Podcast – Episode 0244 – Making Peace With Your Parents (Part 2)

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia continue talking through the personal story of Antonia actually attempting to make peace with her parents.

 

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 In this episode Joel and Antonia continue talking through the personal story of Antonia actually attempting to make peace with her parents. #podcast #Parents #relationships

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Showing 39 comments
  • Loren Ecker
    Reply

    Hi Antonia and Joel. I am very new to this community having just found you guys about two weeks ago and I am so glad that I did.

    I am an INFP. For the longest time I believed that I was an INFJ, but it is very clear to me now that I am definitely and INFP thanks to a book call “How to Speed Read People” (I don’t know the author off the top of my head) and to your Genius Style Assessment and accompanying description of the INFP.

    I wish that I had an SD card that I could just inset into my brain and upload all of the thoughts and feelings and experiences that make me who I am and then just insert it into another’s SD slot so that they can experience “Me” without my having to explain it all.

    It would allow me to communicate to you how much I empathize or sympathize (not sure which one it is) with your experience involving your parents rejection of you, and it would give you a crystal clear understanding of the degree of respect I have for you and how you comported yourself through that entire ordeal beginning with the retreat all the way through the recording of the 2nd part of the podcast!

    I am really in awe of you and jealous of the work that you have done on yourself which allowed you to maneuver through that complex gauntlet of thoughts and feelings and reactions!

    I would love to give you some more context into me which I think would really serve to inform and illuminate some of the things I am now trying to communicate to you, but unfortunately, I have someone waiting for me so I have to leave it here.

    I hope to return in the near future to connect more deeply and to speak more about myself and my journey, but for now, I guess my aim was to reach out, connect, and express my appreciation, respect, and enthusiasm for you and for what you and Joel have done and are doing!!

    Most humbly,
    Loren Ecker
    Queens, NY

  • JL
    Reply

    Antonia – I just listened to this episode sitting on a train and have been crying out loud for a longer time than I have done while being alone before. I’m an INFP and while I have a lot of feelings I’m very careful about showing them to others. To the people that are close to me but even more to people I don’t know. This podcast resonated with me more than any of the other ones. I have tried to have difficult concersations with my parents before. They are bost STJ and since I started reading your website and your book I’m more and more starting to realize that I have to make peace with them in my mind, with my own feelings and that will be the way I can love them for what they are. They have always had good intent for me, but they are not deep and will never be, they don’t want to develop and they have a similar kind of agreement as you mentioned that they won’t call each other out on their issues because they feel like they are unable to make a change anyhow. My fathers father was an alcoholic and he cut all connections with him – and maybe I have more feelings than I know of regarding why he doesn’t want a more meaningful connection with me.
    This podcast can’t have been easy to record, but man it will help me so much on the way of dealing with my parents both on my own end and when communicating with them. Thank you.

  • Sara
    Reply

    Hi and thank you so much for all of this. I’m sorry for both you and your parents with how this turned out.

    When I was thirteen, my parents went through a similar experience. The circumstances were a lot different, it had nothing to do with a belief paradigm, my grandfather wasn’t okay with it but he always stood by my grandmother and remained loyal to her, etc. After that, my grandmother approached us again twice, both times when she was totally desperate. The first time she stayed for a few months and disappeared. When we found where she was, we went there to meet her. She refused to open the door and locked herself in her room. Our grandfather went to meet us but told my parents not to bring us again because he doesn’t want his grandchildren to feel that pain of rejection. A few months before she passed away, she came back to us and although it had been probably one of the most turbulent time of my life, I never regret it, I appreciate it ever so much.

    I was always close with my grandmother. We used to stay at their house for weeks when I was a kid during the school holidays and whenever it was time to go home, I would cry for days. I considered her home to be my true home and to be kicked out of both was devastating to me. There were other complications too. Other relationships broken within the family, secrets spilled and all that. I haven’t met a cousin who was my best friend back then, whom I had considered as a brother, since I was 13.

    If it’s any comfort to you, my siblings who were 5 and 7 years younger than me weren’t as deeply affected by the whole fiasco as I had been. Or at least I haven’t notice it and we’re pretty close with each other. Piper is young and I dearly hope that she would be able to understand and accept the way things work as she grows older.

    I have no resentment or frustration with my parents because at 13, I was aware enough of what was going on to observe and understand why my parents made the decisions they had. We had always discuss it openly even with my younger siblings although we do it gradually as they grow up. In some ways I can see things from my grandmother’s point of view too and see it from the result of her own upbringing (I may be totally wrong). She’s an ESFP and I’m an ENFP and we share certain traits and tendencies if not life principles. And I’m glad that she spent the last days of her life with us. It does give us a sense of closure and a last chance at reconnecting even though it turned out far from perfect. I hope Piper would be given that chance but if not then I hope it’s for the best.

    Again Antonia, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

  • Ann Marie
    Reply

    As all have said, thanks so much for sharing this experience — and in the format that you did.

    From my perspective, it turned out better than I had expected — especially after hearing you say in the beginning that it did not go very well.

    For me, “did not go well” would have meant going away with nothing determined, settled, definitive, or conclusive. I imagined an ending where your parents were pre-occupied, flustered, busy with medical details, non-attentive to your presence — and you walking away pretty much at the same point that you had come into this.

    It’s interesting that, in the beginning, you said that the way it played out was not cinematic. As the story unfolded, I found it to be intense, so real, and profound — “cinematic” to me. I come into this with much intrigue as to the hold that belief systems can have on people. Knowing the backstory — and especially the life stage (age) of your parents — there is no way that your parents could “receive” you. I see similar issues with my mother’s relationship to her religion — though she is not required to shun non-believing family members (although she definitely would if she believed/was told that was what her God expected).

    I, personally, am so “happy” that there was closure — I think that is huge. It is so profound to grasp that your parents cannot be at peace as long as they see a lovely daughter (and granddaughter) in front of them. It goes against their natural, human feeling and thinking — they cannot reconcile what is in front of them/what they are truly experiencing with you with what their religion tells them about you, your fate, and their fates. Basically, the better a person you are, the worse it is for them. I’m guessing that it is much more painful for them to “lose” you than for you to lose them — if only because you understand (in a cognitive way) why they are doing as they are — whereas they don’t fully know/are afraid to go there.

