The Nerve to Make Informed Decisions about Your Marriage Ft. Kate Anthony

In this empowering episode of You’ve Got Nerve, I’m joined by the amazing Kate Anthony. Kate is the author of The D Word: Making the Ultimate Decision About Your Marriage, host of the critically acclaimed and New York Times recommended podcast The Divorce Survival Guide Podcast and the creator of the groundbreaking online coaching program, Should I Stay or Should I Go? which helps women make the most difficult decision of their lives using coaching tools, relationship education, geeky neuroscience, community support, and deep self-work. Kate is certified as a Domestic Violence Advocate, a Co-Parenting Specialist, and a High Conflict Divorce Coach.

Kate dives into the importance of making informed decisions in relationships, emphasizing that it’s not just about the decision to ‘stay or leave.’ You’ve got to understand yourself deeply to make the right choices in life.

In this episode, we discuss:

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Kate’s intentions for the book - empowering women to understand their relationships and make informed decisions.
  • The importance of self-focus before deciding to stay or leave a relationship.
  • The reality of marriage and patriarchy - and the ways in which marriage, as an institution, often benefits men more than women. 
  • Understanding narcissism and sociopathy in relationships, including the nuances of being in relationships with narcissists and sociopaths.
  • Navigating the decision to leave, including practical advice on how to approach the conversation about ending a marriage, focusing on clarity, self-knowledge, and legal awareness.

This episode doesn't just scratch the surface - it dives deep into the complexities of relationships, self-awareness, and the difficult decisions women face. 

Whether you're at a crossroads in your relationship or looking for deeper self-understanding, this episode is a must-listen!


Website: https://kateanthony.com/ 

Featured on the Show:


If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review it on iTunes or wherever you’re listening. Your reviews help us reach more people who want to get up the “nerve” to create what they crave and become unstoppable. 



If you’re at a crossroads in your life, wondering if you should stay or leave – a relationship, a job, or even the town you live in – Big Yes Energy is all about helping you find YOUR yes.

Think of this program as your personal cheerleader in discovering what lights you up. Let's make decision-making exciting and life-affirming!

Ready to uncover what makes you say YES? Let’s dive in and turn every ‘maybe’ into a clear, confident decision that shapes the life you've always dreamed of! 

Get all the details and enroll in Big Yes Energy today

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Susan Hyatt (00:00):
Is there something you wish you had the nerve to do?

Susan Hyatt (00:04):
Welcome to, you've Got Nerve, the

Susan Hyatt (00:06):
Podcast that teaches you how

Susan Hyatt (00:07):
To conquer your fears, upgrade your mindset, and get up the

Susan Hyatt (00:12):
Nerve to go after whatever

Susan Hyatt (00:14):
You want.

Susan Hyatt (00:15):
If you wish you had the guts to go all

Susan Hyatt (00:17):
In on your goals, dreams, and desires, this show is for you. I'm master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I am so excited for you to join me on this journey.

Susan Hyatt (00:32):
In today's episode, I've got the incredible Kate Anthony with me. Kate is the author of the D word, making the Ultimate Decision about Your Marriage, host of the critically acclaimed and New York Times recommended podcast, the Divorce Survival Guide podcast, and the creator of the groundbreaking online coaching program. Should I stay or should I Go, which helps women make the most difficult decision of their lives using coaching tools, relationship education, geeky neuroscience, community support, and deep self-work. Kate is certified as a domestic violence advocate, a co-parenting specialist and a high conflict divorce coach. Kate dives into the importance of making informed decisions and relationships, that it's not just deciding to stay or leave, it's understanding yourself deeply to make the right choices in life. We also talk about understanding narcissism and sociopathy in relationships. Fascinating. Before we get into this interview, I want to talk a bit about making aligned decisions in your life and sticking to those decisions.

We can't talk about making decisions without first addressing indecision. Ever found yourself agonizing over what to have for lunch, let alone deciding on life-changing choices. You're not alone. Many of us overthink, stall and sometimes just give up. Now, deciding to stay or leave a marriage is undeniably a significant decision. As Kate discusses in this episode. It's not one to be taken lightly, but what about all the other smaller decisions we face daily to actually seize what you want in life? Decisiveness is non-negotiable. Quick decision-making coupled with unwavering commitment creates momentum, the driving force behind success. So sure, bigger decisions need careful deliberation, but let's be real. Most don't need a congressional hearing. I know people who will spend hours crafting something as simple as an email, seeking everyone's opinion, rewriting it and still not being satisfied. Overthinking to the point of inaction is a trap.

