January 20, 2023
02:03 What Sadie Wants from the Session
04:35 How Sadie Has Felt
09:00 Why Sadie Doesn’t Share Her Pain
16:20 What Sadie Needs from Christopher
24:36 Sadie and Christofer Get Angry
30:56 Sadie Shows How to Express Anger
39:30 Loving Emotions in Yourself and Others
Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves, and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease. I am Brett Kistler, here today with my co-host, Joe Hudson.
You might remember the coaching session we published last month between Joe and our guest Christofer. We are back for round 2. This time we have Christofer’s wife, Sadie, joining us. In this session, the three of them explore strength and vulnerability, including the vulnerability of anger and other big emotions.
Once again I want to remind our listeners that this is coaching. The conversations we have on this podcast are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or mental health disorder. Thank you for listening and I really hope you enjoy it.
Joe: You all listened to the last recording. How was it for you, Sadie, to listen to it? What did it bring up in you?
Sadie: I mean Christofer talks in it about how I can get triggered when he is really emotional or really sad and scared, so listening to 30 minutes of him being sad and scared of course was triggering me. Just talking about triggers me, but it was really nice. I mean it was sweet how you held space for him at the end. That felt really nice to hear.
Joe: What is it that triggers? I am jumping right in. As you might have found out, I have that tendency to do. Before I do, I am wondering what you would like out of this session. What would be the best-case scenario for you?
02:03 What Sadie Wants from the Session
Sadie: I mean I am really just open to where it goes. I think just getting closer with Christofer, building our connection, getting more comfortable with how he is feeling with where we are, but really I don’t have an end goal. Christofer and I talked about earlier, before this, about what we want from this, and I am just open. I have no expectations I guess.
Joe: What I am hearing you say is you want deeper connection with Christofer, and you want to be able to have empathy. Is that right? Have empathy for Christofer while he is in it without feeling uncomfortable.
Joe: That sounds good. That sounds like something that’s possible.
Christofer: I want to add to that something that listening back to the episode I did with Joe; it came off a little bit from my end like Sadie is so uncomfortable with my emotions. The backdrop to that was that neither of us had any idea of how much trauma and shit was in that, and so once those defenses broke, Sadie has seen now things that should potentially only be reserved for trauma specialists or parents caring for a kid. She has done that a lot and then I feel like when I am starting to get a grasp on it and I have found my connection to myself, and I can hold space for me now. I feel like that has traumatized her a little bit, being with all of that shit. She has shown me a lot of empathy. I just want to stress that. It is just the last year she has come out and said I can’t hear you cry more. It is too much.
Christofer: Just to balance it out a little bit.
4:35 How Sadie Has Felt
Joe: That was a lot. Sadie, just confirming, how, if at all, do you feel traumatized by what you have experienced him going through?
Sadie: I mean it is more exhaustion, I think. It is not every once in a while that things come up. It is all of the time, every day, for hours every day. Of course it is a lot for Christofer, but for me, it has just been so much for so long that I think I am just tired. It is hard for me. I feel a little hopeless that this is just what it is going to be forever.
Joe: In your mind, what’s the right amount of time that you should be holding space for him? I know it is a silly question. Not just your mind, but your whole system, what do you tell yourself you should be doing here?
Sadie: I don’t know. I think sometimes it is so overwhelming and he has me to come to and talk to. I carry that burden, but I don’t have that same support. I don’t know the amount of time. It is that I need it too sometimes if that makes sense.
Joe: Yeah, that makes total sense. What made you sad in the question? The question was how much time you tell yourself you should be doing that, but even now I see as soon as the question comes, there is a little more sadness. What is it that creates sadness there?
Sadie: I think I feel like a really bad partner because part of me feels like I should have unlimited time, unlimited space for him. I feel really selfish. It has just been recently I think I have been speaking with Christofer that I am kind of at my limit and I can’t carry more. I feel guilty because I know Christofer needs that support, and I just don’t feel like I can give him everything.
Joe: What I am hearing you say is there is some part of you that feels like you should be there all the time, every day, 24 hours, and there is some part of you that recognizes that that will make you explode. It won’t work for you.
Sadie: Yes, that is spot on.
Joe: But the other thing that I am noticing is I heard in the last conversation with Christofer that he said he would pay good money to hold her as she goes through her grief in this fucked up situation. What’s preventing that if anything?
Sadie: I mean your connection course was really nice in that aspect because I don’t want to say it forced me, but there were exercises where you need to participate. I had to show that vulnerable, emotional side. I don’t know why I just block that off. I am not sure mentally why I do that.
