Episode 201 Howard Farkas How To Stop Self-Sabotage Transcript
This transcript is from episode 201 with guest Howard Farkas.
[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the drive on podcast today. My guest is Dr. Howard Farkas. He’s a clinical psychologist based in Chicago and the founder of Equipoise Teletherapy. He’s also on the faculty of Northwestern University’s Feinberg school of medicine, where he teaches a course on motivation and self regulation of behavior.
[00:00:45] Scott DeLuzio: He’s the author of the book, eight keys to end emotional eating, and currently is working on a second book on the topic of self sabotage, which is what we’re gonna talk about today. So welcome to the show, Howard. Glad to have you here.
[00:00:58] Howard Farkas: Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to [00:01:00] be here.
[00:01:00] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:01:01] Scott DeLuzio: So, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background? So just people have some context of who we’re talking with
[00:01:07] Howard Farkas: here. Sure. So I’ve I, I am, as you said on faculty at Northwestern, but that’s really just a, it’s a, more of a contributing services. Kind of gig.
[00:01:16] Howard Farkas: It’s not a full-time job. My full-time job is with in my private practice and where I mostly treat people who engage in behaviors that they don’t want to do unwanted behaviors. And it started when I was before I started my private practice, I was working at also at Northwestern hospital in a in a me medical weight management program for, with a lot of people who were struggling with obesity and problems that really affected their health.
[00:01:49] Howard Farkas: And. What I found, I was getting a lot of referrals from the dieticians in that program who were working with people who knew [00:02:00] exactly what they needed to do. They had nothing really to learn from the dietician because they were lifelong dieters and So I was getting a lot of those folks and I found that they all sort of fit into a certain pattern of behavior where they would diet do everything the dietician was telling them to do.
[00:02:22] Howard Farkas: And then they would sort of have a week or several days of binge eating, which they did not enjoy. . It was really, it was behavior that they, that puzzled them, but it felt so compelling. They felt like they couldn’t not do it. It was compulsive. And I saw that pattern over and over and over again. And when I asked them, I would always ask them, like, tell me what happened before, during and after.
[00:02:51] Howard Farkas: What was it like for you? What was your experience? They would describe situations that usually the triggering situation would be something where [00:03:00] they felt stuck. They felt controlled. And often it was the diet itself that they felt controlled by where they felt that they had to sort of restrict their behavior and restrain themselves.
[00:03:12] Howard Farkas: And they couldn’t eat this. They couldn’t eat that. Not because it was a terrible thing to do, but it was just, you know, not. The recommended diet. Yeah. And they try to be serious about it. But then this would trigger a, you know, a period of binging. And I saw that pattern in particular happen over and over again.
[00:03:34] Howard Farkas: So I tried to understand what that was about. I saw that there was some connection between that self restraint selfs restriction and just letting go and doing things that they didn’t wanna do. So that’s what got me started with this.
[00:03:48] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And this whole topic is kind of fascinating to me because you see this type of thing happen.
[00:03:56] Scott DeLuzio: And I mean, I’ve been there. I’m sure a [00:04:00] lot of the listeners have been there as well, where, you know, the things that you’re supposed to do, you know, if you’re on a diet, you shouldn’t be eating the chocolate cake and the cookies and the ice cream and all that stuff, but you do it anyway.
[00:04:12] Scott DeLuzio: You have a goal in mind and you do things that are, you know, you’re not gonna reach that goal if you continue doing these things. Yeah, fine. If you’re on a diet and you have this one cheat day okay. If it’s not gonna set you back too far, but if you have a cheat month or something like that’s gonna definitely set you back.
[00:04:30] Scott DeLuzio: Right.
[00:04:31] Howard Farkas: Right. And the way the pattern went is that, you know, they would they would have. Several days of binging, usually three or four days of binging a week. And then they would be really, you know, in quotes good about their diet. They would follow everything. Exactly. And then it would go on again, the cycle would repeat.
[00:04:50] Howard Farkas: So it would basically be this yoyo pattern of dieting and binging, dieting, and binging. And what I realized from. [00:05:00] Talking about their experiences when this happened, is that it wasn’t about the food. It’s not so much because they weren’t enjoying the experience itself. It was about the freedom and it was, so if you think about dieting and binging as a pattern of restraint and letting go, then.
[00:05:24] Howard Farkas: It’s sort of it’s, it takes it away from just the realm of eating and dieting. And you could see that in all kinds of patterns of behavior and particularly self sabotaging behavior. So one of the things I realized early on. Is that, even though I was seeing this with, you know, this pattern very clearly with the dieters it was I was seeing, I would see the same kind of pattern with other patients who were spending money irresponsibly.
[00:05:53] Howard Farkas: They’d spend money that they didn’t have on things that they didn’t even need. And then they would come to me for help. You know, they’d say help, [00:06:00] help me do this. And I say, wait a second you’re engaging in these babies. You’re making decisions, you know, what’s what do you think is going on for you?
