What took you so long to get a divorce?

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Series Premiere: Jessica’s parents divorced when she was 18, but the years leading up to it were filled with “contagious unhappiness.” Now she sits down with her father to ask: why did you wait so long, and how do we heal from here?

Looking for resources? Visit ineedtoaskyousomething.org for info on how to strengthen relationships, deal with traumatic events, and get help.

Dr. Monica Band is the host of this show and consultant with the Jed Foundation. Chrystal Genesis is our supervising producer. Giulia Hjort is our producer and Rachel Lightner is our producer and audio engineer. Tess Novotny is our associate producer. Mixing and original music by Bobby Woody. Additional mixing by Ivan Kuraev. Special thanks to Kelsey Henderson. Jackie Danziger is our VP of Narrative Content. Executive producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs.

This series was created with The Jed Foundation, a non-profit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. Find ways to manage your emotional health, cope with challenges, and support the people in your life at jedfoundation.org. 

This series is presented by Hopelab, a social innovation lab and impact investor supporting the mental health of adolescents, ages 10-25, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth. Learn more at hopelab.org

This series is also presented by the Stupski Foundation, returning resources to the communities it calls home in Hawaiʻi and the San Francisco Bay Area by 2029 to support just and resilient food, health, and higher education systems for all. Learn more at stupski.org. 

This series is also presented by the Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Learn more at luminafoundation.org.

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To follow along with a transcript, go to lemonadamedia.com/show/ shortly after the air date.



Jessica, Ricardo, Speaker 6, Dr. Monica Band, Speaker 5, Speaker 4

Dr. Monica Band  00:01

This episode includes conversations about divorce, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself. And if you need to take a moment to pause while listening. We’ll be here when you’re ready.

Jessica  01:22

Yeah, I think that’s how I would describe my childhood as in, it was sugar coated. I would just say that it was butterflies and everything. But definitely in the inside, there was a lot of emotional distress in some way when it comes to having seen my parents relationship growing up. My parents would do a lot of like, arguing, and I especially would try to hide it away from me. But it’s like we’re a three person family. So of course, I’m gonna hear everything no matter where it comes from.

Ricardo  01:52

As a parent, if you keep an eye, while the kids growing up, I knew that she wasn’t happy. She might feel like, like I didn’t know this. Of course I did. I was able to see it every day. It’s pretty tough to explain. But same time. It’s not as like if you’re not happy. And you live with another person that is not happy with you either. It becomes contagious.

Jessica  02:18

Although we tried to put this family matter to the side or be like, We’re such a great family, let’s do family portraits and everything like it’s like. I don’t know, like for me, it was just like it was it was not worth it. I wish my parents would have separated at an earlier stage in our marriage instead of waiting until I turned 18.

Dr. Monica Band  02:36

Meet Jessica. She’s a 20 year old college student living in Oakland, California, who has been carrying around a heavy question all her life. A question that only her dad Ricardo can answer.

Jessica  02:50

Why did you guys wait till I was 18? And your guys’s relationship?

Dr. Monica Band  03:00

I want you to be honest with me. How many times have you reflected on a moment in your past and thought, hmm, my entire life could have been totally different if this thing had happened, or if this other thing hadn’t happened? We all have these hard questions in our lives, whether they’re about ourselves, or our relationships, or something we’re curious about, but can’t actually imagine asking. Sure, hindsight is 2020. We can’t change the past, yada yada, yada. But unresolved questions can leave emotional wounds that if ignored, can get infected. And reflecting on our life experiences alone may leave us with more questions than answers. And that can be really frickin hard. So that’s where I come in. Hi, hello, my name is Monica. I’m an award winning trauma therapist and owner of an awesome group practice in Washington, DC. I’m super passionate about mental health equity. And when I’m not seeing clients, I’m teaching the next generation of therapists and I’m excited to bring my skills to the show. Each week I’ll sit down with a young person as they ask a parent, friend or partner that one question that’s hard to approach but impossible to ignore.

Speaker 4  04:13

I was wondering how your view has changed of me based on everything we’ve been through?

Speaker 5  04:21

What does home mean after being displaced by the climate crisis?

Speaker 6  04:26

I understand you want me to be a teenager, but what do you want me to do? And I have those adult responsibilities.

Speaker 7  04:33

I wanted to know how you can love me after all I’ve entered.

