different political sides ignorant, and stupid, and dumb, and whatever. Because it's so much easier to do that and be validated than it is to confront a person and be honest. 

 

Dave: Right. And sometimes, my wife, like I said, we've been married over 20 years. And there have been times when she'll say something that has been hurtful to me, you know. I'll say something back to let her know. But at the same time, that's also an opportunity for me to do a little bit of self examination. Why did that particular thing, that touched a nerve. And why did it touch a nerve? Right, and I think that's another thing that we lack. Because what you mentioned about being validated, right? It's much easier for us to go out and find people who agree with us than to do some hard self-examination on why we say the things that we do, or why we behave the way we behave.

 

Marissa: Right. And that's a really hard pill to swallow for a lot of people. 

 

Dave: I'm not the most overtly religious, you know. I'm not a traditional. So, just so your folks know, I don't have a seminary degree. For me to be a Southern Baptist pastor is nearly unheard of. I've got a lot of tattoos; I have a divorce in my past. You know, it was definitely ordained by God that I ended up with the Church. There's no other way to explain it. I don't have the most traditional approach. But I have to feel from my faith; what I see in the Bible, or what I read from my faith, is that it is always, like I said, about, there's hope. There's hope for change. That people can change. Abusers can change. People that have been abused can heal, right? I think that's the most awesome thing about the Christian faith, is that it offers that opportunity. And in our tradition, God, the Holy Spirit enters into you, into your life. You surrender your life for His. And what that means is you surrender your will, your hopes, your desires, your dreams, your goals; you surrender everything for His. And when that happens, when you make that choice, when you do that surrender, you know, we feel then that God starts to work through you. And when He does, He can radically, radically change your life. And I'm telling you, you know, if you talk to guys that I was in the army with, I didn't get all these scars and tattoos because I was in Sunday school my whole life, right? I rode motorcycles, I ran with a rough crowd. I did some, you know, some very hard things. My parents owned taverns when I was growing up. So, I was raised in a very toxic, you know, chemical, alcoholic, abusive infidelity. I mean, it was just rampant. Everybody did it. You know, as a child growing up, I thought everybody lived that way. And I'm a pastor. I mean, there's no, it makes no sense. I'm more compassionate. I used to be so mean and just use and abuse people. And now I feel like I'm so much more compassionate for my fellow man. I have no other way to explain it other than God. And I think that's the greatest thing about faith and about spirituality, is that it gives an opportunity for change, it gives an opportunity. Paul says in Second Corinthians 5:17, the old is gone, you are a new creation, right? You get to, that doesn't mean that you get off scot free, right? Things that you do have consequences. There are still consequences that I pay for, for things that I did 30 years ago. It doesn't give you a blank check. But it gives you a new start. And that can happen for so many people. Sometimes it's really hard for them to accept that these patterns of behavior are so ingrained. And sometimes it's just easier to be abused, or to abuse, than it is to think of a new way of being, or a new way of doing.

 

Marissa: People can change when they want to. And I truly believe that I've seen people change. And so, I completely agree with that. I think your congregation, because of everything that you've gone through, and how you got to where you are now; I think your congregation is so lucky, because you're relatable. I think one of the things that I, for a lack of a better term, distrust about organized religion, is that the person that you are praying with, so like the rabbi, or the priest, or the pastor, they are these nearly perfect beings. And that makes them really intimidating and difficult to confide in, in my very, very humble, non-religious opinion. So, when I was doing grad school, I had to write a paper about domestic violence in the ultra orthodox communities. And I learned that these people who were going to the rabbi for help, were basically turned away and told that they need to fix their household because they are the ones that are imperfect. And I think that that's so dangerous. So I, first and foremost, want to thank you for being who you are, and being the leader that you are. Because I think that you're helping a ton of people, just by having an imperfect background and an imperfect view, that people don't need to be perfect. They just need to be willing to change.

 

Dave: Again, this is all cultural stuff. And I'm talking about church culture, specifically American church culture. Where there is this kind of American Dream gospel, this American Dream philosophy. Where if you're the man, you wear the suit; you go to work. And the wife wears a dress and raises the babies. And everybody goes to church smiling on Sunday morning. And that's the perfect life. And that's just not realistic. And it never has been. I mean, let's be honest. It's never been that way, right? And what you get, then, in that kind of philosophy, is you get these religious leaders, from all different faith traditions, that end up being put on a pedestal, because they are spiritual leaders. Some of them, let's be honest, like the pedestal. They like the attention. They like the power. And it's always just a big recipe for disaster. And then you do start to get that kind of “holier than thou” attitude from people. And “Go fix your own self.” So that’s not the way God operates. I mean, you read the Bible, and that's not the way He operates. Religious leaders are the ones that are supposed to be, the Bible tells us that we will be judged more harshly than other people. So, we really got to keep a check on the positions of power that have been given to us. I would never tell anybody, you know, “Go fix yourself.” I would say, you know, “Let God fix you. The counsellor can help.” You know, God can use the counsellor. Some people need medication, I'm not opposed to stuff like that. But you get this sometimes, and Christians deserve it. I think, most of the Christians I know, I would say, don't go to church because they're so holy; they go to church because they're so broken. And sometimes they get a bad rap that they're holier than thou and they're perfect, and they think they look down on everybody else. Most of the Christians I know are not like that. But there has been a culture like that for probably 30, 40, 50 years, maybe even, where people did feel like they had to act a certain way or behave a certain way to be, you know, quote-unquote, “acceptable.” And that even translated into the way they dress. The way you cut your hair. The way you vote, right? And if you didn't do all of those things the exact way, then you were a failure, and then there was shame and guilt. That's just not true. That’s just not the gospel. That's not, that's not real. That's not what real biblical faith means at all. And the American Dream gospels kind of taken and twisted it, the idea of what success means in faith, and has really done way more damage than good.

 

Marissa: What would be your one take home point, for anybody listening, for the people listening? What would be like the one piece of advice that you'd give them?

 

Dave: So, I've got a bachelor's degree. I got a master's degree. I'm not the dumbest person in the world, but I know I'm not the smartest, right? So, I try to keep things pretty simple. And so, I would say, this really profound thing. s a pastor, I would tell people to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. And if that sounds familiar, it's because I did not come up with that, Jesus did. If people could do those two things. If they could just focus on loving God and loving each other, man, that would make a huge change. Sometimes, we want to be right, more than we want to be compassionate. You know, why do we feel we have to be right all the time, right? Why do we have to feel like we have to be better than other people all the time? Why can't we just lay down our stuff and lift other people up? There's this whole system. The political system, the corporate system. The American dream, kind-of-ideal is about getting power, as much power as you can, right? Do whatever you can. If that's building wealth, if that's getting stuff, it's all about building power, so that you can use that to spend. That's capital that you can use to get what you want. And in many ways, it's very oppressive; it's putting people down. And I would say that the real gospel, the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ, from a Christian perspective, is that you are releasing power. You're releasing your power. And you're using the power of God, that He gives you, a supernatural power, to lift people up, right? It's not about putting people down. It's about lifting people up. And I think specifically in marriages, if we spend more time communicating with each other, and lifting each other up, we would have a lot less problems. You know, who am I? But if you're listening to this, and you are in an abusive marriage, and you are a Christian, go talk to your pastor. And if they don't listen to you, go talk to somebody else that's a godly person that you trust. There are people that will help you. There are Christian counsellors. You know, there is help available, you do not have to live this way. God never intended you to live like property or chattel, right? That's not His design for marriage. The marriage relationship is supposed to be a reflection of the relationship that God has in the Godhead, in the Trinity. In the father, son and the Holy Spirit. The marriage relationship is supposed to reflect that. And God, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit don't abuse each other; they don't talk down each other. They don't slap each other around. They don't take advantage of each other. And so, from a Christian perspective, if you're in a Christian marriage, it's supposed to be better than a layperson or just a non-Christian marriage. And if it's not, you get some help. Just get some help. Get a counsellor. Go to your pastor. Whatever it takes, get some help.

 

Marissa: And if you do all that, and it's still not healthy, or it's still abusive, I have available a free safety planning guide on my website. It's http://www.marissafayecohen.com/free-resources and it should be the first one that pops up. Reach out to pastors and spiritual guides and priests to whoever you look up to. Thank you so much for saying all that, Dave. You're amazing.

 

Dave: Thank you for the opportunity. Like I said, I wish I was more profound and sounded a lot more holy than I do. But we know each other. I'm just Dave and we're friends. And thanks for the opportunity to hopefully speak into somebody's life.

 

If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to be a five year process either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entire lives have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

Overcoming narcissism and healing from emotional abuse are so important to your mental health and to living a life of freedom, confidence and peace.  Today, I want to talk about relationship goals. We all have a picture of our perfect relationship and our perfect partner.  What we want out of a healthy relationship varies based on our specific wants and needs. Figuring out what you want, and the type of partner you want is a good way to help yourself find that person.

 

The qualities and characteristics of your dream partner that you focus on are the ones that come to you.  We as survivors get wrapped up in the negatives that we’ve experienced and focus on those.  We concentrate on the red flags we’ve experienced, the toxic traits they exhibited, and how horrible it was on their bad days.  And as we continue to focus on those, we are revictimizing ourselves and attracting people that were just like them. 

 

What were some toxic people traits that your abuser exhibited? Were they aggressive? Manipulative? Unkind to animals? Loud? Think about and identify as many as you can, because this is the last time you’re going to focus on these.

 

That cycle needs to stop.  You deserve a healthy relationship with a partner that respects your boundaries, shows you kindness all the time, and makes you feel happy and confident.  Someone who doesn’t try and break you down and control you.  Love isn’t control.  Love isn’t disrespect. Love isn’t explosive bursts and fighting. Love is respect.  Love is kindness.  Love is understanding. Love is healthy communication.

What is your definition of love?  What characteristics do you want in your partner? Don’t focus on what you don’t want.  Focus on what you do want.

 

I want to do an activity with you.  I want you to take out a piece of paper or the notepad on your phone.  And I want you to sit and really think about the qualities of a partner that you’re looking for.  Are they funny?  Do they make you smile?  Do they bring home flowers or your favorite candy for you?  Are they open to respectfully talking with you or debating?

 

Think 10 years into the future.  What do you have in your healthy relationship?  Do you have open communication?  Do you have silly dance parties?  Do you have movie nights?

 

For me, I need someone with opinions, someone with a sense of humor who can match my enthusiasm for comedy movies. Someone who is outgoing and kind.  Someone who is low-maintenance, because a hyper person is too much for me romantically.  Who loves animals, because my dogs are my babies.  Someone who is communicative and understanding.  Someone who is aspirational. And someone who is grounded, to help me keep my feet on the ground.

 

What are yours?  Make your list.  And really think about these qualities.  After you’ve made your list, focus on those qualities.  Focus on finding someone who fits your description.  Where focus goes, energy flows.  And if you stay positive and focus on the positive attributes of a healthy partner and a healthy relationship, the toxic people will stop being attractive to you, and you’ll stop picking toxic partners and unhealthy relationships. You’ll find your relationship goals and live happily, free and confident.

 

Happy Searching!

 

Hey! If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

Marissa: Welcome back to Healing From Emotional Abuse. Today, I thought it would be really interesting to discuss about how abuse comes in so many different forms. It's not always obvious like being hit or pushed or punched in the face.  Covert female narcissist. Sometimes it's really subtle. And it's subtle, because abusers are really, really good at manipulating and systematically demeaning you and controlling you. Covert Narcissism.And you don't even realize it until you're out of it. So, I wanted to bring on a guest today who went through a lot of control and manipulative abuse. So, it doesn't always seem like what he was enduring was abusive, which is why it was so hard for him to see it when he was in it. But now that he's out of it, he recognized all of the manipulation and the control and the lying and ultimately manifested in wife infidelity. So today, I wanted to bring on a friend of mine, Logan, who is a phenomenal person who endured some really traumatic stuff. He's a local New Jersey musician. He has a big personality. And I don't think he realized until he was out of his narcissistic marriage, how much support he actually had, and how much his community saw what was going on around him. So, I'm really, really excited to bring on Logan today. Hey, Logan, how are you doing today?

 

Logan: Thank you, Marissa, again, for having me for the platform. First and foremost, thank you for being there for me over these past few crazy, crazy months. Not only with what is going on in the world, but going on in my personal life, and my former, I guess marriage. But more importantly, thank you for what you do for other people who have been through way worse. Who are going through way worse situations right now, that you have helped continue to help. I know, I've had you on my show a few times. And a lot of people have taken a lot from that. I just appreciate you and what you do for other people, and what you have gone through and overcome. And just proud of you. And I'm thankful for the platform. And as you always say, you are a champion as well as your other champions.

 

Marissa: Well, thank you for saying that. I really appreciate it. And just know that don't ever compare what you're going through to anyone else. Because every situation has its impact and has its effect on people. And every situation is different. So, what you're going through is not any less severe or hurtful than what anyone else is going through. And I just want you to keep that in mind.

 

Logan: I appreciate that. You know, it's tough when one person is fighting the battle and you find that you're fighting the battle alone when the other person is doing some no stuff.

 

Marissa: Well, so if you don't mind, why don't you tell us your truth?

 

Logan: Sure. Bunch of disclaimers, obviously, I'm not going to go too much into my identity, because I was going to say out of respect, respect is definitely not the word. Out of doing things the right way, I think is the way to say it, I am not here to call anyone out to call any establishments out. I'm not here to play the blame game, I am here to hopefully give something to people who may be going through similar situations on both sides of what what's going on here. If I can help one or two people, and also heal during this, that's a big deal. So again, I appreciate you. I appreciate this. I guess we'll start at the beginning. I kind of broke this up into like three little sections. You know, I'll tell you the story. Kind of the ripple effect because I think as you probably know, there's a lot of ripple effects to family and friends and no other people involved that you see. And then obviously I want to talk about, if it's okay with you the healing which you have been a huge part of and currently being a huge part of. So start at the beginning. So, 10-year relationship, four and a half years married, started out as me trying out for a local jersey band. Obviously I got the gig because I’m an amazing drummer. And she had come on to me. And let me let me say this. I know a bunch of disclaimers here, but there's three sides to every story. And, you know, they say my side her side and the truth. So, this is my side of the story. So, starting from the beginning. So tried out for the band got the part she had come on to me. Uh, we had hung out all the time all the time. On home the constant Facebook messaging. Calling me Boo from the get go. Going she went to the mall invited me to come. This grew into a very, very good friendship, great band relationship. Obviously, a marriage. This was best friends. This was doing everything together. This was working together. This was going through loss together. This was she came home from work. Hey, where are you? This was, hey, come to bed. This is, you know, What do you love about me? This was very real or so I thought because 10 years invested of my life that I will never get back to have it end the way it did. As dishonestly as it did. As deceiving as it did. I'll never get those 10 years back, as a lot of people have told me to give and take was very off in this relationship. And that's something I'll get into later. But to me, this was the real deal. Very good relationship. We this all kind of started with a job change. She was approached to work at a new establishment. Prominent Music Academy in a prominent city. Very good opportunity for her. I was 100% supportive of it. It's something she's been looking for and it was great. The money was right, the benefits were right. It was something that she was excited about. And I was excited for her. She had to break the news to our former job that she was leaving. That turned into a terrible he-said she-said, almost break-up fight. Where I went to bat for her, I stood up for her, I took the fall. I ended up quitting that particular job because of that whole thing. So, she could get this new job. And she appreciated that, you know. I still have letters from very recently that say, hey, like, I appreciate that. And you make me a better person and all this stuff that I believed to be very, very true. Because this wasn't something like you know, I'm sure a lot of the other people you talk to, where things are falling apart or things are abusive, or things are crumbling, or communication is breaking down. This just kind of was like a light switch. It kind of happened. So, she gets the new job is working crazy full-time hours. And I knew this would be an adjustment for her. I knew this would be an adjustment for us because again, everything together and she gets the new job and is working there for about five weeks. And through this, I was able to kind of help transition from the other job and deal with the fallout of that. Helped her a bit financially because there was some downtime for work for her between jobs. Again, you know, being a husband, that is just what you do no question. So, the hours are different. She's not home as much. And I noticed this. So, I suggest to her, “Hey, like, let's do a date night every week because we're kind of passing ships in the night,” or whatever, you know, I don't think anything's going on. But I noticed, you know, I'm smart, unfortunately, because I do believe ignorance is bliss. But every week she would take me out or I would take her out when we'd alternate. So we did that for a couple weeks. So, at this point, like I said, she's working there for about five weeks and it's an adjustment. You know, it's great. We had some great date nights, I thought everything was good. You know, like the only little things I had noticed was like, I wasn't on her social media as much which again, like in this day and age I my tastes on social media and posting all that stuff have very much changed. I shamelessly promote my projects. I'll be the first to admit that but I think there's a lot of disadvantages to social media when it comes to kind of having the next person in a relationship kind of queued up or talking and that's something, I don't like about it. That's kind of soured me. But anyway, I noticed I wasn't really int the social media of hers as much whatever you know, even like when she wished me happy birthday was very just like whatever. So we do the date nights and this is like the fourth date night it's my turn she's working there for again only five weeks and this is a place that is walkable from our home. This is a place that is two blocks away from where I work which again makes it so much crazier that physically she was so close, I should say they were close, this whole time we do the date night I said what do you want to do you want to see Frozen II know let's stay in and I was like alright, well, What movie do you want me to Redbox? I'll cook your dinner she I gave her some choices. She said Toy Story 4. Have you seen this comes into play? Have you seen Toy Story or any of the toy stories Marissa?

 

Marissa: I've seen the first three. I'm afraid to watch the fourth. Admittedly.