[00:06:07] Howard Farkas: So it’s not just about food. It’s about all kinds of behaviors that people don’t wanna do. And I found the same kind of pattern. That for example, if people were really constrained with their budget, they would just blow a lot of money ironically, right. In spite of the fact that they were constrained with their budget.
[00:06:26] Howard Farkas: And it’s the same kind of thing. It’s kind of a binge
[00:06:28] Howard Farkas: that kind of pattern. I see a lot. It’s not, I mean, there are situations where people might think, well, this person is self sabotaging and it’s not really self sabotage all the time. Sometimes people, you know, you know, you might have a certain view of what a person should be doing. Whether it’s, you know, getting themselves promoted in their company or something like that, but they don’t feel like that that’s what they wanna do and right.
[00:06:50] Howard Farkas: And they’ll turn it down or they’ll do something that, you know, prevents them. So it’s not necessarily self sabotaged just cause it might look like that on the outside. It really depends on [00:07:00] the person’s experience.
[00:07:02] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think you hit on an important point there too, because we started talking about the dieting, the overeating and that type of stuff, but there’s all sorts of things that could be.
[00:07:11] Scott DeLuzio: Classified as self sabotaged. Absolutely. Like over overspending. Or you know, things with your career that maybe you’re preventing yourself from getting that promotion or you know, procrastination, right, right. You know, you have this thing that you need to do, but you’re just not doing it.
[00:07:26] Scott DeLuzio: You’re putting it off and putting it off
[00:07:28] Howard Farkas: procrastination is probably the most common form of self sabotage. Everybody. At some point or another. But also things like, you know, knowing that you had got something important, like an important presentation at work in the morning, and then you know, you stay up the night before doing something else, binge watching Netflix or something like that.
[00:07:46] Howard Farkas: Yeah. So yeah, there it does come up in lots of different ways. And you know, and when people try to restrain themselves from doing these things, you know, and they try to stop the behavior, they end up feeling like it’s a real struggle. [00:08:00] Yeah. So when I look at different things that, you know, read different books, articles, research on things like procrastination very often.
[00:08:10] Howard Farkas: The explanation that’s given is that it is a it’s some kind of psychopathology, like there’s something wrong with them. There’s something it’s a mental health problem. It’s a lack of self control. Let’s a lack of willpower. Mm-hmm it’s, you know, sometimes it’s they say it’s a fear of success or a fear of failure.
[00:08:31] Howard Farkas: both of those have been used as explanations, even though it sounds contradictory, but the consistent theme through all these different explanations is that if there’s something wrong with you, if you do this kind of thing, there’s something wrong with you. But it just doesn’t make sense that a person would sabotage themselves.
[00:08:50] Howard Farkas: And so that’s why they’re reaching for all kinds of explanations. But what I realized is that it’s not about a personality flaw or [00:09:00] character deficit or anything like that. What I realized is that it’s a conflict between two sides of ourselves. and that really clarified it for me. It helped me understand what’s going on.
[00:09:15] Howard Farkas: You know, we always think about, you know, I’m of two minds of this, or I did something against my better judgment. Mm-hmm , you know, what does that mean against your better judgment? You know, who’s who has your better judgment, if not yourself? Right. So, that conflict, I think, is very important to understand that there’s really different parts of.
[00:09:34] Howard Farkas: That should be working together and for whatever reason, they work at odds with each other.
[00:09:42] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Exactly. We have this I don’t know what it is in inside of us. And we are the obstacle that’s standing in our own way for our growth meet, meeting our goals, whatever the objective is.
[00:09:55] Scott DeLuzio: We, we do that. And from an outsider, looking in on the situation, a lot of [00:10:00] times it’s perfectly obvious that these things that we’re doing, whether it’s procrastination or overspending, overeating, whatever, it’s not gonna help us reach our goals. Right. And. We can almost always see it in other people. Right.
[00:10:13] Scott DeLuzio: It’s real easy to point out that, that thing in somebody else. And you can even go back to the biblical days about this. And there’s a verse in the Bible that I remember says something like, why worry about the spec in your friend’s eye with right. You get the log yeah. In your own eye. Right?
[00:10:29] Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. So it should be clear that we’re hurting ourselves, but sometimes you can’t see that giant log sticking outta your eyes. Exactly. And look at that little spec in somebody else’s right, right, right. Exactly. So, you know, it’s just so interesting to me and I’ve had this experience and before we started recording, we started talking a little bit about this, but I’ve had this experience myself where.
[00:10:49] Scott DeLuzio: You know, after coming back from Afghanistan, I found myself drinking too much, sleeping, too little, doing all these self-destructive behaviors. I just wasn’t [00:11:00] doing the right things. And it should have been obvious to me, but at the time it seemed like it was just easier to. Drink the pain away, numb those feelings and exactly like that.