Dr. Monica Band  04:38

This is a show where young people find answers and take the first step to strengthen the most important relationships in their lives. Together will bridge the gap between the things we’re afraid to say in the words we need to hear. This is I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING and I am your host Dr. Monica Band. before we get started, I want to be clear. While I’m a professional therapist, this technically isn’t therapy. It’s a podcast, which has been created by a team of people for you. This show features edited conversations with guests who are screened through an application and vetting process. And they speak with me ahead of time to make sure we respect the boundaries of our conversations. So in this 10 part series, I’ll be talking with young people across the US at different stages of their mental health journeys to work through some very real challenges in real time. Today, I’m talking with Jessica and her dad Ricardo.

Jessica  05:43

On my 18th birthday, I just remember waking up that morning and I just felt like this is not where I felt like I was going to be 18.

Dr. Monica Band  05:52

Today, Jessica is a psychology student at UC Berkeley, who describes herself as outgoing and adventurous. But just a few years ago, she was a fairly quiet teen growing up in the bay area as an only child and a Mexican American family, a family that appeared perfect from the outside, but behind closed doors, it was a very different reality. Still, Jessica’s parents wanted their daughter’s 18th birthday to be perfect. So they threw her a big party in their backyard with balloons, presents and rows of tables filled with delicious food. But the sweet gesture quickly soured when her parents started to argue.

Jessica  06:31

See, my dad and my mom not get along. During my 18th birthday. I don’t know I just brought back so many emotional like childhood memories of just my mom telling me like, oh, like your dad’s telling me this and telling me that she would come and tell me everything. And as a child, like when you see your your mom, you know, telling you everything it feels, you know, it’s one sided, and my dad just also like, oh, he was not in the best conditions and he was just drunk.

Ricardo  06:58

At the party. I consider myself kind of clumsy at times, or most of the times, you might not believe me, but I’m not a drinker.

Dr. Monica Band  07:09

Jessica’s dad, Ricardo grew up in a very strict do what you’re told household. According to him, there was a lot of pressure to follow the church and hide your emotions, which might be why he describes himself as.

Ricardo  07:22

like a silent rebel, a silent rebel,

Dr. Monica Band  07:26

which I interpret as a part of him that wants freedom from the conventional constraints he grew up with. And the result of having that inner tension can make it hard to be present for other people, in this case, his daughter, but Ricardo says, on the day of the party, he showed up excited to celebrate Jessica.

Ricardo  07:45

I bought a new shirt for that day. My cowboy boots, I have my cowboy hat. People were starting to eat now. Right? So I decided to get in line and grab my plate. Were out of the blue. I hear her mom say what’s up, he saw clumsy, he’s gonna get that shirt dirty. And for some reason, estate, I grab a notch or ship it with sauce. And that thing went right to my shirt. So I had my shirt dirty and I was really mad. So I I kind of blamed it on on Jessica’s mom and and I just started drinking.

Dr. Monica Band  08:21

I want to quickly note that Ricardos drinking was not a regular occurrence and Jessica’s childhood. In fact, he typically avoided alcohol after witnessing his dad’s struggles with alcoholism. But it just because party he was embarrassed by his wife’s comments, so he turned to alcohol, while Jessica’s mom turned to her. So a party that was supposed to be all about Jessica became about choosing sides between her parents, leaving her in an all too familiar place, caught in the middle of yet another fight. And this conflict plus the pressure of a milestone birthday built up and created an intense reaction that finally came to a breaking point. The morning after her birthday.

Jessica  09:04

I woke up that morning, and I just had a lot of things in my head and turning 18 was always a big thing for me. Like it was just like, oh, like, I remember like my parents were telling me like once you turn 18 You’re an adult, you just turned like that. And I just felt like I haven’t done enough in my life. I felt like I wasn’t emotionally just ready to be in adulthood. I wasn’t emotionally ready.

Dr. Monica Band  09:28

adulting the idea that there are quote shoulds in the way we navigate the bumpy transition from child to adult. I work with a lot of young folks who described this pressure to make the most of their time take every opportunity presented and lead a fulfilling life. That’s a lot to ask of a teen.

