Don’t Let One Person Hold Your Heart in Their Hand

I was recently in therapy and I started talking about how I’ve basically given one person control of my happiness. 

That one person? My wife. 

Which means if things don’t work out with her, I’m totally fucked. 

In the process of marital-non-bliss that we’ve been going through, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs (like, really far downs). And that is caused by one thing: I put my happiness in her hands and her hands alone (mind you, the possibility of divorce is enough to punch anyone in the gut and I don’t envy any of you who have gone through one). 

Her finger is filling a hole in my heart. So if she leaves, I’m going to be gasping and grasping, trying to put my hand over the hole. 
And that’s the way I’ve always been with lovers. I give my total self to them and barely anyone else. Everyone knows bits of me, but I only reveal the full extent of myself to my lover. 

This is a recipe for disaster.

James Altucher wrote a book called Choose Yourself where he talks about taking your ability to thrive out of a single person’s hands. This was in relation to jobs. 

And what he meant was if you work for one company, who has it’s own objectives, they can pull the plug on you at any moment. 
And that’s where many people get screwed; they loyally work for a company for most of their lives, don’t demand much, don’t work on gaining new marketable skills and get kicked in the balls (or ovaries, not trying to discriminate here, just writing from my perspective) in their mid-40’s or 50’s, when it’s inevitably harder to find a new job.

If, on the other hand, you work for yourself and have MULTIPLE clients, if one of them decides they don’t want to work for you, you can generally keep going. 

In the land of entrepreneurship, the primary goal is to create multiple streams of income where you are getting money from book sales, courses, etc. If one source dries up, you still have more coming in and you can survive and create more. That’s always been my dream. 

So I explained that to my therapist and that my wife is the sole keeper of my happiness and the therapist used a word I’ve been waiting to hear: “co-dependency.” 

I’m a recovering alcoholic – six years ago I quit drinking. But when you quit, you need to keep doing work on yourself or you can end up becoming dependent on other things – like sugar or other people – because the underlying reasons for drinking still exist – a sense of worthlessness, feeling like you don’t matter, low self-esteem, etc. 

I don’t think my relationship is co-dependent because it would have to be two people dependent on each other. It’s more like uni-dependent.

Regardless, the way I found this fact is that on some weeks, I felt so crippled that I realized I needed to start reaching out to people for help. I felt bad about reaching out, like I didn’t want to bother them. But I did anyway. 

And I felt better in those weeks when I reached out.

Then in one of my lowest lows, I realized I hadn’t talked to anyone. I just stewed in my juices, soaking it in. It reminded me of being a teenager when I was constantly depressed and anxious.

And I realized that even though my survival skills have evolved, they have very much stayed the same. I don’t reach out to others when I need help. 

My DIY and figure-it-out-yerself nature was raking my limp and lifeless body over the coals and repeatedly throwing it down on them.

It’s been a bad time to be Spider-Man  a superhero a nondescript male office worker in NYC. 

But the fact remains, many of my problems are caused by common INFP problems – being afraid of the phone, being in my head 24/7, trying to deal with issues on my own. 

But the point remains. Keep in contact with people and ask for help, especially with emotional difficulties!

What do you think? How many people can single-handedly take away your happiness? How many people can you reach out to if things start getting bad?

4 thoughts on “Don’t Let One Person Hold Your Heart in Their Hand”

  1. I’m 48 and coming out of 20 years of marriage to the man that I loved with all of my heart. During our marriage I got sober and had 11 years of sobriety. And then I got in a car accident, which caused a downward spiral and the demise of my relationship ensued. I was completely broken by my ex-husband leaving me. I tried to kill myself. However, I don’t go down without a fight. And even at a completely unconscious level my body doesn’t go down without a fight. I guess I must feel that living is the right thing to do. Or something of that nature…

    At any rate I am alone now and I almost feel like I don’t want to get into another relationship again, because I’ve just course corrected and I am loyal to me. That does not mean that I think that everybody else needs to be like me. But I know what I need to do to like myself. To love myself to be honest. And it’s different for everyone. I don’t understand the values that other people have sometimes, sometimes I greatly admire them. It’s just what do people live for? And to be honest, it feels kind of good to really like myself for once in my life. To not put a crown on somebody else and declare them some type of royalty that they don’t possess in actuality. My ex-husband was a good man, there was a lot I liked about him. However if he had been honest with me, we’d still be married. If he would have told me exactly how much I was hurting him with my addiction, if he would have told me that he was going to cheat on me, if he told me that he was going to leave me I would have been thunderstruck by that. And I would have gotten sober I like to think. I hope. I greatly valued my ex-husband. But I can’t change the past and I just hope that I can continue to feel good about myself and let somebody else into. I don’t want to bar anybody from my heart. Especially me, though!

  2. This is so apt for my circumstances you wouldn’t believe it! As an INFP I can resonate with being a depressed, anxious and faceless office worker deriving no satisfaction from work or my career, I am in a relationship full of dependency, I gave up drinking and am now having therapy sessions. It’s comforting to know that it’s possible to turn it around as you have and as an INFP I can tell you I admire your creation of this website – it couldn’t be a more appropriate INFP pursuit if it tried!! That’s both in the delivery of and of the product itself! Well done.

  3. I completely understand. I am co-dependent currently, but I accept myself despite this. I don’t need to look at myself or my relationship in a negative way, which I tend to do if there are any sort of “problem”s.

    Interesting perspective on how this relates to career and work.

  4. Thanks for you intereting post. I am in the same situation. I put my heart into my ex-boyfriend hand and now he went away, I used to think that i can not be happy without him but now, I still survise. But I sometimes think about him, I hurt to death. your post let me know that i am not alone in this problem. i am trying to overcome this mess


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