[00:11:09] Scott DeLuzio: And that, I mean, that’s not the right thing. And if I saw someone else doing it, I’d be like, hold on, buddy. You’re like you’re going a little too far here, but when it’s myself, I. I couldn’t really see it, you
[00:11:19] Howard Farkas: know? Right, right. So, you know, when you talk about just sort of like numbing yourself there’s something about that feeling that is kind of a release, it’s a release from whatever pain you’re feeling mm-hmm , from the feeling of I shouldn’t be doing this or I shouldn’t be doing that.
[00:11:37] Howard Farkas: And then you say, well, the hell with it and I’m just gonna let go. Yeah. And what happens. This is actually where I chose the name of of the telehealth practice as Equipoise cause Equipoise means counterbalancing, and that’s really the basis for this whole idea is that it’s one thing we [00:12:00] all have to, you know, control, regulate our behaviors and hold back sometimes.
[00:12:06] Howard Farkas: But we also have the opportunity to let go. Mm-hmm and when it goes to an extreme, when we’re holding back too much, then the letting go. Balances out the degree to which we’re restraining ourselves. So there’s a balance between restraint and letting go. Now, ideally that balance should be sort of at the moderate level in the middle.
[00:12:34] Howard Farkas: If you think of it as a Seesaw, it’s like two kids sitting on different on different sides, you know, they’re close to each other and they’re in balance with each other. If one side, if one kid goes to the other end, then it’s out of balance. And how does the other kid restore the balance by going to his other end?
[00:12:52] Howard Farkas: Right, right. Of, of the Seesaw. And so they’re back in balance again, but now they’re in balance at the extremes instead of in the [00:13:00] middle. So we always have this conflict. Between those two sides between doing what we wanna do, being our own boss of ourselves and doing what’s expected of us. You know, doing what is, you know, the, either at work or at home or wherever it is doing the right thing.
[00:13:21] Howard Farkas: So, you know, it’s not that that certain behaviors are inherently bad. It’s really about the degree to which you engage in them. Like drinking is bad at the extreme. Right. But when you’re feeling like you’re holding back from all kinds of stressors and pressures or experiences that you don’t talk about, which I understand is really an issue with a lot of vets.
[00:13:44] Howard Farkas: Then letting go, even with something that, you know, you’re going to regret is sort of a way to counterbalance to create Equipoise between those two sides. Mm-hmm and I think that’s what self sabotage is. I think it’s the reaction against. [00:14:00] Too much self restraint, or too much conformity to other people’s expectations and letting and sort of, ignoring a reasonable degree of what you want for yourself.
[00:14:14] Howard Farkas: Right.
[00:14:17] Scott DeLuzio: So I guess, because all of this type of stuff can, they can bleed. All aspects of our lives, our careers, our personal relationships our health, our finances, and all these other things that, that go on in, in our lives. It, it kind of begs the question, like how do we address this? How do we put a stop to these behaviors?
[00:14:38] Scott DeLuzio: Or maybe. Given that example that you, you said with the Seesaw, with the, yeah, the two people in the middle and then, you know, they, one moves to one end and then the other one has to move to the other end to get that balance again. Exactly. The, those are two extremes. How do we. Maintain that balance in the middle so that we don’t get too [00:15:00] far and maybe the middle isn’t achievable.
[00:15:01] Scott DeLuzio: Maybe we can’t stay in the middle, but maybe we can stay somewhere E exactly. Not on the far end of the Seesaw, but somewhere in the middle of the two sides.
[00:15:10] Howard Farkas: Right, That’s exactly that is the key. And that’s the key question. Really? It’s a really, that’s a really important point.
[00:15:15] Howard Farkas: You know, how do we maintain that balance, but not in an extreme. So, you know, if you think about it, we all have these two basic needs. One is a need to belong to be part of a social group. And I’m talking about not just, you know, our closest friends that’s of course important, but just part of a society, part of being, you know, just being part of a a community in the larger sense.
[00:15:43] Howard Farkas: And But we also have the need to be autonomous, to have to set our own rules, to do things that we want to do and not feeling like we’re being coerced to do things. So those two needs, [00:16:00] I think of those as the fundamental conflict. Right. Those two needs are at the core of this kind of conflict that we’re talking about when it comes to trying to rebalance that Seesaw in a way that ends up being at the extreme.
[00:16:18] Howard Farkas: The, when we give up, when we sacrifice too much of our autonomy, In order to please other people to do what we’re being told to do, what’s being expected of us. And this is by the way, a very important part of understanding people’s reaction to dieting, which is how I got started in this is understanding why people would end up binging when they diet is that, you know, diet is a it’s.
[00:16:45] Howard Farkas: There are many people who diet, especially women where there’s a lot of pressure to maintain a certain size, weight shape. And they feel they don’t have a choice. They have to diet, [00:17:00] but where does that have to come from? You know, where does that feeling come from? Right. It’s just pervasive in our culture and.