Jessica  09:47

And like that just sparked my like my panic attack. I couldn’t breathe. I just felt like I couldn’t like been able to just I just felt like there’s no other outlet other than like suicide. And during that like I just felt like hopeless, I felt like I just I couldn’t there’s no other outlet. There’s nobody else to help me. There’s no one. I just felt like my, my whole world came into a shatter in some way. And I think just that event just sparked me going and kind of like just out lashing for my dad and telling him how I felt and being able to just tell him like, I felt like I wasn’t loved by Him or wasn’t loved, or like, I just felt like the whole situation with both my parents and that they still were trying to be this marriage that they weren’t happy in seeing them not happy, maybe not happy. And so I just felt in some way like that. I wasn’t emotionally prepared for anything. And that’s what like my 18th birthday felt like, I just felt like I wasn’t prepared for the world.

Dr. Monica Band  10:46

Thank you, Jessica. I saw that your dad was reacting, Ricardo, we will get your perspective in a moment, there are a few things that I want to check in on with you, Jessica. Because when we talk about these things, even though they’ve learned in the past, it doesn’t mean that they don’t bring up feelings for you. Can I first check in with how it feels right now, for you to replay this moment.

Jessica  11:15

I believe like my older self, or like my like thinking now it was just like, oh, like, they were kind of in a different way to play it out or been able to have a different way to have that conversation. As a kid like I, I, I would just cry. Like, I didn’t have any other way to release my emotions. So I would just cry. And there was anger as well. So like, I would just release my anger just by being able to yo, but definitely now like, I would definitely have had a conversation more with my parents, instead of being able to let my emotions get to me.

Dr. Monica Band  11:41

Yeah, I hear that you felt to your point alone. And then to use a word used earlier, unprepared. And what what ate your 18th birthday signified? So, Ricardo, if you could share with me, your perspective of what happened that day on your daughter’s 18th birthday.

Ricardo  12:03

On that morning. I was overing to really early in the morning around 5am. And all sudden, I just hear her yelling her mom, bringing all her our our feelings about it. Majestic told me that on her 18th birthday, we should have got divorce sooner. I listened to her and and all that. But my my only smart answer that I had for her was you know what? When you become a parent, you’re going to find out how tough it is. And if you know how to do it better than I did come and show me. That was the best response that I have for her at that time.

Dr. Monica Band  12:45

What response would you give her now now that you have looked back on that, and you have sort of time and kind of hindsight on your side? What might have you said differently?

Ricardo  12:55

Yeah, I wouldn’t have paid you just said. You know what, we were not perfect. And we made mistakes. Yes. But, you know, that was a way of living in our living. What would happen if we would have split up? When she was a young kid, or younger? She’ll be talking about why did you guys separate?

Dr. Monica Band  13:20

I’m wondering if there’s a part of your story, Ricardo, where you felt misunderstood. You know, I’m hearing some defensiveness when it comes to like, hey, when you’re a parent, you’ll know right? Or when what tell me to how to do it better. You know, I wonder if there was some part of you that didn’t feel understood.

Ricardo  13:38

I was like, stunned. Really surprise, you know, here, here we are trying to, you know, give her a birthday party and, and you wake up to this, I was really stung. I had this kid that I tried, or her mom tried also, to give her a good life. And here she is spin everything all the negative out. That’s the way I felt. Kind of incompetent. And you want to say yes, it was true. But I was trying to show her. I was trying to sugarcoat it. I remember I said remember the good old times that we did have? And then her response was, I can’t remember anything of that. All I hear is the bad.

Dr. Monica Band  14:20

You know, hearing your daughter say that, you know, my 18th birthday came around and it felt like I was unprepared to handle life to handle my emotions. And both of you use the word sugar coating to Jessica I’m wondering if some of the sugar coating actually at times felt dismissive, that like, oh, we can think positively. But then there wasn’t any conversation about how you were actually feeling.

Jessica  14:50

Yeah, I think if I could redo my child, I would definitely be a little differently. I just definitely would share how I would feel more. I think that’s one of the things because I I would tell my parents and I went to my mom, I was like, Well, if you’re so unhappy, like, why don’t you guys just divorce and the one thing that they would always tell me, it’s just we’re doing this for you. And it was like, Well, I’m unhappy. I think the biggest thing that like I to this day like I still take for it, it’s just like, you didn’t have to put your your happiness to side to make me happy. Because at the end of the day, like my dad said it it was just contagious. I don’t know, like, for me, it was just like it was it was not worth it. It did hurt both my parents in some way, and it hurt me.