    When I got into my mom’s head (who is at the same stage of life as your parents) and thought about how painful it would be to think that things she has believed in her whole life and has been so invested in may not be true, I realized how cruel it was for me to try to get her to see “the truth”. I realized that any pains that are caused by her holding on to her beliefs to the end are far less than the anguish that would result from her thinking that her beliefs could possibly be untrue.

    This is where I do get angry at religions/belief systems for “causing” such pain — but, at the same time, I realize that people — due to their personality types and (early) life experiences — can be prone to indoctrination and/or find that such systems meet their “needs”.

    I think about how meaningful it was/is for your dad to have that long hug and last good-bye — which then makes me think…it’s because you’re such a good person that this is so painful for them. If they didn’t like you so much as a person, it wouldn’t be so painful :/

    For anyone interested as I am, I read two books in which the authors’ fathers had a similar moment (or moments) of doubt as Antonia’s father — “What if all of this is not true?” One is Carl Jung’s book, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”, in which Jung witnesses his devoutly religious father silently struggling in anguish with his beliefs. The other is a “lighter” — even often humorous — book by Frank Schaeffer, son of Frances Schaeffer (a very influential figure in the evangelical Christian community from the 1950’s to the 1980’s). In the book, “Crazy for God” (and/or the follow-up, “Sex, Mom, and God”), the author describes moments in which his father seems to be internally struggling with his beliefs — again, in a silent, anguished way, afraid to really let his mind go there.

  • Isi
    Reply

    Thank you very much

  • Kelly M
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Antonia. I’m disappointed you did not have a happier outcome, but I’m relieved that you do have that valuable closure. You know what the most helpful component of this podcast was for me? Your explanation of how you dealt with your emotions afterwards as a Thinking woman. I know we’re supposed to deal with hurt feelings for long term emotional health, but truly, how to do that is foreign to me, an INTJ female. I see how your process could be helpful as opposed to pushing the feelings aside, pretending they don’t exist, and avoiding anything that could possibly trigger them to bubble back up (my MO).

    PS: Podcast recommendation — how to process feelings when you’re a Thinker. (It might already be out there — I’m still working my way through past episodes.)

  • Michi
    Reply

    Dear Antonia,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. In a very odd way, I gained confidence to face troubling relationships in my life by hearing how your experience went. I hope this story can give you some silver lining to this heartbreaking process with your own family.

    I have never had a good relationship with my sister. To geek out on mbti, I am an INFJ and my best guess on my sister is an ESTJ. My best guess on my other family members is ENFP (dad), ISTP (mom), and INFP (brother). So she was outnumbered her whole childhood one way or another by the introverts, feelers, and intuitives. My childhood was very free-spirited, but what was fulfilling for my brother and me, was disrupting for her. I’ve spent years trying to connect, being mad she wasn’t connecting, getting chewed out by her for not connecting, and just about anything else you would guess about an ESTJ and an INFJ being forced together.

    Lately she has been going through huge personal transitions. She did not want anyone to know what she was going through, but her husband(INFJ) broke that secret. I was terribly frustrated trying to keep a secret of us knowing her secret, and everything I had learned about ESTJ’s told me she would want to know. While everyone else in my family felt we needed to protect her from her feelings and try to keep the facade that she could come out when she wanted. Listening to your own story about how badly family could react, I took courage that even if it was this bad, I could face that over continuing to ignore the elephant in the room.

    I crafted a conversation for her, trying very hard to look at what needed to be conveyed and translated the best I could into her mind-frame. I stated what I thought she should do first, explained why concisely, and did not spell every detail out. I had the most calm, respectful, and cogent conversation with my sister. I am sure in the days to come, life for all of us will be harder because we will have to face the elephant in the room. My parents may be terribly upset with me going against their wishes. I may have no relationship with my brother-in-law. But for the first time, I can see an adult relationship with my sister.

    Thank you,
    Michi

  • Nicole Harrison
    Reply

    That was absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful Antonia. Thank you so much for sharing and being so vulnerable to even share with us something didn’t end how you wanted it to. I have been listening to you guys for years and have never commented, but I have to say that what you didn’t deserves every bit of recognition possible. I’m not just talking about facing your demons in the first place but also being willing to put your soul on the line and share it with all of us. I hope you know that there were thousands of people out there crying with you. You are amazing.

  • Anna
    Reply

    Good Podcast. I had a similar experience with my parents and listening to your parent’s reactions i came to a realisation.

    Who’s to say every parent is meant to love or accept their child?
    we’re talking about doctrines brainwashing their perspectives, but we’re all infected by one doctrine or another, including the “belief” that parents should love unconditionally.

    Wisdom also doesn’t come just because you age, so why look up to parents? they are children, raised by children most of the time, and inflicted by the human condition and mind.

    Parents can fail, and parents don’t always have to accept their offspring behaviour, usually depending on their level of development. As well as children don’t need to accept their parent’s.

    Antonia has more wisdom and strength than her parents, she has outgrown them with maturity, which is the role of successful offspring, and Antonia can pass that wisdom to her children, who may grow to an even more mature perspective, who knows,

    As much as it hurts to hear your parents say they think you’re not “right” (i speak from experience), i’m also less hurt by it because i know i’m a decent human and i don’t need their approval or their religion’s approval to know it, and parents don’t need to love or accept their children.