[00:17:09] Howard Farkas: That’s why they died. Cause it’s, you know, dieting in itself is not a natural thing. We, you know, as human beings we try, we have the instinct that we have to eat and, you know, and as people who need to be autonomous, make our own choices, we choose what we wanna eat. Mm-hmm but people who feel that they must diet they have to restrain themselves and restrict, even though.
[00:17:30] Howard Farkas: It goes against what they want. So they don’t eat intuitively. They eat based on what somebody’s telling them or what they understand to be the right way to eat. But then there’s this backlash against that in order to restore that balance that we were talking about. So, this kind of thing happens in all areas and the core of it is that fundamental conflict between autonomy and and belonging.
[00:17:56] Howard Farkas: Now, if you think about it, anytime we interact with other [00:18:00] people, We’re always sacrificing a certain degree of our autonomy, right? Mm-hmm you can’t have a meeting with somebody without giving up some, something that you would be doing on your own. If you didn’t have that meeting, it’s just, I mean, simple daily things on a regular basis were always sacrificing a certain degree of autonomy.
[00:18:20] Howard Farkas: So that’s what you were saying before about like, finding that. Moderate point somewhere in the middle of that Seesaw. Right? It doesn’t have to be, it’s not like perfect, you know, perfectly in the middle. It’s just generally overall it feels fair. It feels like I’m doing enough for myself, but I’m also engaging with other people and it doesn’t feel like I’m sacrificing too much one way or.
[00:18:43] Scott DeLuzio: Well, and just an example of what you just said, like right now, you and I are having this conversation. We’re having a meeting together. You, I’m sure you are a busy person. You have other things that you could be doing with your time right now, but you’ve chosen to spend some time with me and have this conversation.
[00:18:59] Scott DeLuzio: And [00:19:00] likewise I have other things that I could be doing as well. But I’m choosing to have this conversation with you. And so there is a balance there right. I know that there is a benefit to not only myself, but to the listeners, to you. There’s benefits to having this conversation.
[00:19:14] Scott DeLuzio: And when I look. My to do list for example. And I look at it and say, okay, well, this fits in because this mm-hmm , this has a greater benefit. And so there, there is a balance there because yes, I am giving up some of my time to have this conversation with you. And I’m, I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m sacrificing to, to have a conversation with you but it’s, but in a way it’s like, I guess I understand I could be doing something else, but this is what I’m choosing to do with my time.
[00:19:41] Howard Farkas: Right. And that’s exactly it. You’re making a choice because there’s benefit, even though there’s some sacrifice. Sure. You have to sacrifice an hour of your time or whatever it is. And at the same time, you’re making a choice because there’s benefit and that’s exactly what. The, we would ideally be striving for [00:20:00] mm-hmm
[00:20:01] Howard Farkas: So if you think about that, trade off and sort of generalize that in, in ways that go beyond just, you know, dealing with other people on a regular basis, the same thing would apply then to any kind of self-sacrifice any kind of restraint that we place on ourselves. And the alternative of being able to be free, to act in a way that’s helpful to us.
[00:20:33] Howard Farkas: And this is one of the things that gets to I, I was listening to another episode that you did recently, where your guest was talking about being able to be open to cope by freely expressing their concerns. Yeah. And that really is a perfect example of how best to cope because when people don’t feel free to express, for whatever reason, they might feel like, oh, nobody wants to [00:21:00] listen to my problems.
[00:21:01] Howard Farkas: So I’m just gonna keep them to myself. Or this is this’ll be too much. It’ll be too overwhelming for other people. That’s a sacrifice that’s not sustainable. Right. You have to be able to share with other people, you have to be able to it’s part of belonging, where we can rely on other people to listen to us to and know that we’ll be heard.
[00:21:21] Howard Farkas: And that’s really important. And by doing that, there’s less of a pressure to find other outlets to let. and just be free to do whatever. So that’s where, what you were talking about with drinking. I mean, that might be a way it might have been a way for you at that point in your life to say, well, I’m just gonna let go.
[00:21:41] Howard Farkas: I can’t keep it all bottled up inside. Yeah. And it comes out in various ways. It can come out in, in, in anger you know, and it can come out. Just other kinds of self-destructive behaviors.
[00:21:53] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, you know, I never really thought about it in that way of that balance of this you saw, but there is that [00:22:00] balance because like you said, there, there is anger there.
[00:22:02] Scott DeLuzio: That was something else. That was something that came out. And as soon as you said that, I was like, yep, he’s got me, you know, but
[00:22:09] Howard Farkas: that’s yeah. It’s another kind of binge
[00:22:10] Scott DeLuzio: really, you know? Yeah. It was, and I was able to I don’t wanna say able to, like, I had this. Great opportunity, but it allowed me to release some of that stuff that was built up inside.
