Knowing you can depend on someone romantically, physically, and emotionally can draw you even closer together—strengthening your growing bond.
But at which point does dependence turn into unhealthy codependency?
This doesn’t need to be the case for you. If this hits home, after you watch the video, I’d love it if you left me a comment letting me know your thoughts.
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Is codependency in a relationship, really such a bad thing, or is it the natural state of two people who are in love with each other? And by the way, stay to the end of this video if you know that when you do really like someone, you have a tendency to hold on too long, even when they’re treating you poorly and you end up getting your heart broken as a result. Because at the end of the video, I’m going to tell you the three reasons why that keeps happening to you and what you can do about it.
Relationships by their very nature we develop these, whatever we want to call them, dependencies, reliances on each other and that’s organic. That’s actually natural. You know, I rely-
Yeah. I rely on my team in my company to be able to do all of the things that I do. And I do depend on them and the same is true in a relationship. We agree different roles and responsibilities and things we need from each other and expectations. And we depend on each other to uphold those agreements. And we do come to depend on each other for a certain kind of connection that by definition, if we’re in a monogamous relationship, we are not giving to anyone else and not getting from anyone else. So by the very nature of the fact that… I always think that that’s the funny thing about romantic relationships. It’s easy not to be as needy with our friends, because if my friend isn’t giving me attention, I just go and get it from a different friend.
The romantic relationships, if we’re in a monogamous relationship and we’re faithful, we don’t have that option. So if you look at that, that puts us in a position of dependence if we’re choosing to stay in that relationship. I do depend on you for sexual connection. I do depend on you for that romantic and emotional connection. Hopefully, it’s not my only emotional connection, that’s a problem. But there are so many that are limited to our relationship that are between us and that creates kind of high stakes. But I think that phrase is really interesting, peace at any price because that to me refers to the dark side of dependency. Where there’s nothing wrong with two people being incredibly close but when that closeness is becoming… What do I want to say? When there’s so much toxicity in the relationship that people are afraid to let go of because they will try to achieve that closeness at any cost.
You could say peace at any cost, you could also say connection at any cost, chemistry at any cost, closeness at any cost. That to me is when codependency becomes very, very dark and dangerous. And it takes two people. You can’t have… I often think of codependency as my sickness enabling your sickness. So if you have a really destructive pattern, then… If for example, you’re the kind of person that is incredibly selfish and just does whatever you want to do, doesn’t consult other people, doesn’t involve them in the decision making process. You just, you always do what you want to do and tend to steamroll the person that you are with in the process. Well, that kind of person isn’t going to survive with someone who has a lot of self respect and clear boundaries and who upholds their own needs.
They’re not going to survive with that person, it’s not going to last. In order for that person to exist in the way that they are, they need to find someone with their own kind of sickness. They need to find someone who has their own thing going on. I now need to be with someone who is so craving connection at any cost who so wants perhaps what they didn’t have growing up, that will do… And has that cocktail of that plus worrying that they’re not enough. And now you have someone who will put up with the selfishness of the other person because of their insecurity, plus their desire to be close to someone and to feel love any cost. Now you have two people who are both in their own way, unwell who become codependent. The selfish person needs the person that’s willing to be walked all over. And the person being walked all over needs an incredible amount of love for somebody else, plus their insecurity in order for this poorly functioning relationship to exist.
Look, here’s the thing. When I was just describing that codependent relationship where one person’s really selfish and the other person them get away with it because they really want to be in a relationship with that person. Picture yourself for a moment, being in the position of the person who is putting up with things that you shouldn’t be putting up with. And then ask yourself, “Why does this happen to me?” Why in the past, or maybe be even in the present, have I put up with the wrong behavior? That if I step back, I can see that it’s the wrong behavior, but I still can’t find the strength to do anything about it. Why is it that that happens?
Well, let me tell you, it happens as a result of three different things that exist simultaneously. Number one, a desire for love. When we desperately want to fall in love, because frankly, we have goals that revolve around being in love. Whether it’s sharing our life with someone. We feel like we’ve created this great life, now we want to share it with someone and enjoy it. Whether it’s being married or having a family, a future with somebody, there is a desire for love. And it is not a small desire, it’s not like I want a sandwich, Jameson. It’s a real desire that is intrinsic to us as human beings. We want connection. It’s how we are built and a romantic connection is the pinnacle, isn’t it? Of that kind of unbelievable experience we can feel in being connected to another person. So there’s the desire element. I want this.
Then there’s the scarcity mindset. This thing I want is incredibly rare. I rarely, if ever have chemistry with a person. Maybe for some of us, I haven’t even been on a date in a long time or before I met this person, nothing was going on in my love life. I find it so hard to meet and connect with someone that I actually like, who likes me back. So the fact that I’ve got this thing, even if it’s not quite right, even if it’s making me suffer, unhappy, if I lost it, when would I find it again? So now you have huge desire for that thing, with massive scarcity around that thing. And then the third component is my relationship with myself and what I am worth. If I don’t think that I’m worthy of better treatment than this, if this is my level.
