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How To Stop Feeling Like A Stranger In Your Own Home

Episode #747

Do you feel like a stranger in your own home?
You’re doing your best, but it seems like your wife and kids are on a different wavelength.
What steps can you take to shift from feeling disconnected to being the king of your home this holiday season and moving forward?
Doug, Tim, and Arthur dive into the challenges many guys face during this time, like dealing with rejection, retreating, or turning to sedation.
In this episode, you’ll learn actionable strategies to transition from feeling like a stranger at home to becoming the king of your castle during the holiday season and moving forward.

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Arthur Magoulianiti  00:00

You can’t be the victim. Change your story. Drop the story. Drop the victimhood. Take leadership role. Be proactive, and go out there and have those communications and the discussions that you need to have.

Doug Holt  00:13

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The Powerful Man Show. Today we’re going to have a topic that I think we hear a lot. And the idea here is, do you feel like a stranger in your own home? So, Arthur, why don’t you kick us off with this one?

Arthur Magoulianiti  00:26

Oh. Okay. We often speak to the guys and hear from the guys, and I’ve been there myself, where you believe you’re showing up in the house, but your wife, your partner, is disconnected. She’s doing different things. She’s not connecting with you. Your kids are in their rooms, and there’s no one around. You don’t feel connected to anyone. You showing up, you think as best as you can. You’re doing the work, you think as best as you can, and you’re not getting that reciprocity back, that appreciation. And so you feel like, what the hell am I doing here, you know?

Doug Holt  00:59

Yeah. And I think oftentimes when that happens, guys feel like a stranger, and then they retreat. They retreat. They kind of feel like, hey, I feel like just a pay check. It’s something that a lot of guys feel like, why am I even here? Or they’ll be better off without me is another thing that comes up for a lot of guys.

And guys tend to turn to sedation, right? They’ll turn on the TV, pour an extra cocktail or two, maybe six, and they’ll just check out, because it’s not worth the pain, the rejection of feeling like the one place that’s supposed to be home base, the safe place, your home, where your family is. And you want to be treated like a king, yet you feel like an intruder.

Tim Matthews  01:39

Well said.

Doug Holt  01:40

Thank you.

Tim Matthews  01:41

It’s rare, so I thought I’d compliment. This is going out around thanksgiving. We recorded one a few episodes ago on divorce day, right? So maybe the guys are listening to this and not really understanding the gravity of the next four to six weeks. Because these next four to six weeks, we’ve heard many, many times, right, about how this has been the period that has really been the final nail in the coffin for many marriages.

And the guys don’t realize it because they think they’re going into this holiday season with things being okay because the arguments have stopped yet. We spoke again on that podcast about being checked out and the guys missing warning signs. As a result, over Thanksgiving and the holiday season, the guys tend to can tend to use it as an excuse to drink more. Right? Because they feel like a stranger. They don’t know how to handle that. Right?

So therefore, it’s an excuse. And it’s easier to check out and sedate. They’ll typically go on the phone a lot more. They won’t get involved in the decision making of what to do over the holiday season and be what people to have around or what activities to do or whatever it may be. And I get that it’s because they’ve given away the leadership way before that, and as a result, they feel like a stranger. They feel left out. Right? They see this conversation happening over the dinner table over Thanksgiving, and it’s like it’s happened on a movie scene for them, right?

And it’s something that they’re watching unfold, and they just feel completely excluded, I mean, you’ve spoken before about when Erin’s been on the phone with the family. Right? And you’ve just injected yourself into the conversation so you can be part of it. Right? I think that’s a really good thing to pick up on here because I just imagine a scene where some guys are sat around the dinner table watching it play out, and it’d be great to give them some tips on what to do in that scenario. So these next six weeks, they can really go from a stranger to being plugged in.

Doug Holt  03:47

Yeah, I definitely do. And I’ll just add on when guys go into this phase, and I’ve been into this phase, too, Arthur, really, what we’re doing is being victims. We’re playing the victim card. Right? Woe is me. I’m a stranger. They don’t appreciate me enough. I’m just a pay check. And look, guys, I get it because I’ve been there. I’m just calling you forward, that this is the reality. Arthur’s been there. Tim, I’m sure you’ve been there. We’re playing the victim card, guys, rather than being a leader.