[00:22:21] Scott DeLuzio: And it didn’t involve necessarily the alcohol, but it was just a way for me to release some of that tension, the stress, the frustration, the anger, you know, everything that I had built up inside of me is just exactly I was able to release it. And I know one of the things. Just going back to something else that you had talked about.
[00:22:39] Scott DeLuzio: One of the things that I think veterans have, especially a problem with is when they’re trying to reintegrate back into society that you know, all these years that they may have been serving in the military, they had a community of like-minded people that they were able to talk to. They were able to.
[00:22:57] Scott DeLuzio: Share experiences with, and those people [00:23:00] just got it. They understood where they were coming from because a lot of them experienced the very same things, or if not the same thing, something very similar anyways. So, they were able to do that, but then when they get out into society and. They feel the need to talk to somebody about some of the gruesome things that they’ve experienced or the horrible things that they maybe even did themselves.
[00:23:24] Scott DeLuzio: You know, the death and the destruction and all these things that they’ve experienced. Who are they gonna talk to? You know, if you’re working at a nine to five office job with people who’ve never served in the military and you’re like, man, you know, I went I was just thinking about this time that I went into this village and I just killed everyone in this house and you know, it’s, it’s been, but upsetting me, your coworkers are gonna look at you.
[00:23:45] Scott DeLuzio: Like I’m calling HR and I’m, I am not sitting here. Like who do you have to talk to? Right. Absolutely. And I know that’s just a random example that, I brought up there, but it does go to show that veterans have that problem where [00:24:00] they don’t have that release of that they used to have in the military where they had those people, who they could talk to.
[00:24:06] Scott DeLuzio: And it wasn’t. Going to upset the, these other people necessarily they got it, they understood you know, even some of the language that they would use, you know, the way we would talk, we very often we had, you know, very dark senses of humor. And that was just common. It was we made jokes about death and about things like that.
[00:24:23] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And it. Just a way that we dealt with things. But then come out of that environment. Now you make a joke like that, and people are gonna think that you’re nuts. Right.
[00:24:34] Howard Farkas: Right. Exactly. And that’s such an important point and it really it just shows how. Important that is particularly to veterans who really don’t have that shared experience with civilians, you know, to be able to say, oh yeah, I remember when I was in the army, what, you know.
[00:24:52] Howard Farkas: Yeah. Right. And then the message they get, if they don’t already Intuit it, the message is. I don’t wanna hear it. Yeah. Just keep it to [00:25:00] yourself, and what happens is that to the same degree that they feel that they have to isolate themselves and prevent. You know, letting sharing some of these really intense feelings with others to the same extent, I think they engage, they might engage in self-destructive behaviors that it’s I think, and that’s where the balance comes in.
[00:25:28] Howard Farkas: Yeah. You know, it’s, doesn’t have to be. I can’t talk about this. So I’ll talk to everybody about something else. It doesn’t have to be like a one to one, you know, correspondence, the behavior that counterbalances the restraint could be in a completely different realm. You know, what is restraint of talking have to do with alcohol or drugs?
[00:25:49] Howard Farkas: You know, It’s that letting go versus holding back. That’s the connection. Right? And that’s where, you know, a lot, I think a lot of these behaviors come from.
[00:25:58] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it doesn’t even have to be drugs or [00:26:00] alcohol. It could be any number of things could be gambling. It could be absolutely O overeating.
[00:26:04] Scott DeLuzio: It could be You know, spending, spending overspending, it could be so many different things, even other risky behaviors you know, participating in extreme sport kind of thing that, that, yeah. Very easily could get yourself injured, right? Like, Looking at that again from the outside, looking in at these kind of activities, you’re like, what are you doing?
[00:26:24] Scott DeLuzio: What is wrong with you? But when you put it in this example of trying to find that balance, yeah. There’s really nothing wrong with the person it’s. They have to find a way to get that balance without sabotaging
[00:26:37] Howard Farkas: themselves. That’s the most important thing. I think that recognizing that this is not a pathology, it’s not a, it’s not mental illness per se.
[00:26:46] Howard Farkas: It’s a normal human coping reaction. I could say, taken to an extreme. If the behavior is extreme and very self-destructive, but to the extent that this is a way of that, we’re sort of hardwired [00:27:00] to cope with too much stress, too much pressure. The feeling of being controlled by outside forces.
[00:27:09] Howard Farkas: We counteract that with some kind of behaviors that even if it’s not good for us, mm-hmm , you know, and we know that we’ll still engage in it because it feels necessary in order to bring back that balance between those two sides.
[00:27:25] Scott DeLuzio: How do we find things that. Healthier less self-destructive type behaviors that we can do to maintain some of that balance.
[00:27:36] Scott DeLuzio: And I know this, that, that’s probably a loaded question cuz it depends on the circumstances I’m sure. But of course is there is there a way to generalize that and make it so that we can think through whatever it is that we’re going through to, to figure this out?