  • Kodi
    Reply

    Antonia, the experience you had, along with its analysis using the contemporary term of metaperspective, meme-warefare, and typology was expressed in a profound way that I don’t think has been expressed before on the internet, or is at least very rare. I can accept the conclusion of finality of your relationship with your parents but with an exception, which I will explain. I’m INFJ, so I struggled to see that your mother also leads with perspective from her responses. I will add this hypothetical: You can find videos on the net talking about “Archons” with speculations that people really do become possessed and that the out of character behavior will suddenly appear due to certain triggers. Many lurid accounts even describes changes with the eyes or the skin taking an ashen gray color the moment the Archon decides to drive the social interaction of the host. I’ve not figured this out yet; I speculate there is some connection with things that increase spiritual devotion (consider being ‘slain in the spirit’ and falling on the ground during a worship service at church, the mimetic control of thoughts and these sudden flips of character that come over people when sensitive subjects are about to be addressed. I wonder if your mom does not show reasonableness that would be expected from her driver process because of mind control by Archonic influence. In analogy consider the “Yerk” from the Animorphs series. Assuming this is true, I’m not quite sure what the solution is to rid the influence. In a developed state, the INFJs blend their love for accuracy with their idealism and morality. We always know when a person is about to change character seconds before it occurs and can trace the additive nature of a situation as it develops moment to moment. Thus, with full control of her faculties, your mother would be in complete control of that situation as it started to develop with your father’s nervousness. When she stated “we feel worse each time you come,” that is where I would say the Archon was in full force. If we can decontaminate people of these influences maybe psychopaths can be redeemed and relational possibilities are near infinite.
    This could be a scenario where people consciously choose to give themselves up to the influences for some other benefit and they eventually reach some point of no return. Or it is like infection and is complete as soon as it happens. These speculations sound like the “magical thinking” drivel INFJs are known for; but I posit I’m at least in the neighborhood of the truth, and regardless need to say the out-there things that are not said commonly in order to advance to conversation.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, Antonia, it gives quite a bit of food for thought.

  • Rhonda MacMelville
    Reply

    Hey there. I’m kinda new to the podcast and I would like to say how brave you are, Antonia, for putting your personal life and this particular issue on the line, not sure how people would react. Of course I think you’re brilliant, as I am an INFJ with the most amount of empathy possible in a human being, which means that I need to find a good way to prepare myself for that sort of thing without the bottom dropping out. I’m wondering what it is that you did for that preparation. 😳

  • rmn
    Reply

    I so appreciate that you were willing to share both your excitement in going (last podcast) and how it actually went. And your perspectives about the dynamics. You are brave and kind. I even appreciate, or especially appreciate, getting to hear your first conversation after Antonia getting home. That level of rawness is a gift. And yes–I have life experience that causes me to really value hearing about this part of Antonia’s life. It helps me feel like a normal person. Your honesty helps me calibrate how good or how bad difficult conversations can really be. Seriously. I’m binge listening to these two podcasts on a lazy Saturday. 🙂

  • Michelle Maverick Ahrens
    Reply

    Thank you Antonia for your openness and honesty and the gift you have so generously given to this community and to myself. Thank you too, Joel, for sharing about your unfortunate emotional blow up on New Years!
    I’ve been sitting all week with what to say because it was such a gift you gave in giving permission to share by asking for our feedback. My family didn’t share or give permission to talk about feelings. I’m struggling to find my voice and learning to be more open and vulnerable to let people really see my truth and share my personal story and experiences. You are both so brave in your willingness to be so open and authentic and I’m so grateful and appreciative of your generosity to bring us all into your personal lives. I’m learning so much about myself and my story by your sharing yours so completely and honestly. I admire you both so much for doing this and am so very grateful. You have touched my heart so deeply this week and words cannot express all I feel about both your stories and experiences and my own. We are all struggling to find the way and to be our best selves. Wise and loving, able to cope with whatever comes our way. But, our families and our desire to be deeply connected and accepted, understood and loved unconditionally by them can be such a difficult and complex experience that leaves us all so very vulnerable and searching for the best ways to navigate the challenges we each encounter. Thank you both for sharing and showing us the way and providing us this space and bringing us in and inviting us into the process with you and each other. I’m learning so much and my heart is so deeply touched and affected by you both. I wish you peace and joy as you continue to process this Antonia.
    Many parts of each of your stories is also part of my story and family history. My heart is so touched by everything you have experienced and your courage, love, bravery, honesty, generosity and so much more is inspiring.
    Thank you both for creating and providing this space and for the opportunity it provides for deeper awareness, growth and connection. Feeling so much gratitude.

  • Maria
    Reply

    Antonia
    I have so many reactions to your podcast

    On your daughter and her relationship with her maternal grandparents:
    My husband and I have been chosen as grandparents for a child in a similar situation as your daughter. Her mother needed to separate/be separated from her parents because of her parent’s attitude toward her. Like you ,she held the truth of a better way of living, by her very presence. Like your parents, her parents were caught up in an imperialistic meme based religion that controlled their lives and served the unhelpful purpose of maintaining illusion.
    I have often seen , parents willing to maintain the illusion that contact with birth grandparents is good for the child even when the grandparents carry a judgmental attitude toward the child’s responsible and creative mother. A Grandparents’ fear of reality, judgement, and/or disdain, of the parent undermines the grandchild’s trust and view of their mother. Children need to be protected from those people who do not openly give validation, respect , and admiration for a daughter like you who is living a good life with good will. Such grandparents plant doubts in a child’s thought patterns which manifest later.

    On Positive Seed Planting:
    In these farewell situations where age, illness, and high level of anxiety are present, one cannot do any more than seed plant. You went as far as you could go in speaking your truth to these particular people in this particular situation. Your father’s panic and your mother’s anger tells me that you were heard. Seed planting is powerful. You did well.
    Your Dad’s response in wanting to be able to hug his own daughter was powerful. He stood up to your mother to do so, and she followed him possible to not be left out .

    On Gratitude:
    You had so little to be grateful to them for. You repeated your truth that this was enough for you. Each time you spoke your words (what your Dad called a script) were generous with your understanding and gratitude, but rightfully, you did not seem to add more things to be grateful for. Your letting your folk hug you, and your Dad to hold you, was the peacemaking he needed, that he was forgiven for the failure he feels he was. Here is the thing, he can still have the security of his wife now. No matter what else may have happened, he has the peace of his alone time with you in the car and in the hospital, and he has the hug. He wanted that hug. He has that to hold onto. It is amazing how we old folks , as we near our end, can have our minds and hearts extrapolate the good moments of being forgiven and loved. That car ride and hug will come back to him, much more than the anxiety meltdown and the calling of the police.

    On Mothers:
    Your mother can go back to her security of not only being your Dad’s main priority but his only priority with her religion backing her up in her justification that he needs no one but her. Her Religion is already failing her in that it is allowing her to be isolated from reality and you, at least for now. She has lost the most precious gift of precious you. It would seem that in order, in part, to maintain her own interior stabilization she succumbed to an exterior controlling religion . She also found a stabilizing dependent husband even at the cost of her own authentic INFJ self . In her day, she possibly could decipher no other way to find stabilizing belonging (from her creative conflicting andperceiving) than being rigidly controlled and controlling.