It's walking in circles. You expend energy, but get nowhere. 95% of your decisions can be made pretty quickly. You've got to trust your instincts. It's making a choice and committing to it. And once you decide it's a done deal. So no maybes, no second guessing. You feel it deep down as a clear yes or no. And from there, prioritize your decision and seek out information to support your choice. You don't need to spend hours in this investigation stage, just gather what you need, then act, move and sprint ahead. And yes, be ready to stumble or even fall. Embrace the possibility of imperfection, the risk of it might not work is always part of a journey. So let me share a quick story. A client once came to me wanting to land a book deal, but week after week, she came up with excuses for not writing her book proposal.

I don't have time this week or my kids need fresh baked cookies. Or there's this debate online about how hard it is to get a book deal. Should I even bother? And my advice, you've decided to write this proposal first. So make that happen. Guard your time fiercely. Say no to distractions, ignore online drama and just commit to your decisions. If you choose something, see it through. Guard your time, energy, and resources like a hawk. Being someone who makes quick aligned decisions is a learned superpower. Learning to trust yourself, trust the process. And remember that not every decision requires a 27 step strategy. Sometimes all you need is 10 seconds of courage to say yes or no and the unwavering conviction to follow through. So go on, make that decision, decide because what you want is on the other side. So now let's dive into this interview with Kate. Welcome to you've Gotner, Kate Anthony.

Kate Anthony (05:24):
I'm so happy to be here, Susan. This is the best.

Susan Hyatt (05:28):
Listen. Kay and I have been friends on the interwebs for years and it has been, I've had a front row seat to all kinds of musings that are in this book. So here's what I want to know. What is your highest intention for the D word?

Kate Anthony (05:47):
I want it to be a bestseller. Not for me, not for my, I mean partly for me. Listen, I'm going to own that shit, right? Yeah, also, but mainly because I just want women. I want it to be in women's hands. I want it to be in women's hearts. I want women to know that they don't need to be in relationships that are destructive or bad for them, and I want them to be able to discern, right? So the D word is really about making this decision, and I want women to be informed about the relationships that they're in. We don't have to be in relationships out of default, right?

Susan Hyatt (06:34):
Actually, so many Ds discerning. Yes, so many Ds. Default decision divorce alliteration is popping today. Okay,

Kate Anthony (06:44):
Today, right.

Susan Hyatt (06:46):
Listen, you don't have to be in relationships with dicks. I'll just add another D word that's,

Kate Anthony (06:51):
There we go. We do not have to be in relationship with Dicks - only the good dicks

Susan Hyatt (06:57):
So what do you think is the first thing a woman needs to look at? So I know many of you listening are in relationships where you're trying to decide, should I stay or should I go? And what's the first thing that women need to take a look at when they're making that kind of decision?

Kate Anthony (07:16):
So often our brains are so focused on the other person is what he's doing. Is it that bad? Is it abusive? Is it rise to the level that it's bad enough that it justifies me leaving all the things. We have this magnifying glass on the other person. And so the first thing I want women to do is to put the magnifying glass, put him aside, put everything away for a minute, and focus on the self-work. Focus on really becoming intentional about getting to know yourself and who you are because especially if you have been in an unhappy relationship or even an abusive relationship for any number amount of time, we are so we've lost all sense of self. We've lost all connection to who we are and because we've had that magnifying gloss on the other person for so long. And so in order to make a decision, we've got to sort of put the focus and the weight back on figuring out who's making this decision.

I don't know who I am. How do I make the biggest decision of my life when I don't even have a connection to the self to make the decision? So that is the first thing is really getting into that connection and that reestablishment and for some first time establishment of that capital S self. I know that when I was going through this, I had no sense of self. It was gone. I had nothing. And I had also never really developed it. I learned later from my childhood and being raised the way that I was, I never developed a sense of self. And so I was just sort of a pawn going swimming along in the river, whatever, and there was no intentionality. There was no choice for me. And so that's the most important thing and that's the whole first part of the book is about how to do that.