Either because it’s what I grew up with and I’m trying to get closure on some parenting situation that I suffered as a child, or whether it’s because my confidence has been knocked over and over again. And people have told me that I’m not good enough. People have told me I’m not attractive enough. People have constantly left me. Then I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that I don’t deserve more. And so now what you have is a cocktail of three different ingredients. I really want love, love’s really hard to find, and I’m not worthy of the best kind of love. If I ask for more, I’m going to lose someone because I’m not good enough, unless I’m accepting bad treatment. This gives us the recipe for staying in something we shouldn’t stay in. For becoming attracted to someone we shouldn’t be attracted to. For throwing away time and energy in situations that will ultimately never nourish us, never meet our needs, never make us happy.
The whole reason that I created a Retreat, 15 years ago now, was because I knew that dating advice was not going to cut it when it came to the deeper reasons that we go down the wrong path in our love life. I can give people things to say, I can give people things to do, I can give them dating strategies, but if ultimately, those aren’t underpinned by a true sense of knowing our worth, believing that we do have options and being willing to wait for the right kind of connection, instead of settling for any kind of connection, we will always find ourselves in trouble. Now, my Virtual Retreat is coming up in March of 2022. It’s from the 18th to the 20th. It’s a three-day intensive coaching program, live with me that you can take anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home. This program designs to attack all three of these issues that I’ve mentioned.
Yes, you may desire love, but I can promise you that one of the great things the retreat focuses on is making sure that you feel happy and at peace where you are right now, before that’s happened. That allows you to make good, strong choices from a place of love and happiness, not from a place of craving something in an unhealthy way. The second thing it does is it shows you how to take that scarcity mindset and turn it into abundance. Because when you feel great and when you have a great life you know at your most attractive, you’re always going to have options. You no longer fear that options are not something that’s going to be available to you if you lose this person right now. And lastly, the virtual retreat transforms your relationship with yourself. And it’s often unconscious for people. You may not consciously associate with thinking you don’t deserve better treatment. But if the story of our life is always accepting worse treatment, then we know on a deeper level, we don’t believe that we deserve more. The Virtual Retreat transforms your relationship it with yourself.
So that accepting any less than you would allow your sister, your mother, or your best friend to accept, would be alien to you going forward. You give yourself the same treatment and compassion that you would give to anyone else in your life that you love. This is where you are by the end of the Virtual Retreat. And having solved those three things in a major way, the decisions you make in your love life from that day forward change. You can never go back to your old ways of being. Not because I’ve taught you some dating strategies, but because we’ve changed the mechanics of how you feel and how you make decisions on a fundamental level. I truly hope you will join us. Until December the 23rd of this year, 2021, we have a very special ticket available, which gives you access to the Virtual Retreat, A, for a discount of $100 off. It also is a bonus gives you access to a live Q and A with me in the first quarter of the year before the virtual retreat happens, where you can ask your questions.
And lastly, you get a very special invite that you cannot buy, it’s just for getting a Virtual Retreat ticket to what I’m calling Momentum Week, which is a week of access to me in a private group for a week in January. This is going to be a way to kickstart our resolutions, to give ourself an amazing head start on the year and to make sure that we are not waiting until the Virtual Retreat in March to make progress, we’re making it from very beginning of the year together. All of this is available to you for getting a ticket in December before the 23rd in our holiday special deal. I hope you grab one.
To get one, all you need to do is go to MHVirtualRetreat.com. Go through, learn everything you need to learn about the program. Feel free to ask my team any questions you have, but please, be there because it is going to be a game-changing event for everyone who’s coming in 2022. This is the greatest gift you could give yourself and we deserve a gift. You’re going to be spending the holidays giving gifts to everyone else. Do this one big one for yourself. Thank you for watching, I’ll see you next time.
2 Replies to “Toxic Codependency or Healthy Closeness? How to Tell The Difference”
I watch your videos and I listen to your podcasts and you give amazing advice about dating and relationships. I went through a horrible divorce two years ago and have been working with a therapist to understand what I did wrong and to heal from choosing to accept what happened and walk away while I never fought in the end to try to make it work. This videos speaks to me! After two years of him pursuing to reconcile and begging me to let him show me he has changed I finally accepted and we discussed the things we both did wrong and why we feel it happened and agreed to secretly between just us two try to rebuild trust and see if we could make it work. We have two children together (girl, 9 and boy,3) and my daughter is still very upset mommy and daddy are NOT together. He promised me he was/is seeking therapy and would do everything to make it work and I don’t know if he is truthful and seeing someone. I found out he was dating someone and sleeping with her the entire last three months that we were also sleeping together and trying to spend time together. He told me he likes her and she’s very nice and he wanted to go all in with me but he was confused and couldn’t figure out how to break it off with her or if he should wait and if we didn’t work out he would settle for her. My question in this situation is can two people after a divorce and so much pain and trauma truly get better and find a way back to each other and be better on the other end? I realize there is so much more to this story that you don’t know but I am desperate because I am so very confused why my mind is telling me to keep loving him and keep trying to bring my family and the one man I have ever truly loved back. Please help.
Great topic Matthew a co depend relationship can leave you feeling a bit exhausted because you have to please the other person regardless of your own needs. It’s good to keep in touch with your friends and have some time apart.
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