    I think that whatever we have not resolved with our mothers we play out with our daughters. Either we overcompensate by trying not to be like our mothers with our daughters, or we unwittingly repeat those patterns that were patterned in us from our mothers. You dear Antonia have faced yourself and your mother and are offering your daughter a free-er more aware and loving person, who will be able to relate to your daughter. Your visit has freed you, and unencumbered you to be the mother your daughter needs.. One who has a good mate, mission, and self care.

    Well done you.

  • Elizabeth Murray
    Reply

    Antonia,

    I believe that this was a very powerful moment in your life to share publicly and I thank you for it. Your humility and carefulness in the situation is certainly something to be applauded. The great thing about public media is that when one shares their story the speaker and the many listeners can realize that they are not alone in these kinds of situations as we can see from the comments. That doesn’t comfort some people but it certainly does me as I sorrowfully listened to your story and meditated on it the past 2 days. The compassion and willingness to meet your parents where they were at was beautiful and I am so sorry that it did not turn out the way that you wanted to. I am inspired by your ability to take the situation as it is and not immerse yourself it what it could be.

    My mother and I have our differences as far as religion and the way I grew up goes. She would never disown me but our relationship can definitely be a struggle. My father however has abused and wrecked the people in my family to where I had door slammed him for 3 years before I opened it again about a year ago enough to have lunch and try to gain some personal closure. As you said in this podcast, you were able to handle the situation you were in with your current level of personal growth and I respect that you have the ability to discern that. I definitely have not had that knowledge the past year, as I have reflected on how badly I acted in my own experience. I was so angry with him I lashed out and accused him of all the terrible things he has done. I think I was looking for him to admit and take on the responsibility of all that he has done. But that is just not where he is at and I doubt that he ever will be in that place. And I was not in a place, as I still felt so raw, to take on that conversation. Nor was I, or am currently, at a level of development where I could gracefully handle a conversation in any way that would be healing. All I could do was get angry that the conversation wasn’t what I wanted and run home to sob on poor Kris.

    Your experience has made me aware of what I am able to accomplish with my own situation currently and given me hope that maybe someday I will be able to sit with him without anger and meet him where he is at in life. Because you’re right. My dad was molested, pushed through walls, neglected, exposed to drugs, and a ton of other terrible things. While I grew up with things being thrown into the yard, being shoved into walls, through screen doors, or just down on the floor; I was never molested and he always worked hard to make enough to support us. He wasn’t a good father, but he did do one better. He is a product of his own environment and did the best that he could as his level of development.

    I wish that I could have loved on my father as much as you in your level of growth were able to do. Maybe someday I will, and I sincerely hope that you will be able to love on your parents again. Thank you so much for sharing, touching, and inadvertently teaching us listeners through your own sorrow. I freaking love you Antonia.

    – “I think mothers and fathers made up the gods so that their children and sleep through the night” -Davos Seaworth
    – “Chaos isn’t a pit, chaos is a ladder. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”- Petyr Balish
    – “There is a lot that can happen between now and never.” – Petyr Balish

  • Dave K
    Reply

    Antonia, thank you so much for sharing your story in this way. I’ve listened to the PH podcast for several years now, and have learned all kids of wonderful things from you and Joal and your guests. However, this particular podcast (both parts) was an opportunity to see it all in action, even if it didn’t go the way we’d all maybe hoped.

    There are so many parallels to my own life that I can honestly say I understand much of your struggle. But the way you handled it was inspiring and beautiful. The memetic conditioning of many folks who are just like your parents can be difficult to even understand, especially having come out of such an environment myself. It can be difficult to navigate, but the way you and Joel reached into your tool box and applied the principles you’ve discussed and used them in real life.

    I am inspired, and applying my tools as I go, I am walking into a similar situation. I can only hope to carry myself with the grace, love, and compassion you have modeled here.

  • Nigel Barrie Corbett
    Reply

    Hi A&J,
    I’m struck by the absolute sadness of your story.
    I think in your situation, I would be left with a huge feeling of anger at the Church. A god that would let this happen between parents and a child is not so godlike. I would like to know if you feel / felt that anger. If you didn’t I would like to know how? If you did / do, I would like to know what you’re doing with that?
    You guys are awesome. Thanks,

    Nigel

  • Angel
    Reply

    Hi. Ive been wanting to reach out to you both for a long time to express my appreciation for your work. Ive listened to every podcast you’ve put out, some more than once, but I was so grateful for the honesty and authenticity among hearing these last two episodes that today had to be the day to express my gratitude. This was such a deep personal situation, and I thank you for having the courage to share your vulnerability in such a graceful way.

    The perspective I saw might be influenced by factors in my own life, but it almost seemed like your dad couldn’t bear to hear about a different life he could have had. The struggle between wanting to hear your story and have his daughter do well would conflict with making the right choice to stay in the religion. Anything about you outside his internal narrative would have disrupted the peace he had to make with the decision to stay.

    The fact that you could see this situation from their perspective with such empathy and understanding is a beautiful thing to hear. Your personal growth work and emotional maturity really shows here – the yellow perspective, acceptance regardless of outcome, lack of judgement, the integrity and respect you showed, the self care administered, and the peace that followed. (On a side note, hearing you talk about connecting your emotions to television was very interesting). And it’s so great to hear about the support you and Joel both have for each other.

    I wasn’t intending to talk about myself, but I just wanted to let you know how your podcast has helped me. I was in a very difficult environment for my emotional health over the last few years and I found so much relief listening to you. I was diagnosed with PTSD, which causes a total disconnect with your identity. I had to question everything because my beliefs and opinions did not come naturally anymore. Understanding that I was an INFP was a huge sense of relief, as the descriptions and functions really resonated with me. I still knew the truth when I heard it. Listening to your podcast help me accept that I think differently than most people and that’s ok. Im a peculiar breed well outside of societal norms, and I now had permission to be authentic and explore the parts of me that make me unique. Authenticity has been my focus this year. You’ve been instrumental in my recovery, and understanding the way others think has helped me to connect with people in a more meaningful way. I’m now fully committed to the rabbit hole of personal growth and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for your insight, wisdom, humor, and vulnerability.

