Feb. 3, 2023

I Found My Father

In today’s episode, as I explore the distinction between facts, evidence-based truth, and interpretation...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/i-found-my-father/#show-notes

In today’s episode, as I explore the distinction between facts, evidence-based truth, and interpretation. Learn how facts can either set us free or trap us and hear about my personal journey of being trapped by certain facts in my life.

Gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating topic and how it affects your daily lives!

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Hey! What's up my friends! I hope that you're doing well, just a little preemptive thought before we get into the podcast, I'm still overcoming the sinus infection that I've had, and so I'm a little bit nasally, so please bear with me. But of course, I wanted to stick to my promise of doing a weekly show with you about my own health and journey in the podcast, so here we are.

If you have been following the show for any time, you know that one of the things that I've shared recently is that I was going to go a little bit more in depth about some of my background and some of the experiences that I've had and so that's what I'm gonna do today. And in this episode, one of the things that I want you to hopefully take away is understanding that there's a massive difference between what are facts, what are actual facts, things that are evidence-based and what we interpret as truth.

Here's what I mean about that. If you meet someone, you have two different interpretations of what the truth of that meeting is. Where was it? What time was it? How was it? Right? Because someone would be like, oh, it was at that one restaurant. And then someone's like, no, no, no, it was at that coffee shop.And then the other person's like, when we met at noon, and the other person's like, no, we definitely met at 7:00 AM. There's only one consistency, and that is the fact that you met.

And here's what's interesting about facts. Facts have the ability to set us free or to keep us trapped, and I've been trapped for a long time in certain facts of my life. You know, here's one of the things that's really interesting like people will look at me and they'll say, Hey, you're an award-winning speaker, you're a bestselling author, you have this award-winning podcast. And I'm like, yeah, but that's not always been who I was. I didn't wake up one day and be this person. And I did this exercise recently when I looked at the definition of my name, like what does my name mean? And so, if you've never done this, I would recommend that you do it because it's a really interesting discovery. What does my name mean? Just go Google your name, what does it mean? And my name Michael means he who is like God.

Now, as you may know, my last name is very different than my birth name, and I changed my name. I made a decision based on certain facts in my life, like never meeting my father and being named after him, in which I said, you know what? I'm going to take control over this. I'm gonna use that fact, this thing that has held me back.I'm gonna take it. I'm gonna own it. I'm gonna flip it. I'm going to make it mine. And that's where Unbroken came from, right? So, if you go on social or the things that I share on the world, you may see me as Michael Anthony, right? My middle name. But generally speaking, you're probably finding me as Michael Unbroken. And so here we are,I have this idea of this concept, this first name of Michael, he who is like God Unbroken, which means whole or untamed or untameable, like an unbroken horse in the wild is not tamed. And I think about that a lot and I can't help but wonder like what is truly in our name, right? How do we show up in the world through this thing that many of us are like born into, right?You don't want choose my name out the gate, but I've chosen it since, and I've chosen the meaning that it has derived from who I am.

