Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:05):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:09):
And I'm Beth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:10):
I've been in recovery for 14 years and am the author of Discovering My Scars, my memoir about my mental health struggles, experiences and faith.
Beth Demme (00:17):
I'm a lawyer turned pastor who's all about self-awareness and emotional health, because I know what it's like to have neither of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:23):
Beth and I have been friends for years, have gone through a recovery program together and when I wanted to start a podcast, she was the only name that came to mind as co-host.
Beth Demme (00:31):
I didn't hesitate to say yes, because I've learned a lot from honest conversations with Steph over the years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:36):
We value honest conversations, we hope you do too.
Beth Demme (00:39):
That's why we do this and why we want you to be part of what we're discussing today. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, The Moment I Realized My Dad's Not Superman.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:49):
Then we'll share a slice of life and the show will close with questions for reflection, where we will invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Beth Demme (00:57):
So Steph, I think that when we are growing up, if we have at least decent parents, I don't know how it is for folks who have really terrible parents, but I think if you at least have decent parents, we tend to idolize our parents, right? They're the rule makers, so if they're saying what's right and what's wrong, it's like they can't do any wrong, that's just how we learn. Did you grow up that way? I'm not the only one, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:21):
You're the only one Beth, done, episode over. Yeah, for sure. Growing up, my mom stayed at home with us so I spent a lot of time with my mom. My dad, he would be at work all day and then he would come home, so I didn't spend as much time with him. Really, when I think back to it, my dad was more of this mysterious, superhero in my mind, superhero fantasy in my mind because, he was my dad, he went to work, he came home, he would play with us and he could do no wrong, he was my dad. And so I definitely feel like I idolized him in that sense. My mom, I have a more realistic view of I feel, because I have spent so much time with her, my whole life, I work with her now. So still going strong. So I would say, I don't know if I've ever thought of her as Superman or some superhero, but she's a mom, so she is actually a superhero obviously.
Beth Demme (02:26):
True, true. I agree. Absolutely. As a mom, I have to say that's absolutely true, moms are super heroes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:30):
And they make magic.
Beth Demme (02:34):
But there comes a time when we start to realize, I guess that our parents are human and therefore they're not perfect, I guess sometimes it happens in our teenage years right? And then there's this, people have this rebellious period, although I don't think you or I were very good at that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:53):
Oh, I was so rebellious. Bad. Let me tell you, I can't even think of anything. I was in Girl Scouts and oh, I rebelled against my mom by staying in Girl Scouts. Yeah.
Beth Demme (03:07):
Yeah. We weren't so good at the rebellion.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:09):
We will not be able to chat about our rebellious side, but maybe your daughter will bring it home strong for us.
Beth Demme (03:14):
I hope not. Oh, I hope not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:16):
She's literally at that age though. She's 16, right?
Beth Demme (03:18):
Yeah. She's 16 and a half.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:20):
And a half, oh okay.
Beth Demme (03:21):
Yes, as she is fond of saying that she'll be 18 in a year and a half, okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:26):
Beth Demme (03:26):
Excellent. Let's count it down.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:28):
16 and a half.
Beth Demme (03:30):
Yeah. So far so good with both my kids.
New Speaker (03:35):
It can be disconcerting to realize that someone we've put on a pedestal really doesn't belong on that pedestal and it might not even be their fault they're on the pedestal. They may have never asked to be there, but we've put them there and then the other thing is, and we're going to talk about some specific examples, but the other thing is that with dads, I wonder if we don't inadvertently elevate them in church for those of us who are church folks, because we talk about God, the father. And if that doesn't maybe elevate earthly fathers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:11):
Yeah. I've always thought that is strange, using the term father for God and yet that's an earthly term we use for human fathers and I've always thought that's confusing, especially when you're bringing a kid up in the church and you're telling them, "This is your biological father, this is your heavenly father." How is a kid not going to get that confused when your brains are just starting to form? And that could be why I have, for a long time, I had an unrealistic view of my human father because I'm then now turned around and told in church about this heavenly father that is more than a superhero, so that could possibly be where it comes from, which I don't think is healthy.