  • Kimberly Cook
    Reply

    As several have said already, thank you to you both. This was very raw and vulnerable in a public forum, and that take “guts, cajones, courage,” whatever you label it. You are true mentors, leaders and virtual friends even to those of us you don’t realize you have connected with – sounding boards more often than is recognized. Labeled an ENFJ with enneagram self preservation 3 with a 2 wing I have a tendency to discount and bury my true feelings. I dont want to feel them, especially the negative ones. Your naked honesty gives me the courage to let my feelings flag fly despite how it might be percieved.

    Here’s a piece of raw truth for you (meant to make you smile): within an ENFJ ESTP relationship “Jesus Christ (excuse my colloquial French) if my BF could be half as interested or understanding relating to the things that are meaningful to me as Joel is (ie interpersonal shit, patterns, and feelings) I would…I dont know what.” Antonia, that’s not to discount you. In fact, you are one badass woman I look up to for your ability to keep it real. You two are a great match for each other at this time. You’re an example of things to work toward. You’re real, and most of us really appreciate that. Again, thank you.

  • Amanda Roddy
    Reply

    Wow!
    First of all, thank you for processing through all that on your podcast. Antonia, you gave your parents a gift, and the amount of love, clarity of vision, patience, and empathy it took to give that , I imagine, was emmence.
    You also gave us, your listeners a gift. To hear you, Joel and Antonia, process through a very weight and difficult concept was intense ; I feel like my brain is re-wiring itself.
    I am an ENTP and an enneagram 7, so my go to strategy is to rationalize, reframe, and navigate away from negative emotion. When you were discussing processing emotion by finding it (through Hoden’s entimology ) and then callibrating the emotion was mind blowing!! 🤯🤯
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to process all the emotional stuff I carry from my recent experience with breast cancer and have been struggling with how to let myself feel all the feelings but still feel safe. This exercise is changing the way I’m viewing processing negative emotion.
    Thank you.

  • shanda
    Reply

    Wow..that was very powerful and moving. It was very touching. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • David Pannell
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. Very powerful! I have deep respect, appreciation, tears, gratitude for your telling the story, and best of all, for having the courage to hang tight with loving-kindness-gratitude. Way to be! Peace and Joy, David.

  • Marina
    Reply

    I just wanted to preface this by saying how brave it is for you to tell your story in a public format, Antonia. It takes a lot of bravery to do so, especially in such a calm and coherent manner. I feel like I would just start sobbing and end up refusing to share such a recording if I were in a situation akin to yours (the members of my family I have yet to make peace with are nearly everyone but my parents, but in particular my maternal grandmother).

    Listening to these episodes has really brought up a lot of emotions and reflections on my own personal experiences. I really felt that I needed to share my story from a comment that Joel made along the lines of “How are we going to tell our daughter?” I have no experience with kids, so I cannot speak to what you should say; however, I can speak to having a similar experience as a granddaughter, and a possible way your daughter could view the situation as a young woman around my age (in her 20s). Obviously, the situation is not the same, but I do not think experiences along this line are common. For the sake of someone who will have to grapple with something similar eventually, I feel like I should share what I have experienced with you so you might be able to better help her as she gets older. She will eventually need to process events that were out of her control, but still carry some degree of emotional pain for the family in general. And I feel that grappling with this when it is a grandparent is a separate category unto itself since we have a picture in society of grandparents that makes it harder to see this becoming a reality for people.

    This is a hard topic to discuss, and I feel like I should say that I see none of my grandparents as fundamentally bad people. I believe they were products of their environment. They were certainly flawed and did not provide good support to my parents, but they were not abusive or cruel to their children. I was fairly young when my parents’ relationships strained with their parents. And, I think this actually worked in my favor over the years because I had not developed too strong of an emotional attachment. My parents were also always very honest with me. Given my penchant for overhearing things and young Ne-dom self, I might have figured it out even if they were not as open as they were. I won’t veer too far into my parents’ story as it is not mine to tell.

    For me, I have always had a very distant relationship with my entire family except for my parents. I honestly do not remember coming to terms with that very much. Most of the work I had to do revolving this sort of resolved itself as I matured and abandoned the rather intense jealousy I often felt of my peers and their grandparents as a child. I have gotten to the point in my life where I realize that I have protective walls around myself in regards to my family for a reason. I think this has to do with my self-preservation instinct in the Enneagram. I am also a 6, so I wonder how much the rejection I will speak of contributed to my own fear of being left without support. The walls are not necessarily made out of hostility as I am very rarely openly hostile towards others since I just hate the way it feels. But it is one of never speaking my mind or saying anything of substance. My extended family does not know the person I really am, and the most interested of them focus more on who I was as a kid. This is frustrating albeit given the fact that I am a fully grown woman, but honestly, I have learned to have a weird appreciation for that. I suppose it’s better than blatant disinterest.

    Another thing is that I have seen how terribly my parents have been treated by their different relatives at various times. So, my walls in a way have come up as a protection measure to defend myself. I am very close to both of my parents, and I honestly see negative behavior directed to them as if it were directed at myself personally. That is one of the few things that I find generally angers me.

    My maternal grandmother and I have, quite frankly, always had a poor relationship. Through her actions, she has made it clear to me that she does not care to have me be a part of her life. Her lack of acknowledgement hurt. I could not figure out why I was clearly her least favorite of her 3 granddaughters. I still have no idea, but I have reached the point where I do not really want to know because I know it cannot have been anything I did and there probably is not a clear cut answer. I thought I had done a lot of healing work around it, but I sort of realized that the old feelings were emerging again due to circumstances beyond my control. And this has always been beyond my control, which is hard to accept. In my senior year of high school, I wrote a creative writing project that the topic was to write a monologue of something you always wished you could say to someone. Mine was to her. I read it earlier today, and I literally cried. Honestly, these podcasts struck a core with what I am currently feeling and experiencing with her and with other members of my family whose actions I believe are exacerbating the problem.

