November 7, 2022
EP. 344 — Let’s Talk About Grief
A 33-year-old reflects on losing her first love in Afghanistan at 18 and dating his best friend after the tragedy. She opens up to Geth about the mental and physical abuse she endured in the second relationship and the fallout it caused with friends and family. She also shares the surprising way she found closure after her boyfriend’s passing with a psychic medium.
344 — Let’s Talk About Grief
Chris [00:00:05] Hello to everybody who will not see this twist coming. It’s Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred. Hi everybody. Welcome to Beautiful Anonymous. My name’s Chris Gethard and it’s an honor to be your host as always. I feel truly lucky that I get to do this show. I was just down in Gainesville, Florida, doing some stand up at a fest and I met a lot of Beautiful/ Anonymous fans. I can’t thank you enough for listening and saying hello, everybody. Been on a hot streak lately. I’ve seen a bunch of listeners online going, Whoa, we’re on a tear here. We had The Putty Man last week. We got we got people analyzing the audio to hear if they can hear The Putty Man coming through. Before that, the reaction to the library boy episode was explosive. You know, I always enjoy the dialogue surrounding our shows, whether that’s in our Beautiful/Anonymous Facebook community, whether that’s on Twitter or the other places you see stuff like that. But the Library Boy struck a chord in a way that no episode has in a few years, and I get why. That one was magical, and if you missed it, go back and listen to it. Before I tell you about this week’s episode, I do want to say I’ve got some live shows coming up. I’m going to be in North Carolina. I’m going to be in in Durham on December 2nd and Asheville on December 3rd. I’m doing Beautiful/Anonymous tapings on those dates and a late night stand up show on both dates. I think the tickets for those are close to sold out. We had to delay those shows from earlier in the year because of the pandemic. So I’m so psyched to get down there. And then December 16th, I’m doing a full hour of comedy. It’s the show I did in Edinburgh, A Father and the Sun. I’m doing it at Littlefield in Brooklyn, where I’ve done so many shows in my life. My friend Martin Urbano is going to be doing that show with me. And the tickets for all these shows are at ChrisGeth.com. And I’m hoping we can sell it out, Brooklyn. And used to be I’d open up a show in Brooklyn and the tickets would just fly. Now I got a really pound the pavement. So I’m telling you about this one early. Go buy tickets. The venue is saying, Hey, man, we got to get these tickets moving. I’m saying we will, baby. Brooklyn’s going to step up. So December 16th, I’ll see you there. Now, this week’s episode, before I say anything else about it, I want to let you know that there’s talk about abuse in there, physical abuse, emotional abuse. And that is not easy for anybody, let alone people who have dealt with that in their lives, their experiences, their sphere of influence. So please brace yourselves for that. We have had this streak I’m thinking about. I just mentioned that Library Boy episode. And that was such a real world love story, right? That felt like swings and misses. Here’s another one. It’s dark and it’s sad. Our caller dated someone and that person left. You’ll find out why. And then they wound up filling that void with someone else. And it got dark. And this is, I think, a really amazing call in the sense that it looks at love and grief and loss and how all those things can complement each other or fill each other’s voids. And it’s a really difficult one. It’s a really difficult one. I’ll also tell you this, the way that it resolves, you’re not going to see coming. And I didn’t see coming. So with that in mind, I’m not one to judge anybody who finds peace anywhere. And I’m very fascinated to know if there’s other people out there who have found peace in this same way, because there’s like an actual character from a movie level moment when this with this character shows up and we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, I’m excited to see your reaction to it. I’m excited for you to hear the call. Enjoy it.
Voicemail Robot [00:04:13] Thank you for calling Beautiful/ Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Chris [00:04:20] Hello?
Caller [00:04:21] Hi.
Chris [00:04:23] Hi. How’s it going?
Caller [00:04:25] Good. How are you?
Chris [00:04:29] How am I? You know, enjoying the fall weather and somehow managing to stave off my ever present sense of existential dread. The usual.
Caller [00:04:39] Well, that sounds not too bad.
Chris [00:04:41] Yeah, it could be worse.
Caller [00:04:45] I. Are you a fall person? I am a fall person.
Chris [00:04:49] Yeah. It’s one of the reasons that I stay in the northeast. Outside of family and the comfort of having been raised here, it’s like there’s some places where the weather, I think, is definitely nicer year round, but you get these like three or four weeks of fall and they’re pretty good for the soul.
Caller [00:05:07] Yes, I agree. I live in Canada, so the fall is my favorite season for sure. And like you said, it only lasts briefly. You might get a good 2 to 3 weeks, but they are the best 2 to 3 weeks of the year, in my opinion.
Chris [00:05:21] I’m with you. Some might say, some might say I could go live in someplace nicer and then just come back here for the fall. But it’s not the same. It’s not the same.
Caller [00:05:31] No, it’s not the same. And I feel like it varies every year too. Like this year, like where I am right now, we just had a hurricane. I live in the Maritimes of Canada and we just had a hurricane, thankfully not in my specific area where I live, but pretty close by. And so like if you had come like now for the fall, it wouldn’t have been a great time to come.
Chris [00:05:54] That would be a bummer. If you set aside like I’m going to go back to the- I’m going to go someplace where it gets cool and the leaves change and I’m gonna experience fall, and then you land and the hurricane smacks the shit out of you just as soon as you arrive. It’s not the same.
Caller [00:06:09] Yeah. Pretty shitty.
Chris [00:06:10] Yeah. For real.
Caller [00:06:12] Yeah. So this is actually my first time calling in.
Chris [00:06:16] Oh, nice.
Caller [00:06:16] I feel like it’s supposed to be hard to get through or something? And I, I don’t know, I just like I’m calling from my work phone because I didn’t want to get hit with the long distance charges.
Chris [00:06:28] Sure, sure.
Caller [00:06:31] I tried to call. I did try to call before I looked into calling before. But, um, yeah, apparently even wi fi calling, there’s still long distance charges with that too. FYI to any of my fellow Canadians out there listening.
Chris [00:06:46] I’m glad you called in. Although there’s people who have been trying for years where when you’re like, apparently, I hear it’s tough, there’s people who are definitely in a rage right now.