 

Logan: You know the story of Toy Story where Woody is the old faithful toy. Whereas Buzz Lightyear is the new shiny toy that you know Andy kind of falls in love with. I know you haven't seen the fourth one, but we ended up watching the fourth one that night. It's a three-hour movie. I cook her dinner, we stay at home. This is November 21, Marissa, one week before Thanksgiving, and she's noticeably texting for three hours. To me, that's a red flag, because we have all the same friends, obviously, except the new friends from the new job. And I know it's not her sister, who now identifies as transgender. And, again, is just one of the closest people in my life. And it is a big part of the story moving forward, I think, because again, there's a ripple effect, and it affects everybody. I know it's not her, because it's too late for that. And I kind of like get those red flags like those warning signals. You know, it's not high school, I'm not going to choose her. I'm not going to grab her phone. It's because like, we've never had that. We've been together for 10 years, like, I've held this girl's hand through every little problem financially, or with her family. Like heck, so I just shoot her a look. This day night, we're working on us. And she's texting the whole thing. And that's not like us, you know, like, we text we're on our phones or whatever, like during movies, or we watch our TV shows every week. But this was like, almost obviously blatant. From everybody that I've talked to everybody, including people who have been cheated on, dude, she wanted you to notice. Bro, she wanted you to catch her. Because this wasn't an honest conversation. This was a this is an oops, and this is how you're going to find out kind of thing. Looking back on that, you know, they always say hindsight is 20-20. But anyway, she sets in for three hours during the movie. Hey, thanks for dinner. I, really quick, a shot her a look, kind of like, Hey, what's up? And she shot me just kind of like a nasty little look. Which is fine. You know, like, tough girl, whatever, that's fine. And you know, I didn't bring it up. I didn't say anything. You know. So, watch the movie, thanks for dinner. She went to bed I cleaned up. She's under the covers texting for another hour. So, this is four hours of texting, like doesn't address it. You know, the only thing I did was give her that glance. Something's wrong. Like, when you have that mentality in a way that is cheating. I don't know how you feel about that. Especially in a marriage.

 

Marissa: Cheating. In my opinion, I don't view cheating is just a physical thing. Like I can, I can have feelings for somebody very intense feelings, and not act on them. But that's still doing a disservice to the situation or the relationship that I'm in.

 

Logan: Yeah, exactly. Or marriage. You know, in my case, marriage where we've, we've made a commitment, like my grandfather had married us, that means a lot to me. You know, the ring, being a circle and all that kind of stuff. You know, everyone has different views on marriage and stuff like that. But I took it very seriously. You know, you say the word you say these vows because they are vows. It's an oath, you say for better or for worse, because in situations such as this, you know, like, you try your best. You fight. And for me anyway, it was for better or for worse. And I definitely went down swinging like an idiot, as you'll find out. And again, this is not the end of the story. This is the very beginning. So, I hope you don't cut me off. So, moving forward, so this is four hours of texting. So, I feel it in my gut, and I just go sleep on the couch. Like, you know, like you ever kick someone out of the bed Marissa It's like, you're in trouble, like, Go sleep on the couch. But it wasn't even like that, like I just couched myself. You know, I didn't like, you know, like, I was going to jump to conclusions. And I just went and I was just thinking. Like, in my gut I felt like there's like, you can't be talking to someone else. Like, she's got this new job like you worry about new people and 4:30 in the morning, she comes in the living room. "Hey, like, where are you? Like, what's going on? Why aren't you in bed?” I go, “I'm just thinking.” She goes, "Well, what are you thinking about?” And I go, “Something's wrong. I was like, I feel it in my gut.” And she goes into the whole, "Hey, it’s this new job. Like, it's a big adjustment.” And I knew it was like, to be fair, it completely was. That's why I proposed date night, you know, that wasn't, you know, it's like more lies, you know, and like, she doesn't really lie, and she's a bad liar. So again, it was like, this is like the beginning of feeling like, I don't know this person. So, I just look at her and I just go Is there someone else? And she just starts crying, which to me tells me everything. So, there's a bunch of ways I could have handled this. Looking back in retrospect, I know this sounds terrible, but this is just the beginning of the story. Like, I should have just said this is not okay. Like get out of here.

 

Marissa: And like you said before hindsights 20-20 so you in your character would never do that. Because you truly believed the best in situation. And it's so easy to write off and justify as well. Maybe it is a new job or maybe she's just stressed or… It's so easy for us when we're being manipulated or lied to justify on behalf of the person who's lying to us, because we want to believe that it's the person that we fell in love with. Or, you know that, that person is still there deep down. Does that make sense?

 

Logan: I mean, you're hitting me right in all the feels right now. Like, I appreciate you saying that no, because like you hit it right on the head. Like, I'm a fixer. You know what I mean? Like, something's wrong, how can I help? And again, I am not perfect. And I'm not here to toot my own horn. But this is our challenge in our marriage right now. Now, let me see this. Is there someone else? She starts crying. My whole life changed that moment. And it was like those hours I was thinking. I knew, you know? Like, I knew it.  And I say, “Who is it?" It's a chick. It was a chick she worked with for five weeks. So, to me, first of all, that's okay. That sucks. You're still my wife. You know, this is our thing. Let's figure this out. And I was upset. Like, I was upset. I wasn't angry. I wasn't crying. I was just kind of like, quiet. She goes, “Why aren't you yelling at me? Like, why are you mad?” Like, almost like she expected it, you know, like me to freak out. And I think, had things been the other way. You know, if I had done something like that, or not cry, I feel like I would literally have my head chopped off right now. Like, I'm not even joking. Yeah, it was crazy. So, to me, you know, we ended up going to bed together with kind of like this problem. And I woke up the next day and this is November 22. And I called my roommate from college who was a marriage counselor, because to me, I'm a fixer. She's confused. She's going through something, it garners sympathy at this point. In my mind, this is just a feeling. She had said to me, it's just a crush, and I'm confused. Okay. Now looking back, I take everything with a grain of salt. Looking back because of the series of lies when you lie to me so many times, if you get caught in a lie with me, the trust is broken. If I catch you with your hand in the cookie jar, anything you say to me afterwards is a lie, which I've learned firsthand. But anyway, I'm on the phone with the roommate, marriage counsellor, I'm on the phone with ministers from my church who have been fantastic. And my roommate, who's like, “Hey, man, I'm going to take off my friend hat. Look, man, I gotta call right down the middle. This is what you do. You need to write down a list of things and in our marriage, this is not okay. Not necessarily what she's going through. But the way she has acted. Like, for example, you guys are having a date night. You guys are working on you. So just the fact that she is texting somebody else, whoever it may be during date night, that's not okay. The fact that it's someone she's interested in, not okay, for a marriage.” You know, you hear things from like a counsellor or a therapist, it's like, you know, they call it very down the middle. And they kind of have like that outsider looking in kind of thing, which is very cool to hear. And he goes, “Let me talk to her too.” So, I speak to her about it. I do write the whole, that's not okay, I write this whole little thing that I do end up reading to her. So, I bring it up to her to talk to him and she doesn't do it, like immediately, like she waits like a week. And this is the weird thing where it's like, this is another red flag. Like, I felt like I was fighting, you know, like fighting still. Not to like fix anything. Let me say this. Don't be afraid to be who you are. If you are gay, or straight or trans or whatever, be who you are. I'm not saying like, I have no expertise in it. But I have a lot of people on my show who have gone through things like this who have said like, how scared they were when they had to come out. I've had wrestlers come on. Former women's tag team champions and major companies that are a couple. And those ladies have had just inspiring coming out parties on national television and stuff like that. Like I'm all for it. Please. and I said these words to her. I said, No one should have to hide who they are. Honesty is the best policy. There's a way this all could have played out where it would have been hard for us to be friends, I think, but you had my support. There was a way for this, or this came out where you had my family’s support. There was a way where this went down where you had our mutual friends support. So, it just felt like I was fighting here. And she had one foot out the door. It was like that I caught her texting and like now it was like okay for her to be distant from me. And this is where it got weird because this is leading into Thanksgiving. But like, she wouldn't like come home. You know what I mean? Like she goes work for eight hours and then like go to the gym or go to the studio, which is like normal, but like, she would like stack them in blocks. So, like she would come home and I'm thinking its guilt or she's hiding or she's really having a tough time. Which I got. You know, again, I was sympathetic. What comes next? I don't know, I was just trying to fix everything. And maybe it wasn't my place, but I still went down swinging. So, the following week Thanksgiving. She finally ends up talking to my roommate, the marriage counsellor. And he says to her, she needs to go to therapy, not for what she's going through. But for a lot of things. The plan was come Thanksgiving. The plan was to talk to the family. And just because they knew we were going through something. Like even hers, because I teach her sister at the time drum lessons. And she would go, Hey, she's not texting me. She's ignoring me. And I'm like, it's not just you kid. Like, it's everybody. Like our band is getting offered shows. And like, she's not checking in. We have like a comicon group,  she's not checking in. And like, again, goes to like, now we're not getting shows or like now we're not getting events. And like, I'm kind of like protecting her. I'm like not saying anything. Like she's going through something. So, everyone's just kind of thinks like we're fighting. But it was just like a light switch. And it was just like, we're at an impasse. She just got further and further away. Wouldn't come home. I talked to the dad and she's well aware of this, who I'm very close with, Thanksgiving morning. And I said, Hey, like, I just wanted you to know I did right by your daughter. Like, I haven't done anything. She's going through something, please take care of her. Please support her. I can't say what it is. He goes, “What did she do?" And to me, like, that speaks volumes. He's like, you came to me. He's like, if I thought you did something wrong, I would have been over your apartment. But anyway, Thanksgiving. So, the plan is, we're going to speak to her family and say, “Hey, we're going through something, she's going to go to therapy, which there is no shame in that.” And we were going to say this to the family. So, this is the day after Thanksgiving. This is Thanksgiving too, with her family. And again, we're it's just like, the phone is like buzzing, buzzing, buzzing, it's noticeably like painfully buzzing vibrating on the coffee table. And like, we're all just like kind of looking at it. And she's not picking up and it's super awkward. Nothing. Nothing. No, no, no, it again, it's just like, like, lie after lie and crazy shenanigans. But basically, I text her I'm like, hey, like, you know, like, are you going to say something? And she's like, No, I want to leave on the phone. So, we left. We didn't say anything. My thought was also like, hey, honesty's the best policy, like we don't have to say everything. But we could say, Hey, we're going through something, you know, we can approach this as a family. But again, still, to this day, I don't know how much, which is very unfair to me, her family does or does not know. Because I am still getting, “Hey, how are you guys doing okay, during this whole thing?” and I'm just like, you know, it's not my place to say anything. It's certainly not my side of the story. It's just kind of like, I'm good. You know, it's just, it's so unfair and crazy, but I haven't even got to the coup de gras yet. This is just the warm up. But I'll fast forward a little bit. Two weeks in, she feels farther away. Like she's not eating. I'm not eating. We're both like kind of sad. I’m doing a lot of stupid things, Marissa. I re-proposed. I redid our proposal. I had done flowers going up the beach and the music and the video. Got down on one knee. All these things. So, I recreated that, I had the roses going up into our apartment. I bought like a super expensive like necklace that was like about commitment and yada. And like, like if I'm going down, I'm going down swinging. If I'm going down, I’m going down swinging. And like I cook dinner, she comes home from work relay follows the roses, she's into it, I get down on one knee again. Now this is what annoys me, I'm an idiot for these grand gestures. Like anyone listening, like, if you're like a person who give,  gives, gives, kind of look back and see what you're getting as well. Like, don’t be selfish. But don't be so selfless that you're blind because everyone you know; you get those opinions. And everyone says the give and take was way off. And it was never going to work because of that, which I which I learned firsthand. I'm mad at myself Because as I mentioned earlier that I spent 10 years working on this, taking care of and protecting and looking out for this person. And then I'm madder that I did it again. To me that's just like an ultimate gesture of, I'm going to take care of you. I don't know how to explain it. You know, like, I literally gave so many pieces of my heart away, maybe to a fault. That was the way I love her. And that was the way like I would always give things to her and I got down on one knee for her two times. Looking back, I'm just like, man, and she. She came in for the second proposal. She was blown away and she appreciated me trying there were some tears. But she didn't like look at the necklace like at all. Like you know how you like you look at the ring like she didn't look at it. And she kind of like I'm sitting on the floor and she's like, she's like kind of unsure about it. And then she like goes and eats and I'm just like sitting in the dark on the living floor. And that was like another thing that like made me feel like just like I was fighting by myself. Especially after this grand gesture. Next couple days. I'm over my buddy’s who a huge part of my life I played in bands with we play music together. He played our wedding. He'll be playing my divorce party. Yeah, I'm over there. And I, earlier in the day because like I mentioned, we weren't eating, I dropped her off a vegan pork roll, egg and cheese. And I said, Hey, like, make sure you eat. I left it with her boss who who's trying to hire me. It's like, Oh, you should come work here too. I'm like, No, no, like, this is her thing. She loves it here. I mean, you know, I left a rose, because again, like, I'm an idiot. And she calls me when she gets out of work. After eight-hour shift on Saturday night, I'm over my buddy Ed’s. And she's like, Hey, thank you so much. Like, that meant a lot to me and was like, Yeah, like, I know, you weren't eating and like, I know, we're going through a lot and, you know, just no drama. Like, I want to make sure you eat. She's like, yeah, I'm like, did you eat the whole thing? Yep, ate the whole thing. Okay, great. And she goes, Okay, well, I'm going to go, go get a bite to eat. And I'm just like, again, it was just like, like, the wording of things. And like, everything was just kind of like dancing around. And I go, well, like, like, I just brought you food. Like, you know what I mean? It's like, you know, again, it's like more red flags. She goes, Well, yeah, but I know just eight but I'm going to go out with some friends. I'm like, like, why don't you just say that the first time you know what I mean? It's shady. And then I go is like, is so and so going to be there. You know, the confusion? Well, yeah, but it's going to be like, Oh, look, I'll come home if you want. And I'm like, Look, like I said, a minute ago. Like, this isn't high school. Like, this is your life now. Like, I'm not going to tell you like not to go out with your friends, whatever. I come home, she's in the home for like, another five hours. Like, it's crazy. You don't just like, go do what you want, like, you still live with me. You're still married. Like, we need to communicate a lot more because I'm obviously like, still fighting. Like, we're at the point where I caught you texting and you're confused about something. But that's where we are. No further. Or that's where I thought we were. The word we kind of went away after I caught her texting. We have a like a fight about it. And we don't really fight about it a lot. But we had a fight about it. I legit that you know that on my part, I would like to first to admit it, like we fought and I said, Hey, say what's up to so and so for me, whatever, you know, which was the object of her affection and still seemingly so. You know, she was hurt by that. And she came at me, which again, garnered more sympathy for me like, well, this is why like I you know, I wake up every day, I feel like I'm a different person. Like, again, legit going through something. Like, this is why I thought has these dark thoughts about ending it, and yada, yada. And she goes into a very detailed description about how she had some very dark thoughts. And to me all of my feelings and emotions and thoughts about our us, and our relation went right out the window. We're in the middle of a fight. Come here. Come here, sit down. Are you okay? Like whatever. She goes on about it, and she’s actually confused, going through something. I mean, anyone would feel sympathy. It’s like, again, trying to fix things. I immediately text her parents. She didn't me too. What if something had happened? And I didn't say anything to anyone. So, I'm thinking, Oh, they'll come over when they just see my texts They just said, oh, like she should go to therapy. I'm just like, UGH! You know what I mean? Like, that's where we were two weeks ago. It's just like, and I can't say anything. Like, I'm protecting her. She's going through something and I can't, we can't make progress. And again, I realize now that I was the only one trying to make progress. She was headed in a different direction. Here's a little foreshadowing. She ends up staying with her parents for the weekend, which to me is like, awesome. Like, I was like, I will drive you there. To me She is safe. She's with them. I know she's going home to them. And she can have a dialogue with them about anything. She comes back the next day, just to pick something up and she texts me Hey, is it okay? If I come over? I'm like, like, you live here. I'm like, I didn't kick you out. I'm like, are you okay? She comes She parks. She's going to stay at her parents. Another couple night, she's going to pick up some stuff. And I know she's coming from work and like an idiot I go out I opened the car door for. I am old school and I hold her hand. I walk up the steps open the door, and I look at her hand. Her wedding ring is off. I know she's working with this person; you know what I mean? And like, to me, that's just like another like little step. Hey, my wedding rings off. I'm like, what is the dialogue between.. I mean, is there a dialogue? Like, there can't be a dialogue. Like, I know, there's a lot of texting and like, is its romantic texting? And like, surely this person who I left out a huge detail here Marissa, this person is also in a relationship or so I was told. Which is not okay. So, you have a married woman and a person in a relationship. I don't know what the dialogue is or how this said person I will use the term Buzz Lightyear you know, being the new shiny toy. Like, you know, someone's married, you know, like, I don't know how you I don't know how that conversation goes. And this is like where I kind of talked to you about this Marissa. But it felt like the texting was very aggressive. And it felt like somebody else like it really still almost does feel like somebody else was driving. You know, like, I obviously wasn't driving. She did a lot of the drive but it almost felt very controlling.

 

Marissa: So, there is a theme when specifically, kids in high school, I used to teach this to them. When your partner is texting you over and over and over or calling you over and Over and over. That is, like you said, it's a means of control. It's a way to make sure you know where they are, what they're doing, at all times. And so, I can't really comment on whether Buzz Lightyear if you will, was being controlling in reality, but in theory, that action, those actions do sum up to typically be abusive behavior.

