In this episode Melissa and JJ talk about relationships that don't go the way they were expected to.

August 25, 2020
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride along and features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:17  
Well, this morning, we have been chatting about self awareness and relationships, indeed, and I thought I'd share a story about a relationship in my life that, you know, but ended up ending. And it was a really transformational point in my life pretty hard, a pretty hard, hard time in my life. So I thought I'd share this story with everybody, just so we can kind of use it to maybe learn and gain some insight that's on on this topic. So, so quickly A few years ago, I had an acquaintance. His name's john. And Yo, we kind of knew him because one of my, we had a mutual friend, right? It was actually my mentor. He said, Hey, JJ, you should meet this guy, john. He's kind of creative. Like you, you guys probably get along. So I had coffee and lunch with him a few times, you know, we kind of like reflect on, you know, creativity and arts and things like that. And then, you know, it's fun, but yeah, just pretty casual, right? Well, one day, he called me and said, Hey, JJ, you should come up to my cabin. And he had this cabin in Wisconsin, like two hours from my house. I was like, you know, thinking like, I'm busy, you know, trying to run the company. I was having all sorts of partnership problems. I had a business partner, we were 15 50 partners and it was like really terrible, like that relationship was is was, you know, fairly, really dysfunctional. And it was an NGO and that was the hard part of my life. I was we had a company I had this failing business partnership. And every everything around me was really terrible and stressful. So john said, Hey, you should come up to my cabin. And my first I was like, I don't have time to come to this

Melissa Albers  2:34  
guy for networking, and that's cool and everything but nope.

JJ Parker  2:38  
Yeah, I've got a coffee with you, but I'm not gonna drive for hours. Task coffee with you. So in case I decided to go up there and then meet with him, so I left super early in the morning because I like didn't want to burden the whole day up there. And so I left my house and I got there and He had a beautiful cabin. Right? And it was and he had designed every little bit of it and it was meticulously designed, like, Yeah, he was telling me how he chose the doorknobs and the cabinets. And he built, you know, various parts of it and it was absolutely beautiful. And he was telling me, and he was showing me like the bunkhouse for his grandkids and all of the different parts that he built this of this cabin for him and his family. Right. But the thing is, like, john didn't have a family anymore. He had recently gotten divorced, right. She lived in the cities to the house and he got the cabin. And so he was like, that basically sequestered Right up in this cabin alone after a really bad divorce in this place that he designed for his family. Yeah, yeah. And I stepped in there. And I took all that in. And it was, to me it was like an echo chamber of like, sadness. Or, you know, I the way I was perceiving all of that. Yeah, that it just like this is this is too much like this is horrible.

Melissa Albers  4:34  
Yeah, I just think he was hurting too. He was hurting too.

JJ Parker  4:38  
And he was in a bad yeah, and he was and, um, but he's a great guy like he, you know, he welcomed me in he had breakfast at coffee and, and we just like, waxed poetically about all the obscure things like as we do, and so as the morning progressed, you know, It ended up being a really nice time. And around noon, he goes, Hey, JJ, do you want to read my book? I was like your book, you're writing a book. He's like, yeah, I'm writing a book. I was like, Well that sounds really interesting. So he was let me go get it. And I heard his printer here your computer and I heard this printer guy because like it was literally like on his on his computer, so like he had an amount of coffee. So he sits me down in this like, big oversized armchair in his in a sunroom and he like, puts a blanket over me. And, and he hands me like 20, copier paper sheets of paper, right? And I thought, I was like, I'm not sure if this guy is, you know, gonna, like maybe maybe we're gonna end up in this guy's basement right like He's gonna murder me up here something. No idea. So anyway, I started reading this book that he was working on and it was instantly I was like captivated. It was beautiful, like, like, the characters really interesting. There's really vivid the imagery that he was provoking was really amazing. And I was stunned. And I thought, how is a guy who is seemingly like a seemingly like in a bad spot producing such a beautiful artwork, right? How was that possible? I couldn't reconcile those two things because I was also in a really terrible place. But I wasn't producing any beautiful artwork. I was like, doing a terrible job. I was not producing I wasn't being creative. That whole part of me was being was was non existent. So It struck me right there. Like, like, I'm not being my authentic self. I'm, I'm not being creative. I'm not doing the thing I'm supposed to do. And I got up from that chair and said, john, thank you so much for having me. I gotta go. And I like just left and a trough off for like, two hours. Could have been two minutes. I have no idea. And right then I realized I need to change my relationships there. There are people in my life that I need to I this needs to change. I can't be in toxic relationships anymore. So

Melissa Albers  7:36  
Hmm, wow. So what happened after that?

JJ Parker  7:42  
Well, after that, it was pretty quickly where I decided that, you know, my, my relationship with my business partner wasn't working and that then that relationship had to change or, you know, it's certainly in the business context needed to end because I couldn't live in that state. It was affecting all my other relationships too. Like my wife remembers that time was the worst time in our relationship. Oh, and I felt like what I felt actually like I wasn't acting different. Yeah. With her right. But I clearly was I was really emotionally distant, right, because I was sad. So armored up. Yeah, yeah. You know, during the day, I was so armored up during the day that I couldn't drop that armor when I got home. I didn't realize I was doing that until years later, when she had ice, you know, really got down into like, what was going on in time.