[00:27:49] Howard Farkas: Yeah. Thinking through really is a key you know, it’s recognizing that moment.
[00:27:55] Howard Farkas: I, I coined a word for this I call it pregret, which where a [00:28:00] person recognizes that if they do it, they’re going to regret it. And that kind of self-awareness is really important. If, if they say, oh, I’m already pregretting something that I’m about to do. They could say, wait a second. And knowing this idea of restoring balance, you can say, what is it that I’m really trying to do?
[00:28:21] Howard Farkas: What am I trying to cope with? How am I feeling controlled? So it’s not the behavior itself. Like what kind of milder behavior can I engage in? Because you know, people who binge eat, for example, I’m milder than that is just eating normal. Right. So sure. And everybody, so it’s really a question of how do I.
[00:28:40] Howard Farkas: How do I sort of, down this urge to overreact to the situation, what am I feeling pressured by what’s causing that feeling? And. You know, they might say, yeah, well, there’s really there’s a lot on my mind. I’m worried about something coming up at work. I’m worried about [00:29:00] some whatever health issue that I might be dealing with.
[00:29:02] Howard Farkas: And they don’t wanna burden other people with it. You know, and they say, oh yeah I really should talk to my wife about this, you know, cause I, I should share or with my friend, whatever and let them know that you know, I’m really having a hard time. Maybe just listening, just having somebody listen to what I have to say, cuz that’s really what it is.
[00:29:24] Howard Farkas: It’s about not feeling like you have to shoulder the whole burden mm-hmm and then, you know, Eventually react to it. But I think that idea of recognizing that moment of regret and saying, what am I feeling. You know, pressured by that I feel this urge to do something that I know I’m going through regret.
[00:29:45] Howard Farkas: Yeah. I think that’s really important.
[00:29:49] Scott DeLuzio: I love that word, that, that regret. Because as soon as you said it, I kind had a smile on my face and I don’t know if you recognized it or not, but I, like, I know that moment. I know when [00:30:00] I was there and I was starting to pour the drink and I knew. I’m gonna regret this in the morning, but what the hell I gonna do it anyways?
[00:30:07] Howard Farkas: Exactly. It’s the, what the hell moment, right?
[00:30:10] Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. It’s like, you know, what do I got to lose? You know, I got right. I have no other way of dealing with whatever it was that I was dealing with. And but. It also, I think was the easy way out. It was the way that I just found that immediate relief, but
[00:30:23] Scott DeLuzio: it wasn’t really dealing with the problem at hand. And that’s why night after night after night, I was dealing with the same thing over and over again. And I just never really dealt with it in a healthy way and right. That’s what cause. Negative behavior to keep happening, not to say that if there’s anything wrong with having a drink every once in a while, but not when it’s to an extreme night after night after night.
[00:30:46] Scott DeLuzio: Right? Exactly.
[00:30:47] Howard Farkas: And that’s why I say it’s not about the behavior itself. It’s not about the food. It’s about the excessive degree of whatever it [00:31:00] is. And also it could be. To a degree where it causes some self-harm even in moderation. Mm-hmm , but it’s the self-harm.
[00:31:08] Howard Farkas: In other words, it’s the person knowing that they’re going to regret it. I’ll tell you, give you an example. I had a patient once who had a severe reaction anytime she had cheese or wine. Okay. She would get severe migraines and it. It was pretty she saw this consistent pattern that when she was feeling really stressed out at work, she would go home order some pizza and pour herself a glass of wine.
[00:31:39] Howard Farkas: Now, granted, it might not have been a hundred percent certain that she would have that reaction, but she knew she was taking a risk and she knew she would suffer from it, but it was, but not having pizza at all. Was for her, it was a sacrifice. It was a type of restraint. It’s not that [00:32:00] she overdid it.
[00:32:01] Howard Farkas: It’s just that she knew she was taking a risk and same thing with the wine and, you know, and it was only until she, when she understood that it wasn’t about wanting pizza. All of a sudden, just having this craving, it was about. It was about self sabotage. Cause that’s what it was. She knew that she was very likely to get a migraine headache after that.
[00:32:21] Howard Farkas: So it’s, it could be anything that you know, is going to have a negative effect and you do it anyway. And that’s why, you know, recognizing see that moment that you described where you pour the drink. And you told yourself, I know this is not, I’m not gonna feel good about this.
[00:32:40] Howard Farkas: Right. And that’s exa that’s the moment. That’s the opportunity. If you can grab onto that. With anything in any circumstance where you know that you’re doing something, that’s just, it gives you that momentary relief. And it’s not the it’s not even the alcohol, you know, people will feel like, oh, well, alcohol [00:33:00] relaxes me.