 

Logan: First of all, like, just like the fact that like, 10 years of me doing everything, like you don't even have to hear from me, everyone will tell you like doing living my life, literally her uncle's words for her. Which I did, to a fault. You know, how much you rank, you know, like this person you've known at the start of the texting. Five weeks, now we're going on seven weeks, eight weeks, that person ranks over me. You know what I mean? And it's just like, like, it takes me a while to trust someone as a friend, you know? Like, so again, that was like another red flag, it was very quick. And that's another thing that made it feel like controlling and this person just outright like disrespecting our marriage and that person, Buzz Lightyear’s relationship or alleged relationship at the time. And this going on with a place that they both work at, which I think is, you know, that's, again, you don't want that coming back to the place you work at, or she's not wearing her ring. To me, that's just like, oh, like, you are out. And this is someone like I'm away for two days, like, she's texting me constantly. Where are you? Where are you? Like, I couldn't be away for hours without this girl missing me. It's again, like a light switch. Like this person. not to say changed her, obviously, you know, allegedly, she has some repressed feelings. It was just like a done deal. Like, she's at her parents for a couple days not wearing the ring. I'm super upset about the ring thing. I'm talking to my minister. And he's just kind of like, man, like, even He's like, Damn, you know. So, the man of God. So basically, she's at her parents for a couple days. And this is where things get a little weird, like her mom calls me about concerning the younger daughter's, who identifies as a boy now rather drugless. And it was something very trivial. And I was like, hey, okay, cool. And the mom goes, so house, I'll just say your wife, not the new names, how's your wife doing? And I said, I don't know. How is she? And she goes, she didn't come home last night? And I said, No. And I'm like, she's not with you? No. So to this day, I don't know where my wife was that night. You know what I mean? But this is two weeks after I caught her texting. You know, it's just so fast. So, like, my head is still spinning. That's not okay. We all text her and said, Hey, like, what if something happened to you? Like, none of your family knew where you were. That's not okay. And it turned into I was at a party, I ended up crashing in a guest room. So, we're and again, it was like, this is like not marriage behavior. You know what I mean? This is like, like high school, college. But you know what I mean? It was just like, no accountability. And again, she was hiding from everyone and couldn't get back to anyone. So again, it wasn't like just me being pushed away. I gave her space, and it was just like radio silence. You know, it was really, really weird. And I'm just like, super confused. I know, I'm losing my wife, apparently, like I'm losing my wife to someone else. But there's like, no way that she confused. She's going through something like I sympathize with her. Like, she's not answering anybody. So, this is where things get crazy. So, I, Marissa I am like sleeping on couches. I am staying with my dad. I'm going up to Brooklyn. I'm living out of a suitcase, which I ended up living out of for months. That's what you do for someone you love. You know, this was the deal breaker for me. So, this is December 19. I believe things happen for a reason. And the way this day played out. Like I, the night before, like two nights before, like, I was hurting, like food didn't have tastes. I knew like I was losing her. Like I didn't think I was like, physically losing her to somebody. Yeah, because it just had been too short of a time and we're married and oh, I’ll rewind to do this very important detail. This is like three weeks after texting someone she had said, like, hey, like, I want to get a separation. And she'd come home from work. And I was like, this is like right after she said she had the dark thoughts. I was rubbing her back and I had said, Hey, like no drama, no drama, like I tried to show her like I loved her in a different way. Like I care about you this and especially with the dark thoughts and all that and she kind of disappeared and kitchen and we have a small kitchen. She never came out. I went in there and she was rubbing her hands. Now the rubbing her hands kind of comes into play a little bit later. But it's kind of like a tell, you know? But she's rubbing her hands and like, Hey, no drama, what's going on? She goes, I think we need separation. Like, what? Like, this fast? You're confused about something and it was weird because she was like looking back now. She was like, I think I'm 70% gay. I think I'm 80% gay. And like, I told her I was like, Well look, the only thing I ask is that we are honest with everybody because I need to heal. I need a support system and I'd been protecting her for the most part to this point and our bands getting shows. And then, she's just like nowhere to be found on answering her family and, like, we have to tell your family and she's just like curled up into a ball. I was I wasn't even yelling or anything. No, no, no, like, horrified at the thought of telling her family and I understand like, whatever. So that was like another crazy night. So, the ring, her wanting to get separation is like, I didn't do anything. You know what I mean? Like, we were doing fine until she got this news. Like new job, new person, boom, like, just like that. Six days before Christmas, Thursday night. I'm working at my job. Long day. And I'm going through my notebook, little green notebook, I look at the back of it. And there's all these cute little messages from her like, that's us. And this was, like, very recent, like, probably like, right when she started the new job, but these are reasons. And it said our names forever and Heart, heart and my name love her name. I was like, I have to talk to her like maybe it's goodbye. Maybe it's like one last grand gesture made again, which I'm an idiot for the grand gestures and I'm a sucker and for me, like I have to let her know how I feel like I can't do this without her.  I literally said this to her dad on the phone. Rough day at work, and of texting my friend. He's like, Look, man, he's like sometimes those little conversations make all the difference in the world. And to anyone listening, communication is super key. And we completely failed at that. We completely failed mostly because of her not being honest. Mostly because of her hiding. Us spending time apart. You know, I'm sure I could have communicated better. But there's a lot of emotions. I tested last week my friend he says those little conversations make all the difference in the world. So, I text my buddy. I have the best friends in the world, Marissa.  My buddy who I was jamming with, that I mentioned earlier, he didn't really know what was going on. He knew something was going on. Because again, I was like protecting her. I was like, Hey, man, I was like, grab the guitars because you played our wedding. So, he knew he knew exactly what song. I’m texted her mom. She is at her parents baking cookies with the kid’s sister. I need a hail Mary, are you in? And like I have the best friends in the world. He goes Yeah, I’m in. Let me know where when to me. That means everything. You know, we're going to do this thing where he knew what song we're ready to go. This is the grand gesture. This is the say anything, on the front lawn with the boombox, whatever, get through work. He's ready to go. So, when things go bonkers, crazy. I start my car to go over to her parents. Car doesn't start. Okay, that's weird. Doesn't start again. I'm stuck 45 minutes. Dad has to come get me jumped the car. We go back to his house. I steal his car. The timeline has completely changed. I taught I'm talking to her dad on the phone, who again, I'm very close with. Apparently, she was able to have a conversation with him about what was going on. And he goes Hey, man, like she just went home, to where our apartment is. My friend was out of the equation at that point. But it's okay, I'm going to go there and just have a conversation with her. I have like legit questions like, legit, like, wanted to communicate. And I text her "Hey, can I come get my pillow?” Like, don't hear anything back, driving. I’m on the phone with her pops and yeah, her kind of knows now. So, like we're having an honest conversation. And I'm like, you don't think like she's doing anything with anyone, though. Like, she's just like going through something and figuring something out. He's like, no, like, No, not at all, whatever. And I'm like, Alright, I drive over there with no response to the text message. This is the ending of this long story to anyone listening who thinks they know someone, or thinks they can trust someone on a friendship level or a spouse level or human level. This is when I knew that I was less than nothing. I got no response to the text. I drive to our apartment. I am across the street from our apartment, I see the lights on. According to her dad, she had just gotten home. I'm not going to barge in, you know, I pick up the phone I call. Rings, rings, rings. I see the lights on the apartment. And I see the blinds go up and down. And again, just like with the tears, like I knew. I knew that there was someone in my home with my wife. It wasn't anger. It was it was pain. I call again, lines go up and down again. And so, this is all within 30 seconds spans. And this is just like again, the bad movie script. The lie after lie after lie. And I walk up the parking lot. I walk up the steps. And as I'm walking up the steps, this is all within 30 seconds of me getting there, the phone calls and the blinds, calls me on the phone. This is what I get Marissa. *Sleepy Voice* “Hey, whoa, hey, hey, Logan. Hey, what do you what's? What's going on?" Like, you didn't get my text? Like, it was like you were sleeping. You know, trying to be like asleep. I was like, "Hey, just talk to your dad. No, you just got home and I see the blinds going up and down. I you know, I text you get my stuff.” Okay. Oh, yeah, no problem. So, I unlocked the door. I pushed the door open the door stops with her hand. She's standing there in her PJs. The TV's off, everything's off. The lights are on. Holding the door with my pillow. And all of our wedding photos are down. Like you cannot write this. I mean, this is my home, like I have my suitcase, I have my guitar. There is no way like why I'm doing this. You're having sleepovers, there's no way. But like, I just see all the pictures. It was like, if you want a gut punch, if you want to feel less than nothing, if you want to feel like you wasted 10 years of your life, being a friend, let alone a husband, or a band member or anything to anyone if you want to feel less than nothing, just looking around and seeing all the pictures down. Like I knew, like I knew. And this wasn't a first-time thing like because, you know, this person had to be if she had just gotten this person had to be waiting in our apartment. Like the fact that all the pictures were down and in her pajamas hands me my pillow, “Have a good night, Logan.” And like, like, that's the end of the conversation. And I said hold on. I was like, “Hey, can I come in and talk like I really want to talk to you. I want to get my stuff like I want to get my razor on get my charger…” “Now's not a good time.” “Is there someone here?” She goes, “Logan It's been a very long day, I was able to speak to my parents about what's going on. Finally.” Which is great. In reality, and goes like, "I just needed someone to talk to.” Which to me, admits that there's someone in our apartment right now. Which to me killed me on not just on a, there's someone in my home, what's going on level. But like, on an emotional level, like I needed someone to talk to. I said, like, when you talk to your parents, like I'll be there for you. And like, it's like you're confiding in this person that you haven't even known for, I guess you’ve known for a little over a month. Like you're confiding, like, again. I think there's a very big difference between what you're going through. And that doesn't excuse your behavior towards me or our home, or our marriage. Especially our home. That's a whole different conversation. But I go is it who I think it is? She goes, we're just hanging out Logan, which again made me feel like some you say your parents. And, again, made me feel like the dad and again is like another lie. Like, I know what hanging out me. Do you know what I mean? And it's just like, this wasn't the first time like, I could just send the blinds went up. I like I knew and like, because you're married? Our home, I go in our bed? Doesn't someone who has an answer for everything doesn't say a word. Just like she doesn't even look the same. She looks like a completely different person. Like I don't know how to explain it. Like, this is not the person I knew. Not just your actions, but like you look completely different than like… and he was just like, this is December 19. Six days before Christmas. I just, like gave her like the most, how could you look and I just walked away. She follows me out the door And lie, lie, lie. Like, I believe you after I caught you? After all this stuff? Like, you pick up the phone, you pretend you're tired. Like you know what I mean? Like, wide awake. This is the last thing that I ever said to her. So, this is December 19 the last thing that I ever said to her. Right now, the only communication she has with me is through my sister, And through my lawyer. I said I've taken care of you for the past 10 years. I've buried your pets. I've held your hand through every little obstacle in your life. I have pulled you out of the ocean twice. And I said you don't have a leg to stand on. That’s the last thing I ever said to her and I walked away

 

Marissa: How did that feel?

 

Logan: Surreal. It's it felt like two things. The first thing was like I felt like an idiot. I felt like not just because of that but like for like I just put so much into it. It was just so disrespectful and if you take me out of the equation, like take me like my feelings out of the equation. In our home? ln our bed? Like when I went to get my stuff, Marissa, like I kept my head down. I got my stuff out of there. But when I saw the bed and how close it was to my stuff and like you know, I kind of have like my logos, and drums, and my jerseys, and like there it was just like I don't know this person. And you are not thinking about the ramifications of this. You are not thinking how this affects my relationship your family. You are not thinking about how this affects the place you work at. You obviously could give a crap about the band because that fell apart like immediately. It was just like at what cost, you know? Like this is something she has repressed This is something she needed to find this assumption needed to do. Okay, there was a way we could have done this the proper way paperwork, honesty, communication, not in my bed. To answer your question. Another way I felt was like all this like pain that I was feeling and like heartbreak. It just went away. It was like a load off my shoulders. I was like, I'm an idiot like I'm a fool. That's the worst thing that you can do to someone in a in a relationship in a marriage regardless And I asked you this Marissa, like, I don't think her situation excuses her behavior. Especially in the timeframe, the dishonesty, the lie after lie after lie, and especially the where. You know, this person would absolutely not take a bullet for me like, no question. But this person, like, could give a crap about me. And that is that is kind of the end of, there's a little bit of fall out. But that is kind of the end of the story for me. Again, I just don't feel that that excuses putting me in this position. I've lost my home, I've essentially lost a big part of my family, you know, you hate to say it, but like, things are not going to be the same. And it was just like, I can't understand what she was going through. But I don't think I deserved to be treated the way I was or lied to. Especially it was just like, new job, new person, new person in my home. I haven't been more disrespected ever in my life. And the fact that it's in my home, which I love, and built, and so many things have happened there. I just don't think one thing excuses the other.

 

Marissa: No, I totally agree and this is a really, really, really bad analogy. It's similar to when Kevin Spacey came out of the closet because he was accused of assaulting Anthony Rapp, who I've mentioned in previous podcast episodes is like one of my favorite Broadway actors. But when he came out and said, Oh, well, you know, surprise, I'm gay. I did that because I'm gay. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You don't do horrible things and treat people with disrespect and do bad things to people Because you identify with the LGBTQ community. Not only does that do a horrible thing, for the LGBTQ community, you are doing a grave disservice to the people who have been fighting for basic human rights and decency and respect. And you are literally shitting on those efforts. But also, that's a scapegoat, and that's gaslighting. And that's horrible. So, back to what you were saying. No. her sexuality or sexual identity should not affect the way she treats her husband, or you or anyone. Those two things are mutually exclusive.

 

Logan: I mean, I lived it. I feel that way. And again, like it's funny, Marissa because that metaphor you've used. So many people have used that same exact metaphor like that. I've spoken to the Kevin Spacey example. That particular one, it's crazy that you said that. Like I've heard that from so many people. And that's, that's how I feel. Again, I've said this a million times, there's a way to do this, like, you want it out, like you wanted to drop me like a bad habit. There's someone new, you know, Logan's out new person and like I lived it to the fact where it was in my apartment. You know, I don't know what's going on. But it has completely uprooted everything I have built for the past 10 years. And that's fine. You know, I want to talk about the healing a little bit. It was like I was falling, you know, and every single person I know, including her family are just like here for me. Usually with these things. You get sides. And you get he said she said, Well, everyone's like, hey, like, your good guy. You're good man. And like, to me, it's just like, like, that's great. But like you get sick of hearing it, because you're just like, that's why I was a doormat, because, you know, people mistake kindness for weakness. Like, it literally happened to me. You know, this is after I went to battle for her so many times or stepped up or gave her the princess treatment. I was less than dirt. You know, I didn't matter. I think maybe it was easier for her to do it that way. But just because suddenly, you know, that happens to people. I wish I hadn't spent 10 years of my life on something that would end like this. She took someone into our home. That's how it ended. And to me that's like, the ultimate not even slap in the face. That's an understatement. It's just disrespectful. And you don't realize the ripple effect. Like my family, they have done everything to take care of her. Like I said, like we bought that bed, we built that bed. It's weird. Like, everyone kind of checks in you kind of get that hindsight’s 20-20. They're all kind of like, yeah, we're good. Like, we're good on her. You know, my uncle called me on Christmas. He's like, yeah, like you shouldn't try to go back. You know what I mean? Like, her family with me is all like, we want to keep you and like come over anytime. And then they gave me like the best Christmas presents. Like I finally got them in like March because I hadn't seen them. And her dad had passed something down to me and her little brother had given me like this momentum that I keep on me all the time. And every single card said your family no matter what your family. And it's just amazing. It's overwhelming. It's confusing. You've experienced love in so many different ways. Like when I moved out, I had six guys with me and they just man they had my they knew that was a hard day for me. Especially when we're in the bedroom and It's like we're mushy now. Like everyone's in there telling me their problems and like we all fall in love you, bro. Love you. And it's just like, it's so sappy and mushy. I'm so appreciative of the people who are real, you know, the people who are honest, like the people I really do trust. Because like I say, hindsight is 20-20. You look back. The things that her family has said about her. Like, I've heard the I've heard the words coward. I've heard the words immature. I've heard combinations of words that I cannot say on your show, from, you know, like mutual friends that that have taken it very personally. Not only because what she did to me to our home, but she's flat out abandoned them as well. You know, it was a new job, new period, it was just like all for this one person, which again, is very strange to me. I never got anything from her in terms of an apology. The night after, so it would be the morning after I caught her. I got a text about talking about it and she knew I was mad, wasn't an apology. It was, “I know you're mad, but let's talk about  it at this time, this place with my dad.” I didn't answer. And then I got an email,  two months almost to the day after catching her. And then I got an email saying, “I know things got crazy. And I know you're probably angry, and you sit on top, and I understand but…” Like, things got crazy? Like, you're not even owning anything.

 

Marissa: Do you think That's a way for her to manipulate the situation. I'm not trying to lead you, I’m just asking.

 

Logan: Oh, I 100% do, because in interactions that I've had with her through my lawyer, and through my sister, there has been so many like little things. I'm like, Alright, well, this is this. And she owes me this. And she's kind of like, No, I don’t. It's like, because I caught her lying. Everything's a lie. So, it's 100% like that they given the emails very strategic. And like she didn't even have words; you know what I mean. And now she's got words, but nothing she has said to me has had any merit because of the amount of lie after lie after lie. And again, it's all strategy at this point. So again, like, just be careful about who you choose to trust. Be careful about who you choose to be in love with or give yourself to, because everyone has said this to me. Even my best of friends and their families and be like, Hey, man, the give and take this is never going to work because a give and take was way off. You gave and she took. And you look back and you see it. And that's why I think it was so easy to disrespect me and disrespect our home to anyone listening right now like is a huge takeaway, believe it or not, if you are in a relationship where you give, and you think it's like your job just to give, look around and see what you're getting back, see if, if you do something little have a little accomplishment, and that person is supporting you. I don't know, like I say hindsight is 20-20 it's just given and take, it's such a huge part of  a relationship.

 

Marissa: Thank you for sharing that. And you're right, it is really important to evaluate the equality in the relationship. If you're in a relationship where you don't feel that you can trust them, or that you're being respected or that the communication is off and you feel afraid to bring things up to them. That might not be a healthy relationship. And it's hard in the moment. It's a yellow flag or a red flag depending on the degree of the situation. But it's really important to really take a look at that and not ignore it and justify it. And it's so much easier said than done. Problems like that don't generally get better, they usually get worse because narcissists will push boundaries to see what they can get away with. And you can kind of see that in the story, Logan where your Is it an ex-wife now? Or are you still technically married?

 

Logan: As of the release date of this recording, I would say not married.

 

Marissa: Okay, so you can kind of see that progression with you with your ex-wife. First, it was probably texting a little bit and pulling back when she started working at that place and met this other person. And then it was texting all night. And then it was inviting the person into your home kicking you out of the home. And it's really all about boundary pushing and seeing what she can get away with and what she can't get away with. And ultimately it led to her winning and getting what she wanted. And you feeling the way that you're feeling. Does that make sense?