Melissa Albers  8:43  
I think this is a first of all, thank you for sharing that story. Because I think that that's a that's a big story for you. Like that's a it's a very emotional, hard story and you craft fully in artfully told the story. I was around a little bit during the tail end of that, and it was very, very painful. And I think that like, as I'm reflecting on your story, you know, there's a lot of times in our growth where we outgrow things. Uh huh. You know, and it can be something simple like we could outgrow clothes. You know, we're little kids like you have a favorite pair roller skate like I had a pair of rollerskates they were oh my gosh, this is gonna show my age. They were metal wheeled roller skates that you attach to your shoes. And every time you were riding on them, it honestly jarred every feeling in your mouth out it was so but I loved those roller skates because they gave me freedom right? They gave me And when those roller skates were no longer fitting me I remember being really, really sad and having a downright fit when my mom tried to get rid of them. And and, you know, you think about as you're young and as you mature as you get older as you grow, there's a lot of things that we have to put down because they don't fit us anymore. They could be something as inanimate as a pair of rollerskates. And they could be something as hugely significant as a long term business partner. You know, yeah. And, and, and everything in between that. I wonder what makes us resist moving?

JJ Parker  10:40  
Yeah. Right. Like, definitely for, you know, for me, it was years of holding on, right. It was like, this is going to get better and we'll get through it, you know, but it wasn't happening, you know, for whatever reason. It just wasn't happening. It wasn't clicking anymore. You know, sort of. Yeah, the magic there was gone. So yeah. But it's like hope, right, we're holding on to hope we're holding on like, we like. We like we look finally back on how it was. Yeah. Right. And we don't want to hold on to that. We don't want to let that go. The interesting thing is those fond memories are never gone. They're always there. Yeah. And I'll wait, that all happened, right. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  11:25  
Well, the other thing, I think, to the reason that like, for me, I know some of the reasons that I really resisted is, you know, like I've talked before in in previous podcasts, and I'm sure I will on future ones as well, how of how much change I had experienced as a child. I moved 20 times by the time I graduated from high school, and wow. And I was in a constant state of change. And I'm so grateful for that. Now. I really, truly am. But in the time at the time, I really hated it. And any kind of change represented something bad. Even though that wasn't really true. It felt to me like if Oh, if I'm going to change something, that means I'm going to lose something. And I think we have a tendency to do that how we have a tendency to focus on, even if we know something is it's time, like, even if it is like in a relationship situation, it may not be as something as significant as a 5050 business owner, but like, just think about your friend groups when you're growing up. And you know, as you're getting older, you're in new sports, you're in new activities, you change friend groups frequently, and that's because you're growing and you're outgrowing the old ones to leave space for the new ones, you know?

JJ Parker  12:49  
Yeah, yeah, I think you know, when I look back on my friend group, you know, I had like, there was like six, six guys at that during kind of high school. College in our early 20s all kind of like stuck together. Yeah. And we spent a lot of time together, you know, and we all kind of got married around the same time. But, but then in after we all kind of got married, and then we started having kids, you know, in our 30s you know, we really didn't see each other much anymore. Right. And everyone just kind of drifted apart. Some people moved some, you know, people just were and other things and, you know, sometimes you feel guilty that those old relationships aren't there anymore. Yeah, like I should. I should reach out to my old high school buddy. I should why'd you know? Yeah, yeah. But it's, uh, you know, to me, it's, you know, there's the guiltiness but then it's like, well, what was the, you know, do we have expectations that my high school buddies and I were going to hang out every single day until we were like, 90

Melissa Albers  14:01  
Yeah, it is not it isn't a bit about self expectation too, isn't it? Yeah,

JJ Parker  14:05  
I mean, I can I still love those guys I'd still Yeah, we got together we just pick up where we left off, you know, even though it's 15 years later, but the, the relationships that I currently have, are just are different. They're, they're different people, they're, you know, they're different. They're actually different kinds of relationships than I would have had with those guys. Right? That's really you know, some of those old relationships. Yeah. When I was younger was much more about Yeah, video games.

Melissa Albers  14:42  
I was just gonna say that eating an entire bag of chips while playing video games. Oh my gosh. Well, I think to like some of the some of the things that we so if you think about that, it's really interesting because we end up holding ourselves back for what we are meant to have. Be or do Because we are hanging on to what we had, that felt familiar, and even as that familiarity becomes very stilted and halting and oppressive, like sometimes even oppressive, sometimes I think we prefer that over the unknown. You know, john Maxwell, one of my mentors, he always says, and I remember this quote, and I always remember it, especially at times, like this kind of conversation and it is that you are a product of the top five relationships that you spend time with. Mm hmm. And I always think about that, because if you think about it like that, it makes it super easy to understand why it's important to sift and sort things that no longer fit you if even people situations, jobs, you know, emotional reactions to things. Hey, you know, how things don't fit anymore and in order for you to change Continue in your expansiveness and and continue towards what you're really meant to be. There has to be more space. You know, we just can't.

