When couples aren’t motivated to seek help with their relationship problems, it’s generally because they are in a co-dependent relationship with each other. That means they are leaning on each other to compensate for unconscious, childhood limiting decisions* that leave them feeling not whole. They might, for example, have limiting decisions* that they are unlovable, not worthy of respect, are powerless, are on their own, can’t support themselves, or are not safe. They are leaning on their partner to, for example, make them feel lovable, worthy of respect, powerful, or safe by relating to them in certain expected ways or doing particular kinds of behaviors toward them.
Some of the ways of behaving they might expect are, for example, never contradicting them, listening to them without ever interrupting them, supporting them even when they are wrong, buying them whatever they want, always deferring to them, letting them always choose the activities the two of them do, accepting rude behavior, or never excelling beyond their partner.
The couple basically has an unwritten (and unconscious) contract between them to live in this way that makes them feel safe, stable, acceptable, or whatever they need in order to compensate for the limiting decisions* they have. But this only works as long as both of them are willing to stay stuck, or limited, or get by in a meaningless, unsatisfying relationship.
Many people keep themselves stuck in a co-dependent relationship because their focus is on getting what they immediately want rather than evolving themselves forward. They want their partner to make them feel good in the moment, rather than do the work to actually evolve themselves and the relationship forward.
People in a co-dependent relationship feel entitled to receive these behaviors. That is generally because the behaviors match the role they have associated with the kind of relationship they have decided they are in, such as husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. Requiring your partner to behave in certain ways, generally, causes your partner to feel controlled. And so getting your partner to compensate for your limiting decisions* doesn’t generally work very well.
Relationships almost always require one’s own transformation in order for them to work well and achieve really happiness and satisfaction. But many people prefer the stability of knowing what to expect from each other. That’s because they don’t realize limiting decisions* are never true and can be cleared.
A great relationship of any kind takes committing to one’s own transformation, and moving forward in one’s own evolution, as a higher priority than getting what you immediately desire. Committing oneself to that kind of life requires the recognition that life, in its undistorted form, inherently is designed to work.
*Limiting decisions: An NLP term used in NLP TimeLine counseling sessions to mean unconscious decisions made in early childhood. They are always some form of that life doesn’t work and, also usually, that there is something inherently wrong with you — such as “I am powerless,” “bad,” “unlovable;” or “People can’t be trusted.” Limiting decisions are never true. NLP TimeLine counseling sessions facilitate clearing limiting decisions in order to release the negative patterns in your life that are caused by them. For more information on limiting decisions and NLP TimeLine sessions, click here.
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Author’s Bio: Jane Ilene Cohen, Ph.D. is an Intuitive & Transformational NLP Counselor, and an NLP & TimeLine Master Practitioner and Hypnotherapist, with a private practice in San Diego North County (Encinitas). During the pandemic all sessions are over the phone or online. Dr. Cohen does individual counseling with adults and children (includes the NLP TimeLine Process and hypnosis), works with couples, families and other relationships, and facilitates groups and workshops. She is also the Founder of the “Life is Designed to Work” thought system.
For more about Dr. Cohen’s counseling services, go to: JaneCohenCounseling.com . For a free phone or video consultation to decide if this is right for you, or to make an appointment, call Dr. Cohen at (760) 753-0733
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