 

Logan: It makes perfect sense. It's like, like getting what you want it. I understand like people fall out of love like I understand like relationships are hard. Man I would have appreciated some honesty. Man I would have appreciated some communication. And it feels like I was a passenger all this like oh, like I get this all the time. Hey man, like you're nice guy. You didn't do anything. You didn't do anything. And it's like I'm the passenger and all this. I went down swinging. I tried to fight. I did some stupid grand gestures, I would have shown up with a good talker, like while she was cheating. Like, I'm an idiot. It's like the punishment doesn't fit the crime because like I didn't really do anything, but like I lost my town. I lost my home, my bed, essentially a big chunk of my family. And then that's not, you know, if you are someone on the other side of this man or you're going through something, you know, I think communication is key honesty is key, I think everything would have been way different had she come to me from the beginning and says, Hey, I'm confused, I got a new job. There's someone there. I want you to hear from me. You know what I mean? Like it said it like the whole catching in the text thing. It was like, she's already gone. Like, apparently. I'm not going to say she was a selfless person by any means. But it was like no one, no one mattered. And I'll give you I'll give you this. I did speak to a mutual friend who he spoke to her on the phone. The day after I caught her. And what these are her words, and I never heard these from her. I was probably not supposed to hear these words. She said, “I love Logan. Logan's my best friend. But I'm glad I did it. I just did everything the wrong way.” It doesn't matter. My home. The people You and I both know have been there, Marissa, like, she gets to keep all of it, you know, and use it however, with ever, whoever she sees fit. And to me, that's just like, its ultimate disrespect. But that's the end game.

 

Marissa: I'm really sorry that you're going through all this, it just seems like everything she did was calculated to maintain control of the situation. You know, she knows she did it wrong. She admitted that to people, and it's not okay. And I'm sorry that you got left on the sideline feeling like dirt, feeling like nothing. And you're not stupid or ridiculous for doing any of those grand gestures. That's 100% in your character. And for a person who maintained control of situation the whole time and gave you really no sort of leeway, or no insight into what was going on. Of course, it would leave you feeling like scrambling and trying to put things together. You're a fixer you are and that's, 100% you. And you can't beat yourself up for something like that. Because it's, it wasn't the wrong thing to do. The wrong thing to do was maintain control of a two-sided situation without giving the partner or her best friend, any sort of insight or a hand.

 

Logan: You had said to me like, Hey, you never gave any sort of consent to have somebody in your home. Again, it's like things you need to hear from the outside. I was like, Yeah, like, that's super not okay. It's crazy. I could go on and on. But the big takeaway here is like, it's not fair to me moving forward. Everyone's been great. And like, I've been reconnecting with people and my relationships with God gotten stronger and that's just super positive. But it's not fair to me, because in any sort of relationship moving forward, I'm going to have major like, I'm not going to try to take my baggage with me. I don't think anyone should. But it's, it's easier said than do. And I'm a big, big actions speak louder than words, especially after what I've been through. I'm a big action speak louder than words kind of person. But it's not fair to me. Because into any relationship, I'm moving forward, I'm going to have major trust issues. Because we were good, until the second we weren't, and there was somebody else. In my mind, anyway, I thought that was the hurdle on our marriage. She made her bed.

 

Marissa: So, I have kind of a segue question. It's sort of related. But I do want to know, would we consider cheating abuse? Is cheating abuse? Is cheating emotional abuse?

 

Logan: Great question. Like I said, at the beginning, anything I'm going through like the deception, the lying, the cheating, the distress. In my mind, like I know, you say not to compare, but like, the things that people go through with physical abuse, like, you know, people have been like locked in closets or getting physically abused or hurt or sexually harassed, or that stuff like that is way worse Like that is terrible. That is abuse. I do think just from the way I feel, I do think like even just the texting, and my buddy called it like, you know, even early on with the texting was going on and then I had mentioned it to someone I'm very close with because I did need to heal. And he said, Look, she's already gone man, like if the texting has already happened. And sure enough, he was right. I mean, led all the way to our three and a half weeks later in our apartment, like I never thought that would be the case. But when the texting happened, I felt not taken for granted. I just felt like dirt. You know, even just with the texting, I felt like I was worthless. I felt like, like I was competing with someone and I know my worth and I never have confidence issues because I put a lot of heart and soul to everything I do. And I'm well respected and I have a reputation and then in the music scene, a very positive one which again, is another ripple effect in this. But I felt very just kind of like even then just like used. So… and then when the ultimate cheating app and you feel man, I did not matter at all like there's someone in my apartment like I am…

 

Marissa: So, the actual definition of abuse is manipulation to have power and control over a person. Manipulation or coercion in order to maintain power and control over a person.

 

Logan: That made it way easier. Say yeah, 100%. I mean, like it was Lie, lie it was push everyone away to bring someone else in. It wasn't just to me it was the family. It was to the band. My band may either say, hey, she hung everyone out to dry. No, I understand your priorities. You're going through something like that, man, this person better than worth it. But I would say 100%. Emotionally, yeah. emotionally abusive. Yeah, that messed me up for a long while. Luckily, it was like I was falling off a cliff. And I was like, screaming and like, everybody caught me. And that's including you, Marissa

 

Marissa: Well, we're all happy to do it. And honestly, I think it's amazing that you had such a strong and tight support network. You know, ranging from people you haven't talked in a long time or meeting who we really didn't know each other very well, to people you're super close with, like your best friends and her family. That is such a testament to your character. And I'm not a religious person I hate like the #blessed thing. I think that that's so obnoxious. But I think that you're so blessed to have such a strong, amazing community around you. And we're all grateful to be here for you, whenever you need it. So, tell me a little bit about what has helped you heal from all of this, because obviously, it's been really heavy, and it's very, very recent, but you seem to be handling it well, and moving on, at least in your own way. Like you're not holding on it anymore. And that's really important and really, really amazing. So, what are some tips and tricks that you've tried that have worked for you?

 

Logan: That's an amazing question. You know, we talked about it earlier, in terms of healing. But obviously, like my friends and family, and apparently her family, being so supportive. And everyone just kind of saying, they're really using these words, you're a good guy, which again, I'm not in love with, but also saying you handle this with integrity, which I'm trying to do, again. Like just because someone did everything the wrong way, doesn't mean that I have to. And I'm not going to go on social media and post a bunch of things. You know, at the same time, if you want to talk to me, I'm an open book. I'll be respectful of certain things in this story. You know, the, one of the ministers I spoke with, I said, like, the hardest thing for me was wrapping my head around, like how it could just happen like a light. Like, how did this just happen? Like, new job, new person in my home? Like, how did this happen? My head is still spinning. And my minister said, “It's like, you have emotional whiplash.” I thought that was a great, great analogy. And then I have the best friends in the world, my buddy, who's a cop, I was talking to him. And he sees crazy stuff every day, man. And he said something to me, that hopefully people can take away from here. But he says something to me, he goes, “Be happy, you can't understand it, because that means you're not capable of it.” And I thought that was brilliant. Because I still can't understand it. Like I had said, if roles were reversed. You know, say I had fallen for some dude and a new job, or whatever it is. I feel like there could be communication. And I'm not saying like, that would have been the case. I don't know. I'm not in anyone else's shoes. But I feel like there would have been a lot more honesty. I feel like there would have been a lot more communication. But everyone's been there from even moving out of the apartment. Even letting me crash somewhere. Open Arms. I've received so much love and encouragement, which I’m… you know, everyone's going to be there. Like when you fall, but when you see it, it's overwhelming. My family, my sister, everyone's just been amazing. I have amazing friends who are some of who are first responders who are going through some crazy stuff right now, who are going through way crazier stuff and then I'm going through, it's key. I'm not used to the encouragement. I'm not used to all the love and the mushy stuff. But you see how much your love loved and appreciated. And I think integrity and not reputation, but integrity and showing the kind of person you are really does speak volumes. And people show that they appreciate you and that they love you. And like I said everyone was just kind of like, yeah, we're good on her. You could do better. You know what I mean? Like everyone was just kind of, they love me and they want to see the best for me. Just surround yourself with people in life who got your back who don't stab you in the back. But people who got your back and you’ll know who those people are.

 

Marissa: Yeah, they say that in your darkest times or when, when the people who are truly on your side show up.

 

Logan: Absolutely. And I lived it.

 

Marissa: Well, thank you so, so much for joining us today. And thank you for sharing your truth and being raw and honest. And you know, I hope everything just keeps growing for you and your creative endeavors. And everything because you really are a good guy. And you have a big heart.

 

Logan: Marissa, more importantly, thank you for what you do for people who've been through some crazy, crazy stuff I appreciate you all you have done for me, not just talking with me, but constantly checking up on me and putting up with my rambling. So I super appreciate you keep up all the good work that you do and I'm just going to say now there's going to be a bunch more Amazon best-selling books on the way.

 

If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to be a five year process either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entire lives have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

 

Overcoming narcissism and healing from emotional abuse are so important to your mental health and to living a life of freedom, confidence and peace.  Today, I want to discuss What Makes a good relationship. 

 

Everybody has different expectations for what they want in a partner, and what makes up a good relationship, but there are four areas in which a relationship needs to be solid in order for it to be considered a healthy relationship.

 

A healthy relationship needs to have communication, trust, respect and emotional support to succeed.

 

1. Communication

 

Communication skills come in two forms, verbal communication and nonverbal communication. Verbal communication, is the way we speak to each other.  Do we speak to each other with encouraging words, love, respect, and kindness? Verbal communication is how we get to know each other.  Our likes and dislikes, the things that makes us tick. It’s how we argue and fight, set and learn boundaries. It’s the quickest and most efficient way to learn about each other.

 

Nonverbal communication is body language and facial expressions.  Being observant to how your partner responds to your words and your behaviors. The things that make them smile or cry.  The ways in which their body moves in reaction to things. You learn a lot about a persons psychology by watching how they move, when they move, and communicating motions of love, acceptance and comfort.

 

When there are barriers in communication, or situations in which we are miscommunicating or  communicating improperly, it causes discomfort and resistance.  It pushes our partner away.  And that’s a large contributor to toxic relationships. 

 

2. Trust

 

In toxic relationships, we are taught to not trust anyone aside from our narcissist, including ourselves.  A healthy relationship is built on trust.  Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and that includes a feeling of security, loyalty and commitment.  In toxic relationships, narcissists will lie, cheat and gaslight us, making us feel crazy and instilling us with self-doubt.  That shaky and unstable lack of trust does a lot of damage to the relationship. 

 

In a healthy relationship, you feel secure and that it’s stable and there is a solid foundation of commitment and loyalty.  You aren’t worried that your toxic partner is cheating on you and lying about it.  You’re not worried that there is somebody else or that you need to hold on tighter to keep them around.  Your partner trusts you, and you trust them, and there’s a mutual feeling of comfort and security.

3. Respect

 

Respect is arguably the most important aspect of a healthy relationship.  Respect is showing somebody that you care, that you are valid, and that you are loved. When you respect someone, you hold them in high regard, and their opinion and interests matter to you. 

 

You can respect someones opinion, even if you disagree.  You can respect someones boundaries, especially when you’ve experienced a narcissist, someone respecting your boundaries is really important.  You can respect someones space and wishes. 

 

All of these amount to a very healthy balance of power, and a healthy relationship.

 

4. Emotional Support

 

Humans are social creatures, which means that we require emotional support.  We have our logical side and our emotional side.  Even if one over-powers the other, we are all still motivated by emotion.  That’s why we love sentimental things, and watching movies.  They spark some sort of emotion, whether it be adrenaline, happiness, sadness, fear, etc.

 

When we, as survivors are having bad days, or episodes or just feeling bad, we need someone to give us the emotional support that we require.  If that means that they just listen to you vent, or comfort you, or bring your favorite food, then that’s enough.  And it works both ways.  A healthy relationship is one where the playing field is equal, and both partners feel supported emotionally. 

 

Hey! If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to be a five year process either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entire lives have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

Overcoming narcissism and healing from emotional abuse are so important to your mental health and to living a life of freedom, confidence and peace.  Today, I want to highlight Signs of a Toxic Relationship.  It is important to be able to recognize red flags, so that we can safely avoid toxic people. 

 

There are 11 signs of a toxic relationship.  Learn how to recognize them so you are prepared and know how to avoid toxic people.

 

  1. Narcissistic Deflection (Deflection)

    What does deflection mean? It’s diverting a conversation, topic or blame to someone else, usually the survivor.  It is playing mind games with the survivor to make them feel crazy or that they are to blame for the outcome of the narcissists behavior.

 

  1. Are Narcissists Loyal? (Poor Commitment)

The short answer is no.  That doesn’t guarantee that your partner is cheating on you, but loyalty is also keeping promises and appointments.  Narcissists and toxic partners are notorious for leaving survivors waiting around for them, and lying. This alone makes them unreliable and undependable.  If your partner is lying to you, or dodging plans, or making you wait for them with no response or courtesy call, they aren’t being loyal, or dependable.

 

  1. My Partner Doesn’t Respect My Boundaries (Disrespect)

 

Narcissists and toxic people don’t like being told no.  I mean, nobody does, but narcs especially aren’t fond of boundaries, because it limits their control.  So, in order to maintain control they will continue to disrespect and push your boundaries, and most often, blame it on you for not being clear; or apologize, but then continue to push the boundary until you give in.

 

Some relationships can drain you, especially when the toxic person is in constant, nonstop contact, has impossible expectations or is in constant fear of gossip about them. It’s unproductive and exhausting to have to entertain these conversations. Communication and respect are two huge and important characteristics of a healthy relationship. If your partner isn’t respecting you, your wishes or your body, that’s a huge sign of a toxic relationship.

 

  1. Are Narcissists Spiteful? (Spiteful/Vengeful)

 

If your partner uses words and actions as a means of revenge, they are the definition of a toxic person.   Narcissists tend to be very jealous, and also very spiteful.  They detest when other people have what they want, and that can translate to economic or career goals, material objects, people and attention.  They will often seek revenge against someone when they feel threatened, by either verbally, emotionally or physically attacking the survivor.  A healthy partnership should be building each other up, encouraging and motivating each other to be and do their best.  And if that is not the case, then your partner is a narcissist.

 

  1. Healthy Give and Take Relationships (Inequality)

 

A major sign of a toxic relationship is when you have a partner who asks for help and advice but never has the time to support you. They want your attention, your help, your money, your time, but don’t reciprocate the sentiment when you need it.  The relationship revolves around them and their needs, always.

 

  1. How To Know If Your Relationship Is Healthy (Using Your Information Against You)

 

In a healthy relationship, your partner will support you and not take advantage of the information they have from you. A toxic partner will use the information you’ve given them to manipulate you into doing what they want.  They will use your past or your weaknesses against you, to make you feel guilt, shame or submission to gain control. They may use personal information to demean you in front of others, or use it to manipulate you into doing what they want. This is a clear sign of a toxic relationship that you should get out of.

 

 

  1. My Partner Doesn’t Like My Family or Friends (Isolation)

 

Narcissists and Toxic People don’t like competition, and they don’t like it when people influence their survivors. They want to keep their partner exactly where they want them, with no outside perspectives.  If your partner is constantly bashing your friends and family members, and trying to monopolize your time, this is a big indication of an unhealthy relationship. 

 

  1. Lack of Integrity in Relationships (Actions Don’t Match Their “Values”)

 

When what they say doesn’t align with their actions, that is a red flag. Narcissists know how to say all the right things, but they do nothing to back up what they say. In fact, they usually contradict themselves, and confuse survivors.  We know they know the right thing to do, but they choose to do the opposite.  It's all toxic behavior and mind games.

 

  1. Lack of Trust in A Relationship (Defensiveness)

 

A general rule of thumb is, someone with a guilty conscious get’s defensive, and usually accuses the victim of the crime or behavior the narcissist is committing.  So, if your partner is accusing you of cheating or demanding that they cannot trust you, chances are, they are doing what they’re accusing you of.  And that lack of trust is an indicator of trying to isolate you from your friends and family. 

 

  1. 10. My Partner Tries to Control Me (Controlling / Manipulation)

 

I’ve already mentioned a few ways that narcissists and toxic partners use to control you. By controlling your time and attention, and isolating you from family and friends.  But there are also other ways that they use.  For example, making comments about your body to limit or control your eating habits.  By not-so-politely recommending you eat less or eat more in order to … fill in the blank.  They also will comment, recommend or control the clothing you’re allowed to wear, especially around people of the gender or sex you’re interested in, even if that person isn’t someone you’re interested in. If your partner, in an unhealthy and unwanted way, is monitoring your eating habits, spending habits, spiritual habits, and free-will, they are toxic, and this is a toxic relationship.

 

  1. 11. Narcissistic Jealousy (Jealous)

 

The last red flag of a toxic relationship is someone who is perpetually pulling you down or holding you back from achieving your personal or professional goals. It’s healthy to have “the challenger” who pokes holes in your assumptions and makes you aware of the risks to protect you and help you gain clarity, but when this turns into perpetual negativity, it’s a toxic relationship.  You want to be with someone who encourages and motivates you.  Not someone who is jealous of your aspirations and keeps you feeling unaccomplished and unmotivated.

 

 

 

If any of these behaviors are things that you’re experiencing with your partner, please get help.  All of these are toxic behaviors, that will keep you feeling stuck and isolated until you take control back and leave.  I am here to help in any way I can.  Feel free to reach out to me via my website: www.MarissaFayeCohen.com or by email at me@MarissaFayeCohen.com.  I also have a Free Safety Planning Guide on my website at www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Free-resources .  Cutting out a toxic partner is difficult, but necessary. Narcissists push boundaries and things will just get worse. Reach out to me for support.  I’m happy to help.   

 

Schedule a Personal Call with Marissa

 

Hey! If you enjoyed this article, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching.  Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

Rob: Alright! Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to a very special tag-team episode of the BCP- Healing From Emotional Abuse Podcast Connection! That’s right! We’re teaming up right now to have some very real discussions about what’s going on in this world that I love so much of Professional Wrestling. Combined with the Good Sisters world of Overcoming Abuse right now.  Of course that is Multiple Time Amazon Award Winning, Best Selling author, my good friend Miss Marissa Cohen. Marissa, What's up? How are you?

 

Marissa: I'm good. You always make me blush with your intros! Thank you.