    I will try to be as vague about this as possible. I highly doubt anyone I currently have problems with would ever access this, but for my own privacy and peace of mind, it is best that I make it private (and also not post this under my actual name). I also feel it is best to conceal things as I have very negative feelings right now towards several family members, particularly one who made both my mom and my aunt feel physically unsafe because of their actions (I even feel the need to conceal this person’s gender). I do not want to even risk making the situation worse for them, and I also am trying to ensure the personal safety of myself and others involved. While there is no imminent threat to anyone, I know the very little I have to say would set one individual off, and we are not sure exactly what said individual is capable of. I personally see no reason to be afraid, as I do not really care what this person says or thanks, and I do not wish to speak with them again after how they treated my mother. But I feel that I owe it to the others to be as safe as possible, and I want to share this with more of a community in case there are more people who have experienced something vaguely similar (and my heart goes out to anyone who has).

    Joel, Antonia, if you would like me to clarify anything or if I am not making sense, you can send me an email.

    That being said, my grandmother has been taken advantage of. I do not want to call it elder abuse, but how I see it is that members of the family who knew that she is sick and her mind is deteriorating rapidly due to dementia continuously accepted ridiculous sums of money from her and spent it. I do not care that I received nothing from her, and I do not expect anything from her. What bothers me is that, if I had the chance, I would have never used her in this manner. The irony that the family member she did not want a relationship with would have been the one who treated her the best was the one she did not want in her life (and this statement also extends to my mom and aunt as well). And, things have escalated to the point where I seriously doubt the individual mentioned above even cares about my grandma at all. Her behavior, which is making the process of moving her to a facilitated living center much more difficult, is constantly causing trouble and it is endangering the health of my grandmother who should not be living alone anymore. I actually care about her despite the estranged nature of our relationship, and I suppose that is what has brought a whole slew of feelings back. I said something a few weeks ago to the effect of, “Life is easier when you can ignore your extended family.” I automatically regretted it after I said it because of how crass it sounded. The people who heard it are very close friends of mine who know my backstory.

    It is also frustrating because I thought I had moved past this and come to terms with it, and I have to restrict myself from blaming other people for really bringing out the fact that I need to do more healing work. And I have started to really see this through the conversations I have had with my parents, but especially my mom as well as these podcasts. It has taken awhile since I do not currently live with my parents, and there is only so much they have the energy to reveal in hindsight about what has happened during our regular phone calls. I am sort of disappointed because I did not really want to be focused on healing work right now since I believe I have finally found the area of my chosen field that I wish to pursue, and I am really excited about this. As an ENFP, I have always struggled with having too many interests, but my Fi is really just completely screaming “YES!” But healing work is not supposed to be convenient, and it is hard for the reason. And I cannot accomplish what I want to in my field and in society as a whole if I do not resolve internal issues such as these.

    I also sort of have felt like I am gaining the ability to better control my idea generation and not fly off topic. In a group discussion planning for a future event, I actually was able to demonstrate why adding in unnecessary detail would be a problem and interfere with the message we wanted to send and how we could avoid it. Several people thanked me for that feedback, and I was extremely pleased and sort of thought “I am starting to get this, finally!” While this is good, I feel that I am still working towards it, and it might have to be sidelined for awhile, which is a bummer since this has been something I have really been working on.

    I suppose reconciliation is important, but I find that the best thing I can do for myself at times is to let go of toxic people. That is more of the theme in my life and one reason why I consider my story to be different than Antonia’s (there also is the lack of religious tension though a version of that exists somewhat on my dad’s side). I explained the concept of making peace with my mom who interpreted it as repairing the relationships with those people. And I said, “No, it’s finding your inner peace that you had no control over any of this and you did all that you could.”

    I was talking this summer to an old friend of mine who is an ISFJ. She mentioned her inspiration for following the path she has in life. I do not remember exactly what she said, but it was something along the lines of, “I want my life to be an example so I can use my experiences to help others through similar situations and show them a better way.” And I feel that sums up my motivation for posting this although I am not an Fe user and I feel that quote was an extremely Fe-like thing to say. But, I also want to make a positive impact, and I feel that I need to try to do that in whatever way I can constantly. So, I hope this helps give a picture of what might go through your daughter’s head in the coming years. It is impossible to know for sure. She might actually really want to pursue a relationship with her grandparents if one or both are still living. It is hard to tell, and it doesn’t sound like the situation will evolve into the exact same mess. But hopefully this helps you be able to help her through it. All you really can do is be there for her and try your best to provide a good family structure for her even without certain members that are seen as key. That’s what my parents did for me, and I would say I turned out as well as I have because of their support (in numerous areas).

    And thank you again for these podcasts. I suppose now I need to grapple with what I could say or will say when the time comes and my paths will cross with the others’ again because I know it will inevitably happen in the case of a family emergency. But I will cross that bridge when it is more imminent. I suppose that is because I have found that my own peace is the freedom to walk my own path surrounded by the family I have chosen. I think it would probably be different though if that path conflicted with that of my parents, which is why my heart really goes out to you, Antonia.

    It is also sometimes the small things that hurt the most. I was helping an older gentleman out one day, and he said something to the fact of “You’re so polite and considerate, I’ll bet you were raised by your grandparents.” Even though I knew it was meant as a compliment, it still hurt inside because of the relationships I have never had that other people have experienced. But I knew it was not meant in a harmful way so I smiled and said, “My grandparents live pretty far away. I guess just lucked out on who my parents happen to be.”

  • Liz Cortes
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing these past 2 raw podcasts Antonia and Joel way to go for being such a supportive husband! It’s so tough when the other side is hearing you all wrong or getting defensive when you are coming from a place of thankfulness and wanting to clear the air. Way to go for reaching out and trying to have that conversation with your parents then saying ok when they wanted to fully break communication. I’ve tried having real deep chats with my dad ever since I did the Landmark Forum 13 years ago and since getting married 7 years ago I’d make myself to call him each month to be a “good daughter” and inspire my 3 sisters to not give up on him even though his words would trigger me so much and I’d get off the phone crying most of the time. Then back in March my husband and I decided we needed to have a no communication boundary for a month then it’s turned into 6 months. I’ve thought so much about what I’d like to say but never write it or go see him because I remember all those times I tried but it totally wasn’t received and totally back fired. So I’m like why bother. But I’m encouraged by your determination and dropping the expectations fo the outcome.

  • Josh
    Reply

    Hi Antonia – This is only tangentially related to the topic at hand – and I also want to lend my support and congratulations for doing what you did – but I noticed at one point you talked about sensory deprivation being great and therapeutic for you.

