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Edward Rodarte

Episode 144

Rediscovering Fatherhood

Edward Rodarte’s journey from the streets of Compton to becoming a prominent figure in both politics and corporate America is a testament to the power of resilience, transformation, and a relentless pursuit of a better life.

Born and raised in the tough neighborhoods of Compton, California, Edward faced adversity from a young age. Growing up, he experienced bullying, which left him searching for a sense of belonging and protection. Unfortunately, this quest led him into the dangerous world of street gangs in the San Gabriel Valley. Life on the streets was harsh, but it offered Edward a sense of camaraderie and identity that he had longed for.

Despite the challenges, Edward’s tenacity and unwavering perseverance eventually allowed him to rise above his circumstances. He managed to break free from the grip of the street gangs and turned his life around. His remarkable journey began when he decided to pursue a career in politics.

Edward’s dedication and commitment to change brought him to the forefront of the political scene. He achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the youngest mayor and councilman in the city of La Puente. His passion for serving his community and creating a better life for its residents shone through during his tenure in public office.

However, life had more twists and turns in store for Edward. He transitioned from politics into the corporate world, where he continued to excel. Yet, as he embraced the responsibilities of adulthood, he faced the challenges of becoming a young father. The joys and trials of fatherhood shaped his perspective, leading him to a profound realization about the importance of family and connection.

One of the most challenging chapters of Edward’s life involved being a cold hearted narcissist who had a detrimental impact on his family. The mental and emotional toll was immense, He understood that he needed to heal not only for himself but for the sake of his loved ones.

Edward’s transformation journey took a significant turn when he explored the world of plant medicine, including ayahuasca and mushrooms. These powerful experiences opened his heart and allowed him to embark on a path of forgiveness, not only for others but also for himself. This newfound perspective on life led him to a place of inner peace and self-acceptance.

Today, Edward Rodarte has discovered his true passion – helping fathers heal their relationships with their children. Through his podcast, “Fatherhood Voices,” he provides a platform for fathers to share their stories, challenges, and triumphs. It is a testament to his commitment to giving back and making amends for the past.

Edward’s life journey from the streets of Compton to politics, corporate America, and ultimately to healing and forgiveness is a powerful narrative of transformation and growth. His story serves as an inspiration to anyone facing adversity, reminding us that with determination, self-reflection, and a commitment to change, we can overcome even the most challenging circumstances and find our purpose in helping others.

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Edward Rodarte Quotes

  • “My vision was now to bring on very masculine fathers who were like me, who didn’t feel like them. They had an issue or didn’t feel like they needed help. But now they can see how these fathers didn’t show up for their kids and how it hurt their kids.”
  • “Once I had this epiphany of wanting to start working with fathers to heal the relationship, it was like I was getting a doctorate in parenting 101.”
  • “If you looked up in the dictionary what a narcissist was, that was me.”
  • “I was able to feel, actually, to go into my youngest daughter’s soul, who was 16 at the time, and she was struggling with a lot of different issues. And I was actually able to see her pain. I was actually able to feel it, her emotions, the hurt.”
  • “The only way I knew how to love. My way of loving was as an income generator. I generated a lot of money. I provided. I bought them things. I showed them love by buying them things. We had a big house and nice cars, but I was always working.”

Edward Rodarte shares his insights into breaking the cycle of generational trauma passed from his father. He shares his own journey of being an emotionally distant father due to his upbringing and not realizing the damage it caused his daughters. 

After having a transformative experience with ayahuasca, he was able to confront his past behavior and start his journey of repairing his relationships with his children, wife, and father. 

Edward stresses the importance of fathers being present and showing love to their kids through actions instead of being an income generator. 

He stresses the importance of fathers educating themselves on parenting and expressing love and affection for their children. 

Through his podcast, Fatherhood Voices, Rodarte strives to help fathers mend relationships with their children and change the idea of how just being a provider isn’t being a father. His podcast and coaching program (available November 1) gives fathers a platform to share their stories, learn from each other, and become the parents their kids need.

The name of your podcast is Fatherhood Voices Breaking the Toxic Cycle. Can you tell us who your target audience is?