Susan Hyatt (09:35):
Yeah, how to connect. And I think that leads nicely into the next question, which is well, why do you think, I mean I have all sorts of opinions, but why do you the expert on difficult relationships think that women are so unhappy in marriages?

Kate Anthony (09:52):
Well, I think our ideas on this are pretty aligned. Yeah, I think

Susan Hyatt (09:58):

Kate Anthony (09:58):
Too. But at the end of the day, marriage is an institution of the patriarchy and it is all designed to serve men on the backs of the labor of women. So when there was a study that was done a while back about looking at heterosexual people and who is the happiest population group, and they decided that married men are the happiest.

Susan Hyatt (10:30):
Of course,

Kate Anthony (10:32):
Of course. They're

Susan Hyatt (10:33):

Kate Anthony (10:34):
Women are the next happy single men are the next and the least happy people are married. Women

Susan Hyatt (10:46):
With children, you've

Kate Anthony (10:47):
Got married women. Oh yeah, I'm sure. Right? So you've got married men are the happiest and married women are the least happy. So that kind of says everything you need to know

Susan Hyatt (10:57):
And listen, these are fucking facts, okay? We're not just up here making this up. This is actual research that shows up, right? So don't at me or do at me. I'll use you for content. But seriously, when you say, oh, well not my husband or not my marriage, I've been married for 30 years and I love my husband and I can also co-sign on this. He absolutely, Scott Hyatt is the happiest man in America.

Kate Anthony (11:30):
He's married to you, of course. I mean,

Susan Hyatt (11:33):
He's learning though, as I have grown up and found my sense of self, like you're saying and all these things, but, but

Kate Anthony (11:43):
You have a marriage in which you can go to him and say, Hey Scott, I am feeling X, y, Z. How can we in this relationship make it so that I feel more included or balanced or cared for, blah, blah, blah. And you're married to a man who goes, oh shit, I love this woman. No way in the world do I want her to feel that way. I am going to hear her request and figure out how this marriage can support both of the people in the relationship.

The problem is that most men, certainly the women that are married to the women that I work with say, I dunno what your problem is. Everything's fine. Works for me. If you have a problem, you go to therapy, maybe you're the problem. That's not a way to be in relationship. First of all. That's the problem. And so I think it is a matter of empathy. It's a matter of stepping outside of yourself and recognizing that if one partner in the partnership isn't happy, the partnership is doomed. And that this is not a you versus me. This is we. This is the relationship. The relationship has a problem. And if both people are not willing to step outside of themselves and understand what it must be like for the person who doesn't feel supported by the relationship, it's not going to work.

Susan Hyatt (13:15):
Right. It's absolutely not. I do think you're right. Of course, you're right. I've gone through many phases being married for 30 years and reinventions of myself, and he's still learning certain things. And also he absolutely has empathy, which is one of the things I wanted to bring up with you, which was a big part of your work is helping people understand narcissists, sociopaths, and the difference between the two. So

Kate Anthony (13:47):
When you're talking

Susan Hyatt (13:48):
About the D word and discovering perhaps that you may be in relationship with someone who is a narcissist and a sociopath, describe this for us because I mean, it gets thrown around a lot and not everyone is a narcissist or a sociopath that people claim are, but how do you know?

Kate Anthony (14:15):
Yeah. Well, first of all, I think one of the things that people say is we do we throw this around so much? Are there that many narcissists around sociopaths? No. But narcissists, I don't know. Maybe we live in a culture that really celebrates it. We make them president,

Susan Hyatt (14:39):
We should

Kate Anthony (14:39):
Do. We sure do. And this male entitlement is baked into our culture, into culture, into patriarchy. And so narcissism is a spectrum. There's benign narcissism. There are people that my mother God lover, who just turn everything around about every single time you say anything about yourself or anything else, it is automatically, oh, well, I blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But just sort of arrested development. And then on the far end of the spectrum, you've got narcissistic personality disorder, which is diagnosed in something like 1.25% of the population. But by the way, they're not out here seeking diagnoses or treatment. So it's not like they're going to therapy. Correct. They don't think, right. They don't think anything's wrong with them. They're not going to go. They don't think that's right.