Dr. Monica Band  15:35

That hurt is what brings us here today. So that Jessica can ask her dad, what took you so long to get a divorce? Yes, marriages are complicated. And Ricardo was doing what he probably thought was best for his kid. But the thing is, children are really intuitive. And they can pick up on even the smallest indication that something’s off. So you can imagine how disorienting this was for Jessica to be told, we’re doing this all for you. But in reality, it was only hurting her. But to understand the true weight of Jessica’s question, we need to talk about another major event in their family’s history. Coming up, we’ll work through the uncomfortable moments with Jessica and Ricardo to help them move forward. That’s after the break. Welcome back. Before the break, Jessica painted a vivid picture of what she calls quote the big breakdown of her 18th birthday. She didn’t feel prepared for adulthood and couldn’t seek the comfort of her parents all while experiencing a panic attack and thoughts of suicide. In both Jessica and Ricardos retelling of this capital B big moment, you can hear that there were a number of communication breakdowns that were likely the result of what we therapist call triangulation. This is essentially a game of broken telephone, where one person shares a message with another person. That wasn’t really meant for them. It’s misplaced. In this case, it sounds like Jessica’s mom had a lot to say mostly unpleasant things about Jessica’s dad, and she didn’t directly resolve it with Ricardo. Instead, she shared it with her daughter. And now Jessica wants an answer. If her dad was aware that the quote contains You just unhappiness had spread to her to? Why didn’t he and Jessica’s mom get a divorce sooner? Well, to work through this question, we have to understand another big moment. That surprised, even me. Let’s listen in. Jessica, it sounds like the panic attack and what happened at your 18th birthday was due in part to this kind of longer buildup of feelings over your parents relationship. And I want to get to that now. When did you first realize something was off about your parents relationship?

Jessica  20:41

I feel like I first realized that my parents relationship was not the best back since I was around five, probably even four. It was really young age, my mom found out that my dad was cheating on her. Like the one picture that I had that still six spaces day was, I think my mom asked my uncle to help her find like, if my dad was cheating on her through through a computer. And he brought his girlfriend over. And I remember like uncle’s girlfriend like putting me in a whole different room. And she telling me to like, like, basically just pay attention to her. Like she had a thing activities for me to do. Although like I was doing activity, I still like I was, I was clearly hearing when my mom was saying to my uncle, and just hearing my mom break down and cry and everything. And just hearing her cry was just like the first initiative like have that. Yeah.

Dr. Monica Band  21:35

I can see how that brings up a lot of feelings for you, even as you recall it. And thank you for giving that example explicitly. Again, I mean, I’m hearing you recognize some really big adult heavy things when you were younger. I want to get your dad’s reaction to what you’ve just shared. Ricardo, go ahead.

Ricardo  22:04

I knew that that was the turning point. I knew the worry that everything started. But I was really close to my friends at work at the post office. And they will tell me, so you only have one daughter, right? I go yes. And I hang around people that had two daughters or three daughters. And he told me you know what, you will always be the bad guy. No matter what you always be the bad guy, no matter how things turn out.

Dr. Monica Band  22:32

Well, if I can interrupt, I mean, I’m hearing you get some support from your colleagues. But my initial question was about responding to your daughter and knowing that she was only five when she heard and experienced this, can you respond to your daughter.

Ricardo  22:52

I know I was wrong. I did things wrong. What I’m trying to get to is I feel like her mom and her and the people and her uncle. They couldn’t just be more perfect. I mean, professional, but be more realistic. And there was a kid. Keep it quiet, keep the dirty laundry in the house. Yes, I did mistakes I I’m not going to justify myself to you. Mica. But I’m cautious of that I caused that pain. But I feel so that from my heart that they could have not hide it, but at least not talk to you about it when you were around. Because you’re you were not at that age five years old, you’re not capable of understanding these kinds of situations. And your mom saw you as a friend. Your mom told you everything. Everything bad. Uh, a Barbie, ever since really young age at her mom will always try to be her friend, not a mother, it will be better just to, to clear up between the two adults involved. Not to put your kid in the middle of this.