My target audience is narcissistic fathers who are not showing up in their children’s lives. Fathers don’t realize the importance of stepping into their children’s lives. So we’re going after a group of fathers to start to showcase their stories of how they didn’t show up for their children and how now, through their struggles and tribulations, they’ve learned from their past behaviors about why it’s important to show up.

a-father-playing-with-his-daughter-in-a-park-in-san-gabriel-valley

what is your connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley in La Puente and went to junior high school and high school out here. I also dabbled in politics back in the late nineties. So, I was fortunate enough to be elected to the city council and become mayor in my early twenties. I was active in the community for about five to ten years.

What motivated you to be politically active?

It started because I got involved with the unions because I wanted to go back to college. The schedule wouldn’t allow for it. So, I reached out to the union. They were able to get my schedule adjusted from there. 

I wanted to pay back the union, so I got involved with the school district union and got elevated to a position on the executive board. That sparked my interest in getting onto the police commission for the city. And from there, that led to the planning commission and to the city council. But it all started out of a need for wanting to go back to school.

When did you enter real estate?

When I was 23 years old.

What was your childhood like with your father and family growing up in LA PUENTE?

So with me, my father wasn’t always as present as I wanted him to be. So, I never learned how to change a tire or to change oil. The basics that you would think. You look at these movies or TV shows and think about what a father is supposed to represent or show up, as that didn’t happen for me. My father was consumed with other things, and he never felt like my brother or I was a priority in his life.

Did you recognize this when it was happening?

I was, and I think that’s what caused me to act out. I was fortunate enough that my mom stepped in and was my mother and my father during that time. 

For me and my brother, I know he loved and cared for me, but it was just very different. The way he showed it. He didn’t show emotion. So because he didn’t show emotion, that’s what started my path toward how, when I became older, I showed up for my kids. A lot of the traits that he learned from his father and his father’s father are that ancestral lineage of trauma. Father trauma was passed on from generation to generation.

What kind of acting out did you do?

I got involved in street gangs at an early age and was looking for a family, for a tribe. And that came from a combination of being bullied and then just wanting to be a part of something where I could feel like I was wanted and needed. My mother was there, but I still was craving that fatherly love, and attention.

When you say ‘didn’t express emotions,’ do you mean he never hugged you or told you he loved you or expressed it in that way?

Exactly. Hugging was foreign. Saying, I love you was almost nonexistent, and definitely no emotion at any time.

Did your father give you any attention after you got involved with gangs?

No, he just stayed silent.

Who was your father? Was he always part of the family but just distant?

He was always part of the family but distant. He was more into drinking and being with his friends and so forth.

The way he grew up, that’s the way that they showed love in the Rodarte household. It just wasn’t very affectionate. There weren’t a lot of emotions. 

I remember some moments as a child and so forth, but really, as far as feeling the love and the hugs and kisses, that didn’t show.

You realized that something was missing. Did your mother show love in the same way?

My mom didn’t really say I love you, but I knew she cared. But it was also very different. Love was just expressed very differently in our household. And I can’t honestly say that I knew at the time that I was lacking that love. It wasn’t until later on, when I showed up for my kids, that I realized the damage it did to me and then to my children.

Was your father a provider? Did he provide the things you needed?

Yes. He did provide, and we did go on vacations in my younger years. But I developed this hate for my father over the years, mainly as I got into my teenage years, towards the end of junior high school, into high school. It was just a lot of resentment, a lot of hurt.

I asked that question because society tells men that they’re good fathers if they provide. That is your role. But being a father is so much more than that. The way you describe your resentment and hate, was that because you felt he wasn’t there for you?

He wasn’t there for me and my brother but also for my mom. He put her through a lot, emotionally and psychologically. So that kind of really is what got my emotions heated and built up the resentment and anger.

So, in this way, he modeled for you what it meant to be a father, husband, and man. When did you start to realize this generational trauma that you mentioned had been passed on?

So I have three daughters, a 27-year-old, a 21-year-old, and a 19-year-old. And I can honestly say that until almost four years ago, I really wasn’t present for them. 