JJ Parker  16:10  
Yeah, there, there's a couple things that that come to mind that I think are really interesting with with that concept, certainly, you know, when we talk about maybe just shifting who we're kind of hanging out with on a daily basis as far as like a friend group, right, yeah, pretty easy, you know, that kind of like ebbs and flows. Fairly easy is, you know, changing things that are much more committed, like a business partner relationship or, or spousal relationship or even, you know, changing over time with, you know, your, your spouse relationship. I know, you know, my wife and I talked about how You know, like the way I was when I was in my 20s. And the way I thought about things in my 20s is different than the way I think about things today. Right, right. Yeah. So, you know, one of my personal core values is to always, you know, always be changing, always be learning and, and, and be evolving, right? Yeah. So, to me, you know, I'm proud of the fact that I'm significantly different in my thinking patterns and my way of being

Melissa Albers  17:38  
right. Oh my gosh, me

JJ Parker  17:40  
now. Like my wife, you know, even though I'm pretty sure she supports me in this journey, occasionally is like, like, Yeah, when we were dating, you're very different, right? So she's gonna like This idea that, you know, who she met in her 20s is maybe not exactly the same as who I am today. Now funny, I'm not really worried about that. Right? It is. It is a thing. Right? Yeah, it is a thing. People evolve. Yeah. will change. And when you're in a relationship for, you know, 20 plus years. Yeah. You know, as partners, you have to understand where your partner is. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so, and yeah, how you support them. And yeah, I don't like that change. Maybe. It gets complicated, right?

Melissa Albers  18:42  
Well, no, heck no. But I will plus one year story because when Mitch and I were first married, so now we've been married 26 years. We mentioned I were first married. If we had a fight, I would Have a very routine response, which was to slam a door. Okay. And we lived in a house that had really cheap foam core doors, so they didn't really slam very well it was like, a lot of times you could get a lot of energy behind it, and then it would just be like click and I get mad that I opened the door and I slammed it again and again, I would slam it again. And I would you know, you hear mitches voice on the other side of the door going, Oh, now we're gonna slam the doors. And that emotional reaction worked for me for a really long time. It gave me a great deal of personal and emotional satisfaction until he outsmarted me and we ran a fight once and he he slammed the door before I did, and my husband loses his cool. He is the most moderate calm person. And we had this fight. And I went storming off and all of a sudden I heard a door slam from Somewhere in the house, and I sat down and burst out laughing, because it was so uncharacteristic and I know he was trying to get out ahead of it, you know, and, and I never did it again. I never did it again, because it was like, Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. But I think too,

JJ Parker  20:18  
yeah, like, so like, that response. You're like, Okay, I guess.

Melissa Albers  20:24  
I like that. Yeah, we've outgrown that I'm gonna have to come up with something more creative now. Right. And, but but you know, and you just think of the evolution of people. And sometimes we do have to say, we do have to make dramatic changes, and we do have to say goodbye. Sometimes we have to be patient and we have to hold our center while the other person is going through some changing. Because the other thing I think that's super interesting to think about is there's a lot of times where we are in a particular growth that doesn't match those around us and we go ahead of them. And we feel we feel guilty. We feel bad. We feel like we shouldn't do Do it all these things. And yet we know we have no other choice, because it's just where we are. And sometimes, they will then bypass us later. You know, like, I think we all are changing at different rates. I mean, especially in long term partnerships, you do go through periods where like, I'll go through this period where I'll sort of go away forward in a personal growth piece, like, I'll be thinking about something in a totally different way. And my husband will be like, what are you even saying, like, that doesn't sound familiar at all. And I get so uptight about it. And yet, you know what? It could be six months later, it could be a year later, suddenly, he has not only done what I've done, but he's gone even further ahead in how he is processing information or how he is being okay with things or being more relaxed and flexible about things which then teaches me that. So I think it's a continuum and I just think it's, I think we have to be more flexible with ourselves. As we're growing, you know, as we're going through growth moments and not not make ourselves wrong for them.

JJ Parker  22:06  
Yeah, definitely. I think this is a, you know, this is a really interesting topic. Um, I bet I think we could have like a whole nother podcast, explore that. And really like, what would be awesome is if some of our Facebook community would like hop on Oh, yeah, just one and really kind of, yeah, I think a conversation around how your own personal growth affects your you know, your long term relationships and and get people's insights on what they've gone through because I think it seems to be like a topic that everyone experiences, but like we don't talk about a lot, right. I don't talk to my friends about how our long term really friendships that have unfolded over decades. Right? Yeah, maybe we should. Now you

Melissa Albers  23:05  
might see Alaska bad usually. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  23:11  
Awesome. This is a there's a great conversation I look forward to to another another round of it.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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