Dr. Monica Band  24:16

I do not disagree with that. I think that’s appropriate to your point. And to have a child exposed to something painful, like that’s tough. But what I’m trying to also focus on is that you’re recognizing and acknowledging that that situation did occur. There was infidelity involved. My daughter found out about that when she was much too young. It could have been handled differently. But what I really want us to focus on is maybe what Jessica needed from you at that point. So I know we can’t rewrite the past. I know that that’s not something that can change. Now, that’s not what I’m asking. But what I’m trying to do is see You how maybe we can make peace right now with admitting that these things have happened between you two? Because what was missing at least and Jessica, please feel free to interrupt me or I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I think what was missing was you in and all of that. Is that fair to say, Jessica?

Jessica  25:22

Yeah, in some way. I think I never got the reassurance of my dad as a as a man that did commit adultery to his wife. And then I think also that me seen that brought letter. Not trust issues, I think just like, okay, my relationship that could happen.

Dr. Monica Band  25:48

Yes. And I want to interrupt you there because you said something so profound. If you could finish the sentence for me, Jessica. Dad, I needed blank from you. What is that?

Jessica  26:03

That I needed reassurance. Reassurance of of a dad actually living his daughter.

Dr. Monica Band  26:18

I can see that’s very hard for you to share. And there’s some tears coming out. Ricardo I know that can be tough to hear. I can I know that can be tough to hear, because no one wants to initially feel like they haven’t done their best. But this is a moment where your daughter is saying I just you know, Dad, I just really needed to feel some reassurance that you loved me. You know, there was a lot going on in my childhood. There was a lot going on in the house. I just, I missed you. And I needed you maybe more. And I glad we’re doing this now. But that that child in me needed you. What do you want to say to that child?

Ricardo  26:53

Oh, I would always love her. I would never, never stop loving her. Of course, especially my only child.

Dr. Monica Band  26:59

Could you say that to her, Jessica?

Ricardo  27:01

I will never stop loving you, Mia. Yeah, you’re you’re my priority.

Dr. Monica Band  27:11

Thank you for letting me be witness to that. Because I think the phrase that I’m catching in both of this conversation is that there’s a history of sugarcoating things. There’s a history of trying to do the right thing. I have no doubt it was with good intention. Right. But I think what ended up happening is that inadvertently, it twisted things. And Jessica as a kid felt like wait a second. Things feel off. Things don’t actually feel the way people are telling me they are. And it can be really confusing for a kid. Did anyone want to comment on that? Jessica? Or Ricardo?

Ricardo  27:49

Yes, I feel like it could be frustrating confusing at the current time. So when she was a kid, we I felt like we were both in competition. The mom and I were in competition to see who who did the most for her.

Dr. Monica Band  28:06

Tell me more about that. Ricardo, what did that look like? Can you give me an example?

Ricardo  28:10

I can give my point of view my how I felt. Yeah, I felt like no matter what I did, when I tried to good things, it wasn’t it wasn’t enough. I felt like I was in competition with her mom. She was talking about trips. But the company asked me if I wanted to come along. Because she was mad at me for different reasons. And I felt left out.

Dr. Monica Band  28:38

So Jessica, there’s a lot to respond to and what your data is shared. But what I’m hearing that sticks out to me is that it felt competitive. And then it also felt like he was left out. Was that your experience? Or are you surprised to hear that?

Jessica  28:56

I did see it as not a competition definitely been being left out. As in I understand my mom’s side of her being extremely, you know, betrayed and felt, you know, because it wasn’t just the one time it was like multiple times. And so her Yeah, her feeling that way. Like I understand. So like, I mean, me like being the only child. Of course, she would take me anywhere. Competition could be just definitely just who had more time with me in some way. I would see it that way. And my dad would get out at work till like seven or 8pm Sometimes. So it was just like, oh, like I would just say we would eat dinner together and then I would go to sleep or he would just help me out with my homework. And with my mom. It was like, oh, like she would get at work. She would cook with me or we would cook together, watch a show and then go to sleep. And I would sleep with her. So definitely like it was another thing that like since a child like I would just sleep with her.

Dr. Monica Band  29:56

Okay, and that’s where I mean you said it earlier in our conversation Question, this kind of idea that it was, it felt one sided at first. So, Ricardo, it’s hard to talk about someone that isn’t here, obviously, and I don’t want to do that this isn’t about you. They’re talking about your mom, Jessica. So I’m only going to ask you basic information about it. I just want to understand, Ricardo, how long did you date Jessica’s mom, before you all got married.