If you looked up in the dictionary what a narcissist was, that was me, and I’ll correlate it with a story. 

My daughters were not allowed to cry. And for me, that was because if you showed emotion, you showed weakness. When my daughters struggled with anxiety or depression, they weren’t allowed to go to a therapist because, to me, that was just a cop-out. They were screaming for attention, or they were just being weak.

So my narcissistic behavior was extreme and to the point where all my girls developed PTSD because of it and then struggled with depression and PTSD and even struggled with suicide at one point in their lives. And I am not proud of it. But this is just the way that I knew. 

The only way I knew how to love. My way of loving was as an income generator. I generated a lot of money. I provided. I bought them things. I showed them love by buying them things. We had a big house and nice cars, but I was always working. 

Then there was alcohol. And especially in the real estate industry, it’s just such a very masculine and toxic environment, just alcohol involved and just so many temptations in that industry. You go, and you work, and then you get big checks, and then you go, and you spend them. So, I was too busy partying, working hard, and not being present. And when I was at home, I was always on the phone.

Even when I was physically at home, I wasn’t there. And that damaged my relationship with my girls.

What is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who shows no emotions, someone who doesn’t acknowledge their behavior even when they’re doing wrong. Someone who believes that their way is the only way. Someone that’s not willing to take input or criticism. And no matter whether right or wrong, once they put their foot down and say, no, this is my way, that’s the only way.

What was the change for you?

I went and sat with ayahuasca in February 2021 in the jungles of the Yucatan. And I hadn’t cried in about 27 years before that. And so my heart was very dark, and I really had no emotions. And when I went and sat with ayahuasca, it took me on a journey that opened my heart. 

I was able to feel, actually, to go into my youngest daughter’s soul, who was 16 at the time, and she was struggling with a lot of different issues. And I was actually able to see her pain. I was actually able to feel it, her emotions, the hurt.

And it was at that point that I realized how much hurt I’d caused her and her sisters and her mom. And then, from that point forward, over the next week, as I sat on journeys with ayahuasca, it just continued to open my heart and connect me with my feelings. It showed me all of my actions and behaviors and how they impacted my family.

What is Ayahuasca?

So, ayahuasca is a plant medicine brewed in the Amazon or different places. And they brew chakruna and ayahuasca together to make a tea. And they’ve used it in ceremonies for thousands of years. 

But what it is, is you take the brew, and then it takes you on a journey into your past, your trauma, your hurt. You relive it. You relive it in real-time, and you go through the cycle of your actions; you’ll relive stories, and from there, you come to a point where you have the ability to purge it out. And when I say purge it out, you could throw it up, you could cry, you could laugh. There are different ways to purge, but it’s the release of the trauma.

For example, my first ceremony was done with the shaman and a group of about 20 or 30 people, and it was a beautiful ceremony with music and vibrational music. But in those journeys, as you go and you relive your trauma, you also have the ability to confront it. And when you purge it out, it’s gone. 

A perfect example is I used to drink a lot, and in my first ceremony, I purged out alcohol. And in that moment, when I purged it out, I threw up in the waste basket. From that point forward, I knew, like, from the bottom of my soul, that I was done with alcohol forever.

That was in that first week. In one sitting with ayahuasca, which can be about six to 7 hours, you can go through multiple journeys, 50, 75 journeys. And it’s all reliving different points in your life where there’s trauma, and it’s not all trauma. There are beautiful things, too. There’s your spirit animals, and you can see your heaven. So it’s not always dark. Sometimes it’s beautiful.

But the medicine is called Mother Aya, a female spirit. It can be very gentle, but it also is there to show you and teach you lessons.

Before you took that journey, did you know there was something you needed to change?

I didn’t. It’s weird how it happened because I thought nothing was wrong with me. I was providing for my family and kids. I was making good money. We had all the things, the possessions. I went because a good friend of mine was going through a really bad divorce. And so he started his journey, which opened him up and made him vulnerable. And he saw the pain that I was going through, and he invited me to go.