Caller [00:06:55] They’re mad at me right now.
Chris [00:06:57] Yeah.
Caller [00:06:58] They’re like, I already don’t like this girl.
Chris [00:07:00] No. Canadian callers are generally beloved by our American audience.
Caller [00:07:05] Oh, cool. That’s good. I hope so.
Chris [00:07:06] I think you always hit the ground running as a Canadian. You’ve got a real advantage.
Caller [00:07:09] I think I was just really lucky. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying I don’t believe people when they say that it’s hard to get through. I 100% believe it. I’m just saying I feel really lucky to have gotten through. That was my point that I probably didn’t make clear.
Chris [00:07:20] That’s fair. That’s fair, my friend.
Caller [00:07:22] Yeah.
Chris [00:07:24] So what’s up?
Caller [00:07:25] Yeah, so, um. Well, I, I just want to say I’m glad to talk to you. I love the podcast, and I just thought, I don’t know, I thought I would call in and share some of my previous life experiences with you. We could chat about it and maybe someone out there might, you know, find something in it that, I don’t know, that could be some comfort to them or maybe a similar experience or, you know, at the very least, maybe hopefully find it interesting. I don’t know.
Chris [00:08:01] All right. Well, I’m all ears. That’s the most that’s the most reasonable pitch of managed expectations that you could ever put out there for a podcast.
Caller [00:08:11] Oh, good. Okay. So hopefully that was a good segue.
Chris [00:08:15] I’m gonna say some things. Maybe some people will identify with them or perhaps find them entertaining. That’s about- you’ve set the bar at a very reasonable place, so.
Caller [00:08:24] Perfect.
Chris [00:08:26] Kudos to you.
Caller [00:08:26] That was my goal there. Hope that was a good segue.
Chris [00:08:29] Yeah. Yeah.
Caller [00:08:31] So I am. I can share my age, right? That’s not a personal.
Chris [00:08:36] You can share whatever you want.
Caller [00:08:38] Cool. As long as it’s not like a personal, like, name or anything like that. So I am 33, almost 34. When I was 18, I had my first serious, I guess, long term boyfriend who I was in love with, and we were together for a year when he went overseas. He was in the Army. He was in the military. And so he went overseas to Afghanistan and he did not come back. So he was 20 years old. I was 18, and he was a pretty special guy. And yeah, he passed away in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan. You know, serving a purpose that he felt was important. And that was a pretty life changing experience for me. I feel like there was a kind of like a significant event when you like when some like something it’s like life before that event and then life after that event. You know what I mean?
Chris [00:09:55] Yeah. I’m so sorry that I’m so sorry that any of this happened.
Caller [00:10:01] I mean, thank you. It’s it was really tough, obviously, at first. Um, and I have made a lot of peace with it, but it took about 13 years. Because I will also share that, like my, my family, I have great parents. I will say that I have great parents who, um, you know, did the best that they, that did the best that they could and, but they were sort of ill equipped to know how to handle that situation. I was living at home, obviously, I was 18 years old. I shouldn’t say obviously, but for me, I was living at home when I was 18 and um yeah. I guess I, I looking back now and after, you know, a significant amount of time of therapy, I, I’ve come to have the perspective that, um, yeah, there was no real adult appropriate guidance in that for that scenario. Like there was no good advice. It was sort of and his parents sort of diminished our relationship by saying- I think they were trying to help when they said, Oh, you guys are young. And that relationship probably wouldn’t have worked out any way. And I think they were trying to help, but it really just made me feel worse. And my parents were sort of supportive of me just like continuing on with life as if some super tragic event had not just occurred. I mean, there was a brief period of like, you know, grieving and stuff. And then it was like, okay, well, let’s, you know, let’s move along now. Like you should go to- I was in my first year of university at that point and they were like, oh, you know, you should be going out with your friends and go to a dance. And I did do all that. But it was, yeah. I would just like cry in the bathroom at a dance or something. But. Oh, yeah. So I got sidetracked. Sorry. You might have to bring me- you might have to recenter me from time to time.
Chris [00:12:29] Oh, no, please.
Caller [00:12:31] I was. I think I was saying that so shortly- shouldn’t say shortly, but he passed away on Easter Sunday of that year. I won’t say what year it is. I guess that might narrow it down too much. But I would say by that fall, I had started dating his best friend. And that was what I’ve come to realize now again with like lots of therapy and stuff, me just trying to fill like a, like an empty hole. Like a vacancy that was, yeah. Just needed something put there that I didn’t know how to deal with. And, um there was a lot of shame about that. I carried a lot of shame around that for a long time. And his best friend turned out to be like a pretty big jerk who was emotionally and physically abusive and isolated me from my friends and family. And didn’t last too long. I was- I consider myself lucky to have been able to pull myself out of that unhealthy situation after about four or five months. But yeah, it definitely had a lasting impression on the romantic relationships in my life to follow.
Chris [00:14:13] I bet.
Caller [00:14:14] There. How’s that for a nutshell?
Chris [00:14:16] Yeah, that’s a lot. That’s a lot.
Caller [00:14:22] Yeah, I know some people come on here and they have, like, you know, fun things to talk about and other people have heavier things to talk about. So hopefully it’s not too heavy for some people. But. I guess if they don’t…
Chris [00:14:35] Oh, you had nothing to apologize for.
Caller [00:14:37] If they don’t like it, they don’t have to listen, I guess.
Chris [00:14:37] There’s a lot to talk about. I just want to say, for any future callers, it’s never too serious. It’s never too silly. It’s never too anything. There’s never anything that this show can be too much of because it’s about you and it’s about your stories. It’s about hearing those stories. We’re gonna hear more of this caller’s story when we get back. Thanks to all the advertisers who allow us to bring this show to the world. Now we’re going to get back to the phone call.
Caller [00:15:09] Hopefully it’s not too heavy for some people, but I guess if they don’t.
Chris [00:15:14] Oh, you got nothing to apologize for.
Caller [00:15:16] If they don’t like it, they don’t have to listen, I guess.