 And so, to your point, what could you do? I think the first thing here to do is get ahead of the curve. Right? And what I mean by that is have a conversation with your wife. And if you’re not in a position where your marriage is good, then this isn’t the time to have that conversation, per se. But if you’re in a place where it’s okay, at least you want to have a conversation about expectations around the holidays and what it is you want.

And so that conversation looks something like this. Like, hey, babe, thanksgiving is coming up. I know you’re really excited. I am, too. What does thanksgiving look like to you? And have her paint a vision of what thanksgiving looks like, the preparation and everything, and go, okay, interesting. And here’s what I would like. Now, this is where you lead.

First, you’re going to validate her, right? So you’re going to go, okay, that makes sense. So what I’m hearing you say is there’s going to be a ton of cooking and you really need some help in the kitchen. Okay? Now, if you agree with it, then go for it. If not, go. Look, this is what I’d really like to do for Thanksgiving. Part of what I want to do is watch the game. It’s a big day in Thanksgiving. For the American tradition, we watch a football game. So how can I help you prep for the kitchen? So that when I go sit down and watch the game, you have what you need and I have what I need.

Tim Matthews  05:25

Love it!

Doug Holt  05:26

And now you’re coming to a consensus and an understanding because what tends to happen, right? You have that same scenario where no conversation comes. The wife’s there, she’s stressed out about getting things done. She sees her lazy ass husband sit on the couch, not do anything. Meanwhile, he’s thinking, this is my time, my holiday to do this. Why is she barking at me, b******* at me? And that creates more conflict, which stacks, which then leads to divorce day, right? Because she’s got another tally of this lazy guy that doesn’t appreciate her, et cetera, et cetera. And another holiday ruined.

So it starts right there with that preparation. Get ahead of it. You know thanksgiving is coming. You know when it’s coming, right? Just like Christmas guys that make excuses. And I’ve been one of these guys, too. Oh, I waited too late to buy Christmas presents. What’s like, come on, moron. It’s the same friggin day every year. It’s not a surprise.

Tim Matthews  06:15

What I love about that conversation as well is because the other scenario there is the guy that just kicks back and then both man and wife tell stories, right? Which doesn’t end well. Or the guy might see it as an opportunity to swoop in and save the day and get too involved. Yet there’s been no communication. So she resists it because she’s got a plan in her head of what’s going to happen and because he’s abdicated his leadership for weeks and months, maybe even years prior to that. The last thing she wants to do is for him to get involved because it’s easier if she just does her own thing.

If the guy tries to swoop in, she resists it. Obviously, he then feels rejected or whatever. Stories get made up. So again, that conversation there I think is a great one because it really addresses both sides of that coin.

Arthur Magoulianiti  07:00

Yeah. And I think the key thing here is you make the day the target, and you’ve said this before, you make the relationship the target. It’s not what I want or what you want is how can we have a great day? It’s the win-win. That’s the target. And when you do it that way, when you come from that point where in your relationship you’re arguing for the relationship or you’re debating for the day to have an amazing day, that takes this thing away from, oh, are you doing this for you? And individual wins, so win-win.

But the other thing I want to say is, yeah, we’re talking about thanksgiving, but you can have that attitude on a daily basis. A guy can come back from work and say, I work really hard. I’m just going to kick off now, have a couple of beers and then ignore the kids scenario. Meanwhile, your partner may be sitting at home all day with the kids and she wants a break as well. So we get to look at that on a daily basis as well. How are you showing up?

Doug Holt  07:56

Yeah, and that’s perfect. So this morning, as you guys know, we’re all staying at The Ranch here. My family lives eight minutes door to door away. Five minutes if you count the gate just takes to get up here just around the corner. And so I went and watched my son’s soccer game. And I went by, picked up my family, went to the soccer game, and it was great. And so I was talking to my wife. I said, hey, because you guys are flying out tomorrow. I said, what does Sunday look like for you? We’re recording this on Saturday. Clearly paint me a vision of what that looks like for you. And she’s like, well, I want Sunday to be a fun family day. I said, awesome. So do I. So what does a fun family day look like to you?