Ricardo  30:25

We did, say 11 months to 10 months.

Dr. Monica Band  30:32

And then shortly after, how long after was Jessica born?

Ricardo  30:35

No, like 8 to 9 years. After we, okay, I’m married.

Dr. Monica Band  30:40

So you are all together for a while now.

Ricardo  30:43

Were together for the first eight years. And we did have a share of problems, our disagreements. And a couple of times before she was born, we talk about separations, the mom will say know what she does, she’ll worry about what other people think and people financial peace, and a less, let’s try to hold it up. I know, we’re not we don’t get along pretty well. But let’s see if something can happen that will bring us together again, we then think like within a let’s, let’s try and hang in there. That was the way our thinking back then.

Dr. Monica Band  31:26

Okay, so it was like, there’s a lot of practical reasons for us to try to make it work. I’m also curious and just given the timeline that you provided, Jessica, I’m gonna pivot back to you, too. Thanks, Ricardo, for giving us some background information on your relationship there. You know, I’m thinking about the timeline. And around the time you were born, your parents were having some issues. I’m wondering what at the time you felt, maybe your role was in some of the conflict that they were having?

Jessica  31:59

Yeah, um, I think I mean, first, like, you know, if I, like, if I were to talk about somebody else, or like, well, eight years, like, you know, that’s, that’s a long time for them to, like, you know, feel like, their relationship is good enough, or I don’t know what to be able to go on with the kid. And I think a lot of perception, like perception in society is that a kid will solve your problems in some way, and bring your relationship closer, but in reality, it doesn’t. And I think that’s what kind of happened was here that, like, I kind of came into the picture, and it was more like, not a, I’m not gonna say, I probably was not the problem, but probably a source of the problem. I think when I think is that my mom, and I could say this from her side, that was that she would prioritize me a lot more. And so they wouldn’t have date nights didn’t have the time that they would go on trips before me they wouldn’t. I feel like they started to fall apart from me, like because of me in some way. I think I always tell myself like the main source other, the reason that the relation wasn’t working.

Dr. Monica Band  33:08

That’s a huge burden to carry to feel that way to feel that that’s real.

Jessica  33:14

And that’s why it felt like sometimes I had or like, I felt like I needed to fix it for them. So for them to be together, growing up.

Dr. Monica Band  33:31

That was heartbreaking to hear Jessica put the blame on herself here. Even after just hearing Ricardo explain the many reasons for the divorce, none of which included her. Jessica still feels like she contributed to her parents marriage ending. This was kind of an aha moment. In my conversation with Jessica and her dad. It feels counterintuitive to lean into the discomfort, but in doing just that, Jessica identified and vocalize the source of the pain that she still carries today. And now that we’ve named it, Ricardo has the opportunity to acknowledge Jessica’s feelings and that his actions had real implications on his daughter’s mental health. We’ll get to that after the break. Welcome back to I need to ask you something. In the final part of my session with Jessica and Ricardo. Before the break, Jessica admitted that as a child, she took on the burden of trying to fix her parents relationship, because she felt like the source of their conflict. Of course, it’s not rational for a child to take on this blame. But sometimes it’s easier to blame ourselves and come to terms with the reality that we’re feeling angry and hurt by the people we love. In an odd way. This is how we feel control and a powerless situation, if it’s my fault, and I can fix it. Now back to my combo with Jessica and Ricardo. So, Jessica, I want to get your dad’s reaction to what you’ve just shared. And before I do, let me repeat what I think I heard Jessica say, which is, there was a part of me that felt given the time that I was to blame, essentially, for the separation there. I see your head shaking, Ricardo. So would you be able to share with us your reaction in response to Jessica.

Ricardo  36:59

I saw you as a blessing when you were born. And I still do. It’s just, it was two different people that couldn’t get along. But it wasn’t it wasn’t you at all. Trust me.

Dr. Monica Band  37:14

Jessica, how does that feel?

Jessica  37:18

Good feeling.