Chris [00:15:18] There’s a lot to talk about. So.
Caller [00:15:18] Yeah.
Chris [00:15:20] I have a couple of basic questions. You mentioned it was long distance. Was, was he in the Canadian military or the American military?
Caller [00:15:29] Canadian. I shouldn’t say- did I say it was long distance?
Chris [00:15:33] I thought you had said it- I thought you had said that, but I coul have.
Caller [00:15:37] I think I. I think I said my first long term relationship. Maybe I said distance or something.
Chris [00:15:42] Long term. Okay. I- no, I probably misheard that like an idiot. Because I do that sometimes and that’s okay.
Caller [00:15:48] You are not an idiot.
Chris [00:15:49] So your first long term. Okay. So he’s in the Canadian military. Excuse me. I had to clear my throat a bit. That’s uh.
Caller [00:16:03] You’re excused.
Chris [00:16:05] Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I think one of the first things I want to sink my teeth into, because there’s something very fascinating.
Caller [00:16:12] Okay.
Chris [00:16:13] Because we don’t talk about grief enough in general. I feel like it’s a thing that.
Caller [00:16:17] I totally agree. And I actually love to talk about grief. Let’s talk about grief.
Chris [00:16:23] Well, there’s no guidebook to it. And every circumstance that warrants grief is different. And to try to paint it with a broad brush is inherently disrespectful of what individual people go through. One of the things that I find most interesting is… a thought that had popped into my head. And then you expressed that it got under your skin when people would bring it up. And I totally get why. This idea of, well, he was 20, you were only 18. It probably wasn’t going to last anyway. I’m sure as someone in your early thirties, you take a deep breath and you can go. I understand that more often than not, that’s- there’s truth to that. It doesn’t change the fact that you were in a relationship that really and truly mattered to you. And it ended. And it just ends there and it doesn’t help anything to hear, Well, it’s probably going to end anyway. You’re only 18. It’s. It’s both a sort of logical point, but a completely moot point emotionally. So I want to I want to hear a little bit more about that in the sense of why it got under your skin so much a little bit more. And also now that you are, you know, approaching your mid-thirties where you’ve probably, you know, you know, you certainly- there’s certainly some arrested development that was warranted in your case. And you said it took a long time to sort out romantic relationships in general, which is totally understandable. But I’m sure even being in an age group, having friends, seeing, right, a lot of people do break up with their high school sweetheart, their college sweetheart. A lot of people do move on from that and learn from that. So I’m wondering what the perspective was when you were young and hearing that and what your perspective being older now is on that. Because that to me is one of the most fascinating parts.
Caller [00:18:18] Sure. Yeah, that’s a that’s great questions. So I from what I remember when I was 18, I it felt to me very invalidating when someone would say, oh, you know, you guys were just young. It probably wouldn’t have worked out. Again, I do feel like they were probably coming from a good place in that they may have been trying to make me feel better, but it really only made me feel worse. It made me feel like our relationship didn’t, didn’t matter. And, you know, like you said, emotionally, it’s not very helpful because the way I see it, when you are actively in love with someone and something happens to them, they die, something happens, in a way, you will always be in love with that person. Certainly you can, you know, carry it with you and you move on. But there’s always like a little piece there. I feel there’s always that little piece in your heart that’s like, you know, no one knows what would have happened. So to assume that the negative is what would have transpired, nobody really knows that. So I guess to answer the second part of your question, which would be my perspective on it now as someone who is approaching mid-thirties, is that is an experience that I will always remember. And I’ll give an example. So like my boss’ stepdaughter had a boyfriend who passed away last year from cancer. He was in he was about to graduate. He had just graduated high school. Sorry. So also very young. Very sad. And so knowing my experience with grief at that age, she came to me and asked, you know, like, what, like what, what do you think would have been helpful for you during that time? And I said, honestly, I said, just just be there for her to listen. Don’t invalidate anything that she’s feeling, because grief is just so… I feel like there’s such a wide spectrum for it. And you just never know how you’re going to respond to grief until it happens to you. And each relationship is so different too, you know, whether it’s a romantic relationship or a familiar or really close friend or, you know, something like that. There’s just such a wide spectrum for it. And I think there’s no wrong way to grieve someone. So I do feel like had I not have gone through that experience from someone on the outside, looking in, seeing someone… seeing a seeing a romantic partner of someone who had passed away dating their best friend, I could totally see, of course, how someone would judge that in a negative way. And, you know, maybe maybe they say something, maybe they don’t. But, you know, people’s negative comments around that definitely created a lot of shame for me on top of the grief that I carried around for a long time. So I guess what I would say is, looking back on that now, I don’t judge anybody’s process for grieving.
Chris [00:22:38] Here’s a question that- you’ll have to pardon me because it’s hard to- it’s- I’m not even sure how to verbalize it, but I find myself thinking back to my first relationship, which I think I was 17? And I dated my high school sweetheart. Then we went to the same college and we dated for a couple of years. And it was beautiful and it was joyous. And I mean, it was like that magic, that magic of finding your first person that gets in your corner and decides to be your person. You get swept away with it. It’s intoxicating.
Caller [00:23:15] Yeah, first loves are so special always.
Chris [00:23:17] It’s it’s a beautiful thing. Now, I also know that I wound up struggling with my mental health. There were times where I was a jerk. There were times where I felt very unheard on my end, and it fell apart. And I had to go and grow beyond that relationship and grow up as a human. I’m sitting here and thinking about your situation and I go, That first one is really a storybook. And for it to get cut off midstream, let alone under very intense circumstances, let alone via something that is heroic. I mean, say say what you will about the war in Afghanistan. I’m I’m so glad that it’s over. It’s awful how long that it went on and was there. The 20 year old people who decided to serve their country and go there… I can’t say that they’re doing anything except trying to live in the service of others, you know? And and sadly, in some cases, they die in the service of others. So not only are you in the middle of the storybook, but then… He leaves for this thing that’s heroic. I sit here and I go… How do you, like if I had to measure every relationship I was in against the first year of my first real relationship, how would anything ever measure up? Because you’re completely intoxicated by it. But also partly because it’s a little bit of a fantasy and you get swept away. And I think as you get older, relationships become a little bit more pragmatic, a little bit more, right? Like the grind of real life starts to coincide with your relationships in a way that’s just a little bit more gritty and a little bit more real in a sense. Did you- is part of it affecting romantic relationships, moving beyond it, that the measuring stick was always set by that era of your life?