 

Rob: Well, you know, it's a crazy time right now in my world of professional wrestling. I see this hashtag, growing, #SpeakingOut, #SpeakOut, where indie stars or even a lot of the national performers that we see on TV right now are talking about some of these very uncomfortable, sometimes abusive, inappropriate situations that are going on behind the curtain right now in this Wrestling World. Stories are surfacing from years ago, some of these major stars are speaking out. Or some of these major stars are being accused of these crazy things. So, it's very, very crazy right now. And I thought, who better to reach out and have a discussion about this? Because in 2020, let's be real, we need to have discussions about things. Than Miss Marissa, Cohen. So Marissa, thank you so much for agreeing to doing this. And hopefully we'll do a couple of these and have a great conversation, your thoughts on this whole thing?

 

Marissa: I'm just honestly happy that you brought it to my attention. To be honest, I'm not a huge wrestling fan. And I know that's kind of a sacrilege thing to say to you. But I'm really not. And I didn't even consider the amount of sexual harassment and sexual assault and abuse in the Wrestling World. So, thank you for bringing this to my attention And I'm really, really happy to be a part of this, even though obviously, I hate that people are being abused and assaulted. But I'm glad that now, #SpeakingOut is coming to light and people are starting to speak their truth and tell their stories. I think that is so important and you're right. It's just starting the conversation.

 

Rob: Absolutely beautifully said, and we have a special guest with us, Marissa, I'm very excited about this. You know, obviously not excited about the situation. But again, excited to discuss it, break the silence a little bit. And right now, we're excited to welcome to the show former ring announcer, commentator, wrestler, even no stranger to having gold around her race. That's right, a former NWA women's champ herself, formerly known as Daisy Deville. Please welcome to the show. Miss Linda Danville! Linda, what's up? Thanks for a few minutes. How are you?

 

Linda: I'm so good. Thank you for having me. How are you doing?

 

Rob: Doing okay, you know. It's, it's been a year. 2020 — it's been a lot. It’s, you know, it's still going with this whole speaking out movement right now going on in the Wrestling World. You know, first and foremost, your thoughts on the speaking out movement going on social media right now in the Wrestling World.

 

Linda: You know, I hate to say it, I mean, I've been involved in wrestling since I was 17 and 2001. So, I'm like, a fossil right now in wrestling. But I hate to say it, but when it first started to come to light, I was like, Well, I'm not surprised. And that's such a horrible attitude to have, like, I'm not. Wrestling as a giant boy’s club. And I and I wasn't surprised. So, I reactivated my Twitter was looking through something. And I was honestly, like, I was honestly horrified. Like, it goes so much deeper. And you read these girls and even the men’s stories.  Women and men’s stories. And it's so much more beyond like, just grab ass in the locker room, or a lewd comment here or there, or somebody's not giving a shit if you're married and you know, approaching you. But it's so beyond that and it's horrifying. Like a lot of these women, you know, this is like your dream and you do anything to get there. And then you get to this grand stage or you get closer. You get promised all these things, and somebody takes something special to you and just shit’s on it.

 

Rob: Oh, boy, that's crazy to hear. You know, and a lot of people are saying like, yeah, they're not surprised. Like we don't really know what goes on behind the curtain. You know, I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of promoters and a lot of shows, and, you know, be there before the first bell rings, you know, be in the doors before the crowd gets in there. And I've had very positive experiences, you know, I've never been in the locker room but you know, everyone shaking hands, you know, showing respect to some of the legends in the business. It's all been very, very good. So it did you know, obviously break my heart to see all this stuff. But I think these discussions need to be had. Now, you mentioned locker rooms. You know, I know a lot of these shows are in high school gyms or VFW halls and stuff like that. Is it uncommon for you guys to have like separate locker rooms.

 

Linda:  I don't think I've ever had my own separate room because you know on most of these shows it's there's maybe one or two possibly maximum six women on a show. And it gives them their own locker room is like a flipping luxury. There was a place when I wrestled for SWF we would do shows, gosh, I think it was a VFW in Totowa, I forget what it was. But it was just one big, like curtain dock. Like event space, I think. Then it’s kind of had a back way to a women's bathroom, which had like a fitting room or like a powder room or something. And that was like, the most luxurious, I think it's ever been like I've changed in my car. I've had to — there was a VFW in Bayville, where they wanted us to have the locker room like outside in March, which was insanity. So, we ended up taking over one of the extra bathrooms and wrestling is male dominated. So, they use the women's bathroom and I'm in a friggin women's bathroom with a bunch of dudes. Oh, no, you know what there was we used to wrestle for DWA, we had this place in Jackson, that is like a historical horrible monument or like whatever, called Rova Farms. And was the it was like, the locker room was basically a blocked off lobby that had a mens room and women's rooms on either side, and the promoter and the locker room leader, where they would always use the women's room as their personal locker room. And then once I came along, and they started a women's division, we would kind of just move our shit in there and they would get kind of grumpy about it. I'm like, it's the flipping ladies room. So then you kick them out when you want to get dressed, but very seldom, I mean, at least the places I've worked. Very seldom you actually have like a locker room. I think my first show was at one of the brick high schools can't remember which one it was. And they were like, oh, you're going to have your own locker room. But there was like a high school football game that night. And everybody was changing in their auxiliary gym. So, I'm like, 17 And there's a bunch of dudes getting half naked in high school weight room. Oh, yeah. It's super fun, man. I got tales.

 

Marissa: That's disgusting.

 

Linda: Yeah, I mean, it's not uncommon. It's almost like when you go to the beach, and you see like surfers, and they basically put on a towel and they get dressed under the towels never really see anything. But like to be at the beginning of my high school senior year, and like, I get to be a wrestler today and I'm going to manage a tag team and everything is great. You walk in and there's just like, sweaty, smelly dude changing under like Garfield beach towels or something stupid. It's, that's, that's fancy.

 

Rob: I think while moving forward… I mean, again, this is why we have this discussion. I think moving forward. I mean, I think this is a no brainer, but separate locker rooms. That's probably part of the solution right there. So, we see all these crazy, I mean, you shouldn't say crazy. But to see all these surprising, I guess, or maybe not so surprising claims coming out about some of these pretty big names. Some of these people that I've had on my show. I've literally gone back and deleted episodes because of these things. You know, and, you know, everyone obviously deserves, you know, their do justice and all that, you know. Who knows what’s real and what's not. But I believe the stats speak for themselves and I’ll throw this to you Marissa. I think they're saying like, what was it less than 5% of like claims such as the sexual abuse, rape and such are, I guess, less than 5% are false or something like that? Would you know anything about that Marissa?

 

Marissa: I do. So, the statistic goes between 2% and 8% of reports are false reports. Depending on the demographic. So in certain demographics, obviously, it's higher or lower. But only about 5% of cases are reported to the police. So, in the grand scheme of things, 2% of the 5% that are reported are false. And it's such a minuscule number, but people like to focus on it so much.

 

Rob: Yeah, it's really crazy. And you see some of these things. And then you see some of these, like, I even really don't want to name names, but like, you see some of these responses. Some of these people that are putting out that are accused and you're like, that's your response? Like you don't have a leg to stand on. Like it's really just it's kind of pathetic, and crazy. Linda, you said you're not really that surprised to see all this stuff coming out. You don't have to get specific or name names or anything like that. But have you experienced, I guess similar things to some of the stuff we're seeing on Twitter?

 

Linda: So, I would say, I've been and I everything I say is going to sound so horrible one way or another. I have never I've been fortunate that I've never been, let's say, like big enough that I'm traveling out of state. I'm doing all these things, and I'm living out of my car. And I'm like sharing hotel rooms with people. That's when shit gets bad. Like I've seen, like, I've never been so thankful that my career didn't make it. I'll just put it that way. Like, because what are you going to do? Like I said, there's maybe two to six women per show. And I saw somebody’s response on Twitter to someone was like, “Well, maybe you shouldn't be in a hotel room with a guy.” Like, what are you supposed to do? You're traveling. Wrestling is not like, you don't get paid a million fucking dollars, unless you work for Vince McMann. And maybe you're lucky if you make three figures. Like I've never, that's never. It's basically like, a hobby. Most the time, and I'm going to get dragged for saying that, but it basically is. You do it because you love it most of the time. And so, I've never been in a situation where I've had to split a hotel room with somebody, and fear for my life. Early days, I dated a guy that I went to wrestling school with and he was very adamant about, like, we don't want anybody to know we're dating, because that's not what kind of look around you. And I think back to some of the things that we would say to each other. And I'm just like, he was not a good person, but whatever. Um, so we weren't like going out after shows, and like running down to AC with people, which happened often. And we weren't going to bars, we would just like go to the show, go to the diner and go home. So, I wasn't really in situations a lot of time. And then later on, like I, you know, met my husband, and then we had our kids. So, I'm not rocking and rolling all night with the dudes because I'm going home with my family. So, I've never really been in a situation where I've been cornered in a bathroom but have, I been? Have I? I've definitely been hit on. I've definitely had somebody say lewd comments. I've definitely not gotten paid because I was a woman on the show, or because I waited too long to use the locker room to change and everybody was done at that point and then the promoter booked.  Like, I don't know if it was necessarily something that happened on purpose. But we had it was like, I want to say, I only had my, my oldest son at the time. I was just restarting and I went to help somebody, they were doing a fundraiser for the Lacey the firehouse one at least. And it was at one of the high schools or middle school or something. And they had me train one of their firefighters who was female and it was supposed to be you know, me and one of the guys that I know Cletus versus two of the firefighters, a male and a female. So, I was basically we all put the match together. Because who doesn't want to see your firefighters that you're raising money for Like wrestle? It was super dope. But then, you know, you kind of have to wait a minute because we shared a locker room and like, I wanted to get dressed. But my van is like, all the way in East-Bumble, so I can’t go all the way to my van. So, I don't know, whatever. So we go to a bar afterwards. And the promoter who maybe ran free shows and is smelly and disgusting and annoying, whatever. He was sitting there like, like, big shit like, “Oh, well, we had a good night we raised money. Everybody got paid.” And I'm literally sitting two feet away from me. And I’m like, “I didn't get paid." I thought nobody was getting paid because it was a fundraiser that's common. And you didn't say anything, didn't offer buy me a beer, did not buy me a sandwich, or whatever. But as far as like harassment goes, it's definitely happened. I've been approached in my Twitter DMSs by a former WWE star that we did a show with, but he was super tall, and he mentioned at the show that I was super tall, and I had really long legs and that's great. He was like you He was  asking me questions like, what my shoe size was, how tall I was. If I would, you know spend time with him when he did shows with us in New Jersey. And I was like “Lol I'm married That's funny.” He's married to you, by the way. Not to the same person now. He was married someone else at the time. But he was like, Well, how married are you? I'm like, “The married with children kind. That kind of married.”

 

Marissa: What kind of question is that?

 

Linda:   I'm like, married — like vows in front of God and I love my husband. He’s had my heart since I was 14. Anyway, but you know, it's like so this man he like messages me and he says that and it's probably one of the only times. But I made it a point on my wrestling Facebook page. Like if somebody contacted me on messenger unless it was regarding a booking, I would just delete it and not pay attention to it. And I would get Messages every now and then like, hey. I'm sure single females or even married female get this all the time I really don't let people know that whatever. I make it very obvious and I don't answer things. But I was starting to get some messages like my, my inbox and I would just delete them and I made a point to mention something on my wrestling Facebook like, hey, clearly stated my bio that I'm married just because I do wrestling doesn't mean like, you can approach me. And a promoter I had worked for was like nobody fucking cares that you're married. Why do you say that all the time? And  I’m like, is this how you talk to your wife? Because that's disgusting. And it really struck me like if he asked me to ever work for show for him again. I absolutely never would. He definitely doesn't run shows anymore. But that's like the kind of stuff that you just deal with. And you learn to like laugh it off, I guess. Because and you know, looking back on it now, like that was so stupid. Like, why would I laugh it off? It's so fucking rude and disrespectful. And I'm almost ashamed of like the things that you learn coming up, like, you know, it's a locker room. It's a man's world, basically. I could go on and it wouldn't even scratch the surface because some of these women have been through, men have been through. There are married men who would have a girlfriend and be hitting up. I mean, none of these are my story, but from some of the things that I've seen, like… I know, a wrestler who's non-binary, and she was getting hit up, I guess, because she was different. And the guy was furious. But had a wife and a girlfriend and is now denying everything, which is disgusting because I know this person. I've met her on one occasion and it's just not… like she lives life on apologetically like she wouldn't make something up just to ruin someone. Like she doesn't give a fuck about your life. She just wants to wrestle and be happy. And if she's mentioning something, you know, it's because it happened.

 

Rob: Even just hearing all that is crazy for me. And, you know, I asked both you guys this, like, you mentioned the DM’s. Linda like, you know, we were very, you know, pro women's wrestling show. We've had a lot of like the great indie stars on our show.

 

Linda: I've never met her. But I know the guys that are running Titan. alot of those guys were involved with SWF and are no longer. So, and like my guys, like Vinny, and those guys, we're on there. So, I was tuning in from home. She has it. She's going to go very far. And I'm scared for her because she's what, 17? 18? Very young, I'm nervous for girls like her, because there's a very good chance from my experience, somebody is going to pull some shit. And she's not Oh, my God, I'm getting so emotional right now. And she's not going to be able to realize like, what she wants and what she can do. Because it's, more likely that somebody's going to ruin it for her, then she just decides to hang it up early.

 

Rob: It's, crazy that you bring that up. And again, like, I get what you're saying.  For sure it does, it does make you worry, like we always try to, you know, represent ourselves in a good life and have good rapport with these people. You know, I hate trying to reach out sometimes it's the only way through social media. I think that is part of the problem And I'm a big social media guy. A lot of my job involves social media, whether it be my podcast or my day job. I get it. But like, you know, you talk about the DMs and all that stuff. I'm very careful when I reach out on social platforms. I keep it very professional, very respectful. And when we have, you know, a wrestler, especially young, younger wrestlers, or female wrestlers on our show, were very, very respectful. And the respect goes ways, you know, goes both ways. It's all about that. And, you know, we see young wrestlers, you know, you mentioned Mimi, who's fantastic. I do think she's got a great head on her shoulders. You know, way, way ahead of her time. You know, wish her all the best. I will see her on TV, no doubt in my mind. You know, and like we said, hopefully this conversation will be part of the solution. Guys like Casey Navarro has been a great friend of my show, man, he has such huge potential. So, you know, he's just a good guy, a good human. And I literally asked him like, how do you stay so humble? Like, I've seen the stars that he rolls with, you know, during this whole pandemic itself. He just checked in with me, he's like, Hey, man, how's you and your family? I'm like, I'm like, why are you talking to me? Like you're just like, great guy.

 

Linda: He was like 16 wrestling for SWF. Him and Jordan Oliver. And you just look at those kids and they're so hungry, like they're going to do so well. He get injured a lot though. And every time I turn around like this friggin kid! Come on.

 

Rob: He's the future.  Well, he really is. Yeah. And maybe, you know, maybe these kids like up and coming, like, maybe we're having these conversations now. So, the business will be better for them. Like, it's very hard to tell, Marissa, let me ask you, like, you know, you've explored, you know, all different organizations. You're looking at things that are going on in the military right now. You know, obviously, I was like, hey, Marissa, like, there's this whole kind of abuse and stuff, you know, out online. In the Wrestling World, you know, are you guessing you're not surprised by this? But do you kind of see a lot of this in maybe like sports and stuff like that?

 

Marissa: Unfortunately, yeah. And a lot of sports or professional organizations don't handle it very well. So, like you said, I'm working kind of with the military and not with the military, I'm going to correct that. I'm working with an organization who wants to be a third party to military sexual assault investigations. Because the internal abuse of power is so corrupt, and horrendous, and they treat survivors of sexual assault with such disdain and disrespect, that it ruins a ton of people's careers. And so, when you approached me with this for wrestling, I, it was hard for me to say that I was surprised, like, I wasn't surprised. Because for the same reason as the military or police. It's an abuse of power. You know, you have these, these children or these very young people who have these big ambitions and want to do amazing things. And you literally have their destiny in the palm of your hand. Right? So, these promoters, and these agents and the people who have a name or have an established brand, have such power over the younger generation, right? So, it's easy to exploit them. It's easy to manipulate them or coerce them. If you've ever seen the TV show, and this might be a really bad analogy, but if you've ever seen the Amazon Prime show The Boys …

 

Linda: Oh, man, I had to not watch it. I found out like that baby dies or whatever, something happened with the baby. And it was right when I'm like, in the middle of nursing my son, Oh, I can't watch it. I was like, Oh, my God, look at that pumping being represented on TV. And then I'm like, Oh, no, I can't watch this. I'm going to be good for my emotional.

 

Rob: It's crazy.

 

Marissa: But in that show, in the very first episode, I forget what character was but the fish guy, right? He has the power over this brand-new person who's so eager and so excited. And he basically says, if you want to be anything, you have to give me a blowjob. And so, she feels compelled to do that to keep at her dream, without realizing the consequence that she's going to feel. And I feel like wrestling and any organization like it, I mean, any athletic organization, any organization where people have power over each other, the younger ones or like the newer guys are susceptible to that. And they're so often abused, and it's never ever addressed It.