[00:33:00] Howard Farkas: It’s not about the effects of the alcohol. It’s the momentary relief of being able to let go of being able to tell that part of yourself, that’s saying, don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. You know, mm-hmm and then there’s this other part of it, of you that says, what the hell I don’t. You know.
[00:33:14] Howard Farkas: Yeah. And those are the two sides that are balancing each other, but, you know, it’s the reaction, it’s the drink or the binge of whatever binging on wasting time, you know, could be anything where that that’s the key that the person just feels like, well, I don’t want to be pressured, but who are they being pressured by?
[00:33:34] Howard Farkas: This is the other part of it. They’re being pressured by a part of themselves. Yeah. And this is where. There’s this conflict, the conflict comes in because there are two parts of themselves that are. That, you know, have different immediate needs, even though in the long term they’re working together. Right?
[00:33:56] Howard Farkas: I mean, they’re both we all have those two parts. This is not an unusual thing. This [00:34:00] is universal. Everybody has those two sides. It’s the want to, and the ought to, you know, and there’s one side of us, that’s saying, you know, you really ought to be doing. And the other one says yeah, I’ll do that whenever.
[00:34:11] Howard Farkas: Right. Mm-hmm , I’ll do that later. Right now I want to watch the game. And that’s where the, you know, the ought to side. We call them the manager side or the future self. There’s lots of different ways to, to characterize these two sides. But you know, like the future self says, you’re gonna regret it later.
[00:34:33] Howard Farkas: I know you’re gonna regret it. So listen to me now the manager says you shouldn’t be doing this you’re on work time now. Yeah. But if that side of us that gets very harsh because the other side isn’t. and, you know, you asked before, like, you know, how do you moderate this? It’s really by getting those two sides.
[00:34:53] Howard Farkas: Together as if they were in couples therapy. Right. Really? And say, listen, [00:35:00] you know, you guys are both on the same team. You’re both on the same side. You have the same goals. You have the same values. You just have different responsibilities. One is thinking about what’s gonna happen down the road.
[00:35:12] Howard Farkas: The other’s thinking about, you know, so the one that’s thinking about what’s gonna happen down the road is saying, you know, you really should be putting money into savings. And the one that’s thinking about what’s happening right now is I just wanna let go, right? I wanna just indulge, well, like any couple, they can sort of balance out those needs and say, all right, you know, the manager side, instead of being really harsh and saying, you can’t spend anything, you have to put it all into savings.
[00:35:38] Howard Farkas: You can say, okay, listen, let’s figure out a budget. , you know, you got stuff for fun. You can spend money on fun stuff and put some of the money aside for savings, right? That’s the way to find that middle ground, that, that moderation where both sides get some of what they want and not everything they want.
[00:35:55] Howard Farkas: And that’s true in any couple.
[00:35:58] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it’s a compromise really, [00:36:00] exactly what we’re looking for. Just like in, in a marriage or any other relationship you, I don’t care who the two people are that you’re talking about. You’re never gonna find two people who are 100% in sync. 100%, exactly.
[00:36:12] Scott DeLuzio: Time, all always, right. There’s always gonna be that situation where one, person’s gonna want one thing, another person’s gonna want another. And it’s, you’re gonna be slightly outta sync. You may be. 90% of the time, but there’s gonna be that little period of time where you’re not and you have to compromise and just like you said, come up with a budget for having a little bit of spending money for those splurge type things.
[00:36:34] Scott DeLuzio: So the right now I want to go to the movies I want to buy. Whatever that thing is, or and then balance that out with the need, the real need to save money for the future. Right? So that way an unexpected thing happens. You still can do the things that you need to do, you know, putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head.
[00:36:56] Scott DeLuzio: Like those are real needs. And the [00:37:00] right now type of person is. Definitely can understand the need to have a roof over your head and food on the table. Right. For sure. And I look at it at the two the right now immediate and the future safer for the future, that type of person.
[00:37:14] Scott DeLuzio: I look at it as a teenager and an adult. Relationship, right. The teenagers are much more impulsive. I want this, now I’m gonna do this now. You know, damn the consequences and the adult is more of the, well, let’s think about the future playing for retirement. Let’s think about where a family’s gonna be and all that.
[00:37:30] Scott DeLuzio: You know, I love that you said
[00:37:31] Howard Farkas: that, cuz that’s an example that I use all the time. In fact, the scenario that I really like and that really, I think sort of captures this is where there’s a, you know, an adolescent, a 15 year old boy sitting in. Room on his bed playing video games. Yeah. And and then suddenly he looks around his room and he says, you know, this place is a real mess.
[00:37:51] Howard Farkas: I ought to clean it up. Right. So he makes the decision himself to do the responsible thing just then his mother sticks her head in the doorway [00:38:00] and says, you know, this place is a real mess. You wanna clean it up? so how does he respond to that? Right on the one hand we already know. What he wants, and this is such a perfect example of self sabotage in a very small way, but what he wants is a cleaner.