Caller [00:25:20] Hmm. Good question. Maybe partly. Um, I think, I think it was, yes. Maybe a combination of that and also being in an abusive relationship immediately following that really…
Chris [00:25:44] That’s a hell of a way one-two punch right there.
Caller [00:25:46] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Sort of a sort of a big K-O there, but… Yeah. Yeah, I think definitely you’re, you’re always striving to have that, like, romanticized first love butterflies, you know what I mean? I, I mean, I could definitely say that I was still looking for that in my twenties, like, my like the first half to mid-twenties. Um. And then, yeah, I sort of got more realistic about it, like you said, as you get older and get into the more nitty gritty of the reality of life and dating and all that stuff. But yeah, I don’t know. It’s I mean, I’ve definitely dated quite a few people since then. Just, it just hasn’t worked out. And I think that’s because… I never fully grieved what happened. I sort of just kept pushing it down and just kept jumping from… Shouldn’t say from relationship to relationship, but I was always like talking to someone. You know what I mean? And just never really gave myself enough, enough time. Which led to eventually starting therapy when I was 29.
Chris [00:27:26] Oh wow. That’s that’s long overdue.
Caller [00:27:29] Yeah. Well, let me say that when I was 19, I went to therapy but the therapist was not great, and it was covered through my parents’ insurance. And I went to a few sessions with this lady, and I remember the last session I went to, she had given me an exercise and gave me some examples that she had done- that she had given me the session before the exact same thing, and she had given it to me as if she didn’t remember already giving it to me. And and so that made me feel like, you know, I was just like a number, you know what I mean?
Chris [00:28:12] Yeah.
Caller [00:28:12] Not that, you know, a therapist and and client relationship should be super personal or anything, but you do want to feel like they at least remember your previous session. So I said, ah forget it.
Chris [00:28:25] Yeah. I mean you’d think they’d at least be taking some basic notes. It’s I gotta agh there’s nothing I love more in this world than a good therapist.
Caller [00:28:36] Same.
Chris [00:28:36] And there’s few people that I hold their feet to the fire more harshly than a lazy therapist. Oh, my goodness. If you- it’s one of those things- and I just want to say this out here, because I know that there’s always been… I’ve always heard there’s a lot of social workers and therapists who enjoy Beautiful/ Anonymous. And I just want to say, you’re allowed to burn out on it, but you got to I think you got to just have a note up on the wall in your in your office, if you’re working in a field like that, of once you burn out, move on. It’s got to be one of those professions, right? You can’t be collecting a paycheck when you’re trying to deal with a grieving 19 year old who lost somebody who went to war. You can’t you can’t be over it, right? You can’t allow yourself to be over it. So you need to- I almost feel like don’t you almost feel like we should just collectively- it should be like if you… If you’re working in a field like that, it should be required that every three years you have to take four months off and just go. And that you have to go recharge the batteries. Because the damage you can do with one bad session can chase someone away from therapy for a decade in your case. And I had it too. I had a couple situations when I was young where where you get the bad therapy and you go, well it only- it’ll take like ten good sessions for me to trust a therapist. And it takes me about 20 minutes of a bad session to just be like, Fuck therapy, I’m done. You know? You can ruin therapy in 20 minutes. And it’s hard and that’s an uphill climb and it’s daunting. But just to anybody out there working in the field, understand you’re allowed to burn out. But please recognize when you do, because I’m sure there’s many people out there in the field cringing, going, oh, forgotten session.
Caller [00:30:35] Mmhmm. Absolutely. Or-
Chris [00:30:36] Didn’t come back for ten years. Bummer.
Caller [00:30:39] If they’re not required to take, you know, like you said, four months or four weeks or whatever off every so often, there should at least be a process where there’s like a, like a 360 review. Like every therapist, I would think- or should- has a therapist of their own. I don’t know if that’s a thing. I feel like they should. Every therapist should have a therapist for themself.
Chris [00:31:00] I would think so.
Caller [00:31:02] Who maybe every so often reviews just their overall mental state or capability as a therapist? I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s like, you know, like you said, if they seem burnt out, then it’s like, okay, you’re required to take some time off now.
Chris [00:31:18] Looks like me and you just fixed the entire state of mental health care. I’m sure no one else has been thinking about any of this. I don’t think there’s anybody thinking about these revolutionary thoughts. Therapists should care. They should get time off once in a while. I think you and I just really stumbled into some things here that change the world.
Caller [00:31:38] Who knew? Yep. Brand new information.
Chris [00:31:40] Now, I got to ask you about some of the tough stuff, so.
Caller [00:31:44] Ask me anything you want. I’m very open. You can ask me anything. I won’t be offended.
Chris [00:31:49] So your ex passes away? He’s a kid. You’re a kid. It’s brutal. You got people in your life trying-.
Caller [00:31:57] But when you’re a kid, though, you don’t feel like you’re a kid. But yes, looking back now, 18 is definitely a kid.
Chris [00:32:03] You’re in that, you’re in that, I mean, to me, you know, I know things are different in Canada, but you’re in that- in the States, you’re in that period where you’re like, Oh yeah, you can join the military, you can buy cigarettes, but not booze. You can vote, but you can’t rent a car. You’re in this adulthood that, you know, that college age era of adulthood where you go, you are definitely an adult. You are definitely responsible for your own actions. Also, society is still built to just keep an eye out a little bit for you. You know, there’s still some helping hands and some infrastructure in place to shepherd you. And you’re in that exact phase of… fair to call you a kid, fair to call you an adult. There’s benefits to that. And then when bad things happen, there’s major drawbacks. Point being, you eventually start dating his best friend. I got a lot of questions about how that went down, people’s reactions to it. There’s one part of me going… You know, maybe…. Were you both trying to fill a void and it brought you to each other and it was this misguided attempt to fill this void you both felt? There’s another part, in hearing that it got dark and that it got abusive, wondering, do you look back and feel like maybe there it was- were you taken advantage of in your grief by this person? I do want to know more about this.