 

Linda: Wrestling is unique in the way that there's not really many other sports or organizations like that, where you're going to mix men and women. Like you have a card and it might have up to 10 matches on it, you might only have one woman's match, or you might have one female ring announcer. Or you might have one female taking this tickets even, or manager, or valet. It's not, there's not a lot going on at one show. And there are things that for years, you just accept as okay, because you don't want to step on any toes. And if there's ever been like, anything that you've been super passionate about. Wrestling is really big on respect, which is really fucking funny in the current climate. Yeah, like you come in, you shake everybody's hand. Everybody. Like if a wrestler’s wife or kids are there you shake everybody's hand. If there's something you don't like, you shake their hand. And it's a very specific, like the wimpiest handshake ever. I actually shake hands a little bit rougher because I needed to assert dominance. Just because I'm a woman, like, don’t F*** with me, this is my handshake. It's a real handshake. So, there's that. But it's like, if you there's so many unspoken rules that you have to follow. And if you do them, I'll just write and listen to all the right people like you can go far. And if you say the wrong thing… I was actually reading, one of the girls that came up a little bit before my time from North Jersey was on Twitter the other day, and I remember back to like my early days of, Yahoo groups and all these things, you'd see all these women from different areas around New Jersey that you might actually wrestle one day. There was a database, a website for women, independent woman, and it was called Glory Fantastic. That was great. And it comes in every year. And you see all these girls like, you might wrestle them one day, and then you hear through grape. I'm like, Oh, well, this one is a rat, which is like a wrestling groupie. Like, this one's a rat, and she was all these guys, or this one given blowjobs. So, she could get the title. And at this point, like, I'm questioning everything I was ever told in wrestling in my early days, because it's like, those are not real stories. And people would spread rumors like that, so people wouldn't go far or so you would get a bad reputation. And they were really big on pitting women against each other. And it just wasn't healthy, like beyond the things that men would do. The women were horrible to each other too. And it was basically just like, what, what you were taught. And like that was it. And you hated everybody and that was it.

 

Marissa: And it's so interesting, like you mentioned that there's such a culture of community respect, right. But behind closed doors, and under all of it is abuse and rumors and pitting women against each other. And pitting humans against each other. Like, I think that's so horrific. I understand the concept of wrestling. And I'm not saying that they should you know that there shouldn't be competition, but to exploit people and spread rumors about things that they did to further their career, when chances are that wasn't the case. Like that's so twisted.

 

Linda: It's hard because you don't know what sometimes. That's because that's what wrestling is like, you’re not supposed to know what's real and what's fake. And it's not just the storylines, or how strong somebody is, or their character. It's literally the people themselves. You don't know who to trust, basically. And, you know, not things I ever thought about until like, this weekend, and I'm just like Jesus Christ. Like I know so many people that right now are thinking of giving up because they've just completely lost faith in wrestling. And that it's so sad, like, now is not the time to give up. Like if you're mad that people are being shit humans, like that's more reason for you to stay. That more of a reason for you to stay and take care of the young kids. Because you're the one that needs to change it. Like you're the person that somebody who's fresh out of wrestling or 16. Beyond being like a seven-foot-tall human like that. So, they want to go to you because they know like, you'll believe what they say. If you're like hey, a Marauder says that if I don't follow a whole closet with him, like I will get a championship. And that man will be you Act. That's the guy you talk to, cause he'll help you. But it's just so fun and the handshake thing too. Like I said, it's not a regular like standard, like Welcome to the business lunch handshake. It's like two fingers. You're supposed to show everybody in the locker room, that you're going to work. Like you're not going to stiff someone. So like, you're not going to put them in like a chokehold and legitimately choke them. Like you can trust that like,

 

you're supposed to be able to trust people in wrestling with your body and the fact that you can't trust people to be alone in a room together without fearing for your fucking life is disgusting.

 

Like, I shake your hand this way. So, you don't hurt me in the ring. But then the same people that you're showing you won't hurt you in the ring, like okay, this is a nice handshake, but you have to worry about them like grabbing your ass or like touching you wrong in a match. Or making a really fucking rude comment. Like oh my god, I'm fired up right now. I haven’t ever said any of this out loud. Like it just fucking astounding that you have to worry about that when you're literally showing someone that you can trust them and they can trust you and then they just throw it out the fucking window.

 

Rob: Wow, that's a soundbite right there. Like you put it perfectly like you trusting these people with your body like midair. Mid flip. Picking you up. Jumping over the rope.

 

Linda: Like, you know, it's like how can I trust you? You can put me in a like me, an almost six-foot-tall woman who was not like I will trust you to put me in, like, an overhead maneuver and throw me on the effing ground. I will trust to do that. Or to chokeslam me, or do something. But I have to go to my fucking van because I can't change here. Because that's me like fucking asking for it?

 

Rob: And I think you summed it up perfectly. Like, I never thought of it that way. You know, I've been behind the curtain a few times. My experiences and the promoters that I have been able to work with have been super positive. It's so great to see and all this stuff breaks my heart. But you know, I do remember people coming around and shaking my hand like, Why are you shaking my hand? Like, you know, I'm just a journalist, you know, you know, but yeah, but that's how I learned you shook everyone's hand like hey, I'm so and so I'm like, I know who you are. I've seen you on TV. Like, you know, why are you shaking my hand? To me it was just like magic. I see people running the ropes like it was really, really cool. And I'm all about it. But at the same time Like, what do we do to change things? You know, like, we talked about the separate locker rooms, like, you know, we have these big stars, these big shows these big events and conventions, where, you know, we're having some of the indie wrestlers going to pick up these big names from the airports, you know. And that's where we're hearing a lot of these stories happening. I have seen some, you know, organizations making some changes to some of these, like things, you know, I understand people have to pay their dues, you know, whether it be setting up the ring, or like picking up people. But maybe this, you know, maybe some things need to change here. And I'm curious, your thoughts on some of the things such as that that might need to change moving forward?

 

Linda: You know, I don't know. It's just, it starts with knowing right now, that if somebody has a problem that their voice will be heard. But at the same time, I don't even know, because it's so something so simple as, hey, you're new, you're still training, whatever, instead of setting up the ring, because I know you probably hate it, because everybody hates it. But then whatever, you either hate it, because you don't want to do it, or you hate it, because you're very particular about how you're going to set up. But instead of setting up the ring, or putting together chairs and go to the airport to pick up who the Eff ever, formerly known as … on the on the card today. And imagine like somebody who's like 16, or 17, and maybe 18, even 20, whatever. And they're just like, holy shit, like, my idol is on the show. And not even not only am I going to be in the same locker room with this human, I'm going to go pick them up from the airport. And I've heard the only thing I've heard is like, there was always a story about like, Oh, so and so picked up like I'm Adela page and he made him go to wall and get them free stuff and then he didn't eat them. Like, your weird things like that But I've never heard of somebody getting assaulted. But now somebody's going to have to worry about that like. So I go pick up this big purse like, like, when I was in SWF that was a little bit more of one of the companies that would book the bigger names like something like UWC. They're more about their own talent and their fans basically enjoyed that brand. And not necessarily wrestling in general. They have a very specific fan base down there. But something like SWF, like, Oh, we have formerly known as on the show today, can you go get them? And I remember doing a show with and I'm going to use a name just because it wasn't a negative influence whatsoever. It was probably the only time in a locker room that I've gotten starstruck. It was at that one room bathroom and Badass Billy Gunn was there. And I am a huge DX fan, which is interesting in the climate because they were very graphic. They're like, the reason why I got into wrestling. I thought it was so funny. Like all the stuff they did in between. And they weren't wrestling and going out and being either a good guy or the bad guy. They were making fun of everyone. And they were just doing whatever the hell they wanted. And I thought it was spectacular. And then on top of that, they work really well as a unit. And they were amazing wrestlers. So, a couple years ago Badass Billy Gunn was at the show, and I'm like, oh my god, like my first AOL screen name was ANewAgeOutlaw. I was like, I’m really going to shit a brick. And everyone's like, oh, why? Because you want to go …Oh my god, now it's turning into a horrible memory. So everyone's like, Why? Because you want to you want to go like suck his dick? Like No, I'm not going to… like I'm not … just because I like enjoy a certain wrestler like, it's from a pure place. It’s from like a 14-year-old girl watching wrestling and thinking this is the shit. And one of the reasons why I got into a ring was because of DX. And I'm literally three sinks down from Badass Billy Gunn. And that doesn't mean I want to hold up in a locker room or like a bathroom stall with him. It means Holy shit. You're Billy Gunn, you're an amazing wrestler. You bump like nobody's business, this is the fucking best day of my life. Have a throat lozenge. I almost passed out. But whatever and everybody assumed it was something weird. But anyway, I don't know where I was going with that. I am chatty and lose my train of thought. I blame children for whatever. But you know, everybody just assumed something. It was awful. So my reaction to that. Okay, here we go. Like if somebody said to a young Me, “Hey, can you go to the airport to pick up Billy Gunn?” And I was like, oh my god, I sleep in a DX shirt every day. I wear the extra training because it's supposed to bring me good luck. These are the reasons why I do what I do. And I get to pick this guy up at the airport and put it in my fucking car and let him change the radio to whatever he wants because he’s my fucking idol?! That would have been me, and somebody is going to be in that situation and probably already has and then not saying Billy Gunn because he's a treasure. But another person will have another wrestler likely from this era or you know, one of the guys that's recently let go, like you get to go to the airport and pick up this name. And they're like, oh my god, do I wear a different wrestler shirt? What do I wear I'm driving my car. Do I go the speed limit or will they think I'm a dork? Should we stop at Wawa and then that wrestler, who you worry so much because you want to impress them, and you are literally starstruck, they encroach on your space and touch you uninvited, and they literally kill every dream you've ever had in five minutes. Like, somebody is going to be put in that situation, and that's fucking horrible. So, what do we do we send an Uber like, I don't know.

 

Marissa: What about I mean, as silly as it sounds, but like, what about the buddy system? Right? So, if we implement a sort of buddy system in events. Where younger people are not like, I'm trying to think of a better word than chaperoned. But what if they have somebody with them? That that can keep them safe? And can monitor situations? That's not like a bodyguard, but like a friend? Is that reasonable? Or is that like a silly dumb thing to say?

 

Linda: So, it's not dumb and it's not silly. But I also don't think, and it's always going to be negative, like, somebody is going to get ragged on. Somebody's going to pull over somebody. Somebody's going to do something and they'll be like, Oh, look, a 16-year-old Joe. He's got his fucking mom with him. But like, no, it's my truck. But like, it's such a testosterone fueled thing, that having somebody there to look out for you, you'd never hear the end of it. You're literally supposed to have a locker room leader. There's supposed to be somebody running the locker room, who is monitoring the matches, making sure people aren't sneaking out to the bar and get drunk before their show. Nobody's sneaking out into the parking lot to like blow lines of coke, because things happen. Like, you're supposed to have somebody looking out for things. But you can't monitor everybody all the time. And there should be somebody who's designated I believe And I was talking to, actually I think Tommy the Moose told me he was supposed to be on your show next week.

 

Rob: Oh, yeah, we love Tommy.

 

Linda: Tommy. Friggin Uncle Tommy the Moose. He got Oswald few little onesies when he was born. So, Uncle Tommy the Moose, He is just pure delight. Yeah. Speaking to me about like, he's like so and so was running this show. And me and Risa Pappas, Tommy’s girlfriend, she's a Ring announcer as well. We've had her on she's great. I didn't she fantactic? She gives NO FUCKs. She’s like racists suck and gross men suck. I’m going to bring it up that I love her a million times.  They’re such an unlikely pair And I love it so much. So, he was telling me that they were talking about how they should probably have somebody (and this wasat the end of the weekend before all this came to light, really.) And it was like, they, you know, they don't know what they're doing with this. So, they should have somebody run, you know, the women and your name came up? And I'm like, well, it's not feasible, because I don't, you know, I don't My job is like, you know, when I'm not furloughed, is it's a weekend job. And when I when I'm not weekending, I have my kids. And my hours are weird. And it's, you know, it's not feasible to get that kind of mom time, you know. Like, my version of a knitting circle or whatever. But I've been thinking about it, and I'm like, you know, that would be so great. And usually the locker room leader is somebody on the card is a veteran, somebody who's been with the company or even one of the trainers from the school or a promoter somebody was like, money mark, or whatever. You should 100% have someone and it should be somebody who's not really doing anything else on the show. Like you should have like a dorm have an RA. Like, I don't know, like a prep school would have like a prep school mom or like somebody monitoring people. And it shouldn't be someone who's involved in the show in any other capacity. I don't think, other than helping reading the storylines, and making sure everybody sticks to their times, and telling people who's up next and you know, basically babysitting the locker room.

 

Rob: I like what you're saying. And Marissa, that was a fantastic question. In fact, I've seen like people, certain companies and to me, like the people that always like, you know, speak up right away, like that shows me something. Recently, something happened in AEW and AEW, like, we’re doing this with this person. And this is happening. Like companies that just like come out and say something or address it head on. I feel like that's the best way to go about things. You know, just acting and I've seen companies, a lot of the indie companies saying like. Alright, for the airport pickups, we are going to have two people go. So, Marissa, you hit that right on the head. Like we're going to have two people go. There's a lot of different things, I think that we can change moving forward. And I think just having this discussion like, you know, you don't need to go hire a human resources department. But I like what you're saying Linda, like I've seen some companies already adopt this. Having a someone in charge of the women's locker room, you know, preferably like a woman, you know. That would make a lot of sense. And you know, same thing for the men's locker room. Let's have separate locker rooms, let's have, you know, not necessarily human resources, but some someone appointed to have that role. Like a wellbeing, you know, make sure everyone acts appropriately. Something like that would be really cool. And I think that's part of the solution right there. Also, you know, not just having these conversations, but I'll ask you guys, this. You know, I've seen this a lot in the music industry, this is a lot different, you know, like the local band and stuff. But I think ego is a huge part of the problem. And I can see that absolutely see that a lot in the business, Linda?

 

Linda: Oh, my God, it's like one guy has a security role on WWE, or like a fake doctor or EMT. And then they come back to a show. They've started going tanning, they've got new gear. They're all baby-oiled up. And they're like, “Well, you know, uh huh.” And it's like, that's what it looks like I've wrestled here. I've wrestled this person. So, you know, show me respect. Like, what the fuck did you do here to earn respect? Like, Oh, my God, the ego. It's just you have the guy in the back who's like, man-spreading in his chair, takes up a whole fucking corner with his water jug. And it's just like, you know, I'm King shit and you're like, No, bro. But yeah, so much ego.

 

Rob: Yeah. And I think that's why people think they can get away with doing these horrible things. I'm so and so I've been on this, or I've this many accolades. And that doesn't excuse it, we've seen a lot of big names that have just kind of disappeared off of Twitter right now. And organizations that I can think of one or two right now that just no longer exists, because of this whole thing. It's crazy.

 

Linda: The thing in New Jersey too, is, there's no real Athletic Commission. So somewhere like New York, you have to have a license to wrestle, and you have to have a license to operate. In New Jersey, as long as you got a permit for where you're wrestling. Like if it's in a field, or you pay the VFW, the right kind of money, and you have insurance. Anybody can fund and run a wrestling show. So, there's not really a whole lot of accountability, because anybody can do it. Which means anybody's going to do anything and then that anybody is going to run the show and be like, well, I'm the promoter. Or I'm Booker, or I'm the locker room guy, or I'm a veteran, because I've been wrestling for four minutes, and you've been wrestling for two minutes. So let's run a show. And it's like, there's no, like, nobody knows what they're doing. because anybody can fucking do it.

 

 

Rob: Yeah, it's crazy right now. But I'm really glad that we are having this discussion. And, you know, Marissa’s so big on obviously Breaking the Silence right now. Question for you, you know, you know, Linda, we do see names like Keith Lee, you know. He says, I don't know if you guys saw he broke his story where, apparently, he was, like, drugged and woke up in a hotel room. And, you know, still to this day, he doesn't know what happened. You know, someone he was involved with, I guess, in a show in Texas, or something like that. So, this can happen to anybody. Anybody. Anywhere. Absolutely. I've seen some people recently on social media saying like, hey, yeah, I have some stuff. But I just don't want to talk about it. I don't want to share that, you know, Marissa, I’ll throw this to you first. Your kind of thoughts on this. You know, because, you know, I truly, I mean, again, not to pressure anyone, but I do really think, you know, like we always say like you were saying your books Breaking the Silence is that first step? And I think in a way, you're also freeing yourself in a way, your thoughts on that?

 

Marissa: Yeah, no, I 100% agree. You're doing a lot of good things by breaking your silence. And of course, it's terrifying. You know, you're opening yourself up to vulnerability and judgment. And especially in a community, like wrestling where I assume everybody kind of knows everybody. Just because it's such a like a niche interest, that you could be opening yourself up to negativity or backlash. But the positives that come out of it are, you're finding your voice again, and you're releasing this weight that you've been holding on to for so long. And you also don't know who you're helping by you breaking your silence, you could be helping somebody else, find relatability and find comfort and support. You can be that person for somebody. So, I understand and respect if you are not comfortable breaking your silence yet, and you should never feel pressured to do that. But if you have the urge to share your story or to start healing. You know, breaking your silence is the first step.

 

Rob: Yeah, big, big part of the healing. Very well said. Linda, your thoughts about people speaking up right now?