Beth Demme (05:04):
Yeah. I have heard of people having trouble relating to God, the father, because of having a strained relationship with their earthly father or having an earthly father who's absent. But I guess, until we started talking about this, I hadn't really thought about how referring to God as the father somehow elevates earthly fathers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:27):
Yeah, because I don't think it makes God less than himself, I think it's the opposite. It elevates humans, which is unrealistic, you'll never achieve that. Your birth fathers will always fail you if that's where you're trying to compare them to.
Beth Demme (05:46):
Yeah, because they're human.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:47):
Beth Demme (05:47):
Yeah. And even though I recognize, absolutely recognize that God does not have a gender, it still takes work for me to think of God as mother.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:57):
Beth Demme (05:57):
Because it's just such an ingrained...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:59):
Well, I don't really like trying to put these words that we have put onto humans onto God, because that's, I think mother, father, I think both are confusing terminology and can be hurtful, like you said, for people with strained relationships, things like that. I wish there was a better term we could use.
Beth Demme (06:19):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:21):
Yeah. I mean, that's a great one.
Beth Demme (06:22):
Maybe we should just do that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:24):
Well, can we change all the books and all of the people that say father?
Beth Demme (06:28):
Yeah. Actually we have taken it out of our communion liturgy. I'm thinking of this because I've just done it. But when we are entering into the sacrament of communion in the United Methodist Church, we do something called the Great Thanksgiving and it tells the story of humanity's relationship with God and then leads us to the point of Jesus and leads us to the point of communion where we can receive the real presence of God. And we used to always say, Father Almighty, and now we don't. Now we say Almighty God, which makes more sense.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:11):
How about the Lord's prayer?
Beth Demme (07:13):
Yeah. It's still there. Our father who art in heaven, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:16):
Our God who art in heaven?
Beth Demme (07:18):
Yeah, why not?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:19):
Just change that. Yeah. Our God who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come...
Beth Demme (07:23):
Thy will be done...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:24):
On Earth as it is in heaven.
Beth Demme (07:25):
Give us this day...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:26):
Our daily bread...
Beth Demme (07:28):
And forgive us our trespasses...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:29):
As we forgive those who trespass against us...
Beth Demme (07:31):
And lead us not...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:32):
Beth Demme (07:34):
But deliver us...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:34):
Beth Demme (07:35):
For thine is...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:37):
Oh yeah. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever.
Beth Demme (07:42):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:43):
Awesome. That was good. I'm going to keep that whole thing in there.
Beth Demme (07:49):
I was just saying the thing about God, the mother, because I think it points to... I was just thinking through, would it have elevated for me the idea of mother, the way that it has elevated father? I don't know and there's a lot to unpack about why it feels weird to me to think of God as mother. It's biblical, I'm just going to say that. There's a whole verse about where Jesus talks about God gathering us together. Like a mother hen gathers her chicks.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:19):
Yeah. I think if those terms are used interchangeably in normal conversation in churches, I think it wouldn't be as big a deal as it is. If it is just as common to call God mother as it is father, I don't know. It'd be interesting, I don't know if that would elevate both or if it would cancel that out.
Beth Demme (08:44):
And in some churches, their pastors are called fathers and mothers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:47):
I don't like that.
Beth Demme (08:48):
You don't like that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:49):
Mm-mm (negative). So should I call you mother since you're a pastor?
Beth Demme (08:53):
No, because I'm not in that denomination.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:55):
Would that feel weird if everyone called you mother? We're going to go listen to mother speak at church today.
Beth Demme (09:01):
Yeah. That would require some adjustment. My ear would have to get used to that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:06):
I am totally going to call you mother now. It's also weird, I would never say that to my own mother either. Even though where it's called mother in our projects, we didn't ever call each other those words. We do sometimes as a joke, "Mother, please come here." "Okay, daughter."
Beth Demme (09:24):
So Steph, you actually have a whole event that happened, that revealed to you that your dad wasn't Superman, not that you ever thought he could like fly or any of that, I know that, but that he just wasn't exactly who you thought he was.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:39):
I would say more like Clark Kent, because Clark Kent's a pretty stand up guy.