Caller [00:33:24] Yeah, I… Yeah, there’s- I could talk to you for probably four or 5 hours about that, but I will try to summarize. So, yeah, so it was kind of your your your cliche leaning on each other at a time of grief. So as I mentioned earlier, I felt like I had very few, if not any people in my life that I could talk to about what happened who we’re able to really hold space for that. So my, like I said, my parents weren’t really sure how to deal with it. They were, you know, very good people. But, you know, it’s a it’s a very unique situation. I mean, if I was them, I’m not sure if I would have been able to handle it any any differently. I did have a friend of his who had been over there with him and come back. And so I definitely was able to talk to him about it.
Chris [00:34:40] Oh wow.
Caller [00:34:40] In terms of like my friends, um, you know, all my fellow 18 year old friends, they had, you know, obviously just as much life experience as I had and, you know, as, as good as they were, like coming to pick me up and take me for drives or you know what I mean? Try to get my mind off things. But it was never like we would sit and have any, like, real, like heavy talks about it, which is really ultimately I think as- not to get all astrological, but like as a Scorpio, I feel like that’s what I really needed. I like to dive deep and get into the, you know what I mean? The deep, heavy conversations. And that would have helped me at that time. But I understand how grief can be really uncomfortable for people. And they sometimes they don’t know what to say, so they don’t say anything. And then sometimes not saying anything is almost worse. I mean, I get it, but it’s, to me, I find talking about it better. Anyway. So again, I didn’t really feel like I had many people to talk to about it. And so his best friend- or who he claims to have been his best friend- um… held a like a little memorial party at someone’s apartment. And so he invited me to go. And so I said, okay, sure. So I went, even though me and this person didn’t really get along before, I thought it was nice that he reached out and invited me to this party. And it was sort of like making amends. Not that anything had ever happened between us, but he just we just didn’t really get along. I think he got maybe jealous of the time that, that my, that- I don’t know how to- what to call them. I will say boyfriend number one, I guess, was spending with me. So yeah. So I went to this party and we became friends after that. And we he said, you know, like if you ever need someone to talk to or whatever, he said, just, you know, here’s my number and vice versa. I said the same thing. And so it just kind of happened that we were leaning on each other during that time. And yeah, the rest is, I mean, you can see where it goes from there. Yeah. I forget what the rest of your question was now. Sorry.
Chris [00:37:11] I’m just wondering if you felt… You know… It sounds like there wasn’t so much manipulation at the beginning. You know, the idea that that turned dark and got abusive is is very sad. And I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to be sensationalistic and ask you to dwell on it. But it’s just such a sad thought of, you know, my boyfriend passes away, I wind up dating his best friend. And then to hear that that goes from, you know, it must feel like that’s going to be another step in something that feels like a storybook. And then to find out that it got abusive is just such a dark turn. And I feel so bad that you went through it. So yeah.
Caller [00:37:54] It was a rough year for sure. So, um, yeah. So he, like you said, it was, uh, it definitely seemed… good in the beginning. I mean, I think all abusive relationships seem like they’re good in the beginning, though. Just gonna put that out there. And then as they get more comfortable, they start to… Push their boundaries and show their true colors and see how much they can get away with until, you know, eventually they’re just they’re just straight up being abusive towards you. So, yeah, so we started off as friends and then we started dating and then like I said, there was a lot of negative judgment around that, including my parents. They didn’t think it was a good idea for me to date him. So this is where it gets kind of tricky. I am not a parent, so I can’t say what I would do in that situation. However, knowing what I know, I would say… No matter what, trying to forbid your kid from dating someone is probably not going to work out. In my scenario, I just kept seeing and talking to him anyway, but it forced me to have to lie to them about it. So that escalated to the point that I would get caught in those lies. And my dad, who again, I will say is a very good person but very hotheaded, very, very quick to get angry and not think before he speaks, we got into an argument about this one day, one night, and he said, well, you know, if you if you if you… If you want to if you want to be with him so much, or if something along those lines like, why don’t you just go live with him or something, he said something along the lines like he didn’t he didn’t want me to live there anymore if I was going to be lying. So, in so many words, kicked me out of the house and I got this guy to come and pick me up. And I ended up staying with him and his family for I think it was like five or six months before I ended up moving out into my own apartment. My parents, I will say, immediately regretted what happened. Like… Like almost as soon as it happened, like the very next morning, I think they called and asked me to come back home. And I was hurt and stubborn and angry and said, No, I’m not coming back. But yeah, so I stayed with him and his family for five months and that’s when things, as you put it, started to get dark where he would um bad talk my parents so that, you know, it made- it sort of influenced me to the point that, you know, I would start to think those things about my parents. And, um, saying bad things about my friends and, you know, it’s very, I feel like… I feel like people that are abusive in that way have a template that they follow. I don’t know if it’s conscious or unconscious, but it seems like definitely isolating their partner from the people around them is is a big red flag and definitely a step that seems to happen where they can isolate them and try to control them more. And yeah, so so that all started to happen. And, you know, being someone who was young and very inexperienced in relationships, I kept trying to fix it. I kept trying to get it back to the way that it was in the beginning and was was trying to control the situation by my actions, thinking like, okay, well, maybe if I just do this or maybe if I just do that, it’s like nothing I ever did was good enough to the point that like, you know, he broke his arm and he wanted me to, you know, wrap it before he got in the shower. And like, you know, I would get yelled at cause I wasn’t doing that right. Or like, he asked me to cut his fingernails and like, I wasn’t doing that right. And, um, you know, we would get into arguments and eventually got to the point where he would just like… His mom lived there, obviously, and he had a bad relationship with his dad so he wasn’t there that often. But his mom was a bit afraid of him, so she would never say anything. Like if she saw that he would kick me when I turned my back or, you know, there was one night when things got really bad, and, uh, he had said something about my parents. And he said, he said, you’re um, you’re crazy like your mom or something like that. And then he left the room and I just remember just sort of filling up with rage. And, um, there was a picture of us on the dresser, and I picked it up and I went downstairs to his room where he was, and I took the picture frame and I threw it at him. And instantly regretted it because it was like his eyes just sort of like changed completely. And I turned and went to run back up the stairs, but he had grabbed me and pinned me down on the floor and was just like punching me all over my body. And that was the only I would say out-of-body experience I’ve ever had. But so it was shortly after that that I moved out and got my own apartment. And um after finding out that he was, like, cheating on me and stuff. And then um yeah. So I lived in my own apartment for a few months after that and then eventually moved back home with my parents for about a year. And um, I will say, in my, in my parents defense, they, they didn’t give up. They kept, you know, they were continuously calling me and, and trying to, you know, get me to come back home and like trying to help me and stuff like that. And I did have some friends who during that time recognized that things weren’t great and, you know, would try to talk to me and stuff. But I feel like, you know, for anyone who has someone in their life who is in a domestic abusive relationship or who you suspect might be, you can talk to them about it, but in terms of convincing them, you really can’t. That person has to come to the conclusion for themselves and they have to want to leave before, before anything can really permanently change.