Dr. Monica Band  37:20

Yeah, I hear that and it goes back to that reassurance. I needed reassurance dad, as a kid then. And hearing it now, though, is also very healing. It doesn’t rewrite the past certainly not. But to your point. It’s, it’s moving forward, and it’s creating a new, stronger relationship with your dad here today. Jessica, you know, I’m checking in with your motivation behind asking those questions now in your life. You know, why is understanding this important for you now?

Jessica  37:57

I think it’s a worry for me now. Because I would say like, I’m in the realm of like, now it’s okay, like, getting married and 20s 30s. And starting to actually think about my future. And I, my parents relationship is the first relationship that like, I witnessed and saw and, and was kind of part of who I was. I was a product of it. And I think these questions I just wanted to be, I don’t want history to repeat itself. And I don’t want the partner that I choose. Be someone that it’s all magical in the beginning, but you know, three to five years into marriage, it’s like, oh, it’s, it’s the same thing that my parents went through, or it’s the same thing that I witnessed. And I don’t want my child or my children to feel like they, they were a problem of anything. And I think I mean, that was one leaf. That was mostly for me, it was just me want to feel some way of reassurance or some way of like, okay, like, what could have happened? Um, yeah, I think mostly, it’s for me, it’s just being able to heal that first.

Dr. Monica Band  39:04

And, you know, I’m hearing you say things like, I, I felt confused, I felt panicked. I felt anxious. I felt all sorts of things when I was younger. And I don’t wish that upon my own child. I don’t wish repeating that. I don’t want it to be contagious, right? I don’t want it to be contagious to use your dad’s word. And so I’m hearing you saying, I’m trying to have these conversations now. So I can better understand these dynamics and my dad’s perspective while he’s here while we’re here and move forward in my life and relationships. So I’m hearing some worry about if I don’t get ahead of this, so I don’t heal from this. It could impact my relationships now. Are there any other worries you might have

Jessica  39:49

Yeah, I think Oh, yeah. Another thing that didn’t bring up was just also being able to have a relationship with my dad. Again, you never know. You never know. What could happen tomorrow, and I don’t ever want to have my dad pass away and feel like I didn’t fix anything with him. And feel like I never got to know him. Even though like, what I, what I’ve grown up, and I’ve seen him and everything, I just feel like I’d never, I don’t ever want to feel like I never tried to have a relationship with him or, you know, hope never this happens. It’s my dad’s funeral and that people come and tell me that all good stories about him. And I’m just like, why never knew that about him? I never experienced that within Word in my childhood. Oh, no, that’s just the reason that like, I just wanted to be able to have this conversation. And I mean, there’s gonna be a lot of opportunities, hopefully to be able to have different conversations. But that was like those two questions that I always wanted to ask.

Dr. Monica Band  40:53

I realized, as I heard you sharing this, that that 18 year old version of you felt unprepared for the future. And I’m hearing this version of you this older version of you say, I don’t want to be unprepared, I want to feel fully in control. I want to make sure that I understand what’s going on that I’m brave enough to have these conversations that I can do it in a way that’s healthy, for not just me, but for my relationship with my dad. I can see that. Is that fair to say? Yes. You know, I want to check in as we begin to wind down our time, we have a little bit more, but I want to be mindful of it. I want to check in to see if you got your questions answered.

Jessica  41:42

I think it did get answered. I mean, unfortunately, it’s like we can’t repeat history and our go back to history. And you know, I think there’s a lot of what if questions like that one thing that I did hear from my parents was like, Well, what if we did at an earlier age, and Jessica, goes a whole different route with her life. That that it’s because, you know, we’ve seen from different families, and especially that, you know, my cousin who had divorced parents ended up taking drugs and everything. And now he’s not the best condition his life. And I think that was one of the drivers that was like, oh, like, we just want her to be secure in some way. But unfortunately, emotionally, I wasn’t. But I think it is a it is a learning experience as well. So I think yeah, my question is answered.

Dr. Monica Band  42:29

So Flash forward to today, because we’ve been talking a lot about the past. And I’m curious to know, like, as of today, how has your parents separation, and then divorce impacted your relationship with both of them now?

Jessica  42:45

I think, today, my relationship with my parents has definitely been evolving in some way. I think with my mom, it’s been a little hard because I recognize what she kind of did with me with like, with my parents relationship. And with my dad, it’s definitely evolving as well. It’s definitely a work, a work in progress. I think I come out to my dad, when it comes to things. I feel like I’m I don’t know why I’m crying. But like, feel.