And the ones that are diagnosed are usually diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, like a substance abuse disorder, something like that. And so then alongside that, they're like, oh, you also have NPD. So if you think about the number of people who are not diagnosed, not seeking treatment, I mean, I think that there's an argument to suggest that there's a lot more them out there than we want to know about or that we would feel comfortable with, as for sociopaths. So the real difference between narcissists and sociopaths is in narcissists and sociopaths, neither one of them have the capacity for true empathy. They are both able, they're smart enough to know what empathy looks like, so they can mask it. They can, when you meet them, they are so empathic, and so this is how they draw you in with masking and with pretending to be empathic. And then you think you're like, oh my God, he understands me. I've never felt so hurt or seen or blah, blah, blah. Well, after a time that mask begins to slip because they don't have true empathy. And they've done on brain scans of narcissists and sociopaths when shown photographs of sad people or things like that. The empathy centers in their brains don't light up. They don't have it with sociopaths. The difference between the two is that with sociopaths, the pleasure centers of their brains do. Yeah, gross. Yikes. So that's the danger is that narcissists are not necessarily getting deriving pleasure out of your pain. They don't care about it, particularly their narcissists are simply trying to get their emotional needs met.

That's it. They're just out. Sadly, most narcissists, narcissism comes from a childhood, some form of childhood trauma. And so they've sort of had a fracture in their psyche, and unfortunately it's not a wound that can be healed. But what they're trying to do is get their sense of self. They have no sense of self. They have no self-esteem. The other difference between sociopaths and narcissists is that narcissists have almost no self-esteem, and sociopaths have very high self-esteem. Even though narcissists will act grandiose and all of that, it's really as a way of trying to get their sense of self. And so they're attached to someone who's really fucking awesome because they want to sort of absorb that.

So they're just trying to get their needs met. They're trying to get their emotional needs met, and unfortunately, we can't fill that void for them. And we will try. We will try and empath will try and try and try and try, but it's just the goalpost is constantly moving because when they say, well, if you would just do this, then it's like, then I will feel complete. And then you do that and they don't feel complete because it's not your job to make them feel complete. You are not capable of making them feel complete. They are not capable of feeling complete, but then it's your fault that you failed in your duty and they're going to set another target that you're going to hit, and then it's not going to work, and they're going to get mad at you. And this is where the abuse comes in, because your fault, it's always about siphoning out of you and into them. And when they have a hold that it's all just going out, they're just going to keep siphoning and keep siphoning and keep siphoning, and it's your fault that they're still empty when it's not your hole and it's not your hole to fill.

Susan Hyatt (20:09):
That's such a powerful metaphor, because I certainly have recognized certain, met people or had experiences where I'm like, they're a narcissist, or just the little bit that I know about it. But the more I learned in that description you just gave, I had a business associate that I couldn't quite figure out why. I always felt like shit, even though I was over-delivering and what you just said about the goalpost moving. And I ultimately was like, deuces, right? I don't enjoy feeling like crap when I'm overdelivering, and I didn't have understanding at the time about what was going on. And now I do. And so in your work with women in relationships, romantic relationships, marriages, does this come up a lot where they realize they're married to a narcissist?

Kate Anthony (21:13):
So much more than I ever actually thought it would when I started out so much. And the other thing that I didn't anticipate being as big or as prevalent is emotional abuse, which is a narcissist. Not all abusers are narcissists, but all narcissists are abusers. So whether they're a narcissist or not, a lot of women get hung up on the identification and the diagnosis. And I sort of caution people against that because look, if it's useful to you in identifying how you feel in your relationship, then I think that's great. I think identifying like, oh, I feel X, Y, and Z, or I think it might be, I might be in a relationship with a narcissist. And when you're in a relationship with a narcissist, these are the ways that you feel, yes, I feel all those things. Okay, so you feel like you're not crazy then I think that's really useful.

But again, if the magnifying glass and the focus is on them and their behavior and what they're doing and all of that, then I think it's less useful. I really want your focus. So in my book, when I talk about what does a healthy relationship even look like or what is an abusive relationship, I really focus on how it feels to be in relationship with somebody who's abusive. Because again, that keeps the focus on you, takes it off of them. Do you feel like you're always going crazy? Do you feel like your relationship has the highest of highs and then the lowest of lows? Do you feel like you're always to blame? Do you feel like you never know who's going to walk in the door? Do you feel like you have chronic illnesses? The amount of cortisol and stress hormones, that course through your body when you're in an abusive relationship can cause chronic illness.