Chris [00:45:47] Permanent change is possible. People need to seek it out. People need to know that it’s an option. I hope people find it. I have a feeling there’s a lot of people who need a little bit of a break right now. Do I feel we would cutting to commercials after such a profound moment? Always. Do I feel like it’s worth it to let that thought sink in and have a moment to land and stand on its own? Absolutely. Hey, we’ll be right back. Thanks again to everybody who sponsors the show. Now we’re going to finish off the phone call.
Caller [00:46:20] That person has to come to the conclusion for themselves and they have to want to leave before, before anything can really permanently change. Feel like I just talked for a really long time there.
Chris [00:46:35] Yeah, I mean, that was hard to hear, but I’m grateful you put it out there because I have a feeling there’s going to be just that just that advice to people who are watching people they care about in that situation and hearing you got to see if you can, you know, shine a light on the door, but they have to walk through it themselves. I think that’s that’s very valuable. It’s also so horrible to hear how quickly, even in the story, how, you know, you’re talking about how he’s yelling at you for trimming his nails wrong, and then the next thing you’re saying his mom is looking the other way when he’s kicking you. And to even hear how that was your real life experience and that didn’t even like emotionally, that did that didn’t even raise your level of emotion in the story. It’s just the reality you went through and you’re just recounting facts and they’re just bullet points on the same line. It’s it’s it’s brutal to hear that you went through that. And I’m so happy that you got away from that guy. I’m so happy your parents didn’t give up. I’m so happy that their door was still open for you and that you had a place to go. And I’m so mad that you went through that. Let alone, I mean, for anyone who goes through that, people have heard me on the show, I it fills me with like such uh just one of the things that will always get an emotional rise out of me. But to hear that that happened to you when you were already grieving the memory of someone else, it’s just so low. It’s just so low. And I have to imagine it felt so low and it’s unforgivable.
Caller [00:48:10] Hard to remember how it like it definitely felt really bad, but I don’t think you realize how bad it feels until you’re out of it. Does that makes sense? It’s sort of like sort of like when you like, I go through cycles of depression. It’s sort of like depression. When you’re like in the depths of the depression, like, you know it’s bad but you don’t really realize how bad it feels until you feel good.
Chris [00:48:37] Right.
Caller [00:48:38] And you’re like, oh yeah, that was pretty bad.
Chris [00:48:41] Right. Right. Well, now I know- that one I can relate to because I know… Like I can think of situations where things felt felt good, and then you sit there and you go, Oh… Oh, wait. Those other times were awful. I’ve been living in this long stretch that felt awful. And feeling good is almost kind of like blowing up the dam and allowing the severity of the awfulness to be seen for the first time. And it’s blindsiding me. It’s a bad feeling.
Caller [00:49:23] Yeah, for sure. For sure. I think the um, yeah. I suspect my depression came from, like I said, years of pushing down that grief, never fully letting myself feel all the feelings. So, you know, just a word to anyone out there listening who’s trying to avoid their feelings, they catch up with you. Might be 13 years later, but it will catch up with you.
Chris [00:49:49] Well, talk to me about this, because.
Caller [00:49:51] So feel the feelings.
Chris [00:49:52] Feel the feelings. It’s. Well, I think there’s a lot of truth to that, right? No matter what you’re going through, you’re not going to escape the feelings. And when you manage to-
Caller [00:50:07] No. You might displace them temporarily but they’re still there.
Chris [00:50:08] Right. And then when you displace them temporarily, they often come back with interest. Right?
Caller [00:50:15] Oh yeah.
Chris [00:50:15] You get that short term breath of fresh air where you’re not feeling it and managing to shove it off or ignore it, but when it comes back, it has it has only grown, and it only feels-
Caller [00:50:26] The mental health bank comes to collect on that interest.
Chris [00:50:29] They do. They do. It’s worse than student loans. They they you’re just paying back the interest and you’re not chipping away at anything. It’s uh but it does also beg the question, I’m so happy to hear, you know, you’ve mentioned a couple of times this idea it took you 13 years to reconcile this. You talked about having a bad experience with therapy and stepping away from it for about ten years if I’m doing my math right from what you laid out.
Caller [00:50:58] Yeah that sounds about right.
Chris [00:50:59] And then you said in the beginning, though, that you do feel like you are on the other side of it, that you can trust relationships again, to whatever degree that is. I want to hear I want to hear more about where things have landed with that. And I think most importantly, how you’ve gotten to where you’ve been. Because like you said, you and I are like giggling right now about, you can displace your feelings, but they don’t go away. You know, you’ve you’ve said you’ve lived with this stuff where you go, just to hear the sadness of that answer of you saying- me asking it must have felt so low, and you going, I don’t even really remember how it felt when I was in it. And you sit there and go, Oh, because you were just shutting off. That just means you were shutting off.
Caller [00:51:37] Yeah, yeah.
Chris [00:51:38] So how did you turn back on?