Dr. Monica Band  43:15

It’s an emotional conversation.

Jessica  43:18

I think I get a lot of pressure in some way from just society itself. Like, I think I just get a lot of pressure from my mom and from other people. And even though I am happy where I am today, I think that there’s different routes, I want to take advice that I might not feel secure about it, but my dad makes me secure about it. Because although although we have a lot of differences, my dad always supports me. So it makes you feel secure.

Ricardo  43:59

Do what makes you happy. That’s the best thing I can tell you. And learn how to say no, when you cannot do something for someone, don’t put yourself in pressure where you know, you can do things. And you still want to do keep it to keep them happy. Learn how to say no. Yes, that’s the best advice I can give you do things that will make you happy. And just be happy with yourself.

Dr. Monica Band  44:27

Yeah, I yeah, I am just sitting in that I think it’s worth a moment to recognize the very real care and love that you have between each other in spite of all the difficulties that we can refer back to. I can see and hear how much your dad’s words mean to you how important his perspective is a view and How reassuring words can kind of slice through the fear and the pressure that you’re sharing. Jessica. So thank you and thank you record I know for offering that.

Ricardo  45:04

I also agree with it. And we never, we never kind of felt, I never kind of felt like we fixed the problem. And I think doing this even more often can, can help you can help us cure.

Dr. Monica Band  45:18

I love the future plans. So that leads me to another question for you both. What are some hopes for the future of your relationship? We’ll start there.

Ricardo  45:28

Just to get better. By the by the moment, and also, if I see that she’s really happy, I guess and that will make me happy too. I should text her every day every morning. But I can’t not with her being busy. I stopped a little bit, but now I always do. Hey, how are you? I don’t need that. Yeah, yeah, I still do it. But, you know, I’m gonna try to be more constant with it.

Dr. Monica Band  45:57

Yeah. Jessica, go ahead hopes to the future of your relationship.

Jessica  46:02

Be able to have a more stable and also more. I think just more open conversations and being able to have more memories together.

Ricardo  46:17

Thank you. No, thank you. Okay, so we discussed a lot in this first episode. And maybe you even heard a bit of your own story reflected in Jessica and Ricardos experiences. Let me first say that raising kids is hard. There’s no arguing that and I want to give props to Ricardo for showing up for his daughter, especially since the fear of being blamed or ambushed is often what keeps people from having these hard conversations. In the past Ricardos habit of sugarcoating was one of the ways he tried to comfort Jessica, but this only left her confused. What Jessica really needed was reassurance from her dad that he loved her, because she wasn’t always sure of this growing up. And this is something that Ricardo now knows and can put into practice as they both continue to show up for each other. I often tell my younger clients that when we’re exploring the past or relationships with family, it’s not about pointing fingers. It’s about finding explanations and identifying what you can control now as an adult, and that can be really empowering. And a reminder, this is just the first step and Jessica and Ricardos healing journey. It takes time and consistency to work through some of the more complicated relationships in our lives. But based on their hopes for the future, I am optimistic that this father daughter pair are determined to put in the work that already seems to be paying off. We hope that you listening in were inspired by their story and can look to have important conversations with people in your lives. Well, our time is up. See you next time. Coming up on I need to ask you something.

CREDITS  48:22

There’s more I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. There’s so many things we talk about and we’re barely scratching the surface. Tune in to learn more about what it means to be a perfectionist, to be conflict avoidant. And how to ask for help. I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING is a Lemonada Media original. I’m Dr. Monica Band, the host of this show and a consultant with the Jed foundation. Crystal Genesis is our supervising producer. Giulia Hjort is our producer, and Rachel Lightner is our producer and audio engineer. Tess Novotny is our associate producer. Mixing and Original Music by Bobby Woody, additional mixing by Ivan Kuraev. Special thanks to Kelsey Henderson and the members of our youth focus group. Maria Perry, […] Erica Familia, Kofi Green and Cloud Ben. Jackie Danziger is our VP of narrative content. Executive Producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. This show was created in partnership with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. This series is presented by HOPE Lab with, Stupski Foundation and Lumina Foundation. Visit I needtoaskyousomething.org or use the link in the show notes for resources related to today’s episode. Follow I need to ask you something wherever you get your podcasts or listen at free on Amazon music with your Prime membership

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