[00:38:17] Howard Farkas: Right. But then he resists the authority figure who tells him, he must clean his room right now. Sure. And he says, don’t tell me what to do. This is my room, you know, and this is my, you know, I’m allowed to do what I want in my room. Yeah. But he already said he, we, he already made it clear what he wants.
[00:38:33] Howard Farkas: His mother doesn’t know that. Right. So at that point it becomes a power struggle between them. And when she says that he’s feeling controlled. and then he’s feeling like he has to counteract that control, bring things back into balance and assert his own authority. Mm-hmm , you know, and says, I know what I want and I’m gonna do what I want when I wanna do it.
[00:38:54] Howard Farkas: You can’t tell him what to do.
[00:38:55] Scott DeLuzio: Right. Exactly. And it’s just such a perfect example. And I think that. [00:39:00] Hopefully drives the point home to the listeners when you are told to do something let’s just bring it back to the military for a second, because any anyone who’s listening who’s spent even a day in the military, knows you’re told what to do, where to be, what to be wearing, what to do.
[00:39:18] Scott DeLuzio: You’re told all of that stuff all the time. And sometimes it’s like, I. Wanna get away from this. Yeah, because it’s almost like a prison sometimes when it’s like, you have to be here, you have to do this, you have to do that. You don’t have a choice. This is the only option for you.
[00:39:38] Scott DeLuzio: And it’s like, well, let me. Tell you something about that only option. Yeah. I’ll come up with something else and I’ll, you know, whatever, and it’s not the, it’s not that you don’t want to do the right thing. It’s just, you want that control back. You want that autonomy. And you start to clash with the rest of the society or whatever that exactly group [00:40:00] happens to be, whether it’s your family or your military unit or your job, or what, whatever it happens to be just start to clash.
[00:40:06] Scott DeLuzio: So, you know, I think this conversation was really. Really insightful helped me to open up my eyes and to what was go going on with me all those years ago where I couldn’t find that balance. And I was moving further and further out to the extremes with what I was dealing with.
[00:40:22] Scott DeLuzio: And yeah it was definitely self destructive and I was sabotaging everything good that I had going for me. Right, right. And unfortunately to this day, this is about 12 years later. I’m I still feel the effects of some of this stuff where I could have been further along in my career, for example, or I could have, you know, other things that could have happened.
[00:40:42] Scott DeLuzio: I just, I didn’t allow myself to, to do those things and. Now I’m not where I would have been had I allowed that to happen. Right. And yeah, I could look back and would’ve could have shoulda have all day that isn’t gonna help anything what’s gonna help something. Is this right here and now what do I do now to make [00:41:00] that future better?
[00:41:00] Scott DeLuzio: And I think that’s a good lesson for all of us to look at. Yeah. Yeah. So, Well, Howard, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. I really enjoyed this opportunity to have this conversation. I’d love for you to be able to give the listeners a place where they can go to get in touch with you, find out more about what you do.
[00:41:18] Scott DeLuzio: And also. Find a copy of your book that you have out now. And you do have another book that you’re working on. I’m not sure when that’s yeah.
[00:41:24] Howard Farkas: On ending release. Well, it’s about halfway done now, just the first draft. So it’ll be a while yet, but that one’s on self sabotage, you know? So it’s basically the same ideas as the first book about emotional eating, but it’s more expanded to.
[00:41:39] Howard Farkas: Include all kinds of behaviors, like what we were talking about. Sure.
[00:41:43] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So, where can people go to find you know, everything about you and a copy of your
[00:41:47] Howard Farkas: book and everything? Okay. So, my website is Equipoise Teletherapy. Equipoise is an unusual word. So I’ll spell it out. It’s E Q U I P O I S E.
[00:41:59] Howard Farkas: [00:42:00] Teletherapy.com. Okay. And all the contact information is.
[00:42:05] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Yeah. And I will have links to this in the show notes as well. So, anyone who’s listening, you don’t have to jot it down right now. You can just check out the show notes, click on the link there, and you’ll be able to find out more about this type of behavior.
[00:42:19] Scott DeLuzio: If you’re experiencing this in your own life, whether it’s yourself or a loved one or someone that you work with a neighbor. Whoever it happens to be who could benefit from learning more about this. First off, definitely introduce ’em to this episode. If you find that it’s been helpful for you and your understanding of this type of behavior but also check out the type of therapy that’s out there as well to help deal with that.
[00:42:42] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s exactly why we’ll have the link in the show notes. So you can find it real easily. So, I wanted to thank you again, Howard, for coming on the show and sharing this it really has been enjoyable chatting with you and hopefully it’s been helpful to some of the
[00:42:53] Scott DeLuzio: listeners.
[00:42:54] Howard Farkas: Thank you so much for having me, Scott. I really appreciate it. It was enjoyable talking to you too.[00:43:00]
[00:43:01] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.
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