And so she said, oh, I don’t know. Maybe we can do this, we can do that. And I said, oh, that sounds amazing. I go, let’s make sure those things happen. I also get to unpack from our trip and there’s some few things that I want to get done in the morning. So I’ll plan on getting those done in the morning so that then we can have this time and create to do so.

And so now we’re on the same page and I’m leading with the examples right. I didn’t say, hey, can I have some time to do these things? Or worse, wake up in the morning on Sunday, she sees me starting to do work stuff. In her mind, she’s thinking, oh, wow, he’s just going to work. He’s going to ignore the family. But now I’ve set expectations that fit into her vision and my vision together because I want to have a family day. Right?

That sounds fun to me. And so we’re now both having the same vision. I’ve just led that vision to correlate. You can do this on Thanksgiving or any other holiday. It’s just the stakes are higher, right. Expectations are higher, pressures are higher. You’re going to have probably for a lot of people, family or friends are coming from out of town or whatever. They’re coming into your wife’s space or you’re going into theirs. And so you want to really paint that picture effectively.

And a way to do that is, first, gather the other person’s vision. This is just like negotiations. Get the other person’s vision, if it aligns with yours, then add on to it and then lead that vision in a place that your family can really thrive.

Tim Matthews  09:57

Yeah, I love that. I think another couple of important points here to touch on. So again, going back to the topic, feeling like a stranger in their own home, depending on how long, again, the guys have abdicated leadership leading up to this particular season, right now, they’re going to face some shit tests. All right? Because let’s say guys, feeling like a stranger, he’s listening to this, he’s willing to take a risk and either lead the conversation or find ways to connect or find ways to take things off his wife’s plate. He’s going to face some resistance. He’s going to face some kind of shit test.

So I think it’d be good to just touch on that so the guy can set appropriate expectations for himself and talk about how he can handle that and how we can also then move ahead of that as the holiday season progresses.

Doug Holt  10:41

Sure. What kind of s*** test? Give us an example.

Tim Matthews  10:44

I mean, you did the master class on the shit test, which was great. Honestly. I think you’d be better to give the different examples.

Doug Holt  10:53

Yeah. So let’s first define what a shit test is, because I think, first of all, I don’t like the word s*** test. Some people call it a fitness test, which I think it’s even dumber. But we’ll stick with s*** test for this example. So a shit test is really a manufacturer complaint. And what I mean by this is your woman is going to come complain or pick on you. But it’s not really a complaint. It’s not really something she’s going to say. So let’s think of an example. Okay?

The guy comes in, he sits on the couch to turn on the game, right? And the wife comes in and goes, you’re always watching football. Today is the day of the Macy parade. Macy’s day parade, which is a true thing coming in now, some guys go, oh, I’m sorry, dear, let me change the channel to the Macy’s parade so that you can watch that instead of watching what I want to watch. So that’s one way you can handle it. And you’re totally giving in to what she’s doing.

Here’s another example, right? Same thing happens. The guy sits down the couch, she turns on the game. Wife walks in the room, oh, you’re always watching football. Today’s the day of the Macy’s parade. Go. And he could turn to her and do a couple things, right? One is he could joke with her, amplify the situation and sit there and go, babe, why don’t you sit on my lap? We can watch the football game together or something along those lines, something that’s going to be playful and fun in that context, right? And the reason that this becomes interesting in a way to navigate things is you want to turn this away from an argument, right?

Tim Matthews  12:18

Big time.

Doug Holt  12:19

And you also don’t want to just crush and give in to what you want to give what she wants. Now, I’m not saying you don’t do that sometimes. And give your wife, it’s partnership, right? Sometimes you want to do that. But men have to be careful of not just being a nice guy, to be a nice guy.

Tim Matthews  12:34

And not just withdrawing and stonewalling. That’s what a lot of guys do in this scenario where they feel like a stranger. Fine, shuts it off. Walk off.

Doug Holt  12:44

Storms off.

Tim Matthews  12:45

Storms off, furious.