Beth Demme (09:44):
Yeah. And so something happened and you found out that your dad wasn't quite as standup as maybe you had thought.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:50):
Beth Demme (09:51):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:51):
Yes. So this title actually did come about because I have that moment. I have that moment in my life where I really did feel like my dad could do no wrong. My dad told me this is how you live life, he lived that life and I thought, "That's great, this is how I need to be in my life." But I have that moment where that all shifted for me and that's where we came up with this concept because I feel like this might be a running theme in other people's lives, but I was going to share that moment for me. And I will tell you, this is a story that is not just my story to tell it's many other people involved in the story. So I'm going to try really hard to keep it focused on the parts that involve me and my feelings and thoughts and try to steer clear of sharing anyone else's story.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:44):
So it was December 22nd, 2000, I believe and my dad sat me and my brother down and my mom was there and he told us that he had a daughter. He had a daughter that was older than me and my brother and that she was coming to visit. And I just remember sitting there and taking it in and looking as he was talking and I think he said other words, but I'm just looking at the situation and after he said that, I believe I just heard "Wa, wa, wa" after that, because I was taking this in, because it was a lot to process as a 14 year old that grew up in church, grew up being told that having kids is a very special and sacred thing and it's something you don't take lightly and don't do outside of wedlock.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:38):
And we use those fun words and in a loving relationship, all of those things. And so my brain was just trying to catch up and figure out, "What's happening right now? Who is talking to me right now? I've been told from this individual, that's saying these words that everything he's been saying is not the life he has lived." And in the moment I was pretty civil and like, "Okay, cool. Yeah. I want to meet her." That was the gist of it. And she did actually come, I don't remember exactly when, I want to say it was probably right after Christmas. She came and we met her and she was here for a little while. We went horseback riding one day, I remember that. And she lost her sunglasses, weird story, but I remember that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:31):
And she was older, I guess she was maybe in her twenties, maybe. I can't remember how much older she is of us, but that was the moment for me when my whole life shifted beyond realizing this guy that I idolized is not who he was. My life shifted in the sense of was everything I'd been told my whole life a lie? And obviously, I don't want to talk about my mom's side of things because that's her story to tell or share whatever, but I have no blame in my mom. My mom was in an impossible situation, so when I say, "I wasn't told for 14 years", that was my dad's responsibility and I have no blame towards my mom. And honestly, I don't have blame towards either of them now, it was something that it took me years and years and years to accept and to forgive them for or him specifically.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:35):
Again, I really had nothing towards my mom, but just the whole situation, it's a very complicated and hurtful situation for many different reasons. But also at 14, if you've read my book, I don't have this story in there because it didn't seem to progress my story. It helps to maybe shine a light on my complicated relationship with my dad, but it seemed to slow the book down, so I took it out, although I had no problem having it in there originally. But in my book I talk about at 14, I was actually diagnosed with depression by taking a psychological test and so I was actually depressed when I was told this new information also about my life. So that also didn't really help the depression, probably, I'm going to say and just made me question everything I believed in life and I felt like I had been lied to for 14 years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:35):
And it's complicated because, you could say, "Well, he didn't tell you, so that's not a lie. He didn't say he didn't have a daughter." But I believe it's a lie of omission, it was something that was going to affect me in some way. So, that was hard and I still have issues with trusting people. And if I find out someone's lied to me in any little shape, any shape, that really is hurtful, it will hurt our relationship and hard to come back from, so keep that in mind, Beth.
Beth Demme (15:09):
Thank you. I'll be on my toes. So I want to ask you questions about it, but I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to make you defend your feelings or any of that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:19):
No, go for it. Let's have an honest conversation.