One of the hardest things for me, really, probably in my whole life is being named after my father. And the reason it's so difficult is because I often say I never met him.Right. And I did meet him once, it was on my birthday and it was about five or six years old, and he took me and my little brother to the mall and we asked to play on one of those like quarter machines, like you put a quarter in and it's a ride for 12 seconds. And I'll never forget that right there in the mall that day, the first time I met my father, like he beat us there in public and people just like looked on like nothing was happening. And it's easy to say, well, it was the late eighties, we lived in a different world. Sure, whatever. But I was haunted by this for a long time. And I remember once I was at the grocery store with my mother and my stepfather's stepdad, and he was blind, and he was a really kindhearted man who in the midst of the chaos of what I know to be his relationship with his wife and his stepchildren, it was always kind of strange to me to think like, man, this guy's like really kind and I don't understand why. And one day we're in the grocery store, my mother and him and I, and we're standing there and he puts his hand on my shoulder. And he goes, oh man, you got real strong shoulders and I'm like, 9 or 10, it might have been eight, somewhere in that window. And my mom goes, yeah, just like his dad.And I remember my heart like crumpled in my chest because I was like, here's this comparison even as a kid, I distinctly remember this thinking to myself, here's this guy telling me.I've got these big, strong shoulders and one day I'm gonna be this big guy, which he was, right? I mean, I'm 6 foot 4, 220 now, but I never had any relationship with this man, he was that I was being compared to by my mother. And in my teens, I had this really interesting moment of just being so mad at my father for never being there, for never showing up, for not being a father, for running, from skating, his responsibilities, this thing that unfortunately a lot of men do in this society, especially society I come from, and that anger and being like, I'm never going to be like this guy ever, and not really knowing what that meant.And even today, to be honest with you, I probably don't. I don't have children. I don't have a wife. I'm not married, you know, I don't have that level of responsibility or manhood. But I do remember being like, I'm not going to be like, F*** that. I'm not gonna be like this guy. And so, I'm seeing my high school girlfriend and we get in a fight and this is probably, I don't know, I'm probably 18.Yeah, I was 17 or 18 and my mother had sent my high school girlfriend an email. And she says, I'll never forget, this is my mother's words about me. She goes, all the men are the same, he's just like his father.I remember being furious about that because my girlfriend showed me, she goes, your mom sent me this about a fight that she and I had. My girlfriend and I had had. And she shows me this message from my mom, it was an email. And I remember looking at my girlfriend at the time, I go, that's insane to me because I've never met him, how can I be like someone I've never met? And I just kept going back to my name, literally being named after this person who, the one time I did meet him, and I always say I didn't meet him because like that interaction was at that mall, like maybe 90 minutes, right? From my recollection, it was like maybe 90 minutes, and I don't think we talked about anything pertinent.At least, I certainly don't recall when my memories of it. And I'm talking to my girlfriend, I'm having this conversation with her, and she goes, well, I mean you are named after him. And I was like, what? What does that have to do with anything? And that conversation I had with her was like stuck with me for a really long time.And I kept playing this back and forth in my head and being like, okay, I'm named after this man I've never met who everyone compares me to and says I'm exactly alike, but I don't have any understanding or framework for it.And as I got older and I started really getting involved in some chaotic stuff, I mean, there was a lot of drugs. There was a lot of alcohol. There was a lot of sex with strangers. There was a lot of lying to my friends. There was a lot of cheating. I mean, really anything you can imagine, like I'm doing all this stuff, all of these things that are, I mean, honestly, some of this sh*** was like crazy illegal. You know, I've shared about stealing cars and breaking into houses and stuff like that, but there's more to it, I mean, there's assaulting people, there's, you know, selling drugs, selling prescriptions, like stealing like and not illegal stuff too on the other side, it was like, I'm doing like weird sh** to make money, like selling my plasma. I'm hooking up with anybody who will give me the time of day, right? It's this sense of desperation to be seen. And shortly after, like leaving the relationship with my high school girlfriend and we were together for like seven years, it was like, okay, here I am in the chaos and the throes of this experience of all the traumatic things that I've been through coming back, hitting me again and again and again. And it was like, for some reason I was just like, I couldn't break free. You know how like it feels like you're locked to something, no matter how hard I pulled, no matter how hard I tried to rip myself away from, it would just pull me back in.

And then one day it was really thinking about this and I said this a aloud, I actually talked to myself a lot. Really even this kind of podcast and when it's solo, it's just me and you're in this is me having a conversation, working things out in my own head. And I had this conversation with myself.I was like, you know, one day.  And this was before ThinkUnbroken, like this was way before I was like, one day I'm gonna be famous and people are going to know my name and I'm going to have this thing that I do that is like changing the world. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I did say to myself, and then one day somebody is gonna tell me that they found my dad.And so fast forward a couple of years, I go through the healing journey, we've talked about that a million times. I go through the back and forth and the chaos of transformation and changing my identity. I start speaking on stages. I have the podcast; we're writing the books. I'm coaching the people. And two years ago, no, actually it's almost three years ago now.This summer will be three years, so it's two and a half years, roughly two and a half years ago, I get a DM from someone and it said, Hey, I know who your dad is, I know where he lives. I'm his cousin, and if you ever want to talk to me about it and you want to meet him, let me know which would've been fine. Like, I'm like, okay, whatever. And then she sends me a photo of him and she's like, here he is, this is the F**** guy who for at this point, 35 years of your life has been absent.

There's an interesting moment in that because it was Deja vu because I knew one day this would happen. And in the moment, my response, it wasn't anger, it wasn't hurt, it wasn't joy, it wasn't happening, it was nothing. It was like, there was no emotional response I had to it. And I said something, I'll paraphrase because I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but I basically said, Hey, thanks so much, I have zero interest in ever meeting this person and I left it at that. And it came this idea, this thought came to me again, these memories of this name and thanking to myself, I'm nothing like him. I am so far to the opposite of what that as a man, as a name represents, that I really stepped into the thing that I said I was gonna be as a kid, and that's not him.