Doug Holt  12:46

A little kid.

Tim Matthews  12:47

Goes another beer and…

Doug Holt  12:49

And then mad. And it has resentment throughout the day.

Tim Matthews  12:52

Big time.

Doug Holt  12:53


Tim Matthews  12:54

Big time.

Doug Holt  12:55

And then she’s going to come up with another test and another test. And there’s other ways that you can do these things, right? So here’s another example. You walk into the kitchen and the wife says something like, ahh, you know, prepping a dinner for everybody is just so difficult. You never help me, right? You can come back behind her, go, baby, I’ll chop onions with you all day. You can make it fun. That’s kind of fun. And she’s going to kind of giggle or she’s going to act like more pouty mad.

And then you can help out. You should help out for thanksgiving, but make it a joke, make it light, make it fun. And so when this happens with me at my house in these situations, I’ll then turn on music. My wife might be in this crabby mood. We’re all in shit. From time to time, I’ll turn on some music and I’ll start dancing around. And she might be like, you’re just ridiculous. And I’m like, yeah, I am. And I’ll just keep dancing.

And I guarantee after at least one song or so, my wife starts dancing. The next thing you know, both of us are dancing in the kitchen, chopping vegetables. And this is called foreplay, right? This turns an argument into something that’s fun, it’s light. So my wife now has either a grumpy husband who doesn’t do anything, or she’s got a crazy husband who dances with her in the kitchen. Which one is going to get laid?

Tim Matthews  14:10

I think that’s the key, though. Make it fun and light. It’s got to be fun and light. This holiday season has to be fun and light. So I think it’s the continuation of the heaviness and the stonewalling and everything else that’s probably been going on most of the year, if not longer. You got to make this fun and light, even if you’re going into this worried with thoughts of it playing out a certain way.

If you’re listening to this podcast, you can no longer use that as an excuse because you guys are sharing some really awesome wisdom and insights of what guys can do right now. And they’re going to have to get uncomfortable. They’re going to have to get out of their victimhood and comfort zones in order to keep it light and make it light even in the face of the storm.

Doug Holt  14:51

Yeah. And I think something that’s really important here is if you’re feeling like a stranger in your own home, there’s resentment. And if there is resentment, then you are being passive aggressive, right? You need to do a clean slate letter. You have to do it. Now, you may not have time depending on when this comes out, or you may not know how to do a clean slate letter. And that’s fair in the case. Keep it fun and light. Easiest way to do it. But in an ideal world, if you’re feeling like a stranger in your home, you need to flip the script, right? You need to change that friggin story.

And part of that, the first part of changing that story is taking ownership of your side. What did you do? Because this happened gradually, guys. This didn’t. All of a sudden, one day you feel like a stranger in your own home. It may have felt like that, but you have slowly withdrawn. You have slowly this thing has created between you. And again, my guess is if you feel like a stranger in your own home, you’re probably in a sexless marriage, at least that temporarily or one that doesn’t have much passion because if you have passion in your marriage, you’re not going to feel like a stranger. You’re going to be coming in the house, dancing, going, yeah, this is going to be fun. Let’s get the people in here and then get the people out of here.

And so I think the key here is you want to get to a place where you can get a clean slate letter. Have a coach review your clean slate letter because nine times out of ten, the coaches have to help the guys rewrite them two, three, four times before they’re deliverable. But we want to make sure you guys understand the concept. Clean the slate. Take some ownership of your side of the street.

Arthur Magoulianiti  16:22

Yeah. We also can’t forget the children, right? Yeah. Because if you’re feeling a stranger and you got children, you need to connect with them as well. And so being the CFO is one of the things we discussed, getting them away from your wife. She’s cooking and doing all, sorting all things. She doesn’t need the kids around her being. Being hungry and being hangry and being all of that. What are you doing to help that situation? Maybe you’re going to take the kids out and take them to eat. Maybe you’re going to take them out for the morning just so that she has a space. She needs to do what she needs to do as well as connecting with the kids, because if you’re feeling like a Stranger, it means you got a disconnection with the kids. So what can you do to connect with those kids up to Thanksgiving and beyond?