Beth Demme (15:22):
Let's have an honest conversation about this. So when you say that it changed things for you, I guess I'm not clear on what changed because our parents of course, have a whole life before we come along. I don't know that it's that they have to sit us down and tell us about everything that happened in their life before we came along or every relationship. I agree having a child is different, but I guess I just want you to unpack that some more for us. About what changed when you learned.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:57):
Well, I grew up in probably, a middle class family, we weren't rich, we weren't very poor, but we also, free with money, we've talked about that before. We went to church. I grew up in the Methodist Church, although my dad went to the Catholic Church, so I also would go there every now and then. And so I was taught very Christian views of life. I was taught that you get married to somebody that you love. You can have children with that person, those people can have children. And you tell the truth, you don't lie, these are some plain simple things to follow in life. So I assumed that was the life my parents led, I assumed. I was 14, so I never really put a lot... Who puts a lot of thought into their parents' dating life right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:48):
I don't think any of us want to. But I would just have assumed my parents probably dated some people who weren't for them and then they met each other, they fell in love and they got married and had kids. And that was my vision of my parents. And then I find out, well, before my dad met my mom, he met this other lady that he really seemed to like, and they had a child together and they weren't married. And then he apparently left that lady found my mom and they got married and had kids. So it's just very complicated because, "Well, if you slept with that lady, then didn't you love that lady? And why did you leave that lady if you had a kid together? How did you sleep with her if you didn't really love her? Because you're telling me, you have to love somebody to sleep with somebody."
Beth Demme (17:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:33):
It was like life was not simple anymore, life was not, this is the process. And I think we all know there's nothing simple about life, but as a 14 year old, that this is the path I was laid out, it was those things changed, those things where I was like, "Wait, this is what we're supposed to do, but you didn't do that. Wait, so am I from a damaged home?" It was just a whole eyeopening experience. It made me think of things that I had never thought about, I had never fathomed or even needed to try to analyze before, because it was nothing I ever really needed to think about before.
Beth Demme (18:23):
I wonder if it impacted your overall sense of security in some way.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:27):
Beth Demme (18:28):
It felt like, "Okay, we have this nuclear family and things are safe and things are stable and now all of a sudden, the foundation that I thought this was built on, isn't as solid as I thought."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:40):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Again, some of this is my mom's story, so I'm not going to share it, but when I started digging in with my mom about how all of this came out, there were some pieces that I learned that were devastating for me. Things of how she found out and how it came about that was so painful for me to know that my mom was hurt so much in this process. And that's my mom, you don't mess with my mom.
Beth Demme (19:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:06):
And so then I have this conflict of my mom is hurt, my dad did this. And it was a very complicated thing for a 14 year old that was depressed, to understand.
Beth Demme (19:20):
Have you ever talked to your dad about why he chose not to tell you?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:26):
We've had conversations about it and like I've said, I've come to terms with it and the daughter, actually, I am Facebook friends with her, but I haven't seen her in person since actually 2000.
Beth Demme (19:41):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:41):
Yeah. She lives in another state. It's one of those things, we talk about it, you don't pick your family, you pick your friends. And so it's like, literally the only thing we have in common is the same father and she has a very different picture of my dad than I do because he basically wasn't in her life and so she's always heard stories from her mother about him, so it's a complicated thing. I don't have a super desire to hang out with her all the time. I don't have a problem seeing her, if she was like, "Hey, I'm in town" or something, but I don't go out of my way to be a part of her life because we never were and it's complicated.
Beth Demme (20:25):
Does she have his last name?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:26):
No, she doesn't. And that's part of it too, it's complicated because she did nothing wrong. It's complicated. And it was hard for me, where to land and it really all stems with my dad though. So I guess if there was to be a villain that would be him, but I didn't even look at it as like he was the villain of the story. He definitely made it the complicated mess that it was, that we all had to pick up the pieces from.
Beth Demme (20:57):
And like you're saying, you only know you're a part of the story and so you're not trying to speak to what happened before your parents were married. You're really saying, this is what happened to me. This is how I learned about this information. This is how it impacted me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:13):
And I think the biggest thing is like, I don't know when the right time would be to tell a kid something like this. Like I have no idea. I know people that don't tell their kids that they're adopted.
Beth Demme (21:23):
Yeah. As an adoptive mom, that one, I got to say, that's crazy to me. Listen, listen people, if you're listening right now and you have a child who is adopted and you haven't told them yet, I want you to just rip that bandaid off and go ahead and tell them and remember that it is something to celebrate, not something that you need to keep hidden. I did meet someone once to, I won't say any names or anything, because I don't have permission to share this story, although it was told very publicly, so I know it's not a secret. So my friend was at home and got a phone call from someone who said, "Hey, I'm with such and such adoption agency and I'm trying to reach your husband because his birth mother wants to contact him." And she was like, "Oh, he's not adopted." And they're like, "Oh, actually..."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:11):
What? An adult male?