 

Linda: I think it's so fantastic. I think honestly, best thing that's ever happened in wrestling. Because first you have it goes from like, WWE had their Divas went to you know, they had the Women's Revolution. And that was really like the minute that they stopped referring to women as objects. Like when I first started, you were either like the one that wrestled or the hot one, I work for an all-women’s company that would literally hire strippers and teach them how to wrestle. As well as having women who've gone on and been very established. I did like some shows with them and then my boyfriend at the time was garbage. So, I listened to him and didn’t work there anymore. But whatever. But now you have women who are coming up who watch wrestling, and they’re young, and they're in the age of like, YouTube makeup tutorials, and you can be really pretty and be an awesome wrestler. Or you can be an awesome wrestler and that's it. And nobody's really like, you're the funny one, you're the pretty one. And you're the powerhouse. Like now it's like, you can be whatever the fuck you want, which is great. So, it started there, I think like actually respecting the women's work. But then a lot of people took advantage of that. And they're like, oh, you're really good. Let me show you a few moves, and that’s when they take advantage of you. But I think being able to just anybody who ever wanted to do it is now respected. And it's not like Diva’s photoshoots in Tahiti, it's like just go wrestle, because that's what we care about. Now that gave, so that gave people the opportunity to be there. Now, that I think is giving them confidence or giving women confidence to come forward. And if you notice, a lot of these stories aren't like last week at a show in Oklahoma, Somebody drugged me in a bathroom at a bar. It’s five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 17 years ago. And you see a lot of people reacting negatively, which I just want to fucking slam them all right in the face. Like, “WeLl, WhY aRe YoU bRiNgInG iT uP nOw? Because 17 years ago, you couldn't fucking say anything. Because then you get a reputation and then would never go anywhere. And thought like, and if you love wrestling, like the worst thing that could happen is not making it. So shut up! And you do what you have to do, which is horrible but that's the reality of the situation. Because you're listening to all the wrong people and when there's 10 of them on a show when only one of you, You know, that's just kind of what it turns into. But I'm so proud of everyone. Like I said, I'm fortunate enough that nothing hardly major happened to me. But people speaking out, made me realize, like, some of the things that happened when I was younger, I listened to really terrible advice. Or I listened to the wrong thing about one woman or when one of my friends was booked somewhere. And I asked him why he wouldn't bring me on a show. But then he gave me shit for not trying to get him booked on my show. Like those kinds of things are all those are our own stories. Or, you know, when I was dating the guy and I would wrestle in like a skirt, but I had like, literally opaque stockings, and then fishnet and then socks and then like this, and then a bodysuit, and then a pair of shorts. And then this he would always be like, what are you wearing under that? Why did you take a picture with that guy? That's also a form of abuse. And I didn't even realize it at the time. Like, oh, he's just worried that somebody's going to see my skirt. Like, what an asshole. He doesn't talk to me. And it's like, he's just controlling what I'm wearing. And he's controlling who I'm talking to. And he's doing all these things. And I think his fear was, I would make it and then not bring him with me. And, and just that kind of stuff happens too. And it's like, I've had an interesting few day just thinking about things that I've always ignored and always thought of like, Oh, that's just how it is. Like, no, that's not how it is like, that absolutely isn't how it is. It shouldn't be like because I'm super friendly to a wrestler at the beginning of a show, like, oh my god, I like your ringer robe, or I like your scarf, or I like your gimmick, and they're really nice to me. In the end I'm an innocent mind. Honestly, I have a potty mouth, but an innocent mind. I just think like, I think everybody thinks like me. Like, if you're being nice to someone, you're being nice to them. I'm not being nice to you, because I want to suck your dick for booking later. Pardon my French. But like I've been at a show where I was so excited to be there. And then afterwards, you know, we're at a bar and we're having drinks and then I find out later that they're asking all these questions. And like two dudes, and they were asking me all these questions. And somebody was like, a week later, like, Oh, yeah, right after you have that dude, or right after you shook his hand, he was like, she's going to suck one of our dicks later. And I just thought somebody was being nice. Yeah, that's what happens when people fall for that kind of shit and that's trash. Like absolute trash. And I don't even think about those things but now people speaking up and you’re seeing these things.  Like, holy shit. I was fortunate in that situation that day. That was one of the real first like, Five Guys days. And like Tommy was there and I think Pat was there too. I don't know. But like, I felt protected. Like when I was with Five Guys at SWF, we would joke around and make fun of people and you do whatever, but not one of those guys ever made me feel uncomfortable. Like Vinny, and Tommy, and Preston, I never felt like somebody was, you know, they were being nice to me just because they want to get with me. They were all happy outside of work. If anything, I felt like they would hover near me to make sure nobody else would screw with me. I always felt very safe with them. And it made that run and wrestling very fantastic for me.

 

Marissa: So, I think you saying that kind of just, didn't solve the problem, obviously, but kind of offered a solution to create maybe a small group of people that you trust and surround yourself with. You know, I know, it goes back to when you said before, that you don't really know who you can trust because everyone's kind of their fake persona. But what if, what if? No, there were like, almost clubs created, so that, you know, you have a group of people that if something happened to you, you know, you can go to and trust them, and they'll give you the good advice, and they'll take care of it. Is that feasible?

 

Linda: So that's honestly, it's like it and all sounds great. And what sad is, is that's what you think from the beginning. Like what we said earlier, like, you're supposed to trust somebody with your body from not break your bones, but you can't trust somebody with your body to the point where they're going to physically assault you. But I don't know how to how to verbalize it. Oh, but um, I don't know I mean, Rob, you probably have heard of her. Oh my god, I can't even think of a wrestling right now. Damn. What the hell is her wrestling name?

 

Rob: Indie wrestler?

 

Linda: Yeah. Terra Calaway. Terra Calaway. She, I've noticed on Twitter and on Facebook and you know, we found one or two shows together. I think she's a fantastic human. Her husband is Jeff Cannonballs. He is also fantastic.  Two of the most genuine people, they like… She is super affected by this right now. And I'm pretty sure she's looking to put a group together. I don't know how they're trying to look to it, I only just saw it briefly. I'm pretty sure she's trying to put together a group. Like she had put it on Twitter. Like, if you are going to a show and you feel uncomfortable, I will go with you. I will read you on. I will make sure nobody hurts you. And I think after they got married, I think she stepped back a bit. I mean, she's still doing wrestling with depression, she does fundraisers or with Dropkick Depression. She is fantastic. She's very aware of mental health. And from what I see has a stepped up and he's trying to make sure you know, either herself or a group of people will, you know, make wrestling safe again, or for the first time really.

 

Marissa: If you could connect me to her, that would be awesome. Because I could definitely work with her through my nonprofit to do something.

 

Linda: She is an A plus human. And she could probably also break anyone's face.

 

Rob: And wow, this has been a great conversation. And I thank you guys again for a few minutes, I think we really tackled some things. You know, like I keep saying we did pull back that curtain, you know. There's a, there's a lot of good that that comes out of this Wrestling World. There's a lot of charities, a lot of really, really good people that have certainly helped me in my career. And I'm so thankful for that this is all this stuff breaks my heart. And there's also a lot of just terrible, terrible things that are just unacceptable that we don't want to see. Let's get rid of this right now. Promoters, it's your job to make sure this stuff doesn't happen. Veterans, you know, be a leader, you know, lead the right way. For the younger talent, you know, obviously, you're growing up, you probably grew up really, really fast in this business as I've seen. You know, just be careful, you know, surround yourself with good people. You know, try not to be naive, you know, try to have a good head on your shoulders as best you can. And everyone else look out for those younger talents. Before we get out of here. Ladies, anything else that you just want to say to wrestlers or anyone in this business that may you know, find themselves in a bad situation, anything they can do to kind of just be safe.

 

Linda: I just want to say like, it's not all bad. And what I what I fear right now is that people won't follow their dreams, because they're worried somebody might hurt them. I will point anybody in the right direction of the right people to train with. I am really inspired, like I said, by Terra. Like, if you need a mom to go with you, and knock somebody out or to make you feel safe, like I was talking earlier about the buddy system. Marissa, like, I'm all about that. Like, if I can get to a show, I will do it. If I can't get there, I will find somebody who will make you feel comfortable because there are really good people in wrestling. There are people that care about your talent, they care about your success, and they care about you as a person more importantly. And I will do whatever I can and make sure the right people are running shows. The right people are working shows, because the last thing you want to have to worry about this. Like I mean not my oldest son is going to be 12 and in a couple of years, he's going to be the same age as I was when I went to my first wrestling show with my friend. And if he wanted to go to a show, I don't want to have to worry like, well, is he going to the right show with the right people or somebody's going to take advantage of him? Is somebody going to hurt him? And like, the worst thing is, you know, fearing for your children's safety at a place where they're supposed to feel safe.

 

Marissa: And I think snowballing off that is to be situationally aware. Now, that's not to say that sexual assault or rape or anything is the survivors fault, ever. It is never under any circumstance, the victim’s fault, or the survivor’s fault. It’s always the perpetrator that chooses to hurt the person; that makes the decision to offend. However, situational awareness goes a really long way. If something doesn't feel right in your gut, don't do it. Do what you need to do to stay safe. And if somebody is making you uncomfortable, or you're alone in a room with someone and they're approaching you, or scream. Do whatever you need to do to get out of the situation, and keep yourself safe. Don't be intimidated, because they are a higher level or well-known. You know, just do whatever you need to do to be safe. And I know that you're not always able to do that, but just whatever you need to do you situationally aware and keep yourself safe.

 

Rob: Wow, really well said. I think it's got some, you know, had a great discussion here. Some powerful things said and hopefully, you know, this is the first of many steps moving forward. Marissa, I think we're going to keep doing a couple of these if you're okay with that. I think we had a great conversation here today.

 

Marissa: Oh, I totally agree. I'm down to do this as much as we can.

 

Rob: Awesome. This was great, Linda. Thank you again, so much. For a few minutes. You were the perfect first guest for this and maybe a little teaser here Maybe down the line. You know, maybe we'll see a little Daisy Deville back in the ring again. I don't know.

 

Marissa: I'll come to New Jersey for that.

 

Linda:  I'll make it fantastic for you.

 

Rob: All right, guys. Everyone. Stay safe. Take care of each other. Look out for one another. And yet, we'll see you guys soon. We're out.

 

If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to be a five year process either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entires lives have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

 

Happy New Year! And welcome to the totally refreshed and revitalized, Healing From Emotional Abuse!  Overcoming narcissism and healing from emotional abuse are so important to your mental health and to living a life of freedom, confidence and peace. 

 

First, what is a toxic relationship?

 

A toxic relationship can range across various types of relationships, to include romantic, platonic and familial.  Toxic relationships are generally recognized as romantic relationships, but these are not the only ones.  You can also have toxic friendships and toxic familial relationships.  “Toxic” means that the person is controlling, manipulative, abusive and narcissistic.  Someone who is harmful or damaging to you physically, emotionally, verbally, or sexually.

 

What makes a toxic relationship is a person who uses tactics like gaslighting and manipulation to make you feel insecure, belittled, demeaned and upset.  A toxic person wants you to feel as uncomfortable as possible so they can maintain control over you, your friendships and relationships and your surroundings. 

 

Toxic people, toxic friends and toxic partners do whatever they have to, to isolate you from other people who might have influence over you.  They make it difficult for you to trust anyone else, including yourself.  They work to make you feel alone, so they are the only people that you rely on.  They teach you how to damage yourself emotionally and damage outside relationships, giving them full power over you.

 

What does a toxic relationship look like?

 

Like I said, toxic relationships come in different packages, and they play mind games so you don’t see it.

For example, a friend who is overly clingy, doesn’t like it when you spend time with other people, or makes you feel guilty for spending time with other people.  Manipulates you into spending time with them.  They might even go as far as to pretend to be suicidal or upset to get you to spend time with them. They are exhausting, but you feel like you’re the only person that they can count on or trust, usually because they tell you that as a means to manipulate you.  Being around them doesn’t make you feel good.  They are energy draining, but you are the person that they depend on.

 

Do you have a friend that does this to you?  Think about the people you hang out with.  Do you feel refreshed and alive when you’re with them, or do you feel drained and exhausted?  They might be toxic.

 

An example of a toxic family member is someone who was raised being forced to meet unrealistic expectations.  Toxic parents will generally force their children to cook, clean, do laundry and handle situations that you are not mentally or physically capable of. Sometimes, these chores and activities would interfere with school work or sleep.  Toxic parents also force their children to provide emotional support to them, as if they were the parent, and the parents were the children.  A lot of times, toxic parents will harshly criticize their children, as opposed to constructively redirecting behavior, or having the punishment match the crime.  The punishments would be outrageous in comparison to the behavior or action that was committed.  They are always right, and will harshly judge other people that you bring into your life, in order to maintain control over your surrounding and influence.  And, children of toxic parents will feel that their needs aren’t being met.  That can mean not being hugged or shown love and affection.  It can be not providing the necessities like food, clean clothes and education. And it could be not setting or creating boundaries, which in turn, influences the way the child interacts and creates boundaries in future relationships.

 

Outside of the immediate family, toxic people can be in the extended family.  Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins.  These toxic people will be more likely to use passive aggressive narcissism to make you look and feel bad in front of other family members.  They will usually compare you to other family members who aren’t comparable to you.  They’ll get jealous and try and compete with you, regardless of age gap or difference in personality.  They overreact to things you do or say, creating a toxic situation and uncomfortable family environment.  They are the people that will always play the victim. If they start and argument or a scene, somehow, they’ll make it seem and feel like it’s your fault. Like it’s something you did to create the problem.  They will always be right, no matter what and will often use ultimatums in order to secure their control around you.  They might use other family members to hold against you.  For example, if you have a toxic aunt, she could use her children as pawns to influence you to behave a certain way or do something for her, or you won’t get to spend time with your cousins.

 

Do you ever feel drained leaving a family event?  Why? Think of the people in the room.  Who is it that makes you feel insecure, or always seems to have a problem with you?  They might be toxic.

 

Toxic partners are awful.  We as humans are so drawn to connection and love that we can overlook a lot of abusive and narcissistic behavior because we want to be loved.  Toxic partners use the love you have for them against you.  They use it to create distance between you and other people, including friends and family.  They use it to make you feel guilty for making them upset, even when it really isn’t your fault.  And they use it to keep control of you.  They show it in a lot of ways, some more covert than others. Sometimes, it’ll be in the form of being clingy and over-affectionate.  Other times it will be gaslighting you, and telling you that their anger and issues were caused by something you did or said.  They will instill you with self-doubt and demean what you say, in an effort to keep you where they want you. And they will continue to push boundaries and isolate you until you leave, or worse.

 

So let’s get you to a safe and healthy place. Last, how to get out of a toxic relationship. Leaving is the most dangerous part of being with toxic people. They don’t like when we take away their control, so be prepared for backlash and a lot of negative energy and verbal attacks, unfortunately.  Parents and partners especially can be really mean when you’re trying to leave.  They will reaffirm how much you need them, that you’ll come crawling back.  That they need you and you’re letting them down.  And it can waiver from loving and apologetic to hatred and nastiness really quickly.  The point is to keep you confused and coming back.  Be strong, and know that these are all just mind games.

 

If you are feeling unsafe and need help figuring out a safe way to leave, follow this link for a safety planning guide.  Leaving is the strongest and boldest thing you can do for yourself, but it is also the most vulnerable.  The best way to leave any toxic situations is to leave with a plan.  Make arrangements, find a place to stay, whether it be a shelter, with someone you know, or your own place.  Be sneaky.  Don’t let them know you’re planning to leave because there will most likely be backlash. 

 

With toxic friends, the best thing to do is start limiting time with them. Start setting boundaries.  They will try even harder to get you over there, but be prepared.  If they are the type of person who feigns suicide when you aren’t available, then know that a call to the police for a wellness check is a way to stop that kind of behavior.  If they are suicidal, the police will bring them for a psychological evaluation and keep them safe.  If they aren’t, and are using that as a way to draw you back in, it will show them that you’re not falling for it anymore.

Have a plan.  Be ready for the backlash, and most importantly, trust your instincts.  Although you’ve probably learned to doubt yourself, I’m telling you to trust yourself on this one.  Leaving a toxic person behind is the best way to start your own healing.

 

Hey! If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching.  Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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Hey Everyone.  My name is Marissa Faye Cohen, my website is MarissaFayeCohen.com, and I wanted to introduce myself before we start on this journey together.  For the past 11 years, I have worked closely with thousands of survivors of narcissistic abuse, emotional abuse, sexual assault and harassment around the world of all sexualities and genders.  I’ve published three best selling books The Breaking Through the Silence Series, and Healing From Emotional Abuse: the Three Keys for Overcoming Narcissism, all about how to heal from abuse. In these works, I use my 11 years of research and personal life experience to share my philosophy to overcoming narcissism, in order to help other survivors feel relatable, find healthy relationships, and boost confidence. That has become my life mission.  To help as many survivors heal from their emotional abuse as possible.  Between my books, the Breaking Through the Silence series, coaching programs and my Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, I have created a system to help anyone suffering heal from emotional abuse.

 

On this podcast, the goal is to answer the questions and concerns that survivors have in terms of overcoming and healing from their abuse.  Can you heal from abuse? Narcissist definition.  Is my partner a narcissist? Healing from narcissistic abuse. Steps to healing from abuse.  Confidence Exercises. Confidence.  Self Love. and Self Esteem. Healthy Relationships. What are toxic relationships? And much more.

 

I know that what you’re feeling right now is difficult, disheartening and it feels like the pain will never go away.  But it will. I have worked with over a thousand survivors of emotional and narcissistic abuse, and created a philosophy to legitimately healing from emotional abuse. And it can and will help you overcome your narcissism, and live a free, confident and peaceful life.

 

Right now, imagine that you’re standing on a cliff, and across a deep deep canyon, is the happiest version of yourself.  You see yourself smiling, surrounded by healthy relationships and good friendships. You see yourself having fun, and laughing.  What are you doing? I have built the bridge to get you from here, where you’re standing now, to the other side.  All you have to do it let me guide you across the bridge. If you’re ready to feel free raise your fist and say YES! If you’re ready to wear confidence, raise your fist and say YES!  If you’re ready to live peacefully without fear, raise your fist and say YES! Awesome!  You’re ready to start Healing From Emotional Abuse

 

Your abuse doesn’t define you.  It’s the steps you take to heal that will determine the rest of your life.

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Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

Marissa: Welcome back to Healing From Emotional Abuse. Today I'm thrilled to be talking to Todd Boczkowski. He's a child survivor of domestic violence and homicide. His father murdered his mother, got away with it, and then four years later murdered his stepmother. He would be convicted of killing both of them. He was on death row until his death sentence was converted to another life sentence. In 2018, he was paroled for his mother's murder, but is still serving another life sentence. Todd has been featured on a handful of crime shows such as Forensic Files, and some media outlets believe his father is a serial killer. He served in the military for over 14 years, including two combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the military, he's been a best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. Now, Todd's goal is to help domestic violence survivors turn their pain into an online business. Oh my gosh, Todd, welcome on the show. And dang! You had a crazy childhood, huh?

 

Todd: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me. And yes, it's, it's definitely something you:

  1. Don't exactly hear about too often. And
  2. You kind of wish that your childhood was dramatically different, right?

 

Marissa: I can imagine. Oh, my goodness. Okay. Well, please share your story with us. I'm so intrigued.