    Now, as an INFJ that sounds incredible for me. But I’m trying to figure out how this wasn’t torture for you. I mean, I know you guys have mentioned how extraversion in this sense is more about outer world feedback and how it isn’t purely a social thing, and also how extraverts need alone time periodically as well. But I’m still a bit unsure as to how that manifests itself in your mind.

    I have an ulterior motive in that I’m writing a novel from the POV of someone who is kind of the textbook definition of an ENTP, so it is paaaartly research… but I’m also genuinely curious how that feels – it seems like such a hardcore Ni space to inhabit, wouldn’t this cost you energy instead of giving it back?

    • Josh
      Reply

      Sorry – just as a clarification, the part that seems counterintuitive to me is that the sensory deprivation almost seems like a way to cut yourself off from flow without replacing it with anything. What’s positive in that situation for you?

  • Vanessa
    Reply

    Hi Antonia and Joel.

    I lived kind of same experience you did Antonia 3 years ago when my daughter was born.
    The difference being my parents are not ill.
    I simply couldn’t go through parenthood without having a talk with my mother.

    In my family, we don’t talk. It actually is taboo. I understand why now, my mother ( enneagram 9) not being able to cope with conflict. But me, I’m a talker ( 36, woman, ENFJ, Enneagram 3 by the way).
    Long story short, I went alone, on a sunday, full of hope yet soooo scared. And yep, I bang myself against a huge invisible wall I didn’t know existed. So high. Uncrossable, uncrackable.

    My story isn’t exactly similar to yours Antonia, I came back to my parents 6 months after that episode. I wanted my daughter to have grandparents and I knew they wouldn’t make a move towards me. But something was irrevocably broken, I was the troublemaker who endangered their couple equilibrium.
    In the end, I feel like that was it. I sort of lost my mother that day. She is here yet I started a grieving process since.
    I also felt stupid, not listened to because screamed at ( by my dad ) like a child, and consequently not really loved.
    And even though I know unhappiness prevents you from being able to love or give love, I never thought I would feel it that strongly, and from my own mother.

    Three years after, I feel the benefit of it was to actually free myself from the need I had to have a good relationship with my parents. I respect them deeply and I love them. But I now feel like they don’t really count anymore. Not in a I don’t care about them way, more in a “that’s it I’m done wasting energy on them” way. That was my closure.
    I’m an EJ and I finally gave up on trying to control my relationship with my parents ( FIRM podcast ). It’s not fulfilling and it’s clearly shallow but that’s ok. And if I understood it well, it seams to me like you as an EP felt the irrepressible need to free yourself from this image your parents had about you.

    In the end, I might still be sad about it, but I feel stronger. In a personal growth sens, It’s an achievement for me to be able to let go of this relationship.

    I realize this is not a very positive comment but I wanted to share it with you anyway.

    And thank you for your amazing work and your authenticity ! I hope you’ll come to France to visit one day. I’m sure you have listeners apart from me and my husband here in Paris, we’d love a personality hacker meeting here too! 😀

    Bien à vous,
    Vanessa

  • BM
    Reply

    Antonia, really painful, yet now the lines are clear and a “chapter is closed”. Your gift to them and to yourself is profound.

    The memes at play here are not just memes. It is a mixture of ‘value memes’, psychological issues (shadows), social belonging / group think, interpersonal issues (codependence, “contracts”), and ego developmental stage. In some sense there is no penetrating a system that is so overdetermined.

    I have been engaging with Terri O’Fallon’s “STAGES” developmental model which is the most integrative model I’ve seen. It recognizes and honors shadows/traumas at lower stages and how some people really root into one developmental level having created their identities and relationships around that. To differentiate and “think for oneself” is a later stage from the conformity/belonging stage. That transition is sometimes never made psychologically, especially if the cultural field is at odds with that.

    Glad you are finding closure and completion.

  • Phillip Jacobs
    Reply

    Your dad spending time with driving around his old neighbor hood was his way of thanking you for what you said. Let that feeling wash over you. People that have been abused can’t always show there vulnerable side through words. But the actions speak volumes. Hugging you. Sometimes the castrophizing thought when vulnerable is I give an inch they take a mile. I believe h is explosive reaction to calling the police was him saying didn’t she get the love I was sending her. All the best.

  • Laura
    Reply

    Antonia, Thank you for sharing and being authentic. You mentioned that prior to taking this trip, you prepared for it, and so you were able to react and stay calm for the most part. What did you do to prepare?

    Preparation to me means thinking about possible outcomes and working through many possible solutions given each outcome, but that only works for logical/non-emotional scenarios. I’m not understanding how to prepare for a situation while simultaneously not being attached to the outcome. I’m asking this because there is a potentially awkward and upsetting situation I’m about to get into that I cannot avoid so I would like to emotionally prepare for that, but I have no idea how to do so. My usual going through possible outcomes will only agitate me as I picture possible scenarios that could occur. So I’m very curious as to what you did specifically.

  • Rachael
    Reply

    Please know you are incredibly inspiring, as joel said, and I felt no bias in your perspective of your story. I also agree that this was so powerful and dare I say self sacraficing. I have an extreme respect for both of you and I will honestly say you very well have saved my sanity if not my life altogether. I also have inadvertently spurred progress, growth, and positivity to those around me which has absolutely blown my mind. This so powerful yet, in reality is such a simple life saving concept, has being an amazing experience and has been amazing and so fun. My brain zings with you guys. Im an INTP female, my SO is an INTP Male so that in itself should be enough explanation of the circumstances i was unaware needed to be addressed.

    Your boundary breaking, risk taking, higher consciousness journey is so brave so authentic to me that I will never have enough words to express my gratitude, respect and this weird celebrity-like super fan feeling for your life journeys. You’ve been able to provide that key that unlocks a lot of repressed thinking and it has answered so many questions, pushed me to face my immature habits, and let me finally not be afraid to be myself.

    Antonia, with this new found peace and the specific words you made sure to leave with them I’m confident that they will always ring in their thoughts and certain memory triggered activities. I firmly believe there may be more to come because you were willing to respect and accept their choice. The universe sees that and the universe will give you what you give others and I hope you receive the outward recognition of respect from the ones we are programmed to love the most. You guys rock! #keepfightingthegoodfight
    .