Here's what it comes down to like we live in a time where it's not that hard to find people, especially people who are very social like I am, it's not that hard to discover them, it's not that hard to pop on Instagram or Google or even pull a records report and find out everything that you need to know. And I thought to myself, he really wanted to know me he would. And the very fact that someone else had to be like, Hey, I found your dad reinforce the very truth that I've known from the beginning. Some people will never take responsibility for the choices and the decisions that they make, and that we as the individual impacted by that person's choices and decisions must be willing to let go of any impact that we perceive that it should carry in our lives because if you get trapped in this notion of coulda, shoulda, woulda, wishes, dreams, fallacies, truths that are not factual, right? ‘Cuz we interpret things that become our truth. If you get caught up in that, you will be trapped.You will be trapped because you'll never give yourself the space like real talk. You'll never give yourself the space to let go because there will always be a reason that you can point to that person and go, I turned out this way because of. You did this. You made this happen.This is your fault. I am this way because of you. And that's a cop out and I'll tell you why, it's a cop out. And this is a fact. People make terrible F**** mistakes all the time. And sometimes those mistakes, they impact us in the worst way imaginable. And we can leverage the mistakes that other people make to keep ourselves stuck for some people forever, or we can let it go.

Here's what's really interesting about where I'm at as a man. Again, I'm not married. I don't have children, but I do fully believe that if that time were to come to pass, I would be present. I would show up and what I would do, instead of letting the impact of not having a father crush me, I'll embrace it and I'll say, I'll be nothing like that.

You have so much foundational evidence at your fingertips to measure the impact of other people in your life and how for some of those impacts and those experiences have shaped you into who you are. And you have to ask yourself like, is this going to be my truth? ‘Cuz it's very fair that your truth can be like mine.I was abandoned. I started doing drugs at 12 years old. I got kicked outta high school. I destroyed my life, and I could still be playing that game. Or I can take all that information, all that data, all of those mistakes and failures and derive something practical out of it. A point of measure for saying I know what I don't want and that gives you the ability, which I think is probably the most powerful ability that we have to be solution oriented. I can name a million reasons why I should not be successful, right? And success, I'm not talking about money ‘cuz that doesn't matter. Success is the way I feel about myself when I look in the mirror.And I can give you a bazillion, I can give you all the reasons why I shouldn't have it, but I can give you one reason why I should, and that one reason is because I made a decision to not let a name, a singular person, or any experience that I've ever had, define me. I've made the decision to define myself, to be the arbiter of my future, to take the information that has been bestowed on me whether I wanted it or not, because like a lot of this I didn't want, actually, probably the f**** vast majority of it like I don't remember ever asking for any of this, right? And so, I take that information and I distill it down and I just go, okay, cool.So what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? And if you let go, ‘cuz it's holding you down.There's something in your life right now in relation to your lineage, to your name, to your mother, to your father, to your grandmother.There's something there that's holding you down that is keeping you stuck, that is a truth that until it is exposed to the world, I don't mean on social media, I mean out of your mouth, onto paper, with your therapist, with your coach, until that truth is exposed, you're going to stay trapped. And that truth can be as simple as I realized, and this is my truth.

My truth is I'm named after a man, I'm the second, I'm the lineage of this chaos. And the truth about it is I made a decision to redefine who I am, based on what I want, not what I was born into, not what they said I should be, not what they said I was going to be. And that's how you take your power back.

Your name, it carries weight, the scars carries weight, the memories they carry weight, and at some point you have to sit the weight down. You have to be okay with the truth. You have to be okay with facts. It is a fact without question and unequivocally that if you're listening to this podcast, you've probably been set up for failure.

Abusive parents, impoverished home, beatings, molestation, hurt, pains, suffering, learning disabilities, bedwetting, all of these things I'm naming out of my own experience. And so here you are, you have facts that support that bad thing happened to you, but there's another fact you have to take into consideration as well.You are not responsible for those things, that's not on you. And until you let go of that weight, you're never going to be able to be free. And so, when you think about the memories, the scars, the hurt, the name, you'll be trapped in it until you make a decision to carve your own path.There's freedom in this; this life, the circumstances you've been through, the hurt you've experienced, you can have freedom from it. I promised you; how do I know this? Because I live it every day. But that freedom's only ever going to come when you make a conscientious decision about the meaning of who you are now, not who you were because the reality is who you were is in the past. And this may lead to a breakdown for you. You may sit in this conversation, what you're hearing coming out of my mouth right now, and it will break you down and you will have a really hard time coming to face reality, but at every single breakdown is a breakthrough, and those breakthroughs will take you to the next level.

And so, as I sit here, Michael Unbroken, a design of human, a creation, I manifested into reality. The one thing that I can tell you is that it's possible for you too. You do not have to be your name. You do not have to be exactly like your dad or your mother. You do not have to be who they told you should be.The only thing that you have to be is what you decide. And this will always come back to the question, my friend, and it's the hardest question you will ever ask yourself. What are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have? And the answer for you today,maybe letting go of your name.

My friend.Thank you so much for listening to this episode.

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And Until Next Time.

My Friend, Be Unbroken.

I'll See Ya.

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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.