Caller [00:51:40] It’s sort of like a defense mechanism I think that but your body can just kind of go through, like there’s a lot of things about that time that I just don’t remember that people tell me about. And I think it’s because… Like, yeah, at a certain point- and like I think when you’re 18 too like your brain’s not even fully developed at that point. So you’re just, you’re just incapable of coping with something that big and major happening. And so you just your brain’s coping mechanism, defense mechanism is just to just shut down. Like, okay, we are done. We’re not doing this anymore. Sorry, I keep laughing. I just I sort of have a dark sense of humor about it.
Chris [00:52:23] No, but it’s also very empowering to hear you laugh. To hear that you’re… To hear that you’re you’re laughing that hard about it right now, it’s good. How did you get to the point where you’re laughing in the face of this? Where do things stand now? And like I said, I think for anybody out there who’s in it or maybe watching someone they love and hoping that their person can find their way out of something similar, how did you do it?
Caller [00:52:47] I, I would love to tell you. So I will first start by saying to anyone out there who’s watching someone go through it, it’s so hard to watch because I have also watched people in my life go through it. But the- all you can do is just make sure that they know that you’re there for them and when they do want to talk about it, just listen. No judgment. No trying to be forceful about them making a decision. They will make it on their own when they’re ready. So I’m just going to start by saying that. But, um, so yeah, so I did so a combination of things I feel got me to the other side. The biggest component being therapy, of course. Big fan of the therapy. Once you find a good therapist. That is key is finding a good one. Someone who actually, you know, remembers your story from session to session. Very important. Uh, yeah. And then so, yeah. So three, three years of, you know, biweekly to monthly therapy sessions was super helpful. And I also had a pretty uh I don’t know if transformational is the right word, but a significant perspective changing experience with a medium, actually. I think- I don’t know if it’s called a psycic medium.
Chris [00:54:29] Did. Not. See that coming. What?
Caller [00:54:32] Right?
Chris [00:54:33] Wait, what?
Caller [00:54:37] Just when you’re zigging, I’m going to zag.
Chris [00:54:39] That’s a big zag right there. Tell me everything.
Caller [00:54:42] Yeah, I know. And it wasn’t. It was sort of… It’s pretty cool, actually. So it wasn’t like I sought out a medium that I like, paid for and everything like that. This person, she is a legit medium. She doesn’t charge people. She sort of just like believes that people who meet her, will meet her at the right time. And then she will like connect with them when that happens, sort of thing. Sort of like, you know, that cliche saying like, you know, what’s meant to be will be or all that stuff? Kind of along the same lines. So, um, my parents have a summer trailer at this campground just outside the city that I live in. And, um, this lady lived across the like across the- I shouldn’t say road. It’s not really road but like across the trailer road from them. And I just, you know, I got to talking to her one day and we talked for 4 hours in her trailer and it it completely unburdened the shame and guilt that I carried around. She told me things. She said things to me that she knew about that there is no way that she could have possibly known about. Cuz even if she had talked to my parents, it’s things that they wouldn’t have even known. That’s how I knew it was real. Basically she connected with him in this trailer and was communicating to me on his behalf. And was saying that, you know, he was um sorry that this person had done what they did and he wasn’t really a good friend like he thought he was. He wasn’t the person that he thought he was. He was sorry for how his parents, um, behaved towards me. Um that’s a whole other story in itself. But we can skim over that for now. And I have no, no negative things to say about them, because he was an only child. And, you know, for a parent to lose their only child, you get a free pass for, I think, anything that you do from there on out. And yeah, so I carried around this guilt about dating his best friend, like I said, for about, you know, 12 or 13 years. And he… He unburdened that for me and basically said… That he was sorry. He was sorry that he had to leave. And… That the one of the last emails that he had sent to me was telling me that he wanted to talk to me about something when he got back. And she said that, you know, that he wanted to marry me. I don’t. I mean. Who’s to say if that’s really true? However, like I said, she did seem to know a lot of things that she couldn’t have possibly known. So basically I just sat there like a big bawl bag and I was just like just a blubbering mess for like 4 hours while she, like, said all these things that, you know, pulled guilt and shame from the depths of my soul. And we talked about that for like 4 hours, and I left that trailer feeling like a lighter person. I felt like things had just completely um it was a turning point for me, I feel. And yeah, she’s a she’s still a pretty special person in my life. I don’t talk to her all the time, but we do occasionally touch base. And yeah, she’s a pretty cool lady.
Chris [00:59:15] In all my years of doing this show, I’ve had many moments that I have not seen coming. Hearing that the way you finally found healing was because a medium who doesn’t charge money convinced you to come into a trailer for 4 hours and that you firmly believe that your deceased ex spoke through this person to you… tops the goddamn list. What?!
Caller [00:59:36] It happened. It really happened.
Chris [00:59:42] And I’m glad! I’m glad it happened because it set you free. And you were trapped in some situations, both legitimately by others and also within your own head. And it helped to free you. I’m so glad it happened. And I’ll also say this.
Caller [00:59:59] Me, too.
Chris [01:00:00] There’s people in this world who don’t believe in mediums. If you had told me I visited a medium and you didn’t- I mean, you told me all the nitty gritty specifics, and I’m happy to hear it, but I am the type of person who would go, I am distrustful of this when I hear it, when I hear that word, I go, ooh, I don’t like the idea that someone might try to make money off the grieving. But you explained it. There’s more to it than that. But you know what I believe even more firmly than any of those gut instincts I have? Is you needed help. This person helped. Sounds like they said some things that… will- it’s absolutely unfathomable and mysterious that they knew things that they knew. So who am I to judge or question it? I’m happy it helped you. And people got to find help where they can.