    • Rachael
      Reply

      Please excuse grammar flases it was hard enough to cut to the chase of so many thoughts and appreciations.

  • Angela
    Reply

    Antonia, I want to just say thank you so much for the last two episodes! There must be something going on in the universe or you and I must be on the same wave frequenc. I had almost an identical experience over the past month.

    My father was going into emergency surgery and found out he has cancer. After having an estranged relationship with him for most of my adult life, I went to the hospital and tried to play the role of the good daughter. Not because I needed an attagirl girl but because I truly love my father and wanted to show kindness. My act of kindness was a disruptor for him. He was distressed by my presence and my unwillingness to conform to the expectations that he has for my life. He ended up telling me to leave him alone. In that this wasn’t his first time telling me to leave him alone, it was the time where I finally felt like I need to accept his request. I need to be respectful.

    Listening to you in the last two episodes was just so affirming for me. I learned so much about what I need to do just by how you handled your situation. It was inspiring. By the way, you don’t need a perfect ending to inspire others. Thank you for showing us your shine and your sh#t!!

    I would love to have you on my podcast one day to talk about some of these family dynamics. Please consider it.

    Until then, be well!

    http://www.eshpodcast.libsyn.com

  • Ash
    Reply

    This whole podcast was so eerily relevant to me in such profound ways, I feel profoundly grateful right now. To have it all articulated in ENTP (that’s five or six years further down the road than me) kind of has me undone at the moment. This podcast was my Hodor scene, and I am SO grateful, Antonia. Maybe someday I’ll buy you a gratitude coffee. Your honest voice “in my life” means more to me than I can express.

  • Karin Collinsworth
    Reply

    Hi,

    Similar to the previous comment, I see many parallels in my family of origin.

    I have been enthralled by your podcast since I first found it – due to your strength and insights. I am moved by the stories you tell about your families, and for the support Joel holds and Antonia, love and courage you took in reaching out to your family in the way that you describe.

    It reminds me very much of my older sister’s effort for our family. As an INFJ (probably), she was a brilliant and strong and wanted to address the BS of the culture and gender norms — and how it showed up in the family. They too had a commitment to doing better for us but didn’t have a lot of tools. The “confrontations” and efforts she made, however, were hard to understand and distressed my parents. They tried to acknowledge and affirm, but it was very dramatic. insights gained didn’t save them from the ill-effects of the other terrible issues and stress in our society.

    I was relieved that you went to see your family with the advice and intention to not be attached to outcomes — and that you have the strong support and counsel that you do.

    I hope that you now feel free to continue on your path of being a thought leader and creating insight for people in our society, which desperately needs such clearly delineated, heartfelt, and generous content!

    Namaste. -Karin

    About me: [I’m an INFP who has been assessed as many of the other types, including most often an INTP … but also an ENFP or even ISFP! My declared major in college was Comparative History of Ideas until my parents found out and made me switch to something “useful”. (I switched to GIS.) One of my favorite thinkers ever was Jung, and the MTBI has had me fascinated for years. Favorite books in my early 20s were Jean Shinoda Bolen’s books! I had never found anyone else who could discuss them meaningfully. And, so … with all that in mind, no wonder I enjoy your work so much!

  • Drew
    Reply

    Hi Antonia,

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your vulnerability through this experience is really admirable, and it’s really special to be able to sit with you in this space, though I am removed.

    I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this episode for the past several hours. It really struck me that your parents displayed such resentment towards the fact that simply being with you was so easy. Though it may be hidden under layers of fear and anger, I think their root issue is probably their enduring love for you. I can’t help but imagine that they have an incredibly hard time reconciling their hatred of your life path with their simple enjoyment of your energy, and a repressed pride in the woman they raised.

    Again, thank you for this episode, and I hope you can find some healing and comfort in your family and PH community.

  • Alex
    Reply

    At minute 58:21 you mention about the experience being disappointing but complete. This quote helped through a lot of hard times and I thought you would like it:
    “Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife – chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: ‘Now, it’s complete because it’s ended here.’ “ -Dune
    Hang in there Antonia!

  • Caty
    Reply

    hello Joel and Antonia, thank you for this episode. I find it very inspiring that you are willing to describe your experiences with such openness. A few episodes ago, you (Antonia) said that you questioned whether people wanted to hear about your personal experiences, and as an enneagram 5, this is something I completely understand. Even though I love when people talk extensively about their thoughts and feelings, when I do so myself, I feel very raw and vulnerable, so I just feel very grateful that you were willing to go into such personal detail for the podcast. This episode, as well as the last (and several others, of course) are going to be something I return to throughout my life.
    Two years ago, my parents’ relationship took a very dark turn and they’re currently in the process of divorcing after a 30-year marriage. My mom had some early childhood trauma that she did not address, and it bubbled to the surface and caused a lot of discord. You speak about how the dissolution of paradigms can be destabilizing, and this was definitely something I struggled with. It’s been strange to have my parents’ marriage dissolve at the (roughly) beginning of my adulthood (i’m 23) because it made me rethink a lot of assumptions i’d made about relationships while growing up.
    I resonate with the idea that you put forward to your dad. He was able to break a pattern of abuse, and even though there were still struggles, you still grew up feeling safe in the world, and that’s huge.
    I think the most important lesson I’ve taken from my experience, and something that seems to play a role in your thinking process, Antonia, is that perhaps you can only make peace with your parents when you establish emotional autonomy, completely divorced from your parents’ opinions and support. It makes sense that we rely on them for these things as children, but it’s impossible to proceed as equals if you’re still reliant on them to validate your emotions.
    There is so much to say, and I’m still trying to process everything you guys have talked about in this episode and the last, but I am an avid listener of your podcast and I just feel like it’s better to express my gratitude (even if it doesn’t capture all the thoughts the podcast initiated) than to say nothing at all. you both have my support!

  • Dana S.
    Reply

    ::sigh:: Heavy stuff, y’all. Very grateful to you, Antonia, for sharing. Great to hear you have a friend in Angie through all of this. Grateful to you, Joel, for holding space.

    Without a specific tie to one single religious paradigm, I see SO many of the patterns that you describe within my family of origin. The commitment to doing better for their children in spite of a personal history of neglect, the codependency, the gripping power of personal narratives and beliefs.

    Strength, peace and love to you as the journey continues.

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