Joe: You are telling me you block it off and you have just cried in front of a stranger twice.
Sadie: I am clearly at the buildup where I am ready to explode.
Joe: You said you don’t know why. If you had to guess, what the reason is why you don’t share your pain in this situation.
9:00 Why Sadie Doesn’t Share Her Pain
Sadie: That’s a hard question. I am trying to really guess. I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t shown how to be vulnerable as a child. I never really felt that type of safety where I could go to family members and cry. I’ve always been really independent my entire life. I think that subconsciously you know you can handle your own stuff.
Joe: How much were you told that your job was not just to handle your own stuff but take care of other people’s emotions?
Sadie: All of the time.
Joe: I am curious. What would you like to say to the people who taught you? I don’t want names or anything like that. What would be the feelings you could express to them right now if you were to express to the people who taught you that your job was to take care of them emotionally as a child or as a teenager?
Sadie: I mean I am disappointed, and I would be disappointed with them. I would tell them that they failed. They failed me in that aspect. I guess just recognition. I would want them to recognize that I carried that weight.
Joe: I will be whoever those people are, and you speak to me directly.
Sadie: Okay. I can just feel the emotions bubbling over.
Joe: I am enjoying it. I am enjoying your emotions.
Christofer: Me, too.
Sadie: Do people cry on this podcast?
Joe: All of the time. I had a person try not to cry the whole podcast. We stopped the podcast, and they were actually in my office at the time. They just held me and sobbed for 20 minutes because they held it all in, which was horrible. It made me so sad. Yes, please.
Sadie: That makes me feel better at least because these questions are really bringing the tears. If you are that person and I should speak to you…
Joe: What would you directly say?
Sadie: You tried your best, but you ultimately failed me. I needed you, and you were never there. While you taught me independence and how to be strong and resilient, you didn’t teach me how to be vulnerable and you didn’t teach me how to ask for help. Now I am trying to work on that, and I am trying to change but it has become this personality that I’ve developed where I do everything alone and I don’t need help when deep down I do. I am mad at you for that.
Joe: You have every right to be mad at me.
Joe: I know that’s not what they would say.
Sadie: No, no, it’s not.
Joe: Here we are, and you are actually expressing emotion with me and being vulnerable, not just with me but with whoever will be listening to this podcast. Your name is involved, so you are fully doing the thing that you have problems doing, apparently. Here is the question. What, if anything, makes it harder to do it with Christofer?
Sadie: I think there is part of me that just feels like I shouldn’t feel this way. I gaslight myself, saying no, you are fine and toughen up and deal with this.
Joe: Whose voice is that?
Sadie: My negative voice in my head.
Joe: If it wasn’t yours, whose would it be? Who said that to you when you were young? Toughen up.
Sadie: My parents. Just toughen up and deal with it on your own. Emotions were never welcome.
Joe: What makes you still listen to your parents’ voices?
Sadie: I don’t know. I think that’s why when Christofer said we should do this course and then we should go on this podcast, I see that these thoughts I have are not helpful and they are not accurate. I am really trying not to listen to that voice, but subconsciously it just comes out.
Joe: Here is a question for you. You have the voice telling you this stuff, and there is some aspect of you that knows it is not true. What would be required for you to just know it was absolutely full of shit? Everybody part of your body would just say no when you heard it. It would be a little kid that says no, but the dinosaurs are still alive, and you would just think oh, sweetheart. What would be required for you to see it that way?
Sadie: To be honest, I don’t know. I guess therapy would help.
Joe: I don’t mean a process. What would be the instantaneous recognition that would be required to just fully understand that that is not your voice, and it is not a voice that’s true? It has nothing to do with you.
Sadie: I mean it is so engraved in me, just bleeding through my veins these thoughts of just be tough and handle everyone else’s emotions. I honestly don’t know what would give me that reaction.
16:20 What Sadie Needs from Christopher
Joe: I am curious about something. Christofer, in your own words, if it is true for you, can you say something to Sadie like I never want you to deal with my emotions; I only want you to be with me when you feel like you can?
Christofer: Baby, I never want you to deal with my emotions for me. I just want you to be with me when you feel like you can. I truly mean that. I don’t need you to deal with my emotions. I love you more than anything. Right now when you are emotional, I love you so much, baby. You don’t have to be strong all of the time. Fuck that.
Joe: You let that in. Usually when that happens, the person doesn’t let it in, but I saw you fully let that in. You had one fully flash maybe where you didn’t believe something. Is that accurate? Was it all in?