Beth Demme (22:13):
He was a married adult man with children when he found out that he was adopted and he never told his adoptive mother that he found out. He has parallel relationships now with his birth mother and his adoptive mother, but he's never told his adoptive mother that he knows because he didn't want to hurt her.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:33):
Oh my gosh.
Beth Demme (22:34):
And if she didn't tell me, then there must be some reason she didn't tell me. So families can get complicated.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:41):
Oh my goodness. Whew.
Beth Demme (22:42):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:43):
Talk about the elephant in the room. Wow.
Beth Demme (22:47):
I don't know all the details of it, but at some point in the last few years, my husband found out that his grandfather, his dad's stepfather, he had a daughter in Germany from when he had been in the service there and that's where my husband's grandmother met him, that's where they got married and she knew about it the whole time, but we've only gotten to know her just in the last few years. She's a really lovely woman and comes to visit. He passed away this year, but before he passed away, she would come and visit with him and we'd get to see her and it was great, but it was one of those, out of the blue things for us, like, "What are you saying?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:27):
She lives in Germany?
Beth Demme (23:28):
Yes. It's a different situation because his dad was a teenager when Opa became his father, step-dad situation. So it is a very different situation, but it does happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:43):
Beth Demme (23:45):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:46):
I'm very familiar with it. Yeah, for sure. So how about you, Beth, did you ever have that moment in your life?
Beth Demme (23:54):
Nothing that dramatic or important. The only thing really, when I was trying to think through, "Okay, when did I realize my parents weren't perfect" the big one that stands out for me is, I realized when I was in high school that other people didn't necessarily see my parents the way that I saw them, because my parents were real active in the band boosters. I was in the marching band and they were active in the band boosters and I remember being in a band booster meeting. So all the adults were meeting and I was just sitting in the back of the room with the other kids, they had been talking around and around and around this issue and my dad wanted to bring it to a point and so he raised his hand and he restated the point. And I remember seeing two other dads make fun of him, look at each other, like roll their eyes at each other as if he were saying something that was really obvious. And I, because I knew him, I knew what he was doing.
Beth Demme (24:48):
He was trying to bring this discussion to a close and they were just very rude about it and I don't remember the dad's names, I remember who their daughters were and it made me hard to like their daughters after that. But eventually I realized that, we're not responsible for our parents, but that was the first time that I was like, "Oh, maybe everybody doesn't see them the way that I see them. Hm." But that's really different, because that was something where I was able to be on my dad's side, which was really different than the situation you found yourself in because there was a break in trust. So that is different.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:23):
Yeah. And I think it definitely did tarnish my relationship with my dad specifically through the rest of my high school years and into my college years. And if you read my book, in there, there's a complicated relationship with us when I was in the mental hospital, so keep that in mind if you read that part, this had happened a couple of years before that had already tarnished my trust in him and so then when that happened at the mental hospital, that just continued to unravel that. But we talk, we live near each other, we do have a decent relationship now and if you are curious, he's actually read my book and is very proud of me for my book. So it is possible to forgive, not forget, we have an episode about that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:22):
To forgive and to be able to accept the humans in your life for the humans that they are and not expect them to be anything different than who they are. I think that's a big part, is I had to come to the conclusion that this is the dad I have, this may not be the dad that I need, he may not be able to provide all the things that I deserve and I want, but this is who I have and I'm going to have the relationship that I'm going to have with him and for other needs and things, I can find those in other ways, but he and I have a decent relationship now.