Susan Hyatt (23:35):
Did you see that Time Magazine article that talked about how self silencing is killing women? And it talked about how we have 90% of autoimmune disorders because directly linked to what you're saying, self silencing.

Kate Anthony (23:51):
And I did not see that, but yes, I believe it. Ill send it to you.

Susan Hyatt (23:55):
I'll get the show notes too. But it really is incredible what happens, even if you're not in an abusive relationship just out in the world, culture at large. But if you're in an abusive relationship, how could you not get sick when your body is screaming all the time?

Kate Anthony (24:13):
All the time. And this is what we understand now about trauma. I mean, it was written in, I guess in the nineties, but now the body keeps the score is like, we get it now, we get it. We're really understanding trauma in a different way. And we don't heal trauma intellectually. We don't heal trauma with talk therapy. Trauma lives does not live in your brain. It lives in your body. And the way that we heal trauma is physically by doing all of whatever it is, whether it's tapping or EMDR or all of these things that are all about the physical manifestations of it. And yeah, I know a lot of women who they get out of their abusive relationships and all of these symptoms are suddenly gone.

Susan Hyatt (25:05):
I mean, even just an unhappy relationship. My mother divorced my father after 32 years of marriage, and it wasn't an abusive relationship, but she was so unhappy for so long. And as a kid, I can remember her suffering so terribly from migraines having to dark room cold compress. As soon as she left my father, those migraines disappeared. Not a single one.

Kate Anthony (25:31):

Susan Hyatt (25:32):
I, and they're both happy. That has been 25 years ago that they departed. But do you see these things happen in non-heterosexual relationships?

Kate Anthony (25:45):
Yeah. I mean, look, there are a lot of lesbians that are in my groups, and I do see this play out in non-heterosexual relationships. I think so much of this is really cisgendered, patriarchal stuff, but you don't escape the patriarchy by being gay. Darn it. You all live in it.

Susan Hyatt (26:13):
Damn it. I would've tried it. I would've tried it.

Kate Anthony (26:17):
Listen, girl, if it was a choice,

Susan Hyatt (26:18):
If it was a choice, was a choice. I remember back in the day, Martha Beck trained me as a life coach, and she made a joke one time. She was like, I always make a joke that if I convert someone to becoming a lesbian, I get a toaster. If I convert you, I get a Vitamix. And I could not stop laughing because I'm like, lemme tell you something. If there was even a glimmer, okay, a glimmer,

Kate Anthony (26:42):
A glimmer, a glimmer. Listen, as a single heterosexual woman in her fifties living in Los Angeles, oh my God, if there was a fucking glimmer of hope that it could be a choice, I would be jumping on that bandwagon so fucking fast. Correct. But here I am. But the patriarchy affects all of us. And so I have seen the dynamics, the power dynamics play out in the lesbians that I've worked with as well, where sometimes even the lesbians will say to me's like, I feel like she's the quote man in the relationship. But I'm like, okay, that's not a thing. And that's not a thing, but it is. I think there's the other person is the patriarchal control role role in the relationship system. Because I don't think, like I said, none of us gets away unscathed by this. This is the era we breathe.

Susan Hyatt (27:51):
It is. It's just mean. Diet culture is part of it. I know. And it's just, you don't get, when women say to me like, oh, diet culture has not affected me. Oh, okay, how long you got sit down? I'll show you all the ways, right? There's no escaping it.

Kate Anthony (28:08):
Susan and I will give you the list. We'll give you

Susan Hyatt (28:11):
The list. Okay, we did it. We didn't talk about this yet. But I do think this relates to what you were talking about with narcissists and abuse. Let's talk about gaslighting because that is another term that gets thrown around. And let me tell you something. Cora Hyatt, who is now 23, when she first learned that term, she was maybe in high school, maybe it was like eight, 10 years ago, I don't know. But I remember I was just parenting and she was like, and I was like, lemme tell you how this is not gas lighting, this is

Kate Anthony (28:52):
Black gas, lighting

Susan Hyatt (28:53):
Is direction. But what is gaslighting and how can people understand when they are being gas lit?

Kate Anthony (29:03):
Yes. Right? Parenting is not gaslighting. Lying. Lying is not gaslighting. So gaslighting is a deliberate attempt to make you doubt your own reality.