Sadie: Maybe, but I think I took it in. That was nice.
Joe: Still somehow or another, is that enough? It is a closed question, but is that enough for you to be able to not believe the voice in your head anymore, at least with Christofer?
Sadie: No. I just have to actively work on it.
Joe: I am going to question that. You have had moments in your life. I am not saying it is necessary or even needed. You are great just the way you are, and you have had moments in your life where you have just seen something and then it changes. You have had moments where you see this is not how you cut an onion; this is how you cut an onion or whatever. You have been cutting an onion the same way for 20 years, but all of a sudden, you see that it makes me cry cutting it this way and this way doesn’t make me cry. It has changed. You don’t have to go to therapy or anything. What is it that is necessary for you to see that your emotions are welcome and you taking care of Christofer’s emotion is actually hurting him? What would need to happen for you to just see that?
Sadie: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Joe: You know what I am going to ask. If you had to guess.
Sadie: I knew it and I was trying to guess already. I guess I would need to see some type of action or shift from Christofer because it can feel like of course, your emotions are welcome, but at the end of the day, I am still the one that needs to be strong in this relationship because he is not.
Joe: I got you. Hold on a second. Now I am going to fuck with you a little bit. He is the one actually handling all of his emotions, having them and going through his trauma. That’s some strength. You are the one that’s like err, not now, but for years you said you weren’t going to feel it, which is not handling it. How do you have this story that he needs to be strong? How do you have this story that this is strength?
Sadie: The strength thing definitely goes back to me having to be, like if Christofer is really depressed, scared and hopeless, and maybe at the same time I feel the same. I don’t want us to spiral into depression, so then I think it is okay. Let’s figure this out. It is usually me who takes that role, that nurturing role. Because it feels like if the two of us are saying this is hopeless, we are never going to get out.
Joe: Let’s find out if that’s true. I know it is kind of true. Christofer, can you access that depression where you feel like you are never getting out of this? I am going to let him speak it, and I want you to just agree with him. Don’t try to convince him out of his emotional state. You don’t have to enter into the space with him. You can, but you don’t have to. You are not in any way going to fight that current. You are going to go with what that current. Let’s just see what happens.
Christofer: Fuck, I am never going to get better. I’m just always going to fucking release trauma and I’m just going to eat shitty food because I am afraid to eat what I want and be in pain. It is never going to get better.
Christofer: This fucking sucks.
Sadie: Yeah, it is shit.
Christofer: Oh, fuck. Yeah, it makes me so fucking angry. I fucking hate it.
Joe: Go ahead.
Christofer: Sometimes I don’t even want to live anymore, and it is scary. It feels good.
Joe: What is happening with you, Sadie? There were moments I saw you were just with them, and then there were some things he said that it seemed like it tightened your stomach a bit. You wanted to be there, but there was a little part of you that took a step back. That’s how I see it. What actually happened?
Sadie: Yeah. I mean I tried to be there, and then part of me was like, yeah. I agree with what is being said. It is just shit. When he said he was going to be like this forever, I thought yeah, you are. Part of me gets really angry.
24:36 Sadie and Christofer Get Angry
Joe: That was actually the cool thing. How often have you guys just gotten fucking angry about this?
Christofer: Never, I think. [laughing] I mean we have taken turns and it has been directed at each other a little more than we want, maybe.
Joe: What I noticed is I said angry, and you both fucking smiled and you literally laughed. What I also noticed is when he wasn’t talked out of it, that’s where he went. He started saying it sucked, and then he said he was pissed at it. That’s actually where you leaned in a little bit. I saw that leaning in. Then he went to the part of where he isn’t sure he even wants to live with this. I just noticed there is some anger here, and I am wondering what would be a fun way to get angry at this shit. What would be the most enjoyable way for you two to get angry? You both are totally smiling still. This is great. What would be the way that would feel great to get angry at this?
Sadie: I don’t feel like we have gotten angry with this. I don’t know.
Sadie: Throwing stuff would maybe be fun.
Christofer: The rage room, I know you like that.
Sadie: Yeah, throw things.
Christofer: In the middle of that, I will probably hurt my shoulder and we can get even more mad at that because that always happens, right? There is something really to this because definitely anger is the emotion I have had the most issue expressing, in a healthy way. I have been angry internally through anxiety, probably repression. I usually say there are two types of people, people who get ulcers and people who give ulcers. We are one each. You are pretty good, baby, at expressing anger at when you get angry, and I am good at detracting and internalizing it.