Caller [01:00:48] Yes, I am. Excuse me. I am also someone who previously was very skeptical of whether mediums were real or not. Um. But yeah, like, like I said, the fact that she doesn’t charge people and that it’s sort of that she just sort of lets things coincidentally come to her as they do and… You know, she said that that his voice had been coming to her for weeks leading up to that. And she said, you know, he was kind of driving me crazy because I had no idea who this person was trying to connect with. And I was like, Whoa, that’s pretty crazy. Um, but yeah, I mean, I won’t get into all the details of the things that she said that to me really proved that it was legit, because there’s, like I said, there is no way that she could have possibly known these things. Um, but yeah. It was, yeah, it was pretty crazy. And, and, you know, I totally respect anyone’s opinion who thinks that, you know, medium stuff is hogwash. It uh because I used to think the same way, but I, I don’t anymore.
Chris [01:02:07] Now there’s going to be all these people listening. You’re going to start the this legend, the legend that crouching somewhere in a trailer outside of a city in Canada, there’s a medium who can help you through all your grief and pain. People are going to be searching for them like, like buried treasure, like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Caller [01:02:27] I will say that sometimes she travels to Florida for the summer, so maybe people listening from Florida may also come across this wonderful lady.
Chris [01:02:37] The idea of a Canadian going to Florida for the summer, it doesn’t narrow it down that much. There’s a lot.
Caller [01:02:42] It really doesn’t. It really doesn’t.
Chris [01:02:44] It’s not like, oh, that Canadian that shows up in Florida for a few months a year?
Caller [01:02:50] It’s still such a large group of people who came from there.
Chris [01:02:53] Most of Canada. Between there. Yeah. Yeah. And the Caribbean. Wow. That took a turn I did not see coming. And then you merged that. You merged that with the relationship between the medium and therapy. Because you said before the thing that’s helped the most is finding a good therapist. What’s the timeline? Did the medium open you back up to self-growth that led you back into therapy? Had you already started therapy and then this encounter with this medium kickstarted everything? I got to know how the medium factors into the gears of this machine.
Caller [01:03:25] Yeah, yeah, sure. So the therapy came first. The timeline was that I was in therapy, oh for three a little over two years, two and a half to three years before I met this lady. And once I, I feel like that was sort of the cherry on top of all the therapy. Um, because, you know, in my therapy sessions, one of the things that we covered was, um, self judgment and self forgiveness, trying to look at your younger self as its own person and say, like, you know, if you were to speak to your 18 year old self now, like, what would you say to them? And stuff like that. And just giving that different perspective of how you would- it’s sort of like sort of like depression. It’s like that, that voice of depression that’s in your head that is, like, so mean and so negative and, um, just makes you feel like everything, including yourself, is awful. You would never use that voice to talk about a friend. Like you would never talk to a friend that way or someone that you really care about that way. So to look at my younger self at that point as a separate person, really helped with being able to sort of release some of that guilt and shame. But I was like, you know, there was always that voice in my head that said, you know, he, he, he probably would have hated that that I dated him or he would have, like, you know what I mean? Stuff like that. And then, but then to actually afterwards have that experience of like communicating with him and to know that he didn’t feel that way was such a weight lifted off of my shoulders that I, again, didn’t even realize that I was carrying until it was lifted. Kind of like, you know, when you’re in a dark place and you don’t realize how dark it is until you’re in a lighter place.
Chris [01:05:46] Our time is up. I have to say, this- it went from being a fascinating, at times difficult call to being a fascinating and at times difficult call with a twist that blows my mind. So just to sum it up, you’re allowed to go through grief. You’re allowed to take time and figure out how to forgive yourself. You’re allowed to get trapped in situations where maybe the grief helped lead you into a situation where it feels like there’s no escape and now things are even worse. You’re allowed to take a decade or 13 years wallowing in it, figuring it out, soaking it in, not figuring out how to get out of it. And then what you need to do is you need to take a deep breath, get to work on yourself, start to figure out forgiveness, find a good therapy program with someone who listens and remembers, and most importantly, encounter a psychic individual in a movie- a moment that sounds like it’s out of a goddamn movie where you get first person forgiveness from someone in the beyond. Simple, right?
Caller [01:06:56] That’s all. That’s all you got to do.
Chris [01:07:03] Thank you for talking. I can’t believe I’m ending this one. I don’t know if I’ve ever ended a call with so many unresolved questions. How are you gonna drop medium on me with ten minutes to go.
Caller [01:07:14] Oh don’t do that. I wish I could answer all of your questions.
Chris [01:07:16] Oh, we got to do a follow up some day. Thank you so much for talking.
Caller [01:07:20] I would love that.
Chris [01:07:20] Listen. I’m so- my heart-
Caller [01:07:22] Thank you. And I will- I just want to end- the last thing I want to say is to tell people, again, feel your feelings.
Chris [01:07:28] Absolutely.
Caller [01:07:28] That’s my that’s my take away from this call is to tell people to feel their feelings.
Chris [01:07:33] And I got to say, I’m so happy that you got back in touch with your feelings, that you cut yourself some slack. And that you put in the work. And you also had the divine intervention. And it led you to a point where you could break it down for me today. There were some parts of this that were almost, like, really, really hard to hear, but there’s other people out there stuck in situations akin to yours. And I hope that your words help them get on that path towards finding some escape and finding some forgiveness for themselves along the way, too. Thank you for opening up.
Caller [01:08:08] You’re welcome. Oh, gosh. Yeah, I would, I would love for someone to hear that and and find it helpful. That would be the best case scenario. But, you know, at least I hope that some people would have found this story interesting.
Chris [01:08:29] Caller, thank you. Thanks for opening up. Thanks for letting us know about your grief. Thanks for letting us know about the pain and horror that you lived through. Thanks most of all for letting us know how you found your way out of it. And once again, I just want to say, for anybody listening out there who’s in a situation where they feel trapped or they feel abused, find your way out. This caller told us about hers. And I just hope you find your way out, too. And if this helps you get there, it makes me feel so lucky to be able to do this show. This show is produced by Anita Flores. Today’s episode was engineered by Jared O’Connell. Our theme song is by ShellShag. And you can go to ChrisGeth.com if you want to know more about me. Wherever you’re listening, hit subscribe, favorite, follow. It helps us so much when you do. You can find our merch over at PodSwag.com. And if you want your episodes ad free, you’ll want to check out Stitcher Premium. Go to Stitcher.com/premium. Use the promo code stories and get one month free.
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