 

Todd: Sure. So, you know, as you kind of alluded to, in the introduction. So I was only a child when all of this happened. I do have two older siblings. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I believe I was about one or two. And my father had his own entrepreneurial kind of endeavors. And he decided that he wanted to move my family and I to North Carolina to start an ice cream business. So that's where he moved us from Pittsburgh to North Carolina. He was busy building up his business. And in the meantime, you know, underneath it all my mom and my dad's marriage, I guess for lack of a better term, it started to fade. It started to kind of unravel. We were far from any kind of family support. My mom was the disciplinarian. So they're starting to have some issues within their marriage. And of course, you know, being a little kid, that was unbeknownst to me and my siblings. And then it was around fall of 1990. My parents set me and my siblings down, and they said that they were going to be separating and headed towards a divorce. I was five years old at this point. Yeah, I had no idea what that meant. I had no idea, you know, what a divorce meant. And for all intents and purposes, everything else was still the same in the house. But my parents lived two separate lives at that point. My father was working at a job, like a night shift as like a telesales company. And my mom was doing stuff with us during the day. So, you know, nothing really kind of changed, except they flip flop schedules. But then in the winter of 1990, it was early morning in November, I, you know, thought I heard screams, or I thought that I was having a nightmare. And I realized that the screaming was actually coming from inside the house. And so the next thing that I really remember is being outside of our house, pretty much directing the paramedics, to our place, and my dad rushed me and my siblings to a neighbor's house. My mother was taken to the hospital; she would later be pronounced dead. And then, of course, you know, the next day I, as a little kid, I mean, you don't know what's going on. There's all kinds of confusion. I'm trying to figure out what happens. You know, my dad sat me and my siblings down. He explained to us that, you know, my mom had passed away. And of course, again, being that young, I had no idea what that meant. But I just thought it was a terrible accident. You know, up to this point, there was no abuse signs, anything like that going on in the household, that I can really recall. And unknown to me that the authorities were suspicious of, you know, the events that happened that night, but they didn't have anything to really go on. After a few months after, you know, my mom passed away, my father decided to move me and my siblings back up to Pittsburgh. My father was, you know, trying to get things back on track with his life. And, you know, soon he started dating someone else. And that woman, her name is Marianne. And she looked very, very similar to my mom. And for me, that was actually a comfort. So it was almost as if, you know, my mom had passed, and in a way, like reincarnated into this woman that, you know, came into our lives. So she became part of, kind of like our group. They started dating: my dad and this woman, Marianne. They ended up getting engaged. They ended up getting married. This woman, Marianne, she adopted me, my brother and sister. From the outside looking in, you would not have believed that she was a step parent. I think that step parents can sometimes have kind of like a negative connotation to it. It was nothing like that, you know. We took her in just as well, and just as fast as she took us in. And then, again, things were kind of back to normal. We were living in a nice, new house, in a newer development in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. I was missing something. And then I was getting that back. Another November night, this was now in 1994, something happened. And I didn't really realize it until the next day. The next day, I went to school, and you know, me and my sister, we were in elementary school. We left later than my brother. And every morning, we would kiss our mom, goodbye. And she always wanted to make sure that we were dressed appropriately for school. And of course, you know, being a kid, you know, you try to pick out your own clothes. That's the kind of parent that she was. She wanted us to look presentable. And, you know, we were such in a hurry that morning, we forgot to give her a kiss goodbye. And later on that day, a relative picked us up from school. And that was a little odd, a little peculiar. We went out to dinner. And then later on that night, we were supposed to go home. And, you know, we weren't even allowed to get out of the car. My grandmother was at our house; she told us to go to her house. I saw a news van across the street. So at this point, you know, things started popping up in my mind, like, what is going on? Like something's not right. We get to my grandparents' place. My dad is there. Everybody is there, except my stepmom. So, kind of questions start to loom. Like what is really going on here? My dad sits me and my siblings down. Pretty much tells us that they were in the hot tub, our family hot tub. And, you know, there's an accident. And our stepmom was in heaven with our mom. Now I'm older. I'm four years older now. So I'm nine. And I just couldn't believe it. It's really just indescribable as to what I was feeling. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to react. Later on that night, I would see my father up on the news. You know, I started wondering and thinking like why? I'm nine years old. I don't understand what's going on around me. But my family's story is on the news. And then on my 10th birthday, which was a week later, my father was arrested for murdering my stepmother. Yeah, I again, I didn't know what that meant either. I didn't know what charged and arrested. You know, there's so many adult type-of-words being used and I have no idea what's going on. But yes, he was arrested on my 10th birthday. He was taken to prison, and he would be charged with murder of my stepmom. Two weeks later, they reopened the investigation of my mom's death and they decided to charge him with murder for her death. A couple years later, his first murder trial was actually in North Carolina was actually my mom's murder. He was convicted and he was sentenced to life in prison. A couple of years later in ‘99 he faced his second murder trial here in Pittsburgh. He was found guilty of that. He was convicted and then sentenced to death by lethal injection. And he was on death row up until 2004. So, something about one of his appeals, they were able to kind of get that through and they converted his death sentence to another life sentence. And then during the two trials, you know, I bounced around from relatives to, you know, foster care. So some of my relatives were no longer able to take care of me and my siblings. My siblings and I were bounced around from foster home to foster home until the courts were like, “Hey, look, these kids are bouncing around, we need to find, you know, kind of like a more permanent kind of solution.” And the one thing that my siblings and I were absolutely adamant on, was, you know, we didn't want to get split up. At this point, I'm the youngest, I believe I was like, 11 or 12 years old at the time. You know, we started to realize the permanence and the absolute atrocities that are just ripping through our entire family. And the simple fact that we have to stick together now. Like, it's just us. So that was the one thing that we are adamant on. And so it was difficult finding a foster home. It's one thing to take in one foster child as it is, but pretty much asking someone to expand their family by three teenagers, overnight, is a really tall order. So, you know, they were having trouble finding a family who is willing to do that. They asked us if we wanted to go a little bit more public with it. We kind of knew at that point, like, look: they're having trouble finding a place for all three of us. So it's either go more public with this, or we face the possibility of getting split up. So that's what we did. We were on the news here in Pittsburgh, they did a story on us for the paper. Then the story kind of caught wildfire. It generated a lot of interest. And from there, my siblings and I, we were able to kind of visit families. And we were able to make the selection, which is actually not very typical. We selected a family that we're comfortable with. All three of us moved in, and all three of us stayed there until we aged out at 18. And, so yeah, that's pretty much my story in terms of me growing up. I joined the military straight out of high school. So at 18, actually, literally three weeks after I graduated high school, I was in boot camp. I was in the Air Force for 10 years active duty, and then another four years in the Air National Guard.

 

Marissa: Wow, that's an incredibly traumatic childhood. I'm so sorry that you went through all of that. But how are you doing as an adult?

 

Todd: I take one day at a time. My military experience, I was actually a military police officer. So, up until I joined the military and kind of getting into 18, 19, 20 years old, I was under the assumption that my father didn't do it. There is, like I said before, there is no real sign of abuse. From what I can recall from what I remember. And joining the military, it really kind of gave me some kind of direction. Being in the military was the first time that I was able to be completely on my own, away from any kind of outside influences. I went through a law enforcement type of training. That was, you know, my job. And I really started thinking more like a cop. And the more and more I thought about my story and what had happened, like there was just some things that, it didn't make sense to me. At one point, and how I kind of like to describe it is, my heart was really being pulled in two different directions. On one end, you know, I thought my father could never do this. Because, let's face it, who in their right mind wants to ever believe that their own parents, that their own father, is capable of doing something like that? That was on one end. And then the other end was, it doesn't make sense. My first few years in the military, it was a struggle. And I even went to visit my father a few times. And I kind of started to see a different side of him. I witnessed his manipulation firsthand. He's highly, highly manipulative. He's also very intelligent. He's someone that read books on how to manipulate and control people. Just a lot of incidents that kind of makes you scratch your head, literally. I have in my possession a book that he used to own. It was something about criminology. One of the chapters that are actually bookmarked, it talked about how if you slip someone a drug and mix it with alcohol, it can basically make it undetectable. You know, especially for my stepmother’s death, he was really kind of heavy on the point that, you know, she was an alcoholic, that she drank a lot. You know, she had a high blood content during her death. So just a lot of things that really make you question who this person really is. And after I started to see and started to witness some of these odd behaviors, did I really start to really, truly believe that he did it. And that played an effect. You know, as I started to grow up and mature over time as well, you know, my military experience. So, you know, I've been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I've been exposed to other types of traumas. And the thing that they say about trauma is the more that you're exposed to, the more susceptible you are to develop anxiety and PTSD kinds of thing. And that's pretty much what has happened with me. I started to notice things. I guess, in a way, you could say that some of my military trauma that I've been exposed to, kind of opened up Pandora's box, if you will. In terms of you know, trauma and healing. I not only am trying to heal from those things, but you know, from being as a child. I could honestly say that, as a nine year old as a 10 year old, I had PTSD, I had symptoms of it. My family wasn't really aware of it. I wasn't aware of it. But I definitely showed some classic PTSD type behaviors. And, you know, growing up and kind of learning some things, I realized that whenever I was five years old, I was actually physically present in the bathroom where my mother was killed. And the person that actually confirmed that to me was from the horse's mouth. My father actually told me that I was physically present. But to this day, I have absolutely no recollection; it was almost as if I completely blocked it out. Whether if it's because of trauma, or because I was so young, I don't know. But in a way, I can say that probably did help me. It's difficult to have some of those things, I guess, in a way kind of like, mess with your mind if you can't really remember it. Even today, I am still healing from the fallout of everything. They say that, you know, going through something like this, it's not something that you get over. It's a lifetime of healing. And it's so true. So, I'm at a point in my life, where I've actually have outlived my mother. And next year, I will outlive my stepmother. I think I'm in a place now where, you know, not only have I had life experiences, the same kinds of life experiences that are the maturity level that my parents were at that age, I feel like I can speak on that. I can understand it. And not only that, but I think that's my story, because of how it has kind of unfolded over the years, I feel like I really want to use it for something and something good. For many years, I feel like I've kind of ran away from  my story. I've been on a handful of crime shows and whatnot. And how that kind of came about was not really my doing. I was still a kid whenever my story was kind of thrusted into the media spotlight. And it kind of snowballed from there. Here we are 20, 30 years later, you know, it still gets brought up. I still get approached to do, you know, documentaries and shows. And I'm at a place in my life where I feel like, by sharing my story, it will have an impact for others. And especially because it's been in the spotlight, I feel like I'm finally ready to actually step into that role. I feel like I'm ready to kind of step into that spotlight and fully accept, and I have fully accepted my story for what it is. I own my story, and everything that comes with it.

 

Marissa: That's incredible. I mean, what you've overcome is insane and amazing. I want to touch on a couple points that you made, just to drive them home because I think you brought up a couple really awesome things. The first thing that you said was when you are traumatized as a child, whether it be domestic violence or sexual assault or something else, you really are almost opened up as like a target for re-victimization. So that is a really good point that you brought up and I'm happy that you did because a lot of people don't understand. Why does this keep happening to me? I wish I could explain it better, but we just have this air about us, and abusers will smell it on us, right? And so we end up getting re-victimized over and over again until we start healing. And then you said that your trauma response was to block out those moments of when you were in the bathroom with your father and mother and things were happening. And that's so common, because our brain goes into survival mode. So if we have to just forget or dissociate from our reality, to keep us safe, that's what our brain does. And that's a totally, totally normal response. And sometimes, bringing up those memories isn't always a good thing. So I always try and urge people not to try and dig up that stuff; it's almost not worth knowing. Because it's, again, going to re-traumatize you.

 

Todd: Exactly, exactly. And actually, I had people ask me, you know, this isn't something I'm very vocal about. I'm starting to a little bit. Maybe it's because, you know, I have accepted and started to accept, you know, everything about my story. But there are some red flags in terms of sexual abuse, possible sexual abuse. I don't recall anything. I don't have any proof. I don't have any evidence. I don’t remember. But there are some red flags; there are some suspicious types of behaviors that were going on at that point in time. So, that's all that I can say is that I have my suspicions. And I just leave it at that. And when I sit back and think about it, if someone is capable of taking someone's life, they're capable of anything. So the probability of that happening is very high. And I've had people ask me, well, would you want to go under hypnosis? Or use hypnosis therapy or something like that? And I'm just like, “No, no, no, no, no, no. You're messing with something.” We can sit here and debate whether or not a hypnosis is acceptable or not as a therapy treatment. But you're absolutely right, re-victimization. If you don't remember, there's a reason why. I think that if you actively go and search for it, and if you want to find out, you're kind of, in a way, playing with fire, because you don't know how you're going to react. So you brought up a great point night, and that's something that I do believe in. If I know from how I am today, that if, as a child, if I was able to recall some of those things, I'm not so sure that I would even be here. And that's how powerful some of those recollections can have on someone's psyche. It could drive you over the edge. But yeah, you're absolutely right. And not just having multiple traumas, but you're more susceptible to having some kind of additional health related issues: anxiety, PTSD, things of that nature. I mean, I can sit here and say that for a long time, I didn't have such a problem with any of that stuff. And it wasn't until I actually started going through the VA, to get some help with some of the stuff. Actually, ironically, one of the therapists, he asked me almost incredulously. He was like, “So have you ever, given everything that you've been exposed to, have you ever been through some kind of trauma therapy or trauma treatment?” And I would, my response was, “Well, I've been in and out of therapy pretty much my whole life.” And he was like, “No, no, no, no, no. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about specialized actual trauma therapy.” And when I sit back and think about it, and the answer to that is just no. So I never had gone through an actual specialized treatment.

 

Marissa: Is that something that you have an interest in doing? Moving forward, working with trauma specialists to help you move past the things that you have experienced?

 

Todd: Oh, that's, that's definitely an area of interest. You know, for me, getting out of the military, I really kind of felt alienated, if you will. I didn't really feel like anyone could really understand me. Entrepreneurship, for me, became an outlet, kind of like a coming home. The challenges, the trials, the tribulations of entrepreneurship, in my opinion, are very, very relatable to me. Some of the challenges, some things that you have to overcome and how you approach challenges are very similar to how I've approached those challenges in my own life, if that makes sense.

 

Marissa: It absolutely does. What do you do, as far as entrepreneurship? You work with domestic violence survivors to help them create effective online businesses? Tell me about that.

 

Todd: You know, over the past six years, I've been a digital marketing consultant. I've consulted with dozens of small businesses. I've even consulted for a publicly traded company. It was all about, you know, helping them with their digital marketing efforts, helping them grow their business, growing their bottom line, helping them sell their products and services that they have. Especially nowadays, you know, we live in an era where being a quote unquote, social media influencer is a legit profession now. And that's something that I know an awful lot about, you know. That's kind of like where I kind of want to mesh the two; where I want to help domestic violence survivors, if they have the want and the need to actually build a business, have the same entrepreneurial kind of spirit. And that's actually kind of quite often, not just in domestic violence survivors, but trauma survivors overall. And this is kind of like what I was talking about before where, you know, you kind of feel alienated, you know. You don't really feel like you are accepted in like a typical work-like setting. So, you know, we live in a world now where you can literally work from home. Not because of a pandemic, but because of the capabilities. And one of the proponents, for me to really start to share my story was, actually, about a year and a half ago, I was approached to do another documentary story about my story that was recently aired on the ID channel. Shockingly, I was actually talking to the production and to the crew, they have the same capabilities that I do. So I think that when you look at survivors and wanting to share their story, a lot of people want to write a book, right? A lot of people don't really know this, but when you write a book, you're essentially starting a business. I think that there's definitely a lot of room there for teaching and passing down some of the things that I know, the skills that I have, and that I can help people with. And pass that on to a group of people that I feel deserve it for one and two, it can make an impact with.

 

Marissa: That’s awesome. And you're totally right. The second you write your book, you're branding yourself. I mean, that's exactly what happened to me. I wrote a book about my stories: my first book, Breaking Through the Silence: The Journey to Surviving Sexual Assault. And, I mean, people started turning to me, in the next moment, telling me about their experiences and how I can help them and how they can help others. We do, we have this spirit after we are abused, and we start healing, we just want to help others because we know where they were. We've dug ourselves out of the trenches, and we want to help others, too. And give a hand up. So I commend you so much for what you're doing. Thank you very much. Because I think that that's phenomenal, wanting to help your own and make our community thrive.

 

Todd: When I think about my story, and what it has kind of snowballed into over the years... Which, by the way, I was still in high school, when a relative of my stepmother decided to write a book. So there's actually already a book out about my story. But it's not from me. It's not from one of my siblings. It's from somebody else. Quite frankly, they didn't exactly have the best intentions. And, you know, that's kind of common. The whole quote unquote, True Crime genre. It's a business in a sense. But what I see from that aspect is that there's not a lot of people actually impacting; they just want to share the story. And, of course, you know, these TV shows, they do it for a reason, too. They're not doing it for the impact, you know. They're doing it because there's money in it. As I sit back and think with the story that I have, I could really use that as a platform to really help people. And yes, it is a little awkward, and it's a little weird, but that's something that I'm learning to deal with myself. But when I sit back and think of my mom and my stepmom, that's the kind of people that they were. They were two women who really helped others. They were heavily involved in their church. They both helped other people in their own unique ways. And so when I think about my story and how I can move forward with it, I think that that's the best way to also honor them as well.

 

Marissa: Thank you so much. Last question. Do you have any advice for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault that want to build a business?

 

Todd: Yes. Come join my Facebook group, Domestic Violence Business Builders. We'll get you started. And you can even take part of my free training that I have, as well. So, and any advice, I guess just for any domestic violence survivor or any trauma survivor actually, is don't quit. That's probably a phrase that I live and breathe by. As long as you have that, there's hope.

 

Marissa: Thank you so much. That's awesome advice. I really appreciate you being here today, and sharing your story, and giving this amazing advice and insight to other survivors. I think that it'll be very beneficial for a lot of people.

 

Todd: All right, well, great. Thank you so much for having me on and looking forward to connecting with you and your group and what you do here as well.

 

Marissa: If you are a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, and you're interested in writing a book about your story, or sharing your story in a book format, visit my website at http://www.marissafayecohen.com/publishing-services. I've made it my mission to publish the stories of survivors who want to speak their truth and get their story out and publicized. And as Todd mentioned, this would be a really good way to start your business. Once you have a book you're branded. So feel free to reach out to me either on any of my social media outlets, my email or through my website for more information about my publishing services. But I would be beyond thrilled to work with you in jump starting your business and publishing your book.

 

If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

 

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