Joe: It is a good story, and probably externally somewhat true. However, you need to have a stiff upper lip, to handle this thing, to figure this thing out. How is that not anger itself? That’s a question. If it at all, how is that not anger at yourself?
Sadie: That’s definitely anger, yes, at least on my end. I don’t know about you, Christofer.
Christofer: When we did the fifth workshop in the connection course, when you externalize your inner critic towards your partner, I was absolutely shocked by the veracity with which you talk to yourself and how quickly you broke through to tears when you had to externalize that. It just blew my heart open with empathy for you. It was rough.
Joe: It sounds like maybe the anger release at this circumstance that you guys find yourself in, together, also might change some of the way that the anger gets directed. Instead of internally, it can get moved.
Joe: I am just curious. I know we can’t do a full rage here. It is good with a physical one, but I am curious. Let’s start with you, Christofer. If you were just to fucking verbally unleash on the situation for two minutes, what would it sound like?
Christofer: I feel the tension. It is there.
Joe: Speak to it. You just yelled, which is wonderful. I loved it, but if you were to say fuck you for…
Christofer: Fuck you for limiting my life and for causing me so much pain and for causing pain to the person who is the closest to me. Fuck you for depriving the world of all of the creative, cool stuff I would do if I wasn’t ruminating about getting rid of you all of the time.
Joe: It is true. You are not good at this.
Christofer: I turned it into a humble brag there.
Joe: Let’s see if Sadie can show us how this is done.
Sadie: It is actually quite hard.
Joe: Yeah, it is, isn’t it?
Sadie: I am just expressing my anger about the situation.
Joe: Kind of at it, at the illness and at the situation.
30:56 Sadie Shows How to Express Anger
Sadie: You have ruined my life. You have taken over every part of me. I hate you. You have crushed my spirit. You have changed my goals. My dreams are shattered. I fucking hate you. I feel like you stole my life. You are just continually stealing it, and you don’t care anymore.
Joe: Cool. I am going to ask you to do a slight variation on that theme. I want you to do it, but this time you are going to dominate it. Your anger is there to dominate this fucker. [laughing]
Christofer: Let him have it.
Sadie: I have to really visualize it.
Christofer: No breaks.
Sadie: It takes quite a lot of focus, actually. You have ruined my life. You have stolen everything I want. You have ruined my future. You have taken away traveling. You have taken away cozy dinners. You have taken away movie nights, events with my family, a future of having a family, a dream of being a mom, career goals, financial stability. Everything I have ever wanted, you have taken and destroyed because you are selfish. Little moments, little moments of joy, you steal. There is no happiness when you are around. You bulldoze my life.
Joe: It is great. There is more anger in there, but I mean dominate. I will give you an example. Fuck you, you will not fucking take my fucking life anymore. Fuck you. I will have all the fucking joy I want, and you can’t fucking own me. I will fucking dominate you. I will fucking dominate you. You can do whatever the fucking you have got to do, hurt his shoulder, whatever the fuck it is, I am not going to have my shit taken away for me. Fuck you. I will fucking own you. You will be my fucking little slavey bitch by the time I am fucking done with you. I mean dominate. Just see what it is like.
Christofer: Where is my popcorn, bro?
Sadie: That sounded quite nice actually. You are not going to ruin anymore of my life. I am done taking your shit. I am going to do what I want to do and when I want to do it. You are done ruining my future. I am going to have fun. I am going to travel, and you can’t do shit. You can stay in your dark, wormy hole and die.
Joe: How did that feel?
Sadie: That felt good. I kind of wanted to stab something, maybe. I felt a little violent. It felt really nice actually.
Joe: I just want to say for anyone who is listening that both of these things are really important, to be able to fully express what I would call the victim anger, like you have done this to me and fuck you, and then the fucking dominant anger. Both of those things are really important expressions if we want to get to clarity. If the anger is kinked, it is very hard to get to clarity, but if we actually move that anger, there is a lot of clarity and determination to be had.
Sadie: That was really nice.
Joe: I can see the smile. That is the thing. The exhaustion, to some degree, is unexpressed anger that’s happening. It is okay to feel exhausted, too. Now that Sadie showed us how to do it, Christofer, I am going to get my popcorn. Hold on a second.
Christofer: This is the first time I am nervous. The domineering, the dominating one.
Joe: Whatever feels right. If you get one place, we will do the other place. Whatever feels great.