Beth Demme (26:59):
Yeah. I accept myself and my flaws and I want people to accept me for my whole self, including as my mother would say, "Warts and all."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:11):
Beth Demme (27:13):
But that doesn't mean that it's always easy to offer that same thing or to react in that same way to the people in my life right? To really accept them in their full humanity, to accept their imperfections, to love them, including loving their flaws, that can be a real challenge. But maybe if we can learn to accept our parents' flaws, that can then be a pathway to self acceptance and vice versa. I remember talking with a woman one time who was in her seventies and she was a little bit distraught over a conversation that she had just had with her adult son. So he would have been in his late forties, early fifties and he basically said that he had come to realize that she was a terrible mother and that she had failed him in a lot of ways. And it was just a lot of stuff and she was saying, "He and I just remember life very differently because I don't know what he's talking about." She and her husband, this man's dad, they were still married. They had been married like 50 years.
Beth Demme (28:14):
And she thought that they had done a pretty good job and he just had a very different take on it. And I remember her being really devastated. And the thing that surprised me was I asked her, "Well, does he have children?" Because I think whatever ideas I might have had about parents needing to be perfect, I surely had to let go of that when I became a parent and realized, "Oh, wait, I'm still me. I'm still me. I'm just going to have this whole new area where I can make mistakes in", which I think then opens up additional pathways of forgiveness and acceptance. So obviously that's not true for everybody because of this conversation with this woman where she was really devastated that her adult son, despite having raised his own children, really wasn't able to accept her and her imperfections.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:04):
Why do you think he wasn't able to? What do you think it was in him that he couldn't see that she just tried her best?
Beth Demme (29:11):
Yeah. I don't know. I don't know if it was unresolved hurts. I don't know if it maybe this was part of his process and if maybe he then after that did come around, after he got some of that off of his chest and maybe that opened up some space for healing, or I think also sometimes people are not able to accept themselves and accept their own imperfections and so then they look for people to blame, "Oh, I'm this way because you da, da, da." Instead of, "I can love myself. I can love the healing that's happened. I can love the journey."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:46):
What age do you think that you stop blaming your parents and you take personal responsibility for the things in your life? "You didn't do this and so that's why I'm like this." Or, "You never made enough money, so I couldn't be on the baseball team and that's why I'm not famous."
Beth Demme (30:03):
It's got to be different for everybody right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:04):
Yeah, because I think at some point, I agree, definitely who we are, a lot of it is based on our upbringing and some people have deadbeat parents completely and that's a hurdle for them in life. But when can you stop blaming your parents for everything and just take personal responsibility? Like, "You know what, I had a pretty lousy upbringing, but now I'm responsible." I don't know.
Beth Demme (30:33):
Yeah. There's not a magic age, bit it's one of those places where I hope we all get to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:39):
Yeah, because if you can't get past that, then you'll just never, I don't think you can really fully progress in life as a full human being if you're always looking back like, "Oh, my parents did this, my parents are that."
Beth Demme (30:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:51):
I don't know that. Maybe that's an ignorant statement to just think, "Move on." I don't know. Interesting.
Beth Demme (30:56):
Well, and I think when I hear you say, "Move on." I don't hear you being dismissive of it. It's like, "Do your work so you can move on."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:02):
Exactly, exactly. Do the work of like, "My parents were not there, my parents were not present." Those kinds of things, figure out how to get past that in the sense of forgiving them. That doesn't mean you have to invite them in your life, maybe by forgiving them and letting go of that power they have over you, that doesn't mean you have to have them in your life now. That doesn't mean that you have to have a relationship with them now, but if they have this hold on you where you keep feeling this blame and anger towards them, that's where I would start to address.
Beth Demme (31:35):
Yeah, because the reality is our parents are not superheroes, they're people.
Beth Demme (31:44):
We have so much fun making this podcast and having these honest conversations, even when they get hard, sometimes they do. I feel like today's a little bit of a tough conversation. We've heard from some folks that they're wondering, "What is the best way to support us? What's the best way to encourage us in the podcast?" So we decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com and you guys can just go there and you can buy us a cup of coffee or we'll let Steph have tea, it's fine. You can even become a monthly supporter and that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflections, as well as pictures and outtakes and polls and the video we're making right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:19):
Boom. The kinds of things that we would normally put on a social media, if we had a social media channel, but for the podcast we don't, because we decided from the beginning, we didn't want to become more noise in your life. So one of the great things about Buy Me a Coffee is that you actually get an email when we post new content, you can go straight there and you don't have to deal with any ads or bombarded with other content. You can see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions. We plan to post once or twice a week, we've been pretty good keeping up with that. And we're excited to get your feedback as a member on our Buy Me a Coffee page. There'll be a link in the description to go to that page. Beth, for the people listening right now, right this moment, what do we need them to do?