But I was building a real estate app then, and the place I went to focused on entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. So, my initial intentions for going weren’t to heal myself. It was to go and build relationships to help get funding for this app. I knew there was a diet to follow and books you were supposed to read. There was a whole process. And I wasn’t all in. I would skim through the books. I was following the diet a little bit, but I had an ulterior motive, and that was to network with all the tech people from Silicon Valley.

Your children weren’t with you at the time? What happened after the trip?

When I went on my trip, I was separated from my wife. We were on the verge of getting a divorce. My oldest daughter hadn’t talked to me for five years. My middle daughter hated me. My youngest daughter hated me. My wife hated me. I was just in a very toxic place.

Then, when I went on the journey, it changed everything. I came back. I came back full of regrets. And I came back with empathy. I came back wanting to ask for forgiveness. From that point, I came back, and I showed up just very emotional. They say you have ego deaths when you’re in the ceremony, and I had multiple ego deaths.

My ego is what made me very successful, but it also contributed to a lot of my downfall over the years, and that’s with my family and my children. So, coming back now, it was starting the healing process, but nobody wanted to hear it.

What were the things your children were saying about you throughout the years? Were they saying things to open your eyes and that you needed to change?

No. I was very stubborn. So, my way was the only way. So, just as an example, I didn’t talk to my daughter for over five years. My oldest daughter was dead to me. 

She made some decisions that I didn’t agree with. And at that point, I was done, and we didn’t talk. But I was so in my ego that I would just cut you off if you disobeyed me. Even my youngest daughter didn’t want me at the house. She wanted me gone, and she wanted me to leave, so that’s what forced me to move out about nine months before I started my journey.

What did this reconciliation look like? How did it go?

It was a very bumpy road. Believe it or not, my youngest daughter, who wanted me out of the house, was the one who was the most understanding at the time. I came back with a lot of wanting to revisit situations and let them know that how I showed up wasn’t the correct way. 

But I also came back and wanted to put the past to rest because I couldn’t change that anymore. And I wanted to focus on the present. I think that triggered things because there was still a lot of pain, hurt, and destruction from the past, and I did not want to deal with the past anymore; I wanted to focus on the present. 

So, it was a very bumpy road, and it took time. It really took actions speaking louder than words because I could show up and say things is one thing, but it’s how I showed up and presented myself and how I moved forward from that point forward, not just talking, but through actions.

How were you able to create that?

They sparked conversations that we wouldn’t have before. So, it allowed us to create this safe container to reopen some of those wounds. 

Initially, when I got back, there was a point where I felt like, okay, we’d already revisited this, and it’s time to move on. But they weren’t ready to move on, and I didn’t understand that then. 

I had come back with an open heart and was now crying all the time and ready to be present and ready to be a father and show up, but they were waiting for the medicine to wear off. And it wasn’t that the medicine; it finally opened me up. It opened my heart up.

What did their healing look like? Did they express grievances to you, and you acknowledge them? How did you guys move past the point of healing?

It’s a work in progress. So I say we’re a family that’s healing. My oldest daughter, we speak now. We talk every morning as she’s on her way to work. Five years ago, I never would have imagined that. We were in such a bad place that we both wished each other dead. I would have been fine if she would have passed away. And she would have been fine if I would have passed away.

So that’s how strong the hatred was. We still have some bumps, and we’re still working on our relationship. 

It has gotten a lot better with my youngest daughter, but it’s a work in progress. Even with my middle one, it’s still a work in progress. Sometimes, I can fall into a place where I’ll put my foot down, but sometimes, they can come from the perspective of like, oh, there you go, reverting to the way you used to be. And it’s not that I’m now trying to balance masculine with feminine energy, because I feel like I’m more in my feminine energy now as opposed to my masculine, but yet it’s that balance, and that’s one of the struggles right now.

Things are improving with your daughters. How is it going with your wife?

It’s been a work in progress. We’ve been together for 33 years and married for 22 years. And I put her through a lot of psychological and emotional trauma. But she stood by.

What are some of the demands they have said that keep you guys in this journey of healing?

