Michael Unbroken was born to a hyper-abusive drug addict mother who cut his finger off at four years old, a stepfather you pray you never have, and a racist grandmother that pushed him into an identity crisis. By the time he was nine, his family was in poverty and often homeless, all while being a member of the Mormon Church. At twelve, he was adopted by his grandmother and quickly turned to drugs and alcohol to survive the continuing abuse. Despite multiple learning disabilities and not graduating high school on time, Michael found success in Corporate America in his early twenties. However, success only made things worse. Michael found himself morbidly obese, high and drunk daily, and ultimately self-sabotaging everything around him. It was not until finding his inner power through his Mirror Moment and choosing to do whatever it took to work through childhood trauma that his life began.
Michael Anthony is the author of the best-selling book Think Unbroken and is a coach, mentor, and educator for adult survivors of child abuse. Michael spends his time helping other survivors get out of "The Vortex" to become the hero of their own stories and take their life back. Michael hosts the Think Unbroken podcast, teaches at Think Unbroken Academy, and is on a mission to create change in the world.
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PTH 83 Michael Unbroken Episode
And so she comes and she takes me. She adopts me. and my grandmother, why that was a saving grace, to some extent I'm biracial black and white, and she's an old racist ass white lady from a town in Tennessee. You never heard of it, right? We literally had a copy of Mein Kampf in our kitchen table. My black friends were not allowed to come in my house and my uncle's a member of the Aryan in brotherhood. Imagine the identity crisis that, that carries with it.
Welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman and I am really thrilled that you are here with me today for this episode, I have a really emotional and empowering and inspirational conversation with Michael Anthony or Michael Unbroken as is known. Michael was born to a hyper abusive drug addict. Mom who cut his finger off when he was four years old, a stepfather you pray, you never have and a racist grandmother who pushed him into an identity crisis. By the time he was nine, his family was in poverty and often all while being a member of the Mormon church at 12, he was adopted by his grandmother and quickly turned to drugs and alcohol to survive continuing abuse. Despite multiple learning disabilities and not graduating high school on time michael found success in corporate America in his early twenties. However, success only made things worse. Michael found himself, morbidly obese, high and drunk daily, and ultimately self- sabotaging everything around him. It was not until finding his inner power through what he calls his mirror moment and choosing to do whatever it took to work through the childhood trauma that his wife, his life really began.
[00:01:20] Michael Anthony is the author of the bestselling book. Unbroken. And as a coach, mentor and educator for adult survivors of child abuse. Michael spends his time helping other survivors get out of the vortex to become the hero of their own story and take their life back. Michael hosts the Think Unbroken podcast and teaches at Think Unbroken Academy as on a mission to create change in the world.
[00:01:47] And as he puts it in the episode, he wants to eliminate childhood. Intergenerational childhood trauma in his lifetime. And that is a lofty, but amazing goal. So many of us are continually affected by the traumatic experiences that we had as a child. And that continually infects. Insidiously infects the lives that we're trying to live.
[00:02:21] The, the choices that we make as adults, the choices we make as parents, the children, families, the friends, the coworkers, the colleagues that everybody that we come in contact with are affected by the childhood trauma that is unresolved, that affects and motivates even behind the scenes, the behaviors and the choices that we.
[00:02:46] I hope that you are inspired by Michael and will continue to seek him out through his own podcast, through his social media posts through, his books and, and his courses, which are free on his website. And thank you so much for being here week after week. It is flooring and flabbergasting and I am absolutely utterly grateful for this community and you all returning here week after week. Thanks so much.
[00:00:00] Welcome, Michael, how are you? I'm amazing. My friend. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be with you today.
[00:00:08] I'm so excited that you're here. I just love the sound of your voice. Oh, thank you. You were like made for broadcasting or something. It's just, it's like caramel. Your voice is just fabulous. I appreciate that. What a great compliment. Thank you. . You're welcome. Have you done other voice work or anything? No, I've narrated my own books.
[00:00:32] That's a fun experience. I kind of, I mean, there's for all my other different companies, somehow I'm always involved, so yeah. And then of course I have my podcast, I'm a podcast guest all the time. So yeah. Comes with the territory. It does. It does. It does. Why don't we just like jump in with, with your story, cuz I think your story is like the launching point for your whole, your whole.
[00:00:56] Everything your whole everything. Yeah. So, so, so tell us who, who is Michael and what's your story? Yeah. So today, you know, I'm an award-winning speaker bestselling author award-winning podcast, host, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right. But you know, that's, that's not, he has it off. So, so casually. Yes. It's just not what I come from. Right. It's a, it's a byproduct of really moving towards my life mission and goal, which is to end generational trauma in my lifetime through education and information. So another kid doesn't have a story like mine. So, you know, it's kind of like all the things that I am today for a purpose. You know what? I grew up in Indiana in Indianapolis, my mom was a drug addict and alcoholic. When I was four years old, she actually cut off my right index finger. Great. So that's come back on. Yeah. So I've had like, I don't know if you can see it in the video. So I've had yeah, multiple skin graft. It's discolored five surgeries. Can't fill it missing half the fingernail, blah, blah, blah. Right. And that's from. You know, that, that old adage people always like, well, how could your mother do that? And I'm like, look, hurt people, hurt people. And you know, you look at the way my grandmother treated her and you go, oh, this is generational.
[00:02:11] So how did her grandma treat her and so on and so forth. And so that's foundation, right? Yeah. She married my step when I was. Super abusive. He'd kick the shit outta my brothers. And I put me in the hospital multiple times would smash my heads in the wall, lock me in closets. Like, and this dude's like 6' 4", 250, right. Beating up a child. The, the most scary part of my day was walking in my front door. Every day, no one a child gonna face. Yeah. A hundred percent. And so now understanding, look at the research. I understand why I had learning disabilities and I wet the bed and I was hyper aggressive. And you kind of name the list, right?
[00:02:48] It's like check, check, check. I spent a lot of my childhood actually homeless and deeply impoverished from eight to 12, I lived with over 30 different families. At one point I just lost count and it was getting bounced around place to place, to place strangers, friends, church. You know, we sleep in the car.
[00:03:09] Sometimes there's always eviction notices on the door. There was always, you know, water getting cut off power, getting turned off, electricity, getting turned off. My mom was in at rehab. My stepdad was over the road trucker. So there was no stability. I always really craved those moments where like, I'd say a weekend at my grandma's house.
[00:03:28] And you know, that, that would always be nice. But ultimately there was no stability. When I was 12, I'd actually been living in our house that was effectively abandoned. My mom had disappeared. We had no running water, no electricity. It was August in Indiana. So go figure all that probably was. And my grandma had found out I'd been by myself.
[00:03:50] And so she comes and she takes me. She adopts me. and my grandmother, why that was a saving grace, to some extent I'm biracial black and white, and she's an old racist ass white lady from a town in Tennessee. You never heard of, right. We literally had a copy of mine comf in our kitchen table. My black friends were not allowed to come in my house.
[00:04:11] And my uncle's a member of the area in brotherhood. Imagine the identity crisis that, that carries with it. And so it's huge. Like anyone in that scenario, you know, you go to coping mechanisms. So I started getting high when I was 12 years old, popping pills, smoking weed, anything wed, get our hands on. I started getting drunk at 13 and by 15, I was expelled from school for selling drugs.
[00:04:36] And, you know, we were doing what we had to do survive. I was breaking in houses, still in cars, running from the cops, getting shot at hurting people. I mean, it was some real movie shit. I'm not gonna lie. Like my teens were crazy. Yeah. And one day I get a call from somebody at school. It's a guidance counselor and they're like, Hey, the Dean wants to talk to you.
[00:04:55] And I'm like for what? Like you already kicked me out, dude, what you know? Right. What more can you do to be, yeah. What are you gonna do? Like yell at me more. I'm like I'm out. And so turns out I go and I sit down, I'm in the library at school, the guidance counselor says, somebody wants to meet you. And this woman comes and sits down and talks to me about a last chance program.
[00:05:14] And then I go to the Dean's office and he goes, look. This is the only chance you're ever gonna get to change your life because you're on a path that you know, where you're going. And I was like, yeah, whatever, I'll do it. I don't wanna be the only kid to not only graduate high school, but you know, all the other aspects that come along with that.
[00:05:32] So I go to summer school. Now in this window, I actually got a restraining order put on my mother and my stepfather. And you can watch my grades go from straight Fs to straight as. I literally have the report card. Wow. Because I was out of the chaos for once. Like I was thriving for a minute. I was captain of the football team.
[00:05:53] I was on the foot or excuse me, captain of the wrestling team on the football team on the baseball team got straight A's, I'm dating a cheerleader. I got a job. Like things are going well for a minute. Right? No, you're in a whole different movie, whole different thing. Right. But then my, my mom who had been in rehab and was actually sober for the first time, I remember her ever being sober my entire life.
[00:06:14] My grandmother lets her move back in. And the thing that I don't understand that I understand now, Marcy is like, you go, oh my mom's in the place where all her trauma happened. Right. And what do you think happened? She really coping mechanism a hundred percent. Next thing you know, she's drinking gallons of vodka every day.
[00:06:33] She's crashing her car. She's on pills the whole nine. And you can watch on my report card, my senior year straight Fs. Like clockwork. And so I get a call from my, my girlfriend and she's like, you're not graduating. You know, they put the list on the school. Sure. She goes, your name's not on the list. I was like, fuck because I'm like, what am I gonna do?
[00:06:57] Like, right. This is my life. And so I go to school, Mr. Bush, my business teacher, he, the irony of all ironies. Right. He fails me and I walk up to his classroom. I'm like, how dare you? he goes, I didn't fail you. You failed yourself. Yeah. I say that to students too. And then he told me the most important thing anyone ever told me.
[00:07:18] He goes, what you need to understand is if you want something in life, you have to earn it. You can't get by in your charms and your good looks mm-hmm . And I had to go to summer school and I was embarrassed. And all of my friends uninvited me from every single party. My girlfriend was embarrassed of me. I was a lose.
[00:07:36] And I acknowledged it. I was like, I'm the loser? This is exactly, this is my fault. And for the first time I was like, thinking like, oh man, I did this. So I'm in summer school realized you were in control to a certain extent control of your own. Yes. Well, and here's what's happened. This is what's really crazy.
[00:07:50] So I go to summer school and the summer school teacher to the third week in goes, look, dude, we're done with you. We're just gonna pass you. We want you the hell out. Here's your diploma. And I'm like, what? This is the opposite of what I just went through. You're just gonna give me the diploma now. And so now I'm in this really weird head space.
[00:08:06] I get the diploma, which is fake, you know, cuz I graduated with like a one GPA. Right. And so, you know, it's meaningless paper. They're just trying to get you out of the program. Yeah, and this was the early, early two thousands. So, you know, no child being left behind, right. Whatever. And that was a box bullshit.
[00:08:26] a hundred per I, I agree entirely. And so now I'm working at a warehouse job that summer, and I'm putting microchips and motherboards all day long. And you know, this is, I'm watching the desperation in people's eyes. Like this is where people's dreams go to die, like for real, and. I get fired probably because I was stoned, which is amazing.
[00:08:52] And I'm sitting in my car and I'm like, all right, time out, dude, stop. What is going on here? What do you need to do to figure this out? What is the solution for poverty? What is the solution for homelessness? What is the solution for all this abuse? Everything I was gonna, and I was like, oh, it's money. Like, what else would it be?
[00:09:11] It's gotta be money. Right? Cause the only thing I ever remember is that's what everybody thought. So I said to myself, by the time I'm 21, I wanna make a hundred thousand dollars a year legally. And that legal part was super important because I've been in handcuffs more times than I can count. Mm-hmm my three childhood best friends have been murdered.
[00:09:31] Oh, no. And I got family in prison for life today, literally still. And I was like, all right, I'm not making those choices. do something dif, but I was making those choices. It was just timeline was about to catch up on me. Right. There's only so many times you're gonna get away with the stuff that I was doing.
[00:09:49] Right. And so. I go and I just take a lot of the skills I learned in that last chance program. I get a job at a restaurant and then I get a job at a fast food joint as a manager. And so at now, 18 and a half, I'm leading a team of 52 people, right. And I've never done this before. So I'm making every leadership mistake you can imagine, like, what do you think a bunch of 18 year olds do together?
[00:10:11] Right. And so, you know, I learned so much, but I recognized that wasn't the path forward. That was never gonna lead me to a hundred thousand plus I was working 70 hours a week. Like it was gnarly. Yeah. That doesn't leave much time for anything else. Yeah. Like if you've never worked fast food, like you don't get a complaint about anything, like for real
[00:10:31] And so I figured out a path to working for a corporate company when I was 20. And I'd spent the last two years filling out hundreds of applications and resumes and interviewing and being told no. When I landed a job with a fortune 10 company, no high school diploma, no college education. I started making a hundred thousand dollars a.
[00:10:57] And then that thing happened to me, that happens to a lot of people. What did hire you to do? I was doing sales and I was working for a major corporation that everybody knows. And I was cashing checks every month for like 10 to 12 grand. Huh. And, and it was crazy cuz I'd never seen that kind of money, so I didn't know what to do with it.
[00:11:16] So obviously I spent it all. And so that really. Interrupted and destroyed my life because I had access to do the things that I was already doing, but at scale, right. Mm-hmm . And so now it's like $500 dinners, $2,000 bar tabs trips to Vegas all the time. And then next thing you know, I'm 350 pounds smoking two packs a day.
[00:11:41] Drinking myself to sleep I'm high from the moment I wake up till the moment I went to bed, I was cheating on my girlfriend. My brother told me, never talk to me again. My friends hated me and I was $42,000 in debt. And I decided to put a gun in my mouth. Well, I'm glad you didn't I was just like, you know what, here's the thing.
[00:12:03] I was like, I thought money solved all this to a degree, but you, you have to use it for good and not, not evil, excessive, evil, but yeah. And yeah. And so, and so I'm laying in bed the next morning after this really terrible night. And what kept you from pulling the. Look, I here's what happened. And part of me in this story, I'm always conflicted to tell it because I was very, very, very drunk.
[00:12:30] And the only thing I remember is my girlfriend banging on the bathroom door. And so from that, it's kind of shady, right? The one thing that I do know was that loaded gun was laying next to me. When I came to with my body against the bathroom door, not letting her get in at like five 30 in the. And so whatever happened in that moment, I don't know.
[00:12:53] You call it divine intervention. I have no idea, but I'm laying in bed that next morning. And like, I'm just thinking about life and I'm, I'm sitting there smoking a joint, eating chocolate cake and watching the CrossFit cake and it's like, here it is. This is rock bottom. The only way it gets worse is I kill somebody.
[00:13:14] Right. And I pick myself up and go to the bathroom. No idea why this happened, by the way, I'm looking at myself in the mirror. And I remember being eight years old and the water company had come and turned off our water. And I went to the backyard. I got this little blue bucket and I walked across the street to our neighbor's house.
[00:13:40] And for the first time I stole water. and I remember being like, when I'm a grown up, this won't be my life mm-hmm and it wasn't in a lot of ways, except it was in every way. Right. I was still that hurt loss, little boy. It was metaphorically. Even if it wasn't literally a hundred percent. And so I, for whatever reason, I was like, look, I was pissed off at myself.
[00:14:04] Mm-hmm like massively. And I was like, what are you going to do to get yourself out of. What are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have? That is the exact question that I asked myself and the answer became no excuses. Just results. And what that meant was I was no longer gonna be a victim to myself, to my family, to my community, to what I came from.
[00:14:30] I wasn't gonna make excuses anymore. I wasn't gonna negotiate with myself. Cuz look Marcio's everybody's fault. It was your fault. The community's fault. My parents' fault Obama's fault. Like it was nobody's fault ever except everyone else. But Michael and I was like, do something about this. And I came to realize in that.
[00:14:50] Something really, really important that in 10 minutes, you know more about me than people I knew for 10 years, I was keeping it all so tight and I made a decision and a lot of that decision was go get serious about therapy. Go get serious about your body. Losing now 135 pounds over the course of the last 11, 12 years.
[00:15:18] Right? Not smoking, not drinking all of that. Other, just taking it out. Yeah. And you know, the first four years, like I'm not gonna lie. 26 to 30 was real hard. Like. The most difficult four years of my life, arguably, because I would take one step forward and then I'd take a freaking million steps backwards.
[00:15:40] And like, but you don't have any role models. You didn't have anyone to, to model any of this for you or to, to teach you what to do. You were at the same time that you were trying to unlearn all these healthy habit, unlearn all these unhealthy habits. You're trying to figure out how to make right moves and how to make your life healthier.
[00:16:00] It, it makes sense that it was a, an arduous process. Totally. And that's, and that's such a good point. And that's one of the things I always teach my clients. I'm like the reason that you come to coaching with me is because I've already been there and you can walk down the tunnel alone, right. Or you can reach your hand out to somebody who has a flashlight and say, Hey, can you help guide.
[00:16:24] And, and so when I got into getting mentors and coaches and deep into personal development, that's where it changed. Right. And if I could go back in time, I say this all the time. I would've got a coach before I got a therapist because I needed someone who had been there. I. And I think that it would've been more beneficial in the beginning than sitting down with someone talking about stuff.
[00:16:45] Right. And it's different for everybody. That's just my perspective. But you know, that all those things kind of led down this path where for now the last six years, I've been just talking about what I understand. It's never been anything other than that, it's been like, this is the thing I learned. I'll make a blog about it.
[00:17:04] I'll make a video. Next thing, you know, it's books and podcasts and speaking, and tours and like stuff I never anticipated. Right. But it's always been about one thing like education and, and that's kind of how I got to where I am today. Very impactful, inspirational story. And I, I think that, I think the reason that it does connect with so many people is because.
[00:17:28] For generations, we've had children growing up in trauma and not ever resolving it or healing from it. Mm-hmm . And then growing up to raise more kids who are parented imperfectly to put it nicely and, and inflicted and how, who have more trauma inflicted on them. It's, it's a multi-generational thing that until.
[00:17:57] One of us in that family line stands up and says, fuck, no, we're done with this shit. Then it's gonna continue. So you were that person in your family. And I was that person with my family, which is why I think your story so powerfully resonates with me. You know, my, our, our upbringings may have been drastically different.
[00:18:22] The summation of it is relatively the same. You know, I had a, a draw, an opiate addict, bipolar undiagnosed, bipolar self medicating, emotionally abusive, emotionally unavailable mother, who I did not feel safe with. My dad loved him, but narcissistically involved in his own fish stick and really had no beyond playing like, you know, tea party with me had no.
[00:18:49] Room in his life for anything I was about. And it wasn't until my mid forties that I sort of figured out what the hell was going on. You know, that, that I had these trauma that I could trace back to my great-grandmother who immigrated from Russia during the Jewish pogroms of the early 20th century. I can trace all of that as to why my grandmother and why my mother behaved the way they did and therefore what put me in the position that it did.
[00:19:25] And, and it wasn't until, I mean, I, I didn't have a mirror moment like you had, and I was nowhere near taking my own life, but I had given up my life to other people's. Choices to other people's needs and not my own. My epiphany came as a mom realizing that I wanted better for my own children and that I didn't want this life that I had created.
[00:19:55] And this marriage that I was in for my own kids. And there, the only way they were going to have a shot at not having this shit be their life was if I changed my life and therefore theirs. It's amazing. So, you know, for me, it wasn't a mirror, but it was the sunrise coming through the window and seeing the shadow of the window.
[00:20:20] I, I don't know. It was just a palpable moment for me. That's beautiful. And a lot of people, you know, we have those moments there. There's a quote. I swear. I have to remember who said it. I apologize. But it's from stoicism and they say that, A man of courage dies one death and a coward dies a thousand.
[00:20:39] And I think about how many times in our lives, not necessarily even to just your point in your story, particularly, but in general, in our lives where it's like, we have to face the truth of the reality of the world that we live in. Right. And everything changes when you do. And that's the reason why you were able to be the one, right?
[00:20:59] Because you said I'm gonna face the truth. That's like being in the matrix, right? You have an option to take, right. Red pill, blue pill, like make a decision. Do you want to take the blue pill and continue to be in your Mirage of reality? Because a lot of people do. And if you want to take and look, here's the thing about that too, which I think is incredibly interesting.
[00:21:18] You have every right in the world to be the victim. I will never take that away from anyone. I mean, shit, if anybody, I get it right. And it's like, yeah, life can be really hard. Yeah, it can. So what are you gonna do about it? Right? Because like, that's the thing that's so difficult cuz when you take that red pill and you're like, I'm going to face the reality.
[00:21:37] Everything gets different. Mm-hmm it just does. There's no way that it can't. And if you want to be the victim again, I won't take it away, but you got, gotta ask yourself, like, what is this gonna do for me, for my life, for my future, for my children, for my lineage, for my legacy victimizing things, doesn't give you any control.
[00:21:56] It's not gonna make your life happier. You're you're basically acting as a marionette and giving someone else the control of the strings, but do you know why. Here's the thing, this is what this is where people get caught. And this is what I teach my clients. I was literally just teaching someone this the other day, like everything about life, truly in my opinion is about causation correlation.
[00:22:17] Right? Life itself is linear. It's on a timeline. It's like this start to finish boom, boom in beginning. Right. But everything else is very much up and down. These massive peaks and valleys. and in that, one of the things that we have to recognize, especially if you went through abuse, if you had bipo bipolar narcissistic drug addict, mother like me super abusive narcissistic alcoholic, stepfather, right?
[00:22:40] What happens is your brain serves a purpose, right? It's very simple survival, survival, right? And it does not care about anything else. It can to ensure a hundred. So let's think about this for a second. If you're like me and you walk into your home, and that is the most dangerous thing that you can do, because if you're yourself, you're probably gonna get your ass kicked.
[00:23:02] Your brain says, wait a second. Being me is dangerous. Mm-hmm so I'm not gonna be me. And it compartmentalizes that, and it becomes this reality of service because when you're 8, 12, 16 years old, it is to your benefit to survive by being a chameleon by placating and by bending who you have to be for other people, exactly supplement what your, and then help to please everyone else to try to entirely all of the unpredictable things as calm as possible.
[00:23:33] Exactly. And then here's what happens. People who go through that when they're 22, 36, 57 years old, don't know how to say yes. And don't know how to say no. And then what happens is the brain as a reminder, cuz it's autonomic by this point when you're faced with the choices and decisions of self says, don't you remember when you were seven years old and your stepdad beat the shit out of you because you had an opinion.
[00:23:58] You don't wanna do that. Right. But what happens is the only way that your life changes is that you have to face that and do it anyway. Mm-hmm because then you start to slow and it's about little stuff, too. It could literally be about the steps, the restaurant that you choose to go to mm-hmm by, instead of saying, I don't know, and ending up at some restaurant that you hate you go, this is where I want to go.
[00:24:21] And honoring that for yourself to build this thing called confide. Yeah, because people are always talking about confidence and self-esteem and personal development, and I'm like, but nobody's teaching people how to actually do it. And you do it by slowly and incrementally doing incredibly uncomfortable things consistently.
[00:24:40] Yeah. And so what happens is over periods of time, you start to grow into who you're capable of being. But the, the really hard part for people to like rationalize is that when you're a kid, if you're in a safe environment, you have the ability to fail with a structure and a support system that doesn't destroy.
[00:24:58] You. If you're not that lucky. if you're not that lucky and you're in a traumatic household, well, every time you fail, you get your ass kicked. And so now as an adult, you look failure in the eyes and through the scope of pain, instead of recognizing what it really is, which is education and an opportunity to learn.
[00:25:19] And so if you can rephrase that, and this was what I was teaching my client, I. If you can rephrase the way that you think about failure in your life, you'll change the way that you live. And that's what happened for me. And ultimately what I've come to understand about myself is I just fell all the time and I'm good with it.
[00:25:36] And I don't, it's a learning opportunity and I don't destroy myself. Yeah. I look at failure as a learning opportunity. What, what can I learn from this? And how can I approach it better next time? Yes. And it. There was a moment when I was 14. I was talking about this with somebody else earlier today, there was a moment when I was 14 and I, I was trying to get over being shy.
[00:25:58] Like I was so used to not feeling safe. enough to say how I felt that when I was trying to make friendships with kids at school, I kept my mouth shut because I didn't, I didn't wanna not belong. I didn't wanna be ostracized. And I, I, I, I literally said to myself, what is the worst thing that can happen? If you approach someone and say, hello?
[00:26:23] What they're so they don't respond or they're gonna laugh at you, or they're gonna ridicule you. Or the thing that you say isn't gonna be understood, will you die? For many of those things, will the earth open up? Will the lightning come and strike you? And I realized that the worst thing that would happen was not was, was no worse than how I felt being afraid.
[00:26:47] Hmm. Beautiful. So I opened my mouth and the first thing I said was sort of chimed in on a joke that a bunch of kids were talking about and they looked at me and they're like, oh my God, Marc, you're so funny. Why are you stay so quiet so often? And I'm like, I don't know, why do I stay quiet so much? You know, like suddenly I was like, well, I can do that.
[00:27:08] So what else can I do? You know? And sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't, but, but in the beginning it was. What's the worst that could happen. And is that worst? Does that worst feel more painful than not doing anything? Mm-hmm and then other times I would ask myself what Atticus Finch would do from the kid from the novel to kill a Mockingbird.
[00:27:32] Yeah. You know, there's, I mean, we catastrophize everything, right. Because we experience the worst. And we go, well, now I know the outcome and it's predetermined, you know? And it's like, well, not really. It's predetermined by your own mind and your own mind, the fear that you have about life. That's very often the handcuffs, right?
[00:27:54] It's shocking to me. Here's cor paralyzing. Well, and I, I realized that 27 years old, I had no confidence. and I never had had any, and it was always tied into everyone else. Mm-hmm I was amazing at placating myself. I'm the greatest chameleon of all time. And then I came to realize one of the really beautiful truths about healing, and some people will understand what I'm about to say.
[00:28:23] And some people will not. Healing is ultimately about doing what you want to do, because you want to do it and not doing what you don't want to do, because it makes other people happy and that's about placating. Right? Right. And, and that's a really hard thing for people to wrap their head around because like I used to be the guy who I would always bend myself no matter what you wanted to do, how you wanted to show up what it was, as long as you liked me, I'm it.
[00:28:50] Mm-hmm . And then I realized like, that's really stupid. And today, like, there are definitely people who do not like me and I'm like, and that has nothing to do with me. Right. Your job isn't to have everyone love you. And there's people who love me too. And guess what? I don't care has nothing to do with me.
[00:29:07] No. The most important thing is how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror. And if you can get comfortable with that reflection, regardless of everyone, I get canceled on the internet, like twice a week. I'm like, whatever. If you have a message to share, and you fully believe in who you are own it until the day you die, because if you don't, you're gonna die with regret.
[00:29:28] And that is a life unlived. Absolutely. Absolutely. And what taught me that lesson was the, the, the 10 year period I spent single between marriages and I was dating and I went into dating in my forties. Like the scared little girl I was when I was dating in my twenties and I was looking for somebody to care about me and I molded myself or attempted to mold myself into the woman that this guy I just met and knew nothing about what I perceived he wanted in a.
[00:30:04] is there any way that I could know that? No. And so I was trying to be, I'll use chameleon as your word. I was trying to be what I thought he wanted, even though I didn't know who he was and I wasn't being myself. And I remember sitting, I don't even remember the name of the guy, but I remember sitting in this restaurant and I had this grand epiphany that if I wasn't authentically myself, Whatever that meant.
[00:30:30] If I wasn't true to what I wanted, who I was, how I present myself, what I thought was funny, what I thought wasn't funny, et cetera, et cetera. Then the woman who was at this date with this guy was a fictional character. And that any relationship that I might build with this guy would be built with somebody who didn't exist.
[00:30:52] So not only was I lying to myself and being really dismissive and disrespectful to myself, but I was also lying to that guy because I wasn't who I actually am. And the other side of that coin was that it wasn't important whether that guy liked me or not. I shouldn't give a shit if that guy liked me or not, my only concern was do I like myself?
[00:31:20] In this situation, do I feel safe enough and comfortable enough to be me in this and all situations, including being with this new person. And if I don't, then I have to. . Yeah. I mean, that's, that's such an astute thing. Right. And I think that's so much about ultimately a lot of this is about Novi self, right?
[00:31:41] Absolutely. And I think, I think about myself a lot. Like, so I don't talk about this a lot, but I, I actually cut my teeth public standing or excuse me, uh, public speaking by doing standup comedy. And so, oh, that's fun. That'll do it for you. I say some irrelevant. Irreverent shit irreverent. Yes. And yeah. And so it's probably irrelevant too, also, by the way. And so, you know, if I'm out on a date or I'm with a friends group or I'm, I'm with people who don't know me and I say a joke and they destroy me or they're like this or that, or this, or, or I feel like I don't have the safety to say something. That's just for the sake of making people laugh. But most importantly, I probably laugh at my own jokes more than anyone.
[00:32:20] Then I'm like, wait a sec. I can't be me in this. This isn't the right group for me. Right. And guess what? You're allowed to leave that group. You're allowed to get up and leave the date. You're allowed to be like, actually, you know what? We're not clicking. We're not vibing. Leave the relationship, leave the job, leave the career, leave the thing that you, you don't have, like you're allowed to change your mind.
[00:32:37] And you're allowed to like, recognize that you don't fit in place. Like I love sitting by myself at the lunch table. Like, you want to hang with me? Here's the seat, but we're on my rules. We're not on your rules. Right. And that's, what's really interesting about this journey is like, at some point I pray, everyone can get to that moment.
[00:32:55] Right. Everyone is always like, man, I wish I could be like them. I'm like, why don't you try to be like, exactly. That's the, that's the goal. That's this whole thing, cuz it's identity so much of what happens to us in childhood. Like, like I think about this every day. It's not the cuts, it's not the burns, it's not the scars of my body that were the thing that felt like impacted me.
[00:33:17] It was the theft of my identity. That's that to me is trauma. Right, because I didn't ever get to figure out who I was until I had to do it in real time, which I still do to this day. And like, that's what it is. Like you want to heal, you have to figure out who you are, period. And then, and then as you feel safe to do so go back and revisit the trauma of your childhood and.
[00:33:49] Heal the young person that's still stuck inside you. Yeah. You know, I, I had a moment when I was writing my memoir that I was really trying to come to terms with my mother's death and what all of that meant and what my childhood meant and the, and the haunting ghosts, ghosts of images that I had. And, and I, I was meditating one day and I had a, a vision of.
[00:34:16] Sitting next to eight year old Marcy who was hiding in her closet with my arms around her telling her that it was going to be okay, that she was going to find safety and she was going to not only survive, but she was gonna thrive and create a life that she loved. She just had to have some faith and hold on.
[00:34:38] And, and it, it was the most outlandish, profound. M second of my life, even though it was obviously not real, but it was real enough. Metaphorically enough, going back there, what they call that reparenting yourself. Yeah, totally. It was just extraordinary. Yeah. I had a similar moment. And I think about that all the time.
[00:35:01] Like, you know, mine, mine was a very different type of meditation. Um, and in that I had a very similar experience, like going back to, it was actually eight year old me and putting my arm around them and being like, I got you. Yeah, right. We will figure this shit out and, and recognizing like the importance of that.
[00:35:21] And look, I will say this too, because for a long time, I thought that was like, woo, woo. Bullshit. I was like, who would do that? That doesn't make any sense. And then I was like, well, if my idea about this thing of life is linear holding. True. Well then. obviously. And so I just look, I think a lot of it too is you are also probably in a place where I was, where you're like, I'm gonna let my guard down with myself.
[00:35:43] Mm-hmm right. And, and that's what it, I I'm putting words in your mouth. I have no idea. No, like for me, that's true. I, I had finally found a place of. Of physical and emotional safety in my life where I could yes. Be vulnerable. Yeah. And that's with yourself because a lot, like, think about this, the worst shit you ever say is to yourself.
[00:36:02] Yeah. Right. People beat themselves up way. Like there's somebody listening this. I want you to think about this. Like you're saying some stuff to yourself right now. If you said to me, I'd punch you in the face. And like you're expecting to be successful. Like you gotta think about that. And it's in the little stuff too.
[00:36:17] It's in the, I broke the salt shaker. I spilled the glass. I was four minutes late. I over did this. I under did that. And it's just the little things you just kill yourself on. It's like that stuff has a compounding effect. Your brain doesn't know the difference. Right. And so every time you like offhand kind yourselves make a mistake and you say, oh my God, I'm so stupid.
[00:36:37] You know, like we all D do that, but you have to, I don't do that stop. No, you gotta stop. I don't do it. And here's why I don't do it because I realized probably around 28 or 29. So I'd been into the journey a little bit. So I was learning more and I realized like, oh my God, every time I did something, I would destroy myself.
[00:36:58] Mm-hmm in my own. It could be the most minuscule, unimportant thing on planet earth, dumb ass. I look, I don't even like saying it. It just made me feel gross. Like I don't do it. You have to stop that. And look here, I'll give, I'll give you guys if people doesn't know the difference between the shit that you're saying to yourself and someone else saying it to you.
[00:37:18] Yes. But there there's a trick that you can do to be able to navigate this that I figured out. Ooh, share, share, share, and what you do. And I teach my clients this all the time. What you do is you take a piece of paper. And a pen, which is like the greatest tool you'll ever invest in. Trust me, this is way more powerful than most other things.
[00:37:37] You'll waste your money on and you write this down and then you convince yourself that this is true. It's gonna take a while. Trust me. I know, but you write this down and I'll explain. I am the kind of person who is kind to myself. I am the kind of person who is kind to. Why does that matter? Cause think about this mindset is very simple.
[00:38:05] Mindset is actually this, what you think becomes what you speak, what you speak, become your actions and your actions become your reality. And so if you are an asshole to yourself, then you are going to think that you're going to act that, and that is gonna be your reality. But if you're a person who is kind to yourself, when you are faced with these moments, right.
[00:38:28] Maybe you dropped the glass or maybe you didn't do so well at work that day or whatever, or maybe it's like, you're on the threshold of actually going to the gym and working out and eating healthy. You'll ask yourself, well, what would a kind person do? Would they take care of themselves? Would they do the thing they know they need to do?
[00:38:46] Would they show up in their own life to be the hero of their own story? Mm. The answer is always yes, always. And so if you think that way, I am the kind of person who is kind to myself, then you will act that way and that will become your reality, simple and brilliant and impactful. And it works. Yeah. It ain't go me like meditation works.
[00:39:14] That's great. Right. But like, it's a part of it. You really need to use all the tools. It's not just Medica me, excuse me, meditation or journaling, or working out or yoga or self-help or personal development or therapy or coach. It's all the things all the time. Right. But they all filters through your head first.
[00:39:33] So this is the stop gap, right? Between where you are to everything that you want. This is the thing that if you can figure out. That is where the difference in your life is made. I am the kind of person who is kind to myself, the world already pisses on you all the time. Why would you do it to yourself too?
[00:39:50] Exactly. Exactly. Some people do it to beat other people to the punch, but it just makes it worse. It amplifies the negativity. Yeah. It's, it's a self lashing. to destroy yourself. And a lot of us do it and I was guilty of this too. I mean, look, trust me, you don't get the 350 pound smoking. Two packs a day by accident.
[00:40:11] Right? I was effectively doing the thing that my parents had done to me. I was self punishing because that's where it felt comfortable. You hear trauma survivors all the time. Say this, I thrive in chaos. That is so dumb, like, think about it. Wouldn't you wanna thrive in peace and love, compassion, grace, hope, kindness.
[00:40:38] Mm-hmm right. And the way that you get that is you start to operate that way. And like, I, I, the reason people thrive in the chaos is because that's what we're from. It's like Batman, I'm such a nerd. It's like you, you grew up in the darkness, but I was born in it. However that goes, right. Well, you don't have to stay in the darkness.
[00:40:58] Right. But you gotta go turn on the damn light switch, like make the decision. Can't stand there and wish for the light to go on. You actually have to get up and go turn the light on nothing I've ever done in my life happened without action. Nothing action is the cure. All, and action is scary and unknown, right?
[00:41:16] Which again, reverts the brain to this idea of, I don't wanna do that thing, but that's the only way you go through this process. Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm looking for a quote. I have a friend of mine who sends me, um, uh, Positive thoughts every day. And today's was not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced truth.
[00:41:43] Yeah. I mean, that was my twenties. I just, I stuffed everything down. I'm fine is the most dangerous sentence a human can utter. This is just who I am. Arguably even more dangerous. Right? You have to be mindful of your words because I would be like, this is who I am and people are like, you're a monster. And I'm like, this is who I am.
[00:42:03] And I'm like, but wait a second. Do you have to be. No, because I hit it all. We keep it all stuffed down, cuz we're so scared of the shame and the judgment and the guilt mercy every day, literally every day I get more messages and texts and emails and DMS than I can count where people are like, thank you for talking about this.
[00:42:24] It changed my life. Yeah. And I'm like, no, it didn't because unless you take the action, nothing's different. Well, it woke them up. That change is necessary and that's what. More it's deeper than that. It's very simple. It's showing people that this is happening. Childhood trauma and abuse is the biggest elephant in the room, in the.
[00:42:48] Period. It impacts everybody. And I'm not saying it impacts everybody at the scale that it's impacted me or you, or probably a lot of our peers. But what I am saying is to ignore that the experiences of your past do not play a role in who you are today is dangerous and full hearty. Absolutely. And, and what, what I think is happening right now is we finally have some people who are like, I'm gonna.
[00:43:12] I'm gonna say these dark things and I don't and look, I've done my work. I've still do my work there. There's probably 99% of things that happen in my childhood that will never see the light a day. Cuz they're so dark. I don't even wanna put that energy in. Right. Mm-hmm but I've gone through it. I've healed it.
[00:43:30] I've sat in that therapist's office and cried about it. I've done all the things that needed to be done. And now it's like, okay, somebody else's turn. Can I show them? Just simply have the conversation say yes, I was scared too. Yes. I felt the shame and the guilt too. Yes. I was in over my head. for multiple years deeply into this process also.
[00:43:56] And just say, I got you. Mm-hmm I got you. And look, I I'll be honest. I'm not here to be your friend, right? I tell people all the time, I'm here to coach. And to help you cuz you have friends. That's what they're there for. Right. Leverage them. But like, I'm like, yo, I'm gonna show you some shit you ain't thought of yet.
[00:44:12] And sometimes you are not gonna like me cause you gotta face that truth. The truth will set you free, but it will piss you all first yo the truth makes me wanna put my fist through the wall sometimes. You know what I'm saying? But I'm like, yo, you gotta do it. Mm-hmm it ain't easy. And even the, like the older I get and I get deeper into the truth sometimes I'm like, damn.
[00:44:32] I wish I didn't have to learn that lesson that way, but you know, it's like, you could ignore it and pretend it's not there, or you can face it and continue to move forward. You can only ignore it for so long before it rears its ugly head some other way. Oh, it's gonna find you for sure. Like you can't hide from yourself.
[00:44:49] It's impossible. Yeah, you can try. You can try all the coping mechanisms. You can try all the ways to stuff it down. I promise you there's nothing on planet earth that I enjoy better than getting high eating pizza, eating gummy bears, playing video games all day, watching porn, not hanging out with my friends, getting drunk, making my family mad at me, cuz I'm always the black sheep and all the other bullshit that you don't need.
[00:45:12] Mm-hmm , that's hiding. That's like that's staying away from your potential. People are far more terrified of success than they are a failure. that's true. I don't know why, but yeah, because I've always been told that you're a loser. And so we, this mindset thing we're talking about, mm-hmm, starts to rear its little head again, and you've just gotta recognize that if you can give yourself some accolades, a little bit of love and validation we're at today.
[00:45:41] It doesn't have to be where we're at tomorrow. And I'm not saying better, cuz I don't know what that is. I can't measure better. I don't know what that means, but I can measure different. is today different than yesterday. Great. Well, think about this for real. Really think about this. If you do something different every single day for a year, you've done 365 different things that move you to who you believe you're capable of being mm-hmm don't tell me if you spend a year trying to be different, you won't be different on the other side.
[00:46:13] You yeah, of course. Inevitably you will be. And that's the, that is the word. Inevitable. It is only inevitable. You've gotta deploy massive amounts of patience and grace though, because without patience, you're gonna quit too early. And without grace you're gonna give up when it gets hard. And then be continually mad at yourself and start the negative cycle again.
[00:46:35] Yep. A hundred percent. And you gotta let go. Like, that's the thing, like if I could, if I could give people just like one thing that served me that has changed my life, that changes my client's life all the time. It's like, let go, mm-hmm, let go. You keep holding onto this identity of this person that you're supposed to be because they told you, let go of.
[00:47:00] It is okay to be you and look, some people are gonna like you, some people aren't doesn't matter. Let go, let go. Cause at the end, we're all dust. So tell us about you've you wrote this book, think on broken eight steps to healing your inner child and you have an app. Felt unbroken also don't you and a free and, and a seven day course.
[00:47:27] Tell us, tell us about how all this works. Yeah. I've written a couple of books. My third one's about to come out. So there's Think Unbroken: Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma, which is the foundational book, and then eight, eight steps. And then I have a book coming out on October called Unbroken Man. And then I'm working on a fourth book right now, cause I'm like. I can the app and the coaching programs, you know, there, there everything's let me say this it's really important. Everything I ever create is free. It's all on my podcast. If you listen to think on broken podcast, we're almost 400 episodes.
[00:47:59] Wow. I've been a guest like 300 times on other people's stuff. I mean, we there's tens of thousands of hours of content that I've created across the YouTube and the social media channels. It's all free literal. Everything, everything I teach all those programs, all those books, they're all on that podcast.
[00:48:16] Everything I did it intentionally, cuz my mission ain't making money. My mission's very simple end generational trauma in my lifetime period. Beautiful. Beautiful.
[00:48:32] So let's get into the six, the seven quick questions. Let's do it. Let's do it. Let's do it. I'm wordy. So I'll try to be quick. no, that's fine. That's fine. That's fine. What six words would you use to describe yourself? Kindness, leadership. Self-actualization honesty, no excuses. Okay. That's quick. What's your favorite way to spend a day doing this?
[00:49:05] Wonderful number three. What it, well, this is a little dicey question considering our conversation, but what is your favorite childhood memory? You know, that's hard. I, people ask me that all the time, actually. , they're all clouded. Yeah. You know, you grow up in a home like mine, they're all crowded, clouded.
[00:49:25] God. See, I always struggle with this. I really do every single time somebody ask me, um, I will say this, there was always, this, this will be the quick answer. My mother loved music. And so we had a massive record collection and there were times where she would put on records and all the, everything would just stop for 36 minutes.
[00:49:50] Mm-hmm and it was the music. yep. What is your favorite meal? Of all time or general? Either or for me it changes seasonally, so, you know, yeah. I'm, I'm gonna go to all time cuz I love this restaurant and I wanna shadow it out cuz it's super underrated. Okay. There's a place called Amada in Philly, which also super underrated city. Like people gotta get Philadelphia is amazing.
[00:50:21] And, it's a Spanish tops place. It's the greatest tops I've ever had in America and it's just a lot of good associations about things I don't have time to get into there, but that place, yeah, that was my favorite meal of all time. Awesome. What was the name of the restaurant again? Amada. Amada. Check it out.
[00:50:39] There's a giant golden pig hanging outside of the door. You cannot miss it. That thing's gotta be seriously. Has to be like eight feet long. It's probably weighs like 2000 pounds. Crazy. No, it's awesome. It's not real gold. So don't try to still, no, I would imagine that, imagine that. Okay. What one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self?
[00:50:59] I mean, this whole podcast was about that, but nothing. Cuz I wouldn't be here if I did. But to answer your question in a deeper way. Cause look, look, I, again, you, if I go back in time and I give myself a piece of advice, what are the odds I'm here with you right now? Right? But in the sake of the question, because I understand it, the one piece of advice that it would give is just don't give up.
[00:51:26] Mm-hmm that's that don't give up. Yeah. I'm not sure if, if. Well, I don't know, forget it. I'm not even gonna say that. Forget that. Doesn't make sense. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world? Obviously this whole conversation, like yeah. Ending generational trauma. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.
[00:51:48] But that's a given in the context of the conversation. So I'll go a step further. And I would say that if I could change anything, I would give everyone a massive amount of empathy for themselves. That's very impactful and huge, massive amount of empathy for themselves. Just sort of in my mind, see the repercussions of that.
[00:52:15] Like a Dom. The falling of dominoes, you know? Yeah. Would sort of wipe away so many things. Oh, for sure. Okay, so now, now the last question is very shallow and meaningless, but what TV shows do you watch? Not a lot. I don't really watch television. I will say that I've watched breaking bad a couple of times and 30 rock, but those are all super old.
[00:52:39] And if you ask me something that's on TV in the last seven years, I have no idea. Oh, all of my stuff's old. I watch only old things. I don't, we don't, we don't, we binge, we stream things rather. So, you know, it's like old stuff from the nineties that we like, or I, I realize I don't have the brain capacity to take in that style of information anymore because I'm.
[00:53:00] In this other world all the time that if like you were like, Hey, let's sit down and watch this new shot. Like I can't, I'd be so bored immediately. Cause I've turned it off. Mm-hmm so if I'm like having a TV day, I go back to like 30 rock all the time. For me, it's big bang theory. It's just, I find it really funny and.
[00:53:21] Like those are my people, you know, like I just, I just, that's funny as I watched that there's a YouTube compilation of that show without the laugh track. It's super creepy. you should, after this go look, go look up big bang, compilation, no soundtrack. And it's really creepy. I love, I look that's hysterical.
[00:53:43] Well, thank you so much, Michael, for being here for sure. This is a really beautiful conversation that I'm sure. Going to and help a lot of people. And I know that the work that you're doing is having a huge amount of impact. Yeah. It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me. And I appreciate you because you know of your space, your time and the access to this audience.
[00:54:02] We move one step closer to my mission. And because of that, you're part of my, my, my family. So I thank you. That's how I look at my podcast guests too. So it's beautiful. Thanks so much. Yeah.