So it is when you say, I know that the sky is blue, and they say, honey, I don't know what's wrong with you, but that's green, right? That's green. And you go, oh, that's blue. They're like, oh my God. Oh my God, are you okay? Because that's green, right? And you start going, wait, do I have blue and green? Wrong? What? My son, actually, my son has a pair of very dark brown pants. And I said something about, he's like, I don't know what pants to wear. And I was like, well, where are your brown ones? He is like, I don't have brown pants. And I was like, whatcha talking about you totally have brown pants, the suit pants that you're always wearing? He's like, mom, those are black. And I'm like, oh, honey. No, they're totally brown. And he was like, stop gaslighting me, mom.

I hate to tell you, but the pants are actually brown. I don't know. He can't see. Couldn't black and brown. But anyway, so it is a deliberate attempt. So it is when you are in an argument with someone and then they say, I never said that. You're like, no, I know you just said that. You literally just said that. And you can even play it back on a recorder. If you are at the point where you are starting to record all of your conversations, because there's so much denial of what the other person said, I promise you that you will play them the recording and they will still find a way to deny the reality of what's on the recording. So it is a very deliberate attempt, and the design of it is to have you doubt your own reality to the point where you start to lose touch with reality. It's very dangerous, it's very damaging. And it is, look, we see it played out in lots of areas. We see it played out politically all the time. We see it played out racially, right? There's no white supremacy. What are you talking about? There's no racial bias. There's no white privilege. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps the most gaslighting, and then in relationships, and it's somewhat sociopathic because they're kind of getting off on it. They're getting off on watching you start to lose your mind.

And it's a power and control tactic. And this is another reason why we have such sort of mental health crises in abusive relationships because we do start, and I've seen this play out with one of my clients in particular who was still in the house with her abuser, and she was still in the house because she was trying to protect her children, and he is a hundred percent a sociopath or psychopath, and he got so much pleasure out of, he would leave sticky notes all over the house talking about his concern for her or whatever. I mean, it was really diabolical. And there was one phone call that we had, and I got really scared because she was actually losing her grip on reality.

And I had to sort of call it out and in a very careful way and say, listen, you are losing your grip on reality. He is doing this to you. And we're at the point now where you can't afford to stay in that house another minute. And fortunately, she had family members who were seeing the same thing, and they got her out. And when we next spoke a couple of weeks later, and she was out of the house, it was like the whole fog had cleared and she could see so much. And she said, Kate, I don't even know what was happening to me. So that's where it can go. It's really dangerous. It's really extreme. I think people miss, people call it lying gaslighting, right? It's it's lying with the intent to make you question your reality,

Susan Hyatt (33:49):

Kate Anthony (33:50):

Susan Hyatt (33:50):
Not just telling the lie completely separate, right? Totally different teenagers. Teenagers will lie to get out of trouble and be like, that's not me. Right,

Kate Anthony (34:00):

Susan Hyatt (34:01):
To get out of trouble, not to cause you to question your sanity.

Kate Anthony (34:07):
That's right. That's right.

Susan Hyatt (34:08):
That's the difference.

Kate Anthony (34:09):
Very big difference. Yes.

Susan Hyatt (34:11):
So do these folks, can they change if they recognize that they're being abusive?

Kate Anthony (34:21):

Susan Hyatt (34:23):
I think that's an important point, right? Because many people listening are like, oh, well, maybe if I just say it this way, maybe if we just go to this therapist, you're saying, listen,

Kate Anthony (34:34):
Listen, what I'm saying is this is what we all want to do. We want to be like, oh my God, I heard this podcast and I read this book and I found out that you're abusive, or I found out that you're a narcissist. And so now surely if you, because here's the thing, they tell us they love us. And so in our world, someone who loves me would not want to abuse me. And if he just knew that that's what he was doing, then surely he would stop. What we don't understand is that narcissists aren't actually capable of loving another person because they actually don't see another person. They only see themselves. They see how you reflect on them.

And so they can't love you, unfortunately, and this is a really hard thing to hear. They can't experience love the way that you and I do. What they experience is a need to dominate with power and control. And so if you are looking at your relationship and you say, but everything they're doing doesn't make sense If he loves me, I don't understand why he would do this. If you replace love with power and control, if you were trying to control me, does it make sense that he would do this if he was trying to have power over me? Would that make sense? It's a very hard pill to swallow, and I have swallowed this pill. It's really hard, and it is nauseating and it makes you want to vomit, and it's truly devastating. But unfortunately, the narcissistic wound cannot be healed, not by you, not by you.