I’ve now sat with ayahuasca 27 times in three and a half years. I’ve gone all in with this. I’ve done it all over the world. I also added psilocybin, a mushroom ceremony in a spiritual setting. I sit with the shaman or facilitators to go in and work on trauma, and now I’m having these breakthroughs with business and so forth, but it’s me continuing to do the work and not just going and sitting with the medicine, but it’s journaling. I’ve incorporated meditation.

Meditation is an important component of my daily life, journaling, taking time for myself, self-love and personal growth, and focusing on myself because if I’m not at peak capacity, I can’t show up and provide for my family.

How has their response to you changed? Are they hopeful?

Oh, it’s a 360 compared to how I was to who I am now. It’s a 360-degree change. My children and my family, wife, coworkers, clients, and friends have seen it. They’ve watched the transformation, and this is the new way that I would like to show up.

It seems like you have perspective now. How is your interaction with your granddaughter?

It’s amazing. Even when I’m away on business, I have to Facetime her two or three times a day. And it’s showing up and letting her know that even when I’m not present, I’m still thinking about her. 

When I see her playing with her, holding her, and showing her unconditional love. Something I should have done with my children.

Can you tell your children now that you love them?

Oh, absolutely. 100%. They know it, and they feel it. Before, I didn’t really think they felt that I loved them. I did, but I just showed it in a different way. I didn’t show emotion, and now they truly feel it.

IS YOUR FATHER STILL ALIVE, AND HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO RECONCILE WITH HIM?

He is. It’s a work in progress. Our relationship has gotten better, and he has sat with medicine, also with ayahuasca, but it’s a work in progress.

There are still some issues we’re working through, but the one thing that I’ve come to realize is as children, we have these expectations on how we want to be loved. And in a way, it’s unfair because there is no manual. So we look at TV, we look at movies, and we look at how these interactions happen. But the reality is that’s not what normal households look like where I grew up.

So I guess I have to accept that our fathers love us only the way that they know how to love us, which is they show up based on how their parents showed up for them and how their parents showed up for them.

I have to give my father a break and say, you love me the best way you could, and I have to be okay with that.

So, where did your idea for your podcast come about?

So, I’ve been doing real estate for a long time, and I’ve been struggling with what my purpose is in life. I’ve struggled with that for so many years. And earlier this year, I was in a ceremony, and all of a sudden, it came to me almost like an epiphany. 

It said, are you ready? So it’s almost like me having this conversation with myself. Are you ready for your purpose? And then, once I embraced it, it said, you were put here to help fathers heal the relationship with their children. 

Then it took me through a story, almost like a movie, at 100 miles an hour, of my interactions with my kids. It showed me the good and the bad, more bad than good, because the good is a story just started in the last couple of years, but then it showed that if you were able to come back and start to work on the relationship with your children, then anything is possible. And that’s where Fatherhood Voices came from.

It was from my healing with my children that sparked it. My vision was now to bring on very masculine fathers who were like me, who didn’t feel like they had an issue or didn’t feel like they needed help, but now they can see how these fathers didn’t show up for their kids and how it hurt their kids. And now they live in regret because some of these fathers lost their children, or some of these fathers still haven’t repaired the relationship with their children. 

So that’s where Fatherhood Voices was born from: breaking the toxic cycle, breaking the ancestral lineage, that we can change the past, but we can always focus on the present, which will shift the future.

Is there something different between fathers and mothers? Do mothers have the same issue, or is this a fatherhood thing?

No, it’s mothers and fathers that have the same issues. Because many mothers didn’t have mothers who showed up for them, so they don’t know how to love their children, and they’re quick to push them off.

One of the things we are doing is we’ve been bringing fathers on, but this week, we’re bringing on a few mothers who have struggled with trying to bond with their children and mothers who had resentment because they didn’t want a child. But then it happened, maybe by accident. So now they’re going through their journey of how to love. And so I didn’t realize how big of an issue it was, but it’s a pretty big issue that’s going on not only with fathers but also with mothers.

Do you think it’s good enough for a father to say, ‘I did the best I could; I loved my children. Maybe they saw it. Maybe they didn’t’?

It is. But I think it’s our hang-ups as children that feel that we didn’t get that love and attention. And it’s a journey that we have to go on. 