Beth Demme (33:07):
We need them to...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:09):
We need you.
Beth Demme (33:10):
We need you to write the podcast, review the podcast, and also just do me a favor, just do me a solid and just tell one person about the podcast this week, tell them that you've been listening. Tell them about honest conversations and invite them to join you in the listening experience, because we love to meet new people and have new listeners.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:31):
Exactly. And by subscribing or following whatever podcast platform you're on, the more people that subscribe, the more that those platforms will help other people find our content, so any little thing like that is super helpful. And Beth, I have something very special to share.
Beth Demme (33:50):
You do? Are you going to tell everybody? Tell everybody, it's so exciting.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:54):
So I think I've talked about it in previous podcasts before recently that I was thinking about getting a new Greyhound and guess who is sitting right next to me, who is now scratching her head because she's a Greyhound and she can reach every inch of her body. I got a new dog.
Beth Demme (34:11):
Yay. Steph now has two Greyhounds and their names are?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:15):
Mac and Tosh.
Beth Demme (34:16):
Mac and Tosh.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:17):
So yes, you heard that correctly. One is Mac, one is Tosh, together they make Macintosh. And that is my favorite computer and that's why I named them that and I think it's the best. Tosh is a brindle female, little girl.
Beth Demme (34:31):
What does Brindle mean? Is that the color on her coat?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:33):
Yes. So the color of brindle is a mixture of colors, so she is like Brown and has like black stripes on her.
Beth Demme (34:41):
Yeah, she almost looks like a zebra.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:42):
Yes, it's super cute.
Beth Demme (34:44):
So we will put a picture on our Buy Me a Coffee page of her so you can see what we're talking about, but she's the best. I got her on Saturday and today is Tuesday, so it's been a couple of days. Got her from Jacksonville.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:58):
Everybody seems to be getting along well.
Beth Demme (35:00):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:00):
They're both lazing around this whole time. Actually, Mac has not made a peep and she normally does talk during the podcast.
Beth Demme (35:06):
She was talking before, before we started recording.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:07):
I know. Wow.
Beth Demme (35:08):
Wow, she's getting good at this.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:10):
So do you have any new pets or people in your house?
Beth Demme (35:13):
Well, it's not officially a pet, but we have a bat has been making a nightly visit to our porch. And so we've named it Battholomew.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:28):
Beth Demme (35:28):
And it was really funny that once we named it, we all got attached. And so now every evening we're like, "Is Battholomew here? Is Battholomew here?" And we run out and Battholomew is there four or five nights a week.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:40):
Beth Demme (35:41):
We're not sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:42):
Where is it?
Beth Demme (35:43):
Okay, so we have a small porch with a roof over our front door and up in the top of that, on the inside and before Battholomew was there, we would have insects and teeny, tiny frogs, and guess what we don't have anymore. So thanks Battholomew for doing your part.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:05):
That took a turn. I thought it was going to be like...
Beth Demme (36:10):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:11):
Yeah, okay, great. Well, awesome, we both have new pets. Okay, great. We both feed them. Yes.
Beth Demme (36:20):
Mine's on an all natural diet. Totally organic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:24):
More expensive food than others and that's okay. At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read, leave a little pause between each for you to answer to yourself, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (36:43):
Number one, when was the moment you realized your parents weren't perfect? Number two, have you been able to forgive your parents for their mistakes and shortcomings? Why or why not? Number three, have you been able to accept your and imperfections? If you are a parent, did that cause you to see your own parents in a different light? And number four, imagine your parent is sitting there with you, what would you like to say to them?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:13):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcasts. Thank you for joining us.
Beth Demme (37:25):
Why was that a nope? What was wrong?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:28):
I had the audio too high.
Beth Demme (37:29):