I believe that narcissists can change behavior. And look, they only change behavior when they've lost everything as a result of their actions. So what tends to happen is narcissists process shame outward and constantly, anytime they feel shame, it's your fault. And they do feel shame because at the core of it, they have no sense of self, and there's a lot of self-loathing, but it's your fault and you're going to fix it. And when you don't fix it, it's your fault. And so the shame is constantly processed outward. What can happen is that they will lose everything. Something devastating will happen, and the whole thing will tear apart. And they have what's called a narcissistic collapse, which is when all of the shame that they've processed outward for their whole lives suddenly turns inward. And it's like they feel the shame of a thousand years at once. And it is stunning to experience, and it's really scary because there can be a very increased rate of self-harm at that point, utterly terrifying. And also, it's like watching a miracle happen. Wow. But you can't manufacture that for someone.

You can't threaten it. One of the things really is when they lose everything, when they actually lose everything, and you may leave them and take away their children and they still, they're going to turn around and do it to somebody else. You can't predict when that's going to happen. But even then, there is still this narcissistic wound. They're feeling their shame inwardly, but they don't have a lot of tools for what to do next and how to be in a healthy relationship beyond that. And it's tragic. It's tragic. I've seen people have this kind of collapse and then really want to change who they are and really struggle with it because their one coping mechanism is gone now.

Susan Hyatt (39:16):
And so is that when I know part of your book deals with addictions, various addictions, so is that when they'll become addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn?

Kate Anthony (39:27):
Yeah, they can, or the narcissistic collapse comes about when they actually are taking away the addiction, if they've been functioning throughout using whatever addiction, because narcissism and addiction go very, very closely together. But if they get sort of caught out in an addiction, a porn addiction is sex, love addiction, they're cheating, their whole lives implode, and then that's taken away, then that's when it can really collapse because you're taking away their one coping mechanism, or they can move more firmly into it.

Susan Hyatt (40:06):
So for women listening to this who want to make a decision to leave the relationship, but maybe they've tried it multiple times, what do you say to them?

Kate Anthony (40:22):
Well, tried it multiple times. They've tried to leave or they've tried to have the conversation to have the conversation. Oh, yeah. So this is a big one, is that, and I have a whole chapter in the book with a template of how to have the conversation because the thing

Susan Hyatt (40:36):
That, oh, wow, okay.

Kate Anthony (40:37):
Oh yeah. Because the thing that most people don't realize is that you're not going to convince them that this is for most people who are people who end a marriage, they're not ending a marriage to someone who's going to go, oh, okay, I get it. That makes sense. I'm sorry you feel that way, right? Because probably you wouldn't end the marriage if you were married to someone like that. But most people, we go into this conversation thinking we're going to get agreement or understanding, or they're going to give us permission. So I hear this all the time, women say, I tried to tell him that I wanted a divorce, but he said, no, right? Or I tried to tell him, but he convinced me to stay, and I keep having this conversation and he keeps convincing me, and it's just too exhausting. And so the thing that I want to impress upon people is that this is not a conversation. This is a declaration,

Susan Hyatt (41:38):
Another D word,

Kate Anthony (41:39):
Another D word, the many D words of Kate Anthony. But this is a declaration. This is you saying, I am done. And I think women for women to wrap their brains around the idea that they actually get to choose, they get to declare this, they get to say is, I mean, this is radical, right? This is know, you talk about this all the time. The idea that we get to make decisions, the idea that we get to choose that we're not pawns in all of this is completely subversive and radical, right? Amazing. And so what it takes for us to say, actually I choose, no, I am choosing that this relationship doesn't work for me. And I'm sorry you're having feelings about it, but this is my final decision. It takes a lot. It takes a lot to get there.

Susan Hyatt (42:40):
I can imagine. It takes a lot of nerve to stand in that knowing that this person who has been abusive and has gaslit, you probably, and all of these things have gone on, that you're going to say, we're finished,

Kate Anthony (42:56):
Right? I'm done. I'm done. And it's really hard. And so then what happens, right? Is that the person that you're telling this to is then going to try to steal the narrative from you. But okay, wait, there's a number of things. What are you talking about? You're not going to give us a chance. I said, I'd go to therapy. It's like, well, I've been asking you to go to therapy for 20 years, but now you're going to go, I'm done. Or How can you do this to the family? How can you break up the family? This is you doing this, this is all on all of this stuff. And essentially what I want you to know is that no matter what direction, they try to take the conversation, this is your conversation, I want you to have it scripted. You can bring notes. It's perfectly appropriate to bring notes to this kind of conversation.