My biggest obstacle is I’m holding myself up. I know it is, but I’m just not quite there yet. Because when I’m truly ready to forgive, I’ll forgive, and I’ll put it to rest. I’m close. I’m a lot closer than I was years ago.

How do you come up with the themes for each episode of your podcast?

When I hear fathers share their stories or somebody tells me, oh, this would be a good guest, we bring them on and let them tell their story. There’s no script. It’s just come on. And the three questions we pose are: 

  • How was your childhood?
  • How did your father show up? 
  • How did that impact your relationship with your kids? 

Then we go from there based on the stories, sometimes the trauma and sometimes the good memories.

You also put out snippets of inspiration for positive insight into fatherhood. Where did you get the idea for that?

Once I had this epiphany of wanting to start working with fathers to heal the relationship, it was like I was getting a doctorate in parenting 101.

It’s reliving my interactions with my children. It’s talking to people and hearing their stories. I literally have probably 30 books at my house that are just on parenting right now that I’m going through. I’m highlighting and researching and trying to educate myself. Not even only for being able to put out content but also for how I’m going to show up for my granddaughter and then show my children that as they have more kids, how they should raise their kids, not the way we did, not the way I raised them, but the proper way to do it.

Do you feel like you’ve fully healed your hatred and resentment toward your father during this process?

I have, yes. It’s a scale of one to ten. I’m at about eight. So I’m getting close. I’m almost to the end, where I’m truly ready to forgive. 

What do you say to fathers who have difficulty expressing love to their kids?

Educate yourself. Fathers are so quick to go and read the stats on sports, look up their favorite fantasy sports teams, and learn all about their players, but they need to show up and research how to heal the relationship. 

I’ve always been an avid reader of business books and motivation and inspiration, but I can’t tell you the hundreds, if not thousands of times that I passed through Barnes Noble or the library, and I passed right by the parenting books. 

I could have picked up a book and grabbed some quick tips. I could have gone on Google, YouTube, or a podcast. The resources are out there.

It’s almost like, as fathers, we put the emotional component onto the mother.

What could have been said to you before your ceremony that would have opened up your eyes to see that you weren’t there for your family? What can you say to a father to say that helps them see their errors?

It’s going to be exposing them to other fathers that are on the journey. 

There were times when my mother would talk to me about how I was raising my kids, or my wife would talk to me about how I was raising my kids, but it went in one ear and the other. A lot of that was because I was sown to my masculinity. 

But if I had seen other fathers like me express themselves, it might have just opened that door to start the research process or sparked that whole process of curiosity about maybe there’s a different way to do this.

So, we’ve built a coaching program for fathers around Fatherhood Voices. One of the epiphanies I had was when I was on a journey; I was sitting there thinking, I don’t want to do real estate anymore. I want an exit plan of three years. How can I at least support my family doing what I love to do, which is now helping fathers heal the relationship? 

Then I started thinking fathers are willing to pay fitness trainers to get fit. They’re willing to pay good money to get these fitness and diet plans to be healthier and fitter. Why wouldn’t a father pay a little bit of money to learn how to father their child?

That sparked into where it’s not just a podcast anymore, but we’re launching a program starting November 1. It’ll have a low-tier, mid-tier, and a high-tier offer, but all of which just starting the process of educating fathers and Zoom calls and putting fathers together with other fathers so they can share what’s working, what’s not, or just a safe place for them to vent.

 

Edward Rodarte’s SGV3

  1. The Temple in Hacienda Heights. Since I have started my journey with plant medicine and meditation, it’s become a special place for me to go. 
  2. Boston Lobster in Rosemead. The way they season their lobster and the spices and mixes; it is just an amazing location.
  3. Santa Anita racetrack. So there was a point in time in my life when I owned some quarter horses with my attorney friend, and so that was neat to be able to go and sit in the owner’s circle restaurant and watch the horses. And sometimes we had wins.

Thank you for coming on the show Edward and sharing your journey with us. If people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

It would be on YouTube under Edward Rodarte or on Instagram at EdwardRodarte. You can also check out my podcast, Fatherhood Voices, on Spotify and iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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Edward Rodarte

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