Doug Holt  17:02

That’s a great point. And you can also do this, the whole vision setting I did with the wife, you can do it with the kids, too. Like, what do you want to do with Thanksgiving? And if you have young kids, it may have just apple pie, right? That’s fine. You can also play games with them, but paint the vision for them. Hey, thanksgiving is a really fun time. If you have young kids, thanksgiving is a really fun time. Look, mommy and dad are going to be doing a lot of things to cook, to clean. What are some of the things that you can do this Thursday coming up to have fun while we’re doing stuff. So get their minds going, right? Oh, we could play our games. So that way, when Thursday comes, Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday.

When Thursday comes around, the kids will have activities already in their heads of things they’ll do. They’ve already been pre framed that mom and dad will be busier than normal. So expectations have been set for them. Right? And to your point, if you are feeling like a stranger, this is a great opportunity to reconnect. Right? Drop your own baggage, your own BS stories about rejection and everything else, and insert yourself in there. Insert yourself in there, if you want that connection. If you don’t want that connection, you need to move. But if you do want that connection, you need to take some active steps. And if you want growth, growth happens outside our comfort zones. Right?

Arthur Magoulianiti  18:15


Tim Matthews  18:16

Beautiful. So let’s wrap this one up then. So three things a guy listening to this could do right now to shift from being a stranger in his own home to being the king of his home this holiday season.

Arthur Magoulianiti  18:26

Yeah. Well, I want to steal your one that you said early on, which is you can’t be the victim. Change the story. Drop the story. Drop the victimhood. Take leadership role, be proactive and go out there and have those communications and those discussions that you need to have.

Doug Holt  18:43

That was four wrapped in one. That’s not fair. All right, then we’re done. That was what I was going to say. No, that’s great. I mean, stop being the victim and take a leadership role. Like flip the script there. I’m going to double down on kind of part of that and I think so. And Tim, I’ll let you wrap this up, is communicate expectations. Right?

Understand what your partner and your children, your family, let’s just call it your family, what their expectation, and I call it the vision. What does it look like for you or what does it feel like? Use whatever words you want for this day and leading up to this day so you understand what their expectations are. Then use your filter to say, hey, does that make sense to me? And am I okay with that? If you are okay with that, great. Confirm it. And then add on anything that you want to get verification that they’re okay with it. And then lead the vision. Right?

So again, that could look like. Yeah, absolutely. Grocery shopping on Wednesday, getting the vegetables all chopped so we can have a more relaxing Thursday. Sounds great to me. And then also something that’s really important for me is watching the game and there. So what can I do to prep to make your life easier so that I can sit there and watch the game?

Now you guys are in collaboration around a singular vision that everybody can drive forward. Everybody knows dad’s going to watch the game. Cool. And maybe they might say, yeah, that sounds great. Let’s get some or d’oeuvres ready so we can have the or d’oeuvres in front of the TV or whatever it may be.

Tim Matthews  20:12

Love those two. I think keep it light. Like really keep it top of mind. How can you keep this light? Maybe it’s music, right? Maybe it’s putting a certain show on in the background in the morning. Maybe it’s making sure you don’t drink too much. Maybe it’s just whatever it may be. It might even be making sure you get out for a morning walk, right? Just doing something to get some space and fill your cup so you can kind of reset yourself a little bit each morning. But just however you do it, really focus on keeping it light.

Doug Holt  20:43

That’s a great one, too. I like that a lot. Hard for some guys to do, especially when they’re feeling like the stranger in their own home. But gentlemen, you can do it. So, guys, there are some avenues for you to keep it light. Have some communication, flip the script from being vulnerable as well as set a vision. And I’d like to know what you guys think. What are some of the things that you do to make Thanksgiving amazing and love to hear some of your stories about thanksgivings that may be not gone so well.

So make sure you put those in the comments. And as always, just know that a moment, the insight. Take massive action. This is your shot, guys. Don’t go from podcast to podcast or show to show. Take some massive action today so you can live a life that you’ve always wanted. In the meanwhile, make it a great week and we’ll see you next time on The Powerful Man Show.