Christofer: I am so fucking over dealing with you all of the fucking time. I am so fucking over it, man. It is always there. You are always there fucking pulling me down. [crying] You are making me feel like I am weak, but I am not fucking weak. I’m just tired of feeling like this. [crying]
Joe: That’s the sadness, and that’s usually where your anger goes. So do the dominant one. I want you literally to feel like you are dominating it.
Christofer: I can literally feel the blockage. I lost access to my emotions. Fuck you! I don’t care if the audio on this fucking recording is bad when I do this. I am so fucking over dealing with your fucking bullshit all of the fucking time. Fuck off!
Joe: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Keep going.
Christofer: You don’t control me. You don’t fucking tell me I am too tired to make love to my wife. You don’t tell me I don’t have a sex drive and don’t want to fuck my beautiful, hot ass wife every day if I want to. Fuck you!
Joe: Keep going. Don’t stop. Come on.
Christofer: I am not going to stop. You can say whatever the fuck you want. I am going to lean back in my chair and savor this fucking moment because I am strong. I don’t need your bullshit. You can’t tell me that I have no energy, that I have no sex drive, that I have no inspiration, that I can’t do shit, that I can’t be productive, that I can’t travel, I can’t sleep, whatever the fuck it is. I am done. Fuck off!
Joe: There we go.
Christofer: It does feel good. The thing that feels so good is we are bonding over because this could easily be the thing where it is directed, misdirected at each other. One person gets to express this, but the other person just feels pushed down. That’s really interesting. Wow.
39:30 Loving Emotions in Yourself and Others
Joe: You can be together in the sadness of it, and you can be together in the anger of it. You can be together in the victim of it. Nobody has to take care of each other here. You can just be together.
Christofer: That’s a relief. Honestly though, it might be one of the best 40 minutes of my life. Sadie, if you think that showing your emotions is ever something that makes me love you less, it is not. I love this and I love all of you. I tell you that and I really wanted to get through to you. I love all of you, every part. There is nothing you can show me that I won’t be able to love. Any emotion, anything, you can say anything to me. You can feel anything with me. I love you for everything. You are my miracle. I hope you know that.
Joe: For those of you who can’t see Sadie’s face, she clearly knows that. What I will say just to wrap it up is it is totally okay to say I can’t do the emotional work right now or I can’t be with that big emotion right now. It is totally fucking okay. To tell yourself you should be with it is actually not being with it. You are either capable in that moment or you are not, and that’s fine. Whatever that is, that’s totally fine. The more you can honor it, the more you will be able to be there the way you want to be there. The last thing I saw that Christofer said, when he was talking about he can love any part of you, and that’s because he is learning to love any part of himself. As any of us learns to love the anger and the sadness and learns to love the victim, we learn to love it in everybody. For those of you who can’t see Sadie, she smiled even better when she thought of Christofer loving himself.
Sadie: That was a sweet thought.
Christofer: Joe motherfucking Hudson.
Joe: Thanks, guys. I appreciate you having the courage to come on here and make really good use of me. Thank you very much for that.
Sadie: This was so nice.
Christofer: Thank you so much, Joe.
Sadie: I can’t believe I did this.
Christofer: I am so proud of you, of us.
Sadie: I cried in front of a stranger and let them record it. My nightmare.
Christofer: I just want to say then, there is something in you that pulled you towards doing this because when I brought it up, you immediately said that would be fun. That’s not the little voice in you talking, saying you shouldn’t feel this or that or you should hold Christofer’s emotion even if you don’t want to. That’s not that voice.
Joe: Even right now, you have every opportunity to say Joe, I don’t want this out in the world.
Sadie: Yeah, I am so brave. This was really nice. I am happy we did this. I mean the course was also really nice. I mean it was fun to have you live facilitating something rather than the recording. This was really special.
Joe: For me as well, total pleasure.
Christofer: Final words, I had to pinch myself several times that I get to do this with two of my favorite people in the whole world. I am so, so grateful for this. I love you guys. You too, Joe. You handsome son of a bitch. Get away from my wife.
Joe: [laughing] Pleasure, guys. Bye.
Brett: Wow, that was beautiful. Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Sadie. Thank you, Christofer. I really loved feeling the difference in the different forms of anger that showed up, and the freedom that was available within them. Seeing the shifts that occurred in real time with both Christofer and Sadie. Thank you, both. Thank you, Joe. Thank you everybody for listening. If this helped you, if you enjoyed this and think there is something out there that you know that might benefit from this and enjoy it, please send it along. If you want to check out Chris’ podcast, it is called Do Explain. Thank you and see you next time.
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