And your job is to just return the narrative. This is your conversation. This is your declaration. So whatever path they try to take it down, you get to bring it back. We have a lot of big decisions to make because they're going to want to know what about the kids? What about the house? What about this, what about that? And you're going to say, we have a lot of really big decisions to make. Today is not the day to make those decisions. I just want you to process this information and understand that my decision right now is final, and we can talk about all the rest of it in a couple of weeks, but right now, and they're going to be like, oh, but this, but that, but that. I get it. I get it. I understand you're angry. Get job.

Susan Hyatt (44:39):
I'm taking all these animals.

Kate Anthony (44:42):
You're never going to see your children again. The other thing that you need to do before you have this conversation is get educated on what the laws are in your state so that when they say things like, I'm going to take the kids away from you, and you're never going to see them. You can say, listen, I understand that you're upset, but that's literally not how the law works. There are a lot of women who stay because their spouses threaten all these horrible things, and they don't know that it's literally not how divorce law works,

Susan Hyatt (45:10):

Kate Anthony (45:11):
Exactly. I'm going to take the house and you're going to get no money, and you're going to look like a popper, and I'm going to take the kids. And women are fucking terrified. And they go back in their shell and they're like, okay, I guess I can't go. It's like, that's not how it works. So find out how it works. Go in there with knowledge and information.

Susan Hyatt (45:28):
So the book is really like a freedom plan.

Kate Anthony (45:32):
I love that. Right? I love that. Yeah.

Susan Hyatt (45:35):
Like you are free to make the decision. You are free to say what the narrative is. You are free to be armed with actual knowledge.

Kate Anthony (45:46):
Yes. And you're free to create a life that you fucking love.

Susan Hyatt (45:50):
Yes. Wow. Can you imagine what politics, the economy? I mean, the world at large would be like if all women felt free to be in or out of a relationship as they choose.

Kate Anthony (46:08):
Can you imagine?

Susan Hyatt (46:10):
I mean,

Kate Anthony (46:11):
Can you imagine

Susan Hyatt (46:12):
You're a vigilante, Kate Anthony?

Kate Anthony (46:16):
I love it. I take it. I accept it. We're

Susan Hyatt (46:22):
Obviously so excited about the release of this book. Is there anything we of course, are going to put in the show notes how people can buy the book and make it a bestseller. Is there anything that you want to say in closing, any way you want people to engage with you after listening to this podcast?

Kate Anthony (46:41):
I love you. Thank you, Susan. Listen, my website is kate anthony.com. Head on over there. Follow me on Instagram at the Divorce Survival Guide. My podcast is the Divorce Survival Guide podcast. And yeah, buy the book.

Susan Hyatt (47:00):
Get the book support authors.

Kate Anthony (47:02):
Get the book. That's right. And listen, I just want all women to know, as Susan just said, we are free. We are free. We just have to recognize that we're free. We actually do have the choice. We just have to take it.

Susan Hyatt (47:22):
We do. And I have one parting funny in that my older sister has been married and divorced multiple times, so she doesn't have a problem making the decision. And one thing that she likes to say, because she has been married to people who didn't want to end things like adults, she always says, pack your jewelry before you have the conversation. Pack your jewelry.

Kate Anthony (47:49):
He's not wrong. She's not wrong.

Susan Hyatt (47:54):
Pack your fucking jewelry and have the conversation. Well, thank you, Kate. I can't wait to watch this climb. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times bestseller list. This is going to be epic

Kate Anthony (48:07):
From your lips, my friend. Thank you so much.

Susan Hyatt (48:10):
Thanks for being here. Thinking about what's next in life. Big. Yes. Energy is all about rediscovering your spark and making your second act even more awesome than the first. Join us, and let's turn life into an adventure where asking for what you want becomes as natural as breathing. Craft a life full of joy, excitement, and big, bold yes moments. Ready to dive into your incredible next act in life. Get all the details and enroll in Big Yes Energy today. The link is in the show notes.

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