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in this episode i delve into loyalty and, more specifically, what an issue i think it presents in certain relationships. the key relationship that comes to mind for me is the one with my “dad”. to understand why i put “dad” in quotes, you’re gonna have to listen to the episode. mormon punch recipe: 1 part sprite, 1 part rainbow sherbet, 1 dollop of whipped cream, ice to taste.



Jennette McCurdy

Jennette McCurdy  00:00

I lead them out. So I am thinking about loyalty. And more specifically, how very deeply damaging I think it is you know what loyalty is loyalty says, Hey, because we have history, we need a present and a future. No, I think depending on our history that tells me whether we can have a present and or a future. Sometimes the history is such that you need to fucking get out of there, you need to get out of that relationship. And I don’t care who it’s with friends, family, doesn’t matter. God, this is so such a frustrating area. For me, I am thinking of two specific family members that I have gone no contact with. And it was very difficult for me to make the decision to go no contact, because of the societal messaging we have around loyalty. With friends. Yes. And really, loyalty is harped on when it comes to family. But you only have one mom or you only have one dad or you know how but she’s your grandma. Or will you? You gotta you can’t be selfish. Yeah, maybe you do only have one mother, maybe she can failed you. Yeah, you do only have one dad, maybe he sexually abused you. I’m okay with being selfish. I would rather be selfish than hurting all the fucking time, I would rather be selfish and protecting myself then harming myself by engaging in this relationship with this person. I am of the mindset that if a relationship isn’t serving you, you should leave. You deserve you owe it to yourself to leave. Loyalty is keeping you stuck. And small. Oh my god, I so believe this. So the two people that I that I don’t have communication with the two people that I that I went no contact with are my grandmother and my dad. Yeah, we’ll get into it. My dad emotionally neglectful. My father was so neglectful growing up just seemed like he did not fucking care about me or any of my brothers, you know, just hardly looked in our general direction. Never took an interest in anything that we had to say anything that we were interested in any of our feelings. It felt like pulling teeth to get anything from him. He’d come on over to Home Depot, he’d come home from work and be smelling like woodchips and I slam my head into his belly and I got every time I’d scream this little high pitch daddy. So excited to see him. I was so anxious and so desperate for his love and so desperate to see, you know, any kind of emotional reaction that he had to me existing. And it just didn’t come. It just didn’t come. You know, the one time I really I remember him like acknowledging me. He gave me a birthday card on my birthdays. spelled my name wrong and the birthday card spelled as his daughter’s name wrong on the birthday card. And I thought well, you know what he means?


Jennette McCurdy  03:42

Well, one of those damaging societal messages, right? Oh, Daddy means well, he’s just a bad speller. Sorry, you don’t get out of spelling your daughter’s name wrong by being a fucking bad speller. You’re gonna have to figure out how to spell some things, dad, okay, including your children’s names. And then I found out that my mom had, you know, forced him to write the birthday card and whatever. I just was clinging to, you know, the desire, the longing, the wanting, wanting to have that relationship with him. I was the way I see it kind of addicted. And familiar with that pulling that wanting something from somebody that they just can’t give you. You know, it was that I wanted connection. I want a genuine connection. You know, a genuine connection is mutual love, respect and support. You know, I don’t think I have for my dad, any of those things. I don’t think he’s really capable of any of those things. So, you know, emotionally neglectful all childhood by like, pipe maybe 1112 I started calling him mark. There was like this big family situation where my mom had found out that he’d been watching a bunch of pornography. And so she kicked him out. She kicked him out all the time, but this time like she kicked him out for a longer period of time and he was sleeping his car and then I think frankly through some conditioning from her myself and one of my brothers started calling him mark and we never didn’t call him mark from that point on until my mom died. My mom died when I was 21. And I you know, that was that was who I was as a person felt like I had had died because she dictated so much of my identity and personality and who I was and how I thought and everything was was funneled through, you know, what does my mom want to be? She dies, I’m floundering, I don’t have really any sense of identity and a fractured little broken identity. Right, that’s all that’s left. And so I kind of turned to my other family members and I think you know what, well maybe I’ll maybe I’ll try and get this relationship with that I was gonna say rekindled but it was never kindled in the first place so try and get this thing going.


Jennette McCurdy  09:09

My dad had really quickly after my mom died, start started seeing someone else and by really quickly I mean got her phone number at my mom’s funeral. So this was like my mom’s best friend from high school. Everybody at the funeral is like sobbing about my mom are devastated and he’s walking around like, What’s her number? So everybody’s sad crying over there like little you know, cold cut sandwiches and sobbing into their Mormon fruit punch. I grew up Mormon her funerals at a Mormon church. It’s like Sprite mixed with rainbow sherbet Mormon punch anybody Mormon or who grew up Mormon knows I’m talking about it’s actually good. I don’t recommend the religion of Mormonism. I do recommend the punch of Mormonism. It’s good. Ever just walking around wailing my dad’s like, scrambling for Karen’s phone number. And she is like, you gotta give it to her. She’s just He’s got like a beautiful face structure, just gorgeous blue eyes and just kind of frosty white blond hair that she’s taking really good care of, like, somehow it’s not fried at the ends. It’s just like, luscious. And I like Karen, like, I’ll just, I’ll just say I like I like Karen, I think she’s nice, you know, maybe not a person I choose to spend a ton of time with maybe wouldn’t be a close friend, but she’d be somebody. She’s just kind of, she’s she’s Karen, you know, my dad starts in Karen. And it’s hard for me because, you know, I, because my mom just died. Like, I don’t even make it any more complicated that my fucking mom just died. It’s painful to see my dad with somebody else. And I’m torn, because I’m thinking, why want my dad to be happy. Whatever, you know, doesn’t matter that he was getting her number at my mom’s funeral doesn’t matter that the date that they were going to get married was the anniversary to one year anniversary to my mom’s death. She died September 28. And they were gonna get married on September 20. I brought this up to my dad being like, you know, feels kinda insensitive. And I believe they changed it. And I don’t know whether that was just like ignorance. They didn’t remember that she died that day, or whether it was like intentional and kind of a fuck you which I don’t know, I may never know. So I was trying to have this relationship with my dad, despite the fact that I was hurting. And seeing him in this relationship with somebody new, I would try and you know, get dinners with them. And I remember going to the Santa Monica Pier with with them and with her daughter. And one thing is to like my, her daughter, who was who I liked, and she was cool. She was a she was a swimmer. And my dad knew everything about her swim times and what place she got at the swim meets and what was you know, her butterfly stroke and how good her arm is when she does a certain and I thought like, God, it stung. I’m sitting there trying to nod along with like, wow, cool.


Jennette McCurdy  11:53

That’s awesome. That’s great. And I it just like hurt. Like, my dad never never watched any of the things that I did on TV. My mom would force him to go to so my dance recitals, I’d see him in the audience sleeping every fucking time just couldn’t keep his eyes open to semi pure white a couple of times, like just couldn’t couldn’t do it. This is a man who couldn’t have been more obvious about his lack of interest in my life, who seems like fascinated by his new stepdaughter. And a part of me thought, you know, again, trying to defend him thought, you know, he maybe he’s grown as a person. And he’s trying to show up in ways that he didn’t for me. And then the other part of me thought, Yeah, but he didn’t show up for me. So why am I here showing up for him? That’s tough to say. Why am I here fighting for a relationship with a person who gave me nothing growing up. Who gave me nothing but issues with love with God got self esteem with all just, this could go off into a tangent really quickly. So I’ll stay on track here. But like a year and a half, two years after my mom died. My dad tells me that he’s not actually my biological father. I go into this a bit more of my memoir, so I’m trying to just keep it quick. But he tells me he’s not my biological dad. And I’m like, I’m blindsided. I’m I. It’s such shocking news. I felt like the ground was wobbly underneath me for about a week. Like literally, I’d wake up in the morning and I just felt like I’m going through the motions of life. Like it’s an out of body experience. My my world feels off kilter and disorienting. And, and I don’t know how to find my center and feel like myself, I just feel confused and like, well, who the fuck am I? And what the fuck am i like it was so confusing.


Jennette McCurdy  14:06

Do you ever have something where you’d like think of your past self and you’re like, God, I wish he cared about yourself more than that. I wish you had more self esteem than that. I wish you defended yourself more than that. That’s what I’m feeling right now. The thing that I said to my dad, after he told me he wasn’t a biological dad. Was that I’m sorry. And he said to me, it’s not your fault. You were born in your period of three times. It’s not your fault. You’re born. It’s not your fault. You were born. It’s not your fault. You didn’t repeat it, you know, compulsively like like that. My OCD rituals coming out. He when He said it several times, like for emphasis. You know, you could feel somebody in a conversation. You’re like, Okay, you are loving the performance of this one baby. Like when people feel like they’re acting in a soap opera, but you’re like, but this is real life like you don’t worry, you act. This is real life. That’s what the moment felt like. He’s like, it’s not your fault that you were born. It’s not your fault you were but like the boys we don’t cut the boys quiver Mark cut the fuck on boys quiver, okay. You’re over performance, you’re hitting it too hard, you’re on the nose, you wouldn’t have booked the part. And let’s face it, you wouldn’t have gotten a call pack either. Okay? The anger coming out. See, sometimes I’m scared to lose my anger because like, in my anger is humor. Any what? My dad saying it’s not your fault you were born. And there is like one part of deep, deep in the depths of my mind deep in the depths of my soul where a shred of dignity existed where a seedling of dignity was about to start sprouting. I was thinking, why is he saying this to me? Why is he saying it’s not my fault? Why is this the phrase that he’s choosing to say, and why am I apologizing to him? But I shoved that part of me down. I showed that dignity I showed that self trust, I showed that sense of identity, a sense of self down for the sake of what, you guessed it, loyalty, keeping this relationship around, because he’s my dad, quote, unquote. I mean, he’s actually not as I just found out, but he was my dad, he raised me. So I told myself this these kinds of thoughts. Oh, well, but he raised me. And then I think the other part of me is going but did he. You interpret I said completely emotionally neglectful, clearly didn’t want to be there. couldn’t stay away for any family outing ever didn’t give a flying fuck, didn’t know anything about us, me or my brothers. I’ll speak for just myself, I’ll let them do their own podcasts, didn’t know anything about me.


Jennette McCurdy  16:34

it was a heartbreaking, my relationship with my dad was heartbreaking. It was so difficult to feel like just a fucking burden. But just to feel that as a child of like, this person does not want me here. And so what I realized eventually was that me trying to have a relationship with my dad was me trying to earn love and me trying to be wanted in a relationship, where I wasn’t wanted when it counted. And frankly, I think if he was being honest with himself, he would realize that he didn’t really want a relationship with me as an adult either. He was doing it to assuage his own guilt. So many relationships, I think, are just built off of trying to assuage your own guilt for past mistakes. And I think that’s a fucking scary place to be. But so I’d even like try and buy. Yeah, by his love earned his love. I remember, but he, he liked biking, I buy him a bike, and I’m a real state of the art bike that I thought would, oh, maybe you’ll love me, this and I didn’t feel any, any improvement in our relationship. I didn’t feel you know, we’re still we’re seeing each other time to time I’m getting these dinners, but I didn’t feel any connection. I bought him a car. Oh, he’s always wanted a truck, I’m gonna buy him a nice truck. That didn’t do it. And eventually, I wish I could pinpoint a thing as to like how this happened. But was it you know, just therapy or growth growing as a person age was it, you know, having support systems around me and authentic relationships with people that actually did care about me that did want to fucking see me. I don’t know what it was. But eventually, I just let it go. I let the relationship go. I have not talked to my dad in years, it is one of the best decisions of my life. I’m letting that just that pulling that tugging that wanting that earning love all of those negative narratives that were created in my childhood by that really damaging relationship, all of that washed away, when I let it go, you know, the man’s aging, the man is gonna die. I’m not gonna I won’t see him, I will never see him again. And I am so proud of that decision. And I genuinely am hopeful that this is inspiring in some way. If you’re struggling with a relationship and you’re, you know, chained by the, by the chained by the bonds of loyalty, I was gonna say, okay, Shakespeare, if you’re like, locked into a relationship with a family member, because of loyalty, you owe it to yourself to move on. But I’ll say it again what I said earlier, relationships should be based in mutual love, respect and support. And if you’re not feeling that baby, let it go. God Oh, my God, this feel I feel I feel great just talking about this. You know what, I don’t even think if my grandma comes up in another episode, we’ll talk about her in another episode, but for now, this just feels like what I was supposed to share, if that makes sense. It feels like what I was meant to share and what I was supposed to share with you guys I’m kind of excited to talk about grandma at some point but for now let’s let’s just leave it at Dad, wilty sex.


Jennette McCurdy  20:11

There’s more Hard Feelings with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content, and you can subscribe now in Apple podcasts. I’m Jennette McCurdy, the creator, executive producer and host of HardFeelings. It’s produced by Lemonada Media in coordination with Happy Rage productions. Our production team is Kegan Zema, Aria Bracci and Brian Castillo. Music is by Hannah’s Brown. Steve Nelson is Lemonada’s Vice President of weekly content. Rachel Neil is Lemonada Senior Director